Monday 11 March 2013

Lets Read Mythus pt 25

Mythus spell lists: my face when.

Last section of the Advanced Mythus spell lists sample castings, which so far have been boring enough to make a Chaos Sorcerer throw his hands up and rededicate himself to the service of the lord of the skull throne. Oh well, time to haul on the waders, broach a bottle of something nice and numbing, and once again enter the perverse world of Dangerous Journeys: Mythus.

Previously: Apotropaism and Astrology.
Today: Herbalism, Mysticism, the art of the section.

As before, each grab bag of example castings covers Casting Grades I-V, with 3-5 example castings per level. Casting time is hidden away in the name of the spell, for which see LRM pt 23. Heka costs are as noted in LRM pt 22.

First up we have Herbalism, which is a little different to what we've experienced so far. Don't get too excited though: different != better. The wrinkle of this clump of spells is that some Herbalism Castings are used to create potions, oils and similar. These Castings include a Materia Cost in their entry, which -- AFAICT -- is the cost per potion created.

Herbalist infusions are the Twinky of Mythus arcana, in that they last indefinitely until opened and then have only a 1% cumulative chance/day of going off. This might be a nice variation on the old 'potion roulette' game if it wasn't so damn fiddly. I mean, does your idea of high adventure include tracking "date potion was opened"?

As far as I know Mythus has no potion miscibility rules either. Shame that. It seems that your Heroick Personaeaeae can glug Heka-charged potions down like a dipsomaniac without any of the lolarious side-effects we know and love from the One True DMG. *sadbemusedface*

Herbalism I

Auraread Spell
Scan one target's aura to get a sense of their innate Heka ('none', 'little', 'lots'), general level of health, and whether their aura is "...beneficial, neutral or baleful".
A general purpose detect magic + status + Mythus-ised version of know alignment(?).

Botanomancy Spell
Determine the composition of Mundane or Preturnatural herbal substances. 1 substance may be identified per BT for BT = 1/10th STEEP.
Identify plants, presumably useful in the context of other Herbalism castings.

Detect Poison Charm
Touch ranged, infallibly detects the presence of poison "...or similar toxic substance..." (huh?) in one subject, living or otherwise.
The dull! It burns! In a really tedious way.

Healing Poultice Spell
Magic(k) Elastoplast for your boo-boos.
Enchants a prepared poultice to heal 2d6 Physical damage when applied. Also doubles healing rate for remaining damage. Has no effect on poison or disease.
The first spell with a Materia Cost: 120 BUCs.
Enchant bandage of CWL. Might be handy to put a cost on low-level healing for your old school game. Otherwise dull.

Love Potion Spell
Creates a potion which causes the imbiber to "...become enamoured of, or attached by filial or brotherly love..." to the first living thing they see. Effect is similar to the Magnetism K/S Area and lasts 1 day/STEEP!
Materia Cost: 100 BUCs.
If you said philter of love you're probably not far off. The exploit potential of this for a cunning user is off the charts.

Herbalism II

Detect Disease Spell
You channel the spirit power of Dr Gregory House, but skip straight to the third (correct) diagnosis.
Caster can identify type, cause, contagiousness and strength of an disease, and whether it was Heka-induced. Casting can also uncover "...disease vectors on non-living sort, so that contagion potential from objects or places can be determined."
So a combined diagnosis/forensic epidemiology detect cholera-infested pump spell. Very handy for the grubbier, wermspittled sort of Classic game.

Identify Disorder Spell
Uncovers presence and type of Mundane or Preturnatural mental disease/disorder in one subject. Useless against Supernatural disorders of the mind. I've no idea what the distinction between Preturnatural and Supernatural insanity is and, guess what, no page ref. is offered.
Diagnose madness for those who simply can't be bothered with the patented Mythus madness guessing game. May be useful for your game if you use insanity rules.

Identify Poison Cantrip
As Detect Poison Charm + type and strength of poison, how it was administered, and nature of antidote and treatment. Casting can identify Entital (godly?) poisons, but won't reveal cure.
Another instant diagnosis casting. I do worry that the way these are presented may reduce the herbalist to either "Ok, I follow standard practise" or "We drop everything to get the cure, then treat according to standard practise".

