Monday, 7 August 2023

THE WEEKLY R/OSR BLOGROLL

 This post was originally a note on substack.

THE WEEKLY OSR BLOGROLL



If you have a  podcasts, mailing list or blog related to old school (or old school adjacent) TTRPGs please post on the r/osr blogroll linked below, and have a look at other links shared as comments on that post:

https://www.reddit.com/r/osr/comments/15jgtd7/weekly_osr_vlogblogroll_round_up/

Saturday, 5 August 2023

THE DAWN REALM: Further thoughts on psychedelia and animism

The recent Cthulhu Dark post served as a reminder of the long, long to do list that Pariah created. It also revived my interest in the structure of player-character-world interface through the prism of psychedelia.  Given the obtuse twists and turns of both a) the aforementioned post and b) the preceding sentence I have set myself the task of keeping the prose clean, clear and concise….


…but first, my friends, a scruffy, ill-thought-out felt-pen sketch of how psychedelics can transform hexes... drawn and written so it is indecipherable.

Saturday, 29 July 2023

Estelle: Novelist

This is published in response to recent posts by Throne of Salt, A Most Majestic Fly Whisk and The Furtive Goblin's BurrowUnlike those posts, this is not a collection of fictional books, but is instead a silly short story about an imaginary novelist that I wrote many years ago. Gameable content is low in this one, so I'll draw a line right now for those casually browsing.

Wednesday, 26 July 2023

The Beyond & Cthulhu Dark

The entities of The Beyond are infinitely varied, but draw on the traditionally nightmarish: eldritch horrors, demonic beings, tentacled monstrosities, horrifically assembled flesh golems, spectral maidens with bleeding eye sockets, faceless statues, the greys…

Cover of rules-light eldritch horror game, Cthulhu Dark

THE UPSIDE-DOWN:

Make it weird by turning the lights out and switching to Cthulhu Dark...

- Pariah Volume 1, Page 50

Sunday, 23 July 2023

I WANT TO SEE THINGS THAT I HAVEN'T SEEN BEFORE: Interview with an ECO MOFO, David Blandy

Portrait of the Artist as an Eco Mofo....

David Blandy is an artist, RPG designer maker, and one half of Copy/Paste Co-Op with Daniel Locke. 
https://substack.com/@copypastecoop
https://twitter.com/davidblandyrpgs

David also has the dubious honour of introducing me to the world of livestream actual plays, during a 2020 run-through of his game-within-an-art-project,  The World After.

Currently crowdfunding the runaway success story ECO MOFOS!! over on Kickstarter alongside Dan,  David very kindly agreed to have take to give me nearly two hours of his time in a discord voice call while he went out to buy bread in the Brighton's labyrinths.



Wednesday, 12 July 2023

300th Post: Index Update

Last time I did this (June 2022) I was fairly confident of hitting 300 before Christmas.

Took me another seven months on top of that... but here we are!

THREE HUNDRED POSTS! 

The blog index offers an alternative to searching by labels (at the bottom of the post) or trawling through the archive (on the left, underneath the shameless self promotion). 

It now lives on its own page rather than buried beneath other posts:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/site-index.html

The button at the top of the site also links to that page:




See you next time!

Our Big Show of Worth

This is a write-up of a solo run-through of what is actually a game for two players! Our Big Show of Worth is a micro game by Vian Nguyen available for purchase from the following link:

https://jubnuggets.itch.io/big-show-of-worth

Image for game: yellow border with turquoise trim frames a white background with black text. Black text reads: "Our Big Show of Worth", and is accompanied by the four suit-symbols from a standard deck of cards. The suit symbols are all black, even the hearts.

An unknown deity challenges the existence of the world you call home.
It’s up to you, the most  acclaimed theater group of your town to represent the worth of your existence through your dramatic performance.

This is a proof of concept prompted by PARIAH: VOLUME, wherein it is suggested that this game be introduced following a pariah imbibing a heroic dose of Desert Rue. 

Sunday, 9 July 2023

THE LEGO PATAPHOR

UPDATED 10th July for greater clarity, thanks to feedback from Dan of Thrown of Salt
 
You might be familiar with the Lego analogy used for the design of roleplaying games.


There's memes and everything.

Image of ive lego figures from the earliest incarnation of the castkle range. They carry swords, shields, spears and  polearms, and carry a cart behind them. The history of this lego is set is very disturbing, but I'm not going into it here, this is an easter egg for you to investigate yourself
Designers do some subtly disturbing shit with LEGO

..but I came across it thanks to Monkeys Paw Games:

if you buy a lego set that has a castle on the front of the box and use the lego inside to build a spaceship are you playing lego "wrong?" are you told "no, idiot, you should have bought the spaceship lego, instead!"

interesting interesting

Saturday, 8 July 2023

MUTAGENIC HIVE SWARM: ZINI EDITION

 Earlier in the week I posted a play report of a PARIAH mini-game-within-a-game I finally got to the table, Mutagenic Hive Swarm. Players take on the role of pariahs undergoing an intense and terrifying psychedelic experience: re-manifesting inside a bio-mechanical reptilian hive swarm ship in another dimension... as bugs.

