Sing, O muse, of Xiomara, daughter of King Antimedes. He sired many children, all returned to Haides before him other than she, the daughter of his old age. So great was his fear that she too would be taken before his time came to cross the Styx, that from her earliest days he forbade her to practice the arts of war or sport, but kept her close within doors, veiled from prying eyes…
Aegean is a tabletop role-playing game about a group of mythic heroes building a new, free city on the shores of the Aegean Sea. There are neighbouring cities to trade or war with, monsters to kill, gods to appease, deceptions, negotiations and bloody skirmishes.
Hellas is the Greece of ancient mythology and classical history. The gods visit the earth and converse with mortals, granting gifts of magic and life to some and fear and terror to others. Fearsome monsters roam the lands and seas making every journey an adventure. Strange creatures, some mortal, others half-divine, can be found in the wilderness. These centaurs, nymphs and tritons teach, harass or ignore humans as their whim takes them.
The polis—the city and its surrounding lands—is your home and where your loyalties lie. Your polis is a recently founded colony on the coasts of the Aegean Sea. The leader is called an arkhon, a democratically elected ruler after the Athenian fashion, rather than the hereditary king that many cities still use. The polis sits in a precarious position, between many similar neighbouring states who may wish to trade, ally or make war.
Your character fits somewhere in this world, between the capricious force of the gods, the wilderness and the structure of the polis and its ambitions.
Aegean is set in a mythological Greece after the time of Perseus, Kadmus and Bellerophon. Stheno and Euryale mourn the loss of their sister, the dragon is dead and Thebes is founded, while all fear the might of Zeus. Herakles is a young man performing labours to appease Hera. Troy is a power in the east, Kreta in the south, Atalanta has yet to kill the boar of Kalydon while Jason is thinking of taking a voyage. This puts Aegean in the region of 1,500–1,000BC, before the fall of Troy and the Greek dark age.
Aegean is also set in Classical Greece where Sparta is a military power and Athens a beacon of democracy. The different tribes and regions of Hellas are beginning to unify while sending forth colonists to found new cities and spread their culture and religion amongst their neighbours. Philosophy, sculpture, art and democracy are at their height. This puts Aegean in the region of 500–400BC, the time of the reforms of Kleisthenes, the Delian League and the Persian Wars.
Aegean is a combination of the interesting parts of both those periods.
The core philosophy of Aegean is the characters are capable heroes who can always succeed at the task at hand. Sometimes there may be a cost involved and it’s up to the player to decide how much they’re willing to pay for success.
The resolution mechanic uses a familiar D10 dice pool. Each die which rolls an 8+ is a success and the more successes you roll the better your achievement. 10’s can add a success or be saved for later and failure can be mitigated by gaining Risk.
Risk measures the danger a character is in. It’s a combination of small scrapes and stresses which build up during an adventure. It is gained when a character suffers harm, either physically or emotionally, but can be taken voluntarily to gain successes on a skill check.
A character’s fame throughout the world is represented by Glory. It is gained by performing heroic deeds and completing epic quests and can be used to purchase powerful talents. Spending Glory needs to be balanced with the character’s Hubris.
Hubris is a measure of a character’s contempt or disdain for the gods and their place in society. Characters gain Hubris by acting in ways which displease the gods, challenge the gods, or by acting above their station.
If a character’s Hubris is greater than their Glory then they have angered the gods and are Cursed. The form the gods’ anger takes depends on how much greater their Hubris is but, importantly, the gods are prepared to let a Cursed character die, if such is their fate.
In Aegean the gods play an important role beyond the Hubris mechanics. Dieties readily grant their favour and disfavour depending on the PCs actions towards them and their servants. If a PC gains the favour of a diety they can invoke that deity once per session. This allows them to reroll the failed dice on a skill check—as long as the skill is within the domain of the deity. So Artemis could be invoked on a Missile skill check but not for Diplomacy.
A disfavour can be invoked once per session by the player or by the GM. This forces the player to reroll the successful dice on a skill check for a skill within the deity’s domain. If the GM invokes the disfavour the player can refuse, but their character immediately gains 1 Hubris for defying the gods.
There are PDF downloads of all the characters needed for the Nesaean Boar adventure available in the quick start rules as well as a large version of the map.
A large, PNG version of the map in the quick start rules is available to download. It doesn’t cover the whole of Hellas, just the region explored in the quick start adventure.
There are six pre-generated characters available, each filling different roles within the group. They’re built as starter characters for the Nesaean Boar adventure available in the quickstart rules.
Character sheets are designed to be printed double-sided and folded in half to form a booklet. The front cover has some general details about the character and an empty space for a portrait. The inside spread has the main information the player will need during the session, including characteristics, skills, weapons and talents. The back cover has equipment and information on the relationships with mortals and the gods.
Heirax is a ranger who is at home in the wilderness. He has the hunter career and is a good ranged fighter with stealth and tracking abilities.Download the character sheet for Hierax (14.6MB)
Klymene is an athlete, famous for taking the laurel at last years Pythian games. She is a good ranged fighter with some melee skills.Download the character sheet for Klymene (14.6MB)
Leda is a daughter of Demeter and keen to find adventure. She has the physician career and is a character with a focus on medical skills.Download the character sheet for Leda (14.6MB)
Medon is a son of Ares and is keen on proving himself to be greatest of the god’s children. He has the wrestler career and is a hard-hitting melee fighter with limited defence.Download the character sheet for Medon (14.6MB)
Peleus is a former slave with the gift of prophecy. He is a merchant with a stall in the agora and has a broad range of skills. Combined with his oracle ability, this makes him a flexible character.Download the character sheet for Peleus (14.6MB)
Xanthippe is a wealthy citizen, the epitome of the public speaker and soldier that was admired by the classical Greeks. She has the soldier career and is both a good defensive melee fighter and social character.Download the character sheet for Xanthippe (14.6MB)
An empty character sheet.