Posts Tagged ‘mythender’
A couple weeks back, Jeremiah Frye, Mythender superfan, asked me if there was a way to speed up character creation for a con game, like to make pre-gens. I’ve never had a pre-gen game of Mythender feel all that great, because without making the character, there’s little investment in either abstaining from or diving into apotheosis. The time it takes to make a Mythender was one of the flaws I accepted as part of the game’s nature, and that it’s better for three players in a four-hour slot than it is for four.
But in talking, we came up with an idea. He tried it, and it seemed to work well…
To speed up character creation, we’ve collapsed some of the decisions down — namely, linking the Heart and the Past together. Here’s a set of six Heart/Fate pairings, with partially filled out playsheets. They are:
- Warrior of Love
- Crusader of Death
- Commander of Judgment
- Bearer of War
- Tempest of Life
- Loremaster of Chaos
Each has one Weapon filled in, one of the two Fates chosen, and the first Gift filled out. To use these, hand out the six choices of Hearts/Fates, and then the six Pasts (see the next section). Mix and match, more or less as normal. You don’t need a persona sheet, because there’s plenty of space to write anything you need to write down on these handouts.
To speed things up, don’t have them write down answers to the Heart & Past questions, just look them over for a moment. In play, you might get them to answer, perhaps as they’re also doing actions. And have them only choose one more Weapon for the moment, leaving the other to be revealed either during the Tutorial battle or to come up with right afterward, before going into the first Mythender turn. Likewise, just do one bond, and let the others come up in play (or ask at certain points, if you feel as the Mythmaster that the moment would benefit from brief introspective interruption).
Note: the Weapon and Fate elements are in medium gray, to help rewriting if that’s desired.
Easy-to-Print Hearts, Pasts, and Fates
The dirty secret is that I rarely use persona sheets when I’m running Mythender. Instead, I print out the Hearts, Pasts, and Fates from the book and hand them out. That’s why there’s space on the pages for answers! I decided to make it easier to print them out, and make them simple letter-sized handouts with a guide in the middle for cutting.
After months of folks asking for it to be in print, Mythender is finally available! This is possible because of DriveThruRPG’s print-on-demand program with Lightning Source, making a book with color interior feasible.
The electronic version will always be free. Always. That’s part of my covenant with the folks who helped a friend clear her cancer bills via the Random Kindness Bundle. The print version, which is a gorgeous and sizable book — 6″x9″, 276 pages — is $25.
One of the side reasons I decided to go through DriveThruRPG is that they have a setup with Lightning Source that allows for printing in the UK, thus shipping is actually feasible to places other than the US. I hope that helps my international peeps out, especially my Canadian ones (who, if I understand right, will get theirs from the UK to save on shipping; I don’t understand it all myself).
The Final Version (v1.04)
So much has changed with the book at this point, in small ways — fixing consistent capitalization, removing old terms that I thought were gone (like “Harmed” when it should be “Wounded”), various little clarifications, and so on. The big changes between this and the last version:
- There’s now a different cost for destroying lasting Blights. See page 139.
- There’s an Extended Rules chapter, covering rules that are awesome but not necessary to the core experience.
- Bits at the end of the Hearts, Pasts, and Fates chapters about making new ones.
- A page of advice from others on making the tutorial battle work.
- An index!
- Gifts have been tweaked, no doubt, but at this point I can’t remember if there have been significant changes. :D
Of course, the PDF will all this goodness continues to be free, and the handouts on MythenderRPG.com have been updated to suit.
In the spirit of transparency, I figure I’ll share this info. First of all, the per-unit breakdown: each copy bought has a base price of Us$8.25 (if printed in the US; roughly $9.10 if printed in the UK). Whatever amount I charge, first you subtract that cost. From there, I get 65%, with the other 35% going to cover DriveThru’s costs. That means I get in return $10.88 per US sale, $10.33 for non-US ones.
First, that gets to cover my monetary expenses — namely, the cost of the cover and the cost of the two proofs. Once those are covered, which will take around 30 sales. From there, I have two things I’m looking at:
- Josh Roby did the editing back in 2012 gratis, volunteering for it since I didn’t have a budget as it was to be just a free product. If I’m getting money, so damn well should he.
- Most of the money I get from this is going into my “fund new stuff” kitty, so that I can do small projects without impacting my ability to buy groceries.
By pricing it at $25, it also means I can sell it directly to game stores I have a relationship with, like the awesome EndGame in Oakland. Those arrangements typically involve the store buying for 50%, which means that while I won’t make a lot of money on those sales after you remove the cost of the book, it’s okay enough to do in that case. Be cool to finally see Mythender on a store shelf after all these years.
I’ll admit that I’ve been waffling back and forth on the price; the idea of Josh getting paid Josh cemented the deal.
Inside Scoop & Contest Peeps
If you bought into the Master Plan Inside Scoop or in the Mythender error contest I held a bit ago, and you’re looking to buy a copy, contact me before you do. I’ll be contacting you hopefully by Thursday, if not sooner.
