15 July 2017

Valar Morghulis

Like 99.9% of the global fantasy nerd community, I am looking forward to the seventh season of The Game of Thrones, due to start tomorrow evening.

Since the series only has 13 episodes left, and given its propensity to kill off major characters in unexpected ways, the question naturally arises: who will survive to the end? Vox assesses the chances of 15 important characters here. While I agree with author Todd VanDerWerff that Samwell Tully is the most likely character to survive at the end (someone has to be able to tell the whole story, after all), I disagree with some of his other predictions. Specifically, I think that Tyrion Lannister is more likely to survive than Jon Snow (as I can see Snow going out in a blaze of glory in the final episode, whereas Tyrion will carry on with cunning and bluster no matter what), and I would place Arya Stark’s odds of making it out alive quite highly—above those of Sansa Stark and Daenerys Targaryen. Finally, I would rank Bran Stark’s chances above all other characters except Samwell, given that he seems to be pivotal to the entire history of Westeros.

While not ‘major characters’ in any sense, ravens appear regularly in the series. This is because ravens are central to the communication system of Westeros. This is one of the reasons why I like the setting so much. I’ve been fascinated by ravens since a teenager, when I first learned about their high intelligence. It turns out that they are capable of planning for the future.

[Image found somewhere on the intertubes]

07 July 2017

Mythras (RuneQuest 6) and OpenQuest Developments

I’m a bit late in reporting on this, but the good people at the Design Mechanism have been producing monthly adventures for their superb Mythras role-playing game (formerly RuneQuest 6). This strikes me as a great thing to do for any game, but especially a rather ‘crunchy’ one like Mythras. This kind of regular support helps people try Mythras—including different variants and settings—without too much work or cost. I’ve already obtained two of the adventures, and look forward seeing more.

One adventure in particular warrants special mention. It’s called The Colour of Madness, and has a very strong ‘swords-and-sorcery’ flavour—with a distinctly ‘Moorcockian’ accent. This is no coincidence, as an earlier version of the adventure was written by Lawrence Whitaker for the ‘Young Kingdoms’ fantasy setting. (Whitaker wrote Mongoose’s MRQII-based Elric of Melnibon√© line; he also wrote a lot of material for Chaosium’s Stormbringer and Elric! games back in the day.) If you own (or can track down) Whitaker’s Elric books for Mongoose RuneQuest II, especially the core book and the Cities of the South supplement, then this module will help you run a rather cool Young Kingdoms campaign with Mythras. (For a sense of what such a campaign might be like, check out this—sadly not-yet-finished—campaign log. I believe that one possibility for that campaign was the Colour of Madness adventure, but our characters decided to flee, er… travel to the East instead…)

Since I’m writing about my favourite fantasy d100 games in this post, I should also mention that D101 Games has updated OpenQuest. The ‘new’ version (really a fixed up and mildly improved version of the 2nd edition) is called OpenQuest Refreshed. It features a nice cover by the talented Jon Hodgson:

OQ author Newt Newport summarizes the main changes in this blog post. If you want a fantasy BRP/d100 system that is somewhat lighter than Mythras, I highly recommend OpenQuest as the way to go!

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.