Session 0 Violence

I find Violence exciting

I've shared Violence with all my online friends, and they love it.
(Some already knew it [and love it]).

In mid-2023, when enough of us were available to meet over Discord at the same time, we would test-play each other's settings for Violence, usually once (sometimes twice) a week. 

Now, in 2024

I invited four friends over, gave them RPG Preference sheets to fill out (available as a public post on Skullboy's Patreon [check out their other public posts while you're there, consider subscribing]), and had them create characters for Violence (rules-lite TTRPG by Luke Gearing [available on his blog, itch, or purchase a physical copy from Spear Witch]. All proceeds from this project go to Ukraine refugee aid. Fuck war).

Using Violence's Modern Paranormal Horror & Investigation Toolkit, each of my friends used random tables to create their own federal agent (I allowed them to choose their starting skills if they wanted, but they decided to roll for them randomly), and (in case someone died, or a federal agent NPC was needed [it's all about who you know]) I created two more agents, (in secret). Players who gained the Language skill were allowed to pick a language now or wait, allowing them to pick one as they arose in play. (Generally, players learn new skills after each session or choose to replace one if they have reached their max).

player 1 - Stupid Face Tony

National Reconnaissance Officer, skilled in Botany, Melee Weapons, Survival, and Zoology. Age: Mature(31-60). No spouse; two kids.

player 2 - Alphonse Moody

Age: 65
Federal Agency: National Reconnaissance Office
Proficiencies: Forgery, Geology, Jump, Astronomy, Locksmith, Law, Shooting
Family: Carena Moody (Spouse)
Everyday Carry: [undecided]

player 3 - Mark Orlfan

Department of Energy, law, zoologoy, mech repair, navigation, carpentry, botany, surgery, deceased spouse (Regina), $300, Magnum pistol, pepper spray, retractable bo staff. 70 years of age.

player 4 - Hank Ewin

29-year-old special agent in the CDC. Carries a snub nose.38, but also keeps a briefcase with mobile labs on hand for checking out biological samples. Divorced with 2 kids. He gets custody every other weekend but often forgets which weekend it is he's supposed to have the kids. Was it last week I saw them? Maybe it's supposed to be this weekend. 

As everyone created characters around my coffee table, I searched YouTube for "emo mixtape." Then, I sorted the videos by upload date and double-clicked on the bleakest title from the last 48 hours (that I hadn't already listened to). 

~40 minutes later, two of my players struggled to build their character's "everyday carry." [Both worked as National Reconnaissance Officers (which design, build, launch, and operate the reconnaissance satellites of the [redacted and provide satellite intelligence to [redacted], particularly [redacted] to the [redacted]imagery intelligence (IMINT) to the [redacted], and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) to the [redacted].)]

The bleakest title ("emo mixtape") stopped playing; the lyrics of the third song on the mixtape remained in the brain. I never heard the song before. They had what sounded like synthesizers, multiple female singers, lyrics such as "I'm not a punching bag, I'm not target practice," then deeper, "I'm not your friend."

I started The bleakest title ("emo mixtape") over again.

Everyone was eating chips then.

I started to comb over "the unannounced campaign books" (TERROR OF THE STRATOSFIEND CYCLE OF THE SNAKE-WOLF, TERROR OF THE STRATOSFIEND CYCLE OF THE SNAKE-WOLF 2 RETURN TO THE SHATTERED WOODS). I let my hair down and felt relaxed and colder. 

"Snake-Wolf" stayed havin' me thinking about "Beastmasters." 

Players requested gear lists.

I suggested a package to bring the whole team together.

I made a list of items a federal agent may carry every day (using some examples from snake wolf 2 & 3, [modded lock pick guns], (the usual shit))

I wrote a lot of encounters in my calendar for the game.

