On a mission from O.D.D.

For my new playtest of Agents of the O.D.D., I’m running a series of one-shots and short arcs, linked into a campaign. Some of that is my own material (like the intro adventure from the currently available edition of Agents), but most of it is adapted from published adventures, including several from Michael Prescott’s excellent Trilemma Adventures Compendium. I figured I might as well share my conversion notes here for others interested in suggestions for an Agents of the O.D.D. campaign, GMs looking for adventures for Into the Odd or Electric Bastionland, and/or anyone who wants to update some D&Dish fantasy scenarios them for a modern, paranormal/occult setting.

By default, unless otherwise specified, every creature has 10 in every ability, 3 HP, and 0 armor. Most weapons do d6 damage; bulky ones usually do d8. In each case, the hook was either “investigate local reports of weirdness” (missing people or animals, strange sightings, etc.) or “investigate a vision passed along by agency psychics” (a big plus to having a paranormal patron organization). Most adventures here have some kind of giants and/or mind control to fit into a campaign framework I set up (occult-scientists who’ve seen too many kaiju movies are trying to enslave giants to pit against otherworldly horrors!), but they all make fine one-shots.

The Coming of Sorg

Original system-neutral adventure by Michael Prescott. I replaced Sorg with Beelzebub (often referred to as the demon of gluttony) and Deel with Baalat (a common feminine derivation of the deity Baal’s name). The PCs were sent in response to reports of strange creatures surrounding an ancient ruin in Syria (which does feature a temple to Bel, a.k.a. Baal, though you could arguably place this in Lebanon, Israel, or Jordan, as other places where Baal or variants would have been worshiped). Creatures included:

  • Myen the Butcher: 6 HP, d6 cleaver. Crew of 15 heretics is untrained, impairing most of their attacks.
  • Defiled Flow emanation: Giant, climbing fish, 1 armor, 10 HP, d8 bite does an extra die of poison damage if it damages STR. On crit damage, it swallows you whole.
  • High Temple emanation: Rhino-sized larva, slow, 15 STR, 1 armor, 6 HP, d6 blast bile spray, protected by 11 acolytes (devoted, but weaponless and deprived—0 HP, attacks impaired).
  • Toothy intestine emanation: d6 squeeze, swallow on critical damage.
  • Air leech swarm emanation: Non-blast attacks against them are impaired until they latch onto you.
  • Copulating gargoyles emanation: d6 claws, 1 armor.
  • Acidic jelly emanation: d6/round enveloping, must be washed off.

Circle of Wolves

Original system-neutral adventure by Michael Prescott. I placed the adventure in England, and told the players they were there to investigate local werewolf sightings. I replaced the cult of “Believers” with a neopagan group on a retreat, comprised of a mix of friendly innocents and would-be occultists. In place of the original group of outsiders showing up to kill everyone marked by the werewolf (the Vinteralf), I had some rogue agents—including a contact of the PCs’ from a previous adventure—guided there by a vision, hoping to prevent a great calamity. The PCs’ patron organization, meanwhile, expected them to help “disappear” anybody dabbling in the occult. I started the PCs with their choice of silver bullets or silver blades because the O.D.D. thought they were heading off for a run-of-the-mill werewolf.

  • Wolf spirit: 12 STR, 12 DEX, 12 WIL, 6 HP, d8 bite. If it deals you STR damage, it gives you a wolf mark that allows it to possess you. If it deals you critical damage, it tears off a limb. If it takes critical damage or drops to 0 STR, its host transforms back, and attackers have 1 round to finish the job with a silver weapon before it jumps to the next host.
  • Patty: Rogue agent, a bigfoot in a long coat, carrying a pistol.
  • Prashant: Rogue agent, can erase a few minutes of memory by touching the head of someone who isn’t resisting; carrying a Babel phrasebook.
  • Merriweather: Rogue agent, gets visions; carrying a paste that can be spread on someone to block divination and supernatural detection.
  • Schubert: Rogue agent, a goat-man and former hermit with a ring of invisibility that must be held in the mouth to be used. Senses a kindred soul in the hermit appointed guardian of this area.

