Saturday, 30 October 2021


Follow-up post to a concept an Esoteric Enterprises campaign where a party of down-at-heel artists and performers, all tied to the same unscrupulous agent, carry out magical crimes in the esoteric underworld of H-Town

What follows is a simple character generator... grab one of each of the standard dice-set (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12) and roll....

Status in Not-Hollywood (D4)

  1. "You wanna be in the movies? You can start by getting me a coffee..."
    A newcomer- fresh off the bus and full of naïve ambition. No-one has a clue who you are.

  2. "Hey! I know you! You're... that guy! The one who was in... that thing!"
    For a moment you were hot stuff, then you were dropped like a hot-brick... for the flash-in-the-pan, the goal is to somehow get people talking about you and your work again... by any means necessary...

  3. "Yikes... isn't that... no! Don't look! Omigod she's seen us..."
    You're were a megastar up until comparatively recently- then a scandal rocked your world. Sex? Drugs? Devil worship? maybe all that and more. You have the contacts but right now no one wants to know. It will pass... but for now you're slumming it with the also-rans. Not to mention your assets are all tied-up at the minute and you need ready cash...

  4. "Oh wow, that old ham's still alive? Jeez, just barely... y'know I heard they've had so much plastic surgery that when they die they're donating their body to Tupperware..."
    You're an old hand but your better days are behind you: most people think of you as a washed-up has-been. Up until recently they'd have been wrong: you've made a career out of doing the jobs no-one else wanted to do, but maybe now you're finding it harder to manage your alimony payments/drug habit/naive property investments... time to find out about the jobs no-one even knew about...

Secret Vice (D6)

  1. Uppers  Speed, meth, coke... or even something as banal as caffeine. You need to feel awake and alert and talking as fast (if not faster) than you think. You gotta have that edge, you know? H-Town doesn't sleep, so neither do you.

  2. Downers  Weed, smack, diazepam... you rely on a depressant to either relax, to sleep, or tpo block out the pain.

  3. Alcohol  You like a good time, and that involves plenty of sex and drugs... but booze is the one you rely on to function. You're keeping a lid on it for now but your dependence is already wreaking havoc in your personal life.

  4. Pain - Whether giving, receiving or perhaps both, as far as you're concerned, pain is the only genuine reminder that we are alive. Without it you feel dead. You may seek out your sadomasochistic jollies in controlled environments, or might be more reckless.

  5. Magic You need to see, smell, touch and taste magical power in whatever form it is most accessible to you. If you are not already an occultist, mystic or spook it is likely that you'll be pulled in either of those directions further down the line.

  6. External Validation — The most dangerous vice of all: attention. You need people to tell you they think you're amazing and that they love you, even if you have no respect for them: hell, especially if you have no respect for them. Whether it's to fill the gaping void of an unhappy childhood, or simply to find some meaning in a universe which, to the best of your understanding, is devoid of meaning, nothing brings you greater pleasure than celebrity. 

Class (D8)

  1. Heavy (bodyguard)  action hero? Former sports star? Or just a kind-hearted meathead... there's plenty of people in H-Town with a savage right-hook and a keen-eye for danger, and you're one of them.  

  2. Criminal  Whether you have a background in petty crime or you're a smooth-talker who knows how to con record company execs out of their dough, everyone in H-Town is a criminal to some degree.. people like you are just especially good at it.

  3. Renegade Surgeon (Doctor)  Plastic surgeon to the stars? Unscrupulous pharmacist? Purveyor of dangerous quack medicine? You can plant "former" behind any of those, because your real dream is to pursue art (besides, no one is going to willingly go beneath your scalpel now).

  4. Explorer  Your love extreme sports introduced you to the most dangerous and exciting of all: navigating the occult underground. While you love your chosen career (even if you're struggling with getting it to pay the bills), your true passion is sneaking around abandoned spaces and putting your life in danger.

  5. Veteran (Mercenary)  Joining the military may have been a way to pay your way through college, maybe you fled to H-Town to put the trauma of active service behind you: in any case, you're here now and while you picked up some serious skills, you're not going to need them now, right? Right?

  6. Mystic — Most people in H-Town are envious of those who have a sponsor or patron... in your case you're not always sure that the entity "looking out" for you has your artistic ambitions at heart. Well, whatever: you're a professional and a contract is a contract, and it has to be said, magical powers are pretty useful in this game.

