Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Monster Flashback

Since this blog is now over 10 years old I've been looking back through cringes of shame at those early posts. Is there any merit in that old material? Can I recycle it in an act of blog meta-digestion?

Let's pull the monsters from this post and see if I can make them better as encounters for Electric Bastionland. Back when I wrote that post I was thinking about monsters as entries in a monster manual rather than making them inspiring chunks of the world to throw down onto your table.

My main considerations are going to be:
  • Cut down all that prose and rub it into the actual workings of the monster through their moves. 
  • Make them more impactful and scary.
  • Give them a bit more nuance beside just being something new to fight.
Nightmare art taken from GANBreeder

Blood Servants (formerly Bloodlings)

STR 5, DEX 5, CHA 5, 5hp. d6 Needle-Swords, Bloated Bodies.
  • Waddle about serving their Blood Master in disgusting body-horror chores.
  • Bicker with each other about who Master loves most of all (he loathes them all).
  • If reduced to STR 0: Explode in a shower of burning blood (d6 Blast) invigorating their Master (restore their STR). 
Floating Corpse - Not-Quite-Right Dead Forms

STR 8. No HP, but automatically pass Saves vs Critical Damage. You have to hack them down to STR 0.

  • Float silently, patrolling along a set route.
  • Bump harmlessly against intruders, making a gross mess and distracting from other tasks.
  • In the presence of the Dark Wizard that animated them they errupt in a flailing spasm (d8 claws)

Spider Dragon

STR 18, 15hp, Pale Chitin (Armour 2). Bristling Multi-Jaws (2d8) and Thrashing Limbs (d6 Blast).

  • Ceaselessly seek juicy cattle to drag back to their web-lair.
  • Spray a sticky web-acid (d10 Blast, anyone taking STR Damage is webbed until cut free from the outside) once per day.
  • Cower in fear from even the smallest bird.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Electric Devices

Bastion is Electric now. There are still Oddities we don't understand, whether they're from Alien visitors, the output of Underground Machines, or just things that shouldn't exist. However, electric power has opened up a new market for fantastic devices that we actually understand (for the most part).

You've got just about anything you can slap a battery onto, or hook up to the electric grid, but this is all super-new and this is Bastion so remember those golden rules:
  • Everything is Here
  • Everything is Complicated
  • Everything is Shared
Radios crackle their signal from a huge aerial, every borough broadcasting its own ultra-local programming.

Telephones go through a switchboard and if you want to use it you have to go and tell your neighbour to hang up.

Tramways run on live wires that double up as pigeon-traps.

Television is a tiny black and white screen on a huge humming box, or else you'll have to risk a smoky cinema with a fire-hazard projector and overpriced snacks.

But you're a Treasure Hunter with a huge debt, so you probably don't care too much about home appliances. You're here for the portable stuff.

Electric stuff is usually improved over non-electric versions but usually comes with a downside. Most commonly they require some sort of charge through batteries or more unusual means.

When you Rest, roll 1d6 for each battery-powered item you've used since the last Rest.
1: It's dead. You're out of batteries, and need to find somewhere you can buy more or get some charge.
2-3: Last reload. You've rubbed your batteries to get a last bit of life from it. You can use this one more time before it runs out.
4-6: Charged. You're fine.

Electric Weapons

Magnetic Rifle (Bulky, d8, +d10 vs targets wearing metal armour). Bullets are super-magnetised, meaning any attacks in metal-rich environments are Impaired as they veer wildly.

Jaw Axe (d6, if this causes a Scar or STR Damage you can always choose to take off a limb)

Vacuum Cannon (Bulky, d8 shot OR suck, pulling any targets in the cone that fail their STR Save towards you) Extremely loud no matter which setting you use.

Electric Tools

Rad-Halo: While worn you have perfect recall of everything you've seen or heard while wearing the halo. You can also perform arithmetic as fast as a calculator. You lose d6 CHA every time you:
- Put on the Halo
- Use the Halo to recall a memory
- Use the Halo to perform arithmetic

Slumber Box: Anybody enclosed in this coffin-like box is lightly bombarded with shocks until they pass out. They can only be woken by opening the box, and users report an incredibly restful sleep.

