Wednesday 6 December 2023

Which Virtue?

We're entering the final 24 hours for Mythic Bastionland!

Here's a little extract from the Oddpocrphya section of Mythic Bastionland.


After their character died last session, Tal has created a new character, the Riddle Knight. The Company are already worn down, having suffered CLA loss on their journey. They’re hunting a rogue knight who’s been harassing travellers.

Ref: So this is the hill where you heard the rogue knight was last spotted. What’s the plan from here?

Tal: How about we search for tracks. I can roll Clarity for that, right?

Ref: Erm… Hang on.

Ref looks at the Action Procedure and asks a few clarifying questions to Tal.

Ref: So the risk is that by scouring around these woods looking for tracks you might attract some unwanted attention.

Moss: Wait, if we’re just searching for something quickly could I use Vigour instead? That’s for like… athletic stuff, right?

Ref: Hm, no, I think that doesn’t really work here. Clarity is sharp senses and quick thinking, which is what’s being used here. 

Tal: Urgh, we’ve both got super low Clarity at the minute. I wish I’d thought of this before we came all the way out here.

Ref: Well there’s always another way. Instead of scouring for tracks you could try to find somebody to talk to, see if they’ve encountered the rogue knight.

Tal: Oh, and if we get “guidance from a Seer” then we recover our Clarity, right? I know it’s quite far, but we could travel over to this sanctum (points to the map) where we know there’s a Seer living.

Moss: Works for me, we might get some other good info while we’re there.

Ref: Great, so which way are you travelling?


With just three Virtues to choose from, it’s usually quite clear which Virtue should be used for a particular Save, or damaged by a particular harmful effect. Ref is pretty confident that Clarity is the Virtue to use for covertly tracking an enemy, and I’d agree with them here. 

In those cases where it’s not so clear I tend to err on the side of giving the players the final say, but I’d hope that these instances are rare. If they start occurring frequently then I’d perhaps take a moment to talk through the Virtues with the players, making sure everybody understands what each of them represents for their character. 

In this example we see that having low scores in a Virtue can create some interesting moments, here driving the players to seek out a Seer in the hope of both recovering their Clarity and getting the information they were looking for. 

If there wasn’t a Seer nearby then Ref could still have suggested some alternative directions for them to take, and speaking with the locals is usually a good direction to nudge players toward. 

If the players are desperate to restore a Virtue, and the most obvious means of doing so is too far away, then remind them that Remedies exist, suggesting where they might be found. Although they represent uncommon goods, a holding will usually at least be able to point them in the right direction. For Stimulant, which is used to restore Clarity, perhaps they’d be directed toward a local herbalist or alchemist in service of the ruler, remembering that these things are never given away for free.

If all else fails, remember that moving to a new Season or Age restores all Virtues, so sometimes an impromptu time skip can be the best way to move things forward. 


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 29 November 2023

Sparking Conflict

Mythic Bastionland is approaching its final week of funding! 

Go and check it out.

Now onto the actual post.

So you've built a nice Mythic Bastionland realm where everybody lives happily alongside each other.

Let's fix that. Who do we have in in the four holdings of this realm?

The Amber Knight rules over Archforth, the Seat of Power in the centre of the Realm
The Boulder Knight rules over Buckwall, a fortress in the West
The Chain Knight rules over Castle Churn in the North
The Dawnfather, high priest of a sun cult, rules over the town of Daybreak in the East

We'll use the Spark Tables in the Quickstart to make them nice and complicated.

First we'll give each one an internal conflict. The Drama, Woe, and News tables can all work for this, so we'll just jump between them.

Archforth: Jealousy/Family - A powerful family, let's say they're more money-powerful than knightly-powerful, jealously eye the seat of power, waiting for the Amber Knight to slip up and allow them to seize the support of enough of the other vassals.
Sanctioned/Famine - The harvest failed, so food is being strictly rationed, so much so that people are actually starving. Tough times over here.
Castle Churn:
Tournament/Content - A tournament is being planned, and I guess "content" means that this holding can comfortably spare the resources to make it a lavish event. A real contrast to Buckwall.
Banishment/Duel - The Dawnfather has been challenged to a duel, with the loser being banished from the realm. He seeks a champion, as he's no fighter himself. 

