Friday, 7 December 2012

Odd Encounters - Errand Doll

The Errand Doll
STR 3, DEX 10, WIL 13, 5hp. d4 attack.

Surrounded by a 5ft whistling cloud that it controls. Anyone in the cloud takes 1d6 burning damage each turn, ignoring armour. The doll can see through the cloud. The cloud may not leave the doll's home, typically a single structure.

This tiny doll will issue an errand to any group it encounters. Roll a d6 to see if this task is mundane (6), nearly impossible (1) or somewhere in between. The doll's cloud will follow the group and attack them if they seem to be going off course or not taking the errand seriously.

If they complete the errand the doll will offer its services for any single errand in return. The doll will attempt this regardless of its difficulty.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Secret Purpose of Setting

Psst! Come closer. This is a secret.

I designed the regions of Into the Odd's setting to rather sneakily act as Signposts for the core stuff a player needs to know.

The Sister States

Rosevine is a city in the middle of a chaotic Revolution. The only remaining monarch we hear of is in the middle of being overthrown. Oh, and she might be a shape-shifting reptoid.

Bastion is a truly modern, Industrial city. Canals connect it with the rest of the world and it sits on vaults filled with weird stuff.

Starfall is a city built on the ruins of Astral Visitors. It's filled with star cults, universities and weird places to explore.

Now the reader know that this is an Industrial world, filled with Revolutions and the lingering influence of Astral Visitors. 

The Frontiers

The Islands demonstrate the reach of the Sister States as a Colonial power.

The Golden Lands are mostly unknown to the Sister States, showing just how Vast the world is.

The Polar Ocean acts as the ultimate Mystery for any explorer.

Now the reader knows that, while the Sister States have the reach of a Colonial power, the world is Vast and Mysterious, leaving lots of white space on the map and potential rival powers.

The Odd World - Why Visit the Polar Ocean?

This is the final post covering the six main regions of the Odd World. We've seen the crumbling glory of Rosevine, the smoke-filled hub of Bastion and the alien weirdness of Starfall. Beyond the Sister States we've seen the loosely colonised Islands and the dauntingly massive continent of the Golden Lands. Now we arrive at the deadliest and most mysterious frontier yet, the Polar Ocean. This is what the game document has to say.

The great Polar Ocean stretches as far North as anyone has ventured. Few explorers return and each brings a different story. Some talk of a shining paradise and some of a passage to the stars themselves. The mysteries of this Ocean continue to draw explorers to their death.

Things to do in the Polar Ocean
- Die horribly.
- Never return.
- Barely make it back to civilization as a babbling husk of your former self.

Polar exploration is something of a last resort here. There are plenty of unexplored islands and a whole continent to your South. Anyone that tries to solve the mysteries of the world by sailing North deserves what they get.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Odd World - Why Visit the Golden Lands?

The Golden Lands represent an entirely different frontier to The Islands. The latter seem tame and manageable compared to this sprawling continent. Here's what the game document has to say. 

The distant continent to the South starts as sweltering jungle and impassible swamp, leading to an endless stretch of desert. Dotted amongst the feral cultures are great cities filled with riches. These distant kingdoms watch the amassing guns of the Sister States and hide their own forces and Arcane secrets.

Things to Do in the Golden Lands
- Get some gold! They wouldn't call it the Golden Lands for no reason, would they?
- Stir up a war with the Sister States. The industrialised regions here are more than capable of mounting a sizeable, mobile army.
- Bring the wonders of technology or astral worship to the feral cultures. Just try not to get murdered.
- If you thought the Astrals left an impact on the Sister States wait until you see what's crashed in the jungle.
- Hunt primordial beasts, perhaps even bringing one back to the Sister States alive.
- There are ancient ruins down here too, you know. Civilization has been here just as long as back at home and there are plenty of fallen societies.
- Find out what lies beyond of the endless desert. Even the locals don't seem to be sure.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Odd World - Why Visit the Islands?

There's a whole world beyond the Sister States. Those that are most influenced by Rosevine, Bastion and Starfall are the Islands. Here's what the game document has to say about them.

Tiny specks of land dot the ocean to the West and East of the Sister States. Most settlements are colonies of the Sister States but some native societies prevail. Life here is simpler but more lawless than in the Sister States. Uprisings against colonial rule are on the increase. 

Things to do on the Islands
- Establish your own colony, peacefully or otherwise.
- Free the native population from colonial rule. 
- Explore forbidden caves, jungles and swamps where natives tell of strange happenings. 
- Track down the mythical wandering island. 
- Try a new fangled submersible vessel and dive to the ocean floor to see the strange, metal wreckage lying there. 
- Bring the joys of astral worship to the natives or free them of the influence of sinister sects. 
- Just get away from everyone in the Sister States who wants you dead and work on your tan. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Odd World - Why Visit Starfall?

If Rosevine is longing for its glorious past and Bastion is a beacon of modernity then Starfall seems to have stumbled into this world from the distant future. Here's what the game document tells us about the Stolen City.

Some credit the bizarre architecture of Starfall to a fallen civilisation previously occupying the city, but many scholars claim it was built by the Astrals. Glass towers and steel pyramids house everything from factories to universities, some remaining inaccessible to even the wisest academics. Astral worshippers consider a pilgrimage to Starfall essential to gaining a true understanding of the world and the space beyond. The countless sects of astral worshippers have vastly different beliefs and agendas, rarely coexisting peacefully.

