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Experience Mythic Adventure!

Create a Hero. 

Walk with gods, perform incredible feats, punch monsters in the face. 
   Be a Legend!
Experience Mythic Adventure! Create a Hero. Walk with gods, perform incredible feats, punch monsters in the face. Be a Legend!
88 backers pledged $2,783 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Of Gods & Heroes is the role-playing game of mythic adventure. 

This stand-alone system helps you create stories of epic proportions about heroes and heroines, gods and monsters. All you need is this book, some 6-sided dice and a thirst for action. 

Hercules and Hippolyta, just relaxing
Hercules and Hippolyta, just relaxing

Mythic Adventure!

Of Gods & Heroes is inspired by mythology – the action movies of the ancient world. We’ve created a system that encourages stories with the same over-the-top coolness and creativity that is embodied in the most ancient storytelling traditions. The focus is on empowering GMs and players to build their own epic – a story unique to their larger-than-life characters, whether your campaign is set in ancient Greece, Viking-era Norway, the height of the Aztec empire, or in a post-apocalypse where the gods have returned.

OGH is not settingless or ‘universal.’ It is a focused game that creates a unique play experience – strong, character-centered stories, with traditional game mechanics to help introduce tension and exciting plot twists.

Myths and folklore speak to something universal in the human experience – we still tell new stories about Hercules and Thor, Monkey and Coyote. OGH combines the most compelling elements of these tales with action-packed gaming.

Of Gods & Heroes helps to showcase the most exciting moments of your story, making every play session an adventure.

What is Story-Driven Game-Play?

The core philosophy of OGH is story-driven game-play. This is a two-part approach to roleplaying:

  • Story is core to an RPG – not being able to create a unique story is a video game.
  • Random chance (in this case from dice) is critical – an RPG without randomness is cooperative storytelling.

The Of Gods & Heroes rules support stories that replicate the high action and adventure of mythology. It is a “traditional” RPG focused on player agency and distilling the most memorable parts of gameplay, while removing the dross like counting pocket change and worrying about incremental differences in distance.

Combat is dynamic and fast-paced – cinematic in feel. The social conflict system is as robust as the combat mechanics, so that social challenges feel equally central to the story. Magic is flexible, letting players create effects on the fly, rather than being limited to a list of spells.

What is a Hero?

Traditionally, heroes are not “good” or bad” – they are powerful, larger-than-life figures, flawed and human, but also more than human. OGH is built around these traditional heroes. Player characters are considered to be exemplary in every way, but to truly stand out in a single area – as Hercules is known for being strong and Odysseus for being cunning, your hero has a defining capability we call their Prowess.

At the same time, each hero has a Fatal Flaw – Hercules’s anger and Odysseus’s pride. This makes them relatable and intriguing, more than a simple power fantasy.

Because these ideas are so deeply embedded in our culture, creating and playing a hero is intuitive for both brand new and experienced gamers. And because of the Fatal Flaw mechanics, they are encouraged to take risks and make mistakes that build a richer epic. (Check out a pdf of the entire Character Creation text here!)

Legend Points and Legendary Feats

One of the core mechanics of OGH is the Legend Point. Legend Points can be used to perform many familiar functions of “plot coupons” – reroll failures, gain extra dice for particular actions, declare the presence of an item in the environment, or avoid character death. However, their most important effect is to allow heroes to perform Legendary Feats. These are the superhuman actions of myth, the gamebreakers.

A Legendary Feat must be themed to a hero’s Prowess – so a strong hero can perform amazing feats of strength and a cunning hero can lie and cheat like nobody’s business. As long as the effect of a Legendary Feat isn’t an attack against another character it happens with no need to roll! So in a pinch, you can count the number of people in an army miles away by listening to the ground, divert a river to clean out a stable or run across water because you’re so fast.

Legendary Feats also act as pivot points in adventures, giving players an active way to collaborate in the story.

Why did it have to be hydras?
Why did it have to be hydras?

What’s Up With the System?

Of Gods & Heroes uses a d6 dice pool system where 5’s and 6’s are successes.

OGH is “rules-medium.” The system is comprehensive and modular, including rules for naval combat, wars, and swaying crowds. But the mechanics are streamlined and unified so that gameplay is intuitive. Because mechanics are consistent throughout and situational modifiers are kept only to “big” items, you’ll be able to maintaing the focus on telling your epic and doing cool things. (Check out the OGH character sheet, with a full list of skills!)

