I run mostly one-shots and short-form campaigns, so it's no surprise that I like my character growth quick and messy.
Slowly increasing scores and damage output over months of play just doesn't mesh with how I use the game, so that's how you end up with my current home-variant of Into the Odd: Quick and Messy.
|Three Established PCs|
The messiness starts from the very birth of a character, with the goal of making characters equally interesting, if not equally powerful.
I'll let you in on how I'm currently generating new characters.
So as you know, you roll 3d6 each for STR, DEX, WIL, and d6 for HP. You can swap two scores if you want, but I dare you not to.
You also get d6x10p in pocket-change. Forget shopping; Pennies are lunch-money at best, but at least you'll be able to afford a drink.
- Match your Highest Ability Score against your HP to get your first Starter Pack.
- Match your Lowest Ability Score against your starting money for your second.
- Characters that receive an Oddity roll d100 here
- A weapon states its damage, and perhaps a detail. For unusual weapons, the Referee clarifies questions about its use and limitations. Weapons causing d6 damage use one hand, and d8 two hands.
- If a player rolls the same starter pack as another, they take the next pack instead (right, then next row).
Highest Ability and Hitpoints
9 or less
Pistol brace (d8)
Flamethrower (d8 cone), Rum
Handcannon (d6), Oddity
Sports Bat (d6)
Sledgehammer (d8), Drill
Tiny Pistol (d6)
Lowest Ability and Pennies
Pet Mutt with Mind Link
Bodyguard (5hp, d8 Halberd)
Idiot Twin (d6 club), Cape
Raised in Wilderness
Never Sleep, Mad Stare
Loved by Beasts
Visibly Diseased (benign)
Hated by Beasts
12 or more
Eats Raw Meat Only
Characters Growth happens in a number of ways, most notably through a refinement of my previous Scars system.
When you are taken to exactly 0hp, you get a Scar.
When you are taken to exactly 0hp, you get a Scar.
- Your first Scar adds d6hp to your Maximum.
- Scars only occur in deadly situations, not training.
- When Non-humans take a Scar, the Referee may forgo the table for their own creativity.
- Specialists overcome negative effects for a price, but a mark always remains.
Roll d6 plus the damage caused by the attack.
2: Busted Foot - Reduced to a limp until fixed.
3: Lasting Pain - A nasty scar that causes intense pain if pressed on.
4: Busted Lung - Your breathing is loud and you cough up blood often. It’s gross.
5: Smashed Jaw - You lose a lot of teeth and get a speech impediment.
6: Bloody Mess - It needs lots of Stitches, and you don’t benefit from Resting until it’s done by a Specialist.
7: Shaken Nerves - You stammer, twitch, or shake, unless you use something to calm your nerves.
8: Disfigurement - The injury leaves your face totally disfigured.
9: Mind Splinter - A specific element of this injury is stuck in your psyche. Lose d6 WIL each time you're forced to confront it.
10: Gouged Eye - A random eye is gouged out.
11: Obsession - Do not benefit from rests until you achieve revenge.
12: Hewn Limb - One of your limbs (1: right arm, 2: left arm, 3: right leg, 4: left leg) is torn off or in need of amputation.
13: Terrible Fracture - A random limb (1: right arm, 2: left arm, 3: right leg, 4: left leg) is broken in the worst way. It can be set by a specialist, but until then you cannot use it, or benefit from Rests.
14: Lost Sense - One of your senses is lost (1: Sight, 2: Hearing, 3: Scent, 4: Taste).
15: Heart Damage - This vital organ is in critical state. If you suffer this Scar again, you die.
16: Shadow of Death – You feel a cold hand on your shoulder and have nightmares. Any time you sleep, pass a WIL Save or scream through the night.
17: Fractured Skull - You drool and slur. If you suffer this Affliction a second time your skull is utterly split open and you die.
18+: Doomed to Die - You shouldn't have survived that. You have nightmares of your own death. If you fail your next Save against Critical Damage you die horribly. If you pass, remove this effect.
When you achieve all the following criteria, you reach Prestige Status and add d6hp to your Maximum.
- Bravery: You have at least one Scar.
- Legacy: You have an apprentice and heir.
- Prominence: You have sold at least one treasure worth 10g or more.
- Eminence: You have been awarded a medal, title, or another honour.
Then, roll d12 for your Vice. When you indulge your Vice, re-roll your maximum HP on 3d6, keeping it if the result is higher.
1: Grandiosity – Spend at least 10g on something frivolous.
2: Greed – Take something worth 10g from its rightful owner.
3: Bloodlust – Kill ten sapient beings in one day.
4: Wanderlust – Visit a Far Land you have not visited before.
5: Vanity – Earn a medal or other honour from a figure of genuine respect.
6: Self-Preservation – Return from an expedition without having taken any Ability Score Damage.
7: Zeal – Find a cult that you like and convert a new member.
8: Nurturing – See your heir or apprentice reach Prestige Status.
9: Wrath – Utterly break somebody that has wronged you.
10: Hatred – Kill a specific rival or legendary creature.
11: Pride – Have somebody swear their life to you.
12: Malice – Aid in the collapse of an organisation or group that you dislike.
Scars and Vices are just one example of Foreground Growth, alongside the obvious changes that come with increased wealth.
|The inevitable consequences of boat ownership.|
Now I try to give significant NPCs and Monsters a way to permanently alter the characters through interaction with them. Something direct, not giving the gift of EXP to be spent abstractly.
Let's take three of the example monsters in the core book, which I'll give a quick update to my current methods. I've bolded the examples of Foreground Growth opportunities.
STR 8, DEX 13, WIL 11, 7hp. Claws (d6), Dust Staff (Spray dust, DEX Save or Blinded until the Hag is dead or lifts the curse).
- Turn to dust at will, ignoring physical attacks (cannot do this if wet).
- Direct one of her eyes to fly independently, but she can still see through it. If you help her, she will offer to pull one of your eyes out to give you the same gift.
- Lives to manipulate others, and has no agenda besides stirring up trouble and gaining influence.
STR 10, DEX 17, WIL 13, 6hp. Shadow Form (Immune to any attacks, but bright light repels it, and being trapped in light destroys it).
- Moves across walls as a shadow, mimicking with mocking exaggeration.
- Lures the unwary to touch hands, then grabs for d6 WIL loss each turn until they break free. At WIL 0 they are absorbed into the shadow.
- If someone breaks free from the shadow, it flees, but the victim's shadow becomes a pit to nothingness until the shadow is destroyed.
STR 13, DEX 13, WIL 12, 14hp, Glossy Body (Armour 1), Beam-Gun (d8, Disintegrates on Critical Damage), Alien-Blade (d8, one-handed).
- Speaks an unfathomable language and phases from this place to his Far Land at will.
- Looks at you with disgust but only wants to find big-prey to hunt.
- Keeps a watch on you, and if it witnesses you kill some big-prey it grants you the Cosmic Mark on your forehead (if you allow it). Intelligent beings from other Far Lands will respect and fear this.