Explore Mythic Worlds With The Mythras Role-Playing Game

In Mythras, player characters are tied to family, village, and cults and their quests change the world around them and influence the direction of society’s growth. Mythras is mythic in scope and the PCs create legends with their adventures. This review covers a newcomer’s overall impression of Mythras.

Mythras is an RPG of mythic adventure. A free quickstart is also available. The hardcover book is black and white with over three hundred pages of content. Mythras settings include carefully researched past periods of almost Earth history with magic, sci-fi settings, and swords and sorcery worlds. Mythras used to be RuneQuest 6 and it grew out of the various versions of the Runequest game published by Mongoose Publishing. When the rights to the Runequest name reverted to the owners, Design Mechanism, the game's publishers, renamed it Mythras.

Mythras uses a percentile roll under system tied to a finely detailed skill system which works well whether the PCs are exploring, haggling, or attending court. The system does not use feats or talents, but the skill system is robust and allows PCs to achieve amazing results without special tricks beyond earned skill.

Combat is brutal. A good hit can lop off a limb or a head. The system uses hit locations, armor to absorb damage, parries, and other detailed options to make combat exciting and dangerous.

Characters are powerfully tied to the culture they live in. Their upbringing and community shape character creation and access to skill training and magic spells are available through cults. Cults are organizations founded around a common goal or belief that require service from members in exchange for training and magic.

Mythras features amazing well-detailed worlds. The settings are well researched and stunningly detailed. Settings range from Mythic Britain to the time travelling Luther Arkwright.

Based on my experiences playing the game, Mythras works best when all PCs have some magic or high tech. PCs can be like glass cannons. They can be taken down with a good hit but if they have powerful magic they can unleash it to turn the tide of battle. Without magic, PCs experience myth and legend but can die without warning or much recourse. My preference is for characters to have access to magic or high tech. I love the settings of Mythras especially the sci-fi ones. But those settings with low magic or without high tech are hard to survive.

Our group struggled with combat, specifically initiative. In Mythras, the initiative system uses action points and fighters can perform two to three actions a round. The challenge for us was that parrying required the use of an action. It was quite possible to charge and use up actions on one attack and parry while a quick opponent could strike back twice along with a parry, leaving the charging character defenseless on the last attack.

Combat was counter-intuitive for us and my players had no desire to continue beyond the one shot. Add in the deadly effects of an attack that cannot be parried and the system simply frustrated my players.

I discussed this dilemma online and was flooded with suggested optional changes and fixes. I like that Mythras is easily house ruled but the various systems and possible rule options can be overwhelming at times.

Even though our experience with Mythras was challenging, there is no denying the meticulous detail and work that goes into each book and setting that use the rules. Also, the rules are time tested and the settings, whether sci-fi or a Mythic Earth setting, are glorious. I recommend giving the quickstart a try if you have never experienced the wonder that is Mythras.

This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Charles is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
Charles Dunwoody



A very good game ! Particularly if you want to play in the sword and sorcery style or historic ! Thanks for your review !

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
It's essentially an offshoot of the RuneQuest/CoC/BRP system in the Nash/Whittaker iteration. As I recall it was "officially" Runequest for a while. The version I have has that cover and is listed as RuneQuest but I think the owners of RQ took the name back.
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Mark Hyde

Moon Design was given the chance to revitalise the management and running of Chaosium, so as Chaosium they took back the Runequrst name. The Design Mechanism had the license to use the Runequest name until then, yes - Mythras is the new name. Been so for several years now.

Chaosium wants to take Runequst back to a 2e Classic Edition feel.
Right. Mythras uses a d100 system based on RuneQuest but is its own game now. Does not use Glorantha which the new RuneQuest coming from Chaosium does.


Right. Mythras uses a d100 system based on RuneQuest but is its own game now. Does not use Glorantha which the new RuneQuest coming from Chaosium does.
Actually, there was a penned Glorantha setting book for RuneQuest 6/Mythras which was due to be released just before they lost the license. The entire situation was messy, quite frankly, and I'm not entirely sure that the outcome for RuneQuest itself has actually emerged with credit.

The strengths of Mythras, however, both as a system and for the setting supplements is there for all to see.


...The entire situation was messy, quite frankly, and I'm not entirely sure that the outcome for RuneQuest itself has actually emerged with credit.
And we're still waiting for this old-is-new-again version of RQ.

The strengths of Mythras, however, both as a system and for the setting supplements is there for all to see.
I concur—it's a great d100 system. It's not light, but it is damn good.
There is a spiral bound version of rules for Glorantha using Mythras/RQ 6 sold at a past Gen Con. But as Trippy noted it did not get published in hardcover.


Strangely, given the platform of this review, that it doesn't make mention of what might be the biggest draw for Mythras with the ENWorld crowd, the Classic Fantasy supplement, which is a Mythras product that takes D&D and elegantly melds it with the d100 system, and actually does so quite successfully, giving you classes and something akin to levels, while maintaining the more freeform openness of the skill system.


The reviewer's issues with the initiative and combat system is not an uncommon experience, but it is worth persevering and getting the hang of how the system works. I always find combats in Mythras more satisfying and realistic than those in 5e D&D or say WFRP which tend to become anachronistic and stale. It is a system that is more grounded in the realities of combat, especially in term of groups fighting against each other. If your players come with the expectations of fights based on a more abstract system then they are going to get frustrated as what happens in Mythras will not match their previous experience. An impetuous player who charges unsupported at an unknown foe (or even worse foes) is going to have a hard time of it. It is not a coincidence that Mythras is often a system held in high regard by reenactors and LARPers.
Mythras is an elegant system as noted by the reviewer, while initially more complex that other rule systems but it reuses the same mechanics again and again to cover a whole spectrum of different situations, so rather than adding new rules that need to be referenced, a GM will be generally co-opting a mechanic already in use.
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The Design Mechanism (TDM) is supporting the Mythras rules with an excellent array of quasi-historical settings: Mythic Britain, Mythic Rome, and Mythic Constantinople. Upcoming is Mythic Greece (exact release date yet to be announced). Luther Arkwright (adventures across parallel universes, not so much time travel) and Clarence Redd's excellent Mythras Imperative based M-Space (think D100 Traveller) show it is as adaptable to science fiction as it is fantasy. The upcoming Mythras based "After the Vampire Wars" will bring modern horror to the mix of settings options. And then there is the wonderful "Monster Island" setting, by Pete Nash and Friends, for weird pulp fantasy play, and the above mentioned Classic Fantasy to bring some realistic feel to D&D tropes.

The Mythras rules are more of a tool kit than something to be used as presented (although it can be that). For example, cults aren't really a thing in Luther Arkwright. Each of the settings books adds some new rules as well as flavor.

One can get a sense of the rules through their free pdf "Mythras Imperative" (available from the TDM web site and the DTRPG/RPGNow sites).
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