Thursday, 5 October 2017

Failed Careers

In Electric Bastionland everybody starts with:

  • A failed career.
  • A shared debt.
Here are the one-hundred possible options for the former, all determined by the roll of your Abilities.

1: Gutter Wretch
The bottom of the barrel.
Bastion’s crust.

2: Curiocentric Collector
An entire life spent looking at dusty things and squinting at books.
It’s time to get out there for yourself.

3: Trench Survivor
You survived a Trench Battle with little to write home about.
Except for that one thing you found in a strange tunnel.

4: Debt Collector
Someone paid you a pittance to look intimidating in dark alleyways.
If need be you shed some blood, but there’s no extra pay.

5: Dead-Shoresman
You died, but found a way back from where you went.
Nobody believes you, and everyone you once knew is long gone.

6: Criminal Bureaucrat
The laws of Bastion are written in such a way that every possible crime has a loophole.
People pay you to perform crimes, legally.

7: Sanctioned Executioner
You’ve done your time on firing squads, and now you’re allowed to do a little freelance work.

8: Fringe Investigator
Everything must be revealed, from petty crime to the secrets of the cosmos.

9: Disinherited Socialite
Whatever happened between you and your family, you’re out of the will for good.
You took what you could.

10: Professional Verminator
Every type of animal can be found in some corner of Bastion.
When they are unwanted, you go to work.

11: Lost Expeditioneer
You’ve been on a treasure hunting Expedition before.
You were the only survivor.

12: Wall Warden
Bastion has rings of walls all the way to its centre, wherever that is.
You are both their warden and resident.

13: Professional Gambler
You know how to play well honestly, and how to cheat even better.

14: Integrated Alien
You came to Bastion a long time ago, passing for human.
Under a Foreign Star. Reached by Sea or Underground.

15: Thieving Under-Whaler
The biggest catches are deep in ocean and in ground.
One catch can make a fortune for the captain, but you got a pittance.

16: Travelling Show-Person
Stunts and tricks are your game.
You’ve got a final trick up your sleeve if you start to lose the crowd.

17: Gang Whip
Internal threats can tear a gang apart.
Enforcers keep things in order.

18: Qualified Deconstructor
Before the new can arise, the old must come down.
Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.

19: Street Judge
Bastion has so many courtrooms that the whole city it effectively legal ground.
With questionable credentials, you dealt with street quarrels.

20: Urchin Pack
Clinging together is your only hope for survival.

21: Star Blessed
You don’t just worship the Stars.
One of them has gifted you.

22: Barricade Sapper
Every day a revolution, another barricade.
Civil flow design demands that somebody break them up.

23: Human Unionist
The world is full of strange and powerful things.
None of them deserve our worship.

24: Liberal Engineer
We sit on the spear-tip of modernity.
There’s always the risk of blood.

25: Masked Horrorist
Horrors rise from the Underground.
We must make a friend of fear, and scare them back down.

26: Rollocker Club Alumni
Good times. Fair play. School spirit!

27: Buckwud-Legionnaire
The future holds only darkness.

28: Contract-Castaway
Putting flags on islands isn’t enough, so you’ve been paid a petty fee to live alone on a desolate rock.
The years have been dull, so you return to the mainland.

29: Repressed Psionicist
You can’t hold it in any longer.

30: Unlicensed Amputator
Not trained in the finesse stuff.
Major structural work only.

31: Polar Bounty Hunter
The endless polar mists are a great place to hide.
You did your best to bring the lost home, one way or another.

32: Mockery
An imitation of life in wood, clay, and felt. Children love you, animals hate you.
You don’t need to eat, drink, sleep, or love, but still feel the drives.

33: Prize Breeder
You had a small kennel of finely bred animals.
Now you’re down to your last breeding pair.

34: Failed Citizen
None of the Failed Cities could keep up with Bastion.
You left your pathetic home for the real deal.

35: Urban Safarist
The human condition makes for fascinating viewing for those too rich to have worries.

36: Lock Toller
Canal locks charge a toll, but nobody knows who’s supposed to do that.
You were part of a small group that held a lock for a while.

37: Repurposed Augmental
Mechanically Adapted for a purpose you were unable to fulfil.
You found a job somewhere else.

38: Noble-in-Waiting
The chances of you actually inheriting your title are so low that you decided to take your fate into your own hands.

39: Vault-Cracker
Most vaults are old enough that nobody can agree who owns them.

40: Revolutionary Duellist
You are the sword tip of change in Bastion.

41: Newspaper Intern
You were technically paid to write technically-non-lies.
It never really got off the ground.

42: Rural Tax Collector
You’ve spent more time than you care on the roads of Deep Country, squinting at obsolete currencies.

