Welcome to Space Greece

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas is a game of SPACE GREECE. It's based on Greek mythology and culture, twisted about for space - centaurs, for example, are squids that ride around in centaur-shaped robot bodies. Hellas is a generational game, with characters taking on the role of Heroes who seek glory vy their deeds. They die, and when they do, you play their children, with the goal being to ascend into immortality by your deeds before you succumb to your fate. The PCs in Hellas focus on being heroic, major movers and shakers on a mythic scale. The goal is to showcase both your amazing skills and your tragic flaws, because like any mythic heroes, PCs have both. The game seeks to make the PCs the primary and focal part of the story, with the most important role, and eventually, your character's bloodline will save the universe...but, well, it almost certainly isn't going to be your first character that does it. The game is focused on a hundred-year span of time, which will end with either the ascension of the peoples of the game or their destruction. The game rewards proactivity in seeking out glorious deeds to do, and seeks to have the PCs be the ones who change the world and make things happen, rather than just taking part in events orchestrated by NPCs. (Not to say NPCs don't do things - they do. But the PCs are the really important people.)

I love the art used for much of the book.

The game presents a lot of its history in IC text - letters from the destruction of planet Sparta, excerpts from history texts and so on. There's also a 2000-year timeline covering all the major events of the past. I will, however, try to cover the major history setting up the game. Details are provided on various events in different places throughout the book - I love this game, but organization isn't really its strong suit. So, the history of the world begins when the Twelve awaken from Xaos (pronounced 'zayoss') in an event known as the Arxaeo ('the Awakening'), on the planet Creta in the system Knossos. There, they discover the Hellenes, a species of unenlightened creatures, and 'awaken' them. The civilization is promitive, but with the aid of their new gods, the Twelve, the Hellenes learn about technology and rapidly advance. They do not know how long they existed before this - this is the beginning of history, the Awakening.

Within centuries, the Hellenes are able to colonize all of Creta and move offworld, achieving what most races take thousands of years to do, thanks to the help of their gods and, if you asked them, their innate greatness. The first colony ship launches from Creta in 450, and within 50 years, space travel was commonplace. For many years, the Hellenes explored but found nothing dangerous, and instead fought each other and the machines they created. The three primary groups of the Hellenes were the Spartans, the Atenoians and the Atlanteans. At some point, the Twelve cease communicating with their children, without any warning. This is due to the arrival of the immense creature called Kronos, who claimed to have devoured the gods and planned to devour the Hellenes. However, the Hellenese came together and defeated Kronos, casting him into a star and freeing the Twelve.

The star, Thera, was disturbed by Kronos and went into nova, threatening the entirety of Knossos System. The Hellenes fled, spreading out and seperating as they traveled, with the Spartans and the Atlanteans going one way and the Athenoians (and other subgroupings) another. They discovered their first alien race - the Amazorans, a similar species of new colonizers. The two races fought for planets, and the Athenoian Hellenes won, establishing a new home system on the planet Athenoi. The wars with the Amazorans continued, as did wars between Hellenes over which system was best. The Hellenes became chaotic again, divided...until the Machina revolt, when the robots created by the Hellenes rose up in rebellion. The Hellenes came together at last to destroy all artificial life and the alien threat of the Scylla. The Zorans, cousins to the Amazorans, were discovered, as well...and this led to the Troian war, Hellene against Zoran and Amazoran. The Hellenes won, but at great cost.

In the victory, the treachery of the Atlanteans was discovered. More on this later, but suffice to say, the Atlanteans were very busy using horrible genetic experimentation that freaked everyone out, and after the discovery of this, the other Hellenes turned on them, forming the Delphi League to destroy them. The Atlanteans wiped out entire colonies with their secret armies, billions died and, at last, only ambush and surprise attack on the Atlantean homeworld succeeded, forcing the Atlanteans to retreat forever into Slipspace. This will get a lot more detail later.

At some point after this, the race of Zintar arrive, and the Hellenes begin to forget their gods and their bonds to each other. The Hellenes focus more on history, trade and art, holding great games but no longer speaking to the Twelve. They spread and fought still, of course, and the Delphi League even temporarily disbanded. It was reformed only twenty years before the start of the game, at the request of the Oracles. It took the return of old foes to unite them once more - first the Zorans, who once more colonized planet Troy and once more attacking Hellenic space, and then the Scyllans. But worst of all were the greatest foe. The homeworld of the alien (but allied) Kyklopes has been destroyed, as has planet Sparta. The Atlanteans have returned - and last time, they were defeated only with the guidance of the Twelve. Now, it is only the greatest Heroes who can speak to the gods, and it will be up to them to save the universe.

Next time: Hellene Society

all Hellenes are children of the gods and so there is no special honor for being the direct son or daughter of a god, even if you could prove it was so

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

The Hellenes are unified by need and belief, they have many different cultural and political views based on what system, planet or even city they are from. However, some practices are mostly universal - or at least common enough that while they may not be everywhere, they are known to everyone. The alien races of the galaxy often practice differing traditions, and notable practices of each race will be discussed later, but the Hellenes are the dominant force in Hellenic space and their ways have largely been adopted by the others there. Hellenic law is based on the original set of codes laid down by the Twelve, which the Hellenes claim is based on 'Natural Law' and focus on allowing for the right to life, freedom and property, while punishing theft, murder and treachery. However, every system is free to dictate these laws as they see fit. Most Hellenic systems are democracies, but many are not. The Athenoians are a Democracy with Timocratic overtones - that is, rule by property owners. The Spartans are a strong Timocracy with aspects of Aristocracy and Oligarchy. The planet Elis is only a nominal Democracy, with real rule being Kritocratic - that is, rule by judges.

All of Hellenic society is built around the cultural idea of the Polis. This is not just a physical place, but the organic whole made of the place, its people and its institutions. The smallest Polis is a city and the area it controls and protrects, as well as its citizens. Larger Poleis use slightly different terms - a planetary Polis is an Ecumenopolis, while a Polis covering an entire area of space is an Astropolis. Still, the basic idea is constant. No matter how large, the Polis typically has a central gathering place called the Acropolis, where citizens masy come in times of crisis to discuss their plans. Each Polis will also have an Agora, where the poiltical leaders meet to enact laws, hold trials and so on. This term is, again, not just the physical structure, but also the people that gather there. Poleis will often also contain a central Temple, dedicated to one of the Twelve, and with major Astropoleiis this will take the form of a Temple Moon, but each planet will also have their own Temple, as will each city. Poleis are rather like a set of concentric circles - city-level Polis, then Ecumenopolis, then Astropolis. Cities are sometimes divided further into Demes, tribal aliiances which are subdivided into Phratries, or familial alliances, and Gentes, or neighborhood alliances. Many systems do not bother to delineate quite so far, however. Note that slaves, criminals and foreigners (known as Metics) are never part of the Polis.

The Agora is a constant no matter what kind of government is used, a practice descended from the ruler Drako of Athenoi that quickly spread. It's an assembly where a large portion of the voting population of a city gathers, either all eligible voters or just a quorum, which can sometimes be up to ten thousand people. Cities hold Agorae several times per month - or more, in times of crisis. In systems where the masses hold more power, votes are tallied by raised hands, caucusing or other means, with majority rule. In other systems, the Agora's vote might be handled by an elected body or even a single person to implement, or might just be taken into consideration by the actual rulers and not treated as law. Still, decisions passed by an Agora are usually closely considered, since they are the will of the people directly, and ignoring them consistently will likely trigger uprisings.

For the most part, only free, property-owning and native-born Hellenes can vote or take part in government, with more property allowing more participation, such as running for or holding public office. Only free, property-owning Hellenes are fully protected by law, and often more property means more protection. Non-Hellenes and those Hellene that are free but do not own property are known as Metics, and are less protected. This includes children and citizens cared for by the state. Adult age is 15, and men and women are usually considered equal under law, though in some systems women may have less rights - or, as with the Amazorans, more rights. (The Amazorans, in fact, reserve almost all rights exclusively for women, in contrast to their male-dominated Zoran cousins.) Slaves have the least protection under law, but may not be treated to cruel or excessive punishment, torture, mutilation or murder.

Crime is treated differently by system - sometimes trial by judge, sometimes by jury. Jury trial is typically held before the Agora, with judge and jury both paid by the state for service. In some systems, cases are brought to the Heliaia, a court of appeals allowing any citizen the right to bring cases to trial or sit in judgment. In either case, the accused and accuser both have right to a legal representative and the calling of witnesses. These are all that really stand in common with Hellenic legal systems. Each system will have their own interpretation of law and treat crimes differently. As PCs are Heroes, it's unlikely they're ever going to be brough to trial or engage in overtly criminal acts, but it could happen. Most crimes are punished either by a fine paid to the victim or by imprisonment for some period of time.

Slavery is legal in most systems, and Hellenic culture has no real problem with it. In some places, slaves are over a quarter of the population - mostly the poor, criminal or prisoners of war. Most slaves are household servants or laborers, but some serve as bodyguards, soldiers or sexual objects. Criminals can be enslaved if they cannot pay a fine or if they commit a crime so terrible that imprisonment would be too lenient...or, in some places, where imprisonment would be too harsh. For example the Hero Heraicles was sentenced to twelve great labors of slavery after the mruder of his wife and children in a drug-induced rage, rather than imprisoning him. Slavery is usually not seen as a permanent state. You could be freed after a time, set by law or your owner, or you might buy or earn your freedom, with money or deeds. Slaves that somehow make it to a system in which slavery is illegal are considered to have earned their freedom as long as they stay in that system. In most cases, a criminal will not become their victim's slave, but instead serve someone else, usually the public good, and the money from their sale or work will be sent to the victim. Public slaves serve in many functions - medical personnel, cops, librarians, farmers, temple guards, mechanics, janitors. This allows much of the adult free population to serve in the military. Spartan slaves, however, are the exception. The Spartans long ago enslaved a Hellenic race called the Helots. In exchange for their continued existence as a people, they agreed to life as slaves. Helots have more privileges than most other slaves, but they can never be free, and are hereditary slaves.

Some Hellenes hold that there are countless gods, but most agree that only the Twelve are worth worship. Each major region of Hellenic space tends to ally themselves to one specific god of the Twelve, often related to the local presence of that god's Temple Moon. Not all systems, however, adhere to the same degree of reverence. Any given Hellene can be expected to respect all the gods, and while most choose a specific one as their patron or matron, that choice need not relate to the region they live in. This extends cross-culturally - even the king of a planet might devote themselves to a god that is not their planet's patron. The Hellenes do not really understand this as religion, and have no term for 'belief' or 'faith' in the Twelve. They just intrinsically know that the Twelve exist - this is known, not taken on faith. The closest word they have is 'Nomizen' - mindfulness. One who is Nomizen is one who pays respects to the Twelve and is not lazy, atheist or heretical. (Mind you, there are fourteen gods acknowledged to exist by modern Hellenes - the two that are not the Twelve, Hadon and Aionisia, are just not universally seen as worthy of worship or acknowledgement.)

Beyond the twelve Temple Moons, Hellenes maintain thousands of smaller shrines, from the simplest pile of stones to the largest ornate buildings. All are appropriate places of reverence, and some Hellenes believe worshipping there helps focus one's attention. These shrines are not blessed - anyone can erect one, just by marking an area and telling others they've done it. This process is known as Enshrining, though the wealthy may well spend millions of drachmas to erect elaborate shrines. The largest are somewhat heretically known as temples, which technically speaking are the domain of the Polis. The act of creating such expensive shrines is not seen as hypocritical, though it may be seen as wasteful. All cities and most space stations iwll have at least one shrine to a member of the Twelve, and all major cities will have shrines to each.

There is no specific prayers, chants or rituals that are codified, but many exist in planetary and poetic traditions. A poem may publish hymns or a local landowner may hold annual festivals. These local practices are known as Letourgeia, and can include prayers, festivals, plays, songs, parades or games. The best known is the annual celebration of the Pan-Hellenic games on Olympos. The one unifying factor for all Letourgeia is that they are not private. They can be shared by any number of people, though they may be restricted by gender, locale or social class. Most are closed to non-Hellenes, but not all. While the Hellenes believe the gods can sire children, there is no social benefit to claiming one is a demigod or half-divine, as all Hellenes are children of the gods and so there is no special honor for being the direct son or daughter of a god, even if you could prove it was so. However, one form of Letourgeia is used to recognize individual achievement: Kudous. When given Kudous, a person is publically acknowledged for showing traits and capabilities similar to those of the gods. The most common is the celebration of the victors at the Pan-Hellenic games, or when heroes are honored for performing well in battle, sometimes posthumously. Individuals who are granted Kudous, even in small ceeremonies, are believed to be chosen for greatness. Soldiers who receive Kudous are often selected as general, while poets are often asked to serve as diplomats, and healers may be expected to save entire cities from plague. Related are the terms Odous and Hubrous. Odous is a hated term, referring to public chastisement. It may cause public humiliation, but it does not remove any honor...and, indeed, tolerating it well can bring public sympathy. Hubrous, however, is a term for people who claim Kudous for themselves. It is seen as disgraceful to do so, though many Heroes of the past have done it - most notably Heiracles and Achilleos.

Another ntoable form of Letourgeia is the Mysteria. A Mysterium is a regular gathering for the meditation upon a religious truth or mystery. This doesn't mean it's quiet - it could be meditation, discussion, banquet or even an orgy. Mysteria are used to feel closer to the gods, and are more common in remote regions without many temples or shrines, particularly in systems without a Temple Moon. Because of this, Mysteria dedicated to deities other than the Twelve are not actually uncommon in remote areas - Hadon, Ainoisia or even foreign gods such as the Zoran Titanoi might have Mysteria.

Hellenic marriage is a series of conencted events over a period of weeks, months or even years, in which two seperate people are transformed into a couple. The first event is the Enguis, the betrothal, typically arranged by the fathers of the couple but sometimes between the husband and the father of the bride. A large part of this involves a dowry, which is a sum set aside for the bride in the event of the husband's death, abandonment or divorce. In some systems, the bride has no choice in this matter, but in others may refuse a suitor or demand a larger dowry. Following this is the Ekdosis period, in which both bride and husband perform offerings to the Twelve. At the end of this period, they and their parents select the day of the celebratory banquet marking the end of Ekdosis. After this, the official marriage takes place. Traditionally, the marriage is consummated that night, and the marriage becomes official - Gamos. The couple is known as Oikos. After this, the Epaulia happens, where they are given gifts. (Gay marriage is not really a thing in most systems, though there is no stigma to homosexual relations. Marriage is just, y'know, about kids rather than sex or romance.)

Funerals, or Kedeia, are also not one event, but several, usually within a few days of each other. Most Hellenes hold that on death, the psyche, or spirit of a Hellene will quickly escape if the body is not properly cared for. Thus, the first step is Prothesia, the closing of the eyes and mouth, sometimes by sewing them shut, especially in Slipspace. This prevents the psyche from escaping and becoming a restless ghost. The body is laid out and made available for public viewing for a few days, if possible. This is most common on planetside, where it gives families a chance to show their wealth and their bond to their friends. This is usually accompaniedb y ritual washings of the body, songs and so on. After Prothesia, the body is conveyed by funeral procession to its place of internment, known as Ekphoria. IDeally, this happens three days after the death, where the body is either buried or cremated and then buried, but it can sometimes take much longer. Leaving the body exposed, burying it on foreign soil or spreading ashes to the wind or space are all unacceptable to Hellenic thought, as this condemns the soul to an eternity of wandering. Once the body is taken to its resting place, the final stage is held - Perideiprion, a banquet in which the friends and family of the dead gather to speak in honor of them and to eat and drink. This can last hours or even days. After death, it is seen as important to visit the grave regularly, to ensure the body remains at est. Ideally this happens with decreasing frequency over time - first every few days, then weeks, then months, until at last it is just once per year. For those wealthy enough to have the dead buried on the cemetary planet of Dodona, however, these visits are sen as unnecessary, as Hadon is believed to look after those dead directly.

