04 October 2011


"Meros" is the placeholder name I've chosen based on the world's quickest internet search for the Greek word for "place."

Why Greek? Well, that's a post for another day. Long story short: Imagine Herodotus viewed through the lens of the Epic of Gilgamesh, with some Norse mythology, Gygaxian naturalism, and a healthy heaping of D&Disms. Dusty plains with feuding city-states in dedicating monuments to gods, with the occasional dragon riding through, that sort of deal.

So whose skull was that, again?
The basic idea is that the Greek city-state model is, basically, overripe for a game setting. It's practially embedded deep inside the original D&D patina; larger than life personas raid and massacre each other long enough to get the loot and get out, and the population hails them for their efforts. If you transcribe "Goblins" to mean, say "Trojans", and "humans" to equal Spartans, you essentially have the default setting for D&D, where the Goblins raid and bother the humans and the humans raid and bother the goblins until somebody seriously crosses the line, and even then you're still not interested in wholesale slaughter or enslavement or removal, you just want their fat loot.

Plus, look at that picture up there. That is some seriously swanky clothes. I'd wear that on the town if I could either grow a beard like guys one or two, or could be androgynously handsome in a fetching blue chain-mail/skirt combo.


  1. I've always wanted to do something based on a polis dynamic. Always potential for conflict there. I'm just too lazy and never seem to get to it.

  2. Yeah, it's kind of a pain in the ass- instead of writing up three monolithic kingdoms and detailing three kings, now you've got to write about the cultures and histories and heros and kings and princes of twenty or so.

    I think it'll be worth it in the end.

  3. happily, though, you can have the city states still pretty similar if they are close together. Certainly there will be differences (Spartans and Athenians had similarities but were far from the same), but if you have "Greek city states" there will be similarities, and "Arabian city states" there will be different similarities, and so on.

    Differentiate them, to be sure, but I wouldn't make them all "different".

  4. I always think in terms of the Greek city-states. One of my historical focuses. There were certainly a variety of political systems. And, like the Greeks, constant internecine warfare and a threat, be it an empire or barbarians, looming on the borders. It calls to me sometimes.

  5. @keith- That's basically what I was going for, yeah- they're different, but with the same overarching culture. Like you mentioned the example of the Spartans and Athenians- their armaments were very similar, and they had the same ideals, but different in ways that seem minor to outsiders, but have wide-reaching consequences.

    The idea is to make them have their own personalities without requiring a massive investment in the players' time to decipher what, exactly, they are.

    @Narmer: I hear you, definately. There's something about the state of mind during the time period that's so evocative. It feels like it'd be more unlikely NOT to have heroes, with all the battles and skirmishes and stress they went through.

    Plus the scenery and the period art. That pottery is so evocative.