5 Opportunities missed with the Myth Journeyman Campaign and Myth 2.0



5 – Non-combat Actions

There are basically two types of challenges in Myth, traps and combat.  There is a little variation on traps, and a lot of variation on monster types and combinations for combat.  However, everything still comes down to just a couple of mechanics.  With the introduction of journeyman, and even more-so, with the release of Myth 2.0 rules, I feel Myth has still missed the opportunity to give more of a variety of challenges.  Simple things like swimming, climbing, and jumping can enhance combats, creating advantages and disadvantages.  What about the opportunity to talk your way past someone?  Translate some runes?  Push aside a boulder?  There are a lot of different things that can be simplified to a non-combat test, but which would be greatly enhanced if there was variability between the heroes.  The apprentice is likely the guy to call for those runes, but he probably isn’t quite as good at climbing and swimming as the soldier.  Shadows of Brimstone is my biggest comparison.  I don’t think a system that diverse was needed, but some middle ground would have been nice to give more variety in quest building.

4 – Bar Fight

First, let me say that more game modes to get the most out of myth materials is always a good thing, so I give credit there.  However, I think barfight failed to capture the essense of Myth like Slaughterfield did in the previous campaign.  It’s a very simplified system and lots of die rolling, but other than using Myth miniatures and tiles, nothing about it screamed “Myth” to me.  The characters pretty much become clones of each other, and seem to not have much more impact on the game than what token you select when playing monopoly.  It completely abandons the card system, item system, etc.   I’m hoping some revisions are made to it before it goes live, or someone has inspiration hit on the fan side of things.  I like the idea of the bar fight, but the game mode as it stands just didn’t grab me.

3 – Minibosses and Agents

The lack of additional minibosses and agents introduced during the second campaign was very noticeable.  There were a ton of new races, and a lot of space in the campaign had to be devoted to the introduction of commanders, so it was very easy to see why minibosses and agents didn’t see a lot of numbers.  However, from my side, these two elements are a great part of Myth.  Especially when these two are independent of races, they can really add variety by mixing with different monster groups on an adventure.  They give some of the boss element of gameplay without committing to a full boss fight and giving lower level adventurers a big challenge, but scaled to their level.  I was really hoping to see a couple more independent monsters and an Agents II pack introduced during the campaign, but it never came to be.  (Note: I think the introduction of the agent quests make the lack of new agents even more disappointing at the same time it makes all the existing agents just that much more cool.)

2 Other Card Add-ons

I’ll get into monster specific stuff in my last point (because that’s my biggest one), but I think there are a number of card related things that didn’t happen this time, that could or should have.  I see cards and tokens as “cheap” add-ons compared to miniatures, so I was surprised that things moved away from cards so much.  (Two late stretch goals – the Agent Quests and the Boss Upgrades sound excellent, and are what I’d have liked to have seen more of in some cases.)  Here are just some ideas of things that could have been in the campaign:

  • Advanced Title Expansion – I think titles easily could have been their own add-on for the game.  I personally like the idea of title trees, allowing for lower tier titles to be prereqs for mid tier titles which are in turn prereqs for upper tier titles.  Right now there are stronger and weaker titles, and having tiers would help balance that out by making heroes work harder for the stronger titles.  (Having the right prereqs adds more story and accomplishment to titles.)  I’d also like to see better rules for keeping items and their connection to titles being addressed.  Mixed with the title tiers, you could easily allow white items (potions) to be kept with tier 1 titles, green items for tier 2, blue for tier 3, and orange for tier 4.  Alternately, a point system could be in place (example: 1 title =1 white, 2 titles = 1 green, 5 titles = 1 blue, 11 titles = 1 orange).  I’m sure more titles will be available in mods, but those will be piecemeal.  I think more structure and a closer look at the balance is as important as quantity of titles.  Titles could be used to tell stories of their own, and right now I think that is missed.
  • Random Tile cards – A lot of players are looking for less decisions made by the players.  Having cards for all the tiles in order to randomize what the next tile is would have been a win for many.
  • Hunting Pack Deck – Now that chapter quests are going away, I’d have liked to have seen random “events” happen with hunting packs.  Have defined numbers, defined races.  Perhaps something to make some of the packs unique.  I could see this as a table to roll on as well (which I will probably end up doing here), but cards are a more expandable solution.  Once again, this is more support for those players wanting the game to make the decisions and not the players.
  • Myth Stickers – Yes, this isn’t a gameplay item, but it could have been nice for storage.  Labels and artwork to put on miniatures cases and such to mark what’s in each case would have been another low cost, but very usable component.
  • Novice Hero expansion – An extra two novice cards per hero could have added variability to each hero before making the jump to journeyman.  I know a lot of players are all about advancing as fast as possible, but there is also an audience for slow growth. More novice cards could help make that possible.  I’m worried the 3 swaps/2 title rule is going to have journeyman heroes 3 quests in, which in my mind is far to fast.  (Thats part of the logic of title trees too…slow things down.)

