Wednesday 31 January 2024


Knowledge is power in Mythic Bastionland.

What does the Oddpocrypha have to say about that?


The Company are staying in the Holding of a friendly ruler. After dinner they are left to their own devices for a while. They have already encountered one Omen of the Child.

Ref: Okay, what are you both doing?

Tal: The ruler here seems friendly enough, but I’ll see if anybody else looks keen to talk.

Moss: I’ll ask around to see what people know about the Child.

Ref: Okay, Tal, as you’re moving around the hall a Knight strides over. You’ve not met them before, they’re…

Ref rolls on some Spark Tables to get an idea of their appearance.

Ref: He looks sort of soft-bodied for a Knight, a tattered cloak over his patchwork mail. He speaks to in a whispered tone.

Ref rolls a random Myth of the Realm for this Knight to know about, getting the Shadow.

Ref: “Greetings, Knight. Have you come from the north?”

Tal: Erm… (she checks the map) no, we’ve ridden in from to the east.

Ref: “Well, take my word for it, if you’re heading north then don’t look too closely into the shadows. A sorrowful presence lurks there. My brother-in-arms has already been taken by its melancholy.”

Tal: Is this something to do with the Child?

Ref: He doesn’t seem to know anything about the Child. He explains that he’s recently arrived in the Realm. He also describes the location of a monument he passed on the way, the mausoleum of a nameless Knight.

Ref points to the monument’s location on the map, a few Hexes north of the Holding.

Tal: Great, that’s useful.

Moss: Yeah, do I have any luck?


Non-player characters can be useful in different ways. They can offer hospitality, equipment, remedies, military aid, new positions in a council, or even a Holding to rule. Whoever they are, most people are also able to offer the resource of knowledge, as detailed in the Folklore section of the rules.

We can see the importance of this here, with Moss actively seeking information and Tal being more passive. I like that Ref gives Tal this useful information even though she didn’t explicitly ask for it. When it comes to Myths I like to ensure they’re worked into the conversations happening all across the Realm, even if the character is a new arrival.

Ref gives some very vague knowledge of the Shadow here. They could have had the Knight outright explain an encounter with the Shadow, or one of its omens, but the key is that they wouldn’t know the inner workings of the Myth. That level of knowledge is restricted to Seers, and is the basis for their powerful position within the society of the Realm.

Ref could have gone further here, and had the Knight who Tal meets actually be the Knight described in the Myth itself. One Omen describes a sorrowful Knight, lashing out at passers-by, and they could have presented this character to the Company, appearing before their miserable fate.

They could go in another direction, changing the Myth so that this new Knight is the one present in the Omen.

Instead, Ref takes the slightly safer option of having the Knight who Tal meets simply having a connection to the Knight that will appear in a later Omen. Still effective, but it’s always good to consider other options.


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Wednesday 24 January 2024


How does hospitality work in Mythic Bastionland?


The Company encounter an Omen of the Pack, describing a shepherd having lost his flock. The Knights do their best to help, but the Shepherd is heartbroken.

Moss: Wait, where does this shepherd live? We’re nowhere near a Holding or Dwelling.

Ref: Do you want to ask him?

Moss: Yeah, okay.

Ref: He gestures in the direction of his home, a simple hut hidden away within this Hex. He also has a second hut in the neighbouring Hex, where he sometimes moves his flock. 

Tal: We should rest up here before we start our journey back to the Seat of Power. 

Ref: Yeah, proper hospitality restores your VIG, remember? You’ve both got some wounds that would benefit from it. 

Moss: Okay, I ask the shepherd if he can provide a warm place to sleep for tonight.

Ref: I mean he’s despairing about his flock being torn apart by his own dogs, so I wouldn’t expect too much of a warm welcome. He offers you a place for the night, as is the custom, but you get the sense he’d rather you weren’t there. 

Ref pauses for a moment.

Ref: Actually, one of you can give me a SPI Save to see what his response is like.

Tal rolls an 18, failing the Save.

Ref: Yeah, he takes you in and cooks you some food, rolls out some simple, bedding, but the conversation is clearly focused on when you’re both going to leave tomorrow.

Moss: Rude.

Tal: I mean I guess he’s got bigger problems to deal with right now. Okay, let’s work out what we’re doing the next morning. 

