Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

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PdO
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Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby PdO » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:05 am

I'd like to try Legend out with an ancient Greece setting, so I wonder if anyone has written up cults for the Greek Gods & can save me some work?

Thanks for your help,

Sean
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby Mage » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:05 am

It might be no harm to check the MRQ wiki or search through google, but I can't say I know of any such mods. You may hae to check the net. Seeing how Legend is relative new, you may need to find a MRQ 1 or 2 mod and convert it a little.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby PhilHibbs » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:52 am

Mage wrote:It might be no harm to check the MRQ wiki or search through google, but I can't say I know of any such mods. You may hae to check the net. Seeing how Legend is relative new, you may need to find a MRQ 1 or 2 mod and convert it a little.
I started on the wiki but didn't get very far. I can't link it 'cos the wiki looks like it is dead again.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby Simulacrum » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:12 am

If you want to run greek gods according to RAW, it really is simple - just run up a list of deities and allocate spells according to their nature using the 'popular' understanding of what each is the god of.

If you want to emulate historical greek religion, that's much more difficult. My own Age of Treason setting (available from mongoose and all good flgs) provides a religion and cult system that is a mash up of greek and roman religion, except in one major respect, which is animal sacrifice...for which look at blood magic instead.

I got good response to my article on designing and ancient economy for Legend - I may follow it up with one on doing ancient religion, but it will take a while for me to get round to it.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby soltakss » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:49 pm

The problem with any Alternate Earth pantheons is that the worship doesn't quite match standard Legend formats.

For example, whilst the Greeks did have temples to their deities and also did have specific priests who officiated at those temples, the rank and file didn't necessarily worship one deity alone. So, a Greek might make a sacrifice to Athena for one thing, Poseidon for another and Pluto for something else.

I'd say that each deity has its own sphere of influence and powers, in the standard Legend way, so they provide Common Magic and Divine Magic (or possibly other magic) as normal. Priests, and maybe Acolytes, would get magic from their chosen deity as per the normal rules. However, normal people might get a one-use spell, or miracle, from a deity in return for a sacrifice, either made or promised.

Cities often had a single god as a patron, the obvious one is Athena for Athens. The Iliad mentions a number of cities who have such patrons, and some of the story concerns how those patrons behave following the actions of their citizens. It might be worth making the bon given for a sacrifice to a patron to be larger than one made to any old deity.

The Greek and Roman Pantheons are on my very long list of thinsg I want to write up. Hopefully I'll live forever and have time to do it ...
Last edited by soltakss on Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby rust » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:15 pm

There are lots of potential problems with the Greek deities in a
roleplaying setting. For example, the Greek deities had a habit
to have children with mortals, and almost every Greek hero is
a son or grandson of some god or goddess, beloved and protec-
ted by at least one deity and hated by at least one other deity,
relations which often eliminate a hero's free will and make him
a helpless pawn of the deities instead.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby PhilHibbs » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:05 pm

soltakss wrote:...whislt the Greeks did have temples to their deities and also did have specific priests who officiated at those temples, the rabnk and file didn't necessarily worship one deity alone. So, a Greek might make a sacrifice to Athena for one thing, Poseidon for another and Pluto for something else.
I think that's also the case in "RuneQuest settings", by which I mean "Glorantha" but don't want to say it (damn). Most people worship a pantheon, and only a few are called to follow the more specific path of a single deity or hero. It is assumed that "our plucky band of heroes" are from those few that "feel the hand of fate (by which I mean, "the hand of a player") on their shoulder". As to why more people don't specialise, and get all the goodies associated with a cult, well, in the ancient world any distraction from spending all day trying to put bread on the table could be disastrous not just for the family but for the whole community. Such effort needs to be carefully budgeted or the whole economic basis of the society gets thrown out of kilter, and only those who feel the calling so strongly that steering them away from the Temple of Uleria and back into the paddy field would draw significant divine wrath can be allowed to get away with it.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:01 pm

So create Cults within Cults.

You have a general Cult that worships all of the Gods, but within that Cult are more specialized cults dedicated to specific Gods.

Thus, people could didictate POW to the Pantheon and to a specific God if they wanted to.

The various Cults within your setting do not have to be in conflict; they can recogize that they are all part of the same pantheon and (for the most part) work together.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:46 pm

Also, note that the rules on p.172 of the Legend do allow you to have multiple Pacts and explicitly state that this can be used to model sub-cults of a larger organisation (such as the Greek pantheon). Only those individuals who work as a 'professional' priest (hiereus) or priestess (hiereia) will place most of their dedicated POW to a single deity.

By chance, I've recently been reading Walter Burkert's Greek Religion, which makes some interesting comments related to the role of priests in ancient Greece:
Greek religion might almost be called a religion without priests; there is no priestly caste with fixed tradition, initiation, and hierarchy, and even in the permanently established cults there is no disciplina, but only usage, only nomos. The god in principle admits anyone, so long as he respects the nomos, that is, as long as he is willing to fit in with the local community...Herodatus records with amazement that the Persians must call on a Magus for every sacrifice; among the Greeks, sacrifice can be performed by anyone who is possessed of the desire and the means, including housewives and slaves.

