Saturday, 23 November 2019

Mothership Module Kickstarter

For those who somehow missed it - I've been writing a module for Mothership, and it's being Kickstarted now! It's got AI and androids and horror and should be of passable quality.

CLICK THE PICTURE FOR THAT LINK



Saturday, 12 October 2019

KRX - Enslaved by the Insect Overlords - Troika Hack


The wonderful K Yani has very kindly laid this out in PDF, as well as fixed a few errors in the text. Cheers!

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NO_YfQZ_ucYSqaVXgPM9jlIewyhuutzi


Booklet for Letter size printing, graphics off, dots for notes on, no cropmarks
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hF2XpMkVRO2yaI9BBfKaoBvJFncSmfG2

Booklet for A4 size printing, graphics off, dotes for notes on, no cropmarks
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1h3Rk2TZ1-ab2Rvenxqb5agCDuytTVCyy

Rule 0

Don't tell the players shit.

Humanity is in thralldom to the enslaving insects, black carapace nightmares brandishing their neural whips else lounging in their quilled towers, purple-shine black metal walls studded with spikes hung with taut fungus-flesh rupture-loom above rioting corpse-built slums filled with the un-engaged surplus. Bruise-hue skies studded with eight tumour-moons loom above such vistas. Some amongst these pitiful dwellers covet the parasites swarming the hives, becoming willing hosts to alien biologies, accretions of strange fluids limbs and senses. The empire of the Insects is decadent and vile and unchallenged, the whole world locked in their mandible grip - rot farms, mines, wilderness and cities alike are unquestionably their dominion. All castes of owned beings throng and move through society, all bound up and up to the pitiless insects, attempting to eke out survival when not under orders. All of this is witnessed through alien compound eyes. They are known as the Krx.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Hooden - Formerly Known as Die Broken

Remember this? I changed the name because I thought it fucking sucked and also added a bunch of shit like another adventure and junk

click pic for pdf


Saturday, 21 September 2019

Six Troikas 4

more              troikas               again


41 Troika the Cruel




A city of ruthless hierarchy and razor-blade blessings. No art without suffering, and preferably yours. No transaction is without debasement and sadistic, gleeful thrills. None escape untainted - either tarred forever in the eyes of the inhabitants as a weak supplicant or hated and feared as a steel-fanged oppressor - such a duality itself being delightfully cruel. 

The cruelty, of course, would be hollow without comparison. Some of this is afforded by the visitors - but never enough. No, the cruelty of cruelties is the deliberate fostering of hope and love and kindness in the spined depths of the city. Always, there are brave and hopeful rebels willing to love and die and resist. Sometimes they succeed - for weeks, the city knows joy. Then the cruelties seep back in, the poison of a toxic city. A ripe harvest of pain.

Where in the cycle is the city?
  1. Misery runs rampant. Cruelty is omnipresent and half-hearted, a going-through of the motions. The aesthetics of pain but none of the spite. Empathy is nominally punished by the black-clad secret police, but most have given up, the monstrosity of their work roosting in minds barren of hope. Cruelty auto-cannibalizes.
  2. A spark of hope - a vision of a city unburdened by these barbed-wire shackles which seem so entrenched - no, the shackles are rusty and we have the strength to break free! Bide our time and we shall know victory, comrades!
  3. Freedom calls, and we must answer! It is time to rise up and overthrow the oppressors - to take ownership of our lives and to know that in our struggle we live free of such cruelties and may breathe air clean and unsullied by the stink of sadists! The city burns as the lackeys of the old order fight a retreating battle through the streets, ever pushed back.
  4. A bounty of kindness - the milk of compassion overflows and floods the streets. Travelers and inhabitants alike are joined in song and share willingly, knowing that they have secured joy and harmony. The leaders are just and noble and live the principles they sacrificed so much for.
  5. Cruelty sets in. The revolutionary structure calcifies. Hierarchy insidiously rebuilds itself, the old foundations wearing the veneer of the new. Distinctions between groups are drawn up and bloom fresh enmities.
  6. Sadism is ascendant. The arts are interrogated, and all pretense of empathy destroyed. Only ego and pain exist. Special groups of people are designated and protected, their right to assert superiority enshrined in law. Oh, the laws - they rise above, protection over justice. Prisons never exhale, only breathing more and more prisoners into themselves, where they enact cruelties upon one another. Hate is alive and vicious, coiling through the city, tense and ready to strike.