43: Academic Debater
Somebody must argue the positions that nobody cares about.

44: Associated Burglar
You burgled only sanctioned properties.
You don’t fully understand the legality.

45: Retail Therapist
You help people spend money you have no hope of ever earning.

46: Apprentice Sweep
Your master died, and took your terrible career prospects along with them.

47: Shock Trooper
Your shock-academy training was so intense that the academy closed the day after your graduation.
Now there is no mission, but you still have your gear.

48: Urbalist
The walls of Bastion have a language of their own.
The right ones reveal secrets, with the help of your herbs.

49: Tunnel-Clearer
Despite its lack of regard for time and space,
construction work on the Underground continues.

50: Science Mystic
The past was nothing but lies.
There is hidden truth in these modern ways.

51: Front of House Host
You were the face of a company.
Now you’re a face without a company.

52: Critter Catcher
The gutters and drainpipes of Bastion are home to every creature you can imagine.
You always wanted to study them all.

53: Practising Pharmacist
A truly modern profession, and you’re almost qualified to do it.

54: Roof Crawler
There’s a lot of important work that goes on across the rooftops of Bastion.
Yours is the more shadowy sort.

55: Petty Officer
You held an office of low position, but were moved to a Special Petty Officer position.
Essentially you kept your badge but don’t get paid and have no authority.

56: Bailed Prisoner
You just got out.

57: Street Performer
Adored by few, loathed by many.

58: Corpse Collector
More of a Corpse Transporter, but the other name made it easier for people to despise you.

59: Counterfeit Taxidermist
Fantastic specimens bought you a small amount of money.
Now that’s gone, and your name is ruined.

60: Pie-Smuggler
A recent study claims 68% of goods smuggled into prisons and other controlled areas arrived inside a pie crust.

61: Council-Runner
With so many overlapping councils, your time as a runner put you in a position of some power.
Now your time is finished.

62: Life Servant
Your masters died. You’re free now.

63: Amateur Dramatist
The whole world is a stage.
But you’re not good enough to get paid.

64: Wilderness Recluse
Modernity gets between us and our natural instincts.
You’re here begrudgingly after a lifetime in the wild parts of Deep Country.

65: Squidbagger
A study you read claimed that 97% of Bastion’s products contain at least some Cephalopod-derived parts.
You keep the city running.

66: Exposed Imposter
You got yourself into quite a powerful position based on a lie.
Then they found out.

67: Critic-in-Hiding
Everybody loves a scathing critique, except those under the lens.
For safety, you’ve changed your name and got a new haircut.

68: Small Town Refugee
Your Deep Country home was awful.
Finally, the railway came, and you headed to Bastion.

69: Paid Fighter
You’ve been fighting for money, but not enough to get rich or especially tough.

70: Canal Rover
Bastion’s waterways are no joke.
Something about rails and roads just seems wrong to you.

71: Experiment Survivor
You were deemed a mixed success.

72: Fashionista
There are none more moronic than those that lack The Modern Look.
Watch from a distance, lest you become one of the norms.

73: Human Flotsam
You weren’t raised by Amphibians, but you can’t blame people for thinking that.
You’re always slightly damp.

74: Master Blender
Some sensory gift allowed you to rapidly reach a prestigious position.
Prestigious within your trade, worth nothing outside.

75: Public Nuisance
Something about you has always annoyed others.

76: Park Steward
Bastion’s parks have grown out of hand.
Yours is one of the worst.

77: Civic Butler
Maintaining the veil of order over Bastion’s chaos.
78: Estate Squire
The last remnants of rural aristocracy linger between Bastion and Deep Country.
The past’s long shadow, and you were born into their service.

79: Machine Whisperer
Industrial machinery sometimes needs a mallet, sometimes a whisper.
You carry both.

80: Agricultural Saboteur
You carried out dirty jobs for malicious farmers.
Now you see Bastion is even more ruthless.

81: Animal Vassal
You are property of an Animal Patron.
You know better than to displease your liege, but you want to live among humans.

82: Massifist of Massifcountry
Everything is big in Massifcountry.
You stopped growing just below the ceiling.

83: Divine Prodigy
Raised in a cult retreat for a single purpose, which didn’t work out.
Cast out into the world.

84: Good Dog
Smarter than many people. Still a dog.

85: Worthless Graduate
You’ve spent a long time in colleges, arguing about words.
Your career prospects are poor.

86: Alternative-Groomer
You make things pretty and nice-smelling.
But not people.

87: Avant Guardsman
Not all Militias are Conventional.

88: Factory Orphan
Your family all died in the factory.
Through some small-print in your contract you’ve been cast out onto the street.