Cremato-Scan: Two spikes wired up to a small console. Putting them both into a corpse will ignite the remains with high voltage, burning it to a crisp in a matter of minutes. The console then prints out a small paper report showing the following facts about the victim:
- Their last meal
- Distance and direction of the last place they slept
- Their number of siblings.

Electric Armour

Puffer Suit: The wearer can trigger the Puffer Mechanism at any time. They are immobile but gain Armour 2 and anybody currently engaged in melee is shocked for d6 damage, ignoring armour. Deflating the puffer mechanism takes 5 minutes and requires a helper.

Breacher Armour: Armour 2. Cannot even move without power. With a decent run up this armour can smash through a brick wall. 

Concussion Armour: Armour 1. When an attacker causes Critical Damage to you they are blasted backwards for d10 damage.

Electric Vehicles

Electrocycle: Its heavy battery is powered by riding the bike normally. One hour of normal riding charges enough power for a few minutes of noisy blazing.

Spark-Luge: Essentially a metal tray that can be rigged onto a rail or tramline and thrust one very brave passenger along it at dangerous speeds.

Altobrella: A chunky umbrella that opens up like a helicopter's blades. Extremely limited maneuverability, only really takes you straight up or on a controlled descent.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Electric Bastionland Update

Because a few people have asked, here's the latest on Electric Bastionland.

  • As before, the text is essentially done pending many more proofreading sweeps. These can be happening while the Kickstarter is live. 
  • I'm currently waiting on a few confirmations from printers for the book.
  • After that, the Kickstarter prep will begin and I'll launch that as soon as possible. 
  • Art will be greenlighted once the Kickstarter looks like it's going to succeed, but there will definitely be some new pieces to show for the Kickstarter launch.
Mark of the Odd is also also very close.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Relic Walkers

I ran a little further with the ideas in my last post. 

Relic Walkers

Humanity is scattered through space with oceans of time and space between us. Colonies are small and isolated. Most humans have been altered slightly.

The Hierarchy
  • The Reliquary: Owners and maintainers of all technological relics, including Walkers and the only interstellar ship.
    • Father/Mother, Sister/Brother.
  • Custodian: Sanctioned relic holder, sworn to protect.
    • Captain, Castellan, etc
  • Retainer: Serves in a privileged position due to lack of debt or reliance.
    • Minister, Errant, Deacon.
  • Bonded: Sworn to a liege through debt or reliance.
    • Crew, Colonist, Server.
  • Vagabond: Independents that owe no fealty but receive no rights.

What’s important?
  • Interpersonal relationships in small communities
  • Faith, and how it holds communities together
  • Appearances, Piety and Prestige to keep your authority

Three Virtues of the Reliquary
  • Reverence of the Reliquary
  • Fealty to your Custodian
  • Fellowship to your Peers

Houses grant access to specific types of Walker.
Power is used both to resist attacks and to power weapons and other systems. It Recharges fully at the start of the Rider's turn.
Systems cost 1 power to use as standard, may have Boosts that each cost an extra point of power.
Each can only be used once per turn unless specified with Multi
Passive systems do not consume Power, but are usually triggered in some other way.
Walkers have a Load score showing how many systems they can carry. Core systems are built into a Walker and do not count towards your Load.
Effects last until the start of your next turn unless noted otherwise.
Moving requires 1 power and moves you to an adjacent Zone.
Collisions causes d6 to each side, +d12 if one side is significantly lighter. Trampling a soft target incurs no damage in return.


Attackers all declare their targets, then for each target the attackers roll their damage dice together and choose which single die to use. For cases where is is relevant, the roller of the chosen die is considered to have struck the hit.

Armour is subtracted from any attacks against you.

Damage is is deducted first from the target’s Power, then their STR. If they lose STR in this way they must pass a STR Save to avoid Critical Damage.

Critical Damage means the Walker is disabled. STR 0 is utterly destroyed and the Rider takes d12 damage.

Dramatic HitIf you are taken to exactly 0hp, lookup the amount of damage caused on the table below.

