We had our first moment of “everyone looks quite confused at the rules” playing RQ/Mythras.
It was a situation involving 3 actors each using a weapon with a different Reach, everyone making liberal use of the Change Range action to outmaneuver the opponents, with one guy not having to roll due to a Combat Style trait and the others having to roll. What was interesting (and pleasing) is that once things started to make sense, what was produced wasn’t the stereotypical “if we all 5 ft step all day nothing will happen and we’re locked in a stalemate” D&D3 situation that we feared was going to happen. The entire process of trying something, making sense of it being viable, being frustrated with not having options, discovering and understanding what options you had produced a scene.
I’m not sure the rules are not exploitable and I’m not saying it’s flawless, but the combination of actually having to roll dice and dice producing impactful effects, different AP pools (pro-tip: don’t use a short weapon if you’re big and strong and have very few AP) and the variety of combat options made what could have looked like 3 guys doing nothing for a minute into people circling around tables, hiding behind doorframes, rushing in and jumping.
It was the first time in 15 or something years that someone asked me about the presence of a chandelier.
5 responses to “A small post about a great combat scene (Runequest/Mythras)”
Wow! I always love when games include reach and positioning in dynamic way. I have danced around checking Mythras out because of time, and its reputation as a "tactical rpg" – which I wrongly assumed means d20-esque in gamer parlance.
I am intrigued by this! Right there. That is the stuff I am looking for in an fighty rpg. The allure of "tactical combat" is creating situations with solid constraints, vivid imagery, meaningful choices and dangerous outcomes. That sounded like that fight ticked all those boxes.
Also, did someone make use of the chandelier? I am dying to know.
There was no chandelier,
There was no chandelier, sadly. Hay roof house.
What Mythras does is not getting too concerned with movement as going from here to there (you basically get your movement rate for free attached to the set of actions you do during a turn) but gets really detailed when analyzing positioning relative to each other.
So we had a guy with a Short range weapon, another with a Medium range weapon, and the third using a two handed hammer, which in this game is a long range weapon. Let's call them A, B and C.
C has no advantage over the others (nor any disadvantage). If A can attack him, he can retaliate. If C can attack him, he can retaliate.
A is at big disadvantage relative to C because if C keeps him at long range, he can do nothing. Also, he can't really parry C's attacks due to the different weapon size, so actually engaging in combat is a problem. But if he can get in close range, he can attack at full efficiency, and C can only attack with his weapon handle or unarmed attacks. And can't parry.
So A and C are engaged in a deadly dance of trying to keep each other in the right range, with B acting as the "jolly". Changing your range (relative positioning) costs an action, plus triggers a contested roll that may cause you to be attacked, so it's not an easy choice.
Then there's the amount of action points every character has – the difference between having 2 and 3 can be massive, when this happen. If A didn't have the Daredevil trait (allowing him to evade attacks without falling prone) he would have been toast quite soon.
The good thing here is that there's enough variables and options (there's an action called Outmaneuver that can be critical in this type of situation) that you don't get that "Ok, this is what I can do, nothing helps me, I'm done". A good roll may change the situation, a bad roll from someone else can too, and everything that gets added as detail through narration can come back into the decisionmaking in an organic way.
Dang, here I am toying sigh
Dang, here I am toying sigh RQG and going "how do I make weapon length/positioning less fixed" (a dagger on the inside of a spear, for example) and Mythras makes that a core part of its combat system. It's going further up my list of games to try out now.
That's so good. Like, I really want to emphasize – this is an ideal for me. I was worried about how special effects after rolls would undermine that, but it seems quite the opposite.
Can I ask Lorenzo how many
Can I ask Lorenzo how many dice rolls the combat lasted?
And how much time it lasted all considered?
Also, how much the narration after every roll changed the subsequent choices ? In which way exactly?
A Dynamic System
Mythras uses a very dynamic system. The Design Mechanism is the heart of any Mythras resolution. I use the combat cards all the time. Once you get a handle on what is possible, the game opens up and becomes more than the sum of its parts.
I've been playing Mythras since 2012 and it's been my go to game ever since. I prefer it to ANY D20 game. And, since I'm usually designing my own adventures I am ok not using any of the setting material.
I created an adventure called Dawn of the Red Daggers. It's designed for beginning players and GMs. You can find it on Drivethrurpg. I actually didn't want to put it out as a classic fantasy adventure, I wanted to put it out as a game you could run in any setting. The guys at Design Mechanism felt otherwise.
Either way, I hope other folks pick up Mythras. There is so much potential there I can't say enough about it. And, lastly, don't confuse Mythras with Runequest. They are not the same despite having a common origin.