Wednesday, August 7, 2019

SuperTroika: Archetypes Delta

Just got back from GenCon. Had fun. Didn't get arrested.

INVENTOR-EXPLORER (doc savage, tom strong, forge, the doctor)
-signature weapon (+2)
Powers & Specialties
-4 science
-4 engineering
-1 athletics
-1 signature weapon fighting

ENERGY VAMPIRE (rogue, sauron)
Powers & Specialties
-4 absorb stamina
-4 absorb ability (4)
-1 hand to hand fighting
-1 athletics

Powers & Specialties
-4 absorb energy 
-4 energy blast (3)
-2 massive blast (6)
-can store absorbed energy damage for up to an hour and add it to the damage produced by their next energy attack.

BRUTE CANNON (etrigan, darkseid)
Powers & Specialties
-4 energy blast (3)
-3 feats of strength
-3 absorb damage

ELEMENTAL (storm, human torch, swamp thing, post-transformation klaw, iceman)
Powers & Specialties
(pick one elementish theme and stick to it: weather or plants or fire or ice or magnetism or gravity etc.)
-3 energy shield (3) or elemental form (3)
-3 energy/elemental blast/strike (3)
-2 command element (5)
-2 flight (or suitable style of movement) (1)

MYSTIC WARRIOR (iron fist, archer ((valiant)), shang chi)
-signature weapon (+2, no modern weapons) or magic tattoo (+2 to unarmed)
Powers & Specialties
-4 hand to hand fighting
-3 energy strike (3)
-3 athletics

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Super Troika Knockout

Some of the damage tables I wrote can do two or three times as much damage as most characters have. That's because if Cyclops or Superman wants to zap a tank, they should have a chance of blowing it up.

On the other hand, this makes every PC pretty fragile. So I'm making some K.O. tables for things that happen when you hit -1 Stamina. Eventually I'll want it to be a d66 table, but this is fine for now.

All of these results would have the PC out of the game for at least the rest of the session, so let the players take over a side character (there are likely to be plenty around because of the friends and family rule).

1. Return w/new grimdark costume.
2. New character takes on persona and powers.
3. Pulled forward from the past.
4. Clone escapes from enemy lair.
5. Parallel universe version.
6. Come back undead.

1. Cracked skull.
2. Broken limb.
3. Missing limb.
4. Broken ribs.
5. Lost an eye.
6. Truly horrifying scars.

1. New rival personality.
2. Develop related phobia.
3. Test luck to avoid rage due to stress.
4. Luck to avoid freezing due to stress.
5. 1d6 sessions of pacifism.
6. Memory loss (-1d3 Skill).

Friday, July 12, 2019

Troika Masks & Capes: Rival Personalities

Continuing this project. This method would also work for intelligent swords and other sentient items in that other fantasy role playing game. Might also be fun to play with in Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green or Mothership.

I've mentioned rival personalities as potential complications for a couple different archetypes now, and I think it's pretty obvious what that means in the context of comics (especially when there's a movie about Venom and a show about Legion and I'm pretty sure Ghost Rider is on that Agents of Shield show). I haven't really explained how to adjudicate it fairly though.

The most obvious option is to make players roll on a random table of traits a few times. That sounds kinda boring to make and not even really all that helpful in terms of how the rival personality impacts the game.

No one in my current playtest has to deal with a rival personality at this point (but there are experimental pharmaceuticals in play so who knows), but I've got an idea of what to try if/when that changes: Schrodinger's personality, with individual decisions decided by luck checks and precedent.

The PC is going to need to keep a list of what actions are and are not cool from the rival personality's perspective, presumably on the back of the character sheet or something. If the pc has multiple rival personalities, the player keeps a separate list for each one and which one is dominant is randomly determined whenever the issue comes up. The player can give them names if they want to, but make sure they realize that they don't know at this point how this personality is gonna turn out.

The first time the PC makes a moral decision of any kind, they need to make a luck check (and spend a luck point because it's Troika) to see if their rival personality is okay with it. They need to repeat the procedure again anytime they make a moral decision that isn't already covered by precedent (so if it works like I want it to, these checks become necessary less often as the campaign continues and more situations are covered by precedent). It's often in the PC's interest to ask the referee for a luck check if there is a shade of difference between the current decision and the one that set the precedent.

