Wednesday 26 April 2017

Route Mapping Bastion

The exact geography of Bastion’s streets is less important than the route between key points. As such, Bastion is best mapped like a Rail Network.

Draw two or more circuits or lines denoting different Transport Routes, ensuring they cross over. These can be walkways, tramways, canals, boulevards, or others. Give each circuit at least one branch that leads to a dead-end.

Plan a Complication that comes with using each Route.

Dot a node at each point where routes cross, each corner, and each dead-end. Name each node after a Feature such as a significant building, park, or monument. List a couple of additional locations found around each Feature. More facilities can be added as you or the players need them, so flavour is more important here.

If the group want to get between two nodes by a different route, there is always a dark alleyway or inconvenient short-cut. The same applies for attempts to explore further than your map currently extends.

Nobody has a city map of Bastion, but smaller sections of the city often have maps or signs to help citizens get their bearings. As such, you can show players the map you have prepared, but only reveal the details through their own investigation.

Treasures found in Bastion are either:
  • Lost in an abandoned or dangerous Borough.
  • Owned by somebody powerful, and held securely.
  • Left in plain sight by somebody unaware of what they possess.

  • When it's running, it's deadly fast and costs 1s per person for any complete journey.
  • Grants a great view of the streets below.
  • It breaks down all the time so every time you make a journey, one of you makes a CHA Save. On a fail, it breaks down halfway between the first two nodes, and you have to climb down a ladder into the middle of nowhere. 
  • The Oil-Dumo-Scrap route is always very congested, moving at a crawl.
  • The open waters of the north-west quarter of the loop are scenic but swarming with mugging-parties.
  • There are free boats, but they're slow and awful. Fancy private boats charge 10s per journey, increasing if you look fancy or desperate. 
  • Primarily a water well, but also a courtyard surrounded by eateries.
  • Restaurants will buy exotic ingredients for a good price.
  • Some meet here to socialise, but it's a known criminal hotspot too.
  • The top floor has a Day Spa frequented by Bastion's elite.
  • When the wind is high, panes of glass often fall down onto passers-by.
  • The surroundings are quite desolate, but builders are working on new projects.
  • Rows of shops that never seem to have any customers.
  • They only sell worthless things and give awful tattoos.
  • Has a swampy park overrun with lizards.
  • A museum of elephants through time.
  • In the dockyards around here, elephants are still used out of tradition as beasts of burden.
  • The housing around here is cheap, because of the elephant smell, so very popular with students, who know a back-alley route to their university.
  • Here rubbish is dumped from massive cable-cars above.
  • The canal goes underground to the processing plant.
  • There is a huge workhouse here, housing thousands of workers with no better prospects.
  • There was a crushing sports defeat here years ago, so a stadium lies abandoned in mourning.
  • The locals here are rough, and mentioning The Defeat is punishable by specific beatings, depending on the circumstances.
  • There's a collectibles market here, buying and selling useless but interesting things.
  • Fancy upmarket housing, with tasteful faux-graffiti on the walls.
  • Boutique shops selling hair oil, tonics, and soap.
  • Has an open air theatre known for political opera. 
  • A market selling things salvaged from the Dump, staffed entirely by Mock Animals due to some bylaw.
  • Mockeries give each other a generous discount and try to rip-off humans.
  • The scrap is kept extremely neat, and the mockeries harshly punish litering the spotless streets around here.
  • An aristocratic hall turned into day-out for the whole family, with slides and overpriced cake.
  • The grounds are well-kept, with forests and lakes that almost make you forget you're in the city, until you come across squatters in tents.
  • The Library Wing is still owned by the a member of the aristocratic family, carrying out lonely study.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Imprints: Foreground Growth in Context

Foreground Growth is a simple concept; It can be broken down into three principles.

Foreground Growth
  1. Your character grows more interesting, not necessarily more powerful. 
  2. Every piece of growth is tied to a specific experience. 
  3. There are growth opportunities everywhere. 
Scars and Oddities are easy to throw in there, but having a characters' adventures directly affect their growth is more tricky.

