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Author Topic: Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?  (Read 46843 times)

Cylonophile

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Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2010, 03:24:19 PM »
After seeing the title and premise, I was just curious to know if this game was related to the mid 80's game "Heroes of Olympus"?

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Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2010, 03:25:48 PM »
Lords of Olympus Q&A Pt. VIII

This is the eighth installment of the amazing series of questions you've all been asking me about the upcoming Lords of Olympus game; along with my answers to the same.  If YOU have any questions about the game, please post them on this thread in theRPGsite, and you'll get your answer every Friday!

Ok, here we go again:

Q: If a PC and a NPC are both skilled in Diplomacy (or whatever equivalent skill in LoO), how is the conflict solved in game? What mechanically do the players do in this situation since there are no dice to roll?

A: Again, Lords of Olympus has NO social mechanics. One big part of the game is social play and machiavellian (or should that be julio-claudian?)-style scheming, while having to follow the complicated rules of respect that the Olympian society is based on.
Does it seem weird that something this important isn't resolved by rolling a die or looking at a number? I don't see why it should be. The way this situation would be resolved is by the PC and NPC each making their respective arguments, the other players deciding who they want to believe/listen to/follow, and the GM making the same decision for the NPCs. Of course, a player character could cheat. He could use Enchantment to have affected the mind of one or more of the listeners.  He could have used other powers to affect the preferences of the crowd of mortals he's orating to. He could have kidnapped the NPC's daughter, and slipped that NPC a note about it a minute before the big debate began.
There are all kinds of things that the PC can do to give himself an edge in a diplomatic situation; having a fiddly number to give him a mechanical bonus is not one of them. In Lords of Olympus, you actually have to ROLE-PLAY.


Q: If a player bluffs the other players, and one of the other players is playing a god who has an ability to see through lies, how would that operate in game?

A: Where would this guy have gotten that power? What kind of GM would give it to him? I would assume that if he really has the power to "see through lies" (no such power exists in the game, per se), then the guy trying to bluff would be screwed, wouldn't he? Of course, if what you're talking about is a mental link or the likes, then I guess that it would depend on the comparison of the character's Ego Class; not to see if the one guy is a better liar (again THAT DEPENDS ENTIRELY ON YOUR ABILITY TO ROLE-PLAY THE LIE CONVINCINGLY) but to see if the other guy is mentally powerful enough to read the other's thoughts and know he's lying that way.


Q: How is Initiative determined? Obviously Hermes goes first, but who goes next?

A: Hermes doesn't necessarily "go first", first of all. Hermes might be taken by surprise. But anyways, the precise way you handle each "round" of combat is by having every one declare their intended action first, and then the GM adjudicates how it all resolves itself, simultaneously. So there isn't any initiative exactly; instead the GM would determine that if two characters are attempting tasks that are incompatible, one of the two would succeed. For example, if two different characters are trying to reach for and grab the Orb of Fate, then the GM would have to determine who gets to it first. Are either of them supernaturally fast? Are either of them closer to it to begin with? Does one of them have the ability to fly and the other has to jump through a crowd? If not, if they both start off somewhere exactly equally distant from the orb and have exactly the same environmental qualities affecting them, then the one with higher Prowess would manage to grab the Orb first, leaving the other guy next to the Orb's pedestal but empty handed.


Q: If the Ability Classes are equal, what is the determining factor in deciding the victor?

A: If the ability classes are equal, then the combatants should end up nullifying each other's attacks; they keep blocking each other's hits, they are gripped together wrestling, they are both mentally concentrating all of their Ego in a gridlock against the other, etc.  That would be the moment for one of the two players to attempt to switch the battle to some other ability; though this usually involves a risk (if you're locked in the heat of battle with the other guy, you'd better hope that "dropping your guard to try something" ends up being successful).  Another alternative is if one of the characters tries to get the other to make a mistake by using some element of the terrain or surroundings to his advantage, or the other guy's disadvantage.  That turns a tie in the attribute to a near lead for the guy with the advantage.  If neither character wants to try anything else, and they just keep at it, then the next factor would be Fortitude; if one of the two characters has a lower fortitude, they will begin to tire faster than the other, and their ability to keep up their defense will start to fail, effectively making the other guy superior. The guy you're arm-wrestling against starts to waver under the strain, the guy you're sword-fighting with starts to get winded and can't get his blows up as fast, etc. If by some crazy chance Fortitude is also tied, then Luck would be the next factor to consider. In such a scenario, after monumental efforts, one of the two characters would just have an unlucky break; slipping a little, sweat in his eyes, his sword gets caught for a second on the edge of the other guy's shield, etc.
If they're tied on all three factors, and both refuse to change their mode of attack or use anything at all in their environment, then both characters would just keep going, ineffectively attacking each other until they both collapse, exhausted, at exactly the same time. Its a pretty unlikely scenario; not only does it require exact ties on all three abilities, and a total unwillingness to do anything about it on the part of both characters, but really, why doesn't the GM do something at that point? I'd probably have have Momus come along and laugh at them both, if nothing else.


Q: How does David fight Goliath? AKA, if the PC is outclassed by a far greater foe, how is trickery + luck + whatever measured by the LoO system so the lesser opponents have a chance of victory? And what if there are multiple David-wannabes in the battle?

