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

Friday, 3 May 2019

Six Troikas p1

i'll put these up 6 at a time then combine I just want it out of my view whilst I try and get other shit done

All journeys across the humpbacked sky start where they begun. But nothing truly stays the same...

All named characters and locations are represented across all instances of Troika, with memories appropriately shifted to reflect the nature of the current instance of Troika.

Whenever a visit to Troika in imminent, roll on the following d66 d6 chart to generate another reflection of Troika. Alternatively, these are some of the districts of the city. Or both simultaneously. Things are hazy.

11 Troika the Smouldering

You emerge amidst an orange-glow carcass, chewed over by Everburning flames visited upon the city centuries ago. A once-rich tradition of appropriated architecture and inspired cultural-fusion is left as so much charred stone, wood and glass. Despite the ruination, it is still the centre of the spheres. Those who perish amongst the flames are endlessly replaced by new wanderers and unfortunates -  and so Troika lives on, an ember of itself.
Goods are bought and sold for twice as much in this desperate place. Everyone is grimmer, less trusting and twice as savage. Effects relating to fire are strictly forbidden, as they call to their Everburning cousins. Those able to wield cold or tame fire are treasured, forming churches, gangs and guilds around their skills.

Who released the Everburning Flame?
(1 in 6 Chance this is public knowledge - otherwise it is suppressed/forgotten. Perhaps the home of the flames holds the key to extinguishing them? Doing such is sure to reap benefits...)

  1. Soldiers of the Chiliarch.
  2. Screaming half-things from the dead rocks orbiting the Black Suns, slicing through the sky in their knifecraft.
  3. Poorly Made Dwarves attempting to show their worth, accidentally succeeded.
  4. A courtier of a self-proclaimed ruler of Troika wanted to give a gift sure to grant favour, and sent adventurers to scour all the spheres.
  5. A shadow-Troika, forgotten and abandoned to all but the most wretched and miserable, sent their kind regards to their straight-limbed cousin.
  6. No-one. Just one of those things that happens, innit.


12 Troika the Conquered

Foreign banners fly from every window. Every sigil of the old regime has been or is being destroyed, covered up or covertly hidden by sympathetic agents. A tension in the air is rife, as the variformed denizens of Troika eye up their new overlords. Patrols of soldiers meander, get lost and reappear throughout this multidimensional warren. How to control a place such as Troika? Force exerted here could be dispersed anywhere across the spheres...

Who has conquered Troika? What are their methods?

  1. Clattering metallic smoke-belching insects glowing red-and-green from their infernal internal engines. They lurk above Troika in some hypothetical pocket dimension, descending on rusted chains to abduct those who speak of the previous regime, or of the agonized wailing that echoes from the palace. Things otherwise continue as normal.
  2. The Man-Beast legions of the Phoenix Throne in another doomed attempt to hold Troika as the capital of their empire. The Autarch has yet to transfer to their new capital, but the many aristocrats and court hangers-on are eagerly transferring. There is much work to be done, ferreting out resistance and clearing out undesirables. Exotic goods previously unavailable to these aristocrats have skyrocketed in price, and plummeted in availability. 
  3. The Travelling Things Hospitality group, seemingly a band of populist travellers who demand the luxuries of Troika for any wanderer amongst the spheres - in actuality, they are are a conglomerate of all inter-sphere inns, taverns, hotels, travelling lodges and other such forms of temporary accommodation, seeking to corner the ultimate market, the hub in the wheel of travel - Troika. Everything is double the price, but otherwise things tick along smoothly.
  4. A single, vaguely humanoid figure, seemingly with the ability to appear anywhere and everywhere. It is immobile, a steel mummy, orbited by countless marble limbs. It seemingly knows of all plans to depose of it, and appears there to destroy such conspirators. Beyond destroying those who plot against it, it seems to have no plans.
  5. The takeover was slow and insidious. They took over those in power slowly, converting them one by one into puppets to their greater scheme, before they struck! Now we live under their yoke...but who is amongst them? And who is safe? How do we know? All allies and contacts will refuse contact until you can prove you're not one of Them. Apart from the acute atmosphere of paranoia, things are relatively normal - for Troika.
  6. The League of Spheres Divided has conquered Troika with their mongrel armies. They wish to see each sphere left to it's own devices, without the meddling of wanderers, vagabonds and intersphere empires. To achieve this, they plan to destroy Troika, the hub of all such travel. How they plan to achieve this is somewhat less concrete. Soldiers attempt to send people "back to where they came from", but overlapping jurisdictions and primitive bureaucracy make these efforts farcical. 


