Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Imperfect Examples

Some will be pleased to hear that I've been dipping back into Mythic Bastionland. No updates to the doc just yet, as I'm going back in with a more deliberate approach now, getting the core polished up before I start working away on the Knights and Myths.

Top of the to-do list for a while has been writing an Example of Play.

I've been hanging on until I felt the mechanics were more stable, as I didn't want to have to rewrite the thing with every rules change. That's still a concern, but I feel like "demonstration of rules mechanics" is just half of what Examples of Play are for.

They also set the tone of the world, establish the expectations of play, and hopefully demystify the whole process by framing it as a conversation rather than a clockwork masterpiece.

It's easy to laugh or cringe at those old examples of play written like an amateur play script or... worse.

The GM grins and grabs the d12. The players watch it in terror.

GM: Aha! Now the real danger begins.

There's a glimmer in the GM's eye. Everybody applauds. 

Yeah I hate them too BUT I think a little informality goes a long way. Dare I say we should have examples of play where the GM makes mistakes? There are few GM skills more useful than knowing how to recover from a blunder or improvise your way out of a dead end. 

I haven't gone too far into that idea yet, but this is just a first pass. 

Here's what I have so far: 



A group of three are playing. Ash is the Referee and the characters are Margan the Moss Knight and Tanza the Talon Knight.

Danger

Ash: You see light flickering from within the cave. It’s maybe 30ft away through the trees. 

Margan: Any signs of life around the cave? 

Ash: It’s pretty dark here other than the light from the cave. I assume you put your torches out before you started sneaking up here?

Margan: Yeah, makes sense.

Ash: Well even under the moonlight you can make out shadows of movement. Looks like someone is moving around inside the cave. You also spot a silhouette standing guard, outside, a solid looking figure.

Tanza: Wait, I have a plan. Are they carrying a weapon? I could send my Raven to steal it if it’s on the ground. She specialises in Stealing, after all.  

Ash: They’re definitely armed, but let’s do a Luck Roll to see if they’re carrying it. We’ll call it straight 50/50.

Rolls a d6, scoring 2. This means fortune does not favour the characters. 

Ash: You can see a mace hung on their belt. Your Raven could still go for it, but would need a Save to avoid the guard’s anger.

Tanza: Let’s do it. FIN Save for the Raven, yeah?

Ash: Go for it.

Tanza rolls a 19, failing the Save.

Ash: Your Raven swoops down on the unsuspecting guard, grasping at his mace with her talons. The guard grabs onto the haft, wrenching it free from her grip and winding up to strike. What’s she doing? 

Tanza: Get her out of there! Actually, she can fly off in the other direction, away from us. Might cause a distraction.

Ash: Let’s see if he falls for it…

Exploration

Ash: Right, so it’s the dawn of a new day.

Ash points to the pawn on the player’s map showing their location.

Ash: To recap, you’re here. Other than the elevated camping spot you found it’s rather unpleasant bog as far as the eye can see. The air feels damp and mushroomy. 

Both players look at the map and start to point at other hexes. 

Margan: We don’t have a route, so we’ll likely be hiking. We could make it to this Shire hex by nightfall. Get ourselves a proper  meal and actually speak to some locals?

Tanza: Yeah but we know these woods over here are where the Goblin was last seen. Can we see the woods from here?

Ash: Not from your camp, but they’re so far away that you’d only get a distant view anyway. Like you’d see there are woods, but couldn’t spot a person there.

Tanza: Okay let’s hike toward that Shire instead and do some information gathering. As we’re travelling can I search for any other travellers we could speak to? I can see through my Raven’s eyes remember.

Ash: Yeah that’ll help for sure. No real risk here so we’ll just make it a Luck Roll. With your Raven you’ll certainly find somebody, but this is more about how far away they are.

Tanza rolls a d6, scoring 5. 

Ash: Sure, there’s somebody travelling not far from here, let me see who we’ve got.

