Saturday, June 27, 2020

Electric Bastionland: Addermouth

What with the world on fire, and projects to focus on, I am not currently running any games (although I am still playing in several). I didn’t realize how much games-running was bundled up with my identity, and it feels weird not prepping for anything (aside, of course, for those previously mentioned projects).
However, someone in my Friday evening group (possibly me) had the idea of running Electric Bastionland, with each of us making our own District and rotating Conductors (GMs).
Chris McDowall’s Electric Bastionland is a beautiful, groovy game that spun out of Into the Odd. The mechanics are dead simple, and the setting is based in a sprawling electro-fantasy city. It touches on everything I love about Troika! and Blades in the Dark. The book gives detailed-but-simple instructions for creating districts and other zones to explore. It was fun to put together my own chunk of Bastionland.

A rough map, quickly executed, but serviceable.

Welcome to Addermouth!
  • District built around the Addermouth Canal and the Canterwaller Pediwalk.
  • Once affluent district, now fallen into disrepair. Crumbling art-deco facades and blue-cobbled streets. Rusting artistic ironwork.
  • Many areas adopted by artists and bohos. Gentrification becoming a new threat.

Grand Satori Opera House
  • Once majestic, now fallen on hard times.
  • Recently started showing motion pictures in hopes of attracting new audiences.
  • Entirely staffed by mockeries.
  • Home base of mockery gang, the Top Hats.
  • Professor Edelweiss. Mock vulture, house manager. Not entirely sold on the whole “crime” thing.
  • Bartram Shank. Mock goat, gang leader. Totally sold on the whole “crime” thing. Very large gun and a small collection of oddities.

The Snake Den
  • Trendy but sketchy nightclub, popular with the bohemian artist set
  • Absinthe, klartesh, and esoteric dancing. Scandalous music. Cocteau-Punk fashions and decor.
  • Front for the Diamondbacks street gang.
  • Bethany Pitt. Hostler. Punkish aspect. Venom injector hidden in bracer.
  • Baron Von Slink. Giant snake, criminal genius, lairs in basement. Will hire PCs to go on expeditions to Underground. Wears a monocle and sash.

Dr. Tungsten’s Modern Electrical Spa
  • A wellness center utilizing the latest in “Galvanic Medicine.”
  • Dubious applications of electricity to muscles and organs to stimulate health, along with strict diet and exercise regimes.
  • Actually provides functional healing for critical wounds.
  • Dr. Adonis Tungsten. Director. A muscular mountain of a man. Not a real doctor, but well-intentioned.
  • Yasmine Spry. Head nurse. Narco-vegan. Acolyte of the angel Crystal-Herald-of-Things-Unseen.

Gardens Under Glass
  • Large, sprawling greenhouses and botanical gardens.
  • Hundreds of exotic plants and flowers, some from the underground or even beyond the stars.
  • Side business of crafting weird and exotic poisons and narcotics.
  • Claimed by the Diamondbacks.
  • Thistline Bloom. Groundskeeper. A plant-like alien of feminine seeming. Disdains humanity’s binary notions of good and evil. 

Addermouth Dynamic Electrical Plant
  • Hunkers on edge of the canal. Massive waterwheels. Fairly new, but already falling into disrepair. Lack of funding and petty vandalism.
  • Rumored connections to the Underground.
  • Guarded by automatons who just showed up one day and made the place their home.  
  • The Amazing Dynamo. Head of security. Hulking machine of brass and onyx. Likes to electro-stun vandals the throw them into the canal.
  • Isadore Strang. Chief engineer. Tiny of stature. Secretly terrified of the automatons.

Unknown Mausoleum
  • Large pyramid of matte black stone that has no business being in this district. Objectionable architecture from an unknown source.
  • The poor, unknown, and unmourned are interred here.  A grand potter’s tomb.
  • The rich and influential pay high prices to be buried elsewhere.
  • Rumored to house an angel, and/or hide gates to the Living Stars.
  • Mr Gorgophone. Spokesman for the white-clad Undertakers who maintain the pyramid and read newpapers the dead. Distastefully gregarious. Older than anyone cares to guess.

