Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-13-2006, 11:56 AM   #11
Mercator
 
Mercator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas
Very cool setting, Mercator! I thought I had one concern, but then I realized that you only meant the land to return to its Bronze-Age state. I would have found the loss of Iron-Age technology difficult to swallow.
Me too; if I had wanted to do that, I could have just chosen the Bronze Age to begin with. My idea is to expose a modern (so to speak) and civilized Iron Age Greece to the Old Ways, and play with the contrast. Mythos versus Logos, you could say.
The idea of the land going back to its Bronze Age state is not essential to the setting, but I thought that ancient forests growing back preternaturally fast (I mean in the course of decades, not centuries) is quite eerie and creepy and fits well with the setting.

Quote:
I wonder how Athens will react to there being so much wood in mainland Greece for fleet-building? Where did the Athenians get most of the wood for their fleets anyways? The Pentakontietia is just ending, so perhaps a dispute over lumbering rights somewhere will replace Athenian intervention on the side of two minor poloi as the trigger for war.
DISCLAIMER: I have nothing but a superficial knowledge of Greek history, so please don't flame me for historical inaccuracies...

But you got me here; I didn't think of that. With extra wood available, coastal settlements would have a stronger motivation to become naval powers, perhaps challenging Athenian supremacy. War fleets could be larger and stronger (and perhaps new types of larger ships would be discovered eventually, capable of sailing through open ocean). I imagine the Aegean Sea would see even more "action" than in real history.
Sparta, IIRC, is landlocked, so it would be out of the game. It seems to me that they would try by any means to get access to wood and a corridor to the sea in order to have their own fleet. The trigger of the war could be either a dispute over lumbering rights or the invasion of a weaker coastal neighbor protected by Athens (protected precisely to avoid Spartan takeover).

All this depends of exactly where the forests grow and how safe is to approach them (they are not natural, remember?). Those are still free parameters. I would like to have some sort of "Haunted forest" somewhere (who doesn't like them?), but I have not decided yet what will the norm be. I guess it's a matter of deciding who shoud have a big fleet and who shouldn't, and work out the forests according to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord_Kjeran
As to the other gods...I can definitely see shadowy Egypt with her gods.
If the campaign goes in the way of all the Gods progressively coming back, they will be definitely the next ones; speak about creepy gods... But, as I said before, that would complicate things very much in the beginning (and I would have to buy more sourcebooks; not that I complain, but...). I am a firm believer in starting small and letting the players getting used to the setting. And, as I have said, I want the main confrontation to be Olympians vs. Titans, which are creepy enough in their own right.
But a confrontation of the Greek and the Egyptian Mythos could be excellent material for a later time in the setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord_Kjeran
Another thought...what about Rome? [...] Are the Roman gods the same gods or not? Does the Aegis that extends over "southern Italy" include Rome?
I think the Aegis should also cover Rome, and they should be the same gods. It makes sense. Perhaps in Rome (and in the Greek colonies in Italy?) there is a different balance of power between the Olympic and the Cthonic aspects of the Gods, which leads to different representations of the same entities. But both mythologies too similar to make them independent.

M.
__________________
Behind the Aegis - My dark fantasy setting in Classical Greece (discuss it here!).
Conversion of the supernatural skills in the Basic Set to Powers.
Mercator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 01:25 PM   #12
Fnordianslip
 
Fnordianslip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Wow, this is a fantastic idea. One thing I can see happening is cities in Greece, though maybe not all of them, becoming fairly strong theocracies. It's one thing to have a government that believes in Gods, but when proof of their actions are all around you, you'd pretty much have to get religious. I'd probably try to do some research on the structure of Greek religious activities and make them much, much more prevalent. Anyone who is a priest/priestess would weild terrific power, not just in terms of having spells, but also in terms of political influence. Also, there would probably be a fair amount of conversion to the greek gods in the parts of Italy that are under Zeus' Aegis. Hard to say no to Gods that actually do something for yah. Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I see it's time to bust out my mythology books, talk to friends, and figure out other goodies for this world.
Fnordianslip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 03:04 PM   #13
Lord Carnifex
 
Lord Carnifex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

To add my two cents:

There may indeed by additional lumber available, but given that the Aegean and surrounding areas are now going to be inhabited by various beasties, monsters and nymphs, not to mention a fickle and testy Poesidon, I think war fleets are not going to get very much larger. The sinkings due to divine/monstrous intervention are going to balance (somewhat) the increased number of ships available.

