Mythic Earth

Not open for further replies.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Mythic Earth

Many roleplaying gamers, desiring to make their games more vibrant and consistent, ask how societies would react to magic, if it did exist. In truth, though, humanity has lived through ages of civilization with the belief that mysterious forces filled the world. By using real-world myths as a starting point, gamers can develop their settings and characters to have more variety, depth, and charm. Of all the fantasy settings ever published, none is as varied, deep, and charming as the one we live in, Earth.

This book is meant to help you create believable mythologies for your game world, and to help you give myths a more immediate and observable role in the game. The bulk of this book will be devoted to examples of real-world mythology, but have no expectations that this is an exhaustive catalogue of the myths of Earth. Limitations of space aside, Mythic Earth presents a wide enough diversity of myths, and in enough depth, to help inspire players and game masters to devise myths for their own game, either by expanding on a mythos already detailed, or by combining or creating elements to sculpt a truly unique world of magic.

Mythic Earth provides information on over a dozen Earthly mythologies, giving you the tools to run a game in the Celtic age, with the magic of the fey court in conflict with the unwelcome ‘good-will’ of Christian missionaries; or an adventure in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, where magic is a curse reserved for those who have transgressed against the pharaohs; a quest through the arid plains of Navajo land, receiving the aid of Coyote as you pursue a skinwalking witch; a war against an Oni shogun; or a desperate investigation to discover who has incited the wrath of the spirit of Mauna Kea. Create your own fatalist world like unto Norse legend, or encourage respect for spirits by calling upon their power with Nkisi dolls from Africa.

Finally, for those who want to adopt real-world magic right away, Mythic Earth presents High Fantasy, a brief campaign setting that brings the myths of history to the modern world.

Trade your bugbears and wererats for boggarts and wendigos, and enter a fantasy world with myths foreign and ancient, yet hauntingly familiar. Mythic Earth, a 200 page supplement for the D20 system, will be released December 2002 by Natural 20 Press.

Alternate Skill Uses:

Mythic Earth presents several different traditions of magic not found in core D20 rules. These optional rules give you knew options for using magic in different ways. The new version of Knowledge (arcana) allows GMs to maintain an air of mystery around types of magic that PCs would rightfully never have encountered, preventing a wizard from understanding a type of magic he has never seen before simply because he has a few ranks in a skill. The alternate version of Use Magic Device gives characters the option to cast a spell directly from a spellbook, even if they do not know the spell.

Knowledge (arcana): (Int)

You have educated knowledge of the ways of magic, allowing you to answer questions about spells, magic items, rituals, and other supernatural effects. For each rank of Knowledge (arcana) you have, you are educated in one form of magic.

Below are sample areas of study. With your GM’s approval, you can create new forms of magic to study. Note that only some of these items are from historical myths, but all are common in modern conceptions of fantasy.

*Alchemy – The magical art of reducing matter to its original, divine state, then transmuting it to another form.
*Animism – The magical art of communing with spirits.
*Arcane – The traditional magic of sorcerers and wizards.
*Arms & Armor – The craft of magical weapons and armor.
*Bardic – Though closely related to arcane magic, bardic magic is cast differently and has a slightly different structure. This also covers all magical class abilities of bards, such as Bardic Performance.
*Biomancy – The creation of creatures through magic.
*Blood Magic – The magical art of using bloodshed to appease the gods or spirits that provide magic.
*Botanomancy – Plant-based magic.
*Demonology – The summoning of demons and other infernal spirits.
*Divine (godly) – The traditional magic of clerics. This also covers all magical class abilities of clerics, such as Turning Undead.
*Divine (natural) – The traditional magic of druids. Though similar to godly divine magic, natural divine magic comes from different sources and has distinctive abilities. This also covers all magical class abilities of druids, such as Wildshape.
*Effigism – This magic uses dolls and idols to focus energies at spells’ targets.
*Elementalism – Magic based on the division of elements, such as Classical Greek (air, earth, fire, water) or various Asian elemental divisions.
*Fey Dance – The traditional magic of Celtic fey, where combined revelry empowers enchantments.
*Hexing – The use of curses.
*Ley Line Magic – The use of energy drawn from the land through rivers of magic called ley lines.
*Magic Items – The craft of magic items other than potions, scrolls, weapons, and armor.
*Oracles – Forms of divinely inspired divinations.
*Planewalking – Travel between planes or dimensions.
*Potions – The craft of potions.
*Psionic – If psionics is simply another form of magic, your GM may allow you to use Knowledge (arcana) checks in place of Knowledge (psionics).
*Ritualism – Magic while makes use of long rituals, such as rain dances, to appease gods or spirits.
*School Focus – With your GM’s approval, you may pick one of the core 8 schools of magic. You gain a +1 bonus to Knowledge (arcana) checks with magic of those schools in particular. You have no penalty for not focusing in a particular school.
*Scrolls – The craft of scrolls.
*Spellsong – Casting spells through song.
*Solipsism – A modern form of psychological magic, where willpower rejects the existence of objects.
*Soul Magic – Forms of sentient magic that desire to be cast.
*Sword-Dancing – Casting spells through the use of weapons.
*True Dweomers – Large-scale enchantments, such as flying castles or areas such as the Bermuda Triangle.
*True Names – The usage of true names to empower spells.
*Wild Spellcraft – Unpredictable magic, as detailed in Wild Spellcraft by Natural 20 Press.

