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Troika’s new TRPG adventure book is a hard-boiled mystery about speculative worm trading

Oh, squirm?

Artwork from upcoming Troika! adventure book The Big Squirm, which is now on Kickstarter.
Image credit: Andrew Walter

The minds behind the ludicrous fantasy tabletop RPG system known as Troika! have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the next official adventure book set in its Pratchett-esque infinite city. The Big Squirm will send players investigating a corrupt investment scheme using unhatched killer worms.

The Big Squirm is a tabletop RPG adventure book written in the style of hard-boiled detective stories and full of the same oddball humour and fantastical elements that has garnered Troika! an ardent fan base. The book is written by Luke Gearing, who previously penned the Acid Death Fantasy setting book as well as the Gradient Death and A Pound of Flesh adventures for Mothership.

The ultra-wealthy of Downgate Arches invested gob-tons of money on scarf-worm eggs, betting entire fortunes on the unhatched progeny of dangerous creatures that live near the mysterious gaseous sea below their hanging palaces. When they hatched, the elite hungry for a payday discovered instead a massive crop of worthless pretender worms. Now, the speculative bubble has burst, the economy of the neighbourhood is in free fall, and everyone is looking for the one responsible.

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Players will be one group among a gaggle of detectives, mercenaries and private investigators hired by Downgate Arches’ ruling factions to sniff out a culprit to this crime (because robbing the rich is certainly illegal in this town). They can choose to cast their lot with one of these groups, which include the Yongardy House of Law, floating barge pirates and art gangs, as they adventure among 23 detailed locations looking to gather, buy or steal clues that will hopefully reveal the truth of the scarf-worm disappearance.

The adventure will be physically printed as a 100-page hardcover edition with over 40 pieces of original artwork from illustrator Andrew Walter - publisher Melsonion Arts Council claims this is one of their most colourful and illustrated books, to date. It will also detail the six rival investigators who will prove a consistent obstacle to groups who take this case. They range in professionalism and motive from a killer for hire to an eclectic Ogre who loves messy cases to… uh, a tortoise.

Playing The Big Squirm will reportedly feel like exploring a sandbox world with openly interpreted paths to clear goals. The designers say they hope groups find this approach inviting and interesting, allowing newcomers space to soak in Troika’s vibes and get their bearings while providing interesting wrinkles to longtime denizens.

Artwork from upcoming Troika! adventure book The Big Squirm, which is now on Kickstarter.
A map of the hanging palaces and labourers houses that comprise Downgate Arches. | Image credit: Andrew Walter

Facilitators can use The Big Squirm to begin a longer campaign in the endless, gonzo city or fold it into an existing group’s ongoing adventures without much fuss. The locations, characters and plot implications have been designed to ripple outward into other official Troika material and create natural connections beyond its covers. That said, the system’s core rulebook is required for play.

The Kickstarter campaign for The Big Squirm will remain open through August 10th, and more information about the book can be found on the project’s page. The publisher currently expects physical books to begin shipping in December of this year, alongside the digital rewards.

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