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Aliens, mutants, mind control, time travel, Nazi super science, Atlantis, ninjas, zombies, flying saucers, and a secret Antarctic base!
Aliens, mutants, time travel, Nazi super science, Atlantis, ninjas, zombies, mind control, flying saucers, and a secret Antarctic base!
Aliens, mutants, time travel, Nazi super science, Atlantis, ninjas, zombies, mind control, flying saucers, and a secret Antarctic base!
37 backers pledged $730 to help bring this project to life.

About

PARIAh - the pulp RPG introducing the ARENA narrative system

$730

37

This is a game that I created because I couldn't stand not to. If you like those great adventurers of old (Doc Savage, The Spider, G-8 and His Battle Aces, Operator #5, The Shadow, etc.), this is for you. Battle Nazi flying saucers from Antarctica! Defend the world from the Martian mind-controllers! Assault secret bases on the dark side of the moon! Foil villainous masterminds who laugh maniacally whilst pointing their doomsday device at the Earth's core!

There are many threats in this world for PARIAh to investigate. And from other worlds. And from other times. And from other dimensions. So pretty much from everywhere in space-time. And beyond.
There are many threats in this world for PARIAh to investigate. And from other worlds. And from other times. And from other dimensions. So pretty much from everywhere in space-time. And beyond.

The Setting

1946. The world is recovering from the most destructive conflict in history. In the dark aftermath of war, new dangers lurk. Well ... okay, let’s be honest. Most of those dangers actually lurked before. But it was a bit darker then, so they lurked more easily. Plus, we were pretty busy fighting that whole 1000-year Reich thing.

Yeah. Glad that’s over.

So, anyway, welcome to PARIAh. Like everything else the feds come up with, it’s an acronym, and a particularly bad one. Paranormal and Alien Research and Intelligence Agency. Basically, it's the Agency for Strange Stuff. But PARIA sounds better than ASS. We added the ‘h’ at the end because our founder was some dipshit with an English Lit degree and an obsession with grammar. Heaven forbid our name be spelled wrong. Yeah, he took himself way too seriously. He didn’t last long. But he did leave us with a lifetime supply of official stationary with that “h” in our letterhead, so we pretty much had to keep it. Wouldn’t want to confuse anyone.

Soviet moon patrol from a lunar base? Giant mutant Nazi walking tanks? Jetpack sky pirates with Gatling rocket launchers? Mind-controlled GIs? Yep. All in a day's work, for PARIAh.
Soviet moon patrol from a lunar base? Giant mutant Nazi walking tanks? Jetpack sky pirates with Gatling rocket launchers? Mind-controlled GIs? Yep. All in a day's work, for PARIAh.

PARIAh is the organization tasked with defending the world against all the weird things you’ll never see in the news: things from this world, from other worlds, other times, even other dimensions. Things that normal folks won't deal with, because their lives are easier by just pretending none of it exists. So someone else has to go out and do the dirty work. Someone like you and me. Wherever there’s a mutant virus outbreak, or witches going crazy with black magic, or alien blobs terrorizing a farmer, or a doomsday weapon about blow up the world, we’re there.

We'll do anything it takes to win. ANYTHING. We'll drop in uninvited, kidnap, torture, lie, cheat, maim, bully, kick in teeth, and bash in skulls, if that's what it takes. Make no mistake. We're not good guys. But we do fight bad guys. And then we take their stuff because, hey, free stuff.

We're not good guys. But we are necessary guys.

PARIAh vehicles: PBN-1 "Gypsy Magic" can stay aloft for two days, PT boat "Octopus" can sink a battleship, and LST "Wanderer" is their mobile command post, research laboratory, and engineering workshop.
PARIAh vehicles: PBN-1 "Gypsy Magic" can stay aloft for two days, PT boat "Octopus" can sink a battleship, and LST "Wanderer" is their mobile command post, research laboratory, and engineering workshop.

The Project

This won't be a physical book. There will also be no stretch goals, no add-ons, and no extras. It's just an e-book. But it's a pretty cool e-book, if you like this sort of thing. It's fully illustrated. Every character, vehicle, villain, and enemy has a color illustration. It has:

  • ARENA System rules (GMing, when to roll, narrative combat, social interaction, healing, maintenance, and examples for everything)
  • Character generation instructions and examples
  • Seven pre-generated characters to drop in to a campaign
  • Three vehicles for your PARIAh agents to use
  • MERLIN's Gamble intro adventure to launch your campaign (time travel ... have fun with it!)
  • Reichsführer Krank Hodenschweiß, the brilliant leader of SWAG, the evil organization bent on conquering the world via flying saucers from a secret base in Antarctica! MUAHAHAHA!!
  • Six more villains, such as the pumped up mutant muscle head Major Nilpferd Durchfall and the smooth-talking propagandist Gesamt Trottel
  • Five types of evil troopers to populate the enemy ranks with

The System

ARENA is all narrative action. There are no action types, moves, ranges, or anything of the sort. Describe what your character attempts and which trait empowers you to do that, the GM will hand you a difficulty die, and you roll both. Roll both dice together and try to roll higher on your trait die than the difficulty die. Use your Asset: Experimental Rocketpack to leap up to the roof of a tall building (GM hands you a d4), or catch a speeding train (GM hands you a d8), or lift a crashing airplane (good luck with that, GM hands you a d20). There is a chance to accomplish anything, however remote it might be.

ARENA is an acronym for character traits. That's right. An acronym. I went there. If you can't handle a cheesy acronym, you definitely can't enjoy this game. Go back to World of Darkness.

  • Ambition: This trait determines how you advance.
  • Relationship: Social interaction is all about leveraging relationships. The more powerful a person you know, the more influence you have.
  • Experience: Class, background, OCC, occupation, education, training ... that all goes here.
  • Nature: Species, age, size, health, gender, and other immutable biological characteristics.
  • Asset: Anything that assists a Nature, Experience, or Relationship roll, such as tools, gadgets, resources, sidekicks, and even luck.

Timetable for Fulfillment

Backers have one great big burning question: "When do I get my stuff?"

  • Day 0 - Kickstart ends, having reached its monumental funding goal.
  • Day 1 - Backer survey, i.e. "What's your email?"
  • Days 1-14 - Cards are charged, deposits are made.
  • Day 15 - Thank you e-mail to backers, with the .pdf attached.
  • Day 16 - File uploaded to Dropbox & Google Drive, link posted as a backer-only update.
  • Day 17+: Content continues to expand, because I'm that sort of guy.

Risks and challenges

Having projects run over-budget or overdue is embarrassing. I don't want to write one of those humiliating updates. So here's the skinny: it's done. There will be NO stretch goals. Upon funding, I'll email everyone the .pdf and upload it to my Dropbox along with a link on a backer-only update. Really, the only risk is either the internet collapsing, or my death.

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    A digital .pdf of the PARIAh rulebook.

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- (34 days)