Friday, 19 April 2019

Relic Walkers

I ran a little further with the ideas in my last post. 

Relic Walkers

Humanity is scattered through space with oceans of time and space between us. Colonies are small and isolated. Most humans have been altered slightly.

The Hierarchy
  • The Reliquary: Owners and maintainers of all technological relics, including Walkers and the only interstellar ship.
    • Father/Mother, Sister/Brother.
  • Custodian: Sanctioned relic holder, sworn to protect.
    • Captain, Castellan, etc
  • Retainer: Serves in a privileged position due to lack of debt or reliance.
    • Minister, Errant, Deacon.
  • Bonded: Sworn to a liege through debt or reliance.
    • Crew, Colonist, Server.
  • Vagabond: Independents that owe no fealty but receive no rights.

What’s important?
  • Interpersonal relationships in small communities
  • Faith, and how it holds communities together
  • Appearances, Piety and Prestige to keep your authority

Three Virtues of the Reliquary
  • Reverence of the Reliquary
  • Fealty to your Custodian
  • Fellowship to your Peers

Houses grant access to specific types of Walker.
Power is used both to resist attacks and to power weapons and other systems. It Recharges fully at the start of the Rider's turn.
Systems cost 1 power to use as standard, may have Boosts that each cost an extra point of power.
Each can only be used once per turn unless specified with Multi
Passive systems do not consume Power, but are usually triggered in some other way.
Walkers have a Load score showing how many systems they can carry. Core systems are built into a Walker and do not count towards your Load.
Effects last until the start of your next turn unless noted otherwise.
Moving requires 1 power and moves you to an adjacent Zone.
Collisions causes d6 to each side, +d12 if one side is significantly lighter. Trampling a soft target incurs no damage in return.


Attackers all declare their targets, then for each target the attackers roll their damage dice together and choose which single die to use. For cases where is is relevant, the roller of the chosen die is considered to have struck the hit.

Armour is subtracted from any attacks against you.

Damage is is deducted first from the target’s Power, then their STR. If they lose STR in this way they must pass a STR Save to avoid Critical Damage.

Critical Damage means the Walker is disabled. STR 0 is utterly destroyed and the Rider takes d12 damage.

Dramatic HitIf you are taken to exactly 0hp, lookup the amount of damage caused on the table below.

1: Rider Hit: The Rider takes d6 damage.
2: Overheat: You only regain 1 power next turn.
3: Exposed: Now your Rider takes STR damage whenever their Walker does.
4: System Shock: A system of your choice is destroyed.
5: Power Surge: If you end your next turn with any power, take d12 damage. 
6: Toppled: You are knocked down. Getting back up requires all of your power.


Rider Type
Roll d12 to see how you differ from humanity as we know it.

1: Born in the Holy: You were born on the Reliquary and have some contacts there.
2: Human-Plus: You don’t sleep or age. Ethereal and beautiful.
3: First-Colonist: Immune to toxins, can eat minerals. Stocky and lifeless.
4: Orbital: Control your personal gravity field. Soft and luxurious.
5: Stasis-Born: You can “tune” your perception of time and memory. Uncannily young.
6: Cyborg: You can patch just about any tech onto your body. Boxy and mechanical.
7: Eternal Soldier: You can elect to take a Scar in place of Critical Damage. Sullen and scarred.
8: Solar-Splice: Conjure dim light, immune to heat and radiation. Slightly red and demonic.
9: Robot: You’re a closed system but can interface with any tech. Smooth and clean.
10: Darkspacer: Perfect echolocation. Shadowy and tattered.
11: Voider: You can survive in a vacuum indefinitely. Grey and scaly.
12: Noble: Upper-class sorts like you, others don’t. Bright and Noble.

Twelve Houses are each entrusted with maintaining a specific set of Walkers. You begin with access to one House's Walker and its Systems.

Here are the first three. Boosts are noted as bullets after each System. 

House Falx
Faith in Fire

Firebase Walker
STR 15, DEX 7
Armour 1, Load 4, Power 4

Lockdown Protocol (Core)
Root yourself into place for +1 Armour and Lock On to one target.
  • Fire any number of ranged weapons at no power cost (Boosts not included)
  • Lock On to an additional target (multi)

Shred Burner
d8, Short
  • +d8 and Blast

Impact Cannon 2d6, Long. Sum your best set of marching dice to a maximum total of 12.
  • +d6 (multi)

Mesh Driver d6, Long
  • +1 Armour to any allies in the same zone as the target.