Ash decides to roll a random Prompt for a Person, scoring 1 and 11. They’ll also use the State prompt from the same page. The result is “Lost Knight” and “Nurturing”. 

Ash: Through your Raven’s eyes you see an armoured figure riding on horseback, a smaller figure on a pony trailing behind them. Looks like a Knight and their squire. You’ve got enough warning to skirt around them, or are you going to move closer?

Combat

Ash: The boar is huge, like a hay bale. Its eyes dead and black like a shark. It stands taut, as if it could charge any minute.

Margan: This pig is definitely up for a fight. 

Tanza: Fine!

Margan and Tanza discuss a plan briefly.

Tanza: Okay, can I climb up into a tree? Are there any nearby?

Ash: Sure, we’re in a forest. You scramble up without any trouble. 

Margan: I’ll get under the tree and try to bait the boar into charging me, then Tanza will dive down onto it when it gets close.

Ash: Hm, I think moving to the tree and climbing it is already an action for this turn. If you bait the boar over then it’ll get to charge you before you can respond.

Margan: Fine, let’s go ahead with that. I hoist up my shield. 

Ash: The boar charges at Margan and…

Rolls d10 for damage, scoring 9. This is reduced to 8 because of Margan’s shield. 

Ash: Eight damage! So the boar…

Margan: Woah, hang on. I’ll use the Endure Feat on that, trying to take the brunt of the charge on my shield. 

Ash: Okay, you use Endure, in that case meaning no damage. Take a Wrath though.

Margan: Got it. Our turn? Spring the trap! I attack with my cudgel and…

Tanza: I leap down with my hookhammer, which gets +d6 when leaping down.

Ash: Okay, who’s leading the attack? 

Margan: Me! I want revenge on this pig. 

Tanza gives their 2d6 to Margan, who adds d6 from their own weapon and rolls all three, scoring 2, 2, 6. The highest single die is 6. 

Margan: Six damage!

Ash: And it’s an Onslaught because you rolled the highest number on your die! You’re going to hit this pig, but what else do you want to happen?

Time

Margan: Yeah this was fun! 

Ash: Wait, we have one more thing to do before we go. It’s the end of a session so you have to decide how many parts of your oath you fulfilled.

The table look over the three parts of the oath and discuss their actions. 

Tanza: Yeah I think on balance we didn’t really Honour the Seers, but I’m glad we ignored him anyway, he was a weirdo. 

Ash: So you’ll both gain 2 Glory. Tanza you’re on 5, Margan 7. 

Margan: So I’m a Knight Exemplar now?

Ash: Yeah, so you’re considered worthy of a place in court. Not much use out here in the bog but if you go to a holding you might be able to get a position of influence.

Tanza: Did we say about doing a time skip?

Ash: Oh yeah, that was the plan. We said we’d move onto the next Season. Are you happy with that?

Margan: I mean we have some loose threads but I think it’d be fun to move things along.

Tanza: Yeah let’s do it.

Ash: So next game we’ll move into Winter. What are you both focusing on between the seasons?

Ash shows them both the list of options.

Tanza: Oh I can just relieve a Burden? I’ll get rid of that Dread I picked up.

Ash: That’s Indulgence, right? What are you doing? 

Tanza: How about spending some time riding out alone, my raven on my arm. Hm, I dunno, would that work?

Ash: Yeah that’s a cool image. A bit of a recluse period. 

Margan: Can I do the court focus? I know we’re in the swamp.

Ash: No it’s fine, we assume you both travel about a bit and then reconvene next time.

Margan: Great, well I’ll see if I can get some influence at the Seat of Power with my new worthiness.

Ash: Nice. We’ll come back to that at the start of the next game. Okay, we’re done!


Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Speaking in Parlance

As you might expect, Bastion doesn't have an official language.

Scoffin at yer nonknowin that Handydown is OFFICIALLY recorded as prime in a number of...

Who let the Mock Linguists in here?

Well yeah everybody can muddle through conversation through pointing and pantomime. That system of exaggerated gestures is as close to a common tongue as you'll get here. 