I've explained it in the context of the original Into the Odd samples monsters.

For my own game prep, I'm referring to these character-altering abilities as Imprints. Think of them as a simplified take on the Odd Marks that I experimented with in the past.

  • Imprints function in the same way as Oddities, but are part of a character’s physical being.
  • When creating an Odd Being, ensure it has at least one way of leaving an Imprint on a character through the being's action or players' exploitation.
  • Imprints generally affect a single character, and always manifest physically, overriding previous Imprints to that body part. 

It's nothing new really, just a new take on Oddities, but it won't make much sense without examples, so let's hit up the classic D&D Monster Manual and see how I'd implement Implants there.

Remember that not every Imprint is going to happen to every group that encounter that monster, but there's at least the possibility there.

Skeleton Guard
STR 10, DEX 15, CHA 1, 5HP. Ancient Sword (d6) and Shield Armour (1).

  • Piercing attacks are Impaired.
  • Intrigued and Confused by modern technology.
  • Breaking the Shield of a Skeleton Guard Imprints the breaker's forehead with the shield's symbol. They can command any Skeleton Guards bearing this symbol.

STR 15, DEX 10, CHA 5, 12HP, Thick Hide (2), Angry Jaws (d10). Death-Ray (d10, Permanently Petrified on Critical), Telekenesis Ray (STR Save to avoid being thrown).
  • Hates everything that is different to itself.
  • Swearing servitude to the Beholder requires a CHA Save. On a fail, the Beholder executes the character, on a Success it Implants them with a Merged Eye capable of rudimentary telekinesis.
  • The Beholder's central eye renders any technology, Oddities, or Implants useless as long as the gaze remains.
Colossal Red Dragon
STR 19, DEX 10, CHA 14, 18HP. Huge and Scaly (3), Jaws (d12) or Tail (d10 Sweep).
  • Wants to hoard precious things and avenge thieves.
  • Breathe Fire (d10 blast, Recharges with a Rest).
  • Burning a dragon's heart requires extreme heat, but consuming the ash Imprints that character with bright red hair, and allows them to breathe fire as the dragon could in life, once per day.
Ice Devil
STR 15, DEX 17, CHA 2, 11HP, Carapace (1), Ice Fork (d10, Freezed Solid on Critical)
  • Seeking a single target, to be frozen and taken back to Ice Hell.
  • Anyone that survived being Frozen by the Devil's fork now has ice-blue eyes Imprinted, and can recover lost STR by bathing themselves in ice water.
  • If killed, summons d6 Ice Devils to avenge them (these cannot Summon any more).

STR 16, DEX 4, CHA 19, 9HP. Big and Blubbery (2), Tentacle Lash (d8), d6 Smelly Grey Slaves (2HP, d6 Spear)
  • Always plotting for revenge against another Aboleth that may be off in a distant time or place.
  • Gurgles a command, which the target must obey or lose d6 CHA. Always starts with "Bow to Me". 
  • Anyone bowing to the Aboleth, or driven to 0 CHA in their presence, gets covered in slime and Imprinted with grey skin. They now smell so bad that others around them are Deprived unless they move to a safe distance.

Gelatinous Cube
STR 13, DEX 3, CHA 0, 1HP.
  • Ignore any physical attacks besides explosives, electricity, or extreme temperatures, and drift towards the nearest source of body-heat, or away from extreme temperatures.
  • Pass over anything in their way, forcing a DEX Save to avoid being enveloped. Enveloped characters cannot break free themselves and lose d6 STR each turn through corrosion. Anyone 
  • A small Central-Gland is found at the top of the cube. Eating this turns Imprints the character by turning their tongue transparent and allowing them to melt any organic matter in their mouth.

Friday 21 April 2017

Faces in the Crowd

People are everywhere in Bastion. Frankly, there are too many altogether.

Everyone hates the crowds, but nobody wants to move to a Failed City or, worse yet, some Deep Country backwater.

