An ancient, crystal-encrusted planet is rocked by war. As Kingdom fights Empire and the borderlands are caught in the middle, you are sent to rebuild the liberated city of Montara and make the surrounding lands safe for your Houses. As the years pass and this city makes its mark on you, where will your loyalties lie? With your Kingdom, with your House, with this new city, or only with yourself?
Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands is a tabletop roleplaying game about politics, adventure and discovery in a geomantic fantasy world based on Tabula Game's Mysthea Universe. It fuses the grand strategy of board games like Twilight Imperium, Scythe and Mysthea itself with the tense character-driven adventures of pen-and-paper roleplaying games. With your help, we'll fund a beautiful print run of the game to end up in your hands and in shops worldwide.
Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands builds on our successes with Legacy: Life Among the Ruins. Adapting elements from the Apocalypse World engine, it's a game system that gets you into the heart of the action, while at the same time allowing your stories to zoom out and take in the broad sweep of geography and history. It's based on the universe developed by Tabula Games for their board games Mysthea, Volfyirion and the upcoming Icaion, and we're delighted to bring it to life at your table. Here's what makes it special:
Legends From the Borderlands takes place on a backdrop of war. A few hundred years ago, the floating continent of Mysthea was home to dozens of independent city-states, with the world-shattering cataclysm an ancient memory. Now, only two major powers remain: the Kingdom of Ahatils and the Kitrean Empire. The Kingdom is aggressively expansionist, lead by a conqueror-king whose boredom with governance lead to him delegating rule of his conquered lands to the ancient Guilds of Ilvash. The Empire is more insidious, letting its territories rule themselves freely only as long as they cast aside their old customs and religions and follow the Empire's doctrine. And between these two monoliths lie the borderlands - a narrow strip of territory whose cities are treated as pawns in the game of empires.
Now a great war has been sparked into flame, and its battles shake the continent. As the war front moves ever closer to Kitrean heartlands, the Ilvashan Guilds send a convoy to control, reinforce and rebuild the newly-liberated city of Montara. But as the Guilds meet with local Orders and Cabals, and contend with the perils of the too-close war front, they may find their loyalty to Ilvash and Ahatils tested. Will they stay true to their mission and make this city a vassal of their ancestor guilds, try to secure its independence, or use its resources to gain dominion over the Guilds in the Kingdom's capital?
Your group will have strong world-building tools, letting you make this story your own. Most important is Montara: it's up to you what form this war-scarred metropolis takes, though we will present examples in the book. The wider borderlands can shift and change as you play according to your decisions, and the final state of your city will be unique. Don't worry, though: the game's procedures will give you inspiration and easy choices to make, while making sure that your world remains coherent and full of mystery.
Each player controls a House present in Montara. They may be a Guild sent to this city from the ancient Kingdom of Ilvash, or an Order local to the borderlands. Together these factions form a venture, dedicated to putting the city back together for their own reasons. Your House is your constant as you tell a decade-spanning saga of discovery, conflict and rebuilding. Each will have a certain vocation that defines them, whether that's the Guild of Varorin's focus on commerce and production or the Order of Kyradar's quest to hunt Mysthea's strangest monsters. When they act in concert, you trigger special abilities that work through the consequences of conducting diplomacy, sabotaging your enemies, claiming vital resources or many other approaches.
You'll jump forward through history, visiting the different flashpoints your venture experiences. At each flashpoint, you'll focus on a particular hero from your House. The hero archetype you pick gives you a particular skillset and role within the House, but it also gives you a new perspective: a gregarious Matchmaker will present a very different side to a House of soldiers than a battle-scarred Veteran.
Once you're done telling the story of a particular flashpoint, you jump your story forward in time. You go as far ahead as the group likes: a few months, a year, maybe even a decade. Over the time skip your House can experience great fortunes or suffer trials, the world can change dramatically, and new threats and opportunities can emerge from the borderlands. Once you've set up your new flashpoint you can make new heroes, still able to call on the powers of those who have gone before. Or perhaps you'll show how an old hero has been changed by the passage of time?
With Legends From the Borderlands, we’re inviting players to dive deep into a world still reeling from a meteoric impact that shrouded the world in endless storms and studded the landscape with shards of crystal. Rising above the endless storms are floating islands and continents, buoyed by shifting tides of gravity: this is the land of Mysthea.
