Game: Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone
Publisher: Khepera Games and Aeonforge
Degree of Familiarity: Relatively new. I purchased my copy of the game at GenCon Indy 2008, and have created several chaaracters for the system, but haven't run the game as yet. However, I do have some familiarity with the Omni game system through the later editions of Talislanta.
Books Required: The Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone rulebook.
Step One: Determine the Race of the character.
The first step in character creation for Helas is to determine the Race of the character in question. One can also come up with a character concept, if one has one in mind, at this time as well. There are quite a few Races available to be played in the game, some familiar, some not so familiar. There are the Amazorans (a former slave race of the Zoran from whom they descend, similar to Amazons but with blue skin), the Gorgegons (based on the Gorgon, but with a snake body and upper half being humanoid), the Hellenes (the "human" race for the game, and the dominant race in the game), the Kyklopes (a humanoid species that blinds itself when members come of age, and see through a floating "eye" that is made of their pineal gland), the Myrmidons (a hive culture where an individual consists of a colony of insects that follow one queen, and take Hellene form), the Nephelai (transparent bluish-grey winged humanoids with a unique set of abilities and a rather dispassionate attitude towards life), the Nymphas (similar to oreads and naiads, with pheromonal abilities), and the Zintar (a race of amphibious cephalopods about 1/2 a meter in size with a vaguely humanoid head; they tend to have a carapace of artificial design that allows them to get around in non-aquatic environments). Each Race comes with default Attributes, Skills, and Special Abilities.
I decide that for this character, I want a trader or merchant character, and I want to play a Kyklopes. Thus, I start with the following Attributes:
INT +0 PER +3
WILL +1 CHA -1
STR +1 DEX -1
CON +0 SPD -1
CR +0 DYN +0
Most of these attributes are familiar, although some many not know that SPD is Speed. CR is Combat Rating, and DYN is Dynamism, the attribute that represents the inner power of the Hero to manipulate the universe.
Kyklopes do not get any Attribute Adjustment (only the Hellenes do), and start with a base of 20 Hit Points. In addition, the Kyklopes begin with the following skills:
Appraise +3, Computers (personal) +2, Cultural Studies (Kyklopes) +7, Speak Language (Kyklopes, native), and Speak Language (Other, Basic) which I use for Speak Language (Hellene, Basic).
Kyklopes also begin with the Special Abilities of Third Eye (the third eye that allows them to see in an unusual manner), Poor Eyesight (for obvious reasons), and I take the ability of Enigmas (an innate ability to understand riddles and the like) as my optional one. A good beginning for the character.
Step Two: Follow the Lifepaths.
This is the heart of character generation in Hellas. The Lifepaths determine where a character comes from, shows you the details of his or her past, and gives the character some interesting life experiences. One can roll on the various Lifepath tables, or one can pick and choose what one wants to fit the character, or a combination of both. For the most part, I decide I'm going to roll the dice and see what the Moirae have in store for me...
Month of Birth and Planet of Birth
I roll, and determine that I was born in the winter months of Las, in the month of Anthesterion, and on the world of Ithaka (in the Kephallenia region of space).
Both my parents are alive, and my family works as merchants. This last bit gives me +1 to Seduction skill.
Family Status and Siblings
I roll and determine that my family is feared because of some advantage or great power.
When I roll, I learn that I have two older and two younger siblings. The oldest of my sibs worships the ground I walk on, and admires me. I love my second older sibling, but they hate me. I love the first younger sibling with all of my heart, but I dislike my second youngest sibling.
Special Gift, Divine Heritage, and Divine Mark
All player character Heroes receive a special gift from their parents. In this case, my Gift is my father's spear. It could be enhanced in some fashion, but it is of exceptional quality. All the player Heroes have been touched in some way by the Gods. My Divine Heritage is that my grandparent on my father's side of the family had a divine parent. This gives me a gain of +5 Glory points. All Heroes have a mark or phyical characteristic that denotes them as greater than others. My Divine Mark is that he's very handsome (this gives me the Enchanting Beauty Talent).
As a child, I had a something special happen to me. I roll, and determine that it was some Family Intrigue. I roll again, and discover that I found out who either my father or mother really is.
Choose a God
Next, I must choose a deity. There are two deities in Hellas, six deities of Hel (sun) and six deities of Las (earth). After looking over the gods and goddesses provided, I choose Hermia, the Trader, Goddess of haggling, commerce, fate, manipulation, money, and banks. This is my patron deity, and I am said to be favoured by Her.
Destiny and Fate
Next, I must choose a Heroic Destiny that is keeping with playing a character of Greek mythic proportions. As my Destiny I decide that the Kyklopes Destiny is to open a trade route to the unknown (at this time) Stegarran region of space. I must also choose a Fate, which will occur if I don't meet my Destiny. In this case, I roll my Fate on the table, and my Fate is to be killed by a blood relative. (Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have a lot of them!)