Edit: I’ve contacted the contest winners and emailed the folks on the Master Plan Inside Scoop list (which, for those who don’t know, was part of a reward tier for the Master Plan podcast Kickstarter campaign). If you’re in the Inside Scoop and didn’t hear from me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I still have all those Random Kindness Bundle rewards to fulfill, which is honestly going to take me a long time — it’s something I have to find time for that isn’t already marked for by publishers with paying projects that helps me deal with my new car payment.
I also have some future plans for Mythender — some have heard about my “Mythender Reborn” concept, the expansion that covers the Mythic Now. One day, one day…
Finally, A Word from Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton got to play Mythender last December, the infamous Ending of Santa Claus game. He decided to write a piece for the book about what playing Mythender meant to him. I was giddy as fuck to read it.
Happy Mythending, y’all.
As I looked over the proof for Mythender this past weekend, I decided to throw some additional content in at the eleventh hour. Three pages in particular screamed for specific content. Consider this as much a request for comments as showing off stuff for Mythender.
(Effectively, what I’m making is the deluxe edition. Except that all the content will also be free once the final book has been proofed.)
But First, Me Yapping
Over the weekend, I spoke with James Dawsey on the Vigilance Press podcast about Mythender. We talk a bit about language, design choices, production costs, etc.
Making New Hearts
The point of the Heart is to give a focus on exactly how badass a Mythender with that Heart is. Because Mythender is so open-ended, this early decision is part of what keeps one Mythender feeling like another. So when you’re looking to make a new Heart, the first question to ask yourself is: what does this Heart do that others don’t? Just as important, what power is it that this Heart values?
Hearts ultimately answer the question of how a Mythender is going to stab gods in their fucking faces.
The difference can be small—such as creating a variant of the Commander called the Teacher, who values the power of wisdom and eagerness. It could be something that introduces new information into the setting—such as the Lycanthrope, who values the power of nature and duality. However, avoid those that sound more like backgrounds than about the person in the here-and-now—such as the Time Traveler. Those are Pasts.
The Heart’s three questions focus it further, lending color and information to the story before you even answer them. The first one or two are usually obvious, but still need to be answered. The third spins the story in a different direction, though, either has hard or leading questions. The Tempest’s “What is the toll that must be paid?” tells you that there is a cost to the magic he wields. The Crusader’s “What is the inevitable result of your righteous deeds?” tells you that you do see an end, whether noble or ignoble, and aren’t thus filled with purpose. When the third question does this, it results in a deeper character.
Coming up with Weapon ideas will tell you if your Heart seems interesting from this game’s perspective. If you can come up with at least two right away, it has promise. If not, it probably isn’t the Heart for you. That said, don’t stress too much about this; in playing with the Heart, you’ll fill in the rest.
When choosing the first Gift for a Heart, pick whichever one seems thematically appropriate. It can be the same one that an existing Heart has; it’s no mandate that they all be different. Stick to ones that cost 2 Might tokens or fewer to use, otherwise that Gift won’t come up often in the early portion of the session. You may even be tempted to create a new Gift for that Heart, though if you do, ask yourself this: why can’t other Mythenders have that Gift as well?
Finally, you could scrap all of the existing Hearts, and build new ones from scratch to fit a given theme. One fun theme could be to make Hearts based on the classic fantasy adventuring roles: the Fighter, the Cleric, the Rogue (or the Thief, if you’re old-school), the Wizard (or the Magic-Used, if you’re way-old-school), the Paladin, the Bard, etc.
Making New Pasts
First off, much of the advice on Making New Hearts (page 46) applies in various ways to Pasts. However, Pasts ultimately answer the question of why a Mythender is going to stab gods in their fucking faces.
As with Hearts, the differences can be small or large. You might create a variant of the Abomination called the Once-Myth, who was once the Mythic World’s creation but became mortal. Or you might create something vast in scope that adds to your canon, such as the aforementioned Time Traveler, who fled from a future where the Mythenders failed.
When coming up with a Past, you can’t just say “So you’re a Time Traveler, now what?” Each Past has more focus than that. The Noble isn’t just a ruler, but a ruler who feels she owes something to her people. The Child isn’t just a kid, but one who had their childhood destroyed and can’t keep his anger in check. The role of these questions is to focus the Past in and of themselves, before they’re even answered. The first question might be obvious, in order to set a platform for the character concept, but from there you need to dive into hard and interesting questions—which might stem right from that first one, or might be a separate part of the character concept that makes a Past not just one-dimensional.
As with Weapon ideas, you should have a couple strong ideas on the Past’s Bonds. If you’re altering an existing Past, look at those Bonds and consider how that alteration changes them, subtly or dramatically. If you don’t see any that change, then your Past isn’t different enough.
Finally, look at how your Pasts pair with the various Hearts. Combining the two is how you begin to have a richer character concept. Looking at the main six Hearts and Pasts, here are some concepts found in history and media:
- Warrior + Noble: Beowulf
- Crusader + Noble: King Richard or Saint George
- Commander + Noble: Leonidas
- Bearer + Noble: King Arthur
- Crusader + Child: Jeanna d’Arc (if you take “child” to mean “teenager”)
- Tempest + Exile: Prospero from The Tempest
- Tempest + Abomination: Gandalf
- Loremaster + Mourner: Batman
These don’t all quite match up with the questions, and some people will argue that some of these ideas can fit with other combinations, but you can see how they begin to work. More importantly, you can probably see cool character concepts that don’t fit with the current Hearts and Pasts.
