Mythras thread

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Séadna

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Did a search and there didn't seem to be a general thread for Mythras. So I thought I'd start this one with a bit of a look at Mythic Constantinople.

Constantinople.jpg

The book is divided into the following sections:
  • An introduction
  • The basic history and geography of the city
  • Byzantine culture
  • A look at the rest of the Mediterranean
  • Char Gen
  • Gear
  • Magic
  • Factions/Groups
  • A more detailed look at the city
  • Same adventures
  • Bestiary
Overall Highlights:
  1. Fantasy/Mythic elements are easily removed, large sections of the book don't even mention them. However they are historically appropriate and I liked the link with the Ancient Greek past of the peoples.

  2. There is a pretty interesting "light Mythic" plot included, if you want a bit of fantasy, but not much

  3. The compromise between complete accuracy and playability is well done. This is more from the book not going into historical monograph level detail rather than inaccuracies.

  4. Time period chosen for the book is well suited for campaigns, Byzantium still has a distinct culture with traditional institutions still standing, but is under threat (the fall only three years away) and now has a large foreign born population. Earlier periods would have a largely unthreatened and more homogeneous Byzantium. EDIT: Current year is 1450

  5. The core cultures (Greek, Frank and Turk) have an interesting multilayered conflict.

  6. The Gear chapter is pretty much all you could ask for (rules for Greek Fire flamethrowers!)

  7. The chapter that deals with the city in general is exceptionally well done, especially the hooks and the encounter and district generators
Introduction:
This chapter contains a guide to pronouncing Greek and Turkish, Glossary of common terms, scaling the level of Fantasy and a brief comment on a central themes of the book: The conflict between Orthodox and Catholic Christianity and Christianity and Islam. Although overall the book emphasises Orthodox vs Catholic more.

The guide to Greek is pretty well done. Medieval Greek is in some ways easier for an English speaker than modern Greek (e.g. the gh sound), so it's not a strain to keep a reasonably accurate pronunciation and the guide more than suffices.

The bibliography is quite good. However, having read all of them and some other books, "Mythic Constantinople" itself is more than sufficient for running a game.

History, Geography, Culture and the World:
These chapters span essentially break down:
  1. The history of the empire and the city
  2. The geographical features of the city
  3. The political structure of the city
  4. Foreign groups in the city and attitudes toward them
  5. Beliefs (both religious and folk)
  6. Daily Life and Festivities
  7. Information on bureaucratic organisations in the city
I'm not going to belabour this, the main point is that this information would take a long time to extract from historical monographs if you were to attempt to do it yourself. These chapters essentially function as cliff notes resulting from a very broad reading of Byzantian studies edited into something readable. Related topics are presented together and I don't recall any topic going on for too long.

I don't think there is a need for more detail and you really would have to be willing to not only read specialised texts, but actual research papers in some cases if you wanted more.

The final of these chapters details the world around Byzantium and would more be useful as something to dive into for various NPCs (e.g. details on the kingdom of Cyprus). I don't consult it as much and in running a campaign it doesn't need to be as fresh in your head I think.

Also non-human and magical information appear under their own subheadings and are not really interwoven with historical detail.

Note: Inaccuracies really only take four forms:
  1. Conveniences for the modern reader, e.g. Byzantines being called Greek in the text, even though they would have said Roman. Turkic names using modern Turkish orthography with the Roman alphabet rather than authentic Medieval Turkish spelling and script.

  2. Conveniences for play, e.g. Imported goods are twice that of the Mythras core, goods from the city 1.5 (to emulate inflation), rather than historically accurate uneven market prices.

  3. Assuming some details remain the same as sources in neighbouring periods state, e.g. female clothing is only attested in sources about twenty years prior (~1430), so they just take this

  4. Details filled in where sources are vague or silent, this mostly relates to giving NPCs a bit of personality where they're just a name in historical sources.
Intro.jpg

Char Gen:
Small modifications to Mythras Char Gen for the setting. Mostly just the skills associated with the PC cultures (Greek, Turkic, Frankish, Arab). About two pages is then given over to non-human races. These are flagged under their own heading and magic isn't intrinsic to any human cultures so it is easy to isolate the purely historic part.