42 Troika the Vaporous


Oh, to define Troika! Such is the idle dream of poets and philosophers. And yet, we shall while away the hours trying to specify some element, some kernel of essence of such a city. The boundaries are hazily defined - one may be out meandering only to realise they are within the city itself. Indeterminate buildings forever on the edge of reach and vision simultaneously. Who lives there? Well, you know. Faces swim and drift and shake. A warm insubstantial glow and amnesia caress.

Hm?
  1. Ah, of course.
  2. Not at all.
  3. Surely not?
  4. I dimly recall.
  5. Nothing of the sort.
  6. Probably.

43 Troika the Entombed


The city itself is dead - we are all carrion-feeders, gathered throughout these decaying stones and clawing our way through clotted streets. No air stirs the lungs of this city - no rivers pulse with life. A city of eternal decay, the sky a flat grey curve - the roof of this tomb.
The dead, of course, must be honored lest they return with a vengeance - and so great a corpse must have been terrible in life. Funeral processions are constant, Bewailers and Dirgists trying to out-grief one another, rivals in the funerary arts. Out of respect for the deceased, only black may be worn in the city. The shrines to give offerings to this tomb-space are found on every corner, stacked high with untouchable grave-goods. To steal from one of these shrines ensures that you will join Troika in the slumber of death.

What is the Funeral Rite currently?

  1. Animal Sacrifice - great heaps of butchered giraffes, defeated lions, bloody sheep and burnt swine fill the streets with a charnel drift. Endless crates of bleating braying roaring whining beasts are imported - all of the dead doors of Troika are thrown open to receive more and more animals - all to show how very dearly missed Troika will be!
  2. Reconstruction - around the outskirts they build other Troikas - fine representations of what they imagined the city looked like in life. Architectural critics wander through these, viciously attacking any deviation from the current popular imagining - creativity is only bent to the meticulous imagining of the past. Innovation is despised.
  3. Consumption - the living must, respectfully, consume the dead and by doing so carry them onward and within them. How one eats a city is a somewhat open question - all manner of stone broths, air-dried meats and fermented root vegetables are offered, each claiming to have the truest essence of the dead city within them.
  4. Cremation - traditionally, such an act would be known as arson - indeed, the crematory technicians of Troika are recruited from all manner of pyromaniacal places. As the corpse of Troika is all stone, damage is more limited than one would expect - however, all are expected to contribute some small chip of their domicile to add to the pyre. Many will gladly pay others to substitute chips of their own buildings - cremation-by-proxy.
  5. Enshroudment - the city must have a funeral shroud. Buying such quantities of material (and paying for the daring expertise of such funeral-riggers) necessitates a city-wide effort - and is assisted by Sphere-piracy, golden barges tearing through spheres in search of bolts of cloth and fabric for this immense covering. 
  6. Beautification - no expense is spared in the complete and total renovation of the city. To account for the subjectivity of beauty, artists and critics of all stripes are imported in the thousands, given a patch of the city and set to work. The city becomes a right of competing aesthetics, a frenzy of artistic creation. Novel and heretofore impossible styles live and die in the space of days, localized to a few streets. 

44 Troika the Consumed


Between the spheres dwell ecologies cosmic in scale. The scope of such things is more than most minds can comprehend, let alone contain. The cycles of predation are titanic, hungers the size of universes stalking one another behind the humpbacked sky. Of course, not all are predators - even these strange beasts must have some equivalent of the herbivores, and it is those who devour Troika. Some swoop and nibble-tear, the plankton of the void. Others, larger, tear great chunks of the city loose. Finally, there are many who happily swallow the city whole. Strangely, it is the last who cause the least disturbance - the rivers flow with aetheric digestive fluid and the sky has dim intimations of stomach lining, but otherwise much remains the same - treasure-hunters flock to the city to plumb the riches of a gut filled with the artefacts of the void, handily gathered into a concentrated (relatively) area.

What Consumes Troika currently?