Next time: Education, romance and food.

on a local level, most Hellenes prefer chariots, drawn carriages, wooden boats and even slave-crewed triremes

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Most Hellene education follows the Athenoian model: education is handled privately. Certainly, there are schools and universities, some of them public, but it is seen as the responsibility of the family to offer a child the chance at education, and in most systems there is no free public education. Wealthy families tend to send their children to universities, while the poor focus on getting their kids to apply to public or military service, which comes with a decent education. Education is seen, in some systems, as primarily for boys, but in others both boys and girls are educated, typically starting at the age of seven or eight, with privately educated children beginning somewhat later, often with the aid of a private tutor called a paideiagogue, usually a slave. The basic curriculum, or Paideia, lasts a decade. It covers literacy in Hellenic and at least basic spoken skill in other languages, arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, biology, chemistry, physics, ethics and good citizenship, Hellenic and military history, the arts (song or instrumental or dance or poetry or literature), gymnastics, general sport and the use of basic weaponry, including firearms. More advanced topics are introduced based on the child's capabilities, with the goal of well-rounded adult by the age of 18, ready for public service, the military or advanced professional training. Secondary training is done at universities or via apprenticeship to a master, not only in crafting trades but also in arts or politics, or even to a retired soldier.

In the past, Paideia was only for the wealthy, but as Hellenic quality of life has increased, more and more citizens can affford it, and in some systems, over 90% of children receive the full decade of Paideia, with 75% moving on to more advanced learning. Paideia is not meant to be easy, and most systems grant students one of three letter grades upon completion. The top grade is A, for Arete, and represents achievement of all that is needed to succeed in life, serve the Hellenic cause and be a good citizen. A B grade is for Banausos, implying that the student, while capable of service or tradework, is unlikely to achieve excellence. The lowest grade is M, for Moria, and implies that the student has failed even the most basic expectations and is not seen as capable of serving society reasonably, perhaps due to handicap, mental deficiency, emotional instability or other reasons. Approximately 35% of students get As, just under 65% get Bs and less than 1% get Ms. Further, the grade is not a limitation, just an expectation. Many have surpassed their grades, receiving Kudous in later life and essentially retroactively receiving Arete for their work.

Sparta and its related poleis see education differently, as a public responsibility and duty, which is often tied to military service. Spartan-influenced territories require young men to enter an educational course known as Agoge, or raising up. It is a difficult and rigorous training that not all are expected to survive. It lasts slightly longer than Paideia, beginning at age 7 and ending at ages 20 or 21. During tht time, the boys are taken from their families and raisedi n the public cause, for loyalty to themselves, the gods, the military and Sparta. They are given few tools or food. The goal is not to create a good citizen, but a good soldier. The basic curriculum is similar, but with much higher emphasis on military training and physical activity - though that does include the fine arts, such as dance or music. Students are encouraged to learn from each other as well as their teachers, and in some systems that means learning how to steal, lie or fight each other for privilege. Boys caught lying or fighting or stealing are punished not for what they do, but for being caught. By age 13 or 15, the boys are expected to choose a specific mentor adult, whhom they must obey and learn from. At 19, they are given a basic weapon and shield and sent out to survive a dangerous ordeal. Fewer than half do, but the survivors are acknowledged as the best warriors in the galaxy.

Rumor tells of a secret Spartan school, the Crypteia, where the best students are sent after their survival mission, where they learn to practice secretive and brutal lessons on live Helots or even each other. No Spartan will admit the school exists or having graduated from it, however. Most boys that fail the Agoge are killed in the process. Some, however, make it out alive without completing all of their tasks. These individuals are seen as lesser citizens, denied voting, military service, marriage, procreation or other rights. They are ostracized and usually flee their home systems and change their identities. Spartan girls do not partake in Agoge, except in certain remote systems, but instead learn a similar curriculum save for the military training. Women in the Spartan tradition are expected to be attractive, capable, sturdy and honest, but not polite, graceful or docile. Spartan women (and Spartans in general) are often seen as somewhat barbaric as a result. Spartans, male or female, are not graded. Anyone that survives and successfully completes their schooling is considered excellent.

Hellenic society is largely patriarchal, and households usually consist of a husband, wife and any non-adult children. Occasionally, older parents will move in if unable to care for themselves, but it's more common that they merely live nearby. Single mothers are treated identically to widows - traditionally, both would move into the household of their closest male relative, even if this is one of their own brothers or their father. This does not, as a result, always lead to marriage, but legally it is viewed almost the same. Households are small, but families tend to live close to each other, usually on the same street, or even on the same plot of land owned by the family. As a result, crimes are usually committed between families and neighborhoods rather than ebtween members of a single Gentis, which can lead to fierce rivalries. Women are, in most ways, seen as equals to men in most systems, though tradition dictates different societal roles. In some systems, women are complete equals, able to serve in combat or in politics, though mothers and expectant mothers are almost always barred from this, as their first duty is to their children.

Hellenes tend to be rather liberal in their views on love and sex. They don't care if you're in love or having sex, and don't mind homosexual relations or relationships with large age gaps, so long as all parties involved are willing and of sound mind. (And given their definition of adulthood starts at 15, I'd imagine their views on 'of sound mind' start there, too, which is...kind of creepy, but, well, ancient Greece.) Marriage, however, is between men and women, usually courted but sometimes arranged. Corutship typically lasts one to five years in peace, longer in war, and no one cares about premarital sex unless pregnancy happens. If it does, you either marry or abort. Orphans and fosterage are both undesirable in Hellenic tradition. Hellenes tend to keep the ideas of sex, romance, nudity and the obscene entirely distinct from each other, and situations that'd be obscene to certain other species, such as the Zorans and Amazorans, are seen as acceptable if uncommon in Hellenic society. Nudity in public, for example, is not obscene or even sexual to Hellenes, and most cities expect nudity in mixed company when at gymnasiums, pools or baths. Hellenes are not a modest people, as they see themselves as children of the gods and thus entitled to show themselves off if they want.

Sidebar: Normally, it is impossible for two different species to interbreed successfully. Heroes are the exception - their divine heritage means that they can have children with other species, usually. The offspring are never half-breeds - they are full members of one of the parent species, chosen at birth by the player who is the parent. (If the parents are both players, presumably they must agree on it.)

Hellenes eat a diet that is mostly vegetable - beans, chickpea,s lentils, asparagus, olives...look, you've had Greek food, right? They like fruit as a dessert, they like cheese and wheat or barley bread. The most common meat is fish and the most common beverage is wine cut with water, usually red wine. Uncut wine is considered barbaric, though bread can be soaked in wine for a light breakfast. Eels are the most prized of fish. Game fowl is also eaten, but heavier meat is saved for special occasions. Boar, bull, sheep and goat are sacrificed to the gods before being cooked at festivals, and it is seen as openly disrespectful to eat red meat without dedicated it to the gods first. Meals are light and overeating is rude, as meals are highly social as well. Kyklopes and Myrmidons have adopted the Hellenic diet for the most part, with some minor differences. Kyklopes tend to be vegetarians or to develop a fixation on a specific food which they will try to include in every meal. Myrmidons can eat just about anything, and will if it is offered, but often have an extreme taste for sugar and sweets.

Amazorans eat similar foods to the Hellenes, but attach no religious significance to act of eating and will enjoy meat at any and every meal - preferable kebab skewers in a red wine gravy. Their favoring of heavier, meat-laden meals and their more raucous nature has led some Hellenes to see them even more as barbarians. Goregons, meanwhile, are obligate carnivores, unable to digest vegetation without discomfort. Their diet is thus largely meat and eggs, preferably fresh and raw, as their stomachs cannot handle cooked food well. They especially enjoy eating live birds, reptiles and rodents, as well as large amounts of raw egg, either cracked and drunk or eaten whole. Unhatched but partially fertilized eggs are a special delicacy. Goregons get most of the fluid they need from their food and drink only small amounts of water or blood. They metabolize poisons extremely efficiently and so are immune to most alcohol. The fauna of their native Ceto is toxic to most outsiders, but Goregons consider the taste superior to most non-Cetan animals.

Of the Nymphas, the Oreads do not eat, being capable of obtaining nutrition via photosynthesis and rooting. Naiads, however, do eat, preferring raw seafood and seaweed. They can consume other white meats and green vegetables but often do not enjoy the taste. They do, however, quite like wine, much as Hellenes do. The Zintar, for their part, also mostly eat seafood - shellfish, for preference, boiled, steamed or cooked in broth. They can consume other meat, but tend to find it bland and overly dry. Zintar food is notorious for salt and brine - they can drink fresh water, but don't like it as much. Before meeting the Hellenes, the Zintar had no idea what alcohol was, but it is now exceptionally popular. Unfortunately, Zintar tend to drink to excess and become violent and belligerent.

While Hellenic society is quite technologically advanced, technology is not incorporated into everything. Specific parts of society use it, of course, but Hellenes tend to use their tech only when needed. It's a tool, not a luxury or an assumption. People still tend their fields personally and get water from wells and make their own clothing. There are large crafting houses that manufacture and sell tech of all kinds, but most Hellenes don't need or use it. Transportation between systems and planets, of course, relies on spaceships, and even in atmosphere there are airships and sea craft for fast travel, but on a local level, most Hellenes prefer chariots, drawn carriages, wooden boats and even slave-crewed triremes. These are slower but often safer transports, and they typify the Hellenic view of relaxing and enjoying local events when at home - particularly by soldiers, who might be away for years or even decades. Hellenic entertainment is similar. Recordings and holographic projection exist, but it is seen as a poor substitute for live entertainment, and it is often more common to travel to another system to see a play popular there or wait until the playwright comes to visit your planet. Hellenes do have personal computers, often incorporated into weapons or armor, but also in small handheld devices, called comps. These are used primarily for storage of data and calculation rather than entertainment. While some have primitive games, most Hellenes cannot grasp the idea of a computer game, especially when they could be out hunting or fighting foes for the glory of the gods.

Computers, to a Hellene, are just tools, like ships or robots (called machina). The idea of interacting with them more deeply is foreign, even somewhat heretical, and no Hellene would enjoy staying at home chatting on a computer when they could, say, go out and attend a symposium and listen to scholars debate in person. There is no Internet, and no universal repositories of information or entertainment. Howewver, as it is not feasible at all times to travel lightyears just to watch a play or hear a story, many Hellenes do appreciate the universal communication systems made possible by use of Slipspace. Slipspace audio dramas are regularly broadcast out in all directions, where any Hellene can pick them up when those transmission reach other systems. Because the time it takes to transmit this way is well known, due to use of Slipspace transmission for news and the military, these recordings are often scheduled at regular intervals, to allow citizens across the galaxy to listen in and keep up. 'Regular' in this case means weeks, months or even years. Slipspace communication moves at 1 parsec per week for civilian traffic - about 170 times the speed of light. (The military has transmitters able to send messages twice this speed.) This means that a message broadcast 10 parsecs takes 10 weeks to arrive. People traveling in Slipspace can occasionally intercept these transmissions if on the appropriate level of Slipspace, but at the deeper levels this is impractical, as the transmission is stretched out massively and slowed down, rendering it unlistenable at best.

Next time: You're in the army now.

A Tesseract is always an even number, composed of Aktinoi - pairs of two men exactly.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

It's impossible to summarize the entire Hellenic military apparatus - each system, planet, country, city and even neighborhood have their own rituals and customs. However, there are some things that are in common, broadly, over most of the Spartan and Athenoian military structures. All male citizens, in general, between the ages of 18 and 60 are expected to serve in the military if required. Some systems, like Sparta, require regular service in a standing army, while others form up only as needed. In some cases, they are paid, but in others, they are a militia given only subsistence wage in times of war. In cases were armies are raised as needed, typically they are by conscription. A Strategos is chosen - a general, usually elected but not always - to post lists on the Agora walls calling individuals to service. They are chosen semi-randomly, though it is rare for a Hellene to never be called to serve, and even if they were, many volunteer. It is extremely dishonorable, in the Hellenic view, to not fight in your life, especially among Spartans. Even Helots are honored to serve and die in battle.

Armies are usually divided into Lochoi, which are between several hundred and a thousand men. Each Lochos is subdivided into 4 to 10 Pentecostes, each of about a hundred men, which then divide further into 3 to 5 Enomotiae of 20-35 men. In a skirmish, this may further divide into Tesseracts of between 10 to 12 men. A Tesseract is always an even number, composed of Aktinoi - pairs of two men exactly. Each Lochos has a specific function or specialty in the army. Most of the army will be Hoplites - heavily armed and armored infantry shock troops named for the shields they often carry. Hoplites are typically armed with a helmet, breastplate, greaves, shield and other armor, a standard sidearm and a short sword (called a Xiphos) or a spear (a Doru), often augmented with additional personal gear. Besides them, therre are the Skirmishers, also known as Peltasts, Ekdromoi or Sciritae depending on where you are. They are trained for speed, using hit-and-run to infilitrate enemy lines and disrupt them. They are typically less heavily armored, though they will always have at least a breastplate, helmet, sidearm and short melee weapon.

Some armies also contain Lochoi made of Hippeis, or heavy cavalry. They are typically mounted on animals that each personally owns, though in some cases htey instead use mechanized vehicles, particularly among the Zintar, most of which are also perosnal property. Thie need to own, maintain and care for this property means that Hippeis have a position of high honor in any force. They are also more mobile and protected, thanks to their mounts or vehicles, and so often must do the jobs that foot soldiers cannotm like flanking or guarding VIPs. Hellenic armies use a mix of adaptive strategies and tactics depending on the enemy. The basic land philosophy is the same, however: armies form into Phalanxes, various groups that charge the enemy with gun and spear for shock combat. Holding cover and using secure positions are rare - the goal is to smash the lines and infiltrate their ranks for maximum damage. This typically ends a battle between Hellenes, with one side fleeing or surrendering in acknowledgement of defeat. Spartans, however, are infamous for fighting to the death. Foreign foes like the Zorans do not follow this protocol, but even they tend to prefer shorter battles that are swift and decisive, if brutal. Wars may last decades, but a single battle is usually over in hours.

Tradition holds that the strongest in a Phalanx are on the right flank, with the leader at the front. The leader is often the most skilled soldier. The second in command will be in the rear to kep order, and will usually be the most experienced soldier. Depending on the foe, a Phalanx might mass the bulk of their forces in the center with skirmishers at the wings, or put most of the Hoplites at the wings for a pincer attack. Massed formation is rare in the modern era, but when used, the Doru will be swapped for the Sarissa, a longer and double-pointed spear in two pieces, about 6 meters total. The ranked lines allow many Sarissas to poke out the front, menacing the foe. These tactics are of little use against guns, however, so they are now used only against more primitive cultures.

Hellenic navies are similar to the armies, save that each Lochos is assigned a group of ships, from four to twelve. Each ship is manned by one Pentecoste, known as a Pleroma, of varying size. All ships work this way - sea, space or Slipspace - though Hellenic troops tend to focus only on one of these areas, due to the differing needs of combat and navigation. Most Hellenic navies are made of mid-sized capital ships known as the Hoplite Triremes, or just Triremes. They are meant to cover long distances at speed, functioning in space for up to 40 weeks, with periodic supply stops. They are named for having three decks, with three weapon banks on each side. Each deck can theoretically seal itself and operate the entire ship if the other two are breached. Most systems have several dozen Triremes, and the Athenoians have over 200, with 90 on active patrol at any given time.

While many ships mount weapons on the side and fight in broadsides, Triremes notably tend to mount the heaviest weapons on the front. This is due to the standard Hellenic naval tactic: charge at the enemy quickly and use the front weapon as a ram to punch a hole in the enemy ship, crippling it or killing everyone aboard. This is known as the Diekplous. If it fails, the Trireme attempts to outflank and fire broadside, with marines sent aboard to kill survivors. This is the Periplous. A Trireme has a standard crew of 100 to 200 men, plus 250 additional passengers at maximum. Technically speaking, only 50 crew are needed for all essential parts of the ship, with the rest serving either as Epibatai (ship-to-ship and boarding marines) or general army being transported, each of which might do any necessary onboard security work. The captain is the Trierarch, a position purchased annually via a Letourgeia known as the Trierarchia, and can be shared between individuals, as it is often expensive. Below th Trierarch is the Helmsman, or Kybernetes, who steers the ship both in and outside Slipspace. Other officers include the Prorates (lookout), Keleustes (petty officer and effective first mate), Pentekontarch (quartermaster) Naupegos (chief engineer) and the Toicharchoi (deck commanders). The command crew as a whole is called the Hyperesia. The rest of the crew is roughly divided into thirds for each deck and are in charge of cleaning and keeping it working. The top deck are the Thranitai, the middle the Zygitai and the bottom are Thalamitai. While equal in rank and skill, tradition holds that the upper decks have higher status, as the command crew is on the top deck. Marines often outrank the crew, but they must obey crew orders during normal flight operation. During boarding of another ship or while being boarded, crew must take orders from the marines.

