Sunday 26 July 2020


A summary of the FIFTH & SIXTH sessions of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. Have a look at the previous session summary or indeed some of the posts collected under the label pariah or even visit if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Yeah I've used this image before and I'm not sorry
We're going to power through two sessions now, so hold on to your hats. I also deleted one version by mistake so this is even more abridged.

Friday 24 July 2020

Why I don't write FIVE ON FRIDAY any more (an apology)

Up until February of this year I tried to publish a weekly summary of my favourite blogs every Friday, under the tagline FIVE ON FRIDAY—LIBRARY OF BABEL. You can have a look at these old posts by visiting this link:

The last post I made was the 17th in this series, made at the end of February of this year: I started a new job in March just before the advent of the global pandemic (you may have heard about this) and around the same time I had to actually fulfil a kickstarter I set up for Zinequest.

It was always my intention to get back to it at some point, but as time as worn on and I've been able to make time for reading and writing blogs, I've become less convinced that this is a useful contribution by me to the community.

Sorry if this was a useful series for you, I just don't have the discipline to keep it up!

It's important that the RPG blogosphere—particularly the OSR blogosphere (which in spite of appearances is relatively small)—continues to support one another as short form platforms become increasingly popular. This isn't a personal crusade against other platforms (I happen to enjoy discord and have been made very welcome  on twitter) but I prefer reading and writing long form posts.

A weekly selection of my own personal favourites is I fear not the best way to promote this format, however.

In collaboration with we've been posting a regular blogroll on r/osr. This (I hope) will allow OSR bloggers old and new to reach new audiences and to find (or be reminded of) bloggers new and... less new(?).

The most recent entry is up at this link, and I'll try and share the most recent thread at the end of every blogpost:

Ben Milton of Questing Beast  is also publishing a monthly newsletter of his favourite posts and OSR material, The Glatisant. So far it has been excellent. You can subscribe to it here:

There's also Alex Schroeder's blog aggregator, Old School RPG Planet:

...and Froth's Humpday Blog-o-rama (currently on hiatus, but back soon I hope):

Really I should add these as buttons or permalinks or something somewhere.

Oh! Don't forget about my reading list, THE LIBRARY OF BABEL, which should be located somewhere to the right ---->>>

Thanks for reading.

- Sofinho

Wednesday 22 July 2020

DOGTOWN DRIFTERS: Post Apocalyptic Sports Tour Generator

I can unironically state that one of my favourite movies is Salute of the Jugger. Yeah you can judge, but I'm sure you like stuff that's far less sophisticated. That's right: your favourite thing is probably less sophisticated than a post apocalyptic movie about a fictional sport involving dog skulls.

Anyway, I'm not here to ravage your horrible cultural appetites, I'm here to talk about rolling plastic dice to simulate my horrible taste in movies, books and other media. The tether betwixt the two topics is my longstanding desire to create a fairly crunchy solo engine to simulate managing a fantasy sports team (Blood Bowl, Speedball or the aforementioned Jugger) and, after playing around with a few ideas over this past week, I have something I wish to share.


CW: Mind control, cannibalism

Before you continue, please read Arnold Kemp's glog class the baboonist because you should.

It has been mentioned that there's no manifestation of the archetypal spirits of apes, since like humans they are intelligent creatures with their own ambitions.

This does not mean that every ape (nor their monkey cousins) encountered is mundane encounter.

Far from it.

What follows is a list of five simians that might be encountered in the primeval world of PARIAH.

Monkey—a former familiar

Sorcerers, wisewomen and witches sometimes like to bind a spell-spirit to an animal to create a familiar: a loyal but sometimes frustratingly stupid servant. Monkeys are often favoured for their prehensile hands, and their binocular vision (when peering through your familiar's eyes, it's nice if those eyes are familiar).

When the sorcerer dies, the spirit returns to their realm of origin. However, there exists fates worse than death, and while these can be a living hell for those that befall them they likewise leave their familiar spirits stranded in the Here & Now.

Wednesday 15 July 2020


This is a seven month old draft that needed finishing so I could share the pretty pictures with you.

An animist setting should feature entheogens: a chemical substance, typically of plant origin, that is ingested to produce a nonordinary state of consciousness for religious or spiritual purposes, (according to my most recent google search).

Though lurking at the back of my head, this post was at least in part inspired by the ongoing OSR weapons race, courtesy Eldritch Fields and Chaos Magick User. I reference them mainly as an invitation to you, dear reader, to go ahead and blow your mind: what follows may be a little less out there than what those two degenerates produced.

