Psychic Tiger Fodder Returns!

Psychic Tiger Fodder Returns!

This is an Into the Oddish game (chargen houserules here) using DNGN as the adventure. Jeb the footpad, Taki and Tabouli are now the adventuring party – Psychic Tiger Fodder (t-shirts available, all artist’s proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund).

Into the
MEGA
Dungeon

with special guests
PSYCHIC TGER FODDER

The same trio could make it for our Thursday night game (a huge, for zoom, group that is usually made up of 6 + me). We continued with Psychic Tiger Fodder, hirelings stuck in the depths of a (mega)dungeon after the adventuring party that hired them were mauled by a psychic tiger. Jeb the Footpad, Taki and Tabouli along with Roddy the Shieldbearer and Gill the Wizard’s Apprentice. This time I remembered that Jeb has a domesticated mimic, a pet that he keeps as an extra enticing coin pouch on his belt. LINK: Previous session’s write up.

They went up a level this game and immediately levelled up without having to slow down the game (add d6 to hit points and roll d20 for each stat, +1 if you roll over). Easy-peasy. T asked if he’d eventually get Cleric powers from leveling, as his character was an Acolyte. I reckon we’ll get to level 3 (where Into the Odd tops out) and then figure out houserules for specialized training and the powers that might come with them.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

They mugged the bandits on level 5 but let them keep their daggers and half their gold. All things considered (they had hit Taki with their Wand of Paralyzation and demanded everyone’s treasure be turned over before the tide of the encounter turned on them), that was pretty reasonable. When the bandits went down a level (the Psychic Tiger Fodder are trying to go UP and outta here) they heard blood-curdling screams from the stairwell down and ignored it – moving on.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

They found a pile of detached thumbs with gold rings on them in a pile of bloody rags. The thumbs were fed to the domesticated mimic. Wait. WAIT! What is the pet mimic’s name? I must know. When they read off their list of treasures the gold rings are recited as, “The gold and wand we took from the bandits. And the gold rings we got off of those thumbs – probably cursed.”

NOTE: Sven is the pet mimic’s name. I messaged J, who plays Jeb the Footpad.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Jeb’s elf-dagger got nabbed by a metal statue’s magnetic pull, sticking to the statue’s body. When Jeb tried to get the dagger back, the statue animated and knocked him unconscious and when he tried again, under cover of Roddy the Shieldbearer’s shield, it broke Roddy’s ribs. Reluctantly, Jeb left the dagger there. There was no talk at all of taking the statue on to get the dagger back. Would it have gone differently if more STRENGTH checks had been failed and more weapons were stuck to the statue? We will never know.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Tabouli can see and talk to ghosts and so the dead gnome with a will-o-the-wisp eating its eye talked to him but didn’t take an immediately liking to him (failed WILL save). But when Tabouli asked if there was anything they could bring to the gnome ghost, Klambikurt (thank you, Fantasy Name Generator – Gnome Names), took a bit of a liking to him and told them that they weren’t 10 levels down but 3 levels down. Now they know how far they have to go.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

We ended with Psychic Tiger Fodder bloodied but still standing after Jeb took a while to pick a lock with an arrow and skeletons with sharpened fingers but no thumbs wandered in and were dispatched. We know, from Tabouli talking to a half-elf ghost that there is some kind of art in the room to the north that drove him mad. We’ll start, there, in Room 3F, next time.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

There is a kind of whimsy to it. It isn’t goofy but the situations and the things they run across bring a humor to it all, despite the fact that they are taking the premise seriously. I am going to have to think a bit about world building and what they are going to find if/when they get out of this dungeon.

Playing a game system that is dead simple with a dungeon zine that is SO EASY to read is a real pleasure. I’m really enjoying running this thing.

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The Velinken Barrow Fortune

The Velinken Barrow Fortune

I like keeping track of wealth in some games but don’t like bean-counting. Here’s my compromise.

The Into the Odd-ish game that began with Into the Borgenwold has become our Sunday night B-game on the Actual Play twitch channel. As always, I wanted a way to keep track of a small fortune the players have amassed without counting thousands or even hundreds of coins – a few dozen tops.

Cockatrice heraldry above 4 rows of 5 ancient coins

TEXT: You own a jarl's ransom in wealth after selling what you dragged out of the Velinken barrow. Every time you want to purchase something of considerable value, we will mark off one or more coins.
In the wild places of the world, coins are just metal discs but until all of the coins are marked, living simply in a town or city can be taken for granted without worry. If you want to put on airs and live like a priviledged princeling, we will start marking coins. 