13 Troika the Fortified

Every building bristles in weapon and armour - sweeping arches doubling as guillotines, roof mounted lenses focussing the dire light of Black Suns, crossbow-automata skittering over leaden tiles - truly, the city of infinite access is defended from all angles, and against all comers - as well it should.
Arms and Armour in this Troika are at half-price from their abundance, but movement is restricted and slowed down by the endless fortifications and false-streets ending in dead-ends. Opportunities for ambush abound, and any given location can be observed - if one knows the right place to watch from. Natives of Troika have no such issues moving around.

What is the current paranoia in Troika? What Defences are in vogue as a result?


  1. Tunnelling horrors from below. Buried plasmic cores with feeler-tendrils stretching out in all directions, ready to explode...
  2. Magically altered super plagues delivered by bat. Ruthless doctor-automatons collect samples of any novel lifeforms or disease. Huge nets strung over streets to catch bats.
  3. Golden Dreadnoughts punching through the sky. Knifecraft crewed by feral pirates, kept chained and hopped up on all manner of powdered crystal and slug-secretions, the boats unshackled once the Dreadnoughts come...
  4. Dragons. Harpoon cannons manned by abducted dragon-slayers from across the spheres. There are never enough dragon-slayers.
  5. Ceramic tripods piloted by conglomerate-beasts, all tentacles and teeth. Pairs of roof-top runners with rope.
  6. Orcs. Gatling-fusils.



14 Troika the Narcotic

Dreams and nightmares drift on the wind, borne as the smoke of unknown herbs harvested from the deepest reverie of opium-prophets and somnorific-poets. The city is hidden and shifts in a drift of psychomimetic visions laced with ecstatic peaks and shattering lows from the _other_ side of sobriety. Nothing may be trusted amongst the aristocracy of the stoned.
Unsurprisingly, all manner of drugs may be found here, with prices kept at about average due to availability meeting demand. Not partaking in whatever a hosts substance of choice may be is considered a major social gaffe. The sober are not to be trusted.

What is the new fad-substance? What does it do?


  1. Crushed bones of Yellow Well-Swelling Lizards, snorted. Causes both body and mind to flucate in size chaotically, giving a real sense of perspective. Causes some to go entirely bald.
  2. The parasitic fungus which grows exclusively on the brains of stunted gods. Mixed into syringes and injected into the eyes, allows third, fourth and fifth sight, as well as an intensely powerful aphrodisiac. Can result in budding godhood or violent mutations.
  3. Beard-hairs trimmed from the Hebetudinous Emperor, who has never shaved (nor indeed moved) in his two-thousand year reign. When smoked, one has visions of terrible apocalypses visited upon the locale of the smoker. The popularity comes from the belief that any such vision can never come true - meaning the more of the beard is smoked, the safer Troika the Narcotic can slumber.
  4. Crystallised light emitted from a tamed Black Sun. When dissolved on the tongue, allows the imbiber to remake all decisions in their life-to-date in an extended trip, all details and ramifications being entirely accurate. Prized by the Calculators of the Merchant Guilds.
  5. Boiled void-barnacles scraped from the hull of Golden Barges. When the broth is drunk and the barnacles chewed, the imbiber is able to rend all veils with a mere thought. What this practically means depends entirely on the imbiber's definition of veils.
  6. Smoked eyes from the Many-Sighted-Polyps which roam the void between the spheres. When eaten, gives a euphoric body-high followed by intense paranoia which always has a grain of truth. Whether it was true prior to consuming the Eyes is a matter of conjecture amongst narcoscholars. 


15 Troika the Crumbling

The decrepit city, older than time and showing it. Every stone is worn to a sphere, every street moans and warps under the weight of history. Every building has had names to fill annals rivalling the oldest empires. There is nothing new to this crumbling metropolis. Of course, such a storied city has had plenty of time to forget.
Amongst the ancient streets can be found forgotten artefacts, spells, species, spheres, thought frameworks and philosophies. These can be traded as curios within Troika or exported as relics to younger spheres.

What is the latest archaeo-architectural find?


  1. An entire army, sent to conquer Troika but instead lost and forgotten amongst the ancient buildings. They have converted themselves into tour-guides of their own failed military campaign, explaining their weapons and uniform with all the right anachronisms. 
  2. A hollow stone statue of an eight-armed fly-headed figure. The back opens up into a negative-space miniature replica of the city itself. 
  3. The First Teapot. The location of the first Teacups remains a mystery, and the Pot is near useless without them.
  4. Virulent, nihilistic anti-natalism. The view was incredibly popular, especially amongst the nobility of the time. It was forgotten when the adherents unsurprisingly ran out of converts. 
  5. A tremendous lance of crystal, seemingly pinning the city to the firmament. Operations to mine it and sell trinkets have already begun.
  6. A catacomb of stillborn Troikas, a lightless sub-realm of dead, empty, stunted cities stacked neatly.