Smart Gun D6, Long, Targets every enemy you Lock On to.
  • +d6

Eagle Rocket D10, Long. Requires Lock On.
  • +d10

Chaff Cycling Every weapon you fire this turn gets +d6.

Every gun you fire this turn receives all of its Boosts without the power cost.

Overclocker Every attack you fire this turn gets +d12, but you do not Recharge at the start of your next turn.

House Igoreck
The Gods Within

Elite Walker
STR 15, DEX 7
Armour 1, Load 3, Power 5

Wild Logic (Core, Passive)You get an extra turn all to yourself at the start of the fight and whenever you pass your Save vs Critical Damage.

Shock Axe
d8, melee.
  • +d10

Shard Driver
D8, Long
  • Ignore one point of Armour (multi)

Javelin Charges
1d6, Long
  • +d6 and Move

Deploy or Move your Jag Drone (Armour 2)
  • Have your drone attack for d8 melee damage (multi)

Reflector Weave (Passive)
When you pass a Save vs Critical Damage your attacker takes d6 damage, ignoring armour.
Short. Sets an area alight for d6 ongoing damage.

Sunder Boost
If you cause STR damage to a target, destroy one system of your choice.

Endo-Convertor (Passive)
When you are reduced to exactly 0hp, in place of taking a Dramatic Hit you start your next turn with an extra 3 Power. 

House Eunock
Better than Humanity

Melee Walker
STR 15, DEX 10
Armour 2, Load 2, Power 5

Limb Array (Core)
Make four d6 fist attacks. Melee.
  • In place of one attack, the target has their next attack is Impaired.
  • In place of one attack, knockback to an adjacent area.
  • In place of one attack, Rider takes d6 damage instead.

Alloy Stave
Your melee attacks get +d6 each.

Meteor Fists
Your melee attacks have a short range.

Jump Jet
d6 melee, Move
  • Extend your Move to any zone.

Doom Chime (Passive)
When you Knockback a target the Rider suffers d6 CHA Damage.

Black Rosary (Passive)
When you cause damage to a Rider the Walker loses d6 STR.

Server Protocol (Passive)
When you attack one target with three or more fists, disable one system.

Electro Flagellation (Passive)
When you take STR damage, +d10 to your fist attacks on your next turn.

Empty Vessel Protocol (Passive)
As long as you have no Power your Rider cannot suffer any harm.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Fighting Machines

Who ordered mecha rules for Into the Odd? 

Fighting Machines
 Images from Jonathon Barker

Things function just as in Electric Bastionland except:

Power is used in place of hp to resist attacks but also to power weapons and other systems. It recharges at the start of the pilot's turn.
Systems and Weapons cost 1 power to use as standard, and usually have one or more Overpowers (OP) that can be gained by spending an extra point of power.
Each Weapon and Overpower can only be used once per turn.
Unless noted, a system's effects last until the start of your next turn.
Frames have a number of slots available for Main and Aux systems. Aux systems can go into a main slot, but not vice versa. Each frame also has a special feature that doesn't require any Power to use.
Moving requires 1 power.
Collisions causes d6 damage to each side, +d12 against the smaller side if the weight difference is significant. Trampling a soft target incurs no damage in return.
Critical Damage means the Fighting Machine is disabled. STR 0 is utterly destroyed and the pilot takes d12 damage.
Pilots are protected from harm (unless noted otherwise).

Direct Hit
If you are taken to exactly 0hp, lookup the amount of damage caused on the table below.
1: Pilot Hit: The pilot takes d6 damage.
2: Overheat: You only regain 1 power next turn.
3: Exposed: On all future turns your pilot takes equal damage to your colossus.
4: System Shock: An Aux system of your choice is destroyed.
5: Power Surge: If you end your next turn with any power remaining, take d12 damage.
6+: Toppled: You are knocked down. Getting back up requires all of your power.

Example Frames
Hot Fox Light Frame
Armour 2, STR 10, DEX 10.
4 Power, 1 Main, 1 Aux.
The first time you take STR damage, fire off a d8 blast centred on yourself.

White Rock Medium Frame
Armour 2, STR 15, DEX 8.
5 Power, 1 Main, 2 Aux.
When you recharge from zero to full power you can activate any one non-weapon Aux system for free.

