Mythender is about the quests to End the gods of the Mythic World. The Mythenders travel to distant points in the land that are important to gods—places where their most important followers live, or where sacred artifacts are buried, or rifts where the more alien parts of the Mythic World are.
This game is about playing out that quest: the smaller battles along the way that escalate as the Mythenders push forth, meeting the mortals that worship these gods and are horribly affected by your battles, and the climactic battle with the god. That’s what these rules cover.
The Mythmaster and the Mythenders trade turns being in control of what happens in the adventure. The Mythmaster introduces battles with Myths, and the Mythenders have moments of humanity or Mythic power.
A short adventure, lasting just one session, has a particular structure where the Mythmaster has two battles and the Mythenders get an opportunity between them to explore their mortal natures or push their Mythic Fates. An adventure always culminates into Ending a god.
Longer adventures involve more turns for both the Mythenders’ and the Mythmaster. A campaign—multiple adventures linked together—can be just about Ending multiple gods, or can become personal as a Mythender Falls and his former comrades hunt him down.
Playing in a Mythic World hinges on describing that world as the Mythenders explore it.
When a Mythender dies or Falls, that’s a story opportunity for that player and the group as a whole. Use it!
After an adventure is over, if you’re looking to play this Mythender again (either right away or bring her to another, future game), there are some things to think about.
The rules in this game are built for three or four Mythenders. If you’re playing with fewer, you’ll need to do some adjustments. If you absolutely must play with more, there’s an option for that as well (but again, it’s not nearly as fun).
Depending on how many players are at the table and how experiences everyone is, the time you need to play an adventure varies.
If you’re doing Mythender creation with new people, it can take up to an hour as people get their heads around some of the concepts. For experiences players, 15 to 30 minutes.
For a typical session (see Structuring a Short Adventure), it can take around three hours for a game with two or three Mythenders, and up to another hour if you have four. That assumes people new to the game and you’re playing the Tutorial battle. Naturally, an experienced group will cut through that faster.
That means it’s tight if you fit a game for four new players in a standard four-hour convention slot. It can be done, but the Mythmaster needs to put a lot of energy into keeping the game going and helping everyone quickly understand the game play.
If you’re playing with a Mythender that has already adventures, you also need to reset your playsheet:
In addition, none of the lasting Blights from the previous adventure carry over.
If you’re playing an old Mythender, you may want to change your Weapons or Fate to reflect any ways your last adventure changed you.
Mythender is broken into two different types of play, or “time.” On the Mythmaster’s time, he’ll start a battle, describing the set where it happens, and who shows up to fight. When the battle’s over and the aftermath is done, his time is over. Then the Mythenders have their time, when they can do things to the world around the mortals of the land, including changing it with a badass feat, terrorizing mortals for power, or seeking sympathy and healing.
A Mythmaster’s time is entirely about battling the Mythenders. You’ll present a challenge to them that they’ll have to overcome. Describe the arena of battle, and then launch right in. Note that the Myth always gets the first turn in the battle—the Mythic World doesn’t play fair (though it’s difficult for the Myth to have enough Lightning right away to Wound the Mythenders, so they have time to get into the action).
If, for some reason, the Mythenders don’t want to engage in the battle, that’s cool. They can all just choose to die instead. Once the challenge begins, fighting or dying are the only options.
Once the battle is over, it’s the Mythenders’ time.
Because Mythenders don’t reset their Weapon or Wound boxes until they have a moment to rest during their time, having two back-to-back battles makes for a rough game. On occasion, that’s exactly the right thing for the story, but everyone should understand what that means for the Mythenders.
Because there is no time to calm down, this also means any Blights in play remain active with their charges preserved from one battle to the next.
This is when Mythenders can rest and interact with mortals. The Mythenders’ time always happens with mortals around and no immediate Myths to end. The things that Mythenders do during their time are known as Moments—brief interludes where we see something about that Mythender.
At the start of this time, Mythenders clear any checked Wound boxes and their Weapon charge and drain boxes. This is because the Mythenders have a moment to rest, allowing their Mythic Hearts to finish healing their bodies. This also calms their battle rage.
