PSYCHEDELIC NEOLITHIC ANIMIST OLD SCHOOL ROLE PLAY
PARIAH is a zine by Atelier Hwei 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.