Milhamah RPG is a tabletop roleplaying game. Many books like to gussy this up in some avant-garde way, comparing roleplaying to a collaborative, “let’s pretend” improv storytelling session.
But Milhamah is more than hokey descriptions like that. It’s a game where a roll of the dice can teem with conflict, challenge and risk. An
In order to play Milhamah RPG, the participants play under the direction of a scenario designer, conflict manager and referee known as the Narrator. The Narrator thinks up some challenging ideas for a story and plans out mission scenarios, including quests, hazards and antagonists.
Then the Narrator assembles a group of people known as players who portray and act out the role of their own avatar characters, known as agents or subjects. Players roll and assign different attributes, abilities and skills to their agents. Then the player agents refer to those attributes and skills to resolve story conflicts, overcome challenges, collect treasure, explore, navigate the social world and more. Most of the time, these agents work for the ‘Ivrit Revival Movement or the paramilitary Holy Tongue Society and try to thwart the Bavel Macrostructure’s plans.
The Narrator is also in charge of driving the story’s course, worldbuilding, and refereeing and interpreting game rules. So long as the Narrator is fair to the players, sometimes it may be beneficial to bend the rules. Typically, Narrators do some planning before the game session begins, but they also have to be adaptable when the player agents throw things into chaos! This isn’t always a bad thing, so long as everyone is in accord on having fun and is making a good-faith effort to roleplay.
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 — when the Narrator or the rules may demand a dice roll at certain tension points involving social repartee, dangers and obstacles, and fighting. The roll results may form letter combos that 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.
Dice come in three colors. The red set of dice is called atbash (abbreviated as R), the blue set is called albam (abbreviated “B”), and the green set is called akhbi (abbreviated G). Each set of dice has different letter configurations on them that correspond to ciphers — these are important when players may opt to flip dice to their opposite sides.
Notation reads as follows: 3 atbash dice 3dR; 6 akhbi dice: 6dG
“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!