Playing Into the Odd with The Landshut rules: REDUX

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) Use common in-world sense when you determine damage.
If it seems appropriate that a character should face grave consequences in combat or as a result of injury, the player makes an opposed 2d6 roll against the ref. If the player rolls higher, his character has avoided critical injury and can continue. If the player rolls lower, his character is now critically injured (when fighting monsters, this might even mean instant death).

The ref determines how long it will take to heal up.
3) Roll 1d6 and cross-index the result with your highest Ability score to determine your gear.

4) Combat:
Opposed 2d6 rolls. Ref might grant bonus if appropriate. 

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

______________________________________________________________________
Genghis Klunk, the Telepath of Tripolis, Level 1

middle-aged man, balding, fat, weak
Pistol, Knife, Telepathy if target fails WIL save
______________________________________________________________________

Let’s say Genghis is duking it out with a nameless thug in an Octoberfest beer tent.
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! 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.

One class, four OSR games: the Yogi for Whitehack, The Black Hack, Macciato Monsters and Into the Odd

Today, let’s talk about the Yogi as character class. Because, you know, I practice yoga, and I love the OSR. I’m using bullete’s version for this experiment.

First, a write-up of the yogi’s abilities that I find interesting in close to reality:

  • ahimsa (nonviolence) practice is key
  • focus on own willpower rather than on supernatural beings
  • must be lawful
  • may never possess more than what they can carry on their person
  • avoid contact with precious metals or jewelry
  • no use of magic items
  • no use of weapons
  • no armor
  • yogi spells are called “siddhis” (“powers”). Choose only nonviolent spells: The following siddhis may be chosen: All cleric spells except spells against Law and the following: Hold Person, Sticks to Snakes, Insect Plague, Quest, and Raise Dead. Magic user spells: Read Languages, Detect Invisibility, Knock, ESP, Levitate, Darkvision, Fly, Protection from Normal Missiles, Water Breathing, Wizard Eye, Contact Other Plane, Passwall, Telekinesis, Teleport, and Anti-Magic Shell.
  • 3rd level:  Simulate Death, lowering his heart beat and body temperature, and appearing not to breathe. This state can be maintained for d6 turns per level, once per day.
  • Saving Throw: Yogis receive a +3 bonus on saving throws vs. poison and paralysis.
  • Obtain devotees: At ninth level, the Yogi will attract a large number of loyal followers who will swear fealty to the character and wish to do good deeds in his or her name.




Let’s play with Whitehack first:

Is the yogi deft, strong or wise?

I’d argue a yogi is, first and foremost, a Wise Yogi. This also gives him the ability to “use siddhis” (cast spells). So, a Wise Yogi it is.

On level 1, Wise characters have: 1d6+1 HD, Attack Value (roll on or under) 10, Saving Throw 6, 2 Slots (special abilities, one active, the other one inactive), and belong to two Groups.

Let’s do this:

Mahadev, level 1 Wise Yogi
Str 7 (Truly Lawful), Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12 (Yogi), Cha 7; Saving Throw 6 (9 vs. poison/paralysis), HP 6, AC 0, Attack Value 10, Siddhis: “Eternal Peace” (active)/”Joyous Freedom” (inactive); Common tongue; loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang

If you’re wondering what the remarks behind Strength and Wisdom (in parantheses) mean: Those are the yogi’s “groups” (affiliation and vocation). Whenever a Str or Wis save is in order and the group is appropriate for the task, the save is rolled with advantage.

Supernatural powers in WH are freeform and powered by hit points; each time one is used, the player specifies how exactly he wants to interpret it at this moment. Then, DM and player negotiate the price in hp.

If the WH yogi had to defend himself physically, he would try to roll on or under his Attack Value, but over the opponent’s Armor Class. Successful roll means: inflict unarmed damage (1 point). If the opponent attacked him, the DM would try to roll the d20 on or under the opponent’s Attack Value (HD+10)




Now, The Black Hack (1e):

A long time ago, I converted the Yogi class to TBH:

Starting HP: d4 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d4
Weapons & Armor: no weapons and shields at all, yogis practice ahimsa (non-violence) 

Attack Damage: 1d4 / 1 point Unarmed or Improvising
Ahimsa Die: Levels 1-2: 1d4; levels 3-8: 1d6; levels 9-10: 1d8

The Ahimsa Die is a Usage Die that tracks the non-violent behavior of the Yogi. Patience is a virtue, but it‘s also hard work. When the Yogi runs out of patience, he loses his special powers for that day. More on that in the following paragraph.
Siddhi Points: Level+2; cast spells of any level. Casting a successful spell requires a WIS check as per TBH rules. Spells don’t work automatically, you have to pass the check. On a failed roll, it costs Siddhi Points to cast the spell (cost  = spell level). On a successful roll, you cast the spell for free. 



