Tactics of selecting combat special effects in Mythras – a result based visualisation

Special effects are one of the best features in Mythras. They can make the fights cinematic and their right use tactically can make you win.

Ulgar the Quick (PC character): I hit the thug and he did not parry – I want to get rid of the opponent’s weapon – what options do I have.

GM: Ushgar the Rabid (PC character) failed to hit and the Ilyan the Constable parried. I want to force Ushgar to do something – what options do I have.

Mongo the Mighty (PC character) : Mongo smashed and the puny opponent failed to parry. I want to hurt the opponent – what options do I have.

Here is a result based approach in mind map form for both defensive and offensive special effects. This should help in getting players (and the GM) to find quickly what special effects to use based on what the winner wants to achieve on his special effect.

You can find pdf of the offensive special effects here and defensive ones here. The visuals have been updated

Pregenerated Characters for One Off Mythras Scenarios – Standard Barbarians

There are situations where you need quickly either many or a single pre generated character. You might be running a one off and do not want to spend any time for creating the characters. There might have been a very nice total party kill early in the game night and players want to still continue. There might have been even an unlucky character death in the middle of the evening. In all these cases you just want to get back to the railroad.

Encounter Generator solves this neatly for Mythras and old RQ6. Here is a first quickie fix for the problem. Here is a pregenerated characters party that can be used both in Sartar or Prax or even non Gloranthan environment. Characters are at novice level. Generation follows majority of the steps included in the chargen – cultures, careers, appropriate weapons for three different professions that seem to be universal.

Here are all of them in a pack

All of these could be easily used also in non Gloranthan settings by changing the language names and shield names. In case of combat styles – just change the names. If you want to allow only one combat trait for a character – select one of those.

Later on I will publish more pregens for other professions and civilizations.

Here is a link to the Charts that the GM might need and the way Encounter Generator can be used to support game night.  If you need a tavern to let the group meet – here are several. Markets are just nearby.


Spotlight Cards for RQ

Read an interesting article at Dread Unicorn site about spotlight cards and hipster PDA as a player reference for GM.  The idea is to help GM to remember to let each player shine at the spotlight in the game. This can be especially problematic with larger groups at play same time. The spotlight card method gathers rough information about each player and their aspirations to an index card and at the bottom  of the card ask the question: “has the player been in spotlight already”. At the start of the game session you pick a card and make sure that person gets her spotlight in some way. You may have prepared for this beforehand already. After the spotlight moment you move the players index card to the bottom of the stack and go for next player making sure that during the session everybody gets their chance. On that page there are spotlight cards for several game systems.

I thought this was an intriguing and try to combine it here with having some reference information about the player in one card which I have been thinking about how to do for some time. Here is an example (not of any of my gamers…)


The card contains information that might be useful for GM overall.

The proficiency is marked as in Monster Island supplement – as a rough measure: Elite would mean between 71-90% and Cannonfodder 30 or below. Proficiency progresses downwards from Elite-Veteran-Seasoned-Green-Cannonfodder. The color coding helps to see at a glance the levels: blues are elites, green is seasoned, red color is cannonfodder or green proficiency. The colors give the GM a quick indication what should be the level of challenge to come up with and what might be the weak or strong areas.

All of the spotlight cards for my players sit in my Evernote with a combined card as a shortcut that has links to all of the individual cards. I might also print out these as index cards.

I will experiment with this for awhile and will return to the subject.

Game Night supported by Mythras Encounter tool

RQ Encounter Generator provides you a way to very quickly generate evenings worth of encounters for your RQ6 game session. There are more than 1900 distinct encounter templates for enemies and hundreds of different ready made party encounters.  There are multiple ways of using the floor for preparing.

A. Using it on the fly

You need to have internet connection and preferably a printer available.

Find an enemy or party using the search tools

1. filter by category

2. search with any word and/or opponent skill level

3. browse or press “Do you feel lucky”

4. Generate

5. Save to a location of your choice or just print or use the pdf.

This might cause a disruption in the flow of your session so what I do usually is as follows.

B. Preparing for the session before hand

Sometimes you are preparing for a session well before the players come in. Sometimes it is half an hour or even less. The following approach is fit for both but of course you will have more time to think about the results of your preparation if you do it for example in the previous night.

I usually use loopy planning defined by Johnn Four which I have had very good experience so far.

Step 1 – the search 

What I have usually done – for an evenings’ game I create pdf’s out of the usual suspects of the area I am playing in – using the filtering and searching. I take care to look at the hanging threads and the plans of the enemies (loopy planning) when I am searching for encounters.

