Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Five or So Questions with Jaye Foster on Age of Legends

Today I have an interview with Jaye Foster on the 6d6 game setting Age of Legends! Age of Legends was Kickstarted last year and will be available for new customers in May, so I asked some questions about the setting. Check out Jaye's answers below!

Tell me a little about Age of Legends. What excites you about it?

Age of Legends is a RPG set in Ancient Greece in 370 BCE. After centuries of dormancy, the Olympic gods have begun to select mortal champions to combat and counter the agents of the Titans. Imprisoned within Tartarus, the Titans hope their human agents can weaken Olympian strength enough that they can break free.

The player characters are the champions of the fifteen Olympic gods. When not dealing with Titanic plots, they'll have glorious adventures fighting monsters, engaging in wars between city states and fending off the interests of foreign powers.

What excites me about the setting is the unique stories you can tell with it. Not only do you get classic swords and sandals action inspired by the Iliad and Argonauts you get deeper roleplay about interactions between devout mortals and capricious gods. We're hoping to provide enough detail about Ancient Greek life that players can properly delve into the now long past culture.

Can you tell me about how the setting of Age of Legends melds with the 6d6 RPG system?

The setting provides a complete and entirely new set of paths using a lot of new advantages. The paths from Modern Generic didn't fit at all well with the historical and fantastical setting. No changes have been made to the core rules, but keywords have been added for advantages that allow a player to make use of their patron god's symbols and realms.

When dealing well-known myths, it could make it challenge to keep things fresh and appealing - what did you do with Age of Legends to draw in players and bring Greek myths to life with new concepts?

Mostly this started with avoiding a lot of the well known stories. A lot of the legends and myths in Age of Legends are focuses on the gods themselves, rather than heroes such as Jason or Odysseus. This meant delving into the less well known parts of the Greek mythology and then adapting them to fit out setting concepts. For a lot of the lesser known gods, like Hestia, Hecate and most of the Titans, the surviving literature is very limited to non-existent. So we got to make up our own legends in the style of Greek mythology.

It's also partially avoided by these old stories not being the focus of the setting. They're referenced as inspiration only, for the players to be aware of as they write new myths with their characters. The freshness comes from making new stories rather than roleplaying through the well known ones.

How do you handle making the characters as interesting and heroic as the legendary Titans and monsters they're fighting against?

This is one of the risks of the setting. We've given the players / characters access to their gods realms and symbols. With these advantages, they champions of the gods are able to perform incredible heroic acts. But the roleplay to back that up and put it in context can only come from the players.

We've given them a lot of guidance about Ancient Greece and how to build a character suitable for the setting. Hopefully it'll be put to good use.

How did you put together the history and myths into a cohesive text, and what research did you have to do?

Wikipedia was our most common starting point. We also bought and rented a few books on the lives of ordinary Ancient Greeks to fill in the important cultural aspects that our different from our own.

A really big help was a website, now-defunct and not updating, where the creator had gone through large amount of the primary source material and organised it by god and by theme. With it we were able to quickly find stories and myths about specific gods without having to read vat quantities of Ancient Greek literature.

Cohesion came about through organizing the book at the start of the project. We knew what information about each god we wanted to communicate. This saved us having to read lots and then determine what was wanted; instead we went looking for stories that fitted our defined needs.

In example - rather than read all of the stories about Zeus and then pick the ones we wanted, we went specifically looking for a story about his childhood, a story about his favour and a story about his wrath.

Thanks so much to Jaye for answering my questions! Make sure to check out Age of Legends, available this month!

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