The Unmended Way

Original system-neutral adventure by Michael Prescott. The PCs were sent to investigate the disappearance and return of a local official; people have been disappearing for generations, but this time, the “pressers” accidentally stole someone wealthy and powerful. The scenario could take place anywhere in the modern world with mist-shrouded mountaintops (to explain why helicopters had never noticed that there’s a fortress up there). I changed the obelisk on top of the mountains to detail an ancient pact between the giants and humanity to stand against the unseelie faerie, or “the People of Winter” (as a connection to the ongoing story arc). The PCs were able to decipher this by texting photos to their contacts in the O.D.D. If you use this for Agents of the O.D.D., the crucial thing to remember is that the O.D.D. is likely to want to round up the giants and either terminate or take over their tea-making operation; it’s up to the PCs to decide who they trust to do this more. (Mine chose the O.D.D.)

  • Pressers: Default stats and d6 daggers.
  • Giants: 16 STR, d8 (bulky) weapons.

The Man from Before

Original system-neutral adventure by Michael Prescott. This is the kind of thing that makes sense to just stumble upon in a sandbox campaign, but it’s trickier to justify it in a mission-based framework. You could have agents investigate reports of magic-users learning from the giant in the cave, but I wanted something more urgent for campaign purposes, so my agents were following up on a psychic vision of something that could destroy the world. The big difference: In my version, the antediluvian giant was slowly going senile, and periodically considering just leaving his cave, forgetting that this could unleash world-ending horrors.

  • Nibolcus: My players didn’t try to attack him, but if yours decide they need to kill a giant wizard who’s already broken into pieces, default stats for each piece work fine. I’d say he can’t cast spells in this form, only teach them through his hand imprint.
  • Prodigies: I don’t stat kids for combat; that’s on the wrong side of the “lines and veils” safety tool for my group. If the kids were to use spells, though, I’d rule them as….
    • Invisibility: Kid turns invisible in a dark cave. Gotta do something clever to interact with them, like kicking up a bunch of dust or splashing with paint.
    • Stonegrip: Save DEX to avoid being immobilized in stone. Wears off in a few minutes.
    • Blasting gaze: d8 attack, each caster can only cast once.
    • Cyclone shield: Kicks up wind that briefly blocks physical passage and blocks (or at least impairs) ranged attacks.
  • Prodigy-level memory horrors: Default abilities/HP, attacks impaired.
  • Adult-level memory horrors: 15 STR, 3 HP, d6 attack.
  • Warrior-level memory horrors: 15 STR, 3 HP, fire-breathing is d6 attack, shadow form impairs physical attacks against it, regeneration regains d4 lost STR per turn except against fire damage.
  • Sorcerer-level memory horrors: 18 STR, 6 HP, telekinetic attacks are blasts that hurl items for d6 or force STR save vs. knockdown, lightning attacks are d8 and chain between clustered characters.
  • Sorgite dragon horror: “Merest gaze” is a d8 blast attack that ignores armor. No HP or STR given; if a world-ending horror is unleashed, that strikes me as more of a puzzle at best (and a game-ender at worst) than a combat scene.

The Mermaids’ Knot

Original system-neutral adventure by Michael Prescott. I set up this village as the one sending kids to learn from the giant in “The Man From Before,” and made the giant the source of their chimeromancy, but I think you could run this one pretty much as-written without any adjustments.

  • Priestesses: Default stats.
  • Bubuliga: When she attacks a character who’s standing near another character, the one she touches saves STR, and the other saves DEX. If either succeeds, they’re fine. If both fail, their flesh is bonded and requires surgery (or a chimeromancer) to separate them. Probably impairs attacks.
  • Cissik: Default stats, but access to spells. Some are obvious; here’s how I’d rule others.
    • Venomous bite: d6 attack, save STR or be temporarily paralyzed.
    • Crabskin: Grants 2 armor.
    • Ray of weakness: Forces WIL save vs. impairing melee attacks and automatically failing STR saves for an hour.
    • Stunning thunderclap: Forces WIL save vs. losing turn.
  • Avorask: Abilities at 15, physical damage against him is impaired, can reassemble himself (and thus regain all lost STR) in a few moments. Attacks by sealing orifices with a glance, blinding or potentially suffocating until someone is aided with a knife or appropriate arcanum. (My players escaped him in this adventure, then dispatched him in a later adventure by shooting out a skyscraper window he was climbing. As of this writing, they think he’s dead.)

