So, I've been milling around, trying to come up with an adaptation of Sorcerer for ancient Greece, mainly due to the influence of Walter Burkert's Homo Necans: the Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth. My approach is unashamedly Iliadic -- I really haven't given any thought to those who'd rather play the Odyssey, or anything else. I have an Iliad jones.
Anyone who knows ancient Greek better than I do (and that's not hard) is more than welcome to donate appropriate terms. I could use Latin, but that'd be so 19th century.
Here's what I've come up with, so far:
Theme: What would you do for Fame? Heroes have to be famous. It's why they're heroes. Unfamous heroes are nobodies. You're not a Nobody, are you?
What is Humanity? Humanity is your capacity for hybris, your ability to remain unnoticed by the gods. As mentioned by Herodotus, the gods are jealous of those mortals who rise too high above their fellows. And we all know who he means: PCs.
What is Sorcery? Sorcery is sacrifice. This would use the rules for Necromancy in S&S, modified somewhat for the emphasis on animal sacrifice, rather than human. But when you do sacrifice a human...hoo, boy.
Related to sacrifice is the aresteia. This is when a character becomes an unstoppable badass, someone who can even challenge some of the gods (a good example is Diomedes' in Iliad V). An aresteia never happens unless a player wills it. Basically, it's a modified version of necromancy, but in some ways it's even worse. Instead of having to sacrifice people, you just have to kill them in combat. The Token then adds to all further combat rolls...which then adds to the Token...which adds to the combat rolls...
Oh, the price? The gods tend to notice this sort of thing. An aresteia ends instantly when either A) A roll fails, ending the ecstatic state, or B) the character falls to 0 Humanity. If at 0, you're whisked away by the gods to some appropriate fate or another. You might dine in Olympus, or be plunged into Hades. Who knows? The gods are fickle.
What are Demons?? Demons are your Fate. Whilst your Fate might make you really fast, strong, or wise, you're fucked. Your Fate is out to get you, and it can't be denied. Fates will commonly have such friendly Desires as Bloodshed, and Needs like Must be Best of the Achaeans.
Other demons would be Immanents, from minor ones like the Stymphalian birds and the Harpies to big-ass scary mothers like Scylla and Charybdis. (Yes, I know they're from the Odyssey. They're just examples.)
So, PCs would be bound to their Fates? PCs would have a dysfunctional relationship with their Fates? And regarding other demons--those would be Pacting demons, right?
I love it. I really like the aresteia idea, too.
So, what are you waiting for? Play this sucker!
Anyone interested in the Trojan War for any reason at all must read Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze (http://age-of-bronze.com/aob/index.shtml) from Hungry Tiger Press. It is hands-down the most brillliant adaptation I have ever seen, heard of, or can conceive of.
Currently the first two volumes are available, of projected seven total. The second volume ends with the sacrifice at Aulis.
The relationship maps included at the end of the volume are astounding, and so, so powerful in helping understand the tensions underlying the entire story. Color me stupid, but despite a pretty good passing familiarity with the usual sources, I had never realized that Helen and Klytemnestra were sisters, or that Penelope is their first cousin.
Boink! The three most important characters in the story, in terms of the passions that drive the men associated with them ... one close-knit set of siblings/near-siblings. And this is only one of the many insights to be gained from the maps (one for Hellenes, one for Trojans, with their two crucial points of intersection clearly marked), all of which are also apparent in the interactions among the characters as Shanower has depicted them.
Quote from: joshua neffSo, PCs would be bound to their Fates?
QuotePCs would have a dysfunctional relationship with their Fates?
Oh, yeah, baby! I really liked the idea that your Fate (demon) has a Purpose with a capital P. And that Purpose is to make you famous, not to let you die in the muck like some unremembered sissy-boy who gets killed two lines after being introduced. When you
die in the muck, people will remember you forever.
QuoteAnd regarding other demons--those would be Pacting demons, right?
Another idea is that a Pacting 'demon' is really a smaller version of the god. This kind of 'demon' would have Desires like Build Me a Temple. So, you could make a Pact with Zeus, saying that if you survive your journey, you'll construct an alter to him.
I love it.
Glad to hear it!
QuoteI really like the aresteia idea, too.
Yeah, that just kind of hit me whilst reading Burkert -- what if aresteia
was just an acceptable form of necromancy?
So, what are you waiting for?
Players that don't suck ;-)
QuotePlay this sucker!
I believe the word for fame garnered in battle is kleos. Might be a handy term to throw around during Humanity definition.
Check out Spartan Sorcerer (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=4781) for lots of chat on similar topics.
Also, tet, I love ya man, but put a lid on the line-by-line replies, please.