A Cryptic Masquerade (WIP)

low-fantasy

#1

I’m currently writing a game that centers around mythology, specifically North American myths and folktales for the first game. I’m curious about everyone’s interest and thoughts on such a game!

The world of myth and legend had been on the decline for centuries despite the best efforts of the species left behind. The dawn of the new millennium changed all that and now the governments of the world scramble to fend back the onslaught of hostile beings, all the while keeping them hidden from the common populace.
You’re a new recruit of the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs (or the BSA). What brought you to the Bureau doesn’t matter. You are no longer a part of the normal world. You are now a phantom, a shadow, a man-in-black…spoken of in soft whispers by the paranoiacs and conspiracy theorists of the world. What is your fate? Will you devote your life to the Bureau, forgoing human attachment? Will you find love regardless of this harrowing lifestyle? How high will you advance in the Bureau? Will you even stay with the Bureau at the end? It all remains to be seen…Welcome to this Cryptic Masquerade!

You will have seven stats that will affect how you progress through the story. They include;

  • Martial Arts - Your skill in hand to hand combat.
  • Weaponry Skill - Your skill with guns, explosives, and melee weaponry.
  • Medical Training - Your ability to tend to wounds, both your own and others.
  • Tech Proficiency - Your ability with computers and other advanced technology.
  • Subtlety - Your skill in stealth and your ability to lie.
  • Persuasion - How convincing you are when you speak.
  • Occult Knowledge - The amount of knowledge on the Occult, specifically their behaviors and weakness’.

#2

Some possible research topics:


#3

I’d definitely be interested. I’d say go farther than just Native American and include other spirits and supernatural beings as well. I’m not necessarily talking vampires and werewolves but, other creatures that aren’t talked about as much.

Hope you write it, I’d love to check it out…


#4

Send me the fuck into the game!!!


#5

I would be very interested.


#6

That sounds fantastic, but you’d better check with some Native Americans that it’s okay to use myths for fun & fiction (I’m pretty sure it is, but in Australia it isn’t).


#7

I agree w/ Felicity, best to check in with them. Plus, consulting w/ Native American experts would be super useful if you’re given the go ahead so you can start a correspondence and depict these cultural symbols respectfully.


#8

Oh! Sign me up! I’d love to see another choice game outside of the usual European Vampires, Werewolves, or Japanese Yokai (for example). We’ve got some really spooky and interesting stuff in NA. Since you say it’ll be Men In Black-like, I’m assuming the setting is kind of modern day? If there’s any worry about the use of some myths, some safe bets for North American creatures is the Thunder Bird, El Chupacabra, Jersey Devil, Mothman, Bigfoot, Sewer Gators (You could modify them to be much more fearsome), Skin-walker’s, and Wendigo’s. Just to name a few off the top of my head. All of these have so many different stories, modern and old, that I highly doubt anyone would be offended.

Personally my favorite are Sewer Gators. I’ve heard about them since I can remember and I’m still a bit spooked when forced to walk over a grate or near one of those big drains. :smile:


#9

I only know of the Wendigo and the Hidebehind, both of which are cool, but I’d be down to see all sorts of others!


#10

Little bit late but yeah it will be modern day. There’s no shortage of interesting creatures in Native folklore. The only problem is making them more then just ‘Beware, for this creature will invade your camp and eat your babies’. There is also all kinds of things I can do with bigfoot (There’s more variety to it then many people think). I also have what I think is a unique situation for a thunderbird. Sewer gators are definitely an interesting thought. I may be able to use them somewhere. I also have to tweak them to be a little less ridiculous. (I mean we are talking about legends that include cannibals that die too woman on their period and coyotes with detachable genitalia)


#11

That’s completely true, especially in the Appalachian Mountains. You have the dust man, who can use tools and cook food over a fire it made, the midnight whistlers, the raven mocker in the Dark Forest in southwestern Kentucky (along with the woman of the woods… If she touches you, you are marked for DEATH!), the grassman in Ohio (my home state), the Tsu Kalu, which literally translates to red-eyed devil, he can read your thoughts and take full control over you, and the only way to get him to leave is to say leave in Cherokee. And of course many more, not to mention the other Appalachian creatures, such as hellhounds. Sorry for the wall of text, I’m just really big on the supernatural and paranormal.


#12

I love talking about the paranormal so much that I once made a thread to talk about if people think they’re being haunted. Yet it was taken down five minutes after I made it. Which is bullcrap.