Fever Swamp

Original OSR-compatible adventure by Luke Gearing. The agents were sent here because Gert (changed here to be an O.D.D. scientist) went missing after visiting here to investigate legends of an arcanum that could raise the dead; shortly thereafter, satellite footage suggested some kind of zombie horde forming. What the agents didn’t know before arriving was that a secretive group of occult-scientists (replacing the cultists from the original adventure) came here to find Grandfather Rotte, a very real giant from local folk legend. They pressed Gert into service in excavating the Ur-corpse ruins, not realizing that this was indeed what Gert was looking for, but unrelated to what they were looking for. They messed up the ward near the Ur-corpse, causing a zombie horde to rise, and giving Gert time to escape and go delirious from fever. We spent three sessions in this adventure, so I converted many creatures.

  • Tribes: Changed them to backwater swamp folk from Florida.
  • Occult-scientists: 3 individuals, d8 auto guns, spear gun with mind-control chemicals meant for Grandfather Rotte. Very lost.
  • Nancy: My players freed the imprisoned succubus, gave her a name, and got her a job with the O.D.D. Never needed stats for her; she just kicks ass whenever she shows up.
  • Man-gore-grove: 16 STR (8 roots), d12 attacks, tries to sink boat, drown, then grow into corpses.
  • Leech chewers: 3 STR, 6 HP, d4 leech-tearing. d6 appear. Ghosts of those who died of infected wounds; distract with meat.
  • Crocodiles: 5 HP, 1 armor, d6 bite. 2d6 appearing, possibly as detachment. Grapple on STR damage; save STR or d8 damage next round, tearing off limb on 5+.
  • Hunger the Croc: 16 STR, 15 HP, 1 armor, d10 bite, STR to escape.
  • Scumboggles: 3 STR, 3 HP, d6 spear.
  • Giant Leech: 6 DEX, 3 HP, d4 bite. 2d4 appear. Grapple on STR damage, auto-drain d2 STR a round; tear off for d6 damage, 50% chance of random disease.
  • Dredgers: 18 STR, 6 HP, d12 net/smash. d4 appear. Fear fire.
  • Drowning spirits: 3 STR, 5 HP, d8 appear with d4 crocs, beguile vs. WIL to lure into water, then grapple vs. STR & d6 dmg/round from drowning. Easily tricked by effigies.
  • Ghost olm: 16 STR, 12 HP, 2 armor. Throw at least $100 worth of stuff overboard or random encounters occur twice as often. Its head, if worn, can be used to lie once to any entity.
  • Chieftain-wight: 16 WIL, 6 HP, 1 armor, d8 sword.
  • Sodden jealous dead: Either a detachment of waterlogged zombies or slimy skeletons with 2d6 STR, d4 reanimated crocodiles, or a wight with d6 zombies, d6 skeletons.
  • Iron Sinners: 3 HP, 2ish armor, d8 extra-bulky weapons (count as 2 bulky items).
    • Askguurd: Zweihander d10 freezes wounds
    • Naldden: Truncheon d6 can never kill
    • Disnat: Short sword d6, 3 armor, always acts last
    • Kaldik: Spiked chain wraps throat unless you follow his commands (save DEX, then d12/round); pathetic voice
    • Jondirr: Broken spear d6, mask can paralyze vs. WIL unless you are “lecherous”
    • Tantin: Paired hammers best of 2d6, no legs, must crawl
    • Dinet: Giant knife d8
    • Naggtet: Giant gavel d8, 25% chance to fall in agony, land for d10
  • Ur-corpse: 18 STR, 18 HP, 2 armor, d12 claws, crit causes rot.
  • Grandfather Rotte: 18 STR, 18 HP, 3 armor, d12 blast fist, automatic kill on critical damage, overwhelming (a.k.a. “detachment” in Into the Odd rules).
  • Diseases: Same as in the book, but all references to Constitution or Strength are STR, and mental abilities are WIL. (The only disease contracted in my game was skin-moss.)

All Are Punished

Original Monster of the Week adventure by Oli Jeffery, in Videostore. I ran this pretty much exactly as written.

  • The serial killer: 12 STR, 9 HP. Heals d6 STR and gains +2 STR with each kill, up to 18 STR.
  • Ultor sacerdotes: Can’t actually be harmed, but save vs. 15 when hurt to see if it staggers them. Run them exactly like how the adventure describes; they are appropriately terrifying.

Arachne Genesis

Original Monster of the Week adventure by Luke Green, in Tome of Mysteries. Modern-day adventures don’t need much adaptation for Agents of the O.D.D., but I changed the name of the spider-people from “gumo” to “the Recluse.”

