The help Gorman out with his Greek mythology campaign thread.

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So, I found out that my group are all huge fans of greek mythology and literally jumped at the idea of a greek mythology campaign. I made this thread as something for me to continue come to for help. Because if I am to be honest with my self, I am a decent DM, and I may disagree with other DMs on some things, but you guys are way better then me, I read suggestions here everyday that blow my mind, things I could have never thought of myself. So anyone willing to give suggestions, feel free to do so. This thread is both for helping me with the campaign, and as a learning experince for me, to learn from all of you.

The characters are starting at level 11

We have a Human cunning Sneak Rogue, A Cyclops (Goliath) Brawler fighter, and a Centaur (Custom race) Ranger who uses both a bow and falchion. I have a fourth player, but he has not decided on a character yet.

Our first game is this Sunday.

At the start the group wont know each other, they are attracted to Thebes for a festival and a competion ran by Heracules called the great Heros competion. The group wont know this, but Heracules is running this event to find worthy heroes to accompany him on a task he knows he can not do alone.

I plan to have the competion be big, Testing all aspects of hero, trials of courage, strength, speed, cunning, intelligence, and diplomacy. Its likely that people entering the event will be broken up in to teams, voila the group is together, then its up to them. I was thinking some skill challenges, or elaborate fights with skill challenges inside them or something.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to run these trials? 
The group wont know this, but Heracules is running this event to find worthy heroes to accompany him on a task he knows he can not do alone.

[...]

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to run these trials? 



Biggest, huggest, most important suggestion:

Make sure the PCs don't wind up being Heracles' entourage.

NOTHING sucks more fun out of a game than realising that in the text adventure version all you'd have to do for 5 hours is type "follow Gandalf" over and over again.


For the tests themselves:  Hey, go Greek or go home.  Chariot race with wild horses, and by the way you have to catch the horses first!  Wrestle a Giant who's there because it makes him laugh to pin puny humans - you can't beat him, maybe you need to bribe him?  Get him drunk?  find his weakness?   Riddle competition TO THE DEATH!  Pin-the-gem-on-the-idol (and oh by the way did I mention the animated skeletons between you and it?  No?  I should have)!

Just remember, blasphemy is not usually productive.  Most people won't do anything about it, although they'll try to avoid standing next to you if you do it, but the Gods themselves will smite you.  They're petty, vengeful, overcompetitive, often not all that bright, and *love* screwing with each other.  NOTHING makes a setting feel more Greek than someone mentioning a God, having the God show up to beat 'em for being rude, and having the OTHER Gods be all "nuh uh, gotta play fair, watching you lose to mortals is FUNNY"
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
Love a lot of your suggestions thanks! oh and I know, hercules wont be over shadowing the group, he NEEDs thier help for a reason.

I'm working on this piece by piece so I don't get overwhelmed, currently i'm wokring on the first trial, which is courage. , because without courage the other traits of a hero are useless.

I'm thinking of having the groups weapons taken away and then they enter an arena weaponless, the other side of the arean opens and lets loose a hydra, that would be pretty scary in my opinion, every round a random piece of equipment of thiers gets thrown in to a random square.

I don't have it fully thought out yet, i'm building the hydra now, any ideas to make it more intresting? 
Chariot Race
Chariot race could be done with a combined skill challenge\attacks period.

Nature check to guide the horses
Athletics check for the strength to pull the horses around for tight turns
Acrobatics to balance
Streetwise to find the best route through some allys
Religion to call out for divine inspiration( perform feat..leap the chariot over something etc) Hard DC
Insight to read the oppositions manauvers and counter them
Attack roll to fight off opposition (failure also means the loss of a surge)

Success but 1 failure means they came second
Success but 2 failure means they came third

Climbing a tower or cliff:-
Athletics for the climbing
Dungeoneering to spot the best route to climb
Perception to notice the rocks they are on are slipping, failure causes a surge of injury from slipping
Endurance to take the stress, healing surge lost from being exhausted

Love a lot of your suggestions thanks! oh and I know, hercules wont be over shadowing the group, he NEEDs thier help for a reason.

I'm working on this piece by piece so I don't get overwhelmed, currently i'm wokring on the first trial, which is courage. , because without courage the other traits of a hero are useless.

I'm thinking of having the groups weapons taken away and then they enter an arena weaponless, the other side of the arean opens and lets loose a hydra, that would be pretty scary in my opinion, every round a random piece of equipment of thiers gets thrown in to a random square.

I don't have it fully thought out yet, i'm building the hydra now, any ideas to make it more intresting? 



I'd likely do events to mirror Hercules' legendary labors. With that in mind, I'd probably have them start with a lion instead of a hydra. Obviously, Hercules has already completed these labors (depending on your timeline, but I assume so) and the Nemean Lion is dead. His arrows and club didn't work on the Nemean Lion, so perhaps the first challenge is to do what he did (sans the immortal lion) - wrestle one and choke it to death.

In that case, it's a skill challenge, Wrestling the Lion. Maybe 8 successes before 3 failures with primary focus on Athletics, Endurance, Intimidate and secondary focus on skills that might augment the wrestling PCs like Arcana, Insight, Nature, Perception, Religion. Make it less successes to succeed if you have less than 5 players. I might even make this a 6 success challenge so that it doesn't drag on forever.

This works better in my mind because if you want to rid your PCs of their gear, better to make it a skill challenge and since Hercules couldn't use this weapons either, it's a good parallel. If you continue to mirror Hercules' labors, I believe the next challenge is the Lernean hydra in which case having their weapons and access to fire will be necessary.