Things to do in Starfall
- Get involved in the street wars between sects of astral worshippers.
- Gain access to one of the many otherworldly structures of the city to find the truth inside.
- Work alongside smugglers bringing Arcana back into the city or shipping it out to one of the rival Sister States. 
- Try to find out why an entire block of houses vanished overnight. 
- Take your Arcana to leading academics to see if any further function can be uncovered.

The Odd World - Why Visit Bastion?

If Rosevine represents the sprawling history of the world then Bastion is an icon of everything occurring in the present. Here's what the game document has to say about the Hub of Mankind.

With nearly a million citizens, Bastion has become the largest city in the known world. Its skies are black with smoke and its streets bustling with residents from every corner of the world. Canals feed the city with trade from every direction and vast factories produce mass goods and new prototypes. The city sits on a network of tunnels and vaults that hold devices and beings of great power. Their contents are only known and accessed by the ministers that lead the nation's parliament. New ideas and enterprises flourish along with frequent and bloody revolutions. 

Things to do in Bastion
- Sneak into the vaults underneath the city, hoping to snatch a powerful Arcanum.
- Work with local academics to recover a new Arcanum to be stashed away in the vaults. 
- Investigate a reclusive engineer thought to be trying to transfer his life force into a machine. 
- Lead downtrodden factory workers in a rebellion. 
- Find out who or what is behind the hideously mangled corpses being found floating in the city's canals. 
- Earn some money in a fighting pit. 
- Join the latest political idealist in gathering an army of supporters.
- Deal with an escaped entity from the vaults, now roaming the tunnels beneath the city. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Odd World - Why Visit Rosevine?

Characters in Into the Odd are assumed to come from one of the three Sister States. The most historically important of these is Rosevine. But why would the characters want to go back there? Here's what the game itself has to say about the City of Flies. 

The greatest seafaring empires in history have called Rosevine their capital. Architectural wonders of past centuries lie ravaged by plague and civil unrest. Queen Rosa IX claims both the city's throne and headship of the Celestial Temple. The anti-astral Union of Man call for her head, rumours spreading that she is an otherworldly imposter. Daily riots have pushed the Royal Court into a barricaded palace and underground catacombs. Union enforcers hunt down Astral Worshippers while the common citizen lives a life of fear and uncertainty. 

Things to do in Rosevine
- Explore the city's ancient architecture, perhaps hiding wonders not understood by the city's previous rulers. 
- Investigate reports of the plague having unpredictable side effects on its victims. 
- Join the Union of Man and overthrow that shapeshifting imposter of a queen. 
- Volunteer for the Queen's guard, restoring order to the city. 
- Get involved with some aristocratic politics and get to the bottom of the accusations against the queen. 
- Aid the Union of Man in routing out Astral Cults, or provide them with protection in return for a powerful Arcanum. 
- Find out the source of the pestilence that is currently ravaging the city. 
- Aid the terrified citizens in stealing a vessel and escaping to the colonies. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fluff and Crunch? Try Meat and Bones.

Fluff and Crunch isn't a very useful dichotomy.

Of course, there's a lot of grey area in between, but I have more of an issue with what's implied.

Crunch sounds good. It's crunch time! This is the important stuff. Let's crunch on down to business.

Fluff sounds bad. What's all this fluff taking up space? Nobody wants to be concerned with fluffy things.

I'm not taking sides. The truth is most games benefit from having both. So I'd rather look at it this way.

Bones are the very core of what makes a game a game. That cheat-sheet you made for yourself that just has the bare rules of the game? That's the game's skeleton right there. D&D has HP, HD, Levels and Ability Scores making up the core of its skeleton.

Some games are nearly all Bones. Some games barely have a skeleton at all. When you start messing with a game's Bones you might improve it or create a clumsy abomination. At some point it will resemble an entirely different animal.

Meat is what lies on top of the bones, connected to the game's skeleton. This isn't meaningless fluff. It's part of the game. Still, it's stuff that can be moved around, toned, bulked out. Spell lists are meat. Classes are meat.

It might be hard to imagine the skeleton of a game without any meat at all, but it's entirely possible. Most players will have a preference for just how much meat they like to see. Some may want just enough to cover the bones, others will want a colossus of flesh.

Skin lies on top of the meat. While the meat may be acting as muscle, working alongside the skeleton of the game, skin is clearly separated from the bones. This is the map of the world in the back of your setting guide, the chunks of flavour text and the beautiful art.

You may call this fluff, but that does it a disservice. There are people who aren't interested in buying a game with a skin, just the meat and bones. They'll end up putting their own skin on the game.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Odd Encounters - Black Shell

Black Shell
2hp, Armour 3.
Immobile and unable to attack as normal.
When reduced to 0hp the shell is broken and the creature within is released with immediate hostility.
The shell at first appears to be a glass-like cocoon. The writhing creature inside is only faintly visible in the darkness. Anyone that touches the cocoon attracts the creature's attention and is subject to its gaze as described below.

Creature Within
STR 14, DEX 10, WIL 12, 7hp, Armour 1.
A black, chitinous humanoid that strikes for 1d6+1 damage.
Its gaze can be targeted at one individual each turn, in addition to attacking. The target must pass a WIL Save or fall to the ground, paralysed until they have a Short Rest. If they are left alone with the creature while paralysed it will begin to regurgitate a viscous slime over their body, which soon hardens into their own Black Shell. By the next morning they are a Creature Within and trapped until the shell is broken.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Odd Encounters - Glass Crawler

Glass Crawler
STR 4, DEX 4, WIL 5, 6hp.

