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D&D 3E
greek myths campaign 
7th-Jul-2007 02:53 am

so i'm toying with the idea of making a campaign based on greek myths and i'd like suggestions. i actually have tons of notes on it already, but its really late and i need to sleep so i'm not going into lots of detail. basically i want the players to feel like their characters are part of genuine greek myths. as such i'll have the gods talking directly to the pc's (mostly mercury relaying messages from the other gods). i'd like suggestions for equipment, races... one of the ideas i had for races was to make all the players humans descended from the gods, like heracles and achilles. i would make a race based on the god, so descendants of zeus would get these benefits, and descendants of athena would get this, etc... i'd also like ideas for making the adventures of the campaign feel like existing myths, with that larger than life feel, without being total rip-off of existing myths, and without breaking from the rules entirely and turning into a monty haul campaign. thanks in advance, and good night.
7th-Jul-2007 12:57 pm (UTC)
Remember the greek myth focus on heroism, strength and valor.

Also, for them, you may want to use the optional defense rules from d20 modern or Wheel of time... greeks weren't much (or anything) for armor (see 300 for more details).
8th-Jul-2007 04:02 am (UTC)
Actually, 300 completely changed Spartan armor and fighting tactics. They were more known to be covered head to toe in bronze armor with barely an inch of flesh shown. They were skilled not because they could hack their way through hundreds of foes, but because they were rigidly disciplined and remained in perfect phalanx formation and wouldn't give in to fear.
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10th-Jul-2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
really? for ancient greece? isn't that a super hero game?
8th-Jul-2007 12:03 am (UTC)
It kinda goes without saying, but you should try to keep all of these deity-descended races with the same level adjustment. (+0 is, of course, standard, but if everybody has the same level adjustment, you can just start the game with that in mind).

If you don't mind a +1 LA, give every available "race" a +2 bonus to a single stat (on top of normal human stats in the PHB) based on the deity they descended from. (ex: Athena Descendant: +2 Wis, etc.) It's your call, of course, just remember to keep things balanced and try not to over or underestimate abilities when calculating level adjustment.
9th-Jul-2007 06:46 am (UTC)
Man, I hate going away for the weekend and missing stuff. I'm a classics major, dude.

You might have already gotten to it, but in case you haven't, the DMG has rules for bronze age equipment (remember, steel as we know it didn't exist quite yet, and iron was too brittle for much of anything, really). Also, you don't even have to get rid of alchemist's fire, because the Greeks pretty much invented napalm, flame throwers, and molotov cocktails (also, the steam engine and atomic theory, but never applied). Deities and Demigods has the pantheon, plus the faun race--which, honestly, I would totally play if I were in your game.

Depending on when you're setting this--would I be right to assume the heroic age, or are you going less Homer and more Thucydides?--the flavor can be very, very widely varied. For the heroic age, the heroic code (see Sarpedon the Huge in the Iliad) is ALL. Social status is completely based on honor in combat, even if you happen to be an outright bastard about it. Later Greeks had more complicated ideas, particularly the Athenians, but one thing that never changed was a sense of appreciation for trickery and cunning. Bonus XP for cleverness? Also, all evil and tyranny comes from the East after the Persian War, and all eastern men are effeminate slaves.

I'd have more, but I just got off the road. You might want to consider, however, the role that fate played in the ancient world. Delphi was the center of the Greek universe, and anyone of any real importance sought out an oracle sooner or later. How do you work that in? Or will you? It'd be a real bitch to work into game mechanics unless you keep it vague, symbolic, and ultimately ambiguous (just like the real thing, I suppose), but that's almost less fun. I dunno. Am tired.
10th-Jul-2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
that's really awesome. i don't know how authentic i want to go, but i'll definitely read the bronze age section of the dmg. i have the demigods book, and i was planning on using the pantheon therein. i planned on using the faun and cyclopes stats but i hadn't planned on having any races other than humans.

i'm interested in what you think about playable races. i had considered allowing races other than humans, maybe playable centaurs and fauns and such, but i thought that would be too... something. for now i think i'm sticking with humans only.

the rough plot outline i had was this:
the players, heroic human descendants of the gods, rescue a small village from the predations of an angry dryad who is being manipulated by a vengeful satyr who is angry because he was stopped from raping a local lord's daughter. i have more details but no need to go into it now. they then go to the panhellenic games in olympia and rescue some important somebodies from some dire something... haven't decided yet. after that, because of their demonstrated prowess, they are visited by mercury (who they can hear but who moves so quickly they can't actually see him) who gives them a message from hera. she wants them to retrieve a relic holy to her that was stolen by zeus and given to a mortal lover.

