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Mythic Gazetteer

A member registered Jan 02, 2019 · View creator page →

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Hey monkeyEcho, thanks for bringing this to our attention! Turns out we never made that sheet, so I've just thrown something together and added it as part of the download packet here.

Let me know if you get a chance to use it in play! We hope it's helpful.

So glad you're enjoying it! Thanks for letting us know. Been on any cool missions?

Hey weavejester, thanks for your patience this past month! We took kind of a long holiday break here at Mythic Gazetteer.

We didn't realize the fillable PDF creates those artifacts when printed. Thanks for pointing it out! I've just uploaded a fresh version of the character sheet that should print just fine. Pretty sure you'll get a product update about it but wanted to let you know personally too.

Happy gaming!

 - Eli

So glad you had a fun time! The collaboration around the "canon" of the phenomenon is one of my favorite parts as well. And I feel like NPCs are a part of ttrpgs that always benefit from more time at the table. It takes a few sessions to get to know them but when you do? The payoff can be wonderful. 

Happy gaming! 

Zine copies are available (and on sale today!) at Exalted Funeral:

Also, every digital purchase comes with a file that's ready to print at your local copy shop.

Good question! We're looking into this but we probably won't have anything ready before the end of the Redacted Materials jam. All the same... keep your eyes peeled!

(2 edits)

Hey folks! All the stuff we make for this jam is possible because of the Redacted Materials license. We here at the Mythic Gazetteer are new to licenses, and we've had a few learning experiences in the first couple weeks of the jam. I wanted to update you all on what we've learned and what you need to know about the license:

Quick and Dirty

We've released a couple revisions of the mission template as we come to better understand the license we created and what it requires. The current version of the template should be "final" so feel free to use that with peace of mind. If any of you have downloaded the template already, please take a moment to either delete the Mythic Gazetteer logo from the template or just download the revised version.

Slow and... Clean?

Any work that builds on the setting of External Containment Bureau (for example, missions, hacks that create a new ECB-esque organization, etc.) or uses text directly from External Containment Bureau must include the text of the license somewhere in the document. The full text is available on the Mythic Gazetteer website (see the hyperlink above) but here's the text for easy reference:

This work uses material from the External Containment Bureau roleplaying game (found at, designed by Lexi Antoku, Eric Brunsell, Michael Elliott, Justin Ford, and Eli Kurtz, and published by Mythic Gazetteer LLC, pursuant to the open license available at

You're not required to use the Redacted Material logo in your work, but if you do then you also need to include this text in your document:

External Containment Bureau™ is a trademark of Mythic Gazetteer LLC. The Redacted Materials Logo is © Mythic Gazetteer LLC, and is used pursuant to the open licensing terms at

The mission template document has been revised to include this text (and the logo) on a new, second page. There's also room for your name and bio, and even space to put a picture of yourself if you like. 

For a little while the mission template also included the Mythic Gazetteer logo. We realized today this wasn't the best thing to put on the template. Basically, we don't want anyone to mistake your work as being published by Mythic Gazetteer (we also don't want to seem like we're officially endorsing any of your games, no offense). If any of you have downloaded the template already, please take a moment to either delete the MG logo from the template or just download the revised version.

Anything else you need to know about the license should be on the Redacted Materials license page. But let us know if you have any thoughts or questions! We love seeing folks designing around our game and we want to support you however we can.

Absolutely! We've got a license for just this sort of thing. You can check out the details here:

Adira this sounds awesome! I've got an idea for a full-ish hack of ECB centered on a kinda "peer organization." Really excited to see what you come up with!

Rest assured, argel1200, ECB is a complete game. Our playtesting process showed that it achieved our goals of being lightweight, easy to learn, and easy to run, so it's not the kind of game that requires a lot of supplementary material. 

If you haven't already, I recommend checking out the ECB quickstart packet. It's a free look at the game with everything you need to play a one shot (or start a campaign, really). In particular, each character sheet has rules references within easy reach. You can find the quickstart here:

Happy gaming!

