Thursday 8 September 2022


Psst, I'm not actually here right now, so it's just a short one this week.

When I sit down to play an RPG, I'm usually happiest when the following things are present:

  • Solving problems with tactical infinity
  • Exploring an interesting world
  • Seeing a story emerge as a result of our own actions

Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland were designed with these in mind. Mythic Bastionland has some key differences, but I still want to keep those three things in focus.

One of the thorny issues at the moment is how the idea of the players being Knights interacts with that first point about encouraging creative problem solving. 


The desperate treasure hunters of ITO and EB might start with some novel equipment, but their success usually relies on that tactical infinity I mentioned earlier. Coming up with a scheme to survive the dangerous world despite their limitations.

Do heroic knights need to indulge in such trickery? 

The characters of Mythic Bastionland are framed as being more competent. They're knights after all. They have  a cool knight-name, a steed, and the people of the realm are often glad to see them ride into town. 

They even have special combat Feats they can perform! It's easy to see how they can be read as heroes right from the off. 

Yet you start with no Glory. Your rank is Petty Knight, considered unworthy to lead a warband or have a place in court. You don't have a sword, and you likely don't have proper armour. Even at peak performance you won't become Noble, worthy of a holding, for an entire year. 

I want them to feel a different to the failed professionals of Electric Bastionland, but I still want them to feel vulnerable, and rely on clever problem solving as much as martial power. I want them to do great things, but I also want them to fail. 

Projecting the right presentation of Knights throughout their career is something I'd like to work on in future revisions of the playtest. At the moment it's not quite there, and can create some strange moments.

Strange moments can be good, and create memorable decision points for the players, but they shouldn't be swimming in cognitive dissonance the whole time. 


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  1. I was making a very similar project (an all knight OSR game) and I am so glad you are working on this, facing one of my problems: How should being a knight limit or route the character actions? Should It do it at all? Exploring dungeons is a very physical task, easily workable through a conversation. By definition, the knightly quests have a lot of "inner" travels and tests, have to do with intangibles like passions, faith, bravery, wisdom. And one thing I am sure of: I don't want to make "the sims" style bars of "chastity", "honor", etc.
    Whatever man, I am loving a lot reading of your new project. I think that this is going to be so great, I can feel it.

  2. Is a great deed really that important or memorable when it's done by someone who is elite and invulnerable? Imagine Superman bragging about slaying a giant firebreathing lizard: "Yeah? What of it? You picked it up, shattered it's spine with a punch and threw it into the sun..."

    These underdog knights you speak of, that can fail and fall in battle? That's a feature, not a bug. Heroism and glory is what you get after *surviving* an adventure, not a prerequisite to going on one.

  3. Do you explain tactical infinity somewhere? I'm imagining it to be related to player skill and that coming up with ingenious ways to solve problems has no real limit in terms of effectiveness in the fiction. Did I read that wrong?

    1. I actually can't find the source where I first heard the term, but in essence it's the idea that in a TTRPG you can at least attempt (almost) anything, rather than being restricted by what's present in the rules. So you have infinite tactical options for dealing with any situation.