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A Visit to the New Guttershine Academy, Part 4

This entry is part 7 of 15 in the series Adventures in Bastion

When we last left off…it was around 5:45PM and our grubby heroes had made their way to what they thought would be Kiosk 63 on the 5th Floor of Pintram Hall, only to discover the Kiosk had been transferred to the 6th Floor of the enigmatic (i.e. unnamed) Building 8, and its former location converted to a public toilet. The group has been debating whether to make their way to the new location, gead to the library, or give up on ever claiming their earnings and leave campus…

6:00PM: Pintram Hall Exit.

6:00PM: Vintram Hall, 5th Floor:

6:15PM, outside Building 8:

6:15PM, 1st floor of Vintram Hall:

Not an actual child. Like most photographs of people used for Professors in this game, this image is from a deepfake image generator.

6:45PM: 6th Floor of the Pestilentarium (Building 8)

… and that’s where we left off. 

The group had a lot of fun, and we laughed endlessly. This time, we really kicked into Alice in Wonderland mode: the oddness of the Mockeries, the Kafkaesque idiocy of the university bureaucracy, the dark menace of The Apothecary, the almost-too-realistic insanity of the factional warfare on campus: this kind of makes me think that a dysfunctional university campus is actually a great setting for an adventure RPG. I’m a bit surprised it never occurred to me to use this setting before. I’m not sure how much longer it’ll remain a campus affair, but four rollicking sessions in, based on just a few hours of prep, I’m pretty pleased. 

I checked in with my players about whether they’re frustrated about the Kafkaesque nature of the university—they thought that they’d probably finally be getting their money this time, but one of the few things I’d definitely decided beforehand was that any payment they did manage to secure would take 6–8 weeks to arrive, and would require a fixed address. Universities might be more stable and likely to pay (that’s as maybe, but true in this particular case) but they’re also bureaucratic nightmares to deal with, and even more in Bastion than in real life. My players assured me that they were enjoying the satire and didn’t feel personally tortured by the game of cat-and-mouse. 

Personally, I was very pleased at how things came together. Fermi’s player asked how much of what happened had been planned out, and I explained that most of the callbacks and links were improvised, or triggered by rolls on tables that called previous events to mind. The tottering scorpions outside the building, the multiplying aliens in Vintram Hall, the plot against Prof. Winslee, the whole deal with the ledger being chained to the desk and the fire downstairs… all of that was improvised. Hell, even Tintapan’s funds disbursement record was improvised: I had the vague idea Tintapan’s lecture might have been delayed because he was planning to do something sudden—possibly flee campus—but this was the first clear sign to the players that he hadn’t just been delaying the lecture for anything but innocuous reasons.  

There are still a few shoes waiting to drop:

In all these cases, we’re playing to find out. As it stands, the characters could just collect their money (if, forms and ledger in hand, they find the right pressure point to push); they could also end up members of a campus gang, newly hired “trial track” instructors, down-and-out bums on the run from debt collectors, refugees from a destroyed city, or many other things besides. As the cool kids in the RPG world say these days, we’re playing to find out…  

Easter Eggs:


Series Navigation<< A Visit to the New Guttershine Academy, Part 3A Visit to the New Guttershine Academy, Part 5 >>

  1. The students aren’t really hippies, but they are dressed oddly, cravats tied around their heads and shirtfronts unbuttoned, bloomers shredded, hair loose, and so on—what hippies might have dressed like if they’d become a cultural movement in the 1910s, say.

  2. Again, the inspiration here is taken from real Korean university life. Dormitories chained from the outside at night are not just common, but an incredible fire risk that few question.

  3. Reminder: Campus is split between the Theorists and the Applicationists; Prof. Tintapan is a Theorist, and his apparent rival Prof. Winslee, whom the protagonists sold some compromising material about Tintapan, is an apparent Applicationist.

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