Monday, October 05, 2015

What Distinguishes Elthos RPG Mythos Machine?

In response to a thread on Google+ with +Jeffrey Anthony ...

It's fair assessment of the industry generally that it is saturated. The reason why, I believe, is the confluence of the idea that making a living via gaming would be wonderful, the _relative_ ease of entry into the gaming market through the development of an RPG Rules Book (no it is not easy, but it is far easier than creating a modern level computer game, certainly), and the availability of relatively easy online book publishing services. Hence, everyone and their brother wants to create an RPG rules system... well, obviously not everyone, but quite a number of people. And this has indeed lead to a flourishing profusion of Indie RPG rules books. I believe there are over 1500 different rules books on DriveThruRPG at this time. That's great and wonderful because it demonstrates the enthusiasm of the people in the hobby. What's not so great, as you have alluded, is that the result is a completely saturated RPG market. All of this is true.

However, what is not so easy by comparison is to create a cohisive and comprehensive online web application that enjoins the rules system and makes GMing using that system far easier. There are some dabblings in that area, as we've seen from the phone app by DCC, and there are a profusion of minor tools that support various systems with excel sheets or generators of various sorts. And there are a handful of attempts at making GM Prep Tools, but those tend to be system neutral, or attempt to support as many of the popular RPG systems as they can program and get licencing for. Some of these tools have become quite sophisticated, and are gaining popularity. Fantasy Grounds comes to mind. City of Brass is a new entrant into the market. There is Realm Works by Lone Wolf. All of these fit into one or another of the categories I've described. All of them are interesting. Many of them are fondly utilized by GMs to help them run their games.

What is quite rare, however, is an integrated system that focuses on one rules system that was designed from the beginning with a computer application in mind, in order to make the system easier to run, and a more integrated application... both of which go toward making GMing easier. Elthos RPG is a rules system that was designed to be integrated via the Mythos Machine web application. So it is a unified holistic system whose purpose is to make GMing better organized, faster and easier. I don't think the market is yet saturated with that combination. And I think this makes it, for the time being, unique.

On the other hand, to be fair to your critique, it does require that people do learn yet another rules system. And I understand the barrier involved and why that is rather annoying for many. After all, we spend a lot of time as GMs learning rules systems, running games with them, and getting to fine tune our understanding of their nuances... why should I have to learn yet another one? But in the case of Elthos I would say two things. First, the rules are relatively light weight and easy to learn when compared with many other systems, and yet it maintains all of the standard tropes of the traditional RPG. Second, the rules are fully integrated with the Mythos Machine so that the entire package, once learned, does in fact make GMing easier.

There are a few other advantages provided by the Mythos Machine to be considered. It lets you create any kind of World you want, being completely flexible and genre neutral. You can create any kinds of equipment, weapons and armor, skills and powers and classes you can imagine. In other words it gives you the freedom to create your own World. Yes, this is a chore. It is a chore in the same way that Legos is a chore. You get a box of bricks and ... you create stuff. With the Mythos Machine you get a web application that lets you create a proto-World and ... you create stuff. In the end, you have your own World that is far easier for you to run and maintain than what you had before.  Frankly, for me, that is far more exciting than having someone else's World to play with.  I have my own imagination and I like to use it.  Elthos RPG Mythos Machine was designed to support GMs who want to exercise their own Imaginations.

Another advantage to the Mythos Machine is that it lets you share your creations with other GMs by making your things Public rather than Private. You have that choice for everything in your World, pretty much. What this also means is that if you are a GM who has a proto-World with not much in it yet, and you feel a little stuck maybe, you can go and browse what other GMs have created and quickly pull anything you like into your world with the click of a button, and then customize it to your needs. It's that simple.  I think this will help a lot of GMs get up and running more quickly, and giving people a way to share their creativity is a good thing.

All of that said, I want to emphasize that the Mythos Machine is in Open Beta. While fully functional as is, it has yet to integrate in additional features which I want to see for it. But before I spend even more time on that, I want to get some feedback on the thing in its current state. So I'm encouraging people to go and take a look and provide feedback. Once I get an idea of what people like and don't like about it, I will be better positioned to work on filling in the gaps and adding more features. But as it is now, I use it to great effect as do some of my friends. It really has made GMing incredibly easy for me.

How about one example... I am playing and the guys take a path down a road I had not really worked on much. I'd like to quickly drum up some Stuff for them to run into and I have a rough idea of what's down there. A goblin cave, lets say, with kobolds being run by an Ogre. I can use the mythos machine to instantly generate a group of kobolds, goblins and an ogre chieftain, fully equipped, with skills, ready to play - in about 1 minute.

There are a lot of other examples I can give, but this post is getting tltr. So I will leave it there and hope this helps to answer your question.

For those interested you can download the rules and try out the Mythos Machine at http://elthos.com ... we are looking for feedback so if you have any suggestions or recommendations or find anything amiss, please use the feedback button on the site (upper right hand corner).  Ok thanks!   Happy Gaming to you!
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