One of the major military groups of the setting is the Delphoi Legion, also known as the Delphoian League. They are a quasi-spiritual military group dedicated to peace and justice across the universe. While they are associated with the Hellenes, have a Hellenic history and are named for a Hellenic oracle moon dedicated to a Hellene god, they are not exclusively Hellene. The Legion accepts from any race, culture and system, so long as those who would join will agree to their codes and beliefs and will pursue their goals over all else - even their own lives. The Legion was first formed by an early ORacle of Delphoi, centuries ago, and the first Legionnaire was handpicked by the Oracle to lead them. This Legionnaire, Amphictyon, was a prescient and a master of Dynamism, and many believe this is why so many Legionnaires also master that art. The Legion now claims to have been involved in every major conflict they've run into and to have been involved in ending at least half of them. It's hard if not impossible to prove this, but their philosophy encourages open involvement...though those they work with are often quieter about it. In general, people everywhere respect the Legion and they are admired by common men, but disliked by government leaders due to their tendency to meddle in politics.

The Legion's symbol.

The Code of the Legion posted:

You are a Legionnaire.
The Legion are many, but all are one, and you are one of the all, and one with all. You are equal to all, brother to all, sister to all. Treat all as you would treat yourself, for all are you.
You are a Legionnaire by choice, and by choice the Legion has you. You are here by your will and by will the Legion accepts you. You may leave by choice and by wll, and so may the Legion cause you to leave, by its choice and will.
You are many things, and all things, but first and foremost forevermore you shall be a Legionnaire, both by yourself and in the presence of others.
Seek balance. Protect life. Enact justice. Be proud.
You are a Legionnaire.
You are Legion.

Legionnaires are often found in the courts of kings or as advisors to elected leaders. Others travel the galaxy as scholars, healers or teachers. In times of war, they are often militant as suited to their talents. Some serve to advise generals or pilot flagships, while others fight on the front lines. Most of them make these decisions autonomously, going where they are needed or asked to go by the agencies they work with. However, they also obey the advice of the Oracle at Delphoi, who speaks for Apollon. In times where desires conflict, the Oracle's will has the heaviest weight. This can be difficult, as the Oracle is known for vague and cryptic advice, but usually Legionnaires can figure out what must be done. These messages are technically considered advice, not orders, and Legionnaires are not bound to follow any one person's will. While they do not take orders or have leaders per se, they do have Counselors, elected every ten years (or as needed, when one dies) to voersee the Legion's maintenance and finances. The Legion Council's main job is to work with other Legionnaires to ensure they're assigned tasks they are best suited for. While technically all Legionnaires have total autonomy to pursue any goal, most follow Council advice closely in respect for their knowledge and wisdom. There are always at least several dozen Counselors and sometimes up to 100. The primary Legion base is a station orbiting the Temple Moon at Delphoi, and it is home to their main weapons cache and their small fleet of warships. At any time, between 100 and 1000 Legionnaires can be found there, perhaps twice as many in times of crisis.

There are approximately 10,000 Legionnaires across Hellenic space - a tiny number, given the billions and billions of Hellenes out there. Most are just rank-and-file...which isn't to say they're grunts, given that all Legionnaires are a match for just about any single combatant. Most have military training from before they joined the Legion, though all allegiances must be cast aside while on Legion business, and many do so permanently. Still, they are free to pursue other jobs, serve in other groups, raise families and so on. Jedi, these guys aren't. About ten percent of them, however, do possess the power called Dynamism. The Legion doesn't seek out or cultivate this ability in recruits. Rather, they believe anyone can do it, Legionnaire or not, and that it's their philosophies and exposure to other members that bring it out in so many of them. Those who have these powers get no special rank or treatment. However, they do tend to get involved in situations others can't handle. This is no blessing or curse - it's just about having the right tools for the job.

There is no Legion uniform, just a single item: a midnight-blue cape with a white monad (that'd be the symbol up there) showing their status. Legionnaires on official businss should proudly display the cape, but just in case they can't, the interior is pure black for incognito work. Legionnaires also often have special equipment and weapons, but there's no standard kit. They use what they have, plus any special tools needed for the mission from Legion stock. These tools must be returned when not in use, and the Legion keeps stockpiles on most major planets, plus hidden caches around the galaxy.

The Legion believes that all people and all things are bound together, and so all people deservel ife and justice and all things deserve respect and freedom from suffering. This must start with the Legion, which leads by example. They don't just teach - they must demonstrate their beliefs openly whenever possible. It is a common misconception that they fight for good - they avoid use of the word good and the word evil. They strive for constant balance, which cannot be maintained in the state of constant war, so they tend to avoid conflict if possible, often via preemptive action, or to end it when it starts. This has given them a reputation as pacifists, but in truth they're as likely to use war as diplomacy. Their focus is to return order and peace, usually, but sometimes that means accelerating a war to a final showdown that will cost many lives but fewer than if the war stretched on for years. This does mean that the Legion prefers neutrality, but it's an active neutrality. They don't stay out of conflict, but involve themselves on both sides, often as ambassadors, arbiters or negotiators, but also as soldiers.

Delphoian Legions are Monists - they believe that all things are one. All Legionnaires are of one Legion, of one mind and belief, even if they operate autonomously. For some Legionnaires, that's it, but others hold to the tradition started by the Legion's second commander, Anaximander. All of creation is one substance, and all things are literally one with each other. Legionnaries are not atheists, but often omnitheistic and pandeist. They believe that all beliefs have some validity, and that the universe contains the divine. They do not deny the Twelve, only that the Twelve are seperate from the rest of the universe. They don't deny other gods, only hold that they are a part of a larger truth. The monad, or circle with a dot in it, represents this oneness, which can usually be understood only once it is divided in two. The dyad represents the twofold nature of all things. Body and mind, life and death, cahos and order, hot and cold. The Legion believes that all of creation divides itself, voer and over. Two becomes four, for the elements and seasons. For ubecomes eight for compass points, and so on. But everything is still contained in the original one. The whole and the parts are one. This doesn't make sense or sound good to many cultures - including many Hellenes. Thus, the Legion tends not to bring it up in mixed company. Their goal is justice, not preaching. They don't require that others share their beliefs, as all beliefs are shades of the universal truth.

Every Legionnaire has a Focus - essentially, a current mission or purpose, but it's more than that. The Focus is also the tools and weapons used in the mission, the people that aid you. It is also the larger reasoning behind the mission. These are generally not clear to even the Legionnaire at first, and reveal themselves over time. The Focus, however, keeps them on track and prevents them from drifting aimlessly. As they never are given specific orders, the Focus lets them order themselves. By knowing the Focus and keeping within its scope, they do what must be done and no more. Foci may start broad, but as the Legionnaire learns more, the Focus sharpens. To help keep Focused, eahc Legionnaire will choose an object to represent their current Focus. This is known as the Focus item, though it has no power beyond the clarity it offers to the Legionnaire. It typically will relate to the mission at hand. A Legionnaire learns to maintain Focus at all times, to make it one with themselves. They can have only one Focus at a time, to avoid distraction. While Focused, they are said to be in the state of Flow. This idea represents giving themselves over to their Focus entirely, avoiding all distraction. They become one with all things and can see what must be with total clarity. They can do what must be done and avoid doing more. Focus and Flow are seen as a dyad, which some Legionnaires call Ithys - a word meaning 'just and true'. It has many contexts and uses, and is both a greeting, an admonition and a prayer mourning a fallen Legionnaire, depending on how it gets used.

Legion Rumors posted:

  • The Legion have all fled the known Universe in order to escape a coming darkness.
  • The Legion are led by a Machina, who has secretly been replacing the rulers of different worlds with other Legionnaire Machina who are able to mimic their appearances. When the last ruler has been replaced the Machina will reveal themselves and conquer the galaxy.
  • Most of the Legion disappeared a few years ago amidst rumors of a Black Fleet returning from Slipspace. The threat was so terrible that almost the entire Legion went to confront in in Slipspace, and none returned.
  • Only 12 Legionnaires remain. They are incarnations of The Twelve, and they will reunite the Hellenes into one people again.
  • The Legion are all dead. They were betrayed from within by a member named Kritias.
  • The Legion are all alive, but they have regrouped on a secret planet to gather their forces. For the first time in their history, the entire Legion will operate as one entity.
  • The Oracle was killed, and the station that orbited the Delphoi moon was sent crashing into the temple. Apollon himself was killed.
  • A black-armored being has shown up at the side of Zoran Prince Bydeles calling himself Thanatos. He possesses Dynamist abilities and is wearing the tattered cape of a Legionnaire.

Next time: The hell is Slipspace, anyway?

The Panthalassa, or cosmic all-sea

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

This is a Kyklopes. That rock floating over her head is her eye.

The Panthalassa, or cosmic all-sea, is the proper name for Slipspace - the extradimensional space that allows faster-than-light travel between stars by riding the Aetheral currents. Traditionally, the Aether is held to be the breath of the gods. Most sailors compare the Panthalassa to the open ocean or the rivers of a planet - currents, tides, waves. However, unlike sailing on water, the Panthalassa has different strata that move differently. Travel within the Panthalassa is done with use of a Slipsail, which allows the ship to cpature and accelerate Aether. The Aether blows into the sail and pushes the ship. Without the sail, the ship must rely on actual Slip current or subliught drives, and moves significantly slower.

The Slipsail is an Aetheric force screen, fired from the ship on large cables. Once active, it charges with Aetheric energy and propels the hsip forward. The sails are just energy fields, and if the emitters is damaged, they may not work. Ships with a damaged or malfunctioning or nonexistant Slipsail can travel on their drives alone, but they move at half speed and 75% maneuverability. In combat, ship captains will often target the Slipsail in order to cripple the enemy ship, but it's not easy - a sail emitter is around a meter in diameter, total, and not easy to target with shipboard weapons. Thus, the favored tactic is instead to board the enemy ship and capture their engine room, bridge and projector arrays to cripple the enemy.

The Panthalassa is a mass of dark red-violet clouds in a strangely Aethereal atmosphere. Every so often lightning illuminated the area, but in the higher parts of Slipspace, it's harmless. The 'clouds' are constantly moving, indicating the current's direction. The higher you are, the more light there is to see, though it has no obvious source. The lower you go, the darker and more foreboding it is. There is no sun, but many scientists and philosophers hold that the light comes fro mthe stars of realspace, much as real oceans are lit by stars. The environment is warm, at least in the upper regions, like a nice spring night, and there is no vacuum, unlike normal space. The air of the Panthalassa is entirely breathable - you can stand on your ship and breathe just fine. Most cruise liners thus have open pool and rec areas for when in Slipspace. The weather gets colder the deeper you go into the Panthalassa, and eventually it can be cold enough to freeze exposed skin. The debris of old wrecks and ruined planetoids litter the void of Slipspace, and it's not rare to see a floating island of rock. Some of these rocks harbor strange, twisted plant or animal life, and scholars believe them the remnants of planets destroyed in the far past. The animals are usually nothing but shades, and the plants can neither grow nor die. Sometimes, people get marooned in Slipspace, and they can survive on the flesh of the beasts or the fruit of the plants...but it's not fun. The fruit is bland and tasteless, and the flesh is ashy and bitter. It provides only just barely enough sustenance, leaving you sunken and ashen over time. Some scholars believe larger planetoids exist in the deeper strata, home to creatures like the Harpy and the Lamia. Deep in the Nether Regions of the Panthalassa, some claim, is a dark island called Thule, where the air is thick and cold and there is no light.

Side note: do not activate a Slipspace drive in a planet's gravity well. Aetheric weapons work on a similar principle and work planetside, but that's because the gravity wave caused by their firing is tiny. Slipspace drives are much, much larger, and the gravity distortion can damage everything nearby. This will cause (Drive rating*30) damage everything within (Drive rating*100) meters around the drive. Items protected by Aetheric shields will be protected...except the ship, which is fucked even if shielded.

The Panthalassa has a clear-cut up and down, rather than the freeform three dimensional space of realspace. There is a distinct gravity, and without anything holding something up, it will drift gently downwards until it hits 'bottom.' So will someone who falls overboard, and that can be very dangerous if the ship is moving quickly. Your only real hope is to find an island to cling to before you hit the netherworld. The highest level of Panthalassa is the Shore, and it's still 'close' enough to realspace to see the stars, dimly. Most commercial or civilian ships travel on this level. It's usually safe of the creatures that inhabit the deeper regions. The currents are fast but manageable even for a novice navigator, and it's often the most crowded level as a result. In a planetary system it's not rare to see hundreds or even thousands of ships dripping in and out of the system, as do transceiver satellites for communciation. Below this is the middle current, the Open Sea. It is less reliable, with currents moving at different speeds. Dangerous creatures live among the stone islands, as do the rare 'ghost' ships, drifting in the currents. There are no stars, just the purple clouds, and below is a mix of explosions, lightning and Aetheric howls. Navigators who are skilled can manage these currents, but there's risk - Harpies, Sirens or even the terror of the Kraken from below.

The Nether Regions are the lowest layer, a boiling black cloud of Aetheric energy that roars about in torrential currents. Here, ships move exceptionalyl quickly...but at great risk. There are terrible monsters, lightning and fire to dodge, large 'islands' of black stone to avoid. The Aetheric air howls all about, and the only visible light is from the ships there. At the very bottom, it is rumored there is a sea floor, like any ocean, and rumor holds that it is covered in dark boulders, shattered by lightning, and the corpses of dead sailors and wrecked ships, with strange creatures scurrying about, ready to kill anyone that might have survived. This is just rumor, however - no one has ever survived to see the bottom of Slipspace and return.

While Slipspace is incredibly important, it has drawbacks. Prolonged exposure to it is not good for the mind. Most ships drop out of the Panthalassa occasionally to reaffirm reality and avoid dangerous problems. Essentially, for every week in Panthalassa, you need two days in realspace to avoid the strange, ennui-causing effects. Most modern ships have special safety features that force them out of Slipspace after three weeks, but failures have happened. Eventually, the mind will forget realspace, and when this happens, the beings involved become shades - not-quite-living creatures that hate the living and want to drag them into the shared oblivion that they exist in. Shades subsist off Slipspace itself and need not eat or slip, though they do enjoy murdering people. Most shades inhabit the ships they crewed in life or else live on the small islands of Slipspace, but others float along in the current until they slam into a ship. Sometimes, rarely, a ghost ship's crew will remember some aspect of their past...but these are the most dangerous shades. They are said to sail Slipspace in search of plunder - not of valuables, but people, to join them in their doom.

Now, on to how spaceships do. Spaceships are divided into four broad categories. The largest are space stations - anything from a mobile weapons platform to a colony cylinder for mining. These 'ships' are staggeringly large, usually over a kilometer long and sometimes over 20. Operating them requires a diverse and large crew, as each station is really a colony in itself. On the lower end, maybe a hundred crew. On the upper end, tens of thousands. Stations generally do not move much, but most do have small drives to avoid asteroids or other hazards. Many also have Slipspace capabilities in order to dip in and out for message purposes. Any ships inside a station also enter Slipspace when it does. Below this is the capital ship or battleship - an immense transport or combat vessel. These are usually more than 100 meters long, with large crews, and heavy armament with weapons and shields alike. Many carry fighters, dropships or cargo craft within them. These ships require crew with several different skills, coordinated by a good captain.

Fighters are designed for space combat in both real and Slipspace, and often also in atmosphere. They typically have a crew of six or so and no cargo space whatsoever. Some are light and fragile, while others are durable, larger and better armored. Heavier fighters often also have Slipspace drives on top of normal engines, allowing them to jump between systems. Those without drives must rely on carriers instead. Transports, meanwhile, are those vessels not designed for combat. They often move people or goods, gather astrographical data, explore new regions or otherwise perform civilian jobs. They often are armed, however - it's just, they're not primarily made for combat. They're exploration ships, utility, merchants, cargo ships, shuttles, research vessels or space yachts.

Interstellar travel is exceptionalyl complex to calculate...and so, the pilots don't do it. Instead, they rely on the Antikythera navigation computers. The navigator relies on this to plot a safe trip through Slipspace, relying on their vast databanks of current speeds, standard routes and debris to avoid. This helps the navigators determine the best routes to use. When a route is calculated well enough and traveled enough, it becomes more understood and can be plotted faster, which can decrease travel time between specific planets...but then again, travel time may increase due to obstacles drifting into the route. In general, however, the more physically distant two planets are, the longer the trip in Slipspace takes. However, even nearby planets may require roundabout routes due to the currents and hazards of the Panthalassa.

