Forum > The Official Amber DRPG, Erick Wujcik, and Lords of Olympus Forum

Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?

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Why did you choose the Greek mythos?  What does it bring to the table as a setting for multi-world play that's better than the others available?

As the idea was mentioned on your blog, what are your thoughts on using the word "Fortune" instead of "Luck"?


Over on your Xanga page, I asked,

"Luck" sounds weird to me. Have you considered "Fortune" instead? The connotation might be really off since it's Latin, but it carries a note of changeability that luck doesn't get across as well. Luck also just sounds really Teutonic."

Later today, I had a lot of thoughts on how Luck, or Fortune, or Chance might apply in-game to a Greek mythic setting. I posted separately in the ADRPG forum here:



Here's this week's update:

Lords of Olympus Interview Pt. II

Continuing to answer the questions presented in the Q&A Thread; I will remind everyone that if you have a question for me about Lords of Olympus, post it on that thread and I'll answer it to the best of my ability here.

Q: Greek mythology isn't centralized. Several contradictory versions of every tale might exist somewhere. How would you say Lord of Olympus will relate to mythology? Will the setting be widely modular? Or will you narrow down to something like a canon, retaining your favorite aspects of mythology? What role actual ancient Greek history might have in the setting? How much metaplot will we find baked in the game?

A: Its true that Greek Mythology isn't centralized; I'm using one particular version of the mythology, the one that is essentially the most recognizable, though taking a few snippets from others.  Hesiod would be my main source as far as the whole super-structure of my setting is concerned.
So yes, there'll be a kind of canon, and it will be the one that most people think of when they think of Greek Mythology; but if someone is a really serious student of mythology I don't think they'd have much trouble changing things around.
Ancient Greek History, on our Earth, played out the way we think it did. The great mythological heroes and events which we now think of as mythical were not in fact events in our world's past. They were events on a different world: "Classical Earth"; one of countless infinite earths that exist in the multiverse.  In Classical Earth, most of the Greek Legends actually happened in one form or another.
By "Metaplot" I suppose you don't mean "ongoing storylines for future products" (there won't be ANY of that); I assume you do mean "built-in setting in the mechanics".  The answer to that is that the mechanics do have a lot of built-in setting to them; but most of it has nothing to do with the individual deities or my treatment of mythology, and everything to do with the particular cosmology I created for the setting. The only real mythological elements that are hard-wired into the setting is that Zeus, Poseidon and Hades exist and that they are the masters of the three Divine Roads that crisscross the multiverse. There is also (as shown last week) magic that is special to the Olympians, and magic that is born from Khaos, the first Primordial.

Q: What will player play in Lord of Olympus? The main gods (like Zeus, Poseidon and Hades)? Secondary gods (equivalent of the 2nd generation of gods)? Something else?

A: Although the game could be modified "up" to play the main Olympians, or "down" to play great mortal heroes in the style of Achilles, the default is that the player characters are new and original 2nd generation deities, sons or daughters of the Olympians or Titans (or possibly the Primordials). In general, the PCs are assumed to be "young" gods, relatively new to the multiverse.

Q: Are there specific elements of the Diceless RPG that you wanted to correct, or do your own different way that will appear in Lord of Olympus? If yes what are those?

A: The Diceless RPG is certainly an inspiration for Lords of Olympus.  Erick Wujcik was, in my mind, an unparalleled genius of roleplaying, who I certainly wouldn't dare to think I could surpass. That's why, in general, I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel with Lords of Olympus, but rather to base the game with direct inspiration from Erick Wujcik's ideas about how a diceless game can be effectively designed.
That said, Lords of Olympus is not a carbon-copy of any other game, though gamers will no doubt find that it is full of compatible ideas.
One thing where I wanted to have Lords of Olympus stand out is with the Powers.  Readers will find that the powers in Lords of Olympus have certain parallels with the powers in other games, but they are also redone in a fashion unique to the context of the game and the setting.
I've tried to be more careful in defining how some of the powers work, and what some of the limits to those powers are. In particular, in Lords of Olympus there's practically no power that's "instantaneous"; the Powers can do spectacular things, but you have to have them prepared for use, whether its a Probability-Altering Spell with Olympian Magic, trying to mentally contact someone with Scrying, Casting an Elemental spell or crafting a Geis with Enchantment, these things all require time and forethought, meaning that the powers-heavy character is not going to automatically dominate on the field of combat.
Another thing I considered quite carefully was the magic items and artifacts. I had briefly considered getting rid of these as an options for players altogether, knowing that they are often prone to abuse. In the end I chose to have two different optional systems for items: one is Olympian Artificing, and the other is Daemonic Artefacts.  In both cases, rather than try to break down a point-by-point cost of what each effect does (which is what I think can be prone to abuse), I've created a more abstract system that has fixed point costs for a few very common concepts and then guidelines for what costs the GM should set for other ideas the players might come up with.  You can use one or both systems for items in the game; but I personally like the Daemonic Artefacts better, I like the idea that all powerful magic items actually have intelligences of their own.

Q: How will interactions with NPCs be reconciled with the bidding system? e.g. Having 2nd class in Might makes you stronger than the character with 3rd class and not as powerful as the character in 1st class, but how would that stack up against, say, an angry, methed-up kyklops?

A: The Cyclops would have its own level of Might; being a Cyclops it would probably be fairly strong, so it would likely have a Might Class on the low end of the Class "ladder"; in your theoretical example it might be 3.5th Class Might.

Q: Why did you choose the Greek mythos? What does it bring to the table as a setting for multi-world play that's better than the others available?

A: The Greek Mythos brings a great deal to the table in general. For starters, its the foundational mythology for our civilization. That means that even among the truly ignorant who couldn't tell you who Zeus is, they are still bound to relate to the overall concepts and themes of the Greek mythos that are completely impregnated in our culture. The very essence of legend comes from the Greeks.  This is vastly superior for setting purposes to using some kind of alien pantheon or to try to (almost always severely imperfectly) base your setting on foreign foundations that will not culturally resonate with the players.
Moreso than any setting from modern sci-fi/fantasy novels, players will start playing Lords of Olympus and will immediately "get" who the NPCs are and what is going on.
As for specifically "multi-world" play, the Greek setting is full of fantastic mysterious places and realms that aren't always explicitly "other worlds" (though Olympus or the Underworld basically are) in the myths, but that feel utterly otherworldly. Its an easy step from there to suggesting that they are in fact other planes.

Q: As the idea was mentioned on your blog, what are your thoughts on using the word "Fortune" instead of "Luck"?

A: I like the sound of "Fortune"; and honestly I thought about a lot of possible names for that fifth ability, but I think luck will do. Its careful not to overemphasize its significance. The luck attribute isn't supposed to be Fate or Destiny, nor is it supposed to represent a force (like the Roman Fortuna, embodied in an actual deity).  So choosing an unremarkable word like "Luck" was a way of making sure that the ability is kept in its correct context, as basic chance.
Fate is a different kind of force in the game, not represented by mechanics exactly but by the elements of the setting itself.

Please keep sending me these excellent questions, and I'll keep trying to answer them!


Currently Smoking: Raleigh Freehand + Altadis' Byzantium

I am big fan of Greek Mythos RPGs, but I am still waiting for an Amber game that uses dice.   And I am far from alone.

And yes, I've tried Amber and I'm a fan of the Wuj, but I didn't grok the system and wondered why we weren't just LARPing.

Why should we unwashed hordes consider looking at Lord of Olympus?


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