1 – Monster Variations

Looks like this will still be relegated to the lands of fan content, but I see this as the biggest missed opportunity for the official game of Myth.  While there was a lot of focus on adding additional monster groups to the game (expanding from 7 to 15), the much cheaper and efficient option of alternate types for current creatures wasn’t addressed.  There are a lot of versions I’ve seen to do this, but here are several of the easiest ways to address things:

  • “Elite” Monsters – This mechanic used in fellow coop dungeon crawler Shadows of Brimstone would adapt very easily to the world of Myth.  The idea is that each monster type would have a series of upgrades available to them to make stronger versions of the base creature.  I believe the best way to adapt this to myth is with a chart with 6 upgrades, each matched up to a fate symbol.  You could create elite versions of a creature with a single fate roll against the die, or you could have even stronger versions using 2 or more rolls on the chart, and then applying all the results.  This example is for the crawler:
Symbol_Faith Armored
The armored carapace of these crawlers is harder than normal.
TN +1 to hit this creature.
Symbol_Rage Aggressive
These crawlers attack much more fiercely than is typical of their kind.
Roll +1d10 on all attacks.
Symbol_Arcane Hive Mind
These creatures act more intelligently in numbers.
Roll 1 FD before moving any creatures of this type. On a darkness roll, treat them as intelligent instead of instinct for the turn. Add 1 FD each time this ability is added.
Symbol_5  Camoflagued
This creature’s coloring blends with the surroundings.
This creature is hidden in shadows. It can not be targetted at range, and requires a TN 4 check to see each time a hero tries to attack it. (Failure counts as a miss.) Increase the TN by +1 each time this ability is added after the first.
Symbol_6 Agile
This creature is faster than most of it’s kind.
Add +1 to Movement of this creature
Symbol_Darkness Potent
The venom of this creature is extra deadly.
Roll +1 FD for the poison skill.
    • Alternate monster cards.  Instead of the generalized “elite” method of giving variations of monsters, another simple approach would be issuing additional monster type cards that use the same models. They cold have alternate color schemes (which is optional, but could be nice) and alternate abilities.  My vision of it, would be each type would have it’s own card.  As an example of how this could work, I’ll use grubbers:
Type Color Scheme Change Summary
Grubber (Plains Grubber) Green Skin As per standard
Cave Grubber Black (or dark blue) skin Ambushers
Cave Grubbers are experts at ambushing their enemies.
Cave Grubbers are always considered a shadow spawn. When placed for a lair or a patrol, they should be placed adjacent to heroes according to priority instead of adjacent to the lair or in the normal setup zone.
Living in Darkness
Cave Grubbers live in the darkness, and have developed a closer connection to it.
During the refresh phase, the AP meter advances one more than normal while a cave grubber is on the current tile.
Mountain Grubber Red Skinned Hardy
Mountain grubbers are tougher than others of their kind.
Mountain Grubbers have 2 vitality and roll 2d10 to hit with their crude weapons.
Swamp Grubbers Brown Skin Hallucinogens
Swamp Grubbers rub various mushrooms on the spikes of their clubs causing a dazing effect.
Heroes hit by a Swamp Grubber get +1 to all TN numbers for combat and non-combat actions during their next hero phase. Multiple hits don’t stack.

These of course are just examples. Some are stronger than others and even stronger versions might be better.

  •  Alternate lairs – lair upgrades can be handled just like minions.  Perhaps a lair has built in defenses, like being surrounded in a deadly gas (working like an ill-fated spawn each time there is a spawn), or oozing acid to damage each adjacent hero, or having more vitality than normal.  A lair could have a different spawn that replaces all “normal” spawns.  Maybe it creates shadow spawns so the minions constantly ambush adventurers, or automatically use heavy spawns.  Perhaps it double spawns every darkness cycle.  They could have these as constant abilities, or they could use fate recipes with each spawn to make the modifications.

My last hope for this one is that modules will include rules along these lines, which would leave only a couple races that aren’t addressed.  If that opportunity to add in these low cost, high versatility options passes, then I don’t think there is another crack at official rules until 2017/18 with a Master campaign.  I do realize some races will have some upgrades coming with commanders, but I think commanders are only a partial fix.  I believe 1 or all of the changes above would get much more mileage out of races, especially core races.