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Alex Greene

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  1. So I'm digging into the whole Cults & Brotherhoods section of the Mythras Core Rulebook, and I'm getting the feeling that this section should really come before the Games Systems, Magic, and Combat sections, in roughly that order. Between character generation and Skills, even. It's got me thinking: how much importance do you, O readers, put on the factions in your games? Games Masters, what about you? How much do you emphasise membership, as compared to the need to go it alone with just one's fellow Adventurers for company in a little micro-Brotherhood, one small party pitted against the world?
  2. If there is one thing I have learned from physics, it's that there is always enough power available from somewhere. If internal Magic Points are not sufficient, there'd still be some other resource that is tappable. Plot works like that, which is why you get stories about powerful characters throwing about insane amounts of power towards the end of their campaigns, hurling lightning bolts that turn entire city blocks to molten glass and arm-wrestling with gods.
  3. Oh, I love the way my brain works. Suppose that the one thing they all have in common is this. The kids are all native to this domain. They were all sent away for their safety, transported away by some influence or power - ancient sorcery, some Theistic Miracle not listed in the book - and each of them found their way into the hands of loving parents who brought them up in the same place - early 2000s America, let's say in Denver, CO. 2017, and they've all had a chance to grow up, and the force which sent them away feels that they are mature enough to bring them back home to the people who gave birth to them. But they're kids of a modern age, and once they have solved the problem which necessitated their being sent away in the first place, they have a choice: to go back to 21st Century America, or to stay with their birth parents. Assuming their birth parents still live. That would work as a scenario.
  4. All this depends on how your Gamesmaster wants to play the setting. If it's about kids from the 21st century surviving a world where people their age, say 17-18, are already either adventuring or committed to their allotted lives as serfs / nobles / whatever, then the game should be about them using their limited knowledge of various Lores like Chemistry, Astronomy, even Folklore, and copious quantities of other skills such as Survival, Deceit, Sleight, Conceal and Stealth, to survive in a hostile world. And they should be given a chance to not only survive, but to determine why they were brought to the world - because someone or something would have wanted these specific kids to come here, meaning that each of them would have something: some knowledge, exposure to an event or common trait: which is essential to the resolution of the task for which they were brought to the world.
  5. It seems to me that you would have to rewrite the laws of physics to make them cease to work. Even in magic, there's laws of physics - magic takes its toll in "Magic Points," which is to say that biochemical energy fuels spells, or at least catalyses the spells' effects, which must mean that there has to be some sort of scientific principle at play that is not entirely fully understood by the sorcerers themselves, even. The most profound science fiction authors were all scholars, scientists or otherwise learned men of some sort or another, and they all brought in ideas for what made magic work and what didn't. In effect, even when they were writing fantasy, they were really writing science fiction. So back to the original story - the kids would probably survive, if the world more or less ran the way their world ran - laws of physics the same, laws of economics likewise, familiar enough political situations and motives to be recognisable and so on). Some of their solutions would seem to be the sort of solutions anyone from the fantasy world would come up with - but the Gamesmaster would have to set things up in every adventure, such that at least one of the kids had their chance to provide one solution to a problem in any given adventure which turns out to be something scientific. Something they would have known from school. Assuming any of them paid attention ...
  6. I, er, was into studying lasers at school when everybody else was just getting into mixing salt into water to see it dissolve. So some people can be really nerdy that way. Not good on the social graces, but that was because they probably, like me, found humans to be an irritating source of pointless pain and suffering, particularly those who loved to use their fists. A distraction from the Great Work, best ignored. I might survive in a mythic fantasy world, but my 15 y.o. self would have found a hole and buried himself in it with lab gear.
  7. Magic versus technology ... not an issue. A lot of fantasy writers try the "magic works over there but not in this world" thing as if to explain it away, but if everything was magic, we'd all be dead because we're still humans, still oxygen-breathing homeothermic evolved plains apes who learned to channel kinetic energy, thermal energy, chemical energy and electrical energy to our ends, just as we have tamed muscle energy from domesticated beasts of burden. Gunpowder works even in fantasy worlds. "How can fire undo stone?" - Grima Wormtongue, Lord of The Rings Chemistry, biology, mathematics, the sciences - they all work. Just that the focus has always been on spell slingers because magic just looks more fun. But if some nerd can MacGyver a rocket out of a capped metal tube with flanges welded to the sides, just run with it. Sauron would not have lasted long against a Minas Tirith that was bristling with cannons. And vice versa.
