You’ve heard this one before.

One of the subject areas I come back to time and again is mythology. If you look at the various branches of humanity, consider how far apart they were, and then look at the similarities between major cultural mythological cycles. That they have so much in common, particularly the Indo-European mythological cycles like the Vedic, Celtic, Greek and Norse stories, seems to indicate that there’s something deeply similar across cultures. We’re talking about stories that came to their tellers in the time when the world was only what you saw, and the chilling nightmares you imagined.

The fact this sits at the root of works of fantasy like Tolkien’s Legendarium, the forefather of all role-playing games as we know them today, makes old mythology a sort of progenitor of the branch of gaming I’m interested in adding to. I’ve also been playing a bit of Dark Souls 3 again, and well… it does unhealthy things to somebody’s thought process where obsession over legends and stories are concerned. I think it might be why I’m incorporating mythology into my game.

I’ve recently become struck by the structure of the mythological cycles above as I learn more about them: Specifically, the way they concern a yawning gap of nothingness in the beginning, yielding to a family of “primordial” deities that personify things like the Earth and heavens, before a time of raging Titan creatures that spread chaos and destruction, at which time they are superseded by a race of gods who set the ground rules of society and explicitly establish order over a world of men and monsters.

This all seems to reveal some deep psychological similarities that cut across cultures. Is it because at the dawn of mankind the world seemed terrifying and fucking impossible to understand, and seemed like it may as well have been ruled by ferocious creatures? Because, after we finally got to the point where we had enough safety and leisure to make shit up for fun, we were looking around and seeing that there were patterns in the world, that there was order to the crazy shitstorm that was the world?

Then there are theories about the fact that societies that gave rise to these myths were characterized by conquest and the subjugation of lesser tribes that they probably viewed as savage and untamed.

It’s from those reflections that I’ve come up with the framework for Project Dawn. It will revolve around the hero’s journey of a young woman whose tribe is menaced by a powerful city state, and who must wander through the chaos of primordial nature to seek the means for her way of life to survive. All of this will be in an RPG (really a JRPG) format.

I’ve begun laying out the broad strokes of the story and characters and even tinkered with some of the numerical values that will eventually form the baseline stats of the party members. Next time: How I’m using RPG Maker MV to make the game and some of the game mechanics I hope to incorporate!