Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Odd Changes - Starting Packages

For the next few posts I'm going to be talking about the most recent changes made to Into the Odd. The most recent version is now up, so check it out on the sidebar to the right.

I've used starting packages in some form for a while now. The goal was to remove that shopping phase of character generation, where you pour over equipment lists looking for the best gear to spend your starting gold on.

Shopping for gear can be fun, but I didn't want it to be the preface to everyone's first delve into the game.

Here, every expedition gets basic climbing and camping gear, rations, and lanterns. On top of this, there have been limited personal equipment choices (take one weapon and one tool), and multiple versions of tables to roll on, but none as elaborate as the current instance.

There's no additional rolling. You just take your highest score, your HP, and look at the chart to see what equipment you got. So if you have a high score of 15 and 3hp, you get a club, some ether, a crowbar, and a flute.

Which leads onto the most recent change to starting packages.

I looked over the starting packages and saw that the general theme was a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, a tool or disposable item, and maybe a quirky extra thing like having no nose.

What luxury! Having a sword and a gun suggests a lot about how to deal with the problems you'll face. You play a lot differently if all you have the starting equipment given in our example.

So now you generally get a single weapon, perhaps two if you've got terrible ability scores and I feel bad for you. Replacing these excess muskets and maces is an assortment of baggage from ferrets and fireworks to animal repellent and accordions.

You previously started the game with an Arcanum if WIL was your highest score, but things have changed since then. Arcana are less reliant on your WIL score, and I wanted to pull back a little on giving them out at the very start. These are rare things, after all, and you're supposed to be searching hungrily for them. Now they're included in the starting packages, mostly at the lower end, another consolation prize for rolling low Ability Scores.

To put it into context, I'll roll up a group of four characters right now, under a stopwatch.

Dot Hudson
STR 12, DEX 13, WIL 11, 6hp
Longaxe (d8), Rum, Bomb

Reggie ClackSTR 9, DEX 8, WIL 6, 1hp, Armour 1.
Sword (d6), Pistol (d6), Fire Oil, Modern Armour
Sense nearby unearthly beings

Flora BeachamSTR 9, DEX 15, WIL 10, 1hp
Pistol Brace (d8), Canary, Ether

Humpy QuinnSTR 12, DEX 8, WIL 9, 4hp
Pistol (d6), Brandy, Rocket

Clock stopped at 2 minutes, 12 seconds. Not too bad for a full party. 

They have a good selection of gear, but most of them will be hungry for money to get a backup weapon, or maybe some armour. Reggie is the exception here, looking pretty well equipped, but then with those scores and 1hp, I think he deserves a treat. I like to give characters like this an innate ability, to prevent the character from feeling expendable. If you let Reggie die, his sixth-sense dies with him. 

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