Monday, June 15, 2015

Mythoard! Mythoard! Mythoard!

It takes a little more than saying its name three time to get a Mythoard subscription box, but if you're a tabletop gamer it is something that you should look into. The June box goes out in a matter of hours from this post, so if you want to get in on the goodness, now would be the time to do so.

I admit that I have been sitting on talking about the April and May boxes for a bit, but I will say that I've followed Mythoard and gotten most of the boxes since its January launch. I love the idea of an inexpensive and diverse "box" of gaming related stuff. If I had a complaint, it would be that there is too much of a reliance on "old school" materials for the boxes. The material is great, don't get me wrong, but it will limit the growth of the service.

Just as an aside, if you are a publisher and you would like to get your stuff into the hands of Mythoard subscribers, you should go to the site's contact page for more information. There is a lot of options available in gaming, and inside of the various "sides" of tabletop players sniping at each other we really should look to more cross-pollination and looking at each other's games. There is a lot of interesting stuff to be found in gaming these days, regardless of what style or approach you have to gaming.


The April box had some interesting stuff to it, including a Dungeon World adventure, and an adventure for Pathfinder. Lichfield looks like an interesting adventure, certainly a bit darker than a lot of published adventures...but I am a big fan of dark fantasy, so this is a selling point for me. I also love the Mike Mignola-styled art throughout the adventure. Good stuff. Don't play Dragon World? It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out a conversion to your favorite fantasy RPG. You know how in the older editions of D&D your character would reach a point in their career where they would build/take a stronghold, or their class' equivalent? Well, the idea of For Rent, Lease or Conquest is build around that idea. Built for 7th level Pathfinder adventurers, this module takes an irreverent look at that idea...and how things can go terribly wrong with it.

Lichfield was also an exclusive item for the April box.

The box is then rounded out with an issue of the the Oubliette zine. Inside you'll find some interesting new spells, magic items and monsters for your fantasy games. They're written for Labyrinth Lord, but easily applicable to your favorite fantasy RPG.

The weak spot of the April box would be the old Judges Guild reproductions. Not that these are bad reproductions, or bad adventures, but both of them are for the long out of print Dragonquest RPG. Why is this bad? Well, at least with the explosion of early edition D&D clones, old material from the early editions of those games can find some use. Not so much with Dragonquest, which has no such clones available. I will admit that I was never a fan of the game, even though I still have my mouldering copy put away with my gaming stuff. I think

The May Mythoard box was interesting, and only one ruleset away from having everything that you need to get a roleplaying game going. This box included a set of very pretty Chessex dice (the second that Mythoard has done). Some people swear by Gamescience (and I have a couple of sets of dice by them, too) but for my money Chessex makes some of the besst, and easiest to read, dice on the market. It is really hard to beat Chessex dice.

The White Box Omnibus by James Spahn's Barrel Rider Games is a nice expansion of Matt Finch's basic Swords & Wizardry White Box rules (linked in PDF form in the paragraph above, if you don't already have a copy of the game). This was a distillation of the earliest version of the D&D game, before Thieves were characters and when all hit dice were d6s. I've played this version of the game, in fact I used White Box to introduce a friend to gaming, but in the long term its appeal for me starts to wear thin. I prefer weapons having a range of damage dice, and the classes having different hit dice. I also think that it isn't D&D without a Thief, but that's just me. Regardless, Spahn has put together an interesting selection of new classes, magic items and creatures for White Box that can be easily adapted to your preferred "old school" rules. There are also a couple of adventures and an overview of a setting that can be used to get your campaign going. Both of which are very important for the harried GM without a lot of time.

I will say that I love the Judges Guild reproductions, even the ones for Dragonquest in the previous box, because they provide us with a snapshot of what people were doing in gaming back in the early days, rather than the supposition and speculation that we get from a lot of blogs. The Dungeoneer reproduction issue gives us a peak into what early gamers were thinking, much like reading old issues of Dragon or White Dwarf. For people interesting in getting a real perspective onto the early years of gaming, this is an invaluable resource. Plus! The Dungeoneer has a vampire class that is useable with OD&D or your favorite retroclone. How cool is that?

The rest of the box is rounded out by a one page adventure and some various GMing aids. The Quest Essentials Doors deck from MillieModels is interesting because it gives you some images of various kinds of doors and traps that could be encountered in the dungeon by adventurers and stats them out (for the Pathfinder RPG, but as always, easy enough to convert to your favorite fantasy game).

So here we have it, the April and May boxes from Mythoard. Both have their pros and cons, but both have materials in them that could be of use to gamers and their games. Like I said earlier, I would like to see more publishers support this undertaking with a greater variety of gaming options. Diversity is always a good thing. I recommend that all publishers who read this check out the Mythoard contact information, and find something, print or electronic, that can be used to support this fine service.

Oh, and if you aren't a subscriber need to check out Mythoard now.