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Before Iron - Pendragon Mythic Greece RPG

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Hey Chaosium guys,

Since you picked up Pendragon does that mean you will also have Before Iron (which is Pendragon based)? If not does the acquisition by Chaosium still allow Nocturnal to finish that? My understanding is that the manuscript for Before Iron was turned in in 2012 and Nocturnal was working on it? Any thoughts?

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All Pendragon-based games are coming over as well. In addition to Paladin, which is just in the process of rolling out, we have two other unpublished games—Before Iron/Myrmidon being one of them—that we're slotting into the production pipeline even as we speak. More details once I'm able to speak on them.

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I prefer the title Myrmidon, personally, as it is congruous to a series of related games: Pendragon, Paladin, Mymidon, Samurai, etc. 

I wonder if the mooted Book of Magic, for magicians set in Pendragon's setting, will be a stand-alone game or a direct supplement? 

 

Edited by TrippyHippy

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20 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

I prefer the title Myrmidon, personally, as it is congruous to a series of related games: Pendragon, Paladin, Mymidon, Samurai, etc. 

I wonder if the mooted Book of Magic, for magicians set in Pendragon's setting, will be a stand-alone game or a direct supplement? 

 

I agree. Myrmidon is a better and more mellifluous name.

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On 12/17/2018 at 1:30 AM, TrippyHippy said:

I prefer the title Myrmidon, personally, as it is congruous to a series of related games: Pendragon, Paladin, Mymidon, Samurai, etc. 

I do not think it is, since while "Pendragon" tell you about the king ruling everybody and "Paladin" tell you about what kind of character you play......"Myrmidon" does not, unless the players can play ONLY warriors from Phtia...while I hope the game will allow to play mighty Homeric heroes from all over the Homeric / Ancient Greek Mythic world.

"Achaen" should be comparable, since it's the word which Homer uses to refer to the Greeks, but I do not know if the game make you play also Trojans and their allies.

However I would rather use Homer's direct words like:

"Sing, of Goddess!" (the Incipit of the Iliad) or "Tell me, o Muse!" (The incipit of the Odissey) since the GM has to invoke the Muse as Homer did!

That would be epic!

 

But if we need just a "1 word title"  to exemplify the genre this game is replicating I cannot think about any other word but the ones that the ancient Greeks used to define it.

The word is "EPOS".

That would be perfect, since it would include also heroic deeds which happened before the War of Troy, including the previous generation of heroes.

"Epos" is the genre that this game should mimic! 

Edited by Luca Cherstich
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"Epos" would be my suggestion.

Furthermore I must confess that I feel "Before Iron"  to be a much better option than "Myrmidon".

Myrmidon is the name of just a very few selected warriors (the the subjects of Achilles) from a very small, not very important place (Phtia).

It would be like playing Pendragon and calling the game "Orkney clan" or "De Ganis clan" or "Sir Galahad" or "Sir Kay"..... and not "Pendragon" or "King Arthur Pendragon" which is the name of the main ruler/dinasty ruling over the default characters types.

I would avoir words which do not define the extent of what you want to play.

 

"Before Iron" on the other hand is more interesting that it may look like at a first view, since it refers to something about the whole age.

It clearly refers to the "Metallic Ages System" mentioned by Hesiod.

 

I paste this quote from Hesiod's "Works and Days" (Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι) from wikipedia (I know it's not the best academic authority...but it's nonetheles interesting).

"... then Zeus the father created the third generation of mortals, the age of bronze ... They were terrible and strong, and the ghastly action of Ares was theirs, and violence. ... The weapons of these men were bronze, of bronze their houses, and they worked as bronzesmiths. There was not yet any black iron."

I took this from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-age_system

Doesn't this quote describe what we want to play with this game???

Edited by Luca Cherstich
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4 hours ago, Luca Cherstich said:

"Epos" would be my suggestion.

Furthermore I must confess that I feel "Before Iron"  to be a much better option than "Myrmidon".

Myrmidon is the name of just a very few selected warriors (the the subjects of Achilles) from a very small, not very important place (Phtia).

It would be like playing Pendragon and calling the game "Orkney clan" or "De Ganis clan" or "Sir Galahad" or "Sir Kay"..... and not "Pendragon" or "King Arthur Pendragon" which is the name of the main ruler/dinasty ruling over the default characters types.

I would avoir words which do not define the extent of what you want to play.

 

"Before Iron" on the other hand is more interesting that it may look like at a first view, since it refers to something about the whole age.

It clearly refers to the "Metallic Ages System" mentioned by Hesiod.

 

I paste this quote from Hesiod's "Works and Days" (Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι) from wikipedia (I know it's not the best academic authority...but it's nonetheles interesting).

"... then Zeus the father created the third generation of mortals, the age of bronze ... They were terrible and strong, and the ghastly action of Ares was theirs, and violence. ... The weapons of these men were bronze, of bronze their houses, and they worked as bronzesmiths. There was not yet any black iron."