An unearthly, five foot high caterpillar-like creature. Favours dark conditions and eats any small creatures it can sting. Moves very slowly and makes a raspy noise when threatened.
Cannot attack normally, but may brush a victim with its stings. Anyone attacking the crawler or otherwise risking contact with the stings must also make a Save as if they were attacked.
DEX Save to avoid contact with the hair-like stingers. Anyone stung feels an immediate pain similar to a nettle. A few minutes later the sensation feels like shards moving inside their body and they lose 1d6 STR and DEX. Joints resist bending, forcing such movement causes an audible snap, feeling like a tube of glass has broken inside the  joint. Each minute of movement, other than very careful, slow walking, causes loss of 1d6 STR. The effect wears off after a long rest.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Odd People - Caspia Carty

Caspia lived a life of aristocracy for her first nine years, enjoying hunting with her favourite hound, Scraps. One morning, while hunting with her father, she saw her family mansion glow white. With a flash of light it was reduced to flaming rubble and Caspia and her Father collapsed. When she woke her Father was gone.

Since then she has become inseparable from Scraps. She appears to have intense conversations with the hound. Homeless, they wander Bastion Country, surviving day to day. Several family members within the aristocracy have taken them in, but they always escape before long.

Caspia Carty
STR 7, DEX 11, WIL 14, 9hp.
Musket (1d6+1), Knife (1d6), Fancy Clothes.

Scraps - Gunhound
STR 10, DEX 13, WIL 5, 7hp.
Acts as an Arcanum for Caspia with the following spells.
Command Word (Power 1): Order a target to drop, fall, flee or halt unless they pass a WIL Save. Can only target animals.
Breath of Recovery (Power 2): Touch a creature and restore 1d6 points of lost STR, but take that much damage yourself. Scraps takes the damage when Caspia uses this Spell.
Dire Beasts (Power 5): Up to five animals double in size. They gain +1 Armour and melee damage. They also grow much more violent. Scraps must be one of the targets.

A character for Into the Odd.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Guns in Into the Odd

In the world of Into the Odd guns have recently started to be mass produced. They are the ranged weapon of choice for soldiers and civilian explorers alike. Of course, bows and crossbows haven't just disappeared completely. In fact, we all know these weapons can be just as deadly as firearms.

So I guess we're having the guns in D&D debate, right?

Well, no. I don't really see the need.

I've seen some great suggestions for making firearms feel different to bows in D&D. We've all heard the real world arguments of guns being easier to learn, but I don't see that factoring into any game I'm running. In game the distinctions tend to boil down to one of the following:

1. Guns do great damage but are unreliable and dangerous to use.
2. Guns do great damage but take an age to reload.
3. Guns ignore armour.

Point may have been true for firearms, but this is a setting where they've got a good grasp on their construction and use. I don't want everyone with a pistol to risk losing a hand.

Point would certainly seem most logical. Pulling another arrow from a quiver is much faster than reloading a flintlock musket, even for the most well trained soldier. But if we're going down this route shouldn't crossbows take longer to reload than bows? I'm going to render this moot with a personal preference against anything that wastes turns. I already adhere to a longer, more abstract turn than modern D&D's six-seconds. Regardless of reload times I want a ranged weapon to be able to attack each turn.

I love the simplicity and tactical choice inherent to point but it just feels wrong to me. We know that armour stopped bullets and even if the bullet penetrated the armour I'm sure the wound would be lessened than if the target were unarmoured.

Instead I look back at one of my mantras when writing Into the Odd.

"Assume common sense".

I can hear tables being flipped and monocles popping. Those poor players without common sense! I look at it this way. I'd rather have a game that some people misinterpret than a game with so many rules it resembles a legal document. Of course, there's a sweet spot somewhere in the middle, so let's put the false dichotomy aside and I'll explain myself.

Into the Odd has three categories of weapons you can buy normally.

Simple Weapons cause 1d6 damage and include crude or light weapons from daggers and clubs to, yes, bows and crossbows.
Martial Weapons cause 1d6+1 damage and are anything you'd call "modern" in the setting. Swords, axes and maces can all be martial weapons if they're made to modern standards and of course this includes pistols and muskets.
Exceptional Weapons cause 1d6+2 damage and are pricey weapons made to the best standard available.

So why is the bow still around if it's just a weaker gun? The boom in your boomstick is a key factor here. There's not really a quiet way to kill someone with a gun in this setting. Do I write this in the game document? No. See my mantra about assuming common sense.

If the player says "I try to shoot the guard in the back without alerting the others" and the Referee doesn't blink then they're probably already a lost cause.

So do I expect Referees to keep an expert knowledge of firearms? Should they stop players using their guns if they get wet? Should they require maintenance?

These are more questions I don't answer in the interest of streamlining things. I'd wager that any Referee reading this already knows how they'd handle them so I'll add assumption of competence to my assumption of common sense. Foolish, perhaps, but all I know is it's that foolishness that lets me fit an RPG with full rules for characters from grave-robber to emperor, ten spell-levels, combat manoeuvres, mass combat, company management, referee guidance, sample monsters, traps, magic items, a dungeon, a wilderness area and a settlement into a 25-page document.

