September 1, 2023 mentorship

Mentorship Applications Open


I am now open to submissions for round 5 of the mentorship scheme I’ve been running. This is done free of charge to give back to the wider TTRPG scene. Submissions sent before September 17th 2023 will be considered - anything sent after this is not eligible for this round.

As outlined in the retrospectives (see below) the mentorship consists of regular calls to discuss techniques as well as taking a critical look at other works in the TTRPG space.

The mentorship prioritises marginalised people, although everyone is welcome to apply.

Those who have applied for previous rounds, please send a new application (or re-send the old if nothing has changed).


I am working with writers to develop adventures and sourcebooks for use with games. I am focused on helping you take a set of ideas and developing that out into a first draft - both in terms of generating quality ideas, but also techniques to help with the writing process. Manuscripts in the early stages of writing are also considered, although projects which have already had a round of crowd-funding are not eligible.

I also help with finding resources for self-publishing, or for finding a publisher. Engagements last for a variable amount of time, although there will be regular check-ins to ensure we’re making good progress and that the mentorship is still right for all parties.

If wanted, all communications can be held with a third party present - just indicate this during the application process.


Below are links to the retrospectives: written by the mentees and myself.

Mentorship #1
Mentorship #4
Where the mentee was unable to provide their retrospective I’ve elected to not share my half either.


Before applying, please ask yourself if you can commit to an hour-long call a week and spending a few additional hours working on the material discussed in those calls. Ultimately the mentorship can only help you equal to the work you are able to put in. Be sure to read through the retrospectives to get an understanding of the format and process.

To apply, please send an email to .

In the subject line, please put your [Your Name] - Mentorship Application”

In the body, please introduce yourself with any links to prior work (not required, just useful to have). If you consider yourself marginalised, please mention this here (no details are required).

Then provide a pitch of your project as well as a summary of where you are with it and any issues you’ve been having.

Finally, if you have any thoughts around self-publishing or being published, that would be useful to know.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for considering applying.

August 25, 2023

Traveller Animals for the Jungles

Needed an animal encounter table for a job the Travellers are taking in a jungle. The planet is being colonised and has a reputation for the hyper-predatory nature of the wildlife.

4+ on 1D to encounter, rolled twice per day.

2d6 Type (Pack Size) Size (in KG) Hits Damage Mod Damage Armour
2 Carrion Eater (7) 50kg 17 -1D as Blade None
3 Eater (3) 50kg 14 -1D as Halberd None
4 Reducer 25kg 11 -1D Thrasher None
5 Hunter 400kg 23 +2D as Broadsword as Cloth
6 Filter 25kg+ 11 n/a as Body Pistol as Jack
7 Gatherer 200kg 18 +1D Hooves, Teeth as Battle Armour
8 Chaser 400kg 21 +2D as Halberd None
9 Pouncer 1kg 5h -2 Posion Stinger None
10 Event 3d6 Colonists. 30% Lost, otherwise rebels.
11 Trapper 200kg 14 +1D as Pike None
12 Killer (5) 50kg 15 -1D as Blade None

The names are given by the colonists, although multiple terms are often used.

2 Ghoul”

Intermittent quadrupeds with over-long claws on their arms’. These are used to hew flesh from bone, scraping what gobbets are left after others have eaten their fill. If one of their number is injured, they stalk the offending party. Lightly furred, they shy away from the sun.

3 Mosscrab”

Huge claws for cracking bone and armour alike. Low to the ground, the size of small pigs. Their soft hides often bear symbiotic plant-life which gives them a degree of camouflage. Usually encountered in trios - one of which appears to be the child. If the child is killed, the parents’ attempt to drag the body away and bury it.

4 Treetongue”

Soft-bodied lengths of muscle which secrete bone-dissolving enzymes, Treetongues descend upon the carcasses left by the others, consuming the skeletal remains. They are also attracted to metals, although it seems to act as a slow poison - slow enough to give them time to thoroughly destroy engines and other complex machines.

5 Big Fucking Mantis”

The size of a horse with a tough chitin-clad body and scything arms. Noted to be very cannibalistic. Moves eerily quietly apart from their Tiger Dance’ - performed when the gas giant looms large in the sky.

6 Harpoon Slime”

A rolling bulk of cut-resistant slime which fires bony spines at animal life. The fallen leaves and ground-plants it consumes give it a pseudo-camouflage. The more spines are embedded in prey, the faster it moves - otherwise inching through the jungle floor. Leaves useful paths through the undergrowth.

7 Stone Giraffe”

A tall, slender-limbed being wrapped in bone-plated armour. Highly resistant to small-arms fire, it has been seen killing and eating animals unable to flee it’s long, loping stride. Otherwise it grazes upon the tall jungle canopy.

8 Centipede-Lizard”

Eight powerful limbs propel this reptilian behemoth through the trees, dextrously clambering over all obstacles in pursuit of prey. Rending teeth and a powerful jaw enable it to quickly tear apart those it catches - although long basking periods in rare clearings give much of the other life respite. The scales are nearly paper-thin, giving no protection - theorised to allow for easier basking.

9 Wasp”

Hiding in burrows of softer trees, Wasps jump from hiding to deploy their stingers. The poison in the sting causes humans to rapidly undergo powerful seizures before death - often from cardiac arrest causes by stress. Sufficient sedatives and induced coma has been successful, but requires fast action. Thankfully, the stingers struggle to penetrate anything thicker than light clothing.

11 ???”

No surviving reports from the colonists yet exist. Something like a giant starfish with a shovel-scoop mouth which it uses to dig covered pits wherein it waits for prey, easily carving off limbs with its excavator-mouth.

12 Nightmares”

Packs of vicious killers which kill large swathes of wildlife before gorging themselves on the devastation, resting for long periods of time. Each is the size of a hairless wolf, propelled by four short powerful limbs. Their mouths are filled with tiny, razor-sharp teeth at the end of long necks which they use to whip prey back and forth, cutting them to shreds. Their hairless bodies are a dull grey-green due to symbiotic algae which feeds on the gore in which they are often covered.

July 26, 2023 review traveller scifi

Prison Planet Review

Prison Planet is an adventure for Classic Traveller, first published in 1982 and credited to Erik Wilson, Dave Emigh, John Harshman, Chris Purcell and Rose Geier.

