Thousands of years ago, when I was in junior high, we’d play AD&D and the premise was called the Quest of the Nine. In this premise, one character from each alignment represented a higher power in a quest to find an artifact called the Dragon Orb. The idea was that we couldn’t directly hurt one another but once we got to the Dragon Orb, all bets were off.
Hence, my Into the Odd adventure idea, the 9’s Tomb, in which adventurers have had themselves interred in the Underground. Since Into the Odd is an industrial take on dungeon delving, the adventurers we knew from D&D were a thousand years ago. It felt fitting to loot what we know of adventuring as the first delve.
Less than a thousand years ago I had a Facebook Group of FB friends who are also gamers. 99% of them I’ve either met at cons or have gamed with face to face over the years. I asked if folks were interested in gaming together and got a few games together, thinking that we’d play an Into the Odd campaign in a consistent world. This was our first session in what I hope will be a twice-a-month game with rotating players.
After past year or so of Thursday nights going to D&D 5e, Into the Odd felt sparse in a good way. Rather than go to the dice, I found myself asking lots of questions about what the characters were doing and what it looked like, so I could decide how the world reacted. When the dice did come out they were fast and decisive. No initiative and no to-hit rolls was a relief. When in doubt, I shared too much information, so the players had enough information to make interesting decisions.
The tone was perhaps goofier than my gaming usually is – with the Fighter and Thief Skeletons playing it up for yucks until Culver showed them his Arcanum, a Bone Box, and the Thief stabbed him to get it. There are Prog Rock musicians called The Floating Skulls in this world, we discovered. I doubt I’ll be able to stop myself from making Floating Skull band t-shirts.
My favorite moment was when they cut a deal with the attacking Air Elemental and opened a gate they found in another room to the Dusklands, where a Dooskelf had attacked them earlier. Outside the box thinking and using the world around them as tools and levers feels like exactly what this game should be doing. What will become of an Air Elemental in the Dusklands? Maybe we’ll find out some day, maybe it will just be a mystery.
The players made interesting decisions – leaving the Intelligent Sunsword in its tomb, rather than deal with the Sword Nun who appeared to whoever wielded it, asking the wielder about their faith. They crushed the Thief’s skull rather than keep the living/talking skull as a mentor and adopted the electrified floating sphere, naming it Sparky.
We hit the fast forward button a bit at the end, getting through the last bits of the dungeon; the interesting parts were already thoroughly mined. Moving forward, we’ll flesh out the Underground, Bastion and the Deep Country and I’ll make a map of some kind with notes on the unknown bits in between the explored areas until we have a kind of hex-crawly shaped thing to explore. But for now, just single shot adventures as the characters grow stranger and stranger and the world is filled with ancient religions, prog rock bands and dusklit dimensions just beyond a magical portal.
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