1 coin: starting a humble business, raw materials to make your own fine piece of armor or legendary weapon
3 coin: purchasing fine armor or a legendary weapon
5 coin: servants for 1 year
10 coin: noble title/land or laying  the foundation of a powerful organization, professional knights as house guard for 1 year, 
20 coin: crude wooden fort that in 10+ years could be a fortress, ransom a jarl
30 coin: castle, foundation of a cathedral, ransom a monarch or heir

I’ve done this before:

This time I added a few examples, including some that are well outside of their price range. The bigger things still require time and expertise as well as money. I put this as the background on a jamboard page and mark off coins as players spend.

Same pic as above but on a jamboard with a few coins blocked off.

It is an easy port over to Into the Odd’s Enterprises system. One thing I might add to that is one has to invest the amount of the next die type. So if your enterprise is going from d4 to d6, you have to set aside 6 coin before the enterprise goes up.

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Psychic Tiger Fodder

Psychic Tiger Fodder

Into the Megadungeon

Memories of how you got down there are hazy because the Psi-Tiger that rampaged through the party damaged memories as it died. Players are the torchbearers and hirelings.

Into the Odd-like: Into the Megadungeon
Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

We are in the process of ending the Sigil 6 campaign and figuring out what to play next in this Thursday night slot. But only 3 of 6 players could get to the digital table tonight, so I proposed a few games and we elected to play hirelings whose adventuring party has been decimated by a psychic tiger, leaving everyone’s memories hazy.

Character creation from this blog post made interesting characters. I liked what we ended up with. We used jamboard to store the character sheets. A thief’s follower, Jeb the Footpad, was chosen by a Thief Deity. Tabouli the Acolyte knows the Cthonic written world and can see/hear ghosts.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

I grabbed the DNGN zine, the gold standard in layout and at-the-table-use. I stuck them X levels down, in an area that I thought was interesting and got to playing.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

I rolled randomly to see which of the party members was still alive and it was Conrad the Thief. He’s got a compound fracture in his sword-arm and he’s concussed, so they are on their own. The random rolls for the surviving gear from the adventuring party worked out well. Having a character who can see ghosts meant I had to make some fast decisions about the fate of souls in this dungeon, which was fun.

The players were concerned about light, thinking about their lantern oil. When I mentioned that some rooms were lit by flasks of burning oil, they quickly began stealing oil from the flasks for more lantern-light time. They skinned and de-toothed and de-eyed the psychic tiger.

Had a really interesting moment late in the game when they realized they could count the used flasks of oil that had already been used to see how long they’ve been in this dungeon. I could’ve said the flasks were broken in the fight with the psychic tiger but loved the ingenuity. They realized that they had been in the dungeon for around 5 hours or so.

The vibe was a little goofy but everyone at the table was taking the premise seriously and doing plenty of careful exploring and creative problem solving.

I really liked the result and would use this set-up again when gaming friends were visiting or when everyone can’t show up to the main game.

Anthony dubbed the party’s name: Psychic Tiger Fodder.

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Into the UVG

Into the UVG

Into the UVG

Using Chris McDowall's Into the Odd to create a outlander player character to travel Luka Rejec's psychedelic metal fantasy setting, Ultraviolet Grasslands & the Black City. If you like any of this you should check those books out.

PIC: Purple landscape and dark blue/black skies surround a small yurt village around a giant hand statue with a thumb tower on a butte.

I was thinking that it would be interesting to start play in UVG as an outlander, so that the player can learn about the setting’s strangeness on the long journey between the Violet City and the Black City along with the character.

You have arrived at the Violet City from a distant, colorless land. Roll or choose the reason the palate of your homeland is so muted.

Where did the colors go?

1 Otherworldly color leeches in noble dress devoured the colors from that part of the world during an incursion.
2 Puritanical Skeleton Priests insisted that those who live in their Holy City aspire to be like polished bone.
3 Radiation from an Colour Bomb, detonated in an ancient war, decimated the spectrum across the countryside.
4 Sunless Immortals covered the skies in stormclouds and dimmed colors for everyone.
5 Sorcerer-Kings from behind the moon collected colors as taxes.
6 Your people were refugees of the Chromatic Wars and did lived in fear of a wizard’s attention.

You have one item that is rich with color, a treasured belonging w/ colors as vibrant as a rainboviathan’s oil.

What is it? What color or colors does it show to your eye?

What do each of these colors make you feel?

How did you acquire it?

If you need to put a touch of flesh on the bones of these backgrounds, here’s a question or two for each result.

1

What superstitions do you bring with you after living in lands haunted by sentient leeches that eat color?

