Into Landshut: Playing ItO games with the Landshut Rules

Chris McDowall is a pro. He writes games that are beautiful and reduced to their essence.
His best and most popular (rightfully so) game is Into the Odd (or its bigger brother, Electric Bastionland).

Into the Odd uses a peculiar mechanism: You don’t roll to hit, you go directly to rolling damage. This makes your narrative matter again. Your “fictional positioning” (“What do you do?”) is important because it might give you in-game advantages. Joe Banner has written a nice cheat sheet of Chris’s game, but PLEASE go ahead and buy it on Drivethru.

I’m a huge fan of Into the Odd. And I have every hack of that game. Every single one.

Still: I also happen to like opposed rolls a lot. Hence: Here’s how to play ItO with Landshut rules.

You can apply the following steps for all hacks of ItO, by the way. Let’s get started.

1) Ability Scores
Roll 3d6 for each, Strength, Dexterity Willpower.
If an Ability is 5 or lower, write on your index card (“character sheet”): “low strength”, or “low dexterity” or “low willpower”, or “weak”, “clumsy” or “weak-willed”, or something similar.
If an Ability is 16 or higher, write the opposite, for instance “Strong” or “Dextrous/Agile” or “Mind Master”, or something similar.
Be sure to jot down the numbers you rolled. You won’t need them in the game, but you need them to determine your gear.

2) Roll 1d6 for Hit Protection.
These are the number of hits you can take before damage gets critical.

3) Cross-index your Hit Protection and your highest Ability score to determine your gear.

4) Combat:
Roll 2d6 against the referee. Both sides add either +1 or +2 if their character have a noticeable advantage. Higher rolls wins and does damage. This is usually 1 hit, or 2 for really dangerous weapons.

If a character has lost all Hit Protection, any further damage might become critical: To avoid being critically injured (and unable to move, possibly dying), roll 2d6 vs the referee’s 2d6.The ref might grant you a bonus to the roll. If you roll higher, your character has avoided a critical injury: write down the damage, anyway. If you roll lower than the ref, your character is knocked down and is critically injured.  The ref determines how long it will take to heal up.

If your character ever reaches Level+4 negative Hit Protection, s/he dies.

Let’s create an Into the Odd character!

1) I roll 3d6 for STR, DEX and WILL:
STR 5, DEX 6, WILL 7.
On my index card, I write: “weak”

2) I roll my HP: 4.

3) My gear: Pistol, Knife, Telepathy if target fails WIL save

Genghis Klunk, the Telepath of Tripolis, Level 1

middle-aged man, balding, fat, weak
Pistol, Knife, Telepathy if target fails WIL save
Hits: 4 (I die when I’m at -5 Hits)

Let’s say Genghis is duking it out with a nameless thug (3 hits).
The ref says Genghis can surprise the thug with a sucker punch.

Genghis (rolls 2d6 and subtracts 1 because he’s weak): I’ma punch that guy in the face, like so (stands up and mimicks the punch), rolls 6

Thug: rolls 7

Referee: Genghis, you throw a mighty right hook from out of nowhere, but the thug somehow feels it and ducks, and right on time, he launches a counter-left straight that sends you a step back!

Genghis: subtracts 1 from his hits; he now has 3.

Referee: You are not an experienced brawler, Genghis…

Genghis: laughs

Referee: …and that’s why the thug decided to close in on you, pretty low, very quickly.

Genghis: Shiiiiit… what’s he doing? Can I recognize what he’s doing?

Referee: No. You can’t. His so quick, and you are just not experienced enough. Roll 2d6-1, buddy.

Genghis: rolls 8

Thug: rolls 2!
Referee (facepalm)

Genghis: Ha-ha-haaaaaaaaaaa!

Referee: Wow! So he shoots for your legs, but slips somehow, and misses you by a mile. What do you do; Genghis?

Genghis: I whack him in the head with the… my stein! You want me to roll?

Referee: No, that guy slipped hard, really! You whack him in the head, and he crumples, as if someone had switched him off.

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