So we'd make a nice little fairytale place for the ladies, and our children, tucked away in the woods and waterfalls of the hills somewhere, with all sorts of wonderfully girlie craftshow junk, and dollhouse crap, and arts.
And then we'd say that the gods have given us an important mission, and we must go and fight a terrible enemy, in a faraway land!
And off we'd sail, in search of cool loot and parties, and we'd need to remember to pick up something nice, while we were at it, to bring back home to the wife and kids, clever little dwarven toys and exotic furniture and pretty jewerly or something, whatever it takes, to keep us out of the doghouse.
Some of us die, fighting sea serpents and stuff, sometimes all of us die, fighting mummies and evil wizards.
But as long as we have children back home, tucked away somewhere, in a safe place, our adventures continue.
Those are our "extra lives."
And maybe our adventures continue even if we don't have any more kids tucked away somewhere, or any kids that we could "borrow" from a buddy or something (Contra-style ahaha), and we might have to start over in some place different, as an orphan or something, mebbe, whatever, you might have a wife in every port and a plague might wipe out a village.
And when we do return home, if we do return home, we can make good on our experiences, by teaching the kids (and not just our kids, 'cause you owe something to all the guys that were eaten by sea serpents) all the things we've learned about fighting evil supernatural monsters and avoiding the cunning traps in all the tombs we robbed for treasure and how you should always remember to pick up some nice furniture for the ladies.
And we do that by telling stories around the fire, as veterans of strange campaigns, and for something to do in our old age to get the kids to fetch us more scotch and blankets and shit.
When they're big enough, perhaps we'll even take some of them with us, if we survive long enough to do that, and then we can even give them hands on experience.
Or perhaps they'll stow away on board our ship, without our knowledge, 'cause children are notoriously hard to control like that heh.
And if we eventually evolved into knights from our pirate and bandit roots, we'd be assigned squires, and it would be much the same, except that we'd probably be a little flashier looking, and more charming, with chivalry and all that, and we probably wouldn't be allowed to party with such reckless abandon without the gods punishing us for it.
And we'd probably want to steer clear of the water, in all that heavy armor, and we'd ride horses about the world instead of boats.
Something like that hits on all the main "epic poetry" cylinders (even if it is a little low-brow, I can't help that, I think things need to have a little dirt on their hands to make the fairytale monster garbage seem realer heh).
And there is no End Game.
And its got permadeath and crafting and dollhouse junk and everything, and even the possibility of heroism, although I think there's a pretty good chance that you might get even more famous for dieing in a hilariously spectacular way during a fight with a sea serpent heh.
Yah, mebbe this is a little sexist, but so is Nature, and I think it makes up for it some by being genuine.
Plus it doesn't make any difference to me if its some hot craftsmen guys that have to stay home with the kids while the ladies go off on adventures ahaha.