Thursday 30 April 2015

Odd Classes and Orders

This week,  I played a Dinosaur Cleric in +Arnold K.'s game. Why it's taken this long for someone to use the idea of extinct dinosaurs eating their way up the timeline is beyond me.

The class hooked me onto the character straight away. As an advocate of classless play, this surprised me.

It worked because it was more evocative than the classic D&D classes, but not at all fiddly or front-loaded. You worship the dinosaur god and hate mammals. You get dino-gear and three spells.

I tried to put little character hooks into the Starter Packages of Into the Odd, but I'd like see what happens if I take it a little further.

I don't want classes that tell you what you can do. I want something that adds spice to both your character, and the world around them.

A Fighter is anyone with a sword, but a Worldkiller wants to fight the planet itself.
A Thief is anyone that steals, but an Under-Kin is one with the Underground.
A Magic-User is anyone that's managed to get hold of an Arcanum and some robes, but an Arcphager eats Arcana to gain permanent benefits.

There will never be a pseudo-class in Into the Odd for someone that's simply better at fighting, sneaking, or using Arcana.

And these aren't Classes. They're Orders that any character can join.

Brand new members take the Pledge in italics, and are given the Order's Paraphernalia to show their allegiance. Breaking the Pledge requires atonement, or in more serious cases, expulsion.

Each time the character returns from an Expedition, if they can explain what they have achieved or learned in relation to the Order's philosophy, they are taught a new Secret.

When a characters knows all of the secrets, the Order begins them on the path towards their Destiny, which requires a lengthy pilgrimage or ritual. Refusing this is considered the ultimate heresy against an Order.  

Starting characters can roll d10 to start as an Order brand new member.

1: Populads - We're all insignificant together. 

Paraphernalia: Dark grey clothes and skin-paint.
Faceless: Nobody can describe you, or recognise you from even moments ago.
Selfless: When it suits you, you do not count as a living being.
Shadowless: You leave no mark on the world around you. Things just fall back into a natural place and nobody will know you were here.
Destiny: Become invisible to all except those who share this destiny.

2: Horrorists - Present a horrible visage to keep the real terrors at bay. 

Paraphernalia: Horrible masks and hairy suits.
Shock: Anyone you surprise must pass a WIL Save or blurt out a secret. If they don't have any secrets, their imagination creates one.
Disgust: Anyone watching you eat must pass a WIL Save or vomit.
Fear: Anyone that locks eyes with you must pass a WIL Save or reveal something they fear.
Destiny: Transform into a true monster and lose all humanity.

3: Arcphagers - For all I eat, I must bring equal to Big-Eater. 

Paraphernalia: Smart red dress robes, black circle painted around mouth.
Material Ingestion: Eat a pure piece of an otherwise inedible material and have a bodypart of your choice turn to that substance.
Arcane Ingestion: Eat an Arcanum. If you pass a WIL Save you can control its power at will, if you fail it's always on.
Self Ingestion: Eat a portion of your own flesh to re-live any memory of your life.
Destiny: Eat a star, and never eat again.

4: Time-Enforcers - The great pendulum is all that keeps order in the world. 

Paraphernalia: Blue uniforms and ceremonial pendulum-baton (d6).
History Adjustment: Meditate for an hour to adjust one trivial fact about history.
Possibility Sever: Once a day, announce a specific outcome of the current situation. That cannot happen.
Union of Presents: Once a day, summon an alternate version of any object or being. It stays for a minute, and varies slightly from the original, but is not bound to serve without reason.
Destiny: Go into hibernation until the end of time.

5: Fly Heralds - Prepare the consumption by the cosmic swarm. 

Paraphernalia: Compound-eye goggles and proboscis mask. Ceremonial fly wings for special occasions.
Congregation: All insects in your sight gather on a point of your choice.
Feast: All insects in your sight begin to feed at a frenzied rate.
Metamorphosis: If you sleep in a cocoon with a corpse, you awaken in their body in the morning, and your old body is melted into goo.
Destiny: Be the first meal for the cosmic swarm.

6: Carcass-Sons - Pay no heed to flesh, do no harm to mind. 

Paraphernalia: Loose sack clothes.
Shed Flesh: Your wounds do not visually heal, and you feel no pain from external damage. This has no mechanical effect on damage and healing.
Project Mind: If you sit still you can transfer your being into an held inanimate object. It remains inanimate but you control it up to the degree that an automatic version would behave (pull triggers, push buttons).
Banish Meat: Once per day you can repel a meaty being, or object forcefully away from you and prevent it approaching unless it passes a WIL Save.  
Destiny: Become a brain in a jar.

7: Under-Kin - The Underground is truth.

Paraphernalia: Black smart clothes.Pouch of gravel from the deepest cave you've visited.
Drop of Faith: As long as you're falling into darkness, the landing will never harm you.
Tunnelgaze: When you look into a dark tunnel you see right the way to the end of the tunnel.
Cave Call: Once per day you can ask the darkness a question, and it answers as best it can.
Destiny: Move permanently to the Underground, except during Solar Eclipses.

8: Worldkillers - A new world must be born from the destruction of this one.

Paraphernalia: Broad white hats or armour, with bold red stripes.
Un-Bloom: Touch an object or being to immediately halt its growth and development.,Unwilling intelligent beings get a WIL Save. The target does not progress to any state more advanced than its current one, but will decay as expected.
Catastrophe Haste: If a natural disaster or mishap (anything from a bad storm upwards) is approaching, you can cause it to happen immediately. This also applies to rituals that would harm the planet.
Wreck Earth: Once per day, you create a sinkhole d20 meters wide.
Destiny: Break off a part of the world and launch it into space. 

9: Fictioneers - If it's written, it is real. 

Paraphernalia: Multi-coloured robes, big empty book.
Creation: If you write a description of a made-up thing, person, or place, the next person you tell about it believes it's real.
Fictive Jaunt: When you dream, you go into a made-up place you created, and bring back a single object that could exist in reality. When you next go to sleep, it vanishes.
Exposition: If you write a plausible explanation for something, and burn the paper, it becomes reality, but always finds a way to bite you.
Destiny: Leave reality to live within your fiction.

