Microgame of the Month: The Holy Mountain


You are pilgrims. You carry burdens, wear concealing clothing and seek absolution for a transgression. You climb a mountain, visiting shrines linked by perils.

Pilgrims must not:

  • Speak of life outside.
  • Speak of the trail ahead.
  • Show their face.
  • Invoke their ancestors.

Start at the first shrine. In turn give the shrine keeper something from your pack and say how it fulfills their requirements. Then together perform the purification ritual.

During the ritual you break one prohibition you haven't broken before:

  • Your life: Describe your home. Say one thing you regret leaving behind.
  • The trail: Warn of danger and say why you turned back last time.
  • Ancestors: Receive an otherworldly item, described by the others.
  • Your face: Reveal your transgression.

Then you leave the shrine and travel onwards. One pilgrim describes how the next peril endangers them. Another pilgrim describes a skill/tool they use to protect them, and what it implies. Repeat until you reach the next shrine.

When you reach the fifth and final shrine, you may enter or turn back. Pilgrims that enter are never seen again.



The Holy Mountain is by Elizabeth and Jay Iles.

UFO Press is an Oxford-based publisher dedicated to making offbeat RPGs that take players to new worlds. Its games include Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, where players are survivors of a reality-twisting apocalypse rebuilding the world over generations, and What Ho, World!, which gives players the chance to weave a story of 1920s gentry pursuing petty ambitions and comedic hijinks in an hour. Find out more at ufopress.co.uk.


This game originally appeared as Microgame of the Month in the February 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.