Sleep Potion Formula
Creates an odourless, tasteless 1fl.oz. potion of roofies at a cost of 20BUCs.
Imbiber with Physical TRAIT < herbalist's STEEP gets drowsy for 2d6 CT, then drops into a deep sleep for 1hr/10 STEEP + 1 AT/potion's potency - target's M TRAIT.
Multiple potions may be administered to extend duration of effect.
Quite apart from the obvious date rape/kidnap applications this may have medical utility as a general anaesthetic. I'd still feel a bit dirty introducing this to my own game though.

Herbalism III

Adjust Chi Ritual
A 15 minute ritual restores 1d3 damage to each TRAIT and "...balancing a like extent (1d3 from stronger to weaker)". Also lends 3d3 points of the caster's Heka, whatever good that might be.
Duration is 5 minutes/STEEP. Cost is 30 BUCs.
Not sure of the utility of this spell. May be intended to stop people on their last legs from pegging out until more permanent assistance can be rendered.
Would not use as written.

Herbal Poison Formula
30 BUCs of herbs and malicious intent combine to create a colourless, tasteless, odorless poison which can be added to food or drink.
Poison's Str = caster's STEEP. Onset time can be quick (1 AT - CT=caster's STEEP) or slow (up to caster's STEEP in AT), depending on whether or not you want to savour the gagging, choking and throat-clutching fun.
Sly little 'inheritance accelerator' effect, the sort of thing that some consider beyond the pale in a heroic fantasy setting. Gary, by contrast, seemingly agreed with the Ankh-Morpork Assassin's Guild dictum that when a man is tired of checking his every meal for poison he is tired of life.
Would I use IMG? Oh heck no! The bodies would be hip-deep by tea-time.

Resist Poison Formula
Imbiber gains immunity to the effects to one poison (selected at creation) for 1 AT/STEEP of creator. Poison remains in system and may take effect when this effect ends.
Costs 30 BUCs.
Slow poison as a potion. Handy if you have the slightest inkling what's coming...

Resist Disease Formula
Resists the effect of diseases up to Str 50 + 1/extra Heka expended for 1 hour/STEEP.
Although not directly affected anyone under the effect of this infusion may still be a carrier.
Costs 30 BUCS.
Slow disease. Might be useful if away from meaningful medical care.

Herbalism IV

Identify Potion Charm
Identify 1 potion with a successful Herbalism check. DR is "Easy" for mundane potions, "Moderate" for Preturnatural, and "Routine" (x1.5) for Supernatural potions. This is an especially Mythus-ey casting description, combining a bad case of Manglish with a fade out at the end.

Clarity, concision, completeness? Sorry mate. We're all out of those.

Dear, oh dear. (*gluk gluk* on many levels)

Minimize Poison Spell
Creates a potion which minimizes damage caused by a single poison when drunk. Toxins still have to be neutralised after the fact.
  • Staged damage poisons do minimum damage each time they take effect.
  • Fixed Str poisons do 1/10th of their normal damage over a period 10 times as long, but with 10 times as many stages of damage.
Do you care much? Nope. Ne meither.
Costs 40 BUCs.
Far too fiddly for my simplistic tastes. Either you're poisoned, or the poison has been delayed and you're a bit woozey, or it's been neutralised. Anything else is just TL;DR. You seriously want us to track "1/10th the damage 1/10th as often for 10 times longer than normal"? FRO! We have adventures to be getting on with.

Painkiller Formula
Imbiber gains 4d3 Physique and feels no pain from Physique Damage, but suffers a 25% penalty to their Mental Reasoning and Mental Mnemonic Categories for 1 hour/10 STEEP.
Formula created is listed as 12 oz. in volume. Is that an American beer measure or sommat? *chuckle*
Cost 40 BUCs to create.
Bah! Would not use. Simpler, superior 'rageahol' rules are available which use proper Imperial measures (pints, ya pansies!), and they didn't waste a perfectly good Judas Priest title.

Semi-related: While we're on the subject of energy-restoring, SAN-blasting beverages, do you want to see something even crazier and more perversely masochistic than the geek show that is LRM? Here! Here's a link to a man blogging the experience of drinking an expired can of Brawndo of his own free will. Why? For (post-apocalyptic) SCIENCE!

