Tuesday 30 November 2021

Further Hacking

 Okay, let's do the rest of this challenge.


Lucky: You have an edge in matters of pure chance.


Pocket: Whenever you touch another person you can try to lift something from one of their pockets or other storage.  

Stab: Your attacks against unaware or distracted opponents cause significantly more harm than normal.

Misdirect: You have an edge when trying to lure somebody into just the right position.

Daggers: You always have some more daggers hidden away.

Reflexes: You always have an edge in the split second after something surprises you. 


Sensitive: Your senses aren't limited by the human range. They span a wider area and can hone in on things invisible to most .


Focus: If you have at least a minute to focus and prepare then you never miss your target. 

Primal: You speak a little of the language of beasts and trees. 

Light Step: You leave no trail on nature and it makes journeys easier for you in return.

Wisp: You have a companion wisp that floats and glows to your command.  

Elemental: With a little exertion you can imbue an attack with elemental energy. 


Stable: You can never be moved against your will and are immune to all poisons and toxins.


Bonds: You can find a bond with any other dwarfs you meet. 

Shieldbearer: You have an edge when using a shield to control the battlefield.

Carousing: You have mastered feasting, drinking, storytelling, and silly games. 

Oath: When you swear an oath you get an edge on all actions helping it come to pass, but never have an edge on actions unrelated to it. An Oath can only be abandoned through a lengthy and shameful ritual.

Tunneller: While underground you always know your position relative to the surface and other underground locations that you have visited. 


Creeper: You can see in the dark and communicate a little with most monstrous beings. 


Gorger: You can eat pretty much anything and regurgitate it later, and your teeth are effective weapons in their own right.

Shady: You're effectively invisible while cowering in the shadows, perfectly still. 

Sneaky: If you're on the move you can always decide to get knocked down rather than taking actual harm from an attack. This doesn't work if you're already knocked down.

Pest: When you act purely to impede somebody else then they can't get an Edge until they deal with you.

Pitiful: You are so truly wretched that most sapient beings will feel at least some sympathy for you.


Friday 26 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


So this week's blogpost sure was a load of nonsense. As it's apparently backwards-week, I'll put the actual gaming material in the editorial instead.

As the blogpost alludes, I've been feeling the call of the primordial again. As a change from the one-page classes that I've previously worked on, I wanted to try a more easily digestible set of player options, first taking inspiration from the wonderfully designed classes of Old School Hack (first brought to my attention by Reynaldo here).

The below are pretty direct adaptations of the Original 3, aiming to strip away anything overtly mechanical to suit our Primordial needs.

New characters get the listed abilities plus a single talent. After a significant quest all characters gain an additional talent.


Steely: You have the edge when fighting untrained combatants.


Scars: You’ve seen enough action to have an edge when trying to talk somebody out of, or into, violence.

Specialist: You’re particularly attuned to a single, specific weapon.

Lancer: Your charging attacks have devastating effects.

Brawn: You’re used to carrying heavy gear and throwing your weight into things.

Exploit: After engaging in combat with an opponent you’re able to notice a particular weakness or opportunity.


Veil: You can see the mark of magical effects and can leave your own, visible to those you choose.


Chronicle: With a few minutes of work you can find or recall a single important fact about any given subject.

Lullaby: Your voice can soothe the hostile and put the unwary to sleep.

Puppeteer: You can animate a few small objects, say enough that you could grasp and hold.

Portalism: You can speak to doors. They generally cooperate and reply.

Curse: You can lash out with a harmful effect or damaging bolt, but you always suffer something in return.


Blessed: When you wear a representation of your faith you are offered some protection against its enemies.


Merciful: With a short ritual you can ease somebody’s pain and provide temporary invigoration.

Inquisitor: You can sense nearby enemies of your faith.

Wrath: You can imbue a weapon with divine wrath, but suffer a physical wound in the process.

Banishment: Your holy symbol repels enemies of your faith, and can destroy them when weakened.

Preacher: You’re very good at impassioned speeches and turning people to your point of view.

Friday 19 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


This is how far out of the loop I am with big triple-A video games. Yesterday I took a day off after feeling a bit of brain-burn. I fancied some open-world exploration and picked up what I thought was a hot new game from a couple of years ago. 

The game was Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, which is actually like eight years old. 

Still, it's new to me, and this is a remaster at least. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting my younger years with a full day of just playing a new videogame. Brain healed. 

Overall I enjoyed the game and I look forward to playing it some more. 

BUT who cares about the positives, right? We all want to gripe about how big company makes bad games. So here we go.

Actually, I'm not doing that, but there were a few things that left a bad taste in my mouth, and got me thinking about how those tastes have influenced my approach to running and designing RPGs.

We'll indulge in a little hyperbole, because this is an editorial after all.

