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About this blog

Discussion about writing game supplements and setting sourcebooks, hypnosis, immersion, ocarina music, and why I write material for Mythras.

Entries in this blog

A Look At ... Monster Island, Part 3

Right, so we're back on Monster Island this week, and we're going to finish off the book by going through the final chapters, beginning with Magic. The characteristics of magic on The Island are:- Workings take time and great effort. Magic is ritualised, so you can't exactly do a powerful sorcery spell of the wrist. Magic is culturally demarcated - some tribes do one type of magic, and other tribes do another type, and so on; and magical energies replenish very slowly, forcing magicians to

Alex Greene

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A Look At ... Monster Island, Part 2

Last week, we began a look at Monster Island. Part 1 covered Chapters 1 through 4, covering the geography and geology of the island, its cultures, its hot nightclub scene, the hotel swimming pools and spas, the tourist spots, the bronze, four-armed, animated, female, Ray Harryhausen statues (you think I'm kidding? Check out page 112) and all the fun athletic activities you can get up to (climbing, running, more running, self-defence classes, Zumba, even more running ...). The Rough Guide to

A Look At ... Monster Island, Part 1

This blog post takes a look at Monster Island (MI). Monster Island Companion (MIC), and A Bird In The Hand (ABITH) will be covered in a separate post. First things first. There is a beautiful, loving dedication on the title page, which sets the tone for this document, and provides the biggest reason for you to buy this much-loved supplement. There are some things you can read, but you can't really point to specific words or phrases. How can you pojnt to a turn of phrase which shows f

A Look At ... Lyonesse

Enter a fantastic world unlike any other you may have encountered before. A world of larger-than-life characters and situations. A world of pomp and beauty. A world written with love, where passions can often accomplish more than weapons. Welcome to The Elder Isles; the Ten Kingdoms. Welcome to Lyonesse. Loving Tribute The late Jack Vance (1916-08-28 - 2013-05-26) was an author of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery stories. Born John Holbrook Vance, he created numerous s

A Look At ... Worlds United

Worlds United is The Design Mechanism's venture into the world of the pulp adventure genre. Imagine that the Solar System had turned out exactly the way Twentieth Century science fiction authors had imagined it. Venus as a humid jungle planet, Mars as the home of a dying civilisation, and rocket ships routinely travelling between these worlds and the Earth. Even a Moonbase or two, if you like. Now imagine a world where a cataclysmic event had caused humanity to take to the stars -

A Look At ... After The Vampire Wars

The world around you is not what it seems. If you look out of the corner of your eye, you might catch a glimpse of something lurking in the shadows. Sometimes, whatever is lurking in the shadows turns its attention towards you. Good luck. The premise of John Snead's After The Vampire Wars is a world transformed by the discovery that the supernatural creatures of myth and legend, vampires in particular, have been living among you humans all this time, and you never knew. Until now.

A Look At ... Luther Arkwright

Following from the last blog post, which looked at the newest Mythras setting, Destined, we're going to take a look at another Mythras setting, Luther Arkwright: Roleplaying Across The Parallels. Luther Arkwright is The Design Mechanism's foray into a genre known as Steampunk. This genre of science fiction is characterised by strange, baroque steam-driven inventons, vehicles, devices and weapons. The Difference Engine by Wiliam Gibson and Bruce Sterling more or less made Steampunk mainstrea

Hiatus

I'm typing this from my tablet. The laptop from which I have posted all of my articles here to date went and died last Sunday. Worse, I got sold a lemon - and the replacement laptop lasted just 48 hours before it, too, was brown bread. Posts will resume as and when I can get crowdfunded for a new one. ALso, wish me luck because I have found a halfway competent tech guy who might be able to fix my old laptop. We'll meet for the first time on Tuesday.

Alex Greene

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A First Look At Destined

This week, instead of looking at Mythras, we look at the latest core rulebook to emerge from The Design Mechanism. Enter a world of four colour Spandex action, where brightly-clad warriors for justice chase sneering bad guys across rooftops, and fight pitched battles in the grimy streets; where larger-than-life people stride through life like Colossi and dare to call themselves heroes. Put on your costume, take to the streets and rooftops, and stand beneath the silver light of the Moon

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Next Week

Next week, for one week only, this blog will be celebrating the launch of Mike Larrimore's book Destined. Join us on April 23rd for some Mythras superhero roleplaying.

