Tuesday 31 March 2015

Beasts of Bastion

More familiar animals make their home in Bastion alongside the stranger creatures. If in doubt as to whether an earthly creature can be found in Bastion, remember Everything is Here.

Elephants pull machinery in factories, and Camels ferry visitors up the steepest climbs.
Parrot flocks skirmish with Bats for the highest attics.
Capybara dodge Alligators in rivers and sewers.
Lizards bask in the Summer, and scurry to an unknown warmth in Winter.
Panthers and Peacocks roam noble gardens.
Scorpions of all colours and sizes lurk in un-swept corners.
Spider Crabs are heaved from the seabed, then stolen by dock Monkeys as pets.
Snakes coil drainpipes and snatch Gulls out of the air.
Pandas, both giant and red, are kept as pets by a the upper-crust.
Goats attack the elderly on rough streets.


Bastion is a creative city, and many of the creators are fascinated by animals.

Despite some similarities to Animal Sovereigns, Mockeries are very obviously different. Limbs might be carved from wood, faces molded out of clay, and skin from felt. Think of how you might move a puppet, in place of how a real animal would move. They may be dressed in special clothes and be somewhat humanoid.

Some are imitations of vegetables or other objects, rather than creatures.

They share the following features, unless an exception is noted:

- They are made out of artificial material, so practically any damage is repairable.
- They talk and sing, but tend towards base intelligence.
- They do not need to eat or sleep, and are unaffected by alcohol and disease, but pretend as part of their life imitation.
- Real animals hate them. Children love them, unless they're horrifying.

Mock Otter
STR 5, DEX 17, WIL 5, 6hp, Bite (d4), functioning mechanical wings, keen eye for sparkles. 
Wants to gather sparkly stones for master, and frolic playfully. Easily distracted by anyone that thinks he's cute. 

Mock Lobster
STR 4, DEX 10, WIL 16, 12hp, Armour 1, Claws (d4), ridiculous little pirate outfit.
Wants to live an exciting life and betray his current master in an amusing way. Spouts pirate cliches in an idiotic voice but is actually centuries old, with keen seafaring experience. Only gives good advice when it suits him. Terrified of going into the sea with real lobsters.  

Mock Heron
STR 12, DEX 14, WIL 11, 8hp, Armour 2. Copper Beak (d8), endless supply of trivia.
Wants to enforce good study at his University, and feed on fish-based delicacies. Any student caught not making the most of their academic opportunity is violently pecked and bombarded with facts, until they promise to get back to work.

d12 Other Mockeries

1: Mock Toad - Well-meaning host with disgusting habits. Gets depressed if nobody likes his stomach-turning meals.
2: Mock Rhino - Simpering coward prone to devastating clumsiness. Fond of depressing poetry.
3: Mock Hog - Top-hat-wearing gourmands that never pay their bills. Think any suffering is hilarious.
4: Mock Mole - Sits in a breast-pocket and points out the obvious in an annoying voice. Claims to know the direction to treasure but leads you nowhere useful.
5: Mock Octopus - Master of puzzles. Always bored with even the most exciting happenings.
6: Mock Spider - Crime-lord sending other Mock Creatures out on jobs. Speaks only in riddles.
7: Mock Crow - Petty criminals that tread Bastion's rooftops and throw rotten fruit at passers-by.
8: Mock Skeleton - Performs elaborate dance routines warning of deathly hazards in the Underground.
9: Mock Mallard - Intrepid explorer of far-off lands, barely understandable quacking voice.
10: Mock Jelly - Quivers in fear of being eaten, but is actually inedible. Won't shut up no matter how much you reassure it.
11: Mock Dolphin - Overly friendly academic, sprays water at inappropriate moments.
12: Mock Croc - Underground thug for hire, loves bad jokes.

Animal Sovereigns

Nobody really believes these things exist unless they've encountered them first hand. It can be assumed that multiple Sovereigns exist for every type of beast out there.

Animal Sovereigns share a number of qualities, unless an exception is noted:
- They are larger versions of their animal, and may have exaggerated appearance and abilities.
- They can speak with humans intelligently.
- They can speak with their animal subjects, who obey them, up until they betray them for a rival.
- When two Sovereigns of the same type meet they descend into violent beasts until one of them is defeated. The defeated Sovereign reverts to a normal animal of its type.
- They plot and scheme.

STR 3, DEX 10, WIL 12, 7hp, No attacks. Can sniff out anything buried within a mile. Has a buried stash of gems worth 1,000g.
Wants to avenge the mistreatment of worms by farmers, fishermen, and birds. Uses her riches to hire stronger beings to carry out the vengeance while she watches on.
Grows into two Worm Princesses if cut in half. They feud until one remains to become Queen.
Hates the Sparrow-Prince, who wants to feast on them. Hated by the Hedgehog-Judge, who deems them unworthy of life.

