Sunday, March 22, 2015

Into the Odd Islands

Shortly after my copy of Into the Odd arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement of a pick-up game for the system over Google Hangout. I jumped at the chance and was joined by two others, one of whom had worked on the book and created some of my favorite illustrations--Kamil Wegrzynowiz. God I hope I spelled that right.

One of the many things I love about Into the Odd is that the setting is an idea, a feeling. It's not locked into a time or space, and although it's traditionally played with a tech level that varies between 17th and early 20th century, our GM for this game had pushed it farther into the 1930s. And with a more North American feel to the people and the architecture, which was also interesting.

Levels exist in Into the Odd, and I was allowed to use a character I'd used before, meaning that he was no longer a Novice but a Professional. Broke in terms of cash, Vargas is loaded in terms of weapons and Arcana.

Kamil played Quinn Parfait, a Novice who came equipped with a pick-ax and a set of manacles. I was never sure if he'd recently busted out of a chain gang, spent time as a slave, or was perhaps an underworld bounty-hunter. His Chilling Cloud Arcana caused us some problems, but I tell you what: his quick-thinking and pick-ax proved useful.

Ben played the lovely but modestly-dressed Eloise; also a Professional, armed to the teeth (machineguns!) and holding some Arcana herself. Eloise proved to be very charismatic and more than willing to use her mental and physical charms on the easily manipulated.

We had to pay a little extra to get the captain of a little boat to take us over to the Tavek Islands, because nobody wants to go there. The islands are way out in the Deep Country and known for lousy weather and marshy land. But the weather was decent when we arrived, and we were immediately greeted by an old, wheelchair-bound, shotgun-toting Elder with a posse of bodyguards.

While I questioned Elder Glenda about locations of interest on the islands, Eloise walked over to the bar, Stella's Bar and Boarding House. Her goal was to gather up some intern-hirelings to accompany us, but it was slim pickings. Eventually she made an impression on a young kid, who talked like he read too much fantasy or lived in a ren-faire.  His name was Billy, but she gave him a saber and that became his Adventuring Name: Saber! His voice reminded me of Amy Sedaris, which cracked me up.

In the meantime I'd discovered that the town had a sort of local deity, Marsh Man, and that there was a derelict ship we could investigate, as well as the mansion of what used to be the wealthiest family in town. That sounded promising from a cash-looting perspective, so off we went.

The Belgott Estate, mysterious figurine, skull with butler's cap.

The mansion had a very Gothic, haunted-house feeling to it that I greatly enjoyed. We liberated a locket with a picture of Stella (of Stella's Bar) and a bunch of fine china which we piled into a Bedroll TreasureSack(tm), quickly reducing value of said china. Then we came upon a filthy den of Lynxes which attacked us and nearly killed "Saber", so we had to kill them all which felt a little like killing cats. That bothered me some but didn't seem to bother Eloise at all as she gleefully machine-gunned down the whole cat-family.

We came upon a bedroom that was eerily clean and intact but when Saber walked in, the door tried to swing shut! Only Quinn thought to jam the door, which he did with his pick-ax. That might have saved Saber, as the room went nuts and it became apparent there was a poltergeist in there. However we weren't afraid of no ghost, and after it quieted down we got Saber and looted the room. That's when we found desiccated bodies in the closets, and the red butler cap that we convinced Saber to wear.

Additional weird loot included a small marble-grey stone sphere, baseball sized, which was clearly Arcana but we couldn't figure out, and a sketch-book journal full of disturbing drawings which had belonged to Sam Belgott.

The biggest problem we ran into was a statue that we found in a dry bathtub. Quinn deduced it was Arcana and tried to connect with it, but the entity inside it was very strong and very malicious. It took control of him and he immediately used his Chilling Cloud to encase Saber in ice. I used my Bone-Magnet to try to pull Quinn towards me and knock the statue out of his hand, but he resisted and I failed. Eloise saved us all by knocking Quinn to the ground and pulling the statue away from him. Into the treasure-sack it went. We used a torch to melt Saber out of his ice-shell.

Our return to town was bittersweet, for though we were able to sell some of our lootings for good cash and were promised Free Drinks Forever by Stella for giving her the locket we found, the townsfolk and parents of Billy were full-on angry at us for bringing him along and nearly getting him killed. Even though he was easily Most Improved Character and had discovered his own inner strength! I sweet-talked Elder Glenda and she agreed not to banish us from town, but they were staring daggers at us.

Felt a twinge of concern at selling the Malicious and Powerful statuette to merchants who will be taking it to Bastion, but a shilling is a shilling. 

*Future exploring companies can find us camped out at Stella's.*