Check: Answering a question within your field of study has a DC of 10 for really easy questions, 15 for basic questions, or 20 to 30 for really tough questions.
Retry: No. The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn’t let you know something you never learned in the first place.
Special: If you are not knowledgeable in a particular field of magical study, you can still attempt to draw upon your general knowledge of magic, using half your actual ranks.

Spellcraft (Int; Trained Only)

In addition to the normal uses for Spellcraft, a Spellcraft check (DC 15) can determine what type of magic a spell or magical effect is (arcane or divine, and whether it is effigism or animism or another type). If you are familiar with that type of magic (see Knowledge (arcana) above), you know what type of magic the spell or effect is. If you are unfamiliar, you simply know that it is not a type of magic you have studied.

Use Magic Device (Cha; Trained Only)

Except as noted, this skill functions exactly as presented in the Player’s Handbook. Note that this version of Use Magic Device is not a restricted skill. Any class may now the skill, and indeed it is useful for wizards who do not have the time or resources to properly scribe a spell into their own spellbooks.

Cast Spell from Spellbook: This use of the skill allows you to cast a spell directly out of a spellbook as if you were casting it from a scroll, and as if the spell were on your spell list. First, you must decipher the spell, either with read magic, a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell’s level), or a Use Magic Device check (DC 25 + the spell’s level).

To be able to cast the spell, the base DC of this ability is 20, and your effective caster level is your result minus 20 (it’s okay to have a caster level of 0). If the spell is on your class’s spell list, add your actual caster level to your roll (but your caster level cannot exceed 20). If your appropriate ability score to cast the spell (typically Intelligence for a wizard’s spellbook), you must also make another roll to emulate ability score, which allows you to act as if your ability score were equal to your check result minus 15. You cannot cast the spell from the spellbook unless your ability score is equal to 10 + the spell’s level.

Make a caster level check, with a DC equal to the spell’s minimum caster level + 1. If you succeed this check, you cast the spell successfully. If you fail, make another caster level check against the same DC. If you fail this second roll, a mishap occurs. A mishap is an uncontrolled release of magical energy, typically with dangerous results. The default mishap deals 1d6 points of damage per spell level to you.

Casting a spell in this manner takes a number rounds equal to 1 + the spell’s level, plus whatever time is required to decipher the text.

For example, an Egyptologist finds The Book of Life, and attempts to cast raise dead on a friend who died recently (note that raise dead is available on the class spell list of some arcane spellcasters). She must first find a way to decipher it, such as with a Use Magic Device check (DC 30). Her Intelligence is only 13, so she must succeed another Use Magic Device check (DC 30) to be able to act as if her Intelligence were high enough to cast a 5th level spell. Next, she must succeed a Use Magic Device check of DC 20 to be able to actually as an Egyptian wizard. Her check result is 24, good enough, and it gives her an effective caster level of 4. Since normally she’d need a caster level of 9 to cast the spell safely, finally she must succeed a caster level check (DC 10) to cast the spell. If she succeeds at this difficult task, which takes 5 rounds of reading from the spellbook, she can revive her departed friend.