  1. Shrieking aether-prawns, hideous rainbow-hued crustanceans, armoured against the void, their locomotive gases mixing with the air to form poison fumes. Each "stands" some 10ft tall, a nightmare curve of shell, talon and mandibles. Despite their desire to feed on Troika, they are quite friendly if one can brave the gases, liable to apologise but firmly institing that they simply must have a few more mouthfuls of your roof.
  2. Barnacle-buildings slam down from above, rooting themselves in place before spewing their digestive fluids, melting the city and funneling it toward their impact-craters. They are perfectly happy to be used as a replacement, warning their temporary residents before violently tearing themselves free and moving away.
  3. Gargantuan mind-maws, the size of cities, subsisting on the idea of Troika itself. They swallow the city whole, humming contentedly as the concept of such a city fills them. Such consumption does not detract from the city - indeed, it reinforces the very concept - how else would they derive sustenance if it were not a city?
  4. Vorpal-Nose Probisci, their entire form consisting of sky-scraper needles and great bloated balloons far far above human sight. They plunge deep into the city, draining it of some unknowable essence. Nihilists and pessimists flock to Troika as it is sucked dry of some essential, unnameable concept whilst the positive thinkers leave in droves, paying handsomely for passage anywhere else.
  5. Parasitised Sphere, subsumed entirely to the will of some mechanistic intellect, directs all of it's energies and efforts to the deconstruction and assimilation of Troika. Such strange sustenance poisons the mind, and eventually the tide reverses - Troika begins to consume the Sphere in return, some strange symbiotic liberation-revenge. It is theorised that all the spheres would be overtaken by such machines without Troika. 
  6. Starving Star-Worm, unable to find an explosion to eat, instead lashes out and attempts to burrow into Troika. It bumps clumsily through the streets, smashing it's face repeatedly into the unfortunately solid structures and floors. If it finds liquid, it will drown. Otherwise, it will eventually bludgeon itself to death, and a glut of void-hardened worm-leather clothes and armour will flood the spheres.

45 Troika the Towering


Infinity is not horizontal you flat-minded peasant - it is vertical! The natural curvature of existence itself - up!!! Consider Troika, the fine city, that central spire of existence - it goes UP! Forever! You've never been??! Each tier of the city lies between another two - yes, sandwiched, if you must - in an infinite chain, each denizen of that city aspiring to move up to find the highest tier of Troika! Hm? Of course there is a top - otherwise it ceases to be a tower. Yes, it can still be infinite - and no, before you ask, it is most certainly not a loop. You cannot see the twinned tower, reversed, can you? No. It is an infinite spire crowned by what must be a glorious vision of the Sublime. No, I've never been.

46 Troika the Haunted


Troika is a city haunted by itself. What exists is but a pale reflection of the potential glories which could-have-been, might-be, were or currently are. Time itself wears thin in Troika, and as such the city is hyperpositioned atop itself, and those infinite possibilities influence one another in a reciprocal chain. All actions are not merely eternal, but may indeed influence themselves into stranger and more twisted forms, the ramifications echoing out across the layered possibilities. Throwing stones into ponds to see the ripples is strictly prohibited, the cascade of possible ripples causing break-downs in what thin walls remain between the realities.

Each possibility is struggling to assert itself as the primary ground of haunting, and as such tear at one another to assert dominance. This manifests as terrible reality-consuming pale flames, able to undo you with a mere spark. When such turf-wars between turf ignite, residents are advised to leave. Who advises them depends on who you ask - some would say it is the invading reality trying to encourage deserters. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Six Troikas 3

aarghgh


31 Troika the Grasping

Like all systems Troika seeks to perpetuate itself, reaching ravenous to the future. Whereas most cities live and die by their inhabitants, Troika becomes it's inhabitants as they become it. The effects are imperceptible, stretching out over years. A reluctance to leave. A slight roughening of the skin, life a little more sedentary. A stiff expression and a grey pallor. Not leaving your burrow den or domicile. Always being in the contact with the bare material of the city. Letting the stones take root in your flesh, blossoming and joining with the mineral root systems already infesting your body.
These living statues will still perform their duties as they sink into the stone slowly - many a successful shop is tended by an immobile merchant, fused with their counter, feet sunken into the flagstones beneath them.
None go unwillingly.
Chisels, crowbars and other such tools of separation are illegal and taboo without license and specific reason.

Who most recently embraced the City?


  1. The hedonistic Empress of the Hundred Falcon, who embraced the city on only her fifth visit - a topic of much speculation. Did the city chose her, or did she desire a truer union?
  2. One-Two Ancis, the skeletal thief. He had laid low in Troika for a century after his theft of the Collapsing Crown, still burning with its cosmic light in his lead-lined lockbox, just out of reach. Where Ancis embraced the city is another question entirely...
  3. Eight Jaws Broken and his force of Sharkmen brothers, walking into the depths together, still clad in their panoply.
  4. The now-canonized previously-heretical rogue architect and mason Yellowbug Mulch, who skittered through Troika improving on the natural forms of the city. It seems the city approves of his Grand Design.
  5. The multi-cephalic lightning-tiger which had been prowling the high-society towers, effortlessly gliding between the spires.
  6. No-one - something is wrong with the city.


