Parthenon Martyrs
The Gods

Era Centrum: The Great Game

After a tenth of the rebels had been slain,
Ra felt the punishment of the wicked mortals
was sufficient and ordered his Eye to stop.
But Hathor-Sekhmet continued killing.... To
stop her, Ra ordered his priests to bring scores of
barrels of beer to Hathor's temple at Elephantine, then
mixed in red ochre so that the beer appeared to be blood.
The bloodthirsty goddess was fooled and drank barrel after
barrel until she became intoxicated and passed out.
- Mythic Egypt, The Reign of Ra

In this episode, the mortal races spread across the Earth. Guided by the gods, the mortals build civilizations, fight wars, and, through their worship, provide mana to the gods. Each god attempts to assist those cultures which worship him while hindering those cultures which worship his opponents. This is the great heyday of the Gods of Man. This era introduces the rules for time on Earth, mortal cultures, and the use of history powers.

Time on Earth and Heaven

Era Centrum is divided into turns of one century. Gods receive mana from worship and cultural existence every turn.

The length of a turn in Heaven is generally 30 minutes, but this may be modified by gods with the Fate and Justice sphere to anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes. It is thus to the advantage of a god with many worshipers to shorten the length of the turn.

Each century turn is broken up into a number of decades. Decades have no effect in Heaven, but serve only to regulate movement and conflict of cultures on Earth. The number of decades in a century is variable, basically being as many as the referees governing the Earth map can handle. If the turn is short (in Heaven time), there are many cultures to handle, and the gods are interfering heavily, there may be only one or two decades in a century.

Races and Cultures

The mortal races of Earth are defined during Era Aleph. In addition to its mere existence, each race may have a number of inherent attributes (defined by creation powers) which provide advantages or disadvantages during Eras Centrum and Omega.

The races themselves are divided up into cultures, though there may be only one culture in any given race. Cultures of the same race have no ties other than genetic. They may vary completely in their knowledge, level, wealth, and religion; they are just as likely to war with one another as they are with cultures of other races. For most purposes, the culture is the defining unit in game terms.

Defining Mortal Cultures

Every culture is defined by seven attributes, described below. These attributes are posted on the culture sheets next to the Earth map. A culture's attributes are not considered to be changed until a referee has actually updated its culture sheet.

Population Growth

Population growth occurs at the beginning of every century/turn on Earth. Unless otherwise modified, the population of each square goes up by one-third (rounded up). Thus, a square with a population of 1-3 increases by 1, 4-6 increases by 2, etc.

Each square has a population limit, determined by the type of terrain and the level of the culture (see table). These limits may be modified by other factors. At the end of each decade, any population in excess of a square's population limit dies of starvation. Normal population limits do not apply in cities.

Plains Forest Desert Mount. Ice
Primitive 3 3 1 1 1
Barbarian 8 5 3 2 1
Civilized 10 5 5 2 1
Advanced 15 7 7 4 1
Transcendent NA NA NA NA NA

In any square with a river in it, the population limit is increased by 1.


Population movement occurs every decade. Each population token may move one square per decade, though speed is increased by a number of racial attributes and knowledges. Movement is always between the four edges of the square, not diagonally.

In general, populations which are civilized or above will not move unless they must in order to spread out due to overpopulation in their core areas. Army tokens (see below) move at three times the speed of their respective population. Terrain (other than oceans and chasms) has no effect on movement.

All movement of populations and armies is handled by the Earth map referees. The gods have no direct control over such activities but may influence them indirectly through the use of history powers.

Populations of different cultures may not co-exist peacefully in the same square. Two populations in the same square will immediately fight each other until one leaves or is dead.

Conflicts Between Cultures

When two cultures are in contact, they are either at peace or at war. Two cultures at peace may still fight each other, representing border skirmishes and raids onto the other's territory. A state of war indicates a directed attempt to conquer, wipe out, or drive away the other culture.

When the populations of two cultures are in the same square, they will automatically fight one another. Each side rolls a single six-sided dice and adds any appropriate military bonuses. The side with the larger population gets an additional +1.: The side with the lower number loses one population token. On ties, both sides lose one population token. If the difference between the two numbers is 5 or greater, then the loser also retreats. Combat continues until only one culture is left in the square.

