Quick and Ugly Troika Setting Hack

Quick and Ugly Troika Setting Hack

Maybe you’ve got Troika but the setting as presented in the d66 Background Table isn’t doing it for you (I adore it but to each their own) but you want to see the Initiative Stack in action or think the way characters learn skills is keen (it is). Okay, I’ve got you covered.

Roll your 3 stats: 1d3+3 for Skill, 2d6+12 for Stamina, 1d6+6 for Luck.

Troika has a solid list of baseline possessions if you’d like but don’t worry about that. Let’s talk about populating the setting, which is to say, populating your own d66 Background Table.

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Using Pathfinder Iconics

Drop your 36 favorite Pathfinder Iconics into each slot. Read the iconic’s entry in the Pathfinder wiki that you rolled up or don’t read anything just riff off of the class name and the cool Wayne Reynolds art or don’t even read the class name and just riff off of the Wayne Reynolds art.

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Using Whatever You Remember From D&D

Name D&D NPC’s from settings or old campaigns or novels and/or name settings and exciting vocations.

Asteroid Stranded Spelljammer Sailor.

Dark Sun Gladiator.

Sword Coast Caravan Guard.

Elminster.

Greyhawk Arch-Mage.

Sigil Crimelord.

Escaped Soul from Acheron.

Cultist from Temple of Elemental Evil.

That One NPC you Remember from Homlett.

Your Favorite NPC from the Keep on the Borderlands.

Strahd’s Vampire Spawn.

Vecna’s Apprentice.

That Lady with the 80’s Hair Throwing Lightning on the Spellfire Cover.

The dinosaur-looking lizard guy from the cover of Curse of the Azure bonds with the cool sword-axe-thing.

Etc.

P.S. Now you only need 22 more.

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Fantasy Word Vomit Way

Name strange fantasy shit with your friends until you get to 36 total. Order of the Sun Holy Knight, Broken Moon Lycanthrope, Witch from the Edge of the First City, Talking Wolf, etc. Bonus points for naming places or saying something about the world through the title.

If you want to get fancy, give everyone index cards so folks can also write up Advanced Skills and Possessions for each of the 36 entries. If not, whoever rolls the entry up, they make it up on their own.

d66 tables in 2 columns

After each player has rolled up a concept (or, let’s be real, picked their favorite)…

Stat them up, 10 points in total Advanced Skills (what Troika calls skills because Skills is already a stat) and whatever equipment makes sense. Spells are also Advanced Skills. Name the spells you’ve got and come up with a 2 sentence description of the spells you have.

Make your own d66 table or print out the table above.

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“Someplace cool,” with Troika! Numinous Edition

A Necromancer, a Nunslinger and a Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer walk into a dungeon…

"Someplace cool," with Troika! Numinous Edition

Throne of Wind, ancient artifact of the Sky Monarchs, floating through a fractal universe.

We had made characters and agreed to play the following Friday. I knew how I wanted to prepare but didn’t get to it until the Friday afternoon before the game. I had read the rules but couldn’t quite picture the initiative system but was game to try. I grabbed a Dyson Logos map from this book (always worth every penny, even if it wasn’t just a way to say thanks for the tremendous library of free maps and it isn’t just that). I numbered areas, coming up with about 12, so I could still come up with something random with 6 siders if I needed to.

I like how in this game everything is random.

Charlotte, providing my AHA! moment with Troika
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From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.552

Jotted down a 2-12 list, 2 is always a Wizard and 12 is always a Dragon. I rolled a bunch of times, putting results into rooms and the place made sense – an ecology was developing. It was nothing complicated but enough to understand what was in each area and how it was all interacting. I had a haunted dungeon with a Mirror Demon in its depths. There were constructs guarding certain rooms and giant beetles who had been summoned by recent adventurers and then abandoned. There were questions I didn’t have answers to and that was fine.

It was a mess. I liked it but I still wasn’t sure how to describe anything. What did the floor feel like? What were the doorways like?

Random tables are world-building.

Stras
Old Sword Subject Divider
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.552

I made a mad-libs with the following:

This place was made by the BLANK when they were at war with the BLANK.

It was re-purposed by the BLANK, when they were on the run from the BLANK.

When we got together to game, I asked everyone to roll on the d66 chargen table that we used to make characters, continuing to use it for world-building. Since the game was set up to celebrate Ken helping me get the mailbox up, he rolled twice.

This place was made by the Wizard Hunters when they were at war with the Sorcerers of the Academy of Doors.

It was re-purposed by the Lonesome Monarch, when they were on the run from the Zoanthropists.

Now I can see this place clearly. Love it. Mad libs and the d66 chargen table it is from here on in. I am going to make random tables with solid world-building and cool choices. If a boring result occurs, the table was made poorly. If something doesn’t make sense, we haven’t applied science-fantasy Troikan! logic to it hard enough or waited until the answer becomes clear.

In future uses of the d66 table as a mad libs dungeon/world building tool, I’ll use the character concept’s equipment for treasure ideas.

Old Sword Subject Divider
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.552

Troika! is fun. I might replace a few of the choices on the d66 chart rolled for chargen. A few feel off to me. I house-ruled the damage roll away, using the higher of the 2d6 to-hit dice as the damage result. The initiative system is really fun. We used some Campaign Coins and a dice bag. Next time I’ll throw the bag around and ask everyone to take a pick to decide who goes next.

My favorite cover by Better Legends
https://betterlegends.com/

The way characters learn skills is fun and fast. I love learning systems in games. When the players met a Wizard-Robot (a robot made to look like a wizard) the Wizard Hunters had used for training, it taught the necromancer how to fire the laser pistol the ghost nun had given her in return for a successful therapy session and it taught the petulant teen with six swords on his back to use those swords a bit better. The way to make a ruling on that to make it happen was clear with the rules scaffolding given.

The real question is, how long until I write up my own d66 tables and start making my own Troika! hack. I can feel its pull.

Old Sword Subject Divider
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.552

How’d the game go in the mirror-demon haunted Wizard Hunter enclave turned Lonesome Monarch hideaway? When Charlotte said, “I didn’t think I would be learning how to fire a laser pistol given to me by a ghost nun,” I considered it a win. Those are the kinds of sentences this kind of science-fantasy generates so beautifully, piercing the gloom like the Nunslinger’s pistol’s blue laser bolts.

The petulant teen with 6 swords on his back sat on the magic artifact that the Sky Monarchs had used to travel the worlds and see the sunsets and starscapes of a thousand thousand skies – the Throne of Winds.

The wind asked, “Where do you want go, Sky Monarch?”

The runaway Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer replied, “Someplace cool.”

The next game is taking place in the Temple of Ten Thousand Swords.

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Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

Troika emerges from a pile of games

Troika emerges from a pile of games

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:

hovbulance Medical Response Team
cyberpunk action using Apocalypse World: Burned Over
https://lumpley.games/burnedover/

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
A giant angel, a final fantasy wizard with a sword, a rhino person with a halbred, a winged lionish person, a shirtless sailor and a horned metal person on a ship in the void.
https://betterlegends.com/

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.

Pile of books including Troika!, The Warren, Old School Essentials Boxed Set, Heart: the City Beneath, Electric Bastionland and Wolfspell.

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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