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Kiero
2009-10-09, 06:01 AM
I've been musing on a Western-style setting that has nothing to do with medieval tropes. Specifically one based heavily on the Classical Greek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_Greece) era for something different to what we've seen so far.

I say era, because I don't just mean the Greek city states, but also their colonies around the Mediterranean, Phoenician colonies and traders, the greatest empire the world has ever seen like Persia, potentially hostile native peoples like the Celts, Thracians and so on. Instead of the mounted knight and castle, we have the hoplite spearman and war galley. Island-hopping and the fearsome interior, heroes in a time of danger and so on. I think it works as a points-of-light setting.

Now I should make clear from the off that I'm thinking deliberate and unashamed historical pastiche, not fantasy with vague classical flavourings. The only reason I'm not going for straight historical-with-wierdness is because history tends to switch a lot of people off, and indeed can bring out history-canon-lawyering. Though I would say on this point, we don't know a lot more than we know of antiquity, the history from surviving sources is largely broad strokes and grand sweeps, not minute detail.

Anyway, with the above in mind, some setting-related rules impacts. Firstly, there are only humans as PC races, and no reskinning of other races for ethnicities or tribes. That's a personal thing, I feel it conjures all sorts of uncomfortable connotations around stereotyping. Thematically, it's for a more sword and sorcery feel. There are humanoid monsters, like minotaurs and such, they're not PC material. If you like playing non-humans, this isn't the setting for you.

And so we don't just get "D&D-in-sandals", there's a general reduction in the levels of arcane in the world. Magic isn't flashy fireballs-and-lightning bolts it's primarily divination, boons and curses, magic items aren't widely available and staples. That means bonuses attached to the characters instead of level appropriate bonus-items, and generally items themsleves are much rarer, one of a kind rather than things you might end up with duplicates of in a party.

It also means a restriction on arcane power sources. No wizards, sorcerors and so on (anywhere in the setting), though I'd be interested to hear arguments in favour of keeping some like the bard. Magic tends to be Divine and/or ritual-based, not combat-casting.

The primary sources open to PCs would be Martial and Primal, with a small number of Divine. Again, I'd be interested to hear ideas on how some of those could work; I'm not sure the Paladin or (to a lesser extent) Cleric necessarily fit, for example.

It also impacts equipment. No plate armour, for example, or bastard or two-handed swords, no polearms, no heavy armour for horses. Mail is very rare and the province of barbarian nobles. No stirrups, which means fighting on horseback (not charging, but rather standing melee) is more difficult with less side-to-side stability.

Monsters would be a bit less of the common fantasy fare (no orcs, goblins, etc with reskinning for use as other stuff for some of the things removed), with a focus on things that come either from myth or weird stuff from nature. Hydras, harpies, giants, sea monsters, undead for example.

This will mean some delicate topics, like the role of women and presence of slavery. My thoughts here are to leave the level of authenticity largely down to groups to decide for themselves.

So thoughts appreciated. How workable would this setting be? Does damping down the amount of Arcane out there have major impacts, such as on controllers? Is the effective removal of race as a factor a major deal-breaker?

MickJay
2009-10-09, 06:51 AM
Can't say much about mechanics, but you might want to make some adjustments with weapons and armour: bronze breastplates (kind of plate-ish, though some adjustments should be made for mechanical purposes), greaves, shields, helmets, spears and short swords were in common use (common, as in all moderately wealthy citizens had a set for war; the less wealthy served as light infantry with javelins, slings or bows). Iron is going to be more expensive, and thus rarer, but already common enough for most hoplites to have at least iron weapons. For horseback combat, properly designed saddle can allow for some charging, but not very much.

Paladins or Clerics indeed don't fit at all, though you might pretend that some priest of Asclepios or Apollo is particularly favoured by the deity and thus can actually perform some minor miracles in the name of his god (i.e. cast healing spells). I'd rather rework the healing skill to substitute for healing between combat.

There are going to be delicate topics, it depends on your players how they'll work with them. Slavery wasn't particularly harsh in Greece (unless you landed in a mine, which was basically a prolonged death sentence). Respectable women had to stay at home, wear veils in public and ideally, nobody would be talking about them, for any reason. Mentor/lover relationships between men and boys were encouraged, as building character and helping to develop proper values in the adolescents (as long as the older partner was respectable and of good character himself). Physical deformities were thought to represent flaws of character: obesity indicated lazyness, femininity (always bad) and perhaps shiftiness; squint - untrustworthiness, and so on. "Democracy" is often a tyranny of majority, and the people are easy to manipulate; on the other hand, "tyrants" or "despots" are often benevolent, or at least competent and reasonable.

