Category Archives: Troika

RPGaDAY 2019: 11 Melancholic Sun Tracker

Wherein your humble scribe presents one of thirty character backgrounds for Troika! as part of his RPGaDAY 2019 experience. Find out more about the rules he is using to govern said experience here. You might also want to know that today’s roll is: Space (14)

11 Melancholic Sun Tracker

The sun is doomed. Everyone knows that. But you – like your father, mother or, god forbid, both – you can see it happening. You cannot definitively identify the date or time of the bloated ball’s eventual demise, but you can see the decay all too clearly as it overtakes that once hopeful star. Each day you wake to that same cloying, creeping doom one feels while watching a loved one slowly die. In the end, it’s all about how you react to it.


  • Solar Viewing Glass (Shade 13) that provides immunity to Flash spells when worn.
  • A feeling of incurable sadness.
  • Sun Tracking Journal.

Advanced Skills

3 Awareness
2 Astrology
2 Mathmology
2 Spell – Light or 2 Spell – Darkness
1 Spell – Flash or 1 Spell – Coal Resolve
1 Spell – Ember or 1 Spell – Quench

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RPGaDAY 2019: First Things First

First off, I should say welcome to Strange Stones & my hope-filled first day of RPGaDAY2019. I’m going to use this daily challenge thing to works towards building out a “dying earth” style setting (in the vein of Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique or, say, Jack Vance’s aptly named Dying Earth) for use with Troika!, the nifty and delicious game from Daniel Sell.

I’ll do this the same way Troika! builds its own “default” setting – via a list of character backgrounds with flavor text that contains morsels of setting goodness. If you’re not familiar with Troika!’s character backgrounds, this may seem a little odd at first. But I’m sure you’ll catch on.

As I proceed, I’ll be taking to heart the sage advice that Ray Otus has shared on his blog regarding designing things for Troika!. You should go read that, but I’ll list his summarized points here:

  • Don’t create material for Troika! that uses dice other than d6s.
  • Utilize backgrounds to build the world; don’t write pages of setting lore.
  • Be mindful when you write skills! Make them sufficiently narrow/situational.
  • Whenever possible, create material that is flexible – without a narrow focus on combat.

What Roads To Madness Does He Travel?

My method, after starting with #1 today (when the prompt is First), will be to roll a d66 to determine the prompt for each subsequent day’s prompt rather than following the numbered path laid out in the graphic put together for RPGaDAY2019 (see previous post). I had originally intended to make this a d30 table, but hewing to the aforementioned design advice, I decided to be true to the game and use the d66 approach. This required some additions to get to the required 36 options, which you’ll see below.

Note that I’m not going to eliminate already rolled results, so it’s quite likely I won’t hit all of the prompts and that I’ll wind up using duplicate prompts over the course of the month. What can I say? I’m a gamer – I like dice and random things.

A Savory Spread Upon The Table

Here’s the list of prompts in a d66 table format, with my additions in the 61-66 section to make it work as such, for reference:

11. Unique
12. Engage
13. Share
14. Space
15. Ancient
16. Familiar
21. Obscure
22. Critical
23. Focus
24. Examine
25. Friendship
26. Mystery
31. Guide
32. Door
33. Dream
34. One
35. Plenty
36. Scary
41. Noble
42. Vast
43. Lost
44. Surprise
45. Triumph
46. Calamity
51. Idea
52. Suspense
53. Love
54. Evolve
55. Connection
56. Last
61. Roll Again
62. Roll Again, Reversing Die Order
63. Use 1d6 Previous Days’ Roll
64. Use 1d6 Previous Day’s Roll reversed
65. Use 1d6 Previous Days’ Roll plus 1d6 steps
66. Use 1d6 Previous Days’ Roll minus 1d6 steps

For any result from the 6x sequence that results in wrapping around the table, I will skip the 6x sequence when counting out the wrap. Otherwise it could get hairy.

What Other Troubles Lurk At The Edge Of Perception?

Should I find that I’m just rocking out on this – as opposed to being stumped, hating everything, and wishing I hadn’t ever started it – I may include more in any given post than the one promised background. If I do, it’s likely to be a creature that is somehow related to the background. Fortunately, Ray Otus has some thoughts on those, too. Or maybe a spell. Or a drawing of a fig.