So basically everybody can co-communicate a bit even if they're from distant boroughs or just got off the Deep Country Express. 

Lookear lad it nay that simple
Yes it is!

Sure, there are regional dialects. People revel in their local slang, lilts, and drawls. I reckon some ham it up to let you know where they're from. If the roof sweeper speaks like they grew up on the Slatefield then you might grant them the assumption of sure-footing and pay them a bit extra. 

But now we're getting into Parlance

It's actually more complex than that.
We're talking about Cants. This is solved.

No! This isn't like Cants or Codes. Those conceal a message. 

Parlances enhance the message and maybe add a little extra. 

Here are six of them. They can be learned, but those in the know will recognise a chancer from the real deal. 

Parababble
Some will be keen to point out that Bastion is full of aliens, all of whom face some sort of barrier to communication. Parababble emerged from communities of Bastiards who found themselves dealing regularly with Aliens. Lots of familiar words, but pronounced at a strange pace, emphasising unexpected syllables and inserting hums between particularly long words. 

Although it doesn't really aid in Bastio-Cosmo communication, it demonstrates to other people that you are the sort of person that roams in such circles. Maybe you're a little bit above all this human nonsense. You know, from the stars Bastion looks so small.

Actually that's not true, but that's a topic for another day. 

Barlingo
A sort of branch of legalese with some bureaucratish and politican mixed in. Allows to very carefully, very precisely, say something truly reprehensible in a reversible manner. 

You can quite plainly proclaim something that you'd never say out loud under normal circumstances and look around to see if anybody agrees with you. If somebody looks shocked or offended the whole meaning can be shifted with the addition of a word of two.

Yargon
This started as a joke. A load of fake, sarcastic technical terminology that you'd throw out when you didn't really understand what you were talking about.

Then some joker actually gave a load of those terms real meaning with a heavy dependency on context.

Now speaking Yargon means you absolutely do know what you're talking about... unless you're doing it in the old fashioned way... or in the newly-emerging ironic way.

Best to just let them get on with the job and see how it turns out. 

Baztic
The ur-tongue of Bastion. So prestigious! You can see its influence in just about every dialect in the city and beyond. Words used in a bygone time, the legacy of our ancestors.

But it's just made up, really. You take some modern words and mess them around a bit. Make sure you stick your chest out when you speak. 

Makes you sound educated and fancy to people who don't know better, but you'll embarrass yourself in front of anybody switched onto such things. 

Punchbunk
There's way of talking as if you're tough. That might work on some people.

But Punchbunk is specifically a way of using slang and innuendo to describe how you're going to hurt somebody with such poetry that the words cause physical pain. They say it started in prisons, where inmates would shout such vivid descriptions between cells that they'd wake up bruised. 

I don't know about all that, but there's certainly an art to the wounding word. 

Trivel
A way of speaking that involves dropping as many references as possible to books, songs, esoteric history, just about any piece of trivia that you might hope somebody else recognises.

But there's no point if everybody recognises it. The dream result is that the other person recognises you've made a reference without fully understanding how it's relevant to what you're saying.

It puts them on the backfoot. They smile and laugh like they understand. Now you're winning the conversation!

As well as that y...

Um. Ahum. Excuse me. Yes. Excuse me. You weren't listening so I'll start again.

I was talking because this is my thing! This isn't your classroom.

Juslookathat! Very rude. Goto the dean all-at-once.

I'm not even a student here! 

Wait, when did we get here?

DEAN! DEAN! NOW! NOW!

Wait, the Dean? Is that the one I saw in

Well I'm afraid you're in real trouble now.

Oh.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Art by Midjourney

This post was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site the week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Reasonable Cruelty

For this challenge I'm going to revisit a selection of monster abilities that often scare GMs away, and can feel like unfair relics from the era of killer GMs.

These include:
  • Equipment Destruction
  • Maiming limbs
  • Finishing-off downed PCs
  • Instant Death
  • Level-drain (with a twist where ITO/Bastionland has no levels)
  • Petrification
  • Mind Control
And the final twist, none of the above effects will grant a Save to avoid them. There might be another way, but not from rolling well. 