89: Low-Diplomat
A life of carrying bad messages, managing Expectations, and making people feel heard.

90: Loner Stargazer
You’re not watching for clues, you’re watching for incoming threats.
Alone in your observatory for too long, your shift is over.

91: Sub-Person
You wandered the Underground for too long, tormented.
You came out less than human.

92: Body Jockey
You have a fantastic body, but it is simply your vehicle.
Keep your fragile-self hidden.

93: Underground Weirdo
Born and raised in the Underground, below space and time.
You’ve always been odd, and have gotten much worse.

94: Twins
There are two of you.
Identical in most ways.

95: Constable of Birds and Creeping Things
Protector of the Laws of Nature.
Courtesy of Arnold Kemp.

96: Exotic Food Supplier
When people tire of sundry dishes, you step in to serve them new delicacies..
Courtesy of Arnold Kemp.

97: Tactiliator/Tactiliatrix
The power of touch.
Courtesy of Arnold Kemp.

98: Tuk-Tukker
"I'm not going over the water at this time of night”.
Courtesy of Patrick Stuart

99: Map Thief
"Obviously I fully intended to return it."
Courtesy of Patrick Stuart

100: Ex-Censor
"Standard are slipping everywhere."
Courtesy of Patrick Stuart


  1. Oooo! Are all of these, and their associated items/whatever, going to be included in the final version of the expansion? (Or as I mentally nickname it because i forget the actual name, Into The More)
    Either way, always glad to have more of your stuff!

    1. Yeah, each gets set a full page that gives you starting equipment based on your money and hp rolls. Current working title for the book is Electric Bastionland.

  2. This is great. The thing I wanted before running the game was a WFRP style career table. Will this be a D100 table, or something else?

    1. The background you get is based on your highest and lowest ability scores. You cross reference them on a table, which gives you a number from 1-94 for your background.

      95-100 are special, hence the guest writers.

  3. This all looks quite intriguing. And different. Have been looking at your rules. Am I missing something, or is combat really cutting to the chase and you just roll damage, without your standard rolls 'to hit' vs some armour class, or a 'to hit' vs a 'to parry/dodge' roll? So only an appropriately unique or original manoeuvre would entitle one to some kind of save?

    1. Attacks go straight to damage, you're right.

      The most common house rule I see people suggesting upon reading the rules is adding a Save to avoid damage, but I'd strongly recommend against it. The whole combat system is built around the idea that (almost) every attack does some damage.

      The main factor is that it makes things go FAST. I go into it a bit here:

    2. Thanks for the pointer. I like the explanation. I actually think its good and pertinent advice on how to run combats as a narrative process, and as a way of fairly and reasonably educating players about your world's dangers. So much so that I think it is worth considering adding as an appendix to your main rules, with a pointer to it in your combat rules with an intro "For people with experience with other games who are wondering what happened to the 'to hit' roll - see Appendix A". But in the interests of keeping things tight - perhaps a blog reference would suffice.

      But, I like fast. Especially when it is still evocative and interesting.

  4. Just a thought, but an alternate method might be a normal deck of cards. Two decks, with different coloured backs ( red and a blue, say). Shuffle. Then draw without replacing. Thus no-one gets the same background. And yes that either requires removing some cards or adding some more backgrounds. But that can be an exercise for the GM - given all the excellent examples you've provided.

  5. Timothy McDowell1 November 2017 at 22:06

    Hello Chris similar-last-name-to-mine!

    I only just today stumbled across Into the Odd, and now your blog and Electric Bastionland. I wanted to encourage you in your writing style here on the blog, specifically your short, bullet-point lists of descriptors.

    I find that they give me just enough information to inform the setting, but are ambiguous enough that they really get my imagination churning. I can understand what the overarching original intent is behind any given thing described in such a way, but your style of not over-sharing goes a long way to inspire.

    Anyway, that's all. Thanks for the dope stuff!

    - Timothy McDowell

  6. Excellently written article, if only all blogger offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!.Great tips, I would like to join your blog anyway.Waiting for some more review.Thank you
    Debit Collector Ipswich
    Private Investigator

  7. Whats an "Alley gun"?

  8. Picked up a copy of Into The Odd at Dragonmeet last week. As a recent returnee to RPGs after 35 years in the wilderness it reminds me of the wide-eyed wonder of D&D white box, back in the day. I just need to find some like-minded people to play it with.

    p.s. With my useless first degree in Botany, my failed career is "Tree Surgery Anaesthetist"

  9. 84: Good Dog
    Smarter than many people. Still a dog.


  10. Can't wait for Mockery! Just found this game and I love it.

  11. Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also core-functional resume format

  12. Amazing to see the full list!!!!