Tuesday 1 March 2016

Delicious, exploratory campaigns in Mythosa by Bruce Gulke

Mythosa is a system agnostic game setting with a consistency and depth that comes with years of honing. It has recently made the welcome transition from web pages to PDF and I have spent a good few hours immersed in it. I'm reviewing a draft, so dutifully ignore missing images and the like.

If you want to run fantasy and have neither time nor inclination to write your own world then Mythosa is ideal. If you're building your own campaign world and are short of ideas, then Mythosa makes a splendid template.

A world from the people out

Mythosa is a high fantasy world where a pantheon of good, bad, mischievous and down right nasty Gods take an active interest in the affairs of Humans, Dwarves and Elves. It's a world recovering from the a recent magical war, leaving the villains with the upper hand. Humans, both civilised and barbaric, strive to regain safety while Dwarves rebuild their ruined craggy empires. The Elves remain typically aloof. These three races are outnumbered by reams of player-fodder monsters.

A rich, cyclical history gives precedence to the present day, a deep breath after a huge storm of war. Wars come and go, power is redistributed and common folk are left to pick up the pieces. History, like religeons, are not dwelled upon - there's just enough for plot hooks and campaign ideas before the book moves on. My imagination swelled with campaign ideas as I read.

A delight to explore

Where Mythosa excels is in the breadth of the exploration. The map is charming and analogous to Europe and the Middle East. It's decomposed into regions, each having places to go with their own description. Abundant maps are provided and real world photos too for feeling. Mythosa is far from the common list of incomprehensible names. Skim reading and dipping in and out dragged me into the world, even though there is no story to bind it together.

The Devil

...Is in the detail and Mythosa has many world building extras that I believe layer more onto the feel for the world. Calendar, economy, cosmology, pronounciation guide, climate and even wines and spirits. You don't need those extras (grouped handily together under Miscellany) but they go to show the care and attention spent.

Is this just fantasy?

If I were to sit, write and launch a fantasy game world; it would strike somewhere between Tolkein, Martin and history. You can taste Mythosa's sweet heritage in a similar way. A blend of familiar seasoning and surprising spice. Mythosa would fit neatly into any D&D version or WYRM.


Bruce Gulke said...

Wow - thanks, Rob! I'm truly humbled by your review!

I have started revising the formatting of the PDF to make it look a bit nicer (and worthy of your above assessment :) No idea when I'll have it done, but it'll get done...

Rob Lang said...

You're absolutely welcome, Bruce. Thank you so much for sharing and let me know when you're happy with the PDF's progress because I'd be delighted to take another look. :)