Tuesday 18 June 2019

Silent Titans - What Did and Didn't Work?

Reviews are mixed.

It doesn't work.

No, wait, it does.


Ah crap, no it don't.

So, not quite a bullet in the head, but no triumph with laurels either.

So for anyone who has tried to actually run it, what parts did you find worked and what didn't?

Also if you have questions I will try (?) to answer them.

Also please be civil, I realise experiencing these intuitive differences in perception can be frustrating but the intention here is more of a neutral forum.

And I meant be civil to each other but now I think about it be civil to me as well please.


  1. Haven't tried running it yet, but, for what it's worth, I adore poring over it because it's heckin' gorgeous.

  2. Here's the play reports: https://instadeath.blogspot.com/2019/06/collected-silent-titans-play-reports.html . In summary, the travel system failed hard enough to bring everything else down. But everything else besides travel was good/servicable

  3. I don't intend my review to be negative overall! :0

    I have a mid-end review turn around where i say i think it absolutely does work! I think it's great adventure with an *unparalleled* marriage of fiction, mechanics and art.

    I just dont think its very “OSR” whatever that even means anymore. It's different, but i dont think its “bad” different, I think it’s “not everyone is quite ready for it” different.

    Unless you were going for something else?

  4. I'm tweaking up my own system for it because I like a little more structure than ItO provides, based on the various GLoGs and Souls-likes floating around, so I haven't run it yet.

    My biggest concern from reading is what to do with the likely PC deaths, particularly if I were to actually run it straight with just the ItO rules. There's not any guidance I recall for what to do for replacement characters. I've been thinking of mixing Uriel with a more traditional Death archetype and having the characters being endlessly resurrected, kinda Dark Souls style only to work off some sort of metaphysical debt. But that's just my ad lib because I'm not sure how the creation system and setup jives with lasting character death. Also, what would you do if every character who starts the game dies before... the last dungeon? And the thing in it? Trying to avoid spoilers.

    1. I guess it's a discussion of what didn't work when you ran it. Maybe we're past the point of spoilers here.

  5. Ran it twice. Tl;DR: it worked really well. I think it's a well-done book that a lot of tables won't be able to use because of the strangeness. I will never run the body horror dungeon, as body horror is not my taste nor my players. The Maze is unwieldy and not really a maze. The maps are great. The Demon is kinda' hard to run. The Courts are great.

  6. I ran it for three drunken friends and I felt it largely successful. I like to think your prose is meant to do it's long term work in the unconscious (hence "read it through first") allowing description and improvisation to be fluid. That said, if one follows that course, I feel that there are still a couple of requirements... essentially revolving around equivalent aesthetics. For me, this was a chance to roll out Lynch, reference Tarkovsky, allude to Jodorowsky and then to mix vigorously with Dark Souls.

    I play harsh, brutal, pull no punches. They end up in the Chronal Parasite's web and in a prolonged piece of torture porn, are slowly slaughtered (they don't realise the monster ceases attacking any time they speak to it). They're both really pissed off and feel kind of stupid.

    HOWEVER... I urge them not to lose heart and we run through character creation again (fun). I then describe the EXACT SAME SCENE "you have no idea who the other people are...but they seem strangely familiar"...NOW they're buzzing because they GET it. Time and looks. Multiple timelines clashing. Alternate versions of the same PCs.

    They try and kill the chronovore again, fail, die. TPK number 2.

    They try _again_ and destroy it. Everyone thoroughly enjoys themselves, blah, blah, Dr Hogg, chaos, we finish in Ellesmere.

    Patrick, I'm going to be uncharitable and suggest that this was _possibly_ not your intended play model. Then again, maybe it was. Either way, it absolutely, 100% worked.

    To go with this piece of possibly accidental awesomeness, I've decided that time portals open up at certain points of achievement. These lead back to the Time Tornado. There's now one at Ellesmere for example. Thus, if players die, it's back to the Time Tornado, but they can skip into the future.

    Can they be used by others? Two way transit, is it possible? Juicy, I'm sure you'll agree.


    I think a sense of the bewildering liminality of North West England, certainly helps... and of English entropy in general. The parasite's web, was largely made from Tesco bags, for example. This was huge for our group and thoroughly unique. The majority of groups won't have that advantage...it certainly helped to avoid the sense of spatial and discursive confusion one reviewer suffered.

    Hope that was useful.

  7. Silent Titans is one of my favorite modules that I have read and run. I ran the adventure in 4, 3-4 hour sessions for my my Friday night group. They were very excited about it because we had played the Maze of the Blue Medusa last year and they enjoyed that very much. I will be running this many more times I am so glad that this exists. Running the adventure was not flawless but much of that I think will be better the next time. The shorthand that the adventure is written in makes it so that it works better for me at the table once you have a good idea of how the adventure plays. I think that once there are online plays of this it will be easier for new GMs to pick up.


    1. Reading the Module
      I found that reading the module was a treat. there is a bit of a scavenger hunt to find all the linkages and it was very rewarding. I also found myself reading about the Wirral to get the imagry right and that was great fun. I did struggle with some of the animals that are not native to America thinking that instead they were fantastic monsters but instead they were just native British creatures.
      The Rules - I found that I needed to have a copy of Into the Odd to understand the rules and there are important rules that were missing from the bookmark. I did love how the individual characters have so much personality in each of them. The look on one of the players faces when he saw that while everyone else got telepathy and shapeshifting he was instead a wizened crone was priceless. The mechanics sprinkled throughout the adventure were also just great.

