A downloadable Tabletop RPG

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Ireland, 1942. Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child takes place in a Magdalene Asylum, a home for “fallen women” maintained by the catholic order of the Sisters of Mercy. To repent for their sins, the penitents have to work in a laundry without being paid.

In truth, the reality is horrendous. These women are humiliated, harassed, and famished. They are not allowed to talk and they cannot keep any belonging. If they disobey, they are beaten up. They may stay forever in this dreadful place, be sent in a mental institution, become a nun, or die alone.

The PCs will play these women. Will they be able to escape? Will they lose hope? Will they die of sickness or because of the beatings? Will they help each other or will they find it easier to act selfishly? Is there more to the asylum than meets the eye?

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child is intended for any RPG but was created with Monsterhearts (by Avery Alder) and Bluebeard’s Bride (by Beltrán, Kelly and Richardson) in mind.

CONTENT WARNING: abuse, neglect, and death as thematic elements. Please use safety tools (like the X-Card, by John Stavropoulos, line and veils, the Support flower or Script Change, by Beau Jágr Sheldon) with this game, play it in a safe environnement and take care of your fellow players.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(5 total ratings)
GenreRole Playing
Tagsdrama, One-page, pamphlet-dungeon, pamphletjam, Tabletop, Tabletop role-playing game
Average sessionAbout an hour


Buy Now1.49€ EUR or more

In order to download this Tabletop RPG you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of 1.49€ EUR. You will get access to the following files:

Khelren - Spare the rod Spoil the child (v1.0).pdf 4 MB


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(2 edits) (+3)

Spare The Rod is a heavy two page rpg about the historical horrors of the Magdalene Laundries---but also dosed with elements of giallo films, including ritual murder and the overt presence of the supernatural.

Spare The Rod takes inspiration from Suspiria and Bluebeard's Bride, which both hit hard in different ways, and both of which might be an immediate 'nope' for people---however Spare The Rod does not come with a content warning, and it deals with multiple varieties of abuse, neglect, and death as thematic elements, so consider this a CONTENT WARNING.

There's also a table of prompts for the GM that includes sexual abuse and location prompts that include the same, so if you do play this, be triply cautious, have a safety mechanism, and only play with a GM you trust.

Beyond that, Spare The Rod has the potential to be a fairly powerful if pulpy historical suspense/survival horror. The setup is solid. The Laundry is well-mapped. If the GM is fully committed to not traumatizing anyone at the table and care is taken to give the characters agency, I think it can be a tense scenario.

You do need your own ruleset, but I think it works just fine with an OSR engine of your choice.

Alternately, you could probably have the players as investigators looking into the Laundry and use the game as a framework for anything from Call of Cthulhu to Silent Hill.


You are so right, I forgot to add a content warning and I'll add it right away. I made it during a jam and I was running late, but that's no excuse for having not updated the description blurb since then.

Thanks for the review! Glad you liked it :)


All good! It's interesting subject matter for a historical horror, it just goes into way harsher territory than the page description was indicating.