Stupor Mundi – Combat Style Cards for 13th Century Mythras with additions for Korantia / Thennla and Meeros

Here are Combat Style Cards for playing Mythras in the 13th Century Europe and Middle East.

Created all weapons for Stupor Mundi and combat style cards for all of the combat styles in Stupor Mundi and Korantia

There now exist combat style cards for the following Stupor Mundi styles

  • Pilgrim
  • City Folk
  • Street Thug
  • Seaman
  • Knight
  • Muslim Knight
  • Soldato di Ventura
  • Archer
  • Highlander
  • Yeomanry
  • Horse Archer

There are also now more Combat Style Cards for Korantia gathered from several Thennla scenarios.

  • Thennalt Hunter
  • Thennalt Thane
  • Thennalt Skirmisher
  • Beastman Warrior
  • Taskan Swordsman
  • Taskan Citizen Infantry
  • Kismek Archer
  • Kismek Lancer

There are also some styles for Meeros

  • Frontier Rogue
  • Frontier Skullcrusher
  • Clan Warrior
  • Kirstet villager
  • Kirstet Scout

You can find the description for combat style cards here and the combat style cards themselves are here (see folder Stupor Mundi West, Meeros and Korantia). Altogether there should now be almost 400 Combat Style Cards for various periods. If you find that something important is missing that has been published, please inform.

I have also fixed and tuned the weapons database so all the weapons should now have the correct narrow space modifiers and special effects (affects mostly newly created weapons)

Guest Post: A Retrospective on Mythras Monster Island Campaign After 18 Months of Almost Weekly Gaming.

This is a guest post from Antalon, the GM for a Mythras Monster Island campaign I am playing in.

Note from me as a player: The campaign has truly been loads of fun. Everything just clicks – in addition to having a great cast of main characters and really super people playing them – the antagonists that we try to survive interacting with are also worthy and the sandbox lives and reacts – everything has consequences. Much kudos is due to @Antalon for being a world class GM and keeping all this together.

I would heartily recommend the passions made and run in the style that @Antalon writes. it has given the play and characters so much…

Guest post from Antalon starts

In August 2020 I first brought together a new group to play test a scenario idea I had for Monster Island. As the year closes, I thought to share some experiences in running a weekly, near 18 month long Monster Island campaign.  I’m very lucky to have got the ‘platinum’ standard of players – respectful to each other, engaging in the setting and invested in their characters and happy to kick back and have a laugh – we need it at the moment!  I’ve posted the actual adventures to the Discord channel, if your scroll back, here: https://discord.gg/mzTEjXTVc2
 
Monster Island
For the uninitiated, Monster Island is a setting supplement and bestiary for ‘sandbox’ play that evokes the weird fantasy-science of Clark Ashton Smith, oozing a pulpy sword and sorcery theme, which also acts as a ‘demonstrator model’ of how to adjust Mythras to evoke a tone, culture and flavourful magic.  It is rich, evocative and inspiring – and for me is King Kong meets the Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
 
The players and group
The group comprised two of my long-time gaming buddies from face to face groups when I played regularly in London pubs, and two people new to me that I knew slightly from discussion boards or had met via GenCon Mythras games.  Ages ranged from mid-30s to over 50.  Experience with Mythras and/ or predecessors is strong.  The idea was for a short 5-6 session game.  We’re still playing more or less weekly…
 
My learning:  Setting a tone via passions works well, I set the following to be adopted when designing characters:
·        A drive, representing a personal goal or ambition like ‘defeat the foes of my father’ or ‘become the world’s greatest thief’;
·        A vice, such as a dependency, habit or social flaw such as vanity, greed or compulsive liar;
·        A fear or superstition, for example of sorcery, spirits, or something mundane (snakes?).
 
I also believe that a great campaign is down to 30% GM and 70% players: everyone contributes to making the game great.  The single biggest insight: players should not tell other players what their character should do.  In this campaign, I noted that no one was hectoring, badgering or complaining at another player to “move there”, “hit him”, “don’t use that special, use this”.  It makes game play relaxed and fun if everyone respects each other’s right to judge, decide and do whatever action they think best!
 