Alex Greene

Alex Greene in writing

Into The Woods - Sylvan Survival

And so your adventure leads the Characters up to a vast bank of primal trees. They look at the pitch darkness beyond their sight, take a look at you, and decide to go around the trees. And you probably can't blame them. Line of sight reduced to a few yards; light levels practically at pitch blackness; and every sound they make probably carries for kilometres as if to tell every hungry predatory beast exactly where they are. You don't need to make a forest haunted or demonic to make the envi

Alex Greene

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Exploring Ruins

A personal note before I begin this week's post. Last week's hiatus could not have been more timely. I ended up going through a week from hell. I am not entirely convinced it isn't going to turn out to be a fortnight from Hell, but at least the crises I faced this last week have been resolved. Can't speak for tomorrow's crises, but then again tomorrow doesn't exist yet. Ruination What do you think of, when you think of ruins? There are many types of ruins, but they all h

The Rural Environment

Rural environments lie between the cities and the wilderness. They are a broad liminal area, and as such they attract many kinds of encounters in between one state and the other. This article will look at ways to make rural encounters interesting to the Adventurers. Keeping The Players Motivated Okay, so the Adventurers have just left the city limits behind them, and before they get to the wild part of the world they have to get through all this farmland. This is probably the most

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Designing New Encounters - Tables

So you and the Players are moving fast. They're on their way to investigate some ruin, or explore some place, and on the road they meet ... someone. Something. Only, the moment you announce the encounter, the Players decide to sidestep the whole thing or to hide until it passes. How do you involve the Adventurers in the encounter without shoehorning them in or railroading them? Bring in elements, such as hooks and shoves, which draw them in or shove them in the direction you want them

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Encounters

An integral part of enjoying any roleplaying game is encountering other beings. Since the Adventurers will all be together, every single encounter will be with a non-player character. This entire blog post is dedicated to the Games Master. There are no secrets to be kept from the Players - but if you want to learn the Games Master's art, you can listen in and learn. The Art of The Encounter Encounters are what Games Masters do. And like everything else, it is an art form which Gam

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Forging The Blade - Survival

Don't gloss over Survival skill. Part of every wilderness travel phase of an adventure should be to test the Adventurers' mettle. Scenes of travel through an uncivilised environment should be about gauging the protagonists' reactions to crises, and their creativity and ingenuity in coming up with solutions to problems brought about by the environment. This article looks at the fine art of making it from start to finish, without your Adventurers getting dead at any point along the way.

Last Minute Hiatus

Apologies for the last minute notice. Tonight's blog will be delayed somewhat. I got called away to an important online conference. I'm going to put the scheduled release back till Monday, about 23:00.

Environments

The locations where encounters occur are as important as the encounters themselves. Wilderness encounters present memorable moments for the Adventurers, as much as the sites of the adventures themselves. Hans Christian Andersen's fable The Snow Queen was as much about the tests facing the hero, Gerda, as it was about the main action - the rescue of her beloved, Kay, from the clutches of the cold Snow Queen of the children's fable. Gerda's wilderness encounters were all obstacles and temptat

Alex Greene

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Creating Scary Horror Scenarios

Personal note: Before writing this blog, I thought I'd try and Google the word "horror" to see if I could come up with a suitable graphic for this post. The search engine just gave me a bunch of faces, close up, staring full screen at the viewer, leering, gurning, screaming, gaping open-mouthed like simpletons faced with their first conjuring trick. That's not scary. That's just marketing people capitalising on the Uncanny Valley, and presenting the world with a bunch of actors in heav

Alex Greene

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Mysteries

Mystery novels are among the most popular genre of literature. TV dramas, police procedural series, and true crime documentaries follow the exploits of investigators as they track down the criminals behind shocking and fiendish murders. Yet how do you run a mystery in a Mythras game? Running Mysteries Mysteries in tabletop roleplaying games involve asking questions, observing scenes for clues, deduction, and finally identifying a culprit to bring them to some form of justice. Presentin

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Rabble and Underlings - An Underrated Resource

Mythras Core Rulebook has a resource on page 111 for Games Masters - Rabble, and Underlings. These are a great tool to fill a crowd scene with a "cast of thousands."  What Are Rabble And Underlings? Neither Rabble nor Underlings need much character generation. The Mythras Core Rulebook has the following to say about Rabble:- Rabble are foes who intimidate by their numbers but in actual fact have little prowess or willingness to remain in combat once blood is shed. They can take ma

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