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.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Play Into the OD&D on Hangouts Tomorrow


Finally have an internet connection back, so I can use Hangouts again!

I should be playtesting Arkbound, but my fickle brain is stuck on this project so who am I to argue with myself?

I'll be running a one-shot dungeon crawl using Into the Odd with classic D&D classes as detailed in the last few posts here.

Character Creation uses Into the Odd as normal with the following twists:

- Roll your Ability Scores and HP as normal. Ignore anything mentioning Arcana.
- Choose a class: Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue. 
- Choose two Backgrounds: Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Noble, Underground, Wilderness Urban, Soldier, Criminal, Charming, Explorer, Loremaster. 

Casters will need to consider the following:
- Clerics can choose one of the measly two deities listed in my post or can pick their own god if they give me the gist of it and trust me to write up the mechanics. If you don't like what you see I'm sure we can reach a consensus. 
- Wizards take their spells from the Wizard list here and accept that I tend to grossly simplify spells. I don't want formulas for calculating precise ranges and limits based on caster level and similar stuff so I just wing the details and lean in your favour. Trust me!

As heretical as it might seem I'm going NO FLAILSNAILS on this one, as I specifically want to see how these new takes on classes work in the game. If you want to roll up a parallel version of your existing character as one of these classes then go ahead. We can say it's a coma-dream or lotus trip or something. 

Go here to sign up. If you can't see the post I don't have you in my RPG Circle so give me details to add you. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Rest of Into the OD&D

And finally the rest of the Miscellany that has flowed out of my head for Into the OD&D.

A starting character takes two Backgrounds alongside their Class of choice. Yes this means you can be an Elf-Dwarf.

Elf: Choose three Cantrips you can cast instantly at Will.
Dwarf: You are immune to poison and choose a craft to know everything about.
Halfling: You automatically pass WIL Saves against magical effects.
Noble: Your title carries serious weight.
Underground: You can sense how deep you are at all times, see in the dark and sense the shorted route to the surface.
Wilderness: You can identify all plants and animals and track perfectly.
Urban: City folk don't see you as an easy target and you always know a nearby place to hide.
Soldier: Start with any weapons and armour you like free of charge. This excludes Superior Weapons.  You are a hero to some and a villain to others.
Criminal: You have contacts in the criminal underground and knowledge of how to pull off criminal behaviour.
Charming: People tend to like you.
Explorer: You speak a bit of every language and know a bit about every culture.
Loremaster: You know a little about everything within a subject such as History, Alchemy or Art. Choose a specialism within this area that you know in great detail such as History (Military), Alchemy (Explosives) or Art (Music).

Magic Items
Not all magical items are are complex as the Arcana used by Wizards. Magic weapons, potions, rings and other such items can be used by anyone, though only a Wizard can identify their function without using them.

Classes in Into the OD&D - Rogue

So I have Clerics that have a very focused set of powers, Wizards with a huge spellbook and magical impliment, Fighters that kill real good and control the battlefield. What's left for Thieves/Rogues?

They always were the forth wheel of D&D classes. You feel like it should be there but do you really need it?

Firstly I'm taking the lesser of two evils and calling the class Rogue to remove the criminal focus. I'm looking at them as the underdog class. The common man that doesn't fancy fighting prowess, magical education or divine blessing.

Anyone with a good DEX score can try and sneak and backstabbing is open to everyone. Same for pickpocketing, lockpicking and climbing walls. The Rogue doesn't have any special abilities that are locked out to the other classes. Instead the Rogue can learn from his allies, as something of an everyman.

More than any other class the Rogue will rely on the player making use of whatever they can to gain an advantage or just survive.

Rogues lack the training and divine blessing of other characters, but are natural survivors and quick learners. They can cheat death as long as they think quickly and can learn a little from each of their allies. 

