10/12/19

Odd Carcosa #1 - Grilled Wizards & Language Barriers

Today was the first session of my new Odd Carcosa Campaign, and I have to say, it went pretty well.

Our Heroes
Morkoth (The Grinding Stone of Seasons), Blue Cleric of Oryx, the Flaming Pillar
Lazuli, Blue Thief
Mane (Exiled Prince of the Winds, Caller of Storms and Herald of Thunder), Orange Fighter
Big Eye, White Fighter and his companion Log Breaker, a White Fighter

The Adventure Proper
Strangers found themselves sharing a campfire in the rocky wastes.
Language barriers (mostly) fell as interprets revealed themselves.
Awkward conversation was had, graciously cut short by shouted orders and war cries in the distance.
Two sides: hooded men riding lizards and wielding lasers ambushed by hoplites with spear & shield.
Our heroes decide to use caution and wait it out.

Careful observation reveals the hooded men to be Jale Men, the hoplites are Red Men. The latter party wins, grants a quick death (what passes on for mercy on dread Carcosa) to most but keep a prisoner for interrogation.

The Orange man, a warrior of noble blood, goes to hail the victors. They respond with purpose:
"We are warriors under the banner of the Ocean of Mercy, this land is his territory. We have been tracking these Jale cultists for many moons now, they are slaves to the Oozing Green Pool, and we are on our way to destroy this wicked sorcery and its spawns. Join us, and you may stay in our Lord's keep."

"This is a noble goal", says the priest, thinking back on the awful sorceries of the Bone Man they met in the past. The party accepts to help the Red Men.

On their way to the Jale hideout, the priest perhaps recklessly breaches the topic of faith with the troupe's leader - a man called Daikos, and luckily, he finds kinship in the Red warriors, who share their tale: they are also servants of the Elder gods and enemies of chaos, though their leader, a warlord formerly known as Ulthar. When he and his party reached the citadel in this area, it was inhabited by Dolm Men without a Queen to rule their Hive Mind, and so he took over by putting on a Helm of Telepathy which gave him control over the whole colony, but slowly burned his old spirit until nothing remained but the Ocean of Mercy. Forever loyal to their leader, the red spartans abandoned their former duty to explore the lands to defend the citadel.

The prisoner leads our heroes and the hoplites to an ancient gatehouse made of black stone, a doorway into a canyon at the foot of the mountains. There, Daikos reveals his plan:

The Red warriors will storm the gatehouse and butcher every single Jale cultist.
In the mean time, the party will carry a nano-nuke into the caves, find the Ooze, and destroy it.

[Referee stuff: at this point, I just drop the Stonehell Canyon map onto the players as I didn't want to spend too much time on mapping the area and also should have prepared more. It turned out to work well enough though and there was no real mapping challenge to be had in the areas visited.]

As soon as they stepped into the canyon, Lazuli noticed three naked bone men staring at the party from a ruined house. Operating on instinct and hatred, she peppered them with arrows. Everyone followed, and the Bone Men were soon massacred. Bones littered their hideout, but not much else.

First cave, some white lotus zombis, arrows and javelins took care of them with barely a scratch on the players' side. Deeper inside, a cenotaph covered in eldritch signs, under it is a hidden compartment with a strange pulsating fruit covered in electric blue cobwebs. Against his better judgment, Morkoth decides to poke at it, blowing it up and messing up half the party.

Second cave, the party throws a rock inside and gets assaulted by this thing:


Time for sanity damage! The orange man goes crazy for a little while, starts weeping and praying.
The others are shaken but still sane and try to run away (after Morkoth fails to turn the monster away).
Lazuli is the slowest, gets attacked, takes Critical Damage, loses her head. The party runs faster.
The monster loses interest once outside, delving into the woods below. Big Eye is scarred by the events for the rest of his life, while Mane regains his composure.

Second cave has a bone-man staring at himself in a large ornate mirror with arousal and a strange, ravenous hunger. Arrows and javelins hurt him a lot, he grabs the Orange man and gets one last javelin (which nearly misses the PCs) from Big Eye in the face. Deeper into the cave, the Great Ooze Pool lies, surrounded by green flames and with, at the bottom of it, a naked Jale sorceress looking like one of the oracles from Minority Report. She sends troubling visions in the minds of those present, trying to lure them in with promises of unspeakable pleasures. Everyone passes their save and goes like "heh, nah." Then Morkoth throws the nuke down the pit and everyone gets the hell out of dodge.