What Treasures Are Contained In The Nigh-Infinite Web?

If all of this intrigues you, there are a couple of other very cool Troika! resources out there, most notably an online character generator which draws backgrounds not just from the Troika! rulebook, but also from various other internet sources, which it cleverly links to so that you can find them for yourself. Or you can just look at the code to see all of them.

Another place to visit and ponder is the Troika! Appreciation Society group on MeWe. Some fine folks there have posted some interesting content indeed.

When All Is Said And Done?

If this goes well, maybe I’ll keep working on the setting. If all goes poorly, maybe I won’t. I do aim not to flame out or get all Geek ADD and switch what I’m doing every three days. For now, though, I will leave you wondering just what tomorrow brings.

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Troika Sample Characters

Below are six randomly generated characters (as is the norm) for Troika, the game I’ll be using for The Spire of the Moth-Riders, my Saturday night game at the 2017 North Texas RPG Con. Assuming more than the 1 person who’s currently registered for it sign up, that is.

While my goal for this highly improvisational game is to have the players randomly generate their own characters when we sit down to play, any of the strange folk below would be perfectly acceptable for the game. I’m posting them here not as pregens exactly, but as an example of what kind of madness lurks within Troika. And thus to provide a glimpse of what flavors of insanity might develop at the table at NTRPG Con.

Jub / Rhino-Man
Skill 9 Stamina 16 Luck 9
Glaive Fighting 3, Run 2, Strength 2, Gambling 1
9 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Horn (as dagger), Thick Skin (Modest Armor), Glaive, Knuckle dice, Half full firkin of Rhin-beer (20 rations worth)

Savaria Nightwind / Champion of Coraxa the Rift Queen (Chaos)
Skill 9 Stamina 15 Luck 11
Language (Kurgan) 6, Maul Fighting 3, Secret Signs – Chaos Patron 3, Second Sight 1, Spell: Find 1
7 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Ritual scars, Huge maul, Ragged armor (Modest), Nearly full dream journal

Nidomon the Honest / Epopt
Skill 4 Stamina 21 Luck 12
Awareness 2, Evaluate 2, Second Sight 1, Etiquette 1, Fist Fighting 1, Run 1
10 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Yellow epopt outfit (Modest Armor), Epopt staff, Collapsable tent

She Who Brings Flame / Exotic Warrior
Skill 5 Stamina 19 Luck 9
Language – Weird Exotic Language 6, Trident Fighting 3, Language – Local Language 2, Spell: Ember 2, Astrology 1, Etiquette 1
7 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Flamesteel Trident, Strange clothes, Exciting accent, 3 pocket gods

Bresandro / Ardent Giant of Corda
Skill 8 Stamina 19 Luck 10
Strength 4, Astrology 3, Run 2, Climb 2
5 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Cordan Cloud Contraption (Weather Telling)

Valentin Lacroix / Wizard Hunter
Skill 6 Stamina 18 Luck 8
Tracking 2, Disguise 2, Crossbow Fighting 2, Sword Fighting 2, Sneak 1, Locks 1, Etiquette 1
8 silver pennies, Knife, Lantern & flask of oil, Rucksack, 6 provisions, Large sack, Witch-hair rope, Crossbow & 12 bolts, Sword, 6 pocket gods, Ruby lorgnette

As an aside, rolling up any one of these characters took about five minutes, and most of that was writing things down.

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Troika! at NTRPGCon 2017

I will be running a game of Troika! at this year’s North Texas RPG Con, on Saturday night (June 3rd) at 6pm.

I’m calling it The Spire of the Moth-Riders and I’m gunning for a Frank Mentzer-esque Ad-Lib adventure with this one. But what does that mean?

It means that, while I have ideas in mind for the adventure, my goal is to take a number of suggestions from the players as they roll up their characters (which is super fast in Troika!) and I’ll weave them into the game as we play. Really, as much as RPGs are already collaborative endeavors, I’m looking to turn this into a groovy prog rock jam session where I (bassist that I am) showed up with a song title and some chord progression ideas and turn the rest of the band loose on it. Well, that’s how it works in my bands, anyway.

So if you’re going to be at NTRPG Con and are itching to give Troika! a try I’ve got you covered. Just remember that game signups open this weekend (Friday night/Saturday morning at midnight), so don’t delay!

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