Man, Myth and Magic (1982)

OK, I don’t know what was going on over at Yaquinto Publications. This is their second RPG by J. H. Brennan after Timeship and it is weird. Brennan, I should mention, is the author of the GrailQuest gamebooks, which I adore, and also a bunch of New Age books, which I find curious. Man, Myth and Magic sort of feels like the spot where his interests cross pollinate (let us ignore that GrailQuest doesn’t come out until 1984).

Mx3 is sort of Classical World: The RPG. There isn’t really a coherent attempt to make this a historical game. Rather, it reminds me of the sort of ahistorical stuff you might see in a Harryhausen movie — the way Sinbad will one minute be chatting in a Greek temple and the next fighting a living statue of Kali. I like Harryhausen movies and big unthinking mash-ups of cool stuff, so this doesn’t bug me overmuch in theory. In execution, I don’t really understand how to string it along into a game. The system is barely there, it allows for characters from a baffling mix of extractions and I dunno. The included series of linked adventures are a hoot, starting off fighting a T-Rex in Rome and ending at the Great Pyramid after a trip to Stonehenge and Ireland.

None of this is bad, really, I just don’t understand what the point of it is? Like, why is this a whole new box set instead of just a module for Timeship? What am I supposed to be getting out of this theme? Is it all just an advertisement for Richard Cavendish’s illustrated encyclopedia of the supernatural of the same name (which is excellent, and, if you can’t be bothered tracking it down, you can get the gist in his single volume, still in print gloss, The Black Arts)? I have no answers to these questions.

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