Step Three: Profession
I must choose a Profession for the character, what he does in life. Looking at the list of available Professions, I decide that the character is a Free Trader. This gives me a +1 CHA, the Negotiator Talent, some Starting Gear, a total of 750 drachmas base (which when I roll, is doubled), and the following additional Skills:
Administration +4, Appraise +4, Computers (ship systems) +2, Deduce Motives +3, Gambling +3, Navigate +3, Pilot +3, Seamanship +3, Weapon (pistol) +1, and Profession (merchant, CHA) +4
In addition, the Profession gives me a choice of Callings: Noble, Priest, Rogue, Sailor, Scholar, Warrior.
Step Four: Callings
The Callings represent the life experiences and adventures that the character has had. A Hero may choose to take up to five Callings before play start, but each Calling taken will last a number of years, adding to the character's age. One may take the same Calling multiple times, but one may never take more than five Callings.
The Callings I choose to take give me the following:
Scholarly Pursuits - I am brought before the Agora of Sparta, and speak on a subject that I have great expertise in. I gain +5 Glory, but the career lasts for 3 years.
Rogue Special Event - Through study, I've become quite an adept little rogue. I gain +1 to Stealth. This period lasts for 1 year.
Sailor Special Event - I win a starship in a game of chance. This part of my life lasts 5 years.
I choose not to take any more Callings, as the character is aging quite a bit at this point.
Step Five: Freebie Points
Each player now receives 30 Freebie Points, which can be alloted to the character. Attributes cost 5 points to increase per point, Skills cost 1 point per point to increase, and each Talent costs 5 points.
I decide to increase the character's DEX by +2, at a cost of 10 points. I increase CHA by +2 at the cost of another 10 points. Finally I take Diplomacy at +3, Deception skill at +2, Weapon (Blades, small) at +2, and Search at +1, and add +1 to Pilot skill, and +1 to Weapon (pistol) skill. That accounts for my 30 Freebie Points.
Step Six: The Wrap Up
The Wrap Up covers a whole batch of things.
First, I determine my Hit Points, by taking the base Hit Points, and adding my CON to them. This gives me 20 Hit Points.
I calculate how many Hero Points I start with. I double my CHA, and add 5, giving me a total of 9 Hero Points.
I calculate my starting Glory. This is determined by the events in my life. I gained +5 Glory for my Divine Heritage and +5 Glory for my activities as a Scholar at the Agora on Sparta. This gives me a total of 10 Glory.
Next I determine my Heroic Ambitions. These Heroic Ambitions are smaller motivations for me to complete during my travels, and keep me going day-to-day. Completing an Ambition gives me 10 Experience Points immediately, and I can also eliminate a Fate point as well. The character should have three Ambitions at any given time.
I decide that my first Ambition is to make the final payments on the Eyes of Kalydon, the original starship that the character has. The second Ambition is to win the Amphytriyon Mercantile Contest sponsored by the temples of Hermia, and win the love of the priestess of Hermia, Sindrope. My third Ambition is to recover the Book of Auracles, a fabled text on mercantilism, said to be in the possession of the pirate Salmaecus.
Lastly I must determine the character's Disadvantages. There are three flavours to Disadvantages - Relationships, Internal (personality and other quirks), and External (anything not covered by the first two) - and I must allot 5 points or levels between them, to represent their strength. I do this as follows:
Relationship 2 - Halmacus. A merchant and rogue. I won the starship off him in a fair wager, but he hates me for it.
Personality 1 - Haughty. I think I am better than others, especially my siblings, and can be a bit tetchy about this.
External 1 - Police record. I have a police record on one of the worlds of Hellene space for a theft I committed when I was a bit younger.
The final step for character creation is the Epithet. This is something that the player may choose for his character, but that I like the idea of having the other players choose the Epithet for the character based on the background, history, personality, and so forth.
So, the final stats for the character look something like this...
Epithet: The Wily Fox
Favoured of Hermia
INT +0 PER +3
WIL +1 CHA +2
STR +1 DEX +1
CON +0 SPD -1
CR +0 DYN +0
Hit Points: 20
Hero Points: 9
Administration +4, Appraise +7, Computers (personal) +2, Computers (ship systems) +2, Cultural Studies (Kyklopes) +7, Deception +7, Deduce Motives +6, Diplomacy +3, Gambling +3, Navigate +3, Pilot (starships) +4, Seamanship +3, Search +1, Seduction +1, Speak Language (Kyklopes, Native), Speak Language (Hellene, Basic), Stealth +1, Weapon (blades, small) +2, Weapon (pistol) +2, Profession (merchant, CHA) +4
Starting Gear: Diadalos hand comp, high fashion Chiton, Hoplite pistol, other items bought with cash.
Money: 1,500 drachmas
Insofar as the character is concerned, I would love if some of you folks reading this post actually come up with an Epithet for the character, as this would be in keeping with the game system and its concepts.
And there you have the Kyklopes Trader that I created for the Hellas rpg. It should be noted that the table rolls for the Lifepaths give the player general ideas on their character's life, but that the player must flesh the details out with names and colourful detail. The first character took me a little over 2 hours to create, but I've got the character creation process down to under an hour, although players who think a lot during the process will take a lot more time, I suspect. In any event, I hope this encourages you to take a look at the game system.