Adventures and stories are not without the creatures that take the stage. A creature in this sense is anything the players might come across on their adventures that could pose as a potential obstacle or provide assistance to the characters. In this sense, humans, goblins, and other forms of people qualify as creatures. Where creatures are separated from ancestries is by their relative sapience. Animals are without the faculties for wisdom and creating a storied history while sapient creatures can use the knowledge and experience they’ve obtained to inform their actions.
This section is intended to provide guidelines to Storytellers on how to create creatures and ancestries for their world and the adventures therein.
A creature within Mythmaker is defined by its challenge rating. The challenge rating (CR) of a creature represents the score it possesses across all of its available aspects: Strength, Finesse, Endurance, Sense, Memory, Insight, and Resolve.
Like with ordinary characters, creatures also possess a Size, Health, and Movement.
$Health = Challenge Rating * 2$
$Movement = Size + Challenge Rating$
Some creatures may possess variance in their aspects with one aspect acting as the Greater aspect and another acting as the Lesser aspect. The Greater tag increases the rating of the aspect it's paired with by 1 while the lesser tag decreases it by 1.
A creature’s natural weapons form the basis of what they can do when pressed into an Engagement. Much like with weapons used by more anthropomorphic species, natural weapons are used to deliver Physical Pressure in the forms of Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning. Below is a list of basic Natural Weapons and the Aspects of a creature they are attached to.
|Natural Weapon||Weapon Action||Aspect|
Natural Weapons can share a classification and also take multiple different forms as well. Consider that there are two different types of horns listed in the table above. A ram’s horns are used to deliver bludgeoning headbutts against other creatures while a bull’s horns are meant to gore anything it views as a threat in its path.
To add a natural weapon of your own, simply pick a word to describe the Natural Weapon, attach it to a Weapon Action or type of Pressure, and pair it with an Aspect it would use.
Natural Senses dictate how a creature can see, hear, and experience an environment. All creatures possess a Sight and a form of Hearing. It may bear other senses but that is depending on how your decisions as the Storyteller and Worldbuilder.
Common Sight Creatures with Common Sight are fully hindered during nightfall or when in unlit areas.
Far Sight Creatures with Far Sight gain +1 Ease to Sense Tests when using their vision to see things that are beyond a common scope of vision.
Dark Sight Creatures with Dark Sight are fully hindered during daylight or when in lit areas. This can be relieved by wearing shades or some kind of covering.
Tremor Sight Creatures with Tremor Sight cannot see and are, in effect, blind. However, this sight allows a creature to ignore the effects of the Blindness condition when making actions against creatures which have spent Movement within a number of areas equal to its Sense or Challenge rating.
Common Hearing Creatures with Common Hearing possess ears or similarly capable features that let them hear sounds and speech.
Bestial Hearing Creatures with Bestial Hearing possess more capable ears and gain +1 Ease to Sense Tests involving hearing. However, Tests made to resist the Deafened condition are hindered by 1.
Forked Tongue Creatures with a forked tongue gain +1 Ease to Sense Tests involving flavors or scents.
Bestial Nose Creatures with a bestial nose gain +1 Ease to Sense Tests involving scents.
A descriptor acts as a classification of the creature and describes addition abilities it may possess or inherent resistances.
|Winged||A creature can use its Movement to ascend or descend into vertical or adjacent areas|
|Swimmer||A creature can use its Movement to move through water or non-viscous liquids unhindered|
|Gilled||A creature can move through water without gaining ranks in the Suffocation impairment|
|Slimy||A creature is immune to being restrained by creatures attempting to apply the Restained impairment to it|
|Crawler||A creature can use its Movement to move along the surface of a wall or ceiling|
|Barbed||Any creature that makes an unarmed strike or unarmed attempt to impair the barbed creature receives physical pressure equal to the creature's Size rating|
A creature’s armor encapsulates its natural resistances and vulnerabilities. A creature's armor rating functions much like a character's armor in that it possesses an Armor Rating, Physical Vulnerabilities, Resistances, and a Noise rating.