10: Unpairers - Nothing is more unnatural than a gathering of two. 

Paraphernalia: Single-colour one-piece boiler suit. Paired body parts have one covered with black cloth, but removal is encouraged.
Separation: Make two paired objects repel each other with great force. When used on the paired body parts of a being, this causes d8 damage.
Fission: Two paired objects fuse into one. If they are unwilling, they get a WIL Save to resist.
Summation: Use once per day. A third object is created from two paired objects. It has some properties of each original object.
Destiny: Split apart a binary star system when they line up right.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

An Example of Delegation Style Play

My standard model of running an adventure with a handful of characters is sort of like this.

1 - Referee describes the situation through the characters' senses.
2 - Players ask questions for more information, most of which can be given.
3 - Players take personal action with their character.
4 - Referee resolves the consequences of the action and the aftermath becomes the next situation.

Running a game where the expedition force is a hundred people strong, or you're controlling a large scale business, is similar but different. Mostly because you can't do it all on your own. There are just too many things going on, so you have to divide your attention as best you can and hope you picked the right things to micro-manage.

1 - Referee describes the situation through the medium of another character, we'll call them the Agent. With large-scale play there are going to be multiple things demanding attention at once. Generally this initial piece of information is trustworthy.
2 - Players ask questions directly to the Agent, who may not have all of the answers.
3 - Players either go and manage the situation by hand, meaning they can't do other things, or delegate an action to the Agent, who may perform it imperfectly if they don't pass a Save.
4 - Referee adjudicates the action, but the consequences may not be apparent for some time.

Most often, Agents bring you a difficult choice. Depending on the current situation, and previous actions, this could be a choice between equally good things, or equally bad. The more strain an expedition or enterprise is under, the more likely it is to be the latter.

Agents show their personality, and always work towards their own interests.

Play Example

The group are Toku, Ulric, and Ezekiel. They lead an expedition, three detachments strong (Scout Monks, Heavy Gunners, and Savage Riders), along a narrow mountain road in search of a lost city. The characters travel together and each detachment has a Sergeant that reports to them for orders.

Referee: Alright, so you're taking a short rest to drink some water and speak to your Sergeants. The Monk Sergeant has consulted his god and is certain that you can make it to the city before sunset if you maintain good pace.
Toku: Great, I don't want to spend another night camped up on this mountain.
Referee: He says a blood dance would seal the deal.
Ezekiel: Always the blood dance. Clearly it isn't going to help us get there sooner/
Referee: Yeah, but you already denied them a blood dance at the last camp. They'll certainly be disgruntled if you do it again.
Ulric: How long does the stupid dance take?
Referee: An hour or so, but they're certain that it will actually get you to the city quicker. (The Referee knows that the dance will cause enough delay that they'll have to camp again before reaching the city).
Ezekiel: Remind me again why we have these guys as our scouts?
Toku: They didn't want any pay! I say let them do it.
Ezekiel: Fine, tell them to do their thing and then we'll get moving as quickly as possible.
Referee: He's happy with that. The other two Sergeants aren't as positive. The Gunner Sergeant says he's lost a couple of men to the mountain. He wasn't warned exactly how dangerous this would be.
Ulric: Urgh. This guy. What does he want from us?
Referee: He says that if he could promise his men a proper celebration upon return to Bastion, they'd be a lot more content to risk their lives. Ten Guilders should cover it.
Toku: Forget that! They knew what the risks were.
Ezekiel: They're our strongest fighting detachment, though. We could do with keeping them happy.
Ulric: How about we offer them a compromise. When we get back to Bastion, we'll give all of our expedition a proper feast, and we'll spend a good deal more than 10G!
Toku: (whispering) We won't actually spend that much will we?
Ulric: (whispering) Of course not. We'll deal with that when we get home.
Referee: Well, you send him off to deliver the message to the troops. (The Referee rolls a WIL Save for the Sergeant to see if he keeps them happy. He fails, but the players won't find out the consequences until it really matters. Most likely they'll refuse to fight at the next opportunity).
Ezekiel: And what about the riders?
Referee: The Rider Sergeant looks pretty happy. She reports that they have stumbled upon an item of great interest, but they're holding onto it for now.
Toku: Hey, who's in charge here? Ask what the item is.
Referee: She says it's going to be a great boon to the riders next time they have to fight. She even offers to keep their fee at the current rate, in spite of this clear improvement to their service.
Ezekiel: We should keep an eye on that, but we don't have time to waste bickering with them if we want to make it to the city for sunset.
Ulric: I could go and ride with them.
Referee: You could, but that would mean you can't communicate with the rest of the group as easily, and there's a chance the riders will be unsettled by you watching them.
Ulric: We don't have time for this. Let's just keep her happy for now but watch from afar.
Referee: The Sergeants head back to their detachments and you're ready to move out. Just as soon as the monks are done with their blood dance. You hear the whimper of small animals having their throats cut.

Monday 27 April 2015


There are stories of people stumbling into made-up lands. These aren't real, they're just from novels, paintings, or old wives' tales. The might be very distant, but nearby under very specific circumstances.

Key Principles of Made Up Places
- You can only go there if you know the story.
- They follow dream logic.
- Things brought home become more mundane.

Scarytown is a made-up place. Parents tell their children that they'll end up there if they sneak out after dark.

It isn't real.

But if you do sneak out of a window at night, going in search of something you shouldn't have, you might notice things feel different. You always seem to be on the edge of getting where you're trying to go. You only took one book off the shelf and now the house is crumbling. Your paper-cut is bleeding so much that it's flooding the room. Everyone thinks they're helping but they're really just horrible.

The only way back is to run home to bed and hide under the covers.

Key Principles of Scarytown
- It teases you with things that you want.
- Negative consequences are grossly amplified.
- Something always follows you home.

If you stick around, Roll d20 to see who you stumble into. Everyone can talk, and will at least give the appearance of helping you towards where you're trying to go.