A: I don't think David was outclassed. Sure Goliath had more Might than David, but David clearly had better Prowess, and he probably had a better Ego Class, or at least he'd gained the incredible power of "A man after God's own heart". He also probably had a pretty high luck score.
But in any case, as to your question, luck has a built-in measurement, the Luck ability.   There are guidelines in the game as to how much weight to put on Luck (which advises moderation, ie. luck should matter enough that people care what their Luck score is, without feeling that Luck is MORE important than the four principle Abilities).
As for trickery, that depends on the player's cleverness, and the GM's judgment, with quite a few guidelines for how to adjudicate situations presented in the Lords of Olympus book.   I mean, there are plenty of instances in Greek mythology of MORTALS getting the drop on the Gods, so really that shouldn't be that much of a problem for young gods to do.  But it does depend on being clever, and not just saying "I use my four-dot "Trickery" social skill! Look at me, I'm roleplaying!!"


Q: How will Lords of Olympus handle prophecy?

A: Prophecy plays a huge role in the Olympian mythos. In the game, Prophecy appears in a number of different contexts. For starters, there's the power of Scrying, which is kind of your run-of-the-mill prophecy, more fortune-telling than prophetic vision, but that can be equally powerful or truthful in the hands of a skilled practitioner.  This kind of "prophecy" or augury is not actually a measure of fate, but an extrapolation of a probable future based on a keen awareness of present events (thus dependent on the Ego Class of the user), but they are still only visions of possible futures.
The next step beyond that is the prophecy of pilgrimage sites and prophetic oracles, where people can receive much more definite oracles. The Oracle of Dephi, for example, is NEVER wrong; it is sometimes misunderstood, but whatever answer someone receives from the oracle WILL come to pass. Players beware! Of course, the GM is given some basic guidelines like "don't make a really specific prophecy you don't later want coming true, blockhead!"
The Primordials are also capable of prophecy, though this is more like an extension of the Olympian Magic power of Blessings and Curses; wherein the Primordials by declaring their prophecy are in a way creating the future event they wish; like when Uranus, defeated and about to be castrated, made the "Prophecy" that Cronus would one day also be overthrown by his son. Player Characters can create these kinds of prophetic curses and blessings, but usually on a less significant scale.


Q: Could Primordials work as PCs for an extremely high powered game?

A: I wouldn't really think so. They are pretty much off the scale of the power levels of the Lords of Olympus game. You could do a game where player characters are lower-generation Primordials; guys like Morpheus who are at a more manageable power level and have a personality which effectively simulates human consciousness and emotion. But the big guys like Phanes, Nyx, Tartarus, or Khaos? I'm not even giving them ability Classes.
An Extremely-high powered game in Lords of Olympus would be more like playing the elder Olympians or Titans.


Q:  Who would win in a race between Iris and Hermes?

A: In a short-distance race, it would be very close, but Hermes would probably win by a nose. In a long-distance marathon, Hermes would definitely win.


Q: Do any means of travel between worlds exist other than World Walking and Promethean World Walking?

A: Yes; the other main one would be through the use of a Scrying Gate, which requires Advanced Scrying. It allows you to create a magical portal between dimensions. Aside from that, many of the Primordials seem to have means to travel between the worlds without any necessity of the divine roads, many of them can often bi-locate as well. There is also the Dream Realms of Hypnos and Morpheus, which can kind of count as a sort of travel as well, though its more of an astral travel.


Q: How do Ineffable Names compare to Power Words?

A: Ineffable names are basically power-words, yes. There's even the equivalent of "Power Word:Stun" and "Power Word:Kill" there.


Q: I'd like to second the query as to divine powers that involve seeing through lies, or magic like Aphrodite's that makes people fall in love. E.g. how would Aphrodite's powers affect a PC that's trying to keep information from her? Would you just automatically say "don't bother trying, Aphrodite is better than you"? Or would that require roleplay? In that case, Aphrodite doesn't really have any magic that the GM's ability to convince a (potentially belligerent) payer to open up and let information slip.

A: Aphrodite's Girdle allows her to enter a mind link with any male in her line of sight at will. Her Ego class is effectively increased by the artefact, for the purposes of Enchantment, which Aphrodite almost exclusively uses to make men fall in love with her. Someone who is affected by Enchantment is not merely mind-controlled in the way that can be done with regular Ego conflict; they are changed in terms of their personality, to believe what their assailant wants them to believe.  So in game terms, Aphrodite would make you fall in love with her, and your character would WANT to tell her everything.  Of course, for her to do this, her girldle-enhanced Ego would still need to be higher than yours, so characters with ridiculously high Ego could just rebuff her.
What I would "say" in this case is not "don't bother", I would explain to the player that his character is enchanted, and would hope that he'd have the maturity to roleplay it correctly.
Of course, if people are hiding something from Aphrodite, and they know she knows it, they might want to take some further precautions to avoid her being able to affect them. Her girdle's powers only work on men; they could use Metamorphosis to take female forms. Or they could take the form of an animal and see if that works. They could make a point of avoiding any encounter with Aphrodite that isn't in a very public place. They could have people in a mind-link with them already, set to interfere if Aphrodite tried something, etc.