EXAMPLE: Spiderman's and then Venom's symbiote was initially defined by its bloodlust. Then, in the 90s, when faced with the choice to victimize or protect the innocent homeless people living under San Francisco, it and Eddie Brock unanimously decided to act as the community's guardian. 

If your rival personality opposes something that you really really wanna do, you can attempt to make a raw skill check (that is, roll under just your skill stat, no powers or specialties apply). If you succeed, you manage to overpower your rival personality for now. If you critically fail (double 6s on 2d6), your rival personality takes over for 1d6x10 minutes. If, during this time, it is faced with a moral decision that isn't covered by precedent, the PC gets to try to make their own decision on what to do, making a luck check as usual. If the PC's decision is opposed by the rival personality, the rival personality does whatever the PC didn't want it to and a new precedent is set as normal. If the PC rolls a critical success on this luck check (snake eyes), they not only set a precedent that agrees with their stated desire, they also reassert control.

I guess this makes reverse psychology a possible metagaming tactic. For now I'll say that if you try that and you succeed on a luck check you were counting on failing, you have to go through with your stated decision.

I'm a little concerned about the randomness creating personalities that make even less sense than real people, but using precedent by default should keep that sort of contradiction at least somewhat in check. I'll find out when it starts coming up in-game.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Troika Hero Archetypes Part 3

MORPHIC BRUTE (venom, sandman ((marvel)), clayface, spawn)
Can spontaneously form melee weapons, tools, extra limbs, etc.
Powers & Specialties
-4 absorb damage
-3 feats of strength
-3 hand to hand fighting
-2 disguise
1 vulnerable to intense heat.
2 water soluble.
3 can be disintegrated for 1d6 days by tornado-force winds.
4 powers are controlled by a rival personality.
5 requires 2d6 times normal human caloric intake (must eat that many provisions to heal the normal amount).
6 wheelchair bound when powers are not in use.

MONSTER HUNTER (van helsing, belmont)
-blessed signature weapon (+2)
-holy book
-holy water or incense or sacred medicine
Powers & Specialties
-2 occult lore
-2 signature weapon fighting
-2 forensics
-2 stealth
-2 awareness

SAVAGE (wolverine, x-23, conan, wendigo)
-signature weapon (+2)
Powers & Specialties
-3 hand to hand fighting
-3 fast healing
-2 enhanced senses
-2 athletics
1 no memories older than one month ago but plenty of enemies know you.
2 must transform into a rival personality to use powers (pretty much a lycanthrope). 
3 your powers are activated by partaking in acts of cannibalism.
4 feared and hated for appearance.
5 you are one of many clones or siblings with an intense rivalry (origin must be BORN LIKE THIS).
6 a shadowy conspiracy wants to dissect you.

ELEMENTOMORPH (metamorpho, warblade)
Powers & Specialties
-4 transmute self (3)
-3 absorb damage
-3 feats of strength

ACE REPORTER (april o’neil, jimmy olsen, iris west) (don't bother rolling an origin.)
Powers & Specialties
-2 stealth
-2 lockpicking
-2 awareness
-2 rumor mill
-2 connections
-if captured, can test luck to convince the villain to share their plan

ANTHROPOMORPH (teenage mutant ninja turtles, man-bat, rhino, the lizard, killer croc)
Powers & Specialties
-3 athletics
-3 enhanced senses
-2 hand to hand fighting
-2 feats of strength
-all anthropomorphs are feared and hated for their appearance.
1 turtle: armor score of 2, or of 3 when taking cover in your shell.
2 bat: can echolocate and use athletics skill to fly.
3 rhino: add 1 each to hand to hand fighting and feats of strength.
4 lizard: add 2 fast healing.
5 rabbit: can use athletics skill to leap absurd distances or burrow through soft earth.
6 crocodile: can hold breath almost indefinitely, add 4 aquatic stealth.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

SuperTroika!: Secret Identities

-This step is entirely optional. Not every superhero needs a secret identity. 
-Treat any task directly related to alter-ego's job as a skill with 2 ranks. this can stack with archetype or origin skills at the referee's discretion. you cannot increase this rank without retiring from superheroics to focus, but you may advance in your profession as a result of gameplay events.
-You have 1d6 family members and 1d6 close friends who will likely be put at risk by your activities.
-Lose 1d3 max luck points for each friend or family member you fail to save. (re)gain 1d3 max luck points if you manage to reverse their new status (falsely imprisoned, insane, dead, etc).

