Monday, 10 August 2020


A summary of the SEVENTH 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.

He threw himself/ to a bottomless pit/ he was screaming as he fell/ I never heard him hit

SESSION 07: DAY 10 CROW MOON (continued)

Witheringly-Footed-in-the-Point said a few words to commemorate his uh... fallen comrade, perhaps also to lift the spirits of Antelope, who was obviously upset at the loss of their comrade.

But in the heavily forested foothills, one is never too far from a new friend, and so it came to pass that they happened upon a solitary figure on the path back to the settlement, a wiry but powerful figure carrying a bow, caked in dried mud and dirt.

"My name is Rides-the-Grave," he said, offering no other gesture by way of greeting.



Joined by a new companion, the party made its way back towards the settlement, only to discover their path to be obstructed by a very angry bee hive.

Disregarding the possibility of deviating from their path to avoid the hive, they instead smeared themselves in mud to protect them from any stings and began to build a fire.

Wither tested the power of the strange wand and, upon activating it with the Goat Lord's power-word, was able to command it to produce a dense plume of smoke.

Rides-the-Grave then began to scrambled up the tree, checking the branch from which the hive hung for strength, and somehow crawling along its length and smashing the hive to the ground.

The party harvested a plentiful quantity of honey while only receiving a few minor stings.

Oh, Rocky...

Following the well-trodden path meant (of course) bypassing the ant-hill. Rocky was still lingering by the ant hill, content to chew the cud, though all his hair had fallen out:


Quite what the ant-queen has planned for him is anyone's guess.

They took care to avoid the hippos, who seemed to have returned to the wallowing spot south and uphill from The Hive.

Home Sweet Home

Two skinny warriors with spears and white cotton tunics stood guard at the stockade to the central settlement. They seemed weirdly defensive, but were easily bribed with but a smidgen of honeycomb.

They had not seen Whisper since the party were last at the settlement two days previously.  They had seen Lake and Fox, both of whom arrived a few hours ago in search of Etau, who had already embarked on a mission to the invitingly named dead coast.

Apparently the coast was an extensive burial site that was swallowed by the sea and is now home to the restless and hungry dead.

The guards opened the gates and Wither and Antelope brought Rides-the-Grave to meet boy and girl, their young charges, and all enjoyed a hearty meal of rice porridge.

They went looking for Wolfskin, who apparently had been asked to leave the central stockade the previous evening. They found him set up on the periphery of the village, in a small riverside hut.

It's Magic Time

The pariahs engaged in a short discussion with Wolfskin, the main purpose of which was to work out who this mysterious woman was advising Etau, where Whispered had wandered, and the current whereabouts of Fox and Lake. They picked up a handful of mushrooms and prepared for Rides-the-Grave's ritual.

They vacillated on how best to proceed but ultimately decided to invoke a nature spirit in the form of a bird and attach a picture message drawn on a piece of dried animal skin in charcoal to it, delivering this to Lake and Fox.

Standard stuff...

Here is an artist's impression of said picture:
Copyright Semiurge 2020. All rights reserved. If you wish to reproduce this image please visit and leave a comment somewhere stating "SOFINHO SENT ME: SEND PICS"

The party split up to collect offerings by the brilliant light of the half moon. While passing the river, Wither was entranced by a beautiful figure h espied lurking beneath the surface of the water... his own reflection.

Antelope managed to drag him away: still the handsome features of... himself haunted him even though he new it to be the curse of the Black Goat at work.

At a makeshift shrine on the fringes of the settlement Rides-the-Grave had gathered some simple objects and, making a small fire, began the summoning process by smoking a little dried mushroom.

The force of the smoke was overwhelming, and he soon fell to the ground utterly nauseated.

Pulling himself through the experience, Rides-the-Grave got to his feet, proffering his blood, as did Wither... Wither may have gone a little deep with the old bonesword blade, for his blood letting led to his collapse.

The ritual complete, an albino crow manifested and was given the instruction to "take this to Fox and Lake". It flapped away into the gloaming light of dawn.

I Think I Need a Lie Down

RtG and Wither both lay themselves onto the slightly damp grass at the fringes of the forest to attempt to recover before returning to the settlement. Antelope stood guard, and just as the sun came up she caught sight of four figures emerging from the forest:

Members of the hill-tribes...

Though weakened, Wither detected the hostile intent of these new arrivals and took his magical wand from his side:

(it probably wasn't that, but you get the general idea)

There was a moment's silence, followed by a crackling sound as a localised ball of lightning manifested at the tip of Wither's wand, which then exploded with a deafening crack of thunder.

Three of the raiders were immediately overcome by fear and fled but, seeing that the spell had caused no harm, the fourth raider charged forward brandishing a spear. With a single slicing action RtG brought him to his knees.

Antelope checked on Wither and then on the fallen warrior: the tribesman was still alive, but unconscious. After some discussion they treated his wound as best they could and left him on the hill side.

Antelope and RtG carried Wither back to the settlement:

"Didn't Wolfskin mention dinner?"

Campaign continues at

Behind the Screen

Ha! I don't have a screen! But nonetheless:

Wands:Wither uses a kind of wand handed to him by the Black Goat. Anyone with the magic command word may use it: uttering the command summons a dawn spirit from within the wand.

Spirits are commanded using a sentence of six words or less. They respond to the command in accordance to their realm (dawn spirits lean towards trickery and illusion rather than death and destruction).

Each wand will have a limited number of spirits bound to it, equivalent to a charge in conventional OSR systems. The pariah would not usually know how many charges there are unless they consult a spirit or a wise person.

Each time Semiurge says Wither uses the wand, I roll a D4: if a one comes up, I assume the wand is out of charges and the spell fails. This is similar to how consumable items (ammo and torches etc.) are tracked in The Black hack. I'm not usually into it but like it for magical or mysterious items.

The invocation ritual was something that Rides-the-Grave gained through character creation: this enables them to temporarily invoke a minor spirit (similar to the ones in the wand) and compel it to do something. The ritual involves the temporary sacrifice of hit dice to "power" the spirit, and further sacrifices and offerings to increase the chance of the ritual being performed successfully.

All of the preparations and sacrifices meant RtG built a pool of dice which were all rolled simultaneously: a score of 1 on one die was all that was  needed to succeed.

All other dice are ignored.

Once invoked, the spirit is given a simple six word message to carry out its task. Sometimes a die can be rolled (one for each HD of spirit) to determine the power or duration of the magical effect desired.

The Hill Tribe raiders were terrified of Wither's magic, as they were expecting to meet some simple settled folk, not other hunter-gatherers in league with spirits. A simple fight/flight morale check was made on 2d6, which three failed. The one who passed was clearly galvanised by the belief he was immune to whatever magic the pariahs were using, though clearly not immune to RtG's bonesword.

All encounters (bee hive and raiders) this session were randomly determined the encounter mechanic detailed in this post, itself very loosely based on Arnold Kemp's encounter stew mechanic

At time of writing we've actually just finished session 10 and I'm struggling to catch up, but I'm determined to keep a tight record of this campaign!

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