As far as governments go, I could imagine that if the Olympians have started taking an interest in human affairs again, you could see a resurgence in Heros as well. This might tilt many cities back towards the monarchies of the Heroic Age; those cities were prone to carrying on low-level warfare and antagonism with as may of their neighbors as possible. For additional pathos, you could have Athens clinging desperately to its democracy, and/or Sparta to its aristocracy in the face of Heroic attempts to bring back the traditional monarchies.

If you wanted to go with the Pelopennisian War theme, you could subtly twist it, with a militaristic, expansionistic Sparta trying to overcome the scrappy democrats of Athens. Throw Gods and Heros on both sides. Remember that one of the distinctive features of the Pelopennisian War in our history was the fact that land-locked Sparta was unbeatable on land, but nearly all of Athen's colonies/vassal cities were in Ionia and the Aegean, where the Athenian navy was supreme.

I think it'd work best if you leave the world outside of the Aegis alone for a bit. Run the campaign for a while as is. Then, if you need to expand, you can send the PC's sailing to Egypt, or Persia, or Britain, and decide what to do about those places then. The Macedonians or Romans can be a lurking menace, to be brought into the game if you need a fresh start or outside threat forcing the Greeks to band together. Perhaps the Roman gods really are the Titans in disguise?

Speaking of the Titans, you've got a lot of the major elements of a mythos:

Cronus => The all-father and sky god
Hyperion => The sun
Oceanus => The sea
Prometheus => The creator / crafts god
Eichidna => Mother of monsters

You could model Titan-gifted powers much like you do with Olympian gifts. If it were me, I'd be tempted to make the Titan-gifted a bit more powerful, but sadle them with bizarre limitations and disadvantages; this'd reflect a more primal nature, but one out of harmony with the gods and the balanced state of man.

Technology wise, it's up to you. I could see using the Olympians as a means to slowly devolve the fundamental tech level: bronze and iron are pretty much the same thing when put against the orichalum of Hephaestus. And if you've got Heros with the strength of ten men running around, there's less of a need to drive technological advancement, so the situation (if not actually regressing) could logically stagnate, especially if Hephaestus or Athena don't feel like sharing any craft secrets with mere mortals.

Hope that helps...

+++|<=== Lord Carnifex ---
Lord Carnifex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 03:06 PM   #14
Mercator
 
Mercator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fnordianslip
Wow, this is a fantastic idea. One thing I can see happening is cities in Greece, though maybe not all of them, becoming fairly strong theocracies. It's one thing to have a government that believes in Gods, but when proof of their actions are all around you, you'd pretty much have to get religious. I'd probably try to do some research on the structure of Greek religious activities and make them much, much more prevalent. Anyone who is a priest/priestess would weild terrific power, not just in terms of having spells, but also in terms of political influence. Also, there would probably be a fair amount of conversion to the greek gods in the parts of Italy that are under Zeus' Aegis. Hard to say no to Gods that actually do something for yah. Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I see it's time to bust out my mythology books, talk to friends, and figure out other goodies for this world.
IIRC, there was not a single Olympian CUlt all over Greece, but scores of local-ranged local cults.. Every city has its patron God, local heroes, etc. I like that because, again, it is quite different from the standard fantasy assumptions of organized and far-reaching churches. If we keep the cities at war for the reasons discussed in the posts above, it would be difficult for the local cults to merge into a single Olympian Church or some such. Which is fine with me.

What I imagine is that notable individuals as the Oracle of Delphi would wield enormous political power, since everybody would be hanging on their every word (note to self: how about false prophets?). Likewise, the leaders of a city would have to be blessed by the relevant religious authority in order to be accepted, omens would have to be favorable etc.

This is taking shape, folks, and I like what I'm seeing.

M.
__________________
Behind the Aegis - My dark fantasy setting in Classical Greece (discuss it here!).
Conversion of the supernatural skills in the Basic Set to Powers.
Mercator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 07:29 PM   #15
Fionn The Otaku
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Middletown, CT.
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Some ideas and questions.

Since in many city sates like Athens being a king was ceremonial religious position at this point the return of the gods could very well cause the rise of theocratic governments. Also since civilizations don't exists in vacuums the returning of Greek lands to there Bronze age condition and the appearance of fantastic/mythic beings in civilized lands should have effects on Persia and Carthage. Most likely the Olympians return will cause a lot of religious turmoil (partly because the gods seem to be Greek and partly because the gods are paying far more attention to the Greeks than any one else) among non-Greeks.
Where are the Centaurs, Satyrs, Nymphs and other fantastic creaturs coming from? Are they being created out of nothing or are humans and animals being transformed? How true to the Greek myths will these creatures be? Are there female centaurs or are they all male?
Fionn The Otaku is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2006, 01:02 AM   #16
Anders
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Ok., if we go Trojan style with the Peleponnesian war this is roughly what I come up with...