And the spartans one, so now the players have a place where they can go and rest, and meet The Ocean of Mercy.

End Session #1.

Post-Mortem
I still love Into the Odd, though there's a lot of D&D-isms (specifically OD&D) that I'm too in love with now. Classes, alignments, all that stuff adds color to the game and doesn't really make it that much complex, which is why I'm using my revised Into the Borderlands rules (see "Odd Carcosa" at the beginning of this post for link) for it. Seems solid, will need some time to see how well it holds up. Combat is brutal, with whoever holds initiative usually destroying the opposition, but that's fine, I think. Makes ambushes important. I'll definitely rely more on group intiative rolls in the future so that fighting is scarier and requires more preparation on the players' end, as I mainly went with "players go first" here by default.

10/2/19

Lesser Known OD&D Games

By now, everyone and their mother knows about the wonderful, wonderful game that is the Original edition of Dungeons & Dragons, thanks to Labyrinth Lord Original Edition Companion, Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox (and its descendant White Box - Fantastic Medieval Adventures) and truly scholarly Delving Deeper with its solid V4 and annotated V5 in the works.

This post isn't about these games. Instead, I want to talk about a bunch of sneaky games that didn't get as much coverage as they should have, considering how good they are. In no particular order:



7VZ (SVZ?) is a re-statement of OD&D that focuses on the earlier fiction that inspired the fantasy writers of the Appendix N - stuff like ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales. It's complete with a bestiary, spells and GM guidance (ala Volume 3: The Wilderness & Underground Adventures), with an old-school-ish layout and font but actually organized well. Here are some of the reasons why it's cool: it made weapons vs armor class easy with a nice mix of attack matrices and attack bonus, it's Death & Dismemberment table is excellent (sometimes brutal, sometimes merciful, but it's never a good idea to go down to zero hit points) and followed by surgery rules which make use of one of my favorite bit from the original game: Withstand Adversity (later renamed Survive Shock for AD&D).
The writing is evocative but not too verbose, stuff is clearly laid out so that a clever nerdy kid could figure out how to D&D from this book alone. The Electronic Edition comes as an all-in-one book but it used to be a bunch of tiny booklets about the size of the originals (except there's 4 for some reason).

 No cover, but it's FREE!
This one is all about minimalism. The presentation is extremely simple, you only get the stuff from Men & Magic and it's not as in-depth as, say, Delving Deeper, but it gets the job done with minimal word and page count. It uses Fighting Capability and some ancestor of Delta's Target 20 system. Overall a solid little bunch of rules which can be used as an example of how little rules you actually need to play the original D&D.



Treasure Hunters
 (can't find a link on the blog, you can email the author for a copy)

I just discovered this game and I have to say it's one of my favorite so far. It uses only d6s (or "dice" for non-nerds), with 2d6 combat and task resolution (ala Traveller Classic, without the skills). Its strong points: great layout, great writing, a deep understanding of the original game's flow and rules, but also a bunch of really good, unintrusive little rules that add flavor like the post-adventure roll (you're grimy now, and time to fix that dented sword!) or the Dwarven Poetry which explains how mostly-dwarf parties get bonuses to attack and AC because of how tactical dwarves be. I have yet to give the referee's guide an in-depth look but it seems pretty solid, covering everything important in great details (castles & domains rules included!) while keeping the wording simple and relatively accessible to non-gamers.



The follow-up to Treasure Hunters, where the author dials back the house rules a bit to make a product compatible with most D&D stuff. Sadly there's no Referee's book or bestiary yet, but it's in the works apparently. No more thief, some supplement I rules are around but very discrete, the layout and writing is even better in this version than in Treasure Hunter.

8/3/19

Into the Borderlands #1 - The Mist Over Wickerbury

Or "The House That Wasn't There"

I've dug another dungeon, having learned a few lessons in design from Castle Redvald. This one has maps that are easier to navigate (and re-draw on the spot to show on camera), tighter levels with more things going on in each room (no truly empty room) and a strong theme to tie areas to the lore, hopefuly giving them a stronger identity.