Next we'll take each pairing of Holdings and create some inter-holding conflict. Here's we're rolling first on the Relationship table to see how the Rulers are connected, then on the Conflict table to see how their Holdings are in conflict with each other. I like the idea that the relationship between rulers and holdings might not always add up. Sometimes the council make demands of their ruler, and sometimes circumstances give you little choice but to go to war with a dear friend. 

Archforth and Buckwall

Harmonious/Friend - The Amber and Boulder Knights share a lot of common interests and values, enjoying a unified desire for peace in the realm. 

Bloodfeud/Occupation - Buuuut, the conflict between their Holdings goes back further than themselves. Powerful families within each Holding have long feuded, and each have seats in their respective councils, ensuring the feud continues. The current status is that Archforth keeps a small garrison inside to Buckwall, an occupation attempting to keep things contained. 

Archforth and Castle Churn

Hateful/Peer - The Amber and Chain Knights once travelled together in the same company, but quickly grew to hate each other. The Chain Knight especially resents this new situation where the Amber Knight holds authority over them. 

Theft/Negotiations - Thieves from Castle Churn have stolen a tax coffer headed to Archforth, denying it of course. Archforth has entered into tense negotiations to try to amend this crime, hoping to avoid sending an armed presence to another of its holdings. 

Archforth and Daybreak

Friendly/Rival - The Amber Knight and the Dawnfather share a friendly relationship, though the Dawnfather is open about his desire to convert the whole Realm to his cult. This honesty actually keeps things quite civil, and so far no boundaries have been pushed... until...

Waterway/Standoff - Daybreak is the Realm's sole eastern port, and Archforth has used it to ship merchants in and out of the realm for generations. The Dawnfather has now cut them off, demanding a higher cut of the profits. The negotiations have stalled at a deadlock, with neither side benefiting from the current situation, but neither wanting to give ground to their rival. 

Buckwall and Castle Churn

Hateful/Supporter - The Boulder Knight has the poorest lands in the realm, the Chain Knight has the most bountiful. Surplus grain has long been traded at a generous price, but resentment grows each year that Buckwall becomes more reliant upon Castle Churn. 

Deceit/Skirmishes - Under a false banner, soldiers from Castle Churn have been attacking the outer lands of Buckwall, hindering their already struggling farmlands, hoping to stir the vassals into rebellion against the Boulder Knight. 

Buckwall and Daybreak

Adoring/Successor - In desperate times, the Boulder Knight has proclaimed the Dawnfather as his successor, swayed by the promises of his cult. 

Conquest/Truce - Of course, this didn't come about peacefully, but followed a failed attempt by Buckwall to conquer some of the outer lands of Daybreak's domain, the oath of succession being a necessary part of the truce to avoid a violent counter-attack against the Boulder Knight's weakened realm. 

Castle Churn and Daybreak

Secret/Peer - The Chain Knight is secretly a part of the sun cult, with equal rank to the Dawnfather. Perhaps the Dawnfather is the face, the Chain Knight the brains. 

Debt/Tension - The wealthy lands of Castle Churn provided a lot of early support to the Dawnfather in establishing the sun cult, and likes to give occasional reminders that this debt should be repaid some day. 

You could work through even more Spark Tables to flesh this out, but I think it's a good starting point. 


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 22 November 2023

Mythic Bastionland - RAIDER MODE

Want to play Mythic Bastionland, but don’t want to be a Knight?

Well, it’s probably the wrong game for... no... wait... what if you were a Raider from beyond the seas instead?


This is untested. To be honest it’s mostly written off the cuff.

Play the game as normal, but with the following changes:

Raiders, not Knights

Roll your character as normal, but do not take a Knight type. You do not automatically know Feats.

Instead pick 1 from each of the following lists. 

Every raider hides a Blade (d6).


  1. Ice: Take Monstrous Furs (A1, treat as plate).
  2. Stone: You know Focus.
  3. Sea: You can drink saltwater.


  1. Toil: You know Deny.
  2. Travel: You can Gallop as if you were a steed.
  3. Thorns: Attack as 3d6 when unarmed.


  1. Slaughter: You know Smite.
  2. Sail: You can speak with your ship’s spirit.
  3. Stories: Take a horn and masked helm (A1). The animal on your mask respects you.

If two Raiders in the same Company make the same choices then they immediately fight each other. Loser has to change one.