Q: Can you provide a play-by-play of character creation?

A: copypasted right from the book:

Character Creation: Summary

   1. The Bidding War: players bid on the four basic abilities: Ego, Might, Fortitude and Prowess.
   2. Classes are established in the four abilities, players have the option of buying down abilities at Olympian Class to Mortal or Heroic Class; or buying up to empty or Tied-Class Numbered abilities.
   3. Players can purchase Patrons or Enemies, and negotiate player “additions” for bonus points.
   4. Players use remaining points to purchase Powers, Daemons, or Realms.
   5. Any remaining points, or negative point-deficits are designated as the player character’s “Luck” score.
   6. The GM assigns player character’s divine parentage. The GM will either inform players of their divine parent’s identity, or inform the player that their character does not know the identity of his divine parent.
   7. Players establish their character’s background, age, and appearance, and optionally their divine thematic aspect. Players also collaborate with the GM to establish the character’s basic history up to the starting point of the campaign, making note of activities which would indicate significant skills or knowledge the player character holds.
   8. Players conduct the Character Questionnaire, as a group, or individually with the GM.



Q: Can you provide a more concrete blow-by-blow of the following combat situation: A God and a Hero are walking into a building loaded down with guns. They have to get through their enemies Matrix-style (why yes, this IS the lobby scene), which consists of a Mortal security force of about two-dozen that has a Kyklops and a cthonic beast that resembles a low-rent Kerberos as backup.

A: I'm not too sure what you want from me here; what would happen there would depend a great deal on what the characters chose to do to handle the situation. Not to mention the abilities of the opponents they're facing. Twelve mortal cops (all with Mortal Class Prowess) would, collectively, be the equivalent of a single opponent of the lowest numbered prowess class in the campaign. So if the character's prowess is slightly higher than that, he should probably do o.k. in the battle, particularly being helped by someone with Heroic Class Prowess.
Of course, the Cyclops (I assume you are referring to a regular,  monstrous Cyclops and not one of the three Cyclopes of Olympus), and the cheap Cerberus-knockoff could complicate things further. Individually, either of them would probably be inferior to a combat-oriented Olympian. But collectively with the mortal guards and each other, it'd be tough. Having thought ahead and prepared some powers could be really practical. Does the character have enough skill in Advanced Olympian Magic that he could craft a spell to make it so that the Cyclops and hellhound can't actually exist in this universe? That would definitely easy things up. But if not, he might be able to use regular Olympian Magic to make the video cameras malfunction to buy them time before the heavy reinforcements arrive.  And of course, if you have Ineffable Names then the Name of Death would be pretty useful, since it would let him kill any of the mortal cops even without having a really clear shot.
Assuming the player character wasn't going to use any powers, didn't have anything prepared, etc and was just going to fight it out; the best strategy would be not to ever get himself in a position where all of his potential opponents could collectively fight him at once. 12 cops together, or 3 or 4 of them plus a Cyclops, can be a significant danger. But if the player character maneuvers through the room, using the desk, the columns, etc. as cover to avoid all of them being able to attack him, he is vastly superior (assuming he has some kind of Numbered Class Prowess) if he's handling up to 4 of them at a time. His Heroic Prowess companion had better either stick very close to him and give him some backup, or had better go off and hide somewhere and then try to peg off/face only one or two of the guys at a time. It would not necessarily be an easy battle, but it could be winnable if they use good strategy and keep their opponents divided.


Q: After seeing the title and premise, I was just curious to know if this game was related to the mid 80's game "Heroes of Olympus"?

A: No. In fact, I'd never even heard of that game until you brought it up. It has nothing to do with Lords of Olympus, and seems to be a game about playing greek mortal heroes in a purely classical setting. I don't really see how you could think there's any connection, aside from the "greek" thing.

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Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2010, 12:01:58 AM »
Hi RPGPundit,

What sorts of things can a character with Elementalism do?

What sorts of things can a character with Glamour do?

Can you provide a sample character writeup from Lords of Olympus?

In Amber the Death Curse provides an incentive for Amberites not to kill family members. Do the Furies provide a similar incentive not to kill family in Lords of Olympus?

How exactly would a PC ranked at First Class advance to above First Class?

Thanks,
Lorrraine

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Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2010, 07:50:33 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
He could use Enchantment to have affected the mind of one or more of the listeners.


Okay, how would this affect a player? Would the player be informed of it and told that they don't have a choice as to whether or not to comply with the Enchanter?

Basically, the question that I feel you haven't quite answered yet is how will adversarial mental control be handled, whether it is used by the PCs or against them?

Quote from: RPGPundit
There are all kinds of things that the PC can do to give himself an edge in a diplomatic situation; having a fiddly number to give him a mechanical bonus is not one of them. In Lords of Olympus, you actually have to ROLE-PLAY.


That's all well and good, but does that indicated that if an individual player can't think quickly on his/her feet, they are prohibited from playing certain characters (notably those characters that are witty)? Similarly, will someone who is mostly at the gaming table for sociability and doesn't really do too much cut-throat scheming be at a disadvantage?

