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


made a patreon because founder rates

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




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?

Sunday, 3 March 2019


for Die Broken

Hands all ribbon from the plastic cracking
Graveyard gutted electronics on carpet redder
a thousand bloody strands of copper
Like a halo
Pierce the skin
(Hooks fish wide open maw)
Eyes wider and whiter than ever before
"I feel the universe"


Damage 0
Threat Immediate
Accuracy 0
Toughness 15
Dodge 3
Panic Will[1] 2d10
Hope Will[1] 1

Does not try to attack - opens mouth and tries to transmit the White Signal - 5% chance of success (multiple instances are cumulative - 2 is 10%, etc.)
If heard, Will[3] - failure you are subsumed and taken over for 100 Hours minus Hope. If  you are allowed to insert the wires into your head, you are lost forever. If you are restrained for the entire time, you awaken with no memory.
If you pass the Will save, gain 3d10 Stress and 1d10 Insight.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

die broken horror rpg - UPDATED

v0 because it needs developing and monsters and a starter scenario

maybe if I finish it I'll put it on or something

v1 -

  • redid the mess that was the combat layout
  • removed panic spreading rule
  • added new page Exposure, detailing some scenarios and the mental tol
  • added Alien Organs starter adventure

tl;dr - added some extra material and, most importantly, a starter scenario


Friday, 22 February 2019

Party Morale

obviously use with this - average starting ship would have like 40 odd crew?
Use the same 2-12 morale scale we're all used to.
This becomes the individual morale of any given hireling, as modified for fanatics (+2) and the sane/cowards(-2).  9 is a good base.

Party Dissolves
-2 Fear checks
-1 Fear checks
+1 Fear checks

Fear checks is used generally for anything morale-related which is not directly related to the actual morale value. These also apply to PCs, if you wish.
Party dissolves is the failure-state, will all NPCs leaving or attempting a mutiny.

Stuff that happens, naturally, will change morale.

Whenever a condition below is met, test morale.(And like, whenever seems appropriate to you.)
(If on 12 Morale, roll once - if a 12 is rolled, roll again. On a 8+ this is a failure.)

Death of Hireling
Death of PC
Lost for 2 days*
No Food
No Water
Forced March
Bad Weather for 3 days
Extreme Weather for 2 days
Perceived Betrayal
Iron Rations
*So, test morale for every 2 days you spend lost. Just spending 1 day lost is acceptable. Same for other time-related entries above.

Some things that will increase morale if they are true for a certain length of time:

Minimum length of time
Hot food*
3 nights
Good food**
3 nights
Victory in Battle
Objective in Sight
Journey Home
Rousing Speech
once-off per journey
Alcohol***   Provided
3 nights
“Shore-Leave” in “civilization”
takes 2 nights per 10 members of party

*The issue with hot food is it needs cooking, meaning fire. If done at night/during the evening, increase the number of encounter checks, and any group following the expedition automatically succeed.

**The issue with good food is it is either expensive (5x normal rations) or perishable (50% of Good food rots each week). Normal rations can be made ood using fire and spices, but spices are also expensive - 3x value of ration amount to be spiced for the cheapest spices. [this also makes spices treasure which - hey cool]

***Or whatever culturally appropriate substance.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Merc Teams for Mothership

Roll once and read across OR roll once per table

Secret Mutants
Hostage Recovery
Religious Extremists
Prison-Gang - escaped/ex-cons
Non-lethal only
Only Job We're Good at
Networked into hive-mind
Family Legacy
Hereditary Semi-Chivalric Order
Just a Job
Guerrilla Warfare
All Androids
Pursuing Traitor
Skin impregnated with Vantablack
Special Forces
Bleeding Edge
Gene-modded for Animal Traits

Gear Definitions - the below PLUS any Mission Critical Gear (e.g. explosives, laser cutters, hand welders, etc)
Vacc Suit, Crowbars, Foam Gun, Hander Welder, 1 Laser cutter per Dice of size, Nail Gun, Rigging Gun, First Aid Kit, Electronic Tool Set, Pain Pills,
Vacc Suit, SMG, 1 Combat Shotgun per Dice of size, 1 Frag Grenade per Dice of size,  Revolver, Vibechete, First Aid Kit, Bioscanner, lock-picks, pain-pills,
Vacc Suit, SBD, SMG, 1 Combat Shotgun per Dice of size, 2 Frag Grenade per Dice of size, 1 Pule Rifle per dice of size,    Revolver, Vibechete, First Aid Kit, Bioscanner, lock-picks, pain-pills, 1 stimpack per dice of size, binoculars,
Vacc Suit, SBD, Pulse Rifle, 1 Smart Rifle per dice, Frag Grenades, Revolver, Vibechete, First Aid Kid, Bioscanner, Thermal Goggles, lock-picks, pain-pills, 2 stimpacks per dice of size, binoculars
Bleeding Edge,
ABD, Pulse Rifle, 2 Smart Rifle per dice of size, frag grenades, revolver, vibechete, bioscanner, lock-pciks, stimpack, access to bespoke equipment tailored for the job specifically (e.g. android-disabling charge delivered via Pulse Rifle grenade)

Skill / Instinct / Hits

Irregulars 25/25/1
Basic 30/30/1
Elite 40/40/2
SpecOps 50/40/3

the correct abbreviation of Mothership is MoSh and anyone who says otherwise is lying to you

Thursday, 7 February 2019


tl;dr give your monsters/factions hard numbers (or dice if so inclined) to represent their numbers - and when players kill representatives, reduce the number accordingly. By tracking this, and having monsters respond intelligently, you lean more into the combat-as-war element, both in a "rewarding the players for smart tactics" and "the players are against an intelligent adversary" way.