Kurald Galain
2009-10-09, 06:54 AM
And so we don't just get "D&D-in-sandals", there's a general reduction in the levels of arcane in the world. Magic isn't flashy fireballs-and-lightning bolts
Okay, but note that divine and primal powers also have a significant amount of flashy fireballs-and-lightning bolts.


That means bonuses attached to the characters instead of level appropriate bonus-items,
Sure. There are numerous ways of handling 4E without (or with few) magical items, the official one being in the DMG2. Suggestions range from bonus feats, to extra powers, to giving your players items while pretending you're not.


I'd be interested to hear arguments in favour of keeping some like the bard. Magic tends to be Divine and/or ritual-based, not combat-casting.
I don't think you can; the bard also has numerous arcane bolt spells. Note that clerics, for instance, also have a lot of "blast" effects.


I'm not sure the Paladin or (to a lesser extent) Cleric necessarily fit, for example.
I can see the paladin working, except that fluff-wise it doesn't fit the setting. Invokers and shamans are worse, though, and druids and barbarians are not much of a fit either (primarily because of their reliance on polymorph effects).


No plate armour, for example, or bastard or two-handed swords, no polearms, no heavy armour for horses.
That's no big deal except for the lack of reach weapons.


So thoughts appreciated. How workable would this setting be?
Overall, it's a good idea, but one that doesn't seem to mesh well with the high fantasy implications of 4E. I mean, if you start with removing most of the races and half of the classes in the PHB, then you have to ask yourself if you are using the right tool for the job, so to speak.

Guinea Anubis
2009-10-09, 07:47 AM
sounds like an interesting idea, but I don't think it will fit very well with 4E

Meek
2009-10-09, 08:22 AM
Doesn't work. You're coming at it the wrong way. What you want to use isn't 4e, or at least to me, that seems to be the case. If you have to hack and slash core concepts out of the game, you're better off using another game. If you want to continue with this, find some excuse to have Greece With Lightning Bolts or high fantasy mythic spartans. If not, you're saying "4e" and there are expectations brought to the table that are not fulfilled, and this makes one wonder why use 4e at all?

"D&D in sandals" can still be avoided via strong flavor without removing vast quantities of material.

Kiero
2009-10-09, 08:33 AM
Can't say much about mechanics, but you might want to make some adjustments with weapons and armour: bronze breastplates (kind of plate-ish, though some adjustments should be made for mechanical purposes), greaves, shields, helmets, spears and short swords were in common use (common, as in all moderately wealthy citizens had a set for war; the less wealthy served as light infantry with javelins, slings or bows). Iron is going to be more expensive, and thus rarer, but already common enough for most hoplites to have at least iron weapons. For horseback combat, properly designed saddle can allow for some charging, but not very much.

Paladins or Clerics indeed don't fit at all, though you might pretend that some priest of Asclepios or Apollo is particularly favoured by the deity and thus can actually perform some minor miracles in the name of his god (i.e. cast healing spells). I'd rather rework the healing skill to substitute for healing between combat.

There are going to be delicate topics, it depends on your players how they'll work with them. Slavery wasn't particularly harsh in Greece (unless you landed in a mine, which was basically a prolonged death sentence). Respectable women had to stay at home, wear veils in public and ideally, nobody would be talking about them, for any reason. Mentor/lover relationships between men and boys were encouraged, as building character and helping to develop proper values in the adolescents (as long as the older partner was respectable and of good character himself). Physical deformities were thought to represent flaws of character: obesity indicated lazyness, femininity (always bad) and perhaps shiftiness; squint - untrustworthiness, and so on. "Democracy" is often a tyranny of majority, and the people are easy to manipulate; on the other hand, "tyrants" or "despots" are often benevolent, or at least competent and reasonable.

Good points all, though I think opinions would vary a lot on how harsh slavery was, and whether it matters how well treated you are since chattel is chattel. Its fairly contrary to a lot of notions of fundamental human rights after all to hold another person in bondage, even if they're well looked after.

