This section is intended to guide you through the process of creating a world for your game of Mythmaker. The system is intended to be setting agnostic, meaning that you would be able to substitute it into any game setting you are playing in with some adjustments to the characters. For many people however, the desire to create a world of their very own drives them. To be the master over lore and domain.
Worldbuilding as it is called in the hobby is handled in two ways: Top-down and Bottom-up. The Top Down approach starts with designing the big elements of the World such as the divinities in the setting before working step by step to the people and places themselves. This can take some time but the reward is that all of the minutiae of the world reflects the bigger concepts.
Bottom-up worldbuilding on the other hand starts with the local area and lets you build upwards from there. This is recommended for Storytellers looking to quickly get set up and start with their game while leaving the rest of the map blank for the players to eventually discover.
The Core Aspects of your world are the defining characteristics. These are elements of the world that all living things within it would be familiar with. The following tables provide some examples of core aspects that a world can take on. You can either select one that looks appealing to you or you can roll a six-sided die and go with the rolled result
|The World is...||New|
How old is your world? Perhaps your characters are the first heroes or adventurers to emerge before kingdoms, dynasties, and legends are forged from their deeds. Or is your world an ancient one where civilizations have come and gone like footsteps in the sand against a growing tide?
|The World is...||Unknown|
How much of your world is discovered? Is most of it untamed and left to be shrouded in wilderness? Do the local maps truly cover the extent of your world’s breadth? For newer Storytellers, a good notion is to choose a setting where much of the world remains undiscovered. This allows for you as well as the players to fill in the map with shards of your own imagination. However, for more intrigue-heavy and political games, a mostly known world would aid in this regard while also giving some room for fantastical mysteries.
How much of a role do the gods play in your setting? Is religion a common thing or does worship only take form in mystery cults dedicated to ambiguous entities? Or have the gods died and only legends are left to speak of their deeds? How likely are the players to encounter religious icons or artifacts? Do they bear divine power intrinsically?
|Supernatural Creatures are...||Common|
How common are supernatural creatures in your world? Are they a sight to behold when they enter a village or do the locals hardly spare them a glance? Granted some supernatural creatures may be more frequently encountered than others in specific settings but select an option that feels right to you or feel free to adopt your own ideas towards the rarity of magical or eccentric beings.
|Supernatural Magic is...||Common|
How common is magic in your world? Is it something that everyone is aware of or do the people fear it as a result of superstition? Can anyone practice magic or is it something you need to be born with? Do practitioners need to resort to secrecy in order to maintain their art or has the local government adopted magic into their military might? The more common certain magics are, the more relevance they hold in society. Perhaps to the point of substituting for normal technological advancements.
|Supernatural Magic is...||New|
How old is magic in your setting? Was it something that was there when the world was made or has it become something of a recent phenomena? Perhaps magic has been growing stronger as of late with more people becoming awakened into having magical prowess. Or maybe magic has begun to dwindle as a result of overuse or through some great cosmic decay.
What is the level of technology in your world? Does it follow medieval levels of sophistication or have the peoples of the world been forced into using more primitive tools. Perhaps the use of magic has delayed the invention of many technological marvels or is being used alongside them.
The decisions that you make for your world will cause rippling effects for how people interact with it as well as how the players and their characters’ are expected to react when they encounter particular information about the setting at large.
The world of fantasy and Mythmaker is no stranger to the influence of divine beings. But how those divine beings manifest or maintain their presence is entirely up to you. Each of the following tables represents a theism, or a religious belief, as well as some different interpretations of that belief. What’s more is that you don’t need to pick just one of these systems for your setting. You could have many different forms of religion existing side by side with one another. One group of people could follow a pantheon of gods while another simply worshiped one.
