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Messages - S'mon

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I would use The Minrothad Guilds, which has a Traveller style trade system

Take the Christian story of Abraham arguing with God about sparing Sodom and Gomorrah for example.  Where exactly did God smite Abraham for his presumption of arguing back to God?
Abraham wasn’t arguing back to God; he was haggling. Big difference.

He also failed!

I was thinking of Bellerophon, the most magic-item laden Greek hero, perishing when he tried to join the gods on Olympus.

The tone Gygax sets in his writing did more for my D&D games than all of the rules ever written.  Yes, and he has good advice too.

The only thing that could have been improved, I think, was organization.

Yes - these gems are well hidden! Right between the Gaining Experience (ie Training to Level) rules and Climate & Ecology.

It seems all the replies to my question have all been that you need to limit the PCs to NOT being the heroes of legend (nor possessing the abilities of those heroes) but instead be ordinary people who only hear the legends and never experience them first hand.

You can certainly play a game where the PCs are the legendary heroes, equivalent of Odysseus & co. I'm planning to run Odyssey of the Dragonlords, which does exactly that. But I get the impression that's not really what you want.

For a traditional mythic feel, you can have a ton of powerful magic items, but if you challenge the gods by trying to fly to Heaven and find out The Truth, they will still smite you for your presumption. The lesson being Hubris and Nemesis.

Yet this is exactly what happened,lion%2C%20goat%2C%20and%20snake.

Bellerophon tries to defy the Mythic Order by flying to Heaven/Olympus. He dies.


This is absolutely a logical out growth of the current "gaming culture". Discuss, weep, etc.

Can you quote it? I don't really do Twitter.  :-

The point being that for every GM, there's a threshold where if you want to exceed your normal comfort zone on party size, you'll need to adapt the rules, and another threshold where some of the options are taken away if you want to make it work.  For a GM whose ideal party size is 3 players, those thresholds are going to come a lot sooner.

Yeah I agree. I'd say my comfort zone for 5e D&D is 5-6 players, but I can push it to 8 ok these days, by cutting out some of the optional rules modules and generally being a lean mean GMing machine.  8) While I've GM'd with 14 or so a couple times for convention games, it's not something I'm comfy with or that I think would give an optimal experience long term.

However there are several player/PC groups IMC and I have had queries about team ups, so I suspect I'll be GMing for 15 one of these days... but as a one or two shot, not long term.

Yes.  Mythic thought cuts at a different angle.  to the Powers That Be (and not just the current ones) it is always dangerous.  Powerful, useful at times, but dangerous to established ideas--like a chainsaw.  Even false myths are dangerous to them, because they exercise a person's imagination in tandem with their "philosophy" of the world.  However, it is not the "Free thought" of the skeptic but something more channeled. 

Which by the way is the one thing I see in the Gloranthan myths that is lacking.  Sure, they have a nod to danger, and real risk to to the characters in trying to manipulate them.  However, in deconstructing how myths work otherwise, they've removed that sense that something is happening with the myth that is out of control.  A myth should have backing it some element of Terror or Awe--in the original meaning of the words, not what a modern would translate into Terrific or Awesome!  Yet another way in which the modern mind struggles with myth because of how mangled is the language in which the modern thinks.

I run more "fantastical" than "mythic" because when I do include a myth, I want to make sure I do it right.  Merely "fantastical" doesn't need to meet that standard to give a feel for the setting.  For example, a talking badger is fantastical.  A talking badger that comes from a mysterious society that have insight into some awesome truth could be mythic. Even if the "truth" is all wrong.

Great post.

Yeah, I think in my campaigns typically the myth-world is something that exists at the edges, just out of the corner of one's eye. If you try to bring it into focus it slides away. But I like the sense that it's there; it makes the world feel much more real.

won’t that make every combat take forever though

I generally GM 5e for 7-8 players online, with 1-3 accompanying NPCs.
It does take longer but I find banning multiclassing & feats keeps character complexity down and turns go swiftly. It would be a lot quicker still if the players hadn't objected to side-based initiative & insisted on each having their own discrete turn!

As said above, the main thing is to use groups of monsters. If you are 'building' encounters, do it 4e style, basing it off a standard of 1 monster per PC, not 3e style 1 monster per group.

The best fights IME are probably those with around 1.5 to 2 times as many monsters as PCs.

Like I said, once you're applying a scientific world view to myth, you've already failed.

I would take that thought even more extreme:  Once you're applying a scientific OR fictional world view to myth, you've already failed.  The most common* mistake a modern makes about "myth" is the immediate assumption of "fiction". 