Reworking the Heal skill is a good idea, that might be more appropriate than trying to find some way to make Divine power sources work.


Okay, but note that divine and primal powers also have a significant amount of flashy fireballs-and-lightning bolts.

Then we might be down to a Martial-only, with some multiclassing into Divine and Primal type setup, and barring the flashy effects.


Sure. There are numerous ways of handling 4E without (or with few) magical items, the official one being in the DMG2. Suggestions range from bonus feats, to extra powers, to giving your players items while pretending you're not.

I'm in favour of the "you have bonuses attached to your character, rather than your gear" approach, so there's no need to hand out magic items. If your character is 7th level, any weapons or armour they use count as +2 for attack, damage roll (not crit) and defense purposes, and you get a +2 to all your NADs. Thus any that do appear become legendary things, unique and special.


I don't think you can; the bard also has numerous arcane bolt spells. Note that clerics, for instance, also have a lot of "blast" effects.

As above, might have to lose them, then.


I can see the paladin working, except that fluff-wise it doesn't fit the setting. Invokers and shamans are worse, though, and druids and barbarians are not much of a fit either (primarily because of their reliance on polymorph effects).

There's shapechanging in Greek mythology, if I'm remembering right, and not just people cursed and turned into animals. Presence of polymorph powers doesn't automatically rule them out of the setting.


That's no big deal except for the lack of reach weapons.

Which isn't itself necessarily a big deal.


Overall, it's a good idea, but one that doesn't seem to mesh well with the high fantasy implications of 4E. I mean, if you start with removing most of the races and half of the classes in the PHB, then you have to ask yourself if you are using the right tool for the job, so to speak.

Some of the core concepts - points of light, larger than life heroes, even the powers they have, still fit.

I agree it's about the right tool for the job, but it's not like I'm having to actually rewrite mechanics here, just cut things out. That sort of thing happens to any degree in running an actual campaign anyway, not everyone runs games where everything from every source is allowed.


sounds like an interesting idea, but I don't think it will fit very well with 4E

I don't agree. If I were having to rewrite whole swathes of the rules, then I'd say yes, but when it's just about cutting things out to flavour, then it fits fine.

People make rulings on power sources and the like to fit the intents of campaigns all the time, this is no different.


Doesn't work. You're coming at it the wrong way. What you want to use isn't 4e, or at least to me, that seems to be the case. If you have to hack and slash core concepts out of the game, you're better off using another game. If you want to continue with this, find some excuse to have Greece With Lightning Bolts or high fantasy mythic spartans. If not, you're saying "4e" and there are expectations brought to the table that are not fulfilled, and this makes one wonder why use 4e at all?

"D&D in sandals" can still be avoided via strong flavor without removing vast quantities of material.

As above, I disagree. A Martial-only, with a few other bits allowed 4e game is still a perfectly workable thing.

And as long as everyone is aware of what's going on in advance (I never sell a campaign to players without explaining what the hell it's all about), then expectations are managed.

Frankly, removing "vast quantities of materials" is a way to achieve focus, and essentially this is keeping it largely to the PHB. No one is obliged to use the plethora of material out there.

Kurald Galain
2009-10-09, 08:49 AM
There's shapechanging in Greek mythology, if I'm remembering right, and not just people cursed and turned into animals.
Yes, there is. On the other hand, a character that does it multiple times per hour starting from level one is a bit much.


Which isn't itself necessarily a big deal.
Not particularly, no.


Some of the core concepts - points of light, larger than life heroes, even the powers they have, still fit.
You may want to look into Exalted, which fits Ancient Greece pretty well.

bosssmiley
2009-10-09, 08:56 AM
Age of Heroes Historical Reference sourcebook for AD&D2 should be your go-to here. It's probably the best gamer's primer for Ancient Greece (historical and mythic) that I know of.

Amazon.com has a copy for $7 at the moment.

ShaggyMarco
2009-10-09, 09:26 AM
I think you are on the right track. I have actually been fiddling around with a similar project myself, using the Greek City-states as the points of light, and a vast sea full of nasty Grecian-dangers as the darkness threatening everything. I included a pretty powerful minotaur nation, an island of Harpies, an island of Medusa, a number of Cyclops-infested islands, etc.

If I ever run in my world, I intend to put a big focus on exploration.