Second Chance: When the Rogue fails a Save they may attempt a second Save if the player can think of another way to avoid harm. The Referee should be generous in allowing a second save but one of the Ability Scores used in the Save must be different to the first.
Dabbler: Under the guidance of another character a Rogue can achieve certain abilities usually associated with that class. They may only choose one ability to focus on each day and by the next morning any benefits are lost. Examples include:
A Wizard can teach them to use a specific Arcanum as if they were a Wizard for the rest of the day or lead them through casting a spell, holding it if they wish.
A Cleric can lead them in prayer, letting them benefit as if they cast the Prayer themselves, or granting them use of the deity's Holy Symbol for the rest of the day. Breaking the deity's Code renders these abilities useless just as with a Cleric.
A Fighter can teach a Rogue a single Technique to use as many times as they wish or train them to apply their STR Bonus to damage with a single weapon.
The Referee will allow other classes to teach the Rogue a similar limited version of their own ability for the rest of the day. 

Classes for Into the OD&D - Fighter

When drafting these classes I approached them with the question "What do I want players to be thinking about when they play this class?".

I wanted the Cleric player to be remembering the laws of his diety and how best to use the small variety of blessings bestowed on him.

I wanted the Wizard player to be buried in a spellbook looking for something to help the current situation. 

I wanted the Fighter to be thinking about how to use the battlefield to his advantage and have faith in his sword and armour as he wades into combat. 


Fighters are at their best in a combat situation. They hit the hardest, can take the most punishment and control the battlefield with combat techniques.

Training: Fighters add their STR Bonus to damage rolls with a weapon.

Toughness: Fighters add 1 to their Armour score, even when unarmoured.

Techniques: When a Fighter makes an attack they may add a Technique to it. The attack is carried out as normal and the opponent must make a Save to avoid an additional effect described by the player. Examples include being pushed, tripped, disarmed, grappled for their next turn etc. A Technique cannot cause extra damage on its own but it may make use of an environmental hazard that would cause extra damage to the target. The Referee should be generous in allowing the player to think of interesting and imaginative Techniques for their attacks.

Classes for Into the OD&D - Wizard

Vancian magic gives a certain flavour to the wizard that I like but find incredibly fiddly in implementation. I wanted to keep the preparation and memorisation part of a wizard whilst bringing the spell book to the fore and lessening their impact as a combat caster. Here's the proof-of-concept draft as it stands.

Wizards study the science of magic. They read the Mystic language that let instructs them in the precise rituals of casting spells. 
Mystic: Only wizards can read Mystic, a script found on scrolls, spell tomes and magical artifacts. Mystic is also spoken as a secret language of wizards and used in casting spells. Understanding of this ancient script lets them defer some meaning from nearly any language they read.
Spells: Found in Tomes and Scrolls. A Spell requires ten minutes per Spell Level of uninterrupted calm and attention to cast, as well as requiring a precise, detailed process. As such, Spells are generally unable to be cast in a combat situation. After casting a Spell ongoing effects last until the Wizard casts another Spell.Cantrips: These simple spells may be memorized upon reading and cast immediately at will. Focus: Every Wizard carries a Focus, typically an orb, wand or staff. Upon casting a Spell the Wizard may also Hold the spell in their Focus. They may now cast it immediately, at will, as often as they wish. Only one Spell can be held in a Focus at once.
Spellburn: Casting a Spell is a draining process and causes the Wizard damage equal to the Spell's Level. At 0HP Critical Damage may be avoided by a WIL Save vs 10.
Starting Equipment: A Wizard starts with a Tome containing all Cantrips and First Level Spells and a Focus of their choice.
Converting Spells
Spells can be converted from any wizard spell list:
- Ignore material components.
- Durations last until the Wizard casts another Spell.
- Saving throws are made vs the caster's WIL Score.
- Caster Level is the character's WIL Bonus.
- Target's HD is their STR Bonus.

Classes for Into the OD&D - Cleric

Two majors change separating Into the Odd from D&D are its lack of classes and magic being entirely item-based rather than learning spells.

