What’s in Mythender’s Way

Rare weekend post! Because I’m probably not posting early next week.

Since there’s quite a bit of investment in Mythender, I thought I would be upfront about why I said “two months” for the initial set of booklets going out to donors:

  • I start a new job as a social game designer on Monday. Yay job! But it means I can’t 100% gauge my evening bandwidth, so I’m assuming roughly 12-16 hours a week to work on stuff. Part of the reason I won’t be posting on Monday or Tuesday, likely.
  • I am finishing up some work for Evil Hat Productions on The Paranet Papers. After that’s done and off to peer review, I’m taking a sabbatical from EHP to work on my own books — not jut Mythender, but starting with that.
  • Speaking of Evil Hat, there will be revisions on my short story for the upcoming Don’t Rest Your Head fiction anthology, Don’t Read This Book.
  • I have Void Vultures to edit, which I’m working on now. It won’t take too much of my time — the form factor & Roby’s writing is pretty solid, but that’s ahead of Mythender because it got funded first. And because we said backers are getting it in December (as well as the rest of the world).
  • I have a holiday trip to Seattle for personal matters. Some work will totally happen then, and some won’t.
  • I have a trip to Minneapolis for JoshCon in January. I’ll probably run Mythender then, from pre-ready booklets if I bust my ass enough, so that’s my current goal.
  • Oh, and I have to learn how to do InDesign competently for Mythender’s layout.

Once Mythender’s written, it goes to a Secret Cabal of people who have played before (and a couple who haven’t) to make sure everything that’s in my head is out, before it goes to donors & the editor.

The bonus content starts once I have that off to donors and my editor. And yes, I’m paying for editing on a free project. That’s how I show my respect to people who are willing to take the time to read my game and how I show respect to those who helped Kelly out. Seriously, mad love y’all.


Here’s a bit about my plans for the form factor & production:

  • The game will be in electronic form (PDF), visually-designed for iPad and similar use. That aspect ratio, minimal art for easy loading, good contrast, with some color & iconography to aid in explanation.
  • The game will be made easy to print as a series of booklets, using normal 8.5″x11″ paper & normal desktop printer margins. There will be a black & white version of the PDFs for those who don’t want to use color. Folding the pages in the middle and stapling (or however else you’d like to bind it), the sort of thing that some folks can do at home or work, and isn’t too horrible to do at a Kinkos.
  • Each booklet will range from 8 pages (taking 2 sheets of paper to print) to 32 pages (taking 8 sheets of paper to print). By “pages” I mean once the booklet’s printed. Four pages fits on a single piece of paper when printed double-sided and folded landscape.
  • Ideally, each idea will be contained on either a page or a spread, with larger ideas being broken up. Sometimes this won’t work, but I’m trying this as hard as possible.
  • There will be a version of the PDF that is set up for booklet printing without needing special printer/PDF reader options to make that happen.
  • I want to have art on each booklet’s cover, to visually distinguishing them at a glance.
  • The back of each booklet will be some form of quick reference.
  • The middle spread, the one that naturally falls open, will be another reference.
  • The planned booklets:
    • The core booklet/table of contents/tone setter/basics, 8 pages
    • “Creating Your Mythender”, the rules for making a character, 24-32 pages. It’s streamlined from what I have posted before.
    • “Moments in your Adventure”, the rules for everything that isn’t a Battle, 24-32 pages
    • “Your First Battle”, a tutorial battle for first timers, 24-32 pages
    • “Epic, Godending Battles”, the battles rules, 24-32 pages. The tutorial will not refer to this booklet.
    • “Mythmaster’s Handbook”, what a Mythmaster (GM) needs to keep in mind in order to make Mythender rock, 16-24 pages.
    • “Mythic World #1: Mythic Norden”, the first world of gods to kill in Mythender, 16 pages.
    • Loose leaf material: the character sheets, the Mythender Archetypes for character creation, some references, sample characters.
    • (Note: these are estimates)

If that sounds like a lot of printing, note that I’m saying a total of 8+32+32+32+32+24+16 booklet pages, or 176 pages (which are small pages, since we’re talking 8.5″x5.5″, before printer margins are taken into account). That’s 44 printed pieces of paper. Anyway, I think that’s all. Writing this may reveal another. Plus, I am intending this to also be easy-to-use electronically, so hopefully that works for y’all.