Vulture Lord
STR 11, DEX 14, WIL 10, 10hp, Beak (d6). Can sense impending death up to a mile away.
Wants to speed along death in those that are beyond help, and create more urgency in his subjects, who tend to wait for their meals to die.
Hates the Ur-Maggot, who wants to rule over all decay. Hated by the Arch-Elephant over some ancient insult.

Tortoise Councillors
STR 8, DEX 2, WIL 14, 4hp, Armour 2, Bite (d4). Knows everything that's going on in the world, regardless of distance.
Want to discuss the matter at length, but stick to an agenda. A rare example of same type Sovereigns cooperating. Electing a permanent leader is at the end of the current Agenda. Even the smallest point of conversation takes an eternity.
Hates the Parrot-Captain, who spreads lies. Hated by the Mandrill-Ministers, who live on impulse.

Monday 30 March 2015

Leading from the Front

Mass Combat in Into the Odd uses a dead simple detachment system. A detachment is the rough equivalent to 50 decent infantrymen, and acts as an individual in all ways other than the following:
- Individual attacks cannot harm detachments unless they're something big like a cannon, bomb, or giant creature.
- Detachment attacks are Enhanced against individuals, causing d12 damage regardless of weapon. 
- When they would take Critical Damage, a Detachment is Broken and useless until rallied. 

But there's no mention of what individuals do here. My intention was that individuals would typically be leading from the back, directing their detachments in battle and handling the overall strategy, maybe attempting some risky gambits. 

If they were fighting, I saw them contributing with attacks from Arcana, Bombs, or other special things they've managed to get hold of. The explorers of Into the Odd aren't really the sort that will take on an army themselves through sheer martial skill. 

The Odd World Toolkit is all about looking at Large Scale play in more depth, and will go into some detail on how to run a large battle like this. The goal of the toolkit is to expand a Referee's options, and improve their game, without adding any more rules, so this will all be working within the existing rules. 

Getting involved at ground level is a risky thing. So it will use the Saving Throw rule as its basis. 

Leading from the Front

When a character wants to personally lead their troops, the detachment benefits in a few ways. Most notably, they can use the WIL Score of the leader (if higher than theirs) in place of their own, and the leader may posses Arcana that will aid them in battle. The character is also protected from enemy attacks, other than individual challenges, while the detachment is protecting them. 

At the cost of their protection, the leader of a detachment can lead through example, personally fronting an attack on an opponent. This could drive the troops with a surge of momentum, but carries an obvious risk to the leader's safety. 

The detachment and leader both make an attack roll as normal, but only the highest roll is taken. The attack is treated as coming from the detachment, even if it was the leader's roll. If the attack is against an Individual, only the Detachment's roll is Enhanced

Until their next turn, the leader is subject to all attacks that target the detachment, with both leader and detachment taking damage. Remember here that Detachment attacks against individuals are Enhanced.

Multiple characters can lead the same unit, if they wish, in which case they all count as Leaders and may individually choose whether or not to lead from the front each turn. 


Mustached Corporal Grunning (STR 14, 8hp, Musket (d8), Crested Helmet) is leading his unit of Horse Pistoliers (STR 12, 5hp, Pistol Brace (d8), Silver Cuffs) against a Filthy Mobs of Revolutionaries (4hp, Makeshift Weapons (d6), fleas) and their Rabid Dog Pack (3hp, Frothing Jaws (d6), fewer fleas). 

Both enemy detachments attack Grunning's Pistoliers for 2 (Mob) and 3 (Dogs) damage, leaving them on 0hp. Majorly roughed up, but no significant casualties yet. They're in real danger next turn if this carries on. 

Grunning decides to lead from the front to try and drive the Mob away. He rolls 7 damage, and his Pistoliers roll 3, so his roll is taken. He personally blasts away a few stinking workers, leading them with 0hp and reducing them to STR 7 with the remaining damage. They make a STR Save against Critical Damage and roll 17, a fail. They're dispersed in a cloud of musket smoke, no further threat in this battle. 

As half of their force has been broken, the dogs would ordinarily require a WIL Save to avoid being routed, but these rabid beasts don't know when to quit. 

The Dogs take their turn, but their attack will now target both the detachment and Grunning. They roll d6 damage against the detachment (scoring 2), and d12 to Grunning (scoring 5). He's reduced to 3hp, so no major damage. With no HP remaining, his detachment is reduced to STR 10 and roll a 10 on their Save, just holding their line. 

