Creation Myths

edited July 2013 in General Discussion
I see a lot of people have the creation myth of their world written up in their wikis.

I kind of sit on the fence with this idea. If I don't write it up, nobody will appreciate it.

But if its all explained out in the open, then there is no mystery about "the true dawn war" or even who is the big bad.

Since I am stuck in the middle (I have a creation history) I thought I would ask y'all's viewpoint.


  • StoryMaster
    Posts: 12 edited July 2013
    First: You have what really happened.
    Second: You have eight million versions of what people think happened. (exaggeration)

    Third you don't have to write all of them, just some. Enough to muddy the issue of what the true version is. Then it's easier for your players to go 'eh. myth, not real.' Which then leads to 'Wait what? We're actually fighting THAT GUY? You mean he's not just made up to scare small children into eating their veggies?'
    Post edited by StoryMaster on
  • ketherian
    Posts: 203
    I agree with StoryMaster.
    Detailing how people think the world was created (multiple versions of the creation history) is a great way to interject religion, culture, and a trove of relics into any campaign. It's not just deities that a creation myth can define, but their heroes, morals, and even cultural expectations.

    So if you don't write it up, it's not that no one will appreciate it - more that you'll probably end up telling bits of it each time something in your game relates to the creation story.
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    Yeah, I'm on board with the reasoning that the two of you have proposed.

    I guess what I need to do is write a generic (but flavorfull) creation mythos for the various cultures/main area, and post that as the official one the players can read.

    Posting my version would reveal to much.

    It would give me the opportunity to throw in some contradictions and etc.

    Hmmmm, I'm thinking one version for the nature lovers, spirit followers, and shaman. Another version told by the common folk. And perhaps one more told by the main religion (which is composed of deities from older pantheons, so this myth would have widespread influence.)

    Not going to post my original though...leaving that GM only I think, for "reference". And then if I change it later....nobody knows. Muhahahaha....

    How about those of you that have the main story written up on your web sites? Have you had any problems with the players having to much info?

    excellent example of mythos..."Crimson Skies": by "Phoenixmark": et al.
  • twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,911 edited July 2013

    I don't think you will EVER have a problem with players having "too much info" unless you are literally posting the stats of the monsters they are about to meet OR unless there is SO MUCH that it takes too long to read! I would give a genuine account of the creation myth as you see it ... and don't make it too detailed... most players probably won't take it all in, I fear ... not as much as you, anyway! However, you DO want them to have a general and correct understanding of what is going on. Of course, you could always present the myth according to... (as you suggested earlier) but I think it would be a mistake to include too many versions of this. I promise you, people will get confused!

    In a Gandalf way of saying things: "Keep it simple. Keep it straight!"

    "Shimring - The Faces of Divinity":
    "Campaign of the Month - August 2012":
    Campaign in Planning: "Mysteria": - set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.
    Post edited by twiggyleaf on

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • optimus_mush
    Posts: 28
    I actually tend to agree with your conundrum, SkidAce. In our campaign world we actually created three different histories, compiled by three different societies. One is the creation of a secular university, one the official history of a growing theocracy, and the third by a powerful, but isolationist nation. We handled the timeline by using quotes from each of the three major histories with no DM voice at all. It makes things a bit vague, at times, but generally relates the broad strokes of history and the various cultural and political perspectives attached to it.

    It is also a fun and challenging way to write. At times we use first person accounts and at other times the disseminations of scholars. There can be hundreds of years between the interpretations, so view points can easily change.

    Here is the address to our history section.

    Anyhow, just one way that we handled a similar problem.
  • GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,966
    I love having the history be part fact, part fiction, part legend, part farce....
    The PC's love finding out which is which, in my experience!
    "A God...Rebuilt":
    "OP's COTM April 2012":

    Just trying to help out.

  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    Yeah I want the mystery. I like your style optimus_mush.

    I guess the core problem is "my" history outline is way to full of plot twists and reveals to be posted, even with a myth and legends vibe.

    I'm going with something like Optimus. Bits of truth mixed up with legends, and several main versions, all built off of my true outline. So I get killervp's effect of part fact, part fiction, part legend, part farce….
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    I hear you twiggy, but one of the main conceits of my campaign has been "discovering whats going on", so I can't throw to much out there.

    Oddly, the wonderful wiki format we have here has caused the dilemma.

    I certainly didn't read off my world's history to my table side players back in the day.
  • LarpWorks
    Posts: 3
    I believe that it depends entirely on how centrally important the creation myth is to the game world, how long ago it took place, and if the myth is what REALLY happened or not.

    If the myth is more story background than campaign material (i.e. - the PCs are going to eventually run into creator 'gods' etc) then there is really no harm in fleshing out the myth and disseminating it to the PCs. Even if the myth later becomes central, there can still be the revelations of the myth if it is prevalent in the game world.

    If the myth is going to be a central part of them game, then it should be fleshed out, but left very mythical and less concrete factual. Kinda like we have our old Greeco-Roman myths. Some could have happened, but they are pretty fantastic. And took place thousands of years ago. Cool story bro, we'll keep it in mind, let's kill on.

    Now if your myth IS a central part of the game for whatever reason...that is where secrecy becomes important. Will it ruin the mystery or experience for the PCs to give them too much up front or is the history actually so deep and complex that you WANT PCs to find out the truth IP?

    For a game currently being worked on by LarpWorks, the history is very very well known, however, it was all written by the single surviving faction of the cataclysm. So it is the history according to THEM, which means that it may or may not be true across all spectrum's and it is up to the PCs to eventually decide if they buy the official version as new and different information comes to light.

    So I suppose the simple answer here is based on how important/secret the creation myth is to your PCs and the game world as far as how it will affect the way that the game is played and how it will work with or against you while you try to guide PCs through the story.
  • jerobo
    Posts: 2
    I cannot help but to have that sort of background information in mind while writing up stories. I generally write it out, regardless of if anyone else will know or care.

    It is going to get written anyway. As long as it doesn't create spoilers then why not? Hell, let it create spoilers. If a player wants to read the back story (for the first time in history) reward them.
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    Valid point jerebo....valid indeed.
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