Rules-wise, I'm using my latest hack-thing, Into the Borderlands.

I also decided to let it go and accept that there is a ton of great shit out there that I can steal and jam in there with little to no modification, so as a disclaimer: this is by no means "all me" or something that I plan to get money from, it's purely for fun.


There is a House on the hill. It wasn't there last week. Since its appearance, a thick fog has rolled over the region, and the people of Wickerbury are going stark raving mad. Brother Cassius, the local priest, is very concerned, and has offered you an impressive sum in exchange for dealing with the problem.

Enter the Lawful Gang:

• Joab the Scavenger (Lawful Rogue, or as he likes to call it, "Security Expert")
• Bald Frances (Lawful Man-at-Arms, who fights for a good cause or the right price, in that order)
• Anaximenes (Lawful Briarborn - elf - an elementalist and follower of the Blind One)
• Jim (Lawful Briarborn, an evil-hunting no nonsense spiritualist)
• and Titus, the only neutral in the lawful gang, and a dirty thief even!

For 500 silver per head and a chance to do a truly heroic and good deed, this band of 1st level adventurers assembled to help Brother Cassius and the inhabitants of Wickerbury by getting rid of whatever is causing the fog.

WHAT HAPPENED

Upon reaching the house, which was described as a large manor by witnesses, but actually looked more like a small 2F cottage in obvious disrepair, the party checked a few entrances:

-Front Door: leads into a pit of electrically charged copper spikes, too dangerous.
-Balcony Door: spiderweb carvings on a door with a copper handle, too suspicious.
-Upstairs Windows: leads into a simple corridor with a red rug, good enough.

• Titus broke one of the windows and went in with Joab while the others were on lookout. When a strange humming noise and bright yellow light appeared around the corner, the thieves hid in a nearby room and Bald Frances glimpsed at the creatures while peeking through the broken window from up on the roof: a trio of humanoid shapes made of lightning.

• In the nearby room, the thieves saw metal plaques on the walls with names and dates carved in them. One of the names stood out: Anarios, the Blue Knight, a legendary hero of the later wars to reclaim the wilderness lost to chaos beyond the Borderlands, who disappeared ten years ago. Over the plaques, someone had painted the words: FORGIVENESS IN SERVICE in elven.

• The room facing that one contained three coffins, each stuffed with a headless, fresh corpse of a villager.

• Going west (away from where they last saw the lightning beings), the party found an arsenal room with racks of broken crossbows and a rusted trunk, occupied by a bunch of floating misshapen corpse-things that seemed harmless after further investigation and curious stabbing. Once the creatures left, Anaximenes decided to loose a bolt into the rusted trunk, blowing it up by breaking whatever explosives were inside. Luckily, the Lawful Gang's signature move is to take cover whenever they throw or shoot something in a room, as established a bit earlier...

• Exploring north-west, the party came at a crossroads with the west passage barred by a strange wall of humming light. As they bickered and argued about what to do, a huge spider-dragon beast came rushing from the north passage, stabbing walls, floor and ceiling with its scimitar-shaped legs.
Which, being six PCs using mostly ItO rules, they dealt with pretty easily, in retrospect.

•Going south at the crossroads, they found a door that looked exactly like the entrance one, and it did lead to the first room they saw after opening the front door, complete with the rock they threw inside when checking out the room. Clearly this house operates under strange rules.

• After that I believe the party went north, after pushing the Spider-Dragon corpse into the humming field, which turned the massive and cumbersome body into dust in an instant. Up north they found three rooms:

-One had a patchy copper wall and a black ceramic lever, which they pulled down.
-The next one had another lever, this one white, which they also pulled down after some shenanigans.
-The last one contained a massive copper sphere, which felt warm, welcoming and true to Joab the Scavenger after he stepped inside. After some convincing he finally let go of the PERFECT SPHERE and accepted to get out and join the others for more adventuring.

