Midian is a table-top roleplaying game. This means that it was designed for you and your friends to sit around and play together with pencils & paper, dice & imagination. Midian is a multi-player roleplaying game with internet support set in a persistent game world. Playing Midian requires no downloads or purchases. Midian was created for face-to-face gaming, but you can play online on the forums, or using a third-party client, such as chat or email. The Midian Dark Fantasy Roleplaying Game is all about collaborative gaming. As part of the Immersive Game World, internet communication between players, Game Masters, and gaming troupes is important. Midian is not designed as part of another roleplaying game, and has nothing to do with any movie, book, band, or any other licensed property. It is its own thing. There is a wide world of Midianites, interacting, linking campaigns, sharing ideas, and enjoying the game. Sharing game content and stories helps create a large, evolving, and dynamic 'living' game world. Please visit our website at http://Lost-Souls.co.nr or at http://Lost-Souls.hk.st for more game content, full support for the game, or to join in the Immersive Game World.
Published by Lost Souls Publishing
- System architecture and administration: Cardinal Golgotha Kinslayer
- Typesetting, layouts, and graphic design: the nameless ghoul
- Editing and Social mechanics support: Beth J. Fromer
- Creation concept by T-Bone
This is a dark fantasy game which means that the game has warriors charging in on horseback, necromancers, and personal horrors. As Midian is in the dark fantasy genre, the game focuses less on slaying monsters in caves, saving princesses, and amassing obscene amounts of power and wealth, but rather it focuses more on personal struggles, man's inhumanity to man, grey morality, personal horror, and the other less pretty aspects of life. Midian is the dark mirror of fantasy. Midian features disturbing behaviour and grayed morality. Some players choose to exorcise their darker desires; some choose to explore new ways of thinking. Playing this game isn't guaranteed to give you brand new insights into your own mind, but hopefully it will make you think. Just don't play with the lights out.
The genre of Midian—the flavour of the game—lies somewhere between noir films and gothic horror novels. It's been said that playing Midian evokes a certain feeling, one that's hard to describe, and that once you 'get it', it becomes one of your better gaming experiences. Of course, every gaming troupe will have its own take on the game, as with any other, and everyone's gaming experience will be different. There are no meta-plots, no singular great enemy to overcome, and no certain 'right' way to play the game. You are left free to explore the game world, or add your own corner to it. You can play a pulp inspired chronicle where you can never be certain which horrors are real and which are from your own madness, a swashbuckling pirate campaign, a grim & gritty street rat one-shot story, a sweeping romantic epic, a tough & dangerous military campaign, a long-term chronicle of greed & politics, a story of a handful of small town kids trying to make it big in the world of powerful merchants' guilds, a shadowy web of backroom intrigue with the powers behind the scenes, or anything else your imagination can create. You can interact with the most infamous Midianites and take your place among them, quest to become the deadliest swordsman ever, carve your own kingdom through conquest and politics, steal the heart of your lost love, eke out a meager living on the trading circuit, avenge your brother's death (or your own…), seek to sire a dynasty, or just live from moment to moment wherever the wind takes you. Stories can be one-shot games with a few friends for a quick & fun time, or they can be epic campaigns with hundreds of characters that last for decades of real time and cover entire generations of game time, interacting with different guilds from all over the world—ours and the game's.
Midian uses a shared dynamic world, where greed, fear, anger, and hope, all shape the lives of its inhabitants. The setting of Midian is an Earth-like world far, far away. The people of Midian are a diverse lot, with a variety of cultures, languages, species, occupations, ethnicities, and outlooks on life. The overall technology level is late medieval to early renaissance. However, some areas are poorer technologically, and some anachronistic ultra high tech or steampunk tech exists, and is considered a form of magic. This is a low-fantasy setting, where powerful world-breaking magic is the rare and dangerous stuff of stories, but many people know one or two minor rituals. The 'dungeons' are dark alleyways and lonely roads, the 'monsters' are your neighbours, family, even your own self. Midian has been referred to as an ideological dystopia. Its darkly reflective surface obscures an even darker core where terror, violence, and inhumanity hide. It's gritty, cold-hearted, depressing, and spooky. Midian is a sad and scary place to live.
The game engine is a very open system where you have many options for creating and developing your character. You are also free to create your own skills, rename your traits, and develop your character in any way imaginable. This game uses character sheets and those funky odd-shaped dice. Midian is not a 'lite' system, and has many permutations, but uses integrated mechanics and flows nicely. The game was designed so that once you've created a character and played your first session, you'll have most of the system down. If you are familiar with other roleplaying games, learning Midian should be easy. However, the game was also created with ease of play for first-time gamers in mind.
I have used the old Imperial system of measurement (just used now mostly in the U.S.) as this fits the Dark Ages/Renaissance flavour more than metric, and I came to the realization that more people worldwide were familiar with the Imperial system than there were Americans who understood metric. This is a simplified version, mostly just using standard feet and pounds. As an example, the weights for coins listed in the Almanac use the standard pound and ounce (1/16th pound) instead of Troy weight.
Winning and Losing in Midian
In most games you are competing against another person, or several such. In a few games you are competing against dumb luck or your own abilities. In Midian you are already a loser. Fail. In the long run, you cannot win; you are going to die. In terms of the great literary conflicts, it is not 'man versus man' or even always 'man versus himself'. It is instead usually 'man versus nature'. For this performance, the role of 'nature' is being played by the game's setting. Against the whole world, you will always lose. As they say, the mountain always wins. You can fight against it, but you cannot beat it. If you can't win, why play? It is not about winning the marathon, but the struggle just to cross the finish line. And you don't always even manage that. What makes the game worth playing is the tragedy, in the sense of the Greek Tragedies. The hero doesn't always win, but that's not the point. What makes them fascinating to watch is the misery through which the hero suffers. The world is big and scary, and it will get you, ultimately. But, like the toga-wearing audiences of those Tragedies of yore, you can find a great deal of entertainment along the way.