Olympians:
Zeus - neutral
Hermes - Athens; Sparta is very anti-commerciality
Apollo - Athens; again Sparta has an ideological aversion to new arts and crafts
Poseidon - Sparta; Athens spurned his gifts and chosen Athena as their patron goddess
Ares - Sparta; he despises Athena and would likely fight against her
Hephaestus - Athens; partly because they are greater craftsmen, partly because his wife's lover is on Sparta's side
Hera - neutral (?)
Hestia - definitely neutral
Aphrodite - joins Ares in fighting for Sparta
Athena - obviously fights for Athens
Demeter - neutral, I think
Artemis - joins her brother in fighting for Athens, but not very vigorously

I don't think Sparta would build a fleet. They regarded all contact with other cultures as polluting and potentially destabilizing and would probably resist this with all their considerable martial might.

Rome at this stage has not yet formed the legion - Marcus Furius Camillus does that in 396 B.C. (according to legend) so they use a phalanx rather than the triplex acies. They would probably join Sparta if they were at all affected - Mars and Venus both fight for Sparta and Romulus was descended from both. BTW, is the account in the Aeneid roughly true?

Persia believes in Ahura Mazdah and Mithras. They are religiously tolerant, however, and will not try to convert their subjects. But if they did, this would include Ephesus where the great temple to Artemis is...

The Jews? Does JHVH involve himself in the world?
__________________
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” Marcus Aurelius

Author of Winged Folk.

The GURPS Discord. Drop by and say hi!
Anders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2006, 01:31 AM   #17
Lord Carnifex
 
Lord Carnifex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Honestly, I saw Haephestus on Sparta's side. Laecedemia is the region's predominant source of iron and iron smiths. I can see your assignment of Poseiden, but that'd really screw with the Athenian overseas empire. The Persians are licking their wounds, but it's an interesting AltHistory question: without Alexander's invasion, what happens?

Also, Dionysus might be important: He'd likely side with the Athenians, but whether he'd be more of a help or a hinderance I'm not sure.

The Jews at this point are a part of the Persian Empire, or scattered across Egypt and the Near East. Even if YHWH is feeling his oats, his chosen people aren't likely to make much of an impact, and if it is, it'd be against the Persians.
+++|<=== Lord Carnifex ---
Lord Carnifex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2006, 01:41 AM   #18
Anders
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Re: Hephaestus - yes it's possible that Aphrodite can sway him. No one can resist her when she dons her girdle.

Re: Poseidon - I see what you mean, and this is part of the fun. Perhaps they'll pray to Oceanus, Nereus or Thetis instead? Return to the really old ways?

Regardless of we place these gods, it is imperative that Zeus/Jupiter stays neutral. According to the Iliad and the Aeneid, he's stronger than all the other Olympian gods put together.

Re: IHVH - according to the Old Testament, the persian imprisonment was part of IHVH's punishment of his people for worshipping false gods. But I definitely think he should be able to do something.

Now, the Cthonian gods. I don't think they'll pay much attention to the humans. If they do, Hades might well go with the Athenians - as the god of wealth he has (almost) as much interest in trade as Hermes. Persephone - can't really see her getting involved.

Herakles is, of course, a god of warriors. But will he join either side? He is hugely important, especially as a morale-booster. After all, he is the hero of heroes!
__________________
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” Marcus Aurelius

Author of Winged Folk.

The GURPS Discord. Drop by and say hi!
Anders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2006, 02:36 AM   #19
Mercator
 
Mercator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

My, I just go to sleep, check the forums in the morning, and find an avalanche of new messages! You guys are amazing.
All the posts are long and have lots of ideas, so it will take me some time to answer all of them. If your post wasnt answered, it was either I accidentally skipped it or I had to go to work, so please forgive me; I'm not an Olympian!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Carnifex
To add my two cents:
As far as governments go, I could imagine that if the Olympians have started taking an interest in human affairs again, you could see a resurgence in Heros as well.
Good point. Heroes are an essential part of Greek myths and it would seem a bit odd not to have them. I guess that if the Gods want the polis to be at war, they would throw in a single hero or small group of heros in each polis; they would be either wartime leaders/high commanders, elite shock troops that breach first through enemy lines, or both. I like the idea of having those quintaessentially Bronze-Age mythic humans in modern times, and their tragic destinies (because they *must* have a tragic destiny) would make for very interesting characters.

