Thursday, 7 August 2014

Less is More

A short list of rules that won't feature as mechanics in the final version of Into the Odd.

Skills - If you want to be good at something, put your high roll into the appropriate Ability Score.
Perception - You get a clue, pay attention.
Disarming Traps - Act carefully and work out what to do.
Social Interaction - Pay attention to NPCs and work out how best to manipulate them.
Individual Initiative - Players go, Referee goes.
Prescribed Combat Moves - Just say what you want to do.
Character Backgrounds and Traits - Make one of you want but probably work it out in play.
Balancing Encounters - You'll be encountering scary stuff from day one. Later on you might be able to fight them.
Movement Rates - You move at normal pace unless you're on a horse or something.
Encumbrance - Just don't carry too much stuff.
Class - Nah.
Race - Human.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Odd Manifesto

Recently I've been getting quite a few comments from people newly discovering Into the Odd. Those unfamiliar with my previous posts might wonder what I'm hoping to achieve with this game that can't be achieved with straight D&D or a clone.

I can pretty much get it down to five key points.

- The game is Instantly Accessible, and players don't need any teaching before jumping into a game. Just roll your character, taking around two minutes, and say what they want to do.
- Ultra-distilled rules that hide in the background remind us that this really is Just a Game. It's neither a painstakingly ruled simulation, nor a finely balanced tactical challenge, but a game can be brought out with friends between boardgames, or drive a weekly campaign with dedicated roleplayers.
- D&D's brand of fantasy is shifted into the Horror Genre, creating more of an expectation of monsters that can't be fought and tough choices, rather than expanding your character's personal power.
- Despite having a somewhat gruesome tone, this is Not About Fighting, and certain things have been carefully presented to place more focus on exploration, problem solving, and investigation than becoming a combat monster. In addition, the industrial, cosmopolitan setting, moves away from the typical medieval mindset.
- There are just a few Simple Referee Guidelines to move the focus from remembering rules, to creating exciting situations and memorable descriptions. The Referee is encouraged to create their own original content throughout the game.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Great Fighter in Into the Odd

D&D Fighters grow in power as they level up. Their bonuses increase, they become mountains of HP, and in later editions they get incredible powers worthy of mythical heroes. They can go toe to toe with a dragon and battle hordes of orcs without breaking a sweat.

Into the Odd characters don't get that luxury. So what makes a great fighter?

Meet Polina Lawd, a renowned highwayman, duellist, and sometime mercenary. She's known to be one of the most formidable combatants in the world. And why?

Polina Lawd 
STR 18, DEX 9, WIL 13, 20hp.
Ivory Pistol (d8), General's Sword (d8), Modern Armour (Armour 1), Smokebomb, Poison, Steed.

The raw numbers are good, and she has nice equipment, but she isn't going to face down colossal monsters on her own. She doesn't even have an Arcanum.

She knows there's strength in numbers, and vulnerability when alone.
She knows the benefits of a horse when in open field, and cover when on foot.
She knows when to retreat or surrender to fight another day.
She isn't bound by honour and won't hesitate to fight dirty.
Most importantly, she knows who to fight and who to avoid.

You don't need feats, powers, and a character optimisation forum to be a good fighter. You just need to be more like Polina.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Oddpendium Contents Shortlist

Into the Odd's final pdf form is coming along, hoping for a September release.

Waiting on a few things to fall into place has given me time to work on the Oddpendium. This will be a hodgepodge of ideas that have no place within the core game. Nothing that necessarily aims to improve the original game, just a set of extra tools to play with if you want to. 

It isn't even in first-draft form yet, but here's the current table of contents. 

The Oddpendium

Using this Book

Alternate Character Groups - Underground Mutants, Deep Country Bumpkins, Oceanic Tribes, Cosmic Refugees.

The Gun Shop

Grievous Wounds

Lesser Arcana

Spirits, Mixies, Tonics, and Coldroons

Spawn of Brain

The Seven Lost Wonders of the Golden Lands

Bastion's Cast of Thousands 

Going Native

Enterprise and Industry

The Nine Black Tablets

Things Lurking in the Underground

The Impossible Challenge Sphere

The Knowledge: Getting Around Bastion

Inside the Cockpit

The Expanded Luck Roll

High Society

Disciples of the Ninth Star

The Art of Siege

Naval Warfare and Bastion's Greatest Vessels


Deep Country Legends

Into the Stars

So You Ended the World...

