Review of Paleomythic, RPG of Stone and Sorcery

Paleomythic is a stone and sorcery roleplaying game in which hunters, healers, and warriors struggle to overcome harsh winters, savage predators, and hostile tribes. PCs can experience a grim tale of hardship and survival or experience grand adventure and magic.

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Paleomythic is a digest sized hardcover with full color art from Osprey Publishing. The PDF costs more than the actual book so I am reviewing the hardcover. This RPG is a delight to read and even if I don’t to get to run it soon I find it interesting and inspiring. The physical book is beautiful and well laid out. There are seven chapters and an appendix and ends with an index followed by a page of cave paintings. The game requires six-sided dice. Player characters are Stone Age humans of ancient Mu.

Each PC has a number of traits which generates a dice pool of the same amount. If a specific trait directly affects the roll a bonus die is added. Flaws are optional and may remove a die. Any result of 6 is a success. Combat wounds reduce traits so the dice pool will vary. The right tools can also add a bonus die but the tool breaks on a roll of 1. A weapon is a tool and if a 6 is rolled for a weapon it not only hits but also has an effect kick in.

Talents are special abilities a PC may have. Character creation consists of picking one to three talents and an additional number of traits to equal six total. An added flaw adds an additional trait. There are twelve traits and twelve corresponding flaws and six talent groups: adept, bestial, fighter, oracle, sorcerer, and specialist. Each group has six talents for a total of thirty-six talents. Example talents include: mystic, snake charmer, hunter, cultist, shaman, and fire maker. Traits can help determine background and PCs also have three starting goods and more goods for each of their talents.

Combat, including chases, covers twenty pages with plenty of detail. Other tasks like swimming and trading take up another fourteen pages providing a good level of detail without being overwhelming. Hazards round out the rules covering things like fire and traps.

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The next section follows with a discussion of the world of Mu. Random tables are provided to help flesh out settlements and inhabitants. Sample NPCs are included. The gods of Mu are covered to wrap up the chapter.

Adversaries are up next ranging from human foes to a large variety of beasts like bears, boars, scorpions, snakes, and spiders. Beast tribes are described next, followed by the dead like skeletons, spirits, and wraiths.

The Game Moderator section covers a variety of topics like travel and weather with random tables for assistance. There are five 2d6 tables to help create adventure seeds. Paleodelving receives several tables which involves exploring caves and old ruins.

Game variants are included such as making the game semi-realistic and removing the more fantastic elements like beast men and magical talents. Other hominid species like Neanderthals are options a GM can add to this variant. The stone and sorcery vibe could be dialed up to sword and sorcery as well with rules for more advanced weapons and world modification tips.

The book rounds out with a paleodelve called Captives of the Beast Men. Captives have been taken by beast men and the PCs must rescue them from a series of caves. The cave system only has a couple of branches so it can seem a bit linear but serves well enough to introduce the game.

The appendix consist of a random name generator, a random talent generator, six sample PCs, and a character sheet. The random PCs are helpful if you want to run this RPG as a one shot which I really appreciate.

Paleomythic is a compact, carefully designed, beautifully illustrated and laid out hardcover of an RPG. GMs could come up with many adventure, NPC, and settlement ideas just from reading through it, even if they don’t run the system itself. Few campaigns are set in a stone and sorcery setting. This one is well done and easy to understand with a dice pool system and a setting that paints a picture of a prehistoric world. Grab your antler pick and bone shield and get ready to paleodelve.
 
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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody

Fireball36

Explorer
Thank you for the detailed explanation, Aldarc! :) Rolling five or six dice gives a decent chance of getting at least one six then. And with additional attacks that adds even more chances to hit. I appreciate the help.
 

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Aldarc

Legend
If the threshold for success still feels too low, you could always tweak it. You could say, for example, that 6 is a full success, and then allow 5 to be a success with a complication.
 

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