Sunday 29 March 2015

25 Words, far behind trend

So I'm way behind on this but here goes. Into the Odd's world in 25 words or less.

Alien artifacts, muskets, bayonets, tricorne hats, pan-dimensional terrors, brains, industry, revolution, star-men, steamships, polar expeditions into void, underground city, smoggy metropolis, bombs, star cults, cannons.

Friday 27 March 2015

d12 Crappy Ships

Forget your roaring steamships, majestic ships of the line, and prototype submarines. These ships are just flat out crappy.

Cheap though!

1: Pile of Old Furniture (50s, 7hp, 10 crew, some cushions)
2: Huge Wheel (1g, 8hp, 1 detachment crew)
3: Deep-Beast Carcass (10g, 4hp, Armour 2, 1 detachment crew, awful stink)
4: Psuedosub (5g, 3hp, Armour 1, 6 crew, leaks that burst at 10m depth)
5: Quadroyak (2g, 6hp, 10 crew, needlessly complex hull structure)
6: Suicide Harrier (5g, 5hp, Cannon d12, 3 crew, declared unsound for military use)
7: Broken Skimmer (3g, 3hp, 10 crew, terrible drag)
8: Pump Ship (10g, 10hp, 1 detachment crew, powered by man-pumps)
9: Broken Float-Orb (10g, 4hp, Armour 1, 8 crew, hole in the top) 
10: Floating Hive (4g, 8hp, 1 detachment crew, home to millions of biting insects)
11: Modified Locomotive (10g, 7hp, Armour 1, 8 crew, Cannon d12, doesn't work on rail, doesn't actually float well enough for travel beyond docks)
12: Extracted Sewer Mega-Clog (10g, 8hp, Armour 1, 1 Detachment Crew, pulsing, slowly growing)

d6 Island Settlements

Of course there are settlements between Bastion and the Golden Lands. Some of them sit on little islands, so let's see which one you hit.

1: Library - A few brick houses skirting outside a circular metal shrine. Inside the Librarian guards all knowledge ever, taking the form of a big yellow holographic head. People line up outside to seek his council, but he generally only sees d6-1 people per day before bellowing LIBRARIAN MUST STUDY across the island. His answers are based on combined belief of the people on the island, and have no grounding in fact. If people leave the island, his presence becomes smaller and stupider.
2: Talva - Ornate, black city of canals and bridges built as a prince's mausoleum. A few miserable, hungry people potter about its empty buildings. The water is black and acidic, with only chitinous sharks left as the only food source. They're getting better at catching fishermen off guard. Ground has been salted so nothing can be grown. Arcana do not function here.
3: Antivoy - A glowing hole in the ground at the top of a grassy peak cropping out from the sea. The tiny community of artists and philosophers claim looking inside gives inspiration into the truths of the world. In reality it causes a mild seizure with distressing nightmares for the d10 hours that the victim is unconscious, losing 1 WIL each hour. A few no-nonsense mountain men think anyone that looks into the light is an idiot, but will happily take money off people to guide them to the peak.
4: Wispra - A dozen crooked temples nested on a rocky crag, each holding a mostly-silent brotherhood of monks guarding a unique and terrible secret. They can't resist trying to discover the secrets of the other brotherhoods, mostly out of boredom. Big pelicans attack anyone that stays outside for too long in daytime.
5: Suffpit - Rickety wooden walkways around a colossal, foaming whirlpool. A cult worship the phenomenon and encourage offerings to be thrown in. They seek a chosen one that can survive swimming from one side to the other. Supremely meaty salmon romp in the waters at breeding time.
6: Umnergrotto - Huge cavern inside a glowing, crystalline mountain. Thousands of mining families dig deeper in search of the source of its glow. Water that flows from the mountain also glows, but is a painful neurotoxin, but can be brewed, losing its glow. Pig-sized flying bugs are a good food source as fleshy young, but mature adults grow hairy shells and crocodillian jaws.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

The Iconic Monster of Into the Odd is...

I've spoken before about how the concept of an Iconic Monster doesn't fit with Into the Odd's guidance of making monsters unique and unknown.

But really it's clear.

Humans of some sort will probably be the most frequent being you interact with in the game. So have 6 Human Encounters in Bastion.

People have Ability Scores of 10 and 3hp, unless stated otherwise.  

