Thursday, 5 October 2017

Failed Careers

In Electric Bastionland everybody starts with:

  • A failed career.
  • A shared debt.
Here are the one-hundred possible options for the former, all determined by the roll of your Abilities.

1: Gutter Wretch
The bottom of the barrel.
Bastion’s crust.

2: Curiocentric Collector
An entire life spent looking at dusty things and squinting at books.
It’s time to get out there for yourself.

3: Trench Survivor
You survived a Trench Battle with little to write home about.
Except for that one thing you found in a strange tunnel.

4: Debt Collector
Someone paid you a pittance to look intimidating in dark alleyways.
If need be you shed some blood, but there’s no extra pay.

5: Dead-Shoresman
You died, but found a way back from where you went.
Nobody believes you, and everyone you once knew is long gone.

6: Criminal Bureaucrat
The laws of Bastion are written in such a way that every possible crime has a loophole.
People pay you to perform crimes, legally.

7: Sanctioned Executioner
You’ve done your time on firing squads, and now you’re allowed to do a little freelance work.

8: Fringe Investigator
Everything must be revealed, from petty crime to the secrets of the cosmos.

9: Disinherited Socialite
Whatever happened between you and your family, you’re out of the will for good.
You took what you could.

10: Professional Verminator
Every type of animal can be found in some corner of Bastion.
When they are unwanted, you go to work.

11: Lost Expeditioneer
You’ve been on a treasure hunting Expedition before.
You were the only survivor.

12: Wall Warden
Bastion has rings of walls all the way to its centre, wherever that is.
You are both their warden and resident.

13: Professional Gambler
You know how to play well honestly, and how to cheat even better.

14: Integrated Alien
You came to Bastion a long time ago, passing for human.
Under a Foreign Star. Reached by Sea or Underground.

15: Thieving Under-Whaler
The biggest catches are deep in ocean and in ground.
One catch can make a fortune for the captain, but you got a pittance.

16: Travelling Show-Person
Stunts and tricks are your game.
You’ve got a final trick up your sleeve if you start to lose the crowd.

17: Gang Whip
Internal threats can tear a gang apart.
Enforcers keep things in order.

18: Qualified Deconstructor
Before the new can arise, the old must come down.
Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.

19: Street Judge
Bastion has so many courtrooms that the whole city it effectively legal ground.
With questionable credentials, you dealt with street quarrels.

20: Urchin Pack
Clinging together is your only hope for survival.

21: Star Blessed
You don’t just worship the Stars.
One of them has gifted you.

22: Barricade Sapper
Every day a revolution, another barricade.
Civil flow design demands that somebody break them up.

23: Human Unionist
The world is full of strange and powerful things.
None of them deserve our worship.

24: Liberal Engineer
We sit on the spear-tip of modernity.
There’s always the risk of blood.

25: Masked Horrorist
Horrors rise from the Underground.
We must make a friend of fear, and scare them back down.

26: Rollocker Club Alumni
Good times. Fair play. School spirit!

27: Buckwud-Legionnaire
The future holds only darkness.

28: Contract-Castaway
Putting flags on islands isn’t enough, so you’ve been paid a petty fee to live alone on a desolate rock.
The years have been dull, so you return to the mainland.

29: Repressed Psionicist
You can’t hold it in any longer.

30: Unlicensed Amputator
Not trained in the finesse stuff.
Major structural work only.

31: Polar Bounty Hunter
The endless polar mists are a great place to hide.
You did your best to bring the lost home, one way or another.

32: Mockery
An imitation of life in wood, clay, and felt. Children love you, animals hate you.
You don’t need to eat, drink, sleep, or love, but still feel the drives.

33: Prize Breeder
You had a small kennel of finely bred animals.
Now you’re down to your last breeding pair.

34: Failed Citizen
None of the Failed Cities could keep up with Bastion.
You left your pathetic home for the real deal.

35: Urban Safarist
The human condition makes for fascinating viewing for those too rich to have worries.

36: Lock Toller
Canal locks charge a toll, but nobody knows who’s supposed to do that.
You were part of a small group that held a lock for a while.

37: Repurposed Augmental
Mechanically Adapted for a purpose you were unable to fulfil.
You found a job somewhere else.

38: Noble-in-Waiting
The chances of you actually inheriting your title are so low that you decided to take your fate into your own hands.

39: Vault-Cracker
Most vaults are old enough that nobody can agree who owns them.

40: Revolutionary Duellist
You are the sword tip of change in Bastion.

41: Newspaper Intern
You were technically paid to write technically-non-lies.
It never really got off the ground.

42: Rural Tax Collector
You’ve spent more time than you care on the roads of Deep Country, squinting at obsolete currencies.

43: Academic Debater
Somebody must argue the positions that nobody cares about.

44: Associated Burglar
You burgled only sanctioned properties.
You don’t fully understand the legality.

45: Retail Therapist
You help people spend money you have no hope of ever earning.

46: Apprentice Sweep
Your master died, and took your terrible career prospects along with them.

47: Shock Trooper
Your shock-academy training was so intense that the academy closed the day after your graduation.
Now there is no mission, but you still have your gear.

48: Urbalist
The walls of Bastion have a language of their own.
The right ones reveal secrets, with the help of your herbs.

49: Tunnel-Clearer
Despite its lack of regard for time and space,
construction work on the Underground continues.

