What is Elthos RPG?

Elthos RPG History

So... Elthos RPG was born in 1978.  It is my homebrew RPG Rules system.  My World began with the Iron Legions of Telgar Campaign on the world of Elthos.  The rules system was inspired by the original D&D book "Men & Magic", which I skimmed for the purpose of gleaning general ideas on how an RPG system should work.   I resolved what I felt were a series of flaws with the original design, wrote my rules into a loose leaf folder, and began GMing immediately.  The Iron Legions of Telgar Campaign lasted for about 12 years, and was an enormous amount of fun!

In 1994 I was chatting with a couple of old world Gamesmaster friends of mine and I pointed out how remarkable it was that no one had at that point created software that would make Gamesmastering easier.  Computers handle number crunching tremendously well, and a lot of GMing tasks involve number cruching in high quantities.  We scratched our heads. It seemed like such an obvious need for GMs.

"Lets make Gamesmaster Assistant Software", I suggested.  They agreed. And so in 1994 I wrote up specifications for the software I had in mind, and we got started on it.  I took my Elthos Rules system and began programming it, at first in QBasic, and then in Visual Basic. This was a frightfully difficult thing for me to do as I had no training in software development.  Fortunately, however, my friend David Kahn was a professional programmer and gave me my first set of lessons on how to do a FOR NEXT loop, and I was off to the races.

It took quite a bit of effort, but by 2000 (six years later) I had a fully functional Gamesmaster's Toolbox that incorporated all of the primary features I needed to run my games, including Character Generation, Adventure Group Management, World Building, Mapping, and Combat.  It's a tremendous program! By 2006 it had every feature I wanted completed.   I ran all of my games with it and had many happy and satisfied Players.  

However, because of the fact that I had worked on this project in my spare time and almost entirely by myself (which is the reason for the museum speed process), and the fact that I taught myself how to program and work with databases in order to work on it, the poor VB Application was really rather a bit buggy behind the scenes.  So I didn't want to release it into the public because I didn't feel I could adequately support the application for others. So I used it for my own personal games. And I was pretty happy with things that way for a  little while.

In 2006 I decided to start the Literary Role Playing Game Society of Westchester on Meetups and Yahoo Groups.  We met monthly at a local pub and discussed methods and techniques for giving our RPG Worlds into more literary qualities, such as stories with character development, story arcs, and the like.  We had a great time and came up with a lot of fabulous ideas.   While we met I decided it might be a good idea to create a light-weight mini-system for my rules so that we could experiment at the table with our GMing concepts without drawing too much unwanted attention.

And thus the "One Die System" was born.  It is a lovely distillation of my larger and more sophisticated Elthos RPG (afterwards called Elthos Prime to distinguish the older larger system from the new mini-system), and as such it keeps all of the principal mechanics of the original game, but distilled down to use tiny-numbers math and simplified formulas.  This system was perfect for playing unobtrusively in our local pub.  It had one chart and used 1d6 for everything. In the end I totally fell in love with the mini-system because it makes my life as GM much, much easier. And the tiny numbers math was not only easier to mange, but made the game brilliantly stark in terms of odds and outcomes.  You really have to play this game smart, and when you do... the results really show. It's far more exciting a game!

So I decided to dump the VB Application, and program the brand spanking new "One Die System" (ODS) in ASP.Net as a browser based Web Application, and put it online so I could access it anywhere. I named this project "The Mythos Machine".  It runs pretty much all of the features of the VB Application, shrunk down to size, except for a few features, such as mapping and combat, which have yet to be migrated over.   Other than that it's pretty much a duplicate of the original in terms of the feature set.

What does the Elthos RPG Project and Web Application include?

The ODS Rules Book
A downloadable copy of the Elthos "One Die System" (ODS) pdf.  The Rules Book is designed to be a simple system you can get running in practically no time, and begin your games quickly and easily. You could use just the rules book alone without the Web Application, but why do such a thing?!  The Mythos Machine is there to make your life as GM far more elegant!

The Elthos ODS Mythos Machine
Designed to support the Elthos ODS Rules Book, think of the Elthos ODS Web Application as your trusty Gamesmaster Assistant.   The Mythos Machine, your faithful henchman, performs many of those necessarily, yet tedious, tasks and chores that take up your valuable time as Gamesmaster. It's goal in life is to make your life as Gamesmaster much easier, consistent and accessible.   With the Web Application you can run your game at the computer and have it help you out during the game when needed, or you can print out what you need for your next game and head off to the picnic table or friend's house or pub and play there.  That's the concept.  The Web Application preforms two basic functions:
  • Gamesmaster's Toolbox
    This performs a wide variety of Gamesmaster chores, such as number crunching and records keeping.  Why lose track of who won what experience for what, when, and where?  What happened to those magic rings you had in the Vault of Montoga? The GM Toolbox is designed to help you manage all of that information for your world. You use the ghe GM Toolbox to create all of the Things of your World... Weapons, Armors, Equipment, Classes, Races, Cultures, and so on.  It lets you assign the appropriate properties for these things so that the Mythos Machine can do all of the number crunching for you!