But what if I like the rest of Into the Odd but want a more traditional game with clerics and wizards? Easy!

Scrap everything from the game referencing Arcana and grab your D&D spell list of choice. Everything else stays the same but now after rolling your Ability Scores you choose a class. Today I've hammered out a proof-of-concept draft for how I'd handle Clerics in Into the OD&D.

Vancian Magic is something I'll talk more about in the Wizard post. For clerics I felt it has always been a much worse fit and I didn't like how it linked arcane magic with the blessings of a diety. With that in mind I'm severing all links between the Cleric and the D&D magic system. So here's a cleric from scratch.


A cleric serves the code of a deity and receives blessings in return. Firstly, they can call upon a prayer each morning, providing an effect that lasts all day. Secondly, they carry a holy symbol that becomes imbued with some of the deity's power. 

Deity: The cleric chooses a diety to serve. This will determine what prayers they can make, the holy symbol they carry and the code they must live by to remain blessed.
Prayer: Each morning the cleric may choose a single prayer to make. This will bestow a particular effect on themselves, an ally or a group of allies. The effects wear off the next morning, when the next prayer is made.
Code: A diety's code details the rules a cleric must live by to remain blessed. If a Cleric breaks any of the rules dictated by their code they must atone as detailed in their code. Until they do this they are not considered blessed and any effects of prayers or holy symbols are immediately lost.
Holy Symbol: A cleric's symbol bestows certain powers on the cleric as long as they remain blessed.

Sample Deities

Pelor - The Sun God
Holy Symbol - Golden Sun: Touching a target will immediately restore one Ability Score to its full score and cure any disease by the next morning. No target can be healed more than once per day.
Sun's Blessing: Anyone that joins you in this prayer will see their crops thrive, water source run clean and any ailments heal by the next morning.
Righteous Light: Your holy symbol repels undead creatures, who will do whatever possible to move away from it when brandished. If touched by the symbol undead suffer 1d6 damage plus your WIL Bonus.
- At least one act of charity each day.
- Do not give up on a good cause.
- Give aid to the sick.
Atonement: Spend a day tending to the sick or needy without help from Pelor.

St Cuthbert - The Holy Avenger
Holy Symbol - Mace: Add your WIL Bonus to damage when you attack unholy creatures such as undead, devils or demons.
Shielding Hand: Allies that follow the code of St Cuthbert add your WIL Bonus to HP until the next morning.
Smiting Weapon: You can turn any attack against a non-believer into a Smite for an extra 1d6 damage. If this does not kill the target you cannot Smite again.
- Obey the law wherever you are.
- Protect the faithful.
- Smite the unholy.
Atonement: Destroy an unholy creature with your mace alone.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Visual Inspiration for Arkbound's Ruined Homeworlds

From Top-Left to Bottom-Right

1: The Tempest affected each world differently. Some were transformed into lifeless deserts. Here we see one of the Subspace Pylons that unleashed the Tempest.

2: Robots still roam the homeworlds. Some are the original surviving machines but others are second generation, built by robots.
3: Some worlds still have a breathable atmosphere. On these worlds recolonisation is hindered by other hazards such as extremes of temperature or violent storms and earthquakes.
4: Some worlds found themselves flooded, their treasures now submerged below oceans.
5: Power had gotten so efficient on some worlds that the supply is still running. These power plants are prime targets for salvaging fuel for Arks.
6: Some worlds find themselves cursed with an endless night and smoke-shrouded sky.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Visual Inspiration for Arkbound Guns (and a Chainsaw)

a: The Slug Pistol is the most common weapon you'll see. It's easy to manufacture, plentiful in salvage hauls and ammunition can easily be produced. Most people on the slum decks have one stashed away somewhere.

b: The Bolt Rifle is the other low-tech weapon that has found great popularity on the Arks. Like the Slug Pistol it's simple and easy to look after. For what it lacks in mobility it makes up for with long range and a heavy punch.

