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Mythender: Call for Tutorial Advice

I got the Mythender proof in (yay) and found a page I hadn’t addressed…

advice page

This is for the page facing the Tutorial Battle Overview. I have a bit of that from a survey I did before Gen Con, but I need more if I’m going to make this page work. Here’s the deal: if I can get enough useful comments by this Sunday to make a decent page, then I’ll be able to keep this page. If not, it’ll be another blank page in the book.

Let me know how you’d like to be thanked on that page, should I use your comment.

(Also, I’m going to fix that spine margin being too short.)

– Ryan

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11 Responses to Mythender: Call for Tutorial Advice

  1. Andy says:

    I don’t know how many of these tips are already in the book, but ah well… (it’s been a while since I read it)

    Go big or go extinct. You need to get the players to hammer home with creative, epic ideas. It’s a one-shot, so you really don’t need to show any care or restraint in terms of escalation. Feel free to let it get ridiculous, and encourage each stunt to top previous stunts. The first time I ever played Mythender, one of the Mythenders used a dark and brooding presence to start pulling the Moon down to Norden. We then used that Moon to smash a hole all the way through the center of the world, and then had a fight in that tunnel. Thor wound up smashed between the walls of the world-hole.

    Describe the battlefield in its ongoing state. The Mythenders, even if they’re not creating Blights, are still affecting the landscape. Remind them of the details of the battlefield, and help them draw a vivid picture of what’s going on and where. If they’re looking for ideas, toss in suggestions such as “well, half of the mountain’s lying at your feet in big, granite-y chunks; maybe you could do something with that?”

    Break their limits. One of my fellow Mythenders, the second time around, had an epiphany towards the end of the fight. He mentally gave himself permission to go crazy and break the laws of common sense, the restraints of mere Legendary. It was great to see him cut loose and wreck stuff. Lead by example, showing the Mythenders the sorts of crazy feats they can aspire towards, and egg them on. “Smashing a wall? What about uprooting the entire fort into Thor’s face??!?!”

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Even if it’s in the book elsewhere, it’s still handy to reiterate.

      How would you like to be thanked?

      – Ryan

    • Andy says:

      Also: print stuff! :D My Mythmaster the second time around had many, many printed-off copies of the Hearts, Pasts, and Fates, each taking up the half-page, all cut up and ready to hand out to the Mythenders. You just had to pick one of each, and put it together to form your character. He also printed off Gift handouts for each player; I think he printed them two pages to a side (landscape), double-sided, so that each handout wasn’t that many pages. Easy to flip through when taking a gift.

      Tent cards are great.

      And DO NOT forget to observe proper protocol, identifying the Lords and Ladies Mythender as such. It totally makes the game like you wouldn’t believe.

      (Credited as Andy Hauge)

  2. Jeremiah says:

    It’s really easy to go off-script when running the tutorial battle. Of the two times I’ve ran it, it definitely went smoother when I stuck closer to the script. There’s so many moving pieces, if you don’t follow the script it’s easy to get lost.

    So, I’d say that even though it can feel a little forced to follow the script exactly, do so. It makes a difference.

  3. Robert Calfee says:

    If the players are unused to the notion of narrative control, and are accustomed to rolling to see if they succeed, remind them they *will* succeed, and the die roll just helps describe *how* well. ‘Do, or do not; there is no try.’

    And remind them there is no defense. There is no escape. The only way to succeed is to act, and act *before* they are killed: triumph, or fail.

    If the players get comfortable with the notion of extreme physical violence, remind them that Myth are also metaphysical. The players have crafted Mythenders that have an emotional basis for their origin. For one attack, have the Myth hit them *there* with a dramatic monologue which strikes at that emotional core.

  4. Michael Gray Thompson says:

    I don’t have poker chips handy, but I do have a change dish. What I did when I ran the tutorial battle was use pennies for Lightning tokens and quarters for Might tokens. (I also used nickels as 5x lightning tokens when I ran low on pennies.) The game is definitely a tactile experience. I felt the small nature of pennies contrasted well with the relatively heavy quarters. I’d suggest having a physical texture or weight difference between the Lightning tokens and Might tokens to emphasize how weighty Might is. (This is opposed to simply red poker chips for one and blue chips for the other, where you can’t feel the difference.) When you spend Might, you’re doing something no mortal could ever accomplish. Something even the gods struggle to do. I feel it may help new players grasp that if their game tokens convey that same feeling.

    Also, this shouldn’t really need to be said, but you should not let the Mythenders Murder each other during the tutorial. It sounds so obvious but it might be worth foot noting as a “don’t be a dick,” at least not during the dang tutorial. New players probably won’t even know it’s possible, but you know, just in case.

    As an aside, I’m also confused on the particular timing of Murders. I had an argument over whether or not it used the Murderer’s action that round, instead of attacking the Myth. The end result was the Myth laughing as the Mythenders turned on themselves and failed to defeat him. It was a nice story ending but the two murdering players were upset about it turning out that way.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Huh. Well, the intent is that Murder doesn’t take a turn, though honestly the Myth’s reaction is pretty much what it should be. I’ll see if there’s a place where I can put that in the final-final-final version.

      – Ryan

    • Michael Gray Thompson says:

      Thanks for clearing that up! (It would have been perfect if the Myth were Loki, but unfortunately it was “only” Thor.)

      One of my favorite parts about this system are Blights, and I’ve resolved to make the best use of them that I can. I have tried two things to get the players thinking more creatively and be more involved, and I believe they worked for my group. The first is to get the players to not take them as things they can’t control, or as things they can’t do anything about. There is nothing a Mythender cannot affect. Encourage the players to change the battlefield as they act.

      The second is to not take Blights so literally! Don’t make the names of your Blights too specific, lest they feel like a limiter on the players’ imaginations rather than an augment to creativity. Looser names are better than more direct names; you may wish later that your strictly named “Tornado of Fire” were actually just “Fire in the Sky.”

      Though I’m always wary of recounting my personal games to others, I feel this example is appropriate. In the tutorial, the Einherjar create a “Storm of Lightning Spears.” On the Mythenders’ round after that, one of my players wanted to describe using the Blight against them in his action (though not for mechanical benefit). He had in his mind’s eye that the storm was simply lightning falling from the sky and he couldn’t change that. The group and I threw ideas back and forth and he decided that his character tore the cloud spewing the lightning spears in half, turned it sideways, and pointed it at the Myths. It was an awesome take on the Blight’s description and how we imagined it.

      This goes hand-in-hand with the great advice given by others above to go big with descriptions. Go REALLY big.