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Troika! Test

When the temperature feels like -3°c and you have 61km/h (about 40mph) winds, you don’t feel like going out much.

We took the dogs for a walk earlier and they were being blown sideways! They were not super impressed.

Today is a day for sitting in and playing a game, and for me it was a little bit more Troika! using these cards.

I have to say that it works well. The core solo system by Karl Hendricks is tried and tested, so that is no surprise. That I am enjoying is the physical aspect of the deck.

I am also finding that I am using many more of the word prompts than I expected. I don’t know all of the available background, there are 36 in the book and publishers like Azukail Games publish more almost weekly.

Using just the prompt I can improvise a background without having to worry too much about the rules. I can come up with suitable advanced skills as I need them.

I don’t think I need to tweet anything now, which makes these cards too to go tomorrow.

And Now For something Completely Different

Last week a few developers and I were talking about d100 and d100 lite systems. I discovered that in the New Year/New Game sale I had bought Apocthulhu.

If I normally want to do anything d100 I tend to use Rolemaster for fantasy and HARP SF for science fiction. If it is a one off I tend towards The Lore System.

I like the Lore System because it allows me to world build on the fly, it is almost designed to drip feed you nuggets of setting background as you play. It is an interesting system and I recommend you check it out.

Apocthulhu is the first game, I believe, that uses the BRP SRD that I have read. I have played RuneQuest back in the day, and CoC last year I ran a campaign.

I am tempted to play a bit of Apoc as a bit of a palate cleanser after the strangeness of Troika! I am 99% certain that my Monophobia rules should work with very little changes, just the 1920s setting specific stuff.

So that us what I am going to be playing this week.

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Troika! Deck – take two

My Troika oracle deck has moved forward a fair bit since the video on Wednesday morning.

You are looking at the card back here. The art has changed quite a bit. The girl’s face/mask has gone, and I went for something a bit more geometric.

After having looked at that mask for a week I really didn’t like it.

I am quite enjoying the contrast between the slightly organic looking background and the clean lines of the cube.

The carb backs really serve no purpose beyond decoration.

The important bit is the card face, and those have evolved a bit as well.

The Card Face

The card faces still have the three dice, a suit, value and the prompts and answers from the One Roll Solo System by Karl Hendricks. That hasn’t changed. It is a perfectly functional solo engine.

What the cards have gained are three additional oracles. The Mien, Background and Magic.

These do not directly reference exact entries in the Troika rules, but are supposed to prompt your imagination.

For example, Giant as a background could mean an actual giant, a giant killer (as in Jack the Giant Killer) or someone who has fled from giants.

The Magic oracle could mean fixed as in held in place, fixed as in repaired or fixed as in cheating or contrived. It could even mean magical healing.

The Deck

The deck is now decidedly weird. You have the regular four suits, clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds. Rather than 13 cards per suit, 2-10 plus Jack, Queen, King and Ace, we now have 18 cards per suit. this gives 9 number cards and nine named cards per suit.

The new cards are the soldier, maid, courtesan, vizier and bishop.

Four suits, 18 cards per suit, gives 72 cards in the deck. That is enough to have every possible 2d6 combination twice.

When these get uploaded on Monday to here and DriveThruRPG, they will be print and play. There are instructions for how to print them and save some paper. At the same time I will be uploading the digital files for a real physical deck of cards. At the moment card printing takes forever for the test proofs to be delivered. The cards are coming, they are just going to take some time.

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Busy Week!

Audio File from This Week’s Video

I love weeks like this. I am learning a new skill, this time creating cards, doing some layout, working with my playtesters, and moving my plans forward.

Since recording this video, I have fixed the issue with the graphics in the stars without number proof. Approved The Sticky GM for global distribution and redesigned the cards, so they no longer look like the ones in the video.

Then, this afternoon Lightning Source, responded to a support ticket I raised about not getting my account approved.

Not only did I get approved but I also managed to get in under Ingram, rather than Lightning Source. The difference is that Ingram has print and distribution in the UK, USA as well as Germany and France. All publishers have discovered how bad BREXIT is turning out for exporting into Europe.

All in all, not a bad day!

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Troika Cards! Woo Hoo!

What you are looking at here is a Troika card. This is back, I wanted to catch something of the pyschodelic 1960s look, and, to me at least, the hair styling does that.

Much of the art in Troika is slightly dark and malformed, and discordant, the combination of flowers and the disfigurement of the mask is supposed to capture that element.

That is my card back.

The card face, is where the work happens.