At every major cultic occasion there must, of course, be someone who assumes the leadership; who begins the ceremony, speaks the prayer, and makes the libation. Prerequisite for this tole is a certain authority and economic power. The sacrificer is the head of the household, family or village, the president of the council, the elected chief magistrate of the city,or the army general.
But later he adds:
Priesthood is not a general status, but service of one specific god in one specific sanctuary. No one is is a [priest of the Olympian Gods as a whole] but rather the Priest of Apollo Pythios or the Priestess of Athena Polis; several priesthoods can, of course, be united in one person....[In each sanctuary or temenos] there will generally be just one caretaker, neokoros. To organiser the sacrifices...sacrifice executors (hieropoioi) are appointed and more important still are state commissions to oversee the finances of the sanctuaries, [known as] epimeletai or hierotamiai. The priest rarely lives in the sanctuary, but he is expected to be conscious of his responsibilities; in one case an inscription specifies that the priest must be present in the sanctuary at least ten days per month. However, if necessary the sacrifice can be performed without a priest.

Priesthoods are often hereditary in certain ancient families which owe their status not least to that prerogative...A priestly office brings revenues, or at least provisions, in accordance witth ancient customs.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby PdO » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:44 pm

Thanks for the replies here. I'm going to create a fairly simple, very fictionalized, version of Greece for this, based on Zena, Clash of the Titans, etc. It's my first time running Legend, and I want to keep things light and simple. I plan to steal liberally from the Mazes and Minotaurs RPG. I'm not interested in the (D&D derived) game system, but there's a wealth of source material there.

Sean
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby soltakss » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:41 pm

Sounds good.

It would be even better if you could write it up and post it. The AlternateEarthRQ forum is the perfect place for that kind of thing ...
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby DamonJynx » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:21 am

You could always take a leaf out of the Elric setting:

Have the Cults of individual deities provide X and have Cults of general veneration of the Pantheon provide Y. There should be some small amount of crossover, but overall those worshiping the Pantheon as whole have a higher number of lesser boons, while those worshiping a specific deity have access to much more powerful boons.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby PdO » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:03 am

According to a thread in RPGnet, The Design Mechanism is planning a Mythic Greece supplement for their RQ6. I'm sure this is a looong way off, but I'm a little surprised it hasn't been done already. Legend/RQ seems meant for Mythic Greece.

I thought I had a copy of GURPS Greece kicking around somewhere, but it turns out the copy I have is by Iron Crown. Kinda weird, since I never played Rolemaster. Still, looks like it's got some good info. I'll report back if I get any useful write-ups done.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby superc0ntra » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:30 am

Check out Warlords of Alexander, homemade setting for Basic Roleplaying. It should be easy to convert.
It's free and available on http://basicroleplaying.com/downloads.php?do=file&id=8
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby Simulacrum » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:58 am

If you are going to mod the rules to try and convey the flavour of the setting - as Pete did with Vikings - it's worth thinking about which era/vibe you are going for. So I wonder what is the most popular? I appreciate there is no need for solid lines between my categories below - but the question is, where's the 'heart' of it?

1) Bronze Age - realistic with magic, based on the archaeological Bronze Age era, probably focussing on LHIIIB, but no doubt mashing in stuff from earlier ages. Small but glittering kingdoms, terminates in the Trojan War. Big shields, chariots, boars' tusk helmets and minoan priestesses. A chronology/history for the setting based on rationalising the legends and classial plays against the archaeology. Chance to get involved with Minoans, hittites, Egyptians and the like. S&S feel

2) Homeric - a setting as described by Homer (including Magic), adding detail and colour from Early Iron Age archaeology with some bits from earlier eras and a few anachronisms. chronology puirely based on Homer, Hesiod and any other myths and legends that fit. This more Viking-like in tone, but possibly lots of divine intervention and meddling (suspect this is where the 'Pendragon' version is going). Playing on Homeric ideas and language about what a hero is and what they are supposed to do. Gritty, with the occasional chariot. S&S feel

3) Historic - realistic with magic (?) Archaic, Classical or Hellenistic Greece - in a historic era hence tied to a chronology of things we know happened.

4) Hollywood - Classical era set-dressing (corinthian helmets, pillared marble temples), mythic/legendary stories like Clash of the Titans, an ancient greek 'neverwhen'. High Fantasy feel

I'm guessing 2&4 would be most popular, or some mash between the two, with 1 being the opportunity to stand out from what's already in development. If I had to write on I'd go for 1 or 2 as being most interesting. Long time ago I ran an RQ3 campaign with a band of heroes on board a ship heading into the Aegean, and set it firmly bronze age, with homer and legends for the 'history'.

I thought the old ICE Rolemaster book, which I have in the loft somewhere, was excellent.
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Re: Greek Pantheon: Anybody done this?

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:48 am

I agree that the ICE Rolemaster book was good.

GURPS Greece is also worth a look - and the PDF is available from Steve Jackson Games

I also recommend taking a look at the page for Behind the Aegis, which provides a GURPS campaign setting at the very end of the mythic age.

Oh...and don't forget to read a few of the novels of Thomas Burnett Swann. :wink:

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