Something very striking about the early Traveller adventures is the total lack of uniformity. Many are nearly totally unrecognisable to the modern concept of an adventure whilst others prefigure some of the forms that became dominant later on - such as Adventure 09: Nomads of the World Ocean, released 1983 and being heavily plotted with many highly characterised NPCs. Adventure 08: Prison Planet is definitely the former.

The premise is extremely simple - the player characters, for whatever reason, have been sent to space-prison to mine radioactive ore. The simplicity of this is great - it can be introduced mid-campaign as a consequence for player actions, or a killer way to open a campaign. The rest of the book is dedicated to delivering the premise of a prison complex, detailing almost everything you need to run the prison and any attempts to escape it. There’s a map of the facility, most of which is underground due to the air being tainted - requiring a filter mask to move around outside. You’re also provided with a comprehensive breakdown of the prisoners and guards present - quickly revealing a significant disparity in numbers. One thing the module consistently does well is set up these clues and routes to escape without excitedly pointing at them - leaving it up to you (the referee) as much as the players to discover these wrinkles. Another of these is present on the map - a huge tank of spaceship fuel is kept right next to the laser-turret which guards the facility. There’s a number of these tantalising nuggets spread around - doubtless me and my players missed several. This stance towards the players and readers is extremely refreshing: throughout, the simple facts of the situation are presented without elaboration or knowing winks and nudges - with one glaring exception, discussed below.

Much of the actual play of the module is driven by a pair of tables, which specify Events and Encounters which occur to each work-group of PCs on a weekly basis. To add to the feel of a long-term incarceration, the speed of play zooms out’ to a weekly procedure wherein a couple of major occurrences happen, either globally or to that specific group. In play, this set up a push-and-pull between the proactive, player-led action and the reactive play of the Events and Encounters. Most of these require a little work to introduce organically, but once done a few times you quickly get to feel for it. I pre-rolled these before each session so I knew what was coming week-to-week. This speed up play and gave me more time to blend the events and encounters into the game.

One of the entries on the Event table - Incident - is one of the few missteps in the module. Rather than being a conventional, generic Event, the Incidents are a track of specified vignettes which happen sequentially - adding a degree of planned narrative. Th earlier entries are very heavy-handed tutorialising which felt extremely unnecessary, hammering home basic ideas like hiding contraband or bribing guards. The bulk are fine, and introduce some interesting aspects which could’ve been handled using the Events and Rumours before culminating in an escape-attempt-on-a-plate. This is disappointing considering the wonderful lack of interest in seeing PCs escape presented elsewhere in the module. In play I scrapped this listing of Incidents and instead used it as a faction turn’ for the gang in the PCs cellblock demanding things from them.

The NPCs are a highlight of the work being done for you by this module: 60 prisoners and 18 guards. All of these individuals have been assigned work areas and cellblocks, although indexing them as such would’ve been very useful. There’s a few prisoners with little going on, although almost all have at least one interesting wrinkle or alliance which makes them compelling in play without being difficult to use. Many of them having access to some rumours adds an easy way to track their knowledge, although using numbers to refer to each rumour means a look-up is required. Having a PDF open multiple times makes this easier; if I was running this in-person, I would definitely have printed out a copy of the Rumour pages. The Rumours once again have an interesting stance: specifically called out as being contradictory and occasionally false, there is no guide to which are true or false. This reasserts the module as disinterested in success or failure - only a statement of fact.

Once the players escape the prison facility itself, they have to tangle with the terrible conditions on the planet: unbreathable air, killing heat, and the occasional carnivorous animal stalking them in the wilderness. The Referee is given a hexmap of the planet (each hex being 540 kilometres) and a set of encounter tables for each type of terrain. Given each hex takes between 5 and 20 days to traverse, this seems like it would be a desperate experience for any escapees. I’m speaking hypothetically here as my players stole an ATV from the prison after setting the nuclear reactor on-site to explode, destroying the entire facility. In an ATV, it’s a mere 3 day drive to the only known settlement on-planet, Circle City. Whilst this originally would have required some exploration, the encounter dice favoured them: they met a band of geologists and claimed their navigational computer was broken.

Circle City itself feels a bit under-developed, although I wouldn’t be surprised if this was due to a lack of space: 64 pages is commonly accepted as an upper bound for staple-bound books, which Prison Planet runs right up against. These is enough here to riff off of, although I would’ve liked there to be more - especially with some of the possible escape routes involving a trip to the hospital in the city for those too injured (or appearing too injured) for the meagre infirmary of the prison itself. You could definitely use the existing Traveller encounter procedures in Book 3 to run this section. That said, extrapolation from minimal detail is part of the joy of running Traveller - entire worlds invented from a quick string of numbers.

Running this module is an absolute blast, and reading it is deeply interesting: offering a vision of adventure-modules as a collection of physical spaces and tool for running them rather than the modern conception of space-alone (dungeons etc.) or the heavily plotted adventure-path style Trad adventures. There’s definitely improvements that could be made - marking the cameras on the map, details of where the power for the prison comes from - although these mostly are to save the referee work when the players ask. As is often the case with these Traveller adventures, you can use this a few different ways too: the fully-mapped out nature of the prison means you have everything you need to break someone else out of the facility too. This seems to be a guiding principle in these adventures which I’ve not seen elsewhere outside of Mothership.

BONUS: Play Report/Summary

Immediately after arriving, one of the PCs talked back to the warden and got beaten by the guards and assigned to the Danger Zone - the most dangerous part of the mine. They met their cellblock-mates (including the de-facto leader, head of a gang) and started a fight with the biggest, meanest looking prisoner in there. After the guards broke it up, one of the PCs immediately snitched without thinking.

After making such a good impression, they began settling in to prison life. Some of them got assigned to the machine-shop (wherein one PC got degloved and spent the rest of their stay in the infirmary, thanks to a random Event) whilst most toiled in the Danger Zone - where there was the least oversight. One PC, who deliberately wrote provocative letters about wealth-management and cooked books was dragged upstairs by the vice-warden to assist in a coup against the inept incumbent warden. Another worked in the infirmary, and assisted the prison doctor in cutting drugs to sell to the prison population.