The card face holds a small pile of dice. The uppermost is your 1d6, used for damage, or any sundry 1d6 roll.

Below the 1d6 are 2d6, used for all you skill rolls.

These three alone, allow you to play Troika with just the cards, dice free.

The next part are the two oracles.

The oracles are currently work in progress. They are using the results taken from the One Page Solo Engine by the brilliant Karl Henricks.

The top word pair are intended to be used as an inspiration or improvisation prompt. Something in your scene, the subject of you question should be influenced by these prompts.

Below the improvisation prompt is a yes-no answer.

Taking the card to the right, your 1d6 is a 2, the 2d6 is 2+1 for 3 (what a terrible card?!), the inspiration is “technical change” and the yes-no answer is a simple No.

All in all this is a pretty terribly card, likely to be rubbish damage in a fight, a likely failed skill roll and whatever your question was, it came back with a negative answer!

I have also included a card value, this one is the King of Clubs.

One of the oldest oracles in solo play was a simple pack of cards. Sort them into suits and you can track four events, at once. The event happens when you turn up the Ace. Each turn you would deal a card, and if see if the ace turned up. This goes back as far as solo tabletop wargaming in the 1960s. You would write your orders and they were given to an aide-de-camp. When the deck of cards turned up Ace, the aide had reached the unit and delivered the orders.

You could also attach different means to different cards. If you draw a Jack, then the aide was captured before the orders were delivered. If this was the aide of the fictitious other general, then you could either send that unit alternative orders, or no orders at all.

Anyway, I have included the card value and suit because I think as a simple random number generator they add value. You can also play patience with them while you are on hold on the phone!

Physical Cards?

Yes, eventually.

At the moment card printing only happens in the US. They take 5-7 business days to print, so that is a week and a half, then any print proof needs to be shipped to me. I live in a pretty remote spot, and all deliveries are delayed getting to me.

My plan of attack is to write up a simple into to solo playing Troika. I can get that done this week. I have the a PDF of the entire deck of cards created. I can upload this for you to print at home. They are intended to be US Poker sized (2½” x 3½”), and the PDF has the cards going front, back, front, back. If you just wanted the fronts, you would just print the odd numbered pages.

Another option is chits.

Here I have set up Acrobat reader to print just odd pages, 13 x 4. This will give you a single page of just the card fronts. You can cut these up, fold them in four and put them into that top hat or beret, see my last post, and draw out cards as needed.

This may be a bit small for frequent use but I hope you get the idea.

My next task is to start to write up the instructions. play test, and see if the cards need any refinements. I was only asked for this last Sunday (7th), I think I could get this on DTRPG by Monday at the present rate. The biggest risk is that playing with the card layout is a bit addictive. Many hours can be lost playing with Photoshop!

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Troika Oracle Cards

I picked up the Troika Bundle of Holding (offer ended 1st of Feb), but I didn’t know then that I would be looking at troika now. It is entirely possible that the person, Glen, who asked me for solo rules also picked up this bundle, and that is why the sudden interest.

One of the components in the bundle was the initiative cards. These are really simple picture cards, no meaning attached to them, you just print off as many of the eight designs as you want, and use them as the tokens to count the initiative.

That card pack is something like 8 pieces of art for $20, which in my opinion is a bit steep, but who am I to value other people’s art?

The important thing is that someone has already set the precedent of using cards in a Troika game.

I was walking the our dogs earlier and I had the idea of taking the 52 cards from a standard pack of cards, putting a meaning, a yes-no answer and maybe a d6 and a 2d6 roll on each one.

Then I thought, why bother with the cards at all?

Why not put all of these into a grid, make them really easily printable. Cut them up, fold them in four, and draw them from your dice bag or a hat, it would have to be a really cool top hat or a rather bohemian berret.

The gain from this structure is that the barrier to entry is really low. As long as you can print, or at worse, you can write them out on to scraps of paper yourself.

Most oracles use a likelihood modifier. You are more likely to find a bottle of absinthe in a bar than you are in a field, for example. If all our chits/tokens/cards are in the same hat, how do we account for likelihood?

The easiest solution I can think of is to draw two and if you think the answer is more likely to be a yes, you take the most positive result, if you think the answer is more likely to be negative you take the least positive of the two chits.

You read the chit, use the dice rolls, meanings or answers, and then return the chits to the hat or bag.

It is random, you can apply bias to it, and has an almost zero barrier to entry.

I have always wanted to create a pack of cards. This would be my chance to create a card set!

The more I think about this, the more I am taken with the idea!

Do you think I am being daft?

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