  7. Occultist — Some people are born into the occult, others have it thrust upon them. Then there's your kind: the ones who actively seek it out. It's not even about furthering your ambitions any more: that stuff's ancillary. It's the visceral thrill of manipulating reality itself... indeed, what is art but magic, and magic but an art?

  8. Spook  Whether you were involved in an occult accident on set, were born to an ancient bloodline, or actively engaged in a ritual to prolong or enhance your life.... you are most definitely not like the others. This may well be the reason your career isn't where you want it to be... but if you're clever, it could be the very thing that lifts it to hitherto undreamt echelons.

Criminal Record(D10)

This table is on page 37 of Esoteric Enterprises, which also includes other interesting "tables to flesh out PCs".
  1. Illegal possession of proscribed texts
  2. Illegal possession of controlled narcotics
  3. Illegal possession of unregistered firearms
  4. Illegal possession of interdicted arcane artefacts
  5. Breaking and entering
  6. Petty theft
  7. Assault with a deadly weapon
  8. Worship of an interdicted inhuman being
  9. None (yet)
  10. Roll again on a d4 ...with intent to sell.

Awareness of the Occult Underground (D12)

  1. Ignorant: You have no idea that this stuff is real: vampires, aliens and eldritch gods are the stuff of fiction. If you have any magical abilities (as a mystic, spook or occultist) you are experiencing extremely damaging levels of cognitive dissonance.

  2. Ignorant Rationalist: You're aware of a growing cultural acceptance of the supernatural as fact, which to you is a massive step backwards for civilisation. Clearly there is nothing at work here beyond mass hysteria!  If you have any magical abilities (as a mystic, spook or occultist) you are have somehow (how?) rationalised this as having a scientific explanation. Rationalis, 
  3. Religious denialist: The occult is entirely evil, and in direct contradiction of the will of whichever flavour of divine being you believe to be supreme.  If you have any magical abilities (as a mystic, spook or occultist) you either view these as a blessing from your god or the work of dark forces within you. Your faith is the guiding light that allows you to navigate the vagaries of H-Town.

  4. Armchair Conspiracy Theorist:  You've read books and joined newsgroups sharing stories about mothman, UFOs and black-eyed children. You believe it - ALL of it, even the stuff which is made up... and you believe the government/giant lizards/ communists are keeping underwraps to prevent mass hysteria.

  5. Conspiracy Activist: You've seen evidence of the occult with your own eyes, and believe have entered H-Town as part of a long-term plan to infiltrate the global entertainment industry and bring down whoever it is you believe is really running the show.
  6. Casual Occultist: Of course this shit is real! But, y'know, if you don't let it interfere in your life it won't bother you. Mostly it's just harmless fun: tarot cards, palm readings... even demonic possession all just add a little background colour to the crazy carnival that is the business of show (or "the culture" or "the industry" or whatever term the people in your field use to refer to this vague entity hovering over all of us).
  7. Victim: An interdimensional entity, vampire or other "spook" preyed upon you in your youth, opening your eyes to what lies beneath the shallow masquerade. Perhaps your art helps you cope with this trauma

  8. Witness: You've seen things that you don't understand. Your education and upbringing are telling you that it can't be true... but the ritual/creature/daemonic incursion you witnessed shattered your understanding of reality.

  9. Initiated by Relative: A family member or friend of the family who told you scary stories as a kid later revealed to you that they were all true. You were either initiated as a mystic or occultist or a monster hunting cult. You thought coming to H-Town would mean those days were behind you but apparently not...

  10. Ambitious: You'll try anything to get ahead, and are starting to suspect that there's no rational explanation for why some people are more successful than you. They simply must be receiving magical assistance... your research has led you to the conclusion that you need to get in on it too!

  11. Goth: You're a goth. Whatever you think a goth feels about the occult is how you feel.

  12. Chaos: The emergence of an occult underground is a manifestation of a breakdown in consensus reality brought about by mass media and globalisation. God remains dead. And we have killed him. But what is order but an illusion? What is an illusion but a lie?