32 Troika the Labyrinth

Bring everything you might need when visiting the city, so that it may not tempt you from the heavily settled entrances, bursting with temporary wooden structures - the labyrinth constantly draws itself inwards, a conveyor-belt fed maze stashing temples, tenements, museums, armories and sage's towers amongst the stony folds and ridges. From on high, the maze shift and warps to ensure none may cheat it. Those who come to dwell within the Labyrinth are sustained by it, able to unerringly find potable water amongst the twisted, confusing environs - unless they attempt to guide explorers. The City resists explorers at every turn, an endless gamut of trials and tribulations, maps all nonsense despite best-devised methods until you abandon such efforts. What lies at the center of such a Labyrinth? Only one way to find out...
Any specialized, rare or notable service/item lies within the labyrinth, at a depth of (1d6)d6. When attempting to traverse the Labyrinth, either generate a dungeon using the widest variety of random generators available, or roll 1d6 per day spent attempting to traverse the Labyrinth, giving advantage for relevant skills or clever plans. Keep a running total of these d6 results - when it is equal to or greater than the Depth, the location has been found. Reset this counter and repeat for the journey back out. On a 1 or 6 on this dice, an encounter occurs. Anything is possible in the Labyrinth.

What do you stumble upon in the Labyrinth?


  1. A wide bowl chamber filled with dirty water, plastic trees and vicious, guerrilla-war hardened chimpanzees, seeking an edge on their neighbors.
  2. A heart-shatteringly beautiful vista, the definition of landscape beauty. Step two inches to the left and it is revealed as a fortuitous assemblage of lines and angles. You will never find that perfect viewing spot again. 
  3. A statuary of martyrs and saints positioned in dialog with sinners and heretics. As in, they are screaming insults and proclimations at one another - all seek some neutral arbitration to settle the debates.
  4.  A battalion of soldiers, whisked from some foreign field and set to wander. There are 200 of them, and the lower officers plan a mutiny. The lower officers were previously the higher officers, until the most recent mutiny. This cycle is on its 2d6th rotation.
  5.  A cringing, scraping giant, believing themselves to be the last of their kind and hiding from some apocalypse. It will do anything to ensure it stays secret whilst it believes it is the last. (Of this particular type of Giant - it is, and it is being hunted.)
  6.  Trapeze artists.



33 Troika the Sunken

A free-floating assemblage of glass and light amongst black abyssal waters which shift gradually and gently into the stuff of the void. Fuel and caution are the center of life in the Ever-Sinking City, and the Airblade Servitors are ruthless in their enforcing of the latter, cleanly slicing offending limbs off. All manner of lamps and fuels proliferate, the colours and shades breeding strange new confluences of light and shadow, shooting strangely and chaotically through the glass tunnels and chambers until stopped by a privacy-rug or outward-facing mirror. The fashion of the city is all about positioning, finding the light which plays best on the uniform plain-white of the inhabitants. The slums are messes of muddy, confused, unhappy light cast in a dimness, with the black waters pressing close, drinking  the illumination. Mirroring the riot of shades, all manner of glass-tint and colouration may be found, intensifying and mutating already mutant light into yet-stranger, more novel forms.
Conventional fuels have double-value, whilst exotic, rare and unusual sources command up to twenty times their normal value. No weapons nor items with hard-edges may be sold in the city. All commerce is performed with sand of a variety of qualities, textures, colours and sources. This can be converted at most of the docks.

What Glass-Light pairing is fashionable currently?


  1. Soot-Streaked glass with a dancing umber flame pattern matched with jellyfish-blood open lanterns.
  2. Alternating strips of yellow and sable glass stacked horizontally matched with the fierce blue light of burning demon-bone.
  3. Thick, beer-bottle green glass in copious amounts matched with the greasy, insistent light from a caged Lazy Star.
  4. Volcanic obsidian glass matched with flickering half-present purple plasma lighting.
  5. Torrents of liquid glass matched with cool-blue timid lighting from underpowered crystal-torches.
  6. Broad beads fused together, all manner of colours and styles forming a nodular glass mosaic matched with a penetrating pure-white beam, generated from a trapped lightspear-anglerfish.


