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Who wants to interview me about Lords of Olympus?

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Hi RPGPundit,

So, given that we won't have the opportunity to buy Lords of Olympus for Christmas this year, can we at least get a preview? I would love to see what the writeup for one of the major NPCs looks like.


Lords Of Olympus Q&A Part XIX

This is a new installment (after some time) of the Lords of Olympus Q&A thread.  To see the previous ones, and if you want to ask a question, go to this thread on theRPGsite; all questions posted there will be answered once a week!

One question I've been getting a lot from people is "when is your damn game going to be published"?  To which my answer is, "i have no idea"; I'm beyond frustrated with this. I am in the dark as any of you, so please, if you are interested in getting this book in print quickly, I would ask you to contact Brett Bernstein at Precis Intermedia games and tell him to make Lords of Olympus a priority.  Its been a YEAR AND A HALF since I finished writing LoO and handed it over to Brett, there's no reason why it has not seen print yet other than differing priorities. I'm not going to be waiting another half-year, one way or the other.

In the spirit of doing something other than very very highly justified bitching, there's actually a new question:

Q: So, given that we won't have the opportunity to buy Lords of Olympus for Christmas this year, can we at least get a preview? I would love to see what the writeup for one of the major NPCs looks like.

A: Yes, I'm very sorry that you weren't able to get LoO by christmas. I had been promised... well, I'd been promised many things. I'd been promised August, September, "End of October at the latest", and in the latest round, "Next monday" (which was now 2 weeks ago).

And all this, mind you, for a "pre-release" version with no art.
I can't honestly understand it. I can't understand how, when there's art to be had from the fucking rafters for this, when you could use anything from classical statues to 18th century masterpieces to utter shitloads of comic/cartoony stuff on Deviantart, we're going to get something with no art.

Why? Why the fuck are we not going whole hog on this? Why was it not released 12 fucking months ago, when it was hotly anticipated FIRST NEW "DICELESS RPG" BOOK IN THIS STYLE IN ALMOST 20 YEARS??

Why does fucking "stormrift" get a full release and we get the promise of maybe sometime soon if-we-get-around-to-it a no-art pdf pre-release?!

So yes, dear reader, I will gladly give you a preview for what it's worth. I've only been giving "previews", after all, for the last EIGHTEEN FUCKING MONTHS since I started the Q&A thread in JUNE 2010. Because I think that Lords of Olympus is an unbelievably awesome game, that will be potentially hugely well received, even if certain other people seem to have no faith or interest in it.

So here, without further ado, is Dionysius, the God Who Comes, god of the Future, to whom I invoke in this hour that he may create that just inevitability and shatter all barriers to the publication of Lords of Olympus.  IO DIONISIOS! IO ISCHUROS! IO ATHANATOS! KAIRE PHALLE KAIRE EPIPHANIOS! HAGIOS HAGIOS HAGIOS IAO!


The God Who Comes. Lord of The Future. Twice Born. Resurrected. The son of Zeus.  The Son of Time.  God of Wine. The Drunken Lord. Lord of the Feasts. The Liberator. The God who drives men mad. Master of the Maenads. The Beautiful God. The Epiphany.

Dionysius is the youngest of Zeus’ sons thus far,and according to a secret prophecy is destined to take Zeus’ place as Ruler of the Gods.  He looks like a youth of exceeding beauty, and almost feminine features and demeanour.  His dark hair is long and has soft curls, he has rosy cheeks and fine skin, often nude or dressed with a soft-fitting flowing toga, or dressed in leopard-skin when seeking adventure. He usually wields the Thyrsos, or pinecone-tipped staff, and is not uncommonly seen holding a cup of wine.

History: Dionysius is the youngest current son of Zeus, his mother was a mortal princess named Semele. When Semele was still pregnant with Dionysius, Hera learned ofthis latest infidelity and tricked Semele, appearing to her as an old crone,accusing the princess of being a liar or a fool who had been tricked.  Semele demanded of Zeus that he reveal himself in his true glory, to prove he was who he said he was; Zeus obliged her because he had sworn to his lover that he would deny her nothing, but when he showed her his true divine nature in its full glory as Ruler of the Multiverse,it was more than Semele’s mortal body and mind could take, and she died. Zeus took the unborn child from her dead womb, but it was clear the infant could notyet survive; so Zeus used his power to draw the infant into his thigh, where the child survived until it could live on its own, at which point Zeus released the child again.  Thus Dionysius was twice-born (once from Semele, and once from Zeus).