Structured adventures verses sandbox
Monster Island can be challenging for structure scenarios: only one ‘civilised’ settlement exists, and the interior of the island does not allow easy or safe travel, it is also comprised of quite ‘alien’ cultures.  Careful thought is needed to adopt many traditional adventure tropes.  Further, adventures can feel ‘claustrophobic’, with a small population in Port Grimsand, everyone is likely to know your businesses (I actually quite like this).  This also means that player characters may quickly become noticeable, or notable, very early in their careers: if you make enemies in Grimsand, there are very few places to hide!  What is essential is to develop the factions within Port Grimsand, and use these to anchor the adventure themes and the response to the player characters.  Monster Island gives enough to kick off these factions, but each GM must build this and there are many RPG tools / advice out there to help.  I used ideas from Night’s Black Agents to develop a hierarchy of antagonist response, and kept notes of each faction and its current attitude toward the player characters.  I would do more, perhaps using Kevin Crawford’s ideas.  
 
After much longer than I thought, the play test part was over: we wanted to carry on playing!  This is where I leaned on the sandbox elements of Monster Island – along with continuing to build a sense of the factions.  Monster Island is meant for sandbox and, with the right players and strong motivations for player characters, the setting really sings.  All I have done since is tried to stay one step ahead of the players every week, and reflect on how the story that has unfolded from the player’s actions should colour the next session: there is no need for a wider meta-plot!  Villains have evolved naturally, and following Mythras’ predecessors, no one is just ‘evil’, people simply have motives and varying tolerances for taking ruthless action!
 
The challenge, however, is to ensure that all players have spotlight time.  I’m still working on this.  And, I feel at risk of a degree of ‘sameness’, to the extent that the group stumbles from one disastrous situation and into the next, without a clear reason.  I’ve found I need to try and anchor actions back to Passions: passions are the secret weapon of Mythras GMs!  And, although no overall meta-plot is needed, what I have tried to do is consider what the story arc looks like given the player-character intentions.  In this game, so far, actions have been driven by a very early exposure to a virulent and very nasty disease: this has been the core behind the overall game direction, finding a cure whilst delaying the onset of the disease.  This core plot driver arrived entirely by chance – a nosy adventurer, a random table roll and a failed Endurance check.  What I’ve learned is that detailed planning is for the next session, but having a ‘mental map’ of how the upcoming sessions could develop is enough to give – in retrospect – a sense of ‘story arc’.  I feel that ‘story’ in RPGs is the thing we describe after we have played, it is retrospective and player-driven.
 
Mechanics
Monster Island makes a number of small tweaks to the core Mythras magic system.  These are simple, so add flavour and not complexity.  Otherwise it runs ‘out of the box’, with the core rules.  As you may expect special effects make combat both rewarding and gamble – never enter a fair fight in Port Grimsand!
 
As GM, I’ve used two mechanics to push the pulp-tone of sword and sorcery, to create a Lankhmar-like port town and a primeval jungle, with hint of the Cthonic.  First, the passion rules.  Make these flexible, and use them as both regular skills as well as augments: but I have also imposed a check against a passion to make a player character act ‘passionately’.  If players want a ‘disruptive’ passion, the least I can do is reward that by making the passion bite at a delicate time… Second, adjusting the frequency of Luck Point refreshes signals just how daring player characters should be – and how many risks players feel comfortable with.  I don’t use group Luck Points, but refresh personal Luck Points in full every session – and our sessions are usually only 2 hours long.  This means more risks are taken – more pulp action! 
 
