Originally published on Reddit.
Yes, Patrick Stuart writes great books that require an extra effort from the referee, but it’s always worth it in the end, and perhaps making the books more accessible would go against the real value of the work. Silent Titans is no exception.
If you haven’t tried Silent Titans, allow me to help you a little. First, you must know that the book structure makes sense, the dungeon maps make sense and the writing makes sense.
The maps are abstractions
You don’t need more detailed maps to run the dungeons; all the dungeons are short, they all have 7 rooms and each room has one or two doors. The game is not about complicated labyrinths, it’s about weird things happening in these smalls buildings.
Maps here are more like diagrams roughly portraying the layout of the building and the rooms composing it, with arrows that show you how many doors there are and where they lead to.
“The map is really just a quick reference to remind you of the areas described in the prose, but the prose is the «sole source of truth» rather than the map.” [Source]
Information is where it needs to be
The book mentions a lot of stuff you don’t know nothing about, for instance, in the dungeon called R8-B8, T.A.C.s are mentioned but you don’t know what T.A.C.s are. At the end of the dungeon description, that is, after the last room (easy, there are only 7 rooms), there is a list of monsters, one of these is the T.A.C.
Also, if you have the PDF, have you noticed that some words and phrases are underlined? Those are links! It sends you to the relevant page. Click on T.A.C. and you will be directed to the description of this monster.
There’s structure in the chaos
This book is chaotic, it portraits the chaotic nature of the setting; but there’s a structure you can’t notice until you have read the first 14 chapters. Wait, wait, wait! Don’t be scared! Some chapters are a page long or so. In my mind, the first 13 chapters work as three chapters: introductory information, first dungeon and the sandbox & city description. Each of these three parts are different and don’t follow a structure, because they are about different stuff. But then you get to the 14th chapter, which in my mind is the first section of the fourth chapter, that is, the Titan R8-B8‘s description:
- Two pages that explain how to explore this area (a Titan is both a land and a dungeon, it’s a big part of a bigger map). It describes its towns (three towns explained in a single page; you don’t need more details). It includes a description of the roads and paths you find there and where they take you; some of them take you out of R8-B8 into another Titan-Land. These are also underlined, so in a game session, you can go to the relevant page in a click.
- One and a half pages overview of the dungeon: there’s the abstract map and a brief summary of each room. Additionally, there’s a comment on encounters and general description of the atmosphere, texture, doors and other features.
- Several pages that describe each room in depth. The complete description of the room is in the same page.
- The Avatars. That is, the monsters you find in this dungeon.
- This structure (points 1 to 4) is repeated for all the Titans-Lands-Dungeons. So, when you familiarize with one, you can find what you need in another.
- After this, you find a description of Titan Diamonds and Ego-Machines, which are mentioned before several times. Remember, information is where it needs to be.
- After that, there’s a brief discussion about how to continue the adventure, an interview, some tables you might need during the sandbox & city part. There’s also the rules of the game (one page, taken from Into the Odd) and an «I search the body» table. And that’s it.
The first dungeon map doesn’t appear in the main map
You can think the purple tower with a head in the spread overland map is the first dungeon (Dementia Bomb), but it’s not. I wasted a lot of time trying to conflate the first dungeon map with that illustration.
The book is color coded
When you navigate a Titan, the roads table include destinations highlighted in different colors; each color refers to a specific Titan. For example, R8-B8 is pink and Birk is purple. This is a sample navigation table.
And I think that’s all you need to know. It took me a while to understand the book, for two reasons: you have to read several chapters before you get the hang of it, and I don’t have a lot of time to read. Patrick says that you need to read the book before you run the game, and he’s right. You need to understand what is going on so you can do you work properly.
One mini-game that will make you break your head is “Mouse Box”, in the dungeon/Titan Brom. If you haven’t figured it out, don’t fret! I have you covered here.
The Prismatic Demon and the Pentangle Shield
According to Patrick Stuart crowsourcing campaign for Gawain and the Green Knight, this bit was omitted from Silent Titans:
If the PCs defeat the Prismatic Demon and recover the Pentangle Shield, the following takes place;
The Memory of the Shield
Seeing the Image of Mary on its inside will suddenly trigger a complex memory.
- This is the Shield of Gawain.
- Together you defeated Doctor Hog and sent the Titans to sleep.
- You tricked a False and Cruel Knight into attacking the core of the Titan Birk.
- This is the body floating in Birk’s final chamber.
- This allowed Doctor Hog to think Gawain was dead.
- And that caused him to reveal his final plan, to raise Chronos from the Afon-Mor.
- The last thing you remember of Gawain was that he sought ‘The Green Chapel’.
For your convenience and use on the table, you can download the lost memory on PDF.
The Maze of Uriel
We have the map and we know each of the rooms/eggs correspond to each of the rookeries; there are 12 rooms but only 7 rookeries, but only 7 rooms have a hole in them. Which room corresponds to each rookery? You can decide that, it won’t change the game at all if you assign this room or that other room.
Sometimes, you are asked to roll will saves with disadvantage; but that mechanic is not from Into the Odd. Is it the same as in 5e (roll two dice, use the worst)? Or you add a penalty (-1, -2)? It doesn’t matter, actually. You can use the Impaired rules from ItO.