I was thinking of giving a slight twist to the hero theme, so that they could make interesting PCs: these new heros would be just offspring of humans and gods with one or two supernatural abilities. Thus, in addition to the conventional Bronze Age one-man armies ala Achilles, etc, you would have people with all kinds of bizarre and unexplained powers, not necessarily martial prowess, and not necessarily wanting to go to war and gain glory. Example: One of my players told me he wanted to have a normal character (noncombat related - a wandering philosopher) that just could not die, no matter what. As a philosopher, his motivation would be to find out just why (the player loves Greek philosophy, so he is actually working in an in-game metaphysical theory involving the Fates, etc). I guess you can already see the possibilities; just throw in a Heroic fate... This is the kind of twist to the Hero theme I'm thinking about for a low-powered campaign. For a high-powered game, we would of course have all our Bronze Age favourites back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Carnifex
I think it'd work best if you leave the world outside of the Aegis alone for a bit. [...] Perhaps the Roman gods really are the Titans in disguise?
I totally agree. This is a Greek setting, and I want it to be centered in Greece.
About the Roman Gods... I think it's more logical for them to be just the Greek Gods. The Titans should be a background presence, plotting and scheming and granting bizarre powers at a distance. I would try to explain away the differences in a latter stage of the campaign. But I will keep your idea in mind...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Carnifex
Speaking of the Titans, you've got a lot of the major elements of a mythos[...]
You could model Titan-gifted powers much like you do with Olympian gifts. If it were me, I'd be tempted to make the Titan-gifted a bit more powerful, but sadle them with bizarre limitations and disadvantages; this'd reflect a more primal nature, but one out of harmony with the gods and the balanced state of man.
Thank you very much for this. My idea is that the Titans are a sinister and alien presence in the background, the "dark pantheon" if you will, and dealings with them are bound to drive one to insanity and death, ala Cthulhu. So yes, thy would grant stronger powers than the Olympians, but balanced with serious disadvantages (Fright Checks, HP sacrifices, some kind of pact, the Ire of Zeus if he catches you...).
The primal nature of harmony with the gods you speak about can be represnted by the Cthonic Gods and the Cthonic aspects of the Olympians. It will definitely be there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Carnifex
Technology wise, it's up to you. I could see using the Olympians as a means to slowly devolve the fundamental tech level[...]
I'd rather not do that. I want to keep the Iron Age tech level. The Gods themselves would not intervene to supress technology that didn't threaten them or undermine faith in them. Take the myth of Prometheus; he brought fire to mankind against the will of Zeus. For that he was horribly punished, but nobody took fire away from men afterwards. Zeus just shrugged and went on. And if anything, warlike heroes will find the new toys like iron swords even better suited to them! I think technology would be frozen, but not reverted.

The exception are of course new and dangerous ideas, like philosophical materialism and God-free explanations of the world. That would be atheism, which in this setting is rewarded with a thunderbolt from Zeus. I imagine that Sophists would have to change their ways rather quickly, as anyone who is even rumored to spread denial of the Gods would have a short lifespan (things being as they are, it would be quite hard to deny them, but still...). The great Greek philosophers would all turn to research into religion and magic, and become powerful sorcerers and high priests.
__________________
Behind the Aegis - My dark fantasy setting in Classical Greece (discuss it here!).
Conversion of the supernatural skills in the Basic Set to Powers.

Last edited by Mercator; 03-14-2006 at 04:43 AM. Reason: Added final paragraph about atheism
Mercator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2006, 03:34 AM   #20
Anders
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: Homegrown fantasy setting in classical Greece

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercator
Thank you very much for this. My idea is that the Titans are a sinister and alien presence in the background, the "dark pantheon" if you will, and dealings with them are bound to drive one to insanity and death, ala Cthulhu. So yes, thy would grant stronger powers than the Olympians, but balanced with serious disadvantages (Fright Checks, HP sacrifices, some kind of pact, the Ire of Zeus if he catches you...).
The primal nature of harmony with the gods you speak about can be represnted by the Cthonic Gods and the Cthonic aspects of the Olympians. It will definitely be there.
They would certainly be as fickle as the Olympian gods, but might have various mental nuisance effects as well - Paranoia, Delusions, Sadism, Uncontrollable Appetite - the possibilities are endless. I don't know if you have Magic but the rules there for black magic would be a possibility.

Again, think of the possibilities with a Poseidon who is hostile to the Athenians. To keep their trading empire, they have to make a deal with Nereus or Thetis...which leads to bad mojo.

What about Ouranos? Will the most ancient of gods come back as well? As for the Titans devolving technology - perhaps a Pact must be made not to use iron weapons?
__________________
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” Marcus Aurelius

Author of Winged Folk.

The GURPS Discord. Drop by and say hi!
Anders is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.