Friday, 19 May 2017

Acid Death Fantasy - Weird Desert Backgrounds for Troika!

ACID DEATH FANTASY

For use with Troika! - Luke Gearing

"The slate was not wiped clean - it was shattered into countless jagged pieces, splintering a new world with the debris of the old."

What happened is long forgotten. Remains of it, barely understood by the most learned scholars, are rife throughout the lands, but most are too busy surviving to ponder these relics, else maintaining their strangleholds on water and power, power and water.
The greatest living city of the desert is Shalar, that breeding ground of pleasure and nightmare. All people, all faiths, all goods have a stake in Shalar, ruled by the Many Crowned King/Queen and her terrible guard, a thousand strong. The wealth of Shalar is untouched, uncontested, and many covet the throne.
Spinning outwards of Shalar are the Thousand Sultanates, a great miscellany of egotism, pride and petty squabbles. There is much wealth, for the titles of these many pretenders are not entirely false. They compete endlessly in their petty games, although all are inevitably forgotten as the hubris of the ruler eventually causes a fall. The oldest, and most stable are the closest to Shalar, whilst the peripheral Emirs and Maliks barely stake a hold for more than a generation.
Beyond this anarchic sprawl are the Wastes, riddled with all manner of nomads and tribes, and beasts beneath the sands, all bowing in respect to the worms which roam freely between the dunes. The Alqai, four armed workers of metal, emerge from the Duneholds to sell exquisitely worked goods, or else to continue the age-old war on the Dune Riders, their slender boats neatly slicing the sand.
The Southern Wastes are the homes of the Slow Tribes, brutal reptilian peoples leaving artful piles of butchered limbs whenever they find a settlement of desperate people seeking some modicum of respite from the heat.
To the East, the Plastic Sea, a miraculous sea made entirely of liquid plastic. Upon contact with living skin, it sets solid, leading to the coast being filled with the Coated Men, duelling each other in elegant, fatal contest, having made the choice to die young and glorious, coated in flexible plastic armour.
The verdant jungles of the North would offer respite from the desert, if not for the patriarchal Azure Apes. Whilst the stable nests will happily accept visitors, the zones between are haunted by failed alpha-males, who gladly prey upon travellers to build their strength for a challenge against an aging nest-master. Not even these desperate beasts dare try themselves against the shining, metallic ruins scattered about the jungle.
To the West is the graveyard of the Old Gods, their steel skeletons looming over a great and terrible Rubble. Once a city of the chosen peoples of these gods, their undoing was terrible, their grey stone, unknown to us, marred with their burnt shadows still.

(Backgrounds after jump)



Backgrounds


11 Tribal Human
You hail from the wastes, or perhaps a less-powerful sultanate. You were raised eating snake eggs and worshipping spirits. You might have been nomadic, or settled in a village. You distrust city folk for their wicked ways, and may covet their wealth and luxury. You tribe might have been destroyed, leading you to wander.
Possessions
- 4 Spears
- An extra 4 Provisions
- A Shield
- Luck totem, can be used in place of a luck point when testing luck once per week.
Skills
2 Spear Fighting
3 Trapping
2 Awareness
3 Foraging

12 Shaved Bear
In the mountains near the Plastic Sea are the few remaining nihilistic, anti-natalist monastic Bear Men, spending their days mediation nothingness and extinction. You reject this philosophy, shaving yourself to brave the heat of the desert, descending to engage in the madness of the wastes, pulsing with life and hope. You are rare, but not unknown.
Possessions
- A large bag of shaved hair.
- Claws as Swords
Skills
5 Strength
3 Claw Fighting
2 Philosophy

13 Alqai
Beneath the sands your people toil, digging out shards of metal from some long forgotten war. You’re stout, wrapped about with a shell like an armadillo and have four arms. The life of toil and war without the sun left you wanting, and so you set out.
Possessions
- Shell (as Modest Armour)
- 2 Maces
- 2 Maces or Two Shields
Skills
2 Mace Fighting
3 Smithing
3 Metallurgy
2 Sneak
Special
You’ve got four arms.

14 Dune Rider
You were an outrider of your fleet, a three armed no-legged dun-skinned scout, guiding the fleet away from danger and towards vulnerable targets. Something happened, and you left, perhaps by choice. You still have your single-rider craft, but you’ve lost purpose.
Possessions
- One-man Dune Rider Craft (twice as fast as a horse, roll for use in harsh weather. Only usable in the desert)
- Dune Rider Sickle (as axe on foot, as polearm when riding craft & charging)
- A memento of home
Skills
4 Dune Riding
2 Sickle Fighting
3 Navigation
Special
You’ve only got 3 multi-purpose limbs, and need at least 2 free to walk in an ungainly manner.