1: Rider Hit: The Rider takes d6 damage.
2: Overheat: You only regain 1 power next turn.
3: Exposed: Now your Rider takes STR damage whenever their Walker does.
4: System Shock: A system of your choice is destroyed.
5: Power Surge: If you end your next turn with any power, take d12 damage. 
6: Toppled: You are knocked down. Getting back up requires all of your power.


Rider Type
Roll d12 to see how you differ from humanity as we know it.

1: Born in the Holy: You were born on the Reliquary and have some contacts there.
2: Human-Plus: You don’t sleep or age. Ethereal and beautiful.
3: First-Colonist: Immune to toxins, can eat minerals. Stocky and lifeless.
4: Orbital: Control your personal gravity field. Soft and luxurious.
5: Stasis-Born: You can “tune” your perception of time and memory. Uncannily young.
6: Cyborg: You can patch just about any tech onto your body. Boxy and mechanical.
7: Eternal Soldier: You can elect to take a Scar in place of Critical Damage. Sullen and scarred.
8: Solar-Splice: Conjure dim light, immune to heat and radiation. Slightly red and demonic.
9: Robot: You’re a closed system but can interface with any tech. Smooth and clean.
10: Darkspacer: Perfect echolocation. Shadowy and tattered.
11: Voider: You can survive in a vacuum indefinitely. Grey and scaly.
12: Noble: Upper-class sorts like you, others don’t. Bright and Noble.

Twelve Houses are each entrusted with maintaining a specific set of Walkers. You begin with access to one House's Walker and its Systems.

Here are the first three. Boosts are noted as bullets after each System. 

House Falx
Faith in Fire

Firebase Walker
STR 15, DEX 7
Armour 1, Load 4, Power 4

Lockdown Protocol (Core)
Root yourself into place for +1 Armour and Lock On to one target.
  • Fire any number of ranged weapons at no power cost (Boosts not included)
  • Lock On to an additional target (multi)

Shred Burner
d8, Short
  • +d8 and Blast

Impact Cannon 2d6, Long. Sum your best set of marching dice to a maximum total of 12.
  • +d6 (multi)

Mesh Driver d6, Long
  • +1 Armour to any allies in the same zone as the target.

Smart Gun D6, Long, Targets every enemy you Lock On to.
  • +d6

Eagle Rocket D10, Long. Requires Lock On.
  • +d10

Chaff Cycling Every weapon you fire this turn gets +d6.

Every gun you fire this turn receives all of its Boosts without the power cost.

Overclocker Every attack you fire this turn gets +d12, but you do not Recharge at the start of your next turn.

House Igoreck
The Gods Within

Elite Walker
STR 15, DEX 7
Armour 1, Load 3, Power 5

Wild Logic (Core, Passive)You get an extra turn all to yourself at the start of the fight and whenever you pass your Save vs Critical Damage.

Shock Axe
d8, melee.
  • +d10

Shard Driver
D8, Long
  • Ignore one point of Armour (multi)

Javelin Charges
1d6, Long
  • +d6 and Move

Deploy or Move your Jag Drone (Armour 2)
  • Have your drone attack for d8 melee damage (multi)

Reflector Weave (Passive)
When you pass a Save vs Critical Damage your attacker takes d6 damage, ignoring armour.
Short. Sets an area alight for d6 ongoing damage.

Sunder Boost
If you cause STR damage to a target, destroy one system of your choice.

Endo-Convertor (Passive)
When you are reduced to exactly 0hp, in place of taking a Dramatic Hit you start your next turn with an extra 3 Power. 

House Eunock
Better than Humanity

Melee Walker
STR 15, DEX 10
Armour 2, Load 2, Power 5

Limb Array (Core)
Make four d6 fist attacks. Melee.
  • In place of one attack, the target has their next attack is Impaired.
  • In place of one attack, knockback to an adjacent area.
  • In place of one attack, Rider takes d6 damage instead.

Alloy Stave
Your melee attacks get +d6 each.

Meteor Fists
Your melee attacks have a short range.

Jump Jet
d6 melee, Move
  • Extend your Move to any zone.

Doom Chime (Passive)
When you Knockback a target the Rider suffers d6 CHA Damage.

Black Rosary (Passive)
When you cause damage to a Rider the Walker loses d6 STR.

Server Protocol (Passive)
When you attack one target with three or more fists, disable one system.

