D&D (2024) Bonus Unearthed Arcana Reveals The Bastion System

A 'bonus' Unearthed Arcana playtest document has appeared, and it shows off D&D's upcoming Bastion System.

This October, we’re bringing you a special treat. While we’re continuing to develop and revise public playtesting material for the 2024 Player’s Handbook, we’d thought you’d enjoy an early look at what we’re cooking up for the 2024 Dungeon Master’s Guide.

The coming Dungeon Master’s Guide will be the biggest of its kind in decades and contain an assortment of new tools for DMs and their tables. In Bastions and Cantrips, we’re showcasing one of these tools, the Bastions subsystem. Dungeon Masters and their parties can use this subsystem to build a home, base of operations, or other significant structure for their characters.

And if you’re raring to test out more character options, we’re also including revisions for 10 cantrips in this playtest packet.


 
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Interesting. I wonder if they were also thinking along those lines?
Well, if not spelled out explicitly, any game that implements the UA Bastions will wind up with the listed magic item economy implicitly. (Assuming I accurately transcribed the rules, that is)

There are some interesting synergies, as the Trophy Room can produce single use items of Magic Weapon, which means non-spellcasting 9th level characters can still produce +1 weapons when they need one. I'd like to think that's intentional and not a coincidence.
 
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I also would think this needs expanded Hireling rules. its one thing to hire a gardener who can care for exotic plants for 2gp/day, another to employ a spellcaster able to make scrolls of Fireball or an alchemist that can brew up Firebreath potions for 2gp/day.

I mean, there are some potentially problematic layers of interactions. The same Hireling that is making Fireball scrolls for a 10th level adventurer is themselves a 5th level character who could have a Bastion of their own with their own hirelings.

An 18th level adventurer has 9th level hirelings, who could have their own 5th level hirelings (if you round up) who themselves have 3rd level hirelings.

Which could make this also a demographic matrix. If on average each 20th level character has 2 level-dependent facilities that each require 1 hireling, then there are 2x as many 10th level characters as 20th. The same would likely carry on for there being 2x as many 5th as 10th as those facilities are available at 9. Do a little interpolation and you can build a decent model of the Bastion populations.

Aaaaand somewhere a wotc developer is drafting a memo about unintended consequences.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
So you want to change when cantrips and extra attack are dolled out?
Yeah, tho with boosts at 5, 9, 13, and 17, that would mean one extra die of damage at the two highest tiers, so it would need to be thought thru. At these levels where a weapon attack might be dealing a hundred or more damage, an extra 5 or so damage to cantrip might not matter.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
I mean, there are some potentially problematic layers of interactions. The same Hireling that is making Fireball scrolls for a 10th level adventurer is themselves a 5th level character who could have a Bastion of their own with their own hirelings.
PC privilege. And I mean that literally. PCs are different from NPCs both narratively and mechanically. While the DM can stat a rival or mentor with a PC class, most NPCs have NPC stat blocks and not full fledged classes.

It's not like the recent crop of game-lit fantasy anime where everyone in the world has a custom tailored class. It's not even like 3e where there were NPC classes. Class levels represent the rare and exceptional sorts, and just because their hirelings have some similar tricks doesn't mean they get the whole package.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
For 2024:
• Every rule necessary to play the game of D&D belongs in the Players Handbook.
• All variant rules belong in the DMs Guide.

Strictly speaking, there are no player options in the DMs Guide, only variants of options that are in the Players Handbook. Any actual new options belong in a later supplement book, beyond the core rules of the Players Handbook.

Because I want the Bastion system in the core rules, and because it is actually a set of player options, I prefer the Bastion system to be in the Players Handbook − in the same section as the equipment, services, and economy.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
For 2024:
• Every rule necessary to play the game of D&D belongs in the Players Handbook.
• All variant rules belong in the DMs Guide.

Strictly speaking, there are no player options in the DMs Guide, only variants of options that are in the Players Handbook. Any actual new options belong in a later supplement book, beyond the core rules of the Players Handbook.

Because I want the Bastion system in the core rules, and because it is actually a set of player options, I prefer the Bastion system to be in the Players Handbook − in the same section as the equipment, services, and economy.
This wasn't announced as a playtest packet, but as a UA like we used to get. This seems like it's for a new book.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
This wasn't announced as a playtest packet, but as a UA like we used to get. This seems like it's for a new book.
The opening of the video in the Original Post describes Bastion as a "bonus Dungeon Masters Guide UA".

The current intention is to place the Bastion in the DMs Guide.

I feel Bastion is a player option, therefore belongs in the Players Handbook.

I am open to the possibility of placing the mundane aspects of having a home, business, or headquarters in the Players Handbook, while the high level magical options are "variant rules" in the DMs Guide.