1 - Two Moss-Protection-Cabinet Agents investigating the scene of a crime (polished club (d6), fuzzy yellow hat, magnifying glass, whistle). Want to protect the thousands of species of moss indigenous to Bastion from industrial harm and educate the populace. 
2 - Three Spider-Burglars arguing as they scale a wall (wrist spike (d6), black lycra suit and goggles). Want to make a big score so that they never have to do this again.   
3 - Eight Dismemberers looking for victims (machete (d6), strong whiskey, blood-soaked black suits, bag of hands and feet) Want to collect hands and feet to sell to their client and find a way to clear their consciences afterwards.
4 - Twelve Curfew Enforcers driving people indoors (Loud old shotgun (d8), Black breastplates and helms (1), reflective visors). Want to get people off the streets, as they are expecting something nasty to come from Underground tonight. 
5. An Onion Seller latching onto you (Smelly old onions, smelly old clothes, drooling mouth).Wants to sell you onions and make his first friend. 
6. Marching Band Slaughterers partway through a march as people flee (Detachment, Tattered band uniform, bladed brass instruments (d8), tall red hat). Want to perform their dissonant march and kill bystanders as dictated by the sheet music, as part of some yet unsuccessful summoning ritual. 

Monday 23 March 2015

d12 Fullsister Judges

If you get arrested down in the pastel-painted Unwish district of Bastion, the court will be overseen by one of the eleven Fullsisters. These identical-looking women were each raised in highly specific experimental conditions by their parents, who died in the Underground. This resulted in each Fullsister having eccentric differences from their identical core.  

There doesn't seem to be any logic to which Fullsister is assigned to a case. 

Each of the Fullsisters is identical (STR 10, DEX 10, WIL 8, 4hp, Elaborate Court-Gown, Judicial Hand-Fan) beside the listed differences. 

1. Sumblanche Fullsister - The Innocent: Favours whoever appears the most good by her naive view of the world. Childlike manner.
2. Cirridia Fullsister - The Servant: Does whatever she's told to, and is usually completely brow-beaten by the barristers. Defeated manner. .
3. Arcella Fullsister - The Sleeper: Entire conversations seem to pass her by. Bases judgement on the few pieces of testimony she was conscious for (around 10%). Slow, vacant manner.
4. Arbyssul Fullsister - The Skywatcher: Favours whoever embellishes their testimony with the most supernatural, cosmic content. Longs to become one of the Star People that she never shuts up about. Manner of an obsessed teenager.
5. Berrael Fullsister - The Beast. Booksmart, referencing obscure tomes to disprove any point made by either side. Anyone that argues back against her is treated to a bestial outburst, followed by immediate and harsh prosecution. Snarky manner punctuated with animal noises.
6. Jastis Fullsister - The Immovable: Allows each side to make three statements. She sentences both sides based on the number of statements she disbelieves, with no chance for appeal. One lie is a beating. Two lies is life in prison. Three lies is death.  Stubborn manner.
7. Poson Fullsister - The Windspeaker: Claims to speak on behalf of the all-coloured wind, which seems to favour whichever side is most respectful of its apparent divinity and flattering towards Poson. Vain, posing manner. Disinterested in details.
8. Marsil Fullsister - The Bloodspiller: Favours whichever side appears stronger. Punishes the weaker side with enforced military service, or calls for trial by mass combat. Masculine manner.
9. Mordish Fullsister - The Rover: Rides into court on horseback at the last second and often leaves in the middle of cases. Favours the person that least resembles the establishment. Personally shoots the guilty party with a bow, after which they are free to go if they live. Unfocused manner.
10. Rhalocke Fullsister - The Unlived: Seems unaware of even the most everyday concepts outside of her empty-room upbringing. Has lots of made up words for things. Easily confused by complex cases. Favours whoever paints the most inspiring picture of the outside world.
11. Tinfacta Fullsister - The Chameleon: Pretends to be one of the other Fullsisters, usually exaggerating their eccentricities. Actually takes the case seriously, judging as fairly as she can once she finally reveals her true nature.
12. Roll 2 Co-Judges, arguments likely. On a repeat, roll 3 Judges, and so on.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Government in an Unruleable City

It's easy to look at the second key principle of Bastion (Nobody know who's in charge) in isolation and imagine an anarchic city without any sort of government.

But instead look at all three together when you're trying to think about how the city works.

1. Everything is Here (including a government, police force, military, judiciary system, and most other civil services you can imagine. Bastion draws in the biggest movers and shakers, so you can bet they're trying to move and shake things).

2. Nobody Knows Who's in Charge (for every piece of government, there's somebody else claiming to be the legitimate version, and another group on the far side of the city, and another in the Underground).

3. Everything is Complicated (These groups sometimes cooperate, sometimes recognize eachother's legitimacy, sometimes have full on street wars. Getting something written on a piece of paper by one organisation could mean everything, or nothing, to another).

