Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Converting Troika! damage: How the sausage is made

As I have mentioned before, I'm currently running a UVG game with troika!  It's a lot of fun, the feel of the rules work well with the setting, it's all good.

But behind the scene, converting Troika to UVG's D20 ish system is not easy.  And this is particularly true for weapon damage.  The Technical Grimoire took a crack at it, but this was done quickly, and I felt that it needed more attention.  (edit: I am glad to note that we are collaborating on this project).

The author of Troika! has kindly given us DIY-type game bloggers permission to create new Troika! material, but with the following disclaimer "this post is an independent production by me and is not affiliated with the Melsonian Arts Council".  And well... the following is going to make Daniel Sell and any fan of Troika! scream, because this is NOT what Troika! is about - it's whimsical and fun and mysterious.  But converting a series of weapons doing 1d8, 3d6 etc damage to the Troika! 1d6 damage chart system is *harsh*.   You either completely eyeball it (and this is much more difficult than it looks).  Or you go about it systematically.

So please Troika! fans, don't throw too many tomatoes... (who am I kidding, no one reads this blog ha!).

Please note that this has NOT been play-tested, and is not the final product.  The interesting thing here is the system, not the end results.

So, in Troika!, to roll damage, you roll a D6 and consult a chart.  The dice can be affected by armor or luck, so a result of 0 or 7 are possible, but the 1-6 range is the most important.  For example, let us consider a few weapons:

1- 2 3 4 5 6 7+

Sword 4 6 6 6 6 8 10
knife 2 2 2 2 4 8 10
Club 1 1 2 3 6 8 10
Greatsword 2 4 8 10 12 14 18

You will note that the "pattern" of damage distribution varies a lot between weapons.  So the sword has a very "flat" damage.  This means that it will be relatively unaffected by luck or armor.  I don't know if this was the author's intent, but the sword is the game's can opener, really good at piercing even heavy armor.  The knife can do as much damage as a sword, but most of the time it's paltry, and armor is very effective against it.  The club is less "spiky" than the knife, but it's almost useless vs armor.  The greatsword can deal devastating blows, and the average damage vs an unarmored character is high, but again not as good vs armored foes than a sword.   (Armor imposes a penalty to the 1d6 that can range from -1 to -3).

So not only do I have to consider the average damage, I have to consider the pattern of the damage on the 1d6 chart.  I also have to consider the "flavor" of the weapon.  If the damage in UVG is 3d6 (fairly high damage and fairly "tight" grouping, very high or very low results will be rare), how do I reflect that in Troika!  And what do I do if the "flavor" of the weapon doesn't match the dice?

So to start, I made 5 damage patterns:  flat, medium, wild, superwild, and "spike", based on existing Troika! weapons.  Flat is the best vs armor, while superwild is the worse, but has a much higher max damage potential.  I didn't include the 7+ in these patterns - that value comes up less often and I just eyeballed it.  I also ensure that all these had the same average damage vs an unarmored foe:  6

AVG 6 (base step is 2) -1 2 3 4 5 6
FLAT (can oppener, sword) 4 6 6 6 6 8
Average (spear) 4 4 6 6 8 8
Wild (ax derived) 2 4 6 6 8 10
superwild 1 3 5 7 9 11
Spike  2 2 4 6 8 14

If I have a weapon I want a higher average damage, I just increase each value by 1 - for example a "wild" weapon with an average damage of 7 would have damage values of 3,5,7,7,9,11.

However, as damage goes up, what was wild before can become very tame.  For example, if I used this for a weapon with an average damage of 12 points (ouch),  and used the wild pattern, the resulting pattern would be  8, 10, 12, 12, 14, 16 ... which seems kinda flat doesn't it?   So I created 2 more patterns sets, one for an average damage of 9, and one for an average damage of 12:

AVG 9 (base step is 3) -1 2 3 4 5 6
FLAT  6 9 9 9 9 12
Average  6 6 9 9 12 12
Wild  3 6 9 9 12 15
superwild 2 5 7 10 13 17
Spike  3 4 6 9 13 19

AVG 12 (base step is 4) -1 2 3 4 5 6
FLAT 8 12 12 12 12 16
Average  8 8 12 12 16 16
Wild  4 8 12 12 16 20
superwild 2 6 10 14 18 22
Spike  4 4 8 12 16 28

The two values to keep an eye on here is the minimum (1 or less) and the max (6).  A six can *really* hurt a PC, but it rarely happens because, in my experience, most PCs wear at least light armor.  The minimum has *very* big impact on performance vs heavily armored foes.   Heavy arrmor is -3 on the damage chart, so rolling a 1 or a 4 results in the same damage.  So a sword would become 4 4 4 4 6 6, while a superwild weapon (average 6) would be 1 1 1 1 3 5!  Again, there is a reason I call the sword a can opener in Troika!.

