viernes, 29 de marzo de 2024

Mythras vs Basic Roleplaying: Differences and similarities

10 comentarios
Mythras and Basic Roleplaying are two big multi-genre D100 systems with a wide range of options allowing you to put together the rules you want for your setting. Besides, they are both using the ORC license to allow anyone to sell their own adventures, derived mechanics and full-blown games based on these systems. But, which ruleset to use? Below I attempt to help anyone wondering whether to use one or the other.

To start with, it is important to underline these two games have many similarities, as they both are derived, or evolved from, or are a distillation from the original RuneQuest system, specifically the 2nd and 3rd edition. Also, for the sake of this comparison, I am bundling Mythras and its free-to-download primer Mythras Imperative together, but I am also mentioning some useful supplements. So before mentioning the differences, let's point out their similarities.


  • Multi-genre
  • Several power levels for starting characters
  • At least 7 characteristics on a 3-18 range (for normal humans)
  • List of skills with scores expressed in percentages
  • Characteristics influence base skill %
  • 1D100 "roll-under" basic roll
  • At least 4 degrees of success/failure
  • Professions/Careers
  • Skills can be trained
  • Attack and defence rolls in combat
  • Damage modifier, location hit points, power points, fate/luck points
  • Different kinds of weapon damage (crushing, impaling, slashing...)
  • List of equipment: from two-handed axes to bulletproof vests
  • Damage absorbing armour
  • Characters advance through experience
  • At least 5 different magic/powers systems
  • Rules for aging
  • Rules for vehicles
  • Rules for passions
  • Bestiary included
  • Free-to-download scenarios and quickstart
So, having looked at their long list of similarities, let's have a look at their main differences:


