Our friend, Ken, came over a few months ago and offered his skill and expertise in getting a new mailbox up after our embarrassing mailbox took its last jolt from a car and fell over. As a thank you, I offered to run a game. For whatever reason, I thought he liked scifi more than fantasy, so I suggested the following premise:
But after the previous week’s news, I wasn’t sure I was up for running a game in which a hovbulance descending through a Blade Runner-inspired cityscape into the midst of a gunfight to grab a corporate asshole with an insurance policy that afforded medical extraction.
So, I brought a pile of books (and when possible, corresponding character sheets) and we sat around for a while, ate, talked about our weeks and looked over games. I offered a sentence or two on each with the thought that we might not want to play any of them or we might make characters for each and every one. My hope is that we’d go through the books as if we had found this strange crate with these odd books in it and were spending the evening trying to figure one or more out. Charlotte brought down a few of her books too and the night was off to a lovely start.
I grabbed my Troika!: Numinous Edition off the pile and rolled up a character. Amused by the result I read it out loud. The d66 tables have fun options. We each rolled and it didn’t feel real until the character sheets hit the table. Luckily, Dyson Logos had a Troika character sheet that I had printed out.
Beyond that what you have here is Troika!: a science-fantasy RPG in which players travel by eldritch portal and non-Euclidean labyrinth and golden-sailed barge between the uncountable crystal spheres strung delicately across the hump-backed sky.
What you encounter on those spheres and in those liminal places is anybody’s guess – I wouldn’t presume to tell you., though inside this book you will find people and artefacts from these worlds which will suggest the shape of things. The adventure and wonder is in the gaps; your game will be defined by the ways in which you fill them.Troika! Numinous Edition by Daniel Sell
After a few minutes we had a Necromancer, a Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer and a Nunslinger. I had rolled up a Demon Stalker, who might be an NPC. I asked some questions and wrote up some tables.
It turned out that the Necromancer didn’t know their name because their teacher stole their name from them during their apprenticeship. The ghost they have bound is named Rory and was also an apprentice. They refer to themselves as Rory’s friend.
The Temple Knight had been a squire, doomed to mediocrity but stole 6 swords and left. We rolled the swords up. 3 were cursed. One talks. One is holy but looks identical to one that is cursed. The player found a cursed sword table and rolled on it several times until they knew what the cursed swords did.
The Nunslinger also seems to have left her holy order but still has an energy pistol of some kind. She’s killed bandits who tried to rob the monks her order safeguards. She uncovered a monk who was working in cahoots with the bandits and that got her exiled.
Thanks to the Fantasy Name Generator the Nunslinger is named Sister Falconus Silvanus and the Temple Knight is Adamson “The Kraken” Mallory. The Necromancer, not using the Fantasy Name Generator because their name was stolen, is called Rory’s Friend, which is the saddest name I’ve ever seen in more than three decades in this hobby.
While they were making characters and chatting, I made up a 3d6 treasure table to see what kind of treasure they’d be seeking. And made up a pair of d6 tables to make interesting swords. Also, seen in that page is my Demon Stalker, Garr, who killed a human claiming to be a demon and gave up the vocation soon after.
I asked each of them to roll a d6 and came up with a Wind/Throne/Olde Gods. “You each have a third of a map to the Wind Throne made by the Olde Gods.” I’ll find a map, read over the rules and write up an adventure, probably with lots of d6 tables for good measure and we’ll play next week.
Advice for a pile of books game night:
Don’t be leaning towards any of the books in particular. If you want to play one thing or playtest something – tell your friends and bring that.
The less you’ve interacted with the books the better.
Be at peace with an evening of friends looking at books and only a few characters or half-made characters to show for it.
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