But I hope I can have a Mordenkainens Magnificent Mansion as a permanent Bastion, and it be in the Players Handbook!
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Using the Bastion Storehouse to run a pub or other business was obvious to me.

But I am still unsure how best to build a Wizard School as a Bastion.

Something like, the Barracks are instead a dormitory, with students and faculty who are various spellcaster classes at various levels.

Maybe start as a Master of several Apprentices at level 9, then at 13 and 17 expand to an important university.
 

mankyle

Explorer
Well...
Me I would change the rate of special facilities... I would add a 3rd special facility at 7th character level and the 4th at 9th character level, instead of adding 3rd and 4th at 9th character level.

Another thing is the bastion turn duration. In the article it says 7 days (i. e. One week) but weeks in the Forgotten Realms are called Tendays and have 10 days (no pun intended). This also makes math easier because each month is equal to 3 turns. After each 30 days month there is a holyday (which we could consider a non working day). The only problem would be the building times. They don't exactly check with 10 days bastion turns...

Another thing that should be specified are NON functioning facilities. For example, a castle in ruins that the PCs conquer and refurbish. I would rule that refurbish the castle and putnit again in good conditions takes half as much money and time than building it from scratch. Just an idea, but it is something that should have been specified in the rules

Regarding LMOP and and Dragon of Icespire Keep...
These adventures could integrate the bastion rules quite easily.
- Wave Echo Cave could be considered an storehouse that produces commodities (in this case, metals). It also has the non functioning magic foundry which could be considered as a mix of an arcane study or maybe allow the craft masterwork weapon of the smithy.

  • Tressendar manor should only have basic facilities, but maybe barracks, or an armory could be added to the building so an small castle could be built on the hill.
  • Shrine of luck could be treated as a Sanctuary
  • Barthen's provisions and Lionshield Coster could be treated as Workshops or storehouses.
  • Phandalin Miner's Exchange could also be an Storehouse
  • Defensive walls could also be built around Phandalin.

If we look at Dragon of Icespire keep we have a couple more interesting locations
  • Shrine of Savras could be treated as an Observatory (Savras was the God of Magic Divination, so the Contact another Plane spell fits the thematic)
  • Mountain Toe Gold mine could be treated as an storehouse
  • Axeholm is more complicated. If we follow the location's description we can see it has Barracks, an armory and an smithy. It is well protected so I would treat as a fully enclosed (by defensive walls) bastion with Barracks, an armory and an smithy.
  • We have the Dwarven Excavation (a sanctuary consecrated to Vergadain)
  • And Dumathoin's Gulch, that holds a mine and a Shrine consecrated to Dumathoin. We could consider this location a combo Storehouse/Sanctuary.

i'm not very fan of the Pub description. I would have changed it to lower tier (5th to 9th level) and change the benefits to something related to rumors , social interaction (advantage in Persuasion Rolls) or even recruit adventurers for a bastion turn ala Teleportation cicle, maybe 4 lower tier NPCs for one bastion turn...

The defense rules are quite lacking in my opinion. Just throwing a couple of dice and lose defenders... Booooring..there should be more options to increase ofensive and defensive rules.

in any case, I've had a big (and good) surprise with these rules. I've always been fan of stronghold adventures (since Race lf the Warlords and Kingmaker, IMHO one of the best adventures EVER) and I see good potential in these rules
 
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Yaarel

He Mage
Teos video is now on YouTube

This is an excellent analysis of the Bastion system by Alphastream. Going thru the Bastions UA with Teos discussing it gives a clearer sense of what a Bastion can and cant do.

Theos loves having bastions, already uses them. He is one of the designers of the Acquisitions Incorporated rules for running a business.

His concerns about the Bastion UA include:
• The system needs more work to facilitate adventures players typically do, rather than be a disconnected minigame.
• Example, if on a spelljammer or running the Trollskull Tavern in Water Deep, these should be bastionizable.
• Rules for downtime and economy, including hirelings, need to be part of building and running a bastion.
• The Bastion can be a place to do downtimes.
• Rules require more fluidity and abstraction, to create an empty space that player imagination can easily fill and personalize.
• The DM needs to be able to engage the players via stuff that is going on at the Bastion, especially to integrate adventures and motives.
• A portable Bastion or a portable access to the Bastion, such as Sending Stones, teleportation, or gates, keep it relevant.
• The Bastion Points produce uneven benefits. He goes thru some weird results that the accounting math forces.
• The benefits are more gold, magic items, or Resurrection, but these are less likely to form stories during adventures.
• Spending gold for a Bastion, might instead buy influence in local politics, or so on, instead of yet more gold.

In sum, Teos is looking for a Bastion system that doesnt get in the way of player creativity, and feels part of the adventure campaign.
 

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