During the late seventies and early eighties RuneQuest was one of the “Big Three” roleplaying games in Britain, and has remained in print for almost four decades since it first hit the shelves. The first percentile dice roleplaying system, it embraced the idea of characters defined by the skills they decide to learn and master, rather than the restrictive abilities a class provides. This idea was so successful, it is still in use today in similarly popular games like Call of Cthulhu.
Of course, this was not the only reason for its success. The game embraced the concept of competitive dice-rolling, had (compared to its rivals) relatively simple rules, and the setting to which it was tied was utterly fantastic, eschewing the traditional medieval vibe. In short, the game was tremendous fun and easy to play!
Mythras is the latest iteration of the game originally known as RuneQuest. Its rules have continued evolving, to further simplify and speed up conflict resolution. The base concept of rolling your skill value or less on a d100 means it is very easy to houserule and quickly fades into the background with use.
In the RPG market of today, Mythras lies midway on the complexity scale, between the baroque wargaming rules of D&D on one side and the light abstract mechanics of great games like Barbarians of Lemuria on the other. Mythras has just enough rules depth so that conflict is tactical, yet can still be resolved using a unified dice mechanic. Indeed, combat in Mythras is vibrant, describing itself without need for supplemental narrative depiction. This lightens the workload for Games Masters and players alike.
Despite granting a skilled aspect to play, Mythras still emphasises roleplaying; for instance, adding Passions to guide a character’s personality and attitude within the cultures they interact with. Perhaps the most important change of all is the fact that Mythras provides guidelines to tweak the system to fit a plethora of different settings, no matter the monsters, magic, cults or weapons you wish to add, or perhaps remove. This adaptability allows the game to be used to run anything from ancient history campaigns to grim Swords & Sorcery. Mythras Imperative takes this a step further, expanding in-game skills to cover modern or futuristic games.
The inherent flexibility of Mythras means that it can smoothly become the de-facto system of choice for a roleplaying group, even if the next game is set in an entirely new genre. The core book is comprehensive, containing five unique magic systems, dozens of common and mythological monsters and provides enough support to enable Games Masters to create almost any world or nemesis they can imagine. No need to buy separate player handbooks, build guides or monster manuals; you get everything you need in a single volume.
When combined with the wide range of campaign supplements already available for time constrained Games Masters, the game’s all-inclusive rules, speed of play and increased survivability of player characters, means that Mythras is still great fun to play and retains a respected place in the gaming world.