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The Late Blog

The Civilised Voice - Alternative ended up being delayed ten hours from its usual go-live time of 12:00 UTC+1. It went live at 22:00 UTC+1. This was due to my ongoing preparations for running "A Race Through Dark Places" for Fioracitta, at GenCon Online, September 17 and 18.   All future blog posts are going live at 10pm UTC or UTC+1 on Saturday nights, from the 2021-09-11 post onward.

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing

The Nomadic Voice - Alternative

Continuing the exploration of the different Cultures from the Mythras Core Rulebook, this time looking at Nomads. Nomadic people have coexisted with settled peoples since the dawn of humanity. There has been a dichotomy between settled people and nomadic travellers since the first humans left Olduvai Gorge to fend for themselves when it became too crowded. Some humans settled in new places ... others, kept on going. Epic Scale Going by the fossil records, hominins evolved bipedal

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing

The Barbarian Voice - Alternative

Continuing my look into the four basic cultural backgrounds from the Mythras Core Rulebook. What, exactly, is a barbarian anyway? What distinguishes a Barbarian culture from a Primitive, Nomadic, or Civilised culture? The answer, shockingly, is nothing. "Barbarian" is a political definition - basically, it's "any culture that isn't ours." Technically, "barbarian" just means "foreign," or "outsider," just like "pagan" just means "country bumpkin" and "mundane" means "man of the wor

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing

The Primitive Voice - Alternative

This week, and for the next few weeks, you're going to take a little side step. You're going to be presented with the voices of the different cultures of Mythras. I know, you've already got The Primitive Voice, The Nomad Voice, and so on, from the Core Rulebooks. But these Voices are different. A Connected World These voices assume two things: one, that fantasy worlds are connected places, where that which affects one person, one place, affects other people, other places; and two,

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing

What Makes A Great Character?

What makes a player character a great character to play? All too often, I see people asking the most toxic questions in numerous online venues, along the lines of "What if orcs stumbled across Xenomorphs?" or "What if a sorcerer were assimilated by the Borg?" - and I realised something awful recently. What made those questions toxic was that those questions were about nothing but combat. At least, within the confines of roleplaying games and popular entertainment. The unspoken question

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing


No character exists in a vacuum. One of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of Mythras gaming is connections - Allies, Contacts, even Rivals and Enemies. Much old school gaming tends to focus on player characters being self-contained agents of their lives, yet life doesn't work that way. Connections are part of every Session Zero. Every character should go through the process of creating a possible family, background events, and their Connections. This might seem like a waste of tim

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing


Intuition is a great guide for players in a scenario. Reason and logic are good, useful, solid tools for unlocking puzzles - but a player's intuition, the ability to induce rather than deduce, allows the characters to unlock understanding of what is going on in a story. An example: The city of Fioracitta. The Adventurers are sitting around a fountain in Piazza Centimani in Carbo District, carousing with soldiers and civilians, when they hear a loud boom in the distance - specifically, Old T


What rewards are you handing out to your player characters? Have you given a thought that maybe "gold coins, drop treasure, and magic items" might not be enough for your player characters? Rewards are an incentive for players to continue playing, to see the session, scenario, or campaign through to its end. Games Masters have to balance the quantity of the rewards with their quality, and also their variety and suitability for the players as much as for the characters. Short scenarios can be

Hypnotic Games Mastery, Part 2

Last week's post covered the quest of the Games Master to stay relevant, and the introduction of hypnosis as a tool of Games Mastery; immersion; and the capabilities of the conscious and unconscious minds. This week, we move on to actual use of hypnosis in storytelling and in gaming, as used by the Games Master. The ABS Formula The crucial element of hypnosis is called the ABS Formula. It can be broken into three parts: Engage the Attention; Bypass the Conscious Mind; Stimulate th

To the Cave of Stuff!

After a long break, we've finally gotten back to gaming. The US West Coast has had literally record breaking heat in the last three weeks and where I'm at, we had 3 100 F /38 C days in a row. Now, we've been described as 'the least air conditioned city in the US' [which really isn't fair considering the US also includes Anchorage and Fairbanks 😁], but it is true that the Puget Sound doesn't generally equip homes with A/C routinely. Add into all this a series of birthdays and COVID shot hangovers

Hypnotic Games Mastery, Part 1

In the world of 2021, between the lure of video games and the rise of solo roleplaying where game engines have been developed to emulate the Games Master's role, the role of the Games Master can sometimes feel precarious. A tabletop game dies if the players desert - but even a single player can enjoy a solo game if they have a solo engine / GM-in-a-box book to automate the GM's role. Games Masters need to up their game, nowadays, more than ever. This is where the fine art of storytelli