Quote from: RPGPundit
So in game terms, Aphrodite would make you fall in love with her, and your character would WANT to tell her everything. Of course, for her to do this, her girldle-enhanced Ego would still need to be higher than yours, so characters with ridiculously high Ego could just rebuff her.
What I would "say" in this case is not "don't bother", I would explain to the player that his character is enchanted, and would hope that he'd have the maturity to roleplay it correctly.


Considering that Aphrodite is one of the big-name Olympians, I'd figure that only the highest-end of PCs would even have a chance of having a higher Ego ability than her. Similarly, the challenge would indeed be to be machiavellan/julio-claudian/karl rove-esque enough in your planning to not end up in the same room with Aphrodite in the first place.

My assumption was that they were unable to resist her abilities and the mental compulsion has taken effect.

In this case, it's up to the player to actually comply with the mental compulsion? If so, would you characterize this as a high-trust system?
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Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2010, 05:21:56 PM »
Lords of Olympus Q&A Pt. IX

Here we are at the NINTH installment of the Lords of Olympus Q&A.  I wasn't ever expecting that people would have so many questions and show so much interest in the game as to keep this going for so long.   Thank you very much!
As always, here are the rules of the game: You post a question in this thread, and every Friday I will post a blog entry here where I answer your questions from the past week.

And now, without further ado, this week's questions:

Q: What sorts of things can a character with Elementalism do?

A: Elementalism allows a character to cast spells related to one, two, three or all four of the classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire).  Someone with Olympian Class Ego will be able to do magic for three out of four elements. Elementalist magic takes the form of pre-prepared spells that must be memorized. A character with Olympian Class Ego can have up to 4 spells memorized at any given time. Spells allow you to create, alter, or dispel the element in question, make elemental attacks or defense, adapt to survive in that element, or move through that element. Each element also has a signature spell particular to its type.


Q: What sorts of things can a character with Glamour do?

A: Glamour is the magic of illusion, allowing you to manipulate light, sound colour and image. Characters with glamour can create light, sound, darkness, illusory transformations, complex illusions, or to become invisible; and may create Glamour Wards to generate one of these effects when a certain condition is met.


Q: Can you provide a sample character writeup from Lords of Olympus?

A: Do you mean an example of what a player character's stats would look like? Sure.

Sample Character: "Aischylos"

Ego:        Olympian Class
Might:      Olympian Class
Fortitude: 3rd Class
Prowess: 2.5th Class

Powers: Immortality, World-Walking (Olympian Road), Olympian Magic

Other: Patron, Enemy, Daemonic Sword (2 point Supernatural Weapon)

There you have it! Of course, those are just stats. The real important stuff is what you would write in your notes: details on your history, things you know (be they skills or secrets), answers from your character quiz, etc.


Q: Do the Furies provide an incentive not to kill family in Lords of Olympus?

A: There can be various reasons not to kill family in Lords of Olympus.  The Furies are generally not one of them.  You see, the Furies and Nemesis are two powerful forces of vengeance, but each of them really are mainly concerned with the Mortal realm.  Nemesis punishes those who violate the laws of gods, and the Furies those who violate the laws of men.  If you're a mortal and you disrespect the gods or defy divine will, Nemesis might come to hunt you down. If you're a mortal who breaks an oath or betrays family, the Furies might be called upon to exact vengeance.  But other gods are somewhat out of these goddesses' jurisdiction.
But there are tons of reasons not to kill another god.  For starters, pragmatism. Its one thing to kill a mortal, because if you do some special punishment to last the rest of a mortal's life that's what.. 50 more years, tops, anyways? But a god... if you kill a god, he's just dead; but punish him for the rest of his life and you have untold aeons of suffering! In the second place, there's the edict of Zeus, who forbids murder among the gods.  Even Hera has been very careful about this, she'll gladly try to kill bastard children of Zeus when they are still mortal, but if they are raised up to immortality, then killing them is generally out (unless she's really, really devious about it).   If you kill a god, and get caught, you'll face a trial in the Olympian court, where each and all of your old enemies will be able to revel in putting forth reasons why you should be cast into Tartarus or slain (death being the lighter of the two sentences there).
Even assuming you get aquitted, there's the question of vendettas.  Everyone on Olympus has a web of connections and alliances, and if you piss off a guy, attack him, beat him, kill his mortals or his sheep or his favorite horse, that's one thing, that's between you and him; but if you take it to the point where you kill the motherfucker, then you're making it about all these other people, you're inconveniencing them. And then they're all going to have very good reasons to fuck you up.
And finally, of course, there's the question of the Olympian's curse.  Anyone with Olympian magic can use some of their personal divine energy to utter a fated curse, very difficult to get around, that has all the potential of making your life and the lives of others very miserable.  You might be able to kill the other guy before he can utter a curse at you, if you're lucky, but then there are his relatives, kids, best friends, etc; and you'd better hope that none of them cared about him so much that they would give up a portion of their divine power just to make the murderer pay.


Q: How exactly would a PC ranked at First Class advance to above First Class?

