Mazes & Minotaurs

Over a decade ago, Paul Elliott wrote a tiny piece of counterfactual history called The Gygax/Arneson Tapes. It recounts the history of the world’s most famous role-playing game, Mazes & Minotaurs, in which the players take on larger-than-life Greek-style heroes in Sword and Sandal adventures.

A while later, the amazing Olivier Legrand “dug up and published” the original 1972 rules for Mazes & Minotaurs. Of course, in reality he wrote it. All of it. It’s a complete, good, playable RPG written based on a little half page of inspiration, also inspired by the little brown books of D&D.

Then, later, he produced the 1987 “revised” edition. This gives us the three core books you’d expect: the player’s manual, the Maze Master’s guide, and the creature compendium. Later came the M&M Companion, Viking & Valkyries (an alternate setting), and perhaps most amazingly of all, Minotaur Quarterly, an excellent magazine of add-on material for RM&M. Of course, sometimes it included “republished” articles from the days of OM&M.

The whole set of books is well done. They’re all written as if the false history is true, and with a bit of tongue in cheek, but they’re still good, playable games.

For about a year and a half, give or take, I ran a modified M&M game and it went well. I might run it again some day, either in that same setting or in the canonical Mythika, if I get around to watching a bunch more peplum films. I advise all fellow old school RPG fans to give M&M a look.

Written on October 31, 2013
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