Great session of Agents of the O.D.D. with Fever Swamp last night. Reminded me of what I love about a certain style of play that Into the Odd & its descendants are great at: open-ended problem solving with dubiously useful resources. (Short thread follows....)


The previous session had ended with the PCs stranded on a patch of dry earth in a swamp where touching the water ruins serious risk of horrific disease. They heard signs that the water was full of sunken boats, but still let monsters sink their boat while their backs were turned.

It occurred to me they might use their satellite phones to call for help, but that would be costly: the agency wants you to be self sufficient, and they were on a clock. They discussed it, but decided not to. Instead, they did something I didn’t expect.

One PC, a mutant alligator from the sewer, is immune to the swamp water’s effects. She took what I had feared to be the weakest magic item in the game—a really long, lightweight, unbreakable rope—and tied it around the wrecks of boats so they could pull in enough to fix theirs.

That PC also saved all their butts later in aquatic combat with hungry spirits that pulled half the team overboard—despite my earlier fears that an anthropomorphic alligator would be a cruddy character in a modern paranormal horror game.

Another PC rescued a friend from the water with her extra chain-arm, which i had feared was underpowered as a glorified grappling hook. She also used it to nab a priceless artifact from a trapped room that I saw no clear way to overcome without someone dying.

In short, I need not worry about about “balance,” or even obvious utility, and just try to include a variety interesting tools and options that players have enough to work with. They’ll do the rest. They’ll feel brilliant, and I’ll be amazed, and fun will be had by all. </thread>

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