Normally, each Mythender gets a chance to play out one Moment during their time: Perform a Badass, Epic Feat; Terrorize Mortals for Power; or Seek Sympathy and Healing. If it makes sense for Mythenders to dwell longer during their time, that’s great! But time spent gives the Myths more time to gather their strength; give the next Myth some more Storm, starting Thunder, higher Wound cost, or Gifts. (That’s all up to the Mythmaster to use judgment.)
Once those moments are done, it’s time for the Mythmaster to start another battle.
Sometimes a Mythender will call a god out or attempt to coax a god to battle. If they’re doing it in a way that’s also a Badass, Epic Feat, give that a chance to happen. When that feat’s done, or if they’re just shouting a challenge to the heavens, the Mythenders’ time is over. The players are asking for a battle to happen right now, so give them one!
That said, you don’t have to give then the fight with the god, if that doesn’t feel right for the game at that moment. Gods are happy to send envoys and armies in their name. Don’t feel you need to bring the climactic battle early just because a Mythender is mouthy about it.
Murdering Another Mythender always stops whatever’s going on, regardless of whose time it right now. After it’s resolved, the rest of the game resumes. It doesn’t take an action in battle or a Mythender’s moment to murder another one of your kind.
Usually, the Mythmaster starts the adventure off with a battle. That sets the tone for a game, and if this is anyone’s first time playing Mythender, you need to do this.
You can change it up by having the first time belonging to the Mythenders, where they enter a mortal dwelling and have some moments to do things. This is a slow start for Mythender, and it gives them a chance to gain resources for battle—Blights, Might, and more Gifts—so the following battle should be harder than you’d normally make the first one. Start with some Blights already created at the start of an adventure, and give the Myth some more Storm, starting Thunder, higher Wound cost, or Gifts. The gods in the Mythic Norden chapter like Odin or Fenrir are examples of harder gods.
Also, and this can’t be stressed enough: use the tutorial battle for the first time you all play.
The Mythmaster may start an adventure off with one or more pre-existing, lasting Blights. Only do this if everyone at the table is familiar with Mythender and you’re starting off slow.
When this is the case it will either be introduced in the first battle (if it’s a catastrophe or similar) or when the Mythenders meet up with mortals (if it’s a curse or similar). This gives a sense of an immediate situation that isn’t just “we showed up to kill a god.” You instead get “we showed up to kill a god and also what the hell there’s a magic lava geyser destroying the land.”
If the game doesn’t start with a Blight, it should get one pretty quickly in the first battle. In these cases, sometimes it’s a Blight that’s caused because of something the Mythenders do in the battle. There’s nothing like saying in a battle’s aftermath “oh, that ice spell you used to freeze the trolls in place? Yeah, Norden corrupted that and now the specter of ice is spreading to animals and mortals.”
A Mythender adventure can take a little as four hours to play, if you stick to this structure:
Open with a grand description of the setting around the Mythenders. Where are they? What does it feel like? What’s on the horizon? Did anything just happen, or was this a long journey? Think of this like the opening scenes of a fantasy movie, while the credits are rolling.
The Mythenders are powerful, independent agents! So find out about them. Ask the players questions to get a sense of detail and concrete feeling out of their characters, what’s going on in the world.
The first battle of the adventure happens pretty early on, as the first substantial scene, as the Mythenders are on their way to end a god. If you have players who haven’t played Mythender before, use the Tutorial Battle chapter. If everyone’s played before and remembers how, get crazy with a full battle!
After the battle is over and we see the aftermath, the Mythenders meet the people of this land. Will they try to seek sympathy from mortals in order to keep their souls? Will they terrorize mortals for power? What they do now means as much as what they do in battle.
The god the Mythenders have promised to kill meets them on the field of battle. Now the Mythenders prove worthy of their title!
