Friday, 16 October 2020


 Those of you who backed PARIAH will be aware that I've been working VERY SLOWLY on a robust (and free) set of rules for adventures in the wilderness. I've already received a couple of nudges on itch and Kickstarter to get a move on, and I've set myself a deadline for the end of this month. But this recent post (which I think was the first time I've followed up a  Facebook post then found it on r/osr)

Let me talk you through what sort of stuff you're going to find inside:

This post was originally conceived as a follow-up to this  one:


  • PARIAH is a game that takes (primarily) place in the wilderness. It deserves a robust set of rules for dealing with an environment where 90% of gameplay will be taking place.
  • The encounter mechanic is explained and justified
  • Thoughts about starvation, tracking prey, foraging and weather...
  • The six-turn hour is established as the primary temporal unit...
  • ... and the set re-establishes the 6 mile hex as the primary spatial unit!
That last one is important because the bulk of the book is given over to individual hexes on each page, with special encounter tables, foraging results and GENIUS LOCI...

Each hex has its own picture ENTIRELY plagiarised from BECMI, but hopefully not to the extent that it won't violate international copyright law. Who knows, maybe I'll release some downloadable content for HEX KIT.

The Hexes

Here's a standard (A4) spread:

  1. Hex name, time taken to enter, time taken to explore, chances of getting lost.
  2. Icon: the map symbol for the terrain type (might include a simplified BW one a la BECMI).
  3. Distinctive features: optional tables to give the hex some random characteristics.
  4. Encounter table: a unique table for each terrain type.
  5. Unusual Encounters: and additional encounter feature including hazards and random finds.
  6. Genius Loci: the-spirit-of-the-place, the "ruler" of the 6 mile hex (they should be consulted but not obeyed.
  7. Foraging table: what pariahs are likely to find if they spend an hour foraging by day (or 3 hours by torchlight at night). 

1. Hex Name

I've set up pages for the following hex types:
  • Agricultural 
  • Agricultural wetland (rice, taro, papyrus etc.)
  • Desert
  • Forest...
    • dense
    • light
    • hill
  • Hills
  • Lake
  • Jungle
    • tropical forest
    • jungle hill
  • Mangrove
  • Mountain
  • Ocean (double spread)
  • Plains (double spread)
  • River
  • Swamp
  • Taiga...
    • dense
    • coniferous hills
    • sparse taiga
  • Tundra
Each entry provides the time taken to enter the hex and how much of the hex is explored in one hour (this is a very rough rule for GMs who wish to hide certain locations within their hexes).

There's also a chance of getting lost as a x-in-6 chance, usually also dependent on the weather.

2. Icons 

These all need some work as the plagiarism is STRONG in some of them but here's a taster:

3. Distinctive features

These small tables are mostly for flavour and to provide GMs with some additional details to make the hex more interesting, but some of them have mechanical aspects. 

For example, the mountain hex (roll 1d6)
  1. Difficult climbs every 1/2 hour.
  2. Shrouded in mist (easier to get lost).
  3. Regular crevasses and ravines.
  4. Seams of peculiarly-coloured minerals.
  5. Narrow passes; walk traverse single file.
  6. Volcanic.
For a more botanical bent, keep an eye out for upcoming material from:

3. Encounter table

The encounter mechanic is covered in the PARIAH core rules and in this post. This flips things around by providing a unique table for each hex-type, with no need for a "master" table.

Each hex type also lists instructions for how often to roll encounters: jungles are the most dangerous, for example, but are also one of the most abundant environments.

4. Unusual Encounters

Each has a 1-in-8 chance of delivering a unique encounter for each hex: again, this is meant to serve as inspiration for a M's own designs rather than an exhaustive list. Examples from the mangrove encounters:

  1. Roots entangle random party member.
  2. Community of boat-dwelling humans.
  3. Dawn spirits in form of sea cows attempt to seduce party.
  4. Hallucinogenic orchid.
  5. Carnivorous plant.
  6. Frog-like fisher folk farming fronds.
  7. An abandoned cub/kit/pup etc.
  8. Deserted oyster farm with giant, angry, lonely demon-oyster.
  9. Overgrown half-flooded lost city.
  10. Dugout canoe containing human corpse and grave goods.
  11. Tree hanging with skulls.
  12. The Genius Loci.

5. Genius Loci

  • In addition to random encounters (and whatever else the GM throws in) each hex possesses its own "spirit-of-the-place", the "ruler" of the 6 mile hex. 
  • The table suggests some possible archetypes, but the Gm should consider them to be a major NPC.
  • In true old-school terms, the spirit-of-the-place could be considered a minor dominion ruler, possibly part of a larger hierarchy.
  • Gls can crop on the encounter table or as unusual encounters.
  • Rules are also given for consulting, bargaining and even worshipping the spirit.

6. Foraging table

This needs a little revision as it doesn't take into consideration individual skill/attribute scores, but largely each hex has a particular "yield" (with some hexes being more abundant than others), and the more time spent foraging the more can be obtained.

* * * *

That's pretty much it. This is the format I have settled on, just need to collate the existing corpus of notes into a doc and issue. The PDF will be PWYW on DTRPG an, and all previous PARIAH backers will get an update to their DTRPG/itch/google accounts.

- Sofinho 

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