OGL Ancient First impression


At the first look nice book with some good idea`s.
First mistake`s found
Front map Vesubios Mtn. ist on the West side of Italy. Athena change place with Corinth.
Back map Alexandria 3.000 b.C, astonishing at last.

Greeting Wulfhere
Speaking of maps. I know that it's this planet and I can consult an atlas or globe but come on guys, that's the worst map I've ever seen. Can't even tell where mountain ranges are.


A company produces a book this good, and the first comments are to point out nitpicky mistakes.


Gads, this gets old.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm half way through the book and so far so good. I just don't see why a better map with goegraphic formations couldn't be used. Even if it was in the same style, it's not hard to draw mountains in.


I liked the source material too, but I had a couple of overall issues with the book. Namely lack of an index, and lack of a detailed table of contents. I could see how this would be tricky if one weren't using a word processor, but in this day and age.... Especially when I know they're capable of producing indexes -- I just flipped through the Ultimate Arcane Spellbook and it had one.

Also, not having the major rules and charts summarized in the back makes the book feel more like a source material for other game systems, as opposed to a game system in its own right, which I intend to run at some point.

This is definitely the best 3rd party d20 fantasy book I've seen so far. Can't wait to play it.


as I said nice book with some good idea`s as the divine blooded.

The maps are at best not really useful and to know that alexandria didn`t exist at 3.000 B.C. is basic knowledge at last.

I will use this game but will run the background research for myself then I knew the things are right.


After a more intensive reading.
Really nice done.
The characterclasses are balanced.
magic is transfered to the special background.
feats and skills are well done too.

background map as I said
timeline is ok



I have given this a quick read (4 hours).

Great so far. All the rules should absolutely give any campaign an 'ancient' feel. A treat if you want to break out of the usual 'high fantasy' setting.

The new combat rules (shield parry, armor damage reduction, active defense, etc) are great. The new Unearthed Arcana book for d20 have given similar options, but I really like Mongoose's version better.

A highlight: the healing, and grievous wounds. A great (and easy) game mechanic to do this. I almost cringed when the book described wound cautery :D . These rules really lend themselves to an 'ancient' campaign: no one would venture too far from a center of healing (cities). You sure won't last long going 100's of miles away in an unexplored swamp :shock:

The magic & miracles section was done well. It should give a nice flavour to any campaign. It will need to be play-tested before I can judge the balance.
I have one concern about it already: Witchcraft and Hekau spells are powered by a character's hit points (fine - nice idea). BUT....
I see a few witches and Egyptian priest's taking a level or two in a Fighter class, just to boost their Hit Points so they can cast more spells. This does not seem right....
(Please note: the auther does point out that multi-classing should be rare)

There was a nice write-up on the Greek and Egyptian gods. This section could have used a better explination of the fields used when describing the deities (e.g.: it took some looking to find out exactly how the 'disfavour' or 'virtues' mechanics works in the game).
Again, the added bits like: sacrifices, etc will really add an 'ancient' touch to any campaign.
For example, I can now see characters running through a market, looking for some sheep to sacrifice on the docks, to Poseidon, just before a long sea voyage. :D

Great Job. I can't wait to use this book!


I'd have to agree with what banesfinger said. In addition I had some thoughts. I am a big fan of the Conan game and this system is very similar although it has content specific to mythology and in itself that is cool. I personally am a huge fan of Clash of the Titans and The Jason and the Argonauts stuff. I really liked that if you get swallowed by a sea serpent you can role to cut yourself out of his throat. :D

My only issues with the book is that it doesn't seem supported by many as there is no preview, limited discussion and I wonder if they will make any add ons for it. I may actuallu work on a module for it as the Conan properties stuff has made me halt what I've been working on.

The book itself would be better in my opinion, with more Art. Starts out well, but then art is scarce and since art is my passion, perhaps that is why I mention that. I believe people often make buying decisions based on the art as it sets a certain mood and although the art that is present is well done, there really isn't anything that sets the mood in my mind.

Also I wish it had a TOC and a specific walkthrough for creating a character, I know it's not that complex, but now it needs something like what was homemade for Conan.

I also wish It had some tips on running a campaign like in the back of COnan, as I have no clue where to start.

Overall though the book is sweet and has lots of cool items that seem to give it an ancient feel, I just need to put some work into creating a campaign.

I am hoping this forum gets more active like Conan as I believe this can be a great game to play.

Any tips on campaign ideas are greatly appreciated as I am going for the more fantasy based approach.



Here is an example of the OGL Ancients combat rules, as I understand them. I will focus on new rules presented in this book, and briefly mention those that do not differ from core d20 rules (e.g.: initiative, BAB, etc). Since I am also new to the rules, please point out any mistakes I have made in my interpretations.

Diem, a novice Hoplite (Warrior-4) travels from the Greek City state of Sparta.