So when you need to bring Bastion's Army out in your game, you get whichever General (often self-appointed) has managed to bring the majority of the city's soldiers together (often in vastly different uniforms) without infighting (usually by suitably looking and acting the part).

Then maybe another general (this one promising more pay than the other) showing up with another Battalion. Maybe they argue, maybe they ignore each other, or maybe a Grand Gold-Star Master-General shows up with his elite cavalry and pulls rank on both of them, pulling them together.

If they recognise his rank.

And if his hat is impressive enough.

Yeah. Complicated.

If in doubt, stick to those three principle like glue, and remember how to put them into action when creating bits of government in Bastion.

1. Everything is here - Create an interesting Civic Faction that the players will want/need to interact with.
2. Nobody knows who's in charge - Create uncertainty about the legitimacy of the Faction with rivals, or just make them terrible.
3. Everything is complicated - Give the Thing its own ambitions and conflicts.

Follow these and the army example can apply to courts, banks, prisons, post offices, schools, hospitals, and universities.

Think Big.
Think Conflicted.
Think Complicated.

Friday 20 March 2015

On the Oddegon Rail

Pale children fill the window
Gazing through spittle to spy a river, a big tree, a wild horse 
The city hurls rocks and cans as we steam away
Clattering against our iron shell

The dining cart is closed
Seats uprooted and torn
There are too many for the ticket-guard to count
The Oddegon pushes forward

Rails scream against hardened wheels
And the bodies become denser
And the air is full of sweat
And breath is hard

Lurching into Barren Gap; The last nail of industry
Bastion's smoke meets dry wind
Lacing of roads and canals becomes thin
On the rail to the Deep Country, where nobody knows a thing

Building a District of Bastion

What do you need to know about a district of Bastion to run a game based there? First, remind yourself of the Key Principles of the Odd World.

1. Bastion is the only city that matters.
2. Mysteries sit in plain sight.
3. Somebody has been messing with the world.

And, more importantly, the Key Principles of Bastion.

1. Everything is here.
2. Nobody knows who's in charge.
3. Everything is complicated.

You'll use each of these as a way to generate something unique about your District in broad strokes. We'll get into generating the finer details another time.

Everything is here - Lay Out Bait

Give the district at least three interesting, and potentially useful hooks. Make the first hook your overarching concept for the district, something people will be able to remember. Use this as a link for each of the other hooks.

1. Sunken Docks host a weekly boat-market of curiosities.
2. The docks are overshadowed by an anchored, engine-less steamship (The Athrilla), bearing huge cannons and fancy whale design. Currently held by the Silent Gunmen (5hp, Muskets, Silver Full-Face-Helms), who intend for them to never be fired.
3. The Chute pumps waste into the docks via the Underground. Those that go against torrent can gain access to a long-sealed vault.

Nobody knows who's in charge - But somebody thinks they are.

Bastion is unruleable, but individual Districts can be dominated at least temporarily. Create some sort of power that sits on top of this region. They'll probably have some Detachments or Enterprises at their disposal. Think about who'd be able to leverage the hooks of District for power. If the boat-market is the key concept, whoever controls that probably controls the district. We already have another faction on the steamship, so we'll also try and factor in the Chute. Perhaps a weirdo from the Underground who has managed to gain influence with the boat traders.

Mrs Ballyhoo (STR 7, DEX 10, WIL 14, 10hp, Whalebone Pistol, Concealed Dagger, dirty blue wig, lots of pearls, unnatural ability to instantly assess any item for its true purpose and value. Takes cuts from each boat to allow them to trade on the market, sending away dishonest traders unless they bribe her. Wants to take the Atrilla from the Silent Gunmen to secure her dominance of the District.
2 Market Guard Brigades (4hp, Halberds, Puffy Yellow Uniforms and Boats)
Boat Market (d10g Income)

Everything is complicated - Create three obstacles that will get in the players way the whole time they're here. Each of these will have a strong link to the Power of the District.  

The New Marketeers are a shrill band of teenagers wanting to set up their own market without Mrs Ballyhoo's influence. She's mostly unaware they even exist, but finds the concept adorable. Their alternative market is barely a few boats in size, and boasts little more than terrible sculptures and ineffective intoxicants. They have recently become noteworthy because of their affiliation with the Saltseers, and seeming immunity from the hunger of Brinegator.

Brinegator is a huge-jawed amphibious reptile unlike any other (STR 18, DEX 8, WIL 5, 13hp, Armour 2, d10 Jaws, black diamond spikes across whole body, dead white eyes) and somehow bears an animal grudge against Mrs Ballyhoo, attacking her whenever she braves the water. Her Market Guards are amused by this and, but she is terrified.