It's a trade-off I'm pretty happy with.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Why Into the Odd is a Horror Game

Into the Odd is now officially "A Survival Horror Roleplaying Game". What qualifies it to carry that subtitle? There are those that would argue even regular D&D is a horror game, making some excellent points, but what about my variant?

Deceptive Normality
The setting of Into the Odd is filled with normality. Sure, there are revolutions, plagues and cruel factory-masters, but this is all very mundane stuff. The Odd is out there to be found, but most of civilization is similar to our own world, even the cities that are built on crashed spaceships. Wars are fought by men with guns, not armoured knights or battle wizards. Factories mass produce goods and companies and politicians share power, with monarchs being no more than figureheads. This is an early-modern world we can relate to, not a medieval fantasy.

The Known but Incomprehensible
Beside the relatively mundane happenings of an industrial world are things nobody understands. Grouping Arcana under one name is deceptive, as the game clearly dictates that they should break the rules. You can use an Arcanum and talk to scholars about them but nobody really understands them or knows a way to bypass the risks of using them. Similarly, everybody has a theory on the Astrals, but there are no solid answers. They could be aliens, divine beings, demons, advanced terrestrial beings or pure mythology.

Unfair Enemies
Referees are told to create monsters that break the rules and function in a vastly different way to normal characters. Most importantly, don't think of monsters as opponents to act as a fair fight to the characters. An encounter with a monster doesn't have to mean combat and in many cases it should be actively avoided. I hope to lead by example on this one with the seven example monsters provided in the game.

The Dust Hag, Beckoning Shadow and Thing of Glowing Smoke are immune to normal weapons. The Abbysal Turtle is so huge that small arms are going to have very little effect, requiring Arcana or at least siege weapons. The Dead Echo can only be fought in darkness or a reflection and the Strange Hunter has a disintegration gun that exceeds any earthly weapon. The remaining underdog monster, the Ebon Crawler, can be fought simply enough but if it pins you down it'll dislocate its limbs, slither down your throat and hibernate in your corpse. Needless to say I want to encourage a sense of fear when it comes to monsters the characters will encounter.

Creeping, Inevitable Death
Not quite inevitable, there's no fun in that, but the threat is inevitable. If you fight for long enough you will have to start making saves to avoid Critical Damage, and that's always bad news. Attacks cause damage automatically, unless your armour reduces it to zero, so your Hitpoints are always a limited resource. They recover with a moment's rest, of course, but there isn't a standard method to recover them in combat. Watch them drip away as your character gets tired and starts to lose confidence. Do you want to stay around until you're at 0hp and need to roll a dread Save?

Disposable Cast
An alarming title, perhaps not as bad as it might sound. This effect comes from a combination of the Company system, where characters of Expert level either become members of a Company or found their own. This is the game's nod to the Domains of old and gives them a bank of resources, including characters. As the character proficiency curve is much flattened from traditional D&D it's a very viable option to send another member of your Company on an expedition in your place. If your main character does die, there are a bank of new characters waiting in the wings to take over their legacy.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Into the Odd Pregen Cast

Rolling three stats and HP too tough for you? Roll 1d6 and take a gender-neutral pregen.

1: Bryce, Novice Revolutionary.
STR 14, DEX 8, WIL 9, 2hp.
Sword (1d6), Musket (1d6+1), Lackey (STR 4, DEX 6, WIL 6, 1hp, Pistol)

2: Hawkes, Novice Student.
STR 6, DEX 14, WIL 11, 1hp.
Pistol Brace (1d6+2), Crowbar, Falcon.

3: Sattler, Novice Ship's Mate. 
STR 10, DEX 11, WIL 10, 4hp.
Hatchet (1d6), Pistol (1d6), Crowbar, Metal Skull Arcanum (Burden Soul).

4: Baldridge, Novice Burglar.
STR 14, DEX 8, WIL 9, 5hp.
Pistol (1d6), Sword (1d6), Lackey (STR 8, DEX 7, WIL 5, 1hp, Hatchet)

5: Parks, Novice Cultist.
STR 10, DEX 6, WIL 16, 3hp.
Halberd (1d6+1), Shovel (1d6), Crow, Rod Arcanum (Heat Ray).

6: Dale, Novice Soldier. 
STR 11, DEX 12, WIL 7, 4hp.
Musket (1d6+1), Sabre (1d6), Mutt.

Adventuring Equipment Issues

If a piece of equipment is so vital to the adventure, do not make the assumption that the player will think to spend their precious starting money on it.

I put the following items in this category:
- Torches (yes, I've had the players arrive at the dungeon without any of the characters having bought torches. I just gave them some, but see below for why this isn't ideal).
- Food.
- Clothing and Backpack.
- Tents, Bedrolls and Flint & Steel.

Likewise, if you handwave things like camping equipment and food, do not let players spend money on that stuff only to see everyone else get it for free.

My solution to this for Into the Odd is the new addition of this passage at the start of the equipment list.

All characters carry standard equipment, including simple clothes, a backpack, basic camping equipment, torches and a few days' rations.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Odd World

I've caved to peer pressure and added a page of setting information to Into the Odd. This is the first draft so all is subject to change.

The Sister States

For over a century the four largest trading states surrounding the Silver Sea have been united under the Treaty of Sisterhood. Despite this, each state remains on the edge of conflict with its neighbours. As the cities swell revolutions rise and fall at least annually.

