Monday, 18 September 2017

Bastion's Triple Rule

In Bastion, Everything is Complicated.

Things are specialist, but there's always more to them. 

There are no general stores, but every focused shop has something else that you wouldn't expect.

There's a rule that sums this all up nicely.

THE TRIPLE RULE

Everything has Three Purposes:
  • The Original: What was it originally to be?
  • The Current: What is it doing now?
  • The Tangent: What is its secondary use?

PLACES

The easiest way to do this is to give each building a commercial, residential, and civic use, and pick one of them to be its original purpose.
  1. Defunct broadcast tower, now a scrap electric market spread across scaffolds. A cabal of engineers live and worship at the very top of the tower.
  2. Huge municipal swimming pool, now dried up and re-purposed as a landfill. The old changing rooms have been converted into a boozy hostel for youths.
  3. Long row of terraces houses, roofs all blown off in a storm. Now used as stables for luxury-breed pork pigs. A retirement home holds the last remaining covered house, and the old folks get free sausages to make up for the smell.

PEOPLE

Here, consider the standing/body/education they were born into, or a youthful ambition, then the life that they really grew into, plus something unexpected on the side.
  1. Wealthy piano protegee turned greed-filled banker. Does charity work to soothe her conscience.
  2. Ogre of a man, sells tiny metal sculptures. Deeply believes humanity is awful, and we should let aliens rule us.
  3. Lovely old former teacher turned soldier for the Human Union. A font of pub-quiz knowledge.

OBJECTS

Objects can be simpler than people and places, with the added layers coming from previous owners or uses, rather than changes to the object itself.
  1. Giant bird egg, now gilded with gold and jewels. Now property of a cult that worship it, hoping it will hatch.
  2. Portable-Cannon used to kill a legendary outlaw in Deep Country. Has been deactivated and mounted above a bar for some time. Now used to hide illicit substances. 
  3. A crank-operated radio. Now broken, only picks up static and occasional incomprehensible voice. Being sold at a curiosity shop as an "Ear to the Stars".

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Gambits, Manoeuvres and Fighting Machines

By the book, if you want to try something unusual in combat, beyond a regular attack, you work with this:

Combat Manoeuvres: If the players want to do something like disarm or trip someone in combat, the side most at risk makes a Save to avoid consequences.

This is a really a more focused take on the standard procedure for running the game.

When the players declare action, consider your response in the following order:
  1. Can this be an interesting Dilemma?
  2. Why not just Make it happen?
  3. Call for a Save.
Except it leaps straight to point three, which is largely appropriate for the deadliness of combat.

Strawman: But isn't the target most likely to be at risk? This makes a STR 18 character just as likely to pull off a great manoeuvre as the STR 6 guy.

Welcome to Into the Odd! Your Abilities aren't there to limit what you can do, but a high score puts you in a better position to take the risks that have high rewards. Sure, the STR 6 guy still stands a good chance of overpowering a weak opponent, but if they miss wouldn't you have rather sent in the STR 18, 12hp bruiser to suck up the consequences?

So how would this be managed for three of the most common forms of combat manoeuvre?

I try to disarm the opponent.
The target is clearly most at risk here, so they must pass a STR Save to avoid being disarmed. This obviously foregoes a normal attack, so there's no damage caused. I don't think disarming has to be an encounter-finisher so I'd let the fight go on if the target wants to pull out a sidearm or try to get their weapon back.

I try to grapple them.
Grappling is an unarmed attack, rather than a manoeuvre that would call for a Save. I'd rule that if you grapple up to someone you make an unarmed attack and grab them in the process. If they want to do something that requires them to get un-grappled, it's a STR Save to break free.

If the grapple extends to throwing them into a bottomless pit, I'd say that they get a STR Save to avoid it, and if they pass they'll probably try the same thing on you next turn.

I try to shoot them right in the head!
This is a standard attack. If you're shooting at somebody then the rules assume you're shooting to kill to the best of your ability.

