Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Hellenes - character creation

Kickers are a wonderful, wonderful tool. We've finished character creation; we've chosen a more historical, somewhat less mythical flavor for the setting, and plan on taking a lot of liberties with history.
So: We have a Hero, Apollonia, daughter of Apollo and of a would-be sacrificial victim at Delphi. We also have "Aeneas", aka Alcyone, a runaway Spartan helot turned archer and hunter.
Apollonia was stationed outside of Helos, south of Sparta, with the Allied forces in reserve. Aeneas was finding food and staying hidden, a woman dressed as a man, knowing her parents had already been killed by the Persians. Her father had died on the battlefield at Thermopylae with his master; Aeneas didn't want that fate.
The war was going well for Greece: combined Athenian/Spartan armies, heading a coalition of Aegean city-states, drove the Persians out of Attica, forcing them east and south into the sea. When the Persians fled south, some of their crews landed at Lakedaemonia and raided Spartan towns and villages as they went.
One of these towns, Helos, was not too lucky: Apollonia, famed hero of Athens, was away in Sparta gathering supplies when the Persians attacked. As these men were disorganized and desperate, wanting to shame and hurt more than conquer, they only burned a few buildings and escaped with some of the women of the village. Some slaves, mostly (such as Aeneas' sister!) and the village headmaster's daughter. The headmaster tells it all to Apollonia, tearfully begging that she bring his daughter back safely.
Aeneas hears that his home village has been hit by raiders! Fearing the worst for his sister, his only living relation, he high-tails it for Helos. Never mind what she'd think of her cross-dressing sibling; never mind what Persians might do to a woman trying to pass as a soldier. They won't use Aeneas/Alcyone's sister as their plaything any longer!

Cool. We've got a 2-hour session ahead of us tomorrow night. Some establishment of premise is in order, and then on to business!

Thoughts - the Kickers worked beautifully to get us right where the action begins. Now we have all we need to get right into things tomorrow! Also, I think I have a better idea of the Premise now, which is, naturally, quite setting-driven: if the gods were listening, and took an interest in you, what would you do with that attention? Would you invite their aid, scorn their scrutiny, or do your best to keep your head down? Good stuff.


  1. Looking back, I know exactly where I went wrong with this game - I didn't explicitly ask the players to tell ME where the Persians took their captives, and I totally held them hostage to a sort of crystal-ball GM-has-all-the-answers style of play.
    Boo. Lesson learned. That would be exactly why the game fell flat - it was all on me to make it cool! That was partly due to what technique I used and partly due to my players' natural inclination to stay the hell away from player agency!

    Also - reviewing old Forge posts has shown me that Barbs and Noble Bearing are excellent, yin-yang social stats for this thing. I never incorporated them into "Hellenes", but I totally should! Barbs is your ability to dish out nasty insults, and Noble Bearing is your ability to ignore them. I think NB should actually make your opponent look foolish instead, so as to keep it from falling flat. I dunno.

  2. OK, one last thing - if NB turns an insult back on someone, that definitely could keep the ball rolling, so to speak. As in, you keep your cool and make some witty, cutting remark, and the other guy looks like an idiot!
    Naturally, he would be seen as a bully AND an idiot if he then sought revenge upon you, but he's going to do something to restore his standing, I imagine.
    On the other hand, I think this basic idea has returned in my Dwarf Fortress concept of Anger and Desperation - either you suck it up and take a point of Anger, or you go apeshit and do something you'll regret, to salve your little ego. Hm.