Electric Bastionland: Skyscraper Tombs, an example Deep Country area using the Failed Career Tables

Intro

I wrote a blog post and then noticed that there are a hundred failed careers over on the Bastion blog. I rolled 3 times, started writing and here’s what came up in the end.

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Skyscraper Tombs

Skyscraper Tombs is an abandoned district of Bastion that was cut off from the city since the earthquake that caused the Iron Lich Gorge  to open up like a skull’s mouth, creating a seemingly unbridgeable chasm between the Bastion and the S.T.

Status Quo

18: Qualified Deconstructor

Before the new can arise, the old must come down.

Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.

  • What resources have to be in this area of the Deep Country for that career to have such influence?

Abandoned buildings. This village is clearly a part of Bastion that was cut off from the rest of the city and is now considered only a village, abandoned by the powers-that-be from the City.

  • How does that industry make its money?

They bring down buildings and pillage the pieces for rare metals, art, useable textiles and Arcana.

  • What are they pushing for to try and fortify their power (and can the players be drawn in to their attempts to hold on to their status quo)?

The Deconstructors spend as much personnel policing unqualified deconstruction as they do deconstruction, making sure that only well trained and fully bonded members of the Crowbar and Hammer Union take the buildings down.

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Fading Glory

68: Small Town Refugee

Your Deep Country home was awful.

Finally, the railway came, and you headed to Bastion.

  • What changed to cause their money to dry and influence to fade away?

Some kept going once this village was cut off from Bastion-proper and others just stopped identifying as a refugee as this place became their new home and they made their way into the Deconstructor’s organization, founded by refugees, the Crowbar and Hammer Union.

  • What desperate and doomed gambit are they working on to try and regain former glory (and can the players be drawn into this hot mess)?

One group faded into another but there are Bastion die-hards who are trying to get reunited with the endless government councils that govern Bastion. There is a secret society within the Crowbar and Hammer that is setting aside material in order to attempt to build a bridge across Iron Lich Chasm.

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Future Profits

58: Corpse Collector

More of a Corpse Transporter, but the other name made it easier for people to despise you.

  • What is changing to cause this industry to begin its rise?

As the Iron Lich becomes more and more of a threat and cyborg-undead boil out of the Iron Lich Gorge, moving the dead back to Bastion where they can be put to rest will become an industry needed to keep the village safe.

  • Who is the prophet who sees this rising coming and is preparing for it (and can the players be drawn into their ascension)?

Jyn Schulmeister is changing the family caravan business to carriages that will move the undead that leave the gorge and hunt Skyscraper Tombs to Bastion, where the necrotech will be torn from the rust-ghoul’s bones and sold as Arcana. They are already making plans to be paid to move the dead with village coffers so that they cannot be eaten by rust-ghouls and digested into a cyborg-undead by the Iron Lich’s Mausoleum Factories.

Finishing Touches

  • What weird shit do these industries suggest is in this area? Write that down.

Rust-ghouls, undead of all kinds mixed with Arcana-tech embedded in bones and rotting flesh. Explosives and demolition-mechs easier to find than they usually would be.

Maybe a memorial of the village where the refugees came here from? What were they running from? Was it the Iron Lich or something older and stranger or just mundane humanity being awful?

  • Daydream about any other ways these neighboring industries might have caused strangeness to bleed, collaborate, mutate and maybe synthesize into something new.

Do they take pieces of wreckage and make something from their homeland? Maybe a hunting tradition that has carried over to the demolition teams.

  • Daydream a bit about what it’d be like to grow up in a place with these industries. What children’s games are in this area? Maybe come up with a festival or strange civic ceremony that isn’t found elsewhere.

Lots of games about building something and throwing rocks at it until it falls apart with rules for claiming the most valuable pieces as they fall.

Once a year the biggest building in the area is brought down on the anniversary of the refugees first settling here.

  • Lastly, how does Bastion, the only City that matters, cast its shadow over this place?

When they left the atrocity that brought them here they thought they were coming to the only City that matters. Now they are just another village. Some are nervous that what happened before can happen again and they will be driven from this place without Bastion’s ample resources to protect them.

Pictures

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Showing devastation by Earthquake and Fire, building containing the Municipal Records.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1906. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-5ff2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “San Francisco’s Six-Million Dollar City Hall, containing the Municipal Records wrecked by Earthquake.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1906. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-5ffa-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Wreck and ruin of Chinatown district in San Francisco, destroyed by fire and earthquake April 18, ’06.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1906. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-6042-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/mistakes-were-made-it-was-fun

Electric Bastionland: Inspiration for Deep Country with Failed Career Tables

Daydreaming about Electric Bastionland before it comes out. I’ve only seen a smattering of the Failed Career Table but I love how it communicates setting.

This blog post started as a series of tweets but it was growing long and I didn’t want it to get lost. So, here’s a way to use the Failed Career Table to make a Deep Country area. This process is meant to be inspirational, so if you’d rather choose rather than roll, choose. If you get good ideas then the process is working.

Roll 3 times on the Failed Career Table. Write those three careers down and think of them as industries.

Throughout this process make sure to daydream, write notes, laugh maniacally at the sky and put holds on books at the library that might inspire more madness.

Status Quo

The first career is the industry that is running this area. Not everyone does this job but it is the industry that most influences laws and govt’.

  • What resources have to be in this area of the Deep Country for that career to have such influence?
  • How does that industry make its money?
  • What are they pushing for to try and fortify their power (and can the players be drawn in to their attempts to hold on to their status quo)?

Fading Glory

Roll again on the Failed Careers Table. This is the industry that held power for a time but is now fading.