Bastion – Hub of Mankind

With nearly a million citizens, Bastion is the largest city in the known world. Its skies are black with smoke and its streets bustling with residents from every corner of the world. Canals feed the city with trade from every direction and vast workshops produce the first examples of steam-powered transport. The Senate of Bastion see Astrals as a lurking threat to the world of man and anyone considered a threat to mankind is put to death. Ancient Catacombs beneath the city give Astral Cults a place to carry out their studies in secret.

Starfall – The Stolen City

Some credit the bizarre architecture of Starfall to one of the handful of fallen civilisations to previously occupy the city, but its many scholars claim it was built by the Astrals. Glass towers and steel pyramids house everything from factories to universities, some remaining inaccessible to even the wisest academics.

Ashen – The City of Vaults

A city feared more than any other in times of war. As well as an elite army the city is known for its Arcane Vaults that house devices of great power. As well as the Vaults, Ashen is home to the largest banks in the Sister States and the union's House of Parliament. Outside of this fortress city Ashen is a land of lakes and sparse towns, renowned for their distilleries, sudden mists and harsh winters.

Rosevine – The City of Flies

Even the vast palaces of the aristocracy swarm with flies in Rosevine. This once proud city's population has been thinned vastly by a series of plagues. The filthy living conditions of both the aristocracy and working class only encouraged such pestilence. Many survived by turning to the city's criminal underbelly for support, giving these organisations a huge amount of influence in return. In fact, many argue the Astral Church's Primarch is ruler of the city in name alone.

The Eastern Colonies

These islands are dotted with tiny settlements, most of which are colonies of the Sister States. Life here is simpler but more lawless than in the Sister States. Uprisings against colonial rule are on the increase.

The Western Mountains

A jagged mountain range hides tiny cities filled with wonder. Volcanic smoke mixes with monsoon storms and swamp mists. In parts the mountains seem to give way to blasted plains and huge craters, which are seen as sites of great Astral importance.

The Southern Kingdoms

Plains lead to desert, to sweltering jungle to near impassible swamp. Dotted amongst the feral cave cultures are great, industrialised cities. These distant kingdoms watch the amassing guns of the Sister States and hide their own forces and Arcane secrets.

The Northern Ocean

The Silver Sea feeds into the great Northern Ocean. Few explorers return and each brings a different story. Descriptions range from a brightly shining paradise and cities of Astral beings to the Ocean leading out into the void, providing passage to the stars themselves. The mysteries of the Ocean continue to draw explorers to their death. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

What about Invokers, Samurai and Illusionists?

We're into the bottom of the class-barrel now! But who am I to tell fans of these classes they aren't welcome. Bring them on!

The Ancient Word
- Do not suffer disrespect of any Gods, alive or dead.
- Attempt to bring subjects of all Gods together as equals.
- Smite those that wish to make Gods of themselves.
Symbol – Marble Staff: Striking an object with this staff while unleashing an ancient word of power causes 1d6 damage and ignores armour.
Terrible Ritual: You are able to below a word of power that causes anything below human intelligence to flee immediately.
Wrathful Ritual: With a power word you are able to command, but not create, lightning, water and fire as you wish. If thrown at an enemy these will cause 1d6+WIL Bonus damage.

The Swordmasters
- Obey the instructions of senior Swordmasters.
- Keep your sword and armour clean of blood after battle.
- Do not use ranged weapons or magic of any sort.
Symbol – Master Sword and Armour: This two-handed sword (1d6+2) and ornate, masked armour (Armour 2) are both required to benefit from Rituals.
Duellist Ritual: As long as you are engaging a single opponent with no help from your allies you may add your STR Score to Damage.
War Ritual: When you kill an opponent in melee your allies add your WIL Bonus to all Damage rolls until your next turn.

The Dreampainter
- Never refuse to paint out a story.
- Do not use your illusions to harm the innocent.
- If confronted directly, give the truth.
Symbol – Brush Pendent: You can conjure impressive illusions that last until touched. 
Artist's Ritual: Your illusions include sound, smell and thermal effects.
Veiling Ritual: You make objects invisible until they are touched. 

You want a Psion in Into the Dungeon?

Fine! Here's your Psion!

Roll a Disciple character and choose the following Creed.

The Third Eye
- Spend an hour each morning in meditation.
- Do not allow your Crystal to come to harm.
- Do not knowingly allow your mind to be tainted by magic or false gods.
Symbol - Mind Crystal: This shard of crystal floats at your will and can be used to make ranged attacks for 1d6 + WIL Bonus damage. Doing so causes you 1 point of damage.
Projection Ritual: You may cause yourself 1 point of damage to do any of the following for a single turn: Move an object remotely, project a message to another, share senses with another or read another's surface thoughts.
Autohypnosis Ritual: Whenever you take Critical Damage or Ability Score Loss you may ignore it with a WIL Save vs the amount of damage caused.

Classes and Ability Scores

Into the Dungeon is built on the base system of Into the Odd. As such it has just three Ability Scores.

Strength as physical prowess and fighting ability.
Dexterity as skill with ranged weapons, sneakiness and reflexes.
Willpower as mental prowess and inner strength, particularly when dealing with magic.

So Warrior puts his high score in STR, Rogue in DEX and Mystic and Disciple in WIL, right?

I'm pleased to say it isn't that restrictive.