Art/Profession (D20)

  1. Photographer
  2. Video Artist
  3. Director
  4. Writer
  5. Lead Actor 
  6. Character Actor
  7. Comic Actor
  8. Actor/Model
  9. High Fashion Model
  10. DJ (EDM/Hip-Hop/Industrial)
  11. Rock Star
  12. Experimental Composer
  13. Hip-hop Artist
  14. Graffiti Artist
  15. Other Visual Artist 
  16. Performance Artist
  17. Dancer
  18. Performance Poet
  19. Stand-up comedian
  20. Roll twice more and hyphenate or "/". If you roll this again, roll thrice more!


If you want to play with the code the link for the generator is here:

Use the following code to embed this generator (or any other, just change the link) into your html:

<iframe src="" style="border: none; height: 600px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

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My new procedural hexcrawl adventure, Heart of the Primal Unknown, is currently available (PWYW) on DTRPG:

Please be aware that hard copies of PARIAH are STILL available to buy from the following retailers: I'm told Exalted have sold out. Why not email them and ask for it to be restocked?

You can obtain PDFs from the following online vendors:


  1. Interesting. Do you think that Spook's inability to raise their Resources higher than one (as by rulebook they are excluded from society) going to interfere with their possible in-world role of celebrity?

    1. Frustratingly I've replied to you twice and somehow lost the response both times. So in short, I'm going to ignore that rule in the particular case of the palyer with a spook PC, because they already have another massive narrative restriction which I want to keep underwraps for now.

      Also your comment was comment 300 on this blog, thank you! A fair few of them were already from you so let me know if there's any way I can show my appreciation for your continual support.

    2. I feel that way towards Kyana as well :)

    3. I thought about Spooks having a different mechanical disadvantage if their Resources are getting up, in sense that they are in essence so remarkable that they are risking to get sort of Heat on themselves (paparazzi attention, secret X-hunting society, too much tax audit) that they have to deal with, but I don't know how to work it into the game without getting downtime mechanic and planning for such in the game.

      As for comments, I am glad you and maxcan7 are posting and just more posts is enough for me.

  2. I loved Brand New Cherry Flavor!

    This generator is really cool, but I will say, one thing that I think was core to the show, that isn't quite represented in this generator or EE per se, is disgust. I think you have to have some kind table of gross stuff that you have to do to do supernatural stuff, or gross stuff that happens as a side effect of doing supernatural stuff, etc.; Then again, that's definitely not a table I want to write haha, but I think that's an important part of the je ne sais quoi of the show. To do BNCF right, you also really have to lean into Weird in a way that, tables can help inspire, but it's definitely a kind of Weird that has to come from a bit more of an organic place, if that makes sense. Like, it has to be the stuff that's been mulling through your head at off hours of the night or morning or when you're in an intense emotional state, or something like that. Tbh that's actually been my problem with some ostensibly "weird" games in the past that are kind of just slotting into a genre that doesn't have a name; in trying to be weird in a very specific way, like in the specific way of a pre-existing piece of media, sometimes that special sauce is lost. But that's all besides the point I guess, in any case, this is cool and I'm glad I'm not the only one talking about this show! Actually I don't think I have talked about it on my blog now that I think about it, but it's definitely worth talking about.

    1. Yeah this show hit a lot of notes for me and after some rumination I decided to punt the initial concept to my discord server as an option among multiple possible PbP games. It won, which brings us here! Most fun I had watching a series in a long time.

      (have a look at Frontera Verde for a different look at indigenous Amazonian magic- it's also on Netflix)

      YEah I think the disgust is something I'm going to work into the relationship that the mystic has with their patron (the EE class, I mean, which mirrors Boro and Lisa Nova's relationship). That said, BNCF is only one touchstone, and I'm also introducing stuff from Lynch and Cronenburg to keep the party on their toes.

      But good idea, though you have set the bar high already.

    2. I have not heard of Frontera Verde but I'll have to give it a look.

      I think it makes perfect sense to include elements of Lynch and Cronenberg into a setting like this, and clearly the creator took inspiration from them as well. I think incorporating several influences rather than a straightforward adaptation of BNCF is the right way to go, and tying disgust into the relationship with the patron also makes a lot of sense.

      If you have not seen it, I would also recommend the show Happy!, based on the Grant Morrison graphic novel. It's also very weird but in a more campy way, and less so horror, but there are a few moments towards the end of the first season in particular that still "haunt" me.

      But ya, anyway this is really cool and I look forward to seeing where this goes :).