So that was probably the hardest part.  Now that we have that, we need to decide what average damage in Troika corresponds to what average damage in the UVG.  We are a little constrained here by existing weapons, and it results in a system where bows and crossbows are a little bit better than some cheap firearms... but I can live with that.   The conversion is as follows:

UVG dmg UVG avg. Troika avg.

1d6 3.5 4
1d8 4.5 5
1d10 5.5 7
2d6 7 8
3d6 10.5 10
2d10 11 10
2d12 13 11
3d10 16.5 13
4d8 18 14

Now this level of damage seems a bit dangerous, and it *is*, but remember that large monsters can also hit very hard.  Also, in my version of Troika, heroes can gain a bit of stamina with spending XP.   Lowering (or increasing!) the Troika! damage chart is possible.  You'll note that the Troika versions hit a bit harder for low damage weapons, and a bit less hard for higher damage weapons, this was done on purpose.

Next, we have to decide what pattern applies to each gun.  The "flavor" of the gun was a dominant factor for me.  Again, this has not been playtested yet.  Use with caution!

(edit: ha! we found a serious flaw.  New numbers will be posted, I don't recommend you use this!)

UVG PISTOLS -1 2 3 4 5 6 7+
Inquisitor squirt gun 2 2 3 4 5 8 10
Revolver 2 3 4 5 7 9 12
Porcelain Prince Pistol 6 6 8 8 10 10 12
Ultra Blaster 7 10 10 10 10 13 16
Blue God Blaster 10 10 14 14 18 18 25

The revolver uses slow, fat bullets that armor deal with well... but a lucky shot vs an unarmored foe can hurt a lot (so a tweaked wild).  The Squirt gun is a "dart" gun so I used spike, but I had the jump from 6 to 7 be modest - there is only so much a lucky shot from that can do!  The porcelain prince pistol I put at average - fairly high tech, reliable, but not a huge gun, you aren't going to kill an elephant with one shot.  The Ultra Blaster is a hyper advanced weapon that is very dependable and makes a mockery of today's armor, so I gave it a flat damage.  The Blue God Blaster's dice is 4d8 which suggests a very flat damage - but the power seems wild, so I compromised and made it average.  It's quite effective even against well armored foes, which makes sense for the necrotic nature of the damage.

UVG RIFLES -1 2 3 4 5 6 7+
Heavy Crossbow 4 5 7 8 9 9 12
Scavenger bolter 2 4 6 8 10 12 15
Redland District SMG 3 5 7 7 9 11 16
Violent Cat Riffle 7 7 10 10 13 13 20
Vome Slagger 3 6 8 11 14 18 22
Black City matter disruptor 4 7 10 10 13 16 22
Satrap gun 5 8 11 11 14 17 22
Voice of Death 9 9 11 13 15 21 30

The heavy crossbow is based on the crossbow already existing in Troika! , and is quite effective vs armor.  The scavenger bolter I made superwild - basically it's the revolver on crack.  The redland SMG (submachinegun)  is wild, due to using revolver-like bullets.  The violent Cat Riffle is noted as being dependable, so I gave it average damage.   The Vome Slagger and the Black City matter disruptor both have 3d6, but I figured that the explode-y nature of the Vome Slagger would make it super wild, while the matter disruptor is "merely" wild - keep in mind that it has exploding damage dice, which I still haven't decided how to do in Troika!, and that special power changes this weapon.  The Satrap Gun is a laser gun, and I decided to make it wild as well.  Lastly, the Voice of Death has a spike pattern, given its divine origin and sonic nature.

And that's how you convert damage from a d20 based system to Troika! in a systemic manner!   Should you?  Nah, let those diehards from the internets do it for free for you...  If playtesting shows this doesn't work, adjustment will be made :)

Lastly, I will do melee weapons later!


  1. I'm reading. Enjoying what you're doing here. Keep it up.