There are many different styles of gaming. This can range from very free-form storytelling to very precise use of game mechanics, from fun competition to detailed simulations. Midian allows any and all of these, without sacrificing enjoyment for any of these styles. You can even mix & match playing styles through collaborative gaming. There are also different types of player skill. Some people are good with making characters, and can tweak the system like a hacker working through a firewall. Other people are critical thinkers; give them a moment, and they can come up with a foolproof plan. Still other players are skilled at thinking on their feet. They rapidly think of something to try, and rarely bother with looking through the book or at their character sheet. Other players are skilled in the social arena across the table. They don't work the system, they work the Game Master and other players. Still other people just seem to have a knack for rolling dice, and can make them sit up and beg. Everyone will have different degrees of skill in each of these areas. Each of these skills are equally valid. The Game Master's style and the group culture of your troupe determines the usefulness of each playing skill. Game Masters, try to be aware of this. Try switching things up a bit to give your players a chance to try different techniques, or to encourage players who might be skilled in areas you don't normally favour. Also, changing how you do things from time to time keeps the players on their toes. Whether you play with candles & black robes, or beer & pretzels, Midian's Immersive Game World is yours, too. Enjoy.
- …To everyone who submitted comments and ideas from previous releases, or on our website.
- …To everyone who has ever played or will play Midian.
- …To my own personal gaming troupe—who have put up with quite a lot—for all the great times.
- …To Dan "The Twink-King" Conner, for being a sounding board for this game even back when this was nothing more than a way for me to try and fit the stackable magic items idea one very late night in the parking lot at Denny's™.
- …To Jon Word for displaying patience truly worthy of the Undead as regards to this game or all things Lost Souls.
- …To David "Ceekay" Weber for never giving up on the game, even when I wanted to, and for his tireless efforts to bring players together.
- …To Liam for being one of Midian's earliest and most vocal fans, and creating the first Midian fan website, though we've never even met.
- …To Amy for help with accents and language skills, especially the plus/minus idea.
- …To all of my playtesters.
- …To Donald Rodriguez for providing me with the final impetus to produce this.
- …To everyone who adds new content or participates in the Immersive Game World to make Midian truly come alive.
- …To all the folks at Unclebear.com, Openroleplaying.com, Strolen.com, Dragonscale.co.uk, RPGGateway.com, RPGHost.com, and of course the members of Lost-Souls.hk.st / Lost-Souls.co.nr for all of your continued patience, assistance, and support.
- …An advance thank you, to all whose ideas and contributions in the future help make Midian great.
- …And last—but certainly not least—to my long-suffering Bosha, for all of your love and support.
- Interaction guidelines by Bosha and Golgotha Kinslayer
- Skill selection by: Beth J. Fromer, Golgotha, the nameless ghoul, and numerous other contributors
- Common Sense attribute, Blade Etiquette skill, and Dwarven concepts by Tommy Ball
- Backgrounds by Bosha and nameless
- Traits by Kinslayer and nameless, inspired by Terry Wasson
- Elven culture, psychology, and physiology by Paul Corley and Golgotha Kinslayer
- Phantom class and Signature Combat Move skill by Carlos Ramos-Ruiz
- Killian by Brad Townsley
- Church of Hugh by Duckie
- The term 'Midianite' by Liam T.
- The phrase "Immersive Game World" by Simon Ringwood
- Religious concepts by Howard Phillips Lovecraft
- Combat system by Cardinal Kinslayer, Terry Wasson, and watching too much anime
- More miscellaneous small additional ideas than what can be listed here by Dan Conner and Tex
Group 1 [Alpha]: Beth J. Fromer and T-Bone
Group 2 [Alpha]: Dan Conner, Carlos Ramos-Ruiz, Lawrence West III, Charles Rashed, and Kevin Brown
Group(s) 3 [Beta and Production versions]: A whole bunch of people, most of whom I've never met (and whose names I don't know), in tabletop games scattered far & wide with various Game Masters, on our forums, or via email and chat.
This is an Open Content roleplaying game by Lost Souls Publishing. It is available for unlimited free distribution on the 'net or for printed reproduction. This game is Copywrong Lost Souls Publishing. This does not release ownership from the creators, but rather allows anyone to reprint this game, or to make changes to it. See the Copywrong license section for details. If you want to change or add anything, then those changes are yours, and the game system is still Open Content. Phantom classes & Signature Combat Move are copyright & trademark Carlos Ramos; Blade Etiquette is copyright & trademark Tommy Ball; Church of Hugh is copyright & trademark Siren Productions. All other content is Copywrong LSP. Any likeness of trademarks, copyrights, or people living, dead, or Undead, is pretty darn scary, and unless used for satirical purposes or fanservice, probably mean you are reading WAY too much into this, and aren't intended as infringement in any localities. Any trademarked names are the property of their respective owners, and are used as per the guidelines of the Fair Use doctrine. No infringement on anyone else's work is implied or expressed. Printed copies may be purchased from Lost Souls Publishing. The full text of this game is available without cost on our website at http://lost-souls.co.nr or at http://Lost-Souls.hk.st, as are all Midian supplements by Lost Souls Publishing. Please visit our website for more game content, full support for the game, or to join in the Immersive Game World.
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You may play Midian anytime, anywhere, however you want. There are no restrictions on public performance or broadcast whatsoever.