1-3: Budbrother
STR 13, DEX 8, WIL 12, 9hp, Claw (d6), 2 featureless heads budding off at the neck, they remind you of someone. If you talk for too long, one of the new heads will start to sprout a mouth. If you look too long, eyes start to flower.
The new heads want to remove the main head so that they can take control, the old head wants to get rid of the new heads but is compelled to grow more.
1: Trying in vain to remove its featureless heads with a small blunt knife.
2: Under control of one of the featureless heads, and rampaging blindly while the main head is passed out.
3: Yelling into a mirror.

4-6: d6 Willowbacks
STR 5, DEX 16, WIL 12, 5hp, Scratching Sticks (d6), removes chunks of flesh with a touch), hunched backs and woody hair.
Wants to find a safe place to hide, collect books, and punish those that don't take them seriously.
4: Looking for visitors to warn about the hazards of Scarytown, but only giving terrible guidance.
5: Using their scratching sticks to torment a mad horse.
6: Pulling down an impossibly large tree on top of an old house.

7-9: Teddiorg
STR 16, DEX 5, WIL 5, 3hp, Black Hole in Mouth (d8, annihilation on Critical Damage), beady eyes, bloated bear body, rumbling voice.
Wants to guide you to the thing you desire, then devour it before you can get it.
7: Tearing apart a building.
8: Carrying the corpse of a boy to his grave.
9: Bellowing out an invitation to a lavish feast, which he'll annihilate once anyone accepts.

10-12: Rock Queen
STR 8, DEX 11, WIL 14, 6hp, Grab and Bite (d6), withered old body, long teeth.
Wants to hide away from the worst bits of Scarytown and genuinely help visitors from Bastion.
10: Running from a horrible creature.
11: Digging a hole in the ground to sleep in.
12: Building a tiny model version of Bastion.

13-14: d4 Wall Witches
Appear as an indented face on stone walls. Speak in whispers. If anyone touches them the Wall Witch is absorbed into their being and will live within them until they put them on a wall in Bastion.
13: Whisper-singing to a crowd of snails crawling over them.
14: Pretending to be visitors trapped in the wall.

15-16: Moon Drone
STR 7, DEX 18, WIL 18, 5hp, floating spherical body, impossible to view from side or back.
Wants to convince you to make poor choices and watch the consequences.
15: Floating towards you to try and drive you back into something bad.
16: Carefully picking the meat off a human corpse.

17-18: Sugar-Bush
STR 15, DEX 0, WIL 0, 5hp. Thorny branches with cotton-candy-like coating, soft whisper. Anyone crawling into the bush loses d6 WIL each turn as they feel themselves crushed by immense air pressure. The only way out is if the bush chooses to release you.
Wants to lure passers by into its briers, or trick them into thinking they can destroy it (all efforts cause the bush to spread).
17: Rustling as it devours an animal that's strayed inside.
18: Mimicking a call for help from inside its body.

19-20: Doppleganger
A copy of someone you know, but they act in an exaggerated way.
Wants to make your time in Scarytown as stressful as possible.
19: Looking for the same thing that you're looking for.
20: In possession of the thing you're looking for, or the path to your destination, but utterly unwilling to help you.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Mock Fellows and Mock Life

Mock Fellows are the human equivalent to Mock Animals. Although built for purpose, they're too susceptible to slapstick outbreaks to be truly useful.

They  have all the usual properties of a Mockery:
- They are made out of cloth, wood, metal, and clay, 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.

Roll d8 for a Mock Fellow. Ability Scores are 10 unless noted otherwise.
1 - Mock Infant - STR 2, DEX 2, WIL 5, 1hp. Pearl eyes and clay skin. Wants to sleep, eat, and cry.
2 - Mock Concierge - 4hp. Tiny waxed mustache, service trolley filled with silly items (giant comb, prosthetic leg, bomb, Mock Suckling Pig on a Platter). Wants to tend to the needs of guests, while pocketing some valuables for himself for an eventual retirement.
3 - Mock Legion - Detachment, 5hp, Mini-Muskets (d6), pit helmets. Want to be taken seriously as a fighting force, and travel to far off lands.
4 - Mock Advocate - 3hp, WIL 20. Powdered wig, feather-stuffing leaking out of a bloated belly. Wants to disagree with any point made by anyone, and present controversial opinions.
5 - Mock Spirit - 5hp. Dusty chains (d6). Wants to warn wicked people away from their current path

6 - Mock Giant - STR 18, DEX 4, 10hp, Armour 1. Towering fuzzy body. Wants to use his great strength to help the people, but is incredibly clumsy and stupid.
7 - Mock Barber - 8hp. Four Heads, Cane and Razor (d8) Stripy Felt Body. Wants to sing and shave.
8 - Mock Urchin - STR 5, 2hp. Wants to appear pitiful to gather money for her owner.

Mock Life
Nobody agrees on what brings Mockeries to life. Mockeries don't remember being brought to life, and have little memory of how old they are.

Roll d12 for a common explanation. Maybe one is the truth. Maybe they all are. Maybe none.
1 - Gestation inside a female undergoing phantom pregnancy.
2 - Soaking in a blend of oils from deep-sea creatures.
3 - Wishing upon a star.
4 - An Arcanum underground that's so big anyone can invoke it if they know the right ritual.
5 - A living brain from a suitable being.
6 - The last breath of a person dying of natural causes.
7 - Kiss of a Cosmic Angel.
8 - Playing specific music, lighting the right configuration of candles, applying makeup and dressing in the burial clothes of an infant.
9 - A year spent with a child who already sees them as alive.
10 - Marriage to an already living Mockery.
11 - Small parts found inside other Mockeries.
12 - A complex system of gears and crystals that crumble on death.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Choose Your Own Oddventure

Hate Player Agency? Got no one to play with? Miss peeking ahead to cheat at a solitaire game?

This is so terrible I'm not even going to invoke my Patreon Supporters for it.

Roll 3d6 for your STR and start with only your fists (d4) for defense.