We watched a film by Takashi Miike together (Agitator), ate Mexican food, and called it a night for now. 


looting the gobllin corpse

1. scrunchies
2. a slice of pizza
3. nothingness stones
4. virgin crud
5. poem eraser
6. hex ointment
7. fishnet stocking
8. the eyelash of a cyclops
9. a lemon
10. townes van zandt record
11. clamp
12. beautiful cinder block
13. mushrooms
14. troll doll
15. cigarettes
16. white peach tea
17. one glove
18. matches
19. a book titled "butterfly life decoded"
20. cyclops eyebrow ring
21. clarissa explains it all vhs
22. minotaur serotonin
23. seventy "give a shit" gels
24. black nail polish
25. avocado
26. flask of "joan of arc urine"
27. fake succulent
28. settlers of catan
29. eyelashes
30. pear
31. magic eight ball
32. richard turtle painting
33. packets of mayo
34. spike
35. mood hammer
36. crystal
37. virtual pet (hungry [disrepectfully])
38. bag of chips
39. juice box with a giant millipede leg straw
40. scroll of shit forcefield
41. chainmail size YL
42. a chunk of despair
43. styrofoam skull
44. rotary phone
45. a framed picture of a pixie gazing longingly into a framed picture of a ruin
46. medusa hairnet
47. spray paint
48. tuft of cotton candy
49. sisters of mercy album
50. pandit pannalal ghosh album
51. spare tongue
52. revenge key
53. bott of truth serum
54. bottle of faygo
55. map of the antidepressant ice cream truck's route
56. rollerblades
57. ipecac ring pop
58. switchblade symphony cassette tape
59. trash bag full of glitter
60. liquid cinnabon potion
61. kelly schirmann novel
62. ingots of hawaiian valium punch
63. missing poster for something lasting
64. pedialyte
65. windex
66. electric dog collar
67. bowling pin
68. wicker chair
69. bejeweled bottle of febreze 
70. corduroy sofa pillow
71. gorgeous friendship bracelet
72. origami crane
73. essential oil diffuser
74. bim sherman lovers leap album
75. midori takada album
76. allergy meds
77. powdered milk
78. bottle of shaman third eye discharge
79. nice stick
80. hard drive of  face scrambling
81. brand new roll of plastic wrap and disinfectant spray
82. class one drone
83. abortive nanobots
84. food pills
85. a purple wet brush
86. cd binder of meaningful electro mixes
87. certificate from a 2 day bartending class
88. "1/8th" of an LSD tab
89. a book featuring 122 insects spread and mounted with the exact date and where each were caught (119 butterflies/moths and 3 beetles or beetle-like-insects)
90. tennis racket + a plastic big full of firecrackers
91. bottle of Spinach-cucumber-celery-jalapeno-coconut-water
92. Fish wrapped in paper
93. a bag of wine
94. Yellow Karate Gi
95. 9 packets of instant wifi hotpsot
96. gym bag with a journal and 4 beers and a change of clothes
97. weed-whacker
98. god genital
99. the novel nightwood by djuna barnes
100. fleas and roaches


Rolling Your Own Cigarettes in the OSR

this is where i blog from
(the record pictured in my photo is The Boston To Little Rock Connection Split 7" by The Shyness Clinic / Everyone Asked About You, the latter being a legendary female-fronted 90's emo band.)

my friend said his first character sheet for Troika was written on a rolling paper.

this got me thinking about magical cigarettes in games (for the second time).

settings should have fucked up roads, trash, and cigarette butts floating in deep puddles.

all that is required is a rare item (or not [whatever]) crushed and ground up mixed with the tobacco, paper (or something paper-like [and smokeable]), a spark, and lungs (I think?).

bad guys also smoke cigarettes; add cigarettes you've created to your loot tables.

warning: smoking leads to vampirism, addiction, stankiness, iron deficiency, and bad taste in music  

 🎀  𝕕1҉0҉   𝔠𝔦𝔤𝔰  🎀 
1 putting the cigarette out on a metal item no larger than 1meter x 1meter rusts it immediately 

2 cigarette of vomiting 

3 this cigarette allows the smoker to imitate the last human/creature they slew 

4 smoking this cigarette will allow you to throw a web-spell once a day

5 cigarette that steals d8 hp from the smoker

6 cigarette that stops burning 30 meters from undead

7 cigarette that makes the last 7 minutes never happen 

8 cigarette of perfect hair, tuck it behind your ear and your hair is always perfect

9 this cigarette summons a pet tarantula (crawling out of your mouth [popular in many nightclubs across the city])