50: Science Mystic
The past was nothing but lies.
There is hidden truth in these modern ways.

51: Front of House Host
You were the face of a company.
Now you’re a face without a company.

52: Critter Catcher
The gutters and drainpipes of Bastion are home to every creature you can imagine.
You always wanted to study them all.

53: Practising Pharmacist
A truly modern profession, and you’re almost qualified to do it.

54: Roof Crawler
There’s a lot of important work that goes on across the rooftops of Bastion.
Yours is the more shadowy sort.

55: Petty Officer
You held an office of low position, but were moved to a Special Petty Officer position.
Essentially you kept your badge but don’t get paid and have no authority.

56: Bailed Prisoner
You just got out.

57: Street Performer
Adored by few, loathed by many.

58: Corpse Collector
More of a Corpse Transporter, but the other name made it easier for people to despise you.

59: Counterfeit Taxidermist
Fantastic specimens bought you a small amount of money.
Now that’s gone, and your name is ruined.

60: Pie-Smuggler
A recent study claims 68% of goods smuggled into prisons and other controlled areas arrived inside a pie crust.

61: Council-Runner
With so many overlapping councils, your time as a runner put you in a position of some power.
Now your time is finished.

62: Life Servant
Your masters died. You’re free now.

63: Amateur Dramatist
The whole world is a stage.
But you’re not good enough to get paid.

64: Wilderness Recluse
Modernity gets between us and our natural instincts.
You’re here begrudgingly after a lifetime in the wild parts of Deep Country.

65: Squidbagger
A study you read claimed that 97% of Bastion’s products contain at least some Cephalopod-derived parts.
You keep the city running.

66: Exposed Imposter
You got yourself into quite a powerful position based on a lie.
Then they found out.

67: Critic-in-Hiding
Everybody loves a scathing critique, except those under the lens.
For safety, you’ve changed your name and got a new haircut.

68: Small Town Refugee
Your Deep Country home was awful.
Finally, the railway came, and you headed to Bastion.

69: Paid Fighter
You’ve been fighting for money, but not enough to get rich or especially tough.

70: Canal Rover
Bastion’s waterways are no joke.
Something about rails and roads just seems wrong to you.

71: Experiment Survivor
You were deemed a mixed success.

72: Fashionista
There are none more moronic than those that lack The Modern Look.
Watch from a distance, lest you become one of the norms.

73: Human Flotsam
You weren’t raised by Amphibians, but you can’t blame people for thinking that.
You’re always slightly damp.

74: Master Blender
Some sensory gift allowed you to rapidly reach a prestigious position.
Prestigious within your trade, worth nothing outside.

75: Public Nuisance
Something about you has always annoyed others.

76: Park Steward
Bastion’s parks have grown out of hand.
Yours is one of the worst.

77: Civic Butler
Maintaining the veil of order over Bastion’s chaos.
78: Estate Squire
The last remnants of rural aristocracy linger between Bastion and Deep Country.
The past’s long shadow, and you were born into their service.

79: Machine Whisperer
Industrial machinery sometimes needs a mallet, sometimes a whisper.
You carry both.

80: Agricultural Saboteur
You carried out dirty jobs for malicious farmers.
Now you see Bastion is even more ruthless.

81: Animal Vassal
You are property of an Animal Patron.
You know better than to displease your liege, but you want to live among humans.

82: Massifist of Massifcountry
Everything is big in Massifcountry.
You stopped growing just below the ceiling.

83: Divine Prodigy
Raised in a cult retreat for a single purpose, which didn’t work out.
Cast out into the world.

84: Good Dog
Smarter than many people. Still a dog.

85: Worthless Graduate
You’ve spent a long time in colleges, arguing about words.
Your career prospects are poor.

86: Alternative-Groomer
You make things pretty and nice-smelling.
But not people.

87: Avant Guardsman
Not all Militias are Conventional.

88: Factory Orphan
Your family all died in the factory.
Through some small-print in your contract you’ve been cast out onto the street.

89: Low-Diplomat
A life of carrying bad messages, managing Expectations, and making people feel heard.

90: Loner Stargazer
You’re not watching for clues, you’re watching for incoming threats.
Alone in your observatory for too long, your shift is over.

91: Sub-Person
You wandered the Underground for too long, tormented.
You came out less than human.

92: Body Jockey
You have a fantastic body, but it is simply your vehicle.
Keep your fragile-self hidden.

93: Underground Weirdo
Born and raised in the Underground, below space and time.
You’ve always been odd, and have gotten much worse.

94: Twins
There are two of you.
Identical in most ways.

95: Constable of Birds and Creeping Things
Protector of the Laws of Nature.
Courtesy of Arnold Kemp.

96: Exotic Food Supplier
When people tire of sundry dishes, you step in to serve them new delicacies..
Courtesy of Arnold Kemp.

97: Tactiliator/Tactiliatrix
The power of touch.
Courtesy of Arnold Kemp.

98: Tuk-Tukker
"I'm not going over the water at this time of night”.
Courtesy of Patrick Stuart

99: Map Thief
"Obviously I fully intended to return it."
Courtesy of Patrick Stuart

100: Ex-Censor
"Standard are slipping everywhere."
Courtesy of Patrick Stuart

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.


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?


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.


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 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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)