I might mark a few search results as favorites.  I might filter with a keyword and press “Do you feel lucky” a few times and create pdf’s out of those.

For example if I would need different kind of plants I would print out the “Not really a rose garden” – same for dinosaurs.

For a city I print out a bar and a market plus some random law enforcement and villains and/or gangs, a temple or two.

Usually it is enough to generate 2 or 3 encounters worth of enemies per terrain type or hanging thread. If the encounters are not rabble or underlings it might be hard to go thru more than a few robust melees or adverse encounters in an evening.

Step 2 – keeping the results

Usually I print the generated enemies out as I probably need to mark hit points down while fight goes on.

I keep a list of recurring enemies (the ones they did not manage to kill the first time round or that have hanging threads from previous session etc) in Evernote or Dropbox or printed out on a folder.

It is quite rare that I cannot live with these printouts as it is difficult during an evening session to go thru more than a few melees

Step 3 – adhoc

Sometimes during a game I need certain kind of enemy that I did not prepare for – I search for it and print it out from my iPad to a local printer.

What does the NPC look like?

There have been cases where the enemies have looked like stereotypic characters from a hack thriller – menacing, dark hair or bald, with a shade of beard, muscular. RQ Encounter tool has now new features you can add to bring a bit of variety to the looks of your shopkeepers, bosses and barkeeps.

There are now the following features that you can add:

  • Appearance (Arms, Back, Beard, Cheeks,Chest, Chin, Ears, Fingernails, Hair Color, Hair Condition, Hair Style – Men, Hair Style – Women, Hands, Legs, Lips, Mouth, Neck, Nose, Physique, Shoulders, Skin, Skin Texture, Stomach, Teeth)
  • Physical Expressions (Visual, Voice)
  • Motivation, Malformity, Personal Secret, Compulsion, Character Oddity, Character Looks, Character Complication, Character, Attitude, Social
  • Greetings
  • Fonritan Appearance
  • Fonritan hair color
  • Lunar appearance – skin, eyes, hair
If you like to rapidly create just the looks – take a look at this and generate the looks and discard the rest of the stats
Here is a test character that has almost all of the above features
These feature tables work best if you pick for example hair color and maybe one or two other attributes as 100% random feature and pick a few/all of the rest with a very small percentage thereby creating short descriptions that can vary quite a lot.
Here is a general barkeep following that guidance.
If you want to have features for Fonritan – use Fonritan hair color but not the general one.
  • Appearance and Physical Expressions tables based on work developed by Darren Andrews. Used with permission.
  • Character, character complication, character looks, character oddity, motivation and social feature tables were started from The Covetous Poet’s Adventure Creator and Solo GM Guidebook and are used with permission of Frank Lee


Mythras Encounter Tool – feature recap for busy GMs

Mythras Encounter Generator (formerly known as RQ6 Encounter Generator) (the creation of skoll (his nickname in thedesignmechanism forums)) has grown lately to have quite a bit of new features and content. Content is crowd sourced.

So for the hard working GM’s there is now an easy way to generate many types of enemies. You need a herd of allosaurs – click, select number press generate and unleash doom. The characters finished them off – need a bigger reserve herd – click a number and generate again. Other beasts got attracted to the noise – perhaps a tyrannosaur – click a number and generate again.

Endless supply of Lunar more what you need – pick from the list – generate again. In units nicely formed of up to 40 individuals – they will march to restore peace and order in the name of the Moon again.

Town guards noticed your character’s getaway from the second story job – click a number and generate.

Serpent People to fill your jungle with silent death – select from the list.

More than 1400 templates (more than 1700 in Feb 2015, more than than 1840 in April 2015, more than 2800 in April 2018, 4000 public ones in May 2022 (and more than that in non public) have already been created for Gloranthan, Monster Island, General Fantasy settings by the users of the system covering most of the monsters in Mythras, Monster Island, Anaxial’s Roster and Anaxial Annex and many more.


Need a new kind of enemy – use the templates from existing races and templates, modify to your heart’s content and create away. http://skoll.xyz/mythras_eg/instructions/ You can add features to your template by selecting from over 100 (more than 400 in June 2022) categories ranging from abilities and  combat styles to disguises.

Most of the Gloranthan cults have templates from initiate to a priest (more than 450 cult templates, more than 600 in June 2022). You can search for them by name in the enemies tab or by name and cult rank in the home page. The cults are created according to Gloranthan Cult One-pagers while we wait for the Adventures in Glorantha.