As far as power-source goes, I would limit it to Martial classes. Then for fun, you can introduce other cultures that have access to other power sources. For instance, the northern barbarian tribes might all be influenced by the primal, the southern empires might be very spiritual with divine classes, etc.

Kiero
2009-10-09, 09:32 AM
You may want to look into Exalted, which fits Ancient Greece pretty well.

Except it also comes with a boatload of other genre influences like wuxia and manga that don't fit, and a positively awful system. :smallsmile:

Ellardin
2009-10-09, 09:36 AM
It may just be me , but have you considered looking into 2e for the system focus for this setting ?

Kurald Galain
2009-10-09, 09:36 AM
Except it also comes with a boatload of other genre influences like wuxia and manga that don't fit, and an awfully positive system. :smallsmile:

Fixed that for you :smalltongue:

DiscipleofBob
2009-10-09, 09:40 AM
For arcane classes, Warlock might still fit your theme with just various curses instead of being pure blasty. Artificer can easily be refluffed into a Daedelus or worshipper of Hesphestus (sp?)

Yakk
2009-10-09, 09:52 AM
We are talking Mythological Greece, right?

So we can have some fantasy.

I'd be tempted to use my Olympic Heroes mod to deal with magic items (basically, stats go up faster to make up for the lack of item enhancements, and tier-based master-work bonuses replace expertise feats, and a few other tweaks to make it work), so your characters can become Hercules strength by the end of epic.

There isn't much need to ban plate, at least mechanically -- plate can be the heaviest kind of armour out there, regardless of what it is.

You could also make the races modular. Ie, something like:
Humans
Select 2 stats and get +2 to each.
Gain training in one bonus skill from your skill list.
Either gain a racial power from this list (list goes here), or gain one bonus feat and +1 to all NADs.

A list might include the dwarven second wind, elven accuracy, etc. You could even name them after a god.

That would be an interesting idea -- your characters all have a drop of god-blood in them (even if they don't know it), which determines their "racial bonuses".

Kiero
2009-10-09, 10:06 AM
It may just be me , but have you considered looking into 2e for the system focus for this setting ?

Played it many a year ago, the system is a mess. I chose 4e because it's the smoothest in play of any of them, and yes I include OD&D and it's table-tastic, not-unified-in-the-slightest mechanics.

I'm not someone who's new to RPGs or D&D with 4th edition.


For arcane classes, Warlock might still fit your theme with just various curses instead of being pure blasty. Artificer can easily be refluffed into a Daedelus or worshipper of Hesphestus (sp?)

That's not a bad idea, that could certainly work. I'm thinking more as antagonist than PC material, mind. Someone who specialises in curses isn't very heroic.


We are talking Mythological Greece, right?

So we can have some fantasy.

Not really, I'm more talking pseudo-historical with some mythical flavourings here and there. It's not straight out of Greek myth, while there's nasty things living in the spaces between the city-states and out at sea, it's still grounded in real things going on. Like the politics of the city state, clashes of personalities and nations, exploration, mystery and so on.

But culling the other races is entirely intentional, as I said I'm not really interested in re-skinning them. Helpfully removes some complexity too.


That would be an interesting idea -- your characters all have a drop of god-blood in them (even if they don't know it), which determines their "racial bonuses".

God-blooded is a good substitute for some of the non-addition type magic items, again following with the idea of investing those sorts of things in the character rather than their gear. Boons from the gods. Though there would still be some unique items that are simply magic items.

Mando Knight
2009-10-09, 10:18 AM
If you want to continue with this, find some excuse to have Greece With Lightning Bolts or high fantasy mythic spartans.

...So, mythological Greece, with the players as those mythic Heroes (who all happen to be demigods or such anyway...)?

Arcane might not fit, but Divine is basically a god-championed Hero, Primal is a Hero of the nature gods, and Martial is a Hero without immediate divine blood. Arcane could also fit as a direct descendant of the divine (since all magic is related to the divine characters in the Greek mythos I remember), heavily aligned with his parent's elemental power.

Basically, everything becomes "Divine or Martial, with a different emphasis."

