The Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands kickstarter has just over 72 hours left! We’re almost 200% funded, so each £15 PDF backer is getting:
- The 240+ page PDF.
- Print-and-play handouts and location cards.
- Solo play module.
- A map of the city.
- Rules for revolution and espionage.
You can pledge for £35 to get all of the above plus a hardback book and an art postcard, but if you go up to £70 or above you also get:
- An exclusive deluxe edition bound in faux leather and with a slipcase.
- A dry-erase map board.
- An A3 art print of your choosing.
Suffice to say, I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved here. But besides the amount of nicely-produced stuff, I think these are some of the nicest rules we’ve put together. Follow along and I’ll tell you about one thing in particular: our relationship mechanics.
Covenants and Bonds
PC-PC bonds are a natural source of drama, but they weren’t really showcased in Legacy or its expansions. For Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands we wanted a strong emotional core for the Hero layer to contrast the impersonal House layer, so built on Rhapsody of Blood’s covenants system.
Each player has a Covenant with two other players, defined together: you pick a word from your class, they pick one from theirs, and those make the covenant’s core. So, if you pick Prison from your sheet and your friend picks Cult, maybe you found religion together behind bars?
Your covenant has a Strength rating, from 0 to 3. You can do a few tricks with it: sub it in for a stat when the bond is relevant, for example, or prophesy what’ll happen if a character or community acts in line with its core (with your covenant mate providing caveats)
But the biggest thing is Aid. When you help your Covenant, you give them a dice to roll with theirs as per advantage (roll 3d6, keep highest 2), sharing the consequences if their roll fails. Nice and simple, right? But then you look to see where your dice fell in the set.
If it’s highest, you made the difference! You say how, and boost the strength of the covenant. If it’s the lowest, you messed up. They say how, exactly, and you Test the Covenant. This is the final relationship move for today.
This one’s simple, triggered whenever one of you strains the relationship. The hurt party rolls +covenant strength; on a miss the covenant is weakened, but on a 7+ they remember some past moment that reminds them how important you are to them. On a 10+, it improves!
So, the effect of this: if you want to keep your relationships strong, you’ll throw yourself into supporting your friend’s actions. It might go well, but even if it goes bad it’s likely to show the group why you mean so much to each other. And strong bonds can shape the future.
Oh, and – the only way to unlock the highest tiers of Qoam magic is to have multiple characters Aiding someone as they Wield their crystal focus. In this setting magical potency comes from deep friendship and common goals, not research or intelligence, and I think that’s neat.