Monday, 4 June 2012

Lets Read Mythus pt16

[note: His Nibs is away. This posted through the dubious magic of Blogger's scheduled post facility.]

K/S Usage for Economic Gain
This terminal section of the Core Game Systems chapter was co-written by EGG and his son Ernest, and is probably the only example of father/son tag-team game writing I’ve ever seen. It comprises seven pages on accumulating filthy lucre by standard boring capitalist methods (i.e. not glorious merry theft or looting). The rules presented are rather abstract, involving lots of basic sums and die rolling and not much actual adventure.

There are three methods of multiplying money by money in Advanced Mythus:
  1. Ownership of Real Property
  2. Consultation Services
  3. Professional Investment
Three big-ass tables showing which skills governed by which TRAITS are good for which kind of moneymaking. AFAICT without checking thoroughly every skill in the game is mentioned in one or other of the three. Say what you like about Gygax pere et fils, them boys are Swiss in their thoroughness. Thus:

Completist, prescriptive, dubious utility: must be Mythus.

WAKE UP! If I have to be awake while I flense some sense out of this, so do you.At least we have sweet, sweet booze to help us.

Ownership of Real Property
Making money from owning physical stuff and exploiting its use value.

1. Invest up to 5,000BUCs x STEEP in something related to a chosen skill (farmland and tools for Agriculture; a forge and tools for Smithing/Welding; presses, ink and paper for Printing, etc.). This investment is tied up for a minimum period of one game year.
2. Determine start-up period: 4d3 months -1 month per 10 STEEP
3. DM determines Difficulty Class and modifiers to base chance of success. No help here, not even a page reference. I quote: "This is left strictly to the GM."
4. Add 10% of any other relevant skill to base skill, then divide by DR.
5. At the end of the game year, roll d% to determine profit/loss.
  • Pass/Fail = Each percentage point under/over the target number = 1% profit/loss.
  • Crit = As Pass, plus you get an additional d% profit and 1-3 points added to the skill used to make the roll. In future you can squander invest 2d3x5,000BUCs per skill point in this field.
  • Auto-Fail = Break even, but investment money is tied up unproductively for an entire game year. ("Eh?")
  • Fumble = As Fail, plus an additional d% roll loss. Yes, you can end up losing more than you originally invested.

5. Adjust value of investment:
  • Crit = +20% of initial investment
  • Pass = +10%
  • Fail = -10%
  • Auto-Fail = -20%
  • Fumble = you've probably already lost your shirt...

At the end of the year you can either maintain the investment, rolling again for income year after year, or just sell it off. There are no rules for market variations or anything like that: you get back what's left. 

The worked example is a half-a-page or so about farming.

*Phew* Who knew that attempting to own stuff could be such a hassle.

Consultation Services
Making money through the pretence you are a reliable and trustworthy authority on something.

1. Spot/create need for your skilled services in Law, Linguistics, Seamanship, Occultism, etc.
2. Contact potential clients
3. Pitch potential clients
4. Set price and negotiate payment
5. DO STUFF (I think this is where the skill roll happens)
6. Collect payment, or at least try to.
7. Determine reactions of customers and others affected by your interventions. A big deal is made of the complications of trying to get money out of people who owe it to you. It all gets a little Hackmasterish in the sheer level of adversarial GM-ery:

Screw them over. Gotcha.

8. Determine effect on SEC, income, net worth, etc.
9. Determine effect on future uses of that skill.

The worked example has almost nothing to do with the rules presented above, instead being the story of an apprentice wizard consulting a scholar about translating an obscure text. They end up eaten by a demon. And the reader ends up none the wiser.

Do I liketh this?

No, I liketh it not. Not at all. That page could have been used for something! (*gluk gluk*)

Professional Investment
Judging from the list of skills that can exploit this option (Buffoonery, Thespianism, Influence, etc), this would appear to be something of a ‘impresario’ mechanic. Printing and Chemistry are also mentioned as possibilities. I’m not entirely sure why: are roving bands of chemists-for-hire a thing in Mythus-world?