When Hera learned that the child lived, she sent giants to attack the infant; the child’s nymph-guardians were insufficient to protect him, and the giants tore Dionysius to pieces. Zeus arrived and slew the giants, but by then the child had died;Zeus saved the infant Dionysius’ heart, and with the aid of the goddess Demeter he re-created Dionysius, for his divine essence yet lived.  Thus Dionysius was resurrected.

After this,Zeus was determined that the child be kept safe. He put Hermes in charge of protecting the boy, and Hermes gladly took on this responsibility.  Hera was unceasing in her efforts, however,and Hermes feared that the goddess had become so obsessed with the child’s destruction that Dionysius could not be safe if he wasn’t hidden somehow.  So he took the boy to the mortal king Athamas, who was instructed to disguise Dionysius by raising him as a girl.

Living in hiding disguised as a girl, Dionysius one day encountered a young satyr boy, Ampelos. The young satyr fell in love with Dionysius, thinking him a girl, and the two became inseparable for a time, until Ampelos died gored by a bull when he was trying to show off for his lover. He was given consolation by Pan, Ampelos’ sire; the goat-footed god recognized Dionysius’ true identity, and he consoled the youth by showing him how where Ampelos was buried the fates had made grapevines grow, explaining in this way the circle of life and death in nature.  Dionysius from that day forth became a lover of wine and became the closest of friends with Pan, who joined him on many adventures.

By this time, Hera discovered Dionysius’ location. She first drove king Athamas mad as a punishment for having participated in the cover-up; in his madness he slew his own son, and wracked with guilt he fled into exile in the wilderness.

By then, Dionysius himself had reached young adulthood, and had begun living openly as a male again; he was beginning to show the seeds of greatness; he had been accepted as a student of the wise mortal Silenus, a prophetic hermit who had been cursed to have the ears and tail of a donkey.

Silenus was a kind of drunken-master, capable of channeling great wisdom and prophecy but only while inebriated; he taught Dionysius many secrets about both life and wine. His philosophy was one of living in the moment, and living in tune with nature,ideas shared by Dionysius’ friend Pan. He also spent time as a student of the wise centaur Chiron, a son of Cronus; who taught him to be open to all things,and to consider everything from all possible sides. He taught Dionysius the spirituality of living fully.

Hera saw the potential of the young man, and decided to ruin him subtly by encouraging the worst sides of his nature; she manipulated him to indulge excessively in drunkenness,dance and licentiousness, making enemies by his own imprudence all around him and gaining a terrible reputation. Her expectation was that in this way his life would be wasted and he would be denied a place among the gods.

But more and even greater powers than Hera had taken an interest in young Dionysius: the Primordial Phanes had secretly issued a prophecy that Dionysius was destined to one day supplant Zeus as ruler of the multiverse (this was, and still is, a secret unknown to most of the gods, including both Zeus and Hera).  Wise Chiron received this prophecy, and he sent secret word of it to Rhea, mother of the Olympians.  She temporarily left her long period of hermitage, traveling in secret to Classical Earth, where she rescued the drunk and desolate youth, initiating him into secret rites and teaching him some of the magical powers.

Rhea had learned that Zeus and Hera were arguing worse than usual, and that Zeus had declared that those who were loyal to him should invade a favoured world of Hera’s, a world that could be called “Classical India” in the sense that it is a fantastic parallel of ancient India in the same sense that “Classical Earth” is a parallel of the Mediterranean region from the Greek myths; this world is adjacent to Classical Earth.  Rhea encouraged Dionysius to lead a campaign against the Brahmin Wizard-kings of “Classical India”, who were devout worshipers of Hera as a mother-goddess.

Dionysius raised up an army on Classical Earth, joined by Pan and the satyrs, and with magical creatures that Rhea gathered for them (including many Cyclops), and he marched his army into Classical India where he fought against the Brahmin Wizard-King Deriades.  Dionysius fought the war with wit and trickery as much as skill at arms (for which he isnot particularly famous), on more than one occasion tricking the Indian forces into becoming drunk before battle so that they would be defeated easily.  He was helped greatly in his campaign by both Pan and Heracles, the latter of whom Dionysius met along the way and who was eager to fight for the cause of Zeus.

