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Khakun Shrugs
by Asen [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2024 06:08:05

A rather good adventure, even if a bit linear. The idea of propitiating powerful spirits is underused in gaming, I find!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Khakun Shrugs
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Power Outage
by Christopher [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2024 11:25:08

Power Outage is a really good intro for a superhero campaign, or a scenario you can throw in to any on-going campaign; especially if your heroes get captured. The opening finds the characters being hauled somewhere in the back of a truck. They have lost their powers and memories. This makes for some very interesting and collaborative RP. A big part of this scenario is the heroes remembering why they are heroes . Why do I protect the innocent? Why do I serve justice? These are all important questions that really get to the heart of the superhero genre. Using powers to throw trucks and smash the villain is always good fun. Knowing why the hero is doing their hero bit, gives the game some real stakes. While the scenario isn't overly long by page count, there are many hooks to found throughout the book to pull the heroes in different directions. Power Outage could be completed in a few sessions, or using the hooks, for much longer period. There are also some great random hero/villain generators included. Larrimore, Pivek, Yon and Turpin have done some great work here, going beyond the face of superheroes, and taking a deeper look into the why's.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Power Outage
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Power Outage
by James F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2024 12:42:32

I've not run this yet but after a read it feels a bit flat. The premise is ok (the PCs have lost their powers) and I like the options presented and the randomised powers table although it is not a comprehensive supers-generator. The "boss" himself is quite original and the mechanics of how the minions interact with the boss, but the encounters might feel too repetitive - the final encounter is very close to a repeat of the second major encounter. There is nothing special or unusual about the locations presented and the PCs are essentially led along from encounter to encounter, regardless of what they do. They can't get to the boss who is behind their kidnapping and ... power outage ... without a key NPC ally taking them there, or the GM puts him directly in front of the PCs. There's no real detective work to do following clues to track from the initial in-media-res opening leading to a resolution, the PCs are taken there one way or another. I don't mind a linear adventure but this is a bit of an odd mix of the default city setting with some fairly pedestrian minor encounters taking place in the mulling-around midsection of the adventure scenario. I can't help thinking a much more directed scenario with more variety and challenges would have been a better to hang the basic idea on. The cover is striking and the interior art is good but the text has a lot of padding for what is essentially a small scenario. A final note, I really hate the NPC blocks without characteristics. I can see it was done so that skills don't have to be figured out to be "correct", but very very annoying if you want to work out other skills, or if you want to work out KNOCKBACK (SIZ ???)- hardly rare in a supers setting, or if you want to work out Fatigue (CON ???). Frustrating. The NPC stat-blocks themselves look like they could have been tweaked to design each one to fit in a single column, as it is they are split into two almost everytime. It's just annoying to read, and the fact that they don't have characteristics just makes it even more grating.

Highlights: A good premise, supported by reasonable mechanics. An interesting "villain group" with novel Lt/Boss level combat encounter mechanics.

Lowlights: Combat encounters feel repetitive. Verbose text. Bland setting and incidental encounters.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Mythras Imperative
by James G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2024 12:39:05

Mythras Imperative is the new "RuneQuest 6 Essentials" this time a significantly abridged version of the full Mythras rules, which as of writing has not yet been published. Although Imperative is only 32 pages I noticed that with the new approach to layout the word count seems to have roughly doubled(!) on a typical page, it looks great. (Edit: it's actually about 1/3 more dense)

The implied setting for Mythras Imperative is wider than an ancient setting and includes things like firearms and high tech armour. Character creation takes up about half the book and is pretty close to the previous RuneQuest Essentials but this time abridged and condensed. Passions have been moved up into character creation and look like more like part of the core rules. The rules here do not cover the magic systems and the creature listing is much reduced, making me think of what kind of an adventure you could run ..."A Bear, a Lizardman and a Xenomorph walk into a bar...they had a lovely night out". The creature listing is clearly there to just give an idea of how different creatures work.

The overall impression is that Imperative has been designed as a taster that will get you started but is not going to give you enough to run more than a one shot or a a short run of adventures. It reminds me a little of the original introduction to 'basic roleplaying' booklet included with RuneQuest 2 although that was not much more than basic character generation, how skills work and the combat system. Imperative is a compressed but impressive sampler for the new Mythras system. It would be possible to use Imperative solely with TDM's Classic Fantasy which effectively replaces a lot of the Mythras core rules with its' own variant. If you want the full character gen and skills, the 5 magic systems, creatures, equipment, cults & brotherhoods you will have to get the full Mythras rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythras Imperative
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Book of Schemes
by Leon [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2024 11:08:18

Whether a Mythras fan or not, “The Book of Schemes” is an exceptional resource for those intrigued by the intricate world of schemes and plots akin to “The Lies of Locke Lamora.” The book’s setting, primarily focused on the city-state of Guelden, offers a robust platform for GMs to craft narratives filled with deception, intrigue, and moral ambiguity. Throughout its pages, GMs will find numerous hooks and adventure suggestions designed to enrich their campaigns with layers of complexity and depth. Personally, I find this setting incredibly compelling, though preferences will naturally vary among players and GMs alike.