I am going to skim over the different kinds of sensors and comms and ways to fuck with sensors. You can buy the book and read about 'em if you want that level of gritty detail information right now. We then get a list of major regions in Hellenic and adjacent space, with one or two paragraphs on the regions - basically, we learn the chief system of a region, which species dominates it, its government type and chief deity, if it has a Temple Moon and the names of major NPCs there and briefly what they're like, then some description of the area and what life is like there. It's neat stuff but not vital to know here.

Next time: Chargen and Species

Goregon men and women are difficult to tell apart, as Goregons do not nurse their young and do not have breasts, but men tend to have broader shoulders.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hellas uses a lifepath system for character creation, and it wants you to do it as a group, so that players can discuss what they get out of it and make connections based on what they roll up on the lifepath charts. You start off by picking a race, though the lifepaths assume Hellene. (This was solved in the first supplement, which added lifepath options for each species that modify the base lifepath. I'll be pulling those out when I do sample character creation.) After that you go through the life path to get your childhood history, then pick a Profession, which modifies your stats and skills, gives you a Talent and some free equipment and so on, and suggests what the most common Calling Paths would be. Calling Paths are basically what you did as an adult, you can go through them between 1 and 5 times, each time raising the age of your hero and giving you a chance for stat boosts or new problems. Then you customize your hero with 30 Customization Points, which can raise stats or skills beyond what you got free. After that, you determine secondary stats, age and Epithet. This is Greek myth, after all. Your Epithet's important. Swift-footed Achilles is different than Lion-hearted Achilles.

Anyway, first we're going to look at the species. In this book, there are eight: Amazorans, Goregons, Hellenes, Kyklpes, Myrmidons, Nephelai, Nymphas and Zintar. The first supplement added the Zorans (a mix of Persia and Troy, cousins to the Amazorans) and the Pandorans (a failed Atlantean experiment). Each has different base attributes. The attributes are:
These are all rated from -5 to racial maximum - usually +5, but each non-Hellene race has one able to rise to +7. CR and DYN do not have maximums for anyone. -5 is extremely bad, while average is +0 and +2 or higher is notably good.

Amazorans: Defiant Warrior Women

Amazorans are an offshoot of the Zoran species, though the name literally translates to 'Not Zoran.' This was originally given to them as a means of differentiating them as outcasts of Zoran society, but over time they have grown into their own culture and feel pride in it. Amazorans are strictly matriarchal, with men as second-class citizens and almost a type of personal property for women. However, Amazoran men tend not to resent this much, because the women who 'choose' them are responsible for their care and well-being, and those that fail to take care of their men are punished under law. Some other species find it laughable that the Amazorans still practice their semi-archaic polyandric traditions of multiple husbands, but most accept that this is just how things are. Amazoran law grants full Citizenship (and the right to vote or hold office) only via voluntary military service, which is generally restricted to women in Amazoran systems. However, these rights cannot be used until after honorable discharge, so active military can't vote. Amazorans who opt not to go into the military retain all other rights of Amazoran society - free speech, freedom of assembly and so on - but cannot vote or hold office. Amazorans and Hellenes traditionally don't get along super well due to past attacks by the Hellenes on Amazoran space. Most of their trading is done through the Nephelai instead. However, in recent years things have warmed somewhat, and several Hellene governments have allowed the Amazorans to establish military bases in their territory.

Amazoran women are exceptionally tall - over two meters, always. Men are much shorter, closer to Hellene size or even smaller. Amazorans are blue-skinned and tend to have hair ranging from pale blone or even white to deep violet. Members of the Amazoran military tend to wear their hair cropped close to the scalp, but retired soldiers and civilians often allow it to grow quite long. Amazoran eyes are almost exclusively black, but most have gold or violet flecks or highlights. Amazoran fashion favors utility, and most Amazorans have tribal tattoos all over their bodies, representing deeds done while in the service and military rank, and most wear face or body paint.

The Amazorans never forget a grudge or a favor. They are good allies, but terrible foes, known for their intense ferocity in battle and their dedication to any cause they choose. Often, they are known to swear blood or life oaths to their causes, seeing them through to the bitter end. They are known for being almost exaggerated in their emotions, quick to rage and quick to love. They especially enjoy laughing, joking and love affairs, but can easily turn to deepest hatred if they feel slighted. Some Amazorans have been known to wait decades to get bitter vengeance if they feel justified in it. Like the Zorans, the Amazorans worship a pantheon of twelve beings called the Titanoi, whom Hellenes associate with the ancient enemies of their gods. This has in the past been a point of major friction between the two species, but the Amazorans are significantly less religious than the Zorans, and most are, in fact, largely agnostic, so in modern days it's mostly overlooked.

Amazorans have the following racial abilities:
Alacrity: +1 to all Initiative rolls.
Combat Tenacity: Amazorans can call on sheer force of will to resist fear, pain and fatigue. When they take a critical hit and must make a CON roll, they may add WIL. When resisting fear, they may double their WIL (and always have a minimum of +2, even if their WIL would not result in that).
Sharp Shot: Amazorans get +2 to any one ranged weapon skill, chosen at character creation.
Swift Footed: Amazorans may double their SPD up to (CON+1) times per adventure.

Goregons: Serpent Warriors

The Goregons hail from the planet Ceto, a hot and dangerous jungle planet in the Phorcys Region. Earthquakes are common there - several daily, usually, and volcanic eruptions weekly. It's a harsh environment, home to many large predators and some of the most poisonous creatures in the galaxy. This has kept Ceto safe from invasion for most of its existence, and it's toughened up the Goregons, but even that was not enough to prevent Atlantean enslavement. The Goregons were primitives until around a thousand years ago, when a damaged Hellene ship crashed on Ceto and jumpstarted their technological advancement, which was at the time in an early industrial state. Within a century, they were spacefaring...and then they ran into the Atlanteans, who enslaved them as warriors. They remained slaves for several centuries until they saw a chance to rebel with the aid of the Hellenes, Nymphas and Kyklopes. Since then, they have entirely revamped their military and political structure. There is no central government on Goregon worlds, instead being ruled by family and tribal sects. Goregon families are immense, with 40-50 people in each central family and hundreds or even thousands in extended family. Goregon women are equals in all ways, and especially revered for the amount of children they can produce. While equally skilled as warriors, most Goregon women avoid the front lines due to the reverence in which the Goregons hold mothers.

Goregons are large serpents, up to 4 meters long, with the upper body of a humanoid. Their scales range from black-green to bright yellow, red or brown. Their hair is exclusively black and worn in thick dreadlocks woven with bands denoting status. Goregon men and women are difficult to tell apart, as Goregons do not nurse their young and do not have breasts, but men tend to have broader shoulders.

Goregons are rough, boisterous creatures, but very generous with what they have. They believe in fully embracing life, as they know that death may come at any time. Goregons will never betray their personal tribe, for those that do are cast out and can never be forgiven. This also covers personal friendships. When a Goregon gives their trust, it is for life, as is mating. Any betrayal between Goregons tends to result in one of the two Goregons getting killed. The Goregons have embraced the Hellenic pantheon of the Twelve. While they follow the standard naming traditions of Hellenic space, they also grant other names. The personal name is normal, but they have three others - a name that expresses their personality or the hopes of their parents, a name relating to their tribal kinship or their heroic or divine ancestry, and a name relating to the region or planet they are from. Typically, though, they go by their personal names in public.

Goregons have the following racial abilities:
Poison Immunity: Almost everything on Ceto is poisonous, and Goregons can process poison easily. They add (CON*2), minimum +2, to resist any natural organic poison, but not synthetic poisons. Their blood is also slightly poisonous. They may coat a melee weapon with it for extra damage - each Hit Point of blood used causes +1 DR, with a max of 5 HP spent in this way. The poison lasts for 2 hits.
Paralytic Stare: Goregons have mastered hypnotizing prey with a mix of their eyes and natural Dynamistic ability. They may hypnotize someone with eye contact and a WIL roll against the enemy's WIL. Opponents affected by this get -2 to all actions and -2 SPD for 3 rounds. The Goregon can extend this by spending an action each round staring, keeping the foe enthralled until they win a WIL roll.
Coiling Tail: Goregon tails can be used to coil around foes or slap them. This is an extra action on top of any other melee attack, with standard multi-action penalties, and DR (STR+3).
Bloodlust: When a Goregon is reduced to 50% of their HP, they must make a WIL roll or fall into a blood rage. While in blood rage, they double STR for damage, but halve their Evade, rounding down. To escape blood rage, they must either kill their current foe or leave the presence of others and succeed at a WIL roll, made once per round while alone until they succeed.

Next time: Hellenes and Kyklopes

This eye is stored in a crystal box or sphere after it is carved out of the forehead.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hellenes: Beloved of the Gods

Hellenes are the dominant force in the galaxy - they are the most numerous, prolific species, and the most aggressive in pushing their cultural influence. They fled their home system when it was destroyed by a supernova, and have spread across the galaxy in expansion. They believe they were divinely awakened and chosen to spread across the galaxy, which has had them fight every other species at some point, and made allies with them all at some point. Their gods allowed them to rapdily advance from primitives to spacefarers, and many of them have been blessed by the 'divine fire,' giving them the power to use the gifts of the gods. They are often very pompous and haughty as a result. Hellenic politics and military structure is...chaotic, to say the least. They are divided into many poleis, each allied to a particular god or set of gods and controlling a section of space. They fight each other a lot, even when fighting other foes. They tend to be patriarchal, if not exclusively, and tend to live focused on the nuclear family. Widows are generally moved in with their closest surviving male relative, effectively becoming a second wife or child as appropriate. This isn't rare - the militant Hellenes have plenty of widows.

Hellenes average around two meters tall, with skin tones ranging from deep brown to pale white. Their hair covers the entire human range as well, as do their eyes. Men are slightly taller and broader than women, on average. Hellenic personality and outlook is greatly shaped by the god they worship and the region they live in. Their gods will be covered later. Overall, all Hellenes tend to be somewhat haughty and self-important, due to their belief that they're chosen by the gods. They are courageous and loyal, but also hubristic. There are four broad cultural groups in the Hellenic sphere. The Athenoian Hellenes tend to be more civic-minded and political. The Delphoian Hellenes tend to be more spiritual. The Boetian Hellenes are more technical and focused on machines. The Spartan Hellenes are more martial and focused on battle in all things.

Hellenes have the following racial abilities:
Leadership Ability: Due to their innate confidence, Hellenes get (CHA*2), minimum +2 to all Command and Diplomacy rolls.
Tyche: Hellenes are favored by the gods and so can enforce their will on the universe, in a small way. They may force a reroll of any diceroll that affects them directly up to (WIL) times per session, minimum 1. This roll doesn't have to be made by them - it just has to directly affect them. However, the reroll only benefits the PC - they can't use this to help others, even if the effect targeted a group.

Kyklopes: Farseeing Mystics

Kyklopes hail from the Aeolia Region and the triple-sun system of Kykyon. Their home is full of massive mountains, deep trenches, broad deserts and other extremes. They were a spacefaring race when one of their colonies in Metis System was discovered by the Hellene explorer Odysseos, but they had not yet developed Slipspace technology. Their encounter with Odysseos advanced them centuries, but it took a few decades to cope with the changes, during which they allied with the Hellenes and fought the Goregons and Atlanteans, leaving their home systems terriobly damaged. In the modern era, most Kyklopes are born outside Aeolia, though most try to visit the home system at least once in their lives. While they were once quite different, their centuries of alliance with the Hellenes means most Kyklopes have adopted Hellenic culture and tradition. Their government and military and even their families mirror Hellenes, especially after the Kyklopes named Draka technically ruled over all Hellenes for a period when he seized control of Athenoi to prevent its fall to chaos.

The Kyklopes are larger than most Hellenes and even some Amazorans, standing over 2.5 meters tall. Their skin is jet black, and while they have dark hair, it is typically shaved, as is all of their body hair. They prefer to wear little clothing when possible, to better experience their surroundings. The most notable thing, though, is the crystal box hovering around their heads. When a Kyklopes comes of age, tradition dictates they blind themselves, often with steel bands or cloth, but in severe cases by putting their eyes out. This allows them to see 'more truly' via a third eye, created from their pineal gland. This eye is stored in a crystal box or sphere after it is carved out of the forehead. When the other eyes are blinded, this 'eye' taken from the pineal gland allows them to see with new perceptions. The boxes containing the 'third eye' are made from a nearly indestructible mineral mined from the asteroid fields of Etna, kept in constant motion by a psychic bond to the Kyklopes' mind. This makes it hard to strike or destroy, and so it is no more of a liability than normal eyes. This third eye allows them to see things beyond what mos other species can even understand, and most Kyklopes specialize in some single subject, using their new perceptions to pursue it to its natural conclusion.

Kyklopes, by and large, are reserved and quiet, preferring to remain in the background and observe rather than acting. They are not rash or quick, preferring careful study before they do anything. They tend to be openminded and are sometimes seen as hedonists for their love of new sensations. Many have a grudge against the Goregons, who nearly destroyed their home system while enslaved by the Atlanteans.

Kyklopes have the following racial abilities:
Poor Eyesight: Kyklopes' normal eyes are poor and colorblind. If they are not put out, they can still be used, but not well. This causes -6 to all actions until the old eyes are rebound. Several months of using their eyes will remove the penalty, but most Kyklopes will go mad or kill themselves rather than see the universe in this mundane way after use of their third eye. Those that lose the third eye often prefer total blindness.
Aisthetike: Kyklopes often practice a philosophy built around knowing things by the senses. This is a branch of philosophy known as axiology, or value theory, which is the study of sensory and emotional values revolving around sentiment and taste. Kyklopes sometimes become engrossed by a subject (such as mastering the perfect kiss or making the perfect flatbread), hyperfocusing on it even when in danger. When doing this, they get a bonus of (PER*3), minimum +3, towards the subject (and any rolls pursuing it), but -2 to all other subjects and rolls. They must spend at least 5 minutes contemplating it, and may retain both bonus an dpenalty indefinitely or until they decide to change focus. Anything can be a subject, ranging from cooking the ultimate flatbread to perfecting a poem. Perfecting something, mechanically, requires making a skill roll at a -40 penalty, without use of Hero Points. One roll can be made per week and must be a full success, not a partial. Failure means you must try again next week, but get +1 to the roll cumulatively until you make it. When you finally do succeed, however, you get (20-number of weeks) Glory, minimum 1.
Kyklopes also get to choose one of the following powers:

Myrmidons: Insect Warriors

The Myrmidons are a hive culture of insects from the planet Aegina, once a Hellene-inhabited colony. It was a haven for insect life of all kinds, and for a long time the Myrmidons were just...well, another kind of ant, living underground in massive ant colonies. In the midst of a civil war, however, the Hellenes had to abandon Aegina after the launching of a plague weapon enarly killed every living creature on the planet. The Myrmidons, at the time still nonsentient, survived it, and the plague remnant caused a rapid mutation which brought them to a certain level of sentience. Having watched the Hellenes from afar, the Myrmidons attributed their new intellect to these 'gods', who wanted to leave life on a beloved planet. The Myrmidons thus chose to honor the Hellenes by making their colonies resemble them. Over the course of centuries, they worked at emulating their lost gods, and when later rediscovered by the Spartans, they eagerly become Hellenic allies, using a mix of Hellenic technology and their own primitive but effective methods to cross the galaxy. In all ways except physical appearance, they mimic the Hellenes, emulating their political, military and family structures. They've even gone as far as mimicking the sex act to produce new 'offspring,' though, and I quote, "after some negative reaction from hellenes, the Myrmidons agreed to keep this practice private in the future."

Myrmidons vary in color from red to black, with their 'skin,' 'hair,' and 'eyes' all being slightly different shades, always moving and shifting. They speak via a crackling buzz produced by hundreds of tiny insects rubbing their legs together, and they smell faintly of ammonia. A single Myrmidon is, in fact, an entire colony of 2-centimeter insects, made of hundreds of specialized varieties of Myrmidon acting togetyher to move, feed, protect or reproduce the colony. They behave and act as one, controlled by a single queen residing in a hard shell, typically at the center of the 'head' of the Myrmidon. As a result, most Myrmidons identify as female in situations where this becomes relevant, though for practical purposes they are entirely sexless.