Most modules and content and such have encounter tables. If it's half-competent* the encounter tables will relate to denizens of the area. 3d4 Orcs in layer 1 of the dungeon, or whatever. Usually, there will be a central location/s where these creatures nest or have established a base. 5d6 Orcs plus Grognog the Biggun. The assumption is sound - an intelligent band of creatures will have wandering patrols, foragers, security detail or whatever.**

So, your players hit a random encounter of a patrol of orcs, and kill them. Cool. Then it happens again. And again. You've dispatched ~18 orcs - a sizable war-band if encountered all at once. And yet they keep coming, unchanging. That's dumb.

With only slightly more book keeping, you can massively change how this plays out, and introduce dynamism and reactivity to your game using some of the most basic nuts-and-bolts level stuff.

First up - decide the total strength of a given group. I tend to just use numbers that "feel right", but if you want to do it from a more game design perspective, remember that you're going to be spreading it out somewhat. Again, dice are useful for this because it naturally gives variance. Then spread these about their keyed locations - say we've got 60 Orcs in this dungeon. so 5d6 of these, plus Grognog, in the central chamber (so about 30). Then we'll have the surrounding 4 chambers with smaller guard groups, say, 2d4 each (about 4 orcs each for 16 total) This accounts for about 75% of our force, which seems like a nice number to have "at base". The rest of these are assumed to be the orcs out on patrol - "on" the encounter table.

Nothing you wouldn't do before - you could do it the other way round, and place stuff and then tot it all up and add about 25%.

Whenever you encounter and kill orcs, reduce that from your total count. Assuming each patrol is about an hour, that's the players lead-time before HQ realise something is up - and take action accordingly.  What they do depends on their individual personality, but this is a decent framework for humanoids of decent intelligence.

After the first patrol goes missing, "clump" all patrolling orcs into one group - increasing the dice/hard number of orcs left patrolling on the encounter table. This is them consolidating their forces to avoid the same thing happening - furthermore, they will be actively looking for what happened to the previous patrol - so you may no longer need the Why column.

If this patrol is then defeated, again, reduce your sum total of Orcs. They no longer send out patrols - this is important and interesting. Players *should* notice the absence of orcs, AND they've effectively made moving around in the environment much easier for themselves - direct reward for succeeding in those encounters.

However, back at base, the Orcs will be mobilizing, either drawing all forces into a single room OR shifting the central group out to reinforce the boundary, setting up a signal (warhorn?) to alert others and draw them to that room.

By having a signal, you also give players more toys to play with - they can try and kill the "alarm orc", or cause a distraction, drawing defenders away from other routes to the central chamber - which is really cool if you're doing gold-as-xp, allowing them to cause a distraction and dash for the loot.

Eventually, this state of heightened security will be relaxed, and patrols will be resumed - albeit with lesser numbers. You'll have to re-divvy up numbers - I suggest reinforcing patrols by "taking" dice from the most populated rooms. What this means if your players can harass and skirmish with the larger body, using the advantages of mobility to eliminate the orcs piecemeal, negating their advantage of numbers.

Eventually, if this continues, the Orcs will be critically low on numbers - leading to an attempted retreat - about 25% makes sense. (Again, if that's their nature - oath-bound guardians of the Orc God Idol probably won't leave, but will probably begin calling for reinforcements from further afield.)
This is another opportunity for the players to try and get clever, hitting the orcs during a retreat, when many are burdened down with all their supplies and goods.

If there's orcs unaccounted for between dice and hard-numbers - these are stragglers, survivors, deserters. They might still appear on the encounter table, but generally will always be attempting to flee or hide.

The above looks long but it's pretty intuitive - just think about actions, don't get lazy, do a tiny bit of book-keeping and reap the reward.

*unless, obviously, the incongruity is the point
**make your encounter tables 3D - gives far more variety, and avoids the issue of "okay you're travelling and see some orcs on the road roll initiative and fight" - also lets you pack buckets of setting detail into the table - orcs pursuing orcs? morale issues?
 (Overland Travel Only)
3d4 Orcs
Patrolling Territory
Amidst scrub brush and trees beside the road.
2d6 Wolves
Ruins of a wagon-train, long abandoned.
1d4-1 Ogres
Waiting in Ambush
Recently razed farmstead.
2d4 Grub-bugs
Pursuing (roll again on what)
Around/Centred on a watchtower
1d8 Fungal Hosts
Fleeing (roll again on what)
Atop a small hill
1d4 Talking Spider Swarm
Looting/Eating Bodies (roll again on what)
Overgrown, untended field.