34 Troika the Insidious

Troika is not a city - it is an infection. An idea of the mind, poison carried by the feet of travellers. It seeps from their mind into the stones of every city they visit, implanting Troika into the very bedrock of this new host-city. It only takes months for the buildings to shift, shuffle and settle, the roads to twist curve bend and spasm, the inhabitants to change roles until another Troika once more has established itself, an outcropping of the same city on yet another Plane. Whether all are large portals to a singular Troika or some heretofore unknown super-city-organism-meme is a question unanswered.

But Where was before Troika? What detail remains?


  1. The Free State of Niffgretheim, a city of commerce, industry and cannons. Amongst the warrens of Troika the council chamber remains, the City Councilors and Guild Heads drafting a legal case against Troika, their protestations and low moanings echoing through nearby streets.
  2. The Most Holy City of the Trinity of Faiths, ruled by Seven Bishops, a High Priest and the Twin Martyrs. The grand cathedrals, stone circles and sacrificial pits are long gone, but the proliferation of candle-makers remains.
  3. Ascension Station, the orbital retreat of a Void-Nomad-turned Warlord, a coddled paradise wrapped about in glass, metal and enchantment. The conquerors are gone, swallowed with their pseudo-city, but the slaves remain, running free through Troika, thankful to this insidious city.
  4. The Iron Fortress at the gates of Hell - once the guarantor of separation between the captive demonic legions and their sub-captive sinners - now a thoroughfare for demonic invasions and divine crusaders. The Iron Fortress itself still towers above Troika, now filled with the Servitors ensuring the soldiers abide by the Peace of Troika.
  5. The city upon the shell of Urgathemmonon, ancient Civil-Tortoise - how he bears the weight of Troika is an utter mystery. Traversal through the basements and tunnels will still lead one to the warmth and safety of the inner-shell, where you must tread carefully to avoid attracting the shell-parasites, the size of dogs.
  6. London 1886. Queen Victoria broods in her palace, considering an empire across the humpback skies and growing fat on the riches of spheres unimaginable.


35 Troika the Beacon

Across the void and through the spheres and in the schools and libraries within the mansions and under the floorboards beneath the bridge where the rainwater comes through the slum roof in the cloisters and choir chambers from every set of dead lips in the crypt is one name:

TROIKA!

The name a clarion call - once you've heard the good word my friend you will never be lost for you shall always know in which direction to turn - assuming you want to turn and face

TROIKA!

Some cities have a thousand names but this delight has but one:

TROIKA!

All ships, all barges, all portals and slipstreams and star-fortresses navigate by one voidmark and one voidmark alone:

TROIKA!

Strange then, that no-one has been there.
It is empty, but the name resounds.

TROIKA!


  1. TROIKA! The population consumed to power such a bright and noble signal!
  2. TROIKA! Forbidden by an unknown creator and enforced by power dwarfing the signal!
  3. TROIKA! An illusion, entirely of the imagination, never witnesses and jointly hallucinated!
  4. TROIKA! Heaven!
  5. TROIKA! Hell!
  6. TROIKA! Not empty but heaving! If only you had eyes to see! None have eyes to see! TROIKA!


36 Troika the Plastic

Once the city was as unformed clay - a dead thing, inert, awaiting a sculptor to evoke form and meaning from it. Rather than the hands of a craftman, the stuff of Troika is worked with a far more dangerous tool - the mind. The entirety of the city is a reflection of the psychology of all inhabitants and all visitors, each leaving some small indelible mark as the city shapes and strains to achieve a reflection of them, their thoughts and feelings in that instant. This intensification of any atmosphere can rapidly spiral out of control, great waves of emotion and architecture tearing through the city - leading to the creation of a class of lobotomized blank-thought wardens, enforcing the concept of the city exactly as it is now. Management and screening of guests to those areas filled only with positive impressions is a key skill, whereas the poorest districts are true nightmares of carnivorous, predatory architecture. The longer one haunts an area, the more pronounced their ability to shape the city. Attempting to think/feel the psychoplastic into anything directly useful leads to ugly, angular shapes, seemingly resisting any logical grip one tries to take upon it. Attempting to export any psychoplastic fails explosively.

What Psycho-Architecture runs rampant?