What’s really worked well
This campaign has gone really, really ‘right’.  Nothing special from me, but the points above suggest:
·        Align player character passions with the campaign setting – and use passions actively and fluidly to mirror how the player and GM feel about the relationships between characters
·        Allow space for inter-player character interaction – let rivalry and friendship develop within the adventuring group, as this makes for rich story telling
·        React and respond to the players – make their suggestions part of the setting, even if with a perverse twist…
·        Keep the Island’s secrets, secret, but do give some clear, and tangible leads.  Monster Island is very rich in ancient lore and mysterious locations. The trouble is, if players don’t know of them, they cannot drive the action.  Getting the balance right matters (I’m working on that too)
·        Keep the players off balance.  Monster Island justifies you, as GM, to throw in pretty much anything (lost legion of Romans?  Crashed Airships or Rocketships?).  However weird, the jungle, in the end, will bury it… 
 
What’s more difficult 
Very little really, but as noted more typical adventure tropes can be tricky to use.  I feel slightly exposed to repeating similar themes: how many enigmatic Lizardfolk shaman can one really meet before it gets tired?
I also find challenging that only a single, accessible settlement, is open to humanocetric characters.  But, this is easily fixed.  I just need to place Monster Island somewhere and enable more transit back and forth: the inner sea of Thennla is very tempting.  And, Loz, if you’re listening, we need a map with grid co-ordinates and a player version of the hex map (think Isle of Dread…).
 
Conclusion
We’re nearly 18 months in.  This campaign has plenty of legs still.  The Monster Island setting is absolutely stuffed full of inspiration: every time I read it, I find something that triggers my imagination and keeps me hungry to run the setting.  And, I’m grateful to my players for rewarding my efforts with such full and fun sessions in the twisted streets of Grimsand, and now the humid jungles of interior of Monster Island!  Hoping for much more in 2022!

The thread for discussing this is in Design Mechanism forums

You will find the Monster Island supplement here and Bird in Hand – a magnificent scenario for Monster Island written by @Antalon here

Mythras Combat Example from Monster Island campaign

The following combat example was from a Monster Island campaign I am playing in. The I in the text is my character Muammar al-Abbar – a 53 year old pirate using combat style Water Dancer from the campaign.

The example does not contain all the blows, rolls and tactics used.

The Combat from the Perspective of Muammar the Pirate

The lizardman brave had something to prove. He did not have as many
tattoos and scars as the elder warriors, but he had a very thick skin
and was larger than a big, strong man.

He seemed to think I had slighted some tribal more or something and
challenged me to the ritual 1-1 combat. When inquiring about this the
tribal champion named Ku told us that ritual combat would be to the
death.

To the death? The warrior seemed to be quite confident with his ritual
weapon – patu a kind of a club that I had seen in use by the island folk
in other places as well. Not that he needed the weapon, his claws looked
like they could rip a man a part.

A pirate at the age of 53 you have learned to pick the fights you join –
even if some would call Muammar impetuous or worse but this did not look
like a fight he would pick. If you happen to be in a fair fight you did
not prepare well enough. There was no way out – we were in the middle of
jungle in a village of savage lizard men and the only “friendly”
contacts were not keen to use their influence to stop the fight – the
shamans of the villages were divided in their opinion of what to do with
us.

Muammar entered the ring of lizard folk who had gathered to watch the
ritual combat.

Damn my eyes – the lizardman is fast. In addition to being bigger and
stronger than Muammar. I had to ask the gods some luck to be faster than
him, it has been awhile since I had to do that. My only option is to be
faster and get him handled as he surely will get better of me. My remise
worked perfectly – rapier went in fast and I followed with main gauche
and pressed him severely – his thick skin proved to be tough to pierce.
I pushed him hard and pierced his lungs with the Attabian steel of my
rapier with a close to perfect hit that would skewer any human opponent, still he stayed in the game. I could have used impale but did not dare
to leave the rapier in – the blow might have been of lesser quality and
the damage when drawing the blade out might still be too little to drop
the brute and would take my rapier out of use for a precious time that I
knew I did not have.

The sun was starting to bother me who had always
been proud of my slight frame but the warrior seemed to enjoy the heat.
Feint, blow, parry – repeat and a repeat. I am a bit faster and must stay that way –
he is just a tad slower but can match me blow for blow. My spider silks protect a bit but are soaked with sweat already.
His skin seems to protect more as even when I hit he does not seem to be bothered.

Must have used all my luck and the fight was far from over.