Electro Flagellation (Passive)
When you take STR damage, +d10 to your fist attacks on your next turn.

Empty Vessel Protocol (Passive)
As long as you have no Power your Rider cannot suffer any harm.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Fighting Machines

Who ordered mecha rules for Into the Odd? 

Fighting Machines
 Images from Jonathon Barker

Things function just as in Electric Bastionland except:

Power is used in place of hp to resist attacks but also to power weapons and other systems. It recharges at the start of the pilot's turn.
Systems and Weapons cost 1 power to use as standard, and usually have one or more Overpowers (OP) that can be gained by spending an extra point of power.
Each Weapon and Overpower can only be used once per turn.
Unless noted, a system's effects last until the start of your next turn.
Frames have a number of slots available for Main and Aux systems. Aux systems can go into a main slot, but not vice versa. Each frame also has a special feature that doesn't require any Power to use.
Moving requires 1 power.
Collisions causes d6 damage to each side, +d12 against the smaller side if the weight difference is significant. Trampling a soft target incurs no damage in return.
Critical Damage means the Fighting Machine is disabled. STR 0 is utterly destroyed and the pilot takes d12 damage.
Pilots are protected from harm (unless noted otherwise).

Direct Hit
If you are taken to exactly 0hp, lookup the amount of damage caused on the table below.
1: Pilot Hit: The pilot takes d6 damage.
2: Overheat: You only regain 1 power next turn.
3: Exposed: On all future turns your pilot takes equal damage to your colossus.
4: System Shock: An Aux system of your choice is destroyed.
5: Power Surge: If you end your next turn with any power remaining, take d12 damage.
6+: Toppled: You are knocked down. Getting back up requires all of your power.

Example Frames
Hot Fox Light Frame
Armour 2, STR 10, DEX 10.
4 Power, 1 Main, 1 Aux.
The first time you take STR damage, fire off a d8 blast centred on yourself.

White Rock Medium Frame
Armour 2, STR 15, DEX 8.
5 Power, 1 Main, 2 Aux.
When you recharge from zero to full power you can activate any one non-weapon Aux system for free.

Mastodon Kong Heavy Frame
Armour 3, STR 18, DEX 5.
6 Power, 2 Main, 2 Aux.
When you fire two Main guns at one target, +d6 to each.

Example Systems
Hammer Cannon (Main)
OP: +d6 blast

Railgun (Main)
d10, single target.
OP: +d10, can be stacked.

Plasma Battery (2 Main Slots)
OP: +d12
OP: Add Blast
OP: If the target takes STR damage, destroy their armour.

Fractal Bombard (Main)
d6 vs Machines only, ignore all defences. Damage repeats each turn until target pays 1P on its turn.
OP: Increase power cost to remove ongoing damage by 1.

Flak Gun (Main)
d6 blast, +d8 vs soft targets.
OP: replace blast with +d10.

Shock Lash (Main)
d6, Melee. On Critical Damage the pilot is incapacitated.
OP: The Pilot also takes damage.

Power Bank (Aux)
One use per battle. Immediately recharge Power.

Shield Bank (Aux)
One use per battle. Ignore up to 6 points of STR damage.

Lazarus Protocol (Aux)
Automatically pass any saves vs Critical Damage until your next turn.

Smart Gun (Aux)
d6, if you have multiple Smart Guns fire them all for 1P.

Shimmer Field (Aux)
+2 armour vs ranged

Jump Pack (Aux)
Soar through the sky. Land on soft targets for d10 blast damage.

Explosive Vents (Aux)
d6 Blast centred on yourself, ignore armour.

Defender Pods (Aux)
Anybody moving to engage you in melee takes d6 damage.

Squire Drone (Aux)
Have your drone (3hp, Armour 1) move and perform one of the following actions.
  • Attack with Impact Spear (d8)
  • Shield itself (+2 Armour)
OP: Choose two actions.

Example of Play

Gordo, a heavy mech with with two Railguns is ambushed by two Crows, light mechs each with a Hammer Cannon and Shimmer Field.

