The setting is sketchy, but that’s ok. Not a universal RPG – far from it! – but a flavorful multiverse along the lines of Everway or [and my knowledge...moreThe setting is sketchy, but that’s ok. Not a universal RPG – far from it! – but a flavorful multiverse along the lines of Everway or [and my knowledge of this is quite minimal, so forgive me if I'm wrong] Planescape. Once a whole grand realm called Grand Cornerstone, the world has been torn asunder by some mysterious catastrophe – the Great Calamity. Since then, the Aether – a mist that behaves something like antimatter to the “matter” that is Anima – has been closing in on the shattered remains of a once-great world. Anima is the “mana” of Empyrean, the 7 elemental forces that shape the world, guided by Great Spirits, totem animals of immense power on par with gods.
Throw in colossi, any level of technology or variety of magic, kinds of people (known as the Nascent) and varying levels of Balance of Anima and there’s a great deal of variety to be had. The book provides numerous tools for generating Realms, characters and so on.
Player characters are Eidelons: basically immortal demigods with strange and diverse powers and corresponding personality traits. Anima is what makes up their unique aspects. This is a core concept of characters in Mystic Empyrean – they “wear their souls as a skin”. In other words, their insides are reflected on their outsides. As characters change behavior, their appearances and even their powers change accordingly, whether they like it or not. The rotating GM-ship and voting on experience dole-out ensure this change happens regularly.
Rotating GM-ship? Yes. Troupe-style play, as I’ve heard it called before, is central to the system. What’s more, the “toy box” metaphor means individual players have ownership of specific elements in play. This is about as broad as you could imagine: owning NPCs, monster types, realms, even peculiarities of your game like divergences from standard physics and their impacts. Players take turns ruling on resolution and describing the surroundings, while their PC takes a back seat and basically acts as an NPC.
The central resolution system involves a custom deck of cards representing the levels of the 7 types of “flavored” Anima, as well as Pure Anima (from which the other types are derived, presumably) and Aether, the aforementioned “nothing” that eats away at the fabric of the universe, i.e. Anima. Players have balances of Personal Anima as well, each governing how generally well the character does at tasks ruled by the specific types of Anima. A player gets as many redraws from the deck as the rating of the element in question. I won’t get into more detail now, I probably wouldn’t remember it anyhow.
I would love to play this game at some point. It’s offbeat, I love collaborative play and shared world building.(less)
I'm a Marvel fanboy. Have been since I can remember. It's no surprise that I've got a bias for anythi...moreI was in love with this for almost the beginning.
I'm a Marvel fanboy. Have been since I can remember. It's no surprise that I've got a bias for anything that captures the flavor of the genre so well. The mechanics were all new to me when I read this.
I've since absorbed a good bit of Fate (via the amazing kickstarter for Fate Core) and I can say this system has a lot more in common with that than with vanilla Cortex. Aspects in Fate are Distinctions in MHR, and stress tracks are vaguely similar between the two. (in Fate they represent avoiding damage, in MHC they represent damage itself) Aspects are awesome. They are amazing.
We played a pickup game of this after hours of silent reading and absorbing and digesting the rules. Love rolling huge handfuls of dice and the Yahtzee die-manipulation that follows. After one or two rolls you really get the hang of it and it moves more quickly than you might expect.
The usage of Distinctions in MHC is absolutely what sold me on Aspects in Fate, so I don't consider this game a knockoff, it's sincerely flattering inspired-by material - and more importantly, it is custom-built for comics-style story play. The mechanics actually aid the development of the story in a real Marvel way, honest to Stan.
If you love Marvel (or superhero comics period) and innovative RPGs, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy. Some of the organization of material leaves a bit to be desired, but the layouts are slick, the art selections are dead on, and once you wrap your head around the rules you will be amazed how smoothly it plays.
We've actually not played with homegrown characters, and I realize chargen is one of the weaker points in the book. But the more plot- and character-driven rules and physical gaminess of this game make it all too easy to have an amazing time.
I was absolutely hooked by the opening fiction. The setting seems amazing and I have enjoyed other games by both creators...moreThis is for the 2nd edition.
