I’ve got this ridiculous Hex Flower on a Jamboard that is probably too complicated by a longshot. Maybe it should have half the crap on it. Maybe less. But here it is in all its glory.
Let’s toss some factions into the soup.
Looking at the Oddpedia, Bastion’s Greatest Businesses, page 125, and the Red Ghost Roads and Carriages catches my eye.
Robber barons who pay pennies to laborers, doing back-breaking road building and paving while living in tent towns that move with them. If they perish at work they are buried under the road. Carriage drivers and those who ride shotgun are seen as more skilled labor but are also paid crap, though there are unattainable incentives. Corporate strongarms called the Scarlet Wraiths. I dig it.
I want one of the factions to be an alien incursion of some kind. When I look at the Weird Creation Inspiration on pages 126 and 127 the words Snail and Eerily Beautiful grab me. I roll for the twist. I get 24, a lucky number in my family, Teleports Self. I dig it.
This alien incursion manifests as shells show up in the homes of the rich and the powerful. The creatures within are so beautiful those they are beguiling can barely speak of it. They just wait for their orders, wanting to catch a glimpse. They can’t describe it with words.
Next up should be an Astral Cult. I look at the chart, thinking about rolling until the my eyes blur a bit and I see Sons of the Forgotten Ship. Adventurers who found a ship in the Underground but they need buildings cleared to get a clear take-off. Or that is what they think.
One could trace the Sons of the Forgotten Ship back to former adventurers who now own businesses having to do with demolition and salvage with some members of their family studying stars, navigation and other worlds.
Maybe some revolutionaries from the Deep Country?
Revolutionaries who critique Bastion with violence.
I’ll toss the Bastion Free Library in there because I want someone to root for and I think they are cool.
Driven to gather and catalog rare Arcana and Manuscripts from all over Bastion, the Underground and the Deep Country and provide access to Bastion’s citizenry. Their motto, “Cataloging the stars above / Accessing the mysteries below.”
Alright, let’s toss these tokens on the board and then roll some dice and see what comes of them.
I’ve got this thing set up. The Red Ghost Roads and Carriages is vying for Borough Control with the Sons of the Forgotten Ship and the Snailien Incursion. They could all land on that at once and we could decide that they are allied or controlling different boroughs. Put the Deep County Revolutionaries near Deep Country and the Bastion Free Library near nothing. Library funding is always the first to get cut (support your local library!).
Let’s roll some dice and see what happens.
Red Ghost Roads and Carriage takes control of a Borough. The Sons of the Forgotten Ship and the Snailiens are on the same spot, vying for control of the borough; I think this means that they are rivals and know about each other, maybe sizing each other up. Meanwhile, Red Ghost passes stern laws against wandering the streets unattended. These Ghost Road Laws are put into place to encourage people to either hire a carriage or stay the fuck home. Those wandering the streets (walking) after certain hours can be declared vagrants and thrown in jail. The Bastion Free Library moves off the board and on to the other side, getting its hands on a Major Arcanum while the Deep Country Revolutionaries are just meandering.
What does this mean for a game?
Maybe rich patrons urged on by their Snailien overlords hire the players to look into the Sons of the Forgotten Ship. Maybe the Sons of the Forgotten Ship hire the players to look into what is giving certain rich folk in elite, shiny skyscrapers such insight into the Underground’s going’s on.
Do the players put together that the explosions that the press is writing off as gas explosions from bad pipes are actually revolutionaries trying to make a splash? Even though only corrupt foreman and violent constables seem to be catching the brunt of the explosions? Or it could be the players do something to gain a reputation for being against the status quo and the revolutionaries reach out to them, hoping to get some help.
Maybe the Bastion Free Library needs help moving the Arcanum they’ve uncovered without gaining attention. Red Ghost Agents are all over the roads. How can we move this thing across the city without tipping off the company assassins, the Scarlet Wraiths?
Maybe his stuff is just background noise, newspaper headlines and rumors around town.
Rolling could happen when the balance of power is somehow shifted or every game or every couple of games or when I just run out of ideas. I could see times when factions move around because of the players’ actions or events in-game.
This Hex Flower thing is a fun tool. Looking forward to talking about it more with you and hearing about your uses for it.