Sunday, January 8, 2017

Thoughts on Troika

1. An Adventure
Victorious the Venturesome Academic and Jib Duiggys (dwig-iss) the Monkeymonger are drawn to city of Wimborne by a common dream. Each time they sleep, they see images reassuring them of their absolutely unique place in the universe and their DESTINY, but only if they come to the city.

The city is bustling with travelers with the same thoughts. The tourists are corralled into a town square, and watch a presentation about the type of chronic foot pain that plagues travelers and adventurers. Of course, the point if it all is to sell shoes.

Victorious determines that the shoes reek of a low-grade enchantment, but is fascinated by the type of technology that could transmit images to dreams. Jib Duiggys sees this as an opportunity to sell monkeys.

The next day, they make their way to the abandoned baron's manor to seize this technology only to find out that it has been occupied by a terrorist theater troupe. City guards hide behind sacks and low walls while a talented archer (and soprano singer) fires at them with obnoxious precision.

One such guard sees the spindly magic student and derelict monkey-handler and, for whatever reason, decides that they are fit to infiltrate the premises. There is a rusted window on the prison tower that could easily be smashed, but to reach it you'd have to be some kind of MASTER CLIMBER.

2. Not a Review
I liked Troika almost right away. Getting Cake to play was easy. For Christmas, I got him Sorcery! on Steam and he kept making references to its signature monosyllabic spells. He is currently on New Game+. Sophia will play anything, but gets anxious with any system that has random or semi-random character creation.

The physical book itself is unimpressive, but cute. The cover features BOOB and WANG which makes it unacceptable for God's America, and prevents me from waving it in the face of small children which I do with all of my other books. It came with a bag of adorable, colorful dice used for initiative. Functional. Useful. Fashionable. But I would love a hardcover.

Both players were immediately captivated by the backgrounds, as I was. I immediately found myself theorizing backgrounds based on Dark Souls (something I had previously done with the Dragon Age RPG)--but for game one, at least, we would play RAW.

I'm a particular fan of RPGs with less than 64 pages, but I found myself wanting more. More books. A bigger book?

3. A Literal Troika
There is me, Cake, and Sophia. That's my group. Not much OSR content is great for small groups without the addition of hirelings or familiars, but Troika works for a few reasons.

NPCs will have Stamina and Skill, and that's pretty much it. Any NPC encountered is a potential ally, because all I need to do is pin them with a couple of arbitrary numbers and they suddenly become full-fledged party members.

Almost every time a sword is swung in Troika, somebody is going to get hurt. We've had entire enemy parties wiped out before the players ever had their own turn. In the few cases where we had tied rolls, it was thematic--swords clashing together, or tense stand-offs. Things were always moving forward.

I tend to judge systems based on how little they get in my way, and I am a very pushy person. Troika never got in the way. It actually pulled me ahead a few times.

4. Not an Adventure
I created the first adventure myself. The second game was Inn of Lost Heroes by Small Niche Games. It was a mistake? It was fine. I wanted to see how easily content for other games could be converted over. Without a monster book for Troika, I used some monsters from Advanced Fighting Fantasy and just eyeballed the rest.

IoLH is very much rooted in D&D, making specific references to classes and being a kind of commentary on the dangerous nature of the traditional RPG party. Not a good fit for Troika, but weirdly poignant as I find myself moving away from traditional dungeon crawls to more character oriented games.

5. Not an Adventurer
The crazed ex-cleric points at Sonny the Vengeful Child and says, "Her children were killed by adventurers like you!"

Sonny responds, "I'm not an adventurer," before asking me what the old man's name is so he can add him to the revenge list.

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