Into The Odd

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I think I have talked about Chris McDowall’s Into the Odd on Stargazer’s World already. It’s a very cool fantasy game with horror and sci-fi elements that is reminiscent of OD&D.

But instead of focusing on combat and treasure it is all about exploration of strange places and weird magic no one understands.

Chris has run the game for me and a few others several times now and it already ranks as one of my favorite games. The tone of the game is different from most others I’ve played so far. While playing the game I never felt my character was safe. Behind every corner death could lurk – or something worse than that.

And the powerful arcana (Magic artifacts that provide spell-like abilities) my character wielded could as easily kill me as they helped me to overcome the weird obstables we encountered.

Into the Odd is a welcome change of pace, especially when you’re fed up with killing things and grabbing their loot. Chris recently created a nice PDF that contains the current draft of the rules and which also includes “The Iron Coral”. Enjoy!

First impression: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying cover Yesterday the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game by Margaret Weis Production has been released in PDF form. I’ve been looking forward to this game for a while, mostly because I heard good things about the Cortex+ System. I also have a soft spot for all kinds of superhero games (even though I never actually played one) and I enjoyed most of the recent Marvel super hero movies tremendously, so I had to pick it up.

The 232-paged PDF is reasonably priced at $12.99 especially for a licensed product and overall it looks great. The artwork and layout are top notch and it’s fun just to leaf through the book.

The rules are something you need to get used to. At least I had some trouble understanding how things are supposed to work. The core mechanic involves assembling a dice pool from various sources, like your characters abilities, powers, gear etc.
Sounds easy enough, don’t you think? But how you read the roll result is a bit more complicated matter. And on top of that you can use plot points to influence the results even more.

But once you’ve wrapped your head around the mechanic, I think Marvel Heroic Roleplaying can be a very fast-paced and freeform experience. Aside from the rules it contains a starter adventure (which they call an “Event”) and datafiles for a few iconic Marvel super heroes (like Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, etc.).

What irks me a bit are two things:

  1. The softcover edition of the book will be available in the US and Canada only. From what I’ve heard that’s because of some licensing issues. I really hope MWP will find a way to release it in the rest of the world, too. It would be a shame if the international fans are limited to the PDF version only.
  2. The game clearly focuses on playing the well-known heroes from the comics. Of course, there are guidelines for creating your own characters, but they are a bit vague and feel a bit like an afterthought.

Aside from that the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying looks pretty interesting. If you’re a fan of super hero roleplaying games, you should definitely give it a look, especially if you liked the other Cortex+ games by MWP.

The games I played …

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book_pile Recently someone asked me to list all the games I’ve played or run over the years. It actually took me a while to remember all (or at least most of them) and today I decided I should share the list with you guys:

TORG, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying, Shadowrun, Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Trinity, AD&D 2nd Edition, D&D 3.0/3.5, D&D 4E, GURPS, Dungeonslayers, WR&M, Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, Savage Worlds, Rolemaster, Space Gothic, “Plüsch, Power & Plunder”, Traveller, RIFTS, Call of Cthulhu, Chill, Das Schwarze Auge, “Shadow, Sword & Spell”, Microlite20, Earthdawn, Mutant Chronicles, Star Wars (both the WEG d6 one and the ones by WotC), Mechwarrior 2nd Edition, Starblazer Adventures, Fudge, PDQ, PDQ#, Swords & Wizardry, Into the Odd, Trail of Cthulhu, X-Plorers, Deadlands, Tales of the Floating Vagabond, Talislanta

I also own a lot more games than I actually played and I still keep collecting more games. I think I am not only a gamer but also a collector of sorts. Some games I pick up because I am interested in the campaign world presented within or to check out the mechanics. Heck, I’ve even bought games because I thought the artwork was nice.

So, why did I post the list here? Not necessarily for bragging about it. But the list contains a few games you might not have heard about yet, or some old gem you haven’t thought about a while. Even if it just inspires you to think about all the games you’ve played, my efforts were worth it. 🙂

Update: The games in bold are available for free!

A Roleplaying Games blog