Theseus Deeds – A Mythras Adventure in Bronze Age Greece (pt1)

Prologue – A hero in the making

Theseus

Theseus (Θησέας) is a hero of Greek Mythology. Since it’s my first time running Mythras I will try to make things easy. I will make use of the mythology as a pre-written adventure module and run Theseus through his deeds. In order to keep surprises at an acceptable level, I will be using the custom oracle for pre-written modules based on MUNE.
Contrary to previous solo games I run, in this I won’t be using Recluse as an Oracle. I believe that the mechanic of False Presuppositions will provide too much chaos for this exercise.
For character generation I will use the Points Build option. I will increase the points from 75 to 90, to take into account the heroic nature of Theseus. I read somewhere in the Mythras subreddit that 90 is a good points build for pulp campaigns, so I believe that it fits.


Character Stats

Name Theseus
Strength (STR) 16
Constitution (CON) 14
Size (SIZ) 12
Dexterity (DEX) 13
Intelligence (INT) 15
Power (POW) 9
Charisma (CHA) 11

Attributes Result
Action Points 3
Damage Modifier +1d2
Experience Modifier 0
Healing Rate 3
Height 180 cm
Weight 88 kg
Leg HP 6
Abdomen HP 7
Chest HP 8
Each Arm HP 5
Head HP 6
Initiative Bonus 14
Luck Points 2
Magic Points N/A
Movement Rate 6

Standard Skills Percentage
Athletics 39
Boating 30
Brawn 58
Conceal 32
Customs 70
Dance 24
Deceit 51
Drive 22
Endurance 43
Evade 31
First Aid 43
Influence 32
Insight 49
Locale 40
Native Tongue 66
Perception 39
Ride 22
Sing 20
Stealth 28
Swim 45
Unarmed 59
Willpower 33

Professional Skills Percentage
Courtesy 41
Craft (Weapons/Shields) 58
Oratory 40
Survival 28
Healing 29

Style Name Weapons Traits Percentage
Troezenian Militia Spear, Club, Xiphos, Shield Batter Aside 74

Passions Percentage
Loyalty to Troezena 54
Love Aethra 50
Hate Robbers 54

Note: I won’t bother myself with equipment, resources and such things. Common sense and myth knowledge will apply. If necessary I will ask the Oracle.


Sword and sandal

Theseus is looking for the sword and sandals of his father, king Aegeas (Αιγέας) of Athens (Αθήνα), as his mother Aethra (Αίθρα), princess of Troezena (Τροιζήνα) has confided to him. He is looking for the rock under which they are hidden.

Q: Is the scene as in the myth? (Likely)
A: No
Nice way to start the story!
I will roll 1d8 on TWENE: 2: Decrease simple element
The only element I can think of for the scene is the size of the rock. But that is the major element of the scene. Maybe then there is less overgrowth and it’s easier to find the rock.
According to the myth, Theseus lifted the rock with ease.
According to the character, Theseus can lift 105 kilograms without needing a Brawn roll and up to 185 kilograms with a Brawn roll.
I decide that the rock will weigh 125 kilograms, and require an Easy Brawn skill roll.
But first Theseus must find the rock. Since there is less overgrowth I too, deem that it requires an Easy Perception roll.
Theseus: Perception (58): 18: Success. He finds the rock.
Theseus: Brawn (87): 38: Success. He lifts the rock and finds the sandals and his father’s sword.

Theseus looks around in the light growth, and sees a rock that seems out of place. The color does not agree with the color of the hillside. Realizing that this might be the rock his mother spoke of, he rushes to it, hugs it and lifts it with both of his hands. First he lowers down, to lift it with strength coming from his legs and knees and not his back, as his teacher Connidas (Κόννιδας) taught him. Quickly, he lifts the heavy rock, and puts it aside. Under it lay a pair of sandals and a xiphos (ξίφος), wrapped up in a light linen cloth, just as his mother instructed. He wears them, and returns to her.

By sea or by land

Q: Is the scene as in the myth? (Likely)
A: Yes, and it’s less likely to be modified in the next scene.
Intervention Count: 1

To this day, Theseus was told that he was begotten by Neptune (Ποσειδώνας). Now Theseus wants to go to his father in Athens, and Aethra explains to him how dangerous it is to go from land. Robbers, murderers and villains plague the countryside. He should take a boat and go by sea.
Theseus nevertheless decides to go by land. He wants to make a name for himself and cleanse the countryside.

Note: I tried rolling to see if Aethra would convince him otherwise and she succeeded, but then the story wouldn’t evolve. Since player character freewill is involved and there is no magic to force him otherwise I decided to proceed.

Q: Does Aethra tell him to go to her father for advice? (Likely)
A: Yes, but only reluctantly.

“Hercules did so much good for this land. I want to do the same. I want to help our people mother. I will go by land, maybe I will meet those robbers that you talk about. Could you share some of your knowledge?” Theseus asks his mother.

