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Sylthia
2013-05-20, 02:34 AM
It seems that campaign settings usually default to a Medieval type or sometimes Steampunk, but are there any big settings that have a more ancient feel, like Ancient Greek or Roman?

Salbazier
2013-05-20, 03:22 AM
It seems that campaign settings usually default to a Medieval type or sometimes Steampunk, but are there any big settings that have a more ancient feel, like Ancient Greek or Roman?

What system? On top of my head, I remember Vampire: The Requiem has supplement for Roman Empire Era. Speaking about Vampire, I think modern era setting is more popular than steampunk.

Adventurer Conqurer King's site said they draw inpiration from Hellenistic culture and such.

BWR
2013-05-20, 03:59 AM
Depends on what you mean by 'big'. Famous/popular or detailed?

Some lesser known ones.
TSR during AD&D days published supplements for running various real life historical settings (or near real life, if you wanted magic), like the Romans, Vikings, Classical Greece, etc.
The Hollow World setting (subset of Mystara) has many 'primitive' cultures in the setting, few of which approach mediaeval technology. You have rip-offs of Aztec, Maya/Olmec, pre-viking Norse/Saxon, generic cow-herder-with-spears-African, etc.

You have stone age (http://wingnutgames.com/landofog.htm) games.
You have Dreamtime (http://rpggeek.com/rpgitem/46256/dreamtime), set to pre-European Australia.

Rhynn
2013-05-20, 04:01 AM
Adventurer Conqueror King System's Auran Empire setting definitely feels pretty Ancient World.

Glorantha of RuneQuest and HeroQuest is eclectic, but especially lately it's more explicitly Ancient - a Roman/Greek/Scythian empire, Celt/Gaul/Germanic barbarians, ancient China, and most recently a thoroughly awesome re-imagining (http://moondesignpublications.com/blog/jeff/seshnela-art-direction) of the Western culture into Greco-Indian/Babylonian. And many of the main cultures are almost Stone Age (http://moondesignpublications.com/page/hsunchen), barbarian (http://moondesignpublications.com/page/praxian), or nomadic (http://moondesignpublications.com/page/doraddi).

Qin: The Warring States is, naturally, set in the Warring States period of China.

Maze & Minotaurs (link in sig) is a D&D retroclone set in Ancient Europe.

Anything set in R. E. Howard's Hyborian Age feels fairly ancient (although much is also medieval): Conan d20, TSR's old Conan RPG, and the retroclones ZEFRS (free (http://www.midcoast.com/~ricekrwc/zefrs/) retroclone) and Barbarians of Lemuria.

Tekumel / Empire of the Petal Throne in its many incarnations definitely feels ancient as well as exotic. It puts me in mind of (not actually so ancient) South- and Mesoamerican cultures, but is also very, very alien.

And, of course, there's many sub-settings in the period: GURPS has Greece and Rome, Basic Roleplaying (BRP) has BRP Rome, Call of Cthulhu has Cthulhu Invictus (frankly mostly just the same stuff as BRP Rome with basically no effort to integrate the Cthulhu Mythos, which is pathetic!). AD&D 2E had Age of Heroes (HR6) and The Glory of Rome (HR5), as well as Celts (HR3).

If you want Dark Ages, well, there's GURPS Middle Ages 1, GURPS Vikings, GURPS Celtic Myth; Vikings & Valkyries (see Mazes & Minotaurs link in sig); AD&D 2E's Vikings and Charlemagne's Paladins.

BWR
2013-05-20, 04:14 AM
Totally forgot about Tekumel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tekumel)/EPT. Very detailed, very alien, very fun. Bonus points for its creator actually creating languages for the setting. Meaning he worked at it like Tolkien did, not just glossing English.

Yora
2013-05-20, 05:04 AM
Conan d20 is a decent game with lots of regional sourcebooks.

Dark Sun could be seen as pseudo-ancient, as there are no traces left of any previous civilization that might have existed before.

But generally such settings are really rare, so I had to start making my own.

Salbazier
2013-05-20, 06:28 AM
Qin: The Warring States is, naturally, set in the Warring States period of China.


I have heard about this before. How it looks like? Any good? I remember it said to magic system based on ... was it Tao? I can't remember.

Rhynn
2013-05-20, 06:35 AM
I have heard about this before. How it looks like? Any good? I remember it said to magic system based on ... was it Tao? I can't remember.

It looked... well, awesome. A bit like Legend of Five Rings, character attributes are based on elements (the Wu Xing: Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, Wood), skills are IIRC associated with attributes (Metal is combat skills, etc.). There's various "magical" disciplines, from wuxia-style martial arts to Internal Alchemy (you do alchemy inside your body). It felt generally like a less rigidly structured Legend of Five Rings.

If you're interested in roleplaying in the Warring States period, I absolutely recommend it (FWIW with my couple of times reading it and no play experience).