New Feats

Mythic Earth presents a new type of feats, called Spellcraft feats. These feats a different form of magical focus that gives normal spellcasters new options in casting their spells. Spellcraft feats have the [Spellcraft] descriptor, and are available for Wizards to take as bonus feats.

Animagus [Spellcraft]
You have the ability to assume the form of a particular type of creature.
Prerequisite: Knowledge (arcana) skill with knowledge of natural divine magic, ability to cast alter self, caster level 5+.
Bonus: Pick one normal animal that is the same size as you, or smaller. You can alter self into the shape of that animal at will, as a standard action. This is a spell-like ability. A human could thus turn into a wolf or raven, but not a tiger.

Biomantic Alteration [Spellcraft]
Many magic-users throughout the world have altered their bodies with the traits of animals, or traits wholly foreign to humanity. Like these magi, you can direct your magical powers to permanently alter your body or your powers.
Prerequisite: Ability to cast spells spontaneously with spells known based on your class level, Knowledge (arcana) skill with knowledge of biomancy.
Bonus: In a spontaneous spellcasting class you have, reduce the number of spells you know of a particular level by 1, and the number of spell per day on that level by 2. For example, a 4th level sorcerer could choose to know no 2nd level spells and only have one 2nd level spell slot per day. Whenever your spellcasting ability increases, you maintain this limitation, so you will forever know one fewer spell and have two fewer spell slots. This may require you to ‘forget’ a spell you currently know. You cannot choose a given spell level if you do not have access to spells of that level yet.

Pick an ability from the following list, based on the level of spell you sacrificed, or 2 abilities from the list two levels lower, or 3 from the list four levels lower, 4 from the list six levels lower, and so on. You gain the ability or abilities permanently. The benefit is typically accompanied by some sort of physical alteration. All of these bonuses are considered supernatural abilities, and stack with themselves. For example, you could sacrifice a 4th level spell to take a +2 bonus to Str twice, thus giving you a +4 Str, or you could choose to get a +2 Str and +2 Dex.

1st level: +2 bonus to Reflex and Fortitude saves; +5 bonus to all skill checks with one skill that is not Intelligence- or Charisma-based; energy resistance 1 to one chosen type of energy.
2nd level: +2 bonus to Str, Dex, Con, or Wis; +10 ft/round bonus to your speed; low-light vision; claws or similar growths let you attack with natural weapons, dealing 1d6 points of slashing damage.
3rd level: Ability to breathe water; tremorsense, 15 ft; grow small wings that allow you to featherfall at will; claws or sticky fluid give you the ability to spiderclimb at will.
4th level: Darkvision 60 ft; ability to alter your appearance as by change self at will; grow small wings that allow you to fly at a speed of 30, with a maneuverability of clumsy.
5th level: Grow wings that allow you to fly at a speed of 90 with a maneuverability of good;
6th level: Blindsight 60 ft; ability to alter your shape as by alter self at will; damage reduction 10/+1.

Guided Summoning [Metamagic, Spellcraft]
Your summoned creatures and objects last as long as you maintain your concentration.
Prerequisite: Extend Spell, Knowledge (arcana) skill with knowledge of the Conjuration school.
Bonus: Guided Summoning can only be applied to Conjuration (summoning) spells. The duration of the spell is changed so it reads “Duration: Concentration +” the normal spell duration. For instance, a Guided Summon Monster I spell would have a duration of “Concentration + 1 round/level (D).” A spell affected by Guided Summoning uses a spell slot of the spell’s normal level, modified by any other metamagic feats.

Ley Line Magic [Spellcraft]
Just below the surface of the world run rivers of magic, veins of power that a skilled and knowledgeable spellcaster can tap to empower his spells. Such rivers, called ley lines because they most often rise to the surface on fields or meadows, continually move in erratic fashions, and so are useless and unreachable in normal situations. You have the ability to tap these ley fonts.
Prerequisites: Scry skill, ability to cast detect magic, Knowledge (arcana) skill with knowledge of ley line magic.
Benefit: If you locate a ley font, such as by the such of detect magic, you can attune to the font by standing above it and concentrating for a full-round action. Thereafter, as long as you remain in that same 5-foot square, your caster level increases by +2. You must be in contact with the ground for this ability to work. If you move from the ley font, you must spend another round attuning.
Normal: You can locate a ley font with detect magic, but all it normally does is mask nearby minor magical auras.
Special: A Ley Line Magus gains even greater abilities when attuned to a ley font, including the ability to cast spells directly from ley energy, not their own spells per day.

