I’m working on the Mythus Vocations—there are lots—when it occurs to me that the Mythus Gnolls need some explanation.
First thing; Gnolls are nuts. What you’d expect when Gnomes and Trolls interbreed? Now I’m well aware there is a sizable disparity in size, but keep in mind that the Skandian troll is a shape shifter and more than capable of changing his size. Need I mention that along with the shape shifting Trolls can also change their appearance? So you take a nice Gnomish maid, a rakish Trollish lad, and a pleasant spring day, and about 6 months later—a normal gnome gestation—you have a baby Gnoll.
Normally you wouldn’t really have that great a number of Gnolls, for girl Gnomes are crafty and quick to spot deceit, but the Gnolls of Ærth can breed, and they breed true. Though in later generations you do get those who are more Gnomish and Trollish, and more Trollish than Gnomish. But the most important thing to remember about Gnolls is, they’re nuts.
They are merrily nuts, gleefully nuts, outrageously nuts. But that don’t mean they’re stupid. When their thoughts are organized they are among the wiliest folks around. And even when their thoughts are scattered they are still among the smartest folk around.
Gnolls love to amuse themselves, and they especially love to rile up Orcs, Dwarfs, and Humans. Since the Orcs see Gnollish antics with a sardonic eye, Gnolls don’t really bother them as much as they do Dwarfs and Humans, though they do look a challenge.
Most often Gnolls are Entertainers and Mountebanks. They do like to pretend to be of another Vocation, and those who can shape-change—not all but a few—will take on the appearance of another species and impersonate a particular individual. It is a rare Gnoll that does not have the Mimicry Quirk, and they studiously practice that. Assuming that you could say that Gnolls do anything studiously.
Gnolls are usually Gnome size, though some be larger, and a few smaller. And those who can shape change can often be found in a larger or smaller form. For the most part they appear to be a blend of Gnome and Troll, though those of a later generation than the first more often appear to be something that remind one of a Gnome and a Troll, but more a unique appearance of its own.
There’s more to be said about Gnolls, but that’s what I have at the moment. A tip of the hat to Lord Dunsany who created the creature somewhat over a century ago now.
In issue 4 of the Dangerous Journeys Fanzine Dangerous Ideas author Glenn R. Martin introduced the oriental Monk for Mythus. I suspect that Glenn drew in large part from the Monk in D&D, which in turn took what was presented in the tv show Kung Fu and martial arts flicks from Hong Kong.
This got me to thinking, and the encouragement from Lars Silberg Hansen on facebook helped to spark this
Buddhism in Ærth
It is true that a change in what occurred in the past will change the course of history, but one thing we tend to forget is that sometimes there is no real reason for a certain change to occur. It is true that there no Jews on Ærth—their place is taken by the Shamash—but as far as I can see there was really nothing stopping Buddhism from arising on that world.
An Inadequate History
In the 16th century Before Atlantl’s Fall—our 6th century BC—a philosophical/theological doctrine we now know as Buddhism appeared in the Hindic States. Primary credit is given to the man now known as The Buddha, though there were other notables besides him. The original teachings gave birth to others, and they all began to spread from their point of origin. Sung, Ch’in and later Japan took it up to the east, while to the west the Persians, Babylonians, and later the Shamash, Ægytians, and Greeks adopted it.
More accurately certain of the western gods found things to like in Buddhism and decided their followers should try it too.
Marduk of Babylon liked it because he could use it to promote his proselytizing, Athena of Athens because it promoted civic discipline, and even Loki of the Aesir took it up because he could see ways of using it as a source of mischief. In the far west of Vargaard the Pueblo adopted Buddhism because it promoted self-sacrifice and encouraged the peaceful resolution of conflicts in a land where violence could be a regular part of life.