However, a creature can also possess a critical vulnerability. When a creature possesses a critical vulnerability to a given pressure, any pressure received by the creature that it is not able to resist is doubled on the World's Turn.
A creature with a critical vulnerability to Fire that receives 2 fire pressure by the time it is the World Turn in an Engagement receives 4 fire pressure instead.
Similarly, a creature can also possess an immunity to a given kind of pressure. This means that all pressure of a given type matching the immunity is fully negated.
A creature who has an immunity to slashing receives no pressure at all if a character or ally makes a slashing weapon action against the creature.
If you want to make your creature one capable of creating Supernatural effects, you can also choose to give your creature the ability to use a Supernatural Practice. If you decide to go this route, you must then determine whether the Practice is Magical, Devotional, or Mystical in nature.
Magical creatures serve no masters and can become bastions of arcane power by their own right. As much, they may be sought after by those who would harvest or take advantage of their latent magical abilities.
Devotional and Mystical creatures are beholden to the Supernatural Laws of the entities they belong to. This also means that they may be under the protection of these very same entities and violating this protection could yield consequences.
Once the creature's specialization has been determined, choose a Supernatural Practice for it as if you were choosing one for a character. The creature's challenge rating determines its rating in its supernatural practice. For example, a creature with a CR of 3 would have Create Fire 3 if that were its chosen supernatural ability.
Here is the list of Intents and Forms below. Look to the Supernatural section for more information on how Supernatural abilities work.
|Create||Manifest, Improve, Restore||You are gifted in the ways of construction and reparation. You can manifest forms, improve existing forms, or restore damaged forms|
|Alter||Transform, Transmute||You are gifted in the ways of alteration. You can grant properties to a form that it does not possess or influence a property a form already has|
|Sense||Reveal, Extend||You are gifted in the ways of divination. You can detect information about a given form or extend your senses through a form to see what lies beyond|
|Manipulate||Move, Compel, Resist||You are gifted in the ways of manipulation. You can move forms to your whims, compel animate forms to perform a given task, or create wards to resist the presence or power of a form|
|Destroy||Damage, Decay, Diminish||You are gifted in the ways of reduction. You can damage a form until it no longer stands in your way, erode a form, or diminish the properties of a form|
|Arcanum||The purest and primevil form of supernatural power. This meta magic simply follows the basic intent of its wielder|
|Fire||The domain of fire comprises of flames, heat, and smoke. Light also resides in this domain as light is often derived from igniting materia or plants|
|Water||The domain of water comprises of waters and all other liquids. Liquids inside a body do not fall under this domain|
|Materia||The domain of materia covers all inanimate materia such as stone, clay, metal, sand, glass, and other nonliving things|
|Wind||The domain of air comprises not only winds but storms and weather phenomena as well|
|Anthro||The domain of anthros deals with human or humanoid creatures. Many supernatural creatures fall into this domain as well as long as they possess a physical body|
|Mind||The domain of the mind covers that which is affected by the mind. Thoughts, emotions, and memories form the basis of what this domain touches|
|Plant||The domain of plants comprises of all living things exluding animals or anthropomorphic creatures. This also contains products obtained from plants such as toxins, wood, or fabric|
|Animal||The domain of animals comprises of all living things exluding plants or anthropomorphic creatures. This also contains products obtained from animals such as leather, wool, or fur|
|Sense||The domain of senses comprises the realms of what is perceivable by other forms. Odors, tastes, images, sounds, and sensations are but some examples of the breadth encapsulated by this form|
A creature’s Behaviors are not entirely necessary in the design process, but the more thought you give towards a creature’s Behaviors, the more real your players will treat both it and the world in which it inhabits. There are four main types of Behavior to think about when designing a creature: Social Behavior, Territorial Behavior, Communication, and Cyclic Behavior.
Social Behavior concerns interactions between creatures of the same species. How many of a given creature would you expect to find in the wilderness? Do these creatures operate on their own or do they rely on a larger herd of creatures for survival? Creatures may be prone to develop entire societies with hierarchies ranging from simple to complex or from patriarchal to matriarchal. Or perhaps they are uniarchal if they are capable of being produced by only one parent.
