Saturday, January 2, 2016

Why Myth?

Bungie (the creators of Halo and Marathon) made a really cool strategy game called Myth: The Fallen Lords. It had a great sequel (Myth II: Soulblighter) and an...okay sequel made by another company (Myth III: The Wolf Age). A ton of info about the series can be found HERE and HERE. There was also a book for GURPS detailing the Myth universe for tabletop purposes, and you can find info about it HERE.

Before we go any further, it's confession time: I've only played the first game, and I haven't even beaten it. So maybe it's kind of dumb or silly of me to set my own campaign in the Myth universe when I have so little first-hand experience with the games, right? Well...

There are REALLY in-depth (not to mention well-made and fun to watch) Let's Plays of the whole Myth series at the Something Awful Let's Play Archive. Now, I know Something Awful doesn't have a good name in much of the OSR community, but if you ask me, the Let's Play subforum of SA is actually a pretty cool and friendly place from what I've seen and read, and has little connection to the tabletop roleplaying forum. Please note that I am NOT defending the Traditional Games subforum, or even the Something Awful forums as a whole here, nor am I necessarily bashing them; I'm just sticking up for the Let's Play part of the Something Awful community in particular. That aside, here are the Myth LPs:

Myth: The Fall Lords
Remake of Myth: TFL in the Myth II engine
Myth II: Soulblighter
Myth II: Chimera
Myth III: The Wolf Age

The point is, I've watched/read all five of these Let's Plays, I have the GURPS book and I've read it pretty much cover-to-cover, I've read about the series pretty obsessively online, and I've otherwise done my research. With a lot of video games, you can pick up the story just fine without touching the controls, provided someone else guides you through the experience. Judge me if you will, but I don't think I've committed a grievous sin against games or anything here.

So, why Myth?

Well, I like it, obviously, but I like a lot of things that aren't conducive to dark fantasy/horror roleplaying, so it's not just that. Myth is set in a pretty bleak, mysterious, brutal, and strange world. In some ways it follows the traditional, cliche fantasy tropes of kingdoms and swords and wizards and dwarves and such, but in a lot of other aspects it breaks from Tolkien and co. quite thoroughly. The biggest literary influence on Myth is the Black Company series of novels by Glen Cook (I really need to read these!), as admitted by the game developers, and there's a nice sprinkling of Lovecraft in there as well. I think the desperate, apocalyptic, low-magic, war-torn tone of the series fits the flavor of LotFP well.

But, there are also more specific reasons Myth was attractive to me as a setting for LotFP, reasons related to a few specific modules.

In Death Frost Doom, several characters reminded me of the Fallen Lords. More importantly, a certain event that the players can trigger ties in with the main conflict of the Myth games VERY well. I've been sloooooowly building up to a visit to Deathfrost mountain in my campaign, to the point that everything that's happened so far could be considered a prologue of sorts...if the players actually trigger the effect, that is. I want to give them a fair chance to avoid it, so that if it happens, it'll be all their fault.

So if it doesn't happen, I'll be a little disappointed, sure, but it won't destroy the campaign. The world building of Death Frost Doom and that of Myth still fit together magnificently (and coincidentally, unless James Raggi is a Myth fan), and besides, the party can just go do something else. The setting has plenty going on for the PCs. This "sandbox" thing is somewhat new to me, and I'm not sure how well I'm implementing it, but I'm trying, and I've gotten good feedback from my players so far.

But if the you-know-what does happen, I'll be a very happy DM, because it'll be terrifying and awesome.

To a lesser extent, I feel that I can tie the Myth universe in with Better Than Any Man and Hammers of the God in cool ways, but this blog post is already getting long. Bottom line, LotFP is fun (don't tell James Raggi I said that!), Myth is fun, and I happen to be interested in them both at the same time and I see some parallels, so I decided to smash them together and see what happens. So far, I'm pleased with the results.

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