Myrmidons fucking love Hellenes and will take every chance they can to imitate Hellene culture. They will usually find a particular person they like and try to emulate their behavior and job whenever possible. This can be annoying and silly, or a cause for respect and honor, depending on the Hellene in question. Myrmidons, obviously, have completely embraced Hellenic religion.

Myrmidons have the following racial abilities:
Regeneration: It's really hard to kill a Myrmidon, though possibly if you spear the queen. The rest of the hive can be sacrificed. As long as the queen remains, a Myrmidon can regenerate lost limbs by shifting the colony around. They heal at twice the normal rate. However, if the queen is killed, the rest of the colony scatter mindlessly and will die unless they are lucky enough to find another Myrmidon that will let them join. (So they still die when the mechanics say they do.)
Shapeshift: Myrmidons may alter their body shape, as it is a pile of bugs. By compressing or thinning out, they may creep through cracks and under doors, or may add extra limbs (up to 1 per CON point, minimum 1). Each extra limb may be used, but causes multiple action penalty. Still, they can use a two-handed weapon and a shield at once. In combat, they may also alter their body to send bugs to attack a foe from inside armor. This requires first grappling a target, and then they can spend additional actions to cover and bite at the foe, dealing (CON) bonus damage for as long as the foe is held in a grapple and the attack is maintained.
Homunculus: Myrmidons can break off part of their colony to work remoately, making a small humanoid swarm set to a task. This starts with 0 in all skills and -1 in all attributes, with a minimim of 5 HP spent to create it. For each 5 HP spent, you may add 1 attribute or 5 skill points, chosen from skills you know. You can spend HP down to your last, which is reserved for the queen. You make a WIL roll to create the body, and if you succeed, it splits off, leaving all your equipment with the main body but still able to perform physical tasks. It has no queen and can only be given a single, specific task involving up to one skill you have. This strains cohesion for the colony, so you must make a WIL roll each minute it's away, or every round in combat. If you evcer fail, the swarm loses cohesion and scatters. Half of your HP will be recovered by returning insects within minutes equal to the time spent away, but the rest is gone and must be regenerated. If the Homunculus gets destroyed while away, you have to regenerate normally.
Clustering: Myrmidons can act together to form larger structures, clustering their bodies together and giving up humanoid form for the duration. Enough Myrmidons need to be used for it - two colonies for a raft, say, several hundred for a spaceship. The remaining queens huddle together in the remaining 'live' colony until more living Myrmidons can be found to replace the lost ones. It's believed that large, asteroid-like clusters of this sort allow Myrmidons to colonize other planets, with their outer shell of dead Myrmidons protecting the queens within from space and re-entry.
Omni Vision: Myrmidons can see in all directions except those obstructed by clothing, as they are made of hundreds of tiny, tiny insects. This does not distract them, and they may function and perceive this all-directional vision normally.

Next time: Nephelai, Nymphas and Zintar

The Zintar claim they exist solely to serve the Hellenes and their allies, though many question this due to their sudden and mysterious arrival.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Nephelai: Eternal Seers

Nephelai hail from Okeanos system originally, but they don't have a large population there - or anywhere, really. They tend to spread themselves thinly across the known universe instead. Little is known of their history, and while they claim to have been the first species made by the gods, there's little evidence of this to be found where they live. They don't much like permanence, and their worlds tend to be barren husks or stormy worlds with no permanent structures, agriculture or indeed evidence that anyone lives there. The Nepelai are not, technically, an advanced civilization, as they have no real technology and have apparently not changed at all since their first encounter with the Hellenes. While the meetings at first were somewhat hostile, the Nephelai treat the Hellenes as they do most races - a sort of cold, dispassionate neutrality and mild amusement. They do seem to dislike the Goregons and Zintar, however, tolerating them but preferring to avoid prolonged contact with them. No one is sure why. The Nephelai keep to themselves and avoid both war and politics when thy can. When they do get involved, they often prefer to help both sides of a dispute. Many serve as seers or oracles, as the species has a natural gift for prophecy and a strong belief in its own divine heritage. They have no formal military or government, no concept of family and a belief that all Nephelai are related to each other. They prefer not to discuss these matters, seeing them as entirely unimportant. They need neither exercise nor food, feeding on particles and energy from the atmosphere. On planets with breathable atmosphers, they feed easily, and on those without, they starve.

Nephelai are gaseous beings, somewhat transparent and bluish-gray, with large wings and fine hair that blows constantly in a nonexistent breeze. They vary between 1.75 and 2.5 meters and are vaguely humanoid, but their limbs seem to shift in shape and lack distinct fingers or toes. Despite their appearance, they are tangible, being somewhat spongy and cold to the touch. There has never been a witnessed account of Nephelai reproduction, and while some do identify as male or female to other races, within their own society they do not even acknowledge the existence of gender. All appear to be ageless, and there is no record of child, teen or elderly Nephelai.

Nephelai are slow to anger and are calm in most situations. They, are however, exceptionally dangerous fighters due to their intense calm and mild sociopathic tendencies. They see themselves as basically immortal and have no real care for the deaths of others. Their patient, impassive nature makes them excellent seers and diplomats...and, rumor has it, torturers. They acknowledge Hellenic religion as essentially correct. In mixed company, they use Hellenic names, but among themselves do not use names at all, relying exclusively on pronouns.

Nephelai have the following racial abilities:
Flight: Nephelai may use natural air currents for limited flight, moving at (SPD+10), or the speed of the wind in the area, when flying in the direction of the wind. When tacking against they wind, they move only at normal SPD.
Intangibility: Nephelai may alter their density briefly to become wraithlike. This requires a full round to complete, and in this state they can neither harm nor be harmed by anything physical, though sonic or Dynamism attacks work normally. Any items worn or carried fall off are not rendered intangible, leaving the Nephelai naked. They may remain in this state for (WIL*3) rounds, minimum 3, and may use the power up to (CON) times per day, minimum 1. Returning to normal is instant and takes no action.
Sound Manipulation: Nephelai may hear and send messages on the wind. Any sound-based perception checks are made at (PER*2), minimum +2. Nephelai may also ssend a sound-based messages directly to the ear of anyone within (WIL*100) meters, minimum 100 meters.
Surviving in a Vacuum: Nephelai may survive in a vacuum by devouring their own gaseous bodies. They may survive for one round per HP spent, and a PC can do this for up to half their total HP before needing to make the normal CON roll for resisting vacuum effects.

Nymphas: Arboreal Seducers

The Nymphas are two subspecies of one greater species from the planet Erytheia. Erytheia is a rich planet, full of life, and those parts not covered by warm ocean are coated in forest and jungle. The many natural resources drew attention, and early in their history the Atlanteans used the Goregons to enslave the Nymphas. Their slight builds meant they tended to be used outside of labor, but the slavery was no less degrading. Many Nymphas never knew of a time before slavery, and most born offworld never saw Erytheia at all. They never developed their own advanced technology, either. Instead, both forms of Nymphas practice a sort of 'magic' relying on the elements, which they attribute to their gods. Some more scientific races posit this is more of a psychic attunement to natural forces. The Oreads, land-dwelling, are more skilled at manipulation of the Hel forces, air and water, while the seaborn Naiads focus on the Las forces, earth and water. Both are very religious, deovted to their gods. The native gods of Erytheia are nameless, more akin to forces of nature, though in recent years many Nymphas instead worship equivalent Hellenic deities. The Nymphas are beloved for their spiritual guidance and siplicity. They have no political or military structures of their own, and so can be trusted to be unbiased, without preconception or prejudice. Their only standard cultural practice was the religious festival known as Symposiua, and many Nymphas no longer do it at all.

All Nymphas are androgynous, in a sense. They have males and females, but only other Nymphas can usually tell them apart without looking at genitalia. All Nymphas have breasts and feminine builds, you see. Oreads tend to be small, averaging only a meter and a half in height. They have green or brown skin and brown hair that appears composed of plant life. (It is often also mixed with plant life the Oreads weave into their hair.) Their eyes are solid silver or gold, with neither pupil nor iris, and they smell of flowers and rich earth. Naiads are two meters tall, on average, with green or black skin, black eyes and hair resembling silken seaweed. They have gills in the neck and abdomen, as well as webbed feet and hands.

Nymphas are shy and secluded by nature, fearful due to their long history of slavery. They are not built for manual labor and tend to be averse to it, preferring to manipulate others into doing it for them. Nymphas have never developed advanced technology and few have opportunity for education, so they tend to instead become experts in interaction with others, psychology and manipulation. They tend to remain secretive about their innate pheromonal abilities, for fear that they will be used by others.

Nymphas have the following racial abilities:
Environmental Familiarity: A Nymphas in their native environment can travel easily. Oreads move through mountains and woods at double normal speed, while Naiads move at double speed in water or Slipspace. Naiads can survive unharmed in the high pressure and chilling cold of the ocean depths. Oreads, meanwhile, subist on photosynthesis and may 'root' themselves in the earth to leech nutrients from it. Both types of Nymphas get a bonus of (PER*2), minimum +2, when hiding in their natural environment.
Environmental Deprivation: A Nymphas that spends more than four weeks without being in their natural environment loses part of their connection to the world. For each week after the fourth, they must make a WIL roll or lose a point of CON, with a cumulative penalty to the roll each week. If CON falls to -5, the Nymphas immediately enters a coma and stops losing CON, but will not awaken until brought back to their environment. Healing occurs at a rate of 1 CON per day in the native environment.
Manipulation: All Nymphas have the ability to manipulate others pheromonally. When a Nymphas touches another person, they can secrete a chemical that will make the target more pliable. Goregons are resistant to this, but all other races are not. Nymphas may add (Cha*2) to up to (CON+4) social influence rolls against the target after touching them.
Symposia: Symposia is a religious practice, typically held one week out of every three months. It is a large party held in a sacred gathering, with wine and food served by nude Nymphas. While at Symposia, a Nymphas' Manipulation boinus is doubled towards all attendees.

Zintar: Kybernetic Pilots

The Zintar appeared in Hellene space about 500 years ago without warning. They claimed to hail from an ocean planet in a distant star system, but no living Zintar can recall ever living there, having all been born on colonies or ships. The Zintar claim they exist solely to serve the Hellenes and their allies, though many question this due to their sudden and mysterious arrival. So far, however, the Zintar have been good allies. They have a military but prefer not to be aggressive, focusing on support and defensive roles when possible. The Zintar are highly advanced, with their bodies adapted to integrate directly with technology - their own and, with some work, that of other species. Zintar pilots, for example, often fuse directly with their ships, tapping them into their own nervous systems. Much of this seems to have developed form Zintar time in space rather than being a trait the species was born with, so to speak - they have directed their own rapid evolution this way. (They are also the species most prone to accepting kybernetics - other species in Hellenic space tend to find the replacement of their bodies with machinery disgusting and disfiguring, to be done only when physically required.) Zintar society is on all levels pyramidal, in politics, the military and even families. All offspring are cared for communally by all related parents, owing allegiance to them. The parents serve their elders, and so on, up to the eldest of the family, who has legal obligation over the rest. Every Zintar is somewhere in the political and military ranking structure of their society, with only one Zintar at the top. Anyone higher can command anyone below. Every Zintar thus knows their exact place in society, and most pay very close attention to births, deaths and other things that might alter their place in the power structure. Marriages or unexpected deaths can shift an entire family's power in one day, and a major battle could rearrange the entire military overnight.

In their natural form, the Zintar are powerfully built cephalopods, but only half a meter tall. Their head is roughly humanoid, with protective cartilage for lips and two air slits for a nose. Where their lkegs and arms would be, however, they have four to ten tentacular spinal columns that emerge from their torso. Zintar flesh ranges from pink to purple or even blue or red. They move poorly on dry land but excellently in water. To make up for their landbound handicaps, the Zintar have created vehicles which they 'wear' on their lower half, most commonly in the form of a wheeled mechanism or four-legged chassis patterned on a horse.

The Zintar are extremely straightforward in their approach to life. If they want something, they will work tirelessly to get it. They are always aware of their exact place in society and spend a lot of time tracking it and how best to take advantage of their societal situation. Zintar pride themselves on being able to recite exactly how far they are from the top of the various structures theyb elong to, even if they're, say, ten millionth in line for rulership of all Zintar. Despite their orderly and structured existence, however, the Zintar are notorious for overindulging in alcohol and, when intoxicated, becoming violent and belligerent. As a result, most Hellenes see them as uncultured. They are also infamous for not remembering their actions when they sober up. Zintar names are based on their rank and place in their social structures, and may be hundreds of syllables long when used to precisely represent their position. In mixed company, however, the Zintar shorten them to, generally, single or dual-syllable names that stem from the Hellenic traditions.

Zintar have the following racial abilities:
Aquatic Movement: Zintar can breathe both air and water easily. When on dry ground outside a Zintar carapace, however, they move by dragging themselves on the ground at (SPD-1). In water, they move extremely easily by crawling or swimming on water jets they aim with their muscles, moving at (SPD+5). In Slipspace, a Zintar may move as easily as if they were in water.
Camouflage: Zintar have specialized skin cells that allow them to change their pigmentation, altering color, opacity and reflectiveness. When outside their carapace, they get a bonus of (CON*2), minimum +2, to any type of Hide skill check. They may also use this ability to communicate nonverbally with other Zintar at a range of 20 meters. No non-Zintar can ever learn this 'language' due to its subtle nature.
Enhanced Sense of Sight and Touch: Zintar vision is incredibly good and surpasses the normal spectra of most races. They can also see easily in total darkness. They reduce the range of any sight-based penalty by 10 meters. Their skin is also highly sensitive, enough to read print by touch on a paper. If a Zintar's tentacles are in physical contact with the ground, outside their caparace, they may sense their surroundings by vibration and get a bonus of (PER*2), minimum +2, to all tactile-based Perception checks.
[n]Technophile[/b]: Zintar are highly advanced in electronics, kybernetics and machine interfaces. They get +2 to any tech-related skill checks.
Vehicle Interface: Zintar are excellent pilots and good at machine interfacing via use of advanced kybernetics, heightened touch and mechanical skill. They get +2 when piloting or driving any vehicle outfitted with a Zintar interface pod.
Carapace: Because Zintar have a difficult time on land, they build robotic carapaces to house their bodies and interact. These ocme in many shapes and sizes, and many Zintar own two or three with different specialties. When in a carapace, the machine reacts based on the user's stats, but provides added strength, speed and resistance to damage. Almost all are at least partially armored. It takes at least 30 seconds (which is 5 combat rounds, btw) to suit up and activate a carapace, and an equal amount of time to exit. Emergency ejection is possible, but this blows up the seating mechanism to propel the Zintar out and takes repairs afterwards. All Zintar begin play with a basic carapace, which provides them with a secondary HP pool and some armor. (The downside is that Zintar typically can't wear actual armor and need to get new carapaces instead.)

Next time: Lifepaths!

What I need you to do is give me a character to make. Since a lot of the information will be randomly rolled, just tell me their name, their epithet, their job, their species and what god they are primarily devoted to. I'll cover gods later, but the options are, briefly:
Aemoton the Farmer (agriculture, plants, growing, heat, light, life, warmth, rain)
Aprhosia the Lover (charisma, charm, deceit, persuasion, sex, art, trickery, lies)
Apollon the Wrestler (brawling, athletics, strength, running, speed, acrobatics, endurance, health)
Areson the Warrior (war, weapons, fighting, blood, death, fear, nightmares)
Artesia the Hunter (tracking, hunting, animals, accuracy, shooting, target, sight, the evil eye)
Athenia the Seer (wisdom, prophecy, omens, language, investigation, police)
Heiria the Mother (wisdom, charity, kindness, love, forgiveness, emotion, children, marriage)
Hephaeston the Inventor (crafting, forging, technology, manufacturing, inventing, cleverness)
Hermia the Trader (haggling, cmmerce, fate, manipulation, money, banks)
Hestia the Healer (healing, home, safety, medicine, doctors, recovery)
Heuson the Father (sternness, obedience, law, justice, punishment, government)
Hoseidon the Sailor (sailing, piloting, navigation, survival, flight, risk-avoidance, predictability)
Agnosticism (fuck off, gods)

There's also two other gods added in later supplements but they're not in the core. Note: Amazorans will mostly be agnostics, but some do claim heritage from the Twelve.

Also, the supplements add modified rules for Amazoran men; mostly they get more skills but no weapons skills and lose Sharp Shot.