The Mythmaster and players work together to show how the world has changed, for worse and better, by the actions of their Mythenders. When that battle is over, the Mythenders discover their fate: to die, to become a god, or to continue this existence and fight another day. Those that live move on, for there are more gods in this world to End.
If you plan on character creation as part of this session, know that it sometimes takes an hour or so to get characters ready for play. Budget for this time accordingly, use the quick or popular culture method, or bring some pre-generated characters. There are quite a few up on MythenderRPG.com. If you have more time, either more hours in an evening or want to play an adventure over two or three sessions, that’s easy to do!
There is an example adventure with this structure in the Mythic Norden chapter: Thorberge. It expects you to use the Tutorial battle rules.
You can add more to your game by adding in some more battle scenes and time in between those scenes. You keep the pace hopping in between battles by having the next fight come to the Mythenders.
Stick to ending one god per adventure. They don’t congregate, not when there are Mythenders roaming the land looking to end them.
Having one adventure is fun, and maybe you want to keep going. The same characters can keep going on adventures if you all want (and, of course, if they survive).
Did one of the characters become a Myth? Great! You know your next target. Maybe that player could even take a turn Mythmastering, playing the Myth he became.
In a long-running game, you’ll have some characters either fall and become Myths or die as mortals. When that happens, the next character that player plays should be influenced by the former character’s actions. Did your old Mythender inspire someone along the way? Did you sire children who will take up your mantle, whether you died nobly or became corrupt and twisted?
When a moment or a battle takes place in a new location, you’re exploring more of the Mythic World. The Mythmaster describes what it looks like and what’s going on as the Mythenders enter, and the players may ask questions to clarify what’s described so they understand it and can see it in their minds.
Think of each new place, starting with the very first scene in the game when you’re describing the Mythenders arriving to some interesting place or where a battle is about to begin, as a set in a movie or a two-page spread in a comic book.
The Mythic Norden chapter has a bit on some cities and towns (here) and some battle sets (here). These should help you get started with ideas for games in Mythic Norden and give you some ideas for games in other Mythic Worlds.
Great description comes from answering questions the other people didn’t realize they were asking. Here are some questions your descriptions of the world could answer. But don’t treat this as a checklist! This list is, by nature, incomplete and not everything is relevant to every moment.
Don’t try to answer every question every time. But think about some of these when you describe the world. And note down your own questions if you think of any! More tools for your Mythmaster toolbox.
What time of day is it? Where is the sun or moon, if it can be seen at all? Stars? Birds? Creatures? Rolling clouds with thunder? A tornado nearby?
How far away can you see before the terrain or fog or curve of the earth interfere? Are they in a dense forest, where there isn’t much beyond trees? Can they see to the horizon? Is there a mountain or something else massive in their view?
Is there a lot of room here, or is it cramped? Plains of snow or in a dense forest? Is the land flat and easy to cross or is it broken? Rocks? Crags? Impassible terrain? Is there anything inhospitable here, like lava gushing up or lightning continually striking down?
Where is the sea? Nowhere to be found, or nearby? Can you hear it? Smell it? What about a river or lake?
What does the air feel like? The ground? The heat or cold? Rain and Snow? Thunder? Or clear skies?
What colors do the Mythenders see? What sounds do they hear?
What’s around that is a foe to Mythenders? Spirits? Creatures? Envoys of the gods? The gods themselves? Are there any Blights oppressing the land?
Who is there to observe? Where do they live? Farmlands, huts and houses, castles?
Is there a Blight here? What does it look and feel like? Tell the players that it’s a Blight—Mythenders can tell the difference between some random event and a Blight.
Do any of the Mythenders have personal blights that are pushing against the Mythic World, causing it to change? A bright, sunny day can grow dark if a Mythender has a personal blight that dims the sun in his presence.
If you revisit a location, describe it by focusing on what has changed because of the Mythender’s actions or the Myth’s rage. Mythenders can’t help but wreak change in their wake, so if even they didn’t intend to, something has always shifted by the time they return to a place.
Mythenders may die in battle or at the hands of another Mythender, or they may fall and submit to their dark apotheosis. Either way, when that happens, that Mythender’s story is over.
