Mythic Russia playtest

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This page has some more information on the playtest campaign for the new Mythic Russia game. Here is a description of the playtest structure. You can also read descriptions of the Lithuania-set playtest and the Siberia-set playtest


Mark Galeotti still hasn't written the generic Rus' background chapter, so if you want to know a bit about the setting, it's time to hit the mainstream books.

The potted version is this: it's ~1383. the Mongols invaded about 130 years ago and took over the place. They don't interfere too much, so long as their taxes are paid; tax collection is delegated to a Rus' prince. A couple of years ago, Grand Duke Dmitri Donskoy defeated the Mongol army (before it could join its Lithuanian allies), but the Mongols are still in charge. Everyone is waiting for the inevitable retribution.

Meanwhile, in the West, the Teutonic Ordenstaat are busily expanding their little empire along the south-east coast of the Baltic. They've declared Crusade against the pagan Lithuanians and Rus'. (They also do a nice little sideline in Crusade-cum-Club-18-30 for those European nobles who don't want to risk going all the way to the Holy Country to kill infidels.) There are rumours that the Lithuanians (whose territory stretches from almost the Baltic to Crimea) and the Poles will ally against them.

There are, as yet, no Tsars (though the Rus' use the word 'tsar' to describe the Mongol khans), and Ivan the Terrible hasn't been born yet. Moscow is a fairly minor state, but on the up (it controls the collection and payment of taxes to the Mongols). Novgorod and Kiev are the other major power centres.


Mythic Russia uses the HeroQuest game engine. It's quite simple and fairly lightweight. The major differences from more traditional rule sets is that there is no fixed list of skills and abilities: you define your own. Also, anything can be classed as an ability, including personality traits and relationships, and they all the equal mechanical footing. You want to persuade your wife to let you out drinking? You could use your 'Persuade' ability, or you could use your 'Loving Wife' relationship (even better, use both! There's a whole section in the rules for using one ability to augment another.)

Character generation involves writing a 100 word description, underlining all the abilities, relationships, personality traits, special item, and anything else interesting, and writing all the underlined bits on the character sheet.

There are examples of the rules and the chargen process in the playtest files.

For more details on HeroQuest, see


This is a playtest campaign, so the intention is to test the rules. If you have an odd character concept, feel free to try it out. If you want to try a perverse collection of keywords, bring it on! The intention is to find problems in the rules and report them to the author, so they can be fixed.

I'd like it if character writeups and session notes appeared on the wiki or BBS.

I'm not over-interested in testing the basic HeroQuest rules, as they've had a lot of testing in the past few years.

The Game

A major part of the game text involves descriptions of homelands and other such things to do with character generation. Also, there's a lot of breadth to the background. Therefore, I'd like to run two mini-campaigns, so that we can see some variety. I'd also like characters from a variety of backgrounds. Feel free to use the Mythic Russia formum on the BBS to discuss character ideas.

My intention is that the first half emphasise realpolitik during a diplomatic mission to the Teutonic Ordenstaat, and look at the western neighbours of the Rus'. I was thinking of having the second half be more mythic in nature, and involve the Mongols, Siberians, and the spirits of the endless forests.

If we stick with this idea, I'd like to start with the Muscovite ambassador at a conference in Novogorod being assassinated, and you guys being sucked into the turmoil that ensues. If anyone wants to play the assassin, or be involved in the conspiracy, that would be great!

I'd like to have character-based games, so put as many conflicting goals, relationships and personality types into your characters as you can. For more information on this type of game, see the Interactive Toolkit and Ways to Play essays linked from the Gaming resources page of this wiki.

If you have any better ideas, please let me know. Even better, post them on the Mythic Russia forum on the BBS!

The Playtest Games

Descriptions of the games themselves are on separate pages. You can read about Lithuania-set playtest and the Siberia-set playtest