Mastodon Kong Heavy Frame
Armour 3, STR 18, DEX 5.
6 Power, 2 Main, 2 Aux.
When you fire two Main guns at one target, +d6 to each.

Example Systems
Hammer Cannon (Main)
OP: +d6 blast

Railgun (Main)
d10, single target.
OP: +d10, can be stacked.

Plasma Battery (2 Main Slots)
OP: +d12
OP: Add Blast
OP: If the target takes STR damage, destroy their armour.

Fractal Bombard (Main)
d6 vs Machines only, ignore all defences. Damage repeats each turn until target pays 1P on its turn.
OP: Increase power cost to remove ongoing damage by 1.

Flak Gun (Main)
d6 blast, +d8 vs soft targets.
OP: replace blast with +d10.

Shock Lash (Main)
d6, Melee. On Critical Damage the pilot is incapacitated.
OP: The Pilot also takes damage.

Power Bank (Aux)
One use per battle. Immediately recharge Power.

Shield Bank (Aux)
One use per battle. Ignore up to 6 points of STR damage.

Lazarus Protocol (Aux)
Automatically pass any saves vs Critical Damage until your next turn.

Smart Gun (Aux)
d6, if you have multiple Smart Guns fire them all for 1P.

Shimmer Field (Aux)
+2 armour vs ranged

Jump Pack (Aux)
Soar through the sky. Land on soft targets for d10 blast damage.

Explosive Vents (Aux)
d6 Blast centred on yourself, ignore armour.

Defender Pods (Aux)
Anybody moving to engage you in melee takes d6 damage.

Squire Drone (Aux)
Have your drone (3hp, Armour 1) move and perform one of the following actions.
  • Attack with Impact Spear (d8)
  • Shield itself (+2 Armour)
OP: Choose two actions.

Example of Play

Gordo, a heavy mech with with two Railguns is ambushed by two Crows, light mechs each with a Hammer Cannon and Shimmer Field.

The Crows each have 4 Power. Each spends 1 on moving into position, 1 on activating their Shimmer Field and one firing their Hammer Cannon at Gordo. They both roll d10 for damage, and the highest die shows 8. The Gordo's Armour (3) reduces this to 5, and it uses 5 of its 6 Power to absorb the remaining damage. Both Crows now have 1 Power remaining.

Gordo recharges to full power at the start of his turn. He'll plays it cautiously and fires both Railguns at one of the Crows, electing to Overpower one of them for an additional +d10. This uses a total of 3 Power, leaving him with 3 remaining.

He rolls 3d10 and takes the single highest die, a 9. This is reduced to 5 by the Crow's armour (3 with the Shimmer Field), 1 point is absorbed by the Crow's remaining Power, leaving 4 points of damage to hit the Crow's STR score. With STR now at 6 it makes a STR Save vs Critical damage and fails, leaving the mech a smoking wreck.

Now the remaining Crow recharges its power to full and must decide whether to fight or flee. Perhaps they weren't so well equipped to deal with such a heavy opponent.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Mistakes and Community Expectations

I'm afraid this is another post completely devoid of game content, but a rare post on the state of the RPG online community. In particular, this relates to the current situation around Zak S, which has been written about in great detail by Emmy, Patrick, Arnold, and Skerples among countless others.


The accounts written by Mandy, Hanna, Jennifer, and Vivka sound genuine to me. I see no reason why they would fabricate their experiences and put themselves through this experience. 
Zak's response and those of some of his close friends haven't addressed the accusations, instead focusing on discrediting Mandy and painting Zak in a positive light.  

Since the accusations we've seen an almost unanimous renouncement of Zak, severing of contact, and re-thinking previous support of him. When the accusations came to light he was banned from the OSR Discord server.

More interestingly, this has been followed by a stream of people saying that they had avoided engaging with the community while Zak was such a central part of it, and now feel comfortable joining in. 

This post is written in the context of being admin of the OSR Discord channel (see link in the sidebar). I'm not looking to examine evidence or suggest a legal sentence to be applied. I'm posting about the mistakes I've made as a server moderator, the lessons I'm taking from this, and the actions I'll be carrying out in future.


I didn’t fully appreciate the amount to which somebody can be technically correct, but still make the community a worse place.

I didn’t trust my judgement of character. Like so many others I knew Zak behaved like a jerk but gave him far too much leeway.