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Talbot, spiritual son of Lycaon, soldier, Hellenic, Artesia.
Race: Spartan Hellene.
Base Stats:
INT +0, PER +0, WIL +0, CHA +0, STR +0, DEX +0, CON +0, SPD +0, CR +0, DYN +0.
HP: 20

But as a Hellene, we get to add 5 points wherever we want, and can get an extra point by lowering a stat to -1. So, let's go with...

Int +1, PER +0, WIL +0, CHA -1, STR +1, DEX +2, CON +1 SPD +0, CR +1, DYN +0
HP: 20

Base Skills:
Etiquette (Hellene) +7, Speak Language (Hellene, Native), Speak Language (Any, Basic) +3.
We also get the Spartan skill package:
Evade +2, Instinct +2, Pankration +2, Parry +2, Weapon (of choice) +2.

1. Month of Birth:
[14]: The autumn months of Las.
[7]: Maimakterion, the month of Heiria and notable for containing Mother's Day.
2. Birth Planet:
[8]: Korinthos
3. Parents:
[15]: Father alive but chronically ill.
[5]: Parents are Priests. Receive one random zero-Glory divine gift.
[7]: Family power is in decline because of machinations of a rival.
4. Siblings:
[20]: One of a group of triplets.
5. Special Gift:
[10]: An ancient book from the 1st Age, well made and of exceptional quality.
6. Divine Heritage:
[1]: Great-great-grandparent on father's side was the offspring of a God/Goddess. Gain 2 Glory.
7. Divine Mark:
[14]: Unique Talent or Skill. Pick one free skill at +5. We'll take Tracking.
8. Childhood Encounter:
[9]: Witness to an Event
[14]: Died and witnessed the suffering of an individual in the underworld who didn't deserve it. You were quickly revived to tell the tale, proving someone's innocence.
9. Choose God: Artesia, the Hunter.
10. Choose Destiny: Here is where we'd select the ultimate heroic destiny this character could achieve - stuff like 'become king of Athenoi' or 'slay the great Kraken of the Panthalassa.' This is the hero's ultimate goal, whether prophesized or chosen, which would make them immortal. Odds are, many characters will die before they achieve their Destiny.
11. Fate: You can roll your Fate yourself or have the GM roll it secretly. This is the dark fate you are hoping to avoid.
[4]: Burned to death and eaten by cannibals.
12. Choose Profession. We've chosen a Soldier, so...Hellene Spartan or Hoplite are both excellent choices here. We'll go with Hoplite, your basic professional Soldier.
Hoplite boosts CR +1, and grants Athletics +2, Command +2, Evade +4, Intimidate +2, Pankration +1, Parry +4, Weapon (of choice) +9, Weapon (of choice) +4, Weapon (Heavy Weapons) +2, Profession (Soldier, STR) +10. It gives us the Advanced Militia Training Talent. We also get a passel of gear, and a base pay rate of 100 drachma.
Hoplite suggests Legionnaire of Delphoi, Noble, Sailor, Scholar or Warrior Calling paths. Calling paths are what you did as an adult. Each takes a certain amount of time to do and offers a chance to get bonuses...or new life complications. Our current age 14 before any Calling paths (as all PCs start at 3 years below maximum Adolescent age for their species), and can take up to 5 Calling Paths. I suggest all 5 because it gives you more story to work with.
13. Calling Path: Warrior
[18]: 2-INT years, so 2. (Adolescents get a -1 INT penalty, see.) Age is now 16.
[11]: Battle occurs.
[12]: Fought pirates on the planet Elis. During the melee you threw a spear through ten men...or at least that's how the story goes. Gain +1 in either STR or CON, choose one. We'll take STR.
14. Calling Path: Sailor
[17]: 2-INT years, so 2 again. Age is now 18, no longer adolescent.
[17]: Sailor Special Event occurs.
[13]: Your travels have exposed you to many things. Gain +1 in Lore (Regions).
15. Calling Path: Warrior
[13]: 3-INT years, so 2. Age is now 20.
[12]: Battle again.
[5]: Killed Celaeno, a Harpy Queen, during a Slipspace battle in the Aegean Solar Sea. Gain +5 Glory.
16. Calling Path: Warrior
[9] 4-INT years, so 3. Age is now 23.
[14]: Great Fortune!
[3] Solved a Sphinx's riddle on an adventure to a distant and lost planet. The riddle gave you great insight into the universe. Gain +1 in PER.
17. Calling Path: Warrior
[17]: 2-INT years, so 1. Age is now 24.
[3]: Relationship
[15]: Befriending a Legionnaire of Delphoi.
[12]: You are extremely close lifelong friends.
18. Disadvantages. We now have 5 levels to allocate between 3 disadvantages, none of which can be over 3. Disadvantages can be Relationship (a problem due to another person), Internal (a problem due to your own psychological or mental state) and External (anything else). So we might go with:
Relationship (2): Hesperos the Swift. Hesperos is a king whom Talbot and his Legionnaire friend fought against, earning his eternal hatred.
Internal (2): Stubborn. Talbot digs in and will not relent if challenged.
External (1): Nasty scar. Talbot has a disfiguring scar, and sometimes people assume he is evil or cursed due to this physical imperfection.

At any time, you may activate a Disadvantage, once per game, to gain its rating in Hero Points that must be used before the end of the game, though you can never get more than 5 points per game this way no matter how many Disadvantages you have. Activating them causes them to do something dramatic and nasty to you in that scene. The GM may try to activate them, but you always have veto. If you allow it, it works as normal. If not, you may spend Hero Points equal to the ones you'd gain to prevent the activation...or take a Fate Point, if you're out of Hero Points.

19. Customization! We have 30 points to spend. We can buy +1 to an attribute for 5, a Talent for 5, or +1 to a skill for 1. We can also drop an attribute by 1 to get 2 points to spend, but no attribute can go under -5. And, as a Hellene, none of our attributes but CR and DYN can go over +5.
We'll buy DYN to +1 and CHA up to +1, eating 15. With our other 15, oh, we'll buy our second wepaon skill to +5, Command to +3, Tracking to +8, and two Talents: Advanced Firearms Training and Intimidation Tactics.

20. Secondary stats! HP is CON plus your racial base HP. Hero Points are 5+(Cha*2), minimum 5. The amount you can spend on any one roll is limited by your Glory - 2 per roll, for most starting PCs, who will have lowish Glory. These can be spent for a lot of things:
You can give Hero Points to other PCs if you want by grabbing their hand and wishing them luck. If you die before they use them, they get a Fate Point. Hero Points reset at the start of a new adventure. (Fate Points, side note, are what move you closer to your Fate coming to pass. They are real hard to get rid of.)

21. Ambition: You pick what your character is aiming to do right now. This must be achievable, must have dramatic weight and must involved another named character. So, no 'I want to marry someone.' It has to be, say, 'I will Rescue the priestess Aerope from the depraved merchant Krion' or 'I will steal the apples of the evil Zoran king Dyrian, as they will cure my ailing mother's illness.'

22. Epithet. Your Epithet is a trait that you are renowned for. In our case, spiritual son of Lycaon. Once per adventure, you may automatically succeed on any one roll related to your epithet's focus. (There's a number of Lycaons out there, so let's go with the KING OF WOLVES one and say that we're fuckin' scary and once per adventure can automatically succeed on scaring or intimidating someone.)

End Result:
Talbot, spiritual son of Lycaon
Age: 24
Int +1, PER +1, WIL +0, CHA +1, STR +2, DEX +2, CON +1 SPD +0, CR +2, DYN +1
HP: 21
Destiny: Bring prosperity back to planet Korinthos.
Fate: Burned to death and eaten by cannibals.
Skills: Athletics +2, Command +3, Etiquette (Hellene) +7, Evade +6, Instinct +2, Intimidate +2, Lore (Regions) +1, Pankration +3, Parry +6, Profession (Soldier, STR) +10, Speak Language (Hellene, Native), Speak Language (Any, Basic) +3, Tracking +8, Weapon (Guns) +11, Weapon (Melee) +5, Weapon (Heavy Weapons)
Talents: Advanced Militia Training (Double STR when determining armor penalties due to weight.)
Advanced Firearms Training (+(PER), minimum +1, to rolls involving ranged combat with pistols or rifles.)
Intimidation Tactics (Add (STR*3) or (CHA*3), miniumum +3, to Intimidation rolls, and you may use either STR or CHA as the modifier to the skill.)
Gear: Medium Cuirass armor (Hoplite Mesh), Hoplon shield, Spartan infantry spear, Hoplite assault carbine, military clothing
Money: 100dm base
Glory: 7
Divine Gifts: Wisdom of Athenia (The Hero almost always knows the right things to do in any situation. (INT) times per game, minimum 1, the Hero may ask the GM any one question, which must be answered truthfully, though the answer can be ambiguous and terse.)
Acumen of the Hunter (+5 to Tracking in a forest, +2 to Tracking in other environments)

Any other character ideas, folks?


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Diogenes, Filthy-minded.
Race: Kyklopes
Base Stats:
INT +0, PER +4, WIL +1, CHA -1, STR +1, DEX +0, CON +0, SPD +0, CR +0, DYN +0.
HP: 20

Base Skills:
Deduce Motives +1, Etiquette (Kyklopes) +7, Instinct +2, Investigate/Search +5 (we'll take Investigate), Speak Language (Kyklopes, Native), Speak Language (Any, Basic) +3

Ability taken: Enigmas.

1. Month of Birth:
[19]: The winter months of Las
[20]: Born on a Festival Day, you choose. Options are Festivus (in Gamelion, the month of Hermia), Father's Day (in Anthesterion, the month of Heuson) or the Feast of Flesh (in Elaphebolion, the month of Hestia). We'll take the Feast of Flesh.
2. Birth Planet:
[14]: Kykyon
3. Parents:
[18]: Father dead, mother remarried.
[19]: Parents were Sailors. +1 to Pilot skill.
[6]: Family is well loved by the people and has many allies.
4. Siblings:
[12]: No siblings.
5. Special Gift:
[4]: A marble statuette of exquisite beauty.
6. Divine Heritage:
[9]: Grandparent on father's side was the offspring of a God/Goddess. Gain 5 Glory.
7. Divine Mark:
[9]: Larger than normal. Double CON to determine HP.
8. Childhood Encounter:
[4]: Encountered Someone Special
[5]: Met a fascinating individual. You learned much by observing.
9. Choose God: I think that our options here are Aphrosia or Athenia. I'm going to go with Aphrosia.
10. Choose Destiny: Convince the truth of my philosophy to the king of Athenoi and his court.
11. Fate:
[12]: Fated to die a traitor to his people.
12. Choose Profession: Kyklopes Teacher.
Int +1
Skills: Computers (of choice) +3, Investigate/Search +3, Lore (of choice) +8, Perform +3, Research +4, Science (of choice) +6, Speak Language (any, Basic) +3, Profession (Teaching, INT) +10.
Talent: Quick Learner.
Base Age: 14.
13. Calling Path: Scholar
[15]: 3-INT years, so 3. Age is now 17.
[2]: Tragedy!
[14]: Watched a loved one waste away of a horrible disease.
14. Calling Path: Scholar
[4]: 5-INT years. 5. Age is now 22, no longer adolescent.
[19]: Scholar Special Event.
[5]: You have catalogued many things while traveling and written many books on the subjects. Gain +1 in any one skill of your choice.
15. Calling Path: Scholar
[9]: 4-INT years, so 3. Age is now 25.
[18]: Scholar Special Event again.
[12]: For a few years you were the traveling companion of a Delphoi Legionnaire. You experienced many things and witnessed a great many wonders. Gain +1 in any one skill of your choice.
16. Calling Path: Scholar
[9] 4-INT years, so 3. Age is now 28.
[10]: Scholarly Pursuits
[12] Studied at a small temple in the Cyclades for a year and learned at the feet of a wise old woman, +4 in any one INT skill.
17. Calling Path: Scholar
[6]: 4-INT years. 3. Age is now 31.
[14]: Relationship.
[3]: Go to Romance Chart A. You have found the love of your life.
[11]: You are in a love triangle. They are torn between you and another (perhaps a player character).
18. Disadvantages.
Relationship (1): Trianoma. Trianoma and Diogenes are both in love with Callisto, and she wants me out of the way.
Internal (3): Cynic. Diogenes makes it a point to flaunt morals, mores and traditions, as often as possible.
External (1): Filthy. Diogenes smells bad and is filthy, and no one likes it.
19. Customization!
We'll buy INT to +3, eating 10. We'll buy up Evade to +5 and Weapon (Guns) to +3, for basic combat ability for another 8. Literacy to +5 so we can read Hellene. 11 left. We'll take Pilot to +4 and Resolve to +4. 5 left. We'll spend that on CON +1 to make use of our gift.
20. Secondary stats!
21. Ambition: Shit on the lawn of King Proclus of the Zorans.
22. Epithet: Filthy-minded. Once per adventure, automatically succeed on an attempt to resist fear or torture because of understanding of basic human urges.

End Result:
Diogenes, Filthy-minded
INT +3, PER +4, WIL +1, CHA -1, STR +1, DEX +0, CON +1, SPD +0, CR +0, DYN +0.
HP: 22
Skills: Computers (Personal) +3, Deduce Motives +2, Etiquette (Kyklopes) +7, Evade +5, Instinct +2, Investigate/Search +8, Literacy +5, Lore (Arcane Arts) +8, Perform +3, Pilot +4, Profession (Teaching, INT) +10, Research +4, Resolve +4, Science (Mathematics) +6, Speak Language (Kyklopes, Native), Speak Language (Hellene, Basic) +3, Speak Language (Zoran, Basic) +3, Weapon (Guns) +3
Talents: Quick Learner (Learning new skills takes half normal time, and you get 1 additional point in any new skill learned.)
Gear: Small statue of Aphrosia, Diadolos hand comp, off-the-rack Ionic chiton, himation
Glory: 5
Destiny: Convince the truth of my philosophy to the king of Athenoi and his court.
Fate: Fated to die a traitor to his people.
Divine Powers: Unflappable: You always appear lovely or handomse, even in the direst of situations. Even if covered in muck, the chosen of Aphrosia will make it look good.
Money: 100dm base

Today, few have the dedication, patience and conviction to learn Dynamism.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

First off, some minor chargen notes I didn't bring up: your starting cash is your profession's base cash multiplied by number of Calling Paths taken. (You also get paid that much each IC month, though during downtime this will be reduced by living costs.) You can have up to three Ambitions at any given time. Anyway, now let's talk about the uses of Destiny and Fate. You can channel your Destiny to gain Hero Points. You get more Hero Points and can do it more often based on your Glory rating and DYN score. However, the se points can only be used when you are acting in accordance with one of your Ambitions. You can channel your Fate as well to gain Hero Points, and you get more points from Fate, and at lower Glory ranks. Further, Fate Hero Points can be used whenever you want. However, Fate Hero Points have a special effect if you roll a natural 1-5, even if the roll succeeds after modification. You gain half the amount of Hero Points spent, rounded up, as Fate Points. You also do this if you use them for negating damage, no roll needed. Remember: once you hit 10 Fate Points, bad things happen.

I'll skip over the long list of both skills and talents, with one note that if you want to start the game with a lot of equipment, definitely consider the Wealthy talent, which gives you 10 times normal starting cash...and during game, lets you make a Charisma roll to call on your wealth and purchase expensive items every so often. Very handy. We also get a list of Hellenic names, male and female, and how to make a name feminine or masculine. Specifically: if it ends in -os, -ios, or -ias, it is femnized to -a,-ia, or -is respectively, and -ides feminizes to -e. Also, C and K are interchangeable, as are I and J and X and Z.

Advancing stats in play is possible with XP. Skills cost (new level+1) XP if you already have them. If you want a new one, it costs (Training Period/2) XP, with the training period measured in weeks, to get to 1. New talents cost 20 XP if you have a reasonable explanation for how you got them, and attributes cost (new level*5) XP to raise, which...I'm not sure how that works with negative attributes. Possibly absolute values, but that'd still mean going from -1 to 0 doesn't cost anything. CR and DYN are unique - they cost (new level*10) XP, instead.