The gang leader of their cellblock was spurred to demand a sign from the group that they were on his side” - the murder of a guard. This took a few sessions to set-up, and involved borrowing money in prison for a bribe, but they eventually killed their man and hid his gun and equipment. Due to some unfortunate rolls, this gun was found by another prisoner they’d met previously, who insisted upon a dragon dwelling within the mine and hungering for souls.

They discovered a few possible escape routes. The first, a cave which led to the surface (they deduced due to the presence of cave-bats) but also contained a giant horrible lizard which tried to eat them. The other was a collapsed elevator shaft which could have been carefully excavated slowly to dig a way out of the mines. The PC in the machine-shop built a way to disrupt the radio-comms after repairing a few broken guard radios, hiding this jammer in their person effects. All of this planning was thrown out of the window when the prison who stole their stashed SMG opened fire on the guards during a random search. The PCs led the population to kill the guards on their floor, stealing their guns and equipment. Then they jammed the comms and piled into the elevator, dressed as guards. From here they took over the prison, set the reactor to explode and escaped in an ATV, leaving nothing but a glowing crater. They did all this in 10 weeks in-game.

July 19, 2023 odnd monster


1HD, AC as Armour, Damage as Weapon, Morale 7.

1d100 appearing, rolling again and combining results if 90+ is rolled.


From the cities burnt, from villages parched, caravans left to dessicate in the heat of the wilderness. Many will wear stones of prayer to their city-gods, now lying in rubble at the feet of the victors.

For every 10 Bandits, a 2HD leader is present, wearing medium armour. If 30+ are present, a 4HD leader in heavy armour is present.

Bandits originating in Urttum ride rangy Landsquids and wear masks of pilfered silk. If more than 30 are present, they fight from a Portage Squid. All have javelins, lances and axes of flint which are at -1 to hit against any armour.

Bandits originating in Shurupak may re-roll failed saves against magic, wearing fragments of their shattered divinity still. It has been generations. For every 10 present, one is a Magic User, with level equal to the number of Magic Users. They use slings and bronze axes.


Those who dwell in tents or beneath the sky or in caves bear the label. They do not speak the tongues of brick and field, and so the label slides from them like blood from a blade. Some know enough to make demands, to sell the people of one city to another. Their warriors are resplendent, draped in the goods of civilisation, a demon heavy with art and weapons, deliberately ignorant of how such items might be made. They live with their animals nearly always.

Or so it is said in the cities.

Soldiers of the cities must test Morale when first encountering Barbarians in combat.

Barbarians from the Urkysh Mountains have bows of horn, with which they add +1 to hit. They also carry long knives of bronze. They add +1 to morale, and have no leaders.

Barbarians from the deep Burnt Lands ride their own, cannibalistic breed of Landsquid. Rumours abound of the interior having huge wild specimens which the barbarians worship. They wield lances of bone set with bronze tips. For every 15 present, a 3HD Tamer-of-Squids is present, accompanied by a pack of 2d6 Landsquid.

Barbarians from the Sea wear horned helms with bright plumes, wielding their bronze axes carefully. Their favourite technique is to hook the ankle with the beak of the axe, tripping the careless whilst another hacks the prone man to death. Each group of 30 is led by a 3HD Captain, with their ship nearby. If 4+ ships are present, they are led by a 6HD Sea People King, wearing looted heavy armour.

Barbarians upon the Razor Coast coat themselves in the black blood of the earth. They set this alight, the flames leaving them unscathed as long as they do not retreat in battle. They wield two-handed swords, made of a single curved piece of wood set with shark teeth on the inner edge. For every 20 present, a 4HD Burnt-Hide is present, held with knotted rope until their battle-frenzy takes them.

Barbarians from the Lycaneum Penisula dwell in huge complexes of clay marked by labyrinthine tunnels and filled with smoke. They wield spears and wide hide shields.

Barbarians from the Chewed Hills ride Giant Locusts. They are lead by Matriarchs, who have a blood-relation to all members of the band. They use lances and bows of bone and swords made from chitin.


2HD, AC as Leather, Damage 1d6, 1d6-2 if debeaked and without war-beak, Morale 2d6.

Across the known world ranges the Landsquid, faithful companion of man. Their undulating gait, powered by their nine tentacles, has moved poets and brought tears to the eyes of warlords. Stories abound of the taming of the first Landsquid, but the truth is lost to history.

In most cultures, the beak is removed in infancy, reducing injuries and making them entirely dependent upon their owners for food - usually a paste of crickets and tubers. Used in battle, the men of the cities fit them with war-beaks of bronze, with which they snap at enemies pinned beneath their bulk.

An injured Landsquid can grow back missing limbs, although they are usually killed and eaten instead.

Portage Squid

9HD, AC as Unarmoured, Damage 2d6, 1d6 if debeaked, Morale 5, 12 if lobotomised.

Swollen with gasses, Portage Squid are harnessed and weighed down with baskets and sacks - the largest able to support howdahs. Wild Portage Squid are smaller, floating higher, their beaks unclipped and able to snip a donkey in half.

Squid-Handlers from the cities know how where to pierce the rubbery flesh to deaden the mind, how to trim the beak that the beast may not eat unaided and how to direct their charges with tall, hooked poles. Some rare few still know how to break a Squid and ride upon the back, controlling it with ropes, the brain unpierced. This art was mostly lost with the destruction of Urttum.

Giant Locust

3HD, AC as Chain, Damage 1d6-1, Morale equal to number present.

The Chewed Hills host this localised plague of skipping nightmares, the night everfilled with their songs of hunger. Those ridden by the barbarians swirl with fantastic designs, each a carrier of some fragment of their history - only the swarm as a whole might form a cohesive tale of shifting game-pieces, heroes dying and reborn as the mounts leap and skip.

July 14, 2023 adventure horror delta green

Sag River Extreme Cold Research Facility, Alaska.

On October 6th, the agents receive the usual summons: Special delivery requires pick-up. Unit 798, Eastside Industrial.”

Within the unit, the door unlocked, a large table with a large shipping crate. To the side, a tape-player and a manilla envelope marked with a green triangle. Within the envelope, a shipping manifest, a tape and a chartered flight contract.

