What is this?
Salt Mystic is what we at Grailrunner call an Immersive Storytelling Engine. The idea is to provide a storytelling framework for the most innovative and interactive mechanisms possible. We’re trying to forge new ways of engaging with fiction. This science fiction world is the pool you dip into. Cool?
At its core, Salt Mystic is a terrain-based trading card wargame, with a storyline advanced in novels and short fiction. And there are shirts and mugs, because there just HAD to be shirts and mugs!
Two thousand years ago, the Salt Mystic declared her vision of the forces of history, and how to harness them to shape human events. Naraia was the name they gave to the wondrous, sprawling republic that arose from her teachings, encompassing countless thriving civilizations on land, floating on the seas and tethered to the sea floor, and tucked into pockets of artificial space called oriels.
All of it shattered into a thousand pieces a generation ago in a terrifying and almost supernatural conflict called The War Of The Rupture. Now, roving bands of Naraia’s remnant fleets and soldiers and its marvelous machines scatter like maple seeds for anyone with a vision to seize them. That’s where you come in.
But there’s more power here than guns and fire.
The Salt Mystic injected cunningly engineered stories into the folklore and myths the people pass down, ones capable of possessing a person’s soul. Foreseeing the wars and injustice that could emerge from Naraia, she hid tripwires in these myths that inspire world-shaking guardians when they’re needed the most. A guardian arises maybe once in a generation. It changes everything.
And it could arise in anyone at all.
Wait, it’s a game?
The Salt Mystic game is primal and intimate war in a bottle…easy to learn, with a small set of core rules. We wanted to avoid tedious assembly and painting of miniatures, confusing and burdensome fluff and lore, complicated rulebooks that drag on for hundreds of pages, and streams of nameless soldiers impossible to relate to. At heart, we wanted to tell a story.
In fact, our original manifesto for the game was:
- A tabletop wargame based on trading cards that are placed on terrain like miniatures would be, with consequences for the orientation and placement of each
- Unique characters coming alive on cards with gorgeous artwork and card mechanics that affect gameplay in a way meaningful to the overall story
- An over-arching narrative that makes sense of the series of battles, who’s fighting and why, and what the consequences might be either way
- Every single character, weapon, and vehicle has a backstory. Nothing is given as plain vanilla fluff. Even the scratches on a cannon barrel came from somewhere.
- Adaptable narrative and game mechanics that allow for a continuing storyline that is easy to relate to and understand
How can I get started?
Download the free Basic Rules to take a look inside this richly developed and expansive world, in what’s been called a “science fiction theme with a cowboy flair”. Inside, you’ll find the basic rules to play both the classic 2-player game as well as the terrifying solo ruleset called “Wolfpack Mode”. A game of Salt Mystic requires two 30-card selections from War Marshal card decks, which are available at DrivethruRPG here.
You can also find starter battle decks included, along with more papercraft terrain options, a bonus ruleset for a solo dungeon crawler played with the same cards, as well as a gorgeously illustrated and detailed introduction to the lore and background of Salt Mystic in the Core Rules And Sourcebook available here.
Can I play Salt Mystic online?
Sure! You just need someone to play with and Steam accounts to access Tabletop Simulator.
- Visit the Steam page and download Tabletop Simulator. It’s worth it if you’re into tabletop gaming.
- In Tabletop Simulator, just search for Salt Mystic. Here’s a one-page cheat sheet for the commands.
- Download the Salt Mystic basic game rules and start playing! (learn how to flip the table if things really go poorly for you)
The visuals look unique. Can I see some more artwork?
Thanks for asking! Tour artwork inspired by the Salt Mystic series on Artstation.
Shirts and mugs, you say? Where can I get some Salt Mystic merchandise?
You said the story advances in novels and short fiction. Where can I find that?
Read the first book in the Salt Mystic series, TEARING DOWN THE STATUES. It’s the electrifying story of this generation’s true Guardian. Maybe. Anyway, it’s funny and scary and has great dialogue with characters that pop. And cool machines. What else do you want?
Occasionally, we share short fiction and art pieces set in the Salt Mystic world here on this site and on the Grailrunner Twitter and Facebook pages. You don’t have to catch all them to know what’s going on, but it enriches the experience big time!
We do periodically accept short fiction and art pieces set in the Salt Mystic world here and on our social media. If you’re interested in participating, pick up a copy of the Salt Mystic Core Rules And Sourcebook for inspiration and contact us here: brian (at) grailrunner.com.
Art: Generally, we don’t pay royalties or purchase art pieces unless specially commissioned, but feel free to contact us for possible interest in your project. By submitted your work to us, you’re granting electronic-display rights on the Grailrunner website and its associated social media pages (Twitter and Facebook).
Short fiction: Short works of fiction must include at least one element from the Sourcebook, be original work with rights owned by the submitter, and must not include anything resembling pornography or hate speech. No overtly political works will be considered. This is escapism and science fantasy. Lengths welcomed as high as 1,000 words, but not much longer. Contact at email above for more details. Even if we don’t purchase your work, you may still wish to have it posted on the sites.
Let’s see those Volume One cards!
(c)2021 All rights reserved. Salt Mystic and all likenesses contained within are the property of Grailrunner Publishing.