Salbazier
2013-05-20, 06:46 AM
It looked... well, awesome. A bit like Legend of Five Rings, character attributes are based on elements (the Wu Xing: Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, Wood), skills are IIRC associated with attributes (Metal is combat skills, etc.). There's various "magical" disciplines, from wuxia-style martial arts to Internal Alchemy (you do alchemy inside your body). It felt generally like a less rigidly structured Legend of Five Rings.

If you're interested in roleplaying in the Warring States period, I absolutely recommend it (FWIW with my couple of times reading it and no play experience).

Oh, yeah it was the Wu Xing not Tao, silly me. That does sound awesome. I have to check this sometimes.

puctheplayfull
2013-05-20, 09:01 AM
It has been so far unmentioned, but there were a lot of third party resources for d20 that covered the ancient world. This included Rome, Hellenistic Greece, ancient Babylon, even the Biblical Age. Mythic Vistas was the name of one such series, though they did more than historical campaign settings.

TheThan
2013-05-21, 07:15 PM
You could just re-fluff the system youíre currently using. Letís assume DnD 3.5 in these examples.

(DnD 3.5 actually has rules for earlier and later periods in the DMG, I hate Ďem.)

In a roman setting, Roman Legionnaires will be equipped with tower shield, banded armor, short sword and javelins. Barbarians (specifically northern barbarians) are going to be equipped with chainmail, chain shirts, hide armor and leather armor, a variety of shields (excepting tower shields) and a variety of weapons ranging from long swords to two handed axes.

You donít really need to change anything mechanically. Unless you have two people from different times meet and fight, technology is generally going to be roughly equivalent across the board.

Hereís what I mean, two warriors of the Bronze Age meet, one is wielding a bronze axe, the other a bronze sword. Their weapons are from the same time period so they should be equivalent enough to each other in terms of quality of materials that there are no penalties involved. But if a warrior from the Bronze Age met a warrior from the medieval age, and then the medieval guy is going to have a leg up. Because his weapons and armor are made out of better material, heís going to have bonuses in the battle.

So my suggestion is to just study up on the age you wish to borrow from and work on getting the feel of the setting. Now if youíre looking for specific rules that add to the flavor of the setting, they you might have to invest in another game.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-21, 08:11 PM
Adventurer Conqurer King's site said they draw inpiration from Hellenistic culture and such.

The armors and weapons they give as historical examples are mostly hellenistic and classical.

Also, the system seems to encourage phalanx tactics (large numbers of heavily-armored spearmen with shields, forming multiple ranks, with ranged weapon-users and spellcasters behind them), partly due to all the perks given to polearms (like reach to attack out of turn, increased damage on a charge, increased damage against charging units).

Rhynn
2013-05-22, 03:27 AM
Also, the system seems to encourage phalanx tactics (large numbers of heavily-armored spearmen with shields, forming multiple ranks, with ranged weapon-users and spellcasters behind them), partly due to all the perks given to polearms (like reach to attack out of turn, increased damage on a charge, increased damage against charging units).

It's probably the one game where the spear is the king of weapons it has been historically (in popularity, that is). Sword, battle axe, mace, warhammer, flail... all just deal 1d6 damage, 1d8 two-handed, no special rules. Spear? 1d6/1d8 damage, attack from the second rank, double damage on charge, double damage against charging enemy. Not a hard choice to make! (Of course, it's going to be inconvenient as heck in a dungeon.) I think it's clear they wanted to encourage players to prefer spears in order to create a world where the spear is the dominant military weapon.

Surfnerd
2013-05-22, 07:57 AM
By Crom, it took far too long to mention Conan D20.

Yora
2013-05-22, 07:58 AM
Yeah, until the 6th post two days ago.

Rhynn
2013-05-22, 08:18 AM
Yeah, until the 6th post two days ago.

Ahem!


Anything set in R. E. Howard's Hyborian Age feels fairly ancient (although much is also medieval): Conan d20, TSR's old Conan RPG, and the retroclones ZEFRS (free (http://www.midcoast.com/~ricekrwc/zefrs/) retroclone) and Barbarians of Lemuria.

:smallcool: I think you mean the 4th post.

Yora
2013-05-22, 08:24 AM
I stand humiliated and corrected.

Though I have to say the game isn't really doing that much for me as a basis for an ancient setting. It does not really stand apart from other generic systems except for sorcery. The humans-only world is certainly a viable artistic choice, but elves, dwarves, orcs, and lizardmen are way to interesting in such a context to completely ignore. Conan d20 may be a starting point, but it doesn't get you very far either, compared to other games.

Rhynn
2013-05-22, 08:46 AM
Though I have to say the game isn't really doing that much for me as a basis for an ancient setting. It does not really stand apart from other generic systems except for sorcery. The humans-only world is certainly a viable artistic choice, but elves, dwarves, orcs, and lizardmen are way to interesting in such a context to completely ignore. Conan d20 may be a starting point, but it doesn't get you very far either, compared to other games.