Herbalism V

Flying Potion Formula
Creates a potion that confers flight for 1d10 ATs + 1 AT/10 STEEP. Duration is always variable, so the subject will never be certain how much flying time they have left.
No speed or type of flight (birdlike? perfectly controlled? hovering possible?) listed. Shabby.
Costs 500 BUCs.
Random flight duration? Yeah, enjoy your screaming Icarus impersonations. Pass.

Healing Infusion Formula
Creates a potion which cures 5d6 Physical damage.
Costs 250 BUCs.
Potion of CSW. Pass on, nothing of interest here.

Hekaberry Spell
Create magic grapes of matjgickqkalness.
Infuses no.# of berries = STEEP with 1 Heka each. Eat them to gain the Heka.
Casting costs nothing and berries are good for 1 day/10 STEEP.
Goodberry, the mana years. Dull.

So Herbalism Castings -- at least as far as presented here in the DJ:M rulebook -- are pretty much the 'palliative care + potion creation' school: low octane healing with a side order of dull and obvious. I'm not sure if things get more interesting at higher levels, but thus far: no'mpressed.


Herbalism dispatched we move onto Mysticism Castings. As you may recall from way bck when in our skills K/S Areas overview mysticism in Mythus = Californian mysticism (yoga+crystals). So brace for earnestness, self-satisfaction, and elongated vowels.

Mysticism I

Clairaudience Formula
Hear what goes on in a 1 rod radius at a range of up to 1 chain/STEEP. Effective range is reduced by wood, brick or metal walls, and completely negated by lead, gold or Heka barriers.

Clairvoyance Formula
The classic remote perving spell.
See what goes on far away. 1 chain radius at a range of 1 furlong/STEEP. Barriers reduce range as Clairaudience.

Crystalomancy Spell
Overclock your mystic hippy crystal.
You can treat it as a crystal of +1 quality (see the Mysticism K/S Area description) for 1 hour + 1 AT/10 STEEP.
Pretty boring buff to your pet rock. Would not steal.

Faith Healing Ritual
Cure 2d10+2 damage to one TRAIT in one target. Amount of healing is limited by the tagret's faith in the mystic, so max healing = their Spiritual Psychic Capacity. Half the damage healed vanishes when the casting duration (1 day/10 STEEP) expires.
Sort of interesting. CLW with a couple of minors twists.

Fakir Cantrip
Confers temporary ability in Endurance or Yoga K/S Areas for 1 AT/10 STEEP. Skill conferred = 1 point/Heka spent, max = caster's Mysticism. Stacks with existing skill.
A fiddly-er version of the control body spell from EPT. Stick with the original.

Mysticism II

Discern Presences Spell
Grants the ability to *ping* normally invisible incorporeal spirits at up to 1 chain/10 STEEP away. What constitutes an incorporeal spirit?

Note that spirits sniffed out by this casting are colour-coded for your convenience.
Might be useful for a game where ethereal creepers and ghosts are a big thing.

Hemisphere of Yang Cantrip
Caster radiates pure masculinity and UV in a 1 rod radius/10 STEEP. I am not making this up:

The caster is so yangtastic his mere presence causes 2d3 Physical damage to light-sensitive creatures. He also casts at 90% of normal Heka cost, with any ranges measured from the edge of his aura of manliness. This zone of bulging vascularity lasts 1 AT/10 STEEP.
Muscle Wizard approves.

 A mystic goes about his business, yesterday.

Penetrate Disguise Formula
"That's not a real nose. Look, it comes right off!"
Negates mundane disguises automagically and can penetrate magickal ones with a DR "Hard" roll vs. Spiritual TRAIT. Able to detect were-creatures (given as "Therianthropes" in the text *gluk gluk*)
Negates the utility of a couple of K/S Areas, because muggles can suck it. Do not want.

Sending Ritual
Sends a mental message up to 1 mile/STEEP + 1 mile/Heka spent.
Must be in a language the recipient understands.
Similar to the Influence of Gemini Astrology casting, but half the price. Mystics probably run the Aerth Telegraph Service.

Mysticism III

Mystic Skill Bonus Formula
Grants +1 point/10 STEEP in any K/S Area. This lasts for an hour/10 STEEP. Caster cannot use on himself. Multiple castings do not stack.
Big whoop. +bullshit bonus in a (wonky variation on a-) percentile based system. Pass.

