Clementine sat in the lift, sending it up and down, letting guests in and out when they needed. Mostly ignored by them. But he felt a sensation, unknown to him in all his time in the Guild of Sharp Corners.
He felt almost...appreciated!
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Thoughts on Troika
The skill system is quick, with 2d6 roll under a target number easy to resolve.
Clementine's skill of 4 means most skill checks are hard for him, even ones he's trained in. But that's ok, he's just cautious about everything and avoids combat where possible.
The setting is strongly presented in the book, and through the adventure. It's got a vibe where nearly anything goes, but with a certain dry humour. I found using the Hotel Encounters Table I made from last time useful for getting the flavour of the adventure, without being tied to the actual scenes of the adventure.
The combat is wildly unpredictable, with a unique system. Each combatant / group has 1 or more tokens in a bag, which are drawn out one at a time. Whoever's token is drawn out gets to go, with the End of Round Token resetting all tokens to the bag and starting a new round.
In the horrific combat Clementine has, the tokens (I used dice) were...
- Tigers [6 x Blue dice]
- Mandrill Guards [4 x d6]
- Concierge [2 x d4]
- Clementine [3 x d8] - gave one extra as it's a solo game
- Raphaelina [1 x d20]
- End of Round Token [1 x large green d20]
But it flowed smoothly and with opposed fighting rolls (where the loser gets injured) there were few "wasted" rolls.
I found Testing Luck to be a good mechanic to resist any number of dangers. A catch all for different threats and situations. But as your Luck goes down each time it's used, it gets more dangerous. Shame Clementine doesn't have much!
On Getting Better, I also let Clementine advance twice, loosely interpreting "a chance to rest and reflect on your journey". As this is solo and trying out a system Clementine can advance fast.
Each time a test succeeds, put a tick by it. Then when you get the chance to reflect, choose 3 skills and try to roll above your skill total on 2d6. Success means you advance, removing ticks from all skills once you try to advance 3 of them.
As Clementine had horrible Skill (and skill points), he advanced quickly when he had the chance.
Thoughts on Solo
I'm using Mythic Game Master Emulator 2nd Edition as my only tool for this solo. I've listened to people using Mythic 1E on a few solo rpg podcasts, so I'm familiar with it. And I started using it a little in a Savage Worlds solo to get more familiarity.
It's more complex than other oracle systems I've used, but is robust and has lots of advice for any questions.
The Chaos Factor shifts through the scenes as things go in the protagonist's favour or not. It affects the likelihood of Yes/No/Extreme Yes/Extreme No from the fate questions, using a chart (which I kept losing. When I wasn't sure at the end of a scene if it should go up or down, I rolled a d10 decreasing the CF if I rolled over, and lowering it otherwise (a variant system in the book)
The CF also determines the chance of getting an Altered or Interrupt Scene when seeing if the next scene happens as anticipated (Expected Scene).
For the Altered Scenes I'm always using the Scene Adjustment Table for what happens. Partly because I normally solo late and don't want to think too much.
I want to get better at asking Fate Questions, as a few times I almost stalled and wasn't sure what questions to ask. I usually only use the 50/50, Very Likely and Very Unlikely lines in the fate chart when asking questions.
I'm also not totally sold on using the d100 "spark" tables for inspiration. I think it's because I've used images in the past (such as Rory's Story Cubes) and found those easier to interpret.
But I like how everything fits together and gives structure to your solo adventures.
Aside from Mythic, I think I could do with some more introspective or character building scenes, and I'll have to think about how to work that into my games.
Adventures of Clementine
Scene 2 - The Cellar Bar (Chaos Factor 4)
The cellar bar was full of people celebrating the Feast of the Chiliarch and cluttered with flags and icy statues. The tall bartender had long scars over her body, filled with glowing ice. Furthermore she denied Clementine access to the festivities as he lacked an invitation.
Buying some blue wine, our not-so-intrepid journeyman went over his inventory and training, advancing with the cunning plan of getting the lift to the party.
Scene 3 - Lift Surprises (Chaos Factor 5)
Three tigers awaited in the lift, one red, one blue and one yellow, looking expectantly at Clementine. Presumably guests. Assuming the attendant was on strike, the journeyman fiddled with the lift controls, before taking them off, causing a hatch to open, with a promising tunnel leading away.
Scene 4 - Hotel's Heart (Chaos Factor 6)
The tunnel opens up shortly to a clanking room filled with smoke, home to a huge thinking machine. Tending it is a large figure with metal body parts and geometric symbols. Asks Clementine to pray to the "Machine God" to get lift going, which involves climbing up to the lift rope.