10 second hand smokers of this cigarette [redacted]



babbling plasma; a troika city story, chapter 2

before you hit play (the audiobook is only available on my substack, or read chapter 2 or go back and read and/or listen to chapter 1)

i want to mention something first…

my friend Bolt-Neck Opossum (featured on the blog before: we wrote 36 graveyard encounters and i reviewed one of their zines) has new zine live on Kickstarter right now.

you should totally check it out! (click)

it’s called Spectacle and it’s a new science-fantasy gladiatorial setting for Troika!

it’s for fans of Jack Kirby and Junji Ito’s Hellstar Remina, and weirder comic tropes.

it looks sick as fuck.

please consider backing it, if you can.

i’d like to write an adventure set in Spectacle.

i hope you enjoy the story and my original background music (which you can listen to on my substack)

The Necromancer texted The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer that they would change clothes and then exercise.

They put on an oversized white tank top and long wide-legged shorts.

They took a photo of the exercise machine and sent it to The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer. 

"Bout to hit it," the Necromancer added to the text message. 

They spent an hour binge-eating and throwing up.

The Necromancer poured a tall boy into a water bottle.

The Necromancer sat on the exercise bike and placed the water bottle into the bottle slot.

"This bitch," a spider said, shaking its head.

When the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer returned, the Necromancer still rode the exercise bike.

"Good shit," the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer said, waving their fist a little, like 'Hell yeah, man.'

He was holding a plastic bag with a smiley face on it.

The Necromancer took off their headphones and said, "What?"

"I brought you something," the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer pulled a burrito out from the bag, unwrapped the tinfoil a little at one end and held out the burrito for the Necromancer to bite.

"Fub yeah," said the Necromancer with their mouth full. 

The spiders watched, waiting for some of the burrito's filling to fall onto the floor.

The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer sat on the incline bench, "I heard they unearthed another retrieval pod."

"Oh yeah?" the Necromancer wanted another bite of the burrito. They thought the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer looked really good today. The Necromancer eyed the burrito in the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer's hands and thought, "Choke me, Daddy." The Necromancer reminded themself to keep their distance. They thought their breath and sweat must smell like cheap beer.

"Yeah, traffic was fucking terrible."

The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer laid back on the incline bench as tears began to fall sideways.

Two weeks had passed since the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer last visited their father in jail.

They wanted to ask the Necromancer to come with them to visit their father but couldn't.

"Calm facial expression," the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer thought. 

The Necromancer hopped off the exercise bike, "Lemme shower real quick and we can check it out and go to Barnes & Noble if you want."


The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer put the burrito in the fridge.

They showered together.

They saw the retrieval pod in the center of town.

The Necromancer said it was roasted like a brazen bull.

They went to Barnes & Nobel.

In Barnes & Nobel, the Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer walked to different areas thinking, "Where are they? They disappeared."

The Necromancer picked up five large Moleskin notebooks and hid them in their dusty robes.

The Temple Knight of Telak the Swordbringer saw The Necromancer on the second floor.

"Let's go," The Necromancer said, walking toward them.

They walked holding hands to the bus stop.

A low-floating ghost was at the bus stop.

"What happened to you?" asked The Necromancer.

"Brain asphyxiation," the ghost said, wiping its nose.

"Sorry. Now I feel really shitty."

"Here, have at it," the ghost held out a water bottle to them, "it's gin."

"I'm a Necromancer," said the Necromancer, who took a drink and passed the water bottle to Telak the Swordbringer.

The ghost felt confused and a little dizzy as they stared at the Necromancer.

"Are you worried that I'm lying to you?"

"a little; if you lied to me, please tell me"

"Where are you buried?"

"I don't remember."

The ghost reached for the water bottle filled with gin, "Death is like you're listening to this really shitty song repeatedly. It sounds like a moth's ass rubbing against your brain."

"I know."

"Let's see you spend five years in my shoes," the ghost finished the gin in the water bottle. 

"Okay, then I'll join you in death."

The Necromancer spends 3 points of stamina and casts Torpor.

"I'm sorry I accused you of lying."

"It's ok."

Telak the Swordbringer starts playing a game on their cellphone, music on loud.

"Can you put my soul in a robot or something?" asked the ghost.

The Necromancer laughed.

"I don't know."

They talk for about thirty minutes.

The ghost gets the feeling of missing someone like the Necromancer, and when the bus arrives, the three of them step into it holding hands.