[Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek D&D

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[Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek D&D

Postby Havard » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:21 am

I read through this book again the other day. I originally picked it up for use with the Traldar of the Hollow World Setting. I once did run a mini campaign set in ancient times of Karameikos (Traldar Age) focusing on a Greek style culture.

This book offers interesting insight on ancient greek culture and history. It also offers a pretty cool adventure involvng sailing and participating in atheltic competitions. On the other hand I do feel like the book is missing something. It seems like it is a problem for many of these books that the pantheons are already presented in Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore. I would have liked to see some more detail to the gods and religions. I do like that the book allows for various levels of historical accuracy, but I think the books would be better served if they focused mainly on fantastic campaigns rather than historical ones. These books are written for AD&D, so why not encourage campaigns that make the most of the ruleset you have at your disposal?

Another thing I am missing are more prominent conflicts. I suppose you could run a campaign with the Athenians vs. Spartans. But maybe a 300 style campaign with Greeks vs. Persians would be more compelling? Or if you are open to something more supernatural, maybe have to he PCs serve a king who has a feud with Hades or some other spiteful Deity?

Have you used HR6 Age of Heroes? What do you think of the book?


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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby timemrick » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:39 pm

That's one of many books I've used for background for "The Kynthiad," the solo Greek myth game that I run for my wife. We also use BESM, not D&D, so there's not a whole lot of Age of Heroes that we can or do use as-is, so I'm not sure if I could easily give an example of something I specifically pulled from that one book.

One of the recurring conflicts in "The Kynthiad" is the Trojan War: We opened during one of the raids peripheral to that war, and Kynthia has visited Troy itself a couple of times, most recently taking down the Greek hero who tried to sack her town in that opening chapter. She's also been involved in a number of other wars around the "known world" of Greek myth (Hyperborea, Cimmeria, Scythia, and Themiscyra), and is currently trying to stave off the return of Typhon (and the cosmic war that would start).
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Big Mac » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:59 am

Havard wrote:I read through this book again the other day. I originally picked it up for use with the Traldar of the Hollow World Setting. I once did run a mini campaign set in ancient times of Karameikos (Traldar Age) focusing on a Greek style culture.


It's funny that you bought this to use with the Traldar of Hollow World. I actually bought the book hoping to use it to expand Greatspace, from SJA3 Crystal Spheres! :lol:

Havard wrote:This book offers interesting insight on ancient greek culture and history. It also offers a pretty cool adventure involvng sailing and participating in atheltic competitions. On the other hand I do feel like the book is missing something. It seems like it is a problem for many of these books that the pantheons are already presented in Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore. I would have liked to see some more detail to the gods and religions. I do like that the book allows for various levels of historical accuracy, but I think the books would be better served if they focused mainly on fantastic campaigns rather than historical ones. These books are written for AD&D, so why not encourage campaigns that make the most of the ruleset you have at your disposal?


There was a section that covered "Fantasy Role-playing in a Greek Setting", but it was literally 3 paragraphs on page 3. I would have liked to have seen that (and the "History Verses Historical Role-playing" section) expanded into a small chapter that gave more specific advice on diverting from the main "Historical Role-playing" theme of the book.

I don't see the fact that the Greek pantheon was already in Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore as the same sort of potential problem that you do.

I think that the introduction of HR6 sets up the idea of three levels of Greek roleplaying* and that the brief outline of the gods on page 76 works best for GMs who don't actually want to have clerics of those deities. Having said that I always kind of assumed that the HR books were add-ons to Legends & Lore in a similar way to the way that the PHBR books were add-ons to the PHB and the DMGR books were add-ons to the DMG.

* = I would suggest these three levels are:
  • High History - Going beyond HR6 to try to be more accurate about exact time periods and regions,
  • Historical Role-playing - The standard type of campaign presented in the book (that mixes Greek-themes together) and
  • Fantasy Role-playing in a Greek Setting - Going beyond HR6 to try to add more fantasy D&D elements that fit in with the generic Greek-themes.

I think that the same flaws you point out with the HR books apply to the PHBR and DMGR books. None of the ranges have a totally consistent style. Great ideas in one of the books are absent from the other books.

I think that if Nicky Rea had been given more space this book could have a run down of all the PHBR and DMGR books, with advice on how to use each one. (From the point of view of "Fantasy Role-playing in a Greek Setting", I would be especially interested in how to use D&D's non-human races and monster races with Greek themes.)