The tape is a recording of Mr Green.

Hello. This is Mr Green speaking.
On the 5th of October, we received a tip-off from a friendly asset that something unusual had been caught in a random search of private flights. A shipping manifest should be in the room, alongside the object we intercepted.

Our researchers have identified the object as a mellified man” - a human corpse, mummified in honey. The flesh is said to be a potent magical cure. The shipping manifest is false - analysts believing the shipping company, Industrial Solution Logistics, a front for black operations conducted by the Office of Naval Intelligence. As far as we have been able to tell, this shipment originated in Okinawa.

What does not seem falsified is the destination - the Sag River Extreme Cold Research Facility. This is located in Northern Alaska, downriver from the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field. The only settlement is the working town of Deadhorse. This facility has minimal records, legally existing at a bare-minimum, with some indications of military affiliation. We currently believe it to be a government contractor, though we have no assets able to tell us more at this time.

You are to travel to Alaska and determine the nature of the facility and why they purchased this object. If there is anything anomalous, you are to capture or destroy it. If you are able to determine who owns or operates this facility, this will give us more to follow-up on. Given the extremity of the locale, support is limited. We have chartered a private flight for you - take off is in 12 hours. There are will be no customs checks - you touch down at midnight, October 7th. Prepare appropriately.”

The shipping manifest reads as follows.


CARRIER: Industrial Solution Logistics (REG. Suitland, Maryland)
DESTINATION: Postmaster, Sag River Extreme Cold Research Facility, AL
MANIFEST: One (1) Art-Object (Duty paid). UNINSURED - High Fragility.
CARE OF—- Mr. A. Ross.
DOMESTIC CARRIER:::: Collection Oct 8th DEADHORSE DELIVERIES, Deadhorse Airstrip.”

The chartered flight contract details a nearby airfield, booking a one-way flight to Deadhorse, Alaska. The pilot, Isaac Davidson, is an easy-going yet cocksure pilot who scrubbed out of Air Force service due to drunken behaviour.

Within the shipping crate is a heavy stone sarcophagus, unmarked. Bands of gold once sealed it shut, but have been expertly cut. Within is a corpse, suspended in half-crystallised honey. The borders between the hairless body and the surrounding honey are fuzzy, the flesh seemingly dissolving outwards into the substance entombing it.


Wikipedia Entry

At the airfield, no-one comes to meet the agents. All the buildings on the airfield but the traffic control tower are dark and empty, the controller in new boots that squeak.

Almost everyone here works on the oilfield or services those who do. Almost none have heard of the facility - those who have only know it as a turn-off down the road that follows Sag River.

Deadhorse Deliveries

Owned and operated by Laura Sears, 41. She is hard, no-bullshit woman who mostly lives her in vehicle, emerging like some beast of the tundra for food when needed. She smuggles alcohol into this dry town, but never drinks any whilst in Alaska. A network of old scars inch their way across her legs. Within them still lurks fragments of glass and metal.

Asked, she curtly shares that she’s done a few deliveries to the facility. She knows nothing of the contents and aims to keep it that way. For anything more, she demands payment: $200. As she tells it, the facility itself is a large, ugly building surrounded by a wirelink fence. She’s never been inside - rifle-armed security men take receipt of the delivery outside, hauling it around the side of the building rather than going in the main entrance. There’s a covered carpark - usually with the typical winterized trucks of the region, although twice she has seen a luxury SUV with tinted windows parked there.

Sag River Extreme Cold Research Facility

3 hours down the Dalton Highway, where the flat immensity of the landscape begins to crumble, a track snakes away from the road, passing between the low hills like waves of earth. The cold weather has frozen heavy tire-tracks into the track - matching those of 4x4s.

The facility consists of 3 large steel modular units combined into a crooked shape, surrounded by a razorwire topped chainlink fence, 10’ tall. A covered garage stands within the perimeter. Behind, two generators, external to the building, are connected with bundled wires umbilical. From outside, observers can see the lights are on internally. Long observation reveals no-one leaving, nor any movement - the curtains are not drawn at night, and no lights are switched off. Cameras jut from each face, lazily pivoting left and right.

No-one reacts to any perimeter breach. They are gone.

The Chimpanzees

Haunting the building are six chimpanzees. Each was cryogenically frozen and now walks despite the delicate structures of their brains being near-entire destroyed by the freezing process. Physical trauma is minimally effective - they simply pick themselves back up. They hunt their erstwhile captors, but are unable to distinguish between humans. Those they kill they do not eat - instead, they are dragged towards the basement. They cannot be distracted, but they can be tricked.

Evasion: +0
Shooting: None.
Melee: 2d6. Always receives one Injury as it fights without self preservation. Adds +1d6 for each additional Chimpanzee assisting.
Harm: Whenever a Chimpanzee is Injured or Downed, roll 1d6 on the table below.

Xd6 Result
1-17 The Chimpanzee rises up despite their horrific injuries. When rolling on this table again, add an additional 1d6.
18+ The Chimpanzee is destroyed utterly, a heap of gore.

For every 10 minutes spend searching the facility, there is a 2-in-6 chance that the Chimpanzees have found the group. They know enough to use cover and spring ambushes.


A metal door typical to the region gives way to a disarmingly conventional office reception. A large sofa to the side, flanked at one side by a coat rack straining with heavy outerwear. Behind the desk, a series of papers recording comings and goings - the last update the 4th of October, showing Mr Adrian” leaving after a stay of a single day. Bland corporate art sits on the wall, depicting nothing. The door deeper into the building is deeply scratched on the corridor-facing side.

Mess Hall
Long steel benches fill the space. Old mugs of coffee and tea sit, long stale. Some have been knocked down, smashed upon the floor and leaving Rorschach blots of dried, sticky drinks upon the floor. Most of the mugs read Best Parent Award” or have pictures of children far away from here.

A low, musty-sweet smell of rotting fruit fills the kitchen space. A fruitbowl slowly collapses. The doors to the large double-width refrigerator have been torn off, spoiled food falling out as if the appliance is vomiting. Separate from these heaps, chewed mouthfuls deposited as if spat out. A gleaming set of kitchen-knives are undisturbed.