Social Conflict Matters

Social confrontations are treated as equally important as physical combat, with valuable uses for skills like Music, Rhetoric and Flattery. Socially skilled characters are also able to reduce the defense values of their opponents by taunting, flustering and distracting them. Being socially adept no longer means that a hero is passive or “less useful” in combat situations – you stay in the middle of the action. Similarly, the assisting rules mean that combat monsters have an important support role in social conflict, backing up their silver-tongued comrades.

Fast Adventure Creation

Designing unique opponents is easy with our challenge creation guidelines. A GM can create an entire adventure from scratch in 30 minutes once they’ve decided on a base story. With over 30 ‘monsters’ in the OGH book, you have everything you need to prepare a new campaign. We know that GMs are busy and that your time is valuable. It should be as much fun to run a game as it is to play in one.

Why Is Of Gods & Heroes Awesome?

OGH plays like an action movie. The rules are consistent and streamlined, so you can focus on doing amazing things. Modular subrules mean that you can do anything – want to fight a war, there’re rules for that! Want to build your town into a regional power, there’re rules for that!

But the core game is about fast-paced, story-driven action, no distractions.

Character creation is fast and intuitive. Even new players only take about 15 minutes to make a character because building the Hero you imagined makes sense within the rules. Each of the dozen general heroic base abilities is themed on a story role – so even people with no gaming experience will be happy with the final result.

In addition to a fast-paced combat system, Of Gods & Heroes has a robust system for social conflict. It supports individual face-offs through flattery, persuasion and flat-out lying up through large-scale manipulation of crowds. You can out-talk kings in their own courts and turn the mob against your enemies with a speech from the steps of the Parthenon!

What's this behind your ear?
What's this behind your ear?

The OGH magic system is incredibly flexible – Everyone can learn to do ritual magic, but dedicated and talented Heroes gain access to a dozen specialties ranging from the four classic elements to plants, animals, illusions, curses and necromancy. Each specialty grows in power, allowing the mage to combine effects within a general theme in any way the player can imagine.

You don’t need supplements – This is a standalone game that lets you create your own action-packed world without fiddling around. Specific, unique setting supplements are planned, but we believe they need to stand on their own merits, not as a required piece of the core game.

What’s In The Book?

The Of Gods & Heroes book will be approximately 200 pages, with a full-color cover and black and white interior, at 8x10 trim size.

  • Fast Character Creation – Start telling your epic right away!
  • Setting Examples and Guidelines – Pan-mythic settings for all your old-timey face-pounding needs!
  • Standalone Rules – A unified rules system that focuses on getting you into the action!
  • Flexible Magic – Comprehensive magic rules that let your imagination run wild!
  • Comprehensive GMing Chapter – 100 adventure seeds and 30 pre-generated monsters to save your brain!
  • Artifact Rules – Give your Hero a signature magic item like Mjolnir, Pegasus or the Aegis!
  • Gorgeous Art – We’ve got industry veterans Tom Miskey, Terry Pavlet, and Mike Bielaczyc and Paul Bielaczyc all over the book!
  • Nothing else, because you’ll be ready to go!

What’s This Money For?

I’m bad at layout and terrible at art. I want to create the best version of OGH possible.

The Kickstarter goal that’s been set is what I need to get all the art completed and the layout done by Thomas Deeny, another gaming industry veteran, who has worked on projects like the Firefly RPG and Fate Codex. I know that this is what it’s going to cost, because I’ve published RPGs before (Fae Noir and CandyCreeps) and because the costs have already been negotiated.

This funding is what it will take to get the book into shape, with beautiful, evocative art.

This game and its players deserve it.

    Stretch Goals!

Yay for stretch goals! If we are fully pledged and then some, we’ll start popping out stretch goodies, announcing them as we go! To whet your appetite, we're posting the first one below.

$5,000
All backers receive a pdf of 2013’s GenCon exclusive adventure “White Elephant Sale”

As the Kickstarter continues, we’ll be posting actual play videos, discussion of the game design and other fun stuff, so remember to check back!

Why I Created This Game

Of Gods & Heroes was born when I pitched a setting for an existing game system based on the universal themes of exploration, wonder and craziness found in the myth cycles of ocean-faring civilizations. Within a week, I withdrew the pitch, realizing that this was too rich a vein of material to just hand off without a second thought.

I had been looking for a new original game project, but hadn’t found anything that really spoke to me until I started on OGH. While there are lots of games that include mythic figures (often with a twist), I didn’t feel like there was anything that played like a myth.

Because I had a very clear idea of what I wanted from the game, once I had the basic mechanics created, I found that every time I ran into a new “sub-system” the rules for it almost wrote themselves because they logically followed from this clear idea of wanting a game that encourages good storytelling and excitement.

I like games and OGH is very much a game. It’s not an ongoing negotiation over who gets to control the story – it’s rolling dice and overcoming challenges in a memorable way.