He has traveled to the isle of Crete to battle the legendary Minotaur. They face off on the rocky ground outside his layer.

Round #1:
Diem, wins initiative and goes first.
Since he is a Spartan, he has a base speed of 40, so he easily closes with the Minotaur and attacks with his spear. He rolls a 12 on d20 to hit.
He adds his Base Attack Bonus (BAB) of +4 and his Str bonus of +2 for a total of 16.

It is the first regular turn in the battle, and the Minotaur has not yet acted, thus he is flat-footed.
We now see if this attack roll gets past the Minotaur’s passive defence. Passive Defence represents how hard it would be to hit someone who does not actively defend himself. Passive Defence is always = 10 +/- size modifier. Thus the Minotaur has a 10 –1 (large) = 9 Passive defence.

Since Diem’s to hit score is > than the beast’s Passive Defence, he has scored a ‘potential’ hit.

The Minotaur now gets to make an Active Defence (attempt to dodge the attack). This is a free action. Active Defence is a d20 roll + Dex modifier (reduced for armor) + misc.
The Minotaur has an Active Defence bonus of +0 (no dex bonus), and rolls a d20. He gets a 15.
Not enough to beat Diem’s attack score of 16. The Spartan scores a hit!

(Please note: attackers and defenders will probably roll their attack roll and Active Defence at the same time – thus speeding up combat).

Diem rolls for damage: The spear is 1d8. He adds +2 (str) for a total of 6 damage. The minotaur has no armor, so the damage reduces his hit points accordingly.

Now, it is time for the Minotaur to take a full-attack action and swing his Labrys (2-headed axe) twice (+9/+4 melee) and gore (+4 melee).

Our hero, Diem, has a Hoplite Shield, but has to make a crucial decision:
Anyone with a shield can elect to use the shield instead of his Active Defence. Unfortunately, you only get ONE Shield Defence roll per round (more for high-level fighters). While this is a free action, you must designate which attack you will try to block BEFORE the opponent makes his attack roll.
(There is a feat that will allow you to ‘see’ the attack roll first, before committing your Shield defence roll).

Diem decides that the Minotaur’s first attack is the most dangerous, and thus elects to use his Shield against it.

The Minotaur rolls an 11 on d20 to hit, + 9 BAB for his first swing = 20.
Diem has a Passive Defence of 11 (med sized vs large) and thus is ‘potentially struck’.

Diem now rolls his Shield Defence, which is similar to a melee attack bonus, as it gets better as he gains levels. He has a Shield Defence Bonus of +2 for being a 4th level Warrior. To this he adds his Wisdom bonus (+1) and the shield’s Coverage bonus (+5 for the Hoplite shield) = +8. He now rolls a d20, just like the active defence, rolling a ‘13’, for a total of 21.
He beat the attack roll of 20, and thus blocks the first axe swing! The shield is struck, and all the damage is applied to the shield.

The minotaur’s axe does3d6+3, and the total turns out to be 15 points of damage! The Hoplite shield has a Damage Resistance (DR) of 5 and a Damage Absorption (DA) of 6 against slashing weapons. Thus, the first 5 damage are resisted (ignored), and the next 6 damage are absorbed by the Shield (the Hoplite shield has 30 hp).
But unfortunately, the damage exceeded the DR and the DA in one blow, thus the shield is breached and destroyed. The excess 4 points of damage gets through to attack Diem’s body.

Lucky for Diem, he is also wearing armor. He is wearing a Bronze Corselet and a Corinthian helmet. In OGL Ancients, not only does armor reduce damage, it has a coverage rating that gives a guideline on how much of your body is covered by the armor. The Corselet has a coverage of +8, and his helmet gives an additional +1, for a total armor coverage of +9. Diem now rolls a coverage check (against DC 20) to see if the blow hits an armored part. He rolls a 5 on d20, and adds his coverage rating of +9. Not enough to make the DC of 20, and thus the blow lands on an un-armored section of his body. He reduces his Hit Points by the 4 remaining damage from the axe.

The Minotaur will take his second swing with the axe. Diem’s shield has been destroyed (even if it wasn’t, he has used up his only shield parry…).

He swings and rolls a 2. Adding his BAB of the 2nd attack will give him a total of 6. This is not even enough to get past Diem’s passive defence and is a complete miss.

Finally, the Minotaur uses his Gore attack. This time he rolls a 14 + 4 (BAB) for a total of 18. A potential hit. Diem rolls his Active Defence. Unfortunately, his armor has reduced his Dex bonus to +0 (heavy armor has a price!). He rolls a d20 and gets a 9. This is < the attack roll, and is thus a hit. (Poor Diem could not dodge this one...)

