The Game: Epyllion
The Publisher: Magpie Games, created by +Marissa Kelly
Degree of Familiarity: Not much. I haven't had the pleasure of playing it yet. The version I have is an "ashcan," a little $10 skinny book sold at GenCon last year to drum up interest for the Kickstarter. It seems to have worked.
Books Required: Just the one.
Epyllion works on the "Powered by the Apocalypse" system, much like Monsterhearts and a hack of curse the darkness. That means it's dirt simple for the players: Roll two dice and add a stat. I'm going to be running this game starting in a couple of weeks, so that's fun.
But what is it? In Epyllion you play young dragons called drakes, citizens of Dragonia. Previously a great Darkness fell over the land, the dragons drove it back...but now it's returning. The drakes know about it, and they need to investigate this coming threat.
Like most *World games, it leaves a lot to the imagination and interpretation of the DragonMaster (DM - that's catchy!). Unlike a lot of *World games, there's no sex move. Probably just as well.
OK, to create a character, I need a playbook. There are six to choose from (so far, though the Kickstarter added a buttload more): Academic, Crafter, Daredevil, Nature Adept, Seer, and Warrior. Since Magpie helpfully put them up as a download, I shall peruse. Momentito.
You know, I think I shall make a Warrior. I like the idea of a dragon that's so powerful and like a force of nature having to learn that he's not as strong as he thinks, and that his friends have their own kind of strength. Just not "knock down trees" kind.
I really like this little book. It's a few pages of history, but enough to give me the gist, not a timeline that takes me through 10,000 years in 1000 year chunks (writers of fantasy games: You are not textbook writers!). So, reading through the history section, I know that dragons divide themselves up into noble houses, one of which was lost to the Darkness in the First War.
But! To make my character, I start with a playbook. OK, check, did that. Next I pick a name. The book has a few examples, two of which are "Kimrath." One of them is Buck, and I can't really choose that; I know a Buck, and it'd be too weird. I kind of like Morning as one of the suggestions, actually.
Now I build my "look," selecting an option from several groups. I pick:
Curling horns (around in a loop, like a ram's).
Then I pick a color. Now, strictly speaking, the DM would have friendship gems that determine the color, but as I do not have one of those, I'll say Morning is red (red sky in the morning, Darkness take warning).
Now I pick a House. I get a choice of two, it seems. I can be House Tessith (house of diamond) or House Brynbak (house of steel). They give me a thing I can do to erase a Condition at the end of a session. Hmm. The relevant choice here is: Do I wish to focus on defending the weak, or smiting the Darkness? I think we'll go with the latter. Morning is from House Brynbak.
Stats, then. In this game they're Heart, Charm, Courage, and Cunning. I get +1 to Heart and Courage, 0 in Charm and -1 in Cunning. I can add one more somewhere. Hmm. Most of my moves key off of Courage, but what about the basic moves?
Well, it looks like Heart is my go-to. The other ones about leadership, but I kinda see Morning as just figuring that out. So I will add my free point into Courage (for +2).
Then I pick a Virtue. This is something that I admire in others and display myself. I can pick from Bravery, Honesty, and Humor. I think Bravery is Morning's big thing.
Now I pick moves. I get True Warrior for free, and for my other pick, I'll take Act of Valor. If I take on a quest, I get certain bonuses (a voice that penetrates the Darkness, for example), and if I complete the quest, I mark XP, which is fun.
I would do a Fellowship, which examines my relationships with the other drakes in my group, but as it's just me, I skip that bit.
And that's it!