Ref: Sure, and you can both restore VIG. 


Knights can expect hospitality from most of the people they encounter on their travels, but this can still create some interesting conflicts. Commonly these are based around how much the Company are willing to upset their host by outstaying their welcome, or whether the host is bold enough to ask for something in return. 

This section of play starts with a good example of how the Realm can be moulded by both the actions of the Knights and the Myths as they unfold. In an area with no mention of inhabitants, a Myth describes a shepherd. This suggests that the shepherd must have a dwelling nearby, even if it was not previously noted on the map, and so it becomes reality. 

I’d encourage Ref to note this down on the map as a new Dwelling. 

Of course, if the Company were in a Hex utterly unsuitable for a shepherd to live in, then the Referee might find a reason for them to be so far from home. Perhaps they’re in the middle of a long journey or pilgrimage.

Ref also indulges in asking for a Spirit Save to gauge the shepherd’s reaction to the Knights’ request for hospitality. This feels like a very low stakes roll, as even with a failure the shepherd allows the knights to stay. 

Normally I look to the mantra of “no risk, no roll” but I still think there’s a place for Saves like this in the quieter moments of play. For example, if Tal had passed the Save then perhaps the shepherd might encourage them to stay even longer, becoming reliant upon the Knights for a feeling of security after their ordeal. 


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Wednesday 17 January 2024

The Quieter Moments

An RPG session probably shouldn't be non-stop action. Those quiet moments can sometimes be overlooked by GM advice sections, so I wanted to touch on them when discussing landmarks in the Oddpocrypha chapter of Mythic Bastionland. 


The Company is in a tower, overlooking the surrounding Hexes. Ref gestures to each Hex as they describe the terrain in broad terms.

Ref: The forest continues all across the west. The south looks more marshy, and there are rough hills to the east.

On their copy of the map, Ref notices there’s a Landmark in a neighbouring Hex, a Ruin. They rolled a prompt for this as part of their prep, noting that it relates to the Blade, a Myth not currently active in the Realm. The prompt for the Ruin was “crumbled bridge”.

Ref: You can spot a bridge in the distance out in this direction, but you can’t really see the details from this far away.

The players decide to head toward the bridge, arriving in the next Phase of the day.

Ref: Okay, so the bridge spans a mostly dried up stream and has collapsed, the centre now a heap of rubble.

Ref turns to the Blade myth to look for a hint to place here. They decide to use “Ilglamrent”, one of the names given for the Blade.

Ref: In amongst the rubble you can see a large block, previously part of the bridge. There’s something carved on it, covered in red moss.

Tal: I’ll carefully scrape it off with my dagger, trying to see the carving.

Ref: It’s faint but you can just make out the shape of a sword, the word “Ilglamrent” written down the length of its blade. 

Tal: Huh. 

Moss: I’ll look through the rubble. Maybe there’s a sword down here?

Ref: Yeah you dig through but there doesn’t seem to be anything of note.

Moss: Right. Hm. 

Ref: So where next?


Where Myths and Holdings generally act as the major features within the Realm, Landmarks tend to have a more understated place in the game.

Ruins in particular can feel almost out of place, offering a glimpse at a Myth that won’t actually be used in the Realm as it stands. The intent is to hint at a wider and older world, and as we see here it can create moments that border on downright anticlimactic.

I don’t think this is something to be feared. These moments of relative calm can be a welcome change of tempo, especially when used sparingly. I like that Ref allows the moment to play out before giving the players a gentle nudge to move on, asking them where they want to go next.

Ref did just about enough preparation here, rolling the Ruin’s Myth ahead of time and choosing a prompt for its general description. They could have gone further and worked out how the bridge tied in to the Blade, but they were able to improvise this just fine.

If they really found themselves stuck, unable to draw a connection between the Ruin and its Myth, then I’d encourage them to take a more relaxed approach. Maybe for now this bridge is just a bridge, no Myth connection at all. It still acts as a small point of interest in the world, a literal landmark to help with navigation. 

They could also place a person near to the Ruin, giving them knowledge of the related Myth. Perhaps here a wandering pilgrim is seeking the Blade, but so far nobody in this Realm has heard of it. Anything that helps the world feel large or old would work.


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