Well, I can tell somebody hasn't read every single Howard Conan story ever published! Harrumph. (And possibly did not grow up reading the Marvel Conan comics as a little kid, either.)

Yora
2013-05-22, 09:39 AM
Yeah, there are a couple of stories I have not read, and I also didn't read any of the comics until a few years ago. That's true.

But my point is that the game does not really have much to set it apart from generic medieval fantasy RPGs. And even with the setting, Aqualonia and Khitan never felt ancient to me. They still seem somewhat 16th century to me. Cimmeria, Shem, and Turan are better, but with advanced civilizations next door, they aren't feeling very ancient either. And the rules really aren't meaningfully different from D&D. Ditching alignment was a good move and using Alegiance an even better one. But that's pretty much it. You still got greatswords, plate armor, and crossbows.
If the whole world were like Cimmeria or Turan, now that would be my kind of truly ancient setting. Though doing the same things with elves and dwarves would be even more interesting.

Kiero
2013-05-22, 10:17 AM
Depending on when you consider "ancient" to be (Archaic? Classical? Hellenistic? Roman?) then there's a range of impacts on equipment. For any of those, there is no plate armour and no longer swords (bastard sword, zweihander, etc). The primary sidearm was the shortsword, with the longsword being a cavalry or "barbarian" weapon. In the Classical era, mail didn't exist, and it was still relatively rare in the Hellenistic (outside of rich Celts and later, Romans).

Indeed, before the Roman era, lots of warriors made do without armour at all, the shield being the primary defensive item. The Hellenistic era featured a big shift away from heavier armour focusing instead on mobility for all but the heavy infantry and heavy cavalry.

Not only was the spear a big deal (and contrary to the silly stats in D&D it was used with a shield), but the javelin was a mainstay of virtually every infantryman not holding a pike or dedicated missile weapon. And a lot of cavalry. Again contrary to D&D, the sling is a better weapon than the shortbow, with a longer range and more damaging (when using a bullet, rather than a stone).


Maze & Minotaurs (link in sig) is a D&D retroclone set in Ancient Europe.


The same author also wrote Warlords of Alexander, a broadly historical game using BRP set in the Hellenistic era (270BC).

Arbane
2013-05-22, 10:44 AM
Exalted's designers specifically said they were trying for a Bronze Age feel to the setting, but the post-apocalyptic magitech kitchen sink somewhat drowned that out in later books.

Rhynn
2013-05-22, 11:51 AM
And even with the setting, Aqualonia and Khitan never felt ancient to me. They still seem somewhat 16th century to me. Cimmeria, Shem, and Turan are better, but with advanced civilizations next door, they aren't feeling very ancient either.

That's absolutely true, and it's also correct on the part of the game. The Hyborian Age is a mish-mash. Some stories (The People of the Black Circle, Black Colossus, Red Nails, etc.) feel like they're set in a world of Antiquity. But in The Hour of the Dragon Conan explicitly wears full plate harness and there's warriors in Crusades-style mail hauberks and helms; Beyond the Black River is a Western in thin disguise; and a bunch of stories involve faux-Caribbean pirates sans firearms.

Khedrac
2013-05-22, 12:03 PM
RuneQuest was supposed to be more of a bronze-age feel (and bronze is the main weapon material) but it doesn't always pull it off. Avalon Hill RQ3 also had supplements for Vikings and Oriental adventuring.

Friv
2013-05-22, 12:23 PM
Exalted's designers specifically said they were trying for a Bronze Age feel to the setting, but the post-apocalyptic magitech kitchen sink somewhat drowned that out in later books.

Yeah, perhaps unsurprisingly, Exalted is all over the place.

The central empire is very much an ancient Chinese/Roman territory, with the general technological and societial implications of that (plus magic), and at one point their Ancient World from the pre-apocalypse was supposed to be Mayan-styled so that its crazy advanced magics and technologies would still be Bronze Age stylistically.

Many following-up authors didn't hold to the Bronze Age ideas, though, leading to a lot of nations constantly worried about what nations hundreds or even thousands of miles away cared about, the proliferation of various late-medieval and Renaissance cultures and technologies, and ultimately this guy. (http://s177.photobucket.com/user/CorvusDeus/media/More_exalted_stuff___by_yjianlong.jpg.html)

Yes, he looks extremely bronze age.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-22, 12:48 PM
(Of course, it's going to be inconvenient as heck in a dungeon.)

The spears mentioned in the core book are 6-8ft, the dungeon tiles are 10x10, and the game says three spearmen can fight side-by-side in a 10ft wide corridor (and three more can attack from the second rank).


The lances, however, being 12-16ft, might cause problems if used dismounted in a dungeon. They also impose a -1 to initiative (a big deal when initiative is 1d6), so it's unclear why someone would use it aside from the bigger damage die. "Pole Arms" suffer from the same issue, being 6-21ft and also imposing an initiative penalty.