Monday 26 October 2020

Intergalactic Bastionland - The Light

As you might have guessed, a lot of my attention is on GRIMLITE right now, but I do still let my mind drift back to Intergalactic Bastionland from time to time. It's still bubbling away, but it's still very much in the stage where it's trying to find its identity before I go into doing some proper testing. 

So this is how the game feels in my head right now, but be prepared for that to change.

Intergalactic Bastionland is all about travelling. It's likely your start or endpoint will be in the Light. These are the places that lie fully within the glow of a Living Star. There's a sense of safety at first, but depending on the Star in question, it might not last for long.

Key Principles of the Light
  • Everything is alive.
  • It welcomes travellers that follow the rules.
  • Those that serve the Star have variable interpretations of the rules.

The Star's Agenda

People that have spent time in Bastion often refer to the city having a personality of its own. Writers call it a character in their story, and people that the city has chewed up and spat out curse its cruel nature.

All of which are valid, but really it's just bricks and mortar and pigeons and a whole lot of people that are out for themselves.

The Stars, though. They are alive. Their personality and agenda goes beyond the words of poets and can be felt and seen everywhere under their light.

Sure, they're inconsistent and inhuman, but there's no question that the light of a star carries its agenda. The difficult part is working out which part of their agenda is currently being enforced. They're always more layered than they first appear.

At the furthest reaches of the light the influence is subtle. Places might feel familiar, with a slight tone of their star's philosophical hue. The closer you drift, the more you explore, the more extreme the influence becomes.

Haze - the Star of Grey Mists - wants to provide a place safe from prying eyes. Secrets are obscured by swirling clouds, conspiracies are given a safe haven. In time, visitors begin to forget even their own appearance. Here we must all gradually lose our identity in the mist. Everything is grey. Only then are we free to act on our truest desires. 

Cherat - the Sunrise Star - is a place of new beginnings. Yes, it's always sunrise, wherever you stand under Rau's light. Don't question that, but embrace the optimism. The future is coming, and we can be a part of it. The problem with an eternal sunrise is that hope turns to impatience. What comes next is always just another beginning. Anything caught in the present must make way for the future. Perhaps you've already been here too long.

Roah - the Howling Star - catharsis requires a place where you do not need to understand your message as long as it's loud. If you do it right, others can't help but join in, building to a furious crescendo. Fantastic for binding together a group of angry individuals as a pack, headed out into the void to enact their vengeance on the rest of existence. 

Enforcing the Rules

The light itself can only push visitors in the right direction. Each individual location within a Star's glow needs rules to hold it together. The nature of this enforcement can lead to the original message of the star getting warped beyond recognition, but Stars embrace this as just another aspect of their domain.

Loyal residents may enforce their own view of a Star's agenda individually or in organised groups. Some stars reward this with gifts, others simply observe. Most Stars also have their own ways of ensuring things run to their liking: Beings born out of light, visions of the star's belief. Some even talk of stars bending their light into a physical form and walking among their visitors. 

Veil Warden of Haze
8hp. Concealed Sword (d10 on turn revealed, d6 afterward). 
  • When two secrets begin to become intertwined, groups try to encroach on each other's space in the mist, or somebody seeks to retain too much of their own identity, the Wardens form a blockade.
  • When the Warden takes Critical Damage, the attacker's allies must all make a CHA Save. If any of them fail, the character with highest individual roll cannot be found. As the veil falls from the dying Warden's face it is revealed to be that character, now dying. The Warden is nowhere to be seen.
  • Suffers d12 damage if their veil is forcibly removed.

Horizon Herald of Cherat 
  • Looms on the horizon, a reminder that all must make way for the coming day. Those that see them are compelled to move away. 
  • Those that move towards them are granted a vision of the future, then lashed with a stroke of dawn-light (d10). 
  • If they are killed, the sunrise begins to swell violently. All in its light suffer d6 damage each turn until they can get into the shadow, but worse things dwell there.

Howling Embodiment of Roah

STR 18, 14hp. Roaring Maw (d10 Blast), Flame Form (Ignore damage from non-extinguishing sources).
  • Roar even louder than everybody else. Those who join in recover all HP and Ability Scores, those who do not suffer d6 damage per Round until they join in or flee the light.
  • Beckon followers into the flames, where they suffer d6 damage at first, then no further harm. 
  • Blast off into the Stars, safely carrying all those that dwell within their flames. The target of this vengeance is normally somebody that a visitor has been shouting about loudly for long enough.

Pervasive Shadow

Stars can only avoid shadow if they remain solitary, empty orbits made inhospitable by any means at the star's disposal. Even then there always reaches a point where darkness begins to mingle with its light. This darkness simultaneously seeks to undermine the work of the star, but can't help but be shaped by its philosophy. 

So most Stars accept the Dark as another tool at their disposal, allowing it to dwell on the fringes of their light, clinging to every object in the Star's domain, waiting for an opportunity to intrude into the world of light. Sometimes a Star might allow this intrusion to happen with careful distribution of its illumination. Every heaven needs a hell, and sometimes the hounds need to be unleashed. 

Unveiler of Haze
DEX 16, 10hp. Ripping Claws (4d6), Shadow form (Armour 3 vs material attacks).
  • Can smell secrets, drawn to them like a starving animal.
  • On Critical Damage, tear a secret from the mind of the victim, then vanish into the shadows to decide how to use this against them.
  • Always willing to cut a deal that involves learning more secrets.

Long Shadow of Cherat
CHA 17, 10hp. Shadow form (Armour 3 vs material attacks). Claw (d6). 
  • Drawn to those that have outstayed their welcome. 
  • Beckons victims to come to them. If they refuse, they lose d10 CHA. If they accept they are pulled into the Dark, where the Long Shadow tends to them well. They will only release a prisoner if they are assured they are going to carry out vengeance on Cherat itself.
  • Anyone looking at the Shadow feels tired. Each Turn they must pass a CHA Save or be reduced to 0hp and Deprived until they rest.

Futiliser of Roah
STR 5, DEX 5, CHA 5, 3hp.  Shadow form (Armour 3 vs material attacks). 
  • Not hostile at all, but calmly explains why what you're doing is futile, and that you should give up. If you agree and leave the light of Roah, restore all HP and Ability Scores. If you refuse, the Futiliser will just follow you. 
  • When one is banished back to the shadows another is never far behind. 
  • If you agree to quit, but go back on your word, they summon something much worse from the Dark.