I managed to make him slip with a feint to
knee and he rolled to ground but he was too slippery and strong to stay
there long. Again – and same thing. He got me, oh no he got me –
Sarnai does something – brute is distracted – back in the game. Damn my
eyes and let the brute rot in hell, I could not resist his blow to my
rapier arm and my rapier flew behind him – I was left with my main
gauche to take him down.

I knew that I did not have time and opportunity
to pick the weapon up before I could slow him down. So main gauche with
my left hand, press him, main gauche again – disarm. He was really good
with his ritual club and way too strong and I could not disarm him no
matter what I did.

Damn the sun, damn the heat – sweat everywhere, thank
the gods for giving me the discipline to keep the morning regime to
endure – damn the brute – he got a hit in -lucky it was a glancing blow – this is starting to look unwinnable. Overextend – ok, disarm fail
again. Starting to run out of options – damn the sun – the brute seems
to enjoy himself. He is down. Up again.

Desperate times call for desperate measures – main gauche just does not cut it – outmaneuvre him to
get to the rapier – no – bloody no – he hit me, but got my rapier while
fending him off with main gauche. Down on the ground – Layla shrieks,
the brute is distracted – have to get up – HAVE TO GET UP.  Damn the
sun. Up – rapier in – down he goes – he is up again.

Disarm – did he finally lose the patu. Rapier, main gauche – feint – he
is down. “SURRENDER”” – he does not. He tries to get up. I see an opening –
remise – feint, rapier in, all in, now, NOW – aim for chest – hope it reaches
the vitals, push the blade hard. He is down but breathes. I look at Ku –
the tribal champion – he implies I need to finish what was started. I do
what is required. The ground gets red… It is over.

There was a feast for the victor.

Comment

This was a very long 1-1 fight with 3 crits on the lizardmen side and 2 on Muammar’s (at least). There were also fumbles.

Both sides had 3 action points.

Muammar the pirate had 4 point armor for the head (a helmet) and 3 points to chest/abdomen. Rest where 2. Lizardman was 3 points everywhere. Muammar has Do or Die as the Combat trait with the Water Dancer combat style.

I knew I was very likely to die if I did not take the lizardman out very very quickly so used my first luck point to reroll my initiative as the lizardman was faster. The part when I knew that this was probably going to be the end of the career was when my choose location max damage to the lizardman chest did not take him out. After that it started to be a bit desperate.

Will need to look at additional tactics for long fights…

Mythras Skill Success Calculator has been updated

The skill success calculator can handle the math for augmenting skills, difficulty grades and reduction for over 100% skill opponents. It calculates the success, criticals and fumble chances and takes into account also things like when it is hopeless to roll.

It will give you an easy table to reference for each of the difficulty grades. Just enter skill, possible augmenting skill and possible reduction and press calculate

Easy calculation with even numbers
Protagonist has skill over 100
Opponent has skill of 117

Mythras Encounter Generator Difficulty Levels Refactored and Many Other Things As Well

The Most Important Table in Mythras (Monster Island page 282) did not exist at the time MeG was created 8 years ago. During that time more than 3800 public encounters have been created and similar number of ones that have been private to their creators’ campaigns. MeG has also evolved during that time getting many new features and most of all the creators have gained experience in how to use the MeG and creators’ ambition has risen as well.

As I have created 2300+ of the encounters I decided to go back and take a look what I could with some amount of work improve or change based on the experience so far. All creators can change only their own creatures so this is how I changed mine.

One of the contributions of Monster Island was the MITM (Most Important Table in Mythras). It gives you the idea of what skill levels novice, competent, proficient, expert, master and paragon would have and what they are known for.

MeG has a similar ranking but with not as many levels. As currently it is not feasible to change the names of the MeG ranks I made a tentative mapping between MeG and MITM as follows.