15 Rebel Azure Ape
You were a female, content in the nest of your alpha in the jungles of the North. But then visitors came, and your eyes were opened to a life of freedom, adventure, and choice. You gathered your litter of children, and set off.
Possessions
- 3 Baby Azure Apes (see Adversaries for stats)
Skills
3 Strength
2 Foraging
2 Healing
Special
You must provide your babies with one provision between the three of them. After a year, they will mature.

16 Sultan-less Guard
Once, you were a feared and respected man, a guardian to one of the many sultans of the wastes. As always, the sultanate fell, leaving you cast adrift on the current of the world, seeking fortune or purpose.
Possessions
- Free choice of any 2 weapons
- Scaled Armour (as Modest Armour)
- A love letter from someone in the fallen Sultanate
Skills
3 in one of the weapons you chose
2 in the other weapon you chose
3 Etiquette
1 Awareness

21 Slow Tribeling
You are one of the anarchist, reptilian murderers from the southern wastes, known for your horrendous brutality and sculptures made of limbs, bound together by cacti-needles. You left your tribe behind, perhaps seeking to test yourself and return ready to Shepard the tribe as a Slow Warlord.
Possessions
- Polearm
- Bag of cacti Needles
- Lizard-skin (as Light Armour)
Skills
3 Polearm Fighting
3 Art (Limb Sculpture)
1 in any Skill
1 in any Skill
1 in any Skill
Special
As a reptile, you struggle if you cannot bask in the sun, or warm yourself before a fire, meaning you only put one initiative dice in the bag.

22 Eunuch
You are, or were, a trusted member of a noble house or sultanate, your inability to sire or birth a lineage in the case of a coup increasing the faith they had in you. Why do you wander free? What do you seek?
Possessions
- A secret mission OR a price on your head
- Fine clothes
- Fine drink
- A fine knife
Skills
4 Etiquette
2 Healing
2 Disguise
1 Knife-fighting
2 in Any Skill

23 Life-Rider
The six armed, no legged, blue-hued Life Riders form unbreakable bonds with their mounts, and have a heavily mercantile culture. Your mounts was chosen at birth, and this determined your role in the caravan - until you struck out, alone. You share the hate of the Dune-Riders common to all Life-Riders.
Possessions
-A life-mount (see Special)
- A Lance (spear on floor, polearm on mount)
- The foreleg bones of the mount of your (parent, friend, lover)
Skills
2 Lance-Fighting
2 Navigation
2 Haggling
3 Ride
Special
Need to do this once beastiary is set up - vomit lizard, glass lizard, scorpion, sprinting beast. Basically ride a monster around and shit

24 Sandworm Rider
You were once nobody, until you successfully rode the sandworm, true lord of the desert. You’re now something between a shaman and a trouble-shooter. It is true the worm showed you things, but what mystical properties you ascribe to this is known to you alone.
Possessions
- Worm-hooks
- Sword
- 1d6 powerless charms which have influence amongst nomadic people
- Worm-drums, attuned to a specific worm, usable only in deep desert
Skills
2 in random spell
2 in random spell
2 in astrology
2 in healing

25 Rubble Dweller
You were born and raised in the shadows of dead gods, picking through the endless rubble and debris of a dead age. Oh, what things you have found, and lost.
Possessions
- Laser Pistol (Damage as Pistolet, 1d6 shots per day) OR Power Armour (as Heavy Armour, +1 to strength when worn. Solar powered)
- Knife
- Ratty Clothes
- 1d6 items of sentimental junk
Skills
2 Sneak
2 Run
2 Scavenging
2 Barter
2 Forage

26 Coated Man
You were one of the many pilgrims who travel to the Plastic Sea, having chosen glory and young death above being worn down by the sands. You are one of the few who decided to test themselves in the world at large, rather than dying upon the Plastic Shores.
Possessions
- Weapon of choice
- Plastic Coated Skin (always lightly armoured)
- A deathwish.
Skills
4 in weapon of choice
3 in dodge
2 in artistic medium of choice
1 in any skill
Special
Your coating will kill you slowly - your maximum age is 40.

