Why I chose Mythras…

I quite like change. When I am enjoying something I often think that I am never ever going to stop doing it, but there always comes a time when things either become too much to keep going or something else tempts me away and I no longer have the time for something. I’ve written before about my class envy and this often does happen with games as well. The most important thing about any game for me is the concept and rules, rather than its popularity or great reports. Even when I am streaming, I tend not to hop onto new games or ‘popular’ games just for the sake of playing them since I know that I am not really going to enjoy them or be any good at them. RPGs (Role Playing Games) are the same. I tend to like concepts and rule systems rather than the current popular or new games. With this in mind, you might have noticed that I am no longer streaming D&D 5th edition on a Saturday evening, in favour of Mythras. So, in order to prevent any rumours spreading about the reason behind this, I thought I would let you know in a waffle why I had chosen to play more Mythras.

You might have read about my experience with D&D and how long I’ve actually been involved in DMing and, to some extent, playing the game. When I started to read and play 5th edition D&D I was impressed with the changes that they had made and how well these impacted on the game. The campaign was going well with six people playing every week and hopefully enjoying it. However, I started to become aware that D&D hadn’t really changed that much and I needed a new challenge in order to continue to play and so I switched to Mythras (Runequest). Why – well here are three of the reasons – why three, because that’s the format of these waffles!

  • No more classes – Whenever I had the opportunity to play D&D I always appeared to end up playing the Magic-User. I spent many dungeon crawls throwing random darts and wildly swinging my staff, saving my one magic missile spell for the opportune moment, hoping that I didn’t die with my three hit points before that point. The new spell system within fifth edition is excellent and I really liked the way that magic-users actually become wielders of the arcane, especially with the addition of cantrips. As I read more about the classes, the original magic-users and illusionists expanded to include sorcerers and warlock and the weapons and armour could, if you followed the race proficiencies, became less and less restricted. Using the rules well, magic-users went from the fragile arcane users to iron clad tanks fighting alongside the fighters. Classes can be somewhat of a problem. You need a healer so you need a <>. Once you have started a class, really the only way to change is to start a new one which can present its own issues. With games like Mythras, classes are irrelevant. Yes, your culture and professional backgrounds initially dictate your skills but after that, you can really progress how you want. One character from a nomadic tribe can be completely different from a similar character from that same tribe and, when encountering that ‘paladin’ looking NPC players really have no idea what is going to happen next. The lack of class almost increases the unpredictability of the game and if you need a healer, then the fighter learning basic folk magic can start to fill the gap. There was once an article within the old magazine called ‘Imagine’ called ‘What to do with the Dragon’s Treasure’ which suggested that characters within D&D could actually purchase skills from other classes. I always really liked this idea but rather than implementing it into a system, games like Mythras come with it already established.
  • I don’t remember the full version, but please add it to the comments if you know it completely

  • Combat is lethal – There was once a song which I remember singing and learning off by heart which was sung to the tune ‘My eyes have seen the glory’. It took each class and described it according to its abilities. I don’t remember the full version, but please add it to the comments if you know it completely, but I do remember it describing that fighter having ten thousand hit points and a plus ten vorpal sword. Ten thousand hit points. I know it was probably an exaggeration, but players would ‘use the rules’ effectively in D&D to ensure that their characters had a nice wealth of hit points in order to keep them alive for longer. As they increased in level, these hit points just got higher and higher. This often ended up with situations like – the dragon breathes fire on you, you fail the saving throw, you take 56 hit points of damage and the player smiling and saying fine – not even down to half yet! The way Mythras approaches hit points is allocating it to each area of the body and, although you can change these with increasing your attributes, these are fixed. Yes you change your evade roll or your parrying/blocking skill, but your arm is still an arm and once it takes a certain amount of damage it is gone – in some cases, quite literally. I like this, and almost prefer it. Yes it takes a lot more tracking and combat can be quite involved, but I prefer the ‘non-godlike’ feel of combat. Coupled with specials and fatigue, combat can be very involved but for me, almost more realistic.

  • My Little Niche – Something which I have really come to terms with in my life is that I often miss the boat with things. I don’t mean that I am literally running along the dock as boat sails out of port, but more that I am never on trend and often come to things several months or even years after they have become and been popular. You only need to look and my current dress sense and wardrobe to confirm this further! When someone said that they wanted to play D&D again and I agreed to DM, I had this feeling that we were being pioneers and were starting off a new stage in gaming which people would be amazed by. I suddenly realised, as usual, that I had missed the boat and many people were playing the game and were streaming and developing it. As any game develops, rules become homebrew and interpretations occur. One of the most difficult things I think about being a DM/GM is ensuring that everyone is aware of the rule system which the game is based on. New players pose no problem with this, but established players joining campaigns come with their own rules and interpretations. This can, put a whole load of additional stress on the DM, as they have to interpret these new rules and justify their own approach. No rule system is complete and I do enjoy browsing forums and reddits to seek out new rules and how other people play systems in order to improve the rules of the campaign. With a game which very few people play, this can be a very exciting time and for once I feel that I am actually on the deck as the boat sets sail. With Mythras and to some extend Shadowrun, I feel that I have found my little niche in my humble corner of the internet playing two games systems which are not as well known as D&D and yet still provide the opportunity to enjoy a fantasy and cyberpunk world. Being on the boat is definitely a change from chasing after it for once!

  • There are other reasons why I switched to Mythras as my fantasy game some of which I might talk about in another waffle, but these are my initial favourite three. I will definitely return to D&D, probably for some one offs, when I create the characters and invite people to play. But for the forseeable future, I want to really invest in the Mythras rule system and develop my new campaign world. Hopefully you will enjoy it just as much as the D&D campaign and come along and see the group attempting to survive and progress and … perhaps the most important aspect of any game … have fun.

    As always, if you have any thoughts or comments on this post then please add them below or send them to me via any of the social media sites I frequent. You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then please check out my Minecraft webpage for details of joining the the server. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

    And taking about having fun – Have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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