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Thursday 24 April 2014

Lords of Olympus: The Bad Guys

Continuing the break from AoI (which is still selling great! go buy it here), I thought I’d respond to some questions we’ve been having over on the Lords of Olympus forum, regarding just what bad guys people can use for the big epic universe-menacing variety of opponents in a LoO game: a foreign pantheon? Cthulhu? Something else?

If you want Epic Big Bad Guys; there are a lot of excellent candidates, some that I suggest in the book.  Yes, you can go with another pantheon, somehow leaked over from another multiverse where they, and not the Greek Gods, rule the roost.

As for the Cthulhu mythos, however, I’d strongly suggest against it. I think you should instead go for the guys that were partial inspiration for their existence: the Primordials.

Read the Primordial section and entries of the RPG very carefully: they’re not human. The Titans and Olympians are human (in terms of behaviours); some primordials take human bodies (most don’t bother to at all; some are just empty space, some are daytime or nighttime, some are an entire single universe, one of them is literally the Pit of Tartarus), but even when they look vaguely human, they’re not.

Even when they try to behave human, they don’t do it right: they’re just one big Thing, a single archetype and its all they can be. They act in utterly incomprehensible ways and generally seem insane by our standards.  And they are INCREDIBLY powerful, more than the younger gods by far. Zeus has to make careful deals with them.  And not being human, their motives aren’t human. They do things for what seem like no reason; they don’t make sense.

In the LoO world, Cthulhu & Co. should be at best just lesser servants/eidolons of KHAOS, the formless void.  Now, if all reality came out of Khaos.. what else could come out of Khaos?  Or what happens if Khaos wants to start swallowing the Multiverse back up?

The other primordials could likewise be of use: Tartarus gives birth to horrific monsters from his pit. Aethyr provides the force-field around Olympus’ airspace.

I’ve already written about Eris and her Family of Discord, who would be ideal Primordial Enemies for a campaign that wasn’t world-ending but would still be really tough for PCs to handle.

Moros, the Primordial of Doom and Fate, is so powerful that Zeus and Themis (two of the biggest badasses on Olympus) gave him their three daughters in exchange for some measure of influence over him. Dark cults all over the multiverse worship him, as do secret networks of assassins.

Hypnos (primordial of Sleep) and his clan rule over the Dream world. Hypnos’ twin brother is Thanatos (the Primordial of death), his wife is the insane olympian goddess of Drugs (and the daughter of Hera and Dionysius!); and his three main sons (out of many) are the gods of Dreams, Nightmares and Impossible Things.  From the Dream Realm, Hypnos or his gang can go anywhere and interact with anyone who sleeps. If they decided to go bad for some incomprehensible Primordial reason, they’d be a gigantic menace to absolutely everyone.

So yeah, if your preference for a LoO campaign is for Multiverse-menacing baddies, rather than the milder Olympus-threatening internecine warfare; give some serious consideration to the Primordials!
If you recently bought Arrows of Indra, and haven’t yet checked out Lords of Olympus (my other current RPG), take a look. You might like it.


Currently Smoking: Mastro de Paja bent apple + Dunhill 965

(Originally posted March 15, 2013; on the old blog)


  1. You know this better than so please forgive my ignorance, but some of those beings sound like gods rather than primordial beings. Isn't Hypnos and Thanatos just gods who at times become mortal. As in Hypnos takes a turn being a god and when that is up Thanatos takes his turn.

    I do agree with you for beings that pre titan era though. Those would make some pretty scary creatures. Who knows what horrors Gaia could give birth too? Even worse could Khaos give birth to another primordial being that is so powerful that even the gods can't do any to stop that? No Cthulhu is needed in greek mythology because frankly that is Khaos niche.

  2. Well, there are different legends, and clearly Hypnos and Thanatos as later-generation Primordials are not as inhuman or as powerful as the original Primordials, but for the purposes of the game they are still classified as such (because they're not Titans, and not Olympians).

  3. Okay I see where you went with that. Now I understand.