Mythras + Mythras Imperative Basic Roleplaying (BRP)
Scope MythrasThey cover a limited amount of genres, but the game has a wide range of supplements available (Destined, Luther Arkwright, Worlds United, After the Vampire Wars, etc.) covering many genres in more detail. Basic RoleplayingIt covers a wide range of genres, including guidelines on what rules to choose for emulating many genres. More detail can be found in games like Superworld, Call of Cthulhu and supplements like The Magic Book.
Character creation MythrasBy assigning points to skills based on culture, career and personal interests. Social class table, family, enemies and allies, and fantasy background events. Basic RoleplayingBy assigning points to skills based on personality type, profession and personal interests. Wealth level. Optional cultural bonuses. Optional personality traits and distinctive features.
Characteristic rolls MythrasThey are standard skills starting at characteristic + characteristic): Brawn, Endurance, Evade, Willpower… so characteristics see little use after character creation. Basic RoleplayingCharacteristics can be rolled as generic skills: STRx5, CONx5, DEXx5, INTx5, etc. Education is an optional characteristic.
Charisma MythrasFacilitates skill advancement. Limits the amount of spirits you can bind if using the animism magic system. Basic RoleplayingIt only influences social skills and the CHAx5 roll.
Passions MythrasAutomatic augment to a fitting skill by +1/5 of the Passion %. Basic RoleplayingAugment of up to +50% or subtract -10% (or suffer despair) to a fitting skill depending on the roll's result.
Sanity MythrasRules for sanity and madness are only included in the Mythras Companion and the White Death scenario. Basic RoleplayingIncludes sanity rules. Detailed rules for madness are in Call of Cthulhu.
Status/Wealth MythrasSocial class, plus equipment cost specified in coins. Basic RoleplayingStatus skill and Wealth determine what equipment can be purchased. You roll Status to acquire items above your Wealth level.
Degrees of success Mythras4 Basic Roleplaying5
Skills MythrasProfessional skills and Standard skills. Few skills but more generic: Athletics, Stealth, Perception… Basic RoleplayingMany specific skills: Jump, Climb, Hide, Stealth, Spot, Listen…
Opposed rolls MythrasThe best level of success wins. In case of same level of success, the highest roll wins. Basic Roleplaying3 options: the best level of success wins. In case of same level of success, the highest roll wins. Opposed skill subtraction, or one roll on the Resistance table.
Difficulty modifiers Mythras6 levels from "Very Easy" (double the skill) to "Herculean" (1/5 skill). Alternatively, straight modifiers such as +40% for "Very Easy". Basic RoleplayingDouble skill value for "Easy" rolls or half skill value for "Difficult" rolls.
Luck/Fate points MythrasLuck points allow rerolls, reading rolls backwards, avoiding major wounds or an extra action point. Basic RoleplayingFate points allow rerolls. POWx5 is used to determine if a PC gets lucky.
Actions in combat MythrasDetermined by action points (usually 2-3). DEX and INT determine action points. Initiative roll determines order of action. Alternatively: everyone gets 2 action points. Basic Roleplaying1 Action or Attack per turn plus any number of parries or dodges. Characters act in Dexterity (DEX) order.
Combat skills MythrasCombat style skill encompasses several weapons and includes a trait. Basic RoleplayingIndependent skills for weapon classes, such as axe, polearm, club, rifle, shotgun, etc.
Combat effects on top of damage MythrasAttacks or defences scoring a success level higher than the opponent's inflict a special effect (32 to pick): Bypass Armour, Disarm, Choose Location, Impale, Rapid Reload, Blind Opponent, etc. Basic RoleplayingUnparried critical attacks cause maximum damage and ignore armour. Special attacks inflict an additional effect for slashing, crushing, entangling, or impaling weapons. Attacks to aim or to subdue have a Difficult mod.
Parrying MythrasEvery parry or dodge requires spending 1 action point.  Basic RoleplayingEvery parry after the first has a cumulative -30% modifier.
Dodging MythrasEvading leaves you prone (except if you have a particular trait). Basic RoleplayingDodging does not leave you prone.
Passive parry MythrasWeapons can be used to passively protect some locations. Basic RoleplayingOnly shields can passively protect some locations, and only projectiles.
Hit points MythrasOnly location hit points. You die when one of your locations suffers as much damage as twice or equal its hit points. Basic RoleplayingTotal hit points and optional location hit points. You die when your total hit points reach 0, so you can die from accumulated wounds.
Fatigue MythrasFatigue is counted in levels (Winded, Tired, Wearied...). Basic RoleplayingFatigue is an optional rule counted in Fatigue points.
Formation combat MythrasWhen combatants have the appropriate trait, they substract an action point from their adversaries. Basic Roleplaying-
Mass combat MythrasRules are in the supplement Ships & Shieldwalls. These rules are based on units fighting each other. Basic RoleplayingAbstracted through opposed Strategy rolls, and/or played as small engagements at the appropriate level, with Luck rolls determining additional damage due to the battle chaos.
Chases MythrasRules are included in the Mythras Companion. You can also use the rules for crafting items. Basic RoleplayingOpposed rolls move participants along a range track. Vehicular chases include manoeuvers.
Social combat MythrasRules are included in the Mythras Companion. You can also use the rules for crafting items. Basic Roleplaying-
Training MythrasRequires spending experience points and studying with a teacher. Basic RoleplayingRequires studying with a teacher or on your own.
Bestiary MythrasThe corebook includes 60 fantasy creatures/animals (centaurs, elves, dwarves, minotaurs, halflings, iqari, etc.); Mythras Imperative adds a xenomorphic alien. Basic RoleplayingIncludes 30 animals, 18 fantasy creatures (centaurs, elves, dwarves....), 7 summoned creatures (angel, water elemental...), 6 science fiction creatures (aliens, robots), and 23 NPCs from different genres (pirate, police officer, supervillain...)
Character progression MythrasAfter an adventure you get an amount of experience points you can spend in experience rolls to increase any skill. If you succeed in these rolls, you gain 1D4+1 points in the skill, and only 1 if you fail. You must spend points if you want new spells or powers. Basic RoleplayingAfter an adventure you get experience rolls in all rolls successfully used. If you succeed in the experience roll, you gain between 1D6 and 1D10 (or just 3) points in that skill. New spells and powers are acquired by spending time and resources.
Magic systems MythrasFolk magic (low power spells, only 1 skill needed), theism (miracles from the gods), animism (shamans making fetishes and binding spirits), sorcery, and mysticism (self-enhancing talents a la warrior monks). Mythras Imperative includes some superpowers, but the game Destined includes more. Psionic powers in the Luther Arkwright book. Basic RoleplayingMagic (spells from several sources), sorcery (magic from grimoires), psychic powers, mutations, and superpowers. The Magic Book supplement includes spirit magic, divine magic and sorcery from RuneQuest 3rd ed.
Spirit combat MythrasIncludes attacks and parries, and its own special effects. Basic RoleplayingPsychic combat is a series of opposed rolls.
Resisting magic MythrasOpposed roll between the target's Endurance, Willpower or Evade vs the caster's appropriate magic skill roll. Basic RoleplayingPOW vs POW opposed roll.
Cults/Guilds MythrasGuidelines for creating them and 3 samples. Basic Roleplaying-
Content under the ORC license MythrasOnly the rules in Mythras Imperative, which includes some not in the corebook: simplified PC creation, 31 careers, power levels, passions, combat with 32 special effects, weapons and firearms, vehicle rules with 13 samples and rules to create your own, 2 magic systems ("Magic" with 23 spells and 17 superpowers), 10 creatures and 21 abilities to create your own. Basic RoleplayingThe whole book.