If you want to be a true Fighting Force in this new epoch, you're going to want to strap into the appropriate machinery.




Fighting Machines 

War-Dog Charger (£200):
7hp, Armour 3. Slow, Medium. Flamethrower (d8 Blast), Power Saw (d10). One Pilot-Gunner.


Hell-Hog Crawler (£500): 10hp, Armour 3. Slow, Heavy. Two Machine Guns (d8 Blast Each). One Pilot, One Gunner.


Devil-Whale Cruiser (£1,000): 14hp, Armour 3, Slow, Superheavy. Two Long-Cannons (d12 each), Grenade Launcher (d8 Blast). Amphibious. One Pilot, Two Gunners.

Related Rules

Structures and Vehicles: Structures and Vehicles reduced to 0hp are wrecked, and all within suffer d6 Damage.
HP is restored by minor repairs, but Wrecked vehicles and structures require lengthy specialist repair.

Ramming and Overrunning: Collisions between vehicles cause damage to both, based on the opposing vehicle’s weight or speed, whichever is greater:
Light/Slow (d4), Medium (d6), Heavy/Fast (d8), Superheavy (d10).
If one vehicle is heavier than the other, damage against it is Impaired. Vehicles take no damage for running over soft targets like people.

Cavalry: Charging cavalry count as a Medium vehicle for the purposes of Overrunning Infantry. Larger mounts are treated as Heavy.




We can extrapolate a good silly example from this.

Four characters riding Motorcycles (5hp, Armour 1, Light, Fast) crash into the side of a Devil-Whale Cruiser (14hp, Armour 3, Slow, Superheavy).

Normally the motorcycles would cause d8 damage on a collision from being Fast, but as the Devil-Whale is a heavier, the damage is impaired down to d4. Each of the four bikes rolls d4 and the highest is kept, scoring 4 damage. The Devil Whale's Armour 3 reduces this to a pathetic 1 damage.

As both sides in a collision take damage, each of the bikes now suffers d10 damage from the Superheavy Devil-Whale, resulting in 6, 6, 2, and 9, which Armour 1 reduces to 5, 5, 1, and 8.

Three of the bikes are wrecked, leaving their riders to take d6 damage each, while one manages to pull away in one piece.

Not the best anti-tank strategy. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Mockeries Revisited

These guys are due another look, condensing the previous posts into one usable set of guidelines.

MOCKERIES
  • Creatures of wood, felt, and steel given the spark of life.
  • They love acting human, but their needs are only imitated.
  • Children love them, real animals hate them.




MOCK TALENTS

  • Every Mockery has an innate super-human talent for a particular task.
  • The talent is often trivial, and rarely put to serious use.
  • They are excellent but unconventional teachers of their talent.

EXCEPTIONS

  • Mock People are known, but largely despised.
  • Mock Objects tend to live in the Underground.
  • Some have merged with organic tissue, calling themselves Fallacies: such as the False Angels and False Leviathan.


TEMPLATES

Apply your flavour of choice to these bones.

Mock Critter

STR 5, DEX 15, CHA 10, 4hp. d4 Damage.
  • Be clingy.
  • Be difficult.
  • Want to do everything other than their talent.

Mock Beast

STR 15, DEX 5, CHA 10, 7hp, d8 Damage.
  • Switch between human and animal behaviour
  • Switch between terrifying and pathetic.
  • Play dumb.

Mock Colossus

STR 18, DEX 5, CHA 10, 15hp, Armour 2, d10 Blast.
  • Show a gentle side.
  • Try to stay out of the way.
  • Long for some non-violent attention.