Mystic Visions Spell
Another "clue me" spell. 5 minutes going "Ooooom. Ooooom." grants a vision of some event "...that is destined to occur." A Special Success on the casting roll grants the effect of a Divination Casting called Prevision, a casting which isn't even in this book! *gluk*
Bonus effect: restores 1d3 to each TRAIT. Because meditation.
Care much? Nope.

Power of Wood Charm
An odd little casting which grants a smattering of wood-themed benefits for 5 minutes/STEEP.
  • grants +1 bonus/10 STEEP of caster when using a wooden tool or instrument.
  • gain "renewing Heka armour" (¿Que?) = 1/10th STEEP against attacks with wooden weapons.
  • target rendered immune to attack vegetable spells for the duration.

*sigh* Shall we just take as read the extended rant about whether adding more petty situational bonuses to something useless makes it worthwhile, or if doing so just complicates things pointlessly?

True Sight
Allows the caster to penetrate Preturnatural disguises, illusions and shadows, as well as detecting the alteration of "...material, object, creature, being, or aura...". Does not render the invisible or hidden visible.
What the balls? This casting description just raises more questions than it answers:
  1. Why bother when you already have Penetrate Disguise for less Heka?
  2. What's all that tosh about "...maskings...affected by illusions or shadows..." vs. plain old hiding?
  3. How does this casting interact with the existing (if demented) Perception rules.
  4. Gary: Y U hate non-caster characters?
Another exemplary "How Not To...", courtesy of Batdance Sniffus.

Mysticism IV

Heka Sight Spell
Caster can see Heka flow in a 1 rod/10 STEEP radius. Useful for typing Heka (Pretur-, Super-, Pos, Neg, charm, strange, etc); detecting magickal items; uncovering concealed Heka landmines. Allows a rough numerical estimate of the Heka in the area.
Another bleedin' detect magic? Pass.

Mass Hypnosis Spell
Radiate Jobsian reality alteration field.
Causes 1 target/point in caster's SP Category in a radius of 1 foot/STEEP to stand and gawp at the caster if they fail a DR "Extreme" (x0.1) Spiritual Psychic Category test. This lasts for as many Battle Turns (30 second intervals) as the amount by which the targets failed their test. So all you have to do is keep track of how long anything up to 20 creatures are affected.
Got that? Good.
And here, in a nutshell, is why Advanced Mythus is not good, and why those responsible should be ashamed of themselves. No one looked at this and bothered to ask "Are you serious Gary?"

Mystic Bullets Charm
You can blast out MIND BULLETS!!! which cause 4d3 Spirit damage to [Team Evil]. Hit unerringly out to 1 yard/10 STEEP. You get 1 missile and can expend Heka for extras (up to +1 per 20 STEEP).
Seventy-five Heka for an average of 8 Spirit Damage. Seems legit, and not at all a waste of words.

Mysticism V

Baraka Ritual
Create secret Heka well of secrecy.
Caster has to find a remarkable natural feature, then cast this rite once a week for five weeks in succession. This creates a reservoir with starting Heka = 1/10th caster's Mysticism STEEP and a max = Mysticism STEEP. This well generates 1 Heka/day and increases its capacity 1/month, up to a maximum for its type:

Draining a Heka reservoir completely destroys it.
You can have 1 Heka well/10 STEEP and they are rated "remarkably uninteresting, probably background noise" by most Heka-detection castings.
Very gygaxian naturalistic, a nice change from some of the contextless WTF-ery in this section. This might actually be a useful steal for Birthright or Dark Sun influenced games. (*gluk gluk*)

Mystic Missile Charm
Another magical projectile spell. Does 5d6+5 damage to 1 member of [Team Evil] up to 1 chain/10 STEEP away. If you said that this hits unerringly and ignores Physical armour you'd be right.
Another "pew pew" spell? Really? Say it with me Gary: "scaling by level".

