Looking for a Greek-style rpg system (or an equivalent universal system)
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  1. #1

    Looking for a Greek-style rpg system (or an equivalent universal system)

    Hello all, I've been reading all sorts of role-playing forums for about a decade now, sometimes registering and sometimes not, and now at the face of defeat I feel again the need to register.

    About a year ago I had the idea of GMing an Ancient Greek-themed campaign, it seemed like a good and fresh idea in comparison to all the medieval settings I seem to get drawn to so often, and none of my fellow players have participated in such a game before, so I decided to go for it.

    I was sure there would have to be a few systems that take place in Ancient Greek so I would not need stat all the heroes and mythical beasts (or Gods even) on my own. I searched a while, and could find none that suited my interests. I could've swore that there'd be a bunch of RPGs based off of Ancient Greek pantheon and myths with hydras and minotaurs and whatnot. Was I wrong? You would think someone would have tried to take advantage of a ready, popular and rich setting such as that and make roleplaying game out of it. I only could only find one even remotely had a Greek theme, but it did not support a long campaign, and sort of pitted the gamemaster and the players against each other (I'm not looking for a competitive game, I do other things for my competitive urges that role-playing thankyouverymuch). I'm sorry I can't put a name for the game, but it's been a while and a quick google didn't yield any results.

    I won't go on about how amazed I am that there are no Greek RPGs, but instead would like to know if anyone has any ideas what system I could use for this? The game has moved on from being merely an Ancient Greek adventure, but has taken on other influences as well, but still if anyone could direct me toward a RPG based on Ancient Greek, I would appreciate it very much, but I am would appreciate good ideas for different system as well.

    I have considered:

    HERO system (the most likely candidate for now)

    FUDGE (despite being simple as heck, would require a huge amount of work to implement all the stuff I've all ready decided will be in my game)

    GURPS (will not use this, because might break down at higher levels, not that HERO might not, but all the players are experts at GURPSs mechanics rules and will compare everything that happens to their other games that they've played with it)

    Riddle of Steel (I haven't read the rules completely as of now, just browsed, so I would actually like to hear anything you have to say about it!)

    I guess that's it.

    The system I am looking for should be good for a long campaign, since the players will start as a bit tougher than ordinary people, and end up nigh demi-gods if they wish. The system should have an intriguing fighting system so the players won't get bored fighting, because they will not have magical or otherwise supernatural powers. Sorry about being as vague as saying "an intriguing fighting system", I mean that the players should have other options than saying "I hit the enemy" all over again, which would probably happen if I used a d20 system. I prefer a point-buy system to a level-advancing one, because both the PCs and the NPCs will have greatly varying stats.

    I hope that's all, I have a feeling I've forgotten to say something but it secapes me. I'll update if I remember anything vital.

    Anyhoo, any input you might have will be greatly appreciated! I am more than willing to hear just opinions or questions you have about, well, anything.

    PS: Oh, and please don't judge me by my nick, I'm no Final Fantasy fanboy, the name's just stuck

    EDIT: Fixed a few typos (not all)

  2. #2
    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

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    Have you seen The New Argonauts by Sean K Reynolds? It's d20 based, pretty low-magic. Oh, and download appears to be free nowadays

    Also, another one for 3.5e: Mythic Vistas: Trojan War.
    Last edited by Theo R Cwithin; Sunday, 17th January, 2010 at 01:46 AM.

  3. #3
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

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    There are a couple of great Greek-themed RPGs: Agon, which has received rave reviews, and Hellas, which is sort of like "Greeks in Space" but much cooler than that sounds.

  4. #4
    There's also the very free and quite good Mazes and Minotaurs as well.
    XP Yaztromo, nightwind1 gave XP for this post

  5. #5
    Thanks to both of you, I will look these up and see if I can use them. At least I know for sure that this genre isn't completely overlooked. I've yet to explore any of these properly (I'm reading the New Argonauts now, as it is free) and at a quick first glance I'll have to wait and see if there's a some sort of twist to the battle system in the argonauts, as it is d20 and seems to work how I figured, players pretty much need to play fighter or rogue. There does seem to be some nice feats and what not to spice things up though. I'll have to read through this!

    I'm pretty sure Agon is the game I had found out before. It seems to pit the players somewhat against each other, and the GM is in competitive situation too, but I might be mistaken. I'll see what I can learn. The trouble with Agon might be that the game is primarily used to have the players compete against the gods, and give points based on that, but again, I could be mistaken. I already have a very long plot, and it might be hard to tell that story with this system. It looks interesting to play without my campaign though maybe I'll try it elsewhere.

    I'll dig information about this Hellas too, though at first glance the technology level seems to be a bit different from what I had thought

  6. #6
    Aaand more reading Mazes and Minotaurs is added to the list. Thanks!

    I have to say, it's really nice to see so many older products released as a free edition after a while. It just goes to show they were not made entirely with monetary motivations in mind.

  7. #7
    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    OGL Ancients covers the Greeks. Also, Fantasy Craft covers the Ancient era.

  8. #8
    Thanks, pawsplay, I'll look these up. I can pretty much say that if I want to play with d20 I'm all set, for most of the options (which already are more plentiful than I expected, well kind of, since I KNEW there had to be games on the subject) seem to be d20.

    After I submerge myself in these systems I'll have to decide whether the negative points outweigh the positive ones. I'm mainly concerned about the fighting mechanics. If I use a d20 level-based system instead of a strictly point-buy system such as HERO, the fights and character progression might seem overly simple with about 2 or 3 classes available and one race (obviously). The players won't be using magic, so I hope I can offer them as much options in melee as possible. Nevertheless, I have already gained valuable material to use in my campaign, so thanks again!

    If you have any further suggestions or recommendations, they are welcome

  9. #9
    Defender (Lvl 8)

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    Warlords of Alexandria is a free classical Greek RPG supplement for any of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying games. As for dynamic fighting, I believe that the new Basic Roleplaying books provide options for more dynamic combat (though the old Elric! rules provide plenty of options and are compatible with Warlords).

  10. #10
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

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    If you don't mind some high camp with it, there was a Hercules/Xena RPG box set put out about 10 years ago. It's not brilliant, but it's a start...

    That said, I'm using modified 1e to run a Greek-themed game right now and it's just fine. I'll freely admit to playing fast and loose with lots of the mythology, history, etc., though; I've also got Norse, Sumerians, Aztecs, Romans, and various others running around in the world; never mind all the non-Human types.

    If you want to get more serious, some of the Greek gods are statted out in the 1e Deities and Demigods book and all of the main Greek monsters are statted out in just about every edition of D+D there's been. Hell, even Keep on the Borderlands has both a Minotaur and a Medusa in it; it'd be a trivial change to lob in a Centaur or two. Stick it in a Greek-style setting and away you go!


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