Territorial Behavior measures how aggressive a creature is in a territory it has established to defend against other creatures of the same or different species. There are a number of reasons why a creature would establish a territory with food, shelter, and potential mates being among the most likely reasons. This also raises questions about how animals express aggression. Do they attack another creature with lethal intent or do they communicate in a particular way to express their emotional state? And if an animal is wary of danger or is upon the verge of defeat within its territory, how does it express submission towards the other combatant?
Communication concerns how creatures of the same species communicate with one another. Do they use some kind of sound to communicate or do they change colors to express themselves. Even though a creature may lack the sapience required for complex language, creatures can actually have complex social dynamics and emotions.
Cyclic Behavior is an innate behavior that occurs in a repeating pattern. It often comes as a result of a shift in the environment. The most common form of a Cyclic Behavior is in daily cycles such as when owls will hunt when the day turns into night. Or perhaps the creature in question hibernates when the environment becomes too unwieldy, taking the time to stock up on fat and provisions before slumbering for an extended period of time. Migration is another common form of cyclic behavior with creatures moving to another area to either reproduce or adapt to the changing seasons.
A creature's Rarity determines the effectiveness of Memory and Insight tests made to learn about the creature. If a character possesses ratings in Nature Knowledge or a relevant Esoteric, they can make a Memory Test if they encounter the creature. The challenge rating of this Test is equal to the creature's CR rating. If the character is successful, they know everything they could reasonably know from an academic source.
If the creature also possesses a supernatural ability, then its challenge rating is increased by 1.
Otherwise, the Memory Test is fully hindered, meaning that the CR to uncover the creature is increased by 6. However, every detail they learn that reveals some descriptor or ability lowers the CR by 1 until it reaches the original CR of the creature.
Additionally, if the creature is featured in Lore or is commonly talked about, such as with a dragon, the creature's Rarity is reduced to an amount that reflects how often it is encountered.
|Rarity||Memory Test Challenge Rating|
There will be occasions where inspiration for a creature will appear while the game is in motion. This section acts as a guide for quickly building a creature to throw before the party.
To start, pick a Challenge Rating for the creature. This can be any number but using the threat rating and the challenge ratings of the party can give you a general baseline to work from.
The threat rating of a party can be determined by taking the highest Strength, Finesse, or Supernatural Practice rating, doubling it. Each of the aspects chosen represent aspects or abilities a character can invoke to do harm. We then double it to account for the fact that some may use vigor during an Engagment.
The challenge rating of the party is obtained by taking the threat rating and adding 1 for each member of the party.
If a party is composed of 4 players and the highest stat between them is the mercenary's Strength of 2, then the threat rating of the party is 4 and the challenge rating of the party is 8.
The threat rating of the party is useful for determining the max CR of a creature for them to engage with as too high might spell certain death. The challenge rating lets us be mindful of their strength in numbers such that we may add another creature to make the encounter challenging or add creatures with lesser CRs to add variety. Or perhaps an environmental challenge can be proposed.
If the creature's size is greater than the average size of the party (which is usually 4 in most cases), then that will increase its CR by 1 due to its natural size step advantage.
From a creature's CR and size, we can determine its Health and Movement. Recall that we have these simple equations to determine these values:
$Health = Challenge Rating * 2$
$Movement = Size + Challenge Rating$
Next consider one striking sense about the creature. Does it have a pair of notable eyes or glowing reticles? Does it have eye stalks? Consider the weapons it has to its advantage. Does it have claws? Does it have a barbed tail? Focus on the ones your characters would notice first and then evolve the design as the fight goes on.
Being able to answer these three questions on the fly will give you an opportunity to invent creatures while the game is in play.
Now creating a bunch of creatures and operating them individually is all fine and dandy, but what happens when you want groups of creatures. In those circumstances, they go beyond being a creature and become either a horde or a swarm.
In order for a group of creatures to be considered a horde, there must be at least four creatures of the same size and all of the grouped creatures must be mechanically identical to one another.
When creatures form into a horde, they lose their Death’s Door rating as they represent a grouped force rather than individual combatants. Instead, Death’s Door is replaced with a Group Size. Instead of making four Contested Actions on a Turn, they instead make one Contested Action and use the Group Size as Enhancement towards creating Pressure and Resistance.
