Interrupting All Programmes… Free Toika!

Hey folks. If you haven’t picked up Troika! yet, I just saw that it’s going to be given away free in their next newsletter. So sign up for said list here to collect your copy:

And if you’ve already paid for Troika, well, I reckon you should sign up anyway. I did.

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RPGaDAY 2019: 14 Polyglot Cosmopolitan

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: Calamity (46)

14 Polyglot Cosmopolitan

The Six Cataclysms displaced a great many people, and you are one of them. You’ve traveled much of what’s left of the world and, clever dilettante that you are, you’ve picked up a little of this and a little of that everywhere you’ve been. Still, there’s no place like home, even if it doesn’t exist anymore. So maybe the next place you alight will be more familiar.


  • A Memento of your Homeland
  • A Collection of Postcards from your many travels
  • A Book of Recipes collected from your various stops

Advanced Skills

2 Language – Quoxecatl
2 Language – Senticci
2 Language – Yondic
2 Language – Zakraabi
2 Etiquette
2 Culture
1 Secret Signs – The Diaspora
1 Gastronomy


You may Test your Luck to know a thing or two about the culture or history of another land.

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RPGaDAY 2019: 13 Terrifying Survivor (Themselves Terrified)

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: Scary (36)

13 Terrifying Survivor (Themselves Terrified)

You are a survivor of one of the Six Cataclysms; this has left you both scarred and scared. You have seen things no one should have to see and you have done things in the name of survival that haunt you every time you close your eyes. You’ve been running so long now you’re not sure you could stop if you tried. Or maybe you could if the villagers didn’t keep chasing you away with pitchforks.


  • Haunted Eyes
  • Scars (both eternal and internal)
  • Running Shoes

Advanced Skills

3 Unnerve
2 Survival
2 Run
2 Awareness
1 Sneak
1 Spell – Random


You may Test your Luck at the start of any Round to automatically have the first Turn. You may only use this Turn to flee from combat at full speed.

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RPGaDAY 2019: 12 Friend Of Prince Kateb

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: Friendship (25)

12 Friend Of Prince Kateb

Prince Kateb Al Wali is a good man. His subjects call him Al’amir Alsadiq, the sincere prince. He treats the people of Ismah Zakraab well, taxes them fairly, and defends them against the Demons and Devils that plague this doomed world. And while he endeavors to fill his court with only the finest souls, with whom he enjoys hunting from zamrukback, his judgement isn’t always the best. What kind of friend are you to Prince Kateb?


  • A courtly weapon of your choice.
  • Fine clothing suitable for the crony of a Prince (counts as Light Armor).
  • A fine present fit for a Prince that could be sold before it is delivered, but then you’d have to find something to replace it, wouldn’t you?
  • A Golden Coin of Al Wali

Advanced Skills

2 Secret Signs – The Court of Prince Kateb
2 Language – Zakraabi
1 Etiquette
1 Fighting in your Courtly Weapon
1 Fusil Fighting
1 Evaluate
1 Ride


A Friend of Prince Kateb may exchange their Golden Coin of Al Wali in countless ways. It will open the door (metaphorically, of course) to nearly any leader or hall of power. It will purchase nearly item regardless of cost or legality. It will buy your way out of a death sentence. It may be traded to nearly any Demon or Devil in exchange for their short-term obedience. However it is used, it may never be regained. Using it unwisely or purely for personal gain will undoubtedly cost the Friend in other, unknown ways.

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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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RPGaDAY 2019

RPGaDAY 2019 Approaches. I’m not sure if I’ll be taking part, but at the moment I want to. Possibly because of the nifty graphic o’ prompts that’s out for this year…

So maybe I’ll have some actual posts for the three of you in August. Or maybe I won’t. But if I do I promise I won’t aggressively spam your social media feeds with ’em. ‘Cos I’m not that kind of guy.

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The Mecha Hack: Fire Team 05Δ

Wherein your humble scribe presents a quickly thrown together fire team for The Mecha Hack – a mech-focused take on The Black Hack (1e, not 2e). Why? Because he’s been digging into Gundam stuff (UC for me!) for a little bit now and this seems like a good game for fast & fun mecha times. And since a mecha team is only as much fun as its opponent, there are a couple of those further down in the post, too.

As the Zircanian mechs closed the gap, beam swords twirling in a blinding display, Samson barked into her comm. “Echo Viking! Echo Viking! Focus your fire on the tank, damnit! You’ll never hit those Szybkis they way they move!”

“If I weren’t in this damn Titan I would!” Sandy hissed back.

“You wreck your Striker, you get the Titan, kid,” O’Keefe the team’s engineer chimed in. “That’s how it goes.”