The only way this will work is ultra-clear information for the players. They need to know that the scorpion's sting is instantly fatal FOR REAL THIS IS NOT FLUFF. If that touches you, you die. 

We can only give them information, let's see what they do with it!

Reasonably Cruel Monsters

Gun-Runt

STR 6, DEX 9, CHA 3, 1hp
Muck Gun (d6, leaves splat of muck as well as damage)
  • Hides under its tortoise-like shell as an instant reaction if anybody gets close, or if threatened from afar. The shell is utterly unbreakable by anything short of a bomb, and forms a tight seal to the ground.
  • Surrenders pitifully if they are unable to retract into their shell. They weep and cry but will turn hostile at the first opportunity.
  • Live only to serve the Green Beast, and would happily die for him. 
Notes: These things are annoying, but not much trouble on their own. They exist to accompany the more interesting monsters and make them even more annoying. 

Sticky-Runt 

STR 9, DEX 6, CHA 3, 2hp
Claws (d6)
  • Resembles a Gun-Runt, but has a mass of tangled fur and tendrils in place of its shell.
  • Anything touching its shell is grabbed by a waxy adhesive, only released by a Runt's saliva.
  • Their saliva also melts through any material, which they gleefully use to destroy captured items. 
Note: Equipment destruction

Collector Beetle

STR 10, DEX 10, CHA 3, 5hp
Jaws (d8) Shell (Armour 2)
  • On an attack roll of 7+ the Beetle tears a limb from the target. It favours arms, especially those carrying impressive weapons. 
  • Torn limbs are attached to the Beetle's hide, animating to grant an extra attack as appropriate.
  • If the Beetle is killed then limbs can be reattached, but require a skilled surgeon. 
Note: Maiming limbs

White Vulture

STR 12, DEX 15, CHA 3, 3hp
Rend (d8)
  • Has no appetite for combat, but watches on and swoops down onto any helpless victims.
  • Before feasting the Vulture spends a whole turn displaying, turning blood red and ruffling its feathers.
  • On the next turn the feast is gruesome and quick. The Vulture is back in the air before the last drops hit the ground. 
Note: Downed opponents

Crushing Spirit

STR 10, DEX 15, CHA 13, 6hp
Crush (d10), part-bone part-shadow (ignore normal attacks, takes d4 to d12 damage from light depending on intensity)
  • Its touch is unavoidable, freezing the victim in the place. On their next turn the spirit crushes the victim to dust, extracting their soul.
  • Even lamplight repels the spirit.
  • It's always plotting a way to plunge a victim into darkness. They don't much care who the specific victim is, but they must feed. 
Note: Instant death

Bloody Tearer
STR 7, DEX 6, CHA 5, 10hp
Black Gauntlet (d8, melee or ranged), Bloody Armour (Armour 2)
  • Bears trophies from infinite wars on impossible worlds, now a reluctant killer for hire.
  • They warn that each death now carries a greater cost.
  • If the Tearer causes or takes Melee Critical Damage, a red orb emerges and drains the life from any combatants. They all reroll their Ability Scores on 3d6, keeping any that are lower than their current score. 
Note: "Level drain"

Cloud Rider

STR 15, DEX 18, CHA 10, 11hp
Wind Blast (d6 Blast)
  • Extremely fast, lives to spread terror. 
  • Their body is fleshy, but always masked by cloud.
  • Instead of moving, the Rider can fill a room-sized area with glowing petrification gas. There's enough time to flee the area, but anybody that stays and breathes even a little of the gas becomes permanently petrified.
Note: Petrification
The Green Beast

STR 16, DEX 7, CHA 18, 10hp
Smash (d10 or d6 Blast), Stony Body (Armour 2)
  • Wants to amass more servants and punish those who rejected him.
  • Uses material bribes before resorting to his mind control. 
  • Anybody killed by the Beast, or one of his sworn servants, finds themselves on the threshold of death, faced by his true form, soft and verdant. The Beast offers life in return for an hour of service. If they agree, the victim returns to life but is under the Beast's control for the next hour.
Notes: Mind control

Art by Midjourney

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This post was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site the week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon. 