Making New Fates
Fates are vastly different from Hearts and Pasts, because they’re more esoteric. Because of that, they aren’t filled with questions to answer, but options to choose from and alter to taste. The easy way to make a new Fate is to change the Personal Blights and Forms on one of the Fate’s options. In fact, most people do this—and that’s encouraged!
If, on the other hand, you’re making a new Fate from scratch, you’ll need to know if you’re making a broad Fate or a narrow one. The six in this book are broad; you can tell this because there are two different takes for each one, which are only unified by the overall theme (reflected in the Heart’s Dream and its nebulous questions) and the Fate’s Power Over Mortals. A Fate with only one strong interpretation that you can see is a narrow Fate, though over time it may become broader.
Key to making a Fate is making sure it’s inhuman and at best only slightly sympathetic. The God of Blacksmiths, for instance, isn’t just some dude who likes to work all day over hot metal, but a deity that abhors freeloaders and those who do not contribute to civilization—those people erode his power. The God of Hedonism isn’t just someone who likes to party, but one who needs mortals to engage in gluttony and debauchery, as that is his true food and drink.
When making a Fate, understand that the Fate’s Power Over Mortals exists for three reasons: to tell you what your Mythender can do that others can’t, to show you how your Mythender is pretty much already that god right now and should just give into Fate, and to give you and the Mythmaster ways to and ideas for Terrorizing Mortals for Power. Similarly, the Personal Blight exists as a tool for the Mythmaster to remind the Mythender at every turn that she’s not entirely mortal—especially when she’s trying to Seek Sympathy and Healing.
The only advice I can give on making specific Personal Blights, Forms, and Power have already been said in Damning Your Mythender, pages 34–35. Look at the ones in this book as examples for tone. Keep the Forms about appearance, not about how mortals feel—that’s key to making a Personal Blight function in the story, as well as making Terrorizing Mortals the Mythender’s choice rather than an accident based on the current Form.
I got the Mythender proof in (yay) and found a page I hadn’t addressed…
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.)
Folks, if you’ve been following me on this blog, social media, or even in person, you’ll know that I’m packaging up Mythender for print-on-demand copies through DriveThruRPG. At least, that’s the plan.
To package it up, I needed to pad the game’s page count by a bit in order to be what Lightning Source (DriveThruRPG’s POD provider) required. Only because DTRPG had two different sets of specs on that, I got confused. End result: There are several more pages in the book than there were before.
There are some changes to the rules, as well. Minor things:
- The Death Practice gift that the Einherjar have functions properly now
- You no longer lose Lightning when you die and come back
- Lasting Blights are harder to destroy
In various places, the text has been made clearer either by cleaning up typos or by tweaking the wording.
There’s also new content! The Extended Rules chapter is all about the crazy add-on stuff: taking Greater Weapons from Gods, Culling concepts from reality, and even Ending the Mythic World itself.
(There’s also a page listing other stuff I’ve made, but that’s directly because the POD provider requires the last page to be blank, and since that was the Names Etched in Time page, I needed to add to pages to the end of the book. Figured I would fill in that second-to-page with something.)
Finally, I have two pages that need to be constructed: the tutorial page on advice from you guys, and the index.
Here’s Where You Come In
You can download this pre-proof version here. This version doesn’t have the interior art or the cover art inside. I still need to place the interior art. And find out how one puts the covers in the for-consumer PDF. And because it has some “fill in here” spots, I won’t be putting it as the main download on the website or on DTRPG. That happens when the book’s done.
I am looking for people who help me with End this book. A bunch of text got added since my editor looked at this last year. If you find any errors — typos, incorrect words, capitalization inconsistencies, rules being off, unclarity, use this Google form to let me know. (That will help me much, much more than email will, especially in case any got lost as junk mail.)
If you have advice regarding the tutorial, for Mythmasters or players, that will help me fill page 79 in, use the form above. It’s been in my head so long that I’m not sure what I could say that would help.
Finally, I’ll be constructing the index in the next few days (somehow while also taking a vacation and getting freelance work done). If you have anything you got lost on looking up, use the form above to let me know.
I plan on this being a two-stage process; next Tuesday, I’ll send off for the proof, so anything get from y’all and can process before then will make it into that PDF, which will also be available. While waiting for the print to come back, I can still take in typos and stuff, though the filled in pages need to be set before I send to proof. Once the book is in print, there will be no further updates to it.
What you get out of it: In addition to the warm fuzzy feeling…hell, I’ll cut to the chase. I’m going to give away a signed copy of Mythender to one person who contributes to this war effort. It’ll be randomly determined, and the more you submit (that is correct and I use) the more chances you have. I’ll ship it anywhere at cost to me.
If enough people participate, then I might increase the reward somehow.
Thanks for your support! If y’all hadn’t been constantly asking for a print copy for the last few months and years, I wouldn’t be doing this.
 If you downloaded it during last night’s “soft launch,” I already added text to Culling Reality.