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2 Posts

Blood of the Gods» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Adventures in Archaic Greece. rss

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Chad Bowser
United States
North Carolina
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Blood of the Gods is a 36-page PDF support book for the Wild Talents RPG. Unlike most of the Wild Talents sourcebooks that are Victorian Age or later, Blood of the Gods is set in Archaic Greece. Since Wild Talents is a superheroes game, I was initially skeptical of how this would work out. I'm not a fan of most superheroes games and "historical" superhero games leave me cold. It often boils down to modern superhero principles being applied to historical time periods and it just seems tacked it on. Based on this, you might be wondering why I bought Blood of the Gods. There are two reasons. I like the One Roll Engine and I'm a big fan of games set in the ancient world.

All that being said, I was pleasantly surprised by Blood of the Gods. The author handily mixes the superhero genre with the ancient world by having the players take on the roles of men and women descended from the gods. Just as Heracles, Jason, Medea, and others could trace their lineage back to the gods of Olympus, so can the player characters. The default setting is well after the gods have retired to Olympus and no longer directly meddle in the affairs of men. Instead they intervene through clients, who are the characters.

The author tweaks the Wild Talents rules to suit the setting, and I think it works well. Every character must purchase the Divine Hero Archetype, which is appropriate. It does limit the build points for other things such as gifts and skills, but that's not a problem. The Divine Hero Archetype provides the character with both a divine ancestor and a patron god. True to the Greek myths that inspired this game, those two do not need to be the same. The most obvious example, which is also cited in the book, is Heracles. He was sired by Zeus (divine ancestor) but guided by Athena (patron god). When deciding on the character's motivations, at least one must directly correspond to his patron god. This becomes the character's divine motivation and has additional mechanical benefits above and beyond standard motivations.

Michener also modifies the skill list. Some skills, such as First Aid and Medicine are combined into Healing while Security Systems is removed all together. Weapons and armor are covered in a half column. As expected, armor consists of a bronze breastplate, a shield, a helmet, and greaves.

The author then delves into gods and religion. Keeping in line with the myths, Hubris is defined and given a mechanical role in the game. Insult a god, and your character will pay the price. Unless, of course, you insult a god currently at odds with your patron; then your patron deity might smile upon you. This section also includes details, favored skills, suggested gifts, and motivations for fifteen of the most famous Olympians.

Gifts, the equivalent of powers in other superhero games are covered next. Some of the included gifts are re-names or re-skins of existing Wild Talents gifts. Others are brand new creations. All work well to help bring the setting to life. If you've seen any of the Harryhausen Greek Myth films, you can find the talents necessary to build any of the characters you saw on the screen.

Perhaps the weakest part of the book is the section on Ancient Greek Culture and Beliefs. Everything is summed up in a page and a half. That's not enough to help someone unfamiliar with the period to really bring it to life. However, since the book is only 36 pages long, I didn't expect a lot. This section is followed by a brief gazetteer of Archaic Age Greece, covering locales such as Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Colchis. A timeline of 6th century Greece is included to help GMs create scenarios.

A group of sample characters are included to demonstrate the types of heroes and enemies the character generation system can create.. If the GM wants to run a one-shot or get a campaign going quick these characters can be used. Sixteen monsters are also included. These are all classic monsters from Greek myths. Creatures ranging from the Caledonian Boar to centaurs to the gorgons are included. One curious absence, however, are the satyrs.

The book is rounded out by a bare bones adventure and six adventure seeds. The scenario is centered on funeral games and because of the breadth of the games presented; every character should get a chance to use his gifts.

All in all, Blood of the Gods is a very worthwhile purchase for anyone interested in running a game set in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. It’s by no means a historical game and is all the better for it. This book is also a great example of using a superhero system for a setting it doesn't immediately seem suited for.
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Paul Mitchener
United Kingdom
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Wow- I've just noticed this review. Thanks for taking the time to write something so thorough. I'm very glad you were pleasantly surprised. I agree a supers system seems like an odd choice at first, but the more I thought about it, the more Wild Talents seemed like a really good fit for Blood of the Gods.

-Paul Mitchener
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