Mushrooms Elves Doom - An Into the Odd Session Report

Yesterday, we played some Into the Odd (no EB rules this time) with heavy use of the Maze Rats tables (all of the chargen tables, and most of my prep also made use of these).

Players & Their Dudes
• Elfstar played Elfstar, a book peddler with some elfin blood in her lineage, giving her darkvision.
• Sotto played Pujo, a scheming, "practical" counterfeiter
• Jack played Zinbiel, a grizzled headsman
• Foursticks played Emmet Volfhole, a gambler with a blunderbuss.
• And Lu played Elina, her mercenary character from the Barrowmaze campaign.

The PCs were all debtors for Traxian & Shift Corporation, which you may be familiar with if you've followed the Barrowmaze campaign reports. If not - they're your run-of-the-mill evil overlords from Bastion, except really into alternate dimensions and weird science. So T&T sent the PCs into the Brackenwoods to find some "portal", left them with a strange useless rod and bam, that's it, go adventure already!

What Happened
• The party followed a trail of wild flowers and found a rotting cabin, where a man named Dingo Wakabashi, follower of the God-Head of Reason, who went into the woods looking for a magical lodestone that he saw in a vision. The party quickly befriends him and his goons, and they decide to team up. Exploring more of the cabin reveals a strange vine-person covered in purple flowers, apparently hostile, which they eventually leave to its own devices.

About an hour later, they find Dingo again, talking with a blue hooded boy with a strange dagger in his belt. He's looking for the elves, hoping that they will cure his grandma's disease in exchange for his magical dagger, which flies towards any target you whisper the name of. The party may or may have not considered stealing the dagger from the child, discussed - at length - how to help or profit from this situation, and eventually scared him off and lost him to the woods. Moving on.

• Wanderer's Pass is the next stop - a tinker's shop and an ale house on the side of the road. A tall, green-faced man with a fake mustache, nose and glasses welcomes them to the ale house. When a party member decides to go speak to the tinkerer, the mustached man rushes past him, gets inside, makes some noises and disappears, leaving another tall man with another ridiculous disguise introducing himself as Bob the Person in his wake. He sells clocks and watches, and gives some directions to the party. He also tries to steal a guilder from Elina and runs out the window. Behind the building, the party finds the first guy with the moustache and glasses, beat him up, and discover that Bob the Person and the Mysterious Ale House Dude are actually Three Goblins. They shoot the right one in the back and get the coin back, then decide to patch him up, because they're good guys.

• They follow a secret path of blue stones up north, looking for a dry river where a "door to terror" might be found. First stop is a mind-bending Obelisk that nearly kills the now heavily drunk Emmet, who has to crawl near the thing as he feels his head is going to explode from some psychic waves, but when he touches it it crumbles into dust and stops hurting.

• A bit later, the party is ambushed by horrible, white-skinned, white haired, white eyed elves who quickly turn hostile after some attempts at negociations through beer sharing. The combat itself I didn't find very entertaining - 5 players is a bit much for ItO, and they had 4 NPC allies with them. Plus, I didn't get to use the Crit Damage of these elves - which was they would force themselves inside your mouth and wear your skin like a marionette from within. They won, though, and took a prisoner which was very agressive and rude, but talking to him, they figured out that the mushroom men upriver were enemies of the elves, and that destroying the obelisk helped them (the mushrooms). The elf agreed to lead them to the Ravenous Hollow, the "door to terror" and home of the Mycelium Hive-Mind, and flipped them off when he ran off after they let him go.

It was time to stop so we quickly wrapped things up: with the obelisk destroyed, the mushroom men would be unstoppable and soon conquer the world. They asked the PCs to lead them to their leaders, which they gladly accepted - seeing as they were here because of their debt to the Company in the first place. So they doomed the world, and beat the system. Good end.

Some Thoughts
All the players contributed with some great roleplaying, albeit the random encounters didn't really provide for any difficult challenge to overcome, so the game was mostly talking with some exploring, if you exclude the murdering at the end. The thing is, the combat was probably the most boring part of the game as I mentioned earlier - too many participants involved and tiredness on my part led to a very dull in-fiction scene, at least in my head. Made me want to use OD&D or Maze Rats instead.

We had some pacing issues, most likely due to different agendas at play - nothing too serious but maybe everyone involved had a slightly different idea on what they'd like to be curious about. Another interesting point that was made in the debrief was that the clear objective of "go find a portal to pay off your debt" actually made the typical adventuring mode of "go check out whatever you find that holds your attention" seem like a waste of time, when it was the intended mode of operation for the whole crawl.

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