And other Mythic Worlds will be around the same page count, maybe large, depends on the world.

I should say that most of the text is written, in some form or another, sometimes as outdated rules. So I need to quickly rewrite it for this form factor and shift in tone. (I’ve abandoned the “woe is the mtyhic world and let’s be emo” tone for a “CHOKE THOR AWW YEAH and emo optional” one.)


What, you wanted to know about the actual game? :)

I’ve talked about it quite a bit on my blog, and I’ll keep talking about it. But too much posting about how Mythender works keeps me from writing about how Mythender works in the text. :) Here’s what some folks who have tried it said about it:

It certainly had a lot of cock. And not in a bad way.

– Filamena Young


– Cam Banks

Mythender struck me like a thunderbolt. I’ve seen it light wildfires in people’s imaginations. It’s part game, part legend.

– Will Hindmarch

My dice wept tears of blood.

– Logan Bonner

Roll the storm, gain the thunder, unleash the lightning — and End a Myth!

– Chad Underkoffler

Finally, a game that weaponizes my existential angst.

– Nora Last

The finest game of deicide since Candyland.

– Josh Roby

I know what kicks ass. Mythender kicks ass. A Mythender stands on the battlefield atop the broken and bleeding bodies of his enemies, screaming defiance at the gods…and the gods are afraid to answer. That is kick ass.

– Brennan Taylor

I hate this game.

Thor, wananbe “god” of thunder

Anyway, there you go. Those are my plans. Perhaps they’re ambitious. Perhaps not. I should briefly thank Jeremy Keller for inspiring the form factor, which is a bit amusing. Technoir’s Player’s Book and Transmissions are easy-to-print, and I really dug them hitting the table. Why it’s amusing is that I inspired his Transmissions. All life is circular, baby.

Thank you again.

I’d better get to fucking writing.



7 Responses to What’s in Mythender’s Way

  1. Clark says:

    When I was young, I believed the gods had a plan for me. Turns out I was right. So I killed them and made my own plan.

  2. Evan Franke says:

    This is an inspired plan. Do what you need to do (to like eat, and stuff) and I know the goods are going to be delivered.



  3. Chad Underkoffler says:

    Sounds like a solid — and cool — plan, mang. \m/

    Also looking forward to VV.

    Were you going to do more work on Emerging Threats Unit (ETU)? (Is that right?) Intrigued by that.

    Have a drift for Hit a Dude for you: Hit On a Dude (flirting; play passes to the left).

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Yeah, ETU is pretty fucking hot. I did a full playtest the other week, and it has legs. It’s got a few months of development minimum, which I’ll get cracking on once Mythender’s out of my hands. (And as the occasional palette cleanser)

      – Ryan

  4. Wayne says:

    Yeah, I finally got a copy of InDesign a couple of months ago. I had CS3 Creative Suite, installed it mainly for Photoshop. When I needed it for InDesign, turns out the DVD had a bad spot and Adobe wouldn’t replace it. So eventually I got CS5.5, first thing I did was to install everything to make sure it works. I fired up ID to see what I could do with the rules to Zombie Cafe, and promptly shut it down again. Totally new paradigm, this ain’t yo momma’s word processor! So I guess I’ll be ordering a book and studying it over the winter break.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Yeah, the last time I worked with ID was version 1! :D

      But I’m also working with it as an editor, doing my edits in-line via InCopy. So I’ll learn some just form that.

      – Ryan

    • Wayne says:

      Interesting. I’d never heard of InCopy, I’ll have to look in to it and maybe download an eval.