What do you always have with you in case a color leech attacks?

***

2

Did you pray to the Bone Saints or rebel against them undead pantheon?

What bone weapon, tool or utensil did you bring with you from home?

***

3

What broken war machines littered the places you played as a child?

What piece of that ancient war did you bring with you?

***

4

What do you do every day to show that you are grateful to see the sun, moon and stars in a land without arcane constant cloud cover?

What memento from the Sunless Immortals do you carry with you still?

***

5

What do you do every full moon to celebrate your life outside the Sorcerer-King’s influence?

What piece of moontech did you steal from a servant of the Sorcerer-Kings that you carry with you?

***

6

What color were the robes, banners and weapons of the wizard who did the most damage to your community?

What piece of the Chromatic War do you carry with you?

***

If folks need more than that then I recommend Haiku Character History.

Violet road on a violet landscape going into black clouds with rainbow hints. In the distance is a black sphere and some kind of black plinth.

I was flipping through UVG and thinking about how I’d make chargen different for this setting. I had this vague ideas that weren’t coming together because they weren’t very good.

I think I’d just use Into the Odd right as it is (XP too). I’d add some spells with magitech/Dying Earth vibes. Learning about how spells work as they roil around in your brain, your skull brimming with arcane power, is part of the learning curve involved in the strangeness of the setting.

I have an idea rattling around in my head about running this game as a 1-on-1 game with my dad, putting his character in charge of security for a merchant caravan. The concept is that this merchant house once lived somewhere between the Violet City and the Black City until their matriarch divided the clan into two, sending one violet-ward and the other black-ward. The mercantile clan’s believes that the only material things they will have with them in the next world is what their merchant caravans sell or trade on the route between these two cities.

Violet road on a violet landscape going into black clouds with rainbow hints. In the distance is a black sphere and some kind of black plinth.

Next up, the Caravan Sheet and thinking about how I want to make Cash a stat and abstract some of the math without getting rid of the experience of trading strange goods in weird places to alien folk. I reckon I’ll find the answers I’m looking for somewhere in the triangle between the points of Apocalypse World: Burned Over’s Barter, Burning Wheel’s Resources and UVG’s 1 Sack = 10 Stones = 100 Soaps = 2,500 Cash.

Violet road on a violet landscape going into black clouds with rainbow hints. In the distance is a black sphere and some kind of black plinth.

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Into the Odd Open Table Delve: Along the Holy Road

Into the Odd Open Table Delve: Along the Holy Road

Pre-game Pitch: Along the Holy Road, people are going missing, both in the lowlands and in the High Moors.

I read over 2 monsters from A Folklore Bestiary and we took two and a half hours getting through the resolution of the cursed People of the Holy City.

Into the Odd
Along the Holy Road

I didn’t have to use both monsters but in blending the two together and deciding that they were in the same world and same stretch of haunted highway to a ruined Holy City, both monsters grew more interesting. As mentioned in the post-game Stars & Wishes video below, I did my damnedest to get enough information into the players’ laps so they could make interesting decisions.

Cog Icon in a circle in a similar palette as the Into the Odd cover.

Marcus, Iain’s character, is in his third session of this (open table, east marches, whatever) campaign-shaped thing. I love prompting him to describe the previous adventures to hear what the character has taken away from them. Marcus had a scar/mark from his oath with the Dusk-Elves. Going out into the Odd makes you Odd.

Jay and Sam were both playing Into the Odd with us for the first time and it was great seeing them fish out details about their characters, Arnhem & Zachary, from the sparse but evocative info chargen provides. Zachary’s urn with ashes became a centerpiece of the character.

Arnhem was a second generation adventurer/treasure hunter who was in the family business to clear his parents’ debt.

Zachary had been a holder of a few odd jobs, including rat killer and bill collector. When a bill collection went bad, he was prompted to take this job with the Adventurers’ Guild Cooperative to get out of town for a while. Sam’s details about Zachary’s gear-related religion were amazing.

Clearly, bills and debts are on our minds.

Cog Icon in a circle in a similar palette as the Into the Odd cover.

There was one fight with a young zealot with a knife and it was harrowing. Two characters very nearly got dropped. They found a notebook and a charcoal pencil in his pockets; 13 names were written and crossed out. This young man had killed more than a dozen people before his 20th birthday.

There was one fight with a zealot with a knife and it was harrowing. Two characters very nearly got dropped. They found a notebook and a charcoal pencil in his pockets; 13 names were written and crossed out. This young man had killed more than a dozen people before his 20th birthday.

