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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.
About The Author
Occultist, practitioner of chaos magic, Klingon teacher, Welsh language poet, ocarina player, Games Master. Mutant. I'm not into science fiction. I am science fiction.

Entries in this blog

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

Alex Greene

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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.

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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.

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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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Hiatus

Taking another hiatus for one week, to catch up on working commitments. I'll be back next week, with a look at various encounter environments.

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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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Enchantment and Enchanting Items

With this article, we begin a look at the artefacts of magic, and their influence on the cultures of the settings of Mythras. The Core Rulebook places the emphasis on the player characters, their native wit and their acquired magical powers or connections to the spirits and/or gods, rather than on magic items and enchanted treasures. Enchantments Enchantment is defined as a feeling of great pleasure or delight, as well as the state of being under a spell or magic. This blog could focus

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The Call of Sorcery

[Image is "Summoning," by Joseph Springborg] Here is how Mythras, page 113, defines sorcery:- Sorcery is the manipulation of underlying laws that directly control the very fabric of creation. These formulae are complex equations: a mixture of mathematical, psychological, existential, and supernatural principals [sic] that allow the sorcerer to grasp a portion of reality and bend it to his will. Sorcerers do not need to rely on gods for their powers; nor do they need to engage with spir

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Animism and The Spirit World

This article is about spirits, and animism, and animists, and about animists in a Mythras game. Here's what the Mythras Core Rulebook has to say about animism. Animism is magic worked through communion with spirits and the spirit world. It is the magic of shamans and spirit walkers. Such practitioners do not treat with gods or learn their abilities from books or tomes; instead their powers come from the myriad spirits that inhabit the spirit realms, and interact occasionally with the m

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By All That's Holy - Devotion

Of all the rules of Mythras,the chapter on Theism has the potential to provide the greatest contention, because it covers the topic of the player characters' religion. Devotion is one of two non-mundane skills used by theists. The other skill, Exhort, is used to invoke Theistic Miracles. But what exactly is Devotion about, anyway? Holiness Can people really measure someone's holiness by a number? Could a religion's Pontiff really throw down some badass righteous smiting from

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Living A Passionate Life

This article takes a look at an aspect of each Adventurer's makeup which is rarely used, except in dire circumstances as an "extra save roll" when the resistance skills have failed, and before the player uses up a Luck Point to make the problem go away. This article is about Passions. Core Rulebook Mythras, page 282, has this to say about Passions. Bolded parts highlighted by me. Throughout all kinds of fiction, and especially in fantasy, passion drives the plot. The desire t

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Kitting Out The Party

[Cover image is from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Atelier_von_Rahmenmachern_und_deren_Werkzeuge_im_18._Jahrhundert.jpg] One of the more overlooked issues about Mythras adventuring is what equipment the Adventurers are carrying while out on a campaign. The basic tool lists on pages 60, 61 of Mythras and page 88 of Fioracitta are good guidelines as to what one could expect to take on an adventure, but there is still a need to plan in advance for the adventure. The

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Let's Get This Party Started

The Adventurers are the core of all games. As games have developed, adventure modules have been less about pre-packaged mazes full of hazards and more about dramas and conflicts, with the Adventurers at the heart of driving the changes. As adventures have developed from their implausible "mazes full of traps and horrors" to more nuanced scenarios and dramas, so too have Adventurers. Modern Adventuring parties now more closely resemble bands of roaming mercenaries, military units or hunting

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