In Combat you take turns to attack (roll your weapon's damage, the target loses that much STR) or flee (roll 4+ on d6, or else you wasted your turn). You always get first turn. At STR 0 you die.

Start at 1.

  1. You wake up in a puddle and have no idea how you got here. Bastion is smoggy, hot, and rainy all at once. If you stay in the puddle Goto 5. If you get up and explore Goto d6+1.
  2. Your reflection looks back at you before leaping out of the puddle and attacking you. If you win or get away Goto d6+5
  3. You pass a drinking fountain, and it smells real bad. If you drink some Goto d6+10, otherwise Goto 7.   
  4. A voice comes from a sewer hole. You look down and it's yourself, but horribly warty and green. They throw a brick at you for d6 damage and flee. Goto d6+4.  
  5. Somebody throws a brick at you from the rooftop! Take d6 damage and Goto d6+4
  6. You're drawn into a coffee shop by the smell of percolation. Poets are shouting at each other. To order a coffee Goto 25 to go and explore the other shops Goto 26. 
  7. The Sun's out, to take a walk Goto 17, to run for cover Goto d6+18.
  8. It starts raining really hard. To stay out in it, Goto 18, to run for cover Goto d6+18.
  9. Down a tunnel, into a sewer. Someone throws a brick out of the darkness for d6 damage. If you chase then you find a soggy Mock Monkey (STR 10, d6 Bite, no eyes) fumbling around in the dark. If you let it follow you up to the surface Goto 14, if you kill it or leave it Goto 17.  
  10. You've found your way home, but it's on fire! Too late to save anything. Oh well, If this has already happened, Goto 26, otherwise Goto 8. 
  11. A bit of your face turns to stone and falls off. If you've already been here, your whole head turns to rock and you die. Otherwise, Goto d6+18 
  12. Argh! It had a poop in it! Take d4 damage as you vomit and Goto d6+18. 
  13. You get x-ray vision for a minute and then it passes. Goto d6+18.
  14. There's an alien voice. If you answer it, Goto 26, otherwise Goto d6+18.
  15. A clump of skin falls off your face. If you poke at it Goto 11, otherwise Goto d6+18.
  16. Pretty tasty. Like a peach. Goto 17
  17. You're feeling pretty good, so you take a break. Recover all lost STR and Goto d6+18.
  18. The sound of the rain on the rooftops is pretty soothing, until lightning strikes the ground next to you and a gutter pipe falls down and whacks you on the head for d6 damage. You stagger about before collapsing. Goto 1.  
  19. A begger on the street has a froggy head, he looks pretty pitiful. You can beat him up if you like (STR 5, d4 fists, Goto 26 if you kill him) or throw him a coin and Goto 25. 
  20.  There's a shard of metal on the floor. Might be good in a fight (d6 damage). Goto 26. 
  21. Someone is whistling from the rooftop. To call out to them, Goto 5, otherwise Goto 26.  
  22. There's an escaped Bull (STR 16, d8 Gore) running through the street! If you kill it Goto 8. If you flee from it, Goto 7. 
  23. The ground around you collapses and you're plunged into the Underground! Take d6 damage from the fall. If you climb back to the surface Goto 26. If you stay down here Goto 9.  
  24. Where is this place... you're pretty lost. If you try to find someone to ask for directions Goto 5, if you try to go it alone Goto d20+2. 
  25. You use the last of your money. If you've already been here, d6 Thugs (STR 15, d6 Brassknuckles) come out to beat you for your debt. Otherwise, Goto d6+4.
  26. Lights in the sky grow brighter... then blast the city with radiant light. Take d20 damage. If you survive Goto d6+25. 
  27. There's a woosh of air and everything is as it was. Goto d6+1.  
  28. A floating craft appears in the sky, and throws a brick at you for d6 damage. If you survive Goto 31.  
  29. The city itself is lifted into the air. Take d10 damage as buildings crumble around you. If you survive Goto 31.  
  30. A wave of slime washes out of the Underground, take d12 damage. If you survive Goto 31.  
  31. You feel your body surge with power. Increase all Ability Scores to 20 and become a demigod. VICTORY! 

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Goal, Plans, and Itches

Everyone has a Goal, and a Plan. Their big mission in life is to fulfil their Goal and they will do this through their Plan. This gives you the core of how an NPC is going to act most of the time.

They also have an Itch. This shows you something they're secretly longing for on the side. They might even be more equipped to achieve this than their other goals, but there's some reason it just isn't a viable thing for them to focus their lives around. It's something you could probably leverage to get them to do something you want, or to temporarily abandon their other goals. It might even subtly underlie every action they do.

For context,take one of the Cosmic Angels I posted earlier this week. Important part is underlined.

Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to dissect powerful beings to help perfect her form.

This gives us our Goal and Plan, and it's easy to see how these fit together.

Goal - Achieve the perfect physical form.
Plan - Dissect powerful beings.

We don't know her Itch, so we'll make one up. Remembering this should sit at an angle, let's make it completely separate to her drive for physical power. Let's say she wants to Understand Emotions. It fits with her being mechanical and analytic, but gives scope to convince her against cutting you open. Maybe one day she'll know why you cry.

Goal - Achieve the perfect physical form.
Plan - Dissect powerful beings.
Itch - Understand Emotions.

Now, turn it into a sentence of plain talk, because we don't want to turn this into some horrible statblock thing. This is typically "Wants to [goal] by [plan], and [itch].

Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to achieve the perfect physical form by dissecting powerful individuals, and to understand emotions.

In this case it's a subtle change, but gives the character more hooks for interaction.

If you're low on ideas, Roll d20 three times, duplicates move up the table.
  1. Fulfil base urges.  
  2. Protect loved ones.  
  3. Dominate others. 
  4. Discover a greater truth.  
  5. Serve a worthy power.  
  6. Make contact with cosmic beings.  
  7. Find peace.  
  8. Enact a petty revenge.  
  9. Serve justice.  
  10. Build a legacy.  
  11. Destroy rivals. 
  12. Recover powerful Oddities. 
  13. Gain wealth.  
  14. Win the approval of the masses. 
  15. Become the best in a field.   
  16. Help the weak.  
  17. Seek entertainment. 
  18. Survive at any cost. 
  19. Write off a debt or shame.  
  20. Win the approval of a superior.
So a random roll might give you.