SPARKS (Roll 2d20 and Combine)
d20
Type
Talent
1
Otter
Cooking
2
Lobster
Sprinting
3
Heron
Eating
4
Toad
Seduction
5
Rhino
Puzzles
6
Mole
Burglary
7
Goat
Performance
8
Spider
Bureaucracy
9
Crow
Vision
10
Mallard
Memory
11
Dolphin
Law
12
Crocodile
Academia
13
Hog
Strategy
14
Bear
Spying
15
Rooster
Interrogation
16
Whale
Trivia
17
Mammoth
Engineering
18
Bunny
Sculpture
19
Oyster
Grooming
20
Anaconda
Forensics

Monday, 28 August 2017

Electric Bastionland's Second Playtest Package

It's here!

Some changes from the previous version, and a chance to test out the character backgrounds system in a bit more detail.

Notably, this also doesn't include an adventure, because I want to see what people can create with this, or how it works for running other modules.

The download link is: https://goo.gl/R2wdoa
Have fun!

Friday, 18 August 2017

From Foreign Stars

One theory is that Bastion's growing number of radio towers and neon lights combined to act as a beacon to all beings, from Foreign Stars. They came for the signal, stayed for the music and culture.

Visitors are welcome, of course. There can be no greater crime than depriving another being of the opportunity to live in Bastion. The fact that they've come all this way shows they've got good taste. 

The trade opportunities alone are worth putting up with the occasional cosmic monstrosity for. 

ALIENS
  • They are more advanced than us, but in a very specific way.
  • They bring something with them, and seek to take something home.
  • It’s unclear where their bodies end and their technology begins.




LIVING IN BASTION
  • There are always barriers to integration.
  • They always have a means of communication, however ineffective.
  • Their desires are relatable, but through an alien lens.



LOST IN DEEP COUNTRY
  • Some rule as Gods.
  • Some have established isolated communities.
  • Some have become monsters of legend.


EXAMPLE ALIENS

Soft One - Slimy Pink Person
STR 5, DEX 10, CHA 13, 5hp. Organic Plate Armour 1, Goo-Pistol (d6, melt on Critical Damage).
  • Devour as many different foods as possible.
  • Touch as many things as possible.
  • Excrete pearls (£1 per pile excreted) and flee as a defence technique.Image result for barlowe hell

Stone Lion - Intelligent Quadruped
STR 15, DEX 10, CHA 15, 10hp, Powered Armoured Body 2. Trample (d10). 
  • Speak calmly about the beauties of his 
  • Beckon humans to travel to his homeland as willing slaves, but won't force them.
  • Translate between people and animals.


Chain-Servant - Metallic Giants
STR 18, DEX 15, CHA 15, 13hp. Metal Body 3, Smash (d10) or Chain Explosion (d8 Blast)
  • Tend to worshipers maternaly.
  • Ensure that worshipers are getting fair treatment.
  • Become a living weapon.


CREATE YOUR OWN

SPARKS (Roll 2d20 and Combine)
d20
Prefix
Suffix
1
Word
Saints
2
Void
Pilgrims
3
Pleasure
Workers
4
Blood
Locusts
5
Mercy
Beasts
6
Golden
Imps
7
Flesh
Vessels
8
War
Ghosts
9
Light
Hounds
10
Rage
Beacons
11
Smoke
Serpents
12
Horned
Titans
13
Royal
Forgers
14
Knife
Guardians
15
Divine
Engineers
16
Perfect
Breakers
17
Ice
Spiders
18
Immortal
Thieves
19
Diamond
Tyrants
20
Imitation
Eyes



LANDS BENEATH FOREIGN STARS
  • They follow different rules.
  • There is always something to be exploited.
  • There is always danger.


VISITING THE FOREIGN STARS
  • The Underground must be traveled deeper than you would like. 
  • Ships must pass through mists that break reality. 
  • Somebody is always trying a new way to travel there.

WHAT COULD BE
  • They often resemble a paradise, a hell, or a combination thereof.
  • All beings show signs of humanity.
  • The rules that make this place different are rigorously enforced.



