Bylina & Bogatyr

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a traditional fantasy game and Bylina & Bogatyr almost qualifies. It’s a fantasy RPG set in medieval Russia where dragons roam the mountains of Kiev and brave warriors draw strength from the earth itself.

The bogatyr is a figure from Russian folklore, a warrior of unsurpassed strength and virtue, literally meaning ?strongman? or ?hero.? Bylinas are poetic songs that relate the deeds of the bogatyr (and their female counterparts, called the bogatyrka or polyanitsa, a word meaning ?field women?). These epic tales of heroes, magic, dragons and witches inspired me to write this game, as did the prospect of entering another 24-hour game competition. The main heroes of the bylina are:

Dobrynya Nikitich, the slayer of the dragon Zmey Gorynych. He?s a noble warrior analogous to the figure of St. George. Dobrynya?s virtue is his incredible bravery and tales of his fearlessness are legendary in the bylinas.

Ilya Muromets, a.k.a. ?The Old Cossack.? A wise and strong warrior made famous in the story ?Nightingale the Robber.? Ilya was born a cripple and remained lame until he turned thirty-three, when he was healed by three wise men. Ilya is regarded as the greatest of the bogatyrs. He gained his superhuman strength as a dying gift from the giant Svyatogor.

Alyosha Popvich., a clever bogatyr and the son of a priest, he defeats his foes through guile and trickery. In early stories Alyosha kills the dragon Tugarin Zmeevich. Later on, the dragon was replaced by a Mongol warlord.

While Nikitich, Muromets and Popvich are the most famous of the bogatyrs, there are other bogatyrs of reknown. The bylinas of Novgorod describe Sadko, a rich merchant, and Vassily Buslaev, a ruffian known for his fierce temper and love of strong drink. Other bogatyr with magical backgrounds include Mikula Selyaninovich, a peasant hero from the steppes; Volkh Vseslavich, a magician with the ability to transform himself into a wolf; and Ilya Muromets? friend Svyatogor, a giant knight from the mountains who was so massive that Russian soil could not bear his weight.


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