When this happen, that’s an opportunity to introduce something new to the overall story.
If your Mythender dies, you have a number of options for a new Mythender that has a connection to your old one:
If your Mythender falls into Myth, you have a couple more options that make your new character directly tied to the Myth you became:
If you do this, you’re making a character that has ties to the Mythic Power of the last one. You may, if you choose, check off your first Fate box and have that Gift slot open.
If you all die mid-adventure, the game’s over (though you might start a new adventure following in those footsteps). But if only some of you don’t make it–either choosing to die in battle or getting murdered by your fellows–take a moment to allow those without living Mythenders to make new characters.
This shouldn’t take long; if they made their last characters, then they have enough experience to make new ones. If they used pre-generated characters, then at least they have an idea of how the game works now and have more direct inspiration to draw from.
Describe how these new Mythenders come into play. Are they mortals nearby who suddenly have Mythic Hearts? Are they Mythenders from far away who have just arrived in time? Nothing is unheard of in the land of Myth.
Note on Blights: if you die, any Blights you made continue after your death.
A fallen Mythender is an opportunity to have a new adventure where you’re hunting down that Myth. If that player would like a chance at being a Mythmaster, all the better!
For Mythenders that survive Ending a god and not dying or falling, this is a good time to take a hard look at your character, and make changes for next time.
Did your Mythender decide to put down old Weapons and take up new ones? The god you Ended has plenty of awesome stuff to take, or maybe you encountered something that changed how you see your battle with the Mythic World.
It’s totally cool to take Thor’s hammer and replace a Weapon with it, claiming the poetic justice of Ending Myths with this icon of Mythhood. Or take on its Companions as your own, enslaving Mythic beings for your purpose.
(You can also choose to change a Weapon during an adventure, if you narrate an interesting an appropriate moment. If you do, erase any checks in Charge Boxes that haven’t been drained, and leave those that are drained checked—this isn’t a way to cheat into a benefit.)
Fates can change as a Mythender journeys on. Did something happen that shifted you? Did your Mythic Heart discovered—or create—some new temptation? Perhaps it’s adapting your Fate to a god you’re willing to embrace.
Feel free to change your Personal Blight, your Forms, and even your Fate’s Power to something that’s more in line with the sort of god you think your Mythender is destined to horrifically transform into.
In between adventures is a good time to look at your Bonds with those comrades who survives with you and any new Mythenders you’ve met. Feel free to revise them to be about why you value that person now. After all, relationships change over time.
Mythenders don’t retire peacefully, don’t get a second change at mortal life, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep playing her! If you want your Mythender to go off into the sunset, slaughtering Myths on her own, awesome! You could make a new Mythender, using the ideas on the previous page.
As written, Mythender is set up for three or four players, plus the Mythmaster. You can play with different numbers, though you’ll need to change a few things.
If you have two players, reduce the final god’s Storm and starting Thunder dice by 2, and the starting Might by 4.
In addition to changing the god’s attributes as above, reduce every Myth’s Wound cost by one. Also, delay each Gathering Rage power by one round. So the power that happens after round one will happen after round two, etc. Nothing happens after round one. The Mythender fails after round six, not round five.
In this situation, the Swiftness Gift is not available to the Myth. And the additional cost for the Mythender using it right after his original turn is waived.
These rules are only to be used when you start an adventure with fewer Mythenders. If you start with more Mythenders and some die in battle and don’t make new Mythenders, don’t change anything.
While I don’t recommend playing with more than four Mythenders, if you do, the Myth gets a free second action during the round, after the first three Mythenders in that round go. This action cannot be preempted by the Swiftness Gift.
But, seriously: don’t actually play with more than four Mythenders. While the numbers can all be tweaked in attempt to make the game functional, the core problem that Mythender has once you go beyond four Mythenders and a Mythmaster is that there’s so much time between turns in battle that the game doesn’t feel as high-octane. And that much Mythic Power being slung around starts to make the individual Mythenders seem not as special or iconic as they should be.