Monday, 24 August 2015

Self-Made Mockeries

What do you get when Mockeries decide to make more of their number?

They have no link left to humanity, so lack the cooperation of a loyal mockery.

They are born without eyes, as they do not need them.

Their music is not the pleasant song of a Mockery, but something indigestible to human tastes.

Got-No-Gazer - Rabble Rouser
STR 6, DEX 15, WIL 15, 8hp. Hidden Dagger (d6).
- Call in a team of Mock Birds with a Canon (d12).
- Rally Mockeries to shed the link to humanity.
- Immediately know an exaggerated version of your life story upon touching you.
Misty Igg - Bodyguard to Mr Free. 
STR 14, DEX 8, WIL 7, 10hp. Hoof Punch (d8).
- Fly into a rage to protect other Mockeries.
- Vainly seek out adornments for herself.
- Eat pig-meat in defiance of her original image.

Avoree Fib - Ancient Mockery
STR 12, DEX 6, WIL 4, 7hp. Chicken-Club (d6).
- Tell a depressing story about his eternal existence.
- Cry out in pain and blame an innocent.
- Gorge himself on food that he doesn't need.

He-Metal Sage - Strategist
STR 10, DEX 10, WIL 17, 8hp. Ornate Pistol (d8).
- Craft elaborate plans to overthrow humanity.
- Enforce needless military bureaucracy on his compatriots.
- Lay colourful explosives (d12) and detonate them at the end of a speech.

Mr Free Gothkit
STR 5, DEX 18, WIL 16, 12hp. Flailing Arms (d6).
- Cause awe in other Mockeries, who recognise him as their chosen one.
- Gibber nonsense and flail around.
- Order other Mockeries onto suicide missions.

Disputed Geographies of the Odd World

Extract from Chief-Pen Shunnock's closing lecture to the Bastion Grand Society of Cartographers, on the day of their final dissolution and demolition.

Over one-hundred-and-eighty-one years this Society has sought to shine a light on the dark parts of our world, only to be dragged into deeper shadows by the interference of ignorance and bureaucracy. 

Yet I wish to end our pathetic history with decisiveness. I declare these five laws of geography to be true, sworn on my own life. Let the end of our institute be the beginning of the peoples' efforts to put this chaos into order. 

The First Truth: Bastion is the hub of everything. A pillar of light that the rest of this nonsensical world must be drawn relative to.

The Second Truth: In spite of Bastion being our sole reliable point of reference, the city itself changes at such a rate, and hides so many unseeable parts, as to make any sort of large-scale mapping impractical. This is doubly true when you consider the Underground. 

The Third: The Deep Country is an utter waste of time and undeserving of our cartographic efforts. Vast emptiness punctuated by embarrassing shadows of our idiotic past. If you can find a signpost pointing to Bastion, you need know nothing more. 

The Fourth: The Golden Lands lie in every direction but North, and the mapping of these lands appear as our best hope to understanding our world. 

The Fifth: Sea Travel to the Polar Ocean to the North presents problems that are beyond the realm of cartography, so all maps should be topped with First-Quill Chinler's Border of Uncertainty to best present our knowledge of that area. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Mockra

The Mockra is easily in the top ten stupidest things anyone in Bastion has decided to build. It has many mock-heads attached to one mock-body and the result is always ridiculous.

But people just can't let it go. Each time the creature is destroyed, somebody thinks they can make a better one. 

Roll d20 to see what the hell they did for a body this time. This gives the thing it's STR, DEX, and Armour. The body is always just big enough to support the number of heads.

d20 Bodies
  1. Gnarled Tree. STR 10, DEX 0, Armour 3. 
  2. Lumbering Armoured Dino-body with long necks. STR 18, DEX 3, Armour 3.  
  3. Soft-Footed Dog. STR 15, DEX 12, Armour 1. 
  4. Powered Wagon. STR 16, DEX 3, Armour 3. 
  5. Snake Body STR 13, DEX 12, Armour 1. 
  6. Pile of Goo with heads just poking out. STR 12, DEX 12, Armour 1. 
  7. Big starfish STR 15, DEX 12, Armour 1. 
  8. Crustacean STR 12, DEX 10, Armour 2. 
  9. Majestic Eagle STR 12, DEX 18, Armour 1. 
  10. Scorpion. STR 15, DEX 16, Armour 2. 
  11. Snail. STR 13, DEX 6, Armour 2. 
  12. Classic Dragonlike Body. STR 15, DEX 12, Armour 2. 
  13. Pile of shaggy hair. STR 16, DEX 12, Armour 1. 
  14. Giant hunched primate. STR 14, DEX 14, Armour 1. 
  15. Turkey-like Fowl. STR 11, DEX 12, Armour 1. 
  16. Wyvern-like Flying Serpent. STR 14, DEX 15, Armour 1. 
  17. Big Cat. STR 15, DEX 18, Armour 1. 
  18. Red and Elephant-Like. STR 17, DEX 6, Armour 2. 
  19. Mechanical Spider. STR 15, DEX 12, Armour 3. 
  20. Bloated Toad. STR 13, DEX 6, Armour 2. 

