What is Elthos RPG?

Elthos RPG History

Elthos RPG began in 1978 with my homebrew rules and the Iron Legions of Telgar Campaign.  I created at that time a rules system that was inspired by the original D&D books "Men & Magic", "Monsters & Treasure", and "Wilderness Adventures".   I resolved for my system what I felt were a series of flaws with the original design 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 speaking with a couple of old world Gamesmaster friends of mine and we were all commenting on how remarkable it was that no one had at that point created software that would make Gamesmastering easier.  We scratched our heads.

"Lets make Gamesmaster Assistant Software", I suggested.  And so we got started on it.   I took my rules system and began programming it, at first in QBasic, and then in Visual Basic.   It took quite a bit of effort but by 2000 I had a fully functional Gamesmaster's Toolbox.  By 2006 it had every primary feature I felt I needed as a Gamesmaster.   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 (which is why it took so long) and by myself in terms of coding (another 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.  I didn't want to release it into the wild because I ddn't feel I could really adequately support the application for others.   So I used it.   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 distillation of my larger and more sophisticated Elthos RPG (afterwards called Elthos Prime), and as such it keeps all of the principal mechanics of the original game, but shrunk down to use tiny-numbers and simplified formulas.   In the end I totally fell in love with the mini-system because it makes my life as GM much, much easier.

So I decided to program the ODS system in ASP.Net and put it online so I could access it anywhere.  It runs pretty much all of the features of the VB Application, except for a few features which have yet to be migrated over.   Other than that it's pretty much a duplicate of the original.

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 bother?  Included in the price of admission is the ever so handy Elthos ODS Web Application!

The Elthos ODS Web Application
Designed to support the Elthos ODS Rules Book, think of the Elthos ODS Web Application as your trusty Gamesmaster Assistant.   The Elthos ODS Web Application, your faithful henchman, performs many of those necessarily, yet tedious, tasks and chores that take up your valuable time as Gamesmaster.  The Web Application makes your job as Gamesmaster much easier, consistant and accessable.   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 pub and play there.  That's the concept.  The Web Application preforms two basic functions:
  • Gamesmaster's Toolbox
    This handy Web Application 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 those magic rings disappeared to... the GM's Toolbox is designed to help you manage all of that information for your world.  
  • 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.
Create Your World
Allows Gamesmasters to create their own Worlds.  This feature allows you to create and manage your own races, character classes, weapons, armor, equipment, spells and miracles, among other things.  Your world is truly in your own hands!  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 Mountainous Village where the vampires dwell?   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 Characters
The Gamesmaster can use the Elthos Web Application to Create and Edit Characters in accordance with the Elthos ODS rules.  With the Web Application you can:
  • Description
    You can add descriptions of personality, looks, social class, and select the character's religous and cultural outlook.
  • Select Races
    Characters can be of any available Race, each of which also has Requisite limitations. So Dwarves require A high Strength.
  • Select Guild Classes
    Standard Aventure Guild Classes can be assigned to each Character in accordance with their Requisites. Each class has Requisite requirements associated to the Class. So, Theives must have a high Dexterity. Warriors must have a high Strength. Clerics and Warlocks must have high Wisdom (or intellect).

  • Select Skills & Powers
    Skills and Mystic Powers are available to Characters of the Freeman, SpellChanter or Clerical Classes. 

  • Select Equipment, Weapons, Armor
    Characters can be equiped 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.

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 Maxtrixes by Adventure Group (both Physical and Mystical)
  • Character Statistics 
  • Print your World's Places, Campaign & Adventures in convenient packages for taking to the game.
All in all, Elthos has been an amazing project in many ways! I've used it to produce some fun artwork, a couple of novel length stories (you can read those stories by poking around on the Play Test Stories Page), and make a ton of great friends.

I look forward to giving the public the opportunity to use the Elthos RPG in the near future. It's a fun light-weight system that features substantial computer assistance in the form of the Gamesmaster's Toolbox.

At the moment the Web Application is in 'Closed Beta' but I intend to go into 'Open Beta' soon in order to get feedback and make final improvements on the site and the system. I hope you will enjoy it!

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