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Old 06-15-2016, 01:58 AM   #1
electrum
 
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Default Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

I'm currently rereading one of my favorite books, the Iliad, and I'm coming to realize that these heroes are ludicrously powerful. As in, more powerful than mythical heroes usually are. Consider Diomedes, who defies the Olympians and actually wounds one, a god.

I am not a terribly seasoned GURPS player (but I'm no greenhorn, either), so I was wondering what kind of statting people would give the Homeric heroes!

I legitimately don't even know how many character points to give someone like Achilles, who for all intents and purposes is a god himself. What about Zeus? Ares?
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

Reasonably skilled warriors that got built up in each retelling. Olympian gods were flawed, could do amazing things but also had amazing weaknesses. Achilles, for example, just a great warrior during Trojan War, got shot in the heel and died. 1000 years later everyone agrees if they'd shot him anywhere else it woulda just bounced off. They even built up a whole story around the hows and whys, but the story wasn't created until long after he was dead.

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However, none of the sources before Statius makes any reference to this general invulnerability. To the contrary, in the Iliad Homer mentions Achilles being wounded: in Book 21 the Paeonian hero Asteropaeus, son of Pelagon, challenged Achilles by the river Scamander. He cast two spears at once, one grazed Achilles' elbow, "drawing a spurt of blood".

Also, in the fragmentary poems of the Epic Cycle in which we can find description of the hero's death, Cypria (unknown author), Aithiopis by Arctinus of Miletus, Little Iliad by Lesche of Mytilene, Iliou persis by Arctinus of Miletus, there is no trace of any reference to his general invulnerability or his famous weakness (heel); in the later vase paintings presenting Achilles' death, the arrow (or in many cases, arrows) hit his body.
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

I mean of course Achilles was simply a really talented warrior, but for most of the epic cycle he has the protection and favor of the gods, which gives him quite an advantage over the other warriors.

I suppose he would need some kind of Serendipity and Patron? Since the Olympian gods don't really function as normal gods, but more as intentioned agents that affect the world with their own personalities, I consider it to be more like patron than worship.

I do understand that GURPS is somewhat limited by the fact that Achilles has literal plot armor in the epic cycle, in that Homer might be (probably is) making up all of the interim stories to build up how amazing Achilles/Ajax/Odysseus was so that it's not just "X did Y thing at Troy. Then they did Z and went home/died" and instead we have all this embellishment around it. But it still feels like GURPS would be able to model that, considering it provides "external affecting" mechanisms like Fate, Weirdness Magnet, etc...
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

Originally Achilles was just a skilled warrior whose main weakness was his pride. Later his weakness was his love for Polyxena. Ovid's Metamorphoses suggested that Achilles had a vulnerable spot somewhere on his body but it wasn't until Statius' Achilleid that he develops a vulnerable heel. It seems pretty pointless for Homer to spend hundreds of words describing Achilles' shield and armour if he was invulnerable to weapons and, as noted above, he was wounded in the elbow during one encounter.

If I was running this kind of game, I would set it before the Trojan War, and I would make the major characters NPCs. That way I wouldn't have to try and stat characters with plot protection and I wouldn't have players doing stupid things because they know they can't die. There are plenty of minor characters in the Iliad for the players to choose from to play and if they die, it doesn't upset three thousand years of tradition. The battle at Troy can be the big finale.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

Well, Achilles is the son of a goddess (as are practically all the other heroes except Hector). So while he's not a god, he is certainly more than a mortal man. The heroes of the Trojan War routinely do things that "no man today" could do, like heaving huge boulders at each other.

For Achilles, I'd start with the Knight from Dungeon Fantasy equipped with typical Greek weapons (short sword, spear, shield). Up the ST to somewhere 25-ish and if you want to incorporate the legend of invulnerability, either DR and Damage Reduction coupled with Supernatural Durability. You'd end up somewhere around 500 points.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

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Well, Achilles is the son of a goddess (as are practically all the other heroes except Hector). So while he's not a god, he is certainly more than a mortal man. The heroes of the Trojan War routinely do things that "no man today" could do, like heaving huge boulders at each other.
Pretty sure Achilles, Aeneas, and Helen were the only participants in the Trojan War who were given divine parentage (a river nymph, Aphrodite, and Zeus, respectively). Paris certainly wasn't, nor were Agamemnon, Menelaus, Ajax the Lesser, the one Amazon general who fought for Troy, Odysseus, etc. (Ajax the Greater might have had divine parentage, but I can't remember for certain.) Most of them had divine ancestors two to six generations back, though; the whole point of the Trojan War, from the gods' perspective, was to thin the divine bloodlines because the monsters (children of Echidna and Typhon) the heroes had been created to slay were mostly dead already, and were no longer needed.

Most of the Greek heroes I'd give the DF Knight template to. Odysseus would be a Knight-Thief-Scout hybrid. Ajax the Greater might be better done as a Barbarian-Knight. Paris would probably be better done using Scout; he's not that great with a sword, but he's the one that takes out Achilles with a bow.

(The movie Troy has Paris shooting three arrows at Achilles to kill him, with the first in the heel. It explains the "invulnerability-except-the-heel" bit as Achilles removing the other two arrows as he died. For all its faults, mythologically speaking, it was a fairly decent representation of how the war might have actually gone "in real life".)

Cassandra, the prophetess, I'd build using Divine Favor rather than a skill-based magic system. Not sure id there were others that used magic in any form; it seemed to be the possession of the gods.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

I bow to your superior knowledge of The Iliad. :o)

Anyway, I'd put Achilles at 500 points or so. Diomedes, Ajax and Odysseus at about the same. And Aeneas, who is my favorite character because I love the Aeneid. Fan-fiction for the win!
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

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(Ajax the Greater might have had divine parentage, but I can't remember for certain.)
Great-grandson of Zeus.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Statting heroes from the Trojan War?

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The heroes of the Trojan War routinely do things that "no man today" could do, like heaving huge boulders at each other.
Yes, those Leopards, Merkavas, and Abrams' sure are wussy.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:20 AM   #10
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Yes, those Leopards, Merkavas, and Abrams' sure are wussy.
No, the text says they do such things. I agree, of course, that I would rather have an M1 Abrams than Achilles at my side.
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