There are obviously many more differences, but they are pretty minor, so I have focused on the most relevant ones. If you have questions or comments, please let me know below! For further details, you can read my reviews of Mythras and Basic Roleplaying


It is difficult to judge which one is the best, as that will depend on your intended use and your personal taste. I prefer the magic systems in Mythras, as for example superpowers are always on and you only spend power points to increase their effect. I also love the social combat rules. On the other hand, Basic Roleplaying includes rules for chases, while the rules for that in the Mythras Companion look too complicated to me. The thing with some of the subsystems in Mythras (like chases, spirit combat and social combat) is that they all include special effects. One of the pros is that they add a lot of variety and make scenes narrate themselves. However, one of the cons is that they can induce some analysis-paralysis, and mastering when to use each of them is an art that takes time, so f.ex. you cannot introduce a social combat scene all of a sudden in a campaign and expect your players to play with these rules well right off the bat.

The key point is if you like the crunchier, more tactical combat Mythras offers (with all its special effects), or if you prefer the simplicity of combat in Basic Roleplaying. If your players love choosing the best special effect during combats, this system shines. But if they are easily overwhelmed by options, or your campaign does not focus on combat, it becomes too much. At any rate, the best thing is, both systems are similar enough that you can import all the rules you like to your favourite one or mix and match as you please. Play them both!

But, what if you want to publish your own RPG or scenario based on either of these rulesets thanks to the ORC License? Then you need to decide which rules most fit your game or scenario. Basic Roleplaying offers more rules to choose from (the whole book), but maybe you prefer some of the rules included in Mythras Imperative instead. It looks like it would be possible to use both ORC licenses in the same product, so you could use rules from both in one publication, but I am not a lawyer, and I do not know if that could cause some kind of trouble. I also have not managed to find any clear answers on the Internet. If you are thinking of creating your own D100 game, you may want to look at this list of D100 settings. Also, if you want to check out any of these rulesets for free, download Mythras Imperative and the Basic Roleplaying Quickstart.

The Basic Roleplaying Quickstart and the Mythras Imperative, both free to download.

So what is your favourite multi-genre D100 ruleset? Which rules are your favourites from both systems? I honestly want both to thrive, because I love both. Let me know your opinion in the comments below!

10 comentarios:

  1. "At any rate, the best thing is, both systems are similar enough that you can import all the rules you like to your favourite one or mix and match as you please. Play them both!"

    Esto es lo bueno, coger lo que más te guste de cada uno ;)

  2. That ist a useful overview, thanks for your work! I would Love to read even more about the differences on a systemic level, i.e. how the differences play out.

    Generally, I think it is fair to say that BRP ist more of a universal tool set with more optional features that requires moderate work from the GM to build a set, in the vein of other universal rule sets like GURPS. (The opposite would be a clearly defined ruleset tied to a specific fluff/background which can be played right out of the box. Both obviously have their pros and cons.)

    Mythras is something in between those two, in so far as you can play generic classless fantasy almost right out of the box, but there is no associated fluff in the rulebook. So you still need to make background decisions, like culture specifics, cults, passions, combat styles.

    For different genres you need additional rules, you need to get more books, like M-Space for everything scifi, the Firearms supplement, or the urban fantasy "After the Vampire wars" (Elements of which to a certain degree are already included in the BRP book). And with Mythras Classic Fantasy Design Mechanism released a great bridge to DnD players or generally people who don't like the elaborate tactical combat.

    The strength of the BRP book is that it offers you lots of things you could put into your house rules in one book and ist totally setting-agnostic.