• Coming back to the crossroad, the party noticed that the walls of light were now turned off, and explored further south-west, where they found a room containing a skeleton holding an ancient sword, which went to Anaximenes, and a window to the outside. Breaking it revealed that the room was somehow the one in the north-east corner of the house, and that the outside backdoor and window led here.

• South of that room, cutting down some cobwebs led to a small altar to an unknown God - the statue and scriptures had been removed, although a small garden gnome was in a corner, which Titus broke out of loathing. The party discussed the possibility of the place having been visited by the fey (good elves don't consider themselves a part of the fey, being children of the gods, while fey are chaotic beings born of the underground).

• North-west of that area, the party stumbled upon an hyper-realistic painting of stairs going up, which Titus bumped into at full speed, shattering his ego in such a humiliating situation. He will forever be scarred by stairs and potential illusions, until he can achieve REVENGE.

• Further up north, the party saw a room full of carvings on the walls representing people lined up to enter a sphere, emerging as angelic beings. There was also a rippling mirror on the south wall.

• Before wrapping it up, Joab really wanted to go back to the sphere and see what would happen if the group closed it while he was inside. They did, despite many protests from most of the party, and Joab was electrocuted to death as he had visions of the Ungod of Spiders welcoming him to his-her realm of trickery and mad wisdom. A lightning being emerged from the sphere, which Anaximenes destroyed with magic before the new form of Joab could attempt to communicate with them.

QUICK POST-SESSION NOTES

• Gonna be running this another time today with my sisters and girlfriend, another session report will probably follow shortly after.

• Into the Borderlands is a success so far. I like the implementations of classes and D&D mechanics like alignment, titles, XP for silver and so on, and I get to keep my favorite mechanics from ItO which make combat faster and perhaps more forgiving in the sense that the tactical situation is more transparent for everyone involved.

Into the Borderlands - OD&D + Into the Odd

I love OD&D, and I love Into the Odd, so here's both at once. Here it is.

Features
• Classes like Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, Clerics & Demihumans (and even a Thief, gasp!)
• Level Titles
• XP for Silver
• Traditional Equipment with a few rules adjustments (leather doesn't count, chain/plate are the same)
• Dead simple encumbrance (Bulky items from Electric Bastionland)
• Into the Odd combat ("auto-hit", Critical Damage, Scars - you don't get HP from it though)
• No spell lists cause I'm lazy.

7/2/19

Odd Planet

Odd Planet

Science Fantasy Sword & Planet Post-Apocalyptic Gonzo Weird Fantasy

You know what? I give up. It's a Hack of Into the Odd.

It has psychics, robots, mutants, sun guns, muskets, scimitars and super-tech.

It takes place on post-apocalyptic earth, transformed by the orbital gods.
The World of Dust (actually Poussière) is a strange place. The sun is a gigantic red ball of flame, two moons, one large and blue, one small and green, go around the planet and were always there and totally not created by the gods.
Yep, I think it's Sword & Planet
Boring Rules Stuff 
• I'll be using Electric Bastionland rules (still not out, but there's teasers and such on the Into the Odd Discord) with my own equipment tables (I hate doing these so they're not there just yet). Oh yeah except for the ganging up rules and general damage-related stuff, the reasons why I'm sticking to "classic" Into the Odd can be found at the end of this report).
 
• Psionnics and Sorcery are straight out of Carcosa, no serious conversion effort needed.
• Only Heavy Metal armor provides armor 1, shields aren't too common and take one hand so that can be worth armor 1 too, with both items being Bulky.
Character Generation

For your first character, I recommend you play as an Earth Man, otherwise, roll the dice of your choice:

d4     Most common man-types
d6     Less common man-types
d8     Most man-types
d10    All man-types
d12    All man-types & some weirdoes
d20    All kinds of crazy stuff

Once you’ve rolled or picked your race-as-class, roll your ability scores using 3d6 in order for STR, DEX & CHA (unless specified otherwise), roll 1d6 for your starting HP and record any special abilities or equipment. You also begin with 1d6 Px (Pix/Pixiz, Ur-Dahab coin), no Giri (social currency) and some bartering junk (enough for a night’s rest and some food).