Crystals are vitally important to this world. The strange shards of crystal dotting the landscape – named Qoam – react strangely to gravity, energy and most importantly thought. Each resident of Mysthea has the ability to exert telekinetic control over Qoam, though individuals vary in the strength they can exert and the kinds of crystal the best resonate with. The subtle arts of Qoam manipulation are core to your society – Qoam crystals line warrior’s armour, and resonators communicate across great distances. Qoam prostheses enable amputees to walk with the power of their will, and labourers build structures by exerting their collective will on blocks of crystal-studded stone. The most delicate artisans can even spark life in the crystal, creating servants made of stone and gleaming Qoam facets.
Finally, there’s the inhabitants of this world. None of them have escaped unchanged by the great crystal’s impact. The humanoid folk that make up the bulk of its population have changed the least, growing grey-skinned and pale under the gloom of the endless mists. The awoken automata are rare, often labouring under cryptic ethical codes put in place by long-dead civilisations. And then there’s the monsters, who cannot control Qoam and instead struggle to avoid frenzies when bombarded with its unrefined energy. These ‘monsters’ greatly value cities, where the controlled Qoam allows them coexist peacefully with others.
Watch us play the game on Hijos Del Rol's twitch stream!
Interviews about the game:
Legends From the Borderlands has 9 Heroes and 8 Houses for you to try. Look below for details!
If you'd like a closer look, check out our quickstart. This document gives you a jumping-on point for Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands, letting you try out the core game rules and pre-generated player options before breaking open the full suite of options available in the main book.
If you want to go deeper, take a look at the full handout and basic rules sheets!
All backers will get access to the game as a digital PDF, with hyperlinked bookmarks and indexing.
Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands is planned as a full-colour hardback book, 8.5" x 11"/21.6 cm x 28 cm/US Letter in size. We're estimating it'll extend to 240 pages, and it'll be packed with Travis Anderson's gorgeous art.
We're also making a kickstarter-exclusive deluxe edition. This will have a dark soft-touch matte cover, embossed in silver with the House's logos on the cover and the book's name on the spine. It'll come in a full-colour, durable slipcase.
If you're a retailer interested in stocking the book, back at the £1 level - when our BackerKit goes live we'll open special retailer tiers up to you.
With this game delivering a year from now, it's difficult to put a definite estimate on how much shipping is going to cost. To help mitigate that uncertainty, we're not charging shipping fees now. Instead, we'll charge them using BackerKit when we're ready to ship and know exactly how much it'll cost.
YOU DON'T NEED TO ADD ANYTHING TO YOUR PLEDGE NOW.
For estimates of what it's likely to cost to ship after the campaign, see this diagram:
These costs are estimated from the predicted size of the book. If you add more items to your order (see Add Ons), your shipping costs are likely to be higher.
We'll keep you updated as shipping cost estimates change, based on the scale of the eventual fulfilment effort.
Douglas Santana Mota is the lead developer for this campaign. As one of the lead designers for Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2nd Edition he's adept at writing rules that blend grand scope and personal drama. When he's not designing RPGs, he works as a safety officer in an offshore oil rig. If you can't find him online, don't worry! He's probably hiking somewhere with his adventurous wife and their orcish dog.
Jay Iles is the head of UFO Press, and the other lead designer on Legacy. She's also designed such games as Rhapsody of Blood, Harder They Fall and Transmission Burst. For this campaign, she's handing additional design, book layout and production assistance.
James Mendez Hodes (7th Sea, Scion, Thousand Arrows) is Mysthea’s cultural consultant. He’ll watch over the development of the Borderlands’ cultures and power dynamics to ensure they reflect the best lessons we can learn from parallel situations in the real world.
Rebecca Curran is our editor; she's a veteran of multiple UFO Press books, and we have a great working relationship.
Travis Anderson is continuing to provide the incredible aesthetics of the world of Mysthea. You can check out his portfolio here.
Leonardo Bertinelli and Alessandro Veracchi of Tabula Games are the creators of the Mysthea Universe and its lore.
The Mysthea Universe comes from Tabula Games; check out their games Mysthea, Volfyirion, and Icaion to delve deeper in this world they created. We are very happy that they'll be working with us on this project. It couldn't exist without them!
Finally, we're getting production and distribution assistance from Modiphius Entertainment. They have a lot of experience shipping crowdfunding projects all across the world, and I'm confident their help will make this project a success.
As we go over our Kickstarter goal, we'll be able to make the game better! Here's how:
Hit! At £15,000, we'll get even more beautiful pieces of art - one for each Hero in the book, and each of the non-Ilvashan Houses.