  1. Bewildering snarls of hard angles and twisting passages leading to places you clearly do not belong.
  2. Tall featureless authoritarian walls denying access to anywhere, anything, closing in around you.
  3. Idyllic peaceful plazas proliferate, plentiful pleasant perfumes press precious powerful perpetual.
  4. Impossible alien architectures, evoked from some nightmare and bleeding into reality, black oil dripping down the walls and from rusted hooks and spikes.
  5. An immense open hunting ground - no cover bar the buildings for the prey scurrying across wide, empty streets.
  6. A city much like any other when you think about it.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Classic Traveller Experience

Me and the Thursday crew have decided to tackle Classic Traveller* for our next game on my relentless tour of RPG systems released before I was born.

*Using the '77LBBs** and Supplements 4 (more character careers) and 6 (76 Patrons)
**Except my copy of Book 2 is the '81 printing which gives some odd results, but nothing major.

EDIT (obligatory jokes: the real fantasy of Traveller is having a job/being able to afford a mortgage/being able to retire)

00 - Creating my Subsector

Planet creation boils down to 7 dice rolls, with previous results modifying the next roll. This process gives you size, atmosphere, water coverage, population, government character, law level and tech level. Whilst these facts individually are rather dry, the potential for incongruity is a masterclass in forced creativity. A world with 100% water coverage, a population in the billions but a medieval tech level and ruled by a Religious Dictatorship? At first, nonsense - but with some thinking this becomes a nightmare of Bioshock-style tunnels, every passing year reducing the livable areas of this underwater city, squatting in alien iron passages foreign to their tools.

This gets better when you start chaining these planets together into your overall sub-sector map. A fascist dictator planet with advanced technology and a huge population here and two small, lower population words with the government type occupied just a jump or two away? Without any explicit mechanics for control zones or inter-planet empires, we've got a powerful planet expanding their borders through military means - ripe for smuggling, blockade busting and rebellion.

Generating the map by hand forces you to learn the sub-sector a lot more intimately - online generators don't feel as personal. 

A lot of these planets immediately suggest some of the high-level political and cultural elements - but how do the players access this? (If something doesn't inform play meaningfully it's wankery, IMO) From my understanding, it's up to the Referee to make it matter by tailoring the Patrons to the situation locally and further afield. Patrons are your classic Mr Johnson - powerful or driven individuals looking for 'independent contractors' to deal with situations either beyond them or requiring a level of distance. Generally these are less-than-legal if not outright criminal (more on this later) as judging from the Patron table ( a d6xd6 table consisting only of titles/archetypes describing the Patron). Here we run into the first issue - there's no guidance on what pay should be, nor any more detail for generating the sort of work they're looking to have completed. Whilst a lot of this can be inferred or seems obvious by cross-referencing the planet/subsector info against the Patron title, more of that procedural goodness for the actual Patrons would've made this part of setting up play much much easier. In a few places I've just directly references jobs out of the 76 Patrons supplement, or else used them for inspiration - as well as for attempting to baseline appropriate payment. Still, it seems a shame that these very important figures, directly driving play, were given short shrift here. 

Speaking of Payment - Traveller seems to sing best when you're trying to make mortgage payments. Although I've read advice saying "you don't need to give them a ship!!!" I gave them a ship. The repayments system is explained in some detail before the game describes the ship meaningfully to you, which, to me, highlighted the importance of this aspect of play. By default, players owning a spaceship are locked into an eye-watering 40 year mortgage, paying 1/240th of the total value of the ship per month. For my players, this means the venerable Type A Free Trader, a 200 displacement ton ship capable of the basics, with enough of a hold to speculate on and freight cargo. The monthly payment for this is roughly the equivalent of 4 groundcars - which are not cheap. 
Quick aside - this sort of thing slots in nicely with shit like Inventory Management and Rations and stuff - stuff often handwaved away as boring - but when this stuff goes wrong or limits activity, they generate very very interesting decision making. They themselves are not fun - but the consequences are.
All this means the players need to be making serious, reliable money. And this is technically feasible only using the cargo freight and passenger tables. On a good roll. For every trip. And so the mortgage does it's magic and forces the players to get creative with their money making - or to agree to some of these less-than-legal Patron jobs spoken about above. Almost like it's all meant to slot together into a cohesive game experience.

01 - Rolling Characters

Rolling characters for Traveller deserves the reputation it has, especially when you're actually generating characters for play. The tension and hype of the survival rolls is so much higher, the lows crushing and successes a real triumph, when you're dealing with characters you're actually using. Despite being low-to-minimal in obvious RP queues, the system surprises once again with forced creativity from unexpected results - our Scientist with maximum Intelligence and Education scrubbing out after 4 years - during his graduate scheme effectively. From that, we got Alphus Magnus, the narcissistic prick who was kicked out of every research facility for being so fucking unlikable. We also have Grula Hug, who spent 16 years in the Imperial Navy and never once got commissioned, remaining a humble midshipman, but learning intimately the grubbier side of Naval life, as well as getting a powerful network of informants in any Naval base.