Theseus: Influence (32) + Hate for Robbers (11): 79.
Aethra: Love Theseus (80): 42.
Aethra may not have been moved by Theseus’ words, but her love for her son is too much to let him go without any aid.

“As much as it pains me to hear you say this, if you have set your mind to it then so be it. Go see your grandfather Pittheus (Πιτθέας) before you leave. He is the king, he should know about who plagues his lands.” Aethra succumbs to the love for her son and kisses him on the forehead for goodbye.

The king’s knowledge

Q: Is the scene as in the myth (Likely)
A: Yes, and it’s less likely to be modified in the next scene.
Intervention Count: 2

Pittheus: Perception (80): 32: Pittheus notices Aegeas’ sword and sandals that Theseus has adorned.

Theseus enters the court of King Pittheus, his grandfather. As soon as the king notices Aegeas’s sword and sandals, he speaks. “So, you have found your father’s heritage, grandson.”
“I want to go meet him. I will go by land, purge it from the villains, while, I’m at it.” Theseus answers.
“That is a perilous task young man.” Pittheus tells him.

Note: again, here I made the mistake of asking if Pittheus would help Theseus. I’ve already established that the scene will play out as in the myth. There is no conflict involved. Pittheus will help Theseus. So I will rephrase the question.

Q: Will Pittheus send help to Theseus?
A: No. He will only share information as in the myth.

“I know about these robbers and villains.” Pittheus pauses. “Come, let me share what my men have told me.”
Pittheus tells Theseus all about the robbers of the countryside.

I am not sharing the information on purpose. There’s the chance that a reader doesn’t know all of Theseus deeds and I don’t want to spoil the story as it evolves!
I have calculated the distance from Troezen to Athens and the google maps give it a 33 hours walking distance. Therefore I consider that the journey is within walking distance, and at a minimum will take Theseus about 4 days. Of course, many things can happen along the way and delay the adventure.
As an added bonus, the myths give the approximate locations of where the deeds happened.


Periphetes

Q: Is the scene as in the myth? (Likely)
A: Yes

Theseus is following the path along the coast, when the road takes him uphill, on the feet of Mt. Arachnaio (Αραχναίο). There, among the olive trees, lies a lone figure in the middle of the road.

map

Theseus: Perception (58): 37: Success.

Theseus notices the broad shouldered man as he approaches. On one hand he carries an iron club, and he rests it upon his shoulder.
He recalls Pittheus’ advice. “Periphetes (Περιφήτης) son of Hephaestus (Ήφαιστος) is also known as Corynetes (Κορυνήτης), the club-bearer. He uses his iron club to hit travelers to the head and take their posessions.”

“Hold it there traveler!” Periphetes shouts to Theseus. “You shall travel no further. The road is not safe for you anymore.”
“You shall prey on good people no more Periphetes!” Theseus responds.

Distance: 2d10 meters: 15 meters.

My first combat in Mythras. First I need to get some stats for Periphetes.
I use Myhtas Encounter Generator to create a template and I chose the strongest of the randomly generated results.

Initiative:

Theseus: 18
Periphetes: 15

Round 1:

Theseus Turn 1:

Theseus Readies his weapon and Moves 6 meters.

Periphetes Turn1:

Periphetes Moves 6 meters closer.

Theseus Turn 2:

Theseus moves and attacks, spending 1 AP. Periphetes Parries, spending 1 AP.
Theseus: Combat Style (74): 82: Failure
Periphetes: Combat Style (62): 14: Success.
Periphetes chooses Trip Opponent.
Theseus: Brawn (58): 54: Success. He also wins the opposed roll because he scored higher.

Periphetes Turn2:

Periphetes attacks, spending 1 AP. Theseus Parries, spending 1 AP.
Periphetes: Combat Style (62): 32: Success.
Theseus: Combat Style (74): 92: Failure.
Periphetes chooses Choose Location and aims for the Head.
Damage: 4 HP: Minor Wound. Remaining HP on Theseus Head: 2.

Theseus Turn 3:

Theseus attacks spending 1AP. Periphetes has no remaining AP.
Theseus: Combat Style (74): 72: Success. He chooses Disarm Opponent.
I also roll on attack damage and Hit Location: 13: Right Arm: Damage: 1d6+1d2:4 HP. Serious Wound.
Periphetes: Endurance (42): 21: Success. He fails the opposed roll because Theseus scored higher.
Periphetes: Combat Style (62): 51: Success. He fails the opposed roll because Theseus scored higher.
The weapon is flung: 1d2: 2 meters away.
Due to the Serious Wound all tasks involving his Right Arm, will be one difficulty grade higher.
Periphetes can only Parry or Evade for the next 1d3: 3 turns.

