Tuesday 28 April 2020

Philosophies of Bastionland

Alignment in D&D is pretty dumb. Planescape is the one good thing that has risen out of that mess.

So Bastionland doesn't have Alignment as a thing you write down on your character sheet. It certainly doesn't have mechanics for how your character should respond to ethical dilemmas. That's on you.

The closest thing you'll find are Philosophies, which bump up against the old idea of aligning yourself to one side of the great cosmic conflict, but here the conflict spans from the distant stars to the depths of the Underground and runs through the very gutters of Bastion.

So you might meet somebody that's acting in a very particular way, and find out that it's down to their particular Philosophy on life. Sometimes this takes a religious appearance, sometimes it's part of their cultural upbringing, and sometimes it's something new they've latched onto after reading a very persuasive magazine article. Generally it's not about faith, though. Having a Philosophy isn't about claiming to know the truth, it's about what sort of questions you ask yourself.

The key thing is that nobody is really defined by their Philosophy. They're more than that. It doesn't make them utterly predictable AIs to manipulate, and they still have other stuff going on in their life. Use it like a condiment rather than the main ingredient. Throw it onto that character you created that would benefit from a little extra going on beneath the surface.

Generally there are the "big three" Philosophy groups: Humanists, Alienists, and Machinists, then a bunch of others. As you might have guessed, people with very similar Philosophies are often much more hostile to each other than those with wildly different worldviews.

Naturally, their tenets can be broken down into three bullet points each, usually a declarative statement, a question, and then a call to action that arose from this line of thinking.

Any similarity to real Philosophies, even those that share the same name, is unintentional.

Generally these look at the human condition and often put humanity up on something of a pedestal, but ask "why are we so special?".

  • We are living in the cultural and technological peak of humanity. 
  • Will the future really be better than this?
  • Embrace everything about this modern age and try to keep things this way!

  • Baztiurds

  • Bastion is the greatest city to ever exist, and great things can only be built on great foundations.
  • Are perhaps the foundations better than the actual city?
  • Embrace our city's past, even the bits we can't verify!
  • Chewing a piece of gum can help you focus on a task, or think something over.
  • How can we use this to make the whole world a happier place?
  • Give everything your full focus and make sure you keep plenty of gum!

  • Alienists
    The stars might be the most obvious place to look for answers, and it all escalated when we started seeing Aliens setting up shop in Bastion.

  • We spent centuries staring at the stars, asking questions, and then the Aliens came.
  • Where else could we look for answers?
  • Ask questions in unlikely places, look for patterns, and let yourself gaze!

  • Hosts
  • Aliens are not necessarily better than us, but they're more advanced in specific ways.
  • What could we learn from them if we offer ourselves in return?
  • Make Bastion a haven for Aliens of all types, that we might learn their secrets!

  • Utopians
  • Aliens come to Bastion from the Living Stars, but they often return after a short time.
  • Can we assume their homes are superior to ours?
  • Find a way to the stars to find a better life for humanity!

  • Machinists
    The Underground seems to break all the rules, and Machines are innately tied to it. There must be something that can be exploited there, especially if you've gotten accustomed to making and controlling machinery.

  • Machinery has made our lives better, and now Machines are making more Machines.
  • With the Machines having surpassed us, why bother trying to understand anything ourselves?
  • Obey anything that comes out of a Machine!

  • Underminers
  • The machines appear to have the secrets to how the Underground works.
  • We can break down normal machinery, so why not the capital-M Machines?
  • Break down anything necessary to try and better understand the world!

  • Pilgrimists
  • Machines seem to challenge those that travel the Underground and observe the results.
  • They must be doing this for a reason. Doesn't every Machine have a purpose?
  • Undertake every challenge with glee, and bring challenge to others' lives!

  • Others
    Outside the big three there are plenty of other people asking the big questions.

  • Mockeries seem to be enjoying their fake life a lot more than true living beings.
  • Would we all be happier if we lived a more theatrical life?
  • Make the whole world a stage and resist any sort of authenticity!

  • Fallacists
  • Mockeries and Fallacies are convincing imitations of life.
  • How can we be sure that anything is real?
  • Sow as much uncertainty and misinformation as you can, so that we might hit critical-mass and loop around to true enlightenment!

  • Bestiarists
  • Practically every type of animal has found a way to live in Bastion.
  • If animals are taking over our world, should we not look to their world for conquest?
  • Take everything you can from animals, from their servitude to lifestyle tips!

  • 1 comment:

    1. IIRC you also have the Wilds? (or, at least, some wilderness area that isnt the underground or the city proper). Naturalists may be a decent superfaction as well, with everything from static, growth-obsessed Botanicals to Edenist ecoterrorists to Antisymoblists a la Goblin Punch's Druids

      Good post, food for thought