“Lighten up, y’all! We’re the oh-five and we can take anything these Zees throw at us. We’re the team that took down General Kosci, outnumbered three to one, when both suns were in eclipse, after all!” added Ensign Duran, lifting everyone’s spirits just a little.

Thinking back on that glorious fight Sandy took a deep breath and opened up her chaingun on the Grzmot. A direct hit! It was smoking now, armor be damned. Her team wouldn’t have to worry about its thunder cannon, thank god. Of course, her mech had taken a nasty slice from one of the Szybkis she was ignoring. But sometimes you just have to pay the piper.

“Nice shot, Echo Viking. Hit those jets and get out of the scrum, we’ll take it from here.”

“And when we’re out of this I’ll take a look at fixing that Striker of yours. If you aren’t in love with that big gun now, that is…”

“Thanks, Har. Give ’em hell for me!”

Fire Team 05Δ

Harmony Oracle (Striker) / Lt. Cmdr. Maddie Samson (Commander) / L1 AP5 HP8
Power 12 Mobility 8 System 13 Presence 16
Hit Die d8 Damage Die d8 Reactor Die d8
Equipment: Comlink, Sword (d8), Submachine Gun (d8), Shield (2AP), Light Armor (3AP)
Modules: Targeting Array
Chassis Abilities: Adaptable Robotics, Reactor Charge
Pilot Abilities: Capable Leader, Battle Tactics

Romeo Jester (Striker) / Ens. Duran Zuniga (Quipster) / L1 AP5 HP8
Power 14 Mobility 18 System 10 Presence 9
Hit Die d8 Damage Die d8 Reactor Die d8
Equipment: Comlink, Sword (d8), Submachine Gun (d8), Shield (2AP), Light Armor (3AP)
Modules: Reflective Shielding
Chassis Abilities: Adaptable Robotics, Reactor Charge
Pilot Abilities: Lovable Oaf, Inspiring Speech

Vortex Horizon (Brawler) / Lt. Harlan O’Keefe (Engineer) / L1 AP5 HP8
Power 13 Mobility 12 System 12 Presence 12
Hit Die d8 Damage Die d8 Reactor Die d6
Equipment: Comlink, Laser Axe (d8), Submachine Gun (d8), Shield (2AP), Light Armor (3AP)
Modules: Rocket Fists
Chassis Abilities: Crippling Damage, Charging Strike
Pilot Abilities: Gearhead, Quick Fix

Echo Viking (Titan) / Ltjg. Sandy Xiang (Maverick) / L1 AP5 HP12
Power 16 Mobility 12 System 8 Presence 13
Hit Die d10 Damage Die d6 Reactor Die d6
Equipment: Comlink, Chaingun (d6+2), Heavy Armor (5AP)
Modules: Jump Jets
Chassis Abilities: Kinetic Absorbers, Energy Shield
Pilot Abilities: Ace Pilot, Reckless Attack


Zicanian Grzmot Tank HD2
Heavily-armored tank equipped with mech-disabling tech

Heavy Armor Reduce incoming damage by 2
Main Gun Attack: Mobility, 1 near or far target, 1d6 damage
Machine Gun Attack: Mobility, 2 close targets, 1d4 damage
Thunder Cannon Attack (Recharge 5-6): System, 2 close or near targets, roll reactor die

Zicanian Szybki Mecha HD1
Small, fast mecha designed to swarm a battlefield

Turbo Servos Reach far locations in one move
Hyperclocked Servos Opponents’ ranged weapons suffer a +1 penalty to hit
Beam Sword Slice Attack: Mobility, 1 close target, 1d4 damage
Beam Sword Flurry Attack: (Recharge: 6) Deal 1d4 damage to all close targets

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TFT LE: A Dozen Carboard Heroes (And Wizards)

Wherein your humble scribe presents a cool dozen TFT (Legacy Edition) characters based on some of his favorite Cardboard Heroes of old. These folks are all 32 point starting characters. Rather than saddle these poor creatures with a personality that you’ll likely just replace, they remain as blank as the stare of a young B/X player in 1982 when confronted with the visual representation of a Dwarven mage for the first time.