SPECIAL FEATURES
Non-violence: (ahimsa): Yogis must begin as lawful in alignment and remain so or else lose the special powers given to them. Also, if they use violence „in word, thought or action“, they roll their Ahimsa Die. If the die comes up a 1 or 2, reduce it by one step, as usual. If the Ahimsa Die is a d4 and is reduced further, the Yogi loses all their siddhis (spells) for that day. After sunrise and a meditation that lasts (Exyperience Level) hours, the Ahimsa Die is „re-charged“ again. Yes, that‘s right, the higher up you get in Yoga, the longer it takes to recover from lapses.
Possessions: Yogis are severely limited in the amount of possessions they may have – they may never possess more than what they can carry on their person, they avoid contact with gold or jewelry, and may not carry more than the equivalent of 1 coin worth of other types of treasure. They may not use magic items.

Spell casting: A Yogi gains siddhis, or supernatural, mental powers which correspond to some cleric and magic user spells. In order to obtain these, the yogi must spend one hour in meditation per spell, per day.

In addition, at 3rd level the Yogi may Simulate Death, lowering his heart beat and body temperature, and appearing not to breathe. This state can be maintained for d6 minutes per level, once per day.
Saving Throw: Yogis receive a +3 bonus on saving throws vs. poison and paralysis.
Charisma Bonus: At 2nd level and every level thereafter, Yogis automatically add 1 point to their

charisma score, up to a maximum score of 20.
Obtain devotees: At ninth level, the Yogi will attract a large number of loyal followers who will swear fealty to the character and wish to do good deeds in his or her name.
SIDDHIS
The following siddhis may be chosen:

All cleric spells except spells against Law and the following: Hold Person, Quest, and Raise Dead. • Magic user spells: Read Languages, Knock, Levitate, Darkvision, Telekinesis, Teleport 

The TBH Yogi looks like this:

Mahadev, level 1 Yogi
Str 7, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7; HP 10, damage: d4/1, Ahimsa Die: 1d4; Siddhi Points: 3, loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang

If the TBH yogi had to defend himself physically, he would try to roll on or under his Strength. Successful roll means: inflict unarmed damage (1 point). If the opponent attacked him, the player would try to make a STR save, or (house rule) the DM would try to roll on or over the yogi’s Str, or simply roll higher than the yogi.





Macchiato Monsters

Macchiato Monsters takes inspiration from The Black Hack and Whitehack, as the name implies.

  • In MM, you first roll the stats: we have already done that.
  • Then, you invent a Trait (origins, factions, occupations, race): Yogi. Whenever the trait is relevant, roll with advantage.
  • Now, record your hit die; this always starts with a d6.
  • Now, pick two: add a d6 to a low stat, write down another trait, add another hit die, martial training (step up your hit dice), specialist training (a daily special ability), or magic training (come up with two freeform spells, essentially like Whitehack) –
  • First pick: specialist training (“Simulate Death”, as described in the ability list in the beginning of this blog post: The yogi is lowering his heart beat and body temperature, and appears not to breathe. This state can be maintained for d6 turns per level, once per day)
  • Second pick: magic training – the siddhis are: “Eternal Peace” and “Joyous Freedom”

The MM Yogi looks like this:

Mahadev, level 1 Yogi
Trait: Yogi, Str 7, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7; HP 6, no armor, no weapons, Siddhis: “Eternal Peace” and Joyous Freedom”, loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang

If the yogi had to defend himself physically, he would try to roll on or under his Str. Successful roll means: roll damage (2d4, take lower). If the yogi rolled higher, that would mean the opponent hit him.



Into the Odd

Into the Odd is the enfant terrible in the OSR scene. No because it’s not behaving well (author Chris McDowall is one of the nicest guys I know online), but because it’s breaking traditions deliberately. As a result, ItO is not only very slim, but it plays lightning fast.

So let’s try to fit the original class into ItO.