In monotheistic settings, there is only one being to whom the people revere. Monotheistic deities control all aspects of life but need not be reduced to a singular interpretation. Such a being could have multiple aspects to follow. Perhaps one group of people choose to venerate this god’s Ruthless nature while another argues for the path of Mercy. A distinction such as this could lead to a multitude of different orders who go by specific rules and customs to suit the path they have chosen to follow.
|Monotheism||Only one deity exists and they are the creator and master of the world|
|Deism||One deity exists and may have created the world but does not control its destiny and presides over it in the form of providence|
|Pandeism||One deity preceded the World and created it but is now equivalent with it.|
|Monism||There is only one fundamental spiritual force.|
In Polytheistic settings, deities might form into groups called pantheons or celestial orders to better manage the material world. We have seen such examples in our world in the form of the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Norse. Perhaps in your setting, each of these famous pantheons inhabit the same world, constantly engaging in trickery and manipulation with each other and with the mortal world. Or perhaps there is just one pantheon that governs everything in the known world as with a fair number of popular fantasy stories and settings.
|Polytheism||Multiple deities exist|
|Polydeism||Multiple gods exist but do not intervene with the World|
|Pantheism||There is no division between deities and the World|
|Henotheism||More than one deity exists but only one of them is worshiped|
|Kathenotheism||More than one deity exists but only one deity is worshiped at a time and that another deity may be worthy of worship at another time or place.|
|Omnism||Many deities exist and many may deserve worship. All religions contain a piece of the truth but no one religion offers the whole truth|
|Dualism||There are two fundamental spiritual forces that are opposed to one another. Good vs Evil. Law vs Chaos|
|Animism||All objects, places, and creatures possess a distinct spiritual presence. All things in this fashion are animated and alive|
Or perhaps your world is one not governed by gods. Many settings in fantasy get along just fine without the influence of deities. In these settings, technology, politics, and philosophy play a vital role in how people go about their lives. Some people may choose to follow a religion or venerate images and iconography in place of gods but it becomes a matter of personal faith and belief from that point on.
|Atheism||Deities do not exist|
|Ietsism||Deities do not exist but instead there is a transcendent reality beyond the mundane and that which can be known or proven|
Of course, you could also take the middle route of having the existence of gods being ambiguous. Surely there could be some possible hints of divine influence in your setting but nothing that can be directly connected to any celestial beings from a higher plane of existence.
|Agnosticism||The existence of deities are not known or knowable with any certainty|
What is a world without the land and the sea? The land defines the world and the environments in which its creatures and peoples live. In the world of Mythmaker, there are fifteen types of terrains: Grassland, Forest, Tundra, Coast, Desert, Mountain, Swamp, City, Underground, or Unique. In the real world, there are often gradations of each as they blend into one another but in the realm of Fantasy, anything is possible. More realistic transitions from forest to desert lend themselves to a more realistic view of a fantasy world while stark juxtapositions lean towards whimsy.
Each terrain also bears with it a particular range of weather that travelers and settlers alike can expect to find. Rain, sleet, snow, wind are all the common ones but perhaps your world has unique weather patterns. Perhaps the world only experiences a single storm once per year that drowns the land in rain for a period of time. Maybe ash falls down from the sky on certain occasions. Unusual details will set your world apart from others, inspire the players’ emotions about your world, and make the world truly your own.
What gives an area of a world life are the landmarks found within them. A landmark at its core is just that; a mark upon the land that acts as a reference point for the local peoples. There are four types of Landmarks: Geological, Biological, Archaeological, and Architectural. Below are a few examples of each kind of Landmark.
|Geographical Landmarks||Biological Landmarks||Archaeological Landmarks||Architectural Landmarks|
|Outcrops||Rare Animals||Burial Sites||Religious Structures|
|Cliffs||Unusual Plant Location||Castles||Farmsteads|
|Boulders||Unusual Animal Location||Structures||Taverns|
|Observation Points||Trees||Religious Sites||Bridges|
Adding Landmarks to an area will make it more interesting for the players and give them both information about the world and inspire their imaginations about what else could be uncovered. The more important you want an area to be, the more landmarks you should have in that area. Perhaps even several in the same spot. Maybe there’s an old monument to a long dead king that’s become the nesting place of some rare colorful birds. Perhaps a bubbling spring has some grave markers nearby to designate it as a cemetery.
To be frank, you don’t need an entire world to get started playing this game. You just need a local area and a few lands beyond for the players and their characters to explore. To begin creating a local area, you can start by trying to answer the following questions:
Not all of these questions need to be answered before your first game, but the more questions you are able to answer, the more real the world will feel to the players. Each detail you add also creates an element you can draw from when you need some way of providing information to the players. If there is a supernatural phenomena happening nearby, perhaps the local expert on the supernatural seeks out the players’ characters to inform them. Or maybe the local expert went missing trying to solve it themselves and now the town needs the players to go find them.
