Luck in Electric Bastionland

Five assorted color dice on a wooden tabletop
Photo by Lea Böhm on Unsplash

I had a small thought about a way to handle luck in EB and Into the Odd.

In Electric Bastionland, HP stands for “Hit Protection”. Damage received reduces HP first, and when that’s gone it comes off your Strength score (followed by a save to avoid Critical Damage). When characters take damage and have HP remaining, the text advises the Conductor to “describe a near miss”. I think of it as the “luck” part of Hit Points in other games: you’re avoiding any real harm. The blows and impacts just graze you or miss by a bit.

The game also has Luck rolls, in which the Conductor rolls a die to see how something turns out. This represents the element of chance and factors outside the players’ control. I think these two things go well together, and the structure reminds me of a similar mechanic in Blades in the Dark. So I’d merge them like this:

When the outcome of a player choice is in doubt, roll d6s equal to the Hit Protection they have left (maximum of 4) and take the highest. If they have 0 HP, roll 2d6 and take the lowest.

Determine the outcome as per usual Luck Rolls:

  • 1: Bad outcome that usually forces an immediate response
  • 2-3: Warning of something dangerous or bad
  • 4-6: Everything’s fine

As an example, they step out on a rickety old wooden bridge. On a 1, the bridge breaks. On a 2 or 3, it starts to crack and break. Otherwise, it’s fine.

This gives them a better sense of control over their destiny and further rewards finding alternatives to fighting. You could adjust the maximum down to 3 or even just 2 dice, maybe, if 4 seems “too lucky”. What do you think?

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