Thursday, 1 December 2022



A burnt headless zombie chicken, walking upright on its stumps

I have a twitter account. If you're wondering why I'm not posting to it—and perhaps also why I'm not following you—you need to go outside more.

  1. ADICE TO WOULD-BE WRITERS: listen to more drum 'n' bass while working. It  will make you type faster.

  2. TRYING TO GET MY DESIGN COLEAGUES into random tables during the production stage, not just as outputs. A bit like oblique strategy cards but with dice.

  3. For the record, find oblique strategy cards quite dry. Of course I love Eno (and Bowie) but I was expecting more... pictures?

  4. For the above, you can do worse than re-purposing Dixit cards.

  5. The OSR. Thoughts? I mean... is it actually a thing? I'm not sure. I think it might not actually be anything.


Tuesday, 1 November 2022


Two dead crows, hung by string from Chris Packham's gate. Image courtesy The Guardian
Two dead crows, hung by string from Chris Packham's gate. Image courtesy The Guardian

I actually did restore that twitter account, purely to protect my burgeoning brand, man. Follower count is a proud zero. You're here instead, welcome to my mind, October 2022. 
  1. SEA TROLLS: Barnacle-encrusted and carrying driftwood clubs, they hide beneath the sands (or shingle, if you live on the Blighted Isles). Regenerate only by bathing in seawater. Courtesy Louis and family 

Sunday, 9 October 2022

Inktober 2022

A basic cave map in black ink on off-white dot matrix paper. The dot matrix is arrnged in a grid. Instea of hatching, the "solid" areas are shaded with purple sharpie. The cave only has one way in but has tonnes of jacayed loops.
2nd "Cartography"

A friend on the Garblag Games discord asked if there were any D&D/fantasy based inktober prompts. Instead of looking them up, I suggested we write a set together, and waited.

I’m quite impatient.

I wrote this list:

Saturday, 1 October 2022


Still Life with a Dead Bird by Marina Dormidontova

 It's good to have a filter. Here's what would happen if I did not.

  1. OSR IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM: there's a post in this, it may become one. What FKR newbies don't realise is that old school D&D is just a framing device. DISCUSS. 2022.09.02

Friday, 23 September 2022

BECMI Intelligent Swords

During a recent discussion on the NSR discord server the subject of intelligent magic items popped up, and I was immediately reminded of the rules for generating intelligent swords in the Frank Mentzer Expert Set.

Drawing of a  magical—possibly intelligent—sword by Larry Elmore

There are other, similar rules for intelligent swords in Moldvay. Seeing as this is the go-to old-school ruleset (and likely the basis for any similar rules in OSE or Basic Fantasy), I'm ignoring those. Likewise—as with my [positively ancient] post about dwarf clerics— this is a paraphrasing of existing mechanics. I'm not adding anything original here.

...and yes, it's swordtember, so I suppose the timing is germane.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Villainous Sidekicks


A villainous sidekick if ever I saw one

This was supposed to be several 1d100 tables spliced together, but I ran out of time. Enjoy my villainous sidekick generator, available below.

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Friday, 16 September 2022

What I write about when I think about Zedeck Siew (a poem called pome)


The image above is a spread from Mr Kr Gr (Zedeck Siew, Centaur).
Illustration by Munkao

The people of the old world made these as prisons for their gods. They made them beautiful, so captivity would sting.

Wear your gold bells, o Lord of Dances, and leap for our pleasure! Cherish your ruby garlands, o Lady of Loves, chained to our bed!

The old world was drowned by the river. But its slaves could not be set free. So they wander buried hallways and vine-choked pavilions – maddened, hateful, plotting.

- Mr-Kr-Gr (Page 20) by Zedeck Siew

Friday, 9 September 2022

What has that wise one got on their head?

Wise-ones and witches, sorcerers and summoners, ghost-talkers and spirit-walkers...

...they've always got something on top of their head.

Text from wikipedia: The Sorcerer is one name for an enigmatic cave painting found in the cavern known as 'The Sanctuary' at the Cave of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France, made around 13,000 BCE. The figure's significance is unknown, but it is usually interpreted as some kind of great spirit or master of animals. The unusual nature of The Sanctuary's decoration may also reflect the practice of magical ceremonies in the chamber.[1] In his sketches of the cave art, Henri Breuil drew a horned humanoid torso and the publication of this drawing in the 1920s[2] influenced many subsequent theories about the figure.[3] However, Breuil's sketch has also come under criticism in recent years.[4] A single prominent human figure is unusual in the cave paintings of the Upper Paleolithic, where the great majority of representations are of animals.
Sketch of a drawing of The Sorcerer, a 13,000 year-old cave painting

(Even as I write this I realise masks would be much more interesting, but I don't want to jump on the bandwagon of the latest psychedelic mesolithic RPG, Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland CW: images are "AI generated")

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Sunday, 31 July 2022

Atop the Wailing Dunes: A PARIAH adventure for Zine Quest 4

Since the publication of GENIUS LOCI in June, I've been "teasing" hexes from the sandbox adventure ATOP THE WAILING DUNES.  However, this has been something sitting in my slushpile since last autumn, and I think it now comprises enough material to publish as a complete set.

Partially completed hex map of the sandbox

My original intention was to have PARIAH: CITY OF GHOSTS ready in time for Zine Quest 4, but owing to the commitments of my collaborators it won't be ready in time. However, with so much work already complete on Atop the Wailing Dunes, I thought it would be a good chance to release my little sandbox.

Here's the link to the Kickstarter, now live:

Monday, 25 July 2022

The Ikau Mangrove (a hex for PARIAH)

A four-page pamphlet mini-hexcrawl, part of an ongoing series.

This will be the last of these small-format individual hexes: I'm finding that I want to go into more detail with the actual hex features, but can't because space is being taken up by information repeated from elsewhere. When I put them all together in ATOP THE WAILING DUNES I'll be able to avoid this problem!

If you want a PDF of this to print at home or to use with a text-to-audio programme, it's free to download via

If all goes to plan, all 24 hexes (with additional notes for sites of interest) will be compiled into a zine for Zinequest 2022. Hope to announce that soon!


Blogposts in this series:

All the PDFs:

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Valley of Mui Eiru (a hex for PARIAH)

 I've been working on making the larger map for Atop the Wailing Dunes more legible, as well as building it up into a more comprehensive sandbox. As I go through, 6 mile hex by 6 mile hex, I'm sharing them here as A4 double-sided zinis, which you can fold enough to make a 4-page pamphlet.

As with previous issues, there is a small map with key to the front, and several paths crossing the hex. The back page contains additional flavour for wilderness exploration, and might provide a template for additional hexes. This is designed to printed on two-sides of A4 and folded in half to make a zini.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Pariah character classes for OSE or Basic Fantasy

Made by Igor Gadreaud 

If you prefer to explore the implied setting of PARIAH with a more faithful old-school system (as hinted at in my previous post, a design analysis of my own game, it's perhaps worth giving the players something they can sink their teeth into. I'm more than a little wary of doing this, but in the words (paraphrased) of Skerples of Coins and Scrolls:
Writing a... class is easy. It meets what I'd call the "minimum creativity threshold". To write a wizard you just need about 20 decent ideas. To write any other kind of class you need between 4 and 10. It's not difficult to make a class based on any random idea you've ever had. It's also a lot easier to think of elements of a class than it is to, say, a fill in a d100 table or write a dungeon.  
It is known.