Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Geeks on Greeks

As if I didn't have enough to do...
I'm hard at work on a very simple, rules-lite RPG called "B.C."

It's a game about the ancient world (specifically, Greece and the ancient Near East) the way it is remembered in fiction like "The King Must Die" or comics/movies like "300."

One of the chief pleasures of my life is my copy of The Histories, by Herodotus. I have read, re-read, and worn thin my copy of this book. It is filled with exciting, fascinating, sometimes lurid tales, set in Greece, Anatolia (modern Turkey), Eqypt, and other exotic locations.

There are no "worlds" featured in modern fantasy literature/gaming that rival the real world, in my opinion. As Fritz Leiber once said, fantasy should be firmly grounded in - watered and manured in, in fact - reality. The stories Herodotus tells in his Histories are as swashbuckling and awe-inspiring as any tale Leiber, Tolkien, or any other author I'm aware of has come up with. The lands he describes are at once alien, due to their far remove from us in time and distance, and familiar because they're real. The ancient world is ripe for adventure - even without the magic of myth.

Rules-wise, I just don't have time to come up with a whole new system for this, and I don't want to use the Game Frame system that the Gonen's World and Arnegax RPGs use. I want this to be radically minimalist, a diversion for experienced gamers, and not necessarily something to base a long-term campaign on.

After much thought I believe the vsM system (an open license game design that uses cards) would be best, because it's free, simple, easily morphable and customizable to my own needs.

Will this game ever actually be played? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is I've got a love for the ancient world (as seen by Herodotus), a crapload of public domain engravings to illustrate with, and at least a few extra minutes of free time each week. This one will be a labor of love and I look forward to sharing it with you sooner, rather than later.

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