When play-testing started, each session was eventful and the action surprising. Because of the way the game is designed, the plot often goes in wonderful, unexpected directions. People wanted to stick around to talk about the awesome things they’d done in the session, in the same way they’d talk about a great episode of a TV show.

I think that’s the real heart of gaming.

I hope that you’ll check out Of Gods & Heroes, and create your own legends.

About the Author

Justin Bow has been a fan of roleplaying games since he was 12 and bought a used copy of Shadowrun 1st edition. After years of haunting local game stores, he jumped into game design in 2007, with the launch of Fae Noir from Green Fairy Games. Justin was editor of horror comedy game CandyCreeps and has done freelance writing for a number of small-press companies.

In addition to Of Gods & Heroes, he is currently working on Fae Noir 2nd Edition, and a comic-book set in the world of Fae Noir.

Risks and challenges

Although there are certainly delays and challenges in publishing, this project is already very near completion - the text of the game has already been finalized, the art is in process and layout will begin as soon as the project is funded.

Everyone working on this project is a veteran of the indie games industry. PDF fulfillment is being handled by the very excellent DriveThruRPG, which has been the premiere online RPG distributor for more than a decade. Hardcopies will be distributed through Magpie Games, who serve many indie games publishers and have successfully handled fulfillment for a number of Kickstarters.

The biggest risk for a project like this is the possibility of printing delays, which is why we're working with such experienced partners. If there are any delays in the layout or art stages, we have additional personnel lined up to fill in if necessary. We will keep in regular communication if any problems arise, making sure that everyone knows exactly what's going on with fulfillment.

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    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    Colorful Villager - Receive a pdf of the Of Gods & Heroes cover.

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    Sidekick - Receive a pdf version of the complete Of Gods & Heroes game

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    Fledgeling Hero - Receive a pdf of the complete Of Gods & Heroes game and 1 softcover copy. US shipping is included for this reward level. International backers will pay an additional shipping fee.

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    Hardcore Hero - Receive both a pdf of the complete Of Gods & Heroes game and 1 hardcover copy. US shipping is included for this reward level. International backers will pay an additional shipping fee.

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    Classic Hero - You like things old-school. Receive all the rewards of Hardcore Hero, but the author will sign your hardcover copy of the game. US shipping is included - international backers will have to pay an additional shipping fee.

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    A Known Name – You will receive a pdf of the game, 1 hardcover copy and will get to create an original name and epithet for one of the example Heroes in the core book. US shipping is included - international backers will have to pay an additional shipping fee.

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    Group of Heroes - You will receive one pdf copy of the game and 6 hardcover copies - enough to outfit an entire party of heroes. US shipping is included - international backers will have to pay an additional shipping fee.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Electric Sage – You will receive a pdf, 3 signed hardcover copies of the game, and will get to do a Skype hangout with game creator/author Justin Bow. This can be one-on-one or bring your friends. US shipping is included - international backers will have to pay an additional shipping fee.

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    Hometown Hero (NYC Region Only) – Do you hate Skype and live in/near New York City? For backing at this level, you will receive a pdf of the game and Justin will meet up with you one day to discuss game design, geek stuff and whatever you want in New York, hand-delivering 3 hardcover copies of Of Gods & Heroes. He will also sign those books and show you some pretty great bars and/or tea rooms depending on your preference.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Lord/Lady of GenCon - You will receive a pdf copy of the game, and 3 hardcover copies delivered to you at GenCon. All hardcopies will be signed to your liking by the author. Justin Bow will also run a private session of the game for you and up to 5 other players at GenCon in August, 2014. At this session you will receive thematically appropriate dice (horn, bone, stone - that sort of thing) and ancient Roman coins to use as game counters (you get to keep the dice and coins)!

    You will also receive a (1) portrait of your Of Gods & Heroes character.

    The general theme of the session will be developed in cooperation with you - a custom game experience!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Total Legend - You will receive a pdf copy of the game, and 6 hardcover copies delivered to you. All hardcopies will be signed to your liking by the author. Justin Bow will also run a private session of the game for you and up to 5 other players at any location in the continental United States or Southern Canada - exact date to be determined. At this session you will receive enough custom-engraved stone dice and ancient Roman coins (to use as game counters) to serve a gaming group of 6 for pretty much forever (you get to keep the dice and coins)!

    All players will receive portraits of their Of Gods & Heroes character (that's up to 6 portraits) from this session or their own original character from another game.

    The general theme of the session will be developed in cooperation with you - a custom game experience!

    Your adventure will subsequently be published, with art and professional layout, with you listed as co-author.

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Funding period

- (27 days)