How to Herc – An Illustrated Guide to Demigodery

Every day, hundreds of people (or none) email me asking how they can be more like Hercules. They also ask for my social security number, so it may be an elaborate internet scam, but in case it isn’t, I present this guide.

If your fighter or barbarian character checks off everything on this list, when they die they will ascend to Mount Olympus and become a god. Any player at the table who plays a cleric will have to convert to your new religion, which obviously means they have to adopt your dead character’s alignment and they lose access to spells if they don’t fetch drinks and chips for you.

Kirk Morris as Hercules and Illoosh Khoshabe as Samson

Throw a Mega-Punch

At least once in his life, a real Hercules must throw a mega-punch. Here’s how:

1. When making an attack, declare it’s a mega-punch

2. Roll a d20, d12 and d10, adding your Str bonus and attack bonus to each dice

If all three rolls best your opponent’s AC, you reduce the target to 1d6 hit points and knock them out for an hour – yep, even if its Gandalf or Cthulhu

If two hit, you score normal punching damage, and are banned from mega-punching again until you gain a new level. We’re all a little disappointed in you.

If one hits, you swing wildly and miss. Any ally within fist range, though, must pass a saving throw or get clocked by you, suffering normal damage. If this occurs in a bar, your friend now has to get up and punch a stranger, and so on.

If none hit, you lose one level due to embarrassment and divine punishment. This lost level returns after you defeat something awesome in battle – without help Poindexter!

Reg Park as Hercules

Swear an Oath to the Gods

When bad shit happens to good people, look to the heavens and cry, “By the power of Zeus I will avenge you!”

Then do it.

Earn double XP, and operate under a bless spell during your next adventure.

Dear God, It’s Me, Hercules

A variation on the above. Whenever you screw up something you shouldn’t have, look to the sky and ask “Why have you forsaken me?”

There is a 1% chance, +1% per person at the table who laughed or snickered at your failure, that the head of the pantheon appears and tells you, and then gives you a quest to fulfill.

What’s the upside? There is none. But being Hercules ain’t all cheese and crackers, you know.

Gordon Scott as Hercules

Wrestle With Something Way Out of Your Class

If you’re medium, it should be huge. You can warm up on something large, but eventually you need to step it up to huge. And I mean wrestle – not attack with sword. Grab it. Pin it. Choke it out.

Dan Vadis as Hercules

Ruin Architecture

If the world provides you with two pillars within arms reach of one another, you damn well better knock them down.

“But wait,” you cry, “I can’t do that with even an 18/00 strength!”

Then I guess you can’t be a god.

Steve Reeves as Hercules

Kill Someone with Chains

And not just any chains. The chains with which they bound you. Break out of the chains, then pick them up, and then start cutting down bastards like you’re harvesting grain.

Heavy chains do 1d6 damage and add 5′ to your reach. When attacking anyone who was involved in binding you, you score double damage.

Mark Forest as Hercules

Lead and Army in Skirts

No armor, just grim determination and skirts so short they would make a nun blush. Bonus if the army is Inca. You know, because of mythology and such.

Smack Around Some Moon Men

They may look like earth elementals, but trust me, they’re Moon Men and they have it coming.

Note – unless you’re lucky and they’re on Earth plotting to resurrect their queen by draining the life from a human woman, you’ll have to go to the Moon to fight them.

Mark Forest as Hercules

Choke a Thick Snake

Proudly, and announce that you’re choking a thick snake. Repeatedly. And talk about how your hands are tired afterward.

Don’t worry – each person at the table that snickers only adds to your glory. It’s called confidence, and there’s nothing manlier than that.

Sylvia Lopez as Omphale

Dally with an Evil Queen

She needs to be scary-hot. And evil.

Doing it while under a spell counts.

Changing her alignment counts for more.

Nigel Green as Hercules (one of my favorites)

Endanger The Party with Your Antics

Like, maybe by awakening Talos by stealing treasure you were specifically told not to steal.

Of course, you also have to save the day, or die trying.

Reg Park as Ursus

Two For One

Kill two men-at-arms by throwing one at the other. Extra points for a trick shot.

Fight Moloch

Or a guy dressed up as Moloch.

Okay – I just included this one because I thought the guy looked cool.

Steve Reeves as Hercules

Row a Galley

Bonus points if the captain can water ski behind it.


Learn to laugh at life!

Dragon by Dragon – April 1980 (36)

There will come a day when the April edition of The Dragon will be full of jokes. Based on the cover, I’d say that day was not in April of 1980.