The two men close up on each other. Theseus tries to slash at Periphetes, but he fails to find his target. Periphetes has moved aside and tries to use his iron club to trip Theseus, but the strong young man has plunged firmly his feet on the ground. Theseus slashes again, but as he fails to hit Periphetes, he finds an opening and hits Theseus firmly on his head, the blow leaving a bump on Theseus skull. Unstartled by the blow, the prince swings his xiphos against the club, and with a twisting motion as his teacher showed him, he forces it out of Corynetes’ hand and flings it away a couple of meters. As the xiphos yanks the weapon, Theseus rebounds with a quick slash at Periphetes’ arm, hacking it to the bone. Periphetes screams in pain, at a loss without his club.

Round 2:

Theseus Turn 1:

Theseus attacks spending 1 AP. Periphetes Parries, spending 1 AP.
Theseus: Combat Style (74): 33: Success.
Periphetes: Combat Style (41): 50: Failure. Theseus chooses Impale.
I roll on attack damage and Hit Location: Left Arm: Damage: Max 1 of 2d6+1d2: 5 HP: Serious Wound.
Due to the Serious Wound all tasks involving his Left Arm, will be one difficulty grade higher.
Periphetes can only Parry or Evade for the next 1d3: 2 turns.

Theseus Turn 2:

Theseus attempts to yank the weapon free spending 1 AP. Periphetes cannot oppose Theseus.
Theseus: Brawn (58): 5: Critical Success.
Theseus yanks the weapon free and causes 1d3 further damage to the left arm: 1 HP.

Theseus Turn 3:

Theseus attacks spending 1AP. Periphetes Parries, spending 1 AP.
Theseus: Combat Style (74): 27: Success.
Periphetes: Combat Style (31): 54: Failure. Theseus chooses Choose Location: Head.
Theseus: Damage: 1d6+1d2: 5 HP: Serious Wound.
Periphetes: Endurance (42): 16: Success. He doesn’t fall unconscious.
Periphetes can only Parry or Evade for the next 1d3: 3 turns.

Theseus hacks at the unarmed Periphetes who tries to parry using his arms. Theseus’ xiphos pierces through the robber’s left arm, and lodges deep inside it. Periphetes screams yet again in agony. His foe has the upper hand. Theseus pulls out the sword, hurting him once more. He clutches both his mangled arms and cries out. Not wasting anytime, he follows again, with a quick slash to Periphetes’ head, cutting off part of his face.

Round 3:

Theseus Turn 1:

Theseus moves and takes Periphetes’ iron club from the ground spending 1 AP.
Periphetes can do nothing.

Theseus attacks Periphetes with the iron club spending 1 AP. Periphetes Parries, spending 1 AP.
Theseus: Combat Style (74): 69: Success.
Periphetes: Combat Style (31): 66: Failure. Theseus chooses Choose Location: Head.
Theseus: Damage: 1d8+1d2: 10 HP: Major Wound.

With Periphetes otherwise disabled, Theseus goes to where he dropped his iron club. He picks it from the ground, and scores another hit on the robber’s head. His skull cracks open, and he falls down dead. Suffering the same fate he has given to countless other travelers.

Theseus takes the iron club as his own, and performs first aid on his injury to the head.
Theseus: First Aid (43): 24: Success: 1d3: 3 HP Healed.

He takes some time to apply some crushed healing herbs to his head with a bandage, and after burying the robber, he continues on his way.


Session Background: Okay, no dying first session in. I call that a success.
I’ve read everywhere how gritty and dangerous combat in Mythras is, and it couldn’t be more true. The details of the combat system were such, that I was almost feeling sorry for Periphetes being wounded again and again. I was really scared at that first hit Theseus took to the head. It could have meant the end in a quick stroke (that’s where the Luck Points can be handy). He managed to heal 3 out of the 4 hit points he suffered in combat, and he’s about to heal that last one with a good night’s rest.
It’s also good to play it safe and go with the 90 points build, and keep the villains below that. Since he’s to face many threats, he ought to have the upper hand statistically, otherwise it’s game over in confrontation two or three. If needed, Theseus will seek healing and pause before proceeding with the adventure. He may be bold but he ain’t stupid.
In the concept of pulp and mythology I gave Theseus no armor. In all depictions he’s facing the enemies unarmored and this makes combat even more dangerous. I realize that a man of his status should have some armor, but that goes against the setting and would make the adventure less challenging. He has to earn his name after all.
There’s too much bookkeeping going into the combat of Mythras. It’s great when going face to face with just one opponent, but I doubt I could handle more. This makes me feel confident about my choice of adventure where each deed is one to one confrontation.
Character generation took a while, but the system is pretty straightforward. I did some going back and forth between my pdfs but it’s to be expected since this is my first game in the system. Sometimes I learned quickly the rule and didn’t have to go back to check it again. I am also glad to know that after double-checking a couple of potential mistakes I made, I realized I had done things the correct way, so I moved on, without further worry.
I don’t know yet how to feel about d100 roll under systems. I think I’m predisposed when I know the odds in such a clear manner – 74% Wow that’s really high, and – boom 92, I miss – and I get frustrated when the highest odds fail. Maybe it will take some getting used to the system over the d6 or savage worlds fuzzy mechanics which had wild dice, and where the odds weren’t visible at first glance.