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Making MACs

My mechs have are now referred to by a silly TLA because it's the law.

I'm this close to renaming the whole game MAC ATTACK but I wonder if it's a step too far.


(does look pretty cool though...)

EDIT: Since I wrote this last week I went ahead and changed the name because it grew on me and it's a lot of fun to say out loud. 

But either way the game has warped and shifted as I've worked on it. While it's still drawing heavily on Battletech (in feel if not in actual mechanics) I'm now aiming to give it some of its own identity. 

This is a similar process to The Doomed, where I wanted to keep things broad enough that you could throw together a game using primarily GW (or in this case Battletech) miniatures, while allowing the game to have an identity beyond an alternative ruleset for somebody else's world.

So you can bring your Battlemechs, but they'll need translating into MACs. 

All of the sample MACs in the game started out as one of the Battletech miniatures on my shelf. As the factions emerged they took on new identities, so some are now less recognisable than others. 

But what if you just want to bring the miniatures from your Game of Armoured Combat starter box and play this game?

Easy, let's go. 

I'll go through the process of converting one of these Mechs to a MAC, then I'll just write up a few more as a starting point for anybody that wants to try this game out. 

SHD-2H Shadowhawk


This guy is kind of a Jack-of-all-Trades in the medium weight class. Though that cool looking shoulder cannon is actually a somewhat ineffective autocannon 5, and he's kind of slow compared to his peers. For this conversion process I'll be walking a fine line between trying to recreate the Mech as it exists in Battletech vs how I'd like it to exist based on its appearance and fluff. 

I certainly think trying to replicate the Mech 1:1 is futile when the systems are so different. Think of it as an opportunity to create your own version of the classic. 

Starting with the easy stuff, the four Battletech weight classes correspond to the four MAC classes here, so this is a Class 2 MAC. 

Shadowhawk
Class 2, Move 5"

We've got 8 modules to fill, minus 1 for the Reactor. Let's start with the essentials:

  • It has a somewhat stumpy jump, so we'll give it a single Jet.
  • That shoulder cannon could be the railgun-like Accelerator, replicating the long range fire role of the AC5 with a bit of extra punch. You could also make arguments for it being a Cannon or a Howitzer. As I want to keep it as a direct-fire Kinetic weapon we'll make it a Cannon. 
  • We could make the Cannon an XL version, as it's clearly modelled to be the primary weapon of this Mech, but let's keep it as standard for now as we've got more weapons to go.
  • I like that this Mech has a wide variety of weapons, so we'll replicate them as  best we can. Our laser, SRM, and LRM will be a Pulser, Frags, and Missiles respectively. 
  • We're down to our last two modules and with all these weapons we'll pick up an extra Heat Sink to keep things manageable. 
  • For the final module we could go for the safe route and give it a Plate for added protection, but looking at the Design Quirks of this Mech in Battletech I see it has Battlefists. While this is a relatively minor benefit in that  game I like the idea of giving this Mech an extra bit of punch (pun intended) so let's give it a CCW. 
  • The order of the Modules does matter. Modules higher than 7 are protected from initial damage, and certain modules like Plates and Turrets care a lot about which module they're adjacent to. Here we're going to focus on protecting that main cannon so we can keep firing it. 

Shadowhawk (16pts)
Class 2, Move 5"
1. Jets
2. Pulser (B) C1 S2
3. Heatsink
4. Frags (C) C1 S2
5. Missiles (C) L2 A1
6. CCW (K) C3
7. Cannon (K) S2 L1
8. Reactor

So we've got a MAC that can fight at all ranges, whether blasting missiles over the horizon or punching you in the face, but isn't anything special with regards to mobility or armour. Sounds about right for a Shadowhawk. 

