Monday 18 September 2017

Bastion's Triple Rule

In Bastion, Everything is Complicated.

Things are specialist, but there's always more to them. 

There are no general stores, but every focused shop has something else that you wouldn't expect.

There's a rule that sums this all up nicely.


Everything has Three Purposes:
  • The Original: What was it originally to be?
  • The Current: What is it doing now?
  • The Tangent: What is its secondary use?


The easiest way to do this is to give each building a commercial, residential, and civic use, and pick one of them to be its original purpose.
  1. Defunct broadcast tower, now a scrap electric market spread across scaffolds. A cabal of engineers live and worship at the very top of the tower.
  2. Huge municipal swimming pool, now dried up and re-purposed as a landfill. The old changing rooms have been converted into a boozy hostel for youths.
  3. Long row of terraces houses, roofs all blown off in a storm. Now used as stables for luxury-breed pork pigs. A retirement home holds the last remaining covered house, and the old folks get free sausages to make up for the smell.


Here, consider the standing/body/education they were born into, or a youthful ambition, then the life that they really grew into, plus something unexpected on the side.
  1. Wealthy piano protegee turned greed-filled banker. Does charity work to soothe her conscience.
  2. Ogre of a man, sells tiny metal sculptures. Deeply believes humanity is awful, and we should let aliens rule us.
  3. Lovely old former teacher turned soldier for the Human Union. A font of pub-quiz knowledge.


Objects can be simpler than people and places, with the added layers coming from previous owners or uses, rather than changes to the object itself.
  1. Giant bird egg, now gilded with gold and jewels. Now property of a cult that worship it, hoping it will hatch.
  2. Portable-Cannon used to kill a legendary outlaw in Deep Country. Has been deactivated and mounted above a bar for some time. Now used to hide illicit substances. 
  3. A crank-operated radio. Now broken, only picks up static and occasional incomprehensible voice. Being sold at a curiosity shop as an "Ear to the Stars".

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Gambits, Manoeuvres and Fighting Machines

By the book, if you want to try something unusual in combat, beyond a regular attack, you work with this:

Combat Manoeuvres: If the players want to do something like disarm or trip someone in combat, the side most at risk makes a Save to avoid consequences.

This is a really a more focused take on the standard procedure for running the game.

When the players declare action, consider your response in the following order:
  1. Can this be an interesting Dilemma?
  2. Why not just Make it happen?
  3. Call for a Save.
Except it leaps straight to point three, which is largely appropriate for the deadliness of combat.

Strawman: But isn't the target most likely to be at risk? This makes a STR 18 character just as likely to pull off a great manoeuvre as the STR 6 guy.

Welcome to Into the Odd! Your Abilities aren't there to limit what you can do, but a high score puts you in a better position to take the risks that have high rewards. Sure, the STR 6 guy still stands a good chance of overpowering a weak opponent, but if they miss wouldn't you have rather sent in the STR 18, 12hp bruiser to suck up the consequences?

So how would this be managed for three of the most common forms of combat manoeuvre?

I try to disarm the opponent.
The target is clearly most at risk here, so they must pass a STR Save to avoid being disarmed. This obviously foregoes a normal attack, so there's no damage caused. I don't think disarming has to be an encounter-finisher so I'd let the fight go on if the target wants to pull out a sidearm or try to get their weapon back.

I try to grapple them.
Grappling is an unarmed attack, rather than a manoeuvre that would call for a Save. I'd rule that if you grapple up to someone you make an unarmed attack and grab them in the process. If they want to do something that requires them to get un-grappled, it's a STR Save to break free.

If the grapple extends to throwing them into a bottomless pit, I'd say that they get a STR Save to avoid it, and if they pass they'll probably try the same thing on you next turn.

I try to shoot them right in the head!
This is a standard attack. If you're shooting at somebody then the rules assume you're shooting to kill to the best of your ability.

If you want to be a true Fighting Force in this new epoch, you're going to want to strap into the appropriate machinery.

Fighting Machines 

War-Dog Charger (£200):
7hp, Armour 3. Slow, Medium. Flamethrower (d8 Blast), Power Saw (d10). One Pilot-Gunner.

Hell-Hog Crawler (£500): 10hp, Armour 3. Slow, Heavy. Two Machine Guns (d8 Blast Each). One Pilot, One Gunner.

Devil-Whale Cruiser (£1,000): 14hp, Armour 3, Slow, Superheavy. Two Long-Cannons (d12 each), Grenade Launcher (d8 Blast). Amphibious. One Pilot, Two Gunners.

Related Rules

Structures and Vehicles: Structures and Vehicles reduced to 0hp are wrecked, and all within suffer d6 Damage.
HP is restored by minor repairs, but Wrecked vehicles and structures require lengthy specialist repair.

Ramming and Overrunning: Collisions between vehicles cause damage to both, based on the opposing vehicle’s weight or speed, whichever is greater:
Light/Slow (d4), Medium (d6), Heavy/Fast (d8), Superheavy (d10).
If one vehicle is heavier than the other, damage against it is Impaired. Vehicles take no damage for running over soft targets like people.

Cavalry: Charging cavalry count as a Medium vehicle for the purposes of Overrunning Infantry. Larger mounts are treated as Heavy.

We can extrapolate a good silly example from this.

Four characters riding Motorcycles (5hp, Armour 1, Light, Fast) crash into the side of a Devil-Whale Cruiser (14hp, Armour 3, Slow, Superheavy).

Normally the motorcycles would cause d8 damage on a collision from being Fast, but as the Devil-Whale is a heavier, the damage is impaired down to d4. Each of the four bikes rolls d4 and the highest is kept, scoring 4 damage. The Devil Whale's Armour 3 reduces this to a pathetic 1 damage.

As both sides in a collision take damage, each of the bikes now suffers d10 damage from the Superheavy Devil-Whale, resulting in 6, 6, 2, and 9, which Armour 1 reduces to 5, 5, 1, and 8.

Three of the bikes are wrecked, leaving their riders to take d6 damage each, while one manages to pull away in one piece.

Not the best anti-tank strategy.