Dandy Highwayman / Human M / Hero
ST 12 DX 9 (8) IQ 11 MA 10 (8)
Talents: Charisma (2), Courtly Graces (1), Crossbow (1), Horsemanship (1), Missile Weapons (2), Recognize Value (1), Sex Appeal (1), Sword (2)
Equipment: Broadsword (2d), Light Crossbow (2d), Cloth Armor (1)

Martial Artist / Human M / Hero
ST 9 DX 12 (11) IQ 11 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Bola (1), Detect Lies (2), Knife (1), Priest (1), Thrown Weapons (2), Two Weapons (2), Unarmed Combat I (1), Unarmed Combat II (1)
Equipment: Nunchucks (1d+1), Dagger (1d-1), Bola (Special), Cloth Armor (1)

Archer / Human M / Hero
ST 11 DX 12 (10) IQ 9 MA 10 (8)
Talents: Bow (2), Carousing (1), Missile Weapons (3), Mundane Talent: Wood Carver (1), Sword (2)
Equipment: Longbow (1d+2), Shortsword (2d-1), Dagger (1d-1), Leather Armor (2)

Hill Barbarian / Human M / Hero
ST 11 DX 11 (10) IQ 10 MA 12 (12)
Talents: Climbing (1), Knife (1), Pole Weapons (2), Running (2), Shield (1), Shield Expertise (2), Tracking (1)
Equipment: Spear (1d/1d+1), Dagger (1d-1), Large Shield (2)

Swashbuckler / Human F / Hero
ST 9 DX 12 (11) IQ 11 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Charisma (2), Courtly Graces (1), Diplomacy (1), Poet (1), Quick Draw: Sword (1), Sword (2), Weapon Expertise: Sword (3)
Equipment: Rapier (1d), Cloth Armor (1)

Crusader / Human F / Hero
ST 11 DX 11 (8) IQ 10 MA 10 (6)
Talents: Ax/Mace (2), Literacy (1), Alertness (2), Priest (1), Engineer (2), Naturalist (2)
Equipment: Mace (2d-1), Chainmail (3)

Sorceress / Human F / Wizard
ST 9 DX 11 (11) IQ 12 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Literacy (1), Sex Appeal (2)
Spells: Avert (1), Dazzle (1), Fireball (1), Sleep (1), Staff II (1), Staff to Snake (1), Summon Myrmidon (1), Summon Scout (1), Turn Missiles (1)
Equipment: Staff (1d)

Thief / Human F / Hero
ST 10 DX 11 (10) IQ 11 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Climbing (1), Detect Traps (2), Locksmith (1), Recognize Value (1), Remove Traps (1), Silent Movement (2), Streetwise (1), Sword (2)
Equipment: Sabre (2d-2), Dagger (1d-1), Cloth Armor (1)

Elven Swordswoman / Elf F / Hero
ST 9 DX 13 (12) IQ 10 MA 12 (12)
Talents: Acute Hearing (2), Alertness (2), Language: Human (1), Mimic (1), Quick-Draw: Sword (1), Sword (2), Unarmed Combat I (1)
Equipment: Rapier (1d), Main-Gauche (1), Cloth Armor (1)

Dwarven Mage / Dwarf M / Wizard
ST 10 DX 9 (8) IQ 13 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Literacy (1), Language: Human (1)
Spells: 3-Hex Wall (1), Ferment (1), Light (1), Lock/Knock (1), Mage Sight (1), Open Tunnel (1), Repair (1), Scrying (1), Staff III (1), Stone Flesh (1), Summon Gargoyle (1)
Equipment: Staff of Striking (1d), Cloth Armor (1)

Halfling Thief / Halfling F / Hero
ST 8 DX 13 (12) IQ 9 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Detect Traps (2), Knife (1), Language: Human (1), Pickpocket (1), Remove Traps (1), Silent Movement (2), Streetwise (1)
Equipment: Dagger (1d-1), Cloth Armor (1)

Goblin Wizard / Goblin M / Wizard
ST 9 DX 9 (8) IQ 14 MA 10 (10)
Talents: Business Sense (4), Language: Human (1), Literacy (1)
Spells: Analyze Magic (1), Glamour (1), Lightning (1), Persuasiveness (1), Staff III (1), Summon Myrmidon (1), Telepathy (1), Weapon/Armor Enchantment (1)
Equipment: Staff of Striking (1d), Cloth Armor (1)

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Google Plus Is Dead

By now you’ve almost certainly heard that Google is shutting down Google Plus, that bastion of RPG nerditude, by August of 2019. And odds are you’re among the folks who have already fled G+ for the interesting, if possibly sketchy in spots, neighborhood of MeWe. If not, consider giving it a look. The Dork Diaspora has largely settled in over there and, at the moment, things seem substantially more active than G+ has been in recent memory.

Strange Stones isn’t going anywhere – though some may say it hasn’t been going anywhere in quite a while, given my slow pace of publishing – so you should always be able to find me here if you’re not inclined to join the MeWe dance. You can also find a little Strange Stones action (very little, all things considered) on Twitter & Tumblr.

In the event that the MeWe soiree turns out to be a bust and we nerds scatter to the winds further down the road, I’ll still be here, posting occasionally and interacting with the three to five of you who care. It’s the least I can do for my throngs of adoring fans the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft.

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