Pushing onwards, considering the areas of civilization in the local area will also provide some avenues for the characters to explore and take steading within during and after their adventures. Now settlements can have a number of characteristics and modern day examples can have intimidating levels of depth. The best way to view a Settlement for the sake of the game is as its own character. In this sense, the settlement’s most important aspects are what the characters see and how they feel when they interact with it.
There are eight classifications for communities in this regard and each pertains to the relative size of the population therein.
|Population||Settlement Size||Population Size Rating||Number of Districts|
And just like characters, settlements can have Aspects of their very own:
Wealth - The Wealth Aspect of a settlement describes its relative prosperity and the average Wealth rating of its inhabitants. The Wealth rating also stands to serve as the maximum Market Value of any object or item sold from its Marketplace. Generally, smaller settlements will have lesser Wealth ratings. Any exceptions are usually the result of a retired master or an heirloom
Defense - A settlement’s Defense Aspect represents the average creature CR of its defense force. A Settlement with no defenses has no way of stopping plundering or any activity that would seek to affect its Wealth or Trades.
Trades - Settlements within them will have a number of Trades that a majority of their population specializes in. A Settlement will only have as many trades as its Population Size rating. That isn’t to say that there won’t be exceptions but they will be in the stark minority compared to the rest of the populace. Below is a list of the available industries of Trade to choose from for a given settlement.
Agriculture, Art, Crafts, Criminal, Entertainment, Government, Medicine, Merchant, Military, Religion, Sailor, Scholarship, Service, Vagabond
You can expand on this further by choosing a sub-industry below for the given Trades that you have selected.
*For the Merchant Profession, you must pick an item or trade that the Marketplace sells e.g. Spice Merchant or Weapons Merchant.
Settlement Traits can also be used to further describe a place and provide a foundation from which to develop further details or ideas about the place. What does it mean for a Settlement to be Historical? Was the location once a battlefield before it became a series of houses upon the hillside? Below is a list of Settlement Traits that help to give it character and provide some room for thought about how the Traits are defined in the settlement itself.
Just as with characters, Settlements benefit from having a number of Traits, Ideals, and Troubles assigned to their populace as well. When the characters interact with the town, what do they notice about the people? Are they a Hard-working (Trait) folk who prize Honor (Ideal) above all else but struggle with being a Humorless (Trouble) lot? Or are they an Adventurous people who embody unrelenting Enthusiasm (Ideal) but are also helplessly Reckless (Trouble) in their actions? Use the Natures section of the book to craft the common person for this Settlement.
Some Settlement specific Troubles to consider are listed below as well. Each Trouble below as well as the ones listed under the Trouble list in the Natures section allow avenues for the players and their characters to interact with the town, either in the form of aiding against the Trouble or taking advantage of it.
But you need not adhere to it for every character the players might come across. These Natures can exist as a complementary backboard for the unique Supporting Characters they come across. Perhaps those Hard-working and Honorable folks find themselves beset by a trickster who spreads mischief around town in the form of practical jokes? And what if there’s a second Supporting Character who views this trickster’s actions with contempt? Now the Settlement has even more character to bounce off of the players as they explore your world.
As a place grows in size, it soon becomes large enough to house many communities and locations within it. Once a place enters into the realm of a Town or greater, it becomes recognized less as a singular location and more as a collection of districts. Each of these Districts becomes a miniature Settlement in its own right. This means that each District you add should have its own Traits, Ideals, Troubles, and even Trades associated with it.
The importance of Districts is that they cause the Stage of Play to shift to the Local stage. During an Adventure, one Move Action allows a character to move from one District to another. For example, in the map above, going from Westgate to Highwood would cost a character one Move Action during the Turn. This means that as Districts are added to a city, you must also consider how to connect Districts together. It is recommended to start by using one named road or street to connect Districts together. Using a main thoroughfare or a single named street is entirely reasonable for this.
