Greg and I were more disciplined in our latest Mythic game in order to the test our theories about what makes it work. We used our quick reference guide, wrote everything down, spent a good amount of time describing the world around us, held ourselves back at times, and kept an eye on the progress of the session in order to control when to pull threads together.
This write up is more than just a straight narrative, therefore. We had to find out about the world both before and during play. Many things were revealed well into the session, though of course as characters we would have known ahead of time. When this occurred we stopped and processed the information, making sure that we wove it into the fabric of the setting and the session before moving on. So this description has the information in logical order, not in the order that we discovered it.
It was a shared, GMless, collaborative story-telling exercise first and only secondly a role-playing game. We did have characters, but they – or more accurately our alter-egos – were less important than creating a vibrant environment in which stuff happened. We found the world through exploring it, adding detail and then thinking through what that meant over all.
Again, I marvel at how Mythic mimics the processing of the human consciousness. At the very second the data arrives it is a random event. The mind processes this, puts it into an order, emphasises some bits while brushing over others, and claims that it makes sense. Our lives are nothing more than a Mythic LARP.
We used Mythic random events (MRE), our own Ornithopter random things (ORT), Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (BPF), Une NPC generator (UNG) for insertions of inspiration.
The Lokan Conspiracy – from Mythic Starter post earlier described.
The space fold had been uneventful. The Navigator, wrapped in his rarefied atmosphere infused with the oracle spice Glaucus, did whatever it was that they do and we snapped between star systems without feeling a thing. The transfer to the shuttle was a little more tense, and planet-fall was as crushing and unpleasant as ever.
Our employer, the media magnate Great Tom, had informants on the planet, but his consortium was banned from having a permanent presence. The murdered man was the mayor of Athanasus, a town on the tourist route, but one that had no particular value in itself. The mayor, a man by the name of George Pliney had been killed by poisonous gases along with 18 locals. George was one of Tom’s men, so his death aroused our boss’s interest.
The planet we fell towards was Isumbra, a steamy jungle world owned by the Du Part family consortium. Isumbra was known for its spectacular and monstrously powerful geothermal geysers. These blasts of sometimes poisonous gases roared out of the ground at known spots on a semi-predictable schedule. Thrill seeking extreme sports fans and sight seers pilgrimaged to watch and take part in the sport of geyser surfing. Surfers wore elaborate outfits that mimicked wings. When a geyser blew they threw themselves into the gout, and if they survived the acidic blast and were not knocked unconscious by the force, they were carried kilometres up into the atmosphere. Then they spent the next hour or so gliding down.
We were disguised as one of these cocky arseholes: idle rich kids who could travel the galaxy looking for thrills, gambling our lives in extreme sports.
George Pliney had been entertaining a delegation of 18 members from a local group. They were ‘natives’, traditional owners of the land around Athanasus. We suspected that they were disenfranchised from the economic wealth that the sport of geyser surfing had generated for the Du Parts. As they watched a geyser blowing from the top dome of the Miorka platform in the neighbouring town of Gioja, the atmosphere protection system failed. All were killed. Gioja was a big geyser surfing location. Athanasus was nothing more than a spot on the map on the way to Gioja. Our briefing dossiers confirmed that a geyser had been discovered near Athanasus. Planning papers had been submitted and should the development go ahead it seemed likely that Gioja would lose business to Athanasus.
Aboard the shuttle in the long glide across half the planet, over seas and jungle choked land, we had several theories even before we hit the tarmac. But before we could start our investigation we had problems with customs. The officer seemed lazy and inefficient and we suspected that he just had a quota to fill as he led us to an interview room. Playing the part of arrogant fools, we bribed our way out with a jewelled data-terminal ring. It was only later on the monorail to Athanasus that we realised our briefing dossiers had been removed. Someone knew who we were and what we were doing. It was not a good start to a murder investigation on a foreign planet.
Athanasus did not have much to recommend it and we didn’t linger. We made our way to the nearest travel agent, a very popular location, and enquired about getting to Gioja. Tickets were easy to book. In fact the platform at Miorka had already been reopened. Less than a week seemed a terribly short time after a murder to throw the place open again. Repairs alone should have taken longer.
Eckhard the travel agent provided a lot of details about the town and the situation. Yes, a geyser pressure zone had been found near the town. It would be great for the local economy. The area is being developed now. Mayor Pliney had apparently invited some locals to the geyser to Gioja to demonstrate what they could expect for here. It would be a great development. Everyone was very excited.
We asked who was the leader of the local community and whether Eckhard new where we could find him. Eckhard gave us directions to the development mining site just outside town.
The mine was fenced off and the gate guarded by a couple of guys in jeans and work boots armed with hunting rifles. Clearly this was a local run enterprise and not some big corporate. This was out of odds with the planetary ownership, surely. The Du Part corporation could import the industrial strength to set up the geyser far more professionally.
John Sawsedge, hereditary chieftain of the Lokan tribe (descendants of the original colonists of several hundred years ago) was an imposing man in his check shirt. But we distrusted him immediately. As we entered the mine site he called a halt to work and ushered us out to the office where he offered us lunch.
John had something to hide but was certainly no fool. Continuing the part of extreme sports fans we interviewed him as journalists for one of the big sports news ‘magazines’. We knew the industry talk. We knew enough about the sport. What we didn’t know was what the locals felt about the development and what John’s relationship with the deceased were.
Mr Sawsedge told us that the dead people were part of his community but were not any kind of official delegation. They were opposed to the development, he said. He, on the other hand, thought it was a good idea that would bring wealth to his people. It was a convincing display and if we had not been alert we may have swallowed the story.
There was nothing for it. A night time raid was called for. Whatever was really in that mine was at the heart of what was going on. The jungle screamed, steamed and scratched around us as we made our way over the back of the hill. Sneaking through the bush, we came across one of the ecoterrorists we had previously heard about. He recognised us almost immediately as being sympathetic to his cause, whatever that was, and led us to an undefended ventilation shaft. A crowbar made short work of the padlock and we descended into the dimly lit, dripping mine. Minerals phosphoresced, giving off a pale green light.
It took us a while but eventually we recognised what we were looking at. The gently glowing ore was glaucus, the most valuable mineral in the universe, thought to exist on only one planet. Glaucus allowed the Navigators to bend space. Without it and them space travel was impossible. And now it had been found here, on a planet controlled by the Du Part. This house was poised to become the most powerful in the galaxy.
We did not know who John Sawsedge was working for. We did not know who else knew the secret of what this mine held. It was certain than we would be killed unless we got out and reported back. Entire planets would be sterilised to keep a secrets like that.
At the spaceport we were again stopped by the same customs officer. He handed back our files and quietly advised us to be more careful next time. If it were not for that undercover agent of Great Tom it is unlikely we would have left the planet alive.
The politics of the empire was about to be changed forever. Great Tom would know what to do.