  • What changed to cause their money to dry and influence to fade away?
  • What desperate and doomed gambit are they working on to try and regain former glory (and can the players be drawn into this hot mess)?

Future Profits

Roll a 3rd time on the Failed Career Table. This is the up-and-coming industry that will be raking in the money in the years to come. Only the most forward-thinking and prophetic business-folk see this market shift coming.

  • What is changing to cause this industry to begin its rise?
  • Who is the prophet who sees this rising coming and is preparing for it (and can the players be drawn into their ascension)?

Finishing touches

  • What weird shit do these industries suggest is in this area? Write that down.
  • Daydream about any other ways these neighboring industries might have caused strangeness to bleed, collaborate, mutate and maybe synthesize into something new.
  • Daydream a bit about what it’d be like to grow up in a place with these industries. What children’s games are in this area? Maybe come up with a festival or strange civic ceremony that isn’t found elsewhere.
  • Lastly, how does Bastion, the only City that matters, cast its shadow over this place?

Post-Script

As I wrote this blog I haven’t actually seen the Failed Career Table but the bits and pieces that have been release are sodamned / cool that I thought it would work well. When the pdf with the full table is published I’ll write up a follow up post with some examples.

Inspired by Bastion’s Triple Rule.

Woop! There is a blog post with 100 Failed Careers. They all might not make it to the final book but still, it is a solid start.

Spark Table could be useful to this process.

Into the Odd: Random Expedition Generator

I’m digging Into the Odd.

This is a <Roll on Table 1.0>, made by the <Roll on Table 2.0> during the <Roll on Table 4.0>.

All that seems to remain of the <Table 2.0 Result> is a <Roll on Table 3.0> and some  <Roll on Table 2.1>.

The site was re-purposed during the <Roll on Table 4.0>.

Table 1.0, what?

  1. Crashed Warship, after a brutal exchange
  2. Observation/Research/Study Station, made to study some facet of our planet
  3. Diplomatic Post, where humans once made deals with otherworldly powers
  4. Fortress, where otherworldly powers once made war
  5. Hospital, where otherworldly powers once did what they considered healing
  6. Shrine, where otherworldly powers paid homage to powers greater than themselves

Table 2.0, who?

  1. The Silver Empire, who don’t lay siege to a whole world, only its greatest mind to take it for their queen as a prize
  2. Blue Sun Hivemind, who sicken the sun so that the environment will suit their needs
  3. Jurassics, who want to return to an era of thunder lizards of pre-history
  4. Robots, who want to understand their makers but rarely with any morality we can understand
  5. The Dolphin/Whale Alliance, who have watched us fuck up mother earth for centuries
  6. Other, Roll on Table 2.1 for more obscure shit

Table 2.1, more obscure shit

  1. Space fungus
  2. Astronauts with symbiots
  3. Altered silverbacks
  4. Altered squid
  5. Ancient religious sect
  6. Cyborg Enclave
  7. Humans with otherworldly blood
  8. Psionic enclave
  9. Vat grown monstrousities
  10. Dinosaur cult
  11. Cryogenic zombies
  12. Mirror-spawn
  13. Witch-hunter zealots
  14. Digital ghosts
  15. Summoned thing, bound to this place
  16. Former explorers, gone made
  17. Possessor spirit
  18. A cyclopean beast
  19. Techno-mummies
  20. Your favorite monster

Table 3.0, describe it

  1. Guard-beast
  2. Warrior/Hunter/Killer
  3. Scholar/Scientist/Librarian
  4. Exile
  5. Violent Teenager
  6. Prophet

Table 4.0, past epochs, ages and events that have left scars deep in the earth

  1. Second Wizard-Witch War
  2. Golem-Robot Apocalypse
  3. Revelations
  4. Ragnarok
  5. Golden Age of the Mage-Gates
  6. Jurrasic Resurgence
  7. The Post-3rd Ice Age Demi-god Feuds
  8. The Psionic Wars (often confused with the Psychic Wars)
  9. The Fall of the Space Elevators
  10. The White Plague
  11. The Flood
  12. The era of unbridled optimism, peace and tranquility that was bought with a terrible price and therefor doomed.

I rolled a few up on the train:

This is a <Fortress>, made by the <Blue Sun Empire> during the <Fall of the Space Elevators>.

All that seems to remain of the <Blue Sun Empire> is a <Exile> and some  <Psionic Enclave>.

The site was re-purposed during the <Second Wizard-Witch War>.

Nice, I pictured the Blue Sun Empire as illithids, so the psionic enclave is a nice touch. I figure it was a fortress, built like a monastery, so I’ll grab a monastery online somewhere for the map. During the Second Wizard Witch War I think it was a labor camp the wizards used to round up villages who were supporting the witches and put them to work.

I’ll make up an

This is a <Fortress (again, dammit)>, made by the <Robots> during the <Golden Age of Mage Gates>.

All that seems to remain of the <Robots> is a <Scholar> and some  < Possessor Spirits>.

The site was re-purposed during the <White Plague>.

Cool, a robot in an automated fortress, ancient and breaking down. There will be guiding markings to ancient Mage Gates on the roof. What are Mage Gates? I have no idea yet.

The fortress was a way-station to guard against the gates being used to invade earth and to study how humans react to various otherworldly stimuli…hence the possessor spirits.

During the White Plague the site was seen as a place of healing, because some possessor spirits could actually hold the plague off, so people would willingly subject themselves to possession.

I’ll grab a secure cyberpunk skyscraper of some kind as the map.

Fun.