• Co-creating the Agemonia story: A chat with Narrative Designer Mike Pohjola

    “Oh, you play tabletop RPGs, you should meet Max, was a phrase I hear many times,” Mike starts. Mike works as a co-creator along with Lead Designer Max Wikström in Agemonia, and creates the lore, stories, backgrounds, and the world of the game. “It took like 10 years of low-key advertising in the circles before we actually bumped into each other, a dozen years back or so. We hit it off instantly, both being gamers, nerds and roleplaying enthusiasts.” 

    Mike and Max discussed the Agemonia world a lot, and Mike ended up working in world creation for the project. “I’ve already created RPGs and written books, like the Age of Tempest RPG, but this was a very enthralling project to work on,” Mike says. “Max has worked a lot on the higher-level mythology of Agemonia, I work in creating societies and the different peoples.” Mike says he has delved into the project deep enough that he can now create and dream more freely and be in tune with what Agemonia is “all about”, which is very freeing since he doesn’t have to check up on every detail constantly, which in turn lets creativity loose.

    To Mike, the best thing in creating fantastic things for Agemonia are the cultures. “The peoples are based on very high fantasy concepts where I've had to think a lot about how their culture actually works.. I love the stuff where I can let go of traditional models of fantasy peoples and societies, like the korallians and quothians. “I find the concept of a society that could be construed by some as evil and full of “dark” magic very cool, though it begs the question of what evil is in itself then, if one of the heroes is a quothian. Are they evil then?” Mike says.

    Mike, a father of three children and Helsinki, Finland, resident, says he likes creating intrigue and telling compelling stories. “The Agemonia story is so vast, it’s one of the best things about the game. There are not many games that are this story-driven with the solo stories of the heroes themselves, entwining with the plots, treachery and large-scale machinations.” 

    “Each hero in Agemonia has a theme, too, which is largely present in the story of the hero. Venia has to make decisions between power and love, One of the heroes works for a corporation that hacks down forests for profit and has to decide between personal power and his people,” Mike says. “I also love how the heroes in Agemonia are not traditional wandering vagabonds, because that trope isn’t often that realistic. For example, one of the heroes has a family and a career, so he has to explain his gallivanting off to adventures to his wife and take care of things, and not just escape into the world,” Mike laughs. “It’s realistic, which makes it very human.”

    The choices that heroes make in their personal journeys affect the story on a larger scale, so crafting the story and all the possibilities is daunting. Mike is experienced in that too, however. “I loved Choose your own adventure-books back in the day, and I’ve even created one in Finnish regarding the 1918 independence of Finland civil war, an immersive novel for adult readers. So, creating branching possibilities and stories where choice plays a large part is something that I already know how to do.”

    When asked about what Mike is working on right now, he says he has just finished a line of faction introductions. “We are also working on creating and fleshing out the various groups now,” he says. “There is a plethora of interesting entities that the heroes can end up working with, in or against. It’s all up to them, all choices have their ups and downs. Currently I’m writing about the secret organizations and societies in Agemonia.”

    Mike is anxiously anticipating the fruition of the project, but there is still a lot to do. “We are just leaving this week for a retreat in Southern Finland with Max, where we aim to work on how the mechanics and story work together in Agemonia and work on the campaign. It ought to be fun!”

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© Agemonia

A Co-operative fantasy board game.