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PARIAH Volume 1

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PARIAH is a zine that will enable you to set up and run a tabletop RPG pitching a band of outcast humans against a dangerous, primeval world of malevolent magic and capricious spirits... all in an A5 zine format originally produced for Zine Quest 2020.  

A complete game in and of itself, PARIAH is nonetheless easily adapted to your preferred old-school system. Indeed, many of the tools provided would be useful in any RPG you think suitable for the weird world of proto-neolithic roleplay!


The zine contains instructions for generating a band of pariahs - outcasts from mainstream human culture forced into the dangerous wilderness:

  •  Classless and level-less: develop characters through interaction with the environment, building alliances, developing skills and forging pacts with spirits.
  •  Lateral development: special curse templates that can lead your characters down unexpected paths including ghoul, jackalwere and blood-drinker... 
  •  Troupe play: control multiple characters, share them until they have grown into themselves, guide them as though you were their ancestral spirits.
  •  Build a community: foster young charges, care for the old, build the skill base of your pariah band, the better to face the challenges ahead.
  •  Die: lay down your lie for the good of your allies and roll up another pariah.


Everything is alive: navigate a world where mountains, rivers, trees and even insects possess their own desires and ambitions!

  • Rules for generating spirits and determining their attitude to the PCs.
  • An original magic system based on conjuring, binding and bargaining with spirits.


This is a time of chaos: rationality has yet to force reality into a fixed form, and the boundaries between the corporeal and ethereal fluctuate...

  • Six psychedelic entheogens with unique properties!
  • Travel to the spirit world and find the true name of your enemies.
  • Create your own rituals, customs and traditions from afresh: this is a young world, and your characters are defining a new culture!


  • Emphasis on player skill over character skill: play as the characters' guardian spirits,  not as the characters themselves.
  • Highly lethal: get them out of danger quickly or be prepared to roll up another one.
  • Sandbox style play: GMs are encouraged to create situations and challenges, not linear plots. Let the world come alive and happen around the PCs, with or without their participation!
  • Rulings not rule: Take your pick of the guidelines within the zine, and fashion them to the tastes of your table. Use the tools for generating a world and populating it with danger and intrigue without being bound by mechanics.
  • Familiar: Uses the traditional six ability scores and five saves so easy to pick up and easy to adapt to other old school systems.

Print-on-demand is currently unavailable: offset print copies will be available from Soul Muppet publishing shortly.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (1)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Timothy Peter F September 21, 2021 1:35 am UTC
Hello Joey! I very much enjoyed your game. I wanted to comment on your Monsters supplement, but had no idea how to contact you despite links on your blog. Anyways, looking through it I had a comment. I wondered about the inclusion of the Ape, Great. It looks like a version of the Great Ape through a colonial mindset - or how early explorers imagined great apes and how they spun off into such horrors as pulp Jungle Comics and King Kong. Is there an indigenous tribal / peoples' reference to "White Ape" that craves human flesh? Or is it intended as some sort of allegory to the White Colonialist as the feared and horrifying "White Ape"? Where did the human flesh craving idea come from?Your individual entries though on baboons and the chimpanzee seem spot on though.
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D October 17, 2021 10:06 pm UTC
Hi Timothy!

First of all, thank you for your comment and kind words, and also apologies for the belated response: I do not get notified when these discussions are added for some reason.

Your observation is interesting and thought-provoking. Straight off the bat, I want to remark that the entry for Great Ape isn't some kind of analogue for "white settler". I'm not really into racial coding in fantasy games (or in any kind of entertainment for that matter). That's certainly not to say it isn't an issue that can't be handled intelligently and/or creatively in RPGs: a fantastic example would be *Spies in the House of Eth* by Zedeck Siew for *Best Left Buried*.

