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[2E] Historical Pantheon-Focused Campaigns?

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  • #16
    Europe 1349

    The Catholic church has held dominion over Europe for many generations now but all in all has not managed to eradicate the old beliefs and gods. But the terrible Black Death is passing by Europe and reaping many millions of dead and this changes things. People are not sure if this plague is a punishment from some god (as some Catholics believe, intensifying their hunt for witches, pagans and heathens), a beginning of the end of the Catholic hegemony (as many believe, because why doesn't the Catholic god protect the people from this horror?) or something else. As death and chaos spreads, many fanatics from all religions tread forward, ready to beguile the masses with easy answers and scapegoats or suppress them with the fear of the gods. Are you going to try and douse the multitude of sparks, or will you ignite it into a huge flame?

    Design notes: Basically a free-for-all scenario where the huge Catholic superpower is starting to crumble from many pressures and the representatives of the old gods come forward to reclaim their old glory. Put a lot of emphasis on fearmongering, desperation and the stench of death. Apart from the gods of various religions I also don't think the Titanspawn are above trying to capitalize on this situation as much as possible. Also, this is alternative history so you can go wild on how hard the disease strikes and how it manifests.
    Last edited by Aristarkos; 02-28-2020, 04:53 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Aristarkos View Post
      Europe 1349

      The Catholic church has held dominion over Europe for many generations now but all in all has not managed to eradicate the old beliefs and gods. But the terrible Black Death is passing by Europe and reaping many millions of dead and this changes things. People are not sure if this plague is a punishment from some god (as some Catholics believe, intensifying their hunt for witches, pagans and heathens), a beginning of the end of the Catholic hegemony (as many believe, because why doesn't the Catholic god protect the people from this horror?) or something else. As death and chaos spreads, many fanatics from all religions tread forward, ready to beguile the masses with easy answers and scapegoats or suppress them with the fear of the gods. Are you going to try and douse the multitude of sparks, or will you ignite it into a huge flame?

      Design notes: Basically a free-for-all scenario where the huge Catholic superpower is starting to crumble from many pressures and the representatives of the old gods come forward to reclaim their old glory. Put a lot of emphasis on fearmongering, desperation and the stench of death. Apart from the gods of various religions I also don't think the Titanspawn are above trying to capitalize on this situation as much as possible. Also, this is alternative history so you can go wild on how hard the disease strikes and how it manifests.
      I like this one.

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      • #18
        Hmm. If doing alternative history, I'd consider a World with no Abrahamic religions, maybe circa 1500 AD. I'd really need full details on the Persian, Slavic, and probably Canaanite/Carthagenian pantheons to flesh it out though. (Maybe Incan and Central Asian as well.)

        Meanwhile, the Greeks, Egyptian, and Persians in the last few years of Alexander the Great's life.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #19
          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
          Hmm. If doing alternative history, I'd consider a World with no Abrahamic religions, maybe circa 1500 AD. I'd really need full details on the Persian, Slavic, and probably Canaanite/Carthagenian pantheons to flesh it out though. (Maybe Incan and Central Asian as well.)

          Meanwhile, the Greeks, Egyptian, and Persians in the last few years of Alexander the Great's life.
          That would be a big undertaking. Interesting as heck but a lot of work nonetheless. Christianity, Islam and Judaism have had a large impact on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa by then and this would in turn alter their international interests. Including colonial aspirations, cooperation and reputation.

          That said, Dark Eras 1 has a useful starting point your Alexander the Great idea. Love that idea too.
          Last edited by FallenEco; 02-28-2020, 09:54 PM.


          Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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          • #20
            Originally posted by FallenEco View Post

            That would be a big undertaking. Interesting as heck but a lot of work nonetheless. Christianity, Islam and Judaism have had a large impact on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa by then and this would in turn alter their international interests. Including colonial aspirations, cooperation and reputation.
            I think things would probably stay roughly the same until the 3rd century, with some minor variations like fewer revolts in the Roman Middle East and maybe some sort of conflict between Roman traditionalists and the cult of Mithras to replace the persecution of Christians (perhaps ending with the triumph of Constantine, who I might make a heroic scion of Zeus, Apollo or Athena, as his mother was Greek and he got a lot of his education there). I think the main changes start with the fall of the Western Empire. I'd probably go with a Theoi-revivalist dominated Byzantine Empire, while the Western areas become a mishmash of Roman-Theoi and German-Aesir worship.
            The Greeks then get to fight continuous border wars with the Persians and regain some of their Italian territory, before ultimately losing the southern half of the empire to an Egyptian revivalist uprising and a new Pharaoh. Although this may still involve a lot of that weird "the Theoi and the Netjer are really the same gods" thing that cropped up in antiquity. In this situation, I'm not really sure who the Aksumites would be worshiping. From my layman's understanding, they could very well still be following a variation of the old Mesopotamian gods, including Astar (a male version/incarnation of Ishtar, if I understand correctly). But for most of the first millennium, I'd have them dominating the Horn of Africa and the southern part of Arabia, with trading colonies established along the Indian coast of Africa and a naval trading empire spread across the Indian Ocean and maybe even reaching China. I really don't know enough about Indian history to speculate on who fills the vacuum left by the lack of the Ghurid and Delhi Sultanates.
            In the west, I'd probably have the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa be Germanic-Aesir, but when their contact with Mali and West Africa brings them into contact with the Orisha, it might give birth to some sort of interesting syncretic new faith (possibly including Shango the Black-Donner and some sort of fusion of Wotan and Oduduwa). I'm thinking Visigoth Hispania may be largely Romanized with a few Aesir holdovers, and maybe at some point a small resurgence of Carthaginian/Canaanite religion. The Franks still come to power in Gaul, though I'm kind of tempted to have a resurgence of that pantheon. Ireland I don't think changes much at this point. I kind of want to have Britain stay Welsh, but I suspect that's impossible.
            So, that's up to maybe the 8th or 9th century. I'm not really sure where it would go from there. At that point, I think you're to the point of following the Alternate History Fiction rule of "What kind of story I want to tell ultimately dictates the setting".


            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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            • #21
              The Napoleon wars + gods and monsters!

              This is a big one, with the whole of Europe embroiled in basically a conflict between liberal values and enlightenment versus conservative traditionalists, as well as having the players choose whether or not Napoleon's ambition to challenge other conservative kingdoms, spreading the liberal revolution and possibly guiding big parts of Europe under French hegemony into the future is a good idea (Napoleon was kind of a monster and a sociopath). I´m not sure what gods would be on what side, but possibly the Theoi would support Napoleon while the Catholic religion and its angels and priests vehemently resist. The Aesir are pretty uninvolved save for the big number of Scandinavian einherjar willing to be mercenaries for a chance to get to Valhall in death. The Netjer are hoping for a great spiritual revival and comeback after a milennia of Muslim dominance as well as beating back the growing Ottoman power in the region. Also, this is Scion. I'm imagining napoleonic battlefields with dragons dueling and mythological beasts mobilized on each side, while spies are on all sides trying to use subtle means to sway the war in their favor.

              For those GMs interested in maritime stories and wanting a bit of Hornblower there is an entire theatre of war to explore in the many ship battles between the French and British navy. Maybe the fleets of either side in the conflict decides that they will put together a mighty warship containing their nation's heroes (players of Scions) and let them have great and epic stories to raise the morale of their people and put fear in the enemy. This is of course made complicated by the hunting squadrons of enemy warships as well as the occasional summoned seamonster coming their way.

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              • #22
                The first circumnavigation

                The portuguese are determined to be the first to complete a circumnavigation of the globe and send out Magellan along with the finest sailors and most advanced ships of the age to complete this huge and dangerous, but prestigious, journey. The players are professional explorers, soldiers, traders and so on going with this expedition. Unbeknownst to them, however, one or more of the Pantheons (GMs choice) has an interest in this journey, and has vested interest in these particular set of individuals to go to a set of places around the globe and complete objectives or gather important artifacts together to bring about something really big, such as the release of a Titan or the grand revival of a diminishing Pantheon. Inconvenienty. another pantheon or two are equally determined to not let this happen and will send everything they can to stop it, maybe even going so far as to send their own expedition to race the players along the globe. Think about making your own version of the Odyssey with this one, with the players running into all kinds of Terra Incognitae along the way, everything from huge swathes of mists, mythical seamonsters, mysterious islands, seafaring myths, legendary creatures from mythologies all over the world as well as encountering strange things from all the different kinds of cultures in the world with their pantheons.