The aforementioned cover is by Dean Morrissey, and it is inspired by that issue’s short story by Gardner Fox, “The Cube from Beyond”, a Niall of the Far Travels story. Mr. Morrissey is still a working artist – you can see some of his pieces HERE.

Let’s check out 10 cool things about issue #36 …


First and foremost, I’m always a sucker for a good sword & sorcery tale by Gardner Fox. Here’s a sample:

“Now Thavas Tomer was a doomed man. He had fled down the halls and corridors, seeking sanctuary—where no sanctuary was to be found. At his heels had come Niall, his great sword Blood-drinker in his hand, seeking to make an end to this magician-king who had slain and raped and robbed all those against whom he had sent his mercenaries.”

If somebody could figure out a way to make a random idea generator that plucked passages from fantasy stories, I bet it would be a great way to come up with adventures or campaigns. Three different passages from the same book might inspire three very different campaigns.


An interesting “Up on a Soap Box” by Larry DiTillio, regarding him running an adventure he normally ran for adults for some adults and teens at a convention. Here’s an excerpt:

“In the same game another incident occurred, again with that same Paladin player. This one involved a mysterious monk smoking a substance from a hookah which he offered to certain party members. My friends accepted somewhat overeagerly, while the Paladin again asked me that question. Was smoking a drug against his alignment? Now, I’m not a junkie, nor do I think drugs are of any benefit to teen-agers (no high is as good as your own natural openness to things at that age), but I have had a good deal of experience with a whole gamut of consciousness-altering substances and would be hard pressed to declare them categorically evil.”

The first incident involved a dungeon room where sex could be purchased. In both cases, the paladin inquires whether these acts are against his alignment. It’s a tricky question, and does get to a problem with alignment – i.e. the interpretation of what it means. No answers here, but an interesting problem, and an interesting article.


In this issue, Gygax chimes in with some stats for Conan. It’s funny, but I was actually searching for this article recently, looking for inspiration for maybe making some revisions to the barbarian class in Blood & Treasure.

In doing so, I found some comments on websites that this article was a mistake, in that the weird rules changes needed to simulate Conan showed the weakness of the D&D system. I disagree – D&D is a game. Conan was a character in stories. No random rolls there, no comparisons of hit rolls and Armor Class. That a game cannot simulate something in a story is not a condemnation of the game (which, in D&D’s case, was not designed specifically to simulate Conan stories in the first place).

So, how does Conan shake out? Well, which Conan. The piece actually presents Conan at different ages – 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70. Neat idea. We also see how his fighter and thief levels change through his ages. His fighter level runs from a low of 4 at age 15 to a high of 24 at age 40 … and then back down to 12 by the time he’s 70.

How does a level drop? Well, there’s really no way to do it in the game, but I thought about using a rule that each year without adventuring might result in a character losing 10% of his earned XP. If you don’t stay in practice, you get rusty and, therefore, lose levels. Just a thought.

So, let’s look at Conan at age 25.

Conan, Human Fighter/Thief: Level 12/8; HP 132; AC 16; ATK attacks 5 times every 2 rounds; Str 18/00, Int 15, Wis 10, Dex 20, Con 18, Cha 15; AL Chaotic Neutral (good tendencies); Psionics–Latent–animal telepathy, detect magic, precognition, mind bar.

Conan gets the following special abilities:

  • When he rolls a total of “21” to hit, he scores double damage.
  • He is 75% undetectable in underbrush and woodlands.
  • He surprises opponents 50% of the time.
  • He is only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d20.
  • He gets a +4 bonus on all saves.
  • Poison can knock him unconscious, but never kill him.
  • He regains hit points at double the normal rate, and regains hit points at the normal rate even without resting.
  • He has 25% magic resistance if he is aware that magic is being used against him.
  • His psionics are all latent – he does not know he has them, and cannot consciously choose to use them.
  • When wielding an off-hand weapon, he can parry one attack per round with it.
  • He can move at a trot all day without tiring.
  • His trails are 75% undetectable.
  • His vision and hearing are 50% better than normal.
  • When he pummels people, his opponents are treated as slowed; his fists are treated as mailed even when bare.
  • When grappling, his effective height is 7′, and his effective weight is 350 lb.
  • He gets a 15% bonus to overbearing attacks
  • He does unarmed damage as though armed with a club


In “Sage Advice” by Jean Wells …

“Question: Why can’t half-orcs be raised, especially if they are 90% human as the Players Handbook says?

