All Geek's Eve

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shadowsword87 posted...
All right, well how about people who are claiming descendance from Assyria? I know that people will claim ancestry over it even nowadays. Would it be reasonable to have a group of them riding around still, 200 years later still raiding stuff?

People always claim descent from all sorts of mythological forebears. Greeks were pretty keen on tracing their ancestry back to some great-grandfather or other who was secretly one of Zeus' kids or the like, and even today you've got lots of groups claiming to be descended from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel (which aren't actually missing - we basically know exactly what happened to them in the same way we know what happened to the settlers at Roanoke. The problem is that most people just repeat things they've heard verbatim without doing the 5 minutes worth of research it would take to get the answers).

The real problem is, the "survivors" of lost civilizations rarely get pushed out and become vagabonds and wanderers like in stories. What actually happens is that they intermarry into other groups, slowly evolving into new groups. What happened to the Assyrians after Assyria fell is that its land got absorbed into other empires (Persia, Chaldeans, the Medes, etc), and the people who used to think of themselves as Assyrians started thinking of themselves as Persians, Medians, and so on. Moreover, that's mainly the upper classes - most peasants never had an overdeveloped sense of cultural identity (remember, this is long before the advent of nationalism as a concept), so from their perspective the only real change was that they went from being peasants who paid taxes to one ruler to being being peasants who paid taxes to a slightly different noble. Sure, individuals might get pushed out of power and become bandits out of desperation, but that happens all the time anyway even without political upheaval, and the resulting outlaws rarely propagate their ideology beyond their own lifespan.

If you're bending history a bit to make things more interesting, you could go with having a secretive group that considers itself the surviving legacy of fallen Crete (ie, the Minoan civilization that was ultimately supplanted by the mainland Greeks prior to the Greek Heroic/Golden Age), or go back even farther and bring Atlantis into the mix (since Plato's version of the story had them as rivals to ancient Golden Age Athens).

Or you could go with the more mythological version of Troy (as opposed to the realistic version we're learning more and more about over time, which probably survived the Trojan War, got rebuilt, and continued on with life without any realistic inclination to swear 1000 years of vengeance against the Greeks - who were themselves a mostly different culture by 400 BC anyway). Virgil has Aeneas escaping Troy and going on to found Rome (well, to found Alba Longa which in turn founded Rome) while most of the other Trojans are killed and the city is destroyed (in reality, lots of people probably survived and just rebuilt the city, like they'd done half a dozen times before, because that was what life was like back then). In that scenario, a few dozen war-scarred survivors of Troy might theoretically establish a Greek "mystery cult" sort of group that exists to destroy Greece (and which might actually have been responsible for the soon-after fall of Mycenaean civilization and the beginning of the Greek Dark Age).

For flavor, maybe Trojan assassins kill targets with the ritualistic greeting "When you meet Priam in Hades, tell him the Sons of Ilion still honor his name."

"Wall of Text'D!" --- oldskoolplayr76
"POwned again." --- blight family
shadowsword87 posted...
I realize I'm focusing a lot on "barbarians", but PCs gotta fight something.

If you're setting a game in ancient Greece, odds are most of what the PCs are going to be fighting is each other.

Keep in mind, "Greece" didn't really exist as a nation, or even as a realistic coalition of allied states (a la the EU). Most of the city-states were in direct competition with each other, and the instances of one city fighting another (or a loose coalition of cities fighting a different loose coalition of other cities) happen far more frequently in Greek history than examples of them interacting with peace and friendship (the original Olympics were established as a means of trying to reduce that sort of tension). The Peloponnesian War was the most dramatic example, but in any given Greek campaign it would be entirely appropriate for Athenian heroes to wind up fighting Spartan raiders, Corinthian bandits, Argive pirates, or Thracian invaders.

Outside of the Greeks, there are always tons of threats. The Mediterranean is usually full of pirates regardless of the era (the names and faces change, piracy itself doesn't) - from the Sea Peoples to the Illyrians, the Moors, and eventually the Barbary corsairs (and even present day "terrorists"), there are always threats on the wine-dark sea. Thracians and Macedonians to the north were always considered to be "barbarians" in the usual sense of being backward thugs and uncouth savages. Farther to the north you've got steppe barbarian tribes like the Scythians. Rome and Carthage are growing threats to the west, Persia and other lands to the east and south offer challenges of their own, and so on.

Though keep in mind the Classical Age really ISN'T the "Age of Heroes" - that was about 800 years earlier. Greeks wandering the lands fighting monsters or villains is kind of inappropriate, and would-be heroes would probably be looked down on as shiftless vagabonds, criminals, untrustworthy mercenaries, delusional madmen lost in an ancient past, or just irresponsible fools. Major movers and shakers in this culture are probably politicians or established military, and are more respected for working within existing systems, with individuality being less valued than being "civilized". At best, you might be able to cast them as a military scout group attached to a larger force.

So you might want to start by defining where the characters are going to be mainly based (because say, an "Athenian" campaign is going to be a lot different from a "Spartan" one), then doing research about that specific region, planning how the players are expected to do business there, and then deciding on who their enemies are going to be.

