Tag Archive | ttrpgs

Deadbolts Map

A map made in Hexkit using one of Highland Paranormal Society’s kits.

Here’s the map to the Into the Odd game I’m running. Their base is the little domed house at the center of the map and the circles in the cube icons are artifacts that they have been tasked to find. Other icons are various things they have encountered or stumbled across. It’s science-fantasy and riffing on all of these:

  • Electric Bastionland
  • Numenera
  • Those Who Came Before
  • Weird North
  • Golgotha
  • Iron Sleet: The Primogenitor
  • Anna X-66
  • Sudokar’s Wake
  • Trash Planet Epsilon-5
  • Ultraviolet Grasslands
  • Vaults of Vaarn

So far it’s been fun. The premise is that once a century a vast alien megastructure passes through the system and various factions send teams across to plunder and investigate the structure. The players being among the latest to do so, but the whole structure is dotted with ruins from earlier expeditions and civilizations along with the structure’s indigenous inhabitants.

Things I like about Into the Odd… 1) It’s fast, a lot of adventure can be had 2) Combat is scary because everyone is so squishy 3) It’s easy to port simple rules on to the system (for example: usage dice).

Things I don’t like…? I think it’s easy to slip and remove player agency. One thing I’ve noticed about TTRPG players, especially those who enjoy OSR games, is that they pride themselves on player ability and smoother systems like ItO can remove some of that. I feel like there’s something here to elaborate on, but I haven’t thought deeply enough on it yet.

Maybe someday.

But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy it! Between ItO and Beyond the Wall/Through the Sunken Lands my game itch is being most pleasantly scratched.

An Into the Odd Character’s Tale As Depicted in Tokens

I’m playing in an Into the Odd/Electric Bastion game. It’s fun, but has required some rejiggering of my escapist expectations. With D&D or Blades in the Dark you generally play someone with panache from the start. That’s not the case so much with Into the Odd as the below will show.

To start we made two characters and picked the one I liked the most. One of the options was an out of work animal tamer and I thought it would be fun to play as the shepherd kid accosted by the players in the game I ran (it’s the same group and would’ve been a funny in-joke), but in the end I opted for the other character: an out of work canal lock keeper with a robotic eye.

Now to me that sounded like a swashbuckling river pirate type:

Bonus points if you can guess what comic this character is from!

And that’s what I planned on playing, until I looked again at my character sheet and saw DEX: 4. Now a DEX: 4 is not something that says swashbuckling pirate. It says more bookish and uncoordinated, so from swashbuckling river pirate I shifted to local canal crime boss’s in too deep accountant.

Nothing says adventure like James Joyce.

And that worked! My nebbish accountant has found himself stranded with strange companions on a very strange island. He’s diffident and not at all a fighter. Or wasn’t at first. Two adventures in and that’s changed.

Early after his arrival on the island he came into possession of a stuffed cat and now refuses to part with it. Not only that, but the statue has the power to turn him into a man-sized cat at night. This is okay, but not great because there’s a chance when he changes he’ll attack his companions. Thank god, he has the 4 in DEX and not WILL. More to the point of this post, my initial token for his cat-form was this:

It’s your boi, Behemoth!

But again, under all the fur and teeth and claws, he’s still a nebbish accountant who got in too deep with canal gangsters. Once more my expectations had to be changed (and I saw a tweet of some awful 19th century tiles), and so:

It’s your boi, 바보

Let’s see if this remains his final form!

But there’s a notion when discussing Old School RPGs that your character is what happens to them and that’s proving true here. From a collection of numbers (DEX: 4!) to a personality to a history accumulated through play, this character is fun for the simple fact that the whole experience has been unpredictable. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly feels refreshing and liberating to me. Stuff is happening and not only has it changed my character, but also my character was never who I thought they were in the first place!

That’s neat.

Game Stuff

Never too early to figure out your next Halloween costume.

I updated my itch.io page with all the game materials I’ve made to date. They are all pay what you want. Most materials use Necrotic Gnome’s Old School Essentials as their ruleset, but they could be tweaked for any tabletop fantasy game.

Mysthead 1: Mysthead is a grab bag ‘zine of stuff used at my table and not. 12 pages, includes details of the Mysthead region with adventure seeds, the Beachcomber class for Old School Essentials, and a D20 table of strange things washed up on the beach. 

Mysthead 2: 12 pages, details Mysthead’s goblins and elves with adventure seeds, plus tables for mnemonic relics, whispering skulls, fae/goblin political structures, and underdark rumors. Also includes the Rumormonger Spider, a playable class for Old School Essentials.

Wolves of the Gnarlwood: a 3 page system-less wilderness adventure  

(You can also find the classes as separate PDFs along with one for the Unright Goat.)

Check them all out here.