There’s three weeks to go until the Mysthea Kickstarter launches! Today, I thought I’d give you a tour of the Heroes: the main characters of your story in Mysthea: Legends of the Borderlands.
Your Hero is your main avatar, and your tool to push the city’s fate in the direction you wish. They’re partly defined by their Guild, and partly their own creature. A Varorin warrior and a Varorin bard both bear the mark of the Guild of Merchants, but one might use their training to find only the greatest weaponry while the other might use their trade as a storyteller to learn interesting rumours. As your hero gains experience, they’ll move between different roles in the Guild. If they survive long enough they may become a Champion, more powerful than any Guild.
Your Hero enters play with strong ties to the other characters. These covenants will bring you together even when your guilds are feuding, and let you achieve heroic deeds and strange Qoam workings together. Each covenant is themed around a particular core: Childhood, Travel, Army, Disaster, etc. When the core of one of your covenants is relevant, you can draw on them for strength. When you betray that bond, you weaken or lose it. A hero with no covenants left is pitiful, unable to take on new roles in their Guild. On the other hand, a hero with strong covenants is tied firmly to that relationship and can predict how others will be affected by their covenant core.
Finally, Heroes can die, or retire, or move on to greater things back in the Kingdom’s heartland. The game is built to let characters leave a final mark on the narrative, triggering a powerful Death Move. Once you’ve fallen, other Heroes may build a memorial to you, and those who pay respects there may use one of your abilities – even years after your death. You’ll make a new character, of course, and can use their different perspective to explore a whole new side of your Guild.
We’re providing nine different Hero types in the book – though you’ll have the chance to put your own ideas forward during the Kickstarter. Here are your options:
We have a big announcement at UFO Press! On March the 12th, we’re bringing Mysthea: Legends of the Borderlands to Kickstarter, with Douglas Santana Mota at the helm. In our adaptation ofLegacy toTabula Games’ setting, you’ll lead your own Guilds and Heroes, explore a unique geomantic fantasy world, and rebuild a city over generations.
Each campaign of Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands starts with your Guilds sent as a joint venture to a city recently devastated by the war between your Kingdom and the Empire. As a group, you’ll decide which regions were ruined by the war, which were claimed by local factions, where your Guild can find solace, and where dangers lurk.
As you play, you’ll rebuild the ruined neighbourhoods, forge uneasy alliances with the Empire’s remnants, and shore up defences against the arcane storms and monsters that ravage the lands. Through grand Guild Wonders and character-driven Quests you’ll change the city, and the city will change you. And once generations have passed as your metropolis is thriving, how will you deal with your parent guilds back home? Will you present the city gift-wrapped for their pleasure? Withdraw and declare your independence? Or use the city’s resources to steal their might and authority for your own?
We’ve rewrote Legacy’s political systems from the ground up to support this goal. Think of something like Dragon Age II, except that you are guiding the actions of the mages or Templars as well as the hero of Kirkwall!
A world bejewelled with arcana…
With Legends From the Borderlands, we’re inviting players to dive deep into a world still reeling from a meteoric impact that shrouded the world in endless storms and studded the landscape with shards of crystal. Rising above the endless storms are islands and continents, buoyed by shifting tides of gravity: this is the land of Mysthea.
As you might be able to guess, crystals are a big thing in this setting. The strange shards of crystal dotting the landscape – named Qoam – react strangely to gravity, energy and most importantly thought. Each resident of Mysthea has the ability to exert telekinetic control over Qoam, though individuals vary in the strength they can exert and the kinds of crystal the best resonate with. The subtle arts of Qoam manipulation are core to your society – Qoam crystals line warrior’s armour, and resonators communicate across great distances. Qoam prosthetics enable amputees to walk with the power of their will, and labourers build structures by exerting their collective will on blocks of crystal-studded stone. The most delicate artisans can even spark life in the crystal, creating servants made of stone and gleaming Qoam facets.
Finally, there’s the inhabitants of this world. None of them have escaped unchanged by the great crystal’s impact. The humanoid folk that make up the bulk of its population have changed the least, growing grey-skinned and pale under the gloom of the endless mists. The automata are rare, often labouring under cryptic ethical codes put in place by long-dead civilisations. And then there’s the monsters, who cannot control Qoam and instead struggle to avoid frenzies when bombarded with its unrefined energy. These ‘monsters’ greatly value cities, where the controlled Qoam allows them coexist peacefully with others.
We’re very excited by the prospects of this setting. There’s a lot to explore here, and Tabula Games have given us a lot of support in bringing it to your tables.
…with beautiful art
The world of Mysthea was brought to vivid life by artistTravis Anderson. With this game, we’re using his art to full effect to make a beautiful book. We’ll be bringing our normal flair for visual design and layout, with an eye still to legibility and ease of reference in play. Check out these example spreads (layout and text still WIP, subject to changes):
And that’s not all; we’ll also be producing a kickstarter-exclusive deluxe version of the book, presented in a printed slipcase with its own cover.
Mockup of the Deluxe edition of the book.
Taking inspiration from board gaming
Legacy has always had a bit of a board game flavour to it – the exchange of surpluses and needs, the Family layer over everything, and the many mechanical widgets. In Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands, we’re taking inspiration from board games to streamline that. Guild Actions are rationed, to guide the balance of character time and downtime. Play aids are being designed to easily track resources and political ties. A battle map won’t track the precise position of each party in an engagement, but instead help you remember who’s in a position to strike and who’s in danger. Most excitingly, we’re taking cues from the solo play movement in board games to build rules for a single player and no GM, drawing inspiration fromIronsworn but putting our own spin on things.
Socially conscious RPG development
This one’s less flashy: we’ve committed to paying everyone on this project a living wage. With the game dealing with the scars left by war and the rebuilding that happens afterwards, sensitivity consultants will be on board from the start, not a stretch goal afterthought. Finally, we want to keep real-life conflicts in mind. To that end, 50% of the extra funds generated by people upgrading to the deluxe edition of the game will go to NGOs working in refugee support worldwide:Medecins Sans Frontieres,Refugees International,charity: water, andChild Empowerment International.