A: Through advancement. When the GM wishes to give advancement, players will all write their Advancement List, a list of their different priorities of what they would like to advance in.  Players can put as an item on the list to advance any of their four Abilities.  If the Advancement is sufficient that it can be obtained, the player would advance one Class level in an Ability.  So a character who was 3rd Class in Prowess wants to advance their Prowess, and put it at the top of their list. The GM would then advance that character so that their prowess would now be 2nd Class (or 2.5th Class if someone was occupying that Class level already). If a character is 1st Class in an Ability, he can also request advancement in that ability as per usual.  The GM, if he grants the advancement, would then advance the character to 1st+1 Class (or 1st+1(tied) Class, most likely).


Q: how would Enchantment affect a player? Would the player be informed of it and told that they don't have a choice as to whether or not to comply with the Enchanter?
Basically, the question that I feel you haven't quite answered yet is how will adversarial mental control be handled, whether it is used by the PCs or against them?

A: There are two kinds of mental control; the first is direct mental domination caused when someone makes a mental link with you and then overwhelms you by force of Ego. This is a "brute force" kind of control, where the character is just a puppet of the assailant and his every action must be directed by the same. In these cases, a player character controlled in this way would be out of the player's control, and the GM would only describe to him what the attacker is making his character do.
The other kind of mental control is through Enchantment; This is much finer and more subtle. A player character might not even know he is enchanted. Generally, Enchantment if it is done right by the caster will work in such a way that others will not even realize that the character is mentally affected (whereas with domination it is almost impossible to hide the fact for very long). There are generally three ways a GM could handle this kind of mental control.  First, if an Enchantment is extremely specific, and only comes into play conditionally, or affects very subtle perceptions, the GM might not even tell the player about it. An enchantment might only activate if certain conditions are met, and until that time a PC is completely normal. Or an enchantment might only affect very specific memories or behaviours; the GM might need to inform the player that the character remembers something differently than what the player recalls.  A GM who is very skilled might even play some Enchantments entirely by how he describes things to the Player, if an Enchantment is meant to affect perceptions.
Sooner or later, however, its probable that the Player will need to know his character is affected by an Enchantment. At that time, the GM has two remaining options: he could simply take control out of the player's hands, either on specific issues, or entirely, just telling the player how he reacts.  This is allowed, but its not what's recommended in the game.  Instead, the best way to handle Enchantment would be to sit down with the player and explain to him exactly how the enchantment has changed his memories or perceptions or personality, and provide some guidelines to the player about exactly how he should portray these changes. The GM can veto the player's actions after that if he feels that the player is trying to "give away the game" (ie. metagame) or act in bad faith.   The ideal is where a player is mature enough to be eager about effectively and correctly interpreting this situation with his character. The GM should only remove autonomy from the player's control of his character as a last resort, if the player is clearly and willfully not getting it.


Q: (Does the lack of "intelligence" attributes or social mechanics mean that) if an individual player can't think quickly on his/her feet, they are prohibited from playing certain characters (notably those characters that are witty)?

A: Here's the thing: I've never ever seen a mechanical substitute for intelligence or social grace in an RPG that acted as an effective prosthesis for those players who lack in these things anyway.  You can give a character a +25 to Diplomacy and Bluff, but if the PLAYER is socially inept, he still won't know when or how to use these things. He'll screw it up anyways. You could give a character a 22 INT or an I.Q. of 250, but if the PLAYER isn't that bright, god help him, then the character will still come off as dumb because of the choices he makes and the things the dumb player has him say or do.
So to answer your question: would a player be "prohibited" from playing a clever or charming character if the player himself is thick or boorish? No, no one is prohibited, but the reality of the situation is that he wouldn't actually pull it off. What I would say is that how a player describes his character at the start of a campaign is always more about how that character sees himself than about how he really is.  And there are tons of people out there who think they're brilliant or graceful when they're actually anything but.  In one campaign I ran I had one player who'd gone to great pains to describe that his character cared deeply about mortals and treated them like equals, and then went on to do anything but for the entire campaign.  In another, I had a player who described his character as a "diplomat", who went on to always get angry and blurt out insults or make threats and always refused to give ground on any issue.  On a different note, I've had plenty of times where I've seen really clever and involved players say that they're going to play a character who's stupid, but those characters inevitably end up becoming party-leaders who think up ways to solve the problems, because the player can't help himself.  So really, you can't make mechanics that are meant to save you from playing your character differently than you would like to describe him initially.

Q: Similarly, will someone who is mostly at the gaming table for sociability and doesn't really do too much cut-throat scheming be at a disadvantage?

A: The Lords of Olympus game need not necessarily be about cut-throat scheming, that depends on how each GM wishes to frame his campaign.  There's certainly tons of material in the setting that would help for such a campaign, but you can just as easily make your campaign about going around the multiverse engaging in great heroics, performing adventurous tasks for Zeus or some other big gun, players starting as mortal bastards of the gods and questing for immortality, the Olympians as a whole facing some new major threat, etc etc.

Q: would you characterize this as a high-trust system?

A: Ideally, yes. Without a doubt, Lords of Olympus works best when the players trust the GM and the GM trusts the players, and the players trust each other (as players, not necessarily character-to-character).  If everyone acts maturely, it'll be a much better game. But really, can't you say that about just about any RPG?

Keep those questions coming, folks!