I took this from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-age_system

Doesn't this quote describe what we want to play with this game???

I like Before Iron better and did not know Nocturnal was changing the name Myrmidon. I love the quote from Hesiod as it’s so appropriate!

So we have two heroic Greece books coming out. Myrmidon and Mythic Greece. I will probably pick up both?

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10 hours ago, Luca Cherstich said:

I do not think it is, since while "Pendragon" tell you about the king ruling everybody and "Paladin" tell you about what kind of character you play......"Myrmidon" does not, unless the players can play ONLY warriors from Phtia...while I hope the game will allow to play mighty Homeric heroes from all over the Homeric / Ancient Greek Mythic world.

We don't yet know that much about it, so maybe it is? 

I guess 'Hoplite' could be another name, denoting warrors of the time. Archean could work….or just Hellas?

Anything but 'Before Iron' though for me - ok for a working title but way too bland on it's own for a full release. It could be a subtitle though - like Hellas: Before Iron perhaps. 

But y'know, I prefer Myrmidon.

 

 

 

Edited by TrippyHippy

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12 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

Hoplite

Sorry to say it...but this will open another huge can of worms...

Hoplitism (at least in the form that we know in the Classical period) "should" not be a Bronze Age thing, on the other hand the stories about the "age of heroes" told during the Archaic and Classical times depict those heroes as armed as hoplites, but not behaving in warfare like them!

You know...the Homeric heroes seem sometimes armed with what may be hoplitic equipment (breastplates and helmets, spears and shields) but they do not fight in close-tight units, they rather go around the battlefield in chariots, just to descend from them and doing one-on-one duels on foot!!

It's such a mess!

Do we really want this game (which is supposedly "age of heroes" focused) really be bothered by such complications that a name like "Hoplite" would bear?

I mean: the name is the most important thing to define a product, it should not have any weakness...

 

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13 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

but way too bland

It's too bland only if the reference to Hesiod' age system is ignored.

I understand that maybe Hesiod never spelled the exact words "before Iron", but if you know the literary reference, it is clear that the title refers to Hesiod's idea about chronology.... or at least it was clear to me.

Maybe a better title can be found, but some reference to Hesiod (or maybe better: Homer!) would be very, very nice!

Edited by Luca Cherstich

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I am going to invite the authors to drop in. I don’t think they are on this site but I will be convincing :-)!

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5 hours ago, Luca Cherstich said:

Sorry to say it...but this will open another huge can of worms...

Just about any interesting, non -generic name will. Anything that invokes an image of any type, such as Hoplite, or Spartans,  will too closely identify the game with one aspect of the culture. Conversely, anything more generic, such as Ancient Greece, will seem bland and non-descriptive. So it's tough to pin down.

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57 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Just about any interesting, non -generic name will. Anything that invokes an image of any type, such as Hoplite, or Spartans,  will too closely identify the game with one aspect of the culture. Conversely, anything more generic, such as Ancient Greece, will seem bland and non-descriptive. So it's tough to pin down

It's not so extreme with all words, and the words you consider "generic" maybe they more specific that it seems.

 

I proposed "epos" since it is the very specific ancient Greek term about the genre this game should mimic (IF this game is really about the Age of Heroes / Mythic Bronze Age Greek Heroes).

Even "Before Iron" is not generic (IF the reference to the Hesiod' metallic age system is implied).

On the other hand "Spartans" or "Hoplites" is about the wrong age (From Archaic times onwards...while here we are dealing with Mythic Greek Bronze age), while Myrmidon is too specific.

 

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1 hour ago, Luca Cherstich said:

It's not so extreme with all words, and the words you consider "generic" maybe they more specific that it seems.

No, but it's tough to find something that is descriptive enough, fits the subject, and is recognizable to the average person or gamer.  

Quote

I proposed "epos" since it is the very specific ancient Greek term about the genre this game should mimic (IF this game is really about the Age of Heroes / Mythic Bronze Age Greek Heroes).

Probably too obscure. Maybe if you added something to it, the way Pendragon has King Arthur in front of it. 

Quote

Even "Before Iron" is not generic (IF the reference to the Hesiod' metallic age system is implied).

But is is rather vague. Something like Bronze Age, or Men of Bronze would better fit. By itself "Before Iron" does sound like instructions for a dietary supplement. 

Quote

On the other hand "Spartans" or "Hoplites" is about the wrong age (From Archaic times onwards...while here we are dealing with Mythic Greek Bronze age), while Myrmidon is too specific.

If it's the Bronze Age then Bronze Age, or Men of Bronze (which supposedly they were) or Heroic Age, or some such might work. Any idea just how far back they are going? 

