This week we finished a run through James V. West’s “SuperCalla” – a Troika! hack that you can get at DTRPG [link here] (you’ll need the Troika! rulebook too, as the mechanics aren’t in SuperCalla).
The game itself is a weird highway run through busted-down intergalactic blacktop – taking your wheels down from world to world, with strange side roads, interstellar truck stops, and of course the occasional coot-infested asteroid.
Troika! itself is a game I’m madly in love with. Honestly between it and the Black Hack, I can run 90% of the game ideas I have in the typical week. The game’s most controversial mechanic in the Monday night group is the initiative system – which in my experience holds through for most groups… people either love it or hate it. Every character in the group gets two initiative cards in the deck, and the villains get a number of cards, and there’s an end of round card. Cards are drawn and actions are taken, and when the end of round card comes up, the cards are all shuffled back into the deck. This means sometimes a character doesn’t get an action during a turn, sometimes you get two actions back-to-back. I love the chaos of this system, but I can totally understand some players finding it frustrating.
The magic of most Troika! books is the character creation. Like most, SuperCalla gives us 36 new characters to start with – each with skills, equipment, and a quick run down of what / who they are. And the collection is an excellent cross-section of sci-fi & highway tropes. In our group we had a space cowboy on his mechanical horse, a road hunter with a beat up hot rod, a princess on the run, a three-eyed green alien with a propensity for finding trouble, and a down-on-its-luck space opera singer.
On top of this, most characters have some randomized equipment in the form of weapons and road food which is rolled for on the appropriate tables.
And this book is wonderfully full of “appropriate tables” of road foods, sleazy roadside attractions, heists, robot reactions, police fines, and other fun.
And while there is an official SuperCalla character sheet included in the PDF version of the rules, I have this tendency to create my own sheet when writing up my character for a game. Click on the image of it above to get a full-sized version.
Our six or seven session SuperCalla adventure was a classic tale of highway hijinx as a space opera singer and princess on the run teamed up with some highway pros (a highway hunter and a space cowboy) and a green that just happened to be there (and who owed our boss a lot of money for drinking a full truckload of galactic grog).
600 Galactic Miles down the highway from us was a big music festival and our boss wanted us to deliver the beer to the gig. But didn’t set up the appropriate permits in time. So we’d be running the load “under the radar”. But the competition was out to stop us, the truck AI is uncooperative and hacked, our boss hired a WAY more experienced and tough-as-nails road warrior to keep tabs on us (a sure sign that this is a setup since she didn’t hire him to do the run instead)… and there were explosions, experimental time-manipulating weaponry, thieving hitch-hikers, rancid gas gremlins, groupies of the band who’s name we had on our truck, rough side roads with no atmo, and finally the discovery that the grog we were carrying also contained mind-control nanotech.
It was a fucking riot.