Goal: Protect loved ones. 
Plan: Build a Legacy. 
Itch: Win the approval of a superior. 

Protecting loved ones by building a legacy isn't a great fit, so we'll have to get creative. Maybe it's not physical or financial protection, but protecting them from the shame of him being a nobody. So he's obsessed with building up a good reputation. The Itch could be built into this, but should sit at an angle. Let's say he idolises a hero that already has a legacy of their own. 

Finally we can apply this sentence to an otherwise blank slate character rolled as a new PC, and they have almost-instant motivation. 

Junas Fox
STR 10, DEX 12, WIL 8, 4hp. Pistol (d6), Toxin-Immune, Rocket. 
Wants to make his son proud by becoming a renowned explorer, and meet the legendary Captain Sham Barridge. 

Non-Alien Cult Idols

Not everything is aliens.

 These cults base themselves on a site of great importance to their idol, and interfere in the lives of people that don't see their idol as a holy thing but just a thing. 

For every Cult there is at least one splinter group that believe they're worshiping their idol in the wrong way, and another that think idolising the thing at all is unholy.

Roll d100 to find out what a Cult idolises. It's up to you whether their idol is a legitimate higher power or not.

  1. A brightly coloured frog. 
  2. The concept of hunger and what it drives people to do. 
  3. A huge golden baby statue.  
  4. Another cult, who hate them.  
  5. The darkness between streetlamps.  
  6. Streetlamps.  
  7. The act of idolatry.  
  8. Peaceful discussion and tea.  
  9. Angry mobs, bigger means more holy.   
  10. Anyone who ever claims to have ruled Bastion in equal measure. 
  11. A very specific type of sweet wine.
  12. The process of carpentry. 
  13. Huge elk that live in the coldest parts of Deep Country.
  14. Their glass cathedral. 
  15. Triangles.
  16. Gunpowder.
  17. Scar-Maps.
  18. Kickboxing. 
  19. Absolute Nothingness.
  20. A set of symbols on an old rock that nobody can agree on the meaning of.
  21. Anything that can burn, but not the act of burning.
  22. Massacres.
  23. Every set of genitals in the world.
  24. Cloud Patterns.
  25. The gutter.
  26. Cosmetic Surgery.
  27. Smells, the more potent the better.
  28. Toxic flower extracts.
  29. Gruel.
  30. An obsolete pipe network underneath the city.
  31. Walls.
  32. Glass-blowing.
  33. Being beaten with sticks of bamboo.
  34. Great feats of strength.
  35. An ancient solved board-game.
  36. Answering a question with a question. 
  37. Anything that comes in a matched pair.
  38. Smashing things under a massive weight.
  39. The way oil separates from water.
  40. Monotone Singing.
  41. Properly written letters of complaint.
  42. Looking at things under microscope.
  43. Walking through a pool of treacle.
  44. Taxes.
  45. Guard Brutality.
  46. Net-Weaving.
  47. Telling exaggerated stories about distant lands.
  48. Broken compasses.
  49. Personal Hygiene. 
  50. Tiny blue berries that grow underground.
  51. A fossilised ape skeleton. 
  52. Over-feeding animals. 
  53. Crusty old man strapped to a chair.  
  54. The destruction of other cults.  
  55. Shadows cast by moonlight.  
  56. Disguising one's appearance.  
  57. Disproving other cults.  
  58. Drunken arguments.  
  59. Tiny animals, the smaller the more holy.   
  60. The recently dead from natural causes.  
  61. A bitter root that makes disgusting tea.
  62. Melting things. 
  63. Electric eels.
  64. A that they know has no significance, but that's sort of the point. 
  65. Smooth edges.
  66. The process of smoke-drying things.
  67. The cries of newborns.
  68. Blood-letting. 
  69. Literally everything.
  70. A set of holy numbers.
  71. Putting out fires.
  72. Mass syncronised births.
  73. Extracted brains.
  74. Staring into the sun until your eyes hurt and you start to see blurred things.
  75. The wealthy.
  76. The aging process.
  77. Cheese rind.
  78. Fragrant herbs.
  79. Caviar.
  80. The pattern formed by the road and canal network.
  81. Anything found underground.
  82. Building sand sculptures.
  83. Rubbing nettles on yourself and not being allowed to scratch.
  84. Mathematical prowess. .
  85. A game that seems to have entirely different rules each time.
  86. Only ever saying Yes or No. 
  87. Completely unique items, which turns out to be almost everything.
  88. Creating tiny models of things.
  89. Boiling things.
  90. Manic screeching and banging of drums.
  91. Vigilante Justice.
  92. Looking down at the world from a great height.
  93. Going deep underwater.
  94. Charity.
  95. Proper etiquette.
  96. Releasing captive animals to the wild.
  97. Calling people out on lies.
  98. Convincing people to go into the Polar Ocean to die.
  99. Becoming filthier and filthier. 
  100. Ridiculous outfits.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Cosmic Angels

The Terror-Stones show three groups of six beings falling from the stars and performing terrible deeds in the name of their group's single Virtue. Since then there have been scattered sightings and hearsay, and the stones have inspired the Angel's Imperative cult. Followers dress as poor imitations of their favoured Angel.

All Angel's have 25hp and Ability Scores of 18.