This brings us to the Dynamism chapter. Dynamism is magic, essentially. It's a mental talent, mostly used by priests and the Legion of Delphoi. These powers are said to have originally been created by Athenia, but later mastered by Apollon and his oracles. They were almost lost in the First Age, but were kept alive by the most devoted followers of Apollon and Athenia. Today, few have the dedication, patience and conviction to learn Dynamism. The mechanics focus on being a framework, and GMs are told to allow players to create their own powers using the nine Modes as guidelines. Dynamist Modes are essentially what effect the power creates - Attack, Influence, etc. All Dynamists are restricted to a single Tradition, the shcool of thought and ritual they use to access their powers. You can't swap Traditions later, either.

Dynamism effects are neither freeform or spontaneous. They are precise mental formulas and memorized disciplines, and the Dynamism effects a player creates must fit their Tradition's style, the Mode mechanics and the practical restrictions on what Dynamism can and can't do. The GM can decide those, but there are four things Dynamism can never do, period. First, it can't raise the dead to life. Second, it can't create intelligent life. Third, it can't affect time or causality. And finally, it can't use more than one effect at a time or blend two Modes together. Also, if you fuck up and critically fail your Dynamism power, it's likely to fry your brain, hit someone unintended or otherwise backlash really badly, which can permanently penalize your stats if the GM wants, though the game suggests scaling backlash effects to the power level being used.

No matter what happens, Dynamism is mentally draining, and you can only use them (DYN) times per day before you start getting penalties to further use. Dynamism also has physical effects on the body - paling due to change in blood flow, hair standing on end, foaming at the mouth. There is always some kind of physical change during usage, though you can suppress it (at a penalty to the roll). You can choose to hold a Dynamism's effects at bay for a few rounds, more tha more powerful you are, but eventually they will weaken if you do that. You can also set a 'fuse' on a power, activating it but having the effects go off after a set duration. You can also spend huge amounts of Hero Points - a number divisible by ten - to increase an aspect of an effect by a factor equal to the points spent. 10 times the effect, say, or 20 times the normal range.

Dynamism has 8 Modes: Attack, Illusion, Influence, Kinetic, Manifest, Manipulate, Sensory and Shield. Each of these is a skill, like any other skill, though these Modes are not known by name - rather, they are discussed in terms of their effects, such as telepathy, ESP or ability to shoot energy blasts.

Attack is any effect that causes direct damage. It unleashes Dynamism energy in many forms to harm or destroy others. The damage is based on how much Dynamism energy is poured in, and normally it can hit a range of up to 20 meters, hitting a single target and interacting with armor normally. It can be dodged normally, and can be either an instant blast or a several-round-duration conjured melee weapon/punching buff. You can hit an area effect, but it's harder.
Illusion is any falsely created sensory input or the detection of same. Illusions appear real, but have no substance. Standard, low-power effects hit only one sense, but can be increased to hit other senses. Mobility is difficult, as is complex detail or particularly high volume, brightness or size. Illusions can only be resisted if you have some idea that they're illusory, though Illusion-users can intuitively detect them sometimes. Illusion is also able to be used to make you invisible.
Influence is any effect that manipulates someone's thoughts and emotions. It can be used for a single-command Jedi mind trick, which can be telepathic if you want. You can't ever make someone do something against their basic nature or which they are incapable of doing, and actions that put them in danger get penalties. You can also use this to buff or debuff someone's mental skills and attributes. They will remember everything that happens, and unless you got a critical success, they'll know that it was not their own idea.
Kinetic is...well, telekinesis and levitation. Using the Kinetic mode takes your full concentration, and while actively doing it, you can't use any other powers, though you can make something hover in place and turn your attention elsewhere. The power you put into it determines its effective strength and how much you can lift. You can also use this grapple osmeone.
Manifest causes nonliving materials and objects out of energy. How much mass and volume you can make is based on the level of power put into it. You must be familiar with the object to be made, but simple shapes like bricks, bows or swords are easy enough. When the duration ends, the material vanishes...unless it's been consumed or mixed with something else. Manifested water still quenches thirst normally, and manifested metals can, say, be alloyed at a forge and will continue to be alloyed even when the power ends. You may also use this power to make material disappear temporarily to, say, make a hole in a wall or make a weapon vanish for a few minutes.
Manipulate alters the physical form of other objects and creatures. The greater the change, the harder it is. This can be used to heal or harm others, cure or cause disease, buff or debuff skills or physical attributes, buff someone's damage resistance or even change their appearance or alter things from one type of object to another. The more complex the changes, the more difficult the power. The trick is that, at base, you have to touch your target. Only healing and harming are permanent changes.
Sensory enhances perceptive abilities - not just in terms of the five senses, but also in terms of empathic ability or ability to sense lies. This can buff PER, be used to locate things or even to clairvoyantly scry on other places. This power can also be used in reverse to conceal things from detection, though they aren't invisible - just unnoticed.
Shield creates protective auras, barriers and wards. An aura is a visible (if translucent) protective field that can soak up damage for you and prevent critical hits. Barriers are stationary, two-dimensional energy shields that reduce damage to anything behind them, but which are immobile. Wards protect against specific threats, rather than just damage. Essentially, you name what the ward blocks - a specific type of weapon or environmental effect, a skill (such as Tracking, say), a disease or so on. Anyone protected by the Ward is protected from any damage from that thing (just like an aura) and gets a bonus to resist non-damaging effects. However, no one can have more than one Ward protecting them at a time. This power also works in reverse, as a Curse, which works like a Ward but instead increases damage or penalizes resistance.

The game lists four Traditions of Dynamism:
The Delphoian Tradition derives from the priest-oracles or Athenia and Apollon, and is also used by the Legion. It is highly versatile, but not subtle. All of its effects come with a faint glow and electrical charge, and its advantage is its broadness - it has neither bonuses nor penalties to any form of power. However, it's not subtle. When using it, you get glowing blue eyes and a golden glow around your head, plus effects determined by the player.
The Nymphas Whisperers hold that all is one with nature, and so they commune with natural spirits. All of their effects smell of fresh earth and sound like rustling leaves, and their targets tend to glow pale green. They are able to work their power even at great distance, so long as they are in a natural area, and they get a bonus to using powers in a natural area, but a penalty in cultivated areas and most cities, though Nymphas settlements are often designed to allow natural energy flow. They also can't use the Kinetic mode at all, and get penalties to Attack and Shield, but bonuses to Influence and Manipulate.
Shamanism is mostly done by Goregons and other primitive groups, relying on communicating with spirits. All shamans have a totem beast, and their effects are accompanied by sound or images based on that totem. They get a bonus to any Dynamism powers appropriate to their totem, which is usually all things in a single Mode. However, to use their powers, shamans must attain a dream state via psychoptropics or meditation, and get a penalty when not in that state. They can't use the Kinetic Mode, but get a big bonus to Sensory (and penalties to Attack and Influence).
Zoran Sorcery is mostly done by Zorans and some Amazorans, and calls on their gods, the Titanoi. Sorcerous effects tend to have blinding lights and roaring noise, and their powers are easier to use when related to their patron Titanos, which are described in another book. However, their powers are penalized when doing things opposed to their patrons. Also, they may never receive favor from the Hellene gods. They get two Modes at a bonus and two at a penalty.

Next time: the gods

At first glance, she appears beautiful, but a closer look reveals that she is actually hideously ugly and scarred.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Note: technically due to Greco-Roman pottery-style dicks.

While some Hellenes say there are countless gods, most agree on there being twelve. While they answer to many names and are identified in different ways and even different genders on different worlds, broadly speaking the Twelve are broken into six male and six female gods, and also divided into two groups - the Hel gods and the Las gods, six each. The gods whose names end in -on are traditionally depicted as male, while those ending in -ia are traditionally depicted as female, but it's far from universal. The PCs of the game are generally speaking chosen and beloved of a god, recipients of divine favor. Of course, this often also means that another god or gods dislike them. Some heroes appreciate the great heights and depths their lives will reach as a result, while others do not, but heroes do universally strive for immortality, and the favor of the gods makes that possible, if exceedingly rare.

Heroes favored by the gods are often given divine powers as a result. This is always tied to your Glory score - the mroe you have, the more powers your god will grant you, and you can lose powers by losing Glory. While this works for PCs and really major adversaries, most NPCs will not have any divine powers no matter what their Glory is.

The Hel gods are the gods who are active, energetic. They bring change, and are associated with the elements of air and fire. They tend to be divided inot three couples - Aphrosia and Areson, Artesia and Aemoton, and Athenia and Apollon.

Aemoton, the Farmer is the god of agriculture, growth, plants, heat, light, life, warmth and rain. He is depicted as a rough, outdoorsy fellow, always carrying heavy loads, working from sunrise to sundown. He speaks little, and his words are always terse and to the point, as there is always more work to be done. He enjoys providing for his children, but he never takes time to enjoy life for himself. His symbols are farm implements and young plants. His worship is centered in the system of Megaris, home of his Temple Moon, Megara.

Powers granted by Aemoton are:

Aphrosia, the Lover is the goddess of charisma, charm, deceit, persuasion, sex, artistry, trickery and lies. She is ttractive to anyone who sees her, male or female. At first glance, she appears beautiful, but a closer look reveals that she is actually hideously ugly and scarred. She uses charms and makeup to hide her true nature. Her symbol is long fingernails. Her home system is Akhaia Sikyon, home of her Temple Moon, Sikyon.

Powers granted by Aphrosia are:

Apollon, the Wrestler is the god of brawling, athletics, strength, running, speed, acrobatics, endurance and health. He is shown as the perfect Hellenic man, well-muscled and healthy due to constant exercise and games. He can leap higher, throw father and run faster than anything else, and he is always in motion. His perfection leads to adoration, and so he is also celebrating for recognition by crowds and fans. His symbols are the laurel wreath, medallion and ribbon. His home system is Dryopia, home to the Temple Moon Delphoi.

Powers granted by Apollon are:

Next time: Areson, Artesia and Athenia

If she seems wrong, it is because the question is wrong.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Note: technically due to Greco-Roman pottery-style dicks.

Areson, the Warrior is the god of war, weapons, fighting, blood, death, fear and nightmares. He is shown as a hulking man with dark skin, coated in the dried blood of his foes and with a sword that drips blood. He is always fighting, and if he has no enemies, he will kill even his allies - not out of hatred, but because war is all he has and knows. His symbols are bladed weapons and blood. His home system is Lakedaimonia, and his Temple Moon is Sparta.

Powers granted by Areson are:

Artesia, the Hunter is the goddess of tracking, hunting, animals, accuracy, shooting, targeting, sight and the evil eye. She is known as the Scarred One, because she is always dpeicted as being covered in self-inflicted scars and tattoos. She was once beautiful, but shaved her hair to keep it from her view and carved off her breasts to better wield a bow. Some stories even claim she removed her own eyelids to always be able to see. Some know her as the Silent One, and claim she carved out her own tongue to remain silent when sneaking up on prey. Her symbols are crosshairs, rifles and the evil eye. Her home system is Arkadia, and her Temple Moon is Stymphalos.

Powers granted by Artesia are:

Athenia, the Seer is the goddess of wisdom, prophecy, omens, language, investigation, police and detectives. She is always portrayed seated, cross-legged and cross-armed. She speaks calmly and in measured prose, carefully considering every word. When she thinks about a problem, she considers nothing else until she finds the correct answer, and when she gives it, she is always right. If she seems wrong, it is because the question is wrong. While she is a goddess of truth, however, she is not a goddess of justice, which is the domain of Heuson. Her symbols are the owl, the third eye and the shield. Her home system is Attika, and her Temple Moon is Athenoi.

Powers granted by Athenia are:

The Las gods and goddesses are more static and passive than the Hel gods, though they do have bursts of activity, not unlike a tsunami from a calm sea. They are often calmer, focused on earthly things, water, emotion, love and cool-headedness. They are generally paired as couples - Heiria and Heuson, Hermia and Hephaeston, and Hestia and Hoseidon.

Heiria, the Mother is the goddess of wisdom, charity, kindness, love, forgiveness, emotion, children and marriage. She is a loving mother, full of forgiveness for all people. She embraces the condemned and cries over them as they go to their deaths, and she loves even murderers in the act of killing. She is often shown as something of a blind fool for this behavior, but those who truly understand her see her as worthy of respect and emulation, even though her universal love is generally accepted as impossible for any mortal in this universe of war and hatred. Her symbols are clasped hands, the blindfold, and tears. Her home system is Argos, and her Temple Moon is also Argos.

Powers granted by Heiria are:

Next time: Hephaeston, Hermia, Hestia and Heuson

He is a stern father, but his punishments are always earned, and even criminals agree that they deserve what Heuson orders.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Note: technically due to Greco-Roman pottery-style dicks.

Hephaeston, the Inventor is the god of crafting, forging, technology, manufacturing, inventing and cleverness. His eyes spark with electricity and he is always wreathed in Aether. He is always creating and inventing, and is typically depicted seated and often lame, sometimes even missing his legs. He is always surrounded by robots of all kinds, which obey and carry out his plans. Whne he is happy, his laugh is thunder in the sky. When he is angry, planets tremble. His symbols are toothed gears, the hammer and the saw. His home system is Boitia, and his Temple Moon is Thebes.

Powers granted by Hephaeston are:

Hermia, the Trader is the goddess of haggling, commerce, fate, manipulation, money and banks. She is always smiling, and holds one hand out and one hand back, sometimes hiding a coin or her crossed fingers. No one who deals with her gets a fair deal, but she is involved in all aspects of commerce. She is utterly untrustworthy, yet all are drawn to her for their share of her wealth. Her symbols are the coin and crossed fingers. Her home system and Temple Moon are both Korinthos.

Powers granted by Hermia are:

Hestia, the Healer is the goddess of healing, home, safety, medicine, doctors and recovery. She wears white, but it is covered in red handprints from the blood she wipes off the sick and injured as she cares for them. Gore and blood cake her otherwise pretty face, and her hair is dirty and messy. She is always working, and while she smiles, it is tired. Her work is never done, for there are always more injured to care for. Her symbol is the red handprint, and her home system is Euboia, home of the Temple Moon Khalkis.

Powers granted by Hestia are:

Heuson, the Father is the god of sternness, obedience, law, justice, punishment and government. He is the only god regularly depicte with a beard, which is from a time in history when Hellenes were known to wear longer facial hair. Some say that Heuson never cut his beard due to a pact he made with the Hellenic people, that their laws would exist as long as his beard was uncut. He is a stern father, but his punishments are always earned, and evne criminals agree that they deserve what Heuson orders. He is seen as being in the prime of his life and the picture of virility, masculinity, power, low and order. His symbols are the lightning bolt, the beard and the golden eagle.

Powers granted by Heuson are:

Next time: Hoseidon, Agnostics and the Two that are not worshipped.

Heroes may also blaspheme against the gods, cursing them out of a feeling of abandonment or insult.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hoseidon, the Sailor is the god of sailing, piloting, navigation, survival, flying, risk-avoidance and predictability. He is forever at the stern of a great starship, leading the way to his destination, no matter what happens around him. Some say he does not move, but the universe instead moves around him to bring him where wants to be. He never speaks, commanding solely by his presence and confidence. He is the god with the most power over Slipspace, and it is often said that he resides within it. His symbols are the star, the wheel, the sphere, waves and horses. His home system is Troizenos and his Temple Moon is Mykenai.

Powers granted by Hoseidon are:

Not all heroes worship and are favored by a god. Certainly, they acknowledge that the gods exist, but these Agnostics believe in only their own self and will. They have no patron god to give them gifts, but instead better themselves and gain competence and confidence.

Powers gained by Agnostics are:

There are two gods who are almost universally not worshipped, but acknowledged to exist. For the most part, they do not choose people and offer no powers to most. That said, the other books do cover them and the powers they would grant to a hero they truly loved.

Aionisia, the Wanderer is the goddess of aimlessness, foolishness, gypsies, restlessness, procrastination and the unborn. She is always portrayed as a tall, willowy travelr, naked but for translucent silk robes that move about constantly, tempting but never truly revealing. Those that see her are driven to try to touch her, but she always eludes them, unable to be captured or understood. The wise avoid her, but even the wisest will daydream, and that is where she lives. Her symbols are the leaf on the wind and the fluttering cloth. She is described in more detail The Wine Dark Void.

Hadon, the Sleeper is the god of death, the afterlife, corpses, stillness, finality and inevitability. He is a grim and silent god, portrayed as a very short and entirely faceless Hellene, with no eyes, nose or mouth. He moves soundlessly, with outstretched arms to embrace and kill any who meet him. However, he is not so much feared as expected, for everyone dies. Those who flee his embrace do so not out of fear but because they desire to do more before they die. His symbol is the featureless face. He is described in more detail in Princes of the Universe.