I was absolutely hooked by the opening fiction. The setting seems amazing and I have enjoyed other games by both creators (Everway, Vampire, OTE) but at this juncture I'm just not into super-crunchy games.
The setting focuses on the goings on between groups of powerful wizards in medieval Europe where the mythology of the times was actually factual. It's called Mythic Europe, go figure. Lots of room for political machinations and courtly intrigue.
I imagine a lot of the players of this game are also LAERPers, if that means anything to you. Drama club types who can handle the math.
Learning even a small amount of Latin (spells use a heavily Latin-derived nomenclature for individual spells and categories) seems both intimidating and infinitely cool.
Unfortunately, the game seems to have more crunch than I would like, so I doubt I'll ever use the system, whether the setting proves inspirational or I ever play in it via some other.(less)
after reading only half of this book (more on creativity and inspiration, the later chapters are on separating wheat from chaff and organizing your no...moreafter reading only half of this book (more on creativity and inspiration, the later chapters are on separating wheat from chaff and organizing your notes) I was inspired to put together a sandbox for my players that I think would have run great. Unfortunately we had to move away and I only got to run one session using Everway and Mythic for very off the cuff creative play. I thought what little we played worked well.
Anything by the Gnome Stew guys is great, so if you know you like them, pick this up immediately!(less)
Heads up: if you, like me, are looking at this as an alternative to something like Eclipse Phase, think again. It is far too vague to compete with the...moreHeads up: if you, like me, are looking at this as an alternative to something like Eclipse Phase, think again. It is far too vague to compete with the rich setting of that game, and is much less crunchy, though still crunchier than I might like. (still haven't played the other game either, but am blown away by the setting)
I really like the cluster generation rules and some of the vague, hand-wavey schlock is quite inspired. (hand-wavey is the authors' own term)
I haven't actually read the rules for either of the combat mini-games in the book, mostly because the central Fate-derived rules are very hard to follow. There seem to be more examples than there are actual rules listings. And I didn't have the stomach for more of the same.
Some of my problems may extend from a poor conversion to epub, but nevertheless I have them.
I'll likely give this vague setting and those tasty cluster rules a try with the newer Fate Core rules, which are both simpler and much much clearer.(less)
this book is without a doubt the most influential idea generator I've ever used or read about.
Via a deceptively simple system for answering yes/no que...morethis book is without a doubt the most influential idea generator I've ever used or read about.
Via a deceptively simple system for answering yes/no questions and a companion random event generator, a GM may find he doesn't need nearly the prep work he spent before to run engaging, believable stories.
Personally I've never run, not do I intend to run, a Mythic-only game with the extended full rules, though I am currently running a wonderfully rules-lite game (centered on the Lizzy Borden case and a proposed reincarnation of same woman) with my wife these days.(less)
while a good portion of this book is reference example monsters and such, the game mechanics and most of the character creation bits are great. I do t...morewhile a good portion of this book is reference example monsters and such, the game mechanics and most of the character creation bits are great. I do think it's silly to keep around the old school D&D attribute style (with both base attributes and modifiers you have to look up in a table) but this is one small flaw in an otherwise great product. The simple three-way toggle on dice rolls, as well as the explicitness of moves - both for players and GM - I think will facilitate quick and painless play. I've yet to run this through actual play.
I've never read Apocalypse World, so can't speak to how it compares.(less)
I originally rated this one four stars for its simplification of the over-burdensome d20 rules, but have since taken to more narrative-centric games a...moreI originally rated this one four stars for its simplification of the over-burdensome d20 rules, but have since taken to more narrative-centric games and have downgraded my rating.
This is not to say True20 isn't a great system, it's just not the system for this dude at this point.
If I was trying to convert a group of diehard d20 fans to simpler systems, this would be perfect. A step down without alienating the poor souls.(less)
an improvement on the D&D I was familiar with (AD&D2e) with plenty of crunch for the mighty barbarian in your group, but easy enough to intern...morean improvement on the D&D I was familiar with (AD&D2e) with plenty of crunch for the mighty barbarian in your group, but easy enough to internalize in less than a day.
Haven't actually played much, but it's good reading and what little I have played was smashing fun.(less)