The character’s interactions with locals, from Farmer Beth to the Widow Kemp to the People of the Holy City’s elder woman with two notebooks.

Cog Icon in a circle in a similar palette as the Into the Odd cover.

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Into the Borgenwold on Actual Play

Into the Borgenwold on Actual Play

TEXT: Into the Borgenwold

Some tables for playing the old school role-playing adventure,
The Beast of Borgenwold by Harry Menear
using Into the Odd by Chris McDowall with some slight changes to character creation.
If any of this looks interesting, please support these creators by purchasing their work.
This was put together by Judd Karlman

PIC: Manticore from medieval manuscript mauling some poor lad.

Wrote this up earlier this month. Hacked at Into the Odd, thinking about how I’d use it to play the new OSE module, The Beast of Borgenwold.

We played it last week and should finish it up on the first Sunday of 2023. Youtube playlist below.

Nice to get a kind word from the adventure’s creator:

Comment from Youtube:

Author here! Holy crap it is genuinely surreal to see someone playing my adventure and an absolute pleasure to see it being run so well. You're absolutely right that Yuri is Joe Pesci, by the way.

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Into the Crystal Frontier

Into the Crystal Frontier

In which Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier by Gus L. and Into the Odd by Chris McDowall get into a carriage accident on the crossroads of my gaming table and idea notebook.

Butte in the purples, ivories and yellows of the Grave Robbers of the Crystal Frontier art.

TEXT: Into the Crystal Frontier
 Inspired by Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier by Gus L. and Into the Odd by Chris McDowall
If you like anything here, you should really go pick those both up right now.
Crystal Blade subject divide

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A couple Youtube AP Playlists.

A couple Youtube AP Playlists.

Thank you, Sean, for migrating our VOD’s from twitch to youtube. Below are the playlists.

Into the Borgenwold is us playing an idea from this blog post, using an Into the Odd-like game to play The Beast of Borgenwold. I’ve got the playlist on my Into the Odd: Play, Creation, Hacks, etc page.

Thrilled that the screenshot was my coughing into my elbowpit.
Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Made an index page for our Apocalypse World: Burned Over Low Earth Orbit game.

Tune in for the talk of maple syrup and dogs, stay for the amazing play.

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Into the Borgenwold

Into the Borgenwold

I got the OSE Adventure, The Beast of Borgenwold (TBoB) and I like it. It is a bit too robust for our one-night-and-home Into the Odd campaign but it got me thinking about how I’d run it using Into the Odd.

TEXT: Into the Borgenwold

Some tables for playing the old school role-playing adventure,
The Beast of Borgenwold by Harry Menear
using Into the Odd by Chris McDowall with some slight changes to character creation.
If any of this looks interesting, please support these creators by purchasing their work.
This was put together by Judd Karlman

PIC: Manticore from medieval manuscript mauling some poor lad.

Other than statting out the monsters and a few NPC’s within (which isn’t too hard) one need not do ANY of this to add TBoB to one’s Into the Odd campaign. Stick Borgenwold into the Deep Country and go.

But this was fun to cook up and I thought it might be neat to give opportunities for the players to have little bits of the setting in the chargen, not too much, because I think exploring the Borgenwold is part of the hex-crawl-fun but just enough for a little spice.

Into the Borgenwold would start chargen asking why you are going to the Borgenwold in the first place. There are four examples on page 4 of the pamphlet. I’d go with starting gear based on that choice.

  1. Hired by a fur trader

sturdy fur coats and boots, traps for all manner of beasts, stout spears, letter of introduction to Marko Velinken, food to get you to Borgenwold as long as you don’t get lost, letter of credit at town’s general store

2. Answering the Provost’s bounty

southlander boots and coats that will leave you frost-bitten in the northern forests, weapons scavenged from a nearby battlefield (mace, rusted sword, broken crossbow, longbow in need of bowstring, one rusted chainmail coif and a pot help with a hole in it) and 1d6 coin per player (or you can test your luck and roll 2d6-1d6 but if you get a negative result you owe the Broker coin).

3. Fungible debt

each character can choose between:
caravan guard’s kit (good boots, spear, crossbow and good cloak, cheap helm)
hunter’s gear (fur cloak, good boots, bow, 24 arrows, cookpot, fur hat)
river-folk stuff (waterproof cloak, raft, fishing line, 3 barrels, sharp knife, 1d3 jars of pickled fish)

4. Misfortunes & Miscalculations

players list their gear, half a dozen items that they had before the bad luck hit them
for each item, make a Will Save
Success means they keep it. Failure means they lost it gambling.
Players get an extra roll on the d66 table.

