Myths and you

June is Myth month, and that means all month long we'll be looking at myths, legends, and the lore that you can add into your very own campaign. Before we dive too deep into the topic, I want to take this article just to explore a bit about what a myth can be, and why it matters.

 

So to start off, what is a myth? In the context of this article and your setting a myth is a legend or part of the setting that may have happened at some point in the past and is still remembered today. Almost anything can become a myth or legend, and thus a part of your world if it's important enough. Most of the finest and enjoyable works of fiction contain fascinating pieces of lore. Brann the builder crafted the wall in the frozen north of westeros using magic and giants, a wall so important it became known as THE wall. The Millennium Falcon and her pilot Han Solo made the Kessel run in just 12 Parsecs. John Wick. Just John wick, the movie, the character, the franchise is all essentially one giant mythos about how cool that character is. A rich mythos and legend makes for a rich world. Just look at the influence of stories and legends on our own world.

Epic sagas about those people long passed, and those still around, add weight and importance to a scene, a place, a character or an interaction.  No warrior, no matter how gleaming their armor and stylish their weapon, will convey the same message as "Dragonslayer Ornstein".  One is a man, the other is a legend. Of course with enough time and world building you can convey great deals of information about a character at a glance. After all, not one word needs to be spoken when a lightsabre burns to life, for you to know that a Jedi has decided to do battle.

Legendary figures can also help give your players something great to aspire to. If the greatest Hunter in history brought down a mage, a werewolf and a vampire in one night, then your players have an immediate idea of where the bar is. And some night, far into the campaign, after the players kill a vampire and their dominated lycanthrope, only to be betrayed by their mage friend and have to put them down, they'll realize they made it, they've become legends.

The lore and history of the world can also though help you to drive home the theme of a campaign. If your world is dark and sombre then a few legends of heroes who fell, who failed,  or who won at too great a cost, can really drive home that feeling. Likewise if your game is an epic swashbuckling adventure then tales of great heroes and their phenomenal drunken exploits might serve better.

Legends and myths can play a great myriad of roles for you campaign, and in the coming weeks you'll learn all about those bountiful opportunities.