You might prefer the idea of bumping up the Cannon to an XL-Cannon, or taking an XL-Accelerator instead to lean into the long-range firepower. Making it easy to swap out individual modules like this is key to what I'm trying to do with this game, so don't feel like your Shadowhawk needs to be the same as mine. 

Now, as promised, here are are few more:

Locust (12pts)
Class 1, Move 10"
1. Servo: Take 1 less Heat for Shifting or Rushing
2. Frame: +2" Move but this module is destroyed by any hit.
3. Flak (K): C1 S2
4. Pulser (B): C1 S2
5. Frame: +2" Move but this module is destroyed by any hit.
6. Heatsink
7. Reactor

Wolverine (16pts)
Class 2, Move 5"
1. Rockets (C): S2 L1
2. Jet
3. Cannon (K): S2 L1
4. Ioniser (B): S2 L1
5. Jet
6. Plate
7. Heatsink
8. Reactor

Thunderbolt (20pts)
Class 3, Move 4"
1. Pulser (B): C1 S2
2. Pulser (B): C1 S2
3. Ioniser (B): S2 L1
4. XL-Missiles (C): L3 A2
5. Frags (C): C1 S2
6. Plate
7. Heatsink
8. Heatsink
9. Reactor

Awesome (24pts)
Class 4, Move 3"
1. XL-Accelerator (B) S2 L3
2. Heatsink
3. XL-Accelerator (B) S2 L3
4. Heatsink
5. Pulser (B) C1 S2
6. Plate
7. Plate
8. Tracer: -1TN when firing at a target you have already attacked this turn
9. XL-Accelerator (B) S2 L3
10. Reactor

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This post was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site the week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon. 

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Breaking the Rules

I've been trying to drill down to the identity of each of the factions in Intergalactic Bastionmechs (I really need to give this a proper name soon). Most of all I want them to each have a special rule that gives them a unique gameplay twist while implying something about their flavour. 

A good way to do this is to have them break one of the standard rules of the game. This is equally applicable to designing RPG abilities, so don't run away if you're sick of hearing about wargames!


I thought I could use this post as a live-fire exercise, working through some of the key rules of the game and looking at how a faction might be able to break that rule.

The Modules you install on your units should do this to a lesser extent, but I want the Faction abilities to feel more impactful.

These might end up being unsuitable once tested, but it's always good to get these ideas out in the open.

Rules excerpts in italics.

TERRAIN
All Terrain falls into one of the following types
[followed by rules for Open, Rough, Cover, Obstructions, Water, Barriers, Buildings]

I'm always wary of including rules linked to a specific type of terrain, as I can't help but imagine situations where somebody brings their Wood Elf army to a desert-themed board and feels like they've invested points into wood-based abilities that are now wasted. Some games mitigate this by allowing those factions to bring pieces of their desired terrain along with them, but that doesn't appeal to me. 

In this game I think it's pretty fair to assume that the board will at the very least include some Rough and Cover alongside a lot of Open terrain, so I'll be looking at them for rules to break.

Open allows for Rushing movement.
Examples: Gentle slopes, light vegetation.

Rough cannot be Rushed through.
Bog, scrub, steep slopes in all directions

Cover can be shot into or out of, but not through. A unit touching an area of Cover is treated as being within that Cover. Firing into Cover is done so at +1TN.
Forests, ruins, smoke

Some obvious things come to mind like "ignore the downsides of Terrain Type X". My mind goes to "Improve the benefits of Terrain Type X" but that's not really breaking a rule, it's just another little benefit which is better tied to a regular piece of equipment.

How about:

Shadowdash: You can Rush through Cover.

So now that unit can vanish into the woods and reappear behind the enemy. 

It doesn't even have to thematically apply to the terrain itself. It could be something like this. 

Guardian Fields: Your units with 3" of an allied unit of a larger Class always count as being in Cover when attacked. 

Let's move onto the next section of rules.  