The Crows each have 4 Power. Each spends 1 on moving into position, 1 on activating their Shimmer Field and one firing their Hammer Cannon at Gordo. They both roll d10 for damage, and the highest die shows 8. The Gordo's Armour (3) reduces this to 5, and it uses 5 of its 6 Power to absorb the remaining damage. Both Crows now have 1 Power remaining.

Gordo recharges to full power at the start of his turn. He'll plays it cautiously and fires both Railguns at one of the Crows, electing to Overpower one of them for an additional +d10. This uses a total of 3 Power, leaving him with 3 remaining.

He rolls 3d10 and takes the single highest die, a 9. This is reduced to 5 by the Crow's armour (3 with the Shimmer Field), 1 point is absorbed by the Crow's remaining Power, leaving 4 points of damage to hit the Crow's STR score. With STR now at 6 it makes a STR Save vs Critical damage and fails, leaving the mech a smoking wreck.

Now the remaining Crow recharges its power to full and must decide whether to fight or flee. Perhaps they weren't so well equipped to deal with such a heavy opponent.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Mistakes and Community Expectations

I'm afraid this is another post completely devoid of game content, but a rare post on the state of the RPG online community. In particular, this relates to the current situation around Zak S, which has been written about in great detail by Emmy, Patrick, Arnold, and Skerples among countless others.


The accounts written by Mandy, Hanna, Jennifer, and Vivka sound genuine to me. I see no reason why they would fabricate their experiences and put themselves through this experience. 
Zak's response and those of some of his close friends haven't addressed the accusations, instead focusing on discrediting Mandy and painting Zak in a positive light.  

Since the accusations we've seen an almost unanimous renouncement of Zak, severing of contact, and re-thinking previous support of him. When the accusations came to light he was banned from the OSR Discord server.

More interestingly, this has been followed by a stream of people saying that they had avoided engaging with the community while Zak was such a central part of it, and now feel comfortable joining in. 

This post is written in the context of being admin of the OSR Discord channel (see link in the sidebar). I'm not looking to examine evidence or suggest a legal sentence to be applied. I'm posting about the mistakes I've made as a server moderator, the lessons I'm taking from this, and the actions I'll be carrying out in future.


I didn’t fully appreciate the amount to which somebody can be technically correct, but still make the community a worse place.

I didn’t trust my judgement of character. Like so many others I knew Zak behaved like a jerk but gave him far too much leeway.

I was overly hung up on the fear of Zak having his own OSR Discord channel, and the danger of him being sole moderator of the main channel of OSR communication. This made me overly cautious in my treatment of him.

I'm sorry for the harm that the above mistakes caused to other users of the server.


  • The way rules are presented can influence the perceived culture of the server.
  • Some people will push their behaviour right up to the boundaries of any rules.
  • You never know how many people are holding their voices back.

The Future

Now my focus on creating a community with positive, respectful culture rather than living by hard rules. People will still be accountable, but we will live within human limits. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

OSR Discord Tricks

So the *OSR Discord* is undergoing some changes as we get more and more people hopping on board. We're now over 1,300 strong.

I got some useful feedback on G+ yesterday, but if there's something you'd like to see on the server then let me know and I'm always open to trialing new ideas. I'm currently trying out a slowmode of 30 seconds or more across the server to keep the pace more manageable.


  • Discord is much faster than the likes of G+, but with a little knowledge you can get used to it.
  • Go to Information Kiosk first. This has a guide to all of the channels and what purpose they serve.
  • Use Categories. There are lots of channels on the server, but I keep them divided into categories. If you click on a category it collapses the view to only show channels with unread messages.
  • Mark as Read. If you right-click the server and click "Mark as Read" then all channels will disappear into the collapsed categories. Then, when there's activity on a channel it will appear in the list, letting you focus on the channels that are actually active at that time.
  • Mention people in your replies. This helps keep the conversation a bit more orderly.
  • Don't try to read everything. There's too much. Just hop into an ongoing discussion or start talking about something you want to discuss in the appropriate channel.
  • Move into an overflow channel if needed. They're there for when things are moving too fast in one channel, so take your conversation into a quieter room if it's getting drowned.
  • Use the Suggestions Box. Seriously, if you suggest a new channel I'll probably give it a trial if it fits.

There's an invite link in the sidebar. Come and join us!