1. Study the market for one week, uninterrupted.
2. Gather resources. Spend up to 2,000 BUCs per STEEP in selected skill.
3. Have an action plan. One which takes into account such things as:

Look! Indenting! Actual, real honest-to-goodness indenting.

4. Have a clear idea of the goal.
5. Invest time: 4d6 - 1/10 STEEP in weeks.
6. Roll skill check, add 10% of any other relevant skills involved the multiply by DR (usually "Hard"). The worked example specifies that you can bring in outside help for either a set fee or percentage of the gross.
  • Pass/Fail = Each percentage point under/over the target number = 1% profit/loss
  • Crit = As Pass, plus you get an additional d% profit and 1-3 points added to the skill used to make the roll. In future you can invest 2d10 x 2,000BUCs per skill point in this field.
  • Auto-Fail = Break even. (Once again. "Eh?")
  • Fumble = As Fail, plus additional 2d% loss.
On a Fail or Auto-Fail you’re out 10-30% of investment on top of your other losses, but you have the option to plough in more money to re-work the plan (and gain a re-roll to the skill check). The cost of this re-working is to top up the lost 10-30% of the initial investment, then spend +50% more money and time.

The worked example for Professional investment (Rodney the Reformed Thief attempts to set up a troupe of acrobats and jugglers) takes up a larger word count than the rules.

Worked Examples
The section ends with one last page of examples showing how you can use three sample skills - Agriculture, Apotropaism, Architecture (Really? The first three on the list. You were really reaching there, weren't you lads...) - to make money.

I'm not keen on this particular part of the Advanced Mythus system. Seven pages of dense text and poorly formatted rules in investments, and the outcome is decidedly sub-optimal IMO.

Section #1 (Real Property) is basically a skill roll, and #3 (Professional Investment) is #1 tinkered with to explicitly include the existing Combined Effort rules (see p124). I'm not sure the two actually differ enough to justify entirely separate rules; a couple of notes to one block of rules would do the trick. #2 (Consultation Services), well, that’s so vague as to be a waste of paper. You might as well just refer to the Core Mechanics section.

It’s a shame really. The whole K/S Usage for Economic Gain mess could have been rejigged into something short-and-sweet - and a sight more flavourful - with a bit of effort. One investment mechanic, one 'hire yourself out for pay' mechanic, plus a big old random table or two of complications to your clever moneymaking scheme (e.g. 75: Your investment is infested with Gnomes, deal with it or lose d% of value). And change the title to something catchier, like "Getting Rich Without Having to Die Trying" or "What Are We To Do With All This Lovely Money?".

In conclusion: skip this bit. Traveller and WFRP (or, more recently, ACKS) did trading/earning a living better. Heck, K.A.Pendragon does return on annual investments with more character in an appendix, and that's a game where money can be handwaved entirely.

Just goes to show: if your problem is runaway Gygaxian acturialisms, the solution probably isn’t to add more Gygaxes (Gygaxii?).

Art of the Section
The best thing in this entire section is this pic of Sir Beardknight de Beard and a dragon having a shouting match about something.

Now where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah:


And that is the end of Dangerous Journeys: Mythus Chapter 11. Let joy be unconfined and frolicking in the park be the order of the day, at least until next we board the Mythus party bus (NSFW).

Next Time: Our first toe-tip into the piranha-infested river of wordswordswords that is the Combat chapter. Early highlights include: the dark arts of surprise and avoidance; enough information on Speed Classes to make the cold black heart of your average AD&D player flicker into life again; and giving those you disapprove of the explodo in the head and soul.

Pic Source: Dangerous Journeys: Mythus rulebook, the intarwubz


  1. are roving bands of chemists-for-hire a thing in Mythus-world?

    Anyone up for Action Scientists: The RPG? Bagsie Alexander Fleming.

    3. Have an action plan. One which takes into account such things as:

    I am almost disappointed that there's no "??? - PROFIT!" step in there.

  2. Wow, even reading a summary of those rules made my eyes glaze over. Plus I kept thinking of Gobias Industries.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...