Mythic GM Emulator?

edited May 2007 in Story Games
Does anyone have any experience with this thing?

Supposedly, it's a system by which the GM can be removed from an RPG that normally requires one resulting in either solo play or a group made entirely of players.

Now, I don't have my copy yet, but I'm interested in hearing about any experiences with the system, suggestions for using it, or anything I should keep in mind while reading it as it pertains to story gaming. I'm sure I'll throw my own observations in after I fiddle with it a bit.



  • Huh. It sounds like a plot hook generator thing. But color me intruiged, I might have to check this game and supplement out.

    Anyone else have experience with "Mythic RPG"?

  • No idea... it hasn't sold too many copies on Lulu yet, apparently. The price is low enough for someone to check it out.
  • There's some info on the thread. Post #7.
  • Matthijs,

    Thanks for the link. I'm with all of you - it sounds intriguing. And tempting.
  • Posted By: coffeestainNow, I don't have my copy yet, but I'm interested in hearing about any experiences with the system, suggestions for using it, or anything I should keep in mind while reading it as it pertains to story gaming. I'm sure I'll throw my own observations in after I fiddle with it a bit.
    Oh, that indicates that you've bought it, then? Post here what you find interesting about it (no AP needed, just a walkthrough). I read the RPGNet review, but it kinda put me to sleep with its "Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three..." review format and lack of real info.

  • Posted By: Andy
    Oh, that indicates that you've bought it, then?
    Hey, Andy. Yeah, that could have been more clear, eh? I did buy it and should have it shortly. I'll definitely post a walkthrough, I just assumed one of you folks would have been ahead of me on this purchase.

  • I own this game.

    The basic idea is that a random system takes the place of the GM, providing answers to "yes/no" questions like a magic 8-ball. This can be used to determine details in the fiction as well as for resolution.

    So, say we're in a dungeon, and I go, "I'm going to search for secret doors. Is there a secret door here?" And you negotiate the likelihood (or desire) of there being one, consult the chart, and get an answer, and then you can keep narrating from there. There are structured guidelines for language in it, admonishing you against stuff like, "Is there a secret door?" (consult) "No? Are you *sure*?" (consult) and other such vagaries.

    I find it interesting mainly because it's the only game I've seen that foists "GM-Tasks" onto an automated process instead of a person. In practice, I see it generating conflict of interest more than anything else, because a chart can't have an agenda, technical or creative. I should note, though, that the "magic GM" isn't the only thing in the book, or even the bulk of it - there's also some strong advice about how to structure scenes and sessions in there, cool-ass worksheets where you record things from the fiction as they become true, etc etc.

    I think it's worth the read, if you're as curious about designs as I am.
  • That's a fascinating statement, Lenny. That you feel that the game creates conflicts of interest. Here I was, about to say that Universalis does the same thing, but distributing the GM job amongst the players, and that this thing at least has the benefit of having no agenda (so no need for Challenges). But you're saying that it creates a problem.

    Is it in terms of the players abusing the system as in the example you give where they ask again? Is that it? Is the problem that they have to self-monitor? But have no framework to do so?

  • Yes, but Universalis still uses a process that is enacted by people, with currency spending, IIRC. So, agenda remains a central component of people's statements, and the negotiation process has systemic weight.

    My worry about the "magic GM" is simply in the return of sucky input. Take the secret door example - if we're narrating a scene in a dungeon and someone goes, "Oh, dude, it'd totally be awesome if there was a secret door here." And someone else goes, "Yeah, secret doors rock. Let's make it Highly Likely." They consult Mythic, and it says there's no secret door, because even Highly Likely isn't 100%.

    Doesn't that suck? So, then you're left with the options of following what Mythic said, and figuring out where to go from there, with the same kind of stall that happens when people screw up and negate each other in improv theatre, or ignoring what it said and going with your gut anyway, which makes the effort of using the system kind of pointless to begin with.

    Projected result? A lot of consulting Mythic for details that don't really matter, and unstructured negotiation for details that do, with all the baggage that can go with that. Or worse, severe agenda clash centering around how different people respond to the magic-GM ("but, we have to keep it consistent with the results!" "screw the results, they're boring and undramatic!" "can I get a Mountain Dew?").

    Keep in mind that this is all hip-shooting on my part, too, and I haven't played the thing. Also, it's been a while since I read the text, and I know the system has a method for providing cryptic details for use in a scene apart from the yes/no system, that you can use as a way to kickstart your imaginings. This might act as a bulwark against my concerns above, but I don't see it preventing them entirely.

    Later today, I'll go back and pour through the text a bit, so I can talk about this more without feeling like I'm pulling it out of my ass as much. :)
  • Landon,

    Wouldn't a lot of that fall under the same umbrella as setting good stakes? In other words, perhaps the trick is to always ask questions that are interesting either way?