Recreation Room
A pool table, the felt hopelessly torn up. A large, expensive television on a mount in the corner in front of several sofas, seemingly chewed. A bookcase has been ripped from the wall, scientific and fictional works destroyed, pages scattered by the fall and recombined by chance into new strange works.

A full-featured gym, silent. A plastic bottle sits beside a treadmill, half-drunk. A towel stiff with dried sweat is draped over the handlebars of a stationary bike.

Residential Rooms:
These rooms each contain a bed, a bedside table and a wardrobe as standard. The below focus on the unique features of each room.
Empty of personal effects. Atop the unmade bed, bedclothes of silk. A triple-bolt lock studs in the interior of the door.

Stacks of chess books. On the beside table, a set-up chessboard and a stack of letters, each detailing a chess move.

The September issue of Guns & Ammo. A book on Alaskan wildlife, and a hunting permit registered to Laird Meyer.

A collection of VHS tapes - all cheap monster movies.

Heaps of well-worn detective novels. Three balled-up drafts of letters to Vivian Olson. They detail a desire to rekindle a romantic relationship. A set of keys with a printed label hang from a hook glued to the wall: IF FOUND RETURN TO SECURITY.” On the reverse,in ballpoint pen: Cletus if I find these again I will skin you alive.”

A heavily annotated and creased copy of The Prospect of Immortality”. The annotations are almost all negative. A small stuffed bear, old but well-cared for.

An antique Colt Single Action Army in .45 Colt with 36 rounds and high-end tools for maintenance. A bottle of Glenfiddich 12.

The core three books of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1e, clearly thumbed through many times. A pack of polyhedral dice with no signs of use. A small collection of fantasy paperbacks.

A heavy family Bible. A rosary hangs upon the wall.

A fat leatherbound journal, encoded in a simple Caesar substitution. It details dreams, carefully dated, with extensive commentary. A copy of the I Ching in French.

A huge collection of photos coat the walls. Each is of a man wearing a turban and a suit, smiling next to a figure usually dressed in religious attire. On the back of each photo is a date, location and a name. Those familiar with New Age religions recognise many of these figures as debunked leaders of such movements. Those involved in deprogramming or the Cult Awareness Network recognise the man as Gurat, a self-described Guru-Buster” who goes by his mononym.

The latest archaeological journals, particularly those detailing digs in Bronze Age sites. In the bedside table, a dirk, a rondel dagger and a duck-bill bronze axe.

13 (Frang & Olga)
A pair of beds. A small radio, switched on and tuned to white noise - currently muted. Within each bedside table, a Voors Head Device.

Seemingly an accident of architecture, this room contains nothing.

Meeting Room 1
A single long table is surrounded by chairs. At the end of the room, a whiteboard with a magnetic eraser and pens. Upon it are written hieroglyphics. Translated, they read:

Come for my soul, O you wardens of the sky! If you delay letting my soul see my corpse, you will find the eye of Horus standing up thus against you … The sacred barque will be joyful and the great god will proceed in peace when you allow this soul of mine to ascend vindicated to the gods… May it see my corpse, may it rest on my mummy, which will never be destroyed or perish.”

Meeting Room 2
Knocked-over chairs are scattered, mingling with broken porcelain - all stained by coffee.

Archaeological Room
Three long workbenches divide this room. Upon the northernmost workbench:

  • A heavy stone Mycenaean sarcophagi, carved with Linear B text. Set into the stone are swirling designs of gold, forming clouds. Above the clouds, chariots are carved, each heavily armed. The charioteers are blank-faced. The head chariot is driven by a figure depicted in gold. The sarcophagi is empty.
  • A ruin of stinking flesh in a puddle of putrefaction which drips onto the floor like tar. Despite the decay, evidence can be found of tissue samples being taken.

Upon the central workbench:

  • A heavily burnt Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, much of the detail lost. Lead has been melted into the seams as if to seal it shut. Within, a damaged mummy, the hands black with long-dried gore, the fingernails protruding from the bandages.
  • A sophisticated, computer-controlled imaging device designed to scan the interiors of objects without opening them. Beside it, an instruction manual open to the troubleshooting pages. Several passages are highlighted.

Upon the southernmost workbench:

  • The Röst Girl, thought destroyed. Tissue samples have been taken.
  • The upper half of a human body, preserved in salt. The hair is long and white, much of the face hidden behind a beard. The fine hairs move with the air-currents in the room. Tissue samples have been taken.

Upon the walls are wax-rubbings of the sarcophagi and sketches of the corpses. Delicate tools - files, brushes, hammers - flank them. Against the northern wall, two large chest freezers in stainless steel. The left contains tissue samples in small glass containers. The second contains a mummified dog.

The eastern wall is hidden behind large steel bookcases, stuffed with archaeological reference texts - all focusing on funerary practices. Many have bookmarks, focusing on artefacts thought to store the dead before some spiritual - or material - return from death.

Break Room 1
The doors have been torn from the cupboards here, their contents smashed and destroyed. Dried blood as if from knuckles studs the damaged walls. The coffee machine is still functional, although the output is unpalatable.

Storage 1
Chairs, tables, heavy coats, rifle ammunition, emergency rations and fuel are packed into this room - barely navigable without causing a chain reaction of collapse.

Break Room 2
A pristine break room, seemingly untouched. Clean cups sit beside a sink which still smells faintly of bleach. The refrigerator contains spoiled food which has burst its container - the smell, still contained within, is enough to cause vomiting.

Ritual Space
A wide room, empty but for the central tableau. A boat of skin, stretched into place by bone, sits in the centre of the room. Beside it, a thin knife of crystal, the handle antler. Connected to the boat by its entrails is a pig, long expired. Three paces away, outside a circle of chalk which surrounds the rest, a lectern. Upon it is a single sheet of paper and a gourd within which some liquid remains. The liquid is a potent hallucinogenic tea brewed from psilocybe mushrooms. The sheet has two block of text - the top half a photocopy of Old East Slavic text, the lower handwritten in English. The English text is widely spaced, with additional notes in red ink by a different hand.

