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Homecoming: A Tale of Vengeance (Mythras)

I had the chance to run an impromptu session using Mythras (d100, formerly RuneQuest 6) with some friends of varying experience with it (none to some) and we found ourselves caught up in an Autumn-shrouded highlands region pursuing a most personal vendetta.

The video features commentary and annotations for newcomers, has a quick pace, and a short run-time.

 

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

I was hoping to see this! Thanks!

My pleasure~

We aren't recording reflection videos for this, but strong threads of conversation have arisen anyway on the topic of how play felt in comparison to other games we are playing together or have played together in recent memory. 

All three of the players with characters independently described play as allowing them to connect deeply with place and character (immersion-in-character). 

This stood out as one had no prior exposure to the system, two had never played it outside of PBeM, they were using Pre-Generated characters, and I created the setting and situation about an hour before play but didn't share it until the session started. That means play required some explanation and some longer stretches of exposition from the GM.

The intersection of harmonious approaches to play, resonance with the setting and situation, my method of description, and the information returned by use of the system have been cited as the reasons this session had such a strong effect on their experience in comparison to our other games. We are still talking about what all of that means to each individual, but I thought sharing the session here might be appreciated. This reaction wasn't unexpected, and for my part in the GM role it was a conscious goal (as usual) to facilitate it, but there is always lots to talk about in terms of what immersion-in-character is like and what helped and hindered it in the moment.

The players' personal experience of immersion-in-character is not something that can be observed outside of some minor shifts in language, so I am not sharing it for that reason. Rather, I am sharing it for how a relatively expansive toolkit system like those in the BRP lineage of d100 games can still be shared and run smoothly - even if some or all of the participants have reservations about the number or complexity of the rules.

I hope that if people watch it, that they will enjoy it for what it is (a revenge tale) and that it contributes in some way to demystifying Mythras.

 

Sean_RDP's picture

I have always been a fan of Mythras, though I came to it relatively late in its RQ 6 version. In general I like the licensed games that came about from Mongoose's RQ run even if I was not a huge fan of their version of RQ (a tale for a different day). I have a couple of designs derived from OpenQuest 2 still in my design bin somewhere.

I won't say I ever struggled with Mythras, but I struggled at times running it as its own thing as opposed to a Runequest descendant.  It is a polished and well tested set of rules that stand up in play all by itself. It took me a bit to appreciate the system for its own merits .

The situation you put the characters into had a lot at stake, at least from my perspective. It felt very authentic when the players were making decisions about what the characters wanted to do. And the system carried those decisions along to logical conclusions. And the effects make combat far more dynamic than the typical BRP / d100 style of hit-parry-dodge-miss-repeat. 

This group is very comfortable together and based on friendship outside the games we run with each other. The starting situation was one I knew they would respond to (though cast in a way that they didn't quite expect and in a society that took shape in the moment, so in the first and second sessions, they reported finding their motivations to be quite different than usual.) 

Like you, I really find the way that the system works to be logical and dynamic, and really encourages outcomes that go beyond lethal violence - even in a revenge tale. 

We had so much fun the first time that we took Mythras out for a second session, with a third planned for tonight. The video is short, lightly annotated, and focuses on core, low/no magic elements of the system.

Homecoming Session 2

noah_t's picture

Just wanted to jump in and say how much I enjoyed this Actual Play (only heard session 1 so far). Getting to eavesdrop on a BRP-based game made me appreciate how fun the combination of Skills, Lore/Knowledge, Passions and Augments is. I've only read it, but it seems like Mythras adds some quality-of-life upgrades for handling that interplay, too (Skill Caps, etc.)

I particularly liked how you facilitated the interactions of Passion and Endurance checks in the opening scenes.

Listening made me think about the discussion of Traits over at Breakthroughs in The Pool--Brooklyn + Mumbegore. When you're reading the rules, Passions, Skills and Knowledge Skills appear perfectly identical. But in play they turn out to be really distinct.

I am glad that you enjoyed it!

I am with you in finding it interesting how a suite of things can be mechanically identical (roll percentile dice for degree of success/failure) at the fundamental level, but on the practical level due to the procedures of bringing them into play can be or at least feel that they are in all other respects distinct. In this case we have governing concepts of things like what the 'trait' covers, what a roll for it concerns, the duration of a result, when and if a roll should be made, and how often, and where do other rules (augmenting, assistance, team, opposed, etc) apply or not in how a given 'trait' enters play. 

Sam's report on playing the Pool and how it was different this time for him and for his friend is an important type of reporting. I think it really helps other gamers to see what they do, what they don't do, what they do or don't want to do, what they wish they had been doing but didn't realize they could be doing, etc. 

Where things can get out of hand, such as Sam's reference to unkind interactions in other venues, can be where personal preference is conflated with policy by that community, and instead of being a part of a person's process of discovery, control over it is sought instead - whether by snuffing it out on one end of the spectrum or taking measures to instill a party line on the other. I guess gaslighting falls in there somewhere, too~

So in response to Sam's questions about rules from other games that we have applied to The Pool, my first reaction would be to want to look at it the other way - to examine how our play of other games highlights those essential practices we already do, have always done, and so on - even if we do not know it - that informed its writing.  

From a certain point of view, the topic of The Pool ends up being about control and people tend to say control over 'the story'. The MoV in particular highlights this concept perfectly. From a different point of view, the conversation will, unsurprisingly, be different. In these Mythras sessions, for example, story of any kind is not a concern, and while the events of play ('the story') and how they came about are primarly what the observer interacts with, for the players the conversation has entirely been about the expereince of the character, the decisions of the character, and what the environment of play (the rules, their interactions with others, their interactions with desctiption) provided for them. The sort of asymmetric but essentially equal collaborative contribution by all players highlighted in examoination of the pool was met for the players and it had nothing to do with story. What I find interesting is that when examined in this light, this sort of play could easily have led to conversations about control, but only if some or all of the players involved themselves in an unwelcome fashion in the decision-making of someone else. Framing that idea back into the conversation about control over story gives us some real symmetry, I think. 

Anyway, thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the session!

 

Linked is the third Saturday session in a row using Mythras. Each session was improvised, starting from a situation in a notion of a culture for session 1,  from the feel of session 1 for session 2, and from self-reflection on sessions 1 and 2 for session 3.

We intend to return for more, but as this was fun as a filler during participants' vacations, the regular game will resume for a session or two.

Homecoming - Session 3

As before, this session does not shy away from explaining rules that are new to a player, and also has light annotation. 

This session was also enjoyable by all reports, and now that there are three sessions one thing that I decided to do is starting to become obvious. Each features many things that are the same, of course, but also some things which were done differently, such as the participants, the pace, and the specific nuances of spoken interaction. I find the ways that each session differs as a result of this to be interesting, though I understand mileage varies on that sort of observation of play~

 

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