  • OK. Since this thread started, Mythic RPG has generated a lot more attention.

    From the little I've read, it sounds like an experiment in "Rolemaster does Story Gaming"--tons of tables, percentile probabilities, etc. An interesting, and completely different, approach to what most people do in this community.

    Has anyone taken a look at it since last May? Anyone actually _played_ it? I'm really curious: what do you think?
  • Here's some links to RPGnet threads about Mythic in which I participated, where some Actual Play (some of it mine) is reported / discussed.

    Hope these give you some idea of what the Mythic GME is all about.

  • Oh, and BTW, for those who don't know, here's the breakdown of products in the Mythic line:

    Mythic -- a standalone GMless RPG. It includes the GM Emulation stuff, plus character creation and action resolution rules.
    Mythic Game Master Emulator -- just the emulator sections from Mythic, re-edited slightly, and designed to be used with another game's rules for action resolution. Bear in mind that this is designed to work with traditional RPGs: It probably won't socket all that well into indie-type games with unusual divisions of power between GM and players.
    Mythic Variations -- an add-on to either one of the above that adds more flexibility to the Emulator. A must-have, in my opinion, if you are going to use Mythic.

  • edited February 2008
    I would like to add, that anyone intrested should take a look at Mythic Yahoo discussion group ( There is terrific AP (solo, wargame themed) thread called Face Off at Tagh Dum Bash. It really shows how the system in good hands can be utilized to do Awesome.

    yea, I'm interested also of Mythic, have the GM emulator, but yet to utilize it properly. But it is worth the prize.
    and yea, been lurking around this forum for some time, so hello everyone.
  • Mythic didn't sit well with me, so I quit using it after a couple of sessions. As to if it's worth the price, that basically comes down to how much you value your time. Myself, I wasn't all that impressed with it - 2(d100) oracle and a chart. I found the RPG aspect lacking and uninspiring. The chart can be replaced with, "Does X exist?" "Let's roll dice. Did we get under 50%?" Of course, one can fudge results (such as by consensus or GM) by increasing or decreasing the odds of X occurring. Which most GMs have been doing since they've started GMing... So the chart? Tossed out the window. Which leaves Chaos Factor. An interesting concept that came up, I believe, twice in a couple of my games. Chaos Factor can "interrupt" or "alter" scene framing. *shrugs* Some may find that interesting.

    Mythic Variations, I almost think it's a complete waste of money. The "genre" related tables are, as you would suspect, tables that alter how the GME (Game Master Emulator) functions in different settings. But as I didn't like the initial product, I really didn't need a product telling me how to use the previous product in a different manner. Why did I buy it? Two reasons: 1. Curiousity about the side adventure/downtime idea. The book fails in that aspect; another chapter that I just tossed aside. 2. The suggested method of designing Mythic adventures. Awesome. It was the one and only thing from the Mythic line that I enjoyed. Even though it basically falls down to: Here's how to link scenes together, I enjoyed the read.

    In summary, I wouldn't recommend Mythic GME to anyone at all. Unless it was purchased purely for academic interest. After all, GMs around the world, at least the ones I've been gaming with, have used the 50/50 idea since ... well ... just about forever. And the concept of fudging the odds? Same.
  • I bought this years ago. Don't remember how much, if at all, I actually used it, but that was when I was first starting to get into the whole "Forge" thing and other things soon occupied my attention.

    I might want to go get my copy and take another look at it though...

  • There's a great thread out there somewhere ( I think) about a GM emulator solo game for a troll PC.

    I found it an interesting read and am on the yahoo group mentioned.

    Even if you're not going to use it, the ideas about story "threads" etc are useful work in the concept of "scene framing/management". In trying to do away with a GM (and the plotting, advance story creation that a GM does) the GM Emulator tries to tackle some of how you get these effects. I'm not persuaded it's a true substitute for a GM rather than "a good source of inspiration" for self-guided play which is really "structured story telling" (in a more traditional sense). It does work hard to force self-GMing a bit away from in-built biases (and in that sense can be useful once more for a GM).

    I did use it, in an experiment to work up the history of a "great hero" in my D&D campaign and it lead to a more interesting, varied background for him. The feeling was sort of like using a "writer's aid".

    The actual system of Mythic (for characters etc.) doesn't grab me at all.

  • I just discovered a free online site that is somewhat based on the Mythic GME system, along with some Fate/Fudge stuff and other random generator systems. You can also choose a genre that will further refine some of your random results.

    It also has a neat forum where you can post your adventures. It's in "beta" right now, and the developer is working on a version for Mobile devices.
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