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Josh Gregal
"...okay. You successfully craft a fishing lure out of skeleton pubes"
"...okay. You successfully craft a fishing lure out of skeleton pubes"


I've been working on a sandbox-y investigative adventure off and on for over a year now with the ultimate goal of putting it together as a free PDF. Into the Odd has always felt a little like Call of Cthulhu to me, so with this adventure I wanted to try to capture the spirit of all those scenarios I played and ran over the years.

 I finally got enough down to feel comfortable running a session of it over the weekend, and I'm happy to report that two moments felt like the most CoC things I've ever experienced outside of CoC: First, the regret the group felt when they realized the suspect they went very hard at was an innocent red herring. Second, when the hermit crab/squid creature that builds miniature mucus cities on corpses and is mostly invisible because its shell exists in another dimension dropped down on Augosta Shark, whispered "have you seen the city?" and then bit off her head. And they haven't even set foot in the underground yet!

I know a lot of GM's use Evernote--I just got an email from them stating free users will soon only be able access their accounts from only two devices (or types of devices, wasn't clear on that.) I've been using the service for over three years on my iPhone, PC, and kindle fire at and away from the table, and losing one of those three ways will change a lot for me. I like the service a lot and would probably subscribe if I was in a better financial place, but that's not an option right now.

Has anyone migrated from Evernote to another note-taking program, and if so how does it compare? I tend to use it to jot down ideas while commuting or at work, use it on my laptop to write notes for upcoming sessions or background campaign info, and use it at the table to reference notes quickly. The ability to work on something across several devices is absolutely essential to how I prep and run my games. Next to my brain Evernote's probably the single most concentrated source of campaign info I've got, so naturally I need to figure something out!

UPDATE: Just looked at the monthly fee for the lowest-tier paid service and it's cheaper than I originally thought. That said, I'd still like to hear from everyone!

I'm statting up a former ally of the party who fell into another world, spent 15 years there plundering the secrets of a long-dead civilization of magic users, and returned having only spent a week of his world's time gone. After dying once and getting resurrected, he is terrified of what he saw on the other side. As a result, he is now a level 9 magic user hell-bent on lichdom with the disembodied spirit of a powerful dracolich as a secret patron...however, he's still scared of death, despite all his power, so he's keeping his goal as much of a secret as possible.

I have some ideas, but what equipment would you give this gentleman if he was in your game? Equally happy with existing equipment out there in the OSR world or just ideas I can stat up myself!

Anyone have any wilderness encounter tables they're really fond of? I'm prepping for an upcoming session and want to throw in a few random elements.

I ran a one-shot using the one page rules tonight. It was my second time using it, and it played out very differently than the last time. It's absolutely ingenious because each entry is vague enough that you can run it differently each time. To fill in the gaps I found myself rolling on tables from the rule book and the Oddpendium, mixing in some of my own creations, and improvising based on whatever felt right in the moment. It turned out great.

The party, recently out of work after a gibberish-screaming purple cloud descended on the fish cannery where they earned a living, overheard some adventurers discussing an entrance to the underground they planned to explore in a few days. The party decided to beat them to the punch and go immediately. In search of arcana or anything remotely valuable, they headed off.

Below they found an lost a lamplighter lad after getting him to examine a vault where a ghost relived its head explosion again and again, met and then scared off a friendly shape shifting mutant who was really bummed they got the lamplighter killed, accidentally electrocuted the lake full of lying fish after dragging a menacing giant metal skeleton into it, and found a fighting pit where a weird squid-crab that partially existed in another dimension made tiny mucous cities on corpses. They found some arcana and some expensive-looking and masterfully-rendered images of grotesque beings engaged in nasty acts before they found a way back topside. Above, the vengeful ghost of the lamplighter showed up in time to make the head of a PC explode after a failed DEX roll. (He told them it would happen if they got him killed and the amoral bastards didn't pay attention.)

I'm still working on a more structured investigative adventure for Into the Odd, but after tonight I'm contemplating using the one page edition's structure to write up my own tables to run more games on the fly. I am continually impressed at how well this game balances simplicity with depth. I'm absolutely hooked. 

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Does anyone use mind-mapping software to keep track of their campaigns?

I tend to be a little bit scatterbrained, and at this point my campaign has been running for 3+ years. That's a lot of stuff to keep track of. I recently started messing around with Mindmup and made nodes for every major(ish) thread I've introduced so far. Seeing it all there on one page in non-list form is great, I feel way more on top of everything. It seems like it could be a great tool to use long-term, as well. As we all know,  players have a penchant for going with Z when you expect them to go with A, B, or C, so it's really easy to delete or move something and add something new.

I'm still playing with the layout and will probably redo this one--"Olga's House" is where they were when I created the map, so I think I need to make each separate thread a parent node and make attached child nodes for the events that follow.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what people have done with tools like these!

I'm working on some stuff for my campaign that could potentially open the door to a little world-hopping. Now I'm eyeing up all the non-fantasy RPGs on my shelf and thinking about what I can use...anyone have any stories of porting over non-fantasy adventures into your fantasy games?

When a player encounters an Arcanum, how do you let them figure out how it works? I tried leaving it up to experimentation initially, but some Arcanum are so specific they may never figure out how they work, and that seems like no fun.

Lately I've been letting them make a WIL save with a success translating to an innate knowledge of how to use the Arcanum. Works okay, but I'm casting about for something I like more aside from seeding ways for them to find out in the actual session. Am I overthinking this, should they just know the second they pick it up?

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I'm toying with the idea of letting non-magical characters cast spells via rituals, which in turn could provide some solid adventure ideas if played right.
On Ritual Magic for Non-Magic Users
On Ritual Magic for Non-Magic Users

Post has shared content
I'm toying with the idea of letting non-magical characters cast spells via rituals, which in turn could provide some solid adventure ideas if played right.
On Ritual Magic for Non-Magic Users
On Ritual Magic for Non-Magic Users
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