- Eli

Thanks for the feedback. This was a small project we did for Zine Quest this past year so a lot of what you're describing is outside the scope of our work. We love those kind of tools but our goal was to create something simple enough get by without them. That said, we're still working on a guide to hacking the game, which will include some of what you're looking for.

Let us know if you get a chance to play!

So glad you're digging it! We really tried to make a lightweight game that uses our very favorite parts of the FITD framework.

Let us know how your game goes! Nothing better than hearing about folks playing our games.

This is a fun, introductory exploration of the Crow Island setting. My first playthrough (along the Path of Asogomas) was around 30 minutes and gave me an excellent taste of the people and places I'll encounter on future playthrough. Luck of the literal draw kept me relatively safe as I moved through the world, but I did run into a cougar at one point and wading through the rivers proved to be a hectic experience that washed a lot of my young hunter's pelts down the river. 

Looking forward to more journeys in this great world!

Do you mean the Quickstart Keeper graphic? If you're having trouble with that you can try this direct link:

Glad you're enjoying it! 

Kinda depends how far away from Denvorn you want to get, I guess.  You can play with the core rules and just ignore the faction/setting-level stuff that starts at page 33 of the v1.0 doc, but the whole game is tied pretty closely to the setting. If you want a *completely* distant experience you should probably just use the core rules, create custom playbooks, and consider how the campaign-level mechanics might be changed to fit your setting.

I knew CrashCart was going to be pretty and I still wasn't prepared for exactly how pretty it would be. I opened it and was gobsmacked! Galen's put together a solid playtest edition that has a cool, card-based approached to Forged in the Dark gameplay. Looking forward to giving it a closer read soon!

Would love to see this. Kinda shocked a site that's largely for video games doesn't already have this feature.

Lost in the Grey took maybe an hour to play from start to finish, and in that time I created both a cool map AND a cool story to go along with it. What a fun single-player experience! Highly recommended.

Finally got my game out into the world today! I'm pretty satisfied with how Once Upon the Web turned out. If you take a look I hope you'll let me know what you think!

Thanks much! I hit a mental block about a week ago but it's getting cleared up and I'm making some fun progress today. Hopefully I'll have something to share by Friday!

Hey everybody! I'm super excited to be creating for the Folklore Jam and wanted to share my project somewhere. Seems like this is the best place!

Once Upon The Web

Once there was a User who loved the Group Chat on their favorite Platform. They shared Content with their Mutuals from the time they booted up their device in the morning to the time they charged it at night. But one day, the User heard a rumor about secrets in a deep corner of the Web. The User went looking for these secrets, and that navigation changed them forever.

One of my favorite things about old folklore a la Brothers Grimm is the practicality of it: folktales were a way for common people to share stories about their lives and how to live them, and it wasn't necessary to get published or renowned to be able to tell those tales. Tabletop games occupy a similar niche. We often use TTRPGs to tell escapist tales in settings very different from our real world but the potential is still there for TTRPGs to tell stories that guide us through our lives.

I'm using the Belonging Outside Belonging framework by Avery Alder and a similar game, Trouble For Hire by Kevin Allen Jr, as inspiration for the mechanics for Once Upon the Web. I'd like this to be a game where players take on the role of "world forces" (the website, influencers, trolls, etc.) and guide an NPC "User" through the digital wonderland. Ideally, it'll be a game that makes it possible to create shared folktales that impart genuine lessons about how to navigate the internet.

Looking forward to seeing what other folks have in store! And if anyone's got any insight into designing a) diceless mechanics or b) PBTA-style moves I'd love to hear it!

Thanks Nick! I think I bought Misspent Youth a few months ago but there's a big ol pile of RPGs I've gotta get through. I'll bump it up the list though!

Sounds like a fun hack! I'm familiar with Misspent Youth but I've never had the chance to read or play it. Interesting to think of swapping phase mechanics for something (potentially) more granular though!

