Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Illustrated Ideas for the Arcana of INTO THE ODD

I was reminded of an old computer game called "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura" after my first game of Into the Odd. Some research revealed that I still had the documentation, and dozens of Arcana ideas were found. Here are the first of many that provided inspiration, re-imagined for Into the Odd.

First, let us contemplate the Key Principles of Arcana:
1. They do new things.  
2. They encourage creative and risky use.
3. They aren't something you'd want to use all the time.

Turns out the Key Principles, like all Key Principles, aren't so easy to follow. I did my best but if you have suggestions for improvement, please let me know by Comment, Email, Private Message, Sky-Writing or Teletype.

One last thing, a reminder from The Rules Themselves:  "Characters that are open about the Arcana they carry will find themselves the target of collectors, thieves and con artists."  You have been warned.



Chapeau of Magnetic Inversion

The Chapeau combines a top hat and an electrical coil to create a strong magnetic field. Bullets, fragments, arrows and blades that are made of iron or steel are rerouted away from the wearer when it is activated. Care must be taken around magnetic items of the wearer and his party; horrific consequences may also occur if used near someone who has been tattooed with iron-based ink.

+1 Armor vs bullets, pellets, arrows, darts, fragmentation, blades.


Illus by Stephen Beat

The Aether Bombast combines technology and arcane forces to create a formidable weapon.  An intensely hot "bolt" of pressurized plasma is fired from a compression cylinder; it can be fired out to great distance, and very accurately. The effect on organic matter is horrific, and the damage it can do to synthetic materials is impressive. Rate of fire is very slow, maintenance on the device is virtually impossible, and it should be used with care on airships and water craft. It should never be fired in a submarine unless self-destruction is the goal.

Heavy Gun (two hands), d12 damage. Cannot move and fire. Flashbang effect on those not wearing eye protection when fired. Sets target alight, d6 damage for 1d3 rounds. Burns through most materials.



The Mechanized Arachnid is roughly the size of a dog when extended and active, but folds into a small compact shape for ease of transport.  It has "large extendible claws to aid in subduing any opponents" but it can also be used to carry small items (such as healing salves or timed explosives), recover small items that are out of reach, and map areas that are currently unreachable or too dangerous for one to map oneself.  The claws are extremely sharp and the Arachnid can get red-hot from the pressure of its miniature steam engine if left activated for too long, so care must be taken around animals and children. It vents steam, and while it is not a loud device, neither is it quiet.

STR: 12, HP 10, Fast, d6 damage. Can Scurry up steep inclines and through small holes. What the Arachnid sees, the owner can see IN THEIR MIND.



The Necromizer taps into dark powers beyond the edge of our understanding and combines that with galvanic technology to raise the very recently dead and compel them to fight mindlessly by your side. This is especially useful when you are the last one standing, but can be helpful if even one or two of your party has fallen in combat.

The Fighting Dead will mill around aimlessly for a few minutes after the fight is over, and that is when they must be dispatched with bullets to the head or machetes to the neck. Otherwise an odd light will appear in their eyes, they will assume disturbing facial dispositions that imply evil cunning, and they will try to maim you and kill you, in that order.

Dogs tend to bark at people carrying a Necromizer on them, milk tends to spoil around the Necromizer, and babies are sometimes born with very sharp teeth if the mother has been in contact with the device.

STR 10, HP 6, damage as per weapon or d4 strangling/clawing. Frightening to behold and vomit-inducing to EVERYONE (except the owner of the Necromizer) as they have invariably soiled themselves upon violent death and are likely to be trailing intestines or brain matter.