Mythic Mortals: Solutions

Continuing my series of posts detailing the current development of Mythic Mortals, I write this having 3 Main solutions and ideas for solving the aforementioned problems. So, without further ado, here they are:

Mythic Mortals Shift

This is actually my latest idea, and it came to me last night, so it’s probably the most rough, but since it’s my latest, this one is the current favorite. There are a few major changes that simplify the game, but give players way more options and control over the randomness.

As a teaser, here’s the updated MM Player Mat.

As you can see, a lot of things are similar, but with some significant changes.

  • Shifting is voluntary.
    Players can choose when they want to change the cards on their Mat, either as an action, or as an alternative to taking damage (a reaction). To offset the risk of players drawing four 10s, all cards are removed and replaced at once, not one at a time. They must either discard the whole thing, or keep it.
  • No more cards in hand.
    This is another way to minimizing the chance the players will have the “perfect” Mat. Now, it does remove a lot of the choice and strategy, since players can’t really choose which cards they get at all. It’s a total crap shoot, forcing players to discard their cards, and draw all new ones.
  • Order determines abilities.
    Because players can no longer choose which cards they have, I’ve altered it so that the ORDER of the cards is what matters, both because of the stat values, but also to determine the powers. Spades, Hearts, Hearts, Diamonds gives players a completely different set of abilities than H, D, S, H.
  • Abilities are combinatory, not tiered.
    Instead of having incredibly strong abilities that are really hard to get, I’m instead trying to design abilities to be combined together and result in neat emergent powers. So the hearts in the first slot gives you the ability to attack two enemies. Spades in the next sets your weapons on fire. Diamonds let’s you move much further than normal. And the final Spades let’s your take an enemy with you when you travel. So your power with that card-set lets you attack an enemy, set them on fire, and drag them into a pool of gas, or near a flaming car, etc etc. The combinations matter more than the individual powers.

Besides these changes, things are relatively the same. You still discard cards when you take damage, you can still sacrifice cards to regain lesser cards, and enemies still have HP, attacks, etc etc.

I like this version because it takes player choice away from anticipating the cards coming next (which is REALLY hard to do) and more about making the most of what you’ve got. This will hopefully lead to a more exciting game when drawing new cards, and give players more control about their actions and powers. Also it will be more fun to let players discover combinations than simply trying to unlock the best powers.

Mythic Mortals Overload

Again, not too many changes with this one, but it does remove things like recovering cards, and makes taking damage a much more appealing option. Here are the main differences

  • Abilities are more like Skill trees
    Each suit has a track of abilities that are unlocked as you move down the tree, unlocking things with cards that are discarded. In this mode, players don’t start out with access to all abilities, but instead rapidly unlock them by playing cards and taking actions.
  • Discarded cards contribute towards skills
    Taking damage is not nearly as punishing when the discarded cards go directly towards unlocking powers. So if you discard a heart, then that heart moves you further down the skill tree, getting you ever closer to that awesome ability you want.
  • Each suit is a separate tree.
    So the discarded suits each go into their respective piles, and go towards unlocking powers. So maybe you unlock the fire weapons at three hearts, ice beam at five cards, an exploding shot at nine hearts, and the final hellstorm attack at ten hearts.
  • Piles can overload, and reset abilities
    Here’s the downside: once a suit pile grows to large, you OVERLOAD, and all abilities reset back to zero. So once you hit eleven hearts, Overload, and all trees clear out, you re-shuffle your deck, and start back at zero.

Using these mechanics, players worry less about dying and running out of cards, and more about WHEN they overload, and how strong they can get before an overload. Maybe it’s best to take this battle slow so that you don’t overload during the big boss when you need those amazing powers. Or it may be better to just burn through them as fast as possible, overload now, and start building back up to full strength.

One downside is that it’s much more like a traditional rpg, and you can’t really switch powers on the fly, or switch between them.The other big downside of this is that all players start out pretty weak, and there is not as much incentive to avoid getting hit until the later stages of your ability trees. Which may be fun in and of itself. Just go all out, get in their faces, take the damage, and slingshot it right back at them!

Mythic Mortals Redux

This one’s a doozy. I’d like to remove HP, dice rolls, and enemy HP, and all the other traditional trappings of rpgs. Because why not!

Instead of listing the changes and differences, I’ll just explain the system in brief, since it hardly resembles the current game, apart from using cards.

You have 3 different slots. Movement, Action, and Reaction. You have 5 cards in your hand.

When it’s your turn, you place down three cards, one in each slot. Those give points equal to their value for each category. You spend those points to buy pieces of your action. Each piece is called a stunt. More impressive stunts cost more, or you can string together a bunch of smaller stunts.

Action Costs

Horizontal Movement-Melee Range(+2)-Shout Range (1)-Sight (2)

Vertical Movement

-Jump up 1-2 stories (1)

-5 stories (2)

-Higher (3)

Offense-Strike an enemy(2)-Killing Blow (8)
ReactionDodge completely (3)

Block (½ dmg) (1)

Take the Hit (+1)

Leave yourself Open (+3)

Special Abilities
Knock enemy back(1)

Action Descriptions must make sense, AND must meet the point cost requirements!

Overcoming Obstacles

Instead of enemies having health, they’ll have a stunt threshold, and in order to defeat them, you’ll have to perform a stunt equal to or greater than their threshold. This allows players to combine stunts and points in any combination to overcome obstacles.


3 players face off against a Guardian Statue in a broken down street on the seedy side of town.

Player 1: “Alright, let’s get this party started. Let’s see….hmmm… I’ll play my 6 of hearts. I guess I’ll remove the shield for the rest of you guys. I’ll run up to him (1), let his attack graze my scalp(1), strike his arm(2), and yank the shield out of his hands with my momentum (2) using my incredible strength ability.

*Player 1 takes 2 damage, spends 2 cards, and increases his abilities accordingly*

*the shield is no longer a defense (scratch it out)*

Obviously, this is almost a completely new game, with tons of playtesting, setting details, etc etc. This may be better reserved for a future game, but it’s something I’ve considered doing, and would be how I would redesign.

Wow, that was a lot of text. What do you guys think? Right now, I’m playtesting the first one (MM Shift). But we’ll see how that goes. It may end up showing tons of holes and problems. Which means we may be doing this all over again in a few weeks.

Let me know what you think, and join the G+ Community for sneak previews, input, and questions.