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Using "Mythago Wood" in a MtA Story

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  • Using "Mythago Wood" in a MtA Story

    Mythago Wood is a novel by late English author Robert Holdstock. The book is about the fictional Ryhope Forest in 1984 – bits of imagination from individual’s unconscious and the collective unconscious of Britain manifest as reality (as people, places and things) inside the forest. The forest is also larger on the inside than the outside.

    I am ambivalent on the novel. It is not nearly as good as a lot of the reviews suggest. The plot is interesting, if routine, and the prose it pretty good. It is also callow, sexist, and utterly a product of its time and the man who wrote it.

    Mythago Wood is mentioned here because it strikes me as a good place for a lot of WoD plots. MtA comes to mind first, but other splats (WtA, CtD and VtM at something of a stretch) could also become entangled in the forest, or in the lives of people obsessed by the forest.

    A first idea which occurs is some mage faction discovers the forest and quickly understands that it serves to manifest the collective unconscious of Britain. This group of mages decides that maybe they can influence – maybe even control – that British collective unconscious through control of the forest. Which is easier said than done. There could easily be several rival group, each trying to rule the forest, such as Veddy Brittish Son’s of Ether, Original Flavor British Pagan Verbena, and members of the New World Order who miss Thatcher.

    The various groups race into the forest and as Spike – who is British – said; wackiness ensues.

    What are your thoughts on the set up?

  • #2
    Hmm, British control through forestry? That could be a fascinating way to explore the Technocracy and other mages. There's a lot on forestry in environmental history and a great deal of early work started with forests (water is another major EH topic).

    I wrote my undergraduate thesis comparing how the National Geographic Society (publisher of the National Geographic magazine) and the Royal Geographical Society of London promoted conservation in their journals from 1900 to 1905, so I know there's a lot of cultural material to mine if you go through scientific periodicals. H-Net Environment will have good resources and there's also a 'Colonial Origins of Scientific Forestry' page for EH Resources, which does an environmental history podcast.

    https://www.eh-resources.org/colonia...ific-forestry/

    https://networks.h-net.org/node/1939...ment-resources

    I haven't read the novel, but if it's thoughtful in parts and you've already owned it or a library owns it, it sounds like it would be worth using for game ideas.

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    • #3
      This book sounds terrible. I think I’ll pass on translating it to WoD.


      “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

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      • #4
        I won't say the book is terrible. Holdstock's prose is good. The characters are interesting. The concept of a magical forest at your back door is also solid enough. But in other areas the book lets you down. Namely, the forest generates a Celtic Warrior Princess that a pair of bother fight over - it is debatable if she has any capacity for agency or identity outside of the brothers' dreams and battles. But the idea of a magical forest manifesting dreams and nightmares feels like a natural fit in the WoD, albeit in a rural rather than urban setting.

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        • #5
          So you’re saying deobjectify the princess and you’ve got a decent book? Okay.

          Hmm. Could go well with Changeling instead of (or in addition to) Mage. Maybe like a Forest of Arden for the Isle of the Mighty setting.

          Eldagusto (and anybody else who wants to) Btw you should watch Emily in Paris on Netflix. Awesome show!


          “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

          Comment


          • #6
            Given that Mythago Wood is larger on the inside outside ( I assume the author was a Doctor Who fan) perhaps Mythago Wood could be a nearby realm. A realm partially of the Dreaming but also fully of the umbra. And a realm that reflects those traveling through it.

            Thus if a sexist who objectifies women is in the wood. The women he meets will conform to his bigotries. Which will disgust the true dwellers in the Wood. Any bigotry or corruption brought into the woods will shape the woods around you to that corruption and disgust and irritate the True Dwellers in the wood. The wood is a banality and paradox free path to anywhere in the Tellurian you want to go to, but only if your heart is pure.

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            • #7
              As written, the forest may cross time (or that might be an illusion), reaching back to when hominids first arrived in what would be Britain during the last ice age. It does not seem to offer access to just any physical location, however.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                As written, the forest may cross time (or that might be an illusion), reaching back to when hominids first arrived in what would be Britain during the last ice age. It does not seem to offer access to just any physical location, however.

                It would be a minor change that would make the Mythago woods important to the WoD. Although, paradox-free time travel could be a fascinating change to the setting.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                  So you’re saying deobjectify the princess and you’ve got a decent book? Okay.

                  Hmm. Could go well with Changeling instead of (or in addition to) Mage. Maybe like a Forest of Arden for the Isle of the Mighty setting.

                  Eldagusto (and anybody else who wants to) Btw you should watch Emily in Paris on Netflix. Awesome show!
                  Interesting concept with Mythago woods never heard of the novel before, seems very fitting say for the Temenos in CoD or the Astral in Mage the Ascension. But since I’m on a Changeling Binge this seems like a wonderful dream realm. It’s almost like an Inverted Quixotic Chimera or a Chimerical place with brood spawned of Quixotic Chimera of ideas. Hoho I’ll look into Emily in Paris too. ;P

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                  • #10
                    I really like the idea of Mythago Wood and stole it for some of my campaigns/chronicles, although I agree that the book itself isn't that good.

                    The one use I remember was in a fantasy game, where a park was somehow turned into this weird forest, and if you walked too deeply into it you'd sort of travel backward in time, to other worlds, and probably encounter mythic events and people. I never thought of using it with Mage, but it'd be cool.
                    Last edited by Resplendent Fire; 12-18-2020, 09:02 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post

                      Interesting concept with Mythago woods never heard of the novel before, seems very fitting say for the Temenos in CoD or the Astral in Mage the Ascension. But since I’m on a Changeling Binge this seems like a wonderful dream realm. It’s almost like an Inverted Quixotic Chimera or a Chimerical place with brood spawned of Quixotic Chimera of ideas. Hoho I’ll look into Emily in Paris too. ;P
                      Question

                      Did they ever do a book for the three layers of the High Umbra (the Vulgate, the Umbral/Elemental Courts and the Epiphamies) for M:tAs the way they did for the Astral Realms in M:tAw?


                      “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't think so.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Penelope View Post

                          Question

                          Did they ever do a book for the three layers of the High Umbra (the Vulgate, the Umbral/Elemental Courts and the Epiphamies) for M:tAs the way they did for the Astral Realms in M:tAw?
                          Not solely dedicated to them but the Book of Worlds and the Infinite Tapestry dedicated a lot to the Astral, I still need to read the book of worlds after people always gushed about it but the infinite Tapestry was really fun and introduced the concept of boon you can get on spirit journeys, basically like getting temporary extra totems useable for the rest of you spirit quest.

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