Those who would journey … … … prepare a vessel of skin stretched by bone. The bones must be taken from a mother cow who has seen her calves bear their own children. The skin must be that of lambs killed the day of their birth, unsullied by their first meal. [? might refer to breastfeeding] The vessel must be large enough to carry all those taking the journey, and each voyager must imbibe the tea. [looking at local practices, we’ve brewed the tea’ from local hallucinogenic mushrooms] They must then wait in the vessel. There are three ways to return. The pilot may carry a blessed knife to cut his flesh, firm and unyielding without a blade. A cord of entrails, anchored to a pig, may also provide a trail home. Finally, a rope of umbilical cords may be anchored upon the earth.”

The Old East Slavic text reads:

Those who would journey to the Lake of Seasons must prepare a vessel of skin stretched by bone. The bones must be taken from a mother whale who has seen her calves bear their own children. The skin must be that of lambs killed the day of their birth, unsullied by their first meal. The vessel must be large enough to carry all those taking the journey, and each voyager must imbibe the tea. They must then wait in the vessel. There are three ways to return. The pilot may carry a blessed knife to cut the waters which are like flesh, firm and unyielding without a blade. A cord of entrails, anchored to a dog, may also provide a trail home. Finally, a rope of umbilical cords may be anchored upon the earth.”

Occult Library
Heavy wooden bookshelves surround tables, heavy with lamps, magnifying glasses and translation-dictionaries. All are occult tomes - many are copies, although a few originals of lesser works are amongst them. Most detail ways to transcend mortality, whether by extending the lifespan, creating a new body or inhabiting the flesh of another. Most are accompanied by hand-written commentaries, noting similarities with other works and attempting to achieve synthesis between them. The end of most of these detail that the grimoire is false, or unlikely to be of use.

Storage 2
Freezers full of food hum quietly. Six three-man inflatable military boats sit in their packaging, complete with the machines to inflate them.

Stairs Down
Wide stairs lead downwards, thick cords of cable emerging from the gloom below like tendrils. They lead to the Basement. Descending the stairs, the temperature noticeably drops.

A heavy steel door bars access into the Security Operations Room. A camera watches the space, the light blinking gently. A welding torch or an hour of effort could smash down the door.

Security Operations Room
CCTV monitors stud one wall, each showing scenes of emptiness. A rack with three pump-action 12 gauge shotguns and three .303 hunting rifles stands to the side. The opposite wall is plastered with pinups. Between them, a small whiteboard. Upon it is written DAYS SINCE C-BOMB: 0”. A bank of charging stations for short-range radios is empty.

Storage 3
Broken-down shipping crates litter the room, as well as several crowbars. A set of snow shovels lean against one wall, just beginning to rust.

Cargo Lift
A heavy-duty lift, allowing access to the Basement.

The Basement

Accessible by either the stairs or the cargo-lift, the basement is filled with large metal dewars, partially set into the floor. Each is connected to the ceiling by bright yellow pipes, all connecting to a single huge tank towards the back of the room. It bears a proliferation of warning stickers, clearly labelling the contents as liquid nitrogen.

Between the dewars snake thick power cables, hooked up to UPS units. The walls - poured concrete - sprout banks of monitors, providing read-outs on internal temperatures on graphs - six are bright red, reading as COMPROMISED. The corresponding six stand open, their lids adjacent - each buckled up and outwards from inside the container. All six are empty. Investigating the others reveals them to be full of liquid nitrogen, preserving an animal corpse.

Tucked into one corner is a sophisticated chemistry lab as well as several thick lab-books, detailing experiments to revivify frozen animals. None have been successful. None of the chimpanzees were due for tests for three months.

Those exiting the basement find themselves in the Other Facility.

The Other Facility

The Other Facility is an exact duplicate of the Sag River Extreme Cold Research Facility. Within, most of the staff of the facility still survive despite their transport to the Lake of Seasons, upon which the Other Facility floats atop a slab of earth. There is no natural light in this place, although the generators are still working, providing electric light. There are no Chimpanzees here. Use the descriptions in the facility above, although signs of decay and damage are absent.

The staff have divided, the occultists fearing one another after the botched ritual. Each suspects a deliberate botch to transport the entire facility to the Lake of Seasons, though none is able to provide a cogent reason as to why someone would do this. The rest of the staff, entirely out of their element, have divided themselves up amongst the occultists. Staff are marked S for security, C for Cryonics.

All of the groups will be shocked at visitors, and demand answers, hoping for a way to return to reality. None have been moved to violence against the others yet.

Slavko Group

Frang and Olga Slavko have holed up in the basement, gathering Devon (S), Marcus (S) and Karsyn (C). The sisters are desperate to survive this situation, and consider anyone else expendable in this goal. They were previously Voor’s Head Device devotees after escaping a human trafficking operation, but have since devoted themselves to the study of Dream. Now their dreams show them only huge crawling hives of insects who speak of things to come in a maddening drone - especially of a bargain made for escape. Where possible, they try to speak through Devon and Marcus - Karsyn is near catatonic with fear, and does the sisters’ bidding mutely.

Devon is a failed novelist who turned to security work thinking he would use the free time to hone his skills. He is observant, quick to catch out liars, but far too curious to leave things alone.

Marcus is in love with guns and violence. He has a large tattoo on his forearm, half-covered up with roses: it used to mark his membership in a biker gang, now split up and moved on by the Hell’s Angels. His knuckles are scarred.

Karsyn was obsessed with cryonics - the grief of a dead child consumed him, and he was determined to ensure no-one else would have to feel this pain again. Now, he is nearly entirely hollow. Fear has consumed him.

Louvoun Group

Piers Louvoun has gathered his flock in the Ritual Space, at first thinking the vessel would still be there. His poor translation caused the ritual to transport the entire vessel” - the facility itself - to the Lake of Seasons. Despite his failure, he feels no remorse. He is filled with a hunger for knowledge, seeking to unravels the mysteries of the world that it may no longer do him harm. Jerred (S), Cletus (S), Laird (S) and Shiv (C) have gathered around him, although they are doubting his leadership - he wishes to sent them out to explore the Lake of Seasons. He claims this is to find a way out - he simply wants to know what lies out there. If he can be convinced that the situation is hopeless, or his thirst for knowledge is slaked with the blood of others, he admits the knife Gurat holds could be used to escape the Lake of Seasons.

