The feel of ‘Milhamah’

The feel of Milhamah is an action-fantasy set in a religious apocalyptic setting. The default play style puts the player in the roles of allies of the Holy Tongue Society, a remnant of rebels that hope to liberate the land of ‘Ivrit from the brainwashing Bavel Macrostructure, protect its sacred tongue and its 22 Foundation Letters, and unleash Pardes by planting the hidden shoresh roots, which belonged to the Garden of ‘Eden’s original trees.

Imagine a world war where words become deadly weapons. Where life and death are in the power of the tongue. And where no quarter is given to any tyrant who coerces people to repeat a lie.

“Milhamah: Fighting Words” equips you to create and roleplay a character who strives for victory in the ‘Ivrit army or its special forces and reconaissance wing, the Holy Tongue Society. Given the “Milhamah” series’ focus on language and speech, a tabletop game with heavy roleplaying, talking and social elements is a perfect fit.

In this game, “Milhamah: Fighting Words,” you are a linguistic warrior assigned to work with the Holy Tongue Society or its revolutionary cause, the ‘Ivrit Revival Movement. Your mission: Use the ancient alphabets to fight a biblical apocalypse and save the holy tongue of ‘Ivrit and its land, ‘Ever. 

Your enemy is the Bavel Macrostructure, a global censorship empire whose propaganda promises peace through “one language, few words.” Led by the decadent dictator Beli Ya’al, every day this dystopia hunts down untamed tongues and problem words one by one, curating a consensus of lies. As an alliance of former nations, it also seeks to destroy the remnant resistance posed by ‘Ever.  

But Bavel wants more. It dreams of rebuilding a Tower of Babel to brainwash the world. For its plan to work, it must control 22 primordial letters that formed the universe: the Otiyot.

All that stands in the way is razing the former Jerusalem, ‘Ir Risshum. Over there, the Holy Tongue Society protects its archives, which house several Otiyot and the last writings of ‘Ivrit, the sacred language of the Exodus. 

Characters in Milhamah covertly operate in the land of Eretz, a world where most people have either forgot how to speak, or are afraid to speak. It’s a world where the dictionary is worshiped, and what you say becomes what you are. Every day the Bavel Macrostructure hunts down a new word and obliterates the sounds as they speak.

As a result, you can play this game in different periods. An early Bavel era would have them rising to power, with only more technical and political words being taboo. A later, more apocalyptic era would have the general populace only able to speak on a small child’s level, or even a caveman!

However, in any era, a small smattering of people still resist this social brainwashing and are able to speak freely and intelligently, at least in secret, or when the government isn’t watching.

Biblical proportions

The resistance forces of the ‘Ivrit Revival Movement face an apocalyptic battle of biblical proportions against overwhelming odds. Fights should be swift, decisive and difficult and involve much research and preparation to win.

Your side is outnumbered, outgunned and armed with few weapons. Under normal circumstances, everything and everybody you love is doomed to ruin.

But you have grit, chutzpah, daring defiance, can-do improv skills and a nothing-to-lose mentality. You also have a few hidden secret allies and weapons — namely the god Ha-Shem and the Holy Tongue of ‘Ivrit.

Recover the ancient, creative power of the holy tongue to defeat the invaders that seek to choke your people to annihilation. Plumb the depths, gates and hidden paths and chambers of ‘Ir Reshumim, the city of records. Or explore and survive the desolate expanses and hidden caves of the Midbar, the wilderness that once was Qumran. Fight for the independence of your promised homeland, ‘Ever!

Venture to the land of Shin’ar and demolish the brainwashing Migdal tower that seats the evil Bavel Macrostructure’s ruler, Beli Ya’al! Meet new friends and secret sympathizers along your journey.

When you have the courage to speak truth, you can do amazing things. But as a part of the Holy Tongue Society, you have a choice. Will you zealously pursue the messy chaos and confusion of free speech and divine liberation, or your own brand of thought policing, zealotry and authoritarian control?

How to play

Milhamah RPG is a tabletop roleplaying game. Many books like to compare this to a collaborate, “let’s pretend” storytelling session. But Milhamah is more than that. It’s a game where a roll of the dice can teem with conflict, challenge and risk.

In order to play Milhamah RPG, a Narrator thinks up some ideas for a story and plans out mission scenarios, including quests, hazards and antagonists.

Then he or she assembles a group of people who each design characters for themselves, known as agents. Most of the time, these agents work for the ‘Ivrit Revival Movement or the paramilitary Holy Tongue Society.

The agents will spend much of their time traveling through portal-like Gates of Bavel, exploring new worlds called semantic domains, and tracking down and recovering rare shoresh roots. These roots, which are fragments of the legendary Semantic (or Syntax?) Tree, turn their chutzpah and frank speech into weapons against the censorial thought police of the Bavel Macrostructure.

The agents will face the struggles that the Narrator puts in front of them, and devise plans to confront or sidestep them. When conflict occurs, the agents will often use special cards or Merit tokens to improve their odds.

In addition, you will use multicolored 12-sided dice — inscribed with Hebrew letters and numbers — to form combos. These combos can launch explosive kisses, emit vibration shockwaves, transform into gel, command armies of soldiers and even throw the kitchen sink at your foes. You will solve puzzles, pull off heists, and recover lost shoresh roots that rectify names to their true meaning.

“Milhamah” means war, and you will covertly operate at the domains and battlefields of Eretz Otzar. Your side is outnumbered, outgunned and armed with few weapons. Under normal circumstances, everything and everybody you love is doomed to ruin.

Everyday people have lost their voice or mumble under their breath. But you and your colleagues are among the remnant who resist this social brainwashing and hope to revive ‘Ivrit. Your ḥutzpah and spite will transcend overwhelming odds. You think freely, speak intelligently … and are ready to keep it a secret no longer. 

Enjoy playing this game. May your imagination be your battle plan!