Mythender is a high-action adventure game by Ryan Macklin where you play amazing, Mythic heroes — called Mythenders — who travel the Mythic World to destroy its gods and monsters. Because, hey, why not? It's all about leaping off of mountains with your massive, flaming sword drawn and splitting open a giant's face.
At least, it was a face before you showed up to fix that.
Badassery has its cost, though. By drawing on the Mythic Heart that grants them their powers, Mythenders assemble Corruption, making them increasingly monstrous and bringing closer the day when they lose their last shred of humanity and become Myths themselves. A longer campaign of Mythender will almost certainly involve the players being forced to hunt down and kill their previous characters.
But hey, you'll definitely look awesome doing it!
The game is available digitally in its entirety for free via DriveThruRPG, with the paid version providing a softcover print copy.
Mythender contains examples of:
- All of Them: Odin has every single Gift in the book.
- All Myths Are True: Though not equally true everywhere. Each mythology occupies its own Mythic World where it rules supreme, e.g., Mythic Norden is the world of the Norse gods and their giant enemies. It is possible for Myths and Mythenders from one world to cross over to another, though.
- Arc Words: "... is my weapon."
- Back from the Dead: At the cost of taking on permanent Corruption and Fate, a Mythender can return from certain death.
- Blessed with Suck: Mythenders are so powerful that they can fight the very gods and win, but it's all but impossible for them to interact with humans in a way that doesn't break the humans' minds.
- Blood Knight:
- True to his reputation, Thor loves a good fight and considers the Mythenders to be a worthy challenge.
- The Einherjar are an entire celestial army of this.
- Break Them by Talking: A perfectly valid attack in Mythic battle, since anything that hurts the opponent's spirit and morale damages them as much as a physical wound.
- Cast From Hitpoints: Any Titanic Action. It lets you do just about anything you can imagine, no matter how insane, at the price of tearing yourself apart from channeling such immense energies.
- Combat Sadomasochist: The Bloodlust Gift lets you gain power from being injured.
- The Corruption: A central mechanic. Using Mythic power turns you increasingly Mythic yourself, until you stop being human altogether.
- Dare to Be Badass: The Mythmaster is actively told to mock overly-cautious players. If you don't want to be a badass, you're playing the wrong game!
- Deader than Dead:
- Mythenders can usually choose to return from death, and even be stronger (if less human) for it. The exception is if a fight against a Greater Myth goes on for long enough that the Myth can bring its full power to bear; in that case, it kills all the Mythenders permanently.
- Dead Myths can return to life in the form of a fallen Mythender. The only way to get rid of them for good is to have all of them dead simultaneously, ending Mythic reality altogether.
- Dying as Yourself: A Mythender who has taken on too much Corruption can choose to die (either killed by a Myth or struck down by his own companions) rather than take the risk of becoming a Myth.
- Eldritch Location: Most Greater Myths hang out in one, making for a spectacular battlefield.
- Evil Sorcerer: A common form of minor enemy. Sorcerers are mortals who have been granted certain Mythic powers by the gods.
- Fallen Hero: Plenty of them, but Fenrir stands out for never being anything else. The first Fenrir was a Mythender who Ended the god Tyr and transformed into a Myth after the battle.
- Friendly Enemy: Loki quite likes Mythenders, since he admires anyone who breaks the rules, and Mythenders break the rules by their very existence.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Mythenders of the Abomination Past are half human, half Myth.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: The Mythmaster is advised to make heavy use of them in naming locations.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The ultimate fate of any Mythender who doesn't die is to become a terrifying godlike Myth who in turn will need to be fought by future Mythenders.
- Horny Vikings: The default setting, Mythic Norden, is full of them.
- Jerkass Gods: All Myths are assholes. Even the ones with seemingly benevolent domains like "love" or "wisdom" take them to a horrifying extreme.