11 taxi driver
12 mechanic
13 lawyer
14 news photographer
15 artist
16 actor
21 teacher
22 student
23 private investigator
24 religious leader
25 idle rich
26 journalist
31 forensic investigator
32 mortician
33 lab assistant
34 writer
35 musician
36 librarian
41 stage magician
42 circus performer
43 engineer
44 police officer
45 paramedic
46 intel analyst
51 hacker
52 office intern
53 bounty hunter
54 sales rep
55 restaurant server
56 construction worker
61 janitor
62 dockhand
63 curator
64 cook
65 bartender
66 stunt double

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Heroes of Troika: Powers and Weapon Damage

I wrote up some of the possibly less than obvious powers, and damage tables for modern weapons and energy blast type powers.

Feats of Strength ended up being the most complicated power to figure out, which I didn't expect, because it needs to increase melee damage directly. 

I'll edit this post as I come up with more powers so they're all in one place.

Signature Weapon Fighting
You possess a favorite weapon which you know better than all others of its type. It could be an heirloom katana, a heavily customized firearm, or even an energy weapon that you stole or invented. It may help to use your Origin and Archetype as guides in selecting them.

You’ve developed the ability to determine what’s gone on in a small area by analyzing the aftermath. This can be used for tracking, reading a crime scene, etc.

Hand to Hand Fighting
Includes unarmed combat as well as any melee weapons that aren’t too bizarre to figure out.

Energy Blast (3)/Energy Strike (3)/Massive Blast (6)
Just like regular Fighting Skills, Roll Versus whatever combat skill your Target is using, and whoever wins the Roll hits. Most Archetypes must choose a type of energy (such as fire, sound, radiation, or lightning) during character creation.

Warding Circle
Knowledge of the sigils and seals required to protect oneself from Mystical entities. These barriers also provide a +2 bonus when defending against magic attacks and take at least ten minutes to draw competently. 

Suggestion (3)
You say a thing to an NPC, and they believe it. They realize their mistake if anything explicitly causes them to rethink the situation, but won’t think to question it on their own until then. 

Absorb Damage
Roll to try and shrug off successful physical attacks without taking any damage at all. If you fail the roll, your opponent still deducts your Rating from their damage roll (to a minimum of 1). Only if you critically fail do you take damage as normal.

Feats of Strength
Breaking things, moving things, etc. Also: whenever dealing physical damage with a hand to hand weapon, apply double your Rating as a multiplier to your damage result.
EXAMPLE: Gronk succeeds in hitting Nab with an unarmed attack. He then rolls 1d6 on the Unarmed damage table and rolls a 5, which normally does 2 points of Stamina damage. Because Gronk also has a Feats of Strength Rating of +3, he multiplies his damage result by 6 for a total of 12 points of Stamina.

Encompasses wilderness survival skills as well as those that apply equally in an urban environment, such as first aid.

Shape Reality (8)
Successful use of this power lets you do anything you want. Failure is catastrophic and usually manifests in a way that reflects the cruel irony of the fates and/or GM.

Flight (1)
You don’t normally need to test this power in relaxed, uncontested scenarios. Simply assume it succeeded and deduct a Stamina point as usual. Elements such as a need to move quickly, heavy wind, or narrow spaces make the task more difficult.

More specific than Hand to Hand Fighting, this covers maneuvers like grabbing and pinning opponents, throwing them, disarming them, etc. All these maneuvers can also be attempted with Hand to Hand Fighting, but characters with this skill generally have a higher Grappling Rating.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7+
1 1 1 2 2 3 4
(for any hand to hand attack, multiply damage result by double your feats of strength rating)

1 2 3 4 5 7+
2 4 4 6 10 12 16

1 2 3 4 5   6 7+
6 6 8 10 12 18 24

1 2 3 4 5 6 7+
1 1 6 6 10 22 30
(add +2 to the damage roll at close range)

1 2 3 4 5 7+
4 6 10 14 20 28 38
(add +4 to the damage roll at close range)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7+
4 6 6 12 18 24 30