A Horde in this fashion does not take damage like a single character. Instead, the Group Size acts as a threshold to meet or exceed. When the Group accumulates enough Pressure equal to or greater than their Group Size at the end of a Turn, then the Group Size decreases by 1. When this occurs, the group must then make a Resolve Check enhanced by the remaining size of the group. If the Check succeeds, then they stay together as a group. Otherwise, the group disbands and flees from the party.
Supporting characters are responsible for reinforcing the narratives that exist between the protagonist and the antagonist. A supporting character is a character who isn’t the main focus in the story but instead supports the protagonist in to ultimately help them achieve their goal, have a transformation, or move the story forward. They can exist as many different kinds of characters.
Common archetypes have often been used to describe each supporting character’s purpose. And of course, the supporting characters themselves could be antagonistic. Some of these archetypes are helpful to get the writer thinking of the purpose of each one of the characters.
Within Mythmaker, there are a few mechanical ways of describing supporting characters.
Allies define the breadth of a character’s social influence within the game. A normal character might not be willing to help a player character in their time of need but an Ally would certainly try to provide assistance in some form or fashion.
Within the game Allies are People, Factions, or Communities a player can rely on for providing some help towards an action related to the Ally’s Trade. Similar to a character’s Profession, an Ally’s Trade represents their level of expertise in a given area of society. There are fourteen Trades that an Ally can be associated with:
Agriculture, Art, Crafts, Criminal, Entertainment, Government, Medicine, Merchant, Military, Religion, Sailor, Scholarship, Service, Vagabond
It may also be possible for an ally to be associated with just a particular aspect or supernatural ability:
Strength, Finnesse, Endurance, Sense, Memory, Insight, Resolve, Knowledge, or Wealth
While Allies that represent Factions or Communities may at large be tied to a particular Trade, that does not mean that the individuals within the collective cannot be called upon for unique insights. For example, one member of a Criminal organization might possess knowledge about Art but this is something handled during play between the player character and the Storyteller.
Minions represent the grunt force of a given villain or antagonist. When a creature is labeled as a minion, they possess all of the stats or abilities of a creature except they only possess a Health rating of 1.
Minions are meant to embody the legions of disposable foes an antagonist has beset upon the party. And in the same turn, the characters should be able to cleave through them easily but still feel the power of their overwhelming numbers.
Agents have more free spirit than allies and are more powerful than minios. Agents represent characters either neutral to the plot of the adventure or characters with their own plots to follow that may either have them assist or hinder the players.
Agents possess a CR but also possess 2 Traits, 2 Virtues, and 2 Troubles just as a normal character would. Their involvment in the story largely reflects the will and intentions of the storyteller but act as a negotiable party should the players ever need their services.
A powerful agent is one who, by all accounts, is in a league of their own. Their powers far surpass the abilities of the players such that they can act as mentors or points of wisdom for the players to gain knowledge from.
However, their role in the plot should be limited. The players are the stars of the show, after all. If the powerful agent could simply resolve the plot, then they would! But exterior circumstances prevent them from meddling or keep them otherwise occupied. If the players are desperate, then negotiating for the help of a powerful agent can become an option but that in itself should be a favor they have either earned from a previous adventure or one that requires great effort to obtain.
Subordinates have all of the makings of an agent except they are allied with the antagonists and act as commander over the minions if there are any. A subordinate also possesses 2 Traits, 2 Virtues, and 2 Troubles. Under the right circumstances, a subordinate can be converted into an agent provided the party knows how to persuade them.
Villains are the stars of the show. They are the agent of change trying to morph the status quo into one that suits their interests. Villains possess 2 Traits, 2 Virtues, and 1 Fatal Flaw as outlined in the Chartering an Adventure section.
Antagonists stand morally opposed to the players such that any actions on their part hinder or disrupt the actions of the world around them. Sometimes these motives may seem reasonable, but there exists a fallacy at the heart of their intentions that spurs them into being the opposing force at the heart of the plot for good or for ill.