  8. Sounds like the plot of that Eighties cartoon where some kids got into the wrong funfair ride ... And also a recent BBC TV series called Atlantis, which was kind of a flop. They would have to be forced to survive on their wits alone - which, considering modern humans, means that they probably would not last very long. Mythras emphasises a good deal on backgrounds: it is from one's backgrounds that one develops one's skills, connections and so on. So without purchasing any supplements that you can't yet afford, if the students come from a Civilised background, they would have Native Tongue - their own - Literacy - again, their own - and a selection of random skills, depending on their backgrounds in the world they came from. For example, if they'd been brought up in a community on the shore, they may develop Swim, Boating and Seamanship, and fishing could form part of their Survival skill. Bloggers might be out of luck in a world which hasn't even invented hot metal print yet; but politically savvy types with designs on being some sort of student leader in school would know Influence and Insight, because political backstabbers sing the same tune and dance the same dance everywhere. Speaking of singing and dancing, the denizens of the strange new world in which they arrive would be amused by some of the music and dance moves that the kids would bring in; bemused by hip hop, appalled by Lady Gaga, and curious about those strange glass and metal boxes which briefly yielded that odd noise from "Edsheeran" and "Littlemix" before they gave up the ghost. And then you'd have the science nerd, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of science: chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology. He'd probably want to explore everything, and everybody would be holding him back from exploring that dragon's lair armed with nothing more than a notebook. Imagine being given the chance to invent everything, from pencils to plastics. Imagine someone going in with intimate knowledge of what one can do with the correct mixture of sulphur, charcoal and saltpetre, or an understanding of how to extract pretty much every element of the periodic table from the raw ores, including such elements as arsenic, white phosphorus and uranium. Imagine, also, someone with knowledge of biology, particularly a knowledge of organic poisons derived from plants and animals. Oh, and biochemistry, and recreational compounds. I'm sure that if they had decent INT and POW scores, maybe high enough CHA, they would survive long enough to learn local Customs and Locale knowledge, enough to survive a few years at least. Maybe they would even find out why they were brought to the realm in the first place, and by whom, and if the being who brought them there can send them back some day ...
  9. I like to think of it as the first stirrings of Sorcery, in the same way as Astronomy comes from Astrology and Chemistry emerges from the ashes of Alchemy. As much as they are seekers after power, sorcerers also quest after knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The sorcerous equivalents of historians and archaeologists look for clues to the origins of their arts in the oldest forms of early magic - and when they dig deeply enough, they find traces of Folk Magic in the arcane words they whisper and the gestures they make. I like to think that when sorcerers cast sorcery at the lowest levels - default values for Range, Duration, targets, no Combined spells, Magnitude 1 and Intensity turned right down to 1, like a Glow spell at its lowest setting - they look uncomfortably like ordinary people casting Folk Magic. And the wisest sorcerers make a point of keeping a few Folk Magic spells on standby, It might give them an edge where everybody's looking for them to do something sorcerous and they need to surprise onlookers; and sometimes, using Folk Magic is a way of honouring the first faltering steps of those who went before.
  10. Just read Folk Magic in the Core Rulebook. Best implementation of the discipline I have ever seen! I love the picture of Anathaym on p. 124. If that isn't taking pride in casting a cherished spell, I don't know what is. I just get a warm feeling from just reading that whole section.
  11. An alternative to the Nomadic Voice from the Core Rulebook. The Land moves. We feel it in the air. We see it in the waters. We see the Sun and the Moon and the wandering bright dots of light that change places every night, and the tides which come and go, as we come and go. The Land moves. We also move, as a tribe. There are towns, and we love their coin; but we don't want the Stay-at-homes trying to tell us that we have to respect them, and then try and take our kids from us to bring them up to be like them, full of lies and secrets. We have our way, and our way is right for us, and that's the order of things. We've got a code. Now, you're new, young one, and you don't know the code; but here it is, and we're only going to tell it to you again if you're in trouble, so pay attention because this is the only time you're going to hear it from any of us when you aren't in trouble. One. Don't get the Stay-at-homes involved. Stay-at-homes are full of secrets and lie to each other. But even the ones with the best intentions can't help but mess us about if they get involved because, to a man, they all think that They Know What's Best For Us , and "What's Best For Us" usually means trying to force us to become like them just because they can't stand the thought that any of us are having more fun than them with their mortgages and their taxes and their affairs. Anyway, you just don't, all right? Two. Mind the horses, and mind the dogs. Bloodstock is our stock-in-trade. We know horses better than they do. We are always showered with gifts when we roll into town, because our horse whisperers can smell the doped-up ones, and we can spot the ringers, and we can rig their games so any horse can win in the order we choose, without them being any the wiser. And dogs are better judges of character than we are, because they can smell a stinker a mile off. But remember that even the ones they trust the most are still Stay-at-Homes, so just take their money, flash them a smile and split. Three. Keep