Answer: The Players Handbook does not say that half-orcs are 90% human. It says that 10% of them (from which player characters are drawn) resemble humans enough to pass for one under most circumstances. Genetically, a true half-orc is always 50% human. Half-orcs cannot be raised simply because they do not have souls. I went right to the top for the answer to this one, and according to Gary Gygax himself, ‘Half-orcs cannot be raised-period.'”

It occurs to me that the inability to raise demi-humans was a balancing factor in old D&D for all of their special abilities.


Len Lakofka tries his hand at setting all those deity-killing PC’s right by setting down some truths about the gods. How many DM’s, I wonder, design their pantheon specifically for one day fighting high-level adventurers?

Here are Lakofka’s definitions for deity-hood:

1. Has 180 or more hit points
2. Can cast a spell or has a power at the 20th level of ability
3. Can fight or perform acts as a 20th level Lord or 20th level Thief

Those who cannot do this are not deities. This includes Jubilex, Ki-rins and Yeenoghu. Baal, Orcus, Tiamat and Bahamut, on the other hand, are deities.

He also states that deities get their special abilities from the Outer Planes, while lesser beings get their powers from the inner planes or from deities.

Much more here, including abilities from ability scores of 19 or higher (or 25+ for strength).

It looks like the blueprint used for the later Deities & Demigods / Legends & Lore books.


Now that’s a great illustration for selling a monster book. You can pick up the PDF HERE.


Turns out there was a prank hiding inside this issue after all – technically The Dragon #36 1/2.

We have articles about how to make the most out of your pet dragon, some new monsters (see below), keeping your players poor with the tax man, Bazaar of the Ordinary (web of cob), a random table (d30!) of things to say when you accidentally (or maybe not accidentally) summon Demogorgon, Leomund’s in a Rut (expanding character footwear options), this month’s module – a 10×10 room with nothing in it (map provided), and an add that includes Detailed Advanced D&D, the next step in fantasy gaming.

As for one of those new monsters:

The Keebler, Small Fey: HD 0; AC 13; ATK none; MV 40′; XP 50; AL N (good tendencies); Special-Magic resistance 60%, bake cookies (Will save at -4 or charmed); Spells-3/day-create water, purify food & drink, slow poison, create food & water, neutralize poison, locate object (edible substances) – as though by 7th level cleric.

7) The Mongols

Neat article by Michael Kluever on the history, weapons and tactics of the Mongols. Mongols done the way they were are probably pretty underused in fantasy gaming – they were a pretty fascinating group, and a campaign that includes a rapidly expanding Mongol Empire (wherein PC’s leave town, adventure in a dungeon, and come back to find the town razed or absorbed into the empire) would be pretty cool, especially if that expansion ends up being crucial to the game.

How was the typical Mongol warrior equipped:

Armor ranged from none to leather to scale armor, plus conical helms (leather for light cavalry, steel for heavy cavalry) and small, circular shields made of wicker covered with leather; they also wore silk undershirts that apparently helped to minimize damage from arrows when they had to be removed from wounds

Two composite bows, one for short range, one for long range; they used armor-piercing arrows, whistling arrows to signal and incendiary arrows (tipped with small grenades – apparently the Duke boys didn’t invent the idea); each warrior carried two quivers with 60 arrows in each

Heavy cavalry also carried a scimitar, battle axe OR horseman’s mace, a 12′ long lance with a hook for yanking warriors off their horses and a dagger

Light cavalry carried a lighter sword, two to three javelins and a dagger

8) Giants in the Earth

This edition, by Lawrence Schick and Tom Moldvay, includes:

Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood (17th level fighter, 10th level thief, 8th level cleric)

Lovecraft’s Richard Upton Pickman (King of the Ghouls, 9th level fighter)

Thomas Burnett Swann’s Silverbells (forest minotaur 15th level ranger, 13th level paladin)

The last one caught my attention, since I’d never heard of the author. The idea is that the original stock of minotaurs, termed forest minotaurs here, were neutral good defenders of the woodlands and the fey creatures who lived therein. You can find his books for sale at Amazon.

9) A New Way to Track XP

Experience points, like alignment, are a perennial sub-system people are trying to improve. In this version, XP are based on actual damage inflicted (modified by the strength of the opponents), and for deeds actually done. To whit:

For non-magical monsters, you get 5 XP per point of damage done, multiplied by the difference between the monster’s AC and 10

For magical monsters, 10 XP per point of damage done, same modifier.