Gold, not Glory

You don’t gain Glory. Instead your reputation is measured in Gold.

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean gold, but represents the riches you have on taken and flaunted. Riches which you presumably gained by raiding. If a raider has a lot of gold then it’s usually safe to assume they carry a brutal reputation with them.

Even if you squander all your riches, the reputation rubs off. It’s like people look at you and think “yeah, if they wanted more gold they could absolutely take it”.

Gain 1 Gold when you successfully raid a Holding. Gain 2 if it’s a Seat of Power and you get some really good stuff.

Gain 1 Gold if you murder another Raider of higher Gold than you and take their stuff. Gain 2 if you totally humiliate them.

Trading and mercenary work might get you paid, but it won’t get you Gold.

0 Gold - Sea Worm: Other raiders see you as utterly disposable.

3 Gold - Sea Crow: Some raiders know your name, and you get a petty funeral if you die.

6 Gold - Sea Wolf: Even the greatest raiders know your name and will invite you aboard.

9 Gold - Sea Bear: Worthy of a proper funeral, and you’re in a few stories.

12 Gold - Sea Hawk: You should have died by now. It’s suspicious if you aren’t actively seeking death.

Ships, not Steeds

You serve on a Longship (7gd, A1) led by a Sea Wolf. Roll their Virtues on d12+6 and their Guard on 2d6.

The ship has enough axes (d8 hefty), shields (A1, d4) , and javelins (d6) for the whole crew.

The rest of the crew are a warband of Raiders: VIG 13, CLA 10, SPI 10, 4gd

Bad Reputation

Arrive in the Realm by water. Commoners who see you will hide, flee, or plead. If you consistently don’t kill them they might start to see you merely as dangerous traders.

If you return to a Realm you have already raided they have improved their defences.

Knights hate raiders as a whole, but you might be able to talk them around to you personally. Depends what you do. Are you really all that bad?

Wait, Vikings weren’t really like this

Who said anything about Vikings? See also my universal caveat: MYTH NOT HISTORY.


Make sure to spread the word!


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 15 November 2023

Mythic Bastionland is Reality

After a week of funding, Mythic Bastionland has surpassed the Kickstarter totals for Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland combined!

As you might expect, the last week has been taken up by dealing with all of this, so I hope you'll forgive a lighter blogpost this week. Next week's post will be an untested, slightly silly variant of Mythic Bastionland for those who are already bored of the core game before it's even out. 

Oh, and yesterday I did an AMA on Reddit, which you can read here. 

Until next week, I appreciate everybody helping to spread the Mythic word. 

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Mythic Bastionland is LIVE

 It's finally time!

Mythic Bastionland is LIVE NOW over on Kickstarter, so go and pledge if you want a copy of the book.

Feel like sharing the link around? Thanks, that would be great!

Having a great day-one really helps with visibility on Kickstarter, so I appreciate everyone who's able to jump on board right away. 

Wednesday 1 November 2023

The Toil

 First of all, go and follow Mythic Bastionland on Kickstarter

Less than a week till launch, and as you'd imagine I'm quite busy!

So this week, enjoy a little art preview.



Make sure to spread the word!


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 25 October 2023

That Feeling of Glaive on Gambeson

First of all, go and follow Mythic Bastionland on Kickstarter

Okay, onto the post.

What use is an RPG if it doesn't have a giant list of weapons and armour?

After all, this was one of my favourite pages of my first D&D book.

Not to mention this beauty.

In the process of writing Mythic Bastionland I've done a bit of deep-diving into medieval weapons and armour, so the red flags in those pieces leap out at me now.

Still, I remember loving those spreads because somehow the art makes it all feel very real. 

But what does it matter? That's for D&D, a fantasy game, so who cares if the weapons favour style over historicity or practicality?

Mythic Bastionland is also overtly Myth not History. I have that phrase written at the bottom of my notes doc for this game. So why have I been spending so much time thinking about authenticity?

Let's break this down into weapons and armour. 

Weapons in Mythic Bastionland largely follow on from Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland. You've got single handed weapons that do d6 or d8 damage, then two-handed weapons that do d8 or d10, though the larger die types are a little easier to get hold of in this setting. Swords get special treatment, rolling multiple dice, which in this system results in you keeping the single highest result, so they're more reliable and have some extra benefits when you dig into the Feat and Gambit systems. 