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« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2010, 04:15:32 AM »
I've only got one question left "How much longer we gotta wait for this?".

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« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2010, 11:32:12 AM »
Hi RPGPundit,

How does a GM know how many advancement points to charge a player who wants to raise her character's attribute to a class above first class?

Do you place any limits on how much luck a character can have, positive or negative?

What Ineffable Names can a character have?

Which Elder Olympians have the highest class in each attribute?

Do Daemonic Artifacts have their own Ego class and the ability to resist orders like an intelligent sword in D&D?

Thanks,
Lorrraine

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« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2010, 03:57:29 PM »
I'd add what importance can have luck in-game? How much of it can compare to, say, a rank?
What are the effects of maximum luck?
 

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« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2010, 01:04:54 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;397605
Q: (Does the lack of "intelligence" attributes or social mechanics mean that) if an individual player can't think quickly on his/her feet, they are prohibited from playing certain characters (notably those characters that are witty)?

A: Here's the thing: I've never ever seen a mechanical substitute for intelligence or social grace in an RPG that acted as an effective prosthesis for those players who lack in these things anyway.  You can give a character a +25 to Diplomacy and Bluff, but if the PLAYER is socially inept, he still won't know when or how to use these things. He'll screw it up anyways. You could give a character a 22 INT or an I.Q. of 250, but if the PLAYER isn't that bright, god help him, then the character will still come off as dumb because of the choices he makes and the things the dumb player has him say or do.
So to answer your question: would a player be "prohibited" from playing a clever or charming character if the player himself is thick or boorish? No, no one is prohibited, but the reality of the situation is that he wouldn't actually pull it off. What I would say is that how a player describes his character at the start of a campaign is always more about how that character sees himself than about how he really is.  And there are tons of people out there who think they're brilliant or graceful when they're actually anything but.  In one campaign I ran I had one player who'd gone to great pains to describe that his character cared deeply about mortals and treated them like equals, and then went on to do anything but for the entire campaign.  In another, I had a player who described his character as a "diplomat", who went on to always get angry and blurt out insults or make threats and always refused to give ground on any issue.  On a different note, I've had plenty of times where I've seen really clever and involved players say that they're going to play a character who's stupid, but those characters inevitably end up becoming party-leaders who think up ways to solve the problems, because the player can't help himself.  So really, you can't make mechanics that are meant to save you from playing your character differently than you would like to describe him initially.
I would argue that it is possible to enforce behavior which is more consistent with the character's stats.

Take for example the charismatic player who is playing the non-charismatic character. . . . Let us say that this PC becomes group leader---at the very least the GM should consistently remind the other Players that they are not responding to the character as they should be (they should probably be shunning the low-charisma character, rather than making him their leader). Make the guy wear a tag at the game table that says: "Hi, I have a very low charisma!"

The same thing goes for intelligence, not every actor who plays Sherlock Holmes is ultra-smart, but with the right set-up it is possible to create the illusion of intelligence. There are actually a number of points in the Amber DRPG book which relate to this point. One good example is the "look at the board" thing (on page 79). Or the "Being Smarter than you are" thing (on page 223), this deals with the GM playing elder Amberites, but the idea of creating the illusion of intelligence can be applied in other areas as well.

All of which doesn't mean this is a totally easy process, but I do think it is possible to give a PC abilities in charisma and/or intelligence which are not possessed by the Player. And if the player doesn't, as you say above "know when or how to use these things," the GM can give helpful suggestions and hints there too.

I'm not sure that the real barrier here is that one can't create mechanics, but that there is a resistance to having enforcement of a character's stats. For example, I can think of one specific case where the GM simply felt that the role of the PCs was to figure things out and talk things through. This GM felt that things like giving a stupid player the correct answers because of his character's high intelligence, was a violation of the basic purpose of playing the game.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2010, 01:16:19 AM by warp9 »

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« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2010, 05:09:45 PM »
Lords of Olympus Q&A Pt. X

This Q&A, as always, answers questions people have posted about my upcoming Lords of Olympus RPG in this thread. If you have a question about the upcoming game, please ask it there, and I'll answer it here every Friday.

In today's session, we also have a spot of BIG NEWS. See the first question for details...

Q: I've only got one question left "How much longer we gotta wait for this?"

A: I'm not sure, but less that you might have thought.  You see, (and here's the big news), I've finished the manuscript. Its done. It is now in the hands of God and Bernstein as to when the book is actually released (it has to go through editing, layout, illustration, etc).  But we are ahead of schedule, as it were, since I had never expected to have the rules done this early on. This last month was incredibly productive for me.


Q: How does a GM know how many advancement points to charge a player who wants to raise her character's attribute to a class above first class?

A: The GM gets to pick the values in terms of point costs for Classes above first. The game includes some guidelines about more or less how to score each class level, and suggestions about how the game and balance of power between PCs and NPCs varies depending on the kind of cost you put on these "above first class" abilities.


Q: Do you place any limits on how much luck a character can have, positive or negative?

A: The default version of the rules does not; but it states very clearly that the GM can, as an optional rule, impose a limit to bad (negative) luck.  The way the system is set up there probably shouldn't be any limit to positive (good) luck, but there are highly diminishing returns making it pointless for someone to try to hoard excessive Luck points.


