Mistborn Adventure Game Excerpt: Destiny and Tragedy
Over the coming days and weeks we'll be releasing many previews and freebies for the Mistborn Adventure Game line. Sometimes you'll get new sheets and rules excerpts, other times art and story material, and we also have a few special surprises planned as well. Be sure to watch the Crafty Games website, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter for more previews leading up to the December 15 release of the Mistborn Adventure Game.
Today we bring you a portion of the Building a Hero section: an overview of Destiny and Tragedy...
DESTINY AND TRAGEDY
The Heroes and Villains of Scadrial matter in the grand scheme of things, and their actions can change the world, for good or ill. They must also overcome great hardships on the road to glory or infamy, rising above devastating poverty, institutionalized oppression, ethnic cleansing, and sometimes even the shackles of slavery. This struggle to realize one’s calling without falling prey to the demons of the past is the mark of a true hero.
Many characters in your story have a Destiny (a higher purpose, which may or may not have been fated), and a Tragedy (a traumatic event or memory that haunts the character to this day). All Heroes have both, and many Villains do as well.
A Hero’s Destiny or Tragedy may be unknown to the character (or even the player) when the game starts, becoming something to discover. A player or character may also believe his or her Destiny is one thing when it’s really another. Meanwhile, the Narrator knows all characters’ Destinies and Tragedies, including the Villains’, though he or she may decide a Villain is unaware and roleplay accordingly.
Destiny and Tragedy unfold like subplots, in that they have Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, and their game effects are progressively more potent the deeper you get into their story. The Narrator may sometimes have you script your own Destinies and Tragedies, especially if he or she wants you to embrace and apply them as you describe your character’s actions. Most of the time, though, you’ll identify your character’s Destiny and Tragedy and the Narrator will develop the scripts so that part of your character’s story is gradually revealed over the course of the game.
It’s possible your character may fulfill his or her Destiny, or conquer his or her Tragedy in play — this is often the meat of truly mighty storytelling, after all — and such a momentous event warrants care, attention, and celebration within the Crew. The Narrator might even decide it merits new Advancements or even a Turning Point.
One thing to keep in mind is that a great character often has a great limitation, or in game terms, a great Tragedy. Don’t look at it as a weakness you’re annoyed to have. Look at it as one of the most defining aspects of who your character is. All great heroes from fiction — from Spiderman to Frodo to Jean Valjean — have defining moments like this in their past, and you should too. Often, it is what a character cannot do that makes them truly come alive.
...and now a companion excerpt from later in the same section, when you're answering questions to build your Hero...
10. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS YOUR ULTIMATE PURPOSE?
Manning a crew is dangerous work. As outsiders, mercenaries, criminals, outlaws, and rebels, members may find themselves always on the run, dead at the hands of an enemy, slowly withering away in prison, or tormented under an interrogator’s knife. No one in their right mind would take such chances unless they believed the rewards outweighed the risk — not even a Hero.
Beyond your character’s motives for joining the crew, imagine what he or she believes they’re meant to do. In a perfect world, with all the right tools at hand, what does your character think or hope to accomplish? This is a personal question, and should be answered separately for each character, above and beyond the goals and dreams of the crew.
Your answer should differ from your Drive Trait (see Question 1), though it can certainly be related. If your character is a noble who joined the crew hoping to rebuild his name, he might believe his ultimate purpose is to lead his house to victory over a rival. Likewise, a thief may have thrown in with the other heroes to become famous, all the while dreaming of finding a secret so powerful it will shake the Empire to its foundations.
This is your chance to think big. Your answer to this final question should be something your character can’t possibly achieve on his or her own, something grand in scope that’s daring and dangerous enough to be truly worthy of a Hero. Here are a few examples sprinkled from the Mistborn novels, along with a few more to get the wheels turning:
|Discover a new Allomantic metal||Be the first to defeat an Inquisitor|
|Defeat the Lord Ruler||Raise a new kingdom in the East|
|Free the skaa||Uncover the truth of the ashmounts|
|Upend the social order||Rewrite the laws of the New Empire|
|Rescue the Hero of Ages||Liberate the kandra from the Contract|
|Create a new religion||Bring down the Inquisition|
|Teach all people the secrets of magic||Establish my own noble house|
|Build a pre-Empire history of Scadrial||Learn the truth about the mists|
Write your answer in the Destiny section of your character sheet, and remember, this is just what your character believes he or she is supposed to do. Based on your answer, the Narrator will decide on your true Destiny, which is privately recorded on a Secrets sheet.
Your perceived and true Destinies may be identical, they may be related, or they may have nothing to do with one another. Both can have a number of impacts on play, as described in Book 4, and this is where the Narrator should look for guidance about true Destinies as well. [NOTE: Chapters in the Mistborn Adventure Game core book are called "Books." There are only four of them, and each comprehensively covers a different aspect of the setting or rules.]
Just as none of us knows what tomorrow may bring, no character can be certain of his or her Destiny — only discover it with a coming dawn. What’s written on your character sheet may change as you learn more about your true Destiny, and that’s part of the fun. Coming to understand your purpose through play is one of the most compelling parts of the Mistborn Adventure Game.
So how do Destiny and Tragedy impact your characters' rolls? Stay tuned. We'll be covering that in a separate upcoming excerpt.
Until then, stay Crafty!
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