Warriors get most of their combat prowess and toughness from being a Warrior. Of course, when it comes to dishing out the killing blows and avoiding them in term you're going to want good STR and DEX scores. Which one you go for will depend on if you want me mostly dealing with ranged or melee combat. Both are equally viable for a Warrior. With the open nature of how combat Techniques work I can even see a high WIL Warrior acting somewhat like a 4e Warlord if the player was creative enough.

Rogues are probably the most versatile in terms of Ability Scores. As they dabble in the classes of their allies they can put all their scores to good use. Similarly, their Second Chance ability applies to all types of Save and actually promotes having good scores across the board rather than one super score. When you're playing a Rogue just put your scores wherever you like and you'll be fine.

Mystics benefit from a high WIL score, but might not need one as often as you think. Saves are made against your WIL when you target someone else with a spell and when trying to dispell another Mystic's magic. A low WIL Mystic isn't completely out of luck. Just look at how many spells don't target others. Even the likes of Acid Arrow and Fireball will be useful for wearing down opponents, even if you're not getting the killing blow in as often. If you want a Mystic that can handle a sword or dodge danger quickly a high STR or DEX might not be such a bad idea.

Disciples would seem to point towards WIL again. Sure, most Deities grant an ability that draws on the Disciple's WIL score, but not all of them. Even those that do tend to have at least one Prayer that doesn't use WIL at all. It's also easy to see how Disciples of the Silver Avenger and Masked Trickster would benefit from high STR and DEX respectively.

Want a Simplified D&D Spell List?

If you're looking for a nice, simple Spell List for your D&D game of choice I might just be able to help you. I wanted simple descriptions that assume a degree of common sense and discussion between the Referee and players, rather than something resembling a legal document. 

The following are written with Into the Odd in mind, but work for any D&D game with some tweaking. 


Resistance: Subject ignores normally annoying affects such as sweltering heat, itchy skin diseases, or a sandstorm.
Acid Splash: Orb deals d6 acid damage.
Detect Poison: Detects poison in one creature or small object.
Detect Magic: Detects spells and magic items within 60 ft.
Daze: A non-hostile humanoid is dazed for a short moment, lost in a daydream.
Dancing Lights: Creates torches or other lights.
Flare: Sends up a flare that can be seen for some distance.
Light: Object shines like a torch.
Ray of Frost: Ray deals d6 cold damage.
Ghost Sound: Figment sounds.
Disrupt Undead: Deals d6 damage to one undead, ignoring armour and resistances.
Touch of Fatigue: Target loses 1 STR.
Mage Hand: 5-pound telekinesis.
Mending: Makes minor repairs on an object.
Message: Whispered conversation at distance.
Open/Close: Opens or closes small or light things.
Arcane Mark: Inscribes a personal rune (visible or invisible).
Prestidigitation: Performs minor tricks.

1st Circle
Alarm: Intruders set of an alarm audible only to you.
Endure Elements: Exist comfortably in hot or cold environments.
Hold Portal: Holds door shut.
Protection: Ignore the next instance of harm from a specific source.
Shield: Invisible disc grants Armour 1.
Grease: Makes 10-ft. square or one object slippery. DEX Save to avoid slipping.
Mount: Summons riding horse.
Obscuring Mist: Fog surrounds you. Ranged attacks are Impaired.
Summon Creature: Calls an unintelligent extraplanar creature up to the size of a small dog. It holds no loyalty to you.
Unseen Servant: Invisible force obeys your commands.
Comprehend Languages: You understand all spoken and written languages.
Detect Secret Doors: Reveals hidden doors within 60 ft.
Detect Undead: Reveals undead within 60 ft.
Identify: Determines properties of magic item.
True Strike: Your next attack automatically provokes a Save to avoid Critical Damage.
Charm Person: Makes one person your friend until they next rest.
Hypnotism: Fascinate 1d6 creatures.
Sleep: Puts relaxed targets into a slumber and others feel lethargic, causing -1 to damage.
Burning Hands: d8 fire damage.
Floating Disk: Creates 3-ft.-diameter horizontal disk that holds 100 lb.
Magic Missile: d6 damage, goes around corners, ignores Armour.
Shocking Grasp: d8 electricity damage.
Color Spray: WIL Save or all actions are Impaired until Short Rest.
Disguise Self: Changes your appearance.
Magic Aura: Alters object’s magic aura.
Silent Image: Creates minor illusion of your design.
Ventriloquism: Throws voice.
Cause Fear: WIL Save or target flees.
Chill Touch: Lose d4 STR.
Ray of Enfeeblement: DEX Save or all attacks Impaired until Long Rest.
Animate Rope: Makes a rope move at your command.
Enlarge Person: Humanoid creature doubles in size.
Erase: Mundane or magical writing vanishes.
Expeditious Retreat: Run twice as fast.
Feather Fall: Objects or creatures fall slowly.
Jump: Subject can jump twice as far and high.
Magic Weapon: Make a weapon that ignores all supernatural resistances.
Reduce Person: Humanoid creature halves in size.