As in our world the monk idea got its start in two locations largely because it fit the local situation. As in our Europe, in Æropa it served as a refuge from the chaos of the 3rd through 6th century BAF, and promoted the preservation of ways and knowledge being lost in those dark ages. But conditions in the west were not exactly the same as in the east. Where the Oriental Monk too up the practice of arms as a way to promote discipline, the Occidental Monk tended to be more contemplative. Though both did adopt physical exercises as a way of meditation and contemplation. It should be remembered that the Shamash Monks and their Yarbay counter parts took up vigorous dance as a way to meditate.
So I’ve got the basic idea, I just need to come up with a list of skills a Western Monk would be expected to know, and how to rate them according to their respective importance in the Vocation. Have you any ideas you’re welcome to pass them on.
Gary Gygax was working on his own 2nd edition of Mythus before the 1st even got published. As you may expect, he did not agree with everything Chadwick wanted to do, and I have the feeling he was none to happy with how JVC was forcing things.
Among his goals was a comprehensive revision of Mythus Magick, and that included material listing the sort of things that were natural sources of baraka, baraka being a sort of natural heka.
One source he listed were dogs. I agree with him, dogs are kind of magickal and I can see them providing magickal energy in some small way. Or some large way depending on the dog.
We are talking about ordinary canines here, something like a mascot or totem would provide more, sometimes a lot more. A small dog something like 5 points—enough for a small psychogenic power. A large dog such as a mastiff maybe as much as 100 points—enough for a potent casting.
Now make it a special dog, a foo dog or a totem animal—and you could get up to a 1,000 points or more. Think of what a competent caster could do with that amount of power.
Bandit: Where did these people get all the magickal lights?
Bandit Chief: Have you looked at their dogs?
There are of course other natural phenomena to consider, but for the moment let’s focus on dogs. What do you think of dogs as a source of magickal power?
At this moment in time I’m going through Gary’s revision of the Magick chapter for Mythus. Though I suspect that when he wrote this version of the chapter in question he was already thinking of getting it published as a separate book. We’re talking about 629 page here, without illustrations.
I also get the impression that back in 1991 word processors were missing fair number of features, which means I have my work cut out for me.
This version also has a number of things the hard copy is missing, which makes sense. Print costs money, which means that books cost money and the more expensive something is the harder it is to sell if there isn’t all that great a demand for it.
Still this Mythus Magick Revised has a ton of stuff I believe you’ll be interested in, so now comes the time to do my own revising, putting it into my own words and doing my own formatting. Which leads me to doing my own write up on animals as a source of spell points. But that will be later.
In other news, Scrivener is proving to be an asset, which means I’ll be paying for it this Friday. Call it an investment, and a worthwhile one because it helps me get the manuscript organized. But anyway…
I’m now working on a new project. You could call this an ur-project, because it will act as a foundation for other projects. This ur-project is learing how to use Scrivener from Literature and Latte.It does cost money, but from what I’ve seen the fee is worth considering what all is available to you.
It the very least it should mean that Mythus as a while is organized, so I can work on separate parts without having to open and close files. And once I have the outline set up I’ll have a good idea of where things are supposed to be. If this sounds like I’m pushing Scrivener, you’re right.
So expect more from me in the near future, including a PDF or two as a way of previewing the guide.
I thank you for your patience and hope you have a bit more, for Mythus is still going to take awhile.
It has occured to me that the African Pygmy is a distinct species of Human, and I’m thinkng of making the Pygmy of Ærth such. I expect a lot of you will complain, saying that I’m saying that the Pygmy is sub-human.
On the contrary, given that the Pygmy is descended from Humans, that makes them the superior beings and us sub-pygmy
Or am I rationalizing?
With the Quirks that is, and boy are there a lot. Just have to go over the files, correct any errors that I find—you know I won’t find them all—and then get them uploaded to the site where I’ll have even more fun setting headers and the like.
You’ll likely find mistakes we’ll both agree are mistakes. Those I will correct.
You’ll also find things you think are mistakes, that I don’t. Those won’t be corrected, but you are welcome to use the Quirks as you prefer. Mythus is just a set of guidelines and can in no way be considered the voice of God. It’s a big part of why I call Mythus a guide, for you can’t really use it as if it were a game of any sort.