Glory-Angels - We Must Win.
Final Corpse - Huge Blunted Sword (d10), Glorious Red Armour (1), Skeletal form with tattered wings, Wants to duel and eat those she defeats.
Ashkan - Mercury Maul (d10, can turn to burning liquid metal at will), Charred Green Armour (1), horrible black lizard face. Wants to absorb more metal into his maul and gather heavily armed followers.
Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to dissect powerful beings to help perfect her form.
Father Vocal - Spike-pistol (d6), Crimson Star-Adorned Armour (1), Enlightenment Scepter (d8, causes false visions of paradise on a willing recipient, or on Critical Damage), followed by d6 Mindless Acolyte Hordes (3hp, Clubs d6, Rags). Wants to be worshiped and followed without question.
Deep Mimic - Arsenal-Shard (d8, can reshape to any weapon), Green multi-limbed suit (1) for their conjoined-form, synchronised voices of young girls, one of the mass can split free for an hour at a time, but is mostly defenseless (3hp, STR 6). Wants to spread influence and eventually kill other angels so that one of her form can split free to take their place.
Blue Giant - Golden Mace (d10), Colossal Form (Armour 2), Cruel Eye Charm (shows a willing target how they will die unless they change their ways), near perfect telepathy, floating throne. Wants to test and improve his powers and eventually put an end to the constant war of the other Angels.

War-Angels - We Must Fight. 
Hammer Queen - Big Golden Hammer (d10), Huge Golden Armour and Shield (2), Colossal Golden Mane, can raise golden walls out of the ground at will, Wants to drive the other Angels off what she sees as her planet.
Paragon - Father-Hand (d10 Fist, d8 Lightning-Gun, suspends victim in Stasis on Critical Damage) Blue Stone Armour (1), Wants to unite the other Angels to a greater battle in the stars.
Grey Savage - Fanged Sword (d8), Grey Fur Armour (1), Bestial Fangs and Senses. Wants to journey into the harshest wilderness to find her ultimate battle.
Slaughter King - Brass Axe-Cannon (d10 melee, d8 sputtering bullet-fire) White and Red Spiked Armour (1), can barely string two words together between shouting. Wants to fight the ultimate battle forever.
Besieger - Wrecking Cannon (d12, fires a single ball that can be summoned back to her, striking everything in its path) Black and Silver Plate-Suit (2), Personal Iron Chariot (10hp, Armour 3) pulled by a pack of huge metal burrowing-insects (6hp, Armour 2, d6 jaws). Wants to bring down the tallest towers and thickest walls she can find. 
Perfection - Scream-Beam (d10, Ignore Armour), glittering sword (d8), Gaudy white and pink armour (1), Short-range prescience. Wants to keep the angels fighting amongst themselves waiting for a moment of weakness to betray them.

Death-Angels - All Must Die. 
Killer Bird - Metal talons in place of hands (d10), Black and white jet-pack armour (1), can pass from one shadow to another at will. Wants to strike the other Angels when they show weakness.
Black Tiger - Energy-Pistol (d8, melts things), Stone Sword (d8), Black Masked Armour (1), Book of names of people that know too much, limited telepathy. Wants to kill those who seek to learn to much, and protect herself.
Thunderchild - Jagged Sword (d8), White Armour, Red Cloak, and Glowing Muscle-Steed (Armour 2), Can move as fast as lightning when the sun's in the right position. Wants to kill those that run away from their duty, or from her.
Death-in-Waiting - Poison Gas Gun (All within cloud lose d6 STR per turn and turn all gross) Pale green chain-armour with copper plates (1), Can see death approaching new victims, and diseases in the air. Wants to find a way to destroy all life once and for all, taking on her new title as Lady Death.
Warlord - Golden Pincers (d10), Grey armour adorned with red eyes (1, sees in all directions), Always knows the location of the other Angels. Wants to destroy the Sun.
Terror Ghost - Lightning-Rod (d8, ignore armour), Absolute Black Armour (1, anyone looking for more than a turn loses d6 WIL), Can conjure bat-like swarms out of shadows to distract or terrify. Wants to kill the wicked first, then everyone else, then himself.

Friday 17 April 2015

Thoroughly Modern Armour

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Infantry armour is generally rather binary in Into the Odd. Either you're armoured, and reduce all damage against you by 1, or you're not. If you want to get to Armour 2 you'll need to mount up as cavalry or find something very special indeed. Armour 3 isn't for you.

Well-made, Modern Armour protects you with a few high quality pieces and leaves both arms free. A good breastplate and helm should do it. It isn't cheap, though. 

Crappy outdated Shield Armour occupies your off-hand in some way. Anyone using this is doing so for ceremonial effect, or they don't have access to the good stuff. 

Because Armour is either expensive, or prevents use of Field Weapons like muskets and halberds, it's not a viable option for many soldiers or guards. Better to stick them in a colorful uniform and a fancy hat so that they at least feel dressed for battle. 

d12 Sets of Modern Armour

1: Fox's Face (1g): Something about this helmet makes animals go crazy at the wearer. Previously worn by a group of city guards but abandoned after they got fed up of murdering feral dogs and cats. 

2: Kleon's Termination Suit (25s): Cheap enough to equip your soldiers with, heavy enough that they can only march half the normal distance in a day, and throw their suit to the ground at first sign of camp. 

3: Carnage Aspect (50s): The outside is covered in a powdered irritant that causes any wounds to be doubly painful. Massively inconvenient for most non-violent activity. 

4: Awade's Standardised Cloak & Plate (50s): The official armour of the competition sword-and-dagger league. If you wear this you cannot turn down a challenge of a duel, lest you incur the wrath of the league enforcers. 

5: Bearmail (50s): Originally used in fighting pits by fighters specially trained to take on bears. Something about the texture freaks bears out, and once they touch it they turn all timid and cowering.

6: Predator Armour (1gs): Worn by bounty hunters who believe the furs give them animal senses. They don't, and making yourself obviously look like a bounty hunter is a good way to make a target of yourself.

7: Full Dispersion Suit (70s): Designed to spread the impact of even the heaviest weaponry, but incredibly heavy to wear and makes you an easy target for personal weapons. Cannons and other siege weapons have their attacks Impaired against you, but you have no protection against other attacks. 

8: Salter-Shell (2g): Based on a design found on ancient carvings, suspected to show conquering soldiers from an ocean world. Requires special treatment with an exotic mineral. Must be bonded to the wearer forever, and can only be ripped away at the cost of d12 STR loss. In return, the wearer can somehow breathe underwater and resist any amount of water pressure.    