You can create parties that contain variety of enemies.  Here are a few for an example.

Your own parties can have party features ranging from mission and fatigue status to sartar tribe names.

If you are in a hurry you can go to party (or enemy) page, filter the results and press “Do you feel lucky”.

The generated enemies names and note fields can be modified and saved either as pdf or web page to save your favorite enemy stats.

You can save your favorite enemies to your home page.

If you would like to encounter something you might not see every day filter your party page by “Off the beaten path”

Visual guides to RQ Encounter tools

Guest post: Starting a Glorantha RQ6 Campaign before AiG – another view

Here is the first guest post on Notes From Pavis blog. It was written by Skoll who the mastermind behind RQ Encounters tool.  He published this first on Design Mechanism forums

A while ago I wrote an article with a similar purpose, but never finalized and posted it. Your post inspired me to give it the finishing touches, so here it is. Some of it overlaps with what you wrote, but there’s also stuff, that you didn’t mention, so I hope it will be useful for new players interested in Glorantha.

As the question of getting started in Glorantha seems to pop up every now and then, here’s some advice from somebody, who about 3 years ago decided to get reacquainted with the setting after a 15 year hiatus. Disclaimer: All of the following is based on my personal experience, and thus should not be taken as absolute truth.

Table of Contents

  • Source material
  • Glorantha 101
  • Converting stuff to RQ6
  • Getting started

Glorantha is an old setting with the first supplements dating back to 1970’s. There’s a plethora of material available and enough campaigns to keep even the most active groups busy for years. But to a new player, the amount of material might feel overwhelming. Another problem is, that none of the material has been released for RQ6. While very much compatible with RQ6, all the material will still require some amount of conversion work.

Source material

The RQ2 and RQ3 material was released in 80’s and early 90’s. (RQ2 age is generally considered as the golden age of playing RuneQuest in Glorantha). Pretty much all of the material has stood the test of time exceptionally well and provides still excellent gaming. Conversion work is pretty straight forward, most of the work needs to be done with magic. (See conversion notes below.) Some of the classic RQ2 campaigns have been rereleased by Moon Design in the Gloranthan Classics -series, which is highly recommended.

Mongoose RuneQuest 2 (MRQ2)
(Obviously there was also Mongoose RuneQuest 1, but I’m not familiar with it and I have understood, that several of the design aspects were quite flawed.)
MRQ2 (technically the 5th edition of RQ, nowadays rebranded as Legend) was the immediate predecessor of RQ6, having also been designed by Pete and Loz. Most of the elements of RQ6 are already there, but to me RQ6 feels more polished and has generally a better flow. The Glorantha material released for MRQ2 is rules wise very compatible with RQ6, but is considered non-canonical for many parts. Also, all MRQ2 material takes place during the 2nd Age, while all of the classical material, as well as the upcoming RQ6 Adventures in Glorantha, is 3rd Age. Despite these problems, I have found MRQ2 Cults of Glorantha to be a valuable sourcebook, but it isn’t generally available anymore.

Moon Design (the owner of Glorantha) is nowadays publishing a game named HeroQuest (previously known as Hero Wars). HQ is a rules-light narrative RPG, and has a lot of Glorantha-material available. The HQ Glorantha material is relatively easy to take into use with RQ6, but requires some effort as you need to create all stats and skills for NPCs and monsters. (Alternatively you can use the RQ6 Encounter Generator to generate the stats.) Despite requiring some effort to take into use, they are excellent source books. Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (together with Sartar Companion) is the most inspiring RPG source book I have ever read. It details the area of Sartar in Dragon Pass and the Orlanthi culture and gods. Pavis: Gateway to Adventure is the other great new book, detailing the valley of the River of Cradles.

Guide to Glorantha
The upcoming Guide to Glorantha, published by Moon Design, will be a completely systemless introduction to the world of Glorantha. It will describe Gloranthan cultures, races, geographical regions, and a lot more. But, despite being a massive tome, it’s more of an overview. It won’t go into details with cults, NPCs or more specific locations. It’s a good source for background material, but it doesn’t replace proper campaign settings. 

Adventures in Glorantha
AiG is the upcoming RQ6 Glorantha sourcebook from The Design Mechanism.

Glorantha 101

To help you put all that you will read to a context from the very beginning, here’s some very basic info about Glorantha.

There are two classical adventuring areas in Glorantha: Sartar/Dragon Pass and Prax/The River of Cradles.