EDIT: In fact, I just pulled up a list of the labors of Hercules and each one of those could easily be translated into an event at the festival. Your work is practically done for you and what better way to impress Hercules than to perform (almost) the same feats he did?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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In a D&D wiki, I saw a write on oif the Hecatonchire, the '100 headed giants'... 

Also, now, there is a Satyr race BTW if you missed it, and soon,a  dryad of sort. (Lot of debate on this aspect..)
I DM'd a campaign for my wife. We're both big fans of Greek mythology. It was the 3.5 ed, but the idea was for her character to travel to temples of different Gods to obtain different artifacts etc. Pretty standard quest script.

  She played LE rogue. One element I incorporated was a conspiracy against the Gods . The Goddess Eris, Hades, and surprise...Hera all working covertly to help her and thwart the followers of the other deities. That being said, in the myths, Hera hates Heracles and works against him.

 You could provide help from Zeus on the downlow,but party members would have to prove themselves worthy.HE would also be associated with the element of air. Hera represents Earth so you could work in an elemental theme also.

  I found the setting a little restrictive as far as monsters, but harpies and minitaurs make for good encounters.

  Good luck, hope this helps. One more thing,study your mythology, borrow freely and improvise often.
If you can find a copy of it, the Age of Heroes DM reference book from 2E was all about ancient Greece. It covers everything from daily life in Greece to the Games to the Gods. It's 99% fluff, so it will easily fit in with any edition.
Thanks for the suggestions so far guys.

So at everyones suggestions I am making the trials some what related to the labors of Hercules.

I have Courage, which is a battle agains't a hydra.

I Have Speed which is a skill challenge to catch wild horses (skill challenge) then use them in a chariot race (skill challenge inside a battle)

I have Diplomacy, convince Athena to let them borrow her prized hine.

I think Strength is going to be a skill challenge in wrestling a giant or a lion, not sure yet.

Intelligence i'm lost on, I want an elabroate fight with an elabrotae skill challenge but i'm drawing blanks, looked at some puzzles, don't really like the idea of puzzles when they cant actually see the puzzle except in thier head. 

Not sure what to do with cunning yet ether.
Hate to double post, but I almost have everything!

Intelligence: is going to be as suggested, a riddle battle to the death (well not death, but knock out) basically its going be two teams in an elimation battle, each of the players is paired off vs an enemy, and they take turns doing riddles, first one to answer wrong is elimanted, the team with a last man standing wins. (My players will love this, and will probably cream me because I suck at answering riddles)

Strength: A skill challenge in wrestling a giant, every skill can be used if it makes sense, from distracting him with a bluff, to sneaking up on him. Success deal nonlethal damage to the giant, when his HP reaches 0 they will need to knock him down and pin him, he gets turns in the skill challenge too and makes attacks, wrestling moves!

Speed: They must capture the horses in a straight foward skill challenge, then race in a chariot race, one player drives while the others can fight inside the chariot. I have a full stat page of actions for the chariot driver, from making repairs, cutting tight corners etc, its bassed on the vehicle in combat rules. They win ether by beating the other two chariots to 5 laps, or destroying them.

Diplomacy: They must convince Athena to let them borrow her prized hind, I borrowed some stuff from the demon dialogie challenge at the At Will website, the DCs of every social check are depened on what my players actually come up with to say, they can also offer gifts and such.

Courage: A scary battle against a hydra, straight forward.

Cunning..now this one I need help. I plan on combing parts of some of hercs other labors. basically they are back in the arena and a large cage has been constructed over the arena, they must capture 3 flocks of Sypthian birds, while dealing with the likes of a Creten bull, A large boar, A horrid Lion, and a Death dog (to represent Cerberus) Each of those 4 are elites and dangerous and the birds themselves are carnivorus swarms.

A straight up fight could be possible, but really hard. My Achilles heel (hah) of dming has always been and likely will always be terrain features.

I need help making cool terrain features inside the arena that the heroes can use to dodge, battle, and stall the beasts hounding them while they try to capture the birds.

Hate to double post, but I almost have everything!

Intelligence: is going to be as suggested, a riddle battle to the death (well not death, but knock out) basically its going be two teams in an elimation battle, each of the players is paired off vs an enemy, and they take turns doing riddles, first one to answer wrong is elimanted, the team with a last man standing wins. (My players will love this, and will probably cream me because I suck at answering riddles)



Here's a crapload of easy riddles.

From the classic video game Betrayal At Krondor.

Strength: A skill challenge in wrestling a giant, every skill can be used if it makes sense, from distracting him with a bluff, to sneaking up on him. Success deal nonlethal damage to the giant, when his HP reaches 0 they will need to knock him down and pin him, he gets turns in the skill challenge too and makes attacks, wrestling moves!



Suggestion:  Give him a phobia.

Diplomacy: They must convince Athena to let them borrow her prized hind, I borrowed some stuff from the demon dialogie challenge at the At Will website, the DCs of every social check are depened on what my players actually come up with to say, they can also offer gifts and such.



Athena is totally the sort who'd think this is hilarious and would demand insane things from the competing teams.... with bonus points going to the team who tells her that her demand is nuts, that she can't possibly want "the breath of a fish" and "the roots of a mountain" and "the noise of a cat's footfall" and that *those* demands must themselves be a test - a test to see who's smart enough to say "No".

Courage: A scary battle against a hydra, straight forward.



Just watch out, Hydra fights tend to be slogs.  Make sure you're using a modern hydra, not one of the MM1 ones.

Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.