9: Banker's Breast: (1g): Easily concealed under smart clothes, but wearers usually like to let a little show to emphasise that they're important enough to worry about assassins. 

10: New Mechanical Savior (5g): Carefully attached to sense when the wearer's heart stops. If this happens, it releases a combination of intense convulsions, and a surge of some unknown power. If the wearer can pass a WIL Save, they return to life. If they fail, they spasm wildly for a few moment before remaining dead. Must be reconfigured by its maker after each use.  

11: Polished Glory (60s): Exactly the sort of elaborately decorated, polished armour that you'd expect to see on a Cavalry Officer who doesn't expect to have to use it. If you wear it you'll either be taken incredibly seriously, or seen as a spineless joke.  

12: Berning's Burial Case (1g): Once locked on, this armour is almost impossible to remove. Intended to prevent posthumous organ theft or other violation, but doubles as effective protection on a living subject.

Thursday 16 April 2015


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A high-walled refuge of quaint village life and rampant rollocking right in the middle of Bastion. You might come here to hunt down somebody important, find someone valuable to rob, or take a risky shortcut.

d6 Points of Interest

1. The Wriggle is one of the narrowest, steepest roads in Bastion, and is the only real way up into the village other than climbing the walls. Strictly single-file.

2. The Green is always home to some event, usually a complex but brutal sport involving rollocking-sticks, and by night a fun-fair or mass beating. 

3. The Lashing Hole is a fighting pit surrounded by comfy chairs, where residents sip gin coolers and occasionally fight each other with rollocking-sticks (d6). 

4. Middle Preservationist Legion Hall gathers older residents to deal with the village's issues and pass down the knowledge of how to create Buzz Jars (releases a cherry-bug swarm that sting for d6), Rollocking-Sticks (d6), and Razor-Bunting (d8 if tangled). 

5.  The Bundletop houses marksmen (8hp, d8 scoped musket) pointed at the outskirts of town in case unwelcome sorts try to rush in. 

6. The Poorboxes are scattered around the village and are used to imprison any unwelcome sorts. After a night of torment from passing youths (poking, pissing, cramming full of feathers) they're thrown back over the wall. A night in a Poorbox causes d6 loss from each Ability Score. 

Roll d20 to see who you encounter, and what they're doing.

1-4: d6 Preservationist Legionnaires - STR 5, DEX 10, WIL 15, 6hp, Walking/Flogging Canes, Throat-Knife (d6), Buzz-Jars (releases a cherry-bug swarm that sting for d6) Tweed and Lace. Want to maintain the lifestyle of the village and oppose change in all forms. 
1: Repairing a smashed Mock Peacock and retrieving the coins form its belly for the Preservationist Fund.
2: Tending carefully to a Red-Bug hive high atop an old tree, wobbling on top of ladders. 
3: On the hunt for a group of Jolly Rollockers that have beaten up one of their members.
4: Lecturing a Self-Made-Gents on the importance of modesty in the village, as he rides along on his new Man-Wagon (5hp, Pulled by brain-dead simpletons dressed in horse-heads). 

5-8: d6 Self-Made-Gents- 7hp, Elaborate Pistol (d8), Rollocking-Stick (d6), High Hat, Long Beard, elaborate pocket-watch (worth d6g). Want to prove that they had it tough growing up, but now they have great wealth. Think the Sportingmen are idiot meatheads.
5: Staggering, singing, drunk, and calling out any Sportingmen that want to fight. 
6: Hurling bottles of sparkling wine as far as they can, in the interest of a hundred Guilder bet. 
7: Cramming a Coffee-Boy from the local cafe into a Poorbox. 
8: Throwing an Underground Weirdo back down a shaft, lecturing him on how he has to work his way to the top, just as they did, before arguing amongst themselves as to who had it worse. 

9-11: d12 Sportingmen - STR 15, DEX 15, WIL 10, 10hp, Rollocking Stick (d6), white uniforms, colourful caps. Want to enforce a highly flexible value of Fair-Play. Think the Self-Made-Gents are spineless bean counters. 
9: Carrying an beaten Self-Made-Gent through the streets, singing a victory song.
10: Practicing for their next match with some elaborate drill that involves lots of shouting and arse-smacking. 
11: Smashing the village apart in search of a lost ball that's still in play for some vitally important match.

12-14: d6 Jolly Floggers - 5hp. Rollocking Stick (d6), stubby ties and rolled-up sleeves. Want to appear tough, and annoy the Preservationists. 
12: Flogging an elderly Preservationist and pressing a canvas against her to take an imprint of her beaten face.
13: Laughing at one of their own members that's been crammed into a Poorbox. 
14: Doing a bad job of sneaking a tied-up Crocodile into the house of a Preservationist. 

15-16: d10 Mock-Peacocks - 4hp, metal-body (Armour 1), hardened beak (d6), can only whistle merry tunes and  Want to eat coins, and will attack anyone that doesn't either toss them one to eat. Easily scared off if anyone puts up a fight. 
15: Being chased away by a Self-Made-Gent, who's lecturing them on how he earned every penny.
16: One is coughing up coins uncontrollably. Any others nearby are frantically pecking them up. 
17: Performing a blindingly fast, dangerously sharp mating dance, after which a new Mock Peacock will appear from the fray. 

18-19 - The Offal-Day Fool - 10hp, Reckless Punches (d6), damned fast, bed-robes, seemingly unlimited supply of offal to throw. Wants to carry out the Offal-Day tradition of asking "Is it Offal Day?", to which any answer beside ignoring him provokes an offal-assault. 
18: Rubbing a pair of pig lungs in the face of an unconscious old drunk lying in the road, whispering some poem about Offal Day.
19: Whooping and singing as he's chased away by a pack of Jolly-Floggers. Occasionally flicks some small kidneys at them if they relent in their chase. 

20: The Middly Leadboy - STR 6, DEX 6, WIL 7, 4hp, ignore attacks weaker than a cannon, can sink into any flower-bed to appear in any other in the village. Sees everything, and wants to create division and chaos, whether through truth or lies. 
20: Slowly rising from a flower bed to tell you some nasty secrets about the village.