c: A lot of weapons are produced on the Arks, both in and out of the Factory Decks. Every slum will have a number of weaponsmiths producing cheap but effective weapons from what they can salvage.

d: The Thudgun is mostly a big shotgun. Although unwieldy its huge shells can shred a victim to pieces. Scatter is much less than a shotgun so their effective range can be deceptively far.

e: Plasma Launchers resemble grenade launchers but blast out their canisters of super-heated plasma with devastating effect. These advanced weapons are usually reserved for Officers but the gruesome deaths they inflict make them objects of lust for slum gangers.

f: Railguns had become the standard long-range rifle on many homeworlds. They can be complex to maintain but deliver fearsome firepower at long range.

g: Somewhere between an SMG and a Minigun lies the Stormgun. They are sometimes nicknamed Screamerguns because of the rattling shriek they emit when fired at full rate.

h: Wave guns are one of the few purely energy-based guns, bombarding the target with flashes of energy that sear away at flesh and cause intense ongoing pain. The energy can be focused into a short beam that will allow the energy to penetrate even the toughest personal armour. Flash Guns use the same technology but are much less powerful and were a failed attempt to create a military standard, losing out in popularity to the Pulse Gun.

i: Pulse Guns were a standard military issue on many homeworlds. It fires a specially constructed bullet chased by an energy pulse. When the pulse catches up with the bullet on impact it reacts violently for extra damage. The special ammunition required for this gun is plentiful on homeworlds and always a target for salvage.

j: Not a gun, but melee weapons are commonly used by slum gangs particularly. The Sawblade (pictured here) and Powered Hammer are both power tools that have been weaponised.

Conflict in Arkbound

Like a story, a game setting needs conflict. This is especially true if you're going to be playing a game in that setting. So what conflicts exist in Arkbound?

Humanity vs Extinction
Survival is a key theme of Arkbound. The Arks might not provide much of a life to those on the Slum Decks but what's the alternative? The homeworlds were wiped out and re-settling them is thought to be suicidal. As the last survivors many people feel a responsibility to keep the human race alive. Will mankind find a better home and what are people willing to do to cling onto survival?

Officers vs Arkbound
The Officers have the authority, weapons and armour, cushy living quarters and, of course, freedom. The Arkbound have the strength of numbers, fighting spirit and a toughness that comes from living in such harsh conditions. The two come to blows regularly but both are dependent on each other. Spin-offs from this are the obvious Officer vs Officer and Arkbound vs Arkbound conflicts.

Humans vs Artificials
The only other survivors of the Tempest were the robots and AIs that remain on the homeworlds. Some are eager to help any humans that return to salvage goods but after fifty years without man some Artificials consider themselves the de facto rulers of their homeworld. Back in space, genetic modification has left some very much non-human lifeforms roaming the universe.

Arks vs Independents
Some humans have managed to avoid becoming bound to an Ark, whether through surviving on an orbital colony or drifting in a smaller craft. Most Arks will strive to take what they can from independents, whether it's salvage, weapons or skilled individuals. Ark vs Ark and Independent vs Independent are less common conflicts but could be interesting.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Visual Inspiration for Arkbound Robots

From top-left to bottom-right.

1: Combat robots are mostly mobile turrets. Those that are still active will still be carrying out their duty, but may be acting strange after fifty years without a reboot.

2: Robots were the only intelligent beings to survive the Tempest while on their planets. Those that now find themselves without human masters either revel in their new sense of freedom or have difficulty coping.

3: Advanced worlds had begun to use AI Vehicles for public transport. They still roam their routes with a pleasant demeanour.

4: Particularly curious robots have discovered man's advanced technology in the fields of genetics and artificial organics. This has lead to some robots trying to make themselves into true organic creatures.

5: With no humans around some robots took it upon themselves to reproduce, building the first true second-generation robots. They tend to look amateurish and act like strange caricatures of humans as seen through robot eyes.

6: Human-like robots never quite became truly convincing, but some labs got close.

