Why I like Mayhem

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Why I like Mayhem

Postby James » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:57 am

Mayhem kicks ass. That is why I like it. *grin* Really, though, I don't just play the game because I want to make Maugh feel good. When we were first working together and he told me about what he was working on while drawing weapon tech trees on graph paper, I was at first just interested in talking about RPG'ing because I had not ever had a co-worker that played. But, I still play it today, years later. It is all that my friends, at first skeptical, want to play now as well. The D&D books have been un-opened since playing Legends & Champions demo at Far West Comics in..'08? I am primarily a Storyteller, not a PC, so some of what I like is the imagery, but I have PC'ed enough to enjoy others things:

- Ability to avoid cliches. I don't have to plan my adventures to accommodate specific roles. PCs are more diverse than they ever were in other games. I do plan for characters like always, but that is no longer in the form of making sure my mage didn't hate life in an anti-magic zone. I build something a fighter and mage would hate for boredom sake, but no Elementalist in Mayhem will have magic alone to rely on and often fighters now also have Tinkering, Thief skills, or Social prowess, not to mention a drop or two of Elemental magics. And if they are out of their element in one adventure, why, they have skill points for the next one that pour into what their characters were struggling with last time.

- Variety. Lets be honest, Clerics and Mages are different flavors of the same dish. Elementalists and Arcanists are very different. The bifurcation is clearer now, and our campaigns of late have inadvertently highlighted the differences. The Races are very different. Much more so than dwarves and elves. Artan, Necrotesh, and Serraph are very, very different, toss in a Carnac and you have a crew balanced to overcome whatever, but so rife for amazing internal politics. Two human fighters hold swords and in D&D you could make very different kinds of fighters, but in Mayhem you get the division, but can also have them come together with overlapping techs and ability to leap to different tactics at the turn of the next dungeon hall.

-Feedback. LOVE IT. I loved the overpowered Psionics in D&D, but this is better. Every combat gets more intense and rewarding when they are flirting with the pain of magics, held breath as the overload die rolls more intense than any Parry or Melee. Most good combat ends with our heroes squinting through pain, bleeding from nose, ears, or (more rarely) eyes after taking damage from spells beyond their limit. It allows for saving the party while you collapse with your 3 rounds of near death. Heroic. It is also a great tool for inventing supernatural techs and poisons more deadly to magic users.

- Social Combat. With Empathy, Charm, Deceive, and Haggle as primary skills, they are not overlooked for long. All parties in Mayhem nowadays have at least one member who has the gift of gab, but that character is never unable to do a metric shit-ton of damage if negotiations fail. Empathy is s core defensive skill for sure, at least if the adventures have much contact with others...or are fighting a Great Deceiver demon. It is a great way to make characters more than the sum of their fighting skills.

-Combat Wheel. You hit, then I hit, then you hit was boring. Always bugged me and a couple others I played with. The combat wheel is so damn fun. Actions take greater consideration and one hopes that at least one party member has some skill in tactics to take advantage of the whelm and circle 'o waiting. Initiative damage is a great effect, and once Arcane makes its sparkling return, there will likely be more to consider. True, there are some limitations. I agree 7 is about where I like my max to be on the wheel, but by compressing some of the extras to one of those 7, you can fit more and there are tricks for using counters for on-going effects and tracking motion that come with time. ....Hold! Hold! (+2 defense to all as enemy attacks) NOW, CHARGE! (+4 return fire).
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