Hit! At £17,500 we'll improve the quality of the book with full-art endpapers and a ribbon bookmark.
Hit! At £20,000, we'll be making map boards for use with the game. Folding out to an A3 size, this board will have a basic map of the area the game takes place in. And it'll be ready for you to customise, covered in a layer that's friendly for dry-erase markers.
This board will be included for free in all pledges at the £70 tier and above. For those at lower tiers, it'll cost £10 to grab a version for yourself.
Hit! The first Shard of Mysthea: a complete expansion for the game, opening up a new area of gameplay. The Rebel Underground is all about the resistance movements that sprung up in Montara under the Kitrean Empire's occupation, and how those movements grow and find new forms after the Empire's expulsion from the city.
- Play as the shadowy Disavowed Order.
- Turn the city on its head with a Revolution.
- Bring your protest movements to life with guidance from guest star writer Helen Gould.
Hit! If we hit £25,000 we'll make further physical addons to the game.
First, a set of ten dice in five different colours, bearing the symbols of the Five islands revered by Lusma. These colours are particularly important in the solo play mode! They'll be available for £10.
Second, a pack of A4 dry-erase handout cards, one for each House and Hero type. Currently this is 23 cards, but as we unlock more houses and heroes with the Shards of Mysthea they’ll get added to this set. They'll be available for £15.
Finally, each city map board will come with four sheets of reusable stickers representing the different buildings, landmarks and factors used in this game. The stickers will be illustrated by Cecil Howe, designer of Hex Kit. These will be free to everyone getting a city map board!
Hit! At £27,500 we’ll unlock the next Shard of Mysthea, all about the inhuman intelligences of this land. In it you’ll find:
- The Foundling, a Hero who grew up among inhuman creatures and now finds themself pulled between their House and their monstrous family.
- The Chimera, a weapon of war created by the Kitrean Empire’s experiments with ambiance who has broken free from their handlers and now seeks their own path.
- Essays on inhuman sentience from Sawyer Rankin, and weird fantasy warfare from Thea Don-Siemion.
- The Crucible - a wonder your House can work towards to reshape their biology or that of another group.
Hit! At £30k, we'll unlock The Silent Arts. In this Shard of Mysthea, we look at Qoam magic in full, glorious detail. How does society change when everyone has some measure of telekinetic power? How can ambiance warp the biology and social fabric of a community? When your bonds with others empower your strongest magic, what does it mean to be a powerful mage? Authors Kira Magrann and Erika Shepherd will be guiding us through these topics, and more. We'll also include:
- A boundary-pushing Hero in the Warlock.
- The Crystal-claimed, a House changed and made immortal by exposure to Qoam ambiance - but who are now forever tied to their crystal keep.
- A Wonder to bring together the borderland's greatest minds in a Great Network.
- The Great Binding, a Quest your characters can embark on to seal away an arcane horror for good.
But that's not all! If we hit this tier we'll include every shard we unlock in the core book - both PDF and Print options. We estimate that this'll add around 30-40 pages to its page count.
Hit! If we hit £33k we'll upgrade the accessories again! The handout cards will become handout boards, made of thick, glossy, beautiful cardstock. And we'll also add another card deck - a deck of Resources to help you keep track of the Surpluses and Needs your Houses are grappling with. Expect more details on these as we approach the goal!
That's all, folks! Everything from here out will be put into making sure we make an excellent game.
Pledging isn't the only way you can help this project grow. Help spread the word and we'll unlock all sorts of extras - wallpapers, an interactive character builder, and postcards and posters included with every book!
Simply do the following to get us closer to unlocking rewards:
- Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UFOpressRPGs/
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ufopressrpgs
- Retweet this tweet: http://ufopress.co.uk/rtlink
Raise your pledge by the listed amount to add these to your order.
You can also pick up our previous games:
Risks and challenges
This is our sixth Kickstarter - we have the infrastructure in place to deliver on time and on budget. We hope to use the same printers as Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, the same designers, and (depending on the final shipping quotes) the same distributors - but life happens, and we’re a small business working with small suppliers, so we’ve built in a contingency fund to help solve any problems we face over the development of this project.
We're also aware that Britain is due to exit the European Union during the duration of this project. It's impossible to say how this will affect our ability to deliver this project, but we have budgeted a significant chunk of money to pay for any Brexit-related costs that may crop up.
- (30 days)