If the players take a closer look at the crowds around them, Roll d12 to see who stands out.

They hate being part of a crowd as much as you do, so have the NPC make a CHA Save when you encounter them.

If they fail, they're lose their cool and are lashing out at somebody else. If they pass, they're having a positive interaction with somebody else (either way, roll another d12).

1: Juveline Chain-Gang: STR 15, 5HP, Hidden Lockpicks and Daggers (d6).
- Cry pathetically as a diversion so that one of the four can escape.
- Shout about being wrongfully imprisoned.
- Do anything in exchange for gum.

2: Mock Badger Academic: STR 16, 3HP. Badger Head, Big Club (d8, 2h).
- Explain his theory for having a cull of 50% of the human population of Bastion.
- If you use a fallacy, he'll calmly explain what you did wrong.
- If you use a second fallacy, he clubs and tears at you.

3: Wormgirls: CHA 15, 4HP. Filthy Rags, Perfect Hair and Makeup.
- Take turns pretending to lie in state, while the others weep our eulogies.
- Apply more make-up to appear corpse-like, but still conventionally attractive.
- Swoon at any stories involving corpses.

4: Giant Bagman: STR 18, 2HP. Huge Bags.
- Offer to carry anything that will fit in his sack for a Shilling per turn on the journey.
- Offer to sell the contents of a bag he forgot the destination of. 
- Offer to bag up somebody you hate and kick them about (but not to death) for 30s.

5: Rad-Rat Preacher: CHA 15, 3HP. Tie-Dyed Suit, Glowing Rod.
- Bellow about a Glowing Rat Swarm that's coming soon to sweep over Bastion.
- If questioned, explain that he knows it's not true but he's preparing for a play.
- If questioned about the play, explain that it really is true after all. Repeat as necessary.

6: Fox Team for Hire: CHA 4, 6HP. Snub-Muskets (d6, 2h), Black Uniforms and Masks.
- Offer to carry out legal security work for 50s a night, but they will keep on haggling for more benefits and more money until you lose patience with them.
- If you leave they finally cave and go back to the last agreed offer.
- If you try to leave without making a deal they'll hunt you down tonight.

7: Bonehead (and Acoloytes): CHA 16, 5HP. Skull for a Head, Sharp Suit. Acolytes (1dp) have painted skull faces and less impressive suits.
- Perform skull-throwing tricks to try and lure in more acoyltes, promising to make them into Boneheads too.
- Regrow from any physical harm, as long as the skull remains. 
- Deliberately antagonise people and then play the victim.

8: Lighter Cats: DEX 17, 3HP. Grapples and Ropes, Flare Gun (d6), Luxurious Moustaches.
- Perform actobatic tricks as they swing from one gaslamp to another, firing flares to light them.
- Put out a bucket to collect money since their funding was cut.
- Fire Flareguns at any Mockeries they see, who they inexplicably hate.

9: Investigative Crone: CHA 16, 2HP. Portable Tea Set, Magnifying Glass.
- Calmly describe a horrible murder to you.
- Keep asking you questions that might implicate you in the murder.
- With a shred of perceived proof, she'll run to the authorities.

10: Mockodile: STR 18, 10HP. Jaws (d10), Metal Hide (Armour 2).
- Peer out from manhole covers, singing the Snap-Snap Song.
- Try to eat any children that come nearby.
- Has no objection to adults, and will guide you through the Underground if you lure a child to him.

11: Iron Sally Fanatics: CHA 5, 2HP. Iron Sally Doll and Accessories. Waistcoats with Iron Sally designs.
- Discuss why the original Iron Sally doll was the best design.
- Discuss why the new Iron Sally doll is the best design.
- Discuss why their families just don't understand Iron Sally.

12: Country Dogburglar: DEX 7, 7HP. Crowbar (d6), Loot Sack, Head-Covering Sack with one eye hole.
- Loudly announce himself as a burglar.
- Try to kill any nearby cats, as they're bad luck for dogburglars.
- Kick in a door and try to rob a place loudly.