New Electric Clocktower
  • Large tower with a bright, four-sided clock that glows at night and can be seem from every corner of Addermouth.
  • Only completed last year. The pride and joy of the district. Paid for by the Addermouth Benevolent Merchant’s Guild.
  • Fancy shops and cafes within the lower floors of the tower. Tourist attraction.
  • Isabella Strang. Head electro-chronologist. Isadore Strang’s twin sister. Quite a fan of machines.
  • Cuthlebert. Chief custodian. Mock pigeon. Keeps the clock faces shiny and clean.
  • Alistair Primm. Guild representative. Fastidious and rabbitish. Desires security but fears the Dog Boys. Will hire respectable PCs as guards for special events.

Great District War Memorial
  • Bronze stature of a young woman in torn pants and piecemeal armor carrying a musket. “Molly Actualization.”
  • Commemorates the men and women who died in the 3-year war between Addermouth and Candle Cross, a distant district. 150 years ago.
  • Stated reasons for the war vary. Everyone’s grandparents have a different story.
  • Charcoal Mary. Old woman. Artist of middling skill. Will sketch you in front of the memorial in period garb for only £5.

Addermouth Gazette
  • One of the largest buildings in district. Giant neon “newsboy” sign on roof.
  • Once-proud beacon of news, investigation, and social reform. Now fallen into yellow journalism and tawdry gossip.
  • Massive archives date back 300 years. A literal labyrinth beneath the building.
  • Douglas Grump. Publisher and editor in chief. Mock badger. Will consider serious offers to sell the newspaper. Wants to move to the Deep Country.
  • Gemma Hayworth. Plucky, idealistic young reporter. Will pester PCs to join them on most dangerous expeditions. Surprisingly capable.
  • Scoop Digby. Pesky paparazzo. Outrageous luck and survival instincts. Always has his camera at hand.

Houndskeep Canine Arena
  • Dog races. Wheeled carts pulled by teams of four dogs. Controlled by drivers of small stature, often children.
  • Champion dogs are often treated better than many humans.
  • Dog Boys gang started as security goons hired by rich dog owners.
  • Eustice P. Farnsworth: Champion dog breeder. Rich and bloated. Will hire PCs to sabotage rivals.
  • Povel: Up-and-comer. Orphan waif raised by wild street dogs. Handmade cart pulled by his dog family. Beloved by fans, hated by establishment.

Floating Market
  • Open-air market built on the piers of an abandoned shipyard and many barges moored in the canals.
  • Mostly legit and legal goods. Also exotic foods and materials.
  • Rarely deal with oddities, though some merchants can connect PCs with buyers.
  • Jenny Blackpowder: Weapons dealer, specializing in firearms. Large woman. One eye.
  • Jabari DeLance: Dealer in relics, artwork, and rare books. Knows-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy.
Angel Statue
  • Stone statue of a seven-winged angel holding a sword and trampling serpents. Neo-brutalist style.
  • Depicts the angel Our-Brother-Who-Calls-Down-Stars-With-Fury.
  • Blazing red and orange flowers in small garden arranged around statue, tended by worshippers.
  • Brother Ignatio: Smiling priest who sells bouquets of flowers wrapped in apocalyptic doomsayings.

Gangs of Addermouth
  • Control much of the organized crime in the district, especially drugs, vice, and assassination
  • Well-coordinated and well-funded. Baron von Slink is a giant snake and criminal genius.
  • Members wear greatcoats painted with snakeskin patterns.
  • Wants to expand into the Undergound and secure the resources there.
  • Wants to become a “legit” corporation.
  • Magenta Vile. Slink’s top capo. Shocking pink hair. Fanatically loyal. Ruthless. Nasty klartesh habit.

Top Hats
  • Mockery gang based out of old opera house. As the Satori fails and the local neighborhoods start to suffer economically, this group of Mockeries have turned to crime.
  • Bartrum Shank. Mock goat. Leader. Former adventurer with the scars and moxy to prove it.
  • Robbery, smuggling, fencing, numbers games.
  • Wants to expand territory while preserving local neighborhoods. Will protect Mockeries from outside aggressors, especially the Dog Boys.
Citizens Public Militia (“Dog Boys”)
  • Formerly just another street gang (the Dog Boys), but recently became an ersatz police force for the more-well-off citizens.
  • Protection and extortion rackets in the guise of “law enforcement” and “peace keeping”
  • Patrols always accompanied by one or more attack dogs.
  • Brown vests with steel buttons.
  • Based out of the Dog Track. Want to set up shop in the New Electric Clock Tower.
  • Just thugs that dream of being taken seriously by the monied elite.
  • Jervis Hoag. Leader. Petty, cruel man fueled by toxic nostalgia for an Addermouth that never really existed.