The realm of the Supernatural is one that seems familiar to us as active or passive participants of our respective culture. The world of the Supernatural is just that: supernatural. It is our reality but heightened to such a degree that it feels mysterious, unknowable, and yet entrancingly powerful. But at its core, the fantastical realms of the Supernatural can be explored through their Laws, their Lands, and their Creatures.
Supernatural Laws define how beings and creatures interact with one another within a supernatural demesne. At their core, they represent a set of fundamental rules that govern an area of the supernatural world or bind a particular species of creature to follow an ethos.
For example, consider a Supernatural Law concerning equivalent exchange in regards to faerie creatures. If a faerie creature offers you an item and you accept, then by this Supernatural Law they are allowed to take an item from you to complete the exchange. If the Law is not upheld, then the faerie may be entitled to inflict a curse upon you instead.
The more Laws that govern an interaction between a character and another supernatural creature or area, the more inherently powerful that supernatural creature or area should be treated.
A Supernatural Law may also be used to give a supernatural creature or area a particular weakness or limitation. For example, a creature might be given a weakness to anything made of Iron.
A supernatural land or area is one that is overseen by supernatural creatures and governed by supernatural laws. This could range anywhere from encompassing the entire world to only affecting a small portion of a given location. Making this distinction is a key factor for you considering larger areas of supernatural power will cause more people and societies within them to adapt.
Each supernatural land or plane of existence has
In the material world, a falling creature moves 10 squares/50 ft when falling and can fall a number of squares equal to their own Size rating before any further movement turns into damage.
In a supernatural land, this value can be adjusted. For example, in a world where gravity is adjusted to be only 5 squares/25 ft, objects fall half as fast and would need more time to fully accelerate into a dive. This places a greater importance on being able to move around in this lesser gravity and may cause the creatures of the area to become more adapted towards performing aerial maneuvering.
Time within the game of Mythmaker is highly dependent on the stage of play being used to narrate gameplay. But Time may work differently in different supernatural areas. One day in the real world might only be an hour in a supernatural realm, for instance.
|Stage||Turn Duration||Round Duration|
|Downtime||Determined by Storyteller||Determined by Storyteller|
|World||About 1 to 4 Hours||1 Day|
|Local||About 15 to 60 Minutes||4 Hours|
|Engagement||About 15 to 60 Seconds||--|
However, all that you really need to consider is the magnitude of time in this supernatural area compared to the material world. With that information in mind, all you have to do is keep track of how many Turns or Rounds the characters have spent in an area and then multiply it by the magnitude to come up with how much time has passed upon leaving it.
For example, let's say a supernatural realm experiences time at a tenth of the rate compared to the material world. This means that 60 minutes in the real world is only 6 minutes in the supernatural one. And then if the characters spend 60 minutes in the supernatural world, then when they leave it about 6 hours will have passed.
Keeping this magnitude a multiple of 10 makes for easy math but can be whatever you feel is best for your own supernatural lands.
The physical size of a supernatural land can also widely vary. Some may be no larger than a cottage or a well while others may stretch infinitely onwards. This is important because the creatures inside a supernatural land cannot exceed the land’s own size. Areas as big as a pocket for instance, would require supernatural power to scale all visitors to the area to an appropriate size.
A supernatural realm’s traits reflect how magic and effects within it are influenced by the core nature of the realm itself. For example, is fire magic enhanced in your supernatural realm or is it hindered? Is the realm free from manipulations of the body or mind? Or perhaps everything is able to move of their own free will and cannot be moved by any supernatural force whatsoever.
These are questions for you to determine as you go about designing your own world. Below is a table to keep track of the Enhancement or Hindrance experienced by the players when they try to use a Supernatural Practice within the realm.
Example for a fire-based land
|Fire||ENH 2||ENH 2||ENH 2||ENH 2||ENH 2||HIN 2|
|Water||HIN 2||HIN 2||HIN 2||HIN 2||HIN 2||ENH 2|
The last and perhaps most important aspect of a supernatural realm to consider is its accessibility. How does someone from the material world wind up in your supernatural realm? Can it only be done through ritual? Or can anyone enter it upon crossing an established border? Most realms have a way of entering and exiting but you can add intrigue and mystery to your realm by making both aspects different from one another.
Perhaps it’s easy to enter the Forest of Lost Memories but you need to pay with your memories in order to leave.