“Ragnor the Rogue’s life was simple when you started playing. Steal a gem for a wealthy client and stay out of the city jail. Eight adventures later Ragnor is embroiled in a plot to overthrow the king, fighting against the return of a long forgotten evil god, and dealing with a gallery of personal villains and friends so large you’ve forgotten who some of them are.” – Mythic GME 2nd Edition
I’ve rather let myself go this quarter in terms of buying games. Still, as my late father used to say: “There’s no pockets in a shroud.”
However, while I was slow in adopting Mythic, I use it in pretty much every session now, whether solo or group, so this is one that’s likely to get used.
What we have here is a 230 page PDF by Word Mill Games; a second edition 20 years after the first. $14.95 at time of writing via DriveThruRPG here. It has multiple uses:
- It can replace the GM in a game you’re playing in a solo or co-op mode.
- It can be used as a co-GM to support you running a group adventure.
- It can replace the players if you want to run a game and haven’t got any.
- It can be used to run a published adventure solo even if you’ve read it. I quite fancy doing this with Curse of Strahd, actually.
- It can be used to run an RPG you’re still learning, by replacing the bits you’re not yet familiar with or don’t want to stop the game to look up.
- It can be used for creative writing, which has much in common with solo role-play.
How Does It Work?
In a Nutshell: The Mythic GME replaces the GM for a game. Whenever you would ask the GM a question, instead you roll percentile dice on a table, which tells you what happens next. You may need to interpret the result.
News in Depth: The game is played in scenes.
- You begin by deciding what the scene is probably about.
- You roll to see if that’s what happened, or if instead the scene was Altered (next most likely thing happened) or Interrupted (plot twist!), or if a random event occurred due to a Fate Question or Interrupted Scene.
- For random events, roll for the focus, action and description of the event to prompt you for what happened.
- The scene ends when it feels right. If your PC is more in control than before, decrease the Chaos Factor (previously called Chaos Rank); if less in control, increase it. More Chaos means more ‘yes’ results to Fate questions, so you could game this, but honestly, what’s the point of that? It also means more random events and unexpected scenes.
- At the end of the scene, update your lists of plot threads and NPCs. (The lists are used by the random events process.)
Within a Scene, you move forwards by asking the dice yes/no questions, cross-referencing the d100 roll against how likely you think the outcome is (Odds) and the current Chaos Rank.
You continue to use the RPG of your choice as it stands, whenever it seems best; for example you might create characters and run combat and skill checks using your favourite RPG, but use Mythic to generate plots and NPC motivations, and answer questions.
What’s Different About The Second Edition?
It incorporates 20 years of feedback and tweaking, and also seems to incorporate a lot of the supplemental material published over the years.
- The Fate Questions table is simpler with 9 levels of Odds rather than 11. It’s rare for me to use more than 3-4 in a session anyway.
- A random event can now have the current focus – previously, a random event always changed the focus of the scene. (The focus tells you which part of the adventure is affected.)
- The basic Action and Description (used to be ‘Subject’) tables are supplemented by 45 additional sets of Elements Meaning tables which reflect specific things you might be interested in; locations, characters, objects. There’s a particular focus on fleshing out NPCs (12 out of 45 tables).
- Many more customisation options.
- Complex questions AKA Discovering Meaning, for when a Fate Question doesn’t give enough information.
What Else Is Cool?
The examples of play are numerous, clear and thorough.
One of the options is a 2d10 Fate Check with dice roll modifiers based on Odds and Chaos Factor, rather than the full fat table. This is probably easier to work with for Traveller grognards such as myself; I’ll have to try it. There are various other options for reducing the impact of the Chaos Factor.
There’s more detailed guidance on setting up the first scene, which can be trickier than the others, and also on beginning and ending scenes.
There are a few elements that seem familiar – the Thread Progress Track looks a lot like similar tools in Ironsworn, for example – but I don’t know which game influenced which, or indeed whether both came up with it independently. Either way, it looks useful.
There’s a Rules Summary chapter and a collection of charts and tables.
Mythic GME is one of the first aides for playing RPGs solo as we now do it, and still one of the best. It works with any RPG, and it can act as an RPG in its own right if that’s how you want to play.
It does take a little practice to get used to, but you could say that of any game; the keys are understanding when to ask questions, what questions to ask, and interpreting the results of the Meaning tables. The many examples will guide you in this.
Pro: This second edition explains itself better, has better art and layout, and many more tables focused on specific situations.
Con: The quick reference – all I use in play – has grown from two sides of A4 to over 30, and I have a free app on my phone called Assistant for Mythic which supports first edition Mythic. So, actually using the second edition in play will be slower.
I’ll have to try it out to see if it generates enough extra fun to make the extra effort worthwhile.
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