ALIENS AT HOME
  • They are bound by the rules of their home.
  • You are expected to follow the rules.
  • For every glimmer of humanity, they display their foreignness too.
Related image


CREATE YOUR OWN

RANDOM SPARKS (Roll 2d20 and Combine)

d20
Spark One 
Spark Two 
1
Truth
Remembrance
2
Courage
Preservation
3
Hardship
Destruction
4
Justice
Consolidation
5
Beauty
Cycle
6
Order
Rewarded
7
Honour
Valuation
8
Charity
Experimentation
9
Reason
Invention
10
Death
Debate
11
War
Archive
12
Entropy
Challenge
13
Servitude
Prison
14
Holy
Community
15
Obedience
Denial
16
Toil
Cathedral
17
Peace
Purification
18
Pleasure
Crusade
19
Serenity
Procedure
20
Architecture 
Sacrifice

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Automachines in the Underground

AUTOMACHINES

Maybe they grew from the Underground's impossible dimensions, maybe they fell into there from our own future creation, or maybe they were planted by Foreign engineers beyond our own.




KEY PRINCIPLES
  • They are one with the Underground, or at least their part of it.
  • They instigate change and monitor the results.
  • They want to teach you a lesson.


FORMS

  • They are machines, but always have a way to communicate.
  • They are more suited to create than destroy.
  • Their bond to the Underground is often physical.


BEHAVIOUR
  • They follow logic, often to the extreme.
  • They are always willing to explain.
  • They want to see you tested and altered, and care little about you beyond that.


CREATIONS

  • They manufacture creations from the Underground itself.
  • Once something is created, they do nothing to control it.
  • The solution to everything is either Creation or Observation.

SAMPLE AUTOMACHINES

Helpy-Bug - Crawling Automachine
STR 10, DEX 5, 7hp. Armour 3, d4 Mandibles
  • Follow you around, squeaking.
  • Create tiny, useful things if it would drive you closer to danger.
  • Pass through danger without harm, showing how safe it is down here.

Dream-Genie- Holographic Projector

STR 10, 7hp, Armour 3.
  • Project an angelic holographic form.
  • Conjure visions of what might happen if you delay.
  • Encourage you to be reckless.

Happy-Vendor - Wall-Mounted Automachine
STR 15, 7hp. Armour 3. d8 Repulsion Spike.
  • Offer just the thing you need, in a can, for free, but with a chaotic twist.
  • Tell you about all the things it has seen.
  • Tell you how to get exactly what you need to go further. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Electric Bastionland's Open Door Policy

Bastion: The only city that matters. The Electric Hub of Mankind.

Everything beneath our sun is Bastionland; the furthest reaches of Deep Country, the long shadow of our past, the simpletons and obsolete gods.

From beneath other Stars, Foreigners are here.

In The Underground, masked Fallacies seek to undermine reality.

You have a failed career and a colossal Debt. Treasure is your only hope.



Writing continues, playtests are happening, and the setting continues to spiral out of control.

But forget what I've been up to. Bastion has been busy getting electricity, worse ways to kill people, and opening up to the gates to Foreigners.

And not just Deep Country yokels. Things from Foreign Stars. It'll never work out. 








Saturday, 15 July 2017

Religion of Bastionland

I've been giving some thought to Religion in Bastionland. Though I've got other ideas up on the wall, here's one take on it.

Religion doesn't have to involve supernatural beings, but it's a good draw for new members.
  • Those seeking structure and direction gaze to the Star Lands.
  • Those desiring freedom and revolution idolise the Underground.
  • Those rejecting modernity look to Deep Country.
Just as the Underground, Deep Country, and the Star Lands are real places you can go, Spirits are real beings that you can find and interact with, as well as the oddities they leave in their wake.

Distant, incomprehensible beings are overrated, I prefer gods that you can at least fire a bullet at, for whatever good it'll do. 