As far as I can see a quirk is just something about a person that is a bit off, a tad odd. In addition, a quirk is a talent few others have, or the lack of a talent most others do. Using me as an example, a few quirks of mine are:
- Absent Minded
- Low Light Vision
- Near Sighted
- Bad Hearing—left ear
And those are just four of them
In Mythus a Persona’s Quirks can give him advantages, disadvantages, and sometimes both. They’re included for your use to help you role play, not to give you any sort of advantage in game play. Sometimes you will get an advantage, but about as often your JM will use your Quirks to your disadvantage, for with great power comes near constant demands on your time and appeals for your assistance.
Most any Quirk can give you problems, and how you deal with those problems tells the world a lot about you.
After Quirks I’ll be getting into Birth Rank and Age. I’ll also get back into writing up the HP species.
The section on Quirks for the Persona chapter that is. Just need to go through and revise the sub-section on Spiritual Quirks; merge the Mental, Physical and Spiritual sub-sections together; add a bit of explication; save it as a docx; translate it into a Document, then add some formatting and it should be ready.
Please note that the Spiritual Quirks all told come out to be greater in number than the Mental and Physical Quirks combined. Note also that I expect you’re going to disagree regarding how I classify some Quirks. Entirely your right, for we’re not always going to agree on things. I classify some Quirks as Mental because that’s how I see them, you will understand them differently
In the future I will be doing the section on Birth Rank and Age. Then—I do hope—we’ll be dealing with statistics, because by then we’ll have all the modifications thereto already set for us. Of course, I may have to change my mind.
Then comes Vocations with universal and bonus K/S, then resources and background.
Personas in Mythus are not just playing pieces in a game, they’re meant to be actual persons, even though they are imaginary. People are complicated, so are Personas. So you can expect your Personas’ lives to get messy at times.
That’s just a bit of my role playing guide philosophy.
Currently I am working on the Quirks for Mythus. Thanks to a fellow who went by ShawnRPG on G+ I have something like 36 pages of them. My present task is to divide them into the Traits that apply to them by my thinking, and well as the social situation. Then comes the task of aphabetizing them. That is fun—said he sarcastically.
My decision to assign them to certain Traits makes sense to me, it’s a matter of how I see them. I put the “Hunter” Quirk under the Spiritual Trait because I see it as a matter of understanding and having a special connection to the world. An HP with “Hunter” I see as someone with a sort of instinct for hunting and all that is involved in it. The same with “Marksman” for there I see a person who has a sort of “feel” for missile weapons and their use.
Then you have the social Quirks, where having one is more a matter of being born in the right situation. Your HP has extra Special Connections because of the life he lived before the adventures started making his life hard, and he has parents who had interesting lifes of their own.
For your ponderment I have
Chronolocation (Mental) Always knows what time it is.
- Useful when the player needs to know exactly when an event is scheduled to end.
But don’t expect the section on Quirks in the Persona chapter to be on line for awhile, 10,521 words of material is not composed in a day.
I’ve decided to redoing the HP species, starting first with a list of those available in this edition of the RPG. We Start first with the Alfen.
- The Alfen are a small people, found for the most part on the Island of Brython—which we call Britain. They are slender, the average height is around 3′, and regardless of the situation they most often go bare footed. Being as their hair is light and fine other than the thatch on their hands they most often appear hairless. It is an old Alfen indeed who has anything like a mustache or beard.
- They are excellent musicians, have high light voices, and are skilled dancers. Their hair and skin are light colored, and in strong sun they do readily burn. For this reason their magicks are very often aimed at protection from sunlight.
- Back in his write up Dave Newton—the original Mythus co-author—presented them in a rather stereotypical fashion. It is true that the Drow do tend to be sneaky, underhanded, and treacherous, but they are hardly as obvious as Mr. Newton presented them.
- The Drow of Ærth can rarely be trusted, but for the most part they are rather sly and subtle about it. They enjoy manipulating others, especially other Drow, though they are not above honest and fair dealing when that gives them better results.