TURN SEQUENCE
1 - Move Phase
: Moving
2 - Attack Phase: Attacking
3 - Meltdown Phase: Checking for Reactor failure
4 - Cooldown Phase: Losing Heat

Now I subconsciously skipped over the turn sequence, but perhaps there's something here we can break. Messing with the order could be fun. Perhaps something like:

Paradigm Shift: At the start of a Turn you may swap the position of any two phases.

Could have some interesting applications, and of course relies on only one player having this ability to really work. You could tone it down a bit and have it only apply to one side's actions s but I like that this implementation is simple, potentially very powerful, but also requiring careful planning. 

I mean, it's probably majorly broken, but let's enjoy this moment. Even if we break it in testing we can find a way for its spirit to live on.

Another take could be:

Burnout: Once per game you can use this ability at the start of the Meltdown Phase. to Skip both the Meltdown and Cooldown phases.

Giving you one big Hail Mary turn to pull out of the bag when you've had a few mechs lose their reactors. 

INITIATIVE DECK
Assign each Mech and Formation a card and shuffle them into a deck. During the Move and Attack Phases shuffle the deck and draw to see which unit activates, repeating until all units have acted.

So in this game it's generally good to go later in the Move phase and earlier in the Attack phase. So we could do something like:

Overwatch: When any of your units activate in the Move phase you may have them perform no action. If they do, keep their initiative card aside. When shuffling the Initiative Deck for the Attack Phase shuffle these cards separately and place them on the top of the deck before drawing.

Again this one's probably completely busted, but it's another fun starting point.

You could alternatively break the rule in this way:

Tactical Fluidity: When you draw one of your cards from the initiative deck you may instead search the remaining deck for any one of your cards and draw that one instead. Return the original card to the deck and shuffle. 

So we've created 6 potentially interesting special abilities and we haven't even hit the Move Phase yet!

Hope this process has been useful to follow along with. If you're working on a game I can absolutely recommend trying it out for your own rules, making sure you don't skip sections like I almost did! 

Every rule has an interesting way to break it. Finding it is the tricky part. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This post was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site the week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon. 



Thursday, 27 October 2022

Factions Louder than Words

I’ve been thinking about how Battletech handles factions.

I was speaking in a Discord about how there’s a lot I love about the larger setting, but it took me a long time to really grasp what most of the factions were about, and even then I still don’t feel especially drawn to any of them.

I contrasted this, obviously, to Warhammer/40k where I think I knew which team I was supporting after flipping through my very first White Dwarf. But I've praised the Battletech setting for its groundedness, so I don't think you need to go wacky with this.

A stronger example is one that always lingers in the back of my head - the factions of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.

I liked the PC game and played it a fair bit, but I really loved the seven factions (and most of the seven expansion factions). Each was helmed by a charismatic leader, centred on an ideology, and upon starting the game you were faced with each of their portraits and a quote read out in their voice. It's pretty easy to look at these and immediately get what each faction is about. It's not exactly subtle.


As you played through the game you'd still hear from the other faction leaders. Not just through diplomacy, but each new tech advance came with another quote, usually from one of the faction leaders. It's like they were always tempting you with which faction you wanted to try out on your next game.

So I'm shamelessly taking this idea for factions in Titanic Bastionmechs. Does this game need factions if I'm generally just using it to play with Battletech minis? No, but it's been a fun experiment so far.

Slap down a portrait, quote, special rule, and some signature modules and mechs onto a page and see what sticks.

 

Any familiarity to factions from existing games is surely just convergent evolution.


So the skeletons for 10 factions are in the doc now. Lots of gaps to fill in these factions, but aside from anything else they're helping me focus in on a tone for this game.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This post was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site the week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Into the Odd Adventure Site - The Droner House

You can now venture into The Droner House, perfect if you're looking for a spooky Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland adventure site this Halloween. 

And it's FREE!

You might recognise this from the actual play I did with TKG a couple of years ago, now just barely fit for public consumption. 

Basically a big creepy house where horrible things happened and continue to happen. 

Enjoy!