Greeks are the "default", presented as cultured and socially stable, but stagnant.
Turks are presented as Islamic Greeks culturally.
Franks are risk taking and more open to change, but trapped under feudalism.

This characterisation is continued in the rest of the book and is a good shorthand for the historical situation. A strong trend in the provided NPCs and some of the adventure hooks is "Unionism of the Churches", so many Franks and Greeks will feel that given the growth of Islam there should be a stronger emphasis on Christianity as a whole. However this is nicely played off by the fact that the Turks are refined, unlike the Franks. So a Greek is more likely to get along with a Turk on a personal level. Turks and Greeks have also suffered raids from crusading Franks, but again this is offset by Turks being invaders in Byzantine territory.

Arabs function more as an outsider group and aren't characterised as strongly in the rest of the book.

Archetypes are presented for all four cultures, e.g. Pharmakopeia (witch apothecary) and Agent of the Dome (Spy) for Greeks.

Passions for each culture follow a Religious, Social Bond and Negative Stereotype format. For example for Franks:
  • Religious passion is basically devotion to the church
  • Social Passion is related to feudal structure
  • Negative Stereotype is nation specific, e.g. Lust for Women (the French)
Arabs are similar, but the social bond is familial.

Each culture gets some combat styles.

The Franks get a swashbuckling noble style (Code Duello) and a range of styles reflecting roles in late feudal armies (e.g. firearm user, cavalier, footman).

The Greeks get a martial arts style (Pankration) and a list of military styles that center around defending and holding cities.

Turks and Arabs both have a style based around unprofessional raiding on horse back. Their professional styles center around sword and spear combat from horseback.

One or two combat styles are mythic (e.g. the combat styles of Minotaurs).

Then follows a guide to names, pretty straight forward.

Finally there is a bunch of background events. Quite a few of these center around religious belief and the conflict between the faiths. Some are explicitly fantastical (Minor god was your lover in your youth).

CharGen.jpg

More to come....
 
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boulet

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You didn't write it explicitly but it seems that this book offers material for 12th and 13th century, did I get that right?
 

TheophilusCarter

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Sub'd. Increasingly interested in this game, though I'm not sure it would work with my face-to-face players.
 

Edgewise

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The bibliography is quite good. However, having read all of them and some other books, "Mythic Constantinople" itself is more than sufficient for running a game.
So you're definitely the right person to review this.

Out of curiosity, how are the fantastic elements handled? You mention that the setting is very light on magic, which seems appropriate, but I'm wondering what types of spell-casters exist and what their role is in Byzantine society.
 

Séadna

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So you're definitely the right person to review this.

Out of curiosity, how are the fantastic elements handled? You mention that the setting is very light on magic, which seems appropriate, but I'm wondering what types of spell-casters exist and what their role is in Byzantine society.
I'll work the answer to this into the next post.
 

Raleel

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Mythic Constantinople has some really interesting mechanical bits that I can toss in here - not to steal too much of Séadna Séadna 's thunder
  • their solution for potions is very elegant
  • the sorcery section makes a good mechanism for corruption
  • the network structure of the organizations, people, and places is quite clever. it has a nice key system to help you piece things and track them around.
I'm quite fond of the Arabs in the book, and wish they had gotten more of a section. Perhaps someone with more Arabic cultural knowledge can make another supplement. the fact that it has dervishes as actual mystics is quite nice, but they aren't the only ones! Hesychasm and Neoplatonists make appearances as well.
 

