Friday 15 December 2017

Alien Dojos

There's a bit of a fad in Bastion for Alien Martial Arts. You give it a cosmic sounding name, claim you learned it under a foreign star, or get a visiting Alien to play along, and rake in the money from your students.

I'm here to tell you their techniques are real, and you can learn them.

If you go to one lesson you're an Initiate. This costs 2p each week, and you have to keep going every week or you lose the technique.

After each session roll 2d6. If this is less than the number of sessions you've attended then you graduate to Student and get a better version of your technique. Now it costs you 10p a week and you still have to keep going or else you lose it.

Once you're a Student you can challenge the Master to a contest. If you beat them, you become Master, but if you lose you're expelled forever and the techniques are blasted from your mind. There can only ever be one Master. Now you get to claim the payments from your students and initiates!

Oh and they all use some stupid meta-gamey gimmick, so use these only if you want your game to get real stupid.

Kaffee-Beetle Kombat
Initiate: When you fight with a pair of Bugchuks (d6 each) you throw them one after the other. You can reroll the second die as many times as you are able to before the first die stops moving.
Student: As above but when your first die stops moving the Referee must reroll it, giving you more time to reroll the first die. 
Master: As above but you can throw the first die anywhere you like, even off the table.

Mor-Dur-Murder Style
Initiate: When you attack with a weird alien throwing knife (d6), place a d8 in the centre of the table showing 1. Throw, trying to knock the d8 to a higher number. If the d8 remains at 1, treat that as your roll, otherwise take the highest value between the two dice.
Student: As above but replace the d8 with two stacked d8s showing 1.
Master: As above but replace the top d8 with a d12 showing 1.

Bafistan Fist Fighting
Initiate: Roll d6 for each fist you attack with by throwing them into the air and punching them. If either rolls off the table, or you fail to punch either of them, count your roll as 1.
Student: As above, but add as many d6 as you dare.
Master: As above, but combine any 6s you roll, to a maximum of 12 damage.

Five Way Stick
Initiate: When fighting with a Martial Stick (d6, Bulky) stack 5d6 in front of you and try to flick the top die from the stack. If any other than the top tie fall, fail and treat the roll as 1. Continue down the stack until you fail or choose to stop.
Student: As above but replace the bottom die with a d12. 
Master: As above but, from build your stack of five dice using any dice you like, up to d12.

Rhythm of the Starbusta
Initiate: Put some music on. Something with an obvious rhythm. Count along with the beat, most typically counting to 3 or 4. When you fight with a Meteor Hammer (d6), throw your die at something that will make an obvious noise (sturdy glass, gong). If you strike the object on the final count of the bar you're fine, otherwise you miss. 
Student: As above, but if you succeed then double the value on the die.
Master: As above but if you succeed you can throw another d6, continuing until you either fail or decide not to throw. You must decide this before the end of the next bar. You only keep the result of the last die you threw.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Electric Modernity (and Spark Tables)

Bastion has been modern for a long time. This is the next step.

If you can think of something from the modern world, it's here, but in an old fashioned style. Slow, expensive, but extravagant cars. Rudimentary computers usually built for one specific task with clunky, room-sized hardware. Amplified instruments blasting out youth music.

The rule of thumb is "Early 20th Century" but remember this isn't alternate history. Bastion isn't London or Tokyo or New York, but you can pull whatever you like from any city on Earth, leaving behind the unwanted bits. If you want 1940s culture, you don't have to include the Second World War. It doesn't matter if cavalry became obsolete in our world, you can put them in there alongside the flamethrowers and mortars.

Politics, Religion, and Philosophy are three sides of a whole. People clothe their agendas and ideals in whichever of the three best suits them. Faith is less about the subject of your worship, more about what you do in their name.

Everything is shared. Nobody can run all of Bastion, so everything gets split up. Councils have overlapping authorities, there are public services for everything, and taxes are inevitable. If there's a problem, at least two people have tried to solve it. Less organised socialism, more a web of entangled responsibilities and authorities that nobody knows how to unravel.

One of the key ways I'm presenting the setting in Electric Bastionland is through Spark Tables.

You roll 2d20, taking the two results and smashing them together for inspiration.

Spark One
Spark Two

This is a general Spark Table for Bastion, so you could use the results as the foundation for a place, person, event, or object.

Let's give it a go.

PLACE: Rolled 11 and 16 - Paper Crowd

The Bill-Nest
Atop rickety scaffolding, crowds of desperate people bring paper invoices, arrears, and debt ledgers, pinning them into the ever growing birdnest-like structure. 
Urban myth claims that vengeful birds will see these and descend to murder cruel debt-chasers. This rarely happens, but more often the gathered mob decide to take matters into their own hands.

PERSON: Rolled 4 and 12 - Bombed Youth

Ram Totem - Radical Noise Poet
Wiry, tall-haired young man with cheap metal prosthetic leg and arm down his left side. Lost both limbs in a revolution, and now spits the controversial view of suggesting we all just accept things the way they are. Yells his muddled poetry in youth hotspots, usually getting heckled in return.

EVENT: Rolled 6 and 15 - Luxury Museum

The Common Man's Museum of Bastion (Informally The COMMMB)
Formerly a respectful memorial to the working class of Bastion, recently bought out by a conglomerate of wealthy factory owners. 
Now depicts workers as lazy morons, but provides visitors with luxury facilities (including an especially good bar). As a result, it is currently under constant assault from protesters. 

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