19 August 2021

Upon Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

 Last night I watched the A24 movie, The Green Knight. It was moody. Talking with my spouse the closest to other films I seen with a similar feel would be Pan's Labyrinth.

It's slow. Moody. I dunno if arty is a good word but it feels correct. 

In any case I enjoyed. It's on my buy list for later.

No onto how it deviates from the source material the alliterative poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It does deviate. But to me that is a good thing. Better something different inspired and looking at something old than yet another slavish recreation of the old just with better sfx.

Now I am not a great scholar in general, or even a great one on Arthuriana or even specifically SGGK; however, I've read about a dozen different translations of it and multiple essays examining it. I don't remember how long ago the last time I read it was, probably a few months ago.

This film to me speaks to the same fictional events that the poem is portraying. Both differ from each other just as much as two different dramatic portrayals of the various wars throughout history are. And I believe the film itself speaks to that, directly if subtly.

16 August 2021

System does not Matter

Setting matters.

System is part of the setting.

If Gygax and Arneson had been bigger space nerds, Dungeons and Dragons would be like Space Dildos or something, and the system you know as Dungeons and Dragons would be considered a scifi system and not a fantasy system.

If the dudes at Game Designers' Workshop had instead of writing a 2d6 vs 8 with dice modifiers etc etc for space fiction wrote it with an implied setting of humans in a fantasy land with long distance travel & trade and roving bandits, you probably wouldn't even need to change the name of Traveller. And Traveller would be a fantasy system.

02 August 2021

Troika List Update

Happy Monday Yall

 I've done some updates to the Troika List.

Adding new things.

Cleaning up links.

A few titles had name and link changes, so I fixed those.

Added a bunch of drivethru only products.

At some point in the future I may split all the sections into separate pages and use the main page as TOC, or maybe get into this carrd thing that all the kids are into.

23 March 2021

A Review of Sorts of Brian Yaksha's "The Catlands Jazzband Gazeteer"


Brian Yaksha's "The Catlands Jazzband Gazeteer" is a setting book, intended specifically for Troika! but hey, its mostly tables about things and people and happenings. So you can use it for basically anything.

So you see the cover and it's got some cute cat pictures, most of the art is cute. This is gonna be cute and light hearted right? HAHA.

No. Catland not someplace you want to be; it's someplace you want to escape while you still have your human facilities. It feels like home, in as much as a soggy place can feel like my home which is all places to be from, and pass through, but not places to live lest you allow the place to truly work on you and change you to fit it, oh yes the desert may seem lovely but.....

Ahem, where was I....Oh yes.

Or not. You could become cattish, which not as good as being a cat. But probably better than not being any kind of cat.

Honestly, I want to go to Catland. I want to go there and see the cattish and the cats. I want to go there and look into the eyes of the cats so sure and smug of their superiority so that they might feel some inkling of how no matter what their station in the Catlands, they are a cat, a kitty cat.

But to visit the Catlands to become susceptible to the wiles and whims of these cats.

But who knows.

Every time I read this book, I see what may be different parts of Catland, or may be entirely different Catlands.

All of this being written, the book tells you want it's for, in as much as anything can be anything, and especially in as much as a cat be meant for anything. And to me it is very clear that Brian has known a great many cats.

Finally, and as much as this may pain our dear author, it is probably the most Ghibli inspired game thing I've ever read.

You can find it at Spear Witch, Monkey's Paw Games, Exalted Funeral,

20 August 2020

Scarlet Heroes w/ Pathfinder

There are two possible assumptions I see in one aspect of Scarlet Heroes. Damage and monster hit points are scaled down coarsely by 1/4. And a lone PC is roughly 1/4 of an assumed party size. In the context of grognard d&d, a party isn't always assumed to be only 4 or so PCs. B1 3-8 PCs and/or hirelines total. At the risk of coming off poorly, I won't be pulling through my modules for character numbers and levels, especially as some also have an "roughly X total character levels.”. In any case that is one of the assumptions I see, which is probably the best one to use for using SH with newer iterations of D&D, such as Pathfinder, in this specific case Mythic Adventures Pathfinder.

The other possible assumption is that as monsters use d8s for hit dice, they have 4.5 hit points per hit die, so by quartering and chunking damage, those match, with the accompanying side effect of increasing the combat survivability of the lone PC. Since the effect is also that it makes a PC have 4x the normal hitpoints, this is probably an erroneous assumption on my part.

