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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 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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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Making A Scene

Scenes are the building blocks of adventures. Scenes are exercises in set design, casting, and props. The act of assembling scenes together allows the Games Master to create something for the Players to enjoy at the gaming table. This week, we look at scenes, and how to use (and reuse) them creatively to provide endless variety in your gaming sessions. Sources I'll be referring to Plot Points Publishing's book, Encounter Theory, and also to Mutant Chiron Games' Republic. There are

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Next Blog Posts

Just to let you all know, the next few posts on this blog will be:- Making A Scene (2022-01-22, 10pm UTC) Rabble and Underlings - An Underrated Resource (2022-01-29, 10pm UTC) Mysteries (TBA) Creating Scary Horror Scenarios (TBA)  

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Hiatus

I regret that, due to a working commitment this week, the next entry in this blog will be delayed one week, until January 22nd. Apologies for any inconvenience.

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Improv

No matter how well you plan and prepare your adventure or campaign, something will always come along which will throw your plans straight into the trash. Your player characters fight when you plan for them to run away; or they run away from a combat scene. You set them up for their first skirmish with the scenario's Big Bad, and somehow they manage to kill him; or you roll for a wilderness encounter, and a tiny party of kobolds somehow make critical successes and wipe out the party on their very

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The Ties That Bind

Friendship is important to Mythras. Not only do the Players need to come together - so do their Adventurers. This article explores the nature of team friendship, and what it means to the success, or failure, of a Mythras adventure. Beginning with Session Zero, when the Adventurers are being generated together, the Games Master should bring the characters together, finding what is common to them or creating connections if they do not seem to have anything immediately in common. Bac

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Calling Time

Sooner or later, it is going to happen. Your Players' favourite Adventurers are going to enter a battle too far, and one of them will receive a critical injury, which turns into a fatal one when they fail their Endurance check and bleed out on the cold, unforgiving ground. And you, as the Games Master, are going to have to tell your tearful Player that their beloved character has died. Character Death There are many ways a character can die. They can suffer a Serious or Major Woun

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The Hypnotic Art of Combat

Let's play "spot the difference." Intro 1: "You, er, enter a room. There are ten orcs sitting around a table, playing some sort of game of chance. They stop what they are doing and charge. Roll for initiative." Intro 2: "You follow the sounds of arguing to a room behind a closed door. Opening the door, you see a group of orcs in a room. They are arguing amongst themselves. They look like Greykin's orcs, and their armour bears the sigil of that foul wizard, your greatest rival. "Yo

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The Hypnotic Art of Storytelling

This blog post goes back to the topic of hypnosis, and its use in roleplaying games - and not merely Mythras, but many other roleplaying games. In this post, the focus falls once again on the Games Master, and on the fine art of telling a story, through which they can guide the Adventurers. Engagement The blog has already covered the topic of immersion. This time, the emphasis is on engagement. How can the Games Master draw in the players and make them feel involved in, and engaging in

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Making Use of "Useless" Skills

Skills are important to a Mythras game. Yet there is an opinion that some skills are less useful than others. Skills such as Acting, Bureaucracy, Customs, Ride, Swim, Seduction, and even Teach are regarded by some as being unnecessary, and only a handful of skills - Athletics, Brawn, Combat Styles, Evade, Endurance, Willpower - are essential for play. Even Unarmed has sometimes been neglected in the rush to make Adventurers as skilled as possible in an exceptionally narrow range of skills, suite

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Enchantments and Enchanted Items: Magic Items In Play

In my previous post, the creation of magic items was addressed. Various mechanisms were looked at, from the use of the sorcery skill Enchant (Object) through to the creation of religious artefacts and relics, and spirit fetishes. This blog looks at the magic items themselves, and the impact they have in game. Significance No enchanted artefact should ever be insignificant. Every artefact carries with it the power to affect the outcome of an Adventurer's skill checks, if not the st

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