Main skillMITM rankingMeG rank
01-30NoviceRabble
31-50CompetentNovice
51-70ProficientSkilled
71-90ExpertVeteran
91+Master and ParagonMaster

After this I generated each (well almost each) of the 2300+ templates I have made at least once and took a look at few of the first npc’s generated from each template what is the main skill generated and the rank MeG has and changed the ranking to correspond to the above. So for example if the MeG rank was skilled and the generation yielded mostly in 71-90 range – I changed the rank to Veteran. And so on. Most often this was combat skill but for some templates for example sorcery magic skills were more appropriate to judge. In some cases I took a general view and not exact view on one skill percentage. For some templates I found that I wanted them to have higher skill to maintain their rank or lower skill to lower their rank so I changed them. In several cases I wanted more variety in the percentages so I changed the flat percentage add to be more varied dice rolls. This changed ranks for 822 of my creations – some went down, some went up.

I also took a look at the notes block for the creation and if some things could be moved to be “features” like “Abilities”, “Combat Style”, “Basic Poison” etc or if some abilities were missing I added them and cleaned some of the notes block. This changed 173 of the templates.

I also added few tags here and there but that would need another round sometime in future.

Some of the monsters and animals were missing “Natural armor” tick box – so they were slower than they need to be in initiative. I added the tick box to everything that was not wearing armor. This changed 465 templates.

I also changed few characteristics for less than a couple of dozen templates that did not follow the SIZ and STR guidelines from the RAW.

So what is the benefit of this:

When you filter by rank in MeG – many creatures (all of mine) now are of appropriate difficulty level to that rank. So if you want skilled opponents – you are not confronted by masters or if you need masters you will not find novices in the filtering results.

Also you will find that those generated have now correct natural armor penalty – so animals and monsters are quicker in initiative. There is also more info in the encounters for the abilities so it is easier to use – do not have to look up the info in the RAW or MI so much.

I encourage everyone who creates new creatures to fill the rank correctly and use the “features” and natural armor tick boxes. It is also hugely beneficial for all of us as users if you use enough proper and useful tagging. When you go back and visit your templates – it would be useful to do similar changes if the creatures are public.

So what will happen in the next refactoring – perhaps more tagging, more adding of combat styles and additional features and more explanations what the creatures are and where to refer for more information. This may come some time in future but not this year…

You will find Mythras Encounter Generator here

Creatures of Mythic Rome arrive to MeG

The missing creatures from Mythic Rome supplement have been added to MeG. In addition the tag Mythic Rome has been added to a few other creatures mentioned.

These are the creatures added:

All of these and 3800 more are published at Mythras Encounter Generator

Malfois, Imps, Yelping Beast – Creatures of Perceforest Emerge from MeG

Creatures of Perceforest – a supplement playable in Mythras ruleset have now been added to MeG

You can find them with tag Perceforest. Quite a few of them would also fit any fantasy campaign or even Monster Island

Basics of MeG (Mythras Encounter Generator) can be found here with its more than 3800 encounters…

Luther Arkwright creatures emerge – MeG Goes Parallel Lines

Took a look at the two Luther Arkwright supplements for Mythras by Design Mechanism. Few of the creatures there would suit fantasy campaigns especially Monster Island so created them in Mythras Encounter Generator.

Here are the encounters

You can find them with tags “Luther Arkwright” and “Monster Island”

Here is the introduction to Mythras Encounter Generator. It currently contains more than 3800 published encounters and more than 580 parties (groups of NPCs around a single theme). There are more than 400 feature lists (for example Curse Spirit Ability, Exotic Poison, Chaotic Feature, Medieval German Name or Appearance – Hair Style etc) that can customise an encounter. Those feature lists contain almost 60000 features in them. There are also stats for 160+ weapons.

Spirits of Mythic Babylon

All of the spirit like beings for Mythic Babylon now exist at Mythras Encounter Generator

Many of them would be useful for Monster Island or any fantasy campaign with Middle Eastern flavour.

They can be found easily with tag “Mythic Babylon”

The following now exist

Previously there were published the Fallen Gods,Demons and Monsters of BabylonAlas Babylon – Creatures of Mythic Babylon Unleashed and Alas Babylon – The Sequel

In addition there now exists a new or updated version of following common beasts

The Mythras Encounter Generator is explained here