TheophilusCarter

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Mythic Constantinople has some really interesting mechanical bits that I can toss in here - not to steal too much of Séadna Séadna 's thunder
  • their solution for potions is very elegant
  • the sorcery section makes a good mechanism for corruption
  • the network structure of the organizations, people, and places is quite clever. it has a nice key system to help you piece things and track them around.
I'm quite fond of the Arabs in the book, and wish they had gotten more of a section. Perhaps someone with more Arabic cultural knowledge can make another supplement. the fact that it has dervishes as actual mystics is quite nice, but they aren't the only ones! Hesychasm and Neoplatonists make appearances as well.
You had me at "Neoplatonists." Okay, that was actually very late in your post, but still ...
 

The Butcher

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I want to know who's running/playing Mythras and what setting are they using/playing in.

Because I've wanted to run Mythras forever but can't decide on a setting. Monster Island, Xoth, the Hyborian Age (or a combination of all three), Mythic Britain, Mythic Rome, The Realm (from The Book of Quests), Second Age Glorantha, homebrew...
 

Séadna

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I want to know who's running/playing Mythras and what setting are they using/playing in.

Because I've wanted to run Mythras forever but can't decide on a setting. Monster Island, Xoth, the Hyborian Age (or a combination of all three), Mythic Britain, Mythic Rome, The Realm (from The Book of Quests), Second Age Glorantha, homebrew...
Well to go first, currently running a Constantinople game, have run Rome and Mycenaean Greece, played a Venetian game.
 

Raleel

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Umbraldragon from the TDM board is running Spider God’s Bride, which is Xoth. I’m currently doing Feng Shui but next is cyberpunk or Mythic Britain or maybe a mashup and include after the vampire wars. It might take place in Mythic Constantinople with Parallel hopping from Luther Arkwright. Who knows at this point!
 

Nick J

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I've been in the on-again off-again stage of adapting Dolmenwood to Magic World, but lately after finally getting to give Classic Fantasy a proper read-through I'm sorely tempted to switch to it; it seems like it'd be a breeze to adapt all of that OSR-ish and B/X crap I've got scattered across my shelves and my hard drive.
 

Dumarest

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I'm trying to find time to read through Monster Island now that I found where my kids stashed it. Might do a review or might just steal material for our online OD&D game. Haven't ever run Mythras, but would like to try it, especially if they do a Mythic Greece that I can use for adventures in the vein of The Argonautica and The Odyssey. I have Mythic Rome and Mythic Britain, but neither appeal to me as much as Greek myth.

Fun fact: typing this on my telephone and autoincorrect wants there to be a book called Mobster Island. But that's just Manhattan and/or Long Island, isn't it?
 

The Butcher

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Well to go first, currently running a Constantinople game, have run Rome and Mycenaean Greece, played a Venetian game.

OK, I want to know everything about your Venetian game. E V E R Y T H I N G

Umbraldragon from the TDM board is running Spider God’s Bride, which is Xoth. I’m currently doing Feng Shui but next is cyberpunk or Mythic Britain or maybe a mashup and include after the vampire wars. It might take place in Mythic Constantinople with Parallel hopping from Luther Arkwright. Who knows at this point!

UD was kind enough to extend me an invitation, which I declined because of time constraints. My dream is to mash up Monster Island, Xoth and Jeff Talanian's Hyperborea for the ultimate Conanesque.

I've been in the on-again off-again stage of adapting Dolmenwood to Magic World, but lately after finally getting to give Classic Fantasy a proper read-through I'm sorely tempted to switch to it; it seems like it'd be a breeze to adapt all of that OSR-ish and B/X crap I've got scattered across my shelves and my hard drive.

I really should look into Dolmenwood some day. I assume it's Dragon Warriors-esque in which case BRP might be an even better fit IMHO.

Magic World is crazy good. Is it still available? I might get it.

I'm trying to find time to read through Monster Island now that I found where my kids stashed it. Might do a review or might just steal material for our online OD&D game. Haven't ever run Mythras, but would like to try it, especially if they do a Mythic Greece that I can use for adventures in the vein of The Argonautica and The Odyssey. I have Mythic Rome and Mythic Britain, but neither appeal to me as much as Greek myth.