Eventually, the war became a great conflict that spanned that entire world, as Deriades sought allies throughout Classical India,including followers of Poseidon who was also worshiped there; this led to an alliance between Poseidon and Hera, against Dionysius and Zeus’ other champions, since that time Poseidon has also disliked Dionysius for his wanton destruction in that world, though he tends to reserve a deeper dislike for Pan, who was responsible for several humiliations of Poseidon’s champions.  Hera pulled out all the stops for this conflict, at one point getting Iris to secretly recruit the Primordial Hypnos to make Zeus fall into a magical sleep, and recruiting the Fury Megaera against Dionysius.  Hermes in turn rescued Dionysius’ forces from defeat, and later Zeus awoke and made decrees limiting how the gods were allowed to interfere in the war, evening the playing field.

Finally, Dionysius slew Deriades in battle, winning the war for the side of Zeus, though in their journeys returning to Classical Earth Dionysius’ forces had to fight subsequent battles against the agents of Poseidon once more.

Dionysius returned triumphantly to Classical Earth, where he was received in Athens as a great hero.There he created several rites and orders; though over time Dionysius’ darker and more chaotic qualities, which had been tempered by his experiences but were far from gone, led to many of his rites being forbidden.  In particular, his bacchanalian rites were infamous for encouraging women and girls to drunkenness and sexual misconduct,and even violence, and they were forbidden throughout the civilized world.  The most devout female followers of Dionysius came to be known as the Maenads, who were granted magical powers by Dionysius,and rejected all the laws of men; like Dionysius himself, the Maenads were known for their power to drive men to madness, and unlucky or foolish men who were seduced or happened upon the Maenads would be brought into their drunken orgies, the climax of which involved the men being torn to pieces by the frenzied Maenads.

By this time, however, Dionysius had definitively won Zeus’ heart, and Zeus granted Dionysius immortality, making him an Olympian god.

Dionysius still had Hera to contend with. He ultimately dealt with the jealous goddess by tricking her into a profound drunkenness and seducing her, after her son Hephaestus (angry at his mother over her treatment of him) had bound her to a magical chair she could not rise from. Hera became pregnant and gave birth to Pasithea, the mad goddess of drug-induced visions, who later became the wife of Hypnos and mother to Morpheus, Phobetor and Phantasos (who are thus Dionysius’ grand-children).

Humiliated by Dionysius’ seduction, Hera was for once truly beaten at her own game, and has since left Dionysius alone; she does not know of the prophecy concerning his destiny, but she has come to fear and suspect his real potential. Zeus himself was deeply angered by Dionysius’ seduction of his wife,but he did recognize that not only did Hera deserve it, but that it also seemed to effectively humble her.  Even so, Zeus too has begun to have some misgivings about Dionysius’ nature and potential.

Dionysius was given authority over the Oracle of Delphi during the winter months, when the regular Delphic oracle is forbidden from operating.  He spends time there during that part of this Realm’s year.  Apart from Delphi and Olympus,Dionysius also spends much time in his friend Pan’s Realm of Arcadia, as well as traveling the multiverse.  Wherever he goes he brings abandon and reveling, as well as chaos and madness.  He is a tireless traveler, having perhaps visited more of the multiverse than any other Olympian. In his travels, he has done many deeds, good and bad, but all of them great; to those mortals who reject or insult him he has cursed with madness and caused bloodshed and murder, to those who revere him he has brought freedom from oppression and secret knowledge and power. He has had lovers both willing and reluctant. He has caused lovers to go mad with lust for him, or victims of his seduction (like the nymph Aura) to become violently insane. Aside from Pasithea, he has had many children, thus far all of them mortals.

Dionysius himself is not aware of his secret destiny; his tutor Chiron whispered it to Prometheus before Chiron’s death, and Prometheus has been secretly watching Dionysius from afar, trying to guide this still-young god away from his more destructive qualities, and hoping to forge him in both power and wisdom into a deity that would be capable of replacing Zeus and becoming a better ruler of a finer multiverse.

