Anatomy of the Game
The Environs of Mythicum Goetia
Welcome to our overview of Mythicum Goetia. In this article William and I will give an explanation of the game, how it works and what players can expect. If readers have any questions we ask that you post on the forum where you can get a speedy response and others can read the exchange.
At its core Mythicum Goetia attempts to condense the collected works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, pulp fiction writer of the 1920's and 1930', into a kind of 2D cosomology that gamers can interact with. This is a different approach than other game developers have taken with HPL's work. Its broader in scope, taking in as much material from his stories as can be related to the theme, while formating it as a board game. Not all of Lovecraft's work is being integrated, particulary those stories, like the "Tree", that are rooted in Greek mythology. But the majority have already been written into the game, especially those that form the body of what we now call the 'Cthulhu Mythos' or in some circles simply 'The Mythos'. The first release of Mythicum Goetia will be an electronic version playable on the PC and Mac. If sales are strong enough we will look at releasing a physical board game version.
In Mythicum Goetia players will select Player Characters with varying attributes and a different occupational skill. Depending on which character the players choose they will enter the game as either an Agent of Order, a Neutral, or an Agent of Chaos. Rivalries will develop as opposing agents fight each other to promote their agendas. If you are an Agent of Order you will attempt to reach the center of the Earth Realm game board and do battle with Nyarlathotep to destroy the source of ultimate chaos, the Daemon Sultan Azathoth. If you are an Agent of Chaos you will keep tabs on Agents of Order and attempt to destroy them before they reach Azathoth. Neutral players remain so only a short time. Eventually the game will culminate to where neutral players must choose whom they will serve.
When players enter the game at their game start positions each will have two alchemical gold pieces (AGP), a starting value of 5th level in their occupational skill and an empty inventory. Non-Player Characters will be encountered. Those that do not attack the player, due to similar Agent Status, can be taken by the player as a Henchman, whereon their tangible items can be used to help the player.
As they move about the game boards players will occasionally draw from the Action Card Deck. This deck of cards will disseminate miscellanious items, alien and magickal artifacts, and horrific tomes into the possession of the players. Event cards will keep players on their toes with random outbreaks of Mythos creatures who attack the players, hidden lands that are revealed by fortuitous actions and Plot Clue cards that help players unravel a developing story during the game.
There are several game boards provided in the basic edition of Mythicum Goetia. The Earth Realm, pictured above, is the core game board around which the central action will revolve. The Earth Realm is divided into three regions represented as rings of game spaces, the Waking World, the Dreamlands and Ultimate Chaos. Starting in one of four towns players will take turns moving around the board, collecting items, fighting Mythos creatures and either trade or fight with other players.
From certain locations within the Waking World players will have access to either the Dreamlands, the Underworld (pictured above) or both. If players are lucky they will discover artifacts, horrific tomes and arcane glyphs that help them construct Sacrificial Rites. With sacrifical rites players may contact Mythos gods, either of Order or Chaos, to assist them, summon creatures of either Master or Servitor Races to attack their enemies, teleport across the game boards or conjure items, artifacts and/or horrific tomes. To perform a sacrifical rite players collect Glyph cards, each rite requiring seven cards to complete it. But because sacrificial rites do require a sacrifice Mythicum Goetia has implemented a mechanism that automatically switches a player's Agent Status from whatever he/she was before to that of an Agent of Chaos if human sacrifice is used. Murder is the moral line drawn in the sand. Agents of Order and Neutrals do not commit murder. If another PC or NPC is attacked with the intent to kill the player character committing the offense will suddenly become an Agent of Chaos. Not all sacrifices need to involve murder though. Some sacrifices can be expensive or very valuable items the player possesses.
In the case of Agents of Order and Neutral players being attacked during the game if they kill their attacker in self-defense this act will not be considered murder. Therefore, these characters will not be penalized with the switch in Agent Status.
A look at the Action Cards
Action Cards are categorized into several groups, each is color-coded to help separate them visually. Using the sample sheet below we can begin with the first set of cards, the Character Cards. This group is colored purple and encompasses three sub-sets; Player Characters, Non-Player Characters and Cults/Factions. Each of these sets provide information on stats (attributes), game start positions (for PC's) Agent Status, Headquarters location and other pertinate data.
(The question marks displayed on the cards indicate placeholder art. These will eventually be replaced with illustrations.)
The second group, colored green, covers items, alien and magickal artifacts and horrific tomes. Items are simply ordinary game items like weapons and ammo that players will use to defend against Mythos creatures and/or attack other PC's/NPC's with. Alien and magickal artifacts are objects embued with either magickal powers, such as a Cthulhu Statue, or its a devise comprised of alien technology that gives the appearence of a magickal artifact, such as the Shining Trapezohedron. And of course there are the horrific tomes. What would Lovecraft be without his horrific tomes? These are written or inscribed works containing various bits of information that commonly afflict the reader's sanity. If these horrific tomes are not alien in origin they are usually ancient books written in man's long and forgotten past.
Locations in Mythicum Goetia are indicated on the game boards as game spaces. However, there is one class of locations, called Hidden Lands, that can be drawn from the Action Card Deck. The Hidden Lands (third group down, colored brown) are actually events that occur on a Mythos-site and result in a condition that immediately affects the players. An example would be 'Atlantis Awakened'. In this card the Great Old One Gloon stirs in his restful slumber and emerges from his Atlantean Temple. Gloon then appears somewhere in the Waking World and attacks the nearest character.
The blue-colored group of cards describe Mythos creatures. Included in this set are six sub-groups; Elder Gods, Other Gods, Great Old Ones, Master Races, Servitor Races and Abominations. Stats common to PC's and NPC's are given for Mythos creatures plus their listing as either Agents of Order, Neutrals or Agents of Chaos.
The next group, colored black, are the Glyph cards. These make up the heart of the magick system of Mythicum Goetia. As mentioned before, magick in this game is based on sacrificial rites, called spells in other systems. Sacrificial Rites can be custom built to suit the needs of the players or there exist pre-made rites that can be plugged into the player's inventory and used with the push of a button. This arrangement was chosen to accomidate players who love to engage RPG elements AND those trigger-happy players who simply want to move on with the action.
A sacrifiical rite is comprised of seven cards, each representing a certain aspect of the rite. These are; Objects, Attributes, Actions, Affectors, Temporal, Diagrams and Chants. Object Glyphs are used to identify the target of the rite. Attribute Glyphs are used to identify a specific attribute of the player's opponent. Affector Glyphs add a percentage of success to the player's die roll when performing the rite. Temporal Glyphs determine the duration (in game turns) of the rite. Diagram cards allow players to select one of seven diagrams, or circles of protection, that can multiply the Potency (used to determine damage) of the rite. And Chant cards are verbal chants that can be added to the makeup of a rite to increase the chance of success, like the Affector Glyphs.
Red-colored cards are random events that keep the flow of the game unpredicatable. This set of cards is divided into eight sub-groups; Atmosphere, Death, Discoveries, Laboratory Experiments, Missing Persons, Petty Crimes, Mythos Encounters and Regional Events. Each of these categories represents various plot elements that were often used by Lovecraft to set the tone for his stories or setup a certain environment as a backdrop to the plot. In the same vein Mythicum Goetia will present players with a variety of actions other than Mythos incursions onto the game board.
Finally, we will have Plot Clue cards (not shown) that will offer players clues to a plot that has been chosen for the current game session. The clue cards will help players deduce Who, What, Where, When and Why the plot has happened. Players who participate in solving the plot of the game session will be rewarded points which can be spent on his/her character's attributes or can be converted to AGP for purchasing items.