HELLAS is a heroic space opera role-playing game designed around fact, fiction, and folklore of Ancient Greece. This is not Ancient Greece in space but rather a completely unique setting where character races, bestiary, gods, and much of the setting’s design derive from Ancient Greece. It is very unique compared to most space opera systems in that it’s very heroic in design similar to the adventures to be had in epic fantasy. This is not a game about exploring the depths of space and encountering unknown beings, it is about your characters being the center of a grand storyline that actually develops around their actions and decisions.
HELLAS is powered by the Omni System, a table-based d20 system where the results of a roll are determined by comparing them to the Omni Table with defined results. A character’s attribute and applicable skill are added together to form the modifier for the d20 roll along with difficulty modifiers determined by the Game Master (GM). Characters are designed to be heroic with an assortment of skills to choose from and a grouping of interesting character races straight from Greek mythology. HELLAS is an extremely unique game system with an exciting heroic version of space opera.
Fantasy is the most popular genre in tabletop role-playing. In fact, there are many fantasy players that just don’t care for science fiction. Most space opera systems contain aspects that these fantasy players simply do not find appealing. Space opera is not typically heroic in nature and characters rarely performing world-altering deeds. Their actions and decisions do not affect those around them, especially the world as a whole. In many fantasy settings, the deeds of the heroic characters are life and world altering. HELLAS bridges that gap between fantasy and space opera without simply turning into fantasy sci-fi. It takes the technology and spacecraft aspects of space opera and combines them with the heroic and life-altering deeds of fantasy. HELLAS could take those hesitant fantasy players and convince them that space opera can be just as exciting as fantasy.
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
HELLAS has a very interesting layout. The entire book is published in landscape format with a flow and presentation that is simple, effective, and easy-to-read. Some sections have a tricky use of white space due to the placement of illustrations (particularly 1/4 page illustrations). The publication uses a lot of red and orange which get a bit overwhelming when in the form of tables. Other than that, the quality is fantastic with lots of beautiful illustrations. The full-page illustrations are excellent representations of the setting and everything carries that Greek appeal.
Mechanics: 8 out of 10
The use of the Omni Table is very unique. On one hand you always know what your ultimate goal numbers should be, getting there could be a bit more difficult. There are quite a few modifiers along with the GM being able to define the roll’s difficulty providing yet another modifier. Rather than the skill check resolution, the heroic mechanics are great. HELLAS introduces Glory to increase your character’s heroic aspect (in the eyes of those around them) along with introducing Fate which brings them closer and closer to death. Test fate and you will lose in the end. It’s a great way of balancing cause and effect along with forcing players to make possibly difficult decisions. What makes the mechanics effective is how they are blended together with character creation and heroic game-play. The Omni System supports this heroic game-play and I believe that is its purpose.
Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
One of the most desirable aspects of HELLAS is the uniqueness of the game setting. Not that Ancient Greece is unique, but interpreted in this way is unique. Possibly the other most desirable aspect is the heroic design of this space opera system as opposed to more traditional designs of space opera. The only thing that may deter players is the use of the Omni Table compared to traditional roll-under or roll-over methods. However, players and GMs should be aware that the true power of the system is the combination of the character attributes, skills, and heroic mechanics with the design of the Omni Table.
Overall: 8 out of 10
HELLAS is far from your traditional space opera setting and system. It perfectly blends heroic sci-fi with everything you can think about relating to Ancient Greece in a way that is not only unique but extremely interesting and colorful. It is also an all-encompassing system that includes the standard action and adventure along with space travel, space combat, politics (in a good way), and world altering encounters. It’s difficult to fully understand everything possible with HELLAS without actually seeing it.
[4 of 5 Stars!]