Jerred would describe himself as a regular type guy who likes beer.” Asked about home, he says it was only boring. He is surprising himself at how well he is taking the entire situation.

Cletus is a forgetful, fretful man who was discharged from the US Marines for assaulting an officer. He is at his limit, and ready to explode. He never goes anywhere without his .44 revolver.

Laird grew up in Alaska, and took this job to get away from home after a messy divorce. He will latch on to any hope of escaping - he wants to make amends with his ex-wife.

Shiv was head-hunted from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to lead the cryonics research here, leaving behind his family in the huge mansion bought with his signing bonus. He has made his peace with his death being the cost of their happiness, although a good shot at escape would renew his efforts.

Gurat Group

Gurat prides himself as a Guru-Buster” - a professional sceptic, travelling the world and proving his mark to be a fraud time and time again. Hired to weed out bullshit, he is now facing down a reality he cannot accept. He and Stafford (C) are in the Kitchen, armed with knives - Gurat holding a duplicate of the crystal knife found in the Ritual Space. Some part of him wants to die here, rather than escape and undo his life’s work.

Stafford was trying to pursue a romantic relationship with Gurat, the two having bonded over their love of history. Watching the man crumble is destroying him.

Modified Keys

Gurat and Stafford are here, untrusting of all the others. Convincing Gurat to give up the knife is difficult: if framed as a ritual tool, he is more liable to destroy it. Stafford could be convinced to wrestle it off him if he believed it would save them both.

Archaeological Room
All of the mummies and corpses are missing; their containers are not.

Ritual Space
The ritual accoutrements are entirely absent. In their place is Piers Louvoun and his group - Piers trying to corral them into exploring the Lake of Seasons, reporting their findings over radio. After initial questioning, he shifts focus to the newcomers, promising that their explorations will help find a way out.

Occult Library
This room has been ransacked - many of the tomes flung about, smashed apart, pages marred with vicious strikes of ink.

The Basement The Slavko group are holed up here, despite Devon wanting to move out and explore the area to find out what exactly has happened to them. Told of the planned expedition, he happily abandons the sisters in favour of action. If they are brought reports of the Teeming Augur, the Frang begins sobbing whilst Olga explains their dream-visions.

The Lake of Seasons

The Other Facility rests upon a large slab of earth, floating in an infinite black ocean, unlit from above. The sound of water gently lapping at the earth can be heard below, although it cannot be seen without a torch. The effect is of nothingness - a solitary sphere of material in a total void.

The waters of the Lake of Seasons causing rapid ageing, thankfully localised to that area. Being totally submerged is certain death. Individual droplets are harmless - separated from the whole, the waters lose whatever power it is they hold.

No compasses work upon the Lake - all navigation can only be conducted in reference to the light emitted from the windows of the Other Facility, and other other sources discovered.

Any journey taken has a 1-in-20 chance of attracting the attention of 1d6-4 Entropy Survivor, emerging from the Lake’s waters.

Entropy Survivors

The Black Worms, The Coils of Consumption, The Eels of Season.
When all energy spreads infinitely thin, something will survive as a concentration in the flat empty dark. These entities will seek one another, winnowing down their numbers to eke out some few millennia more of existence. Predators and basking sharks, immense coils of ribbed worm set behind mouths fit to extinguish suns. Within the Lake of Seasons, some echo of these final inheritors of existence lurk, preying instead upon those who come to the Lake too early. They are tiny in comparison - merely the size of underground trains. They are attracted to heat, light and movement. They consume electricity, radioactivity and light before resorting to living things.

To Hit: Automatic hits.
Shooting: N/A.
Melee: Those targeted must dodge or be consumed and destroyed utterly.
Harm: Whenever an Entropy Survivor would be Injured or Downed, roll a d20, adding +1 for each prior roll this engagement. On a 20+, it is driven away for d8 hours.


Each journey takes 1d20 hours, and leads to one of the following locations. Once discovered, these locations may be found again, taking the same length of time. Randomly determine which is found first, second and third. Those choosing to remain in the Lake of Seasons could discover other things further afield. The Lake is infinite.

The False Shore

A crescent of material, afloat upon the Lake of Seasons. At a distant, it seems to shimmer and shift. As one approaches, they see it is covered in a living carpet of giant insects: The Teeming Augur.

In buzzing voices remembered but never heard, they bargain in their multitudes. For the price of an egg-carrier, submitting willingly, they allow riders. They can be ridden anywhere, anywhen. They will happily accompany groups back to the Other Facility.

The egg-carrier, to conventional medical techniques, seems entirely normal. Two days after their return, they begin to experience time-loss. This develops into 5 minute loops of time experience, hastening the incubation and trapping them in cycles which self-cancel yet crowd their mind with impossible memories. After months of increasingly long loops - reaching entire years towards the end - their skull explodes into more of the Teeming Augur, who infest the local area. Chrono-aberrations begin to proliferate in the area, causing it to step out of sync with conventional human time. This would not be the first area upon the Earth to be erased this way. That house at the end of your childhood street was the same.

The Teeming Augur

Stream-steeds, Dream Carriers, Graceful Mounts, Slow Angels.
In their thousands they buzz and dance, dwelling upon the shores of Time. They skitter across the surface freely, compound eyes drinking in all the sights offered, drinking deeply where some eddy in the flow gives their fanged proboscis purchase.

To the human eye they are each the size of ponies, scaled, built out with limbs too-slight to bear their weight. Wings of soap-bubble thin gossamer twitch frenetically from their back.

They can be ridden through time, although they will take a companion to incubate a brood of their eggs. They leave it up to those who would ride upon them to decide who bears this burden.

To Hit: -1 (Speed)
Shooting: N/A
Melee: 2d10.
Harm: Whenever a Teeming Augur would be Injured or Downed, roll a d20 and consult the chart below.

d20 Result
1-12 The attack ricochets off their armoured hide.
13-15 The weapon used reverts to its base materials: metal to ore, wood to seed. God help those who attack unarmed.
16+ Resolve the Injured/Downed process normally.