Cultures with professional militaries are able to fight with armies, rather than the general population. Whenever such a culture goes to war, one army token is created for each population token (in the same squares as the population tokens). Army tokens move three times the speed of a population token and can continue moving after a fight as long as they still have movement points left. There are no limits on the number of army tokens in a square, and they can co-exist with population tokens. Army tokens fight just like population tokens and can fight alongside or against population tokens or other army tokens.

Army tokens remain in existence as long as the culture is at war, but new ones do not come into existence, even if the population grows. Once a war is over, the army tokens disappear as the soldiers are demobilized back into the population. Fresh armies are raised again only if the culture starts another war.

Cultural Levels

The five cultural levels have many affects on a culture's activities. Most importantly they determine the culture's population maximums in different terrains. Other effects are described in this section.


Cities lie at the heart of civilized and advanced cultures. Squares with a city have a population limit of 10 (15 for advanced cultures) or the normal terrain limit, whichever is higher. There may only be one city in any square on the Earth map. Cities are always built on the square in which the culture has the largest population at that moment; ties are broken randomly. A new city may not be built unless the culture has at least six populated non-city squares for every already existing city.

Great cities are even more magnificent than cities. They have population limits twice that of a normal city. New great cities may only be created if there are at least three regular cities for every already existing great city.

A city is destroyed if it ever drops below a population of 6. At that point the city collapses and the population reverts to a rural existence subject to normal rules.

In combat, population and army tokens defending in a city square gain a +1 military bonus and are never forced to retreat. If a city is conquered by an enemy population and the surviving enemy population (not armies) is 6 or higher, then the city survives under the new rulers. (It is actually possible for primitive or barbarian cultures to own cities in this fashion.) If the conquering population is 5 or less, then the city is sacked. Conquering armies without populations always sack cities.

If a city is sacked, the victorious culture immediately gains a number of wealth points equal to the city's population before the attack. These wealth points last until the end of the century.


Wealth points are generated by a number of means. These include:

The total number of wealth points determines the culture's wealth level (though certain cultural levels have wealth level maximums). The four wealth levels provide certain modifiers to the culture.

0-6 Poor
7-25 Average
26-50 Wealthy
51+ Filthy Rich

Mana from Worship

At the end of every century, gods receive mana from the worship of mortals. Each culture produces 1 point of mana for every point of population that they have. That mana is then divided between all of the gods whom they worship.

A culture may worship a single god or a collection of gods. A group of gods worshiped by a specific culture is known as a pantheon. A god may belong to many different pantheons, and a pantheon may contain any number of gods.

At the beginning of Era Centrum, all mana for a pantheon is divided equally among its members. However, the members of the pantheon may at any time alter these ratios, giving each member a different percentage of mana, anywhere between 0% and 100% each as long as the total equals 100%. Percentages can be changed at any time as long as all members of the pantheon unanimously agree and simultaneously communicate their wishes to the Earth map referees. In addition to altering the percentages for existing members, they may also add other gods to the pantheon.

When a god receives mana from worship, the amount is multiplied by a factor based on her spheres. This factor is the average of the worship multipliers for each sphere card she possesses. Thus, a god with one level of Sea (x0.5), three levels of War (x1.5) and one level of Light (x1), has a total multiplier of x1.2.

If a culture is in religious turmoil (see below) for any fraction of a century, it provides no mana from worship at the end of the century.

Mana from Cultural Existence

Some spheres provide mana for entire cultures as long as they meet certain conditions. The amount of mana listed is received at the end of each century for every culture which meets the condition at that time, and is multiplied by the number of cards the god has in that sphere.

Religious Turmoil

Religious turmoil is the state that exists when the gods of a pantheon do not agree on how to split up the mana. Any member of a culture's pantheon may put that culture into religious turmoil by simply telling the Earth map referees (just like using a History power, though there is no mana cost). That culture provides no mana until the religious turmoil is ended.

Religious turmoil ends only when all gods in the pantheon agree on how to split the mana from that culture's worship. Until all of the gods in the pantheon unanimously inform the Earth map referees of their new agreement (either in person or by message), the culture remains in religious turmoil.

Religious turmoil can be dangerous, since cultures in such straits can be fickle about their worship. At the end of every decade in which a culture is in religious turmoil, the referees will roll a single six-sided die. On a result of 1-2, one god chosen at random will be kicked out of the pantheon; the mortals no longer worship him. On a result of 3-4 nothing happens. On a result of 5-6, one god chosen at random must name another god in the pantheon; the god named is kicked out of the pantheon.

Cultures in religious turmoil still expand, learn new knowledges, fight wars, and make peace as normal. They just provide no mana from worship.

