Agents of the O.D.D. now out in the field

Late last night, I uploaded my Cryptid Jam submission, Agents of the O.D.D., a game of (paranormal) paranormal investigators. The implied setting is something of a mashup of Hellboy, Planetary, and The Laundry Files, with rules based on Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland. It’s got 100 agent profiles, 20 arcane objects, 1 short scenario (with more on the way in a future update), advice for refereeing and play, and just enough hints of implied setting to get you up and running.

The game’s fully playable as-is, but I’m listing it as “In Development” until I take care of a bunch of outstanding details, as explained in a devlog post on Itch.io. Most notably, I’ll be adding some scenarios I already have in mind, writing up more arcana, and playtesting next weekend at Metatopia.

I’m very excited to finally get this thing out into the world. The vast majority of the writing (and all of the graphic design) came together last month, per the Cryptid Jam guidelines, but the idea goes back much further. I’ve been taking notes on this Into-the-Odd-based approach since March of last year, and the core ideas for the game date all the way back to 2001. That’s when reading a whole bunch of Hellboy comics got me thinking: “What if the quasi-governmental outfit investigating the paranormal were also a pretty shady global conspiracy? Also, can I get some more aliens and a weirdo in a domino mask in there somewhere?” Well, friends, here is your answer.

Agents represents a few significant milestones for me. It may well be the longest development time for any project I’ve worked on. Perhaps fittingly, it’s certainly the longest tabletop game I’ve ever designed by far, clocking in over 40 pages (so far). It’s also the first time I’ve really put significant effort into the art in a game—probably not too surprising, as you can only fit so much in my usual 1-4 page format, and there’s only so much you can do with a $0 art budget. This time, I made a handful of collages; maybe the next game will be when I finally figure out how to draw as competently with an Apple Pencil as I used to be able to do with a real pencil.

In addition, beyond creative milestones, this also the first tabletop game I’ve made with a price tag. Please drop by even if you want a free copy—I’m currently giving one away for every copy I sell, copying Dee Pennyway’s “community copies” approach for Mnemomic. I figured it was a good time to experiment with actual sales, though, given this game’s length, and what I hope will prove to be somewhat respectable production values (especially after I get in some hyperlinks, make some art corrections, and optimize the images for faster loading). This is still very much a hobby for me, though, so don’t feel like you’re taking food out of my mouth if you take one of those community copies. I’d rather you read my game than not.

If you happen to run or play any of my games, you will absolutely make my day if you get in touch just to let me know that you played it, even if that’s all you feel like sharing. You’ll make my week if you tell me anything at all about how it went. The game’s still in development as of this writing, after all, so even the harshest criticism would be extremely valuable to me. But with 100 different profiles, I sure hope you can find at least one that interests you. Haven’t you always wanted to be in two places at once, or a shapeshifting badger-person, or Roger Bacon’s brazen head? If so, head on over to Itch, pick up Agents of the O.D.D., and turn to page 10.

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