Groups and Nations FAQ

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I want to play a Persian in the Roman nation, can I?

Your character’s nation is ultimately a decision for the player, but should be based on where they were born, the gods they follow and where they live. It is possible to play a Persian who has relocated to Rome — but in this circumstance the character would be considered to follow Roman gods, use Roman character kits and only be affected by Roman philosopher magic. Effectively they have left the land of their birth. There is nothing to stop the character dressing like a Persian but from a game perspective they are Roman.

Your nation cannot be changed during the game.

Can I play a member of a nation from outside the list in the game rulebook?

No. There are two parts to this question. Firstly only those who are fully part of the civilised world are allowed to attend the Annual. You could play a character who is a naturalised Roman who was born in Gaul, but we would encourage you to avoid drawing on areas of the game world that are not covered by the existing setting. In such cases you would not be provided with any additional briefing or background material and risk being contradicted by events and information that emerge during the campaign.

Secondly, whilst all nations have slaves that they might bring to the Annual, fighting in the arena is about celebrating and bringing glory to the gods and is expected to be treated with a little reverence. Therefore it is unlikely that many combatants will be coerced in this way.

Who leads my nation?

The different cultures in the Odyssey campaign are designed to present differing gameplay and roleplay opportunities.

Carthage is ruled by one chosen by the gods of their nation. The gods will speak, and their voice will anoint one of the Warlords of Carthage as its ruler. That warleader will speak with the force of the Carthaginian pantheon.

Egypt is ruled by the NPC Ptolemy Soter. Ptolemy’s rule is active, his gaze everywhere. Ptolemy is there to be allied with, or railed against and deposed. The princes and princesses of Egypt, the warleaders, will have to choose which and the tension of their decisions is likely to be a significant source of roleplay and game.

Greece is ruled by no one warleader, but by all deciding strategy by vote amongst them if necessary. Whether or not this is an effective form of government remains to be seen.

Persia is ruled by the PC Cyrus. However, the Shah-an-Shah's rule is formal. In reality the power lies with the kings, the warleaders of Persia, providing they attend the Annual, and do more or less what the King-of-Kings wants.

Rome is ruled by its people. Two Tribunes are elected from amongst the warleaders every Annual. The warleaders elects a Tribune of the Patricians, and the champions elect a Tribune of the Plebians. Tribunes who do not follow the will of the people may not last long in their positions.

Will the Pharaoh/Carthage's gods tell me what to do?

Yes. However they will not seek to micro-manage the tactics and strategy of the nation at the Annual. The Pharaoh and the gods of Carhage primarily represent the administrative rulers of a nation. They may have influence on expectations, for example of religious observances. They may send representatives to the Annual to make requests of warleaders and priests. If you do not wish to have a character controlled by the Story Team in a position of power above yours, you might prefer to play a character in a different nation.

There is more information on the influence of these off-stage leaders in the specific nation briefing documents.

Could I control Sparta at the start of the game?

Yes. There will be a system for warleaders, based on the size of their warband at the first booking deadline, to pick a territory for the start of the first Annual.

Does our group need a warleader?

No. A warleader is a very important character in any group that wants to take part in battles in the arena. Champions and attendants can enter the arena, but only if led by a warleader.

However, the arena is only one focus of the Odyssey campaign. A group entirely composed of champions may well find their skills in great demand from warleaders in their culture requiring additional muscle in arena combat, and may be able to choose who to follow from a wide range of offers. They may also be lucky enough to win fame and fortune by questing through the Gates of Ivory.

A group composed of philosophers will find much to exercise their minds in understanding and mastering the practise of magic, although they would need to secure stocks of quintessence, the stuff of magic, to actually perform mysteries.

A group of priests may find their very neutrality in the Great Game means they are trusted more than priests who serve a particular warleader.

The Odyssey campaign is designed to provide a wide range of roleplay opportunity. The great game presents a structured method for player vs. player conflict to have a clear effect on the world. However, the story team weave tales of legend and the arena is only one thread...

How does renown work?

Renown is a function of group size, story interactions and the observations of Minos on actions in the arena. We have no plans to publish a formula as it is a mix of numbers (mechanics) and the subjective views of NPCs. We appreciate this makes 'playing the renown game' tougher, but we're afraid not everything can be reduced to a simple input/output model. In many ways it's similar to the priests' Kudos, where their standing with the gods is a mix of mechanical sacrifice and the outcomes of their in character interactions.