Encounters & NPCs
Triumvene invariably requires that the players interact with people beyond the main party. This part of the system covers how we handle non-player characters of all types.
Everything in the game will be capable of challenging your players, although the aim should be to do so without making it impossible for them to achieve their goals. As such, when the players roll to do something, the roll is never against the creature, but against the situation. That's why the rolls work the way they do - it's designed to allow the players freedom to act pretty much however they'd like, and if they fail it's due to the world getting in the way, rather than a fundamental inability on the part of their character.
NPC physical manipulations, professions and so on are left to the GM to decide, based on what makes sense for the NPC. However, suggestions are given in the bestiary for each of the types of creature the players might encounter. For the player peoples, anything is possible.
NPCs may well be armed. Their attacks are assumed to be dodged or miss, or otherwise avoided in some way when the players use a Luck to avoid damage, or successfully roll a Defence check. Otherwise, they will do realistic levels of damage.
Since the player characters cannot be permanently killed, feel free to inflict significant damage on them.
Professions & Items
These, like the detail for Physical Manipulation, are left up to the GM to decide on the fly. For example, if the players encounter a noble, you might decide as you describe her that she wears a golden torc on her left arm, denoting status. You could then explain what different torcs mean in terms of status in that society, and where this character sits in it. Equally you might decide that she's particularly skilled in negotiation, and therefore and therefore Diplomacy checks against her may have to be rolled with disadvantage. Make a note of these things as they come up, but don't sweat them too much.
In any adventure run in the Triumvene setting (or any other RPG system), encounters should have three parts:
- A link to the campaign's past, to give it relevance,
- Foreshadowing of the future, to drive the story forward, and
- A simple (although not necessarily initially clear) objective.
Regarding the last, the party can either succeed, partially succeed, or fail, and so you need to be able to deal with any of those. It's entirely possible that your incredible, Vader-level villain is going to be taken down by a low-level party, because they came up with something incredibly clever to mitigate them, which you didn't consider. Don't deny them that victory - it's a great moment for the group, and ultimately the object of the exercise is to tell great stories which engage the players. Equally, it's possible that your clear, simple objective is actually something that they just don't see, or totally subvert in some way. You need to be ready to improvise when that happens too.
So the first thing for encounters is to ground them, set an objective, and have some ideas as to what to do if things go sideways.
Setting an Encounter
When creating an encounter, firstly write down the objective in its simplest form. Things like "bring the two sides to peace", "sneak in and retrieve the item", "kill the monster" or "stop the illegal activity" all work well. There's a clear, simple aim to be achieved, and obvious conditions for success, partial success and failure.
As for pitching the difficulty, because Triumvene has no concept of an overall level, instead watch how the party are doing, and set it as something appropriately challenging given how they're dealing with what they're facing.
Due to the party always rolling, and the Skills system, it’s quite possible something that would be very difficult for one group will be simple for another, because a party member will have spent time gaining skills in something that makes the challenge a breeze. For example, if the task is "track down the Grazelle*", often a party will be making Knowledge and Diplomacy checks, having to talk to people who may have seen it as it travelled and so on. However, if one of the party spent time with the Grazelle as a child, and has long ties to them as an adult, then they could have a Profession of anthropology, related to Grazelle culture and habits. This would make the task far easier for that party.
Rewarding the Players
A challenging objective should always result in the story moving forward, but also in delivering growth to the characters in the story. These can come in the forms of notes about things they know about or have a particular affinity for, or loot items, such as weapons, armour, money, trinkets or possessions.
They might also gain status or favours, depending on if they’re performing a task for others, who are in a position to reward them with such.
* Not something that appears in the game - I just made that up. However, feel free to use the name and invent the Grazelle if you’d like