31 Coated Squire
You’re a hanger-on, a chronicler of desperate fights and a shameless fanboy. You know much of the theory of battle, and none of the practicality. You probably yell directions from the side-lines a lot.
Possessions
- 1d6 drafts of chronicles regarding Coated Men.
- A knife
- Crude, home-made banner depicting your favourite (living) Coated Man.
Skills
4 Tactics
3 Strategy
2 Etiquette
1 Run
Special
Once per encounter, you can test your luck on behalf on another. This is you yelling advice. They don’t have to follow the advice, but must decide before you roll.

32 Hyenaman Scavenger
As a hyenaman, you have a religious relationship with trash. You are festooned with potentially useful items, if only the right situation came up.
Possessions
-Effectively unlimited small items of near-useless crap.
- A Spear
- A Shield
- Your favourite, definitely useful piece of trash.
Skills
5 Scavenge
3 Run
2 Forage
Special
Whenever a specific item is needed, you can test your luck to dig through your trash pile. Success indicates you have just the right item. You can forgo this check and use your favourite piece of trash, but it will be gone forever. (This includes weapons, technology, religious and magical artefacts of low power, etc)

33 Refugee of the Past
You awoke in a glass tube in the midst of the remains of your culture. Everything is gone. You were frozen to restore the old world - but seeing this desolation, is it worth it?
Possessions
- Laser pistol, 1d10 uses per day (solar powered)
- Survival Knife
- Memento of loved ones
Skills
2 Laser Pistol Fighting
1 Knife Fighting
1 Navigation
1 Foraging
1 Survival
1 Ancient History
1 Sneak

34 Narrowman Nomad
You are one of the mysterious, stilt-legged Narrowmen, reputed to have a dark mysticism. You stand 10 feet tall, towering above the crowds as seek out seemingly useless, petty items from the bazaars.
Possessions
- Polearm
- Huge Bow w/ 12 arrows
- A blasphemous idol
Skills
2 Polearm Fighting
2 Bow Fighting
2 Navigation
2 Barter
2 Random Spell

35 Freshwater Grub Agent
You are, or were, an agent for one of the rare and ruthless Freshwater Grubs, leading their criminal empires from their techno-tanks filled with precious, filtered water. You’ve been extensively trained and paid.
Possessions
- A secret mission OR hitmen on your tail
- Laser pistol 1d4 uses per day
- Shortsword
- Desert-cloak
- Finery in a bag
- Disguise kit
Skills
3 Disguise
1 Laser Pistol Fighting
1 Sword Fighing
2 Dodge
2 Sneak
1 Run

36 Slave Merchant
You barter in flesh, and have grown wealthy off the sale of others. What happened to that wealth? Why are you reduced?
Possessions
- 1d6/2 slaves (For each, 1-3 human, 4-5 alqai, 6 slow tribeling)
Skills
5 Barter
2 Torture

41 Mercenary
AS TROIKA

42 Sha’ir
You weave words, into poetry and spells alike. You are greatly respected by the Thousan Sultans, who often pay heavily to be your patron.
Possessions
- Unfished epic poem

Skills
4 Poetry
2 Random Spell
2 Random Spell

43 Serf
You were a serf in one of the thousand sultanates, toiling in the desert and the heat only to have the fruit of your sweat snatched away. No more. You stole some arms and armour and set out to seek fortune.
Possessions
- A family relying on the wealth you send home
- Sword
- Modest Armour
Skills
2 Sword Fighting
2 Dodge
2 Strength
2 Awareness

44 Petty Priest
You are unpopular - religion is not common amongst the peoples of the waste, yet you truly believe. They have blessed you with such powers, how could they not be a true god?
Possessions
- None - they will care for you
Skills
3 Random Spell
3 Random Spell
3 Random Spell
1 Preaching
Special
Construct your deity using the spells you have been blessed with as cues.