Swords Without Master is such fertile ground for hacking! I've heard there's a pretty good Star Wars hack out there but I'd love to see more stuff coming out for it.

I'd also love to see someone hack Trouble for Hire by Nathan Paoletta. It divides traditional GM and setting tasks between players in a really cool, fluid way. 

Not to self promote too hard but I published a hack of The Quiet Year this past year! The Summer Greening: A Blackwood Tale is a game about a society of bold rangers trying to hold themselves together as their forest territory grows weirder and weirder through the seasons. It's not a super innovative hack but it was fun to tweak the kind of story told through the card draws.

Wow I LOVE this analysis of this poem! Really wonderful application in Under Heaven, Underworld too. 

I don't know of any survey like that but I like the idea. Let me know if you'd like any help putting questions together.

Agreed all around! I had a tickle in my brain that there was a "run the plot" game or two out there but couldn't remember what they were. Thanks for the reminder! You could also add Tobie Abad's A Single Moment to that list, although you can string that game's scenes together more or less however you like.

I guess it wasn't all that accurate to say "run the plot" games are railroady. I think they can run that risk... but maybe not any more or less than any other system. That is to say: the difference between guided plot and railroad may have more to do with the GM than the system.

Levi, I appreciate that distinction at the end between "RPGs are good at creating narratives" and "RPGs are bad at conforming to plot structure." There are ways games encourage certain narratives but the games I've seen that try to get the plot to conform to a particular structure are usually too railroady for my tastes.

For example, I've played 15 sessions of a Blades in the Dark campaign and the narrative is building pretty naturally toward a massive climax very soon. The players have just wanted to live as illegal canal skiff racers who use their clout to advocate for better labor conditions for the Dockers. But trying to rise through the racing ranks while also avoiding the legal entanglements of that passion and also taking direct action against oppression has heaped a mighty pile of trouble on the crew's shoulders. 

It reminds me of Peaky Blinders: Tommy Shelby "just" wants his family to live well but there's always a better quality of life on the horizon, and each new plateau comes with new and unique problems. Tommy's method of overcoming those challenges means he's always sticking his neck out further and further. In the same way, this crew "just wants to live" but the interplay between Stress, Vice, Reputation, Heat, and Entanglement all push the narrative toward that increasingly fraught, difficult climax. The mechanics encourage a certain narrative without mandating a particular plot structure, and I think that's a sign of good design.

I'm in the process of putting together a working draft of my folklore-fantasy hack, The Blackwood Tales. The elevator pitch is that you are wandering adventurers inspired by (mostly European) folklore who have gathered together in an inn to recount adventures you went on together years ago. The GM is the Innkeeper and seems to know more about your adventures than they should...

I haven't thought in terms of "what I'm cutting out" because essentially I started with a foundation of GM/player principles and agendas and literally nothing else. When a principle or agenda requires a mechanic, I look at what exists already and figure out if I can use one of those pieces. So for now my hack is limited to:

  • Position/Effect
  • Stress ("Tangles")
  • Trauma ("Folly")
  • Vice ("Calling")
  • Playbooks (currently 4 character playbooks and 3 currently undrafted crew playbooks)
  • Push Yourself and Flashback have been combined into "Embellishment"
  • Devil's Bargains

Load, Reputation, and several other mechanics will probably become a part of the hack too but I'm not sure yet! Trying to build as lean a draft as I can at first so I can playtest and determine what's missing.

Oooooh, I really like shifting Claims/Foundations over to the Downtime phase. It feels like that's the mechanic that gets the least amount of engagement from people I've played with and if I had to guess I'd say it's because a) most of my fellow players are new to the system, and b) there's already a lot going on in the Free Play and Score phases!

Also with you on simplifying healing. I think a hidden design principle in BitD is that players ought to have more than one character ready to go. Get injured? play a different character until this one is healed up. Too much heat? send a character to prison to cool things off. Overindulge? might need to play another character for a bit! So I guess Heat as-written makes sense in that context but I'm not a big fan of it.