Power of Aerth Charm
Another multiple minor enhancements casting, like Power of Wood above. Dirt, clay, sand and all things formed from them ("...brick, ceramic, glass, pottery, porcelain, etc...") count as earth for the purposes of this casting, no mention of stone though. Target is able to:
  • Move overland at 2x normal movement speed
  • Walk through earth at normal movement speed.
  • Breathe while immured in dirt.
  • Immunity to earth-based effects from castings (damage, restriction of movement, etc).
  • Identify the general nature of anything stored in an earth-derived container.
These effects lasts 5 minutes/STEEP, which means at least 4 hours at Casting Grade V.
Irritatingly the spelling "Aerth", rather than the plain English word 'earth', is used throughout the casting description.
Less futile than Power of Wood. Would steal.

So Mysticism. I'd sum it up as "all over the shop like a pissed-up unicyclist". A couple of stealables vastly outnumbered by the tosh.

Art of the Section

There are only a couple of b+w flavour pieces in this chapter, both by Daniel Gelon.

P287 - Creepy merchant - Gelon
Seemingly posed for a portrait before his cupboard of arcane paraphenalia. Visually interesting, excellent use of hatching and shading, if subject matter is taken as wizard rather than merchant it even makes sense in context with the text. I really like this piece; it has a really characterful 'Jimmy Saville as skeevy Renaissance gentleman' vibe.

I see that and think WFRP or maybe Russ-illustrated Fighting Fantasy. Believe me, that is high praise.

P291 - I dunno monolith - Gelon
Robed wizard/druid type activating a mystic triathlon. Presumably a rendition of the Baraka Ritual.
Specimen sample of good use of hatching and shading.

This chapter has been kind of a disappointment really. Given the word count expended on Heka-capable K/S Areas -- and the implied *Unf! Unf! Unf!* Phuq da muggles! Casters are lord! that went with that -- I was expecting the sample Advanced Mythus castings to be more impressive than they are. This was the designers' chance to showcase their originality and give me reasons why "I must have this other book!" was the appropriate response to Mythus Magick (sold separately). What do we get instead? A bunch of 'seen if before', a bucket of boring, and a couple of semi-good ideas. Very disappointing.

Next Time: We examine the deep arcana of Chapter 14: The Campaign and Gamemastering. Expect the gygaxisms to be strong with this one.

Pic Source: the Dangerous Journeys: Mythus rulebook, Russ f-ing Nicholson, teh intawubz

Monday 4 March 2013

Lets Read Mythus pt 24

"On a lonely planet spinning its way to damnation amid the fear and despair of a lonely human race, who is left to fight for all that is good, pure and gets you smashed for under a fiver?"
A scholar of Mythus exegesis displaying best practise, yesterday

Such an introduction can only mean one thing: its time to continue the thankless self-inflicted swedge through the Advanced Mythus spell descriptions. Y U do this? In search of stuff that might be useful in games people actually play.

Today's main event is The Gygax Forgotten Classic, a flat race over pages 284-294 of the Dangerous Journeys: Mythus course.
Going: dull to middling.
Weather: overcast, dry.
Anticipated obstacles: opaque language, repetitive format, unintuitive mechanics, massive drinking.

Previously: Dweomercraeft (wizardin') and Priestcraeft (godbotherin').
Today: the filthy specialist matjickqkcks of Apotropaism, Astrology, etc.

As before, each grab bag of example castings covers Casting Grades I-V, with 3-5 example castings per level. Casting time is hidden away in the name of the spell, for which see LRM pt 23. Heka costs are as noted in LRM pt 22.

And with that: "Bog snorkels on gentlemen."

Apotropaism I

Abram's Safekeep Formula
Protects 1 small object from mundane damage (small fires, rot, being eaten by pests, etc.). Also makes it remarkably uninteresting to thieves or vandals, who have to make a DR "Hard" test vs. their Spiritual Metaphysical CATEGORY to notice it. Duration is 1 week/10 STEEP.
Semi-useful. Might steal. *gluk*

Iron Nails Charm
Enchants normal nails with warding aura.
Two crossed nails ward area against "...Netherrealm, malign nature and Evil creatures or beings..." (this particular recurring wordy mythus-ism will henceforth be denoted by the shorthand "[Team Evil]"). One nail can hold closed doors, windows and the like. Entering warded area or opening secured item requires DR "Hard" check vs. Mr Evil's Spirit TRAIT and causes 1d6+1 Physical damage.
Protection from evil with nice folkloric mechanic.