This post in no way endorses or condemns drug use outside of a gaming context. You can try and get a handle on my confused relationship with narcotic substances by reading this post. Good luck with that.

Tuesday 14 July 2020


This post was inspired by a post in r/RPGdesign by u/AsAHistorian concerning ability scores. In short, the question they posed was this: why have ability scores AND modifiers, instead of just modifiers? The most common responses were that a) rolling 3d6 creates a nice, bell curve distribution to determine those bonuses and/or b) it's just a legacy from OD&D, when decisions used a roll-under mechanic of either 1d20 or 4d6 vs ability score.
What only a few responses mentioned was a character's ability scores are a resource, like hit points, that need to be managed to ensure character survival: it's just that more recent editions of the game feature few instances of ability score loss. What follows is an exploration of the idea that, like hit points, characters can wager their physical and mental attributes in an attempt to overcome obstacles.

Monday 13 July 2020


A summary of the FOURTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. Have a look at the previous session summary or indeed some of the posts collected under the label pariah or even visit if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

One of the problems writing up game sessions is remembering what happened.

It's not that I forge the story and general flow of events—this is usually pretty clear in my mind long after the session is finished—it's more the out-of-character decision making an mechanics that are fuzzy. While this is good for the game experience, I don't think this makes for especially rivetting reading: regular visiters to the blog will no that all to often I slip into a narrative format that... drags on a bit? Have a look at if you don't believe me!

So I'm sorry to report that there won't be so much in terms of mechanics and process going, but there will be battles with ANGRY APES (pictured).

Saturday 11 July 2020

WILDERNESS PART 1—What is a sandbox?

Like everyone else in the known universe I'm currently ti[p-tapping away at my keyboard in a vain attempt to create the definitive set of wilderness rules so that no-one need ever write a post about hexcrawls again... at least until the next genius comes along and subtly radically alters the Great Outdoors once last time.
I posted about this before, right? It's powered by GH's hexflower engine
Apologies for the flippant tone, it does a great disservice to our fine art, especially when one considers that retreading old ground is the very essence of old school gaming!

...and with that in mind, what is a sandbox?

Wednesday 8 July 2020

46,656 CLASSES

Oh man, those professional RPG designers sure told me! Do I think I'm original because my "game" (which is just a typical rip-off of D&D) doesn't have classes or levels? How so? It was blatantly stolen from Spwack!

Honesty sometimes I make myself SICK.

I need to shuffle off and leave it to all the professionals until I've read every single RPG ever and have come up with a new resolution mechanic.

...but I know how much you hunger for content, and most of all you hunger for CLASSES.

(because there simply aren't enough of them out there!)

...and given that it might be a long time before I've ironed out all the creases in my all-new TWISTER based RPG (working setting concept: Boadicea in SPAAAAAACE!!!!)...

...I've decide to make some brand new classes for you.

46,656 classes, to be precise.

You require BUT ONE six-sided die, also known as a dice by normal people.

Monday 6 July 2020


This is a summary of the THIRD session of the discord "voice chat" game of PARIAH. Have a look at the previous session summary or indeed some of the posts collected under the label pariah or even visit if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

The game is run as an open table in a proto-neolithic sandbox. This week, the enlarged pariah band was rejoined by Witheringly Footed on a mission to investigate the hive (very mild spoilers for Carapace by the Goblin's Henchman — available on DTRPG here — follow).

Photograph by


Before embarking to the place Etau referred to as the hive, they first had a brief look around the settlement.

Thursday 2 July 2020


Content warning: animal sacrifice (mentioned).

The purpose of ritual magic in game is to...

  • emphasise the power and mystery of magic
  • to provide additional flavour, and to generate other :
  • create adventure opportunities (fetch quests for ingredients, research, casters etc.)

Rituals should:
  • Require a great deal of preparation.
  • Have a fairly specific effect (whereas spells, in game, work more like generalised tools).
  • Have a duration limited by natural cycles (night and day, lunar cycle, seasons etc.

In PARIAH, the closest thing to a D&D spell is an invocation: these require some sacrifice on the caster's part, and are less reliable. In contrast with "spells" rituals:
  • Require no personal sacrifice aside from time (often animal sacrifices are required).
  • Require components and specific timing.
  • Have powerful and predictable effects.