The Publisher: Khepera Publishing/ætheral forge
Degree of Familiarity: Purchased at Conpulsion, not had a chance to play yet.
Books Required: There's only the one book available.
Hellas is pretty much Ancient Greeks in Spaaace! Heroes, wielding the power of the Gods, have classic adventures—as do their descendants. The hero tries to achieve his destiny and escape his fate, against a backdrop of aliens, spaceships, and the like. Lots of people liken it to Ulysses 31, but that's only a good comparison.
The heroes of Hellas are actual proper Greek heroes. Players don't come up with a concept, they roll up a history. While that does drive players towards creating actual heroes fit for the type of story that the game is set up to create0. So you don't get players trying to drop Wolverine or Batman into a galaxy of Spartans, Myrmidons, and Nymphas, the lack of control over one's own character can really bug some players. It's a similar problem to random-rolling everything in WHFRP or Dark Heresy, it seems cool to begin with but I like to know who and what I'm playing beforehand.
The game does take some liberties, especially with spellings. After all, this is ancient Greek myth re-imagined as space opera, with no actual links to real ancient Greek myth.
1. Determine Race
The human-analogues, and thus the most populous race, are the Hellenes. But when have I ever let that bother me? Blue-skinned Amazorans, half-snake Goregons, mystic Kyklopes, Myrmidon insect colonies, sentient gaseous Nephelai, biomanipulative Nymphas, and tentacled Zintar give a wide range of possible characters.
The two that immediately jump out at me are the Nephelai and the Zintar. On the one hand, playing a sentient squid that needs a six-limbed mechanical shell is funky. On the other, they tend to be rather focused on hierarchy and subservient to the Hellenes, which I don't massively care for. Plus, they're the tech-focused characters and, like all tech related characters, they need toys to shine. Unfortunately, they can't shine with the amount of money available at chargen. Being unable to play one, I don't particularly want to create a character who's unfinished.
So I go for a Nephelai, a gaseous creature that manifests as a two-metre tall winged human with blue skin that can turn intangible. Slow and calm due to being functionally immortal (when it comes to dying of old age, anyway) the Nephelai can be positively psychopathic when it comes to dealing with other races. Which sounds cool to me. I note down the starting stats. This being the OMNI system (which is always capitalized, I've found), the stats are Intelligence, Perception, Willpower, Charisma, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Speed, Combat Rating, and Dynamism.
Starting Skills are Aerial Combat +3, Cultural Studies (Nephelai) +7, Evade +2, Speak Language (Nephelai, native), and Speak Language (Hellene, basic).
2. Life Path
All of these are totally random. I would use a D20, but I can't find my only D20. So instead I turn to that source of high-grade entropy known as random.org.1
Born during the winter month of Gamelion of the Hellenic calendar on a small planetoid in the Strofades system, home of ancient treasures and mysterious creatures.
Now, I've a problem. Despite the Nephelai being an anarchic society with ultimate personal liberty and no actual family ties (since nobody refers to anyone as offspring and nobody save the Nephelai even know if they breed), family is the next bit of the lifepath and it's a fairly big one. Flicking through the forums, it's plain that I'm not the only one confused—this is the problem with creating character races that don't fit your lifepaths. The suggestion is that it refers to other Nephelai that fill similar roles in personal interaction. Which will have to do, I suppose.
Our protagonist never had anyone fill the role of parents, or even much support from the community, but he forged connections among many of his people who wielded more social power by virtue of the deeds they'd done (it's the best I could do for "noble parents" in a society with no social ranks, okay?). He gets the Royal Favour talent and 5 Glory. Those who act as his "family" don't exactly see eye-to-eye; ancient grudges have set them against one another. Some Nephelai took him on as though they were older siblings. One loves him and would see him succeed without trouble, who gave him a shield belt dating from the 1st age. Another shows his love through competitive rivalry, setting challenges for him to overcome. Another's a target of his admiration, someone he wants to be like in his life. The last is another Nephelai that he loves unconditionally.