                Along the way their crew is constantly diminshed due to it being the 16th century and they must pick up crew along the way, negotiate with local power, run errands of often dangerous proportions and sometimes even use their superior weapons and skills to topple some local powers along the way.

                Maybe the more studious of the characters will realize they are being led by more or less invisible hands to complete a great global prophecy. Maybe one or more of the players can be nudged into taking the Omniglot Knack (or get a NPC who has it) to help them decipher things from different cultures and see how they all point to the same thing.
                Last edited by Aristarkos; 03-02-2020, 05:03 PM.

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                • #23
                  The players meet up in New York shortly after new years eve 1925 at the behest of a common friend, a renowned adventurer and author who has written several books about cults dedicated to titans. He says he is gathering them to help him stop a global conspiracy. When the players arrive however they come too late to see that their friend has been assassinated by what must be a cult dedicated to keeping their secrets. The players then go investigating and uncover a global conspiracy to release the Netjer Titan Apep who shall bring chaos and darkness into the world. Their travels will take them to London, Cairo, Kenya, Australia and Shanghai as they must survive against deadly cults and the Titanspawn of Apep who are operating in the world as well as trying to find allies among the different pantheons who dominate in these areas.

                  (yeah, this is basically a pastiche of the Call of Cthulhu adventure "Masks of Nyarlathotep", but with a lot more focus on adventure and pulp action rather than cosmic horror, and mythological creatures rather than lovecraftian monsters)
                  Last edited by Aristarkos; 03-02-2020, 05:24 PM.

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                  • #24
                    An idea I like is a cross between Godlike (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godlik...-playing_game)) and Arrowsmith (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrowsmith_(comics)). Not exactly a historical, but... set in a different time.

                    The Godlike part is that the characters are not one of the regular soldiers, they are Heroes among a bunch of Origin level characters, so, while there are saints, sorcerers and denizens fighting, the players are a step above, like Commandos, spies or Elite soldiers, usually fighting dragons and other heroes in the field.


                    The proper answer to “Hello There” is, obviously, “General Kenobi”.
                    Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product.../Fists-of-Flux

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                    • #25
                      I have this not-totally-gelled image in my head of an homage to those all-star comedies like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Cannonball Run, probably set in the late 70s or early 80s with everyone playing Scions of gods who are Tricksters, coming together to do a heist or some other excuse for ridiculous antics, and everyone having to pick a period actor to portray their character. Admittedly, this is more of a Purview-focused idea than a Pantheon-focused one.


                      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                      • #26
                        Hmm. I think you could do a fun "Sinbad the Sailor" inspired game set among the Indian Rim during the 7th century AD, involving the Devi, Persians, Egyptians and others (maybe a few Greco-Roman bits, some Mesopotamian stuff, and Ethiopian).


                        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                        • #27
                          For the Aesir, the Kievan Rus during the 10th century, alongside the Slavic pantheon.


                          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                          • #28
                            Not historical, but I think it would be interesting to try to do a Scion campaign set in the Cyberpunk genre. Something that draws a lot on both how the genre was originally conceived of in the 80s as well as a lot of the stuff that happened since then that wasn't quite as expected by people trying to extrapolate the future from current trends. This would probably be very Pacific Rim centric (the west coast of the US, Japan, China, parts of Latin America), as that was a big thing in the 80s, but also incorporating the rise of India as an economic (and in this setting, probably also political) powerhouse, Russia's kleptocratic oligarchy politics. But the flip side would be the Atlantic arena, with places like Brazil, Nigeria, the Caribbean, and the EU as major factions. I could easily see all of the various pantheons having a place here, but especially those gods devoted to business, mercenaries, technology, and trickery.


                            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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