A little over two years ago I moved to New Zealand from the U.S. One of the many discoveries I made about my new home was that, outside of the city of Wellington, there are not that many Kiwis that play role playing games. Nor are there that many game shops that cater to the table-top gamer. There are some of course, and Pathfinder enjoys a modest following here in my home city of Auckland. But it is fair to say that role playing games never took root here like they have in the States, the UK and parts of the EU.
This posed both a challenge and an opportunity for me. On the one hand, I had fallen in with a group of friends who enjoyed board games and were curious about RPGs. On the other, they weren’t curious enough to purchase say, the Pathfinder Core Rulebook which retails here for around $75 (that’s about $60 USD), and pour through the voluminous tome. Up till moving to NZ my only real exposure to RPGs had come by way of D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder, though at that point I had begun exploring the OSR.
I had a pdf copy of Swords & Wizardry’s free ruleset and considered using it. But I was still quite new to the rules and found the different experience tables, the race as class mechanic, the different level ceilings and several other features a bit odd (sorry for stepping on any toes here, but you have to remember this is coming from the perspective of someone who cut his teeth on third edition). I wanted to play a game that emulated the Old-School gaming experience of a game such as S&W, but which had the streamlined mechanics of a game like Pathfinder. Moreover it had to be something reasonably short and easy to digest. Oh, and did I mention that I wanted the game to be gritty?
This all spurred me to develop my own home-brewed D20 rule-set, which I have tentatively taken to calling “Mythweaver”. The best way to describe it is a gritty, rules lite version of D&D appropriate for a more Swords & Sorcery style of play. The rules are still undergoing beta testing and much is subject to change. However if you are at all curious, I’ve uploaded a beta version of the Players Handbook below, in both a color and B&W version.
What’s Different About this Game?
- Characters start out with slightly more HP but HP progression is MUCH slower;
- Armor absorbs damage, it does not add to one’s defense (AC) value;
- Rules for gear wear and tear have been introduced;
- More emphasis has been placed upon hiring retainers;
- Skills are gone. The system relies upon attribute checks;
- Saving throws all rely upon attribute checks;
- Encumbrance is done by a simple “stone” system;
- The economic system is based on a silver, rather than a gold, standard;
- Vancian magic is gone. Spell casting relies upon spell points;
- Divine magic users are (mostly) gone, though demon-pact magic exists (DM Guide);
- Using magic is a dangerous affair, spell-failure has some nasty side-affects;
- In addition to Incantations magic users may inscribe runes and enact rituals;
- Magic users do not automatically gain new spells, they must acquire them;
- Magic items are exceedingly rare and very precious;
- Magic creatures make for great spell components;
- Rules have been abridged and streamlined wherever possible.
I wasn’t aiming at originality here, I just wanted a system that I would enjoy playing and that would be easy to learn for new players. So far I’ve been pleased with the results. However as mentioned this is still a work in progress. If you have any comments, advice or constructive criticism you’d like to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If there is enough interest in this project I’ll release the Bestiary and Dungeon Master’s Guide when they are completed (which is still a while off).
Below you’ll find both a print and a color pdf version of the Mythweaver Player’s Guide:
EDIT: I’ve just been informed by Mike Desning that he’s actually authored another RPG by the same name (Mythweaver) and hence I’ve renamed the game “Mythbinder”.