First of all, stats: only three of them: Str, Dex und Cha.
HP: 1d6, further damage is subtracted from Str; If Str=0 then dead
There are no classes in ItO, but at the moment, more and more people are creating them, anyway (even Chris himself)
Spells are either spell items or skills. For the yogi, it has to be skills.

So, the ItO Yogi:

Reach Eternal Peaceful Liberation by unmasking not-reality as illusion. Do this by practicing non-violent (ahimsa) and introspective methods. If you reach Level 5 without harming anyone on purpose, you reach Moksha (liberation) and can rest, finally.

Choose something that disturbs your peacefulness.
  1. Cruelty against insects.

  2. Cruelty against animals.
  3. Cruelty against human beings.
  4. Injustice.
  5. Loud children.
  6. Busy marketplaces.


UPGRADES
Start with 1.
Take 1 when you:
  • lived an entire month in the world (“in the marketplace”), in ahimsa

  • stayed peaceful in the middle of raging violence

  1. Move Immovable Objects: You can persuade small doors and walls to move.
  2. Create gems: You can create gemstones out of thin air.
  3. No pain: You feel no pain. Critical injuries don’t exist for you. You keep moving and standing till you die with Str 0. 
  4. Come closer, Beloved One: You can move the sun closer to you or farther away from you.

The ItO Yogi looks like this:

Mahadev, level 1 Yogi
Yogi, Str 7, Dex 10, Cha 7; HP 6, no armor, no weapons, Siddhis: “Eternal Peace” and Joyous Freedom”, loincloth, skull cup, small bag of bhang

If the yogi had to defend himself physically, he would simply roll 1d4 for damage (no to-hit roll). The opponent would do the same.










Chaos Monk, Into the Odd style


I know. You’ve seen his cousin.
But today: the Chaos Monk, Into the Odd style, but keeping the original hp.

STR 10
DEX 11
CHA 9

HD: 1d5 = 2

Starting abilities:
– no armor allowed
– use only lame weapons 🙂
– are only surprised on a 1 in 8, and only if “spoken to by a member of the opposite gender”

Abilities:

  • Reaching 2nd level: “kung-fu kick” (d5 at level 2, d6 at level 3, d8 at level 5)
  • Reaching 3rd level: Speak with Fungi.
  • Reaching 4th level: Flip over the back of their opponent while making a high-pitched scream.
  • Reaching 6th level: cast Confusion once a day on not just themselves but others.
  • Reaching 8th level: Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. It is unclear whether this has any real mechanical effect however.





My good morning y’all character

YOU THINK YOUR CHARACTER IS COOL? MY CHARACTER IS A FUCKING MISERABLE HUMAN CLERIC FROM THE GRAVE DIGGERS UNION WHO ACTS SHALLOW BUT ONLY TO HIDE THEIR INSECURITIES

STR10 DEX10 CHA15
red silk robe, ceremonial headdress, incense
ceremonial staff (d6)

Sway the gullible and hopeless: When someone stricken with grief or hopelessness or seeking spiritual guidance talks to you, you convert him to your belief system without a roll. Roll a crit, and his closest family is going with him. Interpret everything that goes your way as divine intervention and proof.

Upgrades:
Start with one, gain one when you experience a contradiction between the teachings of your religion and what’s happening before your eyes.

  • Preacher: Calm down large groups of people or stir their emotions with a sermon. 
  • Skeptic: Negate a spell or work of magic directed against you, once per session. 
  • Zealot: Spend 1d6 hit points to bend reality to your will and cause something to happen – this is, without a doubt, your god’s will. 
  • Pop Religiosity: Spout some superficial eternal wisdom in someone’s face, and roll your next save with advantage if it is directed against that person.

 (created by http://whothefuckismydndcharacter.com)

If I play fantasy rpgs… I use MoldHammer.

That’s it. That’s my post for today.

Longer version: On a whim, I rolled up a D&D-ish fighter. Used his stats for Macchiato Monsters, Into the Odd and something along the lines of Holmes D&D. Then, used the respective rule sets for a fight against a slightly stronger opponent.

Hm.

Didn’t really like any of them.

So I pulled out the two pages of MoldHammer. And HELL YEAH, I like those rules so much. If I ever play a long-form fantasy campaign again, I’ll be using Rattlemayne’s rules.
SO LIGHT, but SOLID.

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
Nice!

______________________________________________________________________
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.