2nd Circle
Arcane Lock: Magically locks a portal or chest.
Obscure Object: Masks object against scrying.
Protection from Arrows: Subject immune to mundane ranged attacks.
Resist Energy: Immunity to a specific type of energy attack until your next Short Rest.
Acid Arrow: 1d6 damage now and d6 STR loss next round unless washed. 
Fog Cloud: Fog obscures vision over a large area.
Glitterdust: WIL Save or Impair all attacks. Reveals invisible things.
Swarm: Summons swarm of bats, rats, or spiders. Harmless but distracting.
Summon Beast: Calls an intelligent extraplanar beast. It holds no loyalty to you.
Web: Fills 20-ft.-radius spread with sticky spiderwebs.
Detect Thoughts: WIL Save or else allows “listening” to surface thoughts.
Locate Object: Senses direction toward object.
See Invisibility: Reveals invisible creatures or objects.
Hideous Laughter: WIL Save or target laughs and Impairs actions until passing the Save.
Touch of Idiocy: Lose d4 WIL.
Continual Flame: Makes a permanent, heatless torch.
Darkness: 20-ft. radius of supernatural shadow.
Deafness: All in the blast are deafened.
Flaming Sphere: Creates rolling ball of fire, d10 damage.
Gust of Wind: Blows away or knocks down objects. Opponents get STR Save.
Scorching Ray: Deals d10 fire damage.
Shatter: Sonic vibration causes 1d6 STR loss to objects or crystalline creatures, ignoring armour.
Blur: Your details cannot be seen.
Invisibility: Subject is invisible until it attacks.
Magic Mouth: Speaks once when triggered.
Minor Illusion: Conjure an image with sound.
Mirror Image: Creates 1d6 decoy duplicates of you.
Misdirection: Misleads divinations on one creature or object.
Phantom Trap: Makes item seem trapped.
Blindness: WIL Save or blinded. 
Command Undead: Undead creature must pass WIL Save or obeys your command.
False Life: Regain any lost HP, but they vanish again after a minute.
Ghoul Touch: DEX Save or Paralyzed, exuding stench that makes those nearby sickened.
Spectral Hand: Creates disembodied glowing hand to deliver your next touch spell.
Alter Self: Assume form of a similar creature.
Bear’s Endurance: Subject has Armour 2.
Bull’s Strength: Unarmed melee attacks cause d10 damage.
Cat’s Grace: Automatically pass the next DEX Save.
Darkvision: See 60 ft. in total darkness.
Knock: Opens locked or magically sealed door.
Levitate: Subject moves up and down at your direction.
Owl’s Wisdom: Perceive the world with heightened senses for the next hour.
Pyrotechnics: Turns fire into blinding light or choking smoke.
Rope Trick: As many as eight creatures hide in extradimensional space.
Spider Climb: Walk on walls and ceilings.
Whispering Wind: Sends a short message 1 mile.

3rd Circle
Explosive Runes: Deals d12 damage when read.
Magic Circle: Prevents an extraplanar being from entering or leaving unless they pass a WIL Save.
Summon Gate: Calls out to any extraplanar being that wishes to enter our plane. You have no choice which being answers and it holds no loyalty to you.
Nondetection: Hides subject from divination, scrying.
Sepia Snake Sigil: Creates text symbol that immobilizes reader until WIL Save.
Sleet Storm: Hampers vision and movement.
Stinking Cloud: Nauseating vapors, WIL Save or vomit.
Arcane Sight: Magical auras become visible to you.
Clairaudience/Clairvoyance: Hear or see at a distance.
Tongues: Speak any language.
Deep Slumber: WIL Save or sleep until the spell is broken.
Heroism: Gives Reroll any one die.
Hold Person: Paralyzes one humanoid until WIL Save.
Rage: Subject's attacks are Enhanced, but so are attacks against them.
Suggestion: Compels subject to follow stated course of action.
Daylight: 60-ft. radius of bright light.
Fireball: d10 damage, 20-ft. radius.
Lightning Bolt: d12 Damage to all in a line.
Tiny Hut: Creates shelter for ten creatures.
Wind Wall: Deflects arrows, smaller creatures, and gases.
Displacement: Ignore any one attack.
Illusory Script: Only intended reader can decipher.
Invisibility Sphere: Makes everyone within 10 ft. invisible.
Major Illusion: Conjure an image with sound, smell and thermal effects.
Gentle Repose: Preserves one corpse.
Halt Undead: Immobilizes all nearby undead until WIL Sav.
Vampiric Touch: Target loses d6 STR, you restore all lost hp.
Blink: You randomly vanish and reappear, avoiding the next attack against you.
Flame Arrows: Ally's missiles deal d6 extra fire damage.
Fly: Subject flies.
Gaseous Form: Subject becomes insubstantial and can fly slowly.
Haste: One creature moves at double speed.
Keen Edge: Next attack with this weapon causes direct STR loss instead of damage.
Secret Page: Changes one page to hide its real content.
Shrink Item: Object shrinks to one-sixteenth size.
Slow: One target moves at half speed.
Water Breathing: Subjects can breathe underwater.

