Hiero's Journey - 6. Gaming


Hiero's progress feels (to me, at least) very like an old-style game mechanism - win a battle, gain experience, develop extra abilities, go on to the next battle. How might you be inclined to set up a game based around the book today?


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    Astutely observed. The book predates RPGs, but is listed by Gary Gygax as one of his inspirations, and quite possibly this a source for that idea. The mental aspects might be one inspiration for D&D psionics.

    If I was going to gamify this, I'd develop the cultures a lot more, and use them as tools to explore our own social evolution as Hiero travels through them. The psionics would be a definite feature. I'd probably make the creatures rarer, and more divers in terms of their abilities, and maybe weirder. Ancient tech might be more of a thing. The Unclean would be way more sophisticated and have complex motivations that maybe at their core diverged from the Metz and Eleveners, but perhaps still had altruism at their heart.

    And since this seems to lend itself to campaign play, a traditional system (probably BRP based) would be very easy to adapt to these purposes.

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    In D&D terms, Hiero starts as a reasonably competent Ranger, complete with animal companion. During the book, he double-classes into Psionic or something and quickly picks up levels in that.

    I could easily see this book being a Ryuutama game, what with lots of wilderness travel, visits to unknown places, plenty of sentient animals, low-level magic, and not much emphasis on combat. (The base game encourages a feelgood style, but there are even suggestions for a darker tone.) You could even describe Aldo as being the GM PC of a Crimson Ryuujin.

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    I can see all sorts of AD&D 1e inspirations.

    The psionics system, where only psionicists are vulnerable to psionic attacks.

    The philosophy of the druids (as expressed by Aldo).

    And yes, kill a monster, level up, get stronger!

    I'm not sure I'd want to game there--it's too gonzo for my tastes these days-- but there's joy in the book, and inspiration.
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    It would be game I wouldn't be interested in playing. :smiley:

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