In fact your impression of this "monster" entry as being derived from the Great Ape through a colonial lens is spot in: it is a direct copy of the creature that featured in older editions of D&D, almost certainly derived from the *White Apes* in the John Carter of Mars stories (albeit with multiple...See more
Customer avatar
Timothy Peter F October 18, 2021 8:06 am UTC
I think your ideas do give a better idea of the direction you were going with this and your inspiration. It will depend on the direction your game will go or you want it to go. If you're going for a more quasi-authentic realism, this could be anyone's native tribespeople in exile type of vibe, is the White Ape archetype something you see in anthropological folklore across cultures? There is the Yeti (a white ape) and Sasquatch (not a white ape) most certainly. Was there flesh eating going on, or was this just the impression of early white explorers? Based on number 3, chimpanzees appear to attack humans once they feel threatened or abused by humans - not out of a prediction for human flesh. If it is just a derivative of fantasy books, games, and anime, then your game might take on a more pulpy experience than a more genuine tribal type of experience. That of course is up to you or up to the GM to include or not include this particular creature. We are of course just discussing one single entry of your book in...See more
Customer avatar
Derek H October 17, 2020 1:16 pm UTC
What happened to the print version?
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D October 28, 2020 8:05 pm UTC
The POD has been temporarily removed.
Customer avatar
Gorgar W June 09, 2020 3:43 am UTC
Nothing in that preview indicates this is in any way OSR compatible.
Falsely labeled.
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D June 09, 2020 11:57 am UTC
Thanks for taking the time to comment: I'll expand the preview to cover the whole zine. You can have a complete look and then you can come back and let me know what you think then.
Customer avatar
Gorgar W June 11, 2020 5:36 am UTC
Having read the document I can say I stand corrected. The DCs for Skill Checks, XP system, the classless character build and magic systems really stood out, initially, as radical derivations of OSR norms, but the system in general is familiar enough to those versed in other retro-clones. I don't doubt I could run a classic 1e or Basic module with characters from this system, which is usually my litmus test. I humbly retract my previous statement and please accept my profuse apologies.

I could not find any examples other than in the magic and rituals chapters of sample DC ranges for various tasks. Can you elaborate more about how these are determined?
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D June 13, 2020 1:12 pm UTC
Thanks for taking a second look, I appreciate it, and I fully accept your apology! Ultimately people will have different concepts of what constitutes "OSR compatible" but your definition is pretty close to how I would define it, and by that criteria PARIAH holds up. It's based on how I've house ruled my own D&D games over the years, but within a fairly different setting.

DC ranges are not detailed because, for the most part, it's going to be the Gm taking a look at the character's relevant stat and deciding whether it's necessary to roll at all. On this basis, using the attribute range of 3-16 and the mean average of 1d6:

7 or less: Easily accomplished by nearly everyone
8-12: Accomplished by most people relatively easily.
13-16: With some effort, achievable by the average human.
17-19: Requiring great luck, effort or skill from the typical person.
20-21: Achievable only through great skill and training or incredible natural ability.
22-24:...See more
Customer avatar
Derek H June 08, 2020 6:14 pm UTC
Preview is not working and will there be a POD option?
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D June 08, 2020 10:15 pm UTC
Thanks for your comment. Preview settings have been edited but I think this is a Drive Thru RPG issue:

"We are experiencing some issues with our database. This could affect the entry and editing of titles. Customer checkout is unaffected. If you experience an error when trying to enter or update a title, keep trying until it works. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working as fast as we can to identify and resolve this issue."

This project began as a kickstarter and Print on demand will be available as soon as all backers have been sent their print rewards, ETA end of August.
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D June 09, 2020 12:24 pm UTC
Preview should now work fine.
Customer avatar
Derek H June 09, 2020 12:40 pm UTC
Thank you! After looking at the preview I do plan on getting it in print.
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D July 23, 2020 6:22 pm UTC
HI Derek—just to let you know we're awaiting approval of the PDF for print on demand, hopefully should be available some time next month.
Customer avatar
Derek H August 24, 2020 5:21 pm UTC
I see it has been released as a POD and will be ordering it the next time I buy printed products (which may be a few weeks).
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D August 25, 2020 9:25 am UTC
Yes, was just approve 2 days ago—thanks for your support!
Customer avatar
Derek H August 30, 2020 6:04 pm UTC
Your welcome. I have three questions.

How does one read the table on page 27? Is it a choice to pick from or is there are there missing die roll numbers?

The blurb mentions helping the party after dying. After a quick skim I do not see that. Which page(s) is the idea on?

The POD price bounces up and down in dollars. Is that because you are being paid in another currency?
Customer avatar
Sofinho (Joey) D September 10, 2020 5:12 pm UTC
Hi Derek

Sorry for the delayed response—seems I need to investigate my notification settings a little.

To answer your questions:

1. Death & dismemberment table: As stated, roll a D12 to determine the effected body part/attribute (the column), and the row is determined by damage inflicted.
2. You know I had to cut this to fit the wordcount I set for the original kickstarter. I should have removed this from the blurb. APologies. I think I will put it into a blogpost.
3. Yes I'm UK based so the price is in pounds, so the US dollar price will fluctuate. For some reason the PDF is in dollars and so its UK price fluctuates.

IF you haven't seen it yet, there's an art free edition available to download for no charge on I'm waiting for approval from Drive Thru RPG before they share it here.

Thanks again for your attention!

- Sofinho aka Joey D
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This title was added to our catalog on June 08, 2020.