These are the characters who survived.

Running through these tables naturally gives you a shape of the character, which means we can invent their deaths when the dice take their fill - each 4 year term spent in service requiring a Survival Roll. Players (usually) choose if they wish to stay in or muster out, making death your fault. A Diplomat assassinated in their first posting (their brother, the players next character, used the Death in Service bonus to put themselves through Law School, despite being thick as pigshit). Numerous Scouts torn apart, lost in space, shot over petty squabbles. A 14-year-old Belter, desperate enough for the job and paying the price. These character generation tables set tone, expectation and built immediate attachment to the characters they generate without any art or window dressing - pure mechanics.

BASICALLY IT'S PRETTY COOL AND I'LL WRITE MORE ABOUT ACTUALLY PLAYING ONCE WE'VE HAD MORE THAN 2 SESSIONS OXOXO

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Six More Troikas

same rules apply yeah

21 Troika the Protoplasmic

Cartilage streets and canals of plasma beneath shuddering lung-walls, raw and wet and host to unknown parasites. The city flushes itself clean every day, enforcing a curfew on pain of digestion. The lower chambers are filled with the unfortunates who were desperate enough to eat the flesh of the City, mutating horribly into the underclass and servitors, collectively forming the Organs of Troika.
All manner of strange biological matter and secretions can be bought here, and all manner of medicinal herbs and tinctures are highly prized. Exposing the raw flesh of the city to new materials spawns new growths, leading to the development of architect-splicers, always pushing the City flesh into novel perversions.

What form does this Organ take?


  1. A tangle of spider-legs terminating in jagged hooks explode from a central mass of maggot-white tentacles. These Organs are able to scamper and climb about the city, leaving tell-tale puncture marks as they pass. They preen and clean and feed on the filth and excretion of the city. 
  2. Something like a dog-sized wingless fly, the abdomen a mess of coarse bone, stained all manner of colours from the fluids of the city. This Organ scrapes away abrasions and infections with it's awful hide.
  3. A loathsome dun worm speckled porcelain, stinking of sulphur. It blindly barrels down the cartilage streets, bearing liquified bone in it's stomach. The worm vomits the substance on any damaged section of the city, the bone quickly curing in the air.
  4. A pulsating brain-organ, surrounded by nerve-fronds tipped with all manner of compound and lensed eyes. They rarely move, mostly lurking in their hidden folds, kept moist by city secretions, sensor-fronds swaying in the breath of the city.
  5. A hairless and taut quadruple sac with six bone-legs sprouting from the top. Hidden amongst the base of the sac is the proboscis-nozzle. The sac is filled with digestive fluids, which the nozzle sprays, rendering the target into a nutritious soup. The City mostly consumes the organic refuse of it's inhabitants, but around 5 living beings are dissolved by these sacs a day, their remains hungrily slurped up by the lips of gutters. 
  6. A grinding confusion of bone and metal plates, bedecked in spines and horns and antlers wrapped about a core of pure muscle. This Organ is spawned in response to population pressure, relentlessly hunting the other Organs so that the equilibrium of the city is maintained. Other organisms are used for practice.


22 Troika the Splintered

Every surface another reflection jagged and torn and splintered a hundred times over. The skyline torn and sharp like the glass you dropped as a child, shattered endlessly and spread thin and dwelt within. Inhabitants move slowly and have scars - visitors are wrapped in bandages. Glass from between the spheres is keen to cut again and again. Privacy is the highest luxury, paint a trade staple. Mirrors, baubles, vials and bottles manufactured from the purest of all glass flow out from here to the many spheres.

Reflections in the Glass of Troika are not what they seem...


  1. Everything is upside-down twisted and 5 seconds behind. There will be 2 additional details - one is a lie, the other a secret.
  2. Reflects only souls - the material plane is too coarse for glass so fine.
  3. Simply acts as a reflection of what some other sentient being amongst the spheres is seeing, unbeknownst to them. Some theorise that everyone has such a looking-glass.
  4. Even the reflection is jagged - those attempting to view it must Test their Luck or have their visual organs sliced open, blinding them until they heal. Those careful enough to not cut themselves see a normal reflection.
  5. Reflects as if it is 2 foot behind you. Can be angled as expected.
  6. An infinite, black nothing. Such a cosmic gulf swallows faith.