Each turn it can decide to attack in one of three ways.
  1. Body Attack if it has one.
  2. Individual head attacks against different targets.
  3. Combined head attacks against one target for d12 damage. Requires at least 3 heads capable of attacking.  
It has 3d6 heads and 10hp plus one more for each additional head.

Roll d100 for each head. Each has a personality and attack of its own. They are all monstrous in size, regardless of the creature it's based upon.

The first head you roll is currently the lead-head. This head has control of the body and can silence the other heads. The heads can vote in a new lead-head at any time with the lead-head breaking ties. The Lead-Head gives the thing its WIL Score.

When an attack causes Critical Damage the Mockra is not defeated, but one head is destroyed. When half the heads are dead it withers up and dies.
A surviving Mockra with empty necks will dedicate its life to finding replacement heads.
Duplicates form a little clique away from the other heads.

d100 Heads
  1. Gorilla WIL 10, Bite d6, Wants to Establish Dominance.  
  2. Tiger WIL 14, Bite d8. Wants to engage in finery. 
  3. Polar Bear WIL 6, Bite d8, Wants to feast. 
  4. Fox WIL 15, Bite d6, Wants to deceive. 
  5. Camel WIL 16, Butt d4, Wants to have a simple life.  
  6. Swan WIL 13, Peck d6, Wants to be recognised as the best.  
  7. Fly WIL 5. Acid Spray d8 (blast). Wants to see everything close up.   
  8. Dragon WIL 18, Bite d8, Fire d10 (blast). Wants to sleep.  
  9. Skull WIL 15, Butt d6, Wants to be given flesh.  
  10. Bloodied Stump WIL 4, Whack d4.
  11. Monkey WIL 4, Bite d6, Wants to have everything explained.  
  12. Panther WIL 12, Bite d8, Wants to be left alone.  
  13. Moose WIL 10, Gore d8, Wants to take things very seriously.  
  14. Mouse WIL 6, Bite d4, Wants to horde tiny things.  
  15. Komodo Dragon WIL 10, Bite d8 and d6 STR loss on Critical Damage, Wants to see the world.  
  16. Shark WIL 10, Bite d10, Wants to devour.  
  17. Mosquito WIL 6, Bite d4 and d6 STR loss on Critical Damage, Wants to drink blood.  
  18. Sabretooth WIL 10, Bite d6, Wants to be trusted as a genuinely good being.  
  19. Tulip WIL 10. Wants to be admired. 
  20. Living Shield WIL 10. Wants to Protect.
  21. Mandrill WIL 6, Bite d8, Wants to sow chaos.  
  22. Python WIL 14, Bite d8 and constrict for d6 STR loss on Critical Damage, Wants to earn your trust and then bite you. 
  23. Mammoth WIL 12, Gore d10, Wants to be remembered.  
  24. Badger WIL 8, Bite d6, Wants to find a nice home. 
  25. Vulture WIL 14, Peck d6, Wants to seek out the dead.  
  26. Eel WIL 10, Bite d6, Wants to give ruthless advice.  
  27. Mantis WIL 16, Bite d6, Wants to attract a mate and betray them.  
  28. Venus Flytrap WIL 2, Bite d8, Wants to eat what it can.  
  29. Bellows WIL 2, Air Blast (no damage but blows things), Wants to blow.  
  30. Scorpion Tail WIL 0, Sting d6 and d6 STR loss on Critical Damage, Wants to sting.  
  31. White Ape WIL 10, Bite d8, Wants to be reunited with the creator.   
  32. Elephant WIL 16, Gore d8, Wants to honour the dead.  
  33. Rockhopper Penguin WIL 6, Peck d4, Wants to argue and fight.  
  34. Viper WIL 7, Bite d6 and d6 DEX loss on Critical Damage, Wants you to betray all of your ethics.  
  35. White Horse WIL 12, Bite d4, Wants to be adored.  
  36. Catfish WIL 4, Wants to stay out of the way.  
  37. Beetle WIL 4, Bite d6, Wants to create fortification.  
  38. Sunflower WIL 10. Wants to bring happiness to the world.  
  39. Feeding Pump WIL 2, Discharges a satisfying slime. Wants to feed you.
  40. Muscle-Arm WIL 4, Punch d10, Wants to punch and grab.  
  41. Clay-Bust WIL 10. Wants to be moulded into a more attractive shape.  