It occurs to me that in today's world with the influence of Postmodernism, the Powers That Be tend to think in terms of Narrative, of 'controlling the Narrative' - the fiction about how the world works - which is mixed up with Enlightenment-Scientific thinking. They tend to give lip service to Scientific Truth while using it in the service of Narrative, and are very hostile to Mythic Truth, which tends to get in the way of the Narrative.

This is your problem right here.

The PC's should not have the power to "figure it out".

Nerf magic.

Problem solved.

You could do a Runequest Dreamtime/Godtime type approach where each PC who 'figures it out' sees exactly what they expect to see. This works for a setting like Runequest Glorantha where the PCs are living in a world shaped by myth, rather than them being the mythic heroes themselves. If the setting is an actual (eg) Greek mythology setting then all the PCs should already have the same expectations. But if you're running a game set in a magical version of Athens 300 BC then the setting needs to accommodate the differing views of the philosophers, the public, foreigners etc without any one being indisputably The Truth.

DnD is certainly not for everyone.

For a traditional mythic feel, you can have a ton of powerful magic items, but if you challenge the gods by trying to fly to Heaven and find out The Truth, they will still smite you for your presumption. The lesson being Hubris and Nemesis.

Of course it's fine to run an American Superheroes type campaign where you can beat up the gods, original D&D is far more Marvel than Myth (or you could say that the American core myth valorises Hubris), and getting a traditional mythic feel requires quite a shift in base assumptions.

Like I said, once you're applying a scientific world view to myth, you've already failed.

I would take that thought even more extreme:  Once you're applying a scientific OR fictional world view to myth, you've already failed.  The most common* mistake a modern makes about "myth" is the immediate assumption of "fiction". 

Yes, you're definitely right.

Not much mainstream RPG authors 'get' myth, certainly not D&D, though 4e ironically did a lot better than prior iterations and I tend to largely stick with its tone in other D&D I run.

The preceding section is also gold:


Unlike most games, AD&D is an ongoing collection of episode adventures,

each of which constitutes a session of play. You, as the Dungeon Master, are

about to embark on a new career, that of universe maker. You will order the

universe and direct the activities in each game, becoming one of the elite group

of campaign referees referred to as DMs in the vernacular of AD&D. What lies

ahead will require the use of all of your skill, put a strain on your imagination,

bring your creativity to the fore, test your patience, and exhaust your free time.

Being a DM is no matter to be taken lightly!

Your campaign requires the above from you, and participation by your players.

To belabor an old saw, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You are probably just

learning, so take small steps at first. The milieu for initial adventures should be

kept to a size commensurate with the needs of campaign participants — your

available time as compared with the demands of the players. This will

typically result in your giving them a brief background, placing them in a

settlement, and stating that they should prepare themselves to find and

explore the dungeon/ruin they know is nearby. As background you inform

them that they are from some nearby place where they were apprentices

learning their respective professions, that they met by chance in an inn or

tavern and resolved to journey together to seek their fortunes in the

dangerous environment, and that, beyond the knowledge common to the area

(speech, alignments, races, and the like), they know nothing of the world.

Placing these new participants in a small settlement means that you need do

only minimal work describing the place and its inhabitants. Likewise, as player

characters are inexperienced, a single dungeon or ruins map will suffice to

begin play.

After a few episodes of play, you and your campaign participants will be

ready for expansion of the milieu. The territory around the settlement — likely

the “home” city or town of the adventurers, other nearby habitations,

wilderness areas, and whatever else you determine is right for the area —

should be sketch-mapped, and places likely to become settings for play

actually done in detail. At this time it is probable that you will have to have a

large scale map of the whole continent or sub-continent involved, some rough

outlines of the political divisions of the place, notes on predominant terrain

features, indications of the distribution of creature types, and some plans as to

what conflicts are likely to occur. In short, you will have to create the social

and ecological parameters of a good part of a make-believe world. The more

painstakingly this is done, the more “real” this creation will become.

Eventually, as player characters develop and grow powerful, they will explore

and adventure over all of the area of the continent. When such activity

begins, you must then broaden your general map still farther so as to

encompass the whole globe. More still! You must begin to consider seriously

the makeup of your entire multiverse — space, planets and their satellites,

parallel worlds, the dimensions and planes. What is there? why? can

participants in the campaign get there? how? will they? Never fear! By the

time your campaign has grown to such a state of sophistication, you will be

ready to handle the new demands.

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