Stupid Sideplot Framing Bollocks

So I forgot that this series has a thing where the main portion of the game (roaming around some historical era being an assassin, and in this game a pirate) is framed around a ancestral-memory-regression VR thing set in the near future. Occasionally the game pulls you out of your world of high adventure to put you in a corporate office to endure boring conversations with regular people. Like when you were playing Link to the Past and your aunt and uncle would come around unannounced and your mum makes you come and talk to them about what you're doing at school this week. 

I overuse the phrase "Make the Main Thing the Main Thing" but... just do it for everybody's sake. 

Not Like That!

Mission Failed: You strayed too far from the target.

Desynchronised: Your ancestor did not kill civilians.

This area is unlocked by progressing further in the main story.

You cannot push this door open while the guards are on alert.

It's like the game can't resist reminding you that you're playing a piece of software. I guess here the framing device means you're using a piece of software to pretend you're using another bit of software about being an assassin. This isn't innately bad, but here it's the same feeling of hitting an invisible wall. I see why it's there, but really they could have handled this in much better ways.

If part of your game relies on this sort of clumsy fix then consider fixing the core issue rather than applying a messy bandage on top. 

Yes Your Home is Lovely

Sometimes the game makes you walk really slowly through a very pretty area. The run button is locked, and if you stray too far from an NPC they stop and call for you to come back. I can't help but feel like I'm being expected to ooh and aah. Maybe I will, but maybe just let me explore this world myself, yeah?

Players care more about a world that they discover on their own terms. 

Give Me the Thing or Don't

On the first cutscene of the game I noticed you could hold a button to skip it. Cool, thanks for the heads up but I'll watch this one.

Later on I'm getting impatient and want to get to the mission. This cutscene can't be skipped. It didn't seem to be any more crucial than the others, but maybe I'm missing something. I wouldn't mind if I hadn't been teased with the thing already.

If you're going to include a feature in your game, accept that sometimes the players will use it ways you didn't initially plan for. Instead of hobbling them in its use, maybe rethink the tool itself. 

I know this is a pre-BotW sandbox, and should be viewed accordingly, but sometimes it's hard to go back. 

Tuesday 16 November 2021

To Baztium

Don't look at me like that. I'm not the first to consider this.

The books of our history are vague, but in places too specific. Most tellingly, I swear they are not old enough to talk knowingly of a time so distant from this modern age. Bastion is a beacon of modernity in every way. It radiates raw now-ness into the world, keeping the past at bay, but it's still out there. 

Outside of our city is a crude world, but with each horizon passed things grow more primal. As our expedition passes into the months and years, we start to feel as if we're crossing centuries or millennia. Trains and canals cannot reach our destination, and the march is hard. 

Such a journey requires travel beyond just the march. We must forget our home... I struggle to picture it even now. A distant silhouette. The towering castle-city. Star-lit and noble. We fight the urge to turn back. 

Now our future is clear. A pilgrimage to the great lost city, a paradise to all that can reach it. A sanctuary from this primordial land of cold stone and traitorous trees. From this misery of vengeful spirits and torn guts. 

Ring out the bells, we begin our journey. TO BAZTIUM. 

Friday 12 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


After 26 years of distant gazing, tomorrow I'm heading over to Warhammer World in Nottingham to play some Kill Team with Patrick and perhaps a few others. 

I'm looking forward to trying out this new simplified (but by no means simple) version of 40k's skirmish rules, having thrown together a team from the oddballs I have on my shelf, which just about qualifies as legal. 


The Bloodied Birth - Brood Coven Kill Team

My vision manifests into reality. A strong humanity through abandonment of our ancestral shackles.

In generations to come, Fawkes 5 will be revered as the mantle of the Genesplosion, where we pulled ourselves from the slime and the smoke to stand tall.

Without fear, without shame, without the wilful blindness of false faith. By blade and claw and saw we cut down any opposition.

The Bloodied Birth cannot be stopped.

- Catalo Viel, Primonatalus of the Bloodied Birth

Though as much as I'm looking forward to the game, I'm weirdly excited by the prospect of the Exhibition Centre. There are huge dioramas, which will be neat to look at, but mostly I'm craving a peek at some of the surviving miniatures that graced my revered copies of White Dwarf in the 90s. 

Not just some out of print miniatures, but the actual individual miniatures that were on those pages. 

Now I feel like you're either going to relate to that way too much, or give me a look of confusion and pity. Both are equally valid. 

Those miniatures made up the images that got me excited about fantasy and tabletop games, two things that have stuck with me nearly three decades later. I'll spare you the "in the days before the internet..." speech, but you know what I mean. 

Last week I visited the British Library in London and saw the sole surviving manuscript of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight alongside one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, but I'd throw them both in the shredder for the chance to gawp at some of Mike McVey's dioramas in immortal lead. 


