Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Quick Shot on Bastion

Hey all, I've got a Quick Shot today with Jerry D. Grayson on Bastion: Afrocentric Sword and Sorcery Fantasy! Check out this take on sword and sorcery for the Mythic D6 system that's currently on Kickstarter!

(All photos are of Jerry D. Grayson.)


What is Bastion, both as a product and as your vision? 

Bastion is a gumbo of a lot of different element I love. Portions of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, mixed with Glenn Cook’s Black Company, mashed with a bit of Gamma World, boiled down in a melange Micheal Moorcock's phantasmagoric Eternal Champion worlds, sautéed in a bit of the Green Lantern Corp, and strained through a cullender of Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro, you get Bastion.

It’s a big fangasmic mess of inspirations.

The original intent was to do a straight vanilla fantasy game with all the standard fantasy tropes. I wanted to see if I could do it with a straight face. Halfway through the process, I couldn’t take it anymore. I like my D&D fantasy, but trying to replicate it started making veins pop out of the side of my head. I was dissatisfied with the elements I created, so I flipped the script and went in another direction.

I brought a few people on board to help flesh out my outlines, and they added their secret sauce here and there and what you have is Bastion as it is at the moment.

What moves you about Afrocentric themes and their application in Bastion? 

Afrocentric elements pop up in all my work. GODSEND Agenda, ATLANTIS: The Second Age, and even in HELLAS to a small extent. What you get when I add elements of Afrocentrism is me. It’s me searching and exploring a lost piece of my identity as I try to learn about Africa. American school systems teach you almost nothing about Africa and only express ideas of an unrefined and strange land filled with primitive people. I know that's not the case, and I wanted to illustrate that in the books I produce.

Africa is BIG, I mean, REALLY BIG. You can fit almost every continent on earth inside the body of Africa. What I offer isn’t a legitimate mirror of any one African culture. I've taken elements of West African cultures (Akan, Yoruba) and made a fantasy game based on those components. Much like Lord of the Rings is an amalgam of Western European history/myth, I’ve done the same with Bastion. I hope what small efforts I've made entice others to dive deeper into the rich and varied cultures. Bastion is only a surface level exploration of Afrocentrism, but it's up to the reader to go deeper.

How did you decide what elements of sword and sorcery really would shine through in the game, and what design choices made them hit the mark?

I love fantasy and the genre of sword and sorcery. It’s a hot mess of debate about what makes a piece “sword and sorcery.” A lot of people stick close to R.E. Howards Conan, but many people fail to mention the mind-blowing work of Clark Ashton Smith. I love the strange and sublime horror of sword and sorcery fantasy. The pyrrhic victories of the heroes, and the changes that cause in their souls. The peculiar and bitter cost of power it puts on the hero. 

I hope I’ve brought all those essentials to Bastion, but I guess that’s for the consumer to say.


Thanks so much, Jerry! I hope you'll all check out Bastion on Kickstarter today!

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