For spellcasting in combat, 10 XP per level of spell

For spellcasting in a hostile situation, 5 XP per level of spell

Thieves get XP for gold stolen, maybe only if they grab a larger share than the other members of their party

Not a bad idea, really.

10) The Fastest Guns that Never Lived

This is a reprint, collection and expansion of articles I remember covering many reviews ago. Designed for Boot Hill, it’s a pretty fun article for fans of westerns, and a great opportunity for fan debates. If you think it’s bunk, you can blame Allen Hammack, Brian Blume, Gary Gygax and Tim Kask.

So, let’s get to the winners in each stat:

Fastest Gun in the West: (1) Clint Eastwood, (2) Bob Steele, (3) Paladin

Slowest: Pancho

Most Accurate Gun in the West: (1) Clint Eastwood, (2) Will Sonnet and Col. Tim McCoy, (3) Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Paladin and Lee Van Cleef

Least: Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright

Bravest Gun in the West: Charles Bronson

Most Cowardly: Pancho

Strongest Gun in the West: Hoss Cartwright

Weakest: Will Sonnet

Somebody was in love with Clint Eastwood, huh?


Todd Lockwood (that one?) brings us the monster of the month, a race of warm-blooded flying reptile dudes. Here are the Blood & Treasure stats.

Krolli, Large Monstrous Humanoid: HD 2 to 6; AC 17; ATK 1 bite (1d6+1), rear claw (1d8+1), hand (1d8 or by weapon +4); MV 20′ (fly 40′); AL varies; XP 200 to 600; Special-High dexterity, multiple attacks, acute senses, surprised on 1 on 1d6, 25% magic resistance.

They are encountered in lairs, with 3d20 in lair, 25% females and young, with 2-3 and 1/2 HD each, and 1d8 7+2 HD chieftains. Encountered among men, they are usually mercenaries or slavers, and could be found as body guards or military officers.

They have high natural strength (20) and dexterity (23).

They may be of any class, though 95% are fighters. Of the remainder, 70% are clerics. They cannot wear armor, but often carry shields. They are almost never thieves or assassins.

Side note – I really loved Lockwood’s stuff for 3rd edition D&D – a very worthy artist to carry that torch, I think.

Hope you enjoyed this review … I leave you with Tramp

Alia – Mechanical Goddess

Sculpture by John Duncan Fergusson

Saw this sculpture on Wikipedia today, and it inspired me. Looks like an appropriate goddess for the mechanical men who run about in NOD.

Goddess of Sun, Wisdom, Harmony, Dance
Neutral (LN)
Worshiped by Mechanical Men, Sages, Engineers, Royalty
Carries no weapons

Alia is the sun goddess of the mechanical men. The mechanical peoples have a different relation to the Sun than living creatures. They require no warmth, and do not eat, but they do require light and recognize its central place in the scheme of things. To the mechanical men, Alia is a goddess of reason and harmony, and her priests are usually Lawful (LG) or Neutral (LN) as a result. Her role as a slayer of darkness/evil or bringer of new life is underplayed by them, and instead she is conceived as more of a wise woman, holding a combination of a salon and grand ball, in which the other heavenly spheres dance and commune. Her priests, therefore, are skilled at dancing and are more sages than warriors, though they acknowledge the need to combat Chaos (Evil), as it attempts to disrupt and wear down the mechanical universe, of which they are microcosms.


Cleric 4 (Clerics of Alia only)
30 ft. range
1 minute duration

Harmonious action permits all allies within the spell’s range to move and act in perfect harmony while engaged in melee combat. The cleric chooses one enemy target in particular. Each of the cleric’s allies, in addition to making a normal move and melee attack, can make an extra melee attack at a -5 penalty on the cleric’s chosen foe, provided that foe is within their range.

History of Nod, Part III – The Dwarves

Today, we cover the ancient history of the dwarves of NOD, with a special bonus at the end covering the identities of the major Kabir and Igigi.

Image by Jon Kaufman (pachycrocuta at DA – check him out for commissions!)

The ancient elves, being fey creatures, were physically malleable. Not to the extent of the Kabir, of course, who could assume any shape they pleased. The elves were humanoid in shape, and humanoid they would stay. But when they were angry, their faces twisted and their bodies distorted (sometimes called a warp spasm), and when they were happy, they almost glowed with joy. An elf’s children were physical duplicates of their parent’s emotional and spiritual selves.