  42. Black Bear WIL 9, Bite d8, Wants to attract human companionship.  
  43. Reindeer WIL 12, Gore d8, Wants to distribute gifts.   
  44. Magpie WIL 16, Peck d4, Wants to collect shiny things.  
  45. Donkey WIL 6, Bite d4, Wants anything other than to be laughed at.  
  46. Turtle WIL 15, Bite d6, Wants to be loved.  
  47. Lobster WIL 12. Wants to go back underwater. 
  48. Glowing Energy-Ball WIL 15, Zap d6 (Ignoring Armour), Wants to become organic.  
  49. Giraffe WIL 11, Butt d6, Wants to get higher.  
  50. Goat WIL 19, Butt d6, Knows secrets about the other heads.  
  51. Wizened Old Man WIL 16, Wants to give cryptic advice.  
  52. Toucan WIL 8, Peck d4, Wants to carry out annoying pranks.  
  53. Zebra WIL 10, Bite d4. Wants to convince you not to eat him.  
  54. Pigeon WIL 10. Wants to be free of the Mockra.   
  55. Buffalo WIL 7, Gore d6, Wants to boss you around.  
  56. Tortoise WIL 16, Wants to live forever.  
  57. Caterpillar WIL 4. Wants to eat and eat until it turns into a butterfly.  
  58. T-Rex WIL 5, Bite d10, Wants to rule the world.  
  59. Pelican WIL 8, Beak d6, Wants to swallow tiny beings whole.  
  60. Eagle WIL 17, Beak d8, Wants to ensure high standards. 
  61. Blind Old Woman WIL 14. Wants to trick people into wronging her, then drop a curse on them.  
  62. Ostrich WIL 5, Peck d4, Wants to 
  63. Parrot WIL 7, Bite d6, Wants to mimic you.  
  64. Toad WIL 5. Wants to amass wealth.  
  65. Kangaroo WIL 10, Bite d4, Wants to fight honourably.  
  66. Platypus WIL 10. Wants to gather more heads.  
  67. Triceratops WIL 7, Gore d10, Wants to hire you for a job.  
  68. Worm WIL 4, Wants to assess every detail.  
  69. Slug WIL 8, Digest d6, Wants to slowly explain things.  
  70. Human Baby WIL 5, Wants to creep you out.  
  71. Warthog WIL 10, Tusk d6, Wants to eat disgusting things.  
  72. Emperor Penguin WIL 15, Peck d6, Wants to be recognised as ruler.  
  73. Mole WIL 10, Wants to get deeper underground.  
  74. Crocodile WIL 13, Bite d8, Wants to make friends.  
  75. Wombat WIL 10, Wants to sleep.  
  76. Chicken WIL 9, Peck d4, Wants to run away from danger. 
  77. Pteradactyl WIL 6, Beak d8, Wants to collect fish for its non-existent young. 
  78. Anteater WIL 15, Wants to eat ants. 
  79. Dolphin WIL 15, Bite d6, Wants to prove how clever it is.  
  80. Featureless Human Head WIL 11, Copies the features of whoever talks to it.  
  81. Meerkat WIL 7, Bite d4, Wants to relax.   
  82. Walrus WIL 14, Tusk d6, Wants to witness and discuss death. 
  83. Hunting Hound WIL 7, Bite d6, Wants to hunt small animals. 
  84. Koala WIL 16, Bite d6, Wants to commit murder.  
  85. Wolf  WIL 11, Bite d6, Wants to be dramatic.  
  86. Flamingo WIL 6, Beak d4, Wants to find peace and quiet.  
  87. Ferret WIL 5, Bite d6, Wants to get you close then bite you.  
  88. Statue-Head WIL 10, Butt d8, Wants to crack jokes.   
  89. Otter WIL 10, Bite d6, Wants to play.  
  90. Brutish Human WIL 7, Bite d6, Wants to out-animal the animals.  
  91. Rhino WIL 7, Gore d8, Wants to debate, but loses temper instantly.   
  92. Baby Seal WIL 4, Wants to see you suffer.  
  93. Rat WIL 12, Bite d6, Wants to survive.  
  94. Crane WIL 15, Beak d4, Wants to enlighten the crude.  
  95. Hummingbird WIL 7, Beak d6, Wants to collect sweet things. 
  96. Peacock WIL 11, Beak d4, Wants to be flattered.  
  97. Antelope WIL 8, Bite d4, Wants to have freedom. 
  98. Capybara WIL 10, Bite d4, Wants to be taken seriously.   
  99. Puffin WIL 6, Wants to avoid danger. 
  100. Guard Dog WIL 12, Bite d8, Wants to be rewarded. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Sullendrome (Also On Small Posts and Patreon)

