Random generation makes better ideas.

D66 attitudes of those encountered:

11 - Exhausted
12 - Bewildered
13 - Quizzical
14 - Belligerent
15 - Cordial
16 - Mollified
21 - Conceited
22 - Sympathetic
23 - Covetous
24 - Disinterested
25 - Impatient
26 - Servile
31 - Sickly
32 - Immature
33 - Merry
34 - Provocative
35 - Content
36 - Infirm
41 - Insolent
42 - Bitter
43 - Melancholic
44 - Resigned
45 - Irksome
46 - Insufferable
51 - Satiated
52 - Regretful
53 - Relieved
54 - Exacerbated
55 - Genial
56 - Optimistic
61 - Irritated
62 - Wrathful
63 - Mirthful
64 - Joyless
65 - Curmudgeonly
66 - Fearful

Genial ogre, irksome knight, content peasant, and so on. Two things jammed together without your input are better for it.


They traditionally dispose of their dead...


  1. ... after 42 days of treating them like they were still alive
  2. ... by dumping them in the forest
  3. ... by cremating them in their house. Then building another on top.
  4. ... throw them in the sea, no matter how far away it is. If they are washed back up it is an omen of a restless spirit and suggests their ghost doesn't want to leave.
  5. ... by stacking stones on top of them until they are pulverised. Funeral cairns litter the countryside.
  6. ... in great big tubs. Special assistants are set with jugs to collect the juices from special spigots. The juices are burned as the true spirit while the corpse is ground up for animal food.

What are you supposed to be ashamed of?
  1. Pointing
  2. Bare backs. Capes are essential, but nothing else is.
  3. Uncovered ears
  4. Revealing the webbing between your fingers. Most erogenous of zones.
  5. Boobies (1-2=Just male 3-4=Just female 5-6=Both)
  6. All skin. All of it.
Traditional beautification
  1. Teeth filed to the gums
  2. Ears clipped and jagged
  3. Split nostrils, cut at the sides making them look like dainty little wings.
  4. Head flattened with cord and boards as a child
  5. Gums dyed with lacquer
  6. Arms bound to the torso up to the elbow, so the truly beautiful walk around like t-rexs.
The ruling order...
  1. ... are ancient in-bred families
  2. ... is a foreign culture with its own language and rituals
  3. ... is a hereditary priesthood
  4. ... grandmothers, ranked by the quantity of grand children
  5. ... died out years ago, leaving their silver palaces empty. No one noticed.
  6. ... are elected per village every year. They consider it a burden and is often used as a punishment.

What I'm Doing

It is essential that everybody knows exactly how exciting, maudlin, and envelope pushing I am being at all times. While it is safe to assume "very" in all these cases it's only polite that I confirm your blinkered confidence now and again.

I sometimes pretend to be a real publisher, who prints other people's work, in order to mask the obvious narcissism of primarily printing ones own. Crypts of Indormancy is coming out next month, which I didn't write, and it's exactly the kind of adventure I never see—erudite and weird non-European alt-history, written with a strong, identifiable voice free of niche trends. I like it so much that it's being printed to proper standards and in huge bulk. All in.

After that we'll likely see a couple of smaller adventures, a standalone RPG about cockney burglars, and some other projects that are so far away that to speak of them might spook 'um into the tree line.

In the meantime I'll be writing nothing but Troika! forever. The full scope of the game is beyond my means, so I've had to make some hard decisions about how to get there. I considered various crowd funding beg-a-thons: Kickstarter could pay for all the art right away, but leaves me vulnerable to change and comes with a gaggle of hungry punters attached (I love you, but it's a psychic burden to be beholden), while Patreon would let me charge a subscription to MEEEEE and allow me to be as erratic as I pleased, but the fact that it's double-dipping selling your work, once to patreon and once at the end when you actually have something, made me a bit ill with grasping shame.

So instead I'll channel TSR and enter supplement hell. Build the book piece by piece in self-contained chunks. Make them handsome, make them fat, and make them now. The first one is going to be Empires of Foliage and I will never admit to what it is about. There will be 72 new backgrounds, a number of enemies, plus miscellaneous spells items and other related things all connected to the central, poorly hidden, conceit.

Also Undercroft, soon-ish maybe.

Background: Good Dog

You’re not a magic dog, you’re not a talking dog, but you are a good dog.

Possessions
A neckerchief OR a collar and half a leash OR your favourite ball

Skills
3 Awareness
3 Dig
2 Run
2 Track
2 Sneak
2 Swim
1 Sleight of Hand
1 Tunnel Fighting
1 Bite Fighting


Special
Decide if you are, in addition to being a good dog, a big dog or a small dog. Big dogs get +1 Bite Fighting and +1 Dig, small dogs get +1 Tunnel Fighting and +1 Awareness.

May only carry half the normal number of items. Has all predictable dog related limitations, like not being able to wield a sword. May however cast magic is you find someone that can teach dogs to do it. Good luck with that.