I was overly hung up on the fear of Zak having his own OSR Discord channel, and the danger of him being sole moderator of the main channel of OSR communication. This made me overly cautious in my treatment of him.

I'm sorry for the harm that the above mistakes caused to other users of the server.


  • The way rules are presented can influence the perceived culture of the server.
  • Some people will push their behaviour right up to the boundaries of any rules.
  • You never know how many people are holding their voices back.

The Future

Now my focus on creating a community with positive, respectful culture rather than living by hard rules. People will still be accountable, but we will live within human limits. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

OSR Discord Tricks

So the *OSR Discord* is undergoing some changes as we get more and more people hopping on board. We're now over 1,300 strong.

I got some useful feedback on G+ yesterday, but if there's something you'd like to see on the server then let me know and I'm always open to trialing new ideas. I'm currently trying out a slowmode of 30 seconds or more across the server to keep the pace more manageable.


  • Discord is much faster than the likes of G+, but with a little knowledge you can get used to it.
  • Go to Information Kiosk first. This has a guide to all of the channels and what purpose they serve.
  • Use Categories. There are lots of channels on the server, but I keep them divided into categories. If you click on a category it collapses the view to only show channels with unread messages.
  • Mark as Read. If you right-click the server and click "Mark as Read" then all channels will disappear into the collapsed categories. Then, when there's activity on a channel it will appear in the list, letting you focus on the channels that are actually active at that time.
  • Mention people in your replies. This helps keep the conversation a bit more orderly.
  • Don't try to read everything. There's too much. Just hop into an ongoing discussion or start talking about something you want to discuss in the appropriate channel.
  • Move into an overflow channel if needed. They're there for when things are moving too fast in one channel, so take your conversation into a quieter room if it's getting drowned.
  • Use the Suggestions Box. Seriously, if you suggest a new channel I'll probably give it a trial if it fits.

There's an invite link in the sidebar. Come and join us!

Friday, 28 December 2018

Monster Design from Classics - The Lich

The Cocktail Codex makes the bold claim that there are only six cocktails, with all recipes able to be linked at least tangentially to one of these root recipes. So a Martini is defined by the relationship between spirit (gin) and aromatised wine (vermouth), so a Manhattan is simply a relative that uses whiskey instead of gin, sweet vermouth in place of dry, and bitters added for seasoning the added sweetness. 

So what’s the point of all this beyond theory and list-making? It’s really an exercise to demonstrate how new recipes can be created around classic structures, and understanding how to make changes without screwing up what makes the classic work.

Can we do the same for Monsters? It’s not a perfect fit, but let’s try one.

The Lich

The Classic
While dark wizards might seem like the true root, Liches feel much more iconic to me.

STR 7, DEX 7, CHA 18, 15hp. Ceremonial Dagger (d6), Lots of Spells.

The Orthodoxy
  • Great magical powers
  • Physically weak
  • Themes of greed and immortality
Experimenting with the Core

In this case the core of the Lich is its magical powers, which contrast its physical weakness.

We can move the focus to Psionics we get the Mind Flayer.

We can tighten down the magic powers to single extraordinary ability to give us the Medusa, Doppleganger, Dryad, and even the Rust Monster.

We can keep things closer to arcane magic and focus on a particular school to get classics like the evil Necromancer.

You can tip the balance slightly, giving them more modest magical powers in exchange for appearing in greater numbers and being a touch more hardy to get Drow and Gnomes that still rely on magic and trickery over their swords.

And of course the point of this is to help us create new monsters, so what if we focused on Summoning Magic?

The Elemental Conduit
STR 7, DEX 7, CHA 18. 12hp.
  • An elemental cultist that has given up their sapience to become a channel for elemental beings to enter our plane. 
  • They are humanoid but clearly made up of chunks of raw elements barely held together.
  • They want everything to return to raw elemental chaos, and can summon elementals at will. 
Experimenting with the Balance

The Lich's power is balanced by its weak physical form, classically a skeleton but sometimes taken to the demilich extreme of just a skull.

Another extreme take is going for the Brain in a Jar.

Giving the Lich a ghost form keeps them unable to have much physical impact, but gives them the added power of being immaterial, so you should pull back on their magical powers if you go in this direction.