Did you notice that since I started the Patreon I've been posting fewer entries?

It's mostly coincidence. I've had less free time for writing, and the more I progress with the Odd World Toolkit, the more daunting each entry becomes.

But also I don't want to throw out a tiny post like this and have my generous supporters feel cheated. Even worse, I absolutely don't want people paying for non-gameable posts of disconnected thoughts.

So I'm going to try to post more, but each post will be assessed by my completely impartial eye, and I'll decide whether I want it to be Patreon-Funded Content, or if I'm just throwing it out as a freebie like in my old days in the underground blogsphere. If you're keeping checks on such things, the Patreon page will list what's paid and what's free.

So with that in mind here's an unfunded post with no promises to quality.


A huge grey-glass dome fell on Bastion, crushing six boroughs and damning them to eternal shade.

It's all ruined old city, overgrown with bits of the Underground that have started to rise. There's no good reason to go in there. It's just a joyless place full of miserable things.

Everything appears in greyscale.

The Malaise kicks in as soon as you get under the dome.  That backache feels worse than it was before. Your hair won't sit straight. You're hungry but don't fancy anything in particular.

The Sorrow overcomes you the first time you see a corpse, and there are lots of them lying around in here. You feel very aware of your mortality, and while you're in the Sullendrome you count as having 0hp. This means any damage comes straight off your STR, and could potentially be critical. The good news is that this affects everyone else in here too.

The Despair comes if you awaken under the dome (whether from sleep or unconsciousness). All of your Ability Scores are halved, rounding up, and all Arcana use requires a WIL Save to avoid a mishap. You feel certain that you're going to die.

Bishop Malanco - Slender Old Bore
STR 8, DEX 5, WIL 7, 0hp. Impractical Claw-Mace (d4), Grey-Painted Face, Grey Priest Regalia.
- Drone out a soul-crushing sermon on how we deserve to live under the dome.
- Put out a call to the day-city (Bastion) for all sinners to come home to Sullendrome.
- Paint depressing artwork in black paint.

The Big Dim - Elephant-like Mutant
STR 9, DEX 2, WIL 2, 0hp, Fists (d10), Huge Body and Rough Hide (2).
- Blast a sad noise from his trunk-like nose.
- Seek the approval of Bishop Malanco.
- Exaggerate a tragic backstory when he's really just a mutant from the Underground that got lost.

Sour-Men - Grumpy Men-at-Arms
STR 5, DEX 5, WIL 5, 0hp, Footman's Axe (d6), Heavy Chain Armour with Sad-Face Shield (1).
- Stop anyone from leaving the dome.
- Beckon new people into the dome.
- Become instantly demotivated when doing anything, calling in a Greydove to do it.

Greydoves - Wailing Wretches.
STR 2, DEX 5, WIL 5, 0hp. Grey Robes.
- Encourage any sinners to join their number so that they might one day be forgiven.
- Show a spark of pleasure as they discuss how they will kill themselves.
- Prepare modest tombs and talk enviously of the dead.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Bastionese Hirelings

So if you want people with truly unique skills you know Orders. Those guys typically have their own agendas and, although you might work alongside them at some point, they aren't someone you can just throw money at and they'll follow you into some hole.

The Good Book tells you that you can hire the following people:
(cost is per day)
Lighter Boy (1s): STR 2d6, d6hp, Lantern, Club. 
Mercenary (5s): 2d6hp, Musket (d8), Sword (d6).
Expert (10s):d6hp, Pistol (d6), Expertise in one Area. 

So let's blow this up.

If you look around a Slum roll 3d6 on the Lackies table and 2d4 on the Mercenaries table. These places are horrible to look around. 

If you go to a Dangerous Workers' Union Club roll 3d6 on the Mercenaries table and 2d4 on the Experts table. If you aren't part of the union everyone is rude to you and makes you do a pile of paperwork. 

If you go to the Specialist Individuals's Grooming Lounge roll 3d6 on the Experts table. This place is fancy and the old rule is that you have to buy a drink to get inside. The cheapest is a humiliating Strawberry Spritz for 1s and the most finest is a Centurion Brandy for 1G a snifter. The safe bet to avoid humiliation is a Bitter Gin for 5s.  

If you roll multiple of the same type of hireling they're a team and will only work if hired together. Roll d6 to see how they're connected.
1: Older mentor and student(s)
2: Over-affectionate lovers (if 3 or more they're a group-thing or there's a bitter third-wheel)
3: Father and Daughter(s)
4: Mother and Son(s)
5: Charismatic individual and admirer(s)
6: Psychically Linked Twins (or Triplets etc.)

As usual Ability Scores are 10 unless noted otherwise.

Cost 1s a day and do something very specific. Accepting of general danger, but they won't get directly involved without persuasion. 
1: Sweep - DEX 16, 6hp. Telescopic brush. Can squeeze through any gap they can get their head in. 
2: Busker - 2hp. Musical instrument. Will tell stories and sing songs to try to raise spirits. 
3: Urchin - STR 5, DEX 15, 1hp Will sneak around and look pitiful. 
4: Digger - 3hp. Mattock. Will break things and do other grunt work.
5: Runner - 5hp. Staff (d6). Will run ahead and take messages around. 
6: Tough - STR 15, 4hp. Big Hammer (d8). Will push around those weaker than them. Not so keen on targets that fight back.

Roll d12 for each Lacky's Twist from this table.
1: Exceptionally dirty, even for someone from the slums.
2: Actually a noble poorly disguised to live amongst the poor as some sort of spiritual experience.
3: Mute.
4: Actually a dog that's been trained to do this job pretty well.
5: Needlessly violent and angry.
6: Religious zealot of some Star-Cult, prohibiting them from all sorts of things.
7: Astral abduction survivor.
8: Diseased, but works for half the normal fee.
9: New arrival to Bastion from Deep Country.
10: Lives in the Underground and knows about all horrible things.
11: Says they have a claim on the true Crown of Bastion.
12: Massive criminal record with the local guards.