“What d66 table?” you ask. See below.
Roll 2d6 but read them like a percentile die, with results ranging from 11 to 66.

Roll 3d6 for Strength, Dexterity and Willpower. Roll 1d6 for Hit Protection. Keep track of how many the 1’s and 2’s you roll. You’ll get 1 free roll on the d66 table and then another for every 1 or 2 you rolled when rolling your Strength, Dexterity, Willpower and Hit Protection.

In a world where this method of character creation was in a fancy book there might arise a house-rule where if one roll no 1’s or 2’s they could pick whichever entry on the d66 table they wanted – maybe there might even be rumors of them being a special person with a Destiny written in the stars (if you believe in such things).

I’m tempted to write a sentence or two about each spell but I’ve been enjoying seeing what the players come up with when they get an evocative name and not much else. For most, I’d have a save/roll of some kind – not to see if the spell goes off but to see if there’s a complication. Nothing like casting Dream of Home to talk to one of the last folk you broke bread with before heading out into the forest and accidentally letting a True Nightmare into the mix. A failed Fireball might start a a fire that gets out of control or catch an ally thought to be outside the blast radius or maybe throwing fire around in an old forest awakens something best left to its slumber. Or maybe when there’s a failure, the spell is out of one’s skull forever. Maybe a choice – lose the spell forever or eat the complication?

Local hunters might know a cantrip or two but no one person knows them all and they only teach it to close family or those who earn their respect in powerful ways. If a hunter did know them all or even half of them they’d probably be called a sorcerer.

There’s setting written into the spells. I imagined an old sorcerer from time’s past who had served as a kind of court sorcerer to the Velinken family and from this sorcerer’s spells, you can tell what kind of person I thought they’d be. There is so such person in the book or the adventure.

In which we give this idea some play…

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Into the Odd Delve #6: Under St. Mugrunden’s Abbey

Into the Odd Delve #6: Under St. Mugrunden’s Abbey

Pre-game Pitch: Over in the Cathedral District, Abbot Van-Wolff at the St. Mugrunden’s Abbey, seems to have been experimenting with Arcanum and something has gone wrong. Locals are complaining of green energy and restless dead. The Adventurer’s Co-Operative has won a bid to delve into the catacombs, find out what we can and take whatever isn’t nailed down. The Cathedral District Councilors are not pleased with this decision but their neighbors insist.

Into the Odd
Delve #6
Under St. Mugrunden's Abbey

Found a One Page Dungeon in this reddit threadThe Mad Abbot’s Lair by Mark Murphy.

Added some chtonic details about the portals, decided that the portals happened when green-lightning zombies were killed and we were off to the races.

The players, John and Aaron, had both played in different sessions of this campaign but they and their characters had never met. Aaron’s character, Glim, had gone on the adventure where they explored a portal that John’s character, Roscoe, had shut and left alone when an otherworldly dooksalf fired its bow at him. I like the way the campaign world is slowly building and the characters could discuss their adventures with some context.

The players solved problems creatively, using tables and alchemical flasks to destroy the green-energy-overwhelmed-abbot. They out-thought the the rival Cathedral District’s knightly constabulary who were waiting to kill and rob them outside the catacombs. Good stuff.

Cog Icon in a circle in a similar palette as the Into the Odd cover.

I loved the very human reaction Glim had when he saw the results his bomb had on green-energy-possessed priests and acolytes. And the collection, “NOPE,” when they looked at one last cave and found giant spiders as they backed out and left. “Too bad there were not other areas to explore,” Glim said as they backed away.

Cog Icon in a circle in a similar palette as the Into the Odd cover.

When a treasure was described as a magical treasure, I rolled on the tables below and got Blood and Hibernation. I decided the magical staff had a needle in it and when it took blood from its wielder (1d4 HP damage) it didn’t kill or knock those it hit unconscious but knocked them into a months-long hibernation.

Cog Icon in a circle in a similar palette as the Into the Odd cover.

I came up with a story about who St. Mugrunden was, a saint who would find young women about to be burned and she’d offer herself up in their stead. After being burned to death she’d show up at a witch hunter somewhere else and do it again. I like this story and will have to use it again. I also wanted to make sure the players didn’t decide this green otherworldly energy wasn’t somehow about this saint and so I used the advanced technique of saying to my players, “This backstory is just a red herring and has nothing to do with the rest of the adventure.”

The random table offered a cool bit at the end where they found a penny Roscoe had thrown through a portal near the entrance they had first come through. Nice creepy moment, totally randomly rolled. The players missed a few rooms and that was just fine. It was a fine delve and a fun dungeon.

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