Some Stuff that’s Good to Know
The Races of Men are weirdly colored people with an ambiguous ethnicity (actually a mix of genengineering from the “Gods”) - their skin ranges from pastel to bright, with darker hair of the same color and “technicolor” high contrast eyes and blood. While they are biologically compatible, union between different colors will not result in pregnancies.

With the exception of White Men, Robots, Hippo Men & Giant Telepathic Spiders, all the other races are mutated humans (although few would actually know that in the world of Dust). They all speak some weird, esperanto-like common tongue which Earth people pick up surprisingly fast (about a day among natives is enough to become fluent). 
All races also have their own, more insular languages.



 The Crimson Lands (n°4 on the bigger map)
1. Blue Seeker
Riding lizard (STR 12, DEX 9, 5HP, claws & barbed tail (d8)), bone spear (d6), father's skull
You are a wisdom-seeking, three-eyed, dinosaur rider from the Desert of Spires.

2. Red Warrior
Scimitar & dagger (d6, d8 if paired), sun gun (d6) and giri (social currency)
You are an honorable long haired warrior and protector of Yeghvard.

3. Green Warrior
2d6+6 STR, 2d6 CHA, giant dinosaur tooth (d10, 2H, Bulky)
You are a four-armed cannibal brute of the Skull Jungle.

4. Yellow Noble
Noble's veil & manchettes, obsidian dagger (d6), personal slave
(d4=1-Pink Dancer, 2-Green Brute, 3-Red Yojimbo, 4-Black Assassin)
You are a long-limbed merchant-king and master of Yeghvard.

5. Orange Drone
2d6+6 STR, 2d6+3 CHA, only eat minerals, pickaxe (d6), shovel (d6), clan tattoos
You are a short, stocky, rock eating slave with a deep hatred of individualism.

6. Purple Bard
2d6+6 CHA, d6 random drugs (see Narcosa), nunchakus (d6 or d8 if paired), book of stories
You are a mystical, drug-addicted, hedonistic trickster and itinerant storyteller.

7. Pink Dancer
2d6+6 CHA, 2d6+3 STR, people touching you must restrain themselves to avoid attempting to bed you, prolonged contact forces a CHA save to avoid falling under your influence,
sensual & provoking dresses, hidden shiv (d6)
You are an erotic dancer and artist with an euphoric and hypnotic touch.

8. Black Assassin
Pigments of various colors to disguise yourself into another race, long knife (d8 in your hands, d6 otherwise), attacked against unsuspecting targets bypass HP.
You are a grim follower of the Death Cult of Rajhan, the nomad people of the Nightmare Wastes.

9. White Giant
d12+6 STR, immune to sun-based weaponry, instantly recognize and know how to use most ancient tech, emotionless sociopath.
You are a 10’ tall, hairless, black eyed mute, wielders of ancient technologies.

10. Bone Man Sorcerer 
Darkvision, summoning-name of a ghost, sacrificial dagger (d6) and knowledge of sorcery.
Everything except your skeleton is transparent.
You are a ghost-worshipping, troglodyte, loathed sorcerer of the Depths.

11. Mutant
A member of the ten races of men (roll d10) touched by the Hanma [Gift/Curse].
Some see them as less than human, others believe them to be the Gods’ favorites.
Roll 1d4! -1 (minimum 1 for each roll, explodes on natural 4) mutations from there:


12. Mantis-Man
2d6+6 DEX, whip (d6), barbed net and flintlock pistol (d6).
You are a cruel bounty-hunter and loner who values survival and individualism.

13. Snail-Man
Very slow, start with a business and gang with basic stats.
You are a huge slimy bastard, mercantile ruler of the Silken Conclave.

14. Simian
Translator box, Sun gun (d6), you can easily understand both ancient technology and hypergeometry (although practice of the latter is frowned upon among Simians).
You are a highly advanced and sophisticated (some would say snobbish) ape.

15. Plant-Man
Armor 1, whip vines (d6), taking roots for a day restores all ability scores.
You are a gentle, long-lived, pondering sentient plant.

16. Corvian
Rapier (d6), understand all birds, pet Crow (1 hp, 3 STR).
You are an enigmatic bird-person of the Petrified Forest, you can glide but not fly.