  • World Weaver Studio
    The World Weaver Studio allows you to create your World to the depth and degree you choose. Create new Places, Campaigns, and Adventures, and record what your Player Characters during their Adventures.  Store them online and get handy printouts, including the images and maps you upload. Your world is truly in your own hands! 
  • Share Your World
    The site also allows you to share elements of your world with other Gamesmasters on the system.   Have a neat Weapon?  Make it public and it will be available to other Gamesmasters to copy into their Worlds.  Have a great idea for a hidden mountain Village where the vampires rule?  You can share it.  Or you can browse other Gamesmaster's shared items and import things you like into your World!
Craft Your World's Places, Campaigns, and Adventures
Worlds are composed of Places, which can be associated to Campaigns, which themselves are collections of Adventures. The Gamesmaster can manage information regarding their Places, Campaigns and Adventures in order to create Game Packs, which are composed of Players, Places, Campaigns and/or Adventures, and Adventure Groups and Characters (including NPCs and Creatures).  These Game Packs are easily printable so you can take them to the game with you, or you can access your World's information online during the game for even more functionality and convenience.

Manage Your Players
Gamesmasters can manage their Player's lists, which contain Player Contact info.

Manage Your Characters
The Gamesmaster and Players can use the Elthos Mythos Machine to Generate and Edit Characters in accordance with the Elthos ODS rules.  With it you can add:
  • Descriptive Elements 
    You can add descriptions of personality, looks, social class, and select the Character's religious and cultural outlook.

  • Select Races
    Characters can be of any available Race, each of which also has Requisite limitations. These limitations are actually defined by the GM, so every World's races can be different!

  • Select Guild Classes
    Standard Adventure Classes can be assigned to each Character in accordance with their Requisites. Each class has Requisite requirements associated to the Class. So, Thieves must have a high Dexterity. Warriors must have a high Strength. Clerics and Warlocks must have high Wisdom (or intellect). These limitations are also defined for each Class in the GM's World, so every World in the Mythos Machine can be completely unique.

  • Select Skills & Powers
    Skills and Mystic Powers are available to Characters of the Freeman, SpellChanter or Clerical Classes.  Again, the GM can create the Skills and Powers that make sense for their World... so every World can have the GM's own creativity forged into it!

  • Select Equipment, Weapons, Armor
    Characters can be equipped with whatever Weapons, Armor or Equipment the GM offers in their World.  The Characters can Purchase these things based on how much Money they've got.
Manage Adventure Groups
The Gamesmaster can manage Adventure Groups, adding or removing Characters, Generate random groups, and record Adventure Group Histories. The Auto-Generation features is an incredible time saver!

Record Adventure Events & History

This allows the GM add the history of the characters as the story progresses, and in the process calculate Experience Gains and keep track of Alignment changes over the course of the Characters careers.

Run Gamesmaster Reports
There are a variety of reports available to Gamesmasters that the Players do not see.
  • General Resolution Matrix
  • Combat Matrixes by Adventure Group (both Physical and Mystical)
  • Character Statistics 
  • Print your World's Places, Campaign & Adventures in convenient and attractive printouts for taking to the game or use it online during the game!
All in all, Elthos has been an amazing project in many ways! I've used it to produce incredible games, fun artwork, some outstanding software, and a couple of novel-length stories (you can read those stories by poking around on the Play Test Stories Page), and made a ton of great friends!  This is the BEST HOBBY EVER!

Elthos RPG is a fun light-weight RPG Framework that features substantial computer assistance in the form of the Gamesmaster's Toolbox.

You can access the Mythos Machine either in the Production Mode or the Test Mode here:

The Live Site: https://MythosMachine.Elthos.com
The Open Beta Site: https://Test.MM.Elthos.com

Pate Last Updated: April 22, 2019


Brian said...

I would like to play it on PC. If you can't release it as a full game, maybe put it in the Tabletop simulator https://rawg.io/games/tabletop-simulator? It would be great!

Kostanich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kostanich said...

Could you add it to PC via this game Tabletop Simulatork ?