The goodness that is Into the Odd

There’s a reason why I like Into the Odd. In the past, I compared it with early forms of roleplaying (like our homebrew system, the Landshut rules). And I came to the conclusion that, bottom line, ItO is the winner. The reason: Referees can bake the setting right into their classes, and that helps everyone at the table. And game prep is a snap, compared to what’s required to run a proto-rpg. In my words:

Bottom line: Even though Pre-School rpgs are the “ancient form of rpgs”, they require a lot of work and preparation from the referee, as well as a deep knowledge of the setting. Into the Odd takes DMs by the hand and guides them; DMs unfamiliar with the setting can still pull off a great session. If this was a contest, Into the Odd would be the winner.

Another reason why I keep coming back to ItO is that it’s mechanically interesting – even though a character only has three stats, an hp score and maaaaaaaaaybe a special ability. See, what’s so interesting about this is that the rules (especially in their Electric Bastionland incarnation) cover all the things you’d expect from a game that’s a lot more voluminous: group attacks, mass combat, vehicle combat, blast weapons, stunts (combat moves), morale. It’s all there, and here’s the kicker: it fits on two pages.

As opposed to proto-rpgs like the Landshut rules, players and referees have actual rules to refer to. This, at least in some circumstances, leads to more balanced referee decisions because no guesswork is involved.

It also means more work if you’re intending to convert a game or setting to Into the Odd – but after you’ve done it, you’ll have a robust framework you can work with.

And one more thing: ItO uses variable damage (you roll for damage), something that I still prefer (even though my Landshut rules don’t have it).

By the way, we’re up to 50 hacks of the game now.

One thought on “The goodness that is Into the Odd

  1. I've had mixed experiences with ItO, and I've used it a fair bit. The main issue is that combat is just too dangerous. It's very easy for a player to be knocked out of combat in a single blow. Say you have 3hp and around 10 Strength. A blow of 4, which is eminently possible with d8s aplenty, can take you to 9 str and a roll that will probably fail. With other OSR rules like Swords and Wizardry, AC provides much better consistent protection.

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