Wednesday 26 April 2023

Beginning a Campaign: Start & Scope

Mythic Bastionland has quite a different campaign structure to Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland, so any campaign should start with a short conversation about that. Here's the relevant page from the latest version:


Every group that sits down to play the game is different, and you should consider the Start and Scope of a game before you begin. 

The Start is the opening situation that the players find themselves in, and should always present an interesting world to explore, filled with problems to face. 

The Scope is how far you expect the game to go run in-game and out of game. 

The examples below are not a definitive list.


Petty - Young Petty Knights arriving in a Realm, seeking to uphold their Oath and gain Glory. If they feel lost, advise them to seek a Seer’s counsel. 

Exemplar - Mature Knight Exemplars (Glory 6) with 2d6GD. They have a place in the Court of the Seat of Power. Tell them about the first Omen in each of the Realm’s Myths, delivered as news to the Court. 

Noble - Mature Noble Knights with 2d6GD. The Knight with the highest CHA has a Holding, with the others in their Circle. The Seat of Power is under a wicked influence.


Adventure - One session. Start the game with the group encountering an Omen of the nearest Myth. Turn the Season at the end of the session, seeing who upheld their Oath. 

Chronicle - A known number of sessions, finishing at the end of these. Season and Age turns are planned out ahead of time. For 6 sessions this might be a Season turn at the end of each session, an Age turn at the end of each Winter. 

Saga - An indeterminate number of sessions. Here you can let the players guide the scope as they explore the world. 

And what the Oddpocrypha chapter has to say. 


Ref: Okay we should talk about the Start and Scope of the campaign. For the Start you can be Petty Knights newly knighted and out for glory, Exemplars who are older and have a place in court, or Nobles if you want to start already ruling a seat of power. To be honest that last one sounds a bit much for me at the moment, but we could do either of the others.

Tal: I just assumed we’d be starting out as new Knights, but starting with a place in court could be cool.

Moss: Yeah I’m happy with either.

Ref: Well let’s talk about Scope before we lock it in. This is how many sessions we’ll run and how time will advance across them. I know we agreed to run for 6 weeks, so that would fit a Chronicle. We can always carry on afterwards if we’re enjoying it.

Moss: Yeah I’m away for two weeks after that and I think Tal has that other campaign?

Ref: Sure, we’ll do six sessions then. The book suggests each session should end by moving onto the next Season, and at the end of Winter we’ll advance to a new Age, which means advancing like twenty years or so. 

Tal: Right… but what if we end the session right in the middle of something? 

Ref: I mean we don’t have to set it in stone, but things persist between Seasons. Maybe we’ll leave the exact timing of the Age skip loose so that we can do it when it feels right. I think we should push ourselves to move through time though, it’ll be neat to look back on the campaign and have a proper span of your Knights’ lives.

Tal: Okay that makes sense. 

Moss: I guess we try to finish each session in a place that makes sense too, right? Like we won’t end right in the middle of a combat?

Ref: Yeah, and if that happens we can always finish the fight off next session and do the time skip mid-session. It doesn’t take long. 

Tal: Great. Well if we’re doing that shall we start as brand new petty knights?

Moss: Sounds good to me. 


For those used to more traditional campaign structures, the between-session time jumps of Mythic Bastionland can seem daunting. It’s understandable that some players don’t like the idea of releasing control of their characters for these “off camera” months or years that pass during such an advancement. 

Of course, the intent of this rule isn’t to leave players with a lack of control, so here Ref does a good job of reassuring Tal and Moss. 

I think Ref strikes a good balance between keeping plans loose by suggesting some flexibility in when to advance the seasons and ages, but also making it clear that these advances are planned into the campaign, explaining why they want to include them.

I’d possibly be clearer here, telling the group that each session will always be the start of a new season, and deciding ahead of time which session will also advance to the next age. This is no more right or wrong than Ref’s approach here, and comes down to your own preferences and your experience of playing with your group. 

They eventually settle on starting as Petty Knights, which is where I expect the majority of groups to begin their games. Ref even goes as far as to recommend against the most advanced starting point. 

Even if a group is unlikely to want to begin as Exemplars or Nobles, it’s worth highlighting these options at the start of the campaign. Just showing them as possibilities helps players see the likely direction for their knights and gives a bit more context to where they might be after some Seasons and Ages. 


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  1. " A known number of sessions, finishing at the end of these. Season and Age turns are planned out ahead of time"

    This is very interesting and I can see the use of it, though i wonder why you choose to do it like that ,instead of just deciding time skips on the fly depending on the PCs actions.

    Also I think you (as do I) worry a lot about how players will react or feel about certain things, but one advice a friend gave to me "dont be overprotector with women, they are not made of crystal" also extends to rpg players. They are usually open and waiting to be surprised, sometimes we hold out great things for fear of they being too weird or unaccepted. Time skips are great.

  2. Just recently I learned the skill of planning an actual end to my campaign. Amazing that I still have so much to learn.