Jack_Banzai
2009-10-09, 11:30 AM
I'm actually in a Greek-flavored campaign right now. That is, it takes place in Greece, but steel has been invented, and it is about five hundred years after the Trojan War. Most of the heroes of the party (and more than a few of the villains) are reincarnations of various heroes. We do have other races. In our campaign elves and eladrin are expatriates from the British Isles (we call them the Fey Isles), and drow live in vast underground cities in Persia. We even have warforged and dragonborn. We're having a good time.

porpentine
2009-10-09, 02:24 PM
Kiero -

That sounds good fun. A few ideas:

(1) You sound really keen to go with 4E: if that's your fun, go for it. Martial only should work okay.

I think a much better fit would be Iron Heroes. Have you ever tried that? The classes would fit Classical/Ancient Greece very well, as would the specialness of monstrous foes and magic items.

(2) What period are you going for - Classical Athens/Sparta etc, or Minoan/Mycenaean etc? Those would have very different feels.

(3) Research reading: I'm guessing you've done a lot already, but I'd recommend Pseudo-Apollodorus (the Bibliotheca, for mythology), Thucydides (Pelop. Wars, for Athens/Sparta - if that's your background period), Plato (Death of Socrates, for attitudes to religion, apostasy and philosophy), Aristotle (Politics, for a Classical view on slavery - it might be that it's harsher than you think).

(4) PC background, class and barbarians: how restrictive are you going to be? This doesn't have to be an issue, as long as your players are okay with it. For example, you could require them all to be siblings - which creates a great party cohesion - or all known to one another.

Slaves are tricky here, since some players may be interested in playing the slaves of others, and if you really go with Greece that's going to curtail the slave's freedom of choice.

If you don't go with a tight restriction (like family), Greek attitudes to barbarians will also comes into play (Aristotle is interesting [and harsh] on this too).

All this also affects where you begin, of course:

(5) Starting points: all slaves aboard a Sea People ship would allow a variety of backgrounds. Mid-war would allow mercenary and allied PCs from different city states/regions to come together.

Peace time in a single city-state is easy if the PCs are of similar backgrounds, trickier if not.

Anyway, nice idea. Tell us how it goes :)

Meek
2009-10-09, 02:39 PM
...So, mythological Greece, with the players as those mythic Heroes (who all happen to be demigods or such anyway...)?

That's basically what I'm saying. Don't go with the historical greece, go with the mythological one. There's no reason not to unless you really feel like not using 4e for the thing it's supposed to do.

Yakk
2009-10-09, 04:00 PM
But culling the other races is entirely intentional, as I said I'm not really interested in re-skinning them. Helpfully removes some complexity too.
PC side complexity is something that is ... less of a DM's problem in the 4e design. :)

A level 1 PC can be sketched as a product of their race, class and option; removing race makes the design space of level 1 PCs a tad smaller.

I was thinking of something along the lines of having Divine Heritage feats that use the design work invested into existing races. You can have at most one Divine Heritage feat, and they would grant some of the powers that existing races have. Or even grant access to the feats of the race.

I'm just thinking 'free design space to be snapped up'. :)

---

There is a lack of controller characters without flashy special effects.

---

The martial characters are all 'non-flashy'. Bards might work, and I mean Homer -- what choice do you have? ;) Primal classes tend to be pretty flashy.

One interesting way to restrict the amount of flash is to require that all PCs be at least a hybrid martial character, and pick their first encounter and daily attack power from the martial half? (or always have at least as many martial encounter/daily/utility powers as they have martial powers).

This would delay some of the primal 'explicit magic' to later in Heroic tier, and always make it secondary to simple melee badassery.

You could even push this further and allow for some arcane magics that way. At level 1, you are a hybrid with 2 at-wills from your martial class, and 1 at-will from your other class you can use 1/encounter.

At level 4 your non-martial at-will can be used at-will, maybe.

You must always have at least as many martial encounter/utility/daily powers as you have non-martial encounter/utility/daily powers.

That lets you play a character that can cast spells, but all characters must mainly rely on their physical prowess and wits...

(Once again, I'm aiming at using more design space; this might not be something you care about.)

HenryHankovitch
2009-10-09, 04:26 PM
Have you considered/heard of Grim Tales?

It's a D20 variant, similar to D20 Modern (the "classes" are based around stat types, so you have Strong Hero, Dextrous Hero, etc) with a bunch of rules for low or no-magic settings. It's meant to be setting-portable, so making a pseudo-Classical setting for it should be easy.

I personally like the idea of the setting, especially if you're using historical places for inspiration rather than as limitations. So you can have your pseudo-Greek archipelago here, your pseudo-Babylonians over there, your pseudo-Celts off in the bushes... Kind of like Robert E. Howard's world of Hyperborea, really.