I've put a first draft of the "zini" edition up on itch.io. They'll be a few more updates, with the ultimate goal of this transforming into a zine-length mini-setting/adventure/sandbox.

Slightly blurry white, capitalised text against a macro lens photograph of an iridescent sea-shell. the text (which is all capitalised) reads "muta (hyphen, new line) genic (new line) hive (new line) swarm"
MUTAGENIC HIVE SWARM: OUT[BREAK OF HIVES] NOW!

Thursday, 6 July 2023

HAMLET: A ONE LETTER RPG

 …totus mundus agit histrionem

- Petronius


Sometimes it takes a while for me to catch on, and so it was with Hamlet: a One Letter RPG by W.H. Arthur. Regular readers may recall my interview with Arthur back in 2021, but if not please follow the link or have a glance over his itch.io page: he has built up an excellent catalogue of games and material during the two years that have passed since he kindly agreed to be interviewed.

This post very specifically examines one game in particular: Hamlet: A one-letter RPG, inspired by the Business Card RPG Jam and We Are But Worms. You can download the game here:

https://aryl-ether.itch.io/hamlet

Photograph of wood-veneered tabletop, upon which are two teal-green and gold business cards, arranged so that each displays the opposite side of the other. The card on the has a decorative, leafy gold edge to the left and right sides (but not the top and bottom); in its centre sits a large lettter B encircled by a gold ring. The card on the right has an identical margin, but the text in the centre reads as follows  HAMLET (first line); A one-letter RPG (second line); W.H. Arthur (3rd line); Twitter: @Aryl-ether (fourth line): itch.aryl-ether.itch.io (last line)
Screenshot: a business card RPG, Hamlet


Tuesday, 4 July 2023

PLAY REPORT: MUTAGENIC HIVE SWARM

This is a play report of a PARIAH sub-game that takes place in the Hive Swarm aspect of The Beyond

However, in truth it is my homage to the now-nerfed forces of Hive Fleet Kraken and my brief, intense love affair with them back in 1998. I miss you x

Prayer to GW: please don't sue me for using this image, nor what you are about to read...

From Sketches for My Sweetheart, The Beyond:

Wisewomen speak of the chaotic immediacy of Dawn in contrast with the rarefied reptilian intelligence of Dusk: within the Beyond, these two realms have conflated. 

The plague swarm is a complex, technologically advanced culture of monstrous insectoid reptiles driven by the insatiable hunger of Dawn to replenish and reproduce. Biomechanical monsters driven by the desire to assimilate all life and reform it in their own image

The civilisation spans millions of worlds and represents the amalgamation of trillions upon trillions of species, dreaming of a reality in which no single element exists outside of their domain, working in unison towards their goal of multiversal omni immortality

Friday, 23 June 2023

LONG LIVE THE BLOGOSPHERE!

TL/DR: bookmark this blog, use my sidebar to keep up-to-date on other interesting blogs

I received a message from Reddit yesterday, congratulating me on my "7th cake day".

A birthday cake thrown to the ground, a hilarious reference to SNL's Lonely Island
Happy Birthday to the Ground

Sunday, 11 June 2023

THE BEYOND: POLARIS REVISITED, via Carcosa and... The Imperium of Man?

In this post I return to THE BEYOND in PARIAH, principally the realm of POLARIS. This idea's been stewing for several years now but two recent blog posts by others prompted me to revisit it. 

CONTENT WARNING: The Absolute Worst Stuff Imaginable is alluded to. 



Tuesday, 30 May 2023

White Chalk

It's coming up for three years since I returned to these Blighted Isles from Vietnam, and those memories not tied to the faces of those I love start to fade. I speak specifically of dense forest clinging to steep hills, coracles bobbing up and down on the East Sea, heavy hot rain exploding from black skies... all these things, once so visceral, have transformed into something Other. They turn into words and pictures and reproductions... facsimiles—or memories of memories, like an anecdote related by someone else.

Instead I am here, again, well-and-truly embedded in the land of my birth: hollow man without a landscape of his own, brittle bones without marrow, bemoaning this self-imposed fate. Happy, of course, in the warm embrace of the family I love, but when alone I feel afraid. I'm afraid of death and loneliness in a manner that is quite alien, and so seek to confront it in new landscapes. 

I swim in cold seas and swallow saline tides, letting my white body wash across sharp shingle shores... and shiver.    

Up hills I run, until I can look out across cities... or else, uppercut Orion.

Through forests of dead trees—dutched elms and died-back ash—I pant, scrabbling on all fours pursued by ghosts of a forgotten age, terrified but exhilarated 

...and I think of a girl, because I'm unoriginal like that.

Above image: forensic reconstruction of the 5600 year-old remains of a Neolithic woman