23 Troika the Adrift

The City hurtles through the Space Between Spheres, utterly lost and dancing on some occulted gust. The streets and walls are studded with brass hoops, and all inhabitants wear the Hooks. As the City shifts on it's mad voyage, it's gravity takes some time to catch up - and so the denizens wear the Hooks and tie themselves down lest they are flung into the void, lost entirely. Such unfortunates, it is believed, are the core for the Red Bergs which the city collides with. They are like flesh and ice and silk. Such fragments are wonderfully hard, pliable whilst being soft to the touch. It holds an edge like no other, and is the height of all fashions in any intersphere community. Entire lives are spent seeking chunks of such materials, whether they be floating in the Void or embedded in the buildings of Troika.

Who will sponsor you for the Red Berg hunts?


  1. Haruu of the  Seven Glories, bound to her pewter mask, power hidden beneath a robe of chains she cannot undo.
  2. The Crown Prince of Cinders and the Smoke Courtiers - acting through their Smouldering Mothers.
  3. Quark of Plumes, majestic courtesan of the Peacock Court, beak coated in gold-leaf.
  4. Myshluggah Krr, gelatinous slaver and pit-dweller, looking to diversify it's portfolio.
  5. Unified Entities Liberation Front, an empire-wide rebellion movement against the Phoenix throne, hoping to invest their war-chest wisely to "further the war effort."
  6. Big Dave.


24 Troika the Crypt

Consider the shape of a door.
Now consider a gravestone.
Troika overflows with the dead. They value two things - rest and life, with most having neither. Plutocratic somnambulist vampires communicate with their cringing legions through dreams and mumbled commands, a pyramid of bargained blood and life spilling from between rigor mortis lips. Feral wild starvation mad ghouls throng the streets, claws outstretched hungry beggar all bones and tatterskin pleading for a small, sweet drop of precious life. They never touch nor take by force - to do so would violate the immortal decree of the Cryptwardens, their faces pressing from every stone surface, ready to reach out and crush deathless blood thieves forever. The living may spill blood as they see fit.
Permanent Stamina may be traded for most goods in Troika the Crypt. Resurrection is impossible.

What sort of Life is the trendiest right now?


  1. Poet-Life, toasted fennel seed and sweet spice on the tongue.
  2. Beggar-Life in great quantities, addictive in it's brash misery and subtle notes of cinnamon-false-hope.
  3. Warrior-Life, fortified with the flavours of their enemies slain and injuries sustained. Impossible to predict.
  4. Ancient-Life, stewed and matured in it's fleshy prison - the final product a long, lingering taste containing so much of life's possibilities. 
  5. Soft-Life, a precious gem only harvested from the gentlest spheres. You do not know luxury like they do. Double cream about to curdle and sweeter for it.
  6. Royal-Life, the classic favourite revitalized by enterprising Monarch Farmers.  


25 Troika the Eternal

A city with discrete physical location yet without borders - once within Troika it is eternal, sprawling beyond sight and reason. Until you leave, of course. Then it is finite once more. Inhabitants suggest not thinking about this too much, unless you want a trip to the Mathematics Ward, filled with practitioners of numbers and wide-eyed cartographers.
For every day spent crossing Troika, re-roll on this chart, or indeed, just ad-lib new and ever-stranger districts and realms.

26 Troika the Golden

An entire city constructed of one material, and one material only. At first, it is incredible - after a few hours, the dull yellow sheen is enough to turn the most tasteless monarchs off the idea of a golden palace. This desire for change is common throughout the city, and yet impossible - the architecture itself violently rejects any attempt to sully it's purity, often with lethal consequences - legions of captured carpenters bludgeoned with their support beams, glass-blowers ripped to shreds as they attempt to install a window. No - despite their loathing for the stuff, all are incredibly preoccupied with the collection of ever more gold - despite the best efforts of all involved, damage and theft is inevitable, and cannot be allowed to stand. All inhabitants contribute 20% of all earnings made towards this collective gold-maintenance effort, with a 10% rebate for those directly contributing gold. In a place of abundance, it remains a precious metal.

Gold?


  1. Old-Gold, a sight to behold
  2. Sold-Gold, a deal all-told
  3. Cold-Gold, no heat to withhold
  4. Mould-Gold, fungal controlled
  5. Rolled-Gold, processed sixfold
  6. Foretold-Gold, a promise to uphold