No Surprise Spell
Subject gains infallible spider sense to imminent danger for 5 minutes.
I honestly have nothing to say about this spell.

Protection from Fire Cantrip
Magickal smoke alarm, awakens from sleep if needs be. Thankfully only applies to uncontrolled fires. If subject is targeted by fire they gain a one-off +10 Avoidance bonus. Lasts 1 day/10 STEEP.
Semi-cool in a petty magic/cantrip way.

Safe Passage Ritual
Allows caster + 1 mate/10 STEEP to amble past natural hazards with ease (precarious pathways and aggressive animals are the cited examples).

Useful, if a bit "Screw your skills, I have Heka!" for my taste.

Apotropaism II

Harn's Hidden Passage Spell
Anyone within a 1-rod area centred on the caster vanishes from normal vision so long as they don't talk or do anything wildly conspicuous. True Sight casting and/or guard dogs negate. [Team Evil] have 1 DR penalty when attempting to target apotropaist using this casting, even if they spot him.
Quite cool. Not so much classic invisibility as a mobile "IGNORE ME!" field.

Protection from Deception Cantrip
Causes lies to sound grating to the ear. Criminal Activities, Mental and/or Deception are useless against this Casting, because phuq muggle skills. Visual deception like Sleight of Hand is not negated.
Detect Lie. Nothing more need be said.

Protection from Paralysis Charm
Grants Paralysis Resistance at 20% + 1/10th caster's STEEP + 1% per Heka spent. Test against DR "Moderate"(x2) in most cases. So, if you boost Resistance to even 50% only an Autofail on your roll = "Gak! I cannot move!" And this is another reason I hate Mythus' screwy take on d% mechanics.

Warning Alert Formula
Causes tinkling sound and silver glow to limn any [Team Evil] or hostiles who enter a 1-rod radius/10 STEEP centred on the caster or any point he designates.
Detect evil with a side order of detect hostility. S'ok I suppose.

Apotropaism III

Alchindus Sigil Formula
One shot anti-evil claymore. Causes 2d6+2 Spirit damage to the first [Team Evil], thief or desecrator to come within 1 ft/10 STEEP of the sigil.
No ruling on whether the sigil has to be in plain sight, whether it can be hidden away, or what.
Another guards and wards effect, though Unearthed Arcana's sepia snake sigil was cooler.

Eviltracks Agony Charm
Hammer nails into a hand-/footprint left by a [Team Evil] member to cause them 2d6+2 Physical damage (ignores armour). One nail per print. Other castings can enhance the damage inflicted or pin the bad guy in place.
Tin-eared name aside this spell is semi-cool. I remember a cheesy horror film (Warlock?) that used this gimmick to good effect. So bonus points for folkloric precedent.

Full Consecration Ritual
Wards a 1-rod radius against [Team Evil] for 5 minutes/STEEP. Malign gribbler with a Spirit TRAIT < the caster's STEEP shun the area. More powerful creatures can enter warded area, but take 2d6+2 Spirit damage.
Another variation of the protection from evil spell, as previously mythusized by Priestcraeft castings. Nowt to write home about in a game where Spirit = 6x(3d6) or so.

Unseen Sentinel
Forces a minor spirit to guard a 1 chain diameter area for 5 mins/STEEP. Spirit can only warn those who enter the area, and alert caster of intrusions.
So, an alarm system. *meh* We have these things called dogs...

Apotropaism IV

Invisibility to Undead
Does exactly what it says on the tin: da undead no can see you.
Unliving creatures (WT-? *gluk gluk*) are less affected. They can spot you and your delicious brainmeat/blood/lifeforce with 100% - apotropaist's STEEP vs DR "Hard".
Again with the non-intuitive probabilities Mythus? Seriously, FRO!

Protection from Drowning Cantrip
Magic life vest lasting 1 day/10 STEEP. Causes you to bob about in water, mud, quicksand, etc. If held under you do into suspended animation until a breath can be drawn.
S'alright. Might be worth a level 1 spell slot in a Classic game.
Usable content? Consume! *gluk gluk*

Protection from Fear Spell
Negates fear from any source. ANY source. The description is very specific about this:

Synonym abuse? Oh my yes. *gluk gluk*

Don't see what's inherently magical about negating fear, trepidation and apprehension; where I come from we have a wonder substance called 'alkyhol' with similar effects.
Reason Advanced Mythus Sucks #1,593: the game lacks any dutch courage and/or medicinal booze healing rules.