Playing a totally mundane dog in Troika! would be very appropriate. Not everyone has to be a show stealing attention hog, some of us just want to be loved and rescue people from wells. They're emotive creatures as demonstrated by the players usage of body language while playing them:

I growl in a way that says "there's a goblin hiding in that tree drawing pictures of us while we eat"

or

I stare at them in the manner of someone who wants to buy that magic necklace and get it fitted to dog sizes. Use the money in my satchel.

The Good Dog has more baked in potential than all your lamassus or floating-head-conglomerates combined. You have to work to make those as fun.

Troika Initiative

The initiative of Troika! is difficult to simulate in any way other than as it is presented in the book, but here are a few ideas.


1-Number list


This is my least favourite but highest fidelity solution to not using the token bag. Write a numbered list of the participants of a fight, each with as many instances of their name as they should have initiative tokens with #1 being END TURN.

So:


  1. End turn
  2. Bob
  3. Bob
  4. Billy
  5. Billy
  6. Brian
  7. Brian
  8. Orc
  9. Orc
  10. etc...
To generate the number you're got to random.org to get it without having to come up with some magic dice yoga.


2-Divining


Do this, it's probably better.

Change "initiative 2" to "initiative d6", 3 to d8 and 4+ to d12.

Now gather up the dice or make everyone roll seperately. Resolve the initiatives by counting backwards from the highest. Anyone rolling a 1 doesn't act.


3-Kind of the same old same old


Or this. Roll 1 d6 for each point of initiative you have, resolve them in order from top to bottom (lots of simultaneous actions) and ignore any 1s.

Call of Cutroika

or How To Do Sanity in Troika!

Keep everything as it is but add a sanity score that every player character possesses. Their sanity is equal to d6+6.

Terrifying situations, interaction with outsider entities, psychic attacks and so on can drain your sanity. When exposed to this potential drain you test your sanity by rolling 2d6 looking to roll under your current score. If you fail you lose sanity according to the source.

Dead body - 1
Brutally butchered dead body - d3
Ghost - d3+1
Some kind of body horror thing - d6
Catroika Himself - 6d6

Exposure to cosmic terror drains even the most fortified mind. Some creatures or situations will have an automatic sanity drain. You express it as [automatic drain]/[drain if you fail a sanity test]. To repeat the above examples:

Dead body - 0/1
Brutally butchered dead body - 0/d3
Ghost - 1/d3+1
Some kind of body horror thing - 1/d6
Cutroika Himself - 6/6d6

So like Call of Cthulhu, right?


Running Out of Sanity


I like the Victorian melodrama school of insanity. Keep it light and only vaguely comical.

When you hit negative sanity and every time you lose any sanity thereafter roll d66:

11 - Fainting fit. Unconscious for d6 minutes.
12 - Trembling. Until you remove yourself from the situation you tremble uncontrollably. -2 to all rolls.
13 - Panic. Test your luck every time you gain initiative or wish to take some kind of action. If you fail you flee from of the presence of the sanity drain.
14 - Dumbstruck by the uncaring cosmos. You drop what you're holding and just stand there staring for d6 initiative rounds. Can be led but won't defend themselves.
15 - Get them off me! Overwhelmed by the feeling of crawling insects you tear at your skin and pull at your hair. Take no action until you successfully test your luck, while losing 1 stamina per turn due to your scratching.
16 - Unburden yourself. You strip off your clothes and possessions and then sit in a corner hugging your knees or knee analogue. Takes one round per 3 burdensome items carried to fully disrobe, starting from the top of the list.
21 - Wild eyed. People meeting you notice something a bit off. You now have a case of the crazy eyes. People will also tend to remember seeing you, making blending in to crowds awkward.
22 - Tongues. You babble uncontrollably for d6 days. You can reduce your volume but can not stay completely quiet. If you roll a 6 it is permanent.
23 - Mute. You suffer acute aphasia, unable to speak for d6 days. If you roll a 6 it is permanent.
24 - Incomprehension. Words on the page no longer make sense, they slip and slide to confound you. Lasts for d6 days. If you roll a 6 it is permanent.
25 - Trichotillomania. From this day on you nervously pull out your hair. You do it out of sight or at least infrequently, but your patchy baldness stands as evidence.
26 - Hyperventilation. You skip your next turn due to this nervous attack, but are otherwise ok.
31 - Dyskinethsia. Once per game the GM may ask for you to test your luck or perform an involuntary spastic motion.
32 - Akathisia. You constantly fidget about, twiddling, hopping from foot to foot, you can't stay still. Otherwise fine.
33 - Mental callouses. You lose one permanent sanity point and then return to your new maximum sanity score.
34 - Steeled. Now you've seen everything. Gain one permanent sanity.
35 - Cosmic insight. Gain one spell at rank 1 from the random spell list.
36 - Berserk. Gain d6 skill but you must attack someone every initiative. Lasts d6 turns.
41 - Nervous vomiting. Spend a round evacuating your guts, lose 1 stamina. Otherwise fine.
42 - You are strangely ok with this
43 - Gnashing of teeth. Lose d6 teeth.
44 - Kleptomania. The GM will arbitrarily assign items from your environment to your inventory. This might be from other players, or it might be evil ancient artefacts.
45 - Pyromania. When around fire you must test your luck every hour or burn something significant.
46 - Compulsive diet. You secretly eat some inedible substance as a coping mechanism. This costs 1 stamina per day and lasts for d6 months. On a 6 it is permanent.
51 - Hysterical laughter. You laugh in the face of madness! And laugh and laugh and laugh. This continues for d6 hours. If you roll a 6 you die from laughter right there on the floor.
52 - Auditory hallucinations. You hear a loud ringing, screaming, whispering, crunching or other unpleasant sound which distracts you. -1 to all rolls for d6 days, if you roll a 6 it is permanent.
53 - Delirium. You can move and talk but no longer know where you are or what you're supposed to be doing. -4 to all rolls due to confusion and incoherence. Lasts d6 days, if you roll a 6 it is permanent.
54 - Mad flight. If there is a window you will smash through it, if not you bash your head against the wall or a floor until it passes. Damage as falling or as club, lasts d6 turns.
55 - Auto mutilation. You start harming yourself with whatever you're holding. Deal damage to yourself every turn until you successfully test you luck. May defend yourself but do nothing else.
56 - Never the same again. No outward signs, but you lose 1 point of permanent sanity because of the experience.
61 - Screaming forever. You never stop screaming, ever. After d6 days you lose the ability to speak at all and it goes quiet.
62 - Hysterical blindness. For d6 turns you are completely blind. You recover fully when it ends.
63 - You scream like an animal with its leg in a vice, raw and disturbing. Everyone else must test their sanity or lose 0/d6. You stop screaming when removed from the source of terror. People test only once.
64 - It cannot be unseen, but you try. You attempt to gouge your eyes out. Test your luck. If you fail you succeed and suffer 3d6 stamina loss.
65 - Fugue state. You gain no experience checks from any rolls made during this game (including prior to the event) because you don't remember it. You wake up at the beginning of the next game feeling very confused.
66 - Scared to death. Make a new character




Regaining Sanity and fixing your donkey brain


If you spend a night in safety and comfort you return to maximum sanity. Dungeons and the wilderness never count.

If you have a permanent madness then you're shit out of luck. Put out feelers for a Width Doctor or Oneiromancer and hope they can help.

Hex Mapping Notebook

I wanted hex grid paper and all I could find was a guy who copied some online templates and sold them for a fortune on Amazon. So I made my own without copying them like an arse and for a fraction of the price.

GET THEM HERE

They're A6 notebooks, saddle stitched, with thick enough paper that you could probably get pretty heavy with the colours, and plenty of space for you to blab on. One of these could contain months and months of games that you scribbled together on the bus.


The intention on how to use them is that you'd link the maps together inside the book by writing page references on the borders, telling you what maps link where. Or you could create a single big scale map and then do loads of sub hexes and reference them that way. I like the first method, since you end up with a much weirder map if you collate them, kinda like this.

Someone better buy these, 'cos I didn't make many and I intend to use the crap out of them.

6 What's in the box?


  1. A smaller box, which contains a still smaller box, which in turn has a smaller box. Make the player think this is a stupid joke but roll a d100. That is the final box, in which is the portal to a pocket dimension containing a dead sorcerers wealth. Any boxes past 20 or so will be extremely hard to open, requiring microscopes and special instruments and hired experts.
  2. Your own severed head! Not really, it's just a wizard-joke. If you're unlucky you die of a heart attack. If you survive you find that the power source for the magic head illusion is a ruby the size of your nose. 
  3. Skittles.
  4. Wax. Inside the wax you can barely make out a dark patch of something. 50/50 chance it's nerve gas (lucky or lose one skill to permanent brain damage) or a magical bar of lead that when rubbed on food makes it taste delicious and nutritious. Turn anything masticable into a ration. The wax tastes like brown bread.
  5. A tiny person has made it his tiny house. His will fire a tiny blunderbuss at the adventurers to warn them off while his tiny wife gathers up the valuables and runs out through the back door. 2d6 coins worth of tiny silverware.
  6. Skittles, but just the yellow ones.


Goodbye Instructions for Crushing It

Spread that shit around,
Spread it so thin you can't see it,
Spread it through aerosols and tell them you're the cleaning lady,
(comment on how fresh it smells)

If they won't sit down and rub the armchair,
If they won't roll on the floor in front of the fire,
There is nothing you can do,
Except shut the door and bolt it and pass notes underneath explaining the process by which they can never return to your halogen heaven.

Take out the bulbs and stomp them,
(you don't need eyes)
Pass the shards under the door one by one,
They now have the tools to make their own.

Spread it
Shut it
Crush it