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Category: Gaming

Dungeon23 in Bastion

My rough plan for Dungeon23 is to write one borough of Bastion per week, as follows:

  • Monday: Basic map of transit lines
  • Tuesday: Points of Interest named and described
  • Wednesday: Complications written
  • Thursday: Three to five One to three factions outlined
  • Friday: Three to five One to three NPCs outlined
  • Saturday: Encounter table
  • Sunday: A Treasure

Update: three to five NPCs and factions was optimistic. One to three is better.

I will capture the day’s work on Mastodon, hash tagged #Dungeon23 and #Bastion23. The completed borough makes a Sunday blog post, which are also tagged as #Bastion23.

I’m not at all sure how far I’ll get but it’ll be fun trying.

Delta Green & Mutual Aid

I’ve been thinking about Delta Green in relation to copaganda for a long time. That is a different blog post, because it’s a long topic, but recently I started wondering about collective action in the Delta Green world. As a practical matter, I believe that mutual aid is a better environment for mental health than any police force. What would that mean in relationship to the Cthulhu Mythos?

Let’s start with the existing rules for using Bonds.

A Delta Green Agent can reduce Sanity loss by projecting trauma onto a Bond. This weakens the Bond, because it’s meant to represent the tension between the horror of the Mythos and the people or groups an Agent uses to maintain connection to their normal life. That makes sense in context but doesn’t allow for the concept of a group which is explicitly there to support members against those horrors.

An Agent can repress temporary insanity the same way, with the same consequences.

During downtime, there’s a rule for Agents who focus on ordinary obligations and relationships: they can Fulfill Responsibilities by working to support a Bond. This rule works as is to represent mutual aid.

There’s also a rule for generating new Bonds, which weakens one other Bond. That contains an assumption which I think doesn’t necessarily hold for mutual aid groups, because they’re groups that exist in order to strengthen community-wide connections.

Finally, Delta Green is a special kind of Bond: “Powerful Bonds form between people who have to look out for each other to survive.” Oh, hey, there’s what we’re looking for. The special rule here is that Agents who suffer trauma develop and deepen their Bond with Delta Green, again at the cost of weakening other Bonds.

Put all that together and I think we have the makings of a community-oriented house rule.

A Special Bond: Mutual Aid Groups

Powerful Bonds form between people who have to look out for each other to survive, but even more powerful Bonds form between people who choose to help others survive. Collective action with full knowledge of the Mythos in mind creates a powerful structure for cushioning the impact of the horrors your Agent faces.

Your Agent may take a Bond with a mutual aid group that is aware of the Mythos as a special Bond. This may be at character creation, particularly if the entire group wants to be part of a mutual aid group, or during play as per the usual rules for gaining Bonds. Bonds with unaware mutual aid groups are treated as normal Bonds, with the exception that they may convert to a special Bond at any point if the group discovers the Mythos or a portion thereof, and elects to take on fighting the Mythos as a core cause for the group.

Every time someone in your Agent’s mutual aid group undergoes a catastrophic trauma, there’s a chance your Agent develops or deepens Bonds with their teammates. Such traumas include those listed on page 37 of the Delta Green Agent’s Handbook. The rules for this are the same as the rules for the Delta Green bond, except that your Agent does not lose points from other Bonds. Also, reducing Sanity loss or repressing temporary insanity with the help of this Bond does not weaken other Bonds. An Agent cannot reduce Sanity loss by more than the value of the special Bond, even if they roll higher on 1d4.

All other rules for this Bond are as per the rules for the Delta Green Bond.

Your Agent may not have a Bond with Delta Green and a Bond with a mutual aid group. However, other Delta Green agents may have Bonds with your Agent as part of their Delta Green Bond.

Ramifications

This new type of Bond is clearly superior to other Bonds, including the special Delta Green Bond. This is intentional. I don’t think it means Agents can defeat the Mythos: you still have to spend Willpower Points to reduce Sanity loss, and those aren’t an infinite resource.

It would be possible but awkward for a Delta Green agent to also join a mutual aid group. This is intentional and true to life.

The obvious campaign frame here (which I may write up at some point) is a mutual aid group which discovers the Mythos and decides they need to fight what is obviously a fascist tendency. There are plenty of non-pacifist mutual aid groups.

References

Covid Update

One of the ways I knew I was getting sick was that my ability to code dropped through the floor, so I’ve been fiddling with things from time to time as a test.

I’m still veering between faint positive tests and negative tests, but I got a wild hair and wrote some Python today. Credit for the underlying text and mechanics goes to Oliver Darkshire. I have taken the liberty of skipping assassination attempts when there’s no chance of success and decided that you can’t try an assassination attempt after an ending is reached.

./ldor.py
Lions are released onto the streets in an attempt to calm the population.
Flames: 1
Desolation: 1
Relocation: 0

You might want to assassinate the emperor, but there's no chance.

<snip>

Work continues on a house made of pure gold. It keeps melting.
Flames: 5
Desolation: 3
Relocation: 3

You might want to assassinate the emperor, but there's no chance.

There are no goods at market. "If you have no bread, then eat shit" is the word from the palace.
Flames: 5
Desolation: 4
Relocation: 3

Would you like to assassinate the emperor? [y/n]: n

The emperor sits in front of the flame and commands it to obey. It does not.
Flames: 6
Desolation: 4
Relocation: 4

Would you like to assassinate the emperor? [y/n]: y

You failed to assassinate the emperor with a roll of 11, and you are dead.

Obviously my play is sub-optimal. Don’t expect too much from me yet.

Physical Game Jam Tracker

I made a thing! I have been on a minor roll with python recently and this seemed like a fun project so I started working on it. Towards the end I reached out to the awesome person who inspired me, since she didn’t seem to have been keeping her tracker up to date, and she said I should go ahead and launch mine. So here we are.

I used this as an excuse to try out new technology and libraries. Click and Cloup made the list; the first because I wanted to try out new argument parsers and the second because I needed option groups. This forced me to learn to use setuptools better, which was a win. I am gonna keep using this tech going forward.

I also wound up sticking Rich in there for better CLI output and it’s kinda great, so that’ll stay in my toolbox too.

Dataset turned out to be too limited, because it’s really just for columnar data in a single table and it turns out itch.io jams have one little thing which break that paradigm; namely, multiple owners per jam. So now I’m using sqlite with JSON support and honestly it’s a bit grungy. Maybe next time I’ll learn SQLAlchemy for real.

My python has gotten significantly better over the last year with this kind of small but enjoyable work, and I am gonna keep doing it.

Last Year in Carcosa

Or: ”A Lyric Scenario for The Yellow King RPG

  1. Gather no more than three people.
  2. Watch Last Year in Marienbad together in silence.
  3. Select characters from those depicted in the movie.
  4. Discuss your motivations, remaining in character. It is unnecessary to agree on the facts of the fiction.
  5. If there is disagreement on motivations, play Nim to resolve them.

“It’s a stupid game.”
“There’s a trick.”
“Just take an odd number.”
“There must be rules.”

Credit is due to Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.