Actions of Cultures

Movement and activity of a culture is under the control of the Earth map referees, not the gods. Cultures will migrate and make wars on their own, even without the interference of the gods. Most of this activity will be random, but the referees will try to "play" each culture logically and realistically.

Cultures at war who are gaining no advantage from a war will generally try to stop it through diplomacy. Each decade they may make one diplomacy roll (adding multipliers due to wealth, knowledges, or racial attributes, but subtracting any diplomacy bonuses from the opposing side). On a result of 6 or higher, the war is halted and the two cultures move to a state of peace.

Gods may influence cultures by use of various powers. There are only three commands which can be given to a culture. These commands are:

Unless otherwise noted in the power description, such commands are always successful.

Using History Powers

History powers can be used to affect Earth during Eras Centrum and Omega. Certain special rules apply to history powers.

Gods with sphere cards in common may work together, adding their sphere cards together in order to use higher level history powers which the individual gods may not have been able to achieve. The gods involved in any such cooperation must all have at least one card in the appropriate sphere in order to contribute. The mana cost may be shared among the gods in whatever manner they decide; each participant may contribute all, some, or none of the mana as long as the required amount is spent. When combining spheres, the gods involved do not receive mana discounts for having extra sphere cards; casting combined powers always costs full price.

History powers that provide knowledges to a culture always begin with the word Teach. A god receives a 10% discount on the mana cost of a teaching power if he uses it on a culture which worships him.

History powers are normally used in the Window on the World. The deity speaks to the referees running the map of Earth and indicates exactly where his effect should take place. The results are immediately indicated on the map or culture sheets. If multiple gods are combining their powers, then all must be present at the time.

Because many gods may be competing for the attention of the Earth map referees, gods must line up and use their history powers one at a time (or in groups if combining). After casting a single power, the god(s) must return to the end of the line. Gods waiting in line are, of course, free to talk and interact in normal fashion.

History powers can be used in other parts of Heaven, but the god has less control over the effects. The god must spend the mana normally, write down the specific effects on a slip of paper (specifying the location on Earth in as much detail as he cares), and hand it to a referee. The referee will deliver it to the Earth map referees whenever it is convenient. Similarly, the Earth map referees will effect the actual changes whenever they get around to it, interpreting the location and other details of the effect as they see fit.

Demon-worshiping Cultures

Certain powers provide demons access to Earth. Through these means, demonic cults can come into existence. When they arise, demonic cults take away a percentage of a culture's worship mana and give it to the demons. The demons can never institute religious turmoil but are, for all other purposes, automatically a member of that culture's pantheon.

If religious turmoil does arise, the demons collectively have the same chance as other gods in the pantheon to be kicked out of the pantheon or select others for being kicked out. The demons will automatically agree to any new division as long as they receive at least 5 percentage points more of the mana than they had before the religious turmoil began; this agreement is assumed and need not be communicated to the Earth map referees. The demons are not considered to accept any other method of division unless a demon personally communicates his approval to the Earth map referees.

If the percentage of mana going to demons from a specific culture ever reaches 50% or more, the demon-worshipers immediately stage a coup and take total control of the culture. That culture will never worship the gods in any way and will immediately declare genocidal war on all non-demonic cultures, using every power at its command to wipe out all god-loving peoples.

If a transcendent culture had any demonic cults in it before becoming transcendent, the percentage of mana that went to the demons is also the percentage chance that their avatar hero will, during Ragnarok, fight on behalf of the demons!

Transition Phase Tertius

At the end of Era Centrum, players must report their mana totals to the gamemaster. Gods with spheres of nature will receive mana from terrain on Earth. Transition Phase Tertius will take place over the next few months. During this time players will create game contributions for Era Omega and select their third and final personal goal.

Greater gods may also create new lesser gods during this period, though they must take it upon themselves to find players for the roles.

Gods may also purchase new major sphere cards during this Transition Phase. A new major sphere card costs 100 mana. It can be from any sphere except ones in which another god has a monopoly. Minor sphere cards or the sixth card in a sphere may not be purchased.

The only player contributions needed for the next era are histories of Earth. Any number of players may write mortal histories from the viewpoint of any cultures. They should be written in a style appropriate to the fictitious mortal authors and may or may not include tales of events in Heaven. A 4-page history will be worth 10 mana, with greater amounts provided for histories which are both longer and particularly well-written. Histories will be distributed to all players.