Dangerous Journeys/Mythus: the 400+ page /magnum opus/ fantasy heartbreaker crea ted by the King-in-Exile
of RPGs after his ousting from the kingdom forged by hi s own hand. This here is the first of a semi-regular series of posts chronicling my delving of this... creation for ideas that might be usable in contemporary C lassic Fantasy Role-Play Simulacra Games. Why am I doing this? 50% coz I need a break from battering my head against the e ver-mutating hydra of GCX; 50% coz Dangerous Journeys has a kind of "is he serio us?" car-crash facination. It's almost like watching a much-loved celebrity have a massive public breakdown. Quick note on nomenclature: Dangerous Journeys - EGG's post-TSR universal RPG system. Mythus - fantasy RPG using the DJ system. Mythus Prime/basic Mythus - Dangerous Journeys lite. Trimmed down by Dave Newton . Part the First In which our hero dips his toe into the pool. Gary Gygax's Dangerous Journeys Mythus FRPG Big fat book. Elmore cover. Back cover blurb makes claim to both novelty and tho roughness. So far, so early 90s fantasy. After the credits and frontispiece proceedings open - as is traditional - with t he contents pages. Yes, pages. Two of 'em. Two column layout. Numbered chapters broken into sections, then into subsections. Seems comprehensive, if a little ov erwhelming at first glance. First 55 pages (Chapters 1-9) are the basic Mythus s ystem rules. After that you've about 300 pages of Advanced Mythus rules split ac ross chapters 10-17. Rounding things out are Appendices A-to-M, then several pag es of indices. Next up, the Editor's Preface by Lester Smith. This sets the tone for the whole book by being a dense, unrelieved textwall which causes my eyes to glaze over 23 times per column. Oh, this bodes well. A brief, ranty aside: Was textwall really the state of the art in game books in the early 90s? I remember a lot of gaming books of the period being similar in t heir layout (two column, b+w, fugly fonts), but not half so bloody dense. *check s WFRP, Chill, TMNT, Shadowrun* Yeah, two column b+w was pretty much an industry standard, but there doesn't seem to have been a universal ideological aversion to paragraph breaks. The spacing and typeface says trenchant things about GDW's typesetting and editing departments circa 1992. ("Show us on the doll where whit espace touched you...") Anyhoo, the introduction openly compares/contrasts Mythus/DJ with AD&D. Supposed ly Mythus/DJ "...is like a jam session in which one mythic vision provides the u nity, but the individual musicians are free to improvise upon that theme -- and any sort of musical instrument is allowed." There's quite a bit of this, but boi l away the verbiage and it comes down to: D&D is class-based, Mythus/DJ is 'desc riptive' -- whatever that means. (Long story short: it means 'skill-based RuneQu est clone') Enough of that. What new horrors await? Page 6: 'Welcome to the Mythus Game' in a big fat heading. And the textwalls con tinue. Three paragraphs of author introduction before we even get to the industr y standard "What is an RPG?" section. This is followed by a section on The Gamem aster which dangerously asserts that "...a GM must have material prepared for ga me action spanning days, weeks, months and possibly years of roleplaying activit
This shocking piece of (well-intentioned) sabotage is thankfully balanced by an emphasis on player skill: ". Other Personas (OP) = NPC.") Division of Basic from Advanced Mythus is emphasised (".want to take a moment from reading text". And that's the endless preambling over with. The Mythus Magick and Epic of Aerth products are plugged ("We take a encyclopedia of Earth and sell it bac k to you as a gaming product. "There are many other types of OPs as well -.. pencils are necessary for play.y by the player group. Then you have Game Premis e: A potted introduction to Aerth. Faerie and the NetherRealms are introduced.see Cha pter 15 of the /Advanced Mythus/ rules for details. in fact!"): Basic is for beginners. of course. Over-preparation k ills campaigns in the cradle.. which is Dangerous Journey-ese for Player Character. but we'll either make them as dull as ditchwater or give them a lazy-ass 'lick-a nd-a-promise' treatment. Th ere is a paragraph about sheets of paper and how they can be used to record char acter information." I'm not sure if this change to the established nomenclature of the hobby is an end run around T$R's legal d epartment. I am not making this up. And somehow all that p otential coolness just oozed away through the cracks. which is nice and simple. Was the author pa id by the word?! Useful Items: "Besides dice. Atlantis. Several thousands of words of text relieved by two generic heroic fantasy illos: a dragonship at sea (by Ellisa Mit chell) and a half-naked barbarian fighting a writhing dragon (uncredited). d3 or d5...Introduces the idea that in DJ you play Heroic Persona .. the interior Hollow World. There's handholding.
." Page 7: The Roleplayers . Supposedly the myths and legends of our world are bleed-through of actual histor ical events on Aerth. an alternate world where all myths are true.. but this does sound like a classic Gygaxism) Stop poisoning the well! I will speak from bitter experience and say that this sort o f thing is BAD ADVICE that lead me astray in my younger days.almost two separate games. These are technically well-executed b+w linework and seem to (intentionally?) echo th e style of the 70s /Savage Sword of Conan/ comics. and then there's insulting the intel ligence of the reader. Page 8: Heka (magic energy). Also an invitation to look over the character sheets in the b ack of the book when you ". nearly two decades after D&D be came a household name.. This flic kering glimmer of self-awareness is soon quashed and we're off to explore the wo nderful world of: Dice: the system uses d10s and d6s. or if the Cosmic EGG considers it a necessary and useful innovation." *facepa lm* Recall that this book was published in 1992.. Evil Persona (EP) = villain character. how well it uses its creativity and imagination in problem so lving. Page 9: Common Vocabulary Personas: Heroic Personas (HPs) are PCs. Sheets: a definition of a sheet as a sheet of paper. But then we get th e better part of a page explaining how to roll a d%. Lemuria/Mu and Lyonesse are there.the time required is dependent on how well the pla yer team operates. Yes. What was the editor doing when he was supposed to be trimming verbiage? Next up: Character Generation I'm going to need more booze. the underworld of Subterranean Aerth." No! Bad Gary! (possibly Dave. That's potentially cool. Advanced for 'veterans'.