Cost 5s a day and are up for dangerous work. 
1: Handler - 4hp. Terrier 1hp, d6 Bite. Will get their dog to sniff things out and do other doggy things. 
2: Musketeer - 8hp. Musket (d8), Bayonet (d6). Will shoot things. Sing war songs and shout HURRAH.   
3: Adventurer - 9hp. Pistol (d6), Cutlass (d6). Will try to be one of the party and take treasure for themselves. 
4: Scout - DEX 15, 7hp. Bow (d6), Knife (d6). Will look ahead, give survival tips, but not much for fighting. 
5: Champion - 10hp, Claymore (d8), Modern Armour (1). Will fight dramatically alone, but always wants the glory for themselves. Demands an additional 1s for dangerous foes.
6: Sapper - 6hp. Bomb Kit (can make a bomb in an hour, and has one prepared), Pistol (d6). Will blow up things and help with some construction.

Roll d12 for each Mercenary's Twist from this table.
1: Revolutionary that hates any sort of establishment.
2: Mind-numbingly idiotic.
3: Argumentative Humanist that thinks all bad things come from Cosmic Interference.
4: Follower of one of the Cosmic Angels, with a home-made costume.
5: Pretentious snob that thinks they're above everyone else because they sometimes eat fancy food and go to the theatre.
6: Cigar-smoking badass.
7: Working one last job before retirement. Reduce to 1hp.
8: Thinks they can talk to animals, but they can't.
9: Dark clothes, lone wolf, won't work with any other hirelings. Thinks they're so cool.
10: Believes they have a Guardian Spirit watching over them. When they're in mortal danger there's a 1-in-20 chance it will materialise as a 10ft flaming snake with one eye (15hp, Immune to physical attacks. Spray Fire for d10. Vanishes once the Hireling is safe).
11: A smug member of the Universal Servants that insists their pay go to charity, but will claim expenses for the smallest things.
12: Rampant anti-revolutionist that thinks anyone disrupting the order should be hung.

Cost 10s a day and have a specialist skill as well as general smarts. 
1: Explorer - 6hp, Pistol Brace (d8), Fancy Exploration Gear (compass etc). Will aid in navigation and advise on situations based on their own travels. 
2: Marksman - 4hp. Long-Rifle (d10). Will sit back and shoot things, but won't get their hands dirty. 
3: Academic - 1hp. Pistol (d6). Will advise using broad booksmarts (History, Science, Law etc) and take notes of new findings. 
4: Catburglar - DEX 18, 5hp. Grappling Hook, Ether. Will sneak into places and find hidden paths. 
5: Doctor - 2hp. Medical Kit. Will patch up wounds and allow for a Full Rest even without being back in civilisation. 
6: Engineer - 3hp. Scattergun (d8), Toolbelt. Will advise on all sorts of devices and come up with a temporary fix for anything.

Roll d12 for each Expert's Twist from this table.
1: Secretly has an Arcanum (roll on the Starting Arcanum table in the book)
2: Member of an over-protective noble family that will seek revenge if they die.
3: Needlessly greedy, wants double the normal fee.
4: Has a Lacky servant that follows them everywhere.
5: Has utterly zero experience of the world outside of studying their expertise.
6: Mechanical arm.
7: Total snob that will complain about everything.
8: Child Prodigy.
9: Seems to be incredibly noble and good-hearted, doing this work to save a dying sibling or something.
10: Raging alcoholic.
11: Will only work if they're technically appointed joint-leader of the expedition.
12: The best at what they do. Everyone is in awe of them and they get an extra 5hp. They live up to the hype, but will only work this one job and then move on. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Every World has a Bastion

A letter sent to the Exiled Voices magazine by the creature formerly known as Miles Worriffer, printed shortly after his execution by cannon battery.

Esteemed Minds and Travellers,

I've heard many claim that they've been to other worlds. Some found them in old stories, others through sensory experimentation. Some think it's just a matter of sailing into the Polar Ocean for long enough.

But in fact we are all just doing the same thing: Acknowledging that these other worlds exist and inviting ourselves into them through their sole connection: Bastion.

We know that our city spans heights and breadths unseen in the history of humanity, but I have discovered that it stretches in hidden directions and flourishes on other worlds as it does on ours. Every world has a Bastion, but different to our own. Beyond the span of these cities the worlds are alien even to the explorer's eye. 

I declare these three immutable principles as Worriffer's Three Laws of Extra-Reality. 
- Every world has a Bastion of its own.
- Our Bastion is the true city, and connects to all others. 
- You can only cross a threshold with the approval of a native on each side. 

I present to you a definitive documentation of the worlds discovered by my team, on the eve of our journey to the eighth, our first full-scale expedition. 

The First - Scrapheap

Although I had glimpsed into other worlds in my preliminary explorations, this was the first I knowingly crossed into. A hand of living silver beckoned me from the remains of a broken mirror. I took her hand and was pulled with enough force to dislocate my shoulder. 

My pain was doubled as I fell into a heap of rusted iron, razor sharp wire, and a metallic dust that immediately agitated my lungs. I was held in the embrace of my captor, a featureless mannequin of cold lead, moving only to turn my head to face hers, occasionally whispering pleasantries intended to reassure me that I was safe.

