My Mythender

I have had the privilege of playing Mythender twice. Once at my friend Josh‘s epic birthday party known as JoshCon. And once at GenCon. They were both crazy legendary experiences. The problem is that the game is all sitting inside Ryan Macklin‘s head. If I want to learn more, there’s no book to open up…one has to open Ryan himself. And there’s only so many times he’ll let you do that before he returns to his little cabin on The Internet.

Until now.

Last week, Ryan posted the character creation rules for Mythender. You can download them and at least take this portion of the game for a spin. Oh, and you can give Ryan your feedback. So let’s do just that.

I had this idea yesterday for a mythender. She’s a former prophet of the Norns. She had this life where she saw people’s destinies and helped them to recognize and accept them. Then she saw the fate of her own family: the tragic death of her husband and children. She refused to believe the prophecy. She tried to change fate, but it didn’t work. Her husband died in her arms. Her son and daughter were next. Now she fills with rage and fury from the loss of the husband she loved so much and the threat on her children’s lives. She forges her revenge into a sword. She realizes that in order to save her children, she will need to end the concept of destiny itself. And to do that, she will need to take down the Norns first.

I didn’t come up with this idea in a vacuum. This comes from my previous experience with Mythender and flipping through the character creation rules a couple of times. In a playtesting experience like this, I think it’s important to fit your ideas to the game, at least the first time around, instead of trying to bend the game to your ideas.

So lets make this former prophet swordswoman of revenge.

First, I want to point out how I love that the rules take a page to summarize the process before getting into them. This is kind of organization that Ryan’s really good at.

Heart and History

I need to pick a Heart. I was originally going to go with Warrior, but then I realized that her conviction is what drives her more than any practiced skill. So I’m going with Crusader. Let’s answer the Crusader’s questions:

What belief or ideal do you fight for?
I fight to end the concept of destiny. In order to give mortals free will.

What happened to make you so angry with the world?
The Norns fated my family to die. My husband died by that destiny.

What reward do you expect?
To save my son and daughter.

Great! And now for History. This is easy because the description for Apostate pretty much inspired this concept to begin with. So Apostate questions:

What Myth did you devote yourself to?
The Norns and the prophecies they gave to me.

What was done to make you flee your oaths and bonds?
The Norns fated my family to die.

What did you give that can never be replaced?
The life of my husband.

The Heart and History options are great. Lots of inspiring options. Good seeds. The questions really help to focus character concepts. I love how there’s room to write your answers down if you were to print out the chapter.

Okay, so a slight criticism of the process’s organization at this point. I would like to see Histories come before Heart. I think it would be more intuitive to conceptualize your character as what she was and then what she became—just as it’s more chronological. But maybe that’s just for this character who was inspired more by a History than a Heart. So consider this a data point.

Also, in flipping through the Hearts and Histories, it would be nice to have some sort of organizational break between the two. Several times I thought I was still looking at Heart options and didn’t realize I was now flipping into History territory.

So I have my Heart and History. What’s next? Ooh, Weapons, my favorite.

Weapons

I already have a strong idea for one of the weapons: the sword forged from her revenge. That’s obviously a Relic Weapon since it’s a thing.

Reckon, a sword forged of my revenge …is my weapon.
I use it to end Myths by…
cutting my way through my enemies. And, one day, kill the Norns with it.

For my second weapon, I’m going to go back into my character’s History. She was a prophet. In fact she still sees the future. While it’s not a future she wants to accept anymore, she uses it to her advantage when she can. This is an Intrinsic Weapon since it is part of her.

A glimpse into tomorrow …is my weapon.
I use it to end Myths by… seeing where they will be so I can more easily cut them down.

One more. Since my character was a prophet—something of a priestess—she’s charismatic. Even after she forsook the Norns, she had a small gathering of loyal followers and has gained more through her travels. These collectively are a Companion Weapon.

The Forsaken Ones …are my weapon.
I use them to end Myths by… sending them into battle, attempting to find a new fate.

I think that coming up with weapons are easily the most fun part of character creation. I would like to see some examples of how to fill out the “I use them to end Myths by…” part to help direct me into how to fill that out.

Fate

Fate. Cool. This fits right in with my character concept. I am going to pick Myth of Death for this since it’s the death of her husband that haunts her and the destined death of her children she is trying to prevent.

The Norns know I am coming for them. To fend me off, they sow the fate of those around me. So whenever I travel I see people become sick and injured. So the Presence of Death is:

Disease and injury …happen around me.

Mortal Form: I appear as… a woman in a simple gown with a sword at her side. The blindfold of her prophet days hangs loose around her neck.

Godly Form: I appear as… a skeleton with blood dripping from her sword. A black mist hangs around her like a cloak.

Paragon Form: I appear as… a woman with a simple gown and sword. The sword starts dripping blood even when it has not been used.