Clambering up, the journeyman has a better vantage, seeing controls for parts of the hotel such as "Windows" and "Roof". There is also an intriguing glowing portal. Climbing past wires and sparks he dislodges the rope. As he returns to lift, the champion tells him he can come again if be brings a symbol of the Machine God.
Scene 5 - Life in the Lift (Chaos Factor 5)
Gets comfy with the lift, taking the tigers up and dressing in a red coat. Passes several hours posing as lift attendant, mostly ignored by guests. An important mandrill in jewellery almost makes trouble at some point, before rushed off by other mandrills to trouble in the hotel.
For first time in his life, Clementine feels valued! Nobody comes to replace him, but overhears that strikes to do with management trying to replace the staff. Protesters out front with organised breaks for meals.
Rests for a while (Chance to reflect, increased Awareness, Climb and Disguise)
Scene 6 - Tiger Party (Chaos Factor 4)
Late on, Clementine enters the party, which is subdued with quiet music, slow dancing and guests stuffed with food. Raphaelina, an egg-shaped ally of the Guild wants an update, but they are interrupted by a commotion before they can get to Clementine's guest room.
Joanne the Concierge, the concierge knight the journeyman has to kill is here. He is with two mandrill guards, trying to throw out three familiar, colourful tigers from the party. The tigers react badly, going for Joanne, and Raphaelina tells Clementine they are rival assassins and need to be stopped.
Tigers, knight and mandrills quickly engage in melee, with Clementine doing what he can with his crossbow. One red tiger goes down, then the mandrills and the yellow tiger. The last, blue tiger and Joanne struggle in mortal combat before a frenzy from the tiger sends Joanne's head off and it savages the remains.
Only to be stopped by Clementine's bolt taking it's life.
Scene 7 - Maintaining Control (Chaos Factor 5)
Band starts vigorously playing, and Raphaelina tells Clementine to dispose of Joanne's body. No-one protests as the journeyman collects up the knight parts in a tablecloth, helped by a newly arrived mandrill guard who follows instructions.
With the help of some guests, take knight, mandrill and tiger remains to the roof kitchen, where a thinking machine chef takes tiger corpses. The guard takes the mandrill bodies and Clementine finds more service tunnels from the kitchen, similar to the one in the lift.
Searching the tunnels for somewhere to dispose of body, he is almost overwhelmed by anguish and self-loathing, but overcomes it to find a strange slug staring at him. Squashing the slug stops the rush of emotion and the exploring continues. Soon after Clementine comes to a prison where a hungry presence shifts and demands to be freed. Clementine frees the body and hurries away.
Getting to his room, he finds a note from Raphaelina, saying she will return in a few days.
So he settles in for a temporary life as a hotel lift attendant.
Next Expected Scene - Investigating Hotel Innards Between Shifts
Skill 4, Stamina 23, Luck 7, Journeyman of the Guild of Sharp Corners
Unsure of himself. Used to rejection. Temporary hotel lift attendant.
Advanced Skills - Awareness 3, Climb 2, Crossbow Fighting 2, Disguise 2, Knife Fighting 1, Locks 1, Poison 1, Sneak 2, Swim 1
Equipment - black clothes of the apprentice, crude red coat, garotte, curved sword, 3 vials of poison (2 x type 1, 1 x type 2), crossbow and six bolts, 5sp, knife, lantern, flask of oil, rucksack, 6 provisions.
Plot Threads and Character List
All the old plot threads are done, but new ones of...
1) Find out meaning of portal in Machine God
2) Find a symbol of the Machine God
3) Find out who management are trying to replace staff with
4) Investigate tunnels of the Hotel Innards
5) Wait for Raphaelina to give next orders
And the updated Character List.
1-2) Staff of the Blancmange and Thistle
3) Maud the Maid. Enormous, going to join the strikers.
4) Cellar Keeper. Old lady and bartender, many scars filled with alien icy organism. Authoritative
5) Champion of the Machine God. Mechanical parts chaos champion with symbols, serving machine at heart of Hotel. Mechanisms.
6) Chief Mandrill. Suspicious, jewelled bracelets and tiara
7-8) Hotel Guests
9) Raphaelina. Egg-shaped gossip and fixer of Guild of Sharp Corners. Oily.
10) Thinking Machine Chef. Chef at top of Hotel. Tomatoes.
We'll see what happens to Clementine in the Hotel, what happens with the staff, if there is a new mission and what lurks in the Innards.