For the Mythras enthusiast, “The Book of Schemes” delivers a treasure trove of new content, including advanced options for equipment, combat, sorcery, and animism. It complements the “Factions” book seamlessly, providing additional depth and interconnectedness within the Mythras universe.

In my view, “The Book of Schemes” ranks alongside “Monster Island” as an indispensable addition to any Mythras collection. The detailed lore, from the political machinations to the rich cultural tapestry of Guelden, provides endless opportunities for immersive storytelling. The rules and suggestions for running intrigue-based adventures are well thought out, ensuring that GMs have the tools they need to create engaging and dynamic narratives.

Overall, “The Book of Schemes” is not just a supplement; it’s a catalyst for creating memorable and intricate campaigns that challenge players to think, strategize, and immerse themselves fully in the world of Mythras.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Schemes
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Classic Fantasy - TDM500
by Kelly [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2024 15:33:24

Amazing game! Absolutely nails the AD&D feeling from back in the day! Super easy way to get into the Mythras system using terms we all know by heart.

Will amend to 5 Stars when we can order Hardcover Book!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Classic Fantasy - TDM500
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Mythic Babylon
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2024 20:14:36

i don't play as much as I'd like, but i still buy books like this for ideas about world building fantasy culture. This one definitely delivered. It's nice to have options other than just Medieval Europe and East Asia.

Well done.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Babylon
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Mythras
by Lari [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2024 11:15:11

I've been running a campaign with this for a few months. It's really nicely streamlined. There's a good amount of simulation but unnecessary complications are avoided and things are abstracted away where necessary. I like it a lot. It's my first foray into fantasy as I've been running mostly sci-fi (CP2020, Traveller). This has the added bonus of having a generic theme so I've been able to build whatever I want on top. Very good book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythras
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Mythras Imperative
by Fernando [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2023 16:58:53

The new Mythras Imperative, with firearms rules, superpowers, rules for creating vehicles (with 13 premade vehicles), creating pulp and paragon characters, modern as well as ancient careers, 10 sample creatures and creature powers for creating your own, and only folk magic, is as complete as one could wish for a free primer, and more! And all is under the ORC license! A really amazing product.

Read my review of the full Mythras rulebook here: https://elruneblog.blogspot.com/2019/04/review-of-mythras-roleplaying-game.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythras Imperative
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Mythic Babylon
by Austin C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2023 12:58:55

As a total geek about Earth’s historical Bronze Age, when I heard about Mythic Babylon‘s launch back in 2021 I knew I’d want to pick it up. The book’s languished on my kink shelf, but it finally reached the top of my reading stack.

Published by Design Mechanism for their D100 system Mythras, Mythic Babylon provides a comprehensive point of entry for those interested in playing Mesopotamian campaigns during the reign of Hammurabi. Although you’ll need a copy of their core rules to play Mythic Babylon, the book should be pretty usable with your choice of system.

My own experience of Mythic Babylon was firmly as an armchair read; I haven’t had an opportunity to take it for a test drive.

WHAT’S INSIDE?

The immediate sense I got when I started reading is that Mythic Babylon is focused on setting. Opening with a hundred pages on life in the cities of Sumer & Akkad, agriculture, economics, religion, and culture, and littered with sidebars quoting ancient texts—such as the famous Code of Hammurabi—it’s crystal clear that Mythic Babylon‘s objective is to evoke its setting for the reader. While it is a game, and does have “gaming” content, it feels clear to me that the authors’ passion was for describing the ancient world.

And they do so phenomenally well. I read a lot of history, and honestly this is one of the better survey texts I’ve read on the period. In particular I love how—because Mythic Babylon is a game—the book really puts into context all the different places and cultural customs and historical figures, and how they’re interacting. Most histories divide up the material to focus in greater detail on particular aspects. For example, my Routledge survey text on the Sumerians is deliciously detailed, but is so precise (or alternately unwilling to commit, a reasonable rhetorical stance in academia) that it’s hard to get a holistic picture. In contrast Mythic Babylon provides immediate details about a number of places and people because, well, you need to know what the hell’s going on if you’re gonna play a game!

