The Past Two Years of my Life: Mythender
I’ve been working on Mythender since late 2007. People have asked me a lot of questions about it, especially recently as folks are starting to know me from stuff I’m involved with (like Dresden or IPR) but haven’t heard me talk about my pet love over the last couple years.
So, I thought I would share with you the intro text to Mythender. Thank you to the couple dozen people who helped me workshop this, and my editor, Amanda Valentine, for being totally awesome. (I’m sure it’ll continue getting tweaked in further revisions, but not much more so.) Hopefully this gives you a taste of the thing I’ve devoted myself to for some time now. I’m still working on the text, and have a number of people slated to playtest the game from the text alone (in addition to the 70 people that have playtested it at home and cons via me running it).
Maybe tomorrow or later this week I’ll post about my philosophy of game text openers. But for now, I hope you enjoy.
Mythender – Epic Metal Opera
Far north, there is a place of legend, a land of gods and monsters. It is the home of cruelty and oppression, a domain of ice and peril. It takes its strength from the worship its gods demand of mortals, from the terror its monsters inspire in them. With the full force of Eternal Winter, it crushes any who oppose its gods and monsters. To free all people from this fate, these gods must die. This is Mythic Norden, and you are the living weapon that will strike true into the heart of Winter.
Mythender is a game about the handful of mortals who steal power from this land and wage a war against it. This is an epic metal opera, filled with raging battle anthems and reflective power ballads. There will be passion and blood, consequence and tears.
As a Mythender, you are a titan among men—the might of myth, bound within mortal flesh. Your rage boils rivers, sunders mountains, and brings the heavens crashing down upon the earth. The land quakes with each step you take. You rip out the still-beating hearts from the gods and destroy the mythic world. You are the walking incarnation of wrath, of death, of change.
Grand battles will scar the land. Screams will echo like thunder across the world. Rivers will run red with the blood of the fallen. Trolls, giants, witches, warriors long dead, valkyrie, and even Odin and his kin will all taste your blade and your hate. Only the gods themselves are peers to you, and you fill them with an alien sensation: fear.
Even that is not the limit of your power. With each god that you End, you deal another mighty blow against the land of myth itself. You carve away pieces of it and make room for mortals to live without fear of the night and cold. As you choke the life from a god, you rip the power away from Norden to reshape this newly mortal world with your own desires. You can End anything you wish—hunger, despair, illness, peace, love, death—striking it from the world and mortal memory.
Your power rivals that of the gods. But while many would aspire to apotheosis, for you it’s a fate worse than death. The moment you let it go to your head, the moment you give in to hubris, you become those you fight.
Your power—ripped bloody from the beating heart of Myth itself—will make you into the very thing you must destroy. A god. A champion of Norden. A myth.
That is your Fate, Mythender.
The only way to fight against this corruption is to bond with Norden’s people, the innocent victims of this terrifying world. You must struggle to gain their sympathy. But this will be your greatest challenge. You may be able to snap Thor’s neck, but no one will sit at your dinner table. They can no more relate to you than they can to a storm or the sea. As they fear the gods they rarely see, they fear you more. This is the curse of the power you steal from Norden. It is easier to rip away Fenris’ jaw than to put a smile on a child’s face.
But if that is the price of such power, so be it. You will not go quietly into that good night, Fate be damned! You will make Norden pay a dear price before it claims you. And when you fall, you know your comrades will continue ceaselessly with this quest. You trust that, when the time comes, they will End you. For you are the harbingers of destruction, the cleansing fire, the Spring that melts away Winter’s frost. You are a Mythender.