Apotropaism V

Abjure Spell
No, doesn't allow you to become an oathbreaker with impunity. Actually causes 5d3 each of P, M and S damage unless to anyone in the 1 foot diam./STEEP area of effect who doesn't truthfully announce their membership in [Team Evil].
No idea what's going on here. Some sort of "confess your crimes!" *slap, slap* thing going on?

Chant of Guarding Cantrip
Negates Heka-powered compulsion (Attacks to Control, -to Influence, etc) around the caster for 5 mins per 10 STEEP. Mundane forms of persuasion still work.
Alright counterspell to all the 'boogly-boogly, you must obey me' mechanics scattered hither and yon in Gradgrind's Piffledross. Dunno if I'd use it in a Classic game though.

Protection from Curses Spell
Negates the first Curse inflicted by [Team Evil] on subject. Max Casting Grade negated = caster's grade in Apotropaism.
Kinda handy. Might be adaptable to a Classic D&D game if your evil types use a lot of curses.

Astrology I

Astromancy Spell
Three paragraphs of 'goes nowhere fast' waffle wrapped around another uninspired 'clue me' spell. The caster has to reveal their plan to the GM, who determines likelihood of success based on a bunch of ass-pulled criteria and DRs.
Screw that! Dice for it.
This spell is bad, and those involved should feel bad. It is classic "How not to..." material.

Influence of Scorpio Spell
Detect precious metals in 1 rod/10 STEEP diam. General direction only, no clue as to relative values of detected loot.
Stealable. *gluk gluk*

Know Disposition Cantrip
Know alignment + detect reaction. Can be blocked by Castings or - probably - sheet lead.
Dull, and no mention of whether it is socially acceptable to *ping* people with such an intrusive spell.

Minor Horoscope Formula
Another vague-to-uselessness 'clue me' spell. Allows the GM to foreshadow coming events within a 1 week horizon. He can do this anyway, coz he's the GM!

Star Chart Place Formula
Psychometry on a place.
Affects 1 chain dia./10 STEEP. Caster picks up general impressions about things that happened in the location. Can be performed remotely at unspecified DR penalties.
Similar to the old AD&D psionic ability. May be of interest to others.

Astrology II

Best Time Formula
Cast the auspices for the most opportune time to do a thing. Can result in DR modification in your favour. So, time-constrained free Joss (Mythus probability-shifting Fate Points).
Thematically appropriate, but a bit bland as written.

Influence of Venus Cantrip
Short duration charm person effect which causes the target to become "...temporarily enamoured of the astrologer or another of the opposite sex..." Allows caster to manipulate target per the Magnetism K/S Area. Bit creepy in the date-rapey implication that "...the target will only vaguely recall the Influence of Venus Effect, and what transpired when it was active."
Erm, no.

Influence of Virgo Ritual
Grants a 20 point STEEP boost to a not-Astrology K/S area for 2 hours + 1hr/10 STEEP. Requires the subject to be within spitting distance of scholarly books or a living expert in the subject. On a Special Success 1d3 STEEP are retained permanently.
Free skill points. Why would you not cast this exploit as often as possible?

Star Chart Item Spell
Psychometry on an object. Success as DR "Moderate" Astrology checks grants impressions about the creator, how the object has been used, etc. Max checks: 1/10 STEEP. Failure = no meaningful impressions. Fumble = no impressions from this item ever.
More specific than the area psychometry casting above. May be semi-useful if you like that sort of thing.

Astrology III

Ascendant Cantrip
Allows the caster to have two Influence of castings active at once, rather than the normal restriction of one at a time only. Both expire when the shortest duration is up.
Meta-magic effect. Utility outside Mythus - limited.