Bulky is gone. Since you're all Knights with, at the very least, a steed, it's easier to justify extra load. You might have a Squire to carry even more stuff, so let's just not bother tracking it at all. 

There's also much less focus on hauling treasure back from dungeons, so fewer interesting decisions to be had about what stuff you leave behind. 

Instead, the interesting decisions around weapons in this game are:

  • What do I use in each hand? Two-hander? Dual weapons? Weapon and shield? It's not super complex but there are definitely times you might consider switching up for a particular situation.
  • If my weapon does something fancy, like the Talon Knight's hookhammer (bonus when leaping down onto the enemy), how do I set that up?
  • Am I going to be fighting somewhere that makes certain weapons especially appealing or awkward to use?

Now that last one not have lots of rules support in the game. There's a mention that long weapons are impaired in tight spaces, and you've got things like skeletons being resistant to piercing attacks, but looking at the weapon list there's zero difference between a Spear (d8 hefty) and Axe (d8 hefty). 

Except that Spear is obviously going to be longer than the axe, so you can probably use it to fight over a barricade, or from behind an ally. 

And of course the Axe is better at breaking down doors. Obviously the spear is no good for that.

So the book doesn't present rules for these things because you already know those rules. I suspect this might rub some readers the wrong way, but I do hope that in most at-the-table situations these things just sort of... work naturally. 

In terms of building a weapons list that's appropriate to the implied era of Mythic Bastionland, I'm clearly drawing on the medieval period. 

But which bit of it? Early-medieval makes sense as the setting for Arthurian Myth.

So javelins and bows rather than longbows and crossbows. Spears and axes rather than swords and halberds.

Except... Arthurian myths very often take a more generous approach when it comes to equipment. Most images of a Knight are drawing on late-medieval or even early-Renaissance stuff. So we throw those fancy weapons back in, but just make them rare. Only very few of the Knights actually start with a sword. That guard can have a halberd though, it just looks right. 

So as with so many before me, I'm walking a tightrope of wanting some of that historical feel while also wanting that mythic freedom to pull in things that feel right stylistically, if not realistically. The focus on rarity rather than cost should help with this, as owning a sword isn't about getting enough money. There isn't even a price listed for each weapon. Instead, you've got to actually find somebody who wants to sell one or can make you one from scratch. At this point you might as well just kill another Knight and take theirs, perhaps grab their Holding while you're at it. 

That still counts as Protecting the Realm, right? I mean it's probably safer under my watch. 

Armour also follows the same baseline of the previous games in the series. Armour gives you a point of armour, a shield gives you another. 

Except now I've added helms and plates (extra armour worn to battle) as two other ways to grab armour points, giving a fully armoured Knight Armour 4, something unfathomable in Into the Odd

Part of this is balanced out by the general increase in damage output, but that's not really the whole point. Again it comes down to creating interesting choices.

Let's say you own the full set of armour: coat, plates, helm, shield. You aren't just walking around suited-up all day every day. The general assumption is that helms and plates are removed when you're travelling or socialising, and we all know that shields can be shattered. 

Here armour is less about permanently etching the highest number you can onto your character sheet, and more about considering the situational nature of your protective gear. 

If you really want to kill a Knight then facing them in an open battle means you're facing the full wall of steel. Why not just come at them with daggers when they're out riding in just their gambeson? Or invite them into your home and kill them there... wait, what sort of game is this again?

Again, I want gear in this game to feel more nuanced than "when can I buy that fancy gear", instead looking at the actual decisions somebody would need to make about their equipment. 

As a side note, I do get a small pleasure from including layers of armour here. Coats represent flexible protection that you can generally wear all day (mail, gambeson) while Plates are the hard stuff layered on top for battle (plate, brigandine, splint). Then you've got the self-explanatory helms and shields. There's definitely a sort of paper-doll appeal where I can visualise very clearly how a character looks different based on which combination of their armour they're currently equipped with, slotting the paper armour on top of their outline. I think today... the hauberk under the brigandine, the great helm on top. 

I guess I'm just not used to the novelty of considering what an individual character looks like in various grades of protection. In so many games it can feel like they're welded inside their harness of choice.

While I'm not looking to provide an accurate simulation of the weapons and armour of a particular period of history, I want the players to look at their gear and interact with it in a way that makes it feel real

Even if it's all just a myth. 


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.