16 Troika the Cultivated

From every wall a riotous blooming of impossible frondescence beneath arborescent heights bedecked in fruits beggaring belief. There are no stone buildings - everything is shaped from the living plants themselves. Only outsiders bring metal, stone, fur and meat. Different districts of the city take on different characters as the climates dramatically shift to allow a greater variety of flora. The servitors of the city are all equipped with scissors, watering cans and fertilizer, endlessly tending to the Garden Among the Spheres.
Any novel or heretofore unknown plant samples are richly rewarded in this Troika, as any may climb the social trellis through the formal gifting of such a sample to the city itself.

What Troubles the Garden Among the Spheres?


  1. Infestation of Xanthous Aphids - they have the potential to utterly destroy the city. Insects are usually easily dispatched by the Servitors - Xanthous Aphids have the annoying ability to burrow into pocket dimensions when threatened.
  2. Major trade dispute with the Sphere of Incalculable Azure Depths, the exclusively supplier of fresh water to the city. Rumours swirl this is deliberate sabotage by the Prince of Thorns, jealous, gnarled and wooden.
  3. The Garden of Ineffable Wisdom and Serenity threatens Troika's position as the premier garden-sphere. A legion of agents are being dispatched to resolve this - in both directions. Opportunities abound for work.
  4. Due to time mismanagement, the Neural Network Fungus has been allowed to achieve sentience again. It plans to use it's burgeoning intelligence (directly correlated with physical mass) in a court case demanding citizenship for all sub-sentient plantlife. There are two main solutions being pursued - delves into the deadly Court Records to find some legal precedent, or taking out the Fungus. Of course, the fungus has a legion of bleeding-heart supporters.
  5. An over-keen denizen of Troika accidentally gifted the Chameleonic Leaf Warping Orchid, disguised as a chartreuse Fractal-Poppy. These Orchids aggressively parasitise other plant-life, converting it into more of the Orchid. Whilst the patsy has been punished appropriately, the hunt is still on for the unknown natural predator of the Chameleonic Leaf Warping Orchid.
  6. The mechanical moon system has failed, leaving all of the multiple moons and their arcane system of mirrors locked in the void. Whomever can make the journey out there to identify and rectify the problem is sure to be rewarded by the night-blooming quarters. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Home Again - Horror Scenario



Quick notes -

SIU - Special Investigations Unit. Delta Green, FBI, whatever.

Trace minerals as in the exact mineral constituents of a human being.

Key to making this weird is there are obvious signs of a previous investigation once the characters begin for the "second" time - from the players perspective this is the first time. Just to reiterate - BEGIN PLAY NORMALLY FROM THE RED ARROW, DO NOT PLAY OUT ANYTHING ABOVE THE RED ARROW

Memetic memory loss as in - you forgot, and anyone talking to you about the thing also forgets.

Up to you how the house attempts to consume/deal with them. Weaponised architecture feels cool, but equally architectural antibodies or something weirder. Go nuts.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Patreon IS FOR MEGADUNGEONS

made a patreon because founder rates

might as well try and work out what to do with it?

PATREON IS FOR MEGADUNGEONS

MEGADUNGEONS?

MEGADUNGEOSN

https://www.patreon.com/lukegearing

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Hotel Checklist - Horror & Investigative Resource

If a Person of Interest is/was staying in a hotel, here is what my players said they'd want to know - this is good to know for prep/writing purposes. BONUS is other stuff they said for general missing persons cases just as a freebie

  • Front of Desk Information
    • Any requests? Phone calls to the room?
    • CCTV access?
  • Cleaners
    • Anything unusual? Kept any of the rubbish?
  • Hotel Room
    • Footprints - wet/dry? mud? leaves?
    • Bed used? Made?
    • Bin Contents
      • Previous Bin Contents
    • Room Safe
    • Hotel bible used?
    • Hotel alarm clock - alarm set? When?
    • Hotel phone used?
      • Pencil rubbing of phone pad?
    • Bathroom
      • Recently Used?
      • Toiletries?
    • Any clothing, books, luggage etc brought by individual in question
    • Electronic device browser history?
  • BONUS - Gun/Fishing/Hunting/Driving Licence
  • BONUS - Credit Card Information?
  • BONUS - Think about Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc
Got any more you'd want to see written up as a GM? Stuff you want to know as a player?