This interrogation of SH came about through the first few sessions of using it with Mythic Adventures Pathfinder, as hit points for everything is much greater, damage is greater, and in particular, my PC Cassondrica does between 1d10+3 to 1d10+9 depending on whether she's using the weapon 2hd and in her armor, as her class the Aegis can boost stats etc when using the psionic armor, and therefore will always do 10 damage on the die is where the table in SH ends, so she does 4 damage just out right. The question being, is this what we want and if not what can we do to change this. Spoiler we've decided to not change anything about for the time being. Which is that we read the stat blocks as per SH, just the total hit die, and that is the monster hp. Otherwise I feel that combat would become the sort of horrible slog we hate in Pathfinder.

Another thing that I noticed on the PC end, is how Challenge Rating, has a big effect on the Fray Die mechanic, which is to say, for level appropriate encounters, Cass can't use the Fray Die we felt was most appropriate as on the whole, monsters/npcs have higher hit dice/levels than the CR. Level X Cass can't use the Fighter's 1d8 Fray Die against CR X monsters. In her case, I asked/suggested that I change it over to the Magic-User's 1d4 Fray Die as she is a psionic character. We haven't had a chance yet to test this. There is also the obvious solution of basing against whom the Fray Die can be used on the CR and not the HD of the monsters. Also, it should be noted that she's made it to level 3 without actually using her Fray Die more than once or twice thanks to the 1d10+9 damage and being able to spread overflow. Which will become less viable as time goes on.

The next thing I've been thinking about is what to do with Mythic Tiers or Ranks. Since Cass hasn't faced any foes with MT or MR, I don't know yet for sure, but I think that simply treating those as additional HD might be sufficient as that is one of the adjustments from MT and MR.
To reference the earlier, and imo incorrect, assumption that damage is quartered because 4.5 hp per HD, I spent some time getting an idea on the hp per HD and CR in Pathfinder, 8 and 15 or so respectively, and did my own damage chart based on dividing damage by 8, my math suggests this a terrible idea, I think. In addition to be work that probably didn't need to be done.

A couple of takeaways. I've had some big sweat "oh fuck is she going to die here" moments despite having more hp than even the average PF PC by virtue of her Mythic Tier. I haven't done near as much combat in that game as all this work and the combat heavy nature of the games involved would suggest, (cue d&d is shitty for basically everything because it's about combat commentary). Because of the close to the SH damage cap she is with her primary weapon, she's still using a 6ft tall statue as a melee weapon instead of upgrading to something with better damage.

I was thinking about adjusting the SH table to have a 3 and 5 damage entry instead of the jump from 2 to 4, or at least some number higher than 5 using the reasoning behind the 0, 1, 2, 4. Possible jumping to either 6 or 8, but I'm unsure as to where to put the breakpoints. This is because of the massive damage Cass can deal and the related, this is supposed to very over the top mythic combat. Or that is my hope with the game I'm playing in.
Currently we're playing through the first installment of the 3pp Adventure Path, Way of the Wicked, but we're talking about transitioning from that to Ultraviolet Grasslands in part because I'm not as stoked about the framing of Way of the Wicked as a solo player. I'd be cooler with playing an evil ap with a group. Don't know why I'm not so keen on it solo, or if it's just how we workshopped Cass's background, she was pulled from Athas with some degree of amnesia and also that Athasians are basically mythic tier creatures when out of the bullshit harshness of Athas.

Because of the nature of the rules combo we're using, I'm about to begin the process of annotating UVG, with ink on the pages, with relevant numbers for PF. The current question is how to translate level and the terse descriptions to PF. The build a monster section in the PF bestiaries are focused on derived attributes by CR. Fortunately, the monster builder in Pathfinder Unchained has HD and CR equal, so I can probably make terse PFUC blocks from the entries in UVG.

14 August 2020

[Review] Prismot: A Troikawave Zine

Prismot is written by Jared Sinclair with art & layout by Micha Anderson.

This is as the title suggests, another Troika! zine. It has art of a digital collage type, with some nudity, the compositing done to '80-'90ificate the stock images. Across 12 pages it has 6 backgrounds, assembly instructions for the magical three-dee glasses, a table of random 90's trash, 6 spells, 2 monsters, and cut-out not actually 3d glasses on the back cover.

Summation out of the way.

A vaporwave sphere for Troika! is perfect, especially if you have it as contra-sphere or the contra-side of, a cyberpunk sphere. Get those two 80s-90s sf kinds of flavors.
It does a lot of things I think Troika! that is good to see in Troika! 3pp material: new backgrounds with flavors, new NPCs, new spells, and random shit to set more flavor.

Get it here:
Jared Sinclair's Gumroad
Jared Sinclair's Itch
Exalted Funeral