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Electric Bastionland
by Christopher W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2020 16:51:37

I started playing tabletop RPGs just over a year ago, and started looking to run games a few months later. The sheer amount of advice—so much of it conflicting—is hard to navigate, especially as new folks learn about the broader spectrum of the systems available. I wish that Electric Bastionland had been available to me a year ago. This system, like Into the Odd before it, distills traditional RPG mechanics down to what is most playable and most interesting and rewarding about tabletop RPGs. Perhaps it's not for everyone. Lovers of dense or byzantine mechanics and complex character builds will likely find this unfulfilling. And that's okay. This is a game that anyone can play, and anyone can run without cognitive overload. But it's not just the game system that has this distilled focus—the GM-facing guidance here is excellent. It focuses on what is both suggestive and actionable and avoids that which is overly prescriptive and laden with lore and detailed complexity.

When I realized that the book was going to contain 100+ two-page spread starting characters, I became concerned that this was going to be more of an art book and fluff layered upon the excellent Into the Odd rules—essentially a coffee-table book for fans of Into the Odd. It's an understandable concern, but what's going on here is important. Every two-page character spread is chock full of items and characterizations which effectively build up the setting and provide the GM with tools for use in play. The artwork is tasty and excellent and are the kind of thing that inspire interesting NPCs and situations. The items and character features are terrific. And undergirding all of this is that distilled focus on what is playable and memorable.

I love this game. I love this book. It is a joy to run and play. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Electric Bastionland
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Electric Bastionland
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2020 14:40:27

Electric Bastionland is an OSR (or Old School Renaissance) RPG set in a bizarre dystopian alternate universe that mirrors our early 20th century. The players are the flotsam of society, impoverished desperados and hapless heroes. They failed at whatever career they had before and now they are forced to find their fortunes in the most dangerous and ignoble way: Adventuring. Your party of treasure hunters start out thousands of pounds in debt. With barely any petty cash on hand, a few assorted weapons of varying quality, some basic adventuring provisions, and whatever odd knickknacks you managed to take from your tragic past, your expedition begins.

The rules are stripped down to the bone (2 pages cover everything the players need to know), combat is quick and deadly, and I’m confident I could teach anyone how to play in 10 minutes. Character creation is incredibly quick, a few quick die rolls and your loveable loser of an adventurer springs to life with more personality than any starting OSR D&D character can hope to have. You can have this game up and running in less than thirty minutes. Look for "Prison of the Worm Queen" on the bastionland dot com site for an excellent starting adventure.

The majority of this book’s page count is dedicated to the Failed Careers your characters could have. At first GMs may think this highly idiosyncratic setting has very little actual information about its world. But then you realize that the Failed Career section contains vast inspiration for the people, places, treasures and terrors your players will find in the world of Electric Bastionland. The art is evocative and engrossing, the career descriptions and backgrounds are irresistible. The author has a clear design philosophy and plainly explains what it is and what he hopes to accomplish with it. It may not be for everyone (fans of intricate game systems and complex meta-builds may balk at its simplicity) but it is a game that anyone can learn and play, which I think is awesome. I don’t consider myself an OSR hipster or an old school grognard, but I fell in love with the setting and the super easy teach.

5 Stars. Check out the free version if you are not sure; it contains the rules of play and a sampling of the Failed Careers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Electric Bastionland
by Ba a. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2020 11:40:01

My opinions after 2 sessions

  • [] Electric Bastionland is world interaction driven design distilled to its purest crystallized form. The excess fat of mechanical buttons and feats trimmed.
  • [] Engaging character creation that worldbuilds and produce characters with distinct narrative silhouettes.
  • [] Includes the most effective guide on how to run Electric Bastionland and like-minded games I’ve ever seen.

Things you should know before buying

  • [] The core ruleset is highly cohesive and non-modular, it’s difficult to effectively hack compared to its peers, which is not bad, but not what I'm used to. Reskinning Electric Bastionland for your own setting becomes a significant effort with the > 100 detailed failed careers, so you'll definetly want to use the built-in setting.
  • [] Advancement is largely off-loaded to the DM. Players, nor the system is in full control of their own growth. I would have liked to see more examples of how diegetic growth works and how to create opportunities/effects for it.
  • [] That it has become my favorite RPG.

5/5 Gum (cedar)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Electric Bastionland
by Robert N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2020 17:01:36

Streamlined and dangerous combat, evocative art and tables to provide lots of feel to the setting. Characters are pretty much randomly generated based on your rolled stats and there are a huge amount of them. If you enjoy into the odd, mazerats, and generally material with the oldschool vibe, this is probably your cup of tea. Wholeheartedly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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