Q: What Ineffable Names can a character have?

A: Well, let's see: there's "AUB", "EOUD", "IOZ", "OUM", "IOYEIOY", "IAMADA", "ERIOZ", and quite a few more. There are 17 different Ineffable names provided in the manual, and GMs could always invent a few more.
Hmm, I get the feeling that maybe you wanted to know what the names did, not just what they sound like... just in case that's so, I'll mention that the above are "flash of insight", "stunning word", "flash of light", "Flash of darkness", "Thunder", "Pass through nature", and "Decay", respectively.


Q: Which Elder Olympians have the highest class in each attribute?

A:  Hecate has the highest Ego Class. The highest Might class among the gods is Heracles, though Typhon is actually one Class stronger. The highest Fortitude belongs to Atlas. And the highest Prowess class is Athena's.


Q: Do Daemonic Artifacts have their own Ego class and the ability to resist orders like an intelligent sword in D&D?

A: Daemons all have an intellect, though not all are capable of communication.  Most Daemons are extremely loyal to their masters (ie. the person who put points into them), but it is not unheard of for a Daemon to try to leave or turn on its master if it is very badly abused. Also, some Daemons will not always obey orders correctly.
None of this has much to do with the Daemon's Ego class. Since Daemons are willing servants (in fact, the word "daemon" means a supernatural "helper" or "servant), they don't usually get into Ego combat with their master.  Of course, its possible for someone else to control or manipulate them through ego-conflict.  Daemons who don't have any points invested in Ego start the game with Mortal Class Ego.  A player can boost that up to Olympian Class for a little as two points (if he spends 2 points, he boosts 2 of the Daemon's abilities to Heroic Class and 2 of the abilities to Olympian Class).


Q: I'd add what importance can have luck in-game? How much of it can compare to, say, a Class?

A: The rules are pretty explicit in that Luck is a factor that tends to affect things like what happens to a character on a journey, how serious a mishap might be for a character, or what people's very first impressions of a character might be.  Luck can be quite important, but it should never be MORE important than a PC's Ability Classes or a PC's wit and cleverness. In any given conflict or battle, the most important factor will always be the Ability Classes and Powers being used, the WAY that the characters are using them (ie. the cleverness of the PC's actions), then Fortitude if a combat lasts long enough, and luck is the fourth and least influential factor.  Of course, a character with a really high extreme of good luck or bad luck could have something happen that would interrupt the fight itself in a major way; but in general terms while Luck is important, "betting it all" on Luck is a suckers' gamble.


Q: What are the effects of maximum luck?

A: Luck in Lords of Olympus is relative.  That is, a character with bad luck still has bad luck, even if everyone else has worse luck than he does, and a character with good luck still has good luck even if everyone else has better luck than he does. But whoever has the lowest Luck Score in a group and whoever has the highest Luck Score in a group will tend to have more extreme things (or less terrible things) happen to them.
It depends also somewhat on the spread. If the group are all close together in luck, within a few points of each other, the luck is less extreme. But if one character is way out of the curve with either good or bad luck then the GM will want more crazy things to happen to him.
For example, let's say a bomb goes off in a room where all the PCs were standing: The GM judges it took them all by surprise, none of them had any special magical protection or enough Prowess to avoid the blast. The character with extremely good luck would likely have had shrapnel hit only non-vital areas; and thus unless his Fortitude is very low, he can just walk it off. The characters with medium-luck were probably hit moderately, each of them taking injuries that could be incapacitating or highly inconveniencing if their Fortitude isn't very high.  But the guy with the worst luck, he gets hit with Shrapnel in the eye, or a piece of metal pierces a lung. He'd better have really great Fortitude if he doesn't want to be out of action for quite a while.


Q: I can think of one specific case where the GM simply felt that the role of the PCs was to figure things out and talk things through. This GM felt that things like giving a stupid player the correct answers because of his character's high intelligence, was a violation of the basic purpose of playing the game.

A: That's not really a question, but yes, I basically agree. That's part of why Lords of Olympus has no stats for Intelligence. I think that you can simulate characters who are very perceptive, which in Lords of Olympus is governed by either Ego or Prowess, depending on the circumstance. You can also simulate characters who are very knowledgeable, which is handled in Lords of Olympus with skills and background. But intelligence? No. Unless you really want to just go along spoonfeeding choices to a player so that he loses any real autonomy, no.  Because you see, Intelligence isn't the same as education or perception. You can see things and know things, but not have a real idea how to make good choices based on those things. That's the the kind of thing that depends on the player, and can't really be "faked" unless you turn the character into an NPC for all intents and purposes.

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« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2010, 05:04:50 PM »
Hi RPGPundit,

Congratulations on finishing the manuscript. How many pages?

Did you include an option for partial powers?

What sort of guidelines did you include for characters ganging up on a single opponent or individually fighting multiple opponents?

How does the damage that someone with a high strength class can do using an ordinary sword compare to the damage someone with Olympian class strength can do using a daemonic sword?

If a character has a high Ego Class and no powers what could they do with it?