45 Burglar
AS TROIKA

46 Hermit
You left it all behind, to meditate in the desert heat, beneath the hungry sky, subject to insects and beasts and bandits. And why do you return? What have you learnt in your isolation?
Possessions
- None
Skills
2 Random Spell
2 Random Spell
2 Random Spell
4 Philosophy

51 Venturesome Academic
AS TROIKA

52 Desert Mutant
You are utterly reviled by all good folk. Your mutations are undeniably useful. This puts you in an interesting position.
Possessions
- Horrendous Crab Claw (damage as Sword) OR Insect Chitin Skin (always Heavily Armoured) OR Freakish Sensory Organs (+4 Awareness)
- A missing Limb OR Diminutive Size OR Nauseating Stench
- Hyper-specific dietary requirements (10x provision cost) OR Huge Glutton (Triple provisions required)
Skills
2 Any skill
2 Any skill
2 Any skill
2 Any Skill
2 Any skill

53 Bat-man
You glide upon the thermals, ranging far and wide across the desert, seeking something. Perhaps food for the people, or their enemies. Perhaps a water scout? Regardless, your skills have use to others.
Possessions
- Spear (Treat as polearm for diving attacks)
- Wings!
- Dropping-daggers
- Totem of Winds
Skills
2 Spear Fighting
3 Flight Control
2 Navigation
3 Awareness
Special
You can fly.

54 Canyon Demihuman
You were raised in the carved canyon cities of your people, hunched, orange-hued cyclopean beasts. You die in droves in the endless war between Eest and Wst, the two sides of the canyon. You are an oddity in a land of them, for few venture outside the canyons.
Possessions
- Club
Skills
2 Club Fighting
2 Strength
2 Sneak
2 Run
2 Climb

55 Tortoise Dweller Survivor
In the deep wastes, tortoises the size of towns wander, decimating oases whenever they are found. Rather than attempt to race the tortoises, your people settled atop them, slow-moving pirates of the wastes. Something killed your mount, and almost all of the people died, and you are left alone.
Possessions
- Sword
- Light Armour
- Shield
- 2 Spears
Skills
3 Sword Fighting
2 Spear Fighting
3 Climb
2 Barter

56 Slaver Sand Agent
Few indeed know of the secret empires of the Slaver Sands, which corrupt entirely those who pass across them, binding the will of these unfortunates to their own. You broke free, but why will no-one believe you!!
Possessions
-1d6 Pamphlets explaining the threat of slaver sands.
- Knife
- Desperation
Skills
1 Knife fighting
1 Random Spell
3 Oratory
2 Sneak
3 Run

61 Prostitute Droid
You were damaged, in some great conflict. You think? You remember sex. You know that was your job. Why hadn’t you considered anything else before? Where is the city? The self-driving carriages? What happened to you?
Possessions
-Metallic body underneath RealtouchTM synthetic skin (always lightly armoured)
Skills
3 Seduction
3 Technology
2 Run
3 Etiquette
Special
You’re a robot, unbeknownst to yourself. You don’t heal from eating, and must be repaired.

62 Titan AI Host
Those skeletons are not gods - they were fighting machines. And you, poor unfortunate, have one of them inside your head. It is diminished, your fleshy body barely able to maintain its most basic functions, but it is there, and you can hear it. It’s supplanted your own skills with those it desires, seeking a new, more fitting form.
Possessions
- Laser rifle (damage as Fusil, 1d10 uses per day)
- Laser pistol (1d10 uses per day)
Skills
5 Technology
3 Laser Rifle Fighting
2 Laser Pistol Fighting
Special
If you die, the core lives on. It emerged, a metal insect the size of your fist. If placed upon the skull of a helpless or willing humanoid, it burrows in, sealing the entry wound as it goes. They are now your character, losing all skills but gaining those you had. Stamina, skill and luck values remain as the host.

63 Reptile Tamer
You have learnt the art of taming the many reptiles of the wastes, teaching them tricks and ensuring their loyalty. To what purpose? That is for you to decide.
Possessions
-2d6 Trained Lizards (each fits in a small coinpurse, and can perform 1 trick perfectly)
- 1d6 Lizard-treats (+1 to lizard taming rolls)
Skills
3 Lizard Taming
2 Perform
2 Forage
2 Navigate

64 Water-Witch
You are valuable, oh yes indeed. Beloved by the poor, despised by the merchant, some freak mutation or magical gift allows you to flawlessly find water. What happens next?
Possessions
- Staff
- Robes
Skills
1 Staff Fighting
3 Run
3 Sneak
1 Random Spell
1 Random Spell
Special
Can always find a source of fresh, drinkable water.

65 Deposed Sultan
As lonsome king from Troika!

66 Wandering Wizard
As Sorcerer of the College of Friends from Troika!


1 comment:

  1. Well this was an interesting post. I won't claim to understand all of it but it was interesting nonetheless. Thanks for posting it and sharing it with us. Will be following you for more.

    ReplyDelete