Into the pbtA

Two days ago, I created a Dungeon World character randomly, using nothing but Johnstone’s Class Warfare, random.org and 3d6.

This was the result:

GUNTHER, Warrior
STR (18) +2
DEX (12) 0
CON (9)0
INT (12) 0
WIS (9) 0
CHA (13) +1
hp: 10
Load: 12
Recruiting for the causeWhen you recruit, also pick options equal to your CHA. On a 10+, all of them are true. On a 7–9, only one of them is true, GM’s choice. On a miss, none of them are true:

  • You gain the support of the locals, and my carouse in town before leaving.
  • You recruit a small squad of hirelings who do not have skills.
  • You recruit an additional, skilled hireling.
  • You requisition a piece of equipment from the locals.

Loyal CrewYou run a gang. They could be soldiers, pirates, thieves or mercenaries, but they’re yours and you are their captain and commander. By default, your crew is a medium-sized group (12-15 people), cautious, intelligent, and organized. In the normal course of operations, they obey your orders. Your crew are elite troops, a small-sized group (5-10 people). Roll +WIS to command them. They run a caravan. They’re poor, with shoddy equipment and no money.
The Weight of CommandWhen you issue a command to your crew during a charged situation, roll +WIS. On 1 10+, your crew obey you. On a 7–9, you have a problem to deal with first. Either they demand rewards, fight back, or try to back down until you make an example of one of them or convince them some other way. On a miss, eitehr one of them makes a concerted effort to supplant you as leader or they fall prey to their poverty.
Charge!When you lead the charge into combat, those you lead take +1 forward.

Now, a couple of days ago, Voidlight came up with this idea:

Today, I’ll do some Into the pbtA magic:
– Use a pbtA and plug it into ItO

Like so:

GUNTHER, WarriorSTR18 DEX12 CHA 13, hp10 
Moves (roll w/Advantage): 
Recruiting for the cause (CHA),  I have a Loyal Crew (CHA), Command my Crew (CHA), Lead charge into Combat (crew rolls w/Advantage for the first d6 rounds)

 



Into the Odd: Corporate Warfare, made easy

Into the Odd is a genius game.
Its rules just invite you to tinker with them.

Today, I’m thinking about Corporate Warfare. Yes, organizations at war. How do you emulate that?
With Into the Odd, of course. Because it’s really that easy.

  1. Turn your corporation into a character: STR becomes FINances, DEX becomes MArket MObility, and CHA becomes CONnections. Roll 3d6 for each stat. Roll 1d6 for Hedge Profit (HP). 
  2. Weapons:
    d4 Ham-handed disinformation campaign
    d6 Usual sting tactics etc
    d8 Data-theft campaign
    d10 Supply-chain attacks
    d12 Concerted Eradication Offense 
  3. Each turn of CorpWar is about 3 months or so.

Quick and decisive combat with Into the Odd

We’re playtesting the Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland combat rules for a cinematic cyberpunk game… and they’re BEAUTIFUL. The last situation we tried was this here: a hired killer (STR8 DEX 13 CHA 11, 17 hp) with an assault rifle against 7 goons (4hp, daggers d6). Location: dark warehouse. They spot him, and start to run towards him. He gets one chance to spray them with bullets before they arrive. We’re using the “Into the Jungle” autofire rules. Player: rolls a d20 – he has to roll 18 or lower for the first burst, 15 or lower for the second, and 10 or lower for the third. He makes all three rolls, so he can now roll damage three times. After this attack, three goons were dead. Goons: Now they’ve reached his position, and we roll group initiative: The goons win. I roll damage: 4d6, highest die: a 6. The player character (killer) is down to 11 hp. Next round, player wins initiative. Player: There’s still four of them, shiiiiat! I let myself drop onto my back (a move we learned in Russian military combatives), and try to squeeze the trigger! (He’s the one most at risk, so I have him make a DEX save, with Disadvantage – and he aces it!) Again, the player goes for three bursts of fire; two of them are successful, then, he’s out of ammo. These shots kill another two gangsters. Two left. Now’s the goons’ turn. Goons: roll 2d6 for damage, and again, highest die is a 6. The player character is down to 5 hp. New round. The gangsters win initiative. Goons: roll 2d6 for damage, and ANOTHER 6 pops up. The player character is down to 0 hp, and STR 7. He makes a STR save to avoid critical damage, but misses. Holy SHIT, that was AWESOME!

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.