The Saltseers are two twisted old men, finely dressed, that dig themselves out of the silt each low tide. They give cryptic advice in return for salty food or rum, before burying themselves. They can't be dug up unwillingly. Mrs Ballyhoo has recently ordered her guards to banish anyone caught associating with them.Their advice is intended to see her overthrown, the district devolve into Chaos, and eventually for all of Bastion fall.

Finally, give it a name. I like one-word names that will help you remember the district.

We'll call this one The Brine. 

Monday 16 March 2015

Why is This Person so Odd?

Roll d12

  1. Mouth half sewn up. De-programmed former cultist.
  2. Near constant black nosebleeds. Started after a black-out drinking session and waking up in the Underground. 
  3. Wears costume bug-wings. Just thinks they look cool and will soon become a mainstream trend (they won't). A little too into watching bugs.
  4. Seriously reeks of gin. Believed a claim that it will keep disease away (it won't). 
  5. Absolutely no sense of humour and slight drool hang at all times. Undertook experimental mind-probing that cured alcoholism but left an un-emotional robot.
  6. Carries an urn and talks to it. Believes it contains the ashes of a Star Man that he saw an angry mob burn to death and is trying to find a way to return it to life. 
  7. Dresses and acts like an exaggerated stereotype of a barbarian warrior. Part of a cult that believe civilised society breeds behaviour that is unafraid of the consequences of a more savage age. Mostly an excuse to act like a jerk. 
  8. Wears a full-body leather suit with goggles and a breathing tube. Believes the Bastion is due a plague that will wipe out most of the population. 
  9. Map tattooed on body. A cult connected the birthmarks and freckles thinking they would lead them to a prophesied treasure. There was nothing there, so they cast them aside. 
  10. Has incredible difficulty hearing you and becomes distressed seemingly at nothing. Is receiving transmissions in an alien language in their head. 
  11. Constantly sniffing at you. Believes they have taught themselves to smell lies, and some emotions. 
  12. Talks about lots of friends, and their crazy adventures, but can never actually show them to you, and nobody else knows about them. Obsessively writes fiction in their attic and refers to the characters as real people. 

Friday 13 March 2015

Sixteen Things from the Forge

The Forge is still one of the most useful generators out there. I'll use the first set of results from each of its four generators without any cheating and re-rolling.

The Forge

Feather Orb looks like a fitfull of white feathers scrunched into a ball. It's warm and has a faint pulse. If you get any feathered creature to sit on it overnight it will hatch into a newborn of that species. Throw it hard enough and it'll explode on impact, showering the area with thousands of feather shards.

Shiver Shadow is a disease transmitted by any sort of affectionate contact, handshakes included. The subject feels intense cold whenever they cannot see their shadow and is slowly drained until they look at it. Sleeping causes loss of d6 STR. The only cure is to thoroughly burn an object your shadow is cast onto.

Earth Sheath a technique mastered by few. These dirt-armoured warriors can call a choked word at soft earth and have a specific weapon spring out. The oldest members of the order can call for the earth to swallow their foes in a similar way.

Glow Letters are specific symbols of an arcane text that glow when properly inscribed on a hard surface, imbuing it with unnatural properties. Each letter can mean two opposing things, depending on invisible details in its inscription, so a poor inscription may have the opposite effect. Most typical are Heavy/Weighless, Weakness/Strength, Life/Death, Malice/Benevolence.


Rope Demons are worse versions of Chain Devils, because they'll form nooses, give you rope burn, and even set themselves alight to make themselves more terrifying.

Prayer Hounds guard the grounds of the Ruby Spike Cathedral, each having been trained to bark out a few words of a sacred prayer. Together them form a cacophony that very loosely carries the message of the original prayer as they tear intruders to pieces.

Dead Tusk Lions are like Sabre Tooth Tigers, but their large teeth break off on a good bite. While the tooth is embedded, the victim cannot benefit from any sort of healing. The tooth embeds itself with an icy grip that forces a Save vs Death if pulled out recklessly. The Lion's natural prey all have unique ways of removing the tooth safely, if you can find one.

Brain Kobold is just a Kobold with a big exposed brain on his head. Perfect telepathy, clumsy telekinesis, and huge superiority complex.


Tundra Defence - Create a mile-wide patch of cold, dry land. Plants will not grow, and those brought here instantly wither. Creatures immediately feel hungry and cold. Generally nobody wants to stick around.

Ulae's Dragon Dimension - Draw from a parallel plane filled with a dragon for every noun in existence. Go here to summon a Vomit Dragon, an Academia Dragon, or the dreaded Emu Dragon.