  • Spider-monster: Default stats, but if it bites or scratches you, save STR or start coming down with plague symptoms, as per adventure.
  • Dr. Popov: 15 STR, 6 HP, 1 armor, d6 attack with gun or sedative, climbs walls, attack forces DEX vs. being immobilized by webs (STR save to escape on your turn).

Scenic Dunnsmouth

Original OSR-compatible adventure by Zzarchov Kowolski. There are a lot of characters in this adventure, for a lot of potential permutations, so I didn’t convert everything, just a few things I decided to use. (I tried to randomly generate a map, but ended up swapping out some items for other things I found more interesting.) Here are some things I specifically decided upon.

  • Magda: 18 WIL, 10 HP, 3 armor from warding spells. Casts spells from scrolls that turn to dust upon use. In combat, attempts to Polymorph Other—forces WIL save vs. being temporarily turned into a toad. (This isn’t D&D, so I needed to foreshadow that casting from a scroll destroys the scroll, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise when a PC’s eyes effectively turn into scroll.)
  • Magda’s skeletons: I put Magda in the cemetery. Her skeletons have default stats, but piercing damage against them is impaired.
  • Titania: I tied this into my ongoing campaign by Titania (mentioned elsewhere in the book) is one of the otherworldly horrors the occult-scientists are seeking to destroy, and she is imprisoned within the Time Cube, and anybody can enter it if they could figure out how to get close enough to touch it (reach out to it from far away, and you’re only slowed down as much as the farthest part of you, or the farthest person in a chain of people touching). Entering the Time Cube brought PCs to the map from “The Task of Zeichus” (another system-neutral adventure by Michael Prescott, which requires no conversion notes other than noting that I replaced the Queen of the Martoi with Titania, and used this as an opportunity to reveal that the Changeling PC was descended from the beings imprisoned herein).

Incidentally, one PC saved the day at the very last moment by casting Stop Time from the “scroll” burned into her retinas, instantly turning her eyes to dust. Thank goodness she also already had “the gray eye” from the new arcana list, which is effectively a functional glass eye/spy camera. (It also came in handy when Avorask fused her eyes shut in a previous adventure.)

Operation: Rapidstrike!

Original Top Secret adventure by Mike Carr and Corey Koebernick. This module is out of print, as far as I can tell, but I found it while looking for a good map for a secret spy compound on a secluded island. I can’t say much about the adventure itself (which I completely rewrote), but the maps are pretty decent! I wanted to wrap up the campaign by infiltrating the operations of whoever stole the Doppelgänged Civilian’s identity (now a billionaire secretly bankrolling weird science experiments). I replaced all the named characters from the original adventure with characters specific to my campaign.

  • The Doppelgänger: Can look like anyone, is surrounded by mundane guards.
  • Traps: There are a few trap rooms. My intent was to lure the PCs into one and have the Doppelgänger (with a psychic lie detector in his employ) invite them to turn against the O.D.D. and join him. That doesn’t work as well with the nigh-inescapable sonic weapon trap, so I planned to replace that with gas that would knock the PCs out if they take more than 3 rounds to figure out a plan, so the Doppelgänger could try to imprison with them and reason with them further. (My group ended up in the water trap room, where they were addressed by the Doppelgänger from a laptop; they closed it to prevent him from monologuing.)
  • Cameos: Various characters from earlier adventures are imprisoned or employed here, including paranormal creatures the PCs never met or set free. In my game, that means the rogue agents and some giants were prisoners, and Avorask had a new patron allowing him to fuse together a gargantuan, chimeric monstrosity—built on the base of Grandfather Rotte, who the PCs left in Fever Swamp—in a subterranean lab (where room 45 is on the map).

Other adventures

That’s not everything I ran to playtest Agents of the O.D.D., but it does represent everything I “converted” that I thought might be useful to read about here. If you’re looking for more adventures that might work well in that setting, there are a bunch in the Tome of Mysteries for Monster of the Week, and some more Trilemma adventures that wouldn’t be too hard to update, like “The Hounds of Low Tide,” “Can’t Sleep—Clowns Will Eat Me,” and “The God Unmoving.” I also found some very promising adventures and seeds in other paranormal conspiracy games, including GURPS Black Ops, Delta Green, Cthulhu Deep Green, Conspiracy X, and others, but ended up not running any just because other things fit my personal tastes more. If you adapt something or create your own adventure for Agents of the O.D.D., please do share—I’d love to hear about it!

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