Abilities and Powers:  Dionysius has the following Ability Classes:

Ego:                1st (tied) Class

Might:             Olympian Class

Fortitude:        High Numbered Class

Prowess:         High Numbered Class

Dionysius has the powers of Advanced World-walking, Promethean World-walking, Advanced Olympian Magic, Advanced Metamorphosis, Primordial Magic, Scrying, Enchantment, Glamour, Ineffable Names, Elementalism, and any other powers the GM may wish to assign.

Dionysius additionally has learned advanced secrets of Enchantment, which allow him to conduct the rite of the Bacchanalia, where he can draw anyone of lesser Ego Class than his own to lose their mind, joining in the orgiastic feast of the Maenads and satyrs, engaging in drunkenness, sex, and sometimes murder. He can also use this power to drive mortals mad, temporarily or permanently; in fact, his power is such that he can’t completely prevent this effect, meaning that if he spends too much time in any single place of mortal habitation, he will gradually lead those mortals exposed to his presence to become more and more insane, gradually letting go of their inhibitions and giving in to their darker or more carnal desires, abandoning their social conditionings and becoming beings of pure passion. Those women who are subject to this effect may eventually join the ranks of his Maenads.

The Maenads of Dionysius are wild women fanatically loyal to him, they have been gradually changed by his power so that they have Heroic Class in all their abilities, and they remain beautiful and youthful for much longer than mortal women usually do, becoming something closer to a nymph than a regular human being.

Dionysius’ Pinecone-topped staff, theThyrsos, has the power to turn water or other non-alcoholic liquids into rich delicious addictive wine; the Thyrsos can also be touched to the earth where it will expel a honey-like substance from its tip, causing grapevines or ivy to grow from the earth.

Personality: Dionysius is a child of destiny. Like his friend Pan, he lives in the now, but he doesn’t do so in the more animal-like way of Pan, but rather in a profoundly conscious way; he is the God Who Comes, the prophesied spirit of a future reality.  In this regard, he is something more than just an Olympian; he’s a messianic figure that is almost Christ-like in many ways.  He believes in liberation,which can translate to licentiousness and anarchy in the physical sense, but for Dionysius this is part of a deeper spiritual liberation, a freedom of consciousness that parallels the enlightenment of the Buddha. In a sense, he is the union of the eternal with the temporal, completely in the moment but never entirely of this world.

That is the philosophical perspective, and represents Dionysius’ potential, a potential he’s beginning to show more and more; but in practical terms, Dionysius is currently just a half-mad agent of anarchy. Not unlike Prometheus, he defies all the rules and conventions, and doesn’t fear the consequences. He creates havoc wherever he goes in the mortal world.  Most gods think of him as a deeply immature and irresponsible youth, possibly dangerous with regards to the violence and rebelliousness that swirls around his person.  Some who know him slightly better (like Apollo or Hermes) think of him as a young god with incredible potential, but potential that he seems happy to waste on drunkenness and orgies; many of these gods blame poor influences (particularly Pan’s) on the waste of Dionysius’ talents.

Only a few of the wiser gods see that Dionysius is much more aware of himself and what he really could become than he lets on, and realize that right now, Dionysius is struggling with himself to transform himself into the god he is destined to be.These wiser gods either see great hope in Dionysius, or fear him greatly,sometimes without really understanding that the cause of their fear is that he represents the potential end of the multiverse as we know it, and the rebirth of a new multiverse that could be either amazing or truly horrific, depending on just what kind of god Dionysius ultimately becomes.  Those few who know the secret of his destiny,like Rhea or Prometheus, wish to guide him to make this destiny a great one.

In terms of relationships, Dionysius is an unpredictable character. He will at times engage in events with great seriousness or dedication, only later to lose all interest or become distracted by wine or lovers; this makes him an unreliable friend to all except those who take an equally cavalier attitude to things. Right now, Dionysius is still very much the “enfant terrible” of the Olympian court,always happy to shake things up and create controversy. Feeling that he’s proven himself enough to Zeus and even given Hera her comeuppance, he doesn’t have much interest in the various schemes or conspiracies surrounding the king and queen of heaven, but he will at times become an interested conspirator and participant in other squabbles or secret affairs of the rest of the Olympians.