7: Only a small number of robots were built with a sense of curiosity, as it can be an unnervingly human personality trait. Those that do will eagerly hand themselves over to Arks in order to travel the universe.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Visual Inspiration for Arkbound Fashionistas

Some people insist on making fashion a thing even when all planets have been stripped of life. You don't want to have to sit at the uncool table in the mess hall do you?

What's HOT
- Natural materials. Fur trims, decorative feathers and sea shells. If you're really fancy then tuck a flower in your buttonhole or even have a genuine pet animal. People might think you've actually set foot outside the Ark!
- Layers, coats and cloaks. Temperatures can plummet on the slum decks so you'll need something to keep you alive until you make it to a fire.
- Hoods and Hats. The lower the deck the more corrosive liquid you're going to see pouring down from your neighbours above. The fashion-conscious see the requirement for headgear as an opportunity to create something truly ridiculous.
- Cigarettes and booze. I didn't say these people were role models and both of these goods are commonly used in bartering. If you're not swigging from a flask and blowing smoke all over the market stall the trader's going to think you're desperate!

What's NOT
- Gas masks. Unless you're actually delving into somewhere with a hazardous atmosphere walking around with a mask on is going to get you lots of negative attention. Doubly so for the big 20th century style masks too. Technology has advanced since then. Similar rules apply to goggles.
- Skimpy clothes. I don't care if you salvaged a leather corset from the Pleasure-dome, you're going to either freeze to death when the next chill comes along or get your skin melted off by acid rain.
- Spiked Shoulder Pads. Let's be practical here. Even the most belligerent slum gangs know that anything gained in intimidation is lost when you get snagged on a mess of cables or can't reach the backup knife you strapped behind your back.
- Mohawks. They're so done and deny you the opportunity for some fabulous headgear.

Visual Inspiration for the Slum Decks

From Top-Left to Bottom-Right

1: Many decks are high enough to support multi-story living structures. Only the brave or desperate live in such precarious places.

2: The older the slum the more walkways connect its living spaces. Bars distil their own alcohol from whatever they can get their hands on. Salvaged beverages from planets are taken by Officers, but the occasional bottle make it into the slums.

3: Conditions can be very low-tech, especially for those that have managed to find a secluded living area they don't want to draw attention to.

4: Slum markets trade in both salvage and goods produced on the Ark. Even Officers will come down here to see what's up for the barter.

5: Walking is by far the most common way of getting around. Lifts shuttle passengers between decks but many have become isolated from this network, making inter-deck travel difficult.

6: Some living quarters are sealed off from the slums. These are highly valued and anyone living in them will have to fight to keep them.

Visual Inspiration for Ark Officers

From top-left to bottom-right.

1: It's no secret that Officers are terrified of the Arkbound that live in the deepest, harshest slums. It's "grow up tough or die" and even the most well trained Officer can't compete with that. Two ways of regaining the edge are the BodyMods and advanced weapons we see here. Very fashionable fur-lining too, of course.

2: Robots are a particularly precious salvage. Some are thrown into the factories but many Officers take on a personal bodyguard from those salvaged. Those with more advanced intelligence are given an honorary Officer rank.

3: When your run-of-the-mill enforcers aren't having any impact the Officers may break out the best gear in their arsenal. Here we see Powered Full Armour being put to use.

4: Captains of smaller craft usually make one Ark their home base. If they are particularly skilled they will avoid a life in the slums and be given a low level Officer position. In return for long distance travel and a regular supply of fuel they donate a portion of their salvage to the Ark.

5: It's rare to see an Officer out of at least light armour, even on their own decks. If it's not the fear of a riot breaking through its a rival officer shooting you in the back.

6: The Captain's Table are his personal companions, advisers and guards. For their services they live a luxurious life compared to even the other Officers.

Visual Inspiration for Arkbound

From top-left to bottom-right.