Fun fact: typing this on my telephone and autoincorrect wants there to be a book called Mobster Island. But that's just Manhattan and/or Long Island, isn't it?

The possibility of a Mythic Greece book has been aired for years; right now they havd their hands full with Mythic Mesopoptamia (by the amazing A Apocryphal) and Lyonesse (b y Loz and Pete), but I hope we can eventually see this too!

Keep 'em coming!
 

Raleel

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I've been in the on-again off-again stage of adapting Dolmenwood to Magic World, but lately after finally getting to give Classic Fantasy a proper read-through I'm sorely tempted to switch to it; it seems like it'd be a breeze to adapt all of that OSR-ish and B/X crap I've got scattered across my shelves and my hard drive.

I was able to translate temple of elemental evil with only changing the monsters to the Mythras/CF version, and alter the traps to work against CF ones. Worked like a champ. One of my best combats came out of that.
 

Dumarest

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Mythic Pop. I approve. Slave 4 U is something else.
Is that what the GIF is from? I can't name a single song in her oeuvre unless "Hit Me, Baby, One More Time" is correct. That kind of music was never my bag, but playing it in a game could be a hoot and a half, maybe even two hoots!
 

CRKrueger

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It would be cool to have Lottery/Fuck You money so you could run your weekly Mythic Rome campaign on a stone table by torchlight on the floor of the Colisseum in Rome.
 

Raleel

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It would be cool to have Lottery/Fuck You money so you could run your weekly Mythic Rome campaign on a stone table by torchlight on the floor of the Colisseum in Rome.
that would be a hell of a live play on youtube.
 

Raleel

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It would be cool to have Lottery/Fuck You money so you could run your weekly Mythic Rome campaign on a stone table by torchlight on the floor of the Colisseum in Rome.
Come to think of it, if I had that level of money, I could do up a commercial for Mythras featuring the esteemed Miss Spears in Mythic Britain, then Rome, then hopping through parallels with Luther Arkwright, then ending as a half fae in after the vampire wars. Dumarest Dumarest as art director, of course
 
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Raleel

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I had a dark fantasy game primed when my group pulled the plug to play shit instead.

I’m refusing to even offer to run a game despite nagging
what is the excrement?
 

Nobby-W

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It would be cool to have Lottery/Fuck You money so you could run your weekly Mythic Rome campaign on a stone table by torchlight on the floor of the Colisseum in Rome.
You'd never get any peace from the hawkers trying to flog you watches or sunglasses, although there are a few decent cafes around where you might be able to run a game. They tend to open quite late as well, as there is a 3-4 hour siesta in the middle of the day.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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I want to know who's running/playing Mythras and what setting are they using/playing in.

Because I've wanted to run Mythras forever but can't decide on a setting. Monster Island, Xoth, the Hyborian Age (or a combination of all three), Mythic Britain, Mythic Rome, The Realm (from The Book of Quests), Second Age Glorantha, homebrew...
Monster Island is awesome and I plan to run it some day - maybe a little pulped up. I am also interested in Mythic Chonstantinople and Mythic Greece (when it comes out). Mythic Constantinople will probably be my next purchase. The Design Mechanism sure puts out good stuff.
 

finarvyn

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Could someone explain Mythras to me? I've heard about it but have never seen a copy. Sounds like it's sort of a story-game style RPG based somehow on Runequest, or something like that. Am I at all close? (I guess the references to PotA are messing with me a little.) :sad:
 

Ronnie Sanford

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I am not a Mythras expert but I doubt many people would consider Mythras a storygame. As a matter of fact they would probably consider it the opposite since its very much a simulative game and very gritty. Mythras used to be called RuneQuest 6 until they lost the license and rebranded it to Mythras. Mythras / RuneQuest 6 is a deriviation of the work that Loz and Pete developed for Mongoose when they were putting out RuneQuest II. Mythras is probably the most gritty of all the BRP games and that includes being more gritty than straight BRP from the Big Gold Book.
 
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