Friends, women, and inconvenience

Nochet, The sStuffed Boat Tavern, 1612ST, late Sea season. Hendrostos and Irillo were watching their friend with concern. Two days ago, at last! They found him in so poor a condition that they did not recognize him immediately. He seemed to be in better condition now, although his too-thin face showed them how hard his time in the streets was. “I can’t believe what happened.” said Irillo. “How weird it is! Are you sure you did not miss something?” agreed Hendrostos. “How coul


The word "adventure" comes from Middle English: from Old French aventure (noun), aventurer (verb), based on Latin adventurus ‘about to happen’, from advenire ‘arrive’. It concerns things happening. Drama. Conflict. As any great screenwriter, playwright and storyteller will tell you, there are a lot of ways to stage and set a drama - many different sources of conflict. Let's look at some sources of drama. 90% of all drama and conflict is going to come from persons. The rest is environmental


Let's talk more about the payoff. What's the payoff? It's the feelings you get from gaming. It's the pleasure, or other feelings, you get once a session's over, and the Experience Rolls and material awards are handed out. In gaming, as in many activities, there are goals - achievements, and the feelings associated with those achievements. Goals can be divided into true goals (also known as clean goals) and dirty goals. The aim of gaming is to reach a true goal - earning a victory in an


This blog is about settings. And immersion, and getting a sense of belonging. And rejection of the hack'n'slash mentality of gaming. It is also about hypnosis, and hypnotic language, and high weirdness, and the ocarina. Everybody here got into gaming for their own reasons. Give me five minutes, and I bet I could draw out your reason for playing d100 games, or for playing tabletop games at all. What do you get out of your favourite d100 game / setting? What's the payoff for yo

The Passion of St Hywel

We do not know much about St Hywel’s life and the little we know comes to us from the Venerable Bede. Asser mentions him but only that King Alfred kept Hywel’s knucklebone in a silver and gold reliquary which he lent to the Bishop of Worcester when there was a sickness in the Priory of St. Mary. Hywel’s skull was said to have been destroyed by the Vikings in the destruction at the Monastery of Thanet in 753.  Hywel was born in Powys and the son of a successful Blacksmith. He was brought up

Se FisċgúÞ ond Þære Beadwe Dunum

Fish wars and the Battle of Dunum. It was the second year since Cerdic declared himself Westseaxacyning. Aelle had been the Cantacyning for seventeen years and it was seventh year since he had named himself Brytenwealda. Guercha One-eye the Angelcyning still disputed Aelle's claim to be Brytenwealda for the past two years.  Aelle had taken advantage of plague in Gwent to capture Spinae and Brige when they were under-garrisoned. Aelle considered both towns strategically important for wa

The shadow company

Nochet, 1612ST, early Sea season. The night is fresh and wet. Only rats should be found in this dead end. And a young and dirty man, in the midst of stinking garbage piles and mud puddles. No sounds except his loud snoring. Until two shapes, quickly followed by one massive one, approached. The bigger shakes the wreck spread on the ground with his foot. No reaction. Or maybe something, a tiny sound. “The huge individual slowly leaned over Aendel’s head, seemingly not disturbed

I am SUCH a Happy Geek!

Well, it's been a couple weeks and the group has finally gotten off the beach. They met a gruff but helpful centaur by name of Khauros who, unbeknownst to our Heroines, is the personal representative of Artemis on Earth. He led them to his herd's pasture where they could light a small fire, cook rations, dry off and get some sleep. At this point the characters are still struggling with initiating things and have to be gently prodded along, but they're getting there. I had the incredibly won

Atalan: BTF#2 The Path to Where We Are

Alright, once I got my nieces on board with the idea of a game and they chose the genre they wanted to play in, I had to figure out the actual nuts and bolts of this project. My goals were three-fold: a] MAKE IT EASY TO LEARN b] MAKE IT LOGICAL c] MAKE IT FUN With those guideposts, and taking a few cues from previous experience as a gamer, I decided that I'd just put together pregenerated characters rather than have everyone grind through character generation in RQG. The


Nochet, 1616ST, Fire season. “My… My lady…. What can I do for your pleasure ?” “That’s not for me, scribe, but for my mistress… I want to know everything about… about… What’s his name, Mirava? “Aendel, my lady.” “What an absurd name, isn’t it Mirava? So tell me what you know about this student, scribe.” “For sure, ma lady, may I ask the reasons for your request?” “That is not your business, scribe. Do what I order, don’t think.” “Yes, yes, madame, of course. Pl

Atalan:BTF #1

Well, Post Number One, or 'How We Got Here' So with the COVID lockdown, my wife has been working from home in our apartment. Due to space constraints, her home office setup is in the living room while I occupy a bedroom set up as a library /computer /junk room most of the day. I've been pretty bored, especially since I quit Facebook in the wake of Election Assault on the Capitol. I've been trying to pay more attention to my family during the crisis, and slew of birthday presents had me aski
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