Three figures hurry through the nighttime streets of Burthen's warehouse district, scurrying from one pool of gaslight to the next.
"Why did we ever agree to this?" asks one.
"Have we any choice?" responds another.
"Ssshhh!" scolds the third. "We oughtn't discuss this out-of-doors. He has spies everywhere."
"Agreed," says the first, looking at a scrap of paper upon which an address has been written in a spidery hand. "And we shouldn't discuss this in front of the help. Speaking of which, this is the address."
They ascend a soot-stained staircase at the front of an old, crumbling brick warehouse, and rap soundly upon the front door.
[And thus, my next three PCs begin their Into the Odd sandbox adventure. As I mentioned in the last post, I've made a few improvements to the sandbox table.
Movement points & costs remain unchanged:
6 Movement Points per day.
mushroom forest & swamp: 2mp/hex
broken lands & mountains: 3mp/hex
There is still a 1-in-6 chance per hex of an encounter. Each new hex explored requires a 1d30 roll to determine its contents, on a more sensible table than the last:
16 single dwelling
More importantly, I've created Mission and Compensation tables. These will be fleshed out with sub-tables as I get to them. For now, variables will be pulled out of random picture folders or rolled for.
1. find place X
2. take item X to place Y
3. bring me the head of person X
4. get me arcanum X from place Y
5. accompany person X to place Y
6. hunting party
Notes: Places are a random hex on the map; currently unexplored places will automatically have a feature of some kind (roll 1d12+15 on the feature table). Persons may or may not be human. A hunting party is 50% likely to be a hunt for a fantastic beast. The other 50% of the time, the hunting party is chasing after you, Most Dangerous Game style (in which case, no reward is offered).
Post-TPK rule: If your new party roll the same mission as the expedition that was just lost, they are hired to complete the failed quest. Assume 1d6 weeks have elapsed.
So, what mission did my new PCs get?
1d6=2; well, then...
1d6=5 weeks have passed
1. 2d6 shillings each
2. 1d4 guilders (total)
3. one-use arcanum (each)
4. stock tips
5. owed a favour
6. do it or else
1d6=6; the mysterious employer is certainly a being to be reckoned with.
At some point I will detail the Leaders and their Organisations, but for now I'm just pulling portratits that I've done up earlier out of a folder.
I think three PCs is a good number, but since the last lot of explorers didn't do so well, I'm using the Companions rule to bring the party up to six.
Companions: For small player groups, each player may create one or more companions. Roll their Ability Scores in order and give them 1 hp and a sword." (Into the Odd, p.4)
But lest one think these are nameless, faceless damage-sponges...]
In the back of the painter's warehouse-district studio, Severin slumps down on a settee and heaves a great sigh, drowning out for a moment the hiss of the gas lamps. "I said," he asks, "how much longer until you're finished?"
"One cannot rush Art," replies Gregor without even looking up from his canvas.
"Quite. Only we've already spent your entire commission for that painting, and we're out of money. I spent the last on cigarettes this morning."
"That was the last of our capital?" asks Wanda, throwing her hands up in frustration. "Why, oh why, dear Severin, didn't you at least buy good ones?"
"Wanda, be still!" growls Gregor. "I can't get the folds of your skirt right if you keep moving!"
"You both realise what this means?" continues Severin.
"Oh bother," says Wanda, pouting.
"I can get another commission," says Gregor, "providing you two stop ruining this painting."
"Gregor, dahling," says Wanda, "after that débâcle last season, you were damned lucky to get even this one. Or have you forgotten?"
"Is it my fault if the philistines of this pitiful little town weren't ready for my 'Erysichthon at table'. If I could show in Bastion..."
"Dear Gregor," says Severin, "the whole reason we left Bastion in the first place was to escape the uproar over your 'Thyestes asks for seconds'. Or had you forgotten?"
"Poor Gregor," teases Wanda, "your genius shall be unappreciated in your lifetime!"
"Well, then, I suppose we must count ourselves lucky that we have a career to fall back on."
"I'm glad we're all agreed," says Severin. "Mercenary work it is, then."
"Ugh! mercenary work," sighs Wanda.
"Severin, old chap, if you're finished smoking away the last of our riches, perhaps you'd like to get off your arse and find our swords. They're in here somewhere... I think with the costumes you wore for my 'Procne and Tereus'."
STR 11, DEX 12, WIL 14, 1 HP
STR 14, DEX 12, WIL 6, 1 HP
STR 6, DEX 8, WIL 6, 1 HP
Just then comes a rapping at the door. "Since I was getting up anyways..." mutters Severin, rising from the settee.
"I wonder who it could be?" muses Wanda. "If we're just now out of money, it's too soon to be creditors..."
Severin disappears into the foyer for a few moments, then returns with the three new arrivals in tow. "I'm afraid it's worse than creditors, dear Wanda; it's my friends from Bastion, bearing a missive from -- well, you can guess who from. I'd better get those swords. We're going to need them presently."
"Are we to go with them into the Deep Country?" asks Gregor without turning round.
"Oh, dear Gregor," says Wanda, "if you'd but look at them, you'd not need to ask such a question!"
Gregor finally puts aside his brushes and turns about to see the callers. "My god, Severin" says he, "these are your friends from Bastion? What fresh nightmare have you gotten us into?"
And this is who he saw:
When Randeep Khartoor was thirty she lost the key of the gate of dreams.
STR 11, DEX 14, WIL 15, 6 HP
pistol (d6), knife (d6), bomb (d12), saw
He could not traverse the gates of ivory or of horn which separate us
from the unseen world without a shudder.
STR 13, DEX 16, WIL 9, 5 HP
pistol (d6), acid, animal repellent, prosthetic hand
And no dream is fully a dream.
STR 11, DEX 5, WIL 8, 2 HP
hatchet (d6), pistol (d6), bolt cutters, red-oil stave
Next post : the adventure commences anew !