Hailstorms of gravel fell on us each night, her body shielding mine from its impact. The days were pleasingly warm, but the cold nights and bed of scrap iron left me in constant agony. 

After a month of sleepless terror, my captor sprung to her feet and in my haze I watched her set upon by a dozen figures made of metal scraps, booming cannons blowing her metal body into shards like a tree under lightning. I raised my hands in surrender to them and was dragged to my feet, a visored helm roughly covered my head. 

I was forcibly marched across uneven ground, never growing softer or warmer beneath my feet. Then light, as the visor was lifted. I was on a wall, or the top of a sheer cliff. In front of me an endless sea of shrapnel. Behind me, the city. A grey maze of barbs, spikes, orange dust, the occasional golden spire. 

An armoured figure approached, a colossal silver mace dragging at his side. Before I could protest, the weapon was swung at me. I felt no blow, but was thrown backwards, first into blackness, then the light of our Sun. I was in a filthy puddle in some back-alley of Bastion, and never did it feel so sweet. 

The Second - Fester

After my month in the metal hell, I took on a mercenary band of four brothers for my next expedition. They were pleased to be kept ignorant of the details of their destination. 

For this journey I had arranged access to a machine designed for medical use, to halt the spread of disease and render the patient in a peaceful sleep. Clearly this device had been heavily modified and its creator ushered us into a chemical-smelling chamber before throwing a lever and bathing the five of us in scalding steam. I heard a voice, "Come in Child. Let me feed you" and in the interest of our expedition I accepted. 

The steam became a green fog, and we marched forward, my mercenaries holding their nerve. From the mist we arrived in a city of entwined trees, a pavement of rotting leaves, and oozing fruits of every colour clinging to all surfaces. But this was no forest. I could make out distinct structures, roads, and alleyways. A city of trees, more rotten the longer I looked at it.

A small one-eyed wretch approached our group, his voice the one I heard in the chamber. 

"Ah, you are our children. Come over and in."

His voice was deep and booming for such a mite. 

"Take this for your journey Child" as he stroked the back of his hand against the back of one of the mercenaries. 

The others could only watch as their poor brother began to swell. Blood oozing from his skin before collapsing in a red mess. They turned their guns on the small man, and I felt a shaking. 

The ground below us began to tear like dry skin. We were plunged into the darkness, fleshy tunnels echoing with cries of agony. We hear that deep voice behind us again.

"Take it back with you Children"

And we were back in the steam chamber, just four of us now, but all altered.

Two of the brothers fell choking to the ground, dead in minutes. The remainder was covered in a yellow rash, but turned his anger on me, going for me with his sabre. He must have pitied me as I fainted, leaving me to awake in a pool of my own vomit and excrement hours later. The sickness was like nothing I knew of, a constant temperature high enough to leave scorch marks on my bedsheets. No doctor would see me, and I felt the constant grip of death around my throat. 

But no man of Bastion would allow an otherworldly plague to keep the light from the darkness. Upon my recovery I set about organising my third journey. 

The Third - Communion

I was guided here under the escort of a brotherhood of monks. The Yellow Doves were a peaceful sect obsessed with bringing peace to Bastion. A noble goal that was doomed on this day. 

For this journey I was blindfolded, despite every insistence that I must witness the threshold. Despite my protests, I was led quietly into their chapel, and I sense to somewhere in their lower cellars. I felt a cool breeze, heard a conversation in some incomprehensible tongue, and my veil was lifted. 

This city much more closely resembled Bastion, as it might be described from the time before machinery and industry and modernity. White marble, wooden temples, and the smell of flowers. 

The monks were talking with a glowing white figure, polished armour and longspear, a horse-sized reptilian beast at her side. I took my chance to slip away and explore. 

From a lighthouse I was able to get a good view of the city, spanning almost as large as our Bastion. Beyond that an ocean dotted with fortified islands. I could see flying creatures in the sky, more beast than bird. 

I headed back to the monks to see them kneeling in a line, their hands bound behind their backs. I watched as the light-lady's spear was thrust through each chest, one at a time. They showed no attempt to break free. As each monk fell dead, her lizardine companion began to swallow them whole. Looking down onto the populace of the city I could now see each glowing being was followed by another unnatural beast. Some resembling black lions, other red-dripping hounds, some utterly alien and far from any creature of even the Golden Lands. The creatures were following as a hound, but I could hear some talking in a manner which I could not interpret. 

For two nights I was lost in the city, hiding from the citizens and their beasts. Here I witnessed more ritual feeding of their beasts, which they tended to as pets, but in a more worshipful mannerism. I even witnessed one such creature twist and rend itself in two, sprouting a new larger form before striking down its master in rage. 

The thing, some blue panther's body with an insectoid head turned on me and raised a paw. I fell to my knees involuntarily and felt words leave my mouth, no understanding of what I was saying. When I opened my eyes I was back in Bastion. 

The Fourth - Nebula

A leap of faith into a disused access shaft to the Underground launched me to speeds never felt on a human's body. Before I could take a second breath I was shot into a sea of colour and stars.