4th Circle
Dimensional Anchor: Bars extradimensional movement.
Fire Trap: Opened object deals d12 damage.
Globe of Invulnerability: Stops Spells up 3rd Circle.
Remove Curse: Frees object or person from curse.
Stoneskin: Subject gains Armour 3 but running and swimming are impossible. 
Black Tentacles: Tentacles grapple all within 20 ft.
Summon Being: Calls any extraplanar being to our plane. It holds no loyalty to you.
Dimension Door: Teleports you short distance.
Minor Creation: Creates one cloth or wood object.
Secure Shelter: Creates sturdy cottage.
Solid Fog: Blocks vision and slows movement.
Arcane Eye: Invisible floating eye you can see through and control.
Detect Scrying: Alerts you of magical eavesdropping.
Locate Creature: Indicates direction to familiar creature.
Scrying: Spies on subject from a distance.
Charm Monster: WIL Save or monster treats you as an ally.
Confusion: WIL Save or subjects behave oddly.
Crushing Despair: 20ft Area. WIL Save or attacks are Impaired.
Fire Shield: Creatures attacking you take d6 fire damage; you’re protected from heat and cold.
Ice Storm: Hail deals d12 damage in cylinder 40 ft. across.
Resilient Sphere: Force globe protects but traps one subject. DEX Save to avoid.
Shout: All within cone deafened for one round and take d12 sonic damage.
Wall of Fire: Passing through wall causes d12 damage.
Wall of Ice: Creates ice wall 15hp, Armour 3, or hemisphere can trap creatures inside unless they pass DEX Save.
Hallucinatory Terrain: Makes one type of terrain appear like another.
Illusory Wall: Wall, floor, or ceiling looks real, but anything can pass through.
True Invisibility: Subject can attack and stay invisible.
Phantasmal Killer: Fearsome, invincible illusion only the target can see. Attacks for d12 damage, on Critical Damage pass a WIL Save or Die from terror.
Rainbow Pattern: Lights fascinate creatures that fail WIL Save.
Animate Dead: Creates undead skeletons and zombies from corpses.
Bestow Curse: Target automatically fails next Save.
Contagion: Infects subject with horrible disease.
Fear: Subjects within cone must pass a WIL Save or flee.
Polymorph: Gives one willing subject a new form.
Stone Shape: Sculpts stone into any shape.

5th Circle
Break Enchantment: Frees subjects from enchantments, alterations, curses, and petrification.
Dismissal: WIL Save or creature to returns to native plane.
Mage’s Private Sanctum: Prevents anyone from viewing or scrying an area.
Cloudkill: You can move the cloud, causing d6 STR loss to any within.
Mage’s Faithful Hound: Phantom dog can guard, attack.
Major Creation: Create an item of stone and metal.
Planar Binding: Traps extraplanar creatures that fail a WIL Save until they perform a task.
Secret Chest: Hides expensive chest on Ethereal Plane; you retrieve it at will.
Teleport: Instantly transports you to a known location up to 100 miles away.
Wall of Stone: Creates a stone wall that can be shaped.
Contact Other Plane: Lets you ask question of extraplanar entity.
Prying Eyes: 1d6 floating eyes scout for you.
Telepathic Bond: Link lets allies communicate.
Dominate Person: WIL Save or humanoid is controlled telepathically.
Feeblemind: WIL Save or drop to WIL 0.
Symbol of Sleep: Reading the rune puts reader into magical sleep that lasts as long as the spell.
Cone of Cold: d12 cold damage.
Interposing Hand: Hand blocks 30hp of damage from one opponent.
Sending: Delivers short message anywhere, instantly.
Wall of Force: Wall is immune to damage.
Dream: Sends message to anyone sleeping.
False Vision: Fools scrying with an illusion.
Nightmare: WIL Save or Target wakes with no HP and will not recover them until they have a full rest without Nightmares.
Blight: Withers plants.
Possession: WIL Save or target has soul pushed out and caster possesses their body. Their soul returns when the caster leaves the body, but if the body is slain the soul departs and the caster's soul returns to their body.
Symbol of Pain: Reading the rune causes pain. WIL Save or be unable to do anything but scream until Save is passed.
Baleful Polymorph: WIL Save or Transforms subject into harmless animal.
Fabricate: Transforms raw materials into finished items.
Passwall: Creates passage through wood or stone wall.
Telekinesis: Moves object, attacks creature, or hurls object or creature.
Transmute Earth: Transforms mud to rock or rock to mud.
Petrify: WIL Save or target is transformed into a statue. This effect lasts as long as the Caster wishes.
Control Water: Raise, lower or part water.
Planar Gate: Open a gate to another reality that works in both directions. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Other Classes in Into the Dungeon

Well, I guess this is a thing now.

But what if you want to play one of the classes outside of the core four? Let's see who we have here.

Paladin: Discipleof the Silver Avenger with Order Background.
Ranger: Rogue or Warrior with Wilderness Background.
Barbarian: Warrior with Savage Background.
Druid: Disciple of the Spirit Mother.
Assassin: High DEX Warrior or Disciple of a (yet unwritten) murder deity with Order (Assassin's Guild) Background.
Bard: Disciple of The Masked Trickster or Rogue with Musician Profession and Academic (Folklore) Background.
Monk: Disciple of The Closed Circle.
Illusionist: Mystic with an Illusion-themed Tome.
Warlock: Disciple of The Forgotten Watcher.
Warlord: I'm stumped on this one. A Disciple of a (yet unwritten) war deity might fill this role but it isn't quite the same as the 4e Warlord.
Shaman: The way I see this class and the Druid they're somewhat interchangeable, so Disciple of the Spirit Mother. 
Psion: Psssh.

As you can see, I'm banking on Deities and Spellbooks providing a lot of variety. I can see another page in the doc being dedicated to Deities very soon.

Special mention:
Elf: Class of choice with Magical Background.
Dwarf: Warrior, Rogue or Disciple with Subterranean Background.
Halfling: Rogue with Humble Background.