Monday 13 April 2015

Running a Tight Ship

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A ship in Into the Odd might look like this.

The Rusty Whale (12hp, Armour 1, Mortar-Battery d12, 50 Crew, Huge Glow-Lamps)

Or it might be less impressive.

There are things you can meet on the ocean.

There are islands you can bump into.

You might even have a full-on expedition planned.

But the ship itself is going to cause you problems, not to mention the crew.

At the start of each day, roll two d8s for the state of the Ship and the Crew. Always treat the first day as a roll of 8.

If you take successful action to resolve the issues arising from the roll, you improve the result by d4, to a maximum of 8. Usually this requires a whole day of attention.

1-3: Things get worse by one step. If they're already as bad as they can be, you start to sink rapidly.
4: Catastrophe! Something needs fixing immediately or else you'll start to sink for sure.
5: Dead in the water. You've got just enough mobility to get to the nearest place. If there's nowhere nearby then you'd better hope someone finds you.
6: The ship is pretty battered. Roll again next time you really need the ship to do something.
7: Nothing's quite running at 100%.
8: Everything is running smoothly.

1-3: Things get worse by one step. If they're already as bad as they can be, the crew go full mutiny on you.
4: Mayhem. The chain o' command has broken down and will need a firm hand to restore.
5: Halted! They won't do any work until you give them a treat, or remind them who's in charge.
6: Surly scum. Terrible food, disease, and general unrest make your crew a pain to deal with. Roll again next time you really need them to do something.
7: Grumbles. A lone troublemaker is already starting to complain.
8: Everything is running smoothly.

You might want to appoint some Officers to take charge of these matters, but they'll demand a premium wage, noted for a month's service.

A First Whip (50s) will deliver harsh discipline to the Crew, keeping them in line, but if he's compromised you can expect a release of all that anger.

Best Hand (50s) will voice the concerns of the crew to you directly, hopefully before they spiral out of control. Almost always prone to being a two-faced weasel taking bribes from both sides.

Chief Engineer (1g) can advise on anything related to naval machinery.

A Head Chef (1g) will be able to turn almost anything into a good meal for the crew, and provide lavish feasts if you take a guest aboard.

Friday 10 April 2015

Who's Staying in the Scarlet Flotella?

All aboard the grandest megaship-come-hotel ever to cruise the rivers of Bastion. There's really no better place to stay, from its Pamper Suites (10g for a night you'll never forget) right down to its Economy Deck (1s a night you'll never forget).

Roll d20 to see who you bump into, and what they're doing.

1-3: The Scrubbers (STR 4, 2hp, Worn wooden limbs, indecypherable squeaks).
Want to live a lazy life with some fun on the side.
1: Drawing googly eyes on a painting of Petal Lowe in one of the gallery alcoves.
2: Running from Peachy the Lizard, who's chasing them without any reason.
3: Sleeping on the job.

4-6: Totum and Perude (4 and 5hp, Axes, Hammers and any tool you can think of, frustratingly inarticulate and constantly interrupting each other)
Want to keep the ship in working order, despite knowing that it's doomed to sink.
4: Headed to reception to report a fire in the rooftop garden.
5: Bumbling around a steam-filled corridor to try and patch the leak.
6: Chasing the Scrubbers, who have gone AWOL.

7-9: Peachy the Lizard (STR 6, WIL 3, 6hp, Bite d6)
Wants to eat the Scrubbers and escape her life as Angreene's pet.
7: Munching happily on a dead rat.
8: Hiding from Angreene, who's calling her in the distance. Also dressed up in a tiny pink dress.
9: Sniffing in search of the Scrubbers.

10-11: Angreene (STR 6, DEX 17, WIL 15, 10hp, imitation fineries and fancy vocabulary)
Wants to stow away in the more luxurious sections of the hotel and avoid her massive bill (39g) that she has no means of paying.
10: Hiding from Toddie Pettum, who is chasing payment of her bill.
11: Throwing Peachy the Lizard down the length of a corridor before dragging him back on a piece of string.

12-13: Petal Lowe (STR 11, DEX 7, WIL 15, 4hp, Pistol d6, supply of any drug, poison, or illegal substance you can think of, illusion of subservience)
Wants to keep her business running smoothly and keep Toddie Pettum in the dark.
12: Guiding a new arrival to their room, ensuring them that any service at all can be made available.
13: Violently pistol-whipping a bell-boy for stealing from a guest.

14-15: Toddie Pettum (STR 8, DEX 8, WIL 9, 7hp, Cans of Moustache and Hair Wax, constant sweat)
Wants to keep the ship afloat at any cost, and attract a higher class of visitor.
14: On the edge of a breakdown and smoking furiously out of a window, panicking about Angreene's unpaid bill.
15: Pleading with stage-staff to make sure that both acts (see below) are kept apart for the duration of their stay.

16-17: Hottie Noise (STR 15, DEX 10, WIL 9, 8hp, Riding Crop d6, a carefully prepared outburst for even the slightest inconvenience, booming baritone)
Wants to shock people, and see Chanteuse Against Tyranny disgraced and humiliated.
16: Complaining to Toddie Pettum about the state of his quarters in comparison to those of Chanteuse.
17: Plastering one of his posters over that of Chanteuse.

18-19: Chanteuse Against Tyranny (STR 7, DEX 14, WIL 17, 3hp, Outfits that make everything impractical, screeching falsetto)
Wants to be remembered as the most avant-garde entertainer in her time, and see Hottie Noise disgraced and humiliated.
18: Trapped by her outfit caught on a loose nail and calling for help.
19: Carefully being hoisted into a new, larger outfit by a team of engineers.

20: Bubelle Wintzer (STR 5, DEX 8, WIL 8, 3hp, funeral shroud, perfectly made-up)
Wants to live out what she thinks are her last days (from a lying doctor) in the highest luxury.  
20: Is always being followed by Toddie Pettum, who is draining her for every last penny in return for his personal service.

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