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 

  2. SALUTE OF THE JUGGER: Surely the greatest sports movie ever made, about a sport that didn't exist until the movie did. Still in love with the aesthetic and implied world-building, and the main cast (Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Vincent D'Onofrio, Delroy Lindo... uhh... Gandhi MacIntyre?) I made a sandbox generator for a half-tested Bloodbowl type game (I also had a weirdly repetitive solo sports management game on the go at the same time as this) 

  3. SPACE JUNGLE: great concept for an RPG TBC, I mean the Korean TV show, not a jungle in space (only because that has been done to death, still cool though). 

  4. I like it when people say "I don't love it..." and trail off and look out the window.

  5. PARIAH setting book: graphic novel, no text or tables. Psychedelic journey through the Here & Now via the Other Realms.

  6. Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs i.e. UFOs) now have a subcategory of transmedium objects. This categorisation is military in origin, and relates to the fat that these objects move between the ocean, the atmosphere, and space. Objects. Blows my mind that there are congressional hearings relating to this and it continues to be massively under-reported.

  7. My theory is that they're self-replicating Amazon drones from the future.

  8. The path to the creation of an object is its memory, which is also a feature of the object.

  9. Meditation on lyric games and rituals led me to the conclusion that RPGs are essentially ritualistic in nature. Maybe there was something in that Satanic Panic after all... 

  10. Today I finally realised the difference between the ironic postmodernist and postmodern ironist: this is the nearest to zen the 21st Century can offer.

  11. There is so much to do. One life is not enough.

  12. Ordinary clerics do not cast spells. The ones who take up arms and go into dungeons get to do it after they’ve been blooded and tested their faith a little. But if their brothers and sisters found out about their magical power they’d either be praised as prophets or burnt at the stake.

  13. The reaction against control panel design must be underway. It's not MORK BORG. It's dense text designed to be read in private and never shared.

  14. Tongue in cheek you pricks.

  15. But... if I were to write a megadungeon, as series of room descriptions in the style  of Poetics of Space (just so Bryce has a fucking aneurysm) the concept for the cover art would be something vanilla like this:

    Imaginary book cover using entirley blue palette. Layered like a woodcut, a solitary wizard crossing the page as though ot were a hill. Text reads "BLUE HILLS" and "SOFINHO"

  16. I've been uploading all my old podcasts to a youtube channel. You can listen/watch at this link:

  17. Turns out I didn't delete my twitter account, I deleted the account that was made by logging in using my gmail account by mistake (same name and logo, different URL)

  18. Does that make this blog post redundant?

  19. Ok back to the podcast. What if every day I read “Quantum Ogre” aloud word for word again and again?

  20. A day that begins with sifting through rubbish is unlikely to end well.

  21. Instead of “Quantum Ogre”, every day henceforth is me casting a new run-through of 1000 Year Old Vampire.

  22. Instead of that, it’s the blog.

  23. Luke Gearing is the fucking best.

  24. I need to do a “Postcards from Cable Street” post

  25. Super depressed right now.


  27. Hero's Journey in reverse: a novel,

  28. Really wish I was better at drawing.

  29. Just watched the Questing Beast review of  Errant: really liked the concept. Not so much the a.n. other OSR system, more the smorgasbord of Independent Gaming Material to be dropped into a campaign. A step further, I'd like a thematically linked zine of Mosaic Strict modules. Perhaps Space Dwarfs (as mentioned above).

  30. One idea that dropped in my bread-bin was  a tactical solo game based around the solo rules for Space Hulk (think they were in Deathwing) wherein squads of space dwarfs investigate and salvage rotting hulks and comets etc. I'll chuck it in the zine...

  31. Really enjoyed some of the additions to orcs made in Rings of Power from an aesthetic point of view. The costumes in the first few episodes (shabby hoods and cattle-skull helms) were grand, and their introduction was genuinely creepy. Slowly morphed into Peter Jackson cod-cockney cannon fodder (which I suppose is what the were in the books for the most part).


    Enjoyed the use of Sisters of Mercy era goth-cum-dark elf as their leader and original Uruk (which I suppose would be Ur-Uruk, but that may trigger infinite recursion aka orc-ception), but the facetious "We prefer Uruk" in response to Galdriel's use of Orc felt in poor taste.

  33. IN RESPONSE TO 11: that is why we share our lives with other people, and support one another in achieving our goals, towards the mutual betterment of all other humans. Thanks Ven for reminding why I am, at heart, a leftist.

  34. Swords without Master vs. Stars Without Number.

  35. October is over: in many ways, so am I.


  1. Are UN-THOUGHTS cursed to forever remain UN-THOUGHTS? I'd kill for a real version of 5 and do worse for 15. On 13, the best 'African-inspired' setting I've ever come across is a thick af unfinished GURPS project written by a man who afaict believed he was a reincarnated "native pygmy" (no word on what that means) and possibly came up with the idea for the setting while in prison. Nothing else even approaches the level of that half-complete psychotic vision. Make of that what you will.

    1. That sounds absolutely fascinating.

      There's a Deleuze quote (or maybe Guattarri) that goes something like "a psychotic person going for a walk is infinitely more interesting than a neurotic person talking on a couch", never not known it to be true. I suppose that's part of the draw of the DIY scene in RPGs as a whole, the element of "outsider" art. Maybe we're all starting to get a bit too professional?

