The History of Elthos
The Elthos Project began a long, long time ago in 1978 with the creation of Elthos Prime, a rules system developed by Mark Abrams (um, that's me, folks) based on the original role playing game rules of that era. Its goal was to have a system that could expand without having to add individual charts for every new element added to the game. Therefore the General Resolution Matrix was invented to centralize all mechanics based on Skill Level vs. Difficulty Level. The rules system was a success and used for three decades quite happily.
In 1994 I decided to program my rules system using Visual Basic. I wrote up the schema and overall concept, and sent that off to the copyright office. And then the long years of work began. I had to teach myself database modelling and programming for this feat. I started with QBasic, and then moved on to Visual Basic. By 2000 I had a completed fully functional and rather awesome visual basic application called The Gamemaster's Toolbox. In fact it has all of the features of the Mythos Machine, and a bunch of features that surpass it. Among them is a Map Painter utility that setups up terrain for combat, which the GM Toolbox also handles. And rather nicely. Unfortunately, the visual basic technology is buggy, and the code started when I knew very little about programming. In the end I decided it would be too problematic to release it to the public. Nevertheless, it formed the basis for the Mythos Machine, and I still have plans to continue migrating features over from the GM Toolbox to the Mythos Machine as time and resources permit. This is one reason why I'm asking for people's Contributions. It would help the process along, and in the end I think the effort will be worthwhile. So if you have a few spare shekels consider tossing them over to the Elthos Project. It's appreciated, believe me.
In 2006 I decided to distill the Elthos down to as simple and light weight set of rules as possible, without losing any of the core mechanics. I did this on behalf of the Literary Role Playing Game Society. We were meeting at a local pub every other week and I wanted a tiny 1d6 mini-system so that we could play out experimental scenarios without attracting a lot of attention to our table. Thus the "One Die System" (ODS) was born. That also went quite well and many years of great times have been had by all. On my blog I posted the actual play prose write-ups of those adventures.
Along the way I started adding my artwork to the project. Mostly in the form of sketches of characters as well as maps, and most recently an innovation I call Story Maps (aka Plot Maps). This has been a lot of fun, and added considerably to the overall quality of the project.
In 2014 I felt the project had made enough progress to share, so I decided that it was time to offer my creations to the RPG community. And so the Elthos company was created to do so in a cohesive way. The establishment of the company foundations took a lot of work (way more than I expected!), but with the help of some absolutely great friends and colleagues along the way it has come to fruition and here we are. What was specifically wanted to avoid was the Investment Capital route. This way creative control of the project has remained securely in my hands so that the project could be guided in a way that will hopefully give it its greatest chance of fulfilling my broader vision for this endeavor. This broader vision is known as The Elthos Project.
The Elthos Project encompasses the goals and aspirations of the Literary Role Playing Game Society, and the Professional Gamesmaster Society, as well as an over-arching array of products including the Elthos RPG and the Mythos Machine. Our goal is to make Gamesmastering your own Worlds faster, easier and more elegant. We stand for human creativity and wish to foster it through Role Playing Games which we think of as the latest greatest art form of the late 20th century.
The fledgling company has now, as of July 2017, completed Phase I, which involved the organizing of the company structure, related legal and marketing work, and raising the production quality of the Elthos RPG Core Rules and the Mythos Machine to the point where it could be proudly sent off with a happy wave and wish for best of luck on its journey into the wider world.
I hope you enjoy our products and services. We're eager to continue polishing and enhancing our offerings over time so that they become a work of art. My dream is to give the world the very best and most beautiful RPG utilities I can heading into the 21st century and beyond.
I want to say a very special thanks to all my friends who've been so encouraging, helpful and supportive along the way. Without your inspiration this project would have been impossible for me to achieve. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
- Mark Abrams