Mask Soul [Spellcraft]
Some spells fight against the power of the target’s soul. By hiding your identity from an opposing spellcaster, you gain a bonus to resist these types of magic.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (arcana) skill with knowledge of true names or effigism, ability to cast resistance.
Benefit: You must create an item to mask your spiritual identity from foes, typically a doll effigy of yourself, a mask, or face paint. Creating this item costs 25 gp worth of material (for face paint, you must create a mixing device or case that costs this much, though the paint itself is effectively free). When you wear this item or carry it on your person, your soul is considered hidden against hostile magic. You gain a +4 bonus to Will saving throws to resist magical effects, and spellcasters gain no bonus to their spells’ powers by using effigies of you, or by knowing your true name.

This bonus is halved to only +2 if the caster of the magical effect can see and identify you personally when the magic takes effect. For example, if your foe sees you putting your mask on, you are not as well hidden.
Normal: Effigist magic users, and those who know your true name, gain a +2 bonus to the save DCs of all spells they cast against you.

log in or register to remove this ad


Wow! Morrus, it sound like a superb product! Congratulations!

So, who is writting it?

Ah, I knew I forgot something for the press release. I am writing Mythic Earth, with a fair amount of help from Erica Balsley of the Creature Catalog, who is one of the foremost monster authors for D20. Also, Horacio, you might recognize the High Fantasy setting, from a particular storyhour of mine. ;)

I hope to have a fairly full bibliography included with the book, since obviously I won't be able to fit nearly as much detail as I'd like into each 10-15 page section. Gamers who buy the book will have at least a strong starting point from the material in the book itself, and I'll try to guide them to more fully develop mythic settings if they want to do the research.
Last edited:


So is it true? Are you writting the setting book for your superb Savannah Knights story hour? Will I be able to DM games in such a wonderful setting?


Are you writting everything yourself? Is Jessica helping you (it was her setting, wasn't it?)?

Well, thing is, we need to work some licensing issues out, to make sure that the setting stays Jessie's even if something hideous happens, like Nat20 going broke and being bought out. It won't be a whole book devoted to the setting of Savannah Knights, but if things work out the way I hope, there should be a ~10 page section that details the setting. But then again, the whole book is practically the same thing as Jessie's High Fantasy setting. Even if we don't put High Fantasy itself in the book, there'll still be information for using real-world myths in your games. All High Fantasy does is give a clever way for utilizing worldly myths in a modern setting.

I hope we're able to include High Fantasy, and heck, if people love the setting, we might do more with it


RangerWickett said:
I hope we're able to include High Fantasy, and heck, if people love the setting, we might do more with it

I think people love the setting. I know I love the setting, and I'm almost sure it will become my favorite D&D setting (after Planescape, of course ;) ).

Mythic Earth format

Hi all! :)

I just read about this on the News page, sounds fantastic - definately my kind of product!

One question though is format (pertinent, since I don't have a credit card...yet at least).

As with Wild Spellcraft - is the intention to distribute first in .pdf format and subsequently have a hardcopy published!?


Re: Mythic Earth format

Upper_Krust said:
As with Wild Spellcraft - is the intention to distribute first in .pdf format and subsequently have a hardcopy published!?

I hope so!
I have nothing against .pdf, but I would love to have such a setting as a traditionalk book, as something I can touch with my hands (I know I can touch the screen, but those ugly finger tracks are rather uncorfortable... :D )

can't wait to see the finished product, and mythic earth has such a cool ring to it. i betting this ones a winner. Wild spellcraft was great by the way.

Any chance of seeing a update like this for the supers game you guys are working on?

I don't know about Russ's book, but I'm thinking of posting one teaser a month until we release. I'm about to start the first full chapter, on Greco-Roman myths. I thought I'd start easiest.

And then, from there, it's going to be like one setting every two weeks. If I pass my classes this semester, it will be a miracle of no small proportion.


RangerWickett said:
And then, from there, it's going to be like one setting every two weeks. If I pass my classes this semester, it will be a miracle of no small proportion.

You will do it, you will pass. After all, you have the strength of all Earth mithology behind you... :D

Not open for further replies.

An Advertisement