Monday, January 01, 2018

Bastion Ein Sof

I picked this up at Dragonmeet 2017. It's an alternative setting for Into the Odd. If you not familiar with that game then it's default setting is a city-state called Bastion, there's an alternative steampunky setting called Electric Bastionland that still seems to be in playtest. Bastion Ein Sof is set in aftermath of the destruction of "Electric" Bastion whic h is refers to as Old Bastionland.

If indie rpg lore isn't your bag then more simply this is a setting where a huge steampunk city has been destroyed by spirit beings known as Angels. The only survivors exist (literally) in the shadow of equally immaterial beings known as Giants.

The players take on the role of adventurers seeking to steal the blood of Angels to appease the Giants and acquire treasure and wealth for themselves.

One of the interesting things the setting does is to create an incentive to adventure is an idea called the Giant's Debt whereby at the end of every session the party must sacrifice money, Angel blood or a limb to the Giant that protects their city. If they don't they risk the Giant being offended with consequences for everyone who lives in the city.

Joe Banner has done a lot of interesting scenarios and settings for DungeonWorld and I think the best way of describing Bastion Ein Sof is that it brings the Apocalypse World design principles to the new wave of old school game design.

The small pamphlet has a scenario with some random tables but it also describes the principles of the setting and the questions those principles ask. It also provides some clear GM principles to follow when running the game. In many ways the opening pages reminded me of Dark Heart of the Dreamer, economically introducing and defining the key ideas of the setting.

The rest of the booklet is made up of some descriptions of a few of the city giants and a scenario based around an angel that is occupying an icebreaker locked in the ice. These are probably too detailed for me. I often like the author, Joe Banner's work in the broad strokes and less of his aesthetic in the details.

This booklet was printed as an ashcan or similar to judge the taste for more material the setting and I would welcome more of the game design fusion but for the moment I'm not convinced I want to know that much more about this world of angels and giants.
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