As an aside, the Routledge text on the Babylonians is also really good, if you want a deeper historical dive.

Overall the prose is a little dry, when compared to the gaming field, but it’s downright poetic compared to most modern histories. It might have been appropriate to add a bit more “pizazz” when discussing the magic in the setting, because the fantastical does get overshadowed by the historical.

In a similar vein, at times I felt like the gameplay elements seemed to play second fiddle to the setting. This might also come down to a Mythras stylistic choice, as I’ve found other campaign settings for Mythras (such as Shores of Korantia) a bit dry. There’s also a personal element, because I am someone who likes big splashy overt magic, and Mythic Babylon feels more “low” fantasy. There is overt magic wielded by priests and sorcerers, but the general feel is more subdued, more subtle. It does so to focus on a historical experience with a dash of magic, and I can’t help but wonder how the game would feel playing “the myths of the Babylonians” in comparison to “the world as the Babylonians believed it.” A bit more organization or structure to the magic—specialization based on deity, or city—could have been interesting, too.

I do really like the setting’s emphasis on divination, and on the Purity skill. This is a D100 rating which describes a character’s relation to the divine order, and impacts your ability to wield magic, be socially accepted, and so on. For example, if you’re under 40%, you need to roll Willpower if you want to enter a temple. Hit 0%, and you turn into a demon—effectively, an alternate method of character death. Because of how vivid the setting is, Purity is one of the more effective “morality” mechanics I’ve seen in a game. It looks to impact player behavior quite strongly, providing firm reasons to make choices in-character as an ancient Akkadian.

The last third of the book is more gamemaster-facing, with the geography of Mesopotamia, a bestiary, and tools for running campaigns in Mythic Babylon.

Like the setting, the geography’s a little dry, but generally well-written. Here, the dryness came from repetition, consuming the foreign names of several temples and local divinities with each city described in the gazetteer. Maps are also provided of many cities, although these are often only partially useful. The mapping style is archaeological. It highlights a few specific places which have been excavated, with detail a bit too small to see well.

In contrast the gazetteer entries are often quite good, with both overt plot seeds, and noted conflicts between cities or individuals which could bedevil players. And again, this is a place where the authors’ breadth of knowledge shines. They could have just written up Sumer & Akkad, but instead we have Elam and the Levant, and mentions of further afield both up north and south into the Persian Gulf. It really brings a picture together of the whole Mesopotamian region, and its neighbors, for adventure.

I like the bestiary’s diversity of monsters, but I couldn’t help but feel that some seemed a little too easily killable. Of course, I don’t know Mythras well, and I’m comparing them to RuneQuest’s gonzo fantasy monsters with 10-20 points of armor, so there’s every chance I just don’t have the tools to evaluate this part of the book.

The gamemaster’s chapters are solid, and provide real advice and interesting ideas for both campaigns and scenarios. The authors make sure to remind the gamemaster to “start small” (important with any unusual setting), and the plethora of scenario ideas provides good support for introducing cultural elements piecemeal. For example, having an adventure during ilkum duty, and then another introducing the city’s assembly needing help negotiating with the king.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Mythic Babylon is modestly illustrated with black & white drawings of varying quality. I wouldn’t say any are atrocious, but there’s not many which felt spectacular, either. I do quite like that most are captioned, to help with reader clarity. The illustrations successfully bring the setting to life, and help give an idea of what the world looks and feels like. They didn’t “wow” me, but they did their job.

The cover, though, is awesome. In hindsight, I think the cover did impact my expectation for “big, over-the-top mythic action” in the text.

Can you blame me?

That said… there’s no color interior illustrations, but the book’s interiors and graphic design are still in color. With the cost of illustration in a book this size black and white absolutely makes sense—I ain’t knocking the choice of art—but surely it would have been better to create the book in black & white instead? Looking at DriveThruRPG’s storefront, it kind of baffles me that there’s a premium color edition. Like… why? There’s no illustrations in the book that call for it, that I saw. Just a bit of graphic design.

CONCLUSIONS

For me, Mythic Babylon was solidly an armchair book. It’s not likely I’ll ever get to play it directly with a group, and that’s OK. I certainly feel there’s lots of ideas I can mine from this, plus I do just love the period. I definitely feel I got my money’s worth, as a customer.

That said, I think it’s worth asking myself if I feel confident about my ability to bring Mythic Babylon to the table, as a gamemaster.