The balance doesn’t have to be physical weakness, but could be other forms of physical restriction. An Aboleth is physically large but bound to water, and limited on where it can move. Some types of Demon or Devil can fit into the Lich mould but they can be banished to their home or otherwise controlled by magic. Vampires have a similar combination of physical power with serious weaknesses to balance their magical abilities.

So let’s make a new creation where the physical weakness is replaced with stupidity and a vulnerability.

Tome Golem
STR 15, DEX 5, CHA 5. D8 Smash. Lots of Spells.
  • Literally made out of spellbooks but doesn’t really understand them. Throws a random spell out in anger if provoked.
  • Drawn to absorb more spell tomes into its form.
  • Extremely flammable (any fire attacks get +d12). 
Experimenting with the Seasoning

The Seasoning is what binds the core and the balance together. A Lich that knows lots of spells but is physically weak isn’t interesting enough to throw into your game, but if they’re the last devotee of an ancient religion or the vain Prince of a ruined kingdom then you’ve got something to grip onto, a reason why they’re the way they are.

Most of the variants above change the seasoning from the classic, but let’s see if we can keep everything else the same.

Eternal Apprentice
STR 7, DEX 7, CHA 18. 16hp. Dagger (d6), Lots of Spells.
  • Doomed to eternally wander the tomb of their truly dead master, tidying up, checking everything is in order, sweeping the floor.
  • Can channel the power of their master if needed, but is woefully lacking in confidence and constantly scared of using the wrong spell.
  • Their spirit is released if the master’s corpse is destroyed.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

A Stocking of Oddities

Work continues on Electric Bastionland layout, editing, and same as every year I face an avalanche of work and social commitments in buildup to Christmas.

Expect a return to more frequent posts in the New Year, including a full update on the state of the upcoming Electric Bastionland crowdfunding campaign.

In the meantime, if you ever wanted a book built on Into the Odd's rules, but replacing my peasant-words with Patrick Stuart's artfully crafted prose, with some of the most fascinating art I've seen in any RPG product, you should go and back SILENT TITANS on Kickstarter right now.

Let's do some loosely Festive Oddities for your stocking to tide you over until January.

 Reindeer Bone
A shard of red bone carved into a spike (d6 damage). By using a mental trigger the wielder can have the spike fly forward at high speed, carrying them with it (d8 to anybody in the path) but it only stops when it hits something solid (d8 damage to the wielder). The wielder cannot let go once it is flying and cannot change the direction.

The Darkest Wolf
8hp, Two d6 Claws or d8 Bite. 
  • An almost entirely black wolf roaming on its hind legs and howling out challenges. 
  • Hates all traditionally "good" animals such as dogs, eagles, and deer. 
  • Compelled to obey spiders, ravens, snakes, or other animals that are considered evil or dark in character.

The Number Song

An effectively infinite song with nonsense lyrics that everybody subconsciously knows the words to. Once you start you can't stop until somebody willingly joins in and takes over the song from you.

Flesh Gorger

A red, cucumber sized leech that sleeps if left in a bag or pocket. Can be violently shaken to rouse it into a feeding rage. It will latch onto the next thing it can (targets get a DEX save, if they pass it latches onto you instead) and start to devour them for d8 damage each turn until removed (STR save). Easily removed by fire, ignores all other physical harm, regenerating itself while it is attached.

Mercy Hawk
6hp, STR 5, d6 Claws.
  • Trained hunting bird, skilfully catches its prey without leaving lasting damage. 
  • Will show the prey to their owner before releasing them. 
  • Turns on its owner if they refuse to show mercy. 

Wishing Star

A large white flower that blooms for just a few days each year. When made into a tea it works as a powerful hallucinogen, showing the drinker's most desired wishes coming true. When they return to normal they will find a small object on their person that they dragged out of the fantasy.

Repeater Globe

A room-sized glass dome filled with artificial snow. When powered up, anybody inside is covered in a blizzard and transported back to one day in their life. They relive this day as a passenger in their consciousness, unable to change the past, but can view every detail of the day.
The Poverty Prayer

A sickly-sweet rhyme about how being poor and hungry lets you truly appreciate your family and faith. A victim's name is invoked at the end of the prayer, and over the next three days they lose all of their wealth. However, if the victim embraces their poverty with good spirit the praying-individual will be stricken with disease in return.

See you all in January!

Monday, 3 December 2018

Electric Bastionland Preview - Deep Country

I talked about route mapping Bastion already. Here's a preview of how the same method can be used for Deep Country.