Tsonden's Unnatural Hammer - Strikes any natural being for devastating impact, but each strike causes the wielder to become more unnatural. They gradually look out of place in the world, animals hate them, and soon they become turn-able by Clerics.

Atter's Rage Fauth - Target a group of people of the same faith (any size) currently engaging in a ritual. It instantly turns bloody and they won't stop at anything once invoked.


Moon Prison - A fortress-sphere held a few miles above by unseen forces. Home to all the worst people from the ground.

Zuggurat of Woe - Built as a coming-of-age ritual by some forgotten culture. Climbing is tiring but not all that bad. Once you reach the top you're swallowed up into a dungeon that nobody has escaped from, This may be why the culture in question failed.

Gemstone Zone - Some sort of mad neon hell that you get warped to if you touch the Dire Emerald at the center of the crashed starship. It's all lasers and diamond-robots and you'll be more focused on escaping than taking any of the abundant treasures with you.

Tower of Marrow - Just a big old hollowed-out bone of some impossibly huge creature. Houses various cults dedicated to their interpretation of the creature. A gelatinous marrow continues to grow from the walls inside. It's delicious, nourishing, and if prepared correctly can grant a number of unnatural abilities for a short period of time. Most common are super-strength, forceful milk-vomit spray, flexible bones, mild precognition, water breathing, and hallucinogenic sweat.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Describing the Auto-Hit in Into the Odd

Into the Odd Combat
- An Attack cause damage based on the weapon. For most this is d6 or d8. Armour reduces the damage taken by 1. There's no to-hit roll as in traditional D&D.
- This damage comes off HP, with new characters having d6.
- When there are no HP left, damage is taken off STR and the target must roll d20 under their STR to stay in the fight. If they fail, they take Critical Damage and are taken out.
- If you get to STR 0 you're dead outright.
- HP is recovered with a moment's calm rest. STR is only recovered with a week's rest and care back somewhere safe.

So how you do describe this? I've heard people call it an auto-hit system, which isn't really how I intended for it to feel.

A Quick Guide to Describing Into the Odd Combat

The attack causes HP loss, but doesn't take the target to 0hp.
Bullets blast the plaster off a wall right next to the target, or dent their armour with a concussive thud. Swords don't draw blood, but there's struggling, a pommel to the nose, kick to the groin, grappling and wrestling.
The target is roughed up but not yet taken a proper hit.

The attack causes STR loss, but the target makes their Save against Critical Damage.
This is what you'd think of as a hit. Swords draw blood, bullets hit home but the target fights on.
The target is hit, and should be reconsidering the fight.

The attack causes STR loss, and the target fails their Save against Critical Damage.
A blow that ends the fight and will kill the target if they aren't tended to. Bayonet right through the stomach, bullet in the shoulder knocking you back, heads slamming against the ground, choking up blood.
The target is down, and will die if left.

The attack takes the target to STR 0. 
An instant kill, as messy as the weapon would suggest. Decapitations, bullets through the throat, limbs being hacked off. The target is gone, so have some fun with the description.
The target is killed instantly.

The attack doesn't cause any HP loss, most likely due to Armour. 
Ping! Right off the strong-point of the armour. That was a good purchase.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

d6 Urban Legends of Bastion

Roll d6 to see which tale the Street-man tells you. Roll d4 in addition. 1: It's a load of nonsense. 2: It's based on a truth. 3: It's true. 4: It's actually much weirder.

1 - Faces of Mercy
Kids of the ultra-rich decked out in full suits of armour, white masks, and guns like you've never seen. See, they're so bored with their life of luxury that they hunt down the poor and desperate for kicks. Think they're doing them a favour by putting them out of their misery.

2 - Ug-Water
You still drink water from the taps!? Are you crazy!? Just look at the ugliness you see around you today. Not just the boils and spots, but the heartless behaviour people everywhere. It's them weirdos in the Underground messing with our water. There weren't no gangs before the taps came!

3 - Water Wolf
So you get a lit candle in each hand and lie face-up as the tide comes in around you. With me so far? Now... you've got to let yourself drown, but keep the candles upright! If you do it right, your body will wash away and turn into sort of fish-skinned wolf thing and you'll crawl up onto the land. One blood-sucking rampage later and you'll slink back off into the sea, only to wash up as a good-as-new person with no blood on your hands. What? I didn't say I knew why anyone would want to do it, but it works!

4 - Cloud Cutters
You know, when I was a kid we never saw those long, ripply clouds. Just got the big fluffy kind or clear blue skies. That proves that invisible flying machines are zigzagging the skies and planning the destruction of Bastion.

