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Monday 23 February 2015

Lords of Olympus: Getting Over The Instinct to Not Give Things Out For Free

Recently, I saw someone commenting about a diceless RPG, it may have been a newbie to GMing these kinds of games (Amber, LoGaS, Lords of Olympus), who was concerned that some of his players, being in a multiverse, might ask about whether their character couldn't start with certain non-human natural abilities (claws, wings, etc) and just how to charge for and/or handle these powers.   One solution was to argue that somehow these natural qualities would go away or become useless outside of their home shadow/world/etc.

But personally, that's not the route I would go.
I'd suggest this: there are rules for how technology will work, and for laws of physics and nature. So this limits things like high-tech and magic.

But physical traits? As long as they fall within those laws of physics, there's no logical reason why they shouldn't work anywhere else.  Certainly if a PC says they're an otherwise normal human but with wings (and the power of flight) that might not work so well in a world with physics like that of our own earth, but generally speaking, the guideline should be the physical laws themselves, and not a concern that somehow having one PC sporting a pair of wings while the rest don't would in some way ruin 'game balance'.

When you're talking about games like Lords of Olympus, we're in a whole other ball park of power, and of costs.  The least important 'cost' in Lords of Olympus is 'points'.

I get the concern people have with game balance, but there are many kinds of 'game balance'.  In my campaign, if someone told me "I want to come from a world where people have wings and can fly", I would be pissing my pants with joy. Yes, I would tell them, absolutely. I would give it to them for free.

Because the relatively small advantage that would grant compared to all the possible disadvantages: sticking out like a sore thumb, being hunted by shadowy government authorities on modern Earths, being immediately identifiable, awkward fashion problems whenever they need clothing or disguises, social mockery, not registering as a human under scans, potentially having more trouble on certain worlds with strict physical laws than normal baseline humans do, all kinds of shit!

I wouldn't stress the fact they could fly. Any half-clever Amberite/Olympian/whatever can figure out how to fly pretty damn quick without having to spend a lifetime with feathers on their back. Never mind the ones who actually pay for metamorphosis/shape-shifting, or sorcery of some sort.  Those real point-cost powers? Being able to do all kinds of stuff is only half of what you're paying for; the other half is for being able to stop.

(there's even a shitload of dudes with wings on the cover!  But again, they're all people who can get rid of the wings as required)

You have to change your scale when you play Amber-type games. Having wings in D&D would be HUGE. In Amber or Lords of Olympus? It would be an aesthetic choice akin to a slightly embarrassing piercing; the cost would almost certainly outweigh the value even if the player didn't need to spend a single point to get it.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Beverwyck


  1. Didn´t Metamorphosis ONLY change aesthetic changes?How would an Olympian fly without metamorphosis in his Daemon form? Are the guys on the cover WITH their Daemon Form?

    1. I'm not sure I get what you mean by your first question?
      Metamorphosis includes a daemon form but someone with metamorphosis can also learn to create other forms, if I'm remembering right at this late/early hour.