your nose and hands clean. I don't just mean "wash often." We wash more often than the Stay-at-Homes do, which is why you'll often hear us call them "stinkers" when we're not feeling very charitable towards them. I mean stay away from their crimes. We've got a bad enough reputation for being dirty and for being thieves. We know who it is going around stealing the lead from their temple rooves, and it is not us. It's the gangs from the next town along, coming in to stir things up so the locals can twitch their net curtains and blame us in the wrong. We trade fair, and we split. Four. There is a dress code. We dress in loose clothing so we can travel long distances in comfort, and we dress modestly - but our bright colours are all symbols of life. Red means blood, and family; green is the Earth which gives us life; White is the sun, lighting our way in the day; gold and silver, blessings of the Gods; black is the road we must all walk on. Only purple is a bad colour, because purple is for funerals. Five. We keep moving. Okay, a lot of us are settled. But if you look closely, you'll see that a lot of us are always doing something that requires us to up sticks and go wandering, even if we all have a place to call "home" to get back to. And even the Great Caravans, those that are left - there are only three now, as of last Summer, and ours doesn't have more than a decade left, sadly, so enjoy this way of life while you can - they have a wintering patch to go to when it gets cold and the only place we can get food is in the Stay-at-Homes' shops and stores. We have anchors, but we don't plant them in the ground and concrete them in place, know what I mean? Six. Family is everything. We stay together, whether we are rooted in a settlement or mobile. We are family. We look after one another. We leave out the Stay-at-Homes, even when they've proven their worth a thousand times over, because they are not family. They may have their secrets and their lies, but we have our truths, and we have each other's backs, and even if we've had our arguments and we're not talking to one another, we are still closer to one another than we are to the friendliest Stay-at-Homes because we are family. And if you forget all the rest, remember that last one. That's the one that can save your life if you remember it, or send you to Hell if you forget it.
  12. An alternative to The Primitive Voice from the Core Rulebook. The Land is a place of beauty. The Land gives, and The Land takes, and Sky looks over us all. In The Sky are the Moon Sisters. There were three of them, but then Father Sky cast one down to make an island over by Long Finger Lake, in the place where we rest over the summer. Foraging in the Summer Place with Long Finger Lake and Moon Island is good, and we go there to the Place of Mothering, where the women can stay to have the new sons and daughters. The women celebrate the Mourning Sister and chant for her other Sisters to let them know that they are still three - that Mourning Sister is still down here and alive and loving them, and wondering why Sky Father cast her out. The women then tell Mourning Sister the story that Sky Father gave Mourning Sister to Great Mother, The Land, so that Mother could have one child with her. Mourning Sister suckles from Great Mother, and is happy, and so we have fruitful summers on Moon Island and good fishing in Long Finger Lake and the Summer Place. Great Mother gives life; she also reclaims it. Once, my mother's mother got very tired and very thin, and she lay down and closed her eyes and stopped moving and got cold. My mother and her sisters and I mourned, because Grandmother was the wisest of us all; and we took her to the Cave of Great Mother, to the place of burial, where we left Grandmother in Great Mother's arms with the things that she cherished - the ochre stick that she used to mark the path of the migratory herd beasts each year in the Cave of Hunting, the amber beads which she traded with the other tribes, and the gold collar which the Great Chief of All Tribes made for her. We buried her six moons ago, and we all still miss Grandmother. My mother uses what she learned from Grandmother, and she tells us that she will become wise like Grandmother some day, and it is soon because she gets hot and has stopped having children and the woman pains no longer come for her. I may be the youngest girl, and my sisters and brother are wiser than I, but I still see the spirits that they do not, and I see the changes to people's bodies, like when my brother became hairy and joined the men in the sweatlodge to drink the Man's Fire Drink for the first time, and I see the changes happening to my body and I know that soon the woman pains will come for me too. Great Mother tells me that this is the pain of Mourning Sister when she was torn from her dance in the heavens, and that as all women are sisters of Mourning Sister we must share her pain so that the burden of her pain is not hers alone to bear. We bear the pain, in order that there be joy in the world; and because of Mourning Sister and Great Mother, we make The Land a place of beauty for all of us, and for our children, and for our children's children.
  13. So while things are brewing at this moment, I am familiarising myself with the Mythras and M-Space core rulebooks. Starting as I mean to go on. With luck, the next few months ahead should be fun.
  14. And if I manage to get on board, I could help to build that momentum.
  15. Done. M-Space and Mythras on my tablet. A good investment. Might as well.
  16. I just bought the PDF. I'll take a good, long look at it. I might be involving myself with Mythras and M-Space a lot more in the near future.
  17. I found myself looking at, and buying, Mythras from DriveThruRPG recently. It's got many things that Mongoose's Legend does not have, but more importantly - new material is being published for it. I like what I see here, and I'm going to dust off some of the older articles I published here for that other d100 system, meticulously retool them to make full use of Mythras' rules, and relaunch them for Mythras. Possibly as Abbott & Greene articles on DriveThruRPG. And then I think I'll have to start posting new material for Mythras in 2017.