Much of this matter was collected in a cloud-like island, and as I willed myself toward it I felt total mastery over my flight. Looking at my hands I could see that I glowed like a bioluminescent being. No need for breath, no cold, no hunger. 

Approaching the cloud I could make out structures. The whole thing was a city. 

A marvel like nothing I could have imagined. An entire city of the stuff of barely glimpsed space. The few beings I encountered moved in dimensions I could only see in shadow. They exchanged psychic messages with me, asking very practical questions about my origin and intent. Once I announced myself as an explorer they seemed to have no interest in me. 

Their manner is utterly alien. Apparently devoid of desire beyond crafting ever more elaborate architecture with their bare hands. Sadly my journey was cut short by a sudden plunge into pitch-black water back in Bastion. I note that there must be a more permanent way to visit this wondrous place. 

The Fifth - Conquest 

This threshold was found in the depths of a warship. Filthy masked heads on spindly bodies peered through the porthole at me, beckoning me to open the hatch. Upon doing so I was hauled through a network of pipes and up onto the deck of a vaster ship than has ever existed. 

They guided me around the Conquest, both city and ship on a raging white sea. As I arrived, guns dwarfing those of out city were blasting a mountain, which was gradually crumbling under the fire. My escorts urged me to witness the power of their city, and explained that their mission was the eradication of all existence. I attempted philosophical debate concerning the nature of all existence, and was soon forcibly led back to our arrival-tunnel. A short crawl later I was back on the humble warship of my contact, and home to Bastion. 

The Sixth - The Blaze

Many academics praise the powers of hallucinogens in reaching other realities, but I find them a cloud. A window into a false realm, rather than insight into the truth. 

Upon completing a complex ritual of chants and painted markings, I felt as if I had taken every mind-stimulant known to man in one baffling cocktail. 

Most of all I remember colour, and the feeling. Everything was utterly saturated, and the people themselves appear as a splash of dye. I couldn't make out any detail on their faces, but recognised them as human all the same. They roared like animals. The colours washed over this city as the smoke does in Bastion, and a pounding, primal music filled my ears. 

I was led to a square, my eyes starting to hurt as if I had stared at the sun too long. I closed my eyes for a second to seek some respite, and the world was gone. I awoke in the dull room back in Bastion and felt my heart sink. 

The Seventh - Damnation

Under the escort of two most trusted professors I entered a pyre, and was immediately met with even greater heat. 

Purple flames consuming living bodies torn at the torso. Beast-skinned men carrying out unprintable acts of torture on other victims, alive despite all probability. Even our own bodies were twisted into those of beasts, our heads remaining human. 

An entire city of screams. We did not get to see beyond the walls. 

Our minds closed, unable to process what we saw. Running back into the darkness we were mercifully able to return to Bastion, in the heart of the pyre. Our burns were severe, and the brave Professor Horkum perished, but this will not sway us. 


And now a generous benefactor has provided two-hundred men ready for our first expedition into the other worlds. We will enter into the Eighth, and intend to see if we can find a connection with the others so that we might map the infinite. 

To Safe Travels,

Miles Worriffer

Friday, 7 August 2015

Jolly Underground Ghost-Cruise with Severin Sistern

Outside the gates Bastion's New Progressive University, a canal-yacht beckons freshly graduated students, with some of their parents' money left to burn. For just 50s you can ride the Free Spirit into the mysterious underground and back. On your way you'll be guided through the subterranean world by Severin Sistern, young heir to the Portwell-Sistern brandy empire.

Severin Sistern - Privileged World Traveller
STR 10, DEX 6, WIL 14, 3hp, Fancy Hide Jacket, Fake Musket (d0), Machete(d6), Fertility Idol.
- Tell you a story, in a patronising manner, about his years of exotic travel.
- Exaggerate his familiarity with the Underground.
- Cower from any real danger, under the guise of "letting you discover the world for yourself."

The Free Spirit - Expensive Canal-Yacht 12hp.
Two Silent Punting-Men, Swivel Gun (d10), Colourful beads and fancy tapestries. 10g, Ivory-Pistol (d8) and a teddy hidden in Severin's locker.

Rules of Passage
1: Everyone must be open to sharing an experience together.
2: Keep your arms inside the boat at all times
3: Stash all weapons in the storage locker.
4: No refunds.

All complaints are directed to Severin's father's guards (5 Corporate Thugs, 6hp, d6 Claw-Hammer, Cauliflower Ears).

The canal takes the following Route, each section lasting around 30 minutes.
1: The Sewer. A stinking stretch of narrow canal with gross weeds hanging down from the roof.
2: The Cavern. A glittering forest of crystals, with neon-paintings on the wall (fake, by Severin) depicting clues to the scripted scares.
3: The Rapids. A winding, white-water decent with bats and bugs. The Yacht takes d6 damage.
4: The Lagoon. A vast underground lake dotted with piles of floating debris.
5: The Drop. A mossy cave riddled with squeaking lizards and bubbling hot water, ending in a 50ft plunge dealing d6 damage to the yacht.
6: The Lift. Abandoned mining tunnels ending a masterpiece of hydro-engineering that raises the yacht back to the surface, but only works 50% of the time. If it's broken there's a rather anticlimactic ladder climb back to street level.