Supernatural Form: I appear as… a woman who is extremely gaunt, almost skeletal. Her gown has turned black and constantly flutters about her.

This is cool. I really like that coming up with a description for your character is a solid part of the creation process. How many games do you play when some protagonist at the table was never described and so everyone has a completely different idea or no real idea of what the guy looks like. Knowing how this works in play, I’m excited to play this character.

Bonding

Okay, I can’t create any bonds because I’m making this character by myself. But if you make a mythender and want to bond with me, let me know. Okay, that sounds like a cheesy personal ad.

But I can come up with a name. I’ll check out this list and pick… Halla. I like that name, it was the of an NPC in a mythic tribal Saxon game I ran once.

EDIT: If you check out the comments bellow, Jeremy Morgan made a Mythender name Unnar who is bonded with Halla. So I’ll make a bond with Unnar.

I hesitate to slaughter Unnar because: he reminds me of why I rebelled.

Finishing

So the last thing. I need to pick my Heart’s Connection. I’m going to go with New because I’d really like this character to play her story out for a while. That lets me pick one Weapon to be rated at Earth-quaking (4) and the other two at God-slaying (3). My sword, Reckon, is going to be Earth-quaking and my glimpses of tomorrow and The Forsaken Ones will be merely God-slaying. Ha! Only in Mythender can the minimum level be called God-slaying.

The only thing that confuses me here is that it looks like my Storm rating, Might, Harm track, and Mortal and Mythic boxes are supposed to be determined at this stage but there isn’t any info on that. Maybe it is yet forthcoming.

All said, this is a fun and quick process. Lots of inspiring seeds in here. I am ready to hack at gods with Reckon and send The Forsaken Ones into battle against mythic foes (all the while becoming more mythic myself). There’s a couple little nitpicks I had but, hey, this is a beta version. I’m sure it will be all nice and pretty in its final form sitting inside a box set with a metric ton of dice. Right, Ryan?

  1. SWEET!

    I’ll address some comments now, partly since then I’ll have this post in mind when I’m going through my revision notes.

    I would like to see Histories come before Heart.

    Some people want that. Some like the other way. What I really want to suggest is text that doesn’t care which way you do it. Which means I need to write that more explicitly.

    Also, in flipping through the Hearts and Histories, it would be nice to have some sort of organizational break between the two.

    You aren’t the only one. I’m gonna see about using some iconography to have separate further. (Of course, right now I’m doing that in Word, so…whee.)

    I would like to see some examples of how to fill out the “I use them to end Myths by…” part to help direct me into how to fill that out.

    Yeah. Honestly, coming up with those examples is hard for me. And I’m wary of pushing too much with that, because I don’t want to “steal” all the “good ideas” and leave other people drawing blanks because they want to show they’re creative by doing something different.

    Which isn’t to say I’m discarding that. But, man, the devil is in the execution there. I’m sure I’ll be revising that more than once.

    The Norns know I am coming from them. To fend me off, they sow the fate of those around me.

    I think you’re going to love the piece that’s not yet on that page, about how you can get more power by playing into your Fate rather than just generic “terrorizing mortals.” :)

    Okay, I can’t create any bonds because I’m making this character by myself.

    Could always bond to some of the other characters in the thread… :D

    I’ll check out this list and pick

    So, the list works?

    The only thing that confuses me here is that it looks like my Storm rating, Might, Harm track, and Mortal and Mythic boxes are supposed to be determined at this stage but there isn’t any info on that. Maybe it is yet forthcoming.

    …yeah. Well, it will be. It’s the most “it would help if you saw a character sheet” bit, which requires me to revise the hell out of the current one. Which requires time & playing with Illustrator.

    Rock on, man! Thank you!

    - Ryan

  2. For Hearts and Histories, maybe you could have a page at the start of the section with each option listed out in two columns. Gives you a chance to eyeball all the choices before you get into the details of each.

    Yeah. Honestly, coming up with those examples is hard for me.

    Man, I hear you. In my own stuff, I keep wondering if I should use straight-forward and bland examples to encourage the player to do something better, or go for the all-out example and really show off the system but risk intimidating some players.

    Could always bond to some of the other characters in the thread…

    Yeah, I avoided the comments in your post until after I wrote this. Didn’t want to be influenced. But I can go back now and do that part. There’s some cool characters that folks made there.

    So, the list works?

    Yes. I love me some Nordic names. Nice to have the list right there so I don’t have to look up some other resource for it.

    Glad I could help. Thanks for stopping by with your comments!

  3. Couldn’t resist. Hope you don’t mind, I made one of my own and created a bond to Halla. Check it out at http://stormindacastle.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/unnar-the-mythender/

  4. That’s awesome, Jeremy. Great Mythender.

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