"Wall of Text'D!" --- oldskoolplayr76
"POwned again." --- blight family

User Info: shadowsword87

shadowsword87
1 month ago#363
ParanoidObsessive posted...
If you're setting a game in ancient Greece, odds are most of what the PCs are going to be fighting is each other.


It's not Greek-exclusive, and I'm fine making narrative leaps to have the PCs run around in Constantinople-controlled now-Spain.
I'm paying more attention to Greece right now because that's where the PCs are starting.

Basically what they are playing as is a former Spartan who was left for dead after a battle (a battle-monk), an escaping Persian (pew pew ranger), and then another person joined (a bow rogue). We're starting the game a year after they formed the mercenary group (either the Hounds of Hades or the Basilisk's Eye) and they have their first ship ready to sail off.
Right now I'm just looking to figure out some mooks to fight, and any interesting political situation to dump them in. Basic plot stuff.

EDIT: Also, to be clear; this is not going through the "Age of Heroes" stuff, we specifically chose to not go up against classic Greek mythology monsters and those sorts of things.
(edited 1 month ago)
Yeah, mercenaries works.

It's probably the best way to do most real world historical campaigns, because it's about the closest we have historical to the "adventurer" stereotype. The only downside is that mercenaries tend to be looked down upon and treated like scum, because a lot of them WERE scum. The best groups were still men willing to kill other men for coin, while the worst were outright criminals themselves.

Mercenaries with a standing contract to a local ruler or who operate as general bounty hunters are probably the easiest to fit into a more civilized context, though. But "pirates" with a ship of their own can be fun as well.

The real question is whether you're going for straight historical or "fantasy historical". Because that changes a lot of the sort of stories you're telling. But a straight historical game is more or less taking D&D back to its own roots, since it started out as more realistic wargaming anyway.

"Wall of Text'D!" --- oldskoolplayr76
"POwned again." --- blight family

User Info: shadowsword87

shadowsword87
1 month ago#365
Historical+fun.

I'm willing to mess with the timeline and I'm trying my best to tone down the magic parts of DnD (and it sounds like my players are cool with it as well, based on the classes).

Also they want to actually grow their mercenary business, rather than it being just an excuse to run around and assassinate Roman officials.
(edited 1 month ago)

User Info: Zeus

Zeus
1 month ago#366
ParanoidObsessive posted...
Greeks were pretty keen on tracing their ancestry back to some great-grandfather or other who was secretly one of Zeus' kids


In their defense, I had a lot of kids.

The Wave Master posted...
As we mentioned earlier it is probably best to separate the art with the artist so you can enjoy works of art guilty free.


In addendum to my earlier response to this comment, I should point out I'm *still* totally bummed out that Hulk Hogan is on the outs with the WWE over such a stupid scandal. Granted, his involvement was minor in recent years (his biggest moments were hosting a WM and getting bullied by Brock Lesnar on a birthday-themed Raw) but you had always had merch.
(\/)(\/)|-|
In Zeus We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
(edited 1 month ago)

User Info: shadowsword87

shadowsword87
1 month ago#367
Somehow I think I hit the setting that PO would be the most interested in joining :P
shadowsword87 posted...
Somehow I think I hit the setting that PO would be the most interested in joining :P

Not necessarily? But keep in mind, I'm pretty keen on real world history in general, and I played a LOT of Vampire, so I'd occasionally deep-delve into history to come up with roots for characters. So it's an easy and interesting subject to discuss (and interests me more than a lot of constructed settings like Greyhawk or Eberron).

Off the top of my head, I had a Parthian vampire at one point (albeit only as the sire of an Andalusian vampire who was Embraced around 800 AD or so), and I did a TON of research on Marseille/Massalia to use as a setting for Dark Ages Vampire stuff (ironically enough, there's not a ton of in-depth history of the city available online, at least not easy to track down sort of basic details). I worked out a ton of details, and was going to post it online on my old WoD website, but I never did finish that particular project.

http://sites.google.com/site/celanteinn/lasombra/marseille

I also looked into stuff with the Sea Peoples (which sort of tangentially relates to the Greek Dark Ages) because the Lasombra are sort of tied to them canonically.

And, geek stuff removed from the equation, I actually had a couple of college classes on the Greek Dark Ages and burial practices from the period, so I was always at least partly interested in the region/era (not entirely dissimilar to when I went through Anglophile and Japanophile phases at various times).

I've been reading a lot of ancient and classical era history recently as well. The closest I probably get to your period was a pretty good book about Alexander the Great (mostly how his empire fractured after his death), and if you skew a bit farther west, a couple of books about Rome and Carthage around the time of the Punic Wars.

"Wall of Text'D!" --- oldskoolplayr76
"POwned again." --- blight family

User Info: shadowsword87

shadowsword87
1 month ago#369
Oh man, I just got real sad. I thought the Sack of Rome was in 410 BC and I got super excited, not 410 AD.
(edited 1 month ago)
shadowsword87 posted...
Oh man, I just got real sad. I thought the Sack of Rome was in 410 BC and I got super excited, not 410 AD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Allia

You're welcome.

"Wall of Text'D!" --- oldskoolplayr76
"POwned again." --- blight family
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