Welcome Eric! Glad to see ya here.

I would also suggest this model:

How to Criticize with Kindness: Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently

It's very similar to what you've already posted, tropical depression, but it's super concise. Might be helpful for remembering the basic structure of the method.

Absolutely yes! Folklore is my design bread and butter.

My understanding of your line of thinking, Axes&Orcs, is that you're presenting two points:

1. D&D is not (and is not intended to be) a game that's designed with narrative structure in mind. (And maybe 1a: If people want narrative structure there are better games out there.)

2. Because 1, creating space in the text of D&D for what we might call "narrative training tools" is unnecessary.

If those are accurate readings of your points, I agree with point 1 but I think point 2 is no hill to die on. 

You're right that D&D was designed with particular goals in mind, a lot of people use D&D for stuff that's well beyond those goals (my feathers always get a bit ruffled when I hear "we played the best game of D&D ever last night... we never even picked up the dice!"), and those people might have an experience that's closer to their flavor of fun if they used a different game. 

But for point 2, I feel like there's a lot of stuff in the D&D books that people never use (if we limit ourselves just to the PHB: travel, encumbrance, trade goods, underwater combat, etc.). To me, it doesn't feel like a betrayal of D&D's design if WOTC adds a few paragraphs (or even a whole chapter) on how narrative structure can be noticed and highlighted in the course of improvisational and/or tactical play.

I cut my designer teeth on GITP! Haven't posted there in *logs in real quick* four whole years! I hear you about that BBCode. XD

I guess it's no surprise that the example you mention, Dream Askew, is a game that takes care to divide narrative duties up between the players. That makes you wonder why narrative tools weren't more popular in the days when games where dominated by GM roles (just because narrative duties are centralized in one person doesn't mean they're any less challenging to learn!). 

Does it seem likely that shared-narrative games are the ideal environment for narrative tools? Like, are narrative tools any more important in a shared-narrative game than they are in a game with a traditional GM?

Performance has always been a big part of my experience at the table (I have a theatre background too!), to the point where I notice how often other folks prefer to keep it light or avoid it entirely. It's interesting to see which games "get out of the way" to facilitate performance. Like, D&D as a rules system doesn't provide any structure for roleplay, but because of that it can be a capable facilitator for freeform RP. One reason why I think shows like Critical Role and The Adventure Zone are so popular is because the players can just riff with each other without worrying about picking up the dice.

Contrast that with games like Monsterhearts, which are all about social interaction and has a lot of rules to facilitate it. But introducing those dice in the midst of roleplay "performances" is a disruption that D&D can more easily avoid.  Or for a really egregious example, look at Blades in the Dark: every action roll in the game is the result of a conversation that goes back and forth between player and GM several times.  "Performance roleplay" is possible in both these systems but both present unique challenges too.

Hi everyone! I'm Eli, he/him, gamer, game designer, cartographer, co-host of Jianghu Hustle, and owner of The Mythic Gazetteer. I've been playing RPGs for most of my life and designing them for the past few years. As a player, I tend to GM often and I love Blades in the Dark, The Quiet Year, Swords Without Master, D&D, Savage Worlds, and a bunch of other games. As a designer, I'm currently focused on a Forged in the Dark game of fairytale bargains and thrilling action set in my original fantasy setting, The Blackwood. I'm sure I'll post a bunch of little games here over time too.

I was recently made a mod there in the Tabletop Games forum, so I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone. Don't hesitate to hit me up if you ever want to chat! You can also find me @ZapDynamic on Twitter and Eli Kurtz (He/Him)#9444 on Discord.

Just chiming in to second that categories for D&D and Fate at least would be good and, I think, necessary. I've had a couple people contact me privately about creation of these spaces in the Design section.

Really solid point. At least here in the early days/weeks/months, separating by activity seems like a better way to go about it.