Wednesday 8 July 2015

Winners of the Bastion Royal Lottery (also NPC Behaviour)

Everyone is in the Royal Lottery, whether they know it or not.

If you win, a Royal Herald invites you to tea with one of the many "rightful" Kings or Queens of Bastion. If you go along you will indeed be granted a prize of 1,000g, in return for swearing allegiance to the unthroned monarch. The coins are marked with the head of the monarch in question, but gold is gold.

If you waver in your service, Royal Knights will kick your door in and reclaim your prize.

Side Note: NPC Instincts
I usually give NPCs a set of goals to drive their actions. These work well, but I'd like to include a more concrete set of guidelines for how that character acts. Things that make them memorable, rather than guide their overall plan of action.

I like how Dungeon World handles this.

Each monster has an Instinct which is a super high concept description of how they behave, and various Moves which are actions they do most often.

So take this Magmin:

Instinct: To craft

- Offer a trade or deal
- Strike with fire or magic
- Provide just the right item, at a price

Instinct has a simplicity that I like, but I find the moves generally make it obsolete. Note that this set of bullet points sits at the bottom of this paragraph of description: 

Dwarf-shaped and industrious, the magmin are among the deepest-dwellers of Dungeon World. Found in cities of brass and obsidian built nearest the molten core of the planet, the magmin live a life devoted to craft—especially that of fire and magical items related to it. Surly and strange, they do not often deign to speak to petitioners who appear at their gates, even those who have somehow found a way to survive the hellish heat. Even so, they respect little more than a finely made item and to learn to forge from a magmin craftsman means unlocking secrets unknown to surface blacksmiths. Like so much else, visiting the magmin is a game of risk and reward.

Hey! Wake up! 

Yeah. It's useful to have that there for contrast. Needless to say, I don't think it's needed. If only we could roll all that description into the Moves and ditch the needless Instinct in the process. 

Magmin - Lava Dwarfs
- Craft something at a steep price, with a surly attitude. 
- Obsess over fine craftsmanship. 
- Lash out at hagglers with fire.

I played around with this sort of thing in Arkbound, giving them actual mechanical weight. I don't want that for Into the Odd, but I'd like to try giving NPCs a set of three bullet points to detail their behaviour. Of course, the NPC isn't limited to these actions. They're like the three go-to things they're likely to do in their daily lives. If I'm sly I bet I can squeeze things like motivations and special abilities in there too!

Yes, I fetishise simplicity. Stay with me. 

Let's put it to use with these Lottery Winners!

"Sparkle" Funkulman - Bastion's Wealthiest Sweep
STR 11, DEX 16, WIL 7, 5hp.
Brushes, Filthy Work Clothes, 100g stashed in pockets.
- Be filthy and gross.
- Do demeaning work for free.
- Reward kindness with a pouch of d20g.

Lazerine Zlasch - Avant-Garde Harpist
STR 10, DEX 15, WIL 17, 3hp.
Morbid jewellery (worth 5g), Antique Harp (worth 10g).
- Explain the meaning behind art in a patronising way.
- Shred out a dissonant piece of music.
- Invest in other avant-garde artists.    
Team Horrax - Professional Wrestlers

Belle Horrax - Bastion's Dirtiest Fighter
STR 13, DEX 13, WIL 10, 6hp.
Frilly clothes, hidden dagger (d6).
- Act harmless and demure.
- Bite you when you least suspect it.
- Flatter her husband with adoration.

Buckle Horrax - Man of Honour
STR 12, DEX 15, WIL 13, 5hp.
Tight trousers, feathered hat, pipe, keys to the prize vault.
- Engage in a fair fight for any slight of honour.
- Give questionable advice on any situation as if he's an expert.
- Sleep around behind his wife's back.

Bernard Urnard Woughlough - Society Critic
STR 8, DEX 4, WIL 13, 2hp.
Thick clothes, walking cane (d6), gout.
- Give a scathing critique.
- Indulge in gluttony.
- Oppose any sort of change to traditional ways.
Pip Vincery - Retired Explorer
STR 12, DEX 15, WIL 10, 12hp.
Cap and smoking jacket, drink in hand, duelling sword (d8).
- Tell an incredible story of his travels.
- Beckon a beast to nuzzle up to him.
- Advise on the perfect beverage for any situation.
Alette Jonting - Spoilt Brat
STR 7, DEX 9, WIL 6, 6hp.
Layered dress, smug grin. 
- Demonstrate how much wealthier than you she is. 
- Fish for compliments. 
- Lose temper and buy revenge however she can. 


  1. I love this concept and plan on using it for my NPCs from here on out!

  2. Well done, the lottery winner characters are very engaging. Carry on!

  3. Very interesting article:) I'm really glad I have found your blog!

  4. "Yes, I fetishise simplicity."

    I am shocked --- shocked --- to find that simplicity fetishism is going on in this blog!

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