Roll d6 at the start of each section.

1: All quiet now, but roll a Real Horror later.
2-3: Roll a Scripted Scare.
4: All quiet beside bugs and nasty smells.
5-6: Storytime with Severin (Roll a Scripted Scare and have Severin foreshadow it with with much exaggeration)

Scripted Scares
Roll d20

1-4: d6 Inside-Out Men (Severin's Lackeys in Organ-Suits) 4hp.
What are they doing?
1: Performing a highly rehearsed song and dance number Don't Go Into the Underground
2: Caught on a smoking break before performing their song and dance number. 
3: Breaking character and running from a Real Horror that's nearby. 
4: Trying to gross out the passengers by rubbing their organ suits up to them. 

5-8: The Witchety Worm (Lackey dressed as worm-faced hag) 4hp. 
What are they doing?
5: Slowly approaching the boat with a cloth doll before screaming and banging it against the side. 
6: Pointing at one passenger You! You won't make out of here!
7: Calling out for her young to come home for dinner. 
8: Begging Severin to take her back to the surface, which he refuses before shooting her "dead". 

9-12: d6 Man-Cattle (Ordinary Cows with Human Masks) STR 15, DEX 5, WIL 2, 1hp. 

What are they doing?
9: Mooing with disinterest. 
10: Eating grain from a pretend corpse. 
11: Being chased around by a Shell Urchin. 
12: Lying butchered in a pile. 

13-16: d8 Shell-Urchins (Child Lackeys in Lobster-Shell-Suits) 7hp, STR 5. 

What are they doing?
13: Begging for coins and asking if any of the passengers are their mummy. 
14: Clacking at each other with their fake claws. 
15: Calling out to Severin, Father! Take us Home!
16: Sat in a circle chanting Click Clack Nick Nack Down Down into the Black. 

17-18: The Boggoth (An ogre-like puppet operated by three lackeys).

What are they doing?
17: Something's gone wrong with the mechanism and only one limb is swinging menacingly, the rest hanging limp. 
18: Roaring and yelling at the passengers. 

19-20: Mother Underground (Severin pretending to channel her voice)

What are they doing?
19: Severin whispers Why do you come into the darkness? and presses one passenger for answers. 
20: Severin yells NONE WILL COME BACK ALIVE MWAHAHAHAHA with extra ham. 

Real Horrors
Roll d20

1-4: d10 Blood-Men (Scrawny mutants dripping in rat blood) 8hp, d6 Pick-Axe, Droning Pipe. 

What are they doing?
1: Butchering Man-Cattle and rubbing themselves in the blood. 
2: Playing their Droning Pipes and reacting with hostility to any interruption.
3: Carrying around the looted puppetry of the Boggoth with much amusement.
4: Lying in wait to hurl glowing poisonous giant millipedes (STR 3, 1hp, d6 Bite, swolen-bursting-death on Critical Damage) at the passengers. 

5-8: Father Vud Dool (Disfigured Fat Monk) 4hp, d6 Staff, Rotten Old Robes. 

What are they doing?
5: Offering Underground Mead to any passers by. It's gross and causes loss of d6 DEX. 
6: Looking into his Peering Hole, a pool that shows nearby treasures (including any carried by the passengers)
7: Preaching loudly about the Smogfather, who is in the middle of cleansing the surface of Bastion so that those in the underground can inherit the city.
8: Trying to sneak aboard to get passage to the surface. 

9-12: d6 Eye-Toads (Huge misshapen amphibians) 7hp, d8 Gulp, Crystal Eyes that transmit back to a remote viewer. 

What are they doing?
9: Watching silently from the darkness.
10: Barking out loudly as d12 more Eye Toads start to appear.
11: Fleeing from the Mock Kraken, who they are trying to observe from a distance. 
12: Just in the middle of tearing some Man-Cattle to bits and eating the remains. 

13-16: d8 Lizard Girls (Mutated Hopping Urchin Girls) STR 15, 5hp, d6 Slobbering Bite causing spasms and paralysis on Critical Damage. 

What are they doing?
13: Arguing back and forth about which way to the drinking hole. 
14: Bullying a smaller lizard girl by dunking her head under the filthy water.  
15: Selling genuine underground food to passers-by. In reality it's just pots of filth they want to trick you into eating. 
16: Preparing to throw a bomb (d12) at the yacht to raid for supplies. 

17-18: Mock Kraken (Wiry mass of leather arms ending in two-pronged hands) STR 15, 10hp, Armour 1, d8 Grasping Hands. 

What are they doing?
17: Reaching out for companionship, pulling anyone that will welcome his grasps out of the yacht to see his leathery grin and exchange pleasantries. 
18: Eating one of the Lobster-Urchins with tiny nibbles. 

19-20: Mother Underground (Genuinely channeling action through Severin)

What are they doing?
19: Severin suddenly cannot speak before vomiting uncontrollably. The word LIAR can be heard with each retch. 
20: Severin starts to bleed from his nose, then his ear. Then drops dead in a heap.