The Caves

Floating upon the Lake, another mass of earth and stone - this one riddled with holes, the uppermost of which bleed smoke. Within, a band of twelve Neanderthals. They are led by an experienced Traveller, leading their expedition into the Lake of Seasons. The rest are hopeful braves, here to prove themselves against the Black Hounds. Six have already succeeded, having drunk the residue. The other five are restless for the hunt, but their dugout canoes have crumbled to ash. If the Traveller could be convinced the group are not the half-person Demons they believe inhabit the Lake, and the remaining hopefuls can be helped in their hunt, she would lead all back to their respective times and places. Doing so using only gesture is challenging to say the least.


Atop the waters, the U-Boat 519 floats, a wound in her hull through which no water pours: only Black Hounds. The surviving 22 crew, having arrived mere hours ago, are terrified out of their wits. Half their number were killed by the initial attack of the Black Hounds, pouring through the impossible wound in the hull. They huddle amidships, armed with SMGs. The communications specialists killed themselves after using the radios, and none have dared touch it since. Naturally, all speak German.

In 30 minutes, the same 18 Black Hounds emerge from the wound and begin their hunt anew.

Black Hound

The Peril, The Warden’s Dogs, Vanguards.
A face shredded like a bouquet of flowers, wrapped in black plastic and left by the side of the road. Behind this disaster a long body of taut flesh over many-knuckled bones, flexing and moving independently. There are too many legs.

From ridges and tears in the real the hounds emerge, silent, ignoring any gravity or terrain. The unfortunate notice that each leg terminates in a human hand, some with rings.

They hunt those who survived initial breach events, marked for death. They are left as dust, all moisture driven from them. Electronic devices cannot perceive them, although they trigger moisture-sensitive systems.

To Hit: -4 (Speed)
Shooting: N/A
Melee: 2d8. Always causes 1 Injury regardless of result.
Harm: Black Hounds ignore Injured results from shooting. Downed results send them sprawling, but continue the hunt next round. In melee, they take Injuries and Down result normally. Any Injury or Down result from an explosive destroys them utterly.

The Crystal Knife

The knife of crystal works true: one carefully lowered to the water could cut into it as if through flesh, hacking a hole which leads to the exterior of the Sag River Extreme Cold Research Facility. Such a hole in time will attract 12 Black Hounds in 15 minutes. Their destruction, or the death of their prey, seals the wound shut once more.

July 12, 2023 pariah

Pariah Hexfills

These are the hexfills I used for my Pariah game. You can see how the minimal hexfills get used in the play reports.

The Map - you probably want to open this up big. I didn’t fill them all in, but had rough ideas for each area.The Map - you probably want to open this up big. I didn’t fill them all in, but had rough ideas for each area.

The Hills

1203: Learned shamanic baboon with 14 human captives. Flint mine.
1303: Hunters stash - 6 javelins, 2 bows, 10 arrows.
1304: Entrance to Cave Network. Bears give way to Earth.
1205: Spirits which appear as dried mudmen with blood mouths. They can be fed blood for control - banished by seawater.
1305: As 1205.
1405: Giant burrowing beehive. Offering shrine, disused.
1306: Domed huts of ground-nesting bird hunter tribe. Jackalwere nearby.
1406: Wolf lair. Sorcerors sage abundant in cave mouth.
1207: Settlement of 32 raiders, send out bands of 2d6. Lair of Zoanthrope-Wolves (secret society lodge)

Northern Pines

0501: Auroch ground guaranteed by the skywalking spirit. Burial caves, 3 ancestor ghosts, runes of protection.
0601: Auroch hunter camp, 12. Healing tree - sap cures disease.
0701: A Witch who can speak to insects. Her mind is all exoskeleton.
0801: Dog Eating Society Lodge, 18 members.
1001: Catoblepas. Village of 89, watched by 8 ghouls who follow the Catoblepas.
1101: 22 Alpine Apes carry a Stone of Degeneration. Bitter, envious.
0602: Rotting Lio, filled with flint spear heads. Lairs in ruined lodge.
1202: 13 coastal Glaucon. Sun Eagle Spirit.
0503: Malevolent spirit, floating dessicated squid. Abandoned clay pit.
0603: Stinging, sulphourous water. 3 Giant Toads.
0703: Blood Drink and 2 Cursed. Tree, thrice-struck by lightning.
0803: Huge would-be Moose God and 13 humans who drink her milk.
0903: Self-Burial pits to feed disease to the Plague Tree.
1103: Empty.

The Mountains

0901: Voice of the Mountain, Genius Loci. A Sorceror who would tame it, wearing a protective amulet.
0702: 12 Pariahs in hardscrabble caves. One is a Bonesword Disciple.
0802: Giant Spider guards the path. Loose shale means poor footing.
0902: A snowman stands alone.
1002: Clean stream runs pure. Winds seek purchase. No plants to burn for heat.
1102: Llama herds, predated by a Nameless One who corrupts their host Wolf Pack.

Mixed Forest

1003: Looping paths - easy to get lost. Sick wolf. 12 hunter-gatheres, nomadic.
0804: Lightning spirit in tree it half-killed. 39 Burrow Dwellers. 3 Giant Spiders.
0904: Blood Drinker and 2 Cursed. Tangling vines.
1004: Rich fungal blooms. Myconid intelliugence - utterly inhuman.
1104: Very deep river. Giant bee hive - 262.
1204: River Rapids. 42 in a fishing village - salmon.
0805: Posion fruit. Witch demands monkey brains.
0905: 257 giant ants. Old hunter’s traps remain.
1005: Sorceror with filed teeth. Wolf Graveyard, undisturbed.
1106: Spirit-breaker Stone. 14 in Shaman Lodge.


1506: Disease carrying Saltflies. Stone with a Bound Spirit.
1606: Giant Catfish. Giant crab, uses corpses as bait.
1706: Sinkhole. Visited by nearby village who live in a Sea Cave - 18.
1307: Boat-people, 38. Crocodile god, filled with spirits. 9 ghouls.
1407: 5 Glaucon form a hunting party. Following the boat people.
1507: Dawn Spirits, proto-sirens.
1607: Rotting Sea Giant set about by four There Spirits. Giant leeches, gorged on Giant Blood.
1707: Ghost: drowned child. Beckons down. Gather the bones to grant rest.
1308: Stilt-house fishers, 24. two bands of swamp gibbons (13 & 17) - one group holds a child of the fishers hostage.

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