Sartar is home of the barbarian orlanthi, named after their chief god Orlanth. Orlanth is a storm god with many aspects and he’s worshipped by adventurers and kings alike. In addition to Orlanth, they worship Ernalda (Earth Goddess, wife of Orlanth), Issaries (communication and trade), Lhankor Mhy (knowledge), Humakt (death and war), Urox (the chaos killer, also known as Stormbull) and many others. The orlanthi value Courage, Wisdom, Generosity, Justice, Honor, Piety and Freedom. The orlanthi are currently (3rd Age) waging a losing war against the Lunar Empire. A primer is available at (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/8 … ers-Primer).

Prax is an inhospitable area east of Dragon Pass, populated by nomad tribes. The most important feature of Prax is the Zola Fel river, also known as the River of Cradles. The Valley of the river is a lot more hospitable, and is populated by farmers who have immigrated from Sartar and the Lunar Empire. Prax is also where the city of (New) Pavis is located. The city is next to Old Pavis, nowadays known as The Big Rubble, an area inhabited by trolls and monsters and full of ancient ruins, which makes it popular among adventurers. Pavis was conquered by the Lunar Empire some years ago.

Another legendary area for starting a campaign is that of Balazar and the Elder Wilds (north of Prax, beyond impassable mountains), detailed in The Griffin Mountain supplement.

Lunar Empire is a civilized empire with a unique philosophy. As they embrace certain aspects of chaos, they are violently opposed by the orlanthi. I wouldn’t recommend making lunar player characters in the first campaign.


Here’s some advice for converting older material to RQ6.

RQ2 to RQ6

  • RQ2 Battle Magic is Folk Magic in RQ6.
  • RQ2 Rune Magic is Theistic Magic in RQ6.
  • In RQ2 initiates generally got one-time use Rune magic by sacrificing permanent POW. Only priests got reusable Rune magic, but they also had to sacrifice POW.
  • Hit locations have changed.
  • New characters in RQ2 had considerably lower skills than what characters created with RQ6 rules. To keep the challenges challenging, you may need to increase some skills of the monsters and NPCs.
  • All NPC’s, that will participate in combat, should have Endurance and Willpower added. I have used the following simple formula: Rabble gets Endurance of CONx4 and Willpower of POWx4; normal foes get a multiplier of 5 and formidable foes/bosses get a multiplier of 6.
  • Or you can use the RQ6 Encounter Generator (http://skoll.xyz/mythras_eg/) to create all the NPC/monster stats. There are over 600 Gloranthan creatures specified in the generator.
  • Spirits could exists also on the physical plane, and it was possible to have Spirit Combat also on the physical plane. The only requirement was, that one of the participants was in spirit form.
  • If you are wondering, what does this or that spell mentioned in the old supplements actually do, they are all described in The Magic Book (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/8 … Magic-Book), available from Chaosium.

MRQ2 to RQ6
There’s really not much to do in terms on conversion, but in case you are unfamiliar with MRQ2/Legend, some terms might be confusing.
MRQ2 – RQ6
Common magic – Folk magic
Divine Magic – Theistic magic
Resilience – Endurance
Persistence – Willpower

HQ to RQ6
If you get just the Glorantha supplements, and don’t have the HQ rule book, the skill level notation used in the books will probably be unclear. HQ is a d20 game, and all skills are described with a number from 1-20, bigger being better. A W-symbol (actually it’s the mastery rune) behind the number means, that mastery has been achieved, meaning the skill is beyond 20. (e.g. 7W is actually 27). A number beyond the W-rune is the level of master. (e.g. 7W2 is 47).

Getting started

If this all has been too vague, and you’d like some more concrete advice on getting started, here’s one option:
Get the Borderlands-campaign book and Cult Compendium (both available in the Gloranthan Classics -series, http://www.glorantha.com/product-catego … -classics/). Borderlands is straight-forward campaign, that takes place in and near the Valley of Zola Fel. The characters are mercenaries hired by duke Raus, to clear the nearby area and make it safe for settlers, who will arrive one year later. It introduces the players (and the GM) bit by bit to several of the cultures of Prax.
Give the following background-options to the players: 

  • Exile/immigrant from Sartar worshipping Orlanth, Humakt, Urox, Lhankor Mhy or Issaries.
  • Sun Dome Templars worshipping Yelmalio.
  • Praxian nomad worshipping Waha or Stormull.

(The restricted list is just to help you get started, without needing to read about dozens of cults. Feel free to give your players access to any cults you are comfortable with.)
After finishing Borderlands, get Pavis and Big Rubble.
If you want more background info, get Pavis: Gateway to Adventure, and Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes and Sartar companion (The Sartar books are excellent source books even if you play in Prax, as they give an excellent introduction into the Orlanthi culture).