      The Cities and Towns
      Ellas Mere - When the party woke up in Ellas Mere they threatened Malgo Moon Pig and I struggled to give the dialog that was in the book. I felt that I had a very hard time evoking Ellas Mere but I think when I run it next I will have an easier time. Those initial scripted encounters are a challenge for me. I wish there was a map of Ellas Mere in the same manner as Legions Fort but i understand that it's not intended to be as big of a deal.
      Legions Fort - I really liked how the city was portrayed and laid out. I think that the hireling tables are solid gold. I also loved how Hugh Lupis is such a character.
      Villages on Wir Heal - I never was able to bring these to life. The players always wanted to get in that next titan and didn't want to talk to the mask men.

      The Rainbow Maze
      I didn't see how to hook the players into this. I am still trying to figure this out. I love the idea though and am very excited about it.

      Random Encounters
      The players never let themselves stay out in the Wir Heal Peninsula after dark so they didn't really encounter the Avatars. I found that it was the part of the book they interacted with least.


    2. The Dungeons.
      I thought the dungeons were solid gold. Each one was a joy at the table and the players were on board with them. I ended up putting the maps on the table while they adventured through and I felt that worked great. The way that the rooms were described in brief on the first page and in more detail later in reminded me of the Maze of the Blue Medusa but in a good way I felt like I immediately understood how to use the book. My players gave me feedback that they didn't explore as much as they could because they were so focused on getting the Titan Diamonds and getting out.
      Chronos: I initially had a hard time wrapping my mind around it but I think it's a great introduction and the interplay is great. Having the Brain Apes possibly cause the players to become Kleptomaniacs and the Skeletons attack you if you steal anything is great. Doctor Hog was also a hit they didn't let him converse too much but the strangeness of the encounter started things off on a good foot.
      R8-BY - This was a great dungeon. The TACs seemed a bit overpowered especially for how many are supposed to come out at a time. The Stained Angel of Deletion didn't work for me as an encounter with me struggling to arbitrate it.
      Brunan - This dungeon felt too easy for all the hype about him being "The Maker of Peace" the monsters were far weaker than in R8-BY. I did like the gimmick of them getting in and needing to fight their way out.
      Birk - The configuration gimmick and the Black Night were highlights of the campaign. I loved that. They only explored the River of Ghosts, station configuration and the Ego Machines. They left most of the dungeon untouched.
      Brom - All of the players rolled Women at character generation so they were not accosted at the entrance. 2 of the players refused to be subdued by the Glitch doctor and sat out the dungeon. The other 2 players really enjoyed the trippy experience. I think that it worked really well. This was the dungeon I was most concerned about and I was mistaken it was fine.
      Hilb - After all the bits about drowning in R8-BY my players were apprehensive about drowning in the water of Hilb. They eventually discovered that they could breathe after several trips in and out but it was not obvious to them they didn't trust the Splicemonks and thought that "Breathe Deeply of her Waters" was insane rambling rather than helpful advice.

  8. Ran it for 3 different groups, for 1-2 sessions apiece so far. I'm a pretty new referee, so I don't have a lot of constructive criticism, but I loved both reading it and running it.

    Character generation worked really well, and all of the players were very excited about the big table. Specifically, the connection between Into the Odd-style character generation and the dementia bomb worked well to let players figure out and then introduce their random characters, which I was a tad worried about because the only RPG players at the table were from 5E/pathfinder and were used to having spent hours on their characters before sitting down to play.

    Elles Mere went down a treat, and the painted boats really hooked everyone into the mystery.

    I found the nested bullet-point style to be useful. A couple of times the sub-headings got a bit lost. (e.g. the Harbour and Demon-Bone Train in Legion's Fort)

    All of the players loved it. One in particular, for whom it was the first TTRPG, has been talking all week about how much fun it was.

    1. There are so many other uniquely "Silent Titans" parts that I'm excited to try—the Ouzel, Maze, Courts, etc.—but can't really comment on how they "work" yet.

  9. I had one particular issue in that I couldn't find the basic rules in the print version. I think it's supposed to be on a bookmark, but I couldn't find a bookmark in my packet. I found them in the PDF and have run the first session (which was great, everyone I played with loved it), but I haven't run the rest yet.

  10. Patrick, this book is gorgeous and a work of art. Never run it, I'm hoping I'll be able to soon. Hugh Lupus, Wapentake, the Prism Demon, the goddamn animal masks, the starting characters are all wonderful. This isn't a review, this is just me gushing over it.

  11. Thank you everyone for your comments. I have read and noticed them. Afraid current situation not great and hard to put time aside for the coherent response they deserve but I am aware.

  12. I ran a first session (Dementia Bomb + Elles Mere) yesterday. The players had a good time and want to continue. Most difficulties were from being out of practice, and the party being a bit large.

    I've much enjoyed reading it, and it has been the catalyst that's got me back into role-playing after years.

  13. I'm running the game with Telegram (5 players and me). After 5-6 turns on the spiral tornado the TPK arrived. Still, I love the adventure. I'm thinking' about star with new characters in Elles Mere, but I'll appreciate any cool idea!

  14. It works for me and my group. The only problem I see is, what if I totalpartykill them? The background story will fall, unless at least one of the starting characters remains alive (maybe I can resurrect one of them; or everyone and they have to start again). But the adventure can go on even if the Gawain/PCs backstory disappears.

    I think the travel system is chaotic and it causes the world to change, so a path can cease to exist and a new one appears. Meaning you cannot map the area, but move through it as a pointcrawl, only the routes change all the time. There is always a route from point A to point B, but the route is not always the same.

    1. Hi Jorge!

      In my case (with the TPK at Chronos) I've made them roll new characters and star in Elles Mere. The new PCs are the "new versions" of the previous ones. They are kinda like "eternal champions", so they have the same visions a memory. When they see pictures of the original PCs they relate to them. Right now they are pretty sure the previous PCs were something like a past life.