Tuesday 27 October 2020

Intergalactic Bastionland - The Sprawl

The Sprawl

While the Stars themselves appear to be infinite in number, most reckoners would say the vast majority of stuff going on in the Living Stars is happening in the vast network of floating places and people that string the stars together. Out of the restrictive light of the Stars, but pushing back the lurking claws of the Dark. This in-between world is where you'll likely spend the majority of your time up here. 

Yes there's a Star in this picture, but I wanted to wear this particular influence on my sleeve.

Key Principles of the Sprawl

  • Things are strangely familiar.
  • Everybody is on a Journey.
  • Everybody needs something.

How does this Work?

Yes, it's literally a galaxy-wide scattering of wandering planets, artificial outposts, and orphan moons. Anything but Stars (maybe some dead Stars drift out here without disrupting things too much). 

Remember, it's helpful to move away from thinking of the Living Stars as "Space as we know it". There are pockets of gravity, air, moisture, even warmth. It's still dangerous and difficult, but nothing compared to the lifeless vacuum of our own skies. 

Your Journey

I spoke a bit about Journeying through the Stars a while ago. Let's deal with the vague and then some specifics.

The Sprawl keeps its inhabitants moving. Even those trying to establish a stable life find that their life begins to drift even without their input. Most people embrace this as a way of Sprawl Life, romanticising their own particular Journey.

A physical destination isn't essential, some folk get really abstract. 

And what happens when you reach the end of your Journey? Well it really goes one of two ways. You're either in a position to discover that a new Journey now lies ahead of you, or you aren't. The latter is rarely a happy outcome. 

Riding the Sprawl

Look, this is a hard truth to accept at first, so make sure you're sitting down.

You probably don't own a ship.

Disappointing I'm sure, but look at the opportunities! The real joy of riding the sprawl is getting tangled up in it. You aren't bound to your home ship, doors locked to the outside world. You've got to get stuck in. Meet people, earn favours, hitch hike, stow away, hijack, whatever it takes. Much better than worrying about the fuel gauge on your own shuttle, right?

d8 Sprawl Locations

1: Slab

  • Resembles a flat square of city that was lifted from its home and left drifting in space. 
  • All life is gone, all salvage stripped, even the air has been taken. Only a hazy glow remains.
  • Al pack of colossal war engines (STR 18, 12hp, Armour 3) roam the ruins, blasting any intruders with Black Light (d10 Blast). Rumoured to be built out of old ship parts, so that thing you need is probably in there somewhere.

2: Prismurk

  • A jump gate in parts. It's been under reconstruction for some time but one worker has insisted on performing the work alone, with only their machine assistant.
  • The worker, Gellan, will viciously refuse any help with the task, but does have a bunch of other errands you can do to help free up his schedule. 
  • Gellan's machine assistant, Bisi, appears mostly to check Gellan's work and fix any errors he's made. 

3: The Silver Slumber

  • Kindly-appearing simian-aliens offer you free transport on their incredibly slow, uncomfortable, boring ship.
  • Once you're on the way they offer to put you into Slumber for as unreasonable a price as they think you'll pay. 
  • If they hit trouble they'll wake up their slumbering passengers to help, but anybody woken from this sleep is disoriented for their first waking hour. 

4: Ovard's Ovules

  • Experimental Engineer Ovard Flax will boast of his rental ships having a near 100% safety record, but cannot provide any sort of proof of this.
  • Each Ovule is a one-person vessel with enough thrust to ride bumpily onto the next closest place in the Spawl.
  • For an additional fee Ovard will launch you from the Thruster Cannon, giving you a boost to a further location. He stresses beforehand that this cannon isn't subject to the near-100% safety record, but it'll probably be fine. 1-in-20 chance that you get blasted to the wrong location. 

5: Mess Street

  • Might appear like a mini-Bastion at first. Shops, bars, hotels, and every type of Alien you can imagine, all in a ring-like structure. 
  • When you enter one of the buildings you soon discover they're all selling the same overpriced, low quality goods, and their individuality is all a front for one company that owns the whole street. 
  • If you ask around you can get to the lower-street, which is where all the really interesting places are. 

6: Big-Rutt the Cleanser

  • An open-topped outpost shrouded in rain clouds.
  • A huge, tentacled creature called Big-Rutt will writhe into every nook of your ship, cleaning it and giving it a general service while it's in there. This is something to do with organic fluids and thousands of tiny mouths but you're better off not knowing. 
  • The mostly human staff here are charged with feeding and tending to Big Rutt between jobs, but while they wait they run a little gambling den on the side and have a small shop selling "things that Big-Rutt ate and were not claimed". 

7: Uglow

  • A lovely, lush little planet eternally under the calming glow of its multiple luminous moons. 
  • Anybody sleeping here rests so well that any other sort of sleep just doesn't cut it. They are Deprived for the next week unless they return for more sleep at Uglow.
  • Helpful birds seem to know when to wake you up. 

8: Little Dreg

  • A chunk of planet, blasted out from whatever Star is previously orbited. 
  • Its ruins are popular with travellers, especially those looking for other open-minded travellers wanting to consume the psychotropic fungus that grows in the darkest corners of the ruins.
  • The largest ruins are sealed up, and other travellers will warn you away from them.


  1. I love the vibes of this so much??

  2. Did you find the art first, then write? Some of the pictures are too spot on!