Starting a Glorantha RQ6 campaign (before Adventures in Glorantha)

Many times it is asked what would be a good way to get started with Glorantha and RQ6. There are many possible paths but here is one: See generic introduction to Glorantha Get one of the classic campaigns from Moon Design

  • 1. Borderlands and Beyond
  • 2. Pavis and Big Rubble
  • 3. Griffin Mountain

If you are completely new to Glorantha – the above would be roughly my preference order. All of these will have their stats in Rq2 format and their cults in Rq2 format. For the RQ6 stats go to RQ Encounter Generator and either search for parties or enemies to generate or create your own based on the templates.

For what is possible check the party encounters Quiet Night at Gimpy’s for Pavis encounter or Monster Island daily event. You could also just pick either enemies or parties page and press “I feel lucky” for some random encounter.

For the cults – visit Glorantha Cult One pagers and get the Cult Compendium from Moon Design. After the initial campaign on some of the above you might turn into Sartar Kingdom of Heroes/ Sartar Companion and the new Pavis book from Moon Design. They have their stats in HW but you can use the above generator to create the stats.

Cultural information and background is explained in really useful and concise format in Gloranthan Voices material.

Pick a culture (or two) for starters.

Monster Island by the Design Mechanism is a superb supplement and you can fit it nicely as the isle of Loral. Useful charts for GM’s exist here  and here

Guide to Glorantha from Moon Design Publications is now published. It is glorious and large – it will be useful for any GM in Glorantha but is completely system agnostic – no rules or stats there.

Every one of us is waiting for Adventures in Glorantha (AIG) from Loz and Pete but meanwhile you can easily game in Glorantha with the above tips.

For another view see the guest posts Skoll’s excellent article  and Tom’s wonderful piece on possibilities in Glorantha gaming. Take a look also at Joerg Baumgartner’s excellent view how to start gaming in Glorantha

Runequest 6 and resources

Runequest 6 by Design Mechanism and Guide to Glorantha by a kickstarter campaign have woken up quite a bit of activity for Glorantha.

RQ6 is excellent ruleset for the game masters and the most fun edition of RQ so far. It has two excellent scenario books already out – Book of Quests and Monster Island both of which can be set on any universe. Monster Island especially is a magnificent tome for the GMs.

RQ6 is still missing the Glorantha parts that are coming in Adventures in Glorantha later. For those that can’t wait there are at least two fan efforts to bide you thru

Progressive spells for RQ6 by Bruce Mason and  a collection of the Gloranthan spells for RQ6 by Gloranphile

I found also the following quick reference tables created by Gloranphile very useful.

Lately a fellow Finn skoll has created excellent enemy editor at . He has been quite responsive to feedback either on the Google+ community page for the Design Mechanism or at Design Mechanism forums

There is active Glorantha community page at Google+ with lots of old timers but many new faces as well.

There is an update to this old post from August 12, 2013. Gloranphile graciously approved now (January 2023) me storing his old RQ6 Magic (Unfinished) here as their original location was lost – taken down now for a bit to clarify an issue.  They are from times before AiG and can be outdated but there are 165 pages of the material.

GM Tool tips : Music and sounds

iPad can be a useful tool for GM. One of my favorite programs there is Soundboard.

Soundboard is basically a DJ tool for mixing sound sources. This can be good for evoking a bit of atmosphere to your game. Create a playlist in iTunes for appropriate music  depending on the stories or encounters you have. In Soundboard create one or more soundboards for the music.  Import the playlist as a whole to individual soundboard – you can have 32 songs per soundboard visible. Name the soundboard so you can easily find it.

Purchase or create some sound effects for example. There are quite a few commercial ones available from iTunes or Paizo website. Create new soundboards for the effects for example – drumming,  ghostly sounds, combat etc.

During the game select from soundboard good background music for your particular situation, for example something from Lord of The Rings, Ennio Morricone, Epic Score or Midnight Syndicate.  When you need sound effects just flip to the soundboard that contains the proper effects and click on each one you like to play for example growling and combat sounds. The advantages of Soundboard are that you do not need to search and click on iTunes playlists and that you can play effects, even multiple effects on top of each other and background music.

If you need more volume than iPad speakers supply, you can connect the iPad either to a stereo system wireless or to external speakers via bluetooth. Usually the iPad speakers are enough.

Campaign Mastery has a good article on creating the mood.