Wednesday 10 November 2021

5 Minimal Scenarios

Project 10 currently has a mini-campaign of 5 Scenarios, intended to ease players in with small forces gradually growing to full size over the length of a campaign.

I'm currently trucking away designing Horrors and Scenes for The Doomed, so I could do with a change of scenery for today. 

Let's dive back into One Hour Wargames and see which of its 30 Scenarios are especially ripe for the picking here as standalone alternatives to the include campaign. They're already pretty minimal, fitting on one page of text and one for the map, but we can go further.

For me, a good scenario moves significantly away from a pitched battle. As much as I touted the mantra "there are no pitched battles" in the design of this game, in reality I think they have a place as a simple throwdown, or opportunity to test out some more wacky army compositions or board layouts. 

So a proper scenario doesn't need to compete with the pitched battle, it's something else. Balance isn't an end goal, but I want both sides to face interesting decisions coming from challenging objectives and some chaotic elements thrown in by the scenario itself. It's tricky, but a great scenario also paces itself well to avoid both early anti-climax finishes and long drawn-out epilogues after the battle has already reached its peak. It's not a huge concern with a game this fast, but it's worth keeping in mind. 


All Scenarios assume units of base width 10cm, and board sizes around 100x100cm. Terrain is mentioned when needed for the scenario, but it by no means an exhaustive list. Always give your board a nice mix spread of terrain types, mainly based around Open, Bare, Cover, and Rough types.  

Players are designated as Attacker or Defender, and each takes an opposite side of the board. 

Unless noted both armies are composed as follows:

1 Commander
3 Common Units (typically some sort of basic infantry)
2 Uncommon Units (a more specialist unit type like cavalry or artillery)
1 Rare Unit (go wild here, whatever suits the flavour of the army)

Unless noted each player attaches their Commander to a unit of their choice at the start of the battle. 


I wrote about self-assessed objectives back here and I'm keen to try them out in a more traditional one-on-one wargame context, so that's what we're doing here. The objectives are broad and may involve some discussion at the end of the game. Of course I can imagine some players not enjoying this approach, but as always I'd rather make something with specific appeal over general. I never much liked counting up how many units I had within x inches of an objective marker. Better to just cast an eye over the final situation and make the call. Guess this rules out a Project 10 Global Tournament. 

And now, a few very simple Scenarios to use in your Project 10 games. 

Scenario 1 - Bridgehead 
Inspired by OHW Scenario 4

Battlefield: River running across the width of the board, with a single crossing on the defender's half of the board. Variety of terrain on the attacker's side of the river.
Deployment: The defender deploys one unit just on the attacker's side of the bridge. All other units and commanders are held off board. 
Special: At the start of each defender turn they deploy a unit of their choice from their board edge, attaching the Commander if they wish. At the start of each attacker turn they deploy two random units from a random board edge, excluding the defender's edge. These units must deploy on the attacker's side of the river. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the side that controls the bridge most effectively wins. 

Scenario 2 - Double Delaying Action
Inspired by OHW Scenario 9

Battlefield: River running across the width of the board with two crossings on the attacker's half of the board. Mostly beneficial terrain on the defender's side of the river. An exit point on the defender's board edge marked with a road. 
Deployment: The defender deploys their units anywhere on their side of the river. The attacker deploys theirs on their board edge.
Special: Any unit can leave the board via the exit point on the defender's board edge. Defending units cannot cross the river. 
Victory: The game lasts 15 turns, after which the attacker wins if at least two of their units left the board via the road. The defender wins if they prevent this while also withdrawing three of their own units via the road. If neither are achieved the attacker wins. 

Scenario 3 - Surprise Attack
Inspired by OHW Scenario 11

Battlefield: A hill, crossroads, or other significant objective in the centre of the defender's half of the table. Variety of terrain outside this. 
Deployment: The Defender deploys two units in the centre of the board, with their Commander attached to one of them. The attacker deploys all six units on their board edge. 
Special: At the start of their third turn the defender deploys 2 units from their board edge. At the start of their ninth turn they deploy 2 units from the board edge on their right. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the side that controls the objective most effectively wins. 

Scenario 4 - Twin Objectives
Inspired by OHW Scenario 21

Battlefield: A small town or ruin in the centre of the defender's board edge. A lightly wooded hill on one corner of the attacker's board edge. Variety of other terrain outside of this, but no more hills or towns to avoid confusion. 
Deployment: The defender only has 4 units. They deploy 1 unit on the hill and the others on their board edge. The attacker deploys on the half of their board edge not containing the hill. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the defender must control both the hill and the town, or else the attacker wins. 

