Review INTO THE ODD: The art in pursuit of sensible minimalism.

ruemere

Adventurer
INTO THE ODD: The art in pursuit of sensible minimalism

intoTheOdd-2.jpg

Into the Odd: brutal functionality


THE SYSTEM

Three stats: STRength, DEXterity and WILL, 3d6 each. Rolling low means chance for better equipment, special abilities and more standard equipment. Roll max and you are poorly equipped and disfigured.

The chief principles of action resolution: when you do stuff, you do it - if it is an attack, you do DAMAGE (d6 on average). If there is a risk involved, roll a SAVE for an appropriate stat (d20, roll equal or below stat). If you search for traps, you find them. If you do not search for traps, they may find you. Also, a save incurs a risk of a Luck roll (i.e. on a 1 on d6 wandering nasties will come for you).

The hitpoints are HIT PROTECTION (to recover fully, take a swig of water, rest a few minutes) and STR (takes a week of rest to recover). Any stat at 0 is bad news, with 0 STR being dead. Taking DAMAGE with 0 HIT PROTECTION means you take damage and SAVE to avoid taking CRITICAL damage (instantly down and disabled, needs help with recovery or dead within an hour).

Level up grants you d6 HIT PROTECTION and a chance to upgrade all stats by one.

There are magic items, called Arcanas. There is no magic as in free-style spellcasting.

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Obviously, there are opportunities for abuse here (like stealing stuff from people), but overall the system is quick, elegant and rewards creative thinking while not being as punishing as 1st level OSR clone.

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THE SETTING AND THE BOOK

It's Electric Bastionland using an upgraded system, with a huge eccentric adventure, nay, a whole campaign, minus the characters, minus the debt stuff, plus a few nice bits. Note that Electric Bastionland is alien, beautiful and impossibly inspiring, while Into the Odd is a masterpiece of brutal utility with frequent minimalistic art. The books are extremely different, and it’s really worth getting them both to fully enjoy the game.

For those unfamiliar with the world, it goes like this:

1. Pick early twentieth century London, add hellish industrial bits, add random stuff from seventeenth and twentieth century, with some horror bits from Doctor Who and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
2. Drop the city into a middle of chaotic landscape, where Jules Verne makes love to Howard Philips Lovecraft, and their children are babysat by Le Corbusier.
3. The stories are scripted by Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and possibly Thomas R. P. Mielke (Sakriversum).
4. Dungeonrunning and expeditions are still the core experience of the game, though not much thought is given as to why people keep doing so.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Heartily recommended for joyful reading and appreciation of bookmaking mastery.


THE URLS

Bastionland Press blog by the author: BASTIONLAND

Into the Odd:

Electric Bastionland:
or
 
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