17. Hippo-Men
Sun rifle (d10) or Flintlock pistol (d6) & sabre (d8 in your hands, d6 otherwise), armor 1
You are a gun-loving militaristic mercenary from Outer Space.

18. Robot
d4-1 Armor, 3d6 HP but needs repair instead of Rest, roll a Random Robot or pick details.
You are a machine given thought and will to power. You hate fleshy meatbags.

19. Giant Telepathic Spider
CHA save to read minds (on a fail, they notice your attempt), you’re a giant spider.
You’re a giant telepathic spider from another dimension. You’re stuck here now.

20. Earth Man
Slick Pajamas & sun gun (d6)
You woke up from a deep sleep with no memory of where and when you come from, into a strange and hostile world that seems oddly familiar. You recognize and know how to use most ancient technology in a matter of minutes.

Delta Green #2 - Music from a Darkened Room (part 2) (quickie + update)

Haven't updated the blog in a while now, was focused on IRL stuff.

Session #2 of Delta Green went pretty well, although not a lot happened.

• Some information gathering (played out when I should have just handed out the info!*)
*: the lesson I learned was that unless there is a serious challenge - beyond just being friendly or pulling badge - everything should be summed up and told directly to the players, so that pacing doesn't suffer too much. Procedural crime investigation is more fun on TV because we're constantly seeing stuff that matters either to the investigation or the characters. In RPGs, most of the time you're either looking at stuff that matters to the investigation, or stuff that doesn't. I want to eliminate focus on that latter part, screw realism.

Some interesting information gathering with a big scene around an Alzheimer-stricken kindly old lady who lived in the House on Spooner Avenue - she talked of some italian crone and talked about the (then already deceased) first owner of the house, Isabelle Wheeler. Said she was a whore.
Had a lot of fun playing a character whose general "feel" switched from funny to sad to creepy and then back again to sad in around 15, 20 minutes tops. Somehow managed to not be too cheesy.

• Players met with a friendly asset, a parapsychologist who seems to know what he's talking about. He pushed for an exorcism at night inside the house, and they agreed, that's what we'll play out next game.

I ran a few other things but didn't really see much point in writing session reports for them. I also noticed that the less RPGs I play, the harder it is to get back into them, but once I'm interested again, inspiration flows. I took a break out of IRL needs and to recharge my creative juices, and it seems to have worked.

Next article coming right up to introduce my new Into the Odd thingie - Odd Planet.

5/7/19

Odd Carcosa - Fungoid Gardens of the Bone-Sorcerer

Last sunday on Discord, we played some Carcosa using Into the Odd's rules.
I really wanted to use the adventure in the LotFP edition, which, as it turns out, makes Carcosa a complete "old-school" sourcebook, in my eyes: it has a huge hex map, a smaller packed hex map for one specific hex, and within that hex there is a settlement that can serve as a home base, and a dungeon that hints at deeper levels, begging to be expanded upon.
That dungeon is the Fungoid Gardens of the Bone-Sorcerer.

Who's Who?
Our three heroes survivors are all Blue Men from the same primitive tribe, sent on a quest to retreive precious artifacts that will aid the tribe, or die trying, this is how you earn adulthood in my Carcosa.

• Pastaman played The Grinding Stone of Seasons, or Morkoth - A Lore-Keeper
• Foursticks played Lousy Hyena, a Bone-Crafter
• Lu played Lazuli, a Dino-Rider (sans Dino, sadly)


What Happened?
As an introduction, I explained how the trio had met a bone-men dressed in rich vestments and a plate armor on the road, accompanied by armed men. The party was offered some sort of job opportunity, drinks, and drugs. It turned out to be a trap: the drinks were spiked, the drugs were more potent than expected...something bad happened and they lost consciousness. Then we started the game proper:

• Waking up in a damp cave, with no gear and only their raggedy clothes, the players investigate a hole in the ceiling with light coming from it. Lousy Hyena nearly breaks his ankle trying to climb on his own before Morkoth offers to build a human pyramid, with the light-weight Lazuli on top. The hole leads outside but is too narrow, they'll have to find another way out.