    Unfortunately, the changes that Chaosium introduced with Call of Cthulhu 7 (like Pushing rolls, or advantage/disadvantage) we're NOT included in the new BRP book, nor were any more modern "Rules light" takes, so it is really just a graphical overhaul of the 2008 "golden book".

    I am very happy with Mythras, I think it is the overall best iteration of d100 medium crunch universal roleplay, but I also love CoC 7 and I have no problem to mix and mash with other d100 rulesets like Openquest/Simplequest, WFRP, Zweihänder, Revolution or Deltagreen.

    It is one of the great powers of the extended Runequest family, that you can so easily tweak and replace things from one game to another and basically use NPC from all those games without much conversion work required, if any, to get exactly the right depth or ease of play.

    1. I agree! :-)
      As for differences on a systemic level, I already mentioned the key point are the crunchier combat rules in Mythras with all its special effects or the more straightforward ones in Basic Roleplaying. On top of that, BRP has a wider range of powers to model pulp heroes, and Mythras' rules for firearms are more realistic and therefore deadlier thanks to the "Drop Foe" special effect. I would drop it from the game (haha) for emulating pulp heroics with Mythras.

  3. Hmmm I don't think Mythras has less skills. It's right it compacted a few ones, but the main difference is the Professional Skills must be added by the player to the default sheet, instead to have them ready. If you pick let's say M-Space, a game with all the Professional Skills pre-written in the sheet, it has the same or even more skills than BRP.

    My feeling is that the system has become more complex with the passing of the editions instead of becoming simpler. There seems to be this need to add rules upon rules for situations that were not previously covered by the manual. To try to resolve gaps or general complaints by rule. Is there anyone who complains about the lethality of the game? Let's reduce it. Is there anyone who complains that a bad roll can ruin a scene? Let's allow re-rolling. Are there those who say that maneuvers are barely used? Let's make them mandatory. This approach satisfies many people, but it seems like a missed opportunity that both systems followed the same philosophy.

    1. Since BRP ist basically still the same than 16 years ago (and has a lot of "optional" Rules, as in "ignore this if you dont like it"), and Mythras hast actually cleared up some of the Mongoose RQ clutter and is IMHO actually less complex than previous RQ Editions (or the current one, for that matter), I cannot really follow your reasoning ( in these examples at least).

      And "making a rule for everything" is also not a new phenomenon, See Harnmaster, or Rolemaster, or DnD 3.5/Pathfinder.

      And as someone who started roleplaying with WFRP1, I never got the discussion of "rerolls are for weaklings" (WFRP1 had fate points and was still a very deadly system that made you actively avoid fights, and that came out 1986 and was modelled directly off of RQ).

      And the Push-rules in CoC, for example, have led to several memorable scenes in our group that we could only have had by the power of handwaving in previous editions ("with my Last breath I....").

      The overall trend of the last 15 years has been on the contrary "RPG light", See Openquest/Simplequest, or stuff like Mothership, or the whole OSR thing, or the PbtA/Dungeonworld-stuff.

      Which I get, I am also a working dad. But honestly, at least for me, the reduction of prep time and rules to memorize is most often bought with arbitrariness and "handwave, handwave" - which I hate much more than spending my precious little free time in mastering medium crunch. Still, some minigames are less fun than others, so I have no problem to throw out or replace rules.

    2. I never said the were not lighter alternatives :) But we agree with the handwaving, there is not need to open further a discussion here. You have your opinions, that I do respect. If you fail to understand my points, well it can't be helped :)

  4. In my opinion, the key difference between these two rulesets is their two very different design philosophies approaching. They are both toolboxes, one of them looks like trying to fix "mistakes" of past proposals by limiting and the other one provides all the choices for a more customizable experience. I also think that in general terms BRP offers a more rounded design and Mythras looks more rough. In this point, I guess the years of experience weigh.
    I have to say Mythras chapters for magic, cults and brotherhoods are really amazing. They propose a lot of interesting ideas from a very open point of view.
    For these reasons, I lean towards Basic Roleplaying, it fits better with my game philosophy.

    1. If IT is true that the BRP has not been changed in long years, and Mythras ist the culmination of refinement If Runenquest, how can Mythras be more rough? Can you explain further?

  5. [Néstor]
    I keep mythras as the core which i trend to hack.

    Something not mentioned in the article are the wxtended conflicts comming from m-space which can create very exiting scenes and even replace any other extra rules for chases, etc.

    And they combine very well with lenses from comae engine.


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