1: It's really hard to look for post-apoc art without gasmasks. This was my one concession, as him and his dog are clearly scavenging through the ruins of an abandoned slum after a particularly bad engine-leak.
2: Anything natural salvaged from a planet is a luxury and status symbol on the Ark. Here a slum ganger shows she's not to be messed with.
3: Market traders are particularly keen to show off with costumes decorated with bones, feathers and pelts. This stim-dealer is so confident in his reputation that he's willing to have his vision completely obscured.
4: Some mercenary companies have managed to stay independent of the Arks. He drifts from one to the other carrying out work, never staying long enough to become Arkbound himself.
5: It's been fifty years since the tempest and few are alive that remember a time before. He'll tell you stories from before the Tempest in return for a flask of booze.
6: Only a few skilled engineers are Officers, but even those who are Arkbound are generally looked after better than the rest. Here a young worker has been taken under the wing of an Officer.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Taking a Bullet in Arkbound

When I play D&D my imagination can cope with characters' vitals being narrowly missed by swords, axes, arrows and musket-shots. Even though I know how deadly arrows were I can still picture an adventurer stumbling on bravely with an arrow in the shoulder and a gushing spear wound.

But getting shot with a present-day gun? Every piece of remotely grounded fiction I know tells me you're out for the count. That's not even considering your futuristic pulse rifles and bolters!

I won't get into the analysis of how deadly different era's weapons actually were. This is purely how my imagination sees them differently and may just be a personal quirk.

As I'm currently working on a sci-fi game I guess I'd better address how I'm going to keep guns in Arkbound feeling suitably deadly without it being impossible to keep a character alive.

Let's look at Mr. Average and what happens when he gets shot at in the open by Ms. Average.

Starting Stats average at 2.5, which is a little unhelpful. Let's assume that Ms. Average will be dealing with a Complication (-1) to her shot about half of the time. This means she'll be rolling with an average Precision of 2. The target number is always 10 and rolls are 2d6+stat so she'll need to roll an 8 to hit.

She'll hit Mr. Average around 42% of the time.

Your "entry level" weapons range from 1d6 damage for your typical pistol, SMG or autorifle and 1d6+1 for things with added kick like shotguns and the clumsy bolt rifle. We'll be kind and assume she's firing with one of the former.

Damage equalling Mr. Average's Toughness (average of 2.5 again) will incapacitate him and leave him dying. Doubling his Toughness will kill him outright. Here a roll of 3 will incapacitate and 5 will kill.

That gives him equal 1-in-3 spread between being wounded, incapacitated and killed.

If she hit him with one of the heftier 1d6+1 guns? Now it's only a 1-in-6 chance of a minor wound, still 1-in-3 chance of being incapacitated but a full 1-in-2 chance of being killed in a single shot.

Ouch. With odds like this why would anyone want to get into a gunfight? We need to look at what measures Mr. Average can take to push the odds back in his favour.

Firstly, light armour is accessible to all starting characters and subtracts 1 from any damage against you. This pushes the chance of a kill shot from the autorifle down to a less scary 1-in-6 and brings the bigger guns down from 1-in-2 to 1-in-3.

Even better than armour is being in cover, which roughly cuts the chances of Mr. Average being hit at all in half.

The chance of Mr Average being killed in one shot if he's wearing light armour and making use of cover? Just under 4%. That's worse odds than rolling a 20 on a d20. I'm quite happy with this figure.

Still not happy with that small chance of getting a bullet in the head? I suggest you either pump up your Guile score and stay in cover, save up for heavy armour or keep your character out of situations where people are firing at you.

But wait. The arms race works both ways. If Ms. Average has an Incinerator then your flammable cover won't offer any protection. If she's firing with a flashrifle your light armour is useless not to mention the really nasty 1d6+2 weapons like thudguns and rail rifles. Maybe she's got BodyMods and Stims pushing her Precision score higher and fancy weapon mods to counter the usual Complications.

In that case it's probably time to wonder whether it's worth being in a firefight at all. Surrender is a free action.