Monday, 14 July 2014

D&D 5e to Into the Odd Conversion Guide

Ever an opportunist, here's how to convert D&D 5e Monsters to your Into the Odd game.

HP: Half normal HP, rounding up. Hard maximum of 30.
Armour: AC14+ grants Armour 1. Being Large adds a further point of Armour, being Huge adds two.
STR and DEX: These scores are directly transferable.
WIL: Take the rough average of INT and WIS.
Attacks: Start at d6. Increase by 1 die for each size category above medium and a further step if they wield a heavy weapon. For example, a large creature with a heavy weapon gets 2 increases, from d6 to d8 to d10. No multi-attacks.

Replace Advantage/Disadvantage and Vulnerability/Resistance with Enhance/Impair respectively. Abilities that grant extra damage or protection also use these two qualities as appropriate.

Advantage/Disadvantages on certain saving throws (e.g. Dwarfs vs Poison) can grant more interesting, outright immunities, or generally just be handled in a better way (e.g. Dwarfs are immune to natural poison, or only feel minor versions of the effects on a failed Save).

Make their description scarier.


D&D 5e Skeletal White Dragon
Huge Undead
Armor Class
Hit Points 51 (6d12 + 12)
Speed 50 ft.
Senses darkvision 100 ft.
Str 17 (+3) Dex 12 (+1) Con 14 (+2)
Int 2 (–4) Wis 7 (–2) Cha 2 (–4)
Alignment chaotic evil
Languages —
Ice Walk: The dragon takes no penalty to speed while traversing ice or snow.
Immunities: The dragon is immune to cold, disease, and poison. It cannot be charmed, frightened, or put to sleep. It does not need to sleep, eat, or breathe.
Multiattack: The dragon makes one claw attack and one bite attack or tail attack.
Melee Attack—Bite: +3 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) piercing damage.
Melee Attack—Claw: +3 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.
Melee Attack—Tail: +3 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage. If the target is Large or smaller, the dragon also either pushes the target up to 10 feet away or knocks it prone.

Into the Odd Skeletal White Dragon

STR 17, DEX 12, WIL 5. 26hp, Armour 3, Claws (1d12).
Driven by hunger for living tissue. Sees perfectly in the dark and effortlessly crosses ice and snow. Immune to things that would affect living beings.

Want to convert Into the Odd monsters over to your D&D 5e game? Clearly there's been a mistake. Give it some more thought while you run another Into the Odd game.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Great Into the Odd Crowdsourcing Push

So, the actual game of Into the Odd is in a state that I'm happy to call final, barring one last edit for typos and grammar.

What's the plan?
- Transfer everything from the crappy pdf I made in openoffice into a proper pdf, with nice layout and some custom art in amongst the free stuff. Probably B&W for printing ease.
- Release the game as Pay What You Like.
- Use any money that comes in from generous folks to pay people to help me with future projects.

What do I need?
- A Cover. I love the piece that current sits at the front of the doc, and it's public domain, but I'd really like to see it given a new impression. Think you can make this awesome while keeping the eerie atmosphere?
- A Logo. While I like the one that I threw together, someone can do a better job around the same concept.
- A Proper Layout. Nothing fancy, but something that looks more professional than my own efforts.
- Art. Again, I like the public domain pieces I have, but bespoke Into the Odd artwork would be the dream. If you've seen the stuff I post on here for the game, you'll get a sense of what I'm looking for. Similarly, I like the maps I've made, but somebody could probably give them a little more character.
- Proofreading. Huge thanks to +Geordie Racer for doing this already, but the more eyes the better.

What do I have to offer?
- I can give out credit like it's going out of style!
- If you're in the UK you can come to my house for a free beer/wine/spirit.
- The vague promise below.

I have no budget for this. If you'd like to be involved, and I really love what you're offering, I'll see if I can get some funds to pay your rate. Anything that comes in from the Pay What You Like release goes straight into the pot for my next project, and you'll be the first people I come to for paid work.

Anyone who wants to help out can comment here. Sample artwork/layout work would be a fantastic place to start.