Science Fantasy RPG Troika’s new softback reprint is an excellent entry point for new players
This sourcebook is monochrome, but multi-use.
One of many tabletop RPG titles that has bounced around the independent design space for several years but is finding a surge of new success in the past three years is Troika! (the exclamation is part of the name and not just my excitement). Community creation is thriving alongside several published supplements and adventures filling out the kinds of stories told within its weird worlds.
Continuing that trend, publisher Melsonian Arts Council has announced a new softcover sourcebook as part of a crowdfunding campaign that offers curious newcomers one of the best ports of entry into the science-fantasy game of decidedly British absurdism and adventure.
The softback edition is described thus because its front and back covers also function as a fold-out facilitator screen during play. The text of the rules will be nestled on the right-hand side, while all other real estate will contain graphs, tables, rules reminders - you know, all the little tidbits one might need in the middle of a session.
The rules text largely matches the previously released Numinous Edition, but designer Daniel Sell mentions some minor revisions are included. This new book will be wholly compatible with previous releases, including the official adventure books Melsonian Arts Council has produced since the RPG’s release in 2014.
Speaking of which, the crowdfunding campaign also offers backers the chance to pick up all of Troika’s backlog, making this one of the best opportunities to invest big on collaborative adventure in a world that’s as much Terry Pratchett as it is Jack Vance. Dicebreaker has written about a few of these in the past, and each allows the designers to lead the narrative tone into whimsical, apocalyptic, menacing and satirical directions.
The core book contains everything a group needs to play, minus a few six-sided dice. Character creation involves choosing a background and some related skills, and the introductory adventure serves as a ladder into the kiddie section of Troika’s pool. For my money, the system is agile and accepting enough to jump directly into the deep end - mistakes can easily become interesting wrinkles in a setting that embraces chaos.
Troika’s softback book will feature art by longtime partnered illustrators Andrew Walter and Shuyi Zhang, and the cover evokes that same sense of fantastical incongruity, as if you slipped into a dimension full of 1980s sci-fi movie costumes and practical effects that everyone took extremely seriously.
The Kickstarter campaign for Troika’s monochrome softback edition runs through December 1st, and backers can pick up a physical copy for £12. Melsonian Arts Council expects fulfilment to begin in February 2023.