Like many Olympian gods, Dionysius is fond of both women and men, but unlike most of the male gods, Dionysius prefers to take the “passive” role in his affairs with men, allowing himself to be taken as though he were a woman (something that the Olympian Gods, like the Greeks, usually consider to be somewhat humiliating as a rule).  In part because of his natural beauty and in part perhaps because he spent much of his early life disguised as a girl, Dionysius does not feel the need to show off masculine or macho characteristics, and is rather effeminate in his appearance as well as his demeanour.

Dionysius will often leave the worlds most frequented by the gods, and go traveling, alone, accompanied by the Maenads or by his friend Pan or by other gods; in these journeys he seeks to experience all the possible experiences that a living being can discover in the infinite worlds.  If he spends too long without going traveling, Dionysius tends to become anxious and uneasy; when he travels, he inevitably encounters all kinds of adventures, but unlike other wandering gods he does not travel seeking out adventure; rather, he seems to be searching for something, he knows not what. Wherever he is, Dionysius is looking out at the horizon; even as he is totally engaged in the experience around him,another part of his being is already eager to see what comes next.  He knows that he is somehow different from anything else in this multiverse, but he has not yet found or decided what he is to be.

Location: Dionysius spends time on Olympus, Delphi (in the winter months of that world),and Arcadia;and equal time traveling all across the multiverse. He is as comfortable in the wild and savage places as he is in the bustling metropolises of countless worlds. He is as likely to be found on a “classical” world as he is in fantasy worlds, apocalyptic wastelands, Modern Earth or futuristic realms. In worlds where he finds oppression he often acts in his role as a Liberator, inciting rebellion and the overthrow of tyrants or monsters. In other worlds, he is often an agent of chaos, reveling in decadence and the fall of the established order.

Closest Relations and allies: Dionysius’ closest friend by far is the goat-footed God,Pan. He frequently spends time in Pan’s realm of Arcadia, and Pan often travels with him on adventure (usually when Dionysius is traveling to less civilized, wilder places). Aside from this, Pan is generally well-regarded by Zeus, Hermes and Apollo, though all three often worry about the young god’s seemingly mercurial nature and his apparently immature and rebellious behaviour.

Prometheus, and Rhea as well, know of his prophesied destiny and seek to guide Dionysius from the shadows; other powerfully visionary gods (like Themis) also suspect of Dionysius destiny and try to keep an eye on him to decipher just what he is meant to be. Younger gods like Heracles see Dionysius as a great but eccentric deity, fun to be around but only in small doses. Many other deities see Dionysius as an uncouth delinquent with a bad attitude and tend to dislike him.The Primordials themselves keep an eye on Dionysius; Phanes was the source of the prophecy of Dionysius’ destiny, Eris adores him as an agent of chaos and seems to want to encourage that darker side of him. Hypnos took Dionysius’ daughter Pasithea as a wife, in part through Hera’s machinations as she soughtto gain some control over Hypnos’ power, but in part also because Hypnos wishedto tap into some of Dionysius’ power by having sons of his blood.

Hera still dislikes Dionysius and distrusts him intensely, but she was so affected by his seduction of her that she now fears him for reasons she doesn’t fully understand, and would prefer for the moment to avoid him. Poseidon resents Dionysius’ defeat of his forces in the war in Classical India, and Dionysius would not be welcome in Poseidon’s undersea territories.  The Muses dislike Dionysius not only for his chaotic and decadent ways, but also because his Maenad followers murdered Orpheus, the mortal son of the Muse Calliope.

Note that if Zeus (or many other Olympians) were to learn of the prophecy surrounding Dionysius, they would be horrified by this and would likely seek Dionysius’destruction.

Notes as a Parent: Dionysius has had many children throughout the multiverse; any Player Character who had Dionysius as a father would probably have been raised by their mother and may not even know of their heritage.  Having Dionysius as a father would lead to all kinds of complications for a Player Character, as the young god is a highly controversial figure. They would quickly get caught up in either Dionysius’ own adventures or the intrigues of the Olympian court surrounding his person.  Dionysius himself would likely be a relatively poor parent, at his best seeking to inculcate his own philosophy on his offspring, or at his worst simply ignoring any child (like he has largely done with Pasithea). Of course, any child of Dionysius might play a part in Dionysius’ ultimate destiny, which could be a central element of a campaign should the GM wish it to be so.  


I'm going to close this first Q&A thread, and open a new one now that the game has been released.



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