Havard wrote:Another thing I am missing are more prominent conflicts. I suppose you could run a campaign with the Athenians vs. Spartans. But maybe a 300 style campaign with Greeks vs. Persians would be more compelling? Or if you are open to something more supernatural, maybe have to he PCs serve a king who has a feud with Hades or some other spiteful Deity?


Chapter 6: Adventures in Ancient Greece gives you an eight page outline for a Greek campaign, but I'm surprised that there was not some sort of advice on how to incorporate "the heroes journey" into a Greek campaign, as it seems to be a strong theme of Greek legends. (Greek Mythology - Hero's Journey of Perseus is a webpage that uses storyboards to show a Greek legend in heroes journey terms.)

I do think that - without actually railroading the players, it would be possible for a GM to run a "heroes journey" campaign from HR6, and have the PCs migrate from one stage of the heroes journey to the next one, at a point that is appropriate to the campaign. (If the GM avoids the railroad, then the choices of the PCs can actually be used as the "path that the PCs need to follow", with the GM working behind the scenes to give the roleplaying choices of the players epic meaning on a similar level to elements of real-world Greek legends.)

Havard wrote:Have you used HR6 Age of Heroes? What do you think of the book?


I've not used it yet. Only browsed it.

One of the most interesting parts of this book is the map of Hecataeus of Miletus (which is included on the book's poster as a "Map of the Known World Based on References Given in the Iliad"):
Image

I actually thought that a fantasy Greek world, based on that map, rather than an expanded map that incorporates historical cultures that the Greeks didn't interact with, would be a lot more fun.

(I have toyed with the idea of creating flatworlds for Greatspace that match the style of that map...and then allowing ancient Greatspace explorers to literally sail of the end of the world to travel into wildspace.)

Jim Siebold has an excellent website (My Old Maps.com) where he incudes a page called #108 Hecataeus: World according to Hecatæus, that has a 9 page PDF monograph called Hecatæus’ World View, which is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to expand HR6 that way.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Big Mac » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:05 am

timemrick wrote:One of the recurring conflicts in "The Kynthiad" is the Trojan War: We opened during one of the raids peripheral to that war, and Kynthia has visited Troy itself a couple of times, most recently taking down the Greek hero who tried to sack her town in that opening chapter. She's also been involved in a number of other wars around the "known world" of Greek myth (Hyperborea, Cimmeria, Scythia, and Themiscyra), and is currently trying to stave off the return of Typhon (and the cosmic war that would start).


Cosmic war? Is that something bigger than a world war?

If so, what sort of things would you be basing your cosmos on?
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby timemrick » Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:37 pm

Big Mac wrote:Cosmic war? Is that something bigger than a world war?

If so, what sort of things would you be basing your cosmos on?

Cosmic as in a war involving multiple pantheons. In my campaign, it took an alliance of the Greek AND Egyptian gods to defeat and imprison Typhon/Set the first time.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Big Mac » Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:53 am

timemrick wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Cosmic war? Is that something bigger than a world war?

If so, what sort of things would you be basing your cosmos on?

Cosmic as in a war involving multiple pantheons. In my campaign, it took an alliance of the Greek AND Egyptian gods to defeat and imprison Typhon/Set the first time.


Ah! Got you.

I guess that, if you go with the world map from Age of Heroes, you do get the Celtic and Egyptian gods, as well as the Greek ones.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Lord Sheriff Takari » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:15 am

one of the features derived from the "Green Cover" Splatbooks is the historical element for those wishing to run an AD&D game based more
Historically accurate than the high fantasy found in the other books
<I won't say they are completely Accurate but they are solid on a good chunk of historical information>

regardless
there is plenty of good information in these often hard to find Green Covers one can still use in a High Fantasy game

I have the Vikings one and I am actively seeking the others to complete my Splatbook Collection for my Gaming table
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Havard » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:19 pm

I like the mythological backdrop from your campaign Tim!

I think that is very appropriate for a Greek style campaign. You could even have kept to the Greek Gods if you wanted to. But I also think including other pantheons could be alot of fun.

A few things that are true for most of these HR books. From the players perspective, you rob the players of options if they can no longer play demihumans. It could be fun to see some greek style non-humans be available as PCs though:
  • Satyrs
  • Centaurs
  • Dryads
  • Minotaurs
  • Amazons (These could simply be an all female culture, or something more supernatural ala Wonder Woman etc).

