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The Game of Gods


I'm designing a new game (not exactly RP, but fantasy). It's a cross between 6-player chess, Magic the Gathering, the Odyssey and the Aeneid. For any Terry Pratchett fans, it's basically the game the gods play.

You have a board (the making of which will probably turn out to be quite challenging) with many squares, three-dimensional in the Star-Trek chess sense and based on a map of the Aegean at the time of the Sack of Troy.

The players take on the roles of Greek gods/goddesses, each with a vested interest in a particular hero from the Trojan war (e.g. Aphrodite and her son Aeneas, Pallas Athene and Odysseus). These heroes must be returned to their homelands (or in the case of heroes like Aeneas, must be led to a new one). The other deities playing the game must try and stop the other players' heroes returning home, using their godlike powers (summoning sea-nymphs to seduce Aeolus, King of the Kinds and persuading him to send a tempest to sink their ships; or breeding creatures like Scylla and Charybdis to spring upon them).

It works like this: at the beginning of each turn, a deity has five points to spend on actions (such as summoning, attacking, moving pieces, etc.). The number of points per turn will increase as the players progress through the game (I'm not quite sure how, yet), and points carry over and can be hoarded.


Since the game is played with chess-pieces, it makes sense for each player to have a full chess set at their disposal and for the points scores for each piece to be the same as those in a standard chess game.

Pawn: e.g. nymph, soldier, poet..................................1 point
Knight/Bishop: e.g. sorceress, chimera, gorgon.............3 points
Castle: e.g. battalion, trireme, traitorous King...............5 points
Queen: e.g. Scylla and Charybdis, cyclops....................9 points


Heroes have points scores as well, but they are present from the very outset of the game. Each hero is worth 5 points.

Influencing Others:

You can have influence in a number of ways, either directly through dreams or avatars, or via summoned third parties. The latter costs one point, the former costs three. This influence can be used to tempt opponents heroes into traps or to win over neutral allies. All influencees have a saving throw (1d12) where they must roll less than or equal to their points score plus one (see summoning section). In the Odyssey Circe and Calypso count as having influenced Odysseus.


Pieces can be moved one square for each point expended.


When two pieces meet and decide to fight, each side must roll 1d12. Add your piece's points score (see summoning section) to this roll, and then whoever rolls highest wins the combat. A way of avoiding combat is by having "cunning plans".

Cunning Plans:

Expending five points will enable you to have a cunning plan to get out of a situation. This plan must be described aloud (for instance Odysseus's sharpened stake to blind Polyphemus and his daring escape underneath the sheeps' bellies would count as a very cunning plan). This is a very good way of avoiding combat. Note that neither side can be killed through the use of a cunning plan.

Special Abilities:

Since any given deity has a particular sphere of influence (e.g. Poseidon controls the sea) they may expend five points to cause an effect related to that sphere of influence (e.g. create a tempest and sink some ships). Aphrodite, Poseidon and Apollo have fairly obvious effects at their disposal (love, sea and disease), whereas more abstract deities like Athene (wisdom) will have to be ingenious to come up with theirs.


The equivalent of a DM, Zeus is also a player, but has no preferred hero. He can wreak havoc on other heroes, and can easily be bribed by players. However his crucial role is to moderate interactions between pieces. For instance, if one player were to appear to the King of Thrace in a dream and warn him of the approach of an evil warrior, then another player's hero arrived in Thrace looking for asylum, Zeus would dictate that the King of Thrace welcomed the hero, then tried to kill him in his sleep.


The game comes to an end when all the heroes are either killed or safely returned home. Once your hero is returned home, you may continue playing, and have all the fun of an irresponsible Greek god, sending raging tempests down on other players' heroes without any risk of your own being hurt!

This sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Here's my two bits. Hope they are helpful.

As to gathering more points farther in the game, maybe control of certain objects or locations could add extra points to the start of each turn? Could holding the loyalty of certain netural creatures add a point or two (with limits on how many a player could have perhaps)?

Would there be any extra point costs for extremely difficult terrain? Extra distance traveled per a point on very easy terrain?

Would combat have any other bonus? For example, would Poisidon's(sp?) hero have an advantage fighting on the sea againest units that would normally dwell on the land?

That's a good point, Fiokar. Maybe the squares could be designated point scores depending on how difficult they are to cross. They could be colour-coded like in scrabble and the colours could be natural: blue for sea, light green for flat plainsland, darker green for wooded hills, grey for mountains and white for peaks.

I thought also maybe conquering the heroes of other deities would increase your point score, but allegiance with neutral entities is certainly a good additional one.

Maybe the closer your hero is to his final destination the more points you have? Hmmm not sure about that.

Maybe you get extra points for particularly good ideas (very cunning plans or skillful playing)? It would be hard to implement judiciously.


Sounds complicated yet fun. But make sure that it doesn't have too many little tiny quirks and rules so that people forget them or say "This game is too complicated! Let's go and destroy an entire plane of existence in Palladium!"

Weird idea, and very likeable.

As a real thing, gods could support mortals directly, empowering them to ueber-human levels... thus can a deity pool their power into a hero directly, adding their points to the heroes. There were moments in the Troyan War, where mortals actually harmed Gods walking in disguise.

Of course, once the turn is over, those points will be lost.


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