1 2   3 4 5   6 7+
8 12 16 20 28 36 44

Monday, June 24, 2019

More Supers Archetypes for Troika

Continuing from last post, here's six more.
SCALE SHIFTER (atom, ant man)
Powers & Specialties
-4 size manipulation (must check every time size doubles or halves) (3) 
-feats of strength based on size (up to +5, equal penalty to agility based skill tests) 
-2 hand to hand fighting 

STREET OCCULTIST (origin must be MYSTICAL) (john constantine, mr. e, dr. occult, sabrina) 
Possessions -pocket divination system: cards or dice or pendulum etc. 
-warding tattoos (-1 to magic attacks) or focus (+1 to powers) or obedient familiar 
Powers & Specialties 
-3 warding circle 
-3 occult lore 
-2 suggestion (3) 
-1 augury (3) 
-1 summoning (4) or banishment (4) 

ENERGY CANNON (cyclops, black canary, gambit) 
Powers & Special Abilities 
-4 energy blast (choose one energy type) (3) 
-3 massive blast (6) 
-2 hand to hand fighting 
-1 athletics 

SUPERSOLDIER (cpt america, sgt rock, punisher) 
-signature weapon (+2) 
-medium armor 
-survival kit 
-first aid kit 
Powers & Specialties 
-3 fighting (all) 
-3 athletics 
-2 awareness 
-1 feats of strength 
-1 survival 

PARAGON (superman, thor, sentry, shazam, captain marvel, wonder woman, martian manhunter) 
-lair that is incredibly difficult for others to get to 
Powers & Specialties 
-3 feats of strength 
-3 hand to hand fighting 
-2 absorb damage 
-2 flight (1) 
-2 energy blast (3) 
1 debilitatingly allergic to a relatively rare substance. 
2 possess a powerful signature weapon (+2) without which all power tests suffer a -2 penalty. 
3 normally exists as two people (each has half of your score in skill, stamina, and luck) who must combine to activate powers (unstable when fused for too long). 
4 you lose the energy blast ability and gain a signature weapon (+2). 
5 set feats of strength and hand to hand combat to 2 each, change energy blast to telepathy (3), add 2 shapeshift (2). 
6 a rival personality with full access to your powers takes over while you sleep. 

ELASTIMORPH (mr. fantastic, plastic man, ms. marvel) 
Powers & Specialties 
-4 stretch 
-3 absorb damage 
-2 grappling 
-1 hand to hand fighting

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Spandex Troika

Okay I’ve been putting this off fuckin forever now.

I’m still alive! Just been really really busy. Silent Titans by Patrick Stuart is finally off my plate, as is the Numinous Edition of Troika! by Daniel Sell. I’m helping Corey Brin put the finishing touches on Wet Grandpa (generic OSR rules) by Evey Lockhart while I plow through Fronds of Benevolence (Troika! rules) by Andrew Walters, both of which are Adventures I Would Totally Run For My Friends. There’s at least one thing I’m not supposed to talk about. Oh and Beckett might have some more of those tshirts I made in his shop.

That’s not what this post is about. This post is about superheroes.

I’m usually not one to think all that much about game mechanics, but I realized while working on Troika! that it’s the perfect system to model games about pretending to be superfriends. I’m not going to argue that point right now because that’s boring and I’m drinking and I want to get to some of the content I’ve been coming up with for it.

The biggest mechanical change is making the players roll dice one more time during character generation. Maybe two more times actually, I haven’t decided. I know, I know, that sucks, but hear me out. If you’re not familiar with Troika!, it uses a randomly determined Background to model a couple different things that, in a supers rpg, kinda need to be separate, which I’m calling Origin and Archetype. Like, Iron Man and XO-Manowar both have the Power Suit Archetype and roughly the same powers, but one is a rich inventor and one is an ancient barbarian who found an alien artifact. The Flash got caught in a freak accident and Quicksilver was born that way.

The other big difference is just giving some archetypes a few more ranks in skills than Troika! normally allows. That’s fine because they are superheroes.

(The maybe second extra dice roll is probably going to be an optional thing where you have a random day job for your alias with a couple skills at 1 rank but then you have a secret identity to maintain and close ones to protect as a tradeoff. I don’t know, I’m not there yet.)