• A giant slug slowly creeps towards the party - Lousy Hyena quickly crafts two make shift bone daggers with some human remains on the floor, Morkoth grabs a big rock, but after some quick thinking the party decides to avoid the slow monster entirely, and it leaves them be, seemingly friendly.

• Exploring the caves, they reach a large area littered on bones - they get on all fours then crawl while staying close to a wall to avoid getting lost in the dark.

• Later, Lousy Hyena notices some ulfire mold growing in a corner of the cave, and decides to grab some, using his loincloth as protection for his hands. He soon realizes the spores and substance are corrosive, and has to throw away his pants. Bats are also noticed in the area, and promptly ignored.

• They then find a small cache with barrels of wine and crates of dried food. Further ahead is a pair of armed and armored ulfire men (chainmails and steel swords!) - neither have noticed the party, so the PCs prepare an ambush, with Lousy Hyena screaming as bait. It works!

• The fights goes well. There's a lot of stabbing, lots of clever manoeuvering (saves!) and nasty hits descriptions. Nobody that matters gets really hurt (only HP loss), one of the men is left to die from the many stabbings he suffered while the other is interrogated (DO NOT SLAY! I WILL INFORM), bound and stuffed in a barrel. The blue men learn that there are two exits: one through the lair of the amphibious ones, and one known only by the bone-sorcerer. They decide they want to pay a visit to that bone dude and maybe pay him back for drugging them with the bad kind of drugs.

• Now that they have steel weapons and armor, they feel much safer exploring and go investigate a fungi forest to the north, that seems filled with strange plants that the lore-keeper recognizes as rye ergot and other plants used in the manufacturing of psychedelics and deliriants, often used by sorcerers to fuel their dream quests and attempt to learn more of the dark arts. There's also a harvester-bot here that casually informs them that disturbing the harvesting process will be harshly punished, but has no qualms about letting them know where the sorcerer is. Following the machine's indications, they cross a lake of jale slime before finding the Sorcerer's "laboratory".

• There, they see a terrible monster, half horse, half scorpion, the sorcerer himself and a sort of semi-conscious, zombie-looking little white girl in a cocoon. A clever plan is devised to bait the Sorcerer out of his lair, but he's less stupid than his followers and catches on, retreating as soon as he notices the ambushers. The party charges towards him to prevent him from releasing his beast or using his laser pistol, and after a short struggle, Morkoth ends up with the gun in his hand and holds "The Cruel Master of the Deep" up with his own weapon. The Master then reveals that if he dies, the monster will go on a rampage and won't be stopped, and lets the party know that he doesn't need them that much - he'll lead them outside in exchange for his life. They agree but require their gear to be surrendered to them too.

• The Master then guides the party out through a maze of smaller trapped and empty caves, followed closely by his Beast and, weirdly enough, by the friendly giant slug, who's taken a liking to the party.
After reaching the outside, Morkoth stays true to his word and lets the Sorcerer go despite his taunts and overall wickedness. The Cruel Master of the Deep leaves them to the scorching white sand of the Blighted Lands, with no food or water, but their lives and artifacts to bring back home, with the universal sign for peace: the index and middle finger raised with the rest of the hand closed.

• Sadly, the giant slug cannot survive in the desert and quickly retreats back to the caves.

That's All Folks!

• I was a bit worried about the game lasting only two hours - although this was a one-shot and the players had simply handled most of the challenges they faced very well, avoiding a lot of trouble.

• There was no mapping, I believe, but navigation wasn't an issue as the map itself isn't too complicated, and it fit what was happening in-fiction as the trio wouldn't have had the tools to make a proper map, let alone take measurements in the caves.

• Into the Odd worked extremely well for bloody and small skirmishes - things were vivid, tactical, and fast. I made some good use of Scars from EB too, although only NPCs got badly hurt. What I'd really like to see in a campaign would be a scarred important NPC that the PC meet later on, so that he can go "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" and fly in a rage or something.

• Man, Death is the New Pink makes me want to run something more gonzo/post-apocalypse than sword & sorcery. Since Geoffrey McKinney has stated that Mutant Future/Gamma World would work great with Carcosa and that "you can't swing a dead cat without stumbling on ancient tech", I'm tempted to run the next potential games on Carcosa using this ItO hack. It has guns and mutations and stuff.