originally posted here: https://farooqsgaming.blogspot.com/2019/08/mythic-game-master-emulator-review.html
The Mythic Game Master Emulator provides three powerful tools that allow you to play tabletop roleplaying games without a GM: The Fate Chart, the Random Event tables, and the Adventure Sheet.
The Fate Chart is the core of the Mythic GME system and provides the basic foundation for play. It is a complicated yes/no system, a so-called "oracle", that is meant to handle any random question with an unexpected result that would normally be asked of a DM. The Fate chart provides the entirety of Mythic's task resolution system, and the outcome of every action should be posed as a yes/no question to be rolled for on the chart. The Fate chart also acts as the main content generator for the system, and it is implied that worldbuilding tasks such as setting up the features of a setting, NPC encounters, and social situations can all be handled through it, though there is an admonishment in the book not to go overboard with dice rolls but use logic instead.
The Random Event Focus and Event Meaning tables are the only concrete tables in the book. They present a list of items that, when combined, must be interpreted to create a new event occurance in your game. The GME says to use these tables only on a double number dice roll, but they're also useful at any point when you're unsure of what to do next in game. The Event Meaning tables are essentially just tools for guided inspiration in story telling, much the same as Rory's Story Cubes, or a Tarot Deck, or any other such tool that invites creative interpretation. The Event Focus chart is meant to give the Event Meanings a concrete effect in your game.
The Adventure Sheet is the framing device that holds the rest of the game together. Every game session, or every adventure, is meant to be a collection of scenes in which a dramatic conflict is posed and resolved. The worksheet itself contains entries for scene setups and resolutions, as well as places to list NPC actors and story threads. The story threads are also a unique idea that provide guidance to the flow and purpose of the game, as well as adding another element of unpredictability.
I found the Mythic GME to be more useful as a creative writing tool rather than a fun game to play solo. In fact, when it comes to specifically playing solo, I found the experience of using the Mythic GME to be more akin to doing English Literature homework with dice or doing my taxes instead of actually playing a game.
The greatest weakness of the Mythic RPG is that it tries to be completely generic. I understand that the goal is to allow the players to fit it into whatever setting or type of story they want, but as a result it loses concrete mechanics to actually support an individual fantasy. In fact, for any type of game you want to play, it is better to use a system with concrete mechanics and only use the Mythic GME to fill in the missing "gaps".
The traditional role of a Game Master is to describe the environment to the players, and to narrate the results of their actions. Or, to restate in technical jargon, the GM provides content generation and action resolution.
The sea-change, breakthrough moment of the Mythic GME is in using the Fate chart for action resolution. Every action can be posed as a yes/no question and rolled for a result on the Fate chart. Every scene should begin with a question describing the dramatic conflict ("how do my player characters overcome this immediate challenge") and a series of answers rolled on the Fate chart can provide the resolution ("are they successful"). Once you separate the distinct tasks of content generation and action resolution from one another, the use of the Fate chart, Adventure Sheet and Event tables become more clear, but the book itself does not do this.
Instead, it confuses the issue by using the Fate chart for content generation and action resolution, and then admonishing the player not to go overboard with content focused questions. A better solution would be to use the many random charts, terrain, events, and encounters that can be found in an RPG such as D&D or on online blogs for content generation.
In my own games, I found the Mythic GME of limited use. I could create a game world straight out of the random tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide and adventure through it, and I could use all the rest of that game's mechanics to resolve my successes. I only needed the Mythic GME to fill in the gaps of certain elements that weren't immediately obvious. The Mythic system might have changed the way we see RPGs, and probably kicked off the whole solo RPG community, and its definitely worth the read to understand how, at a fundamental level, the tasks of a GM work and how they can be represented mechanically through dice rolls.
However, I will complain that this book is presented backwards. It shows you its most important mechanic first, the Fate Chart, followed by everything that's connected to it. This leaves you to puzzle out for yourself how to actually use all its mechanics. Instead, it should have presented the Adventure Sheet first, as its the first thing that you'd pull out for your game session, and explained it first before moving through the Randomness chapter, Event Tables and then Fate Chart, as that's generally how you would use them during actual play.