Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hellas is an odd, but very cool, game. It's odd in that it is a mix of very different types of games; it mixes the classical Greek heroic game with the sci-fi space opera game. It is cool in that it does it very well. Essentially, in the game universe, the Hellenes (or Greeks, as we'd think of them) were pushed into high-tech society when their gods manifested and helped them out, and so within 500 years they were flying around their own solar system like champs. After a nasty run-in with Kronos the Titan, who made them abandon their home system, they spread out to many systems and worlds - often corresponding to the city-states of the Greeks as we think of them, with the Athenians, Spartans, Corinthians, and other all having their own systems. The trouble came when some of their own, the Atlanteans, decided they knew best and wanted to take over - and very nearly did it, before being dumped into the setting's equivalent of hyperspace. Like Greek mythology, their are a number of monsters, but many of them present themselves as alien species - the Amazorans, for instance, or the man-serpent race of the Goregons, the insect colony hive-mind Myrmidons, and others. Play is set up in such a way that you follow a god and gain glory in his or her name, and if you get enough, they take you into the afterlife - or kill you out of jealousy, because Greek gods are like that. But it's cool, because you can pick up playing as your previous cahracter's son, nephew, best friend, or whatnot, as the game is meant to stretch generations. It uses a variant of the OMNI system, used by Talislanta - though I don't know, since I've never played Talislanta.

In any case, let's create a character. Much as I'd love to fiddle with the insect colony of the Myrmidons, I think I'll stick with a Hellene for now. There are ten Attributes: Intelligence (INT), Perception (PER), Will (WIL), Charisma (CHA), Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Speed (SPD), Combat Rating (CR), and Dynamism Rating (DYN); the last is the statistic that governs the 'magic' of the setting, but I won't really be dealing with it. I have 5 Attribute points, and since I'll be making a warrior, I'll put 2 in Strength, 1 in Constitution, 2 in Combat Rating, and I'll take a -1 to Dynamism for a point in Dexterity. As a Hellene, I get to choose between 4 skill packages, Athenoian, Delphoian, Boetian, and Spartan; I'll take Spartan, which gives me Command +2, Evade +2, Pankration +2, Parry +2, Lore (tactics) +2, Etiquette (Hellene) +3, Speak Language (Hellene, native), and Weapon (of choice) +2. As a Hellene, I also get +2 on all Command and Diplomacy rolls, and as a Hellene I can also force a reroll of any dice action pertaining to my character a number of times per game equal to my Will score (minimum once).

Now we come to the fun part, the Lifepath, where I roll to determine many of the important things. First, I roll for month of birth; it comes up Hekatombaion, in the summer, the month of Athenia. As a Spartan, this is Sparta. My father is dead, but he was a Retired Hero; this gives me +3 Glory, and +1 in a skill of my choice. My family is well-loved, and we have many allies. I am an only son, and have received my father's hoplite sword as an inheritance from my father. A grandparent on my mother's side, it seems, had a divine parent, and so I gain 5 Glory; the divine mark I gain from this is Strength of Mind, which gives me +1 Will. When my character was a child, he met a ghost that told him of his tragic fate; he is fated to die at the hands of a noble, though a noble from where is unknown. And now, I choose a god. Being born in the month of Athenia, I will choose her over the war god Areson. Now, I choose a profession, and as a Spartan, I will go with Hellene Spartan; this gives me +1 to STR or CR, and the skills Brawling +3, Command +2, Evade +1, Intimidate +2, Parry +4, Survival +2, Weapon (spear) +4, Weapon (rifle) +4, Weapon (blade, large) +4, and Profession (warrior, STR) +4. I gain the Talent Advanced Militia Training, and starting gear in the form of a Spartan tactical cuirass vest, Hoplon shield, Spartan infantry spear, Spartan slug rifle, and military clothing, as well as 250 dm in money. I have several choices for Callings that proceed from this profession: Legionnaire of Delphoi, Noble, Rogue, or Warrior; this tells me what I have done in my chosen profession, and how long I have spent in it. As I want to be a great hero, I will choose Legionnaire of Delphoi, and my roll tells me I have spent 4 years in their ranks; as a major event in my time, I have fought a great battle; I fought pirates on the planet Elis, and stories tell of how I threw a spear through ten men; I gain +1 STR or CON.

Now, I come to disadvantages; every character has some, 5 points divided between the categories of Relationship, Internal, or External Problems. I will put 2 points in Relationship: I abandoned a lover to join the Delphoi League, and she plots against me; 1 point in Internal: my character is hot-blooded and quick to take offense; and 2 points in External Problems; I owe a debt to a high-ranking Strategos, who helped to spread the tale of my deeds on Elis in exchange for occasional favors. After that, I have 30 Freebie point to spend; I will spend 5 points to add 1 to STR, and 5 more to add 1 to DEX, and 5 more after that to add 1 to CHA; this leaves me with 15 points. I will then take the Danger Sense and Hardiness Talents, for 5 points each, and spend the last five points on skills. I start with 7 Hero Points, which I can use to help out on my rolls. As a hero (PC), I can start out with three Heroic Ambitions, like 'Find and take my revenge on the Zoran General Bydeles, the murderer of my cousin'; if I ever complete the Ambition, I get 10 XP on the spot. I won't think any up right now, but maybe later. I start out at age 22, and I will choose the name Aristeides; all I have left is to choose my heroic epithet, which I will relate to my great battle and become Aristeides Spear-Hurler. So, at the last:

Hellene of Sparta
Epithet: Spear-Hurler
Glory: 8
Age: 22
Favored of Athenia
Profession: Hellene Spartan
INT +0, WIL +1, STR +3, CON +2, CR +3, PER +0, CHA +1, DEX +2, SPD +0, DYN -1
Hit Points: 31
Hero Points: 7
Command +4, Evade +3, Pankration +2, Parry +6, Lore (tactics) +3, Etiquette (Hellene) +3, Speak Language (Hellene, native), Brawling +3, Intimidate +2, Survival +2, Weapon (spear) +4, Weapon (rifle) +4, Weapon (blade, large) +6, and Profession (warrior, STR) +4

Advanced Militia Training, Danger Sense, Hardiness

Spartan tactical cuirass vest, Hoplon shield, Spartan infantry spear, father's hoplite sword, Spartan slug rifle, military clothing, Plate helmet, 40 dm

Edit: I haven't been doing this for other games, though I probably should, but here is the website for Hellas. Also, if you find yourself interested in the game, the first supplement, Princes of the Universe, is being ransomed, and you can find that here.

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