Thanks,
Lorrraine

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« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2010, 03:10:24 AM »
This is just a little programming note, to let you all know, that as I'm going to be on my Pundit Canada Tour 2010, I might not be able to provide Q&A entries every single Friday.  But rest assured, that if you post a question on this thread, your question will be answered whenever the very next Q&A entry is posted.

So keep those questions coming!

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« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2010, 12:01:28 PM »
Lords of Olympus Q&A Pt. XI

So, I'm sorry for the delay but as you all know I'm on vacation.  But as promised, here is the continuation of my interview series for the upcoming Lords of Olympus RPG.

Without further ado, here come the questions:


Q. Congratulations on finishing the manuscript. How many pages?

A. This number is highly subject to change. However, the manuscript in its current form has 319 pages.



Q. Did you include an option for partial powers?

A. In one sense no, each power in the game is a full power.  However, in the game I opted to have more powers that have more limited effects. There are several powers that have basic and advanced versions.  Also, the one power you might be able to claim has "partial" versions is world-walking.  You can pay to be able to walk one divine road, two roads, or all three roads.


Q.What sort of guidelines did you include for characters ganging up on a single opponent or individually fighting multiple opponents?

A. There are full rules for how to handle multiple opponents.  In essence, you choose one opponent to count as the main opponent, which is always the opponent using the highest Ability Class if there is any differentiation.  That is the base ability class that the PC is fighting against.  Every additional opponent that is in a position to make a meaningful attack that round counts toward adding to the main opponent's effective ability class.


Q. How does the damage that someone with a high might class can do using an ordinary sword compare to the damage someone with Olympian class Might can do using a daemonic sword?


A. Daemonic weapons add to your penetration power, not to your damage as such.  They work to render your armor and other barriers useless. So someone with a high Might Class will do more damage with an ordinary sword as a base, but the Olympian Might guy will be able to ignore the armour of the opponents he hits, so in some cases he might have the advantage.


Q. If a character has a high Ego Class and no powers what could they do with it?


A.  A character with high Ego Class and no powers would need to be physically touching his target, or engaging in prolonged eye-to-eye contact in order to use his Ego against an opponent.  Assuming he could do that, however, even without any powers he would be able to read minds, dominate the will of an opponent, attack them with a mental blast, send them a silent telepathic communication, or attempt to make a mental defence against mental attacks from his enemies.


That's it for today.  If you have a question about the Lords of Olympus game, please post it on the thread on theRPGsite, and I will try to answer it on the very next Friday that I have a second to spare!

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« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2010, 04:12:28 AM »
Hi RPGPundit,

Quote from: RPGPundit;403570
In Lords of Olympus, certain environmental, exhaustion, injury, or magical factors can effectively reduce or increase the Ability Class of player characters.


What types of magical factors could increase the ability classes of a player character?

How does Lords of Olympus handle character creation if a GM only has one or two players which makes the typical Bidding War less than ideal?

How do Metamorphosis and Advanced Metamorphosis differ from the Amber Diceless powers of Shapeshifting and Advanced Shapeshifting?

What does the Ineffable Name "AUB" (Flash of Insight) do in terms of game mechanics?

How does Lords of Olympus handle questions of who gets to act first?

Thanks,
Lorrraine

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« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2010, 04:08:38 PM »
Lords of Olympus Q&A Pt. XII

Here again is another update of our Lords of Olympus Q&A.  Look for an update about the status of Lords of Olympus on this blog fairly soon.

Remember, if YOU have a question for me about the Lords of Olympus RPG, please write it on theRPGsite in this thread. I will answer it every Friday.

So, on to the questions:

Q: What types of magical factors could increase the ability classes of a player character?


A: The Advanced Metamorphosis power, Ineffable Names, Daemonic Artefacts and certain powerful Olympian Artefacts.



Q: How does Lords of Olympus handle character creation if a GM only has one or two players which makes the typical Bidding War less than ideal?

A: I would recommend that the player use one of the various alternative methods of character creation presented as an option.  There are five alternative methods of character creation, assuming one doesn't want to or lacks the correct infrastructure to do a good Bidding War.


Q: How do Metamorphosis and Advanced Metamorphosis differ from shape-shifting?

A: Metamorphosis in its basic sense lets you have a few set forms that you can easily change into; the power to shift into other forms with some time and effort, the power of Adaptive Metamorphosis to change quickly in reaction to dangerous environments, the Primordial Form which a PC metamorphoses into in cases of near-lethal injury, and Metamorphic Healing which allows them to regenerate wounds quickly.
Advanced Metamorphosis allows a character to metamorphose his essence or personality, imitate natural abilities as well as forms, shape-change others as well as himself, and to create an Eidolon or duplicate body of one's self.


Q: What does the Ineffable Name "AUB" (Flash of Insight) do in terms of game mechanics?


A: It allows the person to have a very brief one-second-long vision of one minute into the future of his current location.



Q: How does Lords of Olympus handle questions of who gets to act first?

A: In Lords of Olympus there is no concept of "initiative"; its assumed that everyone is doing things at the same time. In cases where two characters' intended actions would be exclusive (in other words, only the faster of the two gets to succeed), it is generally Prowess that determines who gets to act first.


Please keep the questions coming, folks!

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ARROWS OF INDRA
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LORDS OF OLYMPUS
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