Kiero
2009-10-09, 05:42 PM
Kiero -

That sounds good fun. A few ideas:

(1) You sound really keen to go with 4E: if that's your fun, go for it. Martial only should work okay.

I think a much better fit would be Iron Heroes. Have you ever tried that? The classes would fit Classical/Ancient Greece very well, as would the specialness of monstrous foes and magic items.

I am keen to go with 4e, because I like purposeful, neat design. Which is what 4e is a great exemplar of. They had specific ideas in mind about how they wanted to work, and tailored the system to meet those needs, rather than trying to be all things to all men.

To be honest, I don't think much of D20 or D20-derived systems, I never played them and they all seem to be bloated and badly designed. That's my chief complaint with Star Wars Saga Edition (which I have played) - it didn't go far enough in distancing itself from some of the bad things about D20.

As below, I might not be quite as restrictive on purely Martial-only, but I do want to see little or no Arcane.


(2) What period are you going for - Classical Athens/Sparta etc, or Minoan/Mycenaean etc? Those would have very different feels.

I'm thinking Classical Athens/Sparta, rather than the earlier Minoan/Mycenaean, mostly because I want a broader scope than Greece alone. Which I think the earlier period tends towards.

A Persian Wars analogue gives us a reason for travel besides some poor sod who's fallen foul of city-state politics and been exiled or left to found a colony. Although for a more focused and local game that could work too (especially if people want a more horror-styled game about the nasty things lurking out in the wilds away from the light of city-state civilisation).


(3) Research reading: I'm guessing you've done a lot already, but I'd recommend Pseudo-Apollodorus (the Bibliotheca, for mythology), Thucydides (Pelop. Wars, for Athens/Sparta - if that's your background period), Plato (Death of Socrates, for attitudes to religion, apostasy and philosophy), Aristotle (Politics, for a Classical view on slavery - it might be that it's harsher than you think).

Cool.


(4) PC background, class and barbarians: how restrictive are you going to be? This doesn't have to be an issue, as long as your players are okay with it. For example, you could require them all to be siblings - which creates a great party cohesion - or all known to one another.

Slaves are tricky here, since some players may be interested in playing the slaves of others, and if you really go with Greece that's going to curtail the slave's freedom of choice.

If you don't go with a tight restriction (like family), Greek attitudes to barbarians will also comes into play (Aristotle is interesting [and harsh] on this too).

All this also affects where you begin, of course:

I think this is something that having had some more time to think on, I don't think it has to be as restrictive. I think characters of Greek origin who haven't been out travelling the world should be limited mostly to Martial-only, but Divine and Primal sources might work for foreigners. Or Greeks who've been out into the world to learn these strange exotic practises.


(5) Starting points: all slaves aboard a Sea People ship would allow a variety of backgrounds. Mid-war would allow mercenary and allied PCs from different city states/regions to come together.

Peace time in a single city-state is easy if the PCs are of similar backgrounds, trickier if not.

Anyway, nice idea. Tell us how it goes :)

Or of course the PCs all being founders or otherwise prominent people in a colony. That opens up avenues for non-Greeks, mixed-blooded Greeks, semi-nativised Greeks or newcomers from the motherland-city-state as well.


PC side complexity is something that is ... less of a DM's problem in the 4e design. :)

A level 1 PC can be sketched as a product of their race, class and option; removing race makes the design space of level 1 PCs a tad smaller.

Well as is my preference, I wouldn't start PCs at 1st level anyway. I'm playing in my first ever D&D4e game (and I didn't play 3.x at all) right now, and we started at 7th.

It wasn't that steep a learning curve, IMO, and avoidance of the grind of lower levels was a blessing. I'd start the PCs at 4th level at least.


I was thinking of something along the lines of having Divine Heritage feats that use the design work invested into existing races. You can have at most one Divine Heritage feat, and they would grant some of the powers that existing races have. Or even grant access to the feats of the race.

I'm just thinking 'free design space to be snapped up'. :)

That could work without taking it too far down the road of becoming races by another means. Max one Feat which grants one or two powers.


There is a lack of controller characters without flashy special effects.