- Legacy Hero: Or Legacy Villain, in this case. Since Mythic Norden turns fallen Mythenders into new incarnations of Ended Myths, Odin is merely the last in a long line of Odins.
- Little Miss Badass: Female Mythenders with the Child Past are very much this.
- Loyal Phlebotinum: A Mythender or Myth cannot be permanently separated from its Weapons, nor can the Weapon be permanently destroyed by anyone but themselves.
- The Magic Goes Away: The ultimate goal of the Mythenders is to create a world where humanity is free of gods and monsters.
- No-Sell: Part of the rules. Attacks never miss, the question is whether the target just shrugs them off or not.
- One-Man Army: Most Mythenders. note In fact, there isn't even a mechanic for fighting mortal armies. When facing enemies without Mythic power, Mythenders just automatically win.
- One-Winged Angel: A Mythender who has really over-indulged in Corruption assumes his Godlike Form. It's usually creepy as hell.
- Order Versus Chaos: Mythic Norden suffers a Forever War between the gods, embodying Order, and the Jötnar, embodying Chaos. Both sides are equally awful to humans, though the gods have better publicity.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: The Jötnar. They come in frost and fire form and function as a sort of Elite Mooks, being a bit tougher than most Lesser Myths.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Draugr, the vile dead, rise from their graves driven by greed. They are not mindless, but looking to steal and enslave anything they can get their rotting hands on.
- Pyrrhic Victory: All too possible. If you destroy a Greater Myth but one or more of your party members reach apotheosis from it, you have only made the Mythic World stronger through your efforts.
- Power at a Price: Mythenders can gain powerful new Gifts by advancing their Fate, but the more they take, the greater the chance that they'll turn into a Myth.
- Pregnant Badass: Greta, the Drillmaster Matron of Thorberge, is noted to be pregnant at the moment but to be no less deadly for it.
- Pure Is Not Good: Jörmungandr the world-serpent embodies purity. He's so pure that his blood is poison to regular, impure people.
- Reality Warper: A Mythender performing a Titanic Action is effectively this.
- Role-Playing Endgame: The game isn't really meant for long campaigns, but an optional rule suggests that Mythic Norden starts out with a total of six Greater Myths (conveniently the same number that are statted out in the book). If the players can bring that number down to zero, then Mythic Norden itself has been Ended and is replaced with a mundane world ruled by humans. On the other hand, if over the course of the campaign enough Mythenders suffer apotheosis that the number rises to twelve, Mythic Norden has grown too powerful to oppose and will endure forever.
- Rule of Cool: The central guiding principle. If something is cool, then you can definitely do it. If it makes absolutely no sense, it might just need you to put a bit more oomph into it.
- Savage Wolf: Fenrir is a wolf-monster that embodies the concept of hatred.
- Shout-Out: The giant wolf Fenrir sometimes fights with Tyr's sword held between his teeth.
- Snakes Are Sinister: Jörmungandr, a giant venomous serpent and quite possibly the biggest and baddest Myth in Norden.
- The Social Darwinist: Mythic Norden believes in the need for the old to always be destroyed by the new and better. As a result, it's fared better against the Mythenders than most Mythic Worlds have, since it uses them to prune out weak Myths and replace them with new and stronger ones.
- Synchronization: Harming a Myth or Mythender's Weapon is the same as harming the Myth or Mythender themself.
- Teethclenched Teamwork: Mythenders have Bonds to each other that express, not so much why they are good friends, but why they feel reluctant to kill each other just yet.
- Valkyries: They serve Odin and Freyja, bringing them the heroic dead to be turned into Einherjar.
- Victory by Endurance:
- If the Mythenders can't beat a Greater Myth within a certain number of rounds (usually five), the Myth automatically wins and kills them all Deader than Dead by bringing its full power to bear.
- Conversely, Mythenders automatically defeat a Lesser Myth if they're still alive after five rounds. It's better if they can kill it before then, though, since the longer the Lesser Myth holds out, the more it empowers the Greater Myth it serves.