This is a straight up comparison between MYFAROG 2.6, 3.0 and 4.0 with a little bit of critique/editorializing thrown in. I do not own 1.x so that will not be included; the few things I say about the first edition are all second-hand knowledge so let me know if I got anything wrong.
Basics & tldr bullet list
- The game has had four numbered versions to date. Version 1 and further tweaked versions numbered 1.x were released as limited print runs and are all sold out.
- Version 2 was a rules overhaul intended to streamline the game and fix some bugbears. It also included some relatively minor changes to the setting. The mechanics changes were significant, and as is usually the case, these changes came with their own problems, of which the 2.6 release was an attempt at addressing. 2.7 is simply an errata version of 2.6.
- A number of splatbooks with optional rules and gameable content came out around the age of Version 2. The version 2 corebook and splats were released as POD through Amazon and are no longer available.
- Version 3.0 included a big apocalyptic twist to the setting, including the addition of many Tolkienesque/D&D tropes. It also featured some mechanics changes, most notably with playable races and the magic system. This version was also released through Amazon and is also no longer available, making versions 1 through 3.0 only available through secondary markets.
- From version 3.0 on, all the splatbook stuff is included in the corebook.
- Versions 3.3 and 4.0 (the second is an errata version of the first with different cover art) are currently available from Amazon and feature changes to the core mechanics intended to further streamline the game, as well as more setting changes, which reverse the apocalyptic event of 3.0 but preserve the Tolkien/D&D elements.
Base resolution mechanic: 3d6 + mods (roll high) against a target number.
Simulationist, HEMA-inspired bent. Using Conan or Wuxia logic will get you killed in a big hurry. PCs trained in combat are significantly better at it than those who are not. Attacking an unwitting or helpless target is extremely unforgiving for the target. Armor absorbs damage, shields make it harder for you to get hit. Fighting prowess helps with defense as well as offense. A lot of rolling during combat if using most of the subsystems.
Morale subsystem which also affects PCs. Slow healing. Somewhat crunchy encumbrance system. Big emphasis on survivalism and travel.
Thule is based on folklore going back to European Barbarian Antiquity, think Frazer's The Golden Bough, Tacitus, European folktales, pre-Christian paganism and animism and a bunch of original research. Feels very different from D&D, Tolkien, and other Appendix-N type fantasy. There is a clear emphasis on Germanic barbarians, but room is left for further tailoring.
Every player option mechanic hooks deep into the setting, particularly Life Stance.
The game uses Proto-Norse for a lot of names of setting-related stuff, Proto-Norse being assumed by the game to be the Thulean common language.
The game bestiary is again heavily influenced by European folklore, which is evident in the terminology, which is again different from D&D and Tolkien. As an example, in the game, the name for undead is "troll" ("screamer"), while the name for giants, dragons and other session-ending beasts is "ettin" ("giant").
While there are also clear influences from Lovecraft and the Roadside Picnic novel, the setting is very unique when compared to other RPGs.
Races: Native, Elf-born, Deity-born, Fairling, Wood Elf race-class. Arbi and Khemetian (both foreign to the default setting) as PCs possible but the book does not recommend it.
Social Classes: Noble, Freeman, Thrall, Outlaw.
Life stances: Traditional, Religious. These basically refer to the character's worldview in regards to mysticism (animism vs polytheism).
Classes: Bacchante/Maenead, Bard, Berserk/Valkyrie, Ranger (Religious only), Sorcerer (Traditional only), Civilian, Stalker, Trickster, Warrior.
The game also mechanically takes into account Cultural Background (i.e. regional origin within Thule) and PC sex.
A Traditional caster (Sorcerer) picks an element at character creation (Earth/Wind/Fire/Water/Spirit) which will limit the spells he can cast. Religious casters (every other spellcasting class) have more options but are to an extent limited by the spells their Deity can cast.
The base resolution mechanic, as well as combat etc, are virtually unchanged from 2.7. An exception to this is stat modifiers.
The new setting does not rewrite the prior one but advances it thousands of years into the future, after a worldwide apocalyptic event. All permanent settlements of old have been swallowed by Jötunnheimr (the ettin-fog EtunahaimaR from previous editions) and are now populated only by hordes of wraiths. Fairlings, Arbis and Khemetians have disappeared. The Deities have left. Magic is rarer.
The common language is now Old Norse. Only the elves speak Proto-Norse.
The weapon and armor options reflect a later historical time, more like Early Middle Ages than Antiquity.
Social Class and Cultural Background are removed from the game, though outlawry is still mentioned. Life Stances stay the same.
Races: Elf (Wood Elf, race-class), Halfling (race-class), Common Man, High Man, Lesser Man. Dwarf, Gnome, Common Orc, Goblin, Half-Orc, Hobgoblin, Ogre as PC race-classes possible but the book does not recommend it.
Classes: Bacchante/Maenead and Berserk/Valkyrie are removed.
Base resolution mechanic: d20 + mods (roll high) against a target number.
Attacking unwitting or helpless targets is nerfed. Armor no longer absorbs damage but instead makes it harder for you to get hit. Fighting prowess now only helps with offense. Because attacks are rolled on a d20, it is now easier to roll attack, damage, cut and shock simultaneously with a big handful of dice.
Consequences of failed morale rolls linger longer. Encumbrance system reworked. Travel while encumbered is harder. Character Size simplified. Other miscellaneous mechanics are cut down/simplified especially regarding combat and character creation. Stat modifiers as in 3.0.
The common language and the equipment options stay similar to 3.0.
Races: Dwarf, Gnome, Grey Elf, Half-Elf, High Elf, Wood Elf, Halfling (race-classes), Common Man, High Man, Lesser Man.
Classes: Bacchante/Maenead and Berserk/Valkyrie stay removed.
The changes from 3.0 remain, but PCs can learn twice as many spells, it is easier to learn more powerful ones, and learning of spells of different elements by Sorcerers is easier since it does not depend on stat modifiers.