Cease this madness at once

Rawle Nyanzi has written a beautiful and important piece about indie games, indie books and indie publishing. In a nutshell, he points out that every criticism, positive or negative, about big brand rpgs, games and books does nothing to change the current situation: Big brand media utilize psychological targetting methods to inflame “critics” – this increases both the volume and frequency of mentions. Bad news are good news. 

The bigger the piece of the cake for big name media, the smaller the pieces get for indie authors and games. Big media doesn’t even like us – it’s the money they’re after, and that’s the reason you won’t find any kind of golden thread in their publication policy. If there’s money to be made with, let’s say, transgender-heavy dungeon crawls, that’s what they’re going to publish, even if all their old modules are about heroic beefcakes rescuing long-legged blonde cheesecakes from rotten towers of old ugly male bearded wizards.

Big media franchises don’t have morale. They don’t have a code of conduct. Big media corporations are unethical. Their only concern is money, so they have to be very flexible, morally. Big media companies don’t care about you.

The future of roleplaying and, I believe, book publishing, is independent. Indie publishing. Indie games. Indie authors. Indie designers. Look at the breathtaking rpg products the OSR has generated so far. Look at the new wave of sword&sorcery and scifi writers who are all published by indie companies. Indie is the place of innovation, of real change. 

Indie is the future of our hobby, not the soulless products churned out by big media.

So what’s the solution? Let me quote Rawle:

  • From this day forward, I will not mention any major media franchise on this blog, and I will erase such talk if I see it in the comments. Also, I will not like, share, or reply to any social media post that discusses a major media franchise. This does not only apply to woke brands. All major brands, including anime, will not be mentioned here. No big brand requires my help in getting the word out, so I won’t do it for them.
  • If it is mentioned on any mainstream geek site (Bleeding Cool, IGN, Comic Book Resources, Anime News Network, etc.), it is a major brand. Those sites get a lot of traffic from interested parties, so they don’t need you to talk up whatever they’re talking up. Meanwhile, great content languishes in obscurity because everyone would rather complain to a company that deliberately antagonizes them, thinking they’ll change with the 17,863,485,736th email.
  • Spare me your talk of circlejerks. Non-mainstream content has to be talked up, no matter the source. The only way to create actual competition is to treat non-mainstream work with the same obsessiveness as a franchise that spits on its fans. No million-dollar executive is going to have a change of heart because you whined like a baby on Youtube, so stop it and be part of the solution instead.

This is what I’ll do from now on, here on Darkworm Colt and in my private life.
We are the future.

Initiative has to be crazy

Not only OSR games suffer from the same old, same old problem with initiative rules. Essentially, those rules boil down to two alternatives: the whole group gains initiative and the individual members can determine in which order they act, or the rules determine who acts when.

It works, of course.
(And personally, I like group initiative a lot.)

But I think the single best twist on these age-old rules are Dan Sell’s Troika! initiative rules. You can use them in every roleplaying game. Speaking from a professional standpoint (I’m a certified intructor for reality-based self-defense and instructor-in-training for a Russian martial art), Dan’s initiative rules are realistic. Realistic, as in yes, it really works like that in melee, it’s all a huge fucking mess, and things happen you just don’t want to happen and everything is going in all directions all at once.

So, yes. Do yourself a favor and use Dan’s rules. They’re that good. AND they’re fun.

Troikatober: Into Troika!

Some of you might know that I’m a huge, huge, HUGE fan of Into the Odd. In all honesty, I do think that Troika! and Into the Odd are the best game systems around – this also includes my own rules-lite rpgs. (The GLOG clocks in at third place).

Today, I’d like to show you my ideas on converting Troika! backgrounds (player characters) to Into the Odd – and vice versa. This has been totally NOT playtested, so tread carefully.

Troika! Stamina Into the Odd STR
14 3
15 4
16 5
17 6
18 7
19 7+1d6
20 14
21 15
22 16
23 17
24 18

Into the Odd
4 D6+3
5 10
6 10+1d8
Into the Odd
7 1
8 2
9 3
10 4
11 5
12 6

Advanced Skills: to use them in Into the Odd, simply make a save against the most appropriate stat and use the Skill number as stat modifier.

When converting from Troika! to Into the Odd, roll 3d6 for CHA/WIL.

An example:
I have a Troika! lansquenet with Skill 4-Sta 22-Luck 10. His Advanced Skills are 2 Greatsword Fighting, 2 Pistolet, 1 Run, 1 Fist Fighting and 1 Astrology.
Let`s convert this character to Into the Odd:
Stamina 22 is STR 16. Skill 4 means I have to roll 1d+3 to determine DEX; I roll a 2, so I have DEX 5. Luck 10 translates to 4 hp. I roll 3d6 for CHA and get a 9. The ItO lansquenet looks like this: STR16-DEX5-CHA9-hp4

Troikatober! Another background: Old School Pro-Wrestler

You worked hard to be where you are. The marks love you. You were one of the best jobbers in the biz, and you never, not even once, broke kayfabe. When the time came, you were prepared. You know you were indispensable for the federation, and you negotiated well. Your moves are basic, but you can sell pretty well. And when you throw the sign for your generic legdrop, the crowd pops like crazy.

You start with 2d6+30 Stamina

Yellow t-shirt (you rip it to shreds before a match begins)
Huge biceps you call pythons

Advanced Skills 
3 Microphone Skills
2 Basic American Pro-Wrestling
3 Finishing Move (determine name)

You can start using your Finishing Move when your opponent has one-third or less of their Stamina left. After you perform your Finishing Move for the first time, your Advanced Skill for it decreases by 1 point every time you’re trying it again in a match. Once your Finishing Move Advanced Skill reaches zero, you can’t try it any more and have to wait till the match is over.

Basic American Wrestling 


P.S. Yes, I’m in the designing phases for a pro-wrestling RPG based on Troika!. Suitable for all players, no pro-wrestling knowledge required.


Over on the Troika! Discord, we announced Troikatober. One month full of Troika! goodness.
My first entry is a background.
Haiku Tribesman
The fives and sevens
truly mean the world to you,
strong son of symbols
Possessions of yours
– Honorable book of rhymes 
– Pen that knows the truth
Look, your Advanced skills
3 Write into the hearts of men 
4 Spell: a Living Word
This, your only spell 
Will it with your blackest depths 
and become a word