Scenario 5 - Shambolic Command
Inspired by OHW Scenario 29

Battlefield: A large hill in the centre of the board. Mixed terrain outside this.
Deployment: The defender deploys 4 units on the hill and 2 on one of the corners of their board edge. They do not have a commander. The attacker only has 4 units and deploys from anywhere on their board edge. 
Special: The defender's shambolic command means they can only activate 2 units on each of their turns. They must declare which units are being activated before performing any actions with them. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the side that best controls the hill wins. 

Friday 5 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


Units in Project 10 are defined entirely by their two traits, of which there are currently 14 in the game.

Order matters, as the second trait provides no benefit if the unit is Shaken, having taken 4 of their total 7 damage. 

So is every combination viable? Probably not, there are certainly some that offer redundancy in their benefits, but nothing outright impossible.

Still, it sounds like a fun experiment, so let's break out the d14s!


Used this combo to represent hard-hitting missile troops in my Feudal and Industrial lists, but not currently used in my fantasy lists. Pretty straightforward one here. 


Volatile is mostly used in my fantasy lists for Verminkin and Fungal Fanatics to represent their powerful but unpredictable special weapons (poison globes, warp fire, fanatics, squigs) so it's strange seeing it alongside the trait that offers a unit more reliability and can represent anything from sheer weight of numbers to elite training. Perhaps this would work for a very lightly armoured, hard hitting unit, or unstable demons that might blink out of existence. 


I use the inverse of this combination for Rhino Riders and Crushers in my fantasy lists, though it can feel strange not to be able to attach your general to these units. This configuration is particularly annoying to a general, as even when you no longer benefit from the Monster trait you still suffer its negative effects. As monsters that maintain their speed while losing their fighting prowess, perhaps we're looking at something more like a pack of giant rats, or even a dedicated pack of warhounds. 


Nothing like this combo in the current lists, only the Mercenary Cannon Carts (Artillery/Chariot) come close. It might look like an odd combo, but being able to get your artillery piece up onto a hill early on can be decisive. The biggest issue here is that when this unit becomes Shaken they lose their artillery attack, and their Loose trait prevents them from Regrouping. Worse still, as Artillery they are broken if they take any damage in melee, so what do you even do with this unit once they're Shaken? Perhaps they could represent a very fragile unit of light cannons. They sound incredibly precarious, but think they could be useful in the right situation, namely if you need to get a cannon through some rough terrain and onto a hill really fast. Definitely feels like you'd rather have Artillery/Cavalry or Artillery/Chariot nine times out of ten, though. 


Inverse of the traits for Eagles and Harpies, though this combination is also present in the three-trait big bloody demon that I'm calling the Deathbringer for IP reasons. Him and the Spirits (Volatile, Flier) are the only two units to have Flier as a secondary trait, meaning they can lose it in battle. The former representing the fact that the Deathbringer just isn't going to get worse at killing, and the latter being a sort of waning power dragging the spirits down to the ground. You could use this to represent some sort of drop-troops that leap across the board early on only to fight on foot once things get started. Perhaps something those sky-dwarfs would have?

Worth noting that in writing this editorial I've encountered issues that have prompted me to tweak parts of the game here and there, showing that this sort of experiment is often more useful than you might think. 

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Country Familiars

Bastion has its pets, vermin, working animals, and other creatures

But out in Deep Country they'll tell you with glee that the big city doesn't have real Familiars

Of course it does, Bastion has everything, but it's not worth having the argument. Just let them have this one.


  • Each is unique and named, but exists in many distant places at once (don't try and pull any tricks around this, it won't work).
  • They visit each place to help one particular person with a specific desire.
  • They keep their host focused on this one goal, to the detriment of everything else.

So it's a simple, straightforward deal. They use their unnatural powers to help you with a thing, no strings attached, and once it's done they'll get out of your life. Though, in most stories the thing is never really done, and the familiar usually ends up outliving their host. 

And even though they're bound to help you free of charge, they still have hungers and hatreds, which they can be quite vocal about. You can just ignore them, of course, but often it just feels easier to keep them happy. 

If a Familiar feels unwelcome or unappreciated their favourite trick is to hide, often inside a valuable object or somehow behind your ear or inside the black of your eye. They don't stop helping altogether, but things would be so much quicker if you just indulged their needs. 

Their form is rarely straightforward, and it's not as simple as just being a black cat.

Maybe it's sort of a cat, but it's immediately obvious that they aren't. More like if your mind's eye tried to manifest a cat in front of you, but you hadn't seen one since your childhood. 

So if the simple stuff doesn't look right, naturally they tend to adopt more elaborate forms made of multiple animal parts and fancy embellishments. They take real pride in their appearance, and love a good neck-frill, prehensile tail, or iridescent coat. 

Let's do this with Spark Tables. Roll 4d20.












Death Touch





















Time Manipulation









Memory Manipulation



Weather Control









Light Manipulation



Shape Shifting






Shadow Craft







































The Elderly





















The Ugly