Similarly, the DM is robbed of quite a few options when it comes to monsters if he want to keep a mostly Greek or mythological atmosphere. This might not be enforced too strictly, but I could see a DM running out of options especially at the low levels. Would you use Kobolds, Goblinoids and Orcs in an Ancient Greek campaign?

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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Big Mac » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:06 am

Lord Sheriff Takari wrote:one of the features derived from the "Green Cover" Splatbooks is the historical element for those wishing to run an AD&D game based more
Historically accurate than the high fantasy found in the other books
<I won't say they are completely Accurate but they are solid on a good chunk of historical information>


They don't pretend to be completely accurate. One of the problems with "realism" is that D&D is a game and that going to the Nth degree is a lot lot more admin for not much more fun™. So I believe they went for a greatest hits of Greece™ approach instead. ;)

They do have some advice on further reading. I think that if someone wanted to use Age of Heroes for a long-term, it would be more important for them to nail down the accurate details, so that they could start early in the timeline and have inventions and historical events kick in and create radical changes in the Greek world. :)

Lord Sheriff Takari wrote:regardless
there is plenty of good information in these often hard to find Green Covers one can still use in a High Fantasy game

I have the Vikings one and I am actively seeking the others to complete my Splatbook Collection for my Gaming table


I've managed to get hold of three of the HR series since joining The Piazza. And now that DMs Guild has started to convert the old D&D PDFs into Print on Demand versions, I'm in no hurry to pay high "eBay Bandit" prices for the rest of the green books now.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Morfie » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:53 am

Dungeon #2 has a Greek adventure called Titans Dream.
Dungeon #21 has another called The Chest Of The Aloeids, this is Greek mythology based.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Big Mac » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:09 pm

Havard wrote:I think that is very appropriate for a Greek style campaign. You could even have kept to the Greek Gods if you wanted to. But I also think including other pantheons could be alot of fun.


I think you can go either way here.

A game where only the Greek gods exist, means that they have more influence over the world.

A game where there are other deities, kind of ties in with the idea of Hades only being able to use the Helm of Darkness against the "enemies of the gods of Olympus".

But a game where you don't have any of those other pantheons might be easier to manage logistically.

Havard wrote:A few things that are true for most of these HR books. From the players perspective, you rob the players of options if they can no longer play demihumans. It could be fun to see some greek style non-humans be available as PCs though:
  • Satyrs
  • Centaurs
  • Dryads
  • Minotaurs
  • Amazons (These could simply be an all female culture, or something more supernatural ala Wonder Woman etc).


The author of Age of Heroes recommends using the Amazon Kit from PHBR1 The Complete Fighter's Handbook so I would suggest going with that and the "nation from the north" theme. (I don't think I'd go with the concept of women cutting off one breast. Maybe I'd have one iconic high-level Amazon who has removed one breast, to act as the "basis of a falsehood".)

Amazons might also fit in better if you didn't have a realistic Europa to the north of the main region of an Age of Heroes campaign.

Havard wrote:Similarly, the DM is robbed of quite a few options when it comes to monsters if he want to keep a mostly Greek or mythological atmosphere. This might not be enforced too strictly, but I could see a DM running out of options especially at the low levels. Would you use Kobolds, Goblinoids and Orcs in an Ancient Greek campaign?


Using the "illgal" monsters would possibly work against the Greek theme. But maybe they could be used as creatures of the "Underworld". Perhaps they could worship the Titans or do something else that ties them into Greek culture better.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby Big Mac » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:18 pm

Morfie wrote:Dungeon #2 has a Greek adventure called Titans Dream.
Dungeon #21 has another called The Chest Of The Aloeids, this is Greek mythology based.


There is a review of The Titan's Dream and a review of The Chest of the Aloeids on RPG Geek. It looks like they both predate Age of Heroes.
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Re: [Fantasy Earth] [Href] HR6 Age of Heroes - Ancient Greek

Postby timemrick » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:39 pm

Havard wrote:I like the mythological backdrop from your campaign Tim!

I think that is very appropriate for a Greek style campaign. You could even have kept to the Greek Gods if you wanted to. But I also think including other pantheons could be alot of fun.

I wrote a blog post a couple years ago about how I decided how many gods to include.

And here is one about how the campaign started.
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