Gods can do many things, but there are a number of things that will never, ever do. First, gods never manifest to more than one person at a time. They can appear simultaneously to multiple people, but each person will have a unique experience. Second, gods almost never appear in 'godly' form - rather, they inhabit someone or something else, like a statue, an animal, a reflection or even a disembodied voice. Third, gods will never ignore a prayer from a favorite follower. Fourth, gods will never directly kill a follower they are upset with. Fifth, gods will never directly affect their followers' enemies. They may grant you some of their might, but will never strike anyone down for you. Fonally, gods will never defy fate. All living things have a fate, and no god will ever interfere with that.

The Twelve are all worshipped equally and given equal respect, and no Hellene truly worships any single god alone, though they may favor or identify with one. There is no animosity based on religious views among the Hellenes, for the most part, and only true zealots will focus on one god to the expense of the others. Agnostics and even atheists are given understanding and some measure of tolerance, though they may be seen as fools or heathens.

Votives can be performed to gain divine favor in the future or to make up for a transgression or crime. These are sacrificial offerings of just about any kind, kept on display in the god's sanctuary or temple for a period before being ritually discarded or given to a charity by the priests. Sacrifices are similar gifts, but typically in the form of bloodless offerings of food or, in some locations, blood offerings of prize animals or even people. Sacrifices, along votives, can not be reclaimed or discarded, as they are always ritually destroyed in some manner - burning, vaporizing, hurling into a star. Sacrifices and votives can be performed by PCs to gain Hero Points from the gods or, if performed at an appropriate Temple Moon, to gain one-time use of a divine gift.

Heroes may also blaspheme against the gods, cursing them out of a feeling of abandonment or insult. If a god hears this curse, they may act to punish the PC in some way - never directly agcting against them, but always making their life more difficult until the PC atones in some manner. If cursed by the god that normally favors them, a PC loses all of their divine gifts. However, any cursing of the gods grants Hero Points to a PC, as a reward for their hubristic action. These points must be used by the end of the adventure or they are lost. Agnostics cannot receive this bonus.

Sometimes, a hero can also receive benefits from a god that is not their patron. This requires a plea to the god they want a divine gift from, trying to persuade them to help with a CHA or Influence roll. If successful, the god may offer a single divine gift, always at least two levels lower than the hero's current Glory. However, any critical failure on this roll offends the petitioned god and earns a Fate point. After you receive a god's favor, it is very important to make an offering of some kind in thanks. Further, your patron god may become upset or offended by the call for another god's aid and cut off communication or even your powers until appeased with gifts or sacrifices.

PCs may feel so passionate about something that they will take an oath on a god's name. This is not done trivially, and the gods listen for such oaths. These are the heaviest of burdens, and so they are sworn only in true moments of passion. A sworn oath is an Ambition defined by player and GM, with a small and attainable goal. An oath must be sworn to an appropriate god, and the PC chooses one skill at the time of swearing, gaining a bonus to that skill in pursuit of the oath. When not pursuing the oath, however, the bonus becomes an equal penalty. The oath mustb e something you can do alone, without help, and if you are helped, you lose the bonus. If you fail the oath, you lose 20 Glory and gain a Fate point from the wrath of the gods. If you complete the oath, you gain 5 Glory. Trivial oaths anger the gods, however, and even just swearing one will lose 10 Glory.

Next time: Temples and Temple Moons

If it is entered, the clothing and belongings of the entrant become pure white and glow faintly.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hellene worship is usually handled at sanctuaries located in areas that are appropriately sacred to a god. These sanctuaries are well-defined spaces, usually walled in, known as a Temenos. The Temenos contains the Temple, which reflects the god's splendor. Typically, each has a massive image of the god, an outdoor altar, other statues and usually several votive offerings left for the god. Some temples have scenic views fitting the god in question. There are countless temples across Hellenic space, but each of the gods also has at least one Great Temple in orbit around their patron world. These are the Temple Moons, each artificially constructed to very specific measures - exactly 144km in diameter and exactly 210,000km above the planet's surface. They are something a mystery, however.

See, the Temple Moons are, according to legend, older than the Hellenic colonizations. They were there when the Hellenes arrived. Often, they are said to have been placed by the gods themselves as personal homes. In at least one case, the Temple Moon of Heuson, this seems somewhat likely, as it was designed for beings twice as large as most Hellenes. All others are sized for Hellenic beings. The Temple Moons are named because of their massive Temple Complexes, which cover a rectangle of about 2,400 square km. Each complex is a small city, with many large buildings, statues, even parks and lakes...but often, that's only a small portion of the complex, with most being hidden 'underground.' Around 10,000 priests and priestesses staff each complex, maintaining the upkeep and managing the hundreds of thousands of service robots that assist them. Wild animals favored by the gods are often kept in the cities, and in some areas, the plant life has overgrown large portions, even rendering some areas impassable.

Miles belowground, in the heart of each complex, is the central temple of the god. This chamber is always 10km long, 2km high and 2km wide. It has a microweather system, complete with clouds and rain, and typically is lit only by the altar's bonfire and the glowing statue of the god in the center, which is always over 1km tall. Some say the gods themselves appear in these statues to offer favor to pilgrims, but most find these rumors laugable. After all, only those favored by the gods are allowed to enter in the first place. Only the most pious and worthy may even set foot on a Temple Moon, as they are guarded by small fleets that are authorized to vaporize anyone breaching the security perimeter around these immense stations.

The moons are holy sites protected by all peoples known to the Hellenes for their significance. Not just anyone can visit - only those invited by a ranking priest can gain admittance, and trespassers are captured and executed. To gain permission, a PC must have at least 150 Glory and be known as someone with a great destiny, and must then succeed at a difficult Influence roll, though those favored by the god in question only need 100 Glory and a less difficult roll. Once permitted to land, visitors are ritually washed before they may enter the complex. The actual temple is never entered by anyone but ranking priests, priestesses and oracles. If it is entered, the clothing and belongings of the entrant become pure white and glow faintly. The air tingles with a stange energy, and the god's aspects are felt as a presence. These areas are sometimes said to be the corporeal home of the gods. Any successful sacrifice, votive or sworn oath on a Temple Moon grants double the usual benefit.

Kore is the Moon of Aemoton, orbiting planet Megara. It is overseen by the chief priestess Golden-Eyed Kolete, and her assistant, the priest Sweet-Spoken Pelopidas. The moon always has rain somewhere, and dark clouds cover the skies, with constant lightning and thunder. The moon is overgrown by plants and blue-green moss, devoured by large herds of roaming herbivores. The complex is made of wood, almost entirely overgrown by plants and moss. The courtyard is home to an immense tree, one that has been there since the moon was built. It never withers and it bears fruit year-round - many kinsd of fruit, all the best examples of their type. This is the Great Life Tree, and those favored by Aemoton are sometimes granted leave to take a single fruit. To gain this blessing, a hero must bring the temple a seed, sacrificing it by planting it at the base of the tree and making an Influence roll. Success allows the hero to take a fruit infused with cosmic life force. Anyone that eats it is instantly healed of any harm and made whole of any injury. A healthy person that eats it gets the strength of ten, raising all attributes to +10 for one hour.

Anteros is the Moon of Aphrosia, orbiting Sikyon. It is overseen by the priestesses Tyche on High and Irene. Anteros is a white desert full of crystalline 'trees' that cast many-colore light across the sands and sing in the wind. There are few plants and animals, largely underground. The complex is made of the same crystal material as the trees, as it is all that can withstand the stinging winds. Under the temple is a single room with a cracked floor, where water bubbles up. It is lit only by a few candles that cast strange shadows. Those who gaze into the glass pool called Deception see the exact nature of any one person they know. It will show that person's likes, dislikes and goals. All that is needed is a bit of blood from a bit lip and a PER roll.

Khariklo is the Moon of Apollon, orbiting Delphoi. It is overseed by Reed-like Thamyris. It is an orange planetoid, scoured and marked by craters between deep canyons and high mountains that rise into space, all glowing gold. Large flying beasts rule the skies, and canyons are full of many fish and reptiles in the cool rivers at the canyone floors. The complex is atop a large mesa, gilded with gold, copper and bronze. In one corner is the Lyre of Long-Reaching Apollon, made from the golden shell of a large turtle and strung with perfect silver cords. Those that play the lyre are infused with the power of a star. This takes a Performance roll, but those who do it gain great ability, receiving a number of free rerolls to any skill of their choice. Until they use up those rerolls, they can never completely fail at using that skill.

Enyalios is the Moon of Areson, orbiting Sparta. (Presumably New Sparta after Sparta gets blown up. Even the Atlanteans would not dare destroy a Temple Moon.) It is overseen by guard captain Dinos, Shaker of Walls, and the priestess Black-EYed Corine. It is a barren, rockey world of poisonous gas and acid rain, with no natural life. When the green fog is not overhead, the earth heats and releases caustic black smoke that scours flesh. A path of red stone circles the moon, and it is said to be the path each warrior must march in life, though few have made the actual journey. The beginning and end of the path is the entrance to the complex, an underground bunker lit by torchlight. At the foot of the great statue in the temple complex is the Bowl of Areson. It is a simple wooden bowl, stained black by blood. To use it, you must place the heart or head of a great foe inside it, at which point the bowl fills with a red wine that dissolves the offering. Drink the wine and make a CON roll to gain one ability of the foe for several months - a god-granted gift, a Dynamism power, an epithet, a skill, even a talent.

Arethusa is the Moon of Artesia, orbiting Tegea. It is overseen by the hunter Orion and the priestess Far-Striding Atalanta. Its dark sky is barely visible at the surface due to a dense rainforest. Millions of small creeks and streams flow across the surface, swelling with the rain and then fading with the white mist that follows. The temple complex is a naturally-formed Parthenon of trees and vines. Aktalon, the Keryinitian Hind, wanders near the complex. He is Artesia's favorite golden deer, and those that can hunt and catch (but not kill) him will win favor with her. To do this requires both Tracking and Animal Handling rolls, and once you succeed, you will gain the power to call on any beast with four legs, any beast tha flies, or any beast that crawls on its belly, and they will obey your will, even fight for you, though Artesia on unnecessary waste of animal life. Once summoned, the animals arrive in minutes and obey for several days.

Metis is the Moon of Athenia, orbiting Athenoi. It is overseen by the priest Cimonus and the priestess Far-Seeing Terese. It is covered by a massive body of saltwater, in most places shallow enough to walk in without seing land...provided one is unworried about the ravenous crustaceans. Many archipelagos circle the moon's equator, with the complex resting in the harbor of a large island. Within it is the greatest library in Hellenic space. By beginning Athenia at her altar with an Influence roll, you may gain a pool of Hero Points to use, as well as the Tyche racial ability of the Hellenes, to be used several times. You may spend the points on any roll, yours ot others', as if you have Glory of 300 or more. Once the points are spent, they're gone forever. You may spend 2 of them at a time to rid yourself or another of one Fate Point each time.

Hebe is the Moon of Heiria, orbiting Argos. It is overseen by the priest Nikolos the Shepherd and the priestess Haughty Elefteria. It has no large bodies of water, but many small and connected ones - lakes, ponds, shallow rivers, all full of fish and fowl. Thin forests surround the pools, and besides one of these is the complex, shining bright. By praying at a week at its altar, one may gain Heiria's favor. She will either grant any other Temple Moon's gift as long as you satisfy its conditions or otherwise pray and sacrifice, or she will grant entry to a grove of green and purple trees. An altar lies at its center ,and many sacred peacocks wander the area. A hero can make clothing of peacock feathers, gaining the reverence f the gods, allowing them to use any god-granted favor of any Glory level several times.

Palikoi is the Moon of Hephaeston, orbiting Thebes. It is overseen by the priestess Machine-Whispering Lana and the machina Boreas 927. It is covered in thermal springs and geysers, and its atmosphers is dry and barely breathable. The salty and sulfurous water on the surface pools after rains, allowing some very hardy and dangerous wildlife to flourish briefly before it boils off. The complex is at the base of a massive volcano, within a bronze and iron cave with walls that can burn flesh. Within a small workroom in the temple is the Bronze Mold, in the shape of a Hellene and made of obsidian, not bronze. If a hero begs Hephaston for permission, they may rest in the mold and have superheated bronze poured in. Those that can withstand the heat and pain with a WIL roll will find a machina double of themselves in the mold the next day, with all of their stats and skills. It will do any task they set it to for several weeks, after which it will fall to pieces, which may be gathered to use in other machines, giving them a bonus to their stats. The hero and machine have a sympathetic relationship, able to transfer damage between each other. The hero may also siphon off the machina's stats to boost their own. However, the machina can never be repaired or healed, due to its unique creation.

Angelia is the Moon of Hermia, orbiting Korinthos. It is overseen by Blurry-Armed Leander and Blind-Stepping Maxima. It is a barren, lifeless moon with dense and swirling clouds that defy all weather patterns and even the laws of physics. The complex floats on a series of hovering platforms within the clouds. By praying for one day at the altar there and solving a riddle placed by the goddess, she can grant a gift. Those who gain her gift can point at two locations, using a map, photo, video or whatever, and by moving their fingers together, they may bring the locations together, moving between them as though walking through a door, which will remain open for anyone to use for several minutes.

Eirene is the Moon of Hestia, orbiting Khalkis. It is overseen by the priestesses Lenore the Unyielding and Dystoia, and the housecat Ligia. The atmosphere somehow creates a permanent twilight no matter where on the moon you are, and it is full of broad pastures of green and gold, each with copses of sacred white trees and several domesticated beasts and residences. These homes are mostly empty but well cared for by the priests of the moon. Each year, a new cluster of homes is used to act as a symbolic complex, with an entrance to the subterranean temple reconstructed below it. Within the heart of the temple is Hestia's Flame, a great bonfire that gives off a pleasant heat no matter how close you get. The coal in the bottom of the fire can be given to those who please Hestia with song, dance or offerings of personally cooked food. Those who succeed will be granted several embers. Anything cooked or tempered on the embers will be infused with Hestia's fiery essence. When fanned, they burst into a cool blue flame. Once used for an effect, the ember will die and be unusable ever again. Four effects are possible. First, any food cooked on theme is wholesome and invigorating, giving +10 to CON and +30 HP for several rounds. Second, any weapons tempered on the embers become incredibly keen, ignoring all armor, but each ember can temper only one melee weapon or arrowhead. Armor tempered over the flames becomes utterly resolute, increasing its PR by quite a bit. Again, one piece per ember. Last, anyone who bathes in the flames of an ember is healed of any ailment or insanity, no matter how severe. One person per ember.

Dike is the Moon of Heuson, orbiting Olympia. It is overseen by Eumenenes, Blameless Son of Ation, and Red-Blooded Avel. Mountains surrounded by dark clouds cover the moon, and thunder is everpresent, though the lightning strikes leave only craters. Predatory birds hunt small mammals in the valleys, and sometimes people. The temple complex is atop the tallest mountain on the moon, made of white marble veined with silver. Below, in the valley, is an ampitheater that hosts important judicial hearings. By praying at the altar in the temple, one may gain one of three gifts from Heuson. First, he can grant any other gift, as per Heiria. Second, he can grant the power to negate any epithet or god-granted favor nearby, or any power or racial ability, several times. Lastly, a hero can be granted a black eagle, which appears when summoned and has metallic golden wingtips. It will attack anyone the hero wishes for several rounds, with massive skill and powerful talons that disregard scale - the eagle can fight battleships.

Proteus is the Moon of Hoseidon, orbiting Mykenai. It is overseen by Danae and Grey-Bearded Horace. The moon is covered entirely by blue-green water with massive waves - up to 100 meters tall in the powerful winds. The complex is underwater on a giant undersea mesa, and it is made of living coral. The interior is entirely enclosed, and is the only breathable air on the entire moon, as the winds will literally pull the breath from your lungs. In the eye of a maelstrom opposite the moon is a great rift into Slipspace. In the mouth of this rift is the Great Kraken, Hoseidon's pet. Those who are strong enough to swim to and befrient it may call on it as a loyal ally for several weeks. Those that fail are hurled into the maelstrom and awaken on a distant planet's shores. The beast has been everywhere in Slipspace and will take you there within days, no matter how far the distance. It will also fight for and protect you and your interests for the duration. It is immensely strong, immensely potent, the size of a battleship and with 500 HP. It will win just about any damn fight it wants, as long as you don't expect it to leave space.

Next time: The equipment section