they have a choice here: they can go on the mission and piss off zeus or they can go on the mission and piss off hera.

whatever they choose they piss someone off. animals start attacking them. if they pissed of zeus they get hit by thunderstorms, if hera they get constantly harangued by female priestesses of hera. if they go to sea they get shipwrecked. if they stay on land a crazy old wandering cleric of hera will cast atonement, but they then have to agree to go on the errand. eventally, no matter what, they have to go to sea because the mortal gave the jewel too was an egyptian princess (or maybe a prince, haven't decided which way old zeus wanted to swing that week, dirty old man). when they go to sea they get shipwrecked on the island of polyphemus, the blind cyclopes.

polyphemus knows where they can find a boat but he won't tell them until they kill a crazy old hermit on the island who keeps killing his sheep. all the animals on this island are huge. they can fight some of them. they find the hermit who also knows where the boat is. they can choose to either kill the cyclopes, the hermit, or figure something else out. either way evetually they get off the island.

if they kill the hermit, polyphemus prays to poseidon to guide them to egypt. a rogue wave will carry them all the way to egypt. if they killed the cyclopes hera will send a bird for them to follow. but they will have pissed off poseidon which they'll have to deal with later.

when they're in egypt they find zeus's lover is dead and they have to go on a classic dnd tomb raid to get hera's jewel back. mummies, monsters, mazes, tombie stuff, treasure, etc.

they go back to greece, return the jewel, hera is appeased, zeus is really pissed.

now they have to go on errands for zeus who really just wants them dead. they'll be contacted by mercury and a series of priests of zeus with more and more incredibly dangerous errands until i can manage to finagle a TPK.

after that they find themselves in hades, on line for the ferry. they have coins in their mouths to pay the ferryman and all their stuff is gone. they have some adventures in hades, probably meet hades himself, work some stuff out, manage to make their way to the elysian fields, get to mount olympus (which in my game is located in the elysian fields, and the elysian fields are connected to hades). they find and fight their way up mount olympuys, make it to the halls of the gods, meet up with aphrodite who feeds them ambrosia, which makes them immortal...

the end.

what do you think?
11th-Jul-2007 12:40 am (UTC)
Wow... longest comment EVER!

That actually sounds really fun. I like how you kept the flavor of the gods' constant bickering, too--after all, the Greek gods were little better than soap opera actors most of the time, playing at politics and power games ad nauseum. Kind of awesome that your party gets to be stuck in the middle like real Greek heroes were.

As far as playable races, there are just so very many humanoid beings in the Greek mythos, I'd have to agree it would be a lot easier to just go with humans. Still, there are examples of totally playable monstrous humanoids with low adjustments. The fauns from Deities and Demigods, for instance, are at +0 (I think... no books here at work to check, sorry), and the centaurs from Dragonlance are easier to work into a game than those from the MM. Satyrs, on the other hand, would suck to bring in, being fey and all kinds of magical. As it is, though, the involvement of non-humans in the myths is usually just as side characters to the human hero. Man is, after all, the measure of all things.

One big thing to remember, however, is that the Greeks drew lots of distinctions between even different humans; the Ethiopians, for example, were gifted with dining with the gods at table, and the people of Colchis (like Medea) seemed more gifted in magic or at least strange knowledge. Also, since you're sending them possibly over to Egypt, nota bene that the Greeks just adored the Egyptians, thinking that most culture and civilization came from them--which, actually, is partially right, as the early Greeks had to start stealing architectural and engineering know-how from somewhere, and the Egyptians were more than willing to show off.

So Polyphemus is blind? So this is, say, at least 2-9 years after the Trojan War? Coolness. Is Aeneas wandering around still, too? Because you could always throw them into his war in Italy, or have them wash up in Carthage after Dido's death (particularly mean if they pissed off Hera, who loves Carthage above all cities in the world).

So they just meet up with Aphrodite and become immortal? Hmm. Not a bad ending, honestly, after so much adventure, but it does leave that whole divine grudge thing hanging. Then again, you could just do what any comic playwright would do and end it all with a big feast/wedding/orgy where things magically just seem to work out. Either way, this game sounds absolutely awesome.

Do you need help finding monsters? I had a list of Greco-Roman monsters stored somewhere for a professor I know who plays D&D.
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