Anyway here’s six archetypes:

FLEDGELING PSIONIC (11, jean grey, xavier, psylocke)
Powers & Specialties
-3 telekinesis (4) (((((this means 3 ranks in telekinesis, which costs 4 stamina points to use)))))
-3 telepathy (3)
-2 energy shield (3)
-2 energy blast (3)
-2 flight (1)
Complication (((((roll 1d6)))))
1 confined to a wheelchair.
2 1d6 rival personalities.
3 you don’t have a physical body of your own and must possess one to access your powers.
4 change 2 energy blast to 4 energy strike, 2 energy shield to 3 hand to hand fighting, telekinesis to 1, telepathy to 1, change 2 flight to 3 athletics.
5 test luck or destroy all electronics in ¼ mile every time you use your powers.
6 if you fail a psionics test you take damage as large beast unless you spend a luck point and test your luck.

ASSASSIN (elektra, ninjak, black widow, james bond, hawkeye, the black kaiser)
-signature weapon (+2)
-rope & grapple
-1d6 smoke bombs
Powers & Specialties
-4 stealth
-4 signature weapon fighting
-2 hand to hand fighting
-2 athletics
1 You killed your master; your fellow students seek revenge.
2 Complex religious code; test luck the first time you make any action to see if it is permitted.
3 You have an “evil” twin who wants to steal your identity.
4 Your employers have decided that you’re no good to them alive.
5 Your past crimes are coming back to haunt you.
6 You cannot resist an honorable challenge.

BRUTE (thing, hulk, luke cage, hellboy, armor)
Powers & Specialties
-4 feats of strength
-4 absorb damage
-4 hand to hand fighting
1 feared and hated for appearance
2 must transform into a rival personality to use powers, rage triggers involuntary transformation
3 clumsy as hell — all important and breakable objects within 5’ of you have a 1/3 chance of doing just that at any given moment.
4 you look like a large but normal human, but all power ratings are adjusted by -2
5 your arms end in massive club-like stumps instead of hands with useful fingers
6 your powers only last for an hour at a time and must spend 4 hours recharging

TRANSLOCATOR (flash, nightcrawler, kitty pryde)
Powers & Specialties
-4 flight or superspeed or phasing or teleportation (1)
-3 athletics
-3 hand to hand fighting
(((((they don’t all need to have complications)))))

SHAPER (dr manhattan, franklin richards, timothy hunter, green lantern, spectre, dr strange)
Powers & Specialties
-4 shape reality (8)
-2 energy shield (3)
-2 energy blast (3)
-2 teleportation (1)
-1 flight (1)
1 completely resigned to a future only you can see (test luck to attempt anything ever)
2 you are a child (set skill and stamina to minimum, lose all powers except shape reality)
3 your powers are controlled by a rival personality with a very specific code (code should be a short sentence, test luck to determine its stance on any non-obvious issue)
4 can only create or manipulate objects and energy constructs of a certain color (lose teleportation, increase energy blast and energy shield by 1 each, replace shape reality with hard light construct (4))
5 to access your powers you must possess a human host, who becomes a rival personality
6 hunted by cosmic entities that sense the use of your powers

POWERSUIT (origin must be ITEM) (iron man, x-o manowar, luthor in his battlesuit, steel)
-power suit (+5 superheavy armor)
-give up 1 armor point for each integrated weapon system: machine gun (2 stamina cost, as assault rifle), rocket propelled grenades (4 stamina cost), energy blast (3 stamina cost, choose an energy type)
Powers & Specialties
-4 ranged fighting (stamina cost by weapon type)
-3 flight (1)
-2 feats of strength 
-1 sensory array

And here’s the origins (as of now, may change a lot):

inborn mutation
displaced royalty
anthropomorphic concept
sentient robot
time capsule
faustian pact
biohacked mutation
oath of vengeance
spiritual ascension
cybernetic enhancement
one-way traveller from the future
magic artifact
serum dependent
government issue
hyperdimensional tech
future tech
trained by a hermit
raised by wild animals
rogue agent
star god cultist
test pilot
centuries old
symbiotic organism
marooned survivor
sucked into a work of fiction
radiation exposure
marooned time traveller
trained by monks
experimental clone
active agent
alien soldier
hi-tech entrepreneur
active time agent

Sorry about the formatting. I don't know what I'm doing.
Will post more soon.