Brian Harbron wrote a very good and inspiring blog post yesterday. His goal is to make Into the Odd monsters, even the average, familiar and boring ones as memorable as possible. His solution is elegant, and it helps all you referees out there even when you’re tired: Use critical damage to make your critters memorable.
In other words: Whenever your monster rolls a crit, have it do something to the player character that’s gruesome, feral, disgusting, and (fill in your word here). One word of caution, though: A critical hit in Into the Odd means that a character has lost all of his hp, and damage has eaten directly into his STR, and now he’s failed a roll-on-or-under save against his STR and loses consciousness.
In games like Blood of Pangea, Barons of Braunstein and Pits&Perils, there is no such critical hit. But in my Tatzelwurm game (a variant of Blood of Pangea), I included it. Take a look.
So, in a nutshell:
When you, the referee, roll a 12, roll 2d6 again. When you score exactly 9, your monster has landed a critical hit and DOES SOMETHING TO THE PLAYER CHARACTER THAT’S MEMORABLE. When you roll any other number, the monster does 5 points of damage.
Your landshark rolled a crit? It might swallow the player character.
Your giant octopus rolled a crit? It might pull the player character to the deepest depths of the ocean.
Your air elemental rolled a crit? It might turn into a tornado, stripping the player character off of everything he’s wearing and carrying.
Your ghoul rolled a crit? He rips off the player character’s arm and feasts on it.