  18. If you have someone in your group who pretty much lives for combat, give him a cause to fight for, and something to care about. See if your combat jockey can develop a character if the local martial order asks him to begin coaching young 'uns in his favourite combat style, then having to lead them into a battle. If his subordinates have names, and your combat jockey is any kind of gamer, leadership may well prove to be a heavy burden for him indeed. And if not leadership, then responsibility. I had my characters once delve into some ruins. Only, they were not ancient - the ruins were less than twenty five years old. And they had a personal meaning for one of the characters because the ruins were where his Dad died. The team's combat jockey had a highly emotional game when he realised that he was actually tracking down his father's killer and bringing his Dad's murderer to justice. The flood of Improvement Rolls he and the rest of the team earned was welcome; but the combat jockey had a fantastic time actually playing a role and resolving something from his character's past, which suddenly turned his character into a living being, rather than a bunch of numbers on a page. The plot of The Blood Path was similarly adult in tone - the Adventurers bump into a band of orcs who'd sworn an oath to track down a bad guy, whom I shall not name, who had murdered the orc party's village and kidnapped two orclings, the kin of the orc party leader. The Adventurers find that there is a lot more to it than that - but the story, for the orc band leader, is about avenging the dead and rescuing all that remains of his family.
  19. Okay, examples of adult storylines for me. - Adventurers investigate a string of robberies all over town. One of their own connections or relatives got robbed, and badly hurt. Local law enforcement are all volunteers; clueless. This place is centuries away from forming a government-backed police force. The Adventurers have to be the Law. - Someone is taunting the Adventurers. They know how they think - they know their Passions, and exploit them cruelly without showing their face. - The characters are given a special assignment - travel halfway across country, just to the border with the neighbouring country, to smuggle the Ambassador's wife into their country's Embassy, which is under siege. It's just to test to see how they can smuggle people in and out of the country next door clandestinely. - A sculptor wants the country's most beautiful Lady of the Night to pose for him for a sculpture. She's already retired and now runs her own establishment. The Adventurers have to negotiate a price from her. What she asks for is to identify her sister's killer and end him, quietly, so the law thinks it's an accident. It turns out that the killer is the son of the Mayor, a right awful sort and a bit of a wannabe serial killer. - The cultists of the Temple of the local Goddess of Love are being targeted by a bunch of moralists protesting their temple, even since the Love Goddess's temple facilities were converted into a free hospital round the back to help bring healing to night women and street people who need their services. Those sorts of services. - There's a war on, but nothing can stop the show. Except maybe the disappearance of its lead actor. His lover is inconsolable with worry - he wants the Adventurers to find out where the actor's gone, and what's happened, and if they can, bring him back. And on the way to solving the case, they accidentally bring the war to an end. - A sadistic murderer is targeting young lovers. It seems to be haunting a local area notorious for teens hanging out to make out. The Adventurers encounter something that would not look out of place in a Wes Craven movie. A local craftsman has been possessed by a murder spirit. They need a shaman to stop it ... Those are, for me, adult adventures. Not this running around looting old tombs and killing orcs.
  20. Legend is Mongoose's foray into D100 territory, but I was thinking that sometimes there is only so far one can go with the game before we come up against Mongoose Publishing's unwritten 12A age certificate. Makes me sometimes wonder if there are d100 adventures where the age certificate starts at 15 and goes up to Song of Ice and Fire and higher. I don't even mean the kind of stuff that ends up on HBO. Just adventures where the Adventurers find themselves in some places and situations which are a lot more adult than dungeon crawling, looting treasure and fighting orcs. What else is that Seduction skill there for?
  21. Do you want me to write up something on Danzipa, the City of Trances? I have some experience with inducing trances, illusions and other such fun stuff.
  22. I'll keep slogging on my Traveller stuff for now, and then if I start seeing movement on the Legend front I'll start putting together more new material for that, too. But with High Guard 2e coming out very soon - possibly a matter of a day, singular - there might be more movement on the other books in that seemingly interminable queue, including Paranoia and Legend releases.
  23. I'm hoping that the three supplements I sent to Mongoose will, one day, see the light of day. Their aim was to present a unified setting in which one could enjoy play. The supplements were a new Arcania of Legend, a new City of Legend ... and an Adventure, set in that City of Legend. We shall see, eh?
  24. The other day, on the Mongoose Legend forum, Mongoose Matt hinted that the next Legend book could well be a new Arcania of Legend ... Re: New Books, Please? by msprange ยป 2016-03-09 1:30 pm Currently talking to an editor for a new Arcania of Legend book... Matthew Sprange Mongoose Publishing
  25. I haven't been here for a while, but I'm back.

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