There is, but some classes aren't all that bad at crowd control. If my melee Ranger who isn't even optimised for range can do a serviceable job just with Twin Strike and a longbow, then some of the other ranged classes (Archery Ranger, Seeker apparently) can serve.


The martial characters are all 'non-flashy'. Bards might work, and I mean Homer -- what choice do you have? ;) Primal classes tend to be pretty flashy.

One interesting way to restrict the amount of flash is to require that all PCs be at least a hybrid martial character, and pick their first encounter and daily attack power from the martial half? (or always have at least as many martial encounter/daily/utility powers as they have martial powers).

This would delay some of the primal 'explicit magic' to later in Heroic tier, and always make it secondary to simple melee badassery.

You could even push this further and allow for some arcane magics that way. At level 1, you are a hybrid with 2 at-wills from your martial class, and 1 at-will from your other class you can use 1/encounter.

At level 4 your non-martial at-will can be used at-will, maybe.

You must always have at least as many martial encounter/utility/daily powers as you have non-martial encounter/utility/daily powers.

That lets you play a character that can cast spells, but all characters must mainly rely on their physical prowess and wits...

(Once again, I'm aiming at using more design space; this might not be something you care about.)

Certainly food for thought, Martial-only with the odd but of hybrid was one of my initial thoughts, I'd probably still say that's the main thing for Greek characters, but possibly more latitude for foreigners/barbarians.

I'd still want a hard control on Arcane power sources, I just don't think (Warlock aside, perhaps) they are appropriate.


Have you considered/heard of Grim Tales?

It's a D20 variant, similar to D20 Modern (the "classes" are based around stat types, so you have Strong Hero, Dextrous Hero, etc) with a bunch of rules for low or no-magic settings. It's meant to be setting-portable, so making a pseudo-Classical setting for it should be easy.

I personally like the idea of the setting, especially if you're using historical places for inspiration rather than as limitations. So you can have your pseudo-Greek archipelago here, your pseudo-Babylonians over there, your pseudo-Celts off in the bushes... Kind of like Robert E. Howard's world of Hyperborea, really.

As above, I'm really not keen on D20. 4e is enough of a departure, and well-made to boot that I think it can work.

But I'm with you on using it as inspiration rather than simply limitation. Not that I think limitation is inherently a negative thing - it provides structure and focus that can sometimes be absent from the usual kitchen sink of tropes that is D&D.

Kiero
2009-10-09, 06:13 PM
So a possible list of classes is: fighter, ranger, rogue, warlord, bard, avenger, invoker, shaman, barbarian, druid, and seeker; and the origins of the character would limit what is actually available to them, within reason. The Greek-born seeker of knowledge who travels to far Brittania-a-like to learn the secrets of the druids could be a Druid for example.

There'd be some restrictions on powers for certain classes, Bards wouldn't be able to take their ranged blasting stuff, for example. Instead they'd have to take a bow or thrown weapon if they wanted to do things at range.

For antagonist-types, warlock might function given there's lots of curses and stuff.

Xallace
2009-10-09, 06:15 PM
So a possible list of classes is: fighter, ranger, rogue, warlord, bard, avenger, invoker, shaman, barbarian, druid, and seeker; and the origins of the character would limit what is actually available to them, within reason.


I just kind of skimmed over the topic, but has anyone mentioned the Prescience Bard as being a kind of oracle? I'd think it very suiting to the campaign.

Kiero
2009-10-09, 06:17 PM
I just kind of skimmed over the topic, but has anyone mentioned the Prescience Bard as being a kind of oracle? I'd think it very suiting to the campaign.

Indeed, which is why when someone suggested that the bard could easily be shorn of blasting powers, I agreed they should be allowed.

Although your average NPC oracle type would probably just be using rituals.

Decoy Lockbox
2009-10-09, 08:18 PM
I'm in favour of the "you have bonuses attached to your character, rather than your gear" approach, so there's no need to hand out magic items. If your character is 7th level, any weapons or armour they use count as +2 for attack, damage roll (not crit) and defense purposes, and you get a +2 to all your NADs. Thus any that do appear become legendary things, unique and special.

I'd advise having +xd6 crit effects, or else crits lose a lot of their punch, as well as some of the fun of rolling a fistful of dice. I'm running a no-item/no-wealth game, and I have the inherent enhancement bonuses extend to crits as well -- for example, once the players hit lvl 11, all their bonuses up to +3, and their crits add +3d6.