While I don’t feel “confident,” I also don’t feel “apprehensive.” I think it would be a bit tricky to bring as a new setting, but there are pretty good tools in the book. A starter adventure—not in this book, it’s already super long—somewhere would be helpful, probably. Getting an idea of how the authors “expect” a game to go. Alternatively, maybe focusing on one corner of the setting as “home” would have helped. The authors recommend starting small, but many of the central powers and places have similar levels of detail.

Overall, it’s a pretty good book. I do think that if you’re interested in games set in ancient Babylon with any system, you should pick this up. It’s a great book for history geeks, and a really solid introduction to the topic. The setting material is pretty system-agnostic, giving gamemasters interested in non-Mythras (or even non-D100) games still plenty of reason to use Mythic Babylon.

This review was originally published on my website, akhelas.com.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Babylon
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Mythras
by Evan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2023 06:27:46

Mythras does a wonderful job of creating what I call a "life simulator" without going too wonky on the crunch level. I prefer more realistic game mechanics that, IMHO, allow for a more immersive roleplaying session. Fluffy games are not ny thing, but having been a longtime fan of Rolemaster - I do realize that going too crunchy can slow things down and hamper game sessions. Mythras is a great system for handling traditional fantasy settings and I believe it's mechanics could easily be adopted to any class of RPG. There is one future adaptation that I know of called M-Space and its... okay. Mythras sets the base, now I just hope to see some motivated game designer(s) adapt the systems combat to better handle modern to futuristic weaponry. As a gun enthusist, the current offerings fail big time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythras
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Mythic Babylon
by John S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2023 21:05:43

I've been playing TTRPGs since the 80's. I've had hundreds of rulebooks, modules, campaigns, settings, and other RPG esoterica. I have NEVER had a book that is as good as this one.

I absolutely love, love, love this book. I told all the friends in my gaming group that this reads like the history book that you desperately wish you'd had in highschool or college - plus it adds in all the mechanics that you need to bring this setting to life in your Mythras game. The level of scholarship and care that went into this product are exceptional. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed elements like sprinkling relevant excerpts of the Code of Hammurabi throughout the book to add even more flavor to the already super-detailed discussion of the cultures in play.

I've gone through my PDF and marked it up like a textbook. I'm super excited to get my hands on the hardcover that I've order and add it to my bookshelf.

Based on the quality of this book alone I'm planning to pick up every Mythical XXX book that The Design Mechanism publishes.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Babylon
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Mythic Polynesia
by Christopher K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2022 09:25:23

Well, the rules expansions you get in this book are amazing, but what people care about is the accuracy of the text. If the book was "Mythic Polynesia Sans Maori" it would be well-researched and we wouldn't have a problem. The author didn't delve into how divergent the Maori are from other Polynesians and as a result, the Maori sections are inadequate. As far as the Moriori go (which is what people are talking about when they say "outdated sources that perpetuate...etc) the author did follow a source that modern science has proven incorrect.

So if you're looking for a well-researched and amazing supplement about Polynesia (without New Zealand) with new systems for weather, navigating, sailing, surfing, new weapon styles and martial art schools, new spirits and monsters...this is the book you're looking for.

If you want the same thing from a NZ/Maori perspective, this version of the book is not it.

Definitely a 5, dropped to a 4 because of the New Zealand issues.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Polynesia
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Mythic Polynesia
by Jason K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2022 01:59:58

Mythic Polynesia presens a world it claims is Mythic, a fantasy. There are some elements here which seem to be well researched and but the hubris of the author, who haughtily claimed he didnt need to consult cultural sensitivity readers or Indigenous sources led him to make the mistake of including statements that are outdated and propogate white supremacy (the presentation of Moriori in the book for reference) in addition to taking the step to include "racial stat bonuses", something uneccessary amd unseen in tue Mythic Earth line.

So for all the potential for this bool to fill a void in Polynesian gaming content, it falls flat on its face for perpetuating a kind of gaming product that belongs with Oriental Adventures in howit handles matters of Culture. If this was a world of fantasy and Mythic, then the inclusion ofnreal world cultures and real world raciat points of view is an odd one.

to date no supporters of this book seem to want to engagw with that statement, instead resting back on leather elbow patches and decrying wokeness onstead of engaging with tue topic in any meanignful, intelligent or good faith manner.

It is a shame as we engage with our hobby in the 21st Century that so many want to remain in the previous one, this books author included.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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Mythic Polynesia
by Robert P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2022 17:42:25

Another fantastic release from The Design Mechanism. Mythic Polynesia is very well written and is crammed full great info'.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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