 

Ultimately it probably doesn't matter too much what it's called, except for first impressions of people seeing it listed somewhere. Of course on places that can show a cover image, the context should be clear. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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While the "myrmidon" were the warriors who followed Achilles, in the modern world (and in the gaming world) the word has come to represent the Greek warriors of the Hellenic period.

I would bet that if you asked most people whether the "myrmidons" were what the fighters of Troy were called, they would say "yes". The same if you asked whether "myrmidons" were what the fighters of Sparta were called.

My point here is that calling a game set in mythic Greece "Myrmidon" makes good sense, and people who saw it would probably get the idea that the game is about the timeframe of Mythic/Heroic Greece.

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20 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

If it's the Bronze Age then Bronze Age, or Men of Bronze (which supposedly they were) or Heroic Age, or some such might work. Any idea just how far back they are going? 

I guess we need to wait until the authors say more about the content of this game.

Calling it straightly  "Bronze Age" may suggest that this game is about historical Bronze Age or at least what in the "academia" is defined as the Bronze Age of the Greeks (which mean Mycenean and Minoan), and there's so much scholarship on the matter to give material about it.

However, I got the impression (Maybe wrong???) that this game was also about the mythic heroic past (am I wrong?), which is not the real Bronze Age, but the Greek Myths = the way that Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greeks thought about and re-created the (lost) Bronze Age past through mythic stories which may have some Mycenean roots, but completely re-created and re-viewed to "Classical" Greek eyes.

I mean: I may be wrong, and only the authors' official comunications can cast more light of what exactly this game is supposed to replicate.

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Yeah, I believe it will be at least semi-mythic, much like Pendragon is. Although just when it will be set remains to be seen. I suspect around the time of the Trojan War, since it would be a story rich time that most people who be somewhat familiar with, and allow for the integration of the famous Greek Heroes, but earlier or later could work. 

And, of course, the game setting could be expanded, much like KAP has done in the past with books on Saxons, Scandinavians, and Irish. I could easily see a Phillip or Alexander of Macedon campaign coming from a Greek RPG, with nearly identical game rules. Or even a campaign centered around Theran Atlantis. It's a rich setting, and the core KAP game mechanics are robust enough to adapt. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 7:58 AM, SirUkpyr said:

I would bet that if you asked most people whether the "myrmidons" were what the fighters of Troy were called, they would say "yes". The same if you asked whether "myrmidons" were what the fighters of Sparta were called

I'm not sure that I can agree with this.  I think those that would even know the term "myrmidon" would know that this isn't the generic term for a Greek Warrior.

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On 1/13/2019 at 9:03 PM, Percarde said:

I'm not sure that I can agree with this.  I think those that would even know the term "myrmidon" would know that this isn't the generic term for a Greek Warrior.

Yes, but most people wouldn't know what the term "mymidon" meant. They might, however vaguely recognize it as being Greek and so identify it with any sort of ancient Greek thing, if prompted. I bet if you told most people that the "Myrmidons" were soothsayers that murmured warnings into people ears in ancient Greece, they'd probably believe you.

Anybody with any knowledge of the subject matter wouldn't, but most people probably would. 

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OK

2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, but most people wouldn't know what the term "mymidon" meant. They might, however vaguely recognize it as being Greek and so identify it with any sort of ancient Greek thing, if prompted. I bet if you told most people that the "Myrmidons" were soothsayers that murmured warnings into people ears in ancient Greece, they'd probably believe you.

Anybody with any knowledge of the subject matter wouldn't, but most people probably would

OK...but I guess this will be a game inspired by Greek epic literature, which means that, even if many potential buyers are ignorant about the subject, this will not justify the authors to use a very specific word in a very wrong way.

I'm not going to say that these games can give you an education on classical matters, or that only educated people should play this game ... but purposively feeding badly-used words would diminish the value of such a game to a huge chunk of other potential buyers.

And let be frank: this is not Dungeons & Dragons.

The percentage of potential buyers who also had some kind of "Homeric" knowledge (or at least some basic notions) will be much higher than in most popular Rpgs.

 

The same is with KAP which is a game based on medieval literature, but not all KAP players and GMs have read Mallory or Geoffrey of Monmouth....but the author did it! 

Nevertheless, using Mallory's words in a wrong way would certainly not be a good service for such an excellent game.

 

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There's also the awkward fact that "Myrmidon" has the contemporary meaning of "a follower or subordinate of a powerful person, typically one who is unscrupulous or carries out orders unquestioningly." e.g. "one of Hitler's myrmidons."

I cast my vote for Areté  (er-ruh-TAY) which is arguably the Greek ancestor of "chivalry."  It means excellence, virtue, fulfilling one's purpose or potential.  The Homeric heroes had surpassing Areté. 

At the very least, in the rules a bonus of "Armor of Areté" should granted to those heroes who have 16 or greater in the relevant virtuous traits.

 

 

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