The Nephelai that created him—though nobody knows who they might be—both carried a mark of divine blood (+10 Glory). This shows through by making him a born warrior, naturally apt in all forms of combat (+1 CR). One of his "brother's" plans to test his abilities saw him on a space station that was under siege by Zoran invaders, from whom our protagonist hid until he was safe.
Time for a bit that isn't random: what God has chosen our protagonist? I'm thinking either Areson, the Warrior, or Hoseidon, the Sailor. I make a snap decision, and go for the latter. Now, I get to pick his Destiny: Return to Strofades and discover the lost treasure left there by Odysseos himself! However, each hero has a Fate as well as a Destiny: he'll be killed by someone he takes as a lover.
3. Determine Profession
I can select any generic profession, or one of the Nephelai-specific ones. I'm thinking "Nephelai Void Pilot", which works with the choice of God. I'm thinking that after being trapped on a space station, he decided he'd rather not feel helpless like that ever again. He's trained to be deadly in a ship, ready to face his fate in the void and in Slipspace.
That nets me Dex +1, a bunch more Skills, the Dog Fighter talent, and some starting gear and cash. Rather than break it all down, I've got it listed on the "sheet" below.
4. Calling Path
I can cake up to 5 paths from Legionnaire of Delphoi, Sailor, and Warrior. For the first one, I dip into Sailor. One year spent, during which he encountered Great Fortune!—a group of Kyklopes who give a map of Slipspace, cutting all journey times by 20%.
Legionnaire of Delphoi next. 3 years, and a Legionnaire Special Event: Won a game of chance against a Titan! +1 Wil and +5 glory. Rock on! Back into Legionnaire for Path 3: 2 years of Scholarly Pursuits: Brought before the Agora of Sparta to speak on a subject of expertise. +5 Glory.
Sailor now. 1 year and a Sailor Special Event: an Argosian Light Hauler spaceship. Just what a good pilot needs. Sailor once more. Two years, and another special event: Roll twice and combine. Nice! Lost in Slipspace, he saw the shores of the Underworld. Upon returning, he fell in love with a Siren (hrm... fate is calling). +4 glory, +1 Piloting in Slipspace.
Relationship 2: Dinos the Zoran, captain of the fleet that beseiged that space station long ago.
Internal 1: Quiet confidence in his own abilities that's never shaken, even in the face of ludicrous odds.
External 2: Terrible luck. It's no co-incidence that he got lost, saw the shores of the Underworld, and fell in love with a Siren in just one voyage.
5. Freebie Points
30 points. I buy a further +1 to Dex and Wil for 10, +1 Con for another 5. 2 points of Weapon (Pistol), 3 points of Evade, 3 points of Navigate, and 2 of Weapon (Vehicle) bring me to 25 freebies. Finally, I go for the Elusive Target Talent.
I record Hit Points (20 + CON, so 19), Hero Points (7), and decide to handle Ambitions in play (this is dragging on a bit).
6. Age and Name
Nephelai don't really have "age", they start at 2 and still count as adult up to 99 years old. Effectively, our protagonist is 11 years old. For a name, I go for Solon. Judging by his history, I take "the Far-Travelled" as his Epithet. And with that, I'm done.
Solon the Far-Travelled
Nephelai of Strofades
Favoured of Hoseidon
Profession Void Pilot
Hero Points 7
Skills Aerial Combat +3, Brawl +3, Command +2, Computers (Ship Systems) + 3, Cultural Studies (Nephelai) +7, Evade +5, Lore (tactics) +2, Navigate +6, Pilot (starship) +6/+7 in Slipspace, Speak Language (Nephelai, native) +10, Speak Language (Hellene, basic) +3, Weapon (pistol) +5, Weapon (vehicle weapon) +6, Profession (pilot, Dex) +4
Racial Features Flight, Intangibility, Sound Manipulation.
Talents Dog Fighter, Elusive Target, Royal Favor
Equipment 1st Age Shield Belt (class A), Enviro-suit, Nephelai Sonic Blaster, light leather vest, map of Slipspace, Argosian light hauler.
0: Yeah, that's an ugly sentence. Deal.
1: I am not sponsored by random.org, they don't know I exist.