Diem sees if this gore can be stopped by his armor. Once again he tries to beat the DC of 20 with his bonus of +9. He rolls a 13. Adding his +9 = 22. The gore has struck his armor.
The gore does 1d8+6 damage, for a total of 10 (piercing damage from his horns). Diem’s Bronze Corselet has a DR/DA of 6/2 vs. piercing damage. 6 points are ignored, while his corselet will take 2 (reducing the HP of the corselet from 60 to 58 ). The 2 remaining damage is applied to Diem’s Hit Points.
(Please note: that un-like shields, armor that gets breached is NOT destroyed.)

With no shield, things may get tuff for Diem in the next few rounds…


Excellent example!

Rushing off to face a Minotaur in single combat, without even an Aristocrat like Ariadne to back you up? Ooh dear! That's asking for trouble! No wonder minotaurs have the reputation they do...

Diem would have been better off in this situation if he was a Noble Warrior, since they do the single combat business better than regular warriors. Now, if Diem's allies turn up, maybe they can use their formation feats. ;)

Alternatively, maybe you could give us an example of Diem praying to Ares? Divine Points come in handy in this kind of situation...

The only point I think you may have missed is Diem's weapon focus. This need not necessarily be the spear, but it would be a natural choice for a Hoplite. :) He might have some other feats to help him out, too.


So far so good. I picked up my copy today -- special order, which makes me wonder about the future support of this setting.

To the nay-sayers. As much as I would like to feel differently, I'm just glad that a company has put out a book like this. Gaming has hundreds of knockoff D & D products, elves a-go-go and so little attention to a mythical ancient world.

This is not a text book. If you want one, go get one. I'm bulgarian. Growing up I would hear the old guys in the cafes talk about trak and spartak like they were there. If I were to look at this in a purely historical light I would have a stroke.

Personally, the more Jason and the Argonauts this would be the more I would play. If this game has support, I can see myself playing in this setting for years, and I really don't do that much RPG. (Mainly because I don't like D&D or Vampire settings.)

IMHO I would rather have less art. I'd rather the books get published, and cheaper than get a coffee table book full of tepid pictures. I can paint my own campaign art, and the flavor will be more appropriate to the region and time period, that's for sure.

In any case, looking at the bigger picture here, it's good to have this in my hands. I look forward to using this to make or join a campaign, and hope that more comes our way from MP for this line.

(Will be watching the adventures of Diem, too.)


Mongoose_Ade said:
The only point I think you may have missed is Diem's weapon focus. This need not necessarily be the spear, but it would be a natural choice for a Hoplite. He might have some other feats to help him out, too.

The other point he missed was the fact that the Minotaur would have skewered poor Diem before he got close due to his 10ft reach...


Nice explanation. The only core difference from Conan I noticed was the Active defense. Seems easy enough compared to Conan, I'm just glad this game is getting some attention now.


Trust me, the coverage roll is a big difference. You can have the best armour in the world, but if you roll low on the coverage check, it doesn't do anything for you except look pretty when covered in blood - yours...



I have been on the fence. On Monday, I will buy it. Though maybe I should continue to refuse until Mongoose starts posting some previews, aids, etc. :roll:

E Nicely

My first impression of this game is that its' a good game. When it first was released I read the armor rules at the LGS for like an hour before buying it. Very, very Nice. Everything else looks like it's up to par. Have to go brush up on my mythology, though. :) . And my history.


As I was piecing together items for round #2 with Diem & the Minotaur, I came across a few questions:

A) Bestiary: there are two lines in creature descriptions that I am having trouble with:
-Active Defence: (ok, I am fine with this one…)
-Active Defence/DR: hmmmm, how does this work? Why is active defence repeated?

Example: the Gorgon has an:
Active Defence: +2 (+2 dex)
Active Defence/DR: +18/10

B) Bestiary: natural attacks (e.g.: bites, claws, slams, etc) should really be given an attack mode (e.g.: piercing, bludgeoning, or slashing).

C) Page 216: Total Divine Points Spent: we are to keep track of the total divine points spent for the character’s career. The table is missing to show the rewards the character gains for spending large numbers of divine points.

Any help would be appreciated on these items.


In answer:

A) I just checked my original manuscript. There appears to have been a slight editing blip in the published book. The second category should read 'Armour Coverage/DR', not 'Active Defence/DR'.

So, in the case of the Gorgons, their Active Defence is +2 for Dex, while they have natural armour with a Coverage bonus of +18 (!!!!) and DR of 10. This is because they are, as the description says, 'covered in scales the colour of gold, as strong as iron.'

Perseus, of course, was armed with Harpe (detailed in the section on Divine Items) and prayed to Zeus to lower Medusa's coverage check...

B) I thought there was already a convention that bites always dealt piercing damage, slams bludgeoning and claws slashing (and so forth), but I can prepare a reference sheet if necessary...

C) Yes, I'm afraid it is missing from the book. Working on it for inclusion on this site. :>