Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Five or So Questions with Marissa Kelly on Epyllion

Marissa told me about her upcoming project, Epyllion, soon to be seen at Gen Con!


Tell me about Epyllion. What's got you excited about it?

Sure! First, the word Epyllion means mini epic. It is a "comparatively short narrative poem that shows formal affinities with epics," like the Iliad. I felt like the word literally captured the epic nature that a game about baby dragons should have... And yes! Epyllion is a Powered by the Apocalypse game in which you play baby dragons who must help each-other change, grow, and save Dragonia from the Darkness that has crept back into the land and threatens to corrupt all it touches.

I am excited to combine some awesome genres that I love, like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Lord of the Rings, under my all-time favorite system to play out an adventure of epic proportions.


What are you pulling from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Lord of the Rings to make Epyllion... well,epic?


When you first create your characters in Epyllion the game can seem very cutesy, but the threat of an ancient Darkness creeping back into the world tips the scales [pun intended] back to epic storytelling. Like in MLP or LotR the players are tested by this impending threat and are motivated to save the world they love.

I am a huge fan of both MLP and LotR so, as a designer, combining them and adding dragons into the mix has been nothing but fun. I wanted to make starting out as baby dragons feel like a hobbit being swept off on an adventure. I also wanted to make the friendships you develop with other PCs mean something, so like MLP's friendship = magic, PCs can spend Friendship Gems to call upon the moons and perform magical feats.


What does using the Apocalypse system bring to the table for Epyllion?


The AW engine has helped me design a game in which every mechanic supports the fiction that the table can create, from the playbooks to the Dragon Master moves. All of the AW-hacks have been built on such a sturdy framework of easy, no-prep, “play to find out what happens” gameplay that Epyllion fit in flawlessly.


Is this a kids game, a grown ups game, or both? What do you want players to get out of it?


Both! The great part about "play to find out what happens" is that it is shaped by the DM (Dragon Master) and their players. The game has mechanics that enforce a "feel good game," but the tone can be dark or light depending on who is running/playing it.


When can we expect to see Epyllion out in the wild, and what is up next for you?


I am planning to release the Epyllion: Drake Edition as an ashcan for GenCon this year. It will have all the rules you need to play the game and 6 playbook archetypes. Magpie will then run a kickstarter after that has some time to circulate.

As for what is next, I have a lot of fun ideas burning in my brain that I would love to get rolling on, but I am trying not to get ahead of myself.