- Another thing to note about Ærth’s Drow is that other than the Afar Drow of the Horn of Afrika they are fair skinned and fair haired. Their appelation of Black Elves comes from the darkness of their souls, not the darkness of their skin. Only the Afar Drow are black skinned, and that is thanks to where they live and has really nothing to do with their morals.
- Sometimes mistaken for Gnomes—they hate that—dwarfs usually stand around 4’6″ and are heavy set and stocky. Excellent miners and craftsmen, they are known for their weapons and their armors, which other people pay a premium for. The Dwarfs of Ærth can handle iron, but those of Phæree can not. Thus those Dwarfs produce an armor of Heka Forged tin of the same nature as iron and steel.
- Dwarfs are actually quite cheery, friendly to those they trust, and find such as Drow and Orc amusing. Canny bargainers they have little trouble pulling tricks on such as the Drow.
- Though in legend there are gloomy and treacherous Dwarfs to be found.
- Also know as Alf, Alfar, and other names, they rather strongly resent having Drow called dark elves. They are about the size of Drow, but they will take the time to pointedly inform the fool who compared them to Drow that that species is more closely related to the Trow, and like the Trow a species of Troll.
- Thanks to Phæree—the Kami and not the realm—elves are my nature cheery and good hearted. Before going to dwell in Phæree—the realm, not the Kami—as many elves were gloomy as were cheerful. But the Kami decided she preferred that her elves be cheerful, while the gloomy ones would be made into a gloomy sort of beast.
- The Gnomes of Ærth are the smallest of those available for play as HPs. They also find being mistaken for Dwarfs amusing as well.
- While they are excellent gardeners, they are even better at business and finance, both legit and illegit. Indeed, the most famous of Ærth’s Gnomes is the Gyges clan of Helvetica, of whom the Gnomes of Zurich have the greatest fame.
- ÆRth’s Goblins are a variable sort. they range in size from no greater than 6″ in height, to the 4′ tall Red Caps of Germania.
- They are cruel, rude, nasty, and unseemly. They take delight in chaos, and are well known for their upsets.
- For all that they can be friendly, and just to upset people even trust worthy.
- Way back in the day there were nice goblins. In the proto-Germanic of the old Hob-goblins. When the Goblins migrated to Phæree—the realm—Phæree—the Kami—decided that they should be a species of their own.
- Except for the Drow and the Goblin Hobgoblins get along well with people, and are often found working for them in various capacities. And with the exception of certain fools most of other people get along will with them.
- Though keep in mind that the Hobgoblins do love tricks and strategems. Ill fortune often befalls the Human who won’t keep is home or work place straightened up.
- On Ærth they were originally elves. But in Phæree Phæree decided they should be a people in their own right. So the gloomy minded Elves became what we now call Orcs.
- The name “orc” comes from the proto-Germanic “jrk”, which was pronounced “jerk”—only without the “e”. In the later Saxon the word became “Yrch”, from which we get the modern “orc”
- Orcs are well known for their somber nature, possessing a gloomy disposition. For all that they do have a rather dark sense of humor and do enjoy a good joke. They have also been mistaken for Elves, since some people have trouble noticing dark and somber clothing. Even so Ærth’s Orcs do often wear a bit of bright color to go along with their dark garb, and among them a simple bright white or yellow flower can be seen adorning a lapel or a white or silver arm band on the upper right or left arm.
- Like the Elves Orcs are fastidious and never go about unkempt. Indeed, among the Hobgoblins Orcs have a well earned reputation for being tidy.
For the moment those are the species I’m thinking of writing up for Mythus. I may add such as Trows, Trolls, and Ogres to the list, but they’ll likely come later. Keep in mind that such as fairies, pixies, and giants really do not fit in the scale Mythus functions at, though a giant or pixie scaled RPG is always possible using the Dangerous Journeys system.
Your opinions are welcome, though I must ask that you be nice. I’ll assume that you understand what “be nice” means.
More coming, you can use the button below to donate.