5 - Soul Boxes
Those metal units at the bottom of those new gaslamps? Recently dead children are pushed in there at night, and the last sparks of their life keep the lamps running. You think oil can make a lamp that bright?

6 - Observers
Rain was battering my window last night, so I went to peek outside and BAM! Giant eyeball looking in at me! Before I knew it I was frozen in place while it stared into my very being. I could feel it looking through all my secrets before it whizzed away as fast as a bullet. I just know that it was serving whoever's really running this city.

Fluff is Spice

I've been trying something new with fluff, setting info, flavour, worldbuilding, whatever you call it. I think of it as the spice in a meal.

The game is bland with too little, but too much just gets in the way. Most of all, nobody wants to chew on a mouthful of whole cloves.

So I try to sneak fluff into the game by sprinkling it onto the bits that people want to consume. Your discount mercenaries have "spotless, new red uniforms" listed in their equipment. Your fleet is a Noble Pleasure Yacht with Lace Sails listed alongside the ship's guns. The factory-foreman has a club and pocket-watch as his only listed equipment. The grey-ape's attack is listed as a d8 Choke, rather than a bite or claw.

The ultimate test is whether I can do this, and omit the paragraphs of raw fluff entirely.

With Into the Odd, I got it down to one page of setting info, giving a small paragraph to each of the five key setting points (Bastion, Underground, Deep Country, Golden Lands, Polar Ocean), but it's tucked away in the Referee's section.

Here's to taking it to the next level with the Odd World Toolkit. 

Tuesday 3 March 2015

d12 Odd Cargo

Roll d12 to find out what those weird guys were hauling.

1 - Soldier Seed
Polished tins of silver seeds. Label shows immaculately uniformed soldiers growing out of a vegetable patch. If planted, will sprout misshapen babies after a day. They grow into twisted toddlers within the week, and within two weeks into big, bent, knotted men that cry out in agony, but serve remarkably well. If cut from the ground early they turn black and die in an hour.
Seeded Soldier Regiment (3hp, STR 14, joints and hair in all the wrong places)

2 - Bright Mountain Dust
Glow-in-the-dark quartzlike rock that, in moderation, is like a tastier, more intense salt. If too much is eaten (if in doubt, it's too much) the victim vomits glowing sludge until they pass a STR Save. If directly licked, the licker vomits, and their tongue swells and goes limp. They can only talk like an idiot for the rest of the day.

3 - Penal Shell
Iron barrel worn like a tortoise shell (Armour 1), spiked on the inside, with holes for limbs to just stick out. Locks shut if someone gets inside it, and the keys aren't here. You'll need a specialist to bust it open. All actions are impaired and the wearer is constantly poked with spikes, suffering a further d6 damage if shaken or knocked about.

4 - Winter Syrup
Between molasses and lard, savoury and sweet, rations and fossil fuel. Favoured by Polar explorers and young academics that eat vast quantities as a hazing ritual.

5 - Eternity Deeds
Hundreds of documents agreeing for future descendants of the signer to become property of Workmaster Enterprise Camps in return for advanced payment.

6 - Star-Child Confit
10ft metal tin filled with dense white fat. Deep in the middle is the preserved corpse of a winged, boneless child with long fingers and empty eye sockets.

7 - Nerve Wax
Causes some numbing at touch. Rubbing it in causes dull pain in that body part that lasts the rest of the day. Extended rubbing-in causes agonising pain that impairs all action and causes loss of 1 WIL each hour unless thoroughly washed off with very hot water.

8 - Void Totem
Massive (20ft) black rock held in a wooden crate. Almost a cube, pretty much unbreakable. Small hole (inch wide) in the center of the top side that annihilates anything placed inside. If the rock is somehow broken (impossible by any previous attempts) it annihilates everything within a mile.

9 - Killing Eagles
Metal gargoyles of eagles tearing apart smaller versions of various other animals. The eyes glow at night. If you kill the eagle's prey animal in its vision, its eyes will blast rays of light indiscriminately for d10 damage before returning to its dormant state.

10 - Humungo
A truly humongous (STR 18, DEX 8, WIL 4, 10hp, Armour 1, 12ft tall) man inked with astral symbols. Totally bestial in behaviour. Trapped in a man-shaped iron-banded box that holds him in place with only a hole at the mouth, and one at the base.

11 - Blown Wishes
Hundreds of seemingly empty glass jars. Each is labelled with a name (first name only).

12 - Ultra-Snare
A metal ball of wire held in a seriously reinforced ceramic chest. If thrown with any force it unleashes a vast forest of razor-wire that causes d6 damage to all in the area. Anyone moving within the wire must do so very slowly and carefully, or else take d6 damage. Seemingly no way to retract the snare.