      15 is highly likely to happen at some point, 5 might have to remain a distant dream! Have drafts for the former and a faint outline of the latter: the beauty of 15 is that it could be put together either individually or collaboratively, whereas the latter I would be highly dependent on building a really strong relationship with the artist(s), something that would require a lot of buy-in on their part.

    2. Def agree on the outsider art angle. I've been thinking a lot about your point from the last round of UN-THOUGHTS (man do I like typing that) on how we're lucky that the standout writers of the scene are primarily in games and not conventional lit. I suspect that it's an even truer statement than I first realized at the time - we're lucky as game enjoyers ~and~ the work is prob improved by freedom from some prevailing trends in lit-fic. On the comic, I see what you mean - I'm interested in the sort of artist that would pair well with PARIAH in a Mun Kao-Zedeck Siew/Scrap Princess-Patrick S kinda way. Extremely excited to hear that the book could become reality, though! Made my evening.

  2. Sorry to hear you're feeling down. I suppose you britons would feel the death of Her Majesty quite keenly, need more time to mourn.

    Googling "Courtesy Louis" brought me to this paper: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1876927 on "Courtesy, Absolutism, and the Rise of the French State". I can only read the first page, but it seems neat. The decline of feudalism and its privileges in the face of a centralizing, bureaucratizing monarchy feels like a ripe era for adventure.

    Saw a UFO last summer - fortunately not abducted. Not a fan of the UAP name change. The congressional hearings and military reports on them seem to me like how during the Cold War the CIA would put out false reports that they'd successfully tested telepathy or astral projection or what have you to make the Soviets waste their time & money trying to replicate that.

    MOTHER FUCKING SPACE DWARFS - I like the sound of the solo game

    1. Ha! It's just as well the use of ready cash is being phased it in favour of plastic, as every coin and note bears the visage of our late monarch. A bittersweet reminder of a woman cut down in her prime.

      "Untimely" death of a 96 year-old woman aside, I'm mourning the gradual and inevitable decline of humanity itself. Never thought it would bother me so much, I blame the fact that I voluntarily brought new life into this world to inherit the mess when I too pop my clogs.

      "Courtesy Louis" referred to a discord member with whom you are at least passingly familiar who inspired the concept while we were a the beach a few weeks back. Incidentally, said discorder participates in an irregular D&D campaign modelled on a later (though no less turbulent) period in French history. The rise of the absolute monarchs would fit into the early modern period, which is sort of covered by a lot of LotFP. Suppose it depends how historic/fantastical you want to make it.

      I too have seen a UFO! Apologies if I mentioned it before. Tell me more about your sighting! Yes... there's definite elements of water-muddying media manipulation going on, but I find the testimony of minor military operatives quite compelling. It's all deeply strange whichever way you spin it.


      I think this is going to happen, isn't it?

    2. Re: gradual and inevitable decline of humanity - wouldn't count us out just yet. Our ancestors went through much worse and made it through to deliver a better world to us (though I also get quite irate at the increasing cost of living, inflation, political incompetence, and so on which seem to define this time).

      Don't think you should feel guilty about having kids either. Even if all the infrastructure and institutions we take for granted collapse around our ears, we'll still have a tomorrow with puppy dogs and sunsets and roasting food over campfires, and I think that's a tomorrow still worth having.

      If feelings of depression/guilt/despair continue, consider training your son and any subsequent children in wilderness survival, first aid, martial arts, and other useful post-collapse skills.

      Re: UFO - 4 AM, early morning after a cottage party, me and my buddy were nursing our last beers and stargazing on the dock - he points out what we at first believe to be a satellite, but then it starts moving erratically from the original path it was drifting on - we speculate: could it be a drone? an aircraft? Too high up for those. Around this time (still quite inebriated) I begin panicking and yelling that I'm not about to let some little green men probe me, and sprint a short distance from the dock. My buddy calms me down, and we return to watching the UFO. After about twenty minutes, it shoots up even higher into the sky and fades away.

      Don't think I've heard your UFO story before. What happened there?

      Re: MOTHER FUCKING SPACE DWARFS - fuck yeah it is

    3. Surprisingly very similar UFO story, though about 25 years ago. 16 years old, friend and I are camping on the Isle of Wight (sadly not as weird and interesting as it sounds) and we're doing a spot of beer drinking in the small hours looking out over the sea (the English channel/La Manche) in the small hours.I spot a shooting star, pointing it out to my friend it sort of slows don to a halt. Very small object (or massive and really far away who knows?), remains stationary for a bit then darts back on itself, remains stationary for a few seconds then appears to fly off in the opposite direction ( vaguely upwards and eastward?) at high speed before disappearing. It was the changes of direction and speed that made it uncanny, unable to discern any features beyond its luminance.

  3. Thanks for your concern— to put you at ease, I am very lucky to have a strong support network around me and experience with managing my mental health in a constructive manner. The older I get, the more depression strikes like a minor virus than a debilitating existential threat. I genuinely appreciate the offer, and apologies for over-sharing, but I will be fine!

    Also, to return to a post of random thoughts and ramblings a day later, finding three comments from bloggers I respect and admire is about as far from depressing as I can reach (while also maintaining wariness of external validation loci!)