#13

I would be interested to play this


#14

My favorite of these when I was little was the Apple Tree Man, but it’s possible he was an amalgamation of Old World legends, a misremembered rhyme, and my own imagination. He was an old, old man who lived inside an apple tree, and would either teach you things or steal away your children depending on whether you respected him right. It’s funny what kids take away from things.

Mama took a penny, put it in a can.
Left it for the shadows and the Apple Tree Man…


#15

While I appreciate the sentiment I’m pretty sure that ship sailed around the time Marvel published its first Thor comic.


#16

There are two factors that make a big difference.

First, as far as I know no one actually believes in Thor as a god these days—but some Native Americans take their traditional beliefs very seriously (here in Australia, some locations and even stories are not meant to even be seen by outsiders—the belief is that major drought and catastrophe would result, so people get seriously upset).

Second, Marvel has a million lawyers and sensitivity readers to call on.

When it comes to religious beliefs that sound to me like nonsense, I ask myself, “What if they were right? What would the consequences be?” For example, some people have very specific burial rituals and believe that they are necessary for their loved ones to pass into an afterlife. Although I wouldn’t take on those beliefs myself, I would be very careful not to mess with the rituals of those people. Because what if they ARE right?

For the same reason, I don’t use religious stories without permission. Apart from anything else, my comfortable life is built on attempted genocide of the Australian Aboriginal nations. For many people, the sacred stories are all they have left. I’m genuinely sad that I can’t make things better by telling more stories about Aboriginal beliefs, but for me to take stories without permission is cultural genocide.

You’re a creative person with many ideas. You can afford to avoid certain stories and ideas. I have given up several stories that I thought were really brilliant (and helpful and respectful) because people that I spoke to (eg. a Ngunnawal Elder here in Canberra) were uncomfortable.

Diversity is important to Choice of Games, and they take it very seriously. Think of it as another form of intellectual property, if that helps.

I don’t want to put you down—your story sounds fantastic. But I don’t want you to spend months or years writing a story that cannot be published.


#17

While there are dozens or more Odinist or Asatru groups out there, I find the Icelandic one most relevant because Iceland was never properly converted. Rather, they voted on which should be the dominant religion on the island to prevent religious violence. Which in itself is a pretty awesome fact if you ever need a booster for your faith in humanity.

Moreover, the myths and mythology of a given people are as much part of their cultural history as its artists and leaders and whatever events shaped their consciousness. And yet, anyone and anything that doesn’t have a lobby is par for the course.

That said I agree with most everything else in your post. We have Imagination on our side here. We can abstract things or boil them down to a core and put our own spin on a universal truth without being disrespectful to anyone. I personally prefer that anyway. ‘Inspired by…’ setups are safer and allow for more freedom and there’s no margin of error because unless you contradict something you said yourself you can’t go wrong.


#18

I have never heard about Apple Tree Man(what does he do with the kids?). I have only heard of Bigfoot, Dark Watchers, Pukwudgie, Thunderbird, Skinwalker, Wendigo and the Unhcegila.


#19

Apple tree man is apparently an old world folktale, specifically from somerset I think.

Also on the topic of Native American Approval, I have several thoughts on it. First, I’m not creating a world where Native myth is true and that’s how the world works. I’m creating a world where Natives saw certain things and interpreted them in certain ways, some right and some wrong. Obviously I will handle it with tastefulness, I’m not going to rip into the Native tribes and treat them like brain-dead cave people but I’m also not going treat Native belief any different then I’m going to treat Christian, Norse, and/or Greek belief. Second, for every christian that was offended by a Richard Dawkins speech, there was one who wasn’t and even saw truth in what he said. Native Americans will be no doubt be no different because they aren’t a hive mind. Third, comic book companies (hell even JK Rowling) have already set precedent for using native and pagan legend/myth in the mainstream.

Fourth, I don’t take into account what my ancestors did when thinking about what I do. Never mind the fact that Native tribes were mass killing each other before Europeans even arrived (and only really slowed by primitive weaponry), I’m not my ancestor and I’m not a representation of my entire race, sex, sexuality, age, etc. So, I’m not going to restrict myself in such an unnecessary way. I say allthis with the utmost respect of course :slight_smile:


#20

There are people in Scandinavia who are still asatroende/still believes in the old faith. True they are a tiny-tiny minority, but they exist - the faith is active. The situation is different, though. Because the historical context is different.

As far as I know Marvel is not a part of the group which oppresses Scandinavia. (That said their interpretation of Loki, Thor and Odin still pisses me off. It is so wrong.)