Influence of Cancer Formula
Doubles healing rates for 1 day/10 STEEP. Negates Shock, soothes fear, and suppresses the desire to self-harm.
Handy long-term 'peaceful healing' effect. Might be useful for NPC hospitallers and general down-time healing in your game. *gluk*

Influence of Mars Spell
Grants 10 Physical Attribute points and +10 STEEP to one Combat K/S Area for 5 mins/10 STEEP. Special Success = 20% chance permanent +1 to a Physical Attribute, 80% chance +1 to Combat K/S Area.
Another 'spam this daily for great justice!' casting. Why spend hard-earned Accomplishment Points (Mythus XP) when you can just set easy-to-renew Heka on fire?

Know Truth Charm
Causes people to blow glue, sorry, glow blue in a 1 rod/10 STEEP diameter. A person's glow will turn black if they lie.
Area effect detect lie with nice FX. B+, would use. *gluk*

Astrology IV

Influence of Mercury Spell
Doesn't cause Mad Hatter-ish behaviour. Instead amps Mental Mnemonic Power (Int.) by +10 to a maximum of 40 for 5 mins/10 STEEP. No chance of permanent increase.
I'm not sure how/if modifying one's stats in Advanced Mythus modifies K/S Areas. I'll leave the full implication of such a cascading nightmare of char sheet adjustment to the reader... *shudder*

Influence of the Moon Cantrip
Creates a 1 rod radius/10 STEEP cloud of sleep mist. Eveyone in the area has to make a DR "Easy" test vs. Spiritual Psychic Capacity or spark out for 1AT/10 STEEP of the caster.
A non-HD-capped, area effect version of the classic D&D "You Win" button.

Kayyam's Wisdom Ritual
Has up to 4 effects, each of which takes 5 minutes to invoke.
  1. caster renders himself immune to drugs which would impair Phys, Mental or Spirit.
  2. caster can detect lies flawlessly.
  3. caster can take ectoplasmic form.
  4. caster can grant a Spirit bonus to 1 person/10 STEEP equal to 1/10th the Caster's Astrology which acts as Spirit armour. The caster gains a pool of bonus Heka = twice the Spirit points bestowed.

All this lasts for AT = caster's STEEP.
Medium-term buffing spell with an odd 'spooky spy form' side. No idea how this got past the Interesting Police. Possibly folkloric origin?

Astrology V

Aetherscan Cantrip
Caster is able to detect Aethereal creatures or Aethereal-influenced Heka for 1 AT/10 STEEP. Theycan also detect illusions as such with a DR "Hard" Astrology check.
Combined detect ethereal+illusions; might have some utility for an old school game.

Arago's Influence of the Sun Cantrip
Caster becomes a solar system. No, really. He radiates bright light in 1 rod diameter/10 STEEP and has small glowing planets orbit him. This bizarre effect causes 5d3 Physical damage per CT to all Undead and light sensitive creatures. Creatures not used to light are dazzled for 1d3+5 rounds after the effect ends.
I kinda like this as a replacement for things like sunray or daylight. The "Yes, in Mythus the universe really does revolve around the caster" factor is beyond parody though. *gluk* for several reasons then.

Influence of Gemini Spell
Magic walkie-talkie. Allows 1-way communication only. Duration: 30 seconds/10 STEEP, range: 1 league/10 STEEP. Can be intercepted by Castings or Telepathy.
Pretty *meh* variation on the various sending and message spells probably already present in your preferred game. Pass.

Mysticism I

Enough! I can take no more. Page 289 and the sheer drudgery of this tosh is forcing me to tap out.

"Screw you!" said my poor, suffering skullmeats "I didn't sign up for this sort of abuse."

Ye gods, is there anything more tedious to read in an RPG than spell/power descriptions, especially low-level ones? If there is, I can't think of it. Page after page of minor modifiers or petty exceptions to this/that/t'other rule. I know you need rules for spells -- otherwise it all degenerates into some sort of degenerate Forge-inflected Magic Tea Party (like Everway), and nobody wants that -- but there's simply no excuse for making the mystery and wonder of magic so. damn. boring.

Long story short: the Advanced Mythus castings are banal systematisation of the fantastic at its very, very worst. To paraphrase an old saw: "Magic system? There's no magic in it!"

Next Time: It all goes a bit bell-bottomed and patchouli-scented when we finally look at sample Herbalism and Mysticism castings. On the bright side: artwork by Gelon and Mitchell.

Pic Source: Dangerous Journeys: Mythus rulebook, the environmental graffiti website, teh intawubz
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