ASTRAL SPIRITS
  • They embody an ideal in an inorganic form.
  • They enforce the rules of their ideal with the help of human followers.
  • Their rules supersede any other ideas of goodness.

From Left, clockwise: Remembrance Spirit, Motherhood Spirit, Conquest Spirit, Hygiene Spirit.

Astral Faiths tend to:
  • Have complex structures.
  • Enforce lots of rules.
  • Make lots of promises for the future.

UNDERGROUND SPIRITS
  • They embody a man-made thing in a deathly or masked form.
  • They seek to bring about change and new creations.
  • They find destruction distasteful.


From Top Left, clockwise: Duel Spirit, Funeral Spirit, Porcelain Spirits, Smog Spirit.

New Faiths tend to:
  • Offer ways to break the rules.
  • Focus on the individual. 
  • Promise a Revolution. 

OLD SPIRITS
  • The embody something natural in a beastly form.
  • They oppose change and modernity.
  • They have animals and people take on demonic forms to serve them.


From Top, clockwise: Mountain Spirit, Elephant Spirit, Host of Death Spirits, Tsunami Spirit.

Old Faiths tend to:

  • Promise to keep things the same or move backwards. 
  • Focus on blood ties and physical rituals. 
  • Emphasise places and history. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Bastion is People

If you frequent a big city, you'll know that all the buildings and cars and pigeons are nothing in comparison to all the bloody people.

Now imagine it on Bastion's scale.



The Law of People

  • There are all sorts, and they're everywhere.
  • Everything you find and everything you want is tied to some person in some way.
  • Mastery of People is Mastery of Bastion.




There are all sorts, and they're everywhere

Picture a person. They'd fit somewhere in Bastion. Give them some stupid gimmick, don't worry they still fit somewhere.

If planning a dungeon is all about drawing maps and rooms and making monsters, planning a borough of Bastion is all about making People. 

Even when you're creating exciting city locations, someone will have wandered over there. They can't be stopped. What sort of person would even want to be here?

People you talk to are NPCs, everyone else is scenery. They're the trees in the forest slowing you down. They're the boggy ground drowning your horse. They're the sheer cliff face between you and the treasure. They're the wolves waiting to eat your corpse.

Some will tell you to give everyone in your game a name, but in Bastion the vast majority of people you see will remain nameless. You won't even hear most of them speak, but they're acting out their own plans and urges and getting swept up with everybody else.

If you're going to give details, either give none at all or more than they can handle.

If you notice a guy with a huge mustache, you also notice the bridal party and the child leading a baby elephant and the student sports team and the singing drunks.

If you go faceless, give them the mood of the crowd, the overall sound, smells, movement.  

Don't ever let the players ever feel like they're on their own.


Everything you find, everything you want is tied to some person in some way

An avalanche, a new weapon, a priceless treasure. Each of those things can be replaced with people. Get your paintbrush, dip it into the tin marked PEOPLE, and cover as much as you can.

The avalanche is a riot. The weapon is a mercenary. The treasure is a hostage. 

Armour is lackies. Skills are specialists. Knowledge is librarians. 

And those things that are just straight-up things? Somebody owns that. Somebody else wants it. Somebody else thinks that nobody should be allowed to have it.

Got a plan? There are three people in the way of getting what you want.


Mastery of People is Mastery of Bastion

With all the weird powers you might pick up on your travels, you're nothing on your own in Bastion. Great Fighters don't make a difference here, but an Army can. Unions are everywhere, because people are the most significant currency out there.

It's great for those on top, but those underneath sometimes feel valued by the whole arrangement. Sometimes. 

Getting killed is awful. Losing an ally not so bad. 

The worst adversary you can have isn't a brute with a big gun, it's the brute's boss. 

Does it matter if your Ability Scores are all below 10 when you've got a Bodyguard, a Personal Thief, and a Public Relations Assistant following you around? Does your 2hp matter when you're never the one on the front line?

Even Great People are never great at everything, so start building your contacts list now.