As the ancient elves grew darker, their children grew uglier. Thus were born the orcs, goblins, bugbears, hobgoblins and dwarves. These waifs were turned out into the wilderness by their disgusted parents to die, but many were rescued by entities who saw them either as useful pawns in their own sinister games, or in the case of the dwarves, who were born of greed, by the compassion of Ys, who believed they might be brought up to do good in the world despite their parentage.

Ys was correct about the dwarves, hiding them in the mountains and under the hills, and shepherding their development until they were honorable men and women, industrious, clever and just. Of course, they were still greedy and stubborn as all get out, but nobody is perfect.

As was mentioned before, the dwarves were no match for the ancient elves, and were forced to pay tribute to them. A dwarf loves his gold, and being cheated of it brought a terrible hatred for the elves among the dwarves, and they bent their minds to one day throwing off this indignity. They were a patient folk, the dwarves, and they had much time to plan and scheme. They forged weapons of power and hid them away, and watched as the debauched elves grew insular and petty. They had long ago stopped having children with one another, choosing instead to produce children with their more handsome human slaves, that they might escape the aforementioned curse of “ugly children”. In time, there were many more humans and half-elves in their kingdoms and empires than true elves. The time the dwarves had waited for had finally arrived.

In this time, the disparate elven kingdoms had come under the control of a queen-of-queens, an elf called Vinrix. Vinrix was the most powerful elf of her age, and nothing to be trifled with. When her people came to the high king of the dwarves, Dvalinn, with demands that a hundred-thousand of his people be delivered into slavery to build her monuments, he declined, and sent back from his halls a few bloodied and blinded survivors carrying the heads of their comrades. This, of course, meant war.

War between the elves and dwarves centered around the dwarven holds in the Bleeding Mountains, which in those days were known as Golden Mountains. The elves besieged the dwarves in their mountain holds, as Dvalinn had desired, and slowly but surely the dwarves chipped away at the strength of the elven armies, slaying their great wizard-lords with such mundane things as rockets and cannon. More importantly, they undermined the positions of the elves, and bypassing their enemy’s lines worked their wiles on the human slaves that formed the bulk of the elves’ strength. Before the elves knew it, their human subjects were in open revolt, and they were forced to divide their armies again and again until they were spread thin across the globe.

It finally came about that the dwarves left their strongholds to challenge the army of Vinrix in the field. The elves had made camp around the base of the Crown Stone, the keystone their magical network of standing stones, which augmented their eldritch power and denied it to most other folk. There the dwarves went with humans and others in tow, and joined battle with their ancient enemies. Eventually, it was a matter of High King against Empress, and finally, her back pressed against the Crown Stone itself, the dwarf made a last mighty swing with his hammer and missed. The hammer, forged in the raging elemental fires beneath the earth, tempered in the immaculate grudges of the dwarves, cracked the great stone his people had raised, and everything was cast in a brilliant white light.

Those who were far enough away to have seen the event and survived tell of a great white light that lasted but an instant and then disappeared, followed by a great rush of wind. Vinrix and Dvalinn and their armies were gone, as was the Crown Stone and, with it, the network of standing stones. Some toppled physically, others remained standing, but the great network that channeled magical energy was gone. Where once there stood the Crown Stone on a lush prairie, there was now a great, gaping gulf – a piece torn from the Material Plane. A few bits of land floated in this black gulf, this void-scar on the landscape, but the rest was gone.
With the magic dissipated across the globe, the impossible cities of the elves toppled and those who were left found themselves the inheritors of wrack and ruin.

Needless to say, the elves were none too happy about this. To be sure, the greatest of their cities still stood, fabled Tara Tilal, but most of the others were gone. The elves were now weakened, and they were forced into the wilderness by their former slaves. While some repented and turned back to their ancient gods, many others had revenge on their minds, and magical communications sent a great many (perhaps two-thirds) of the surviving warriors and wizards marching to the wondrous western mountains known as the Pillars of Asur, where that grand old kabir’s great temple stood. They gathered in the foothills and swore oaths and forged weapons and summoned demons, and then started up those slopes to topple their ancestor-god’s house of worship.

They did not get far, though, before the old god himself did appear and whisper a single curse. The sun would be denied these elves for all eternity; it would become to them a hateful thing of pain, burning eyes and flesh, an eternal reminder of their fall from grace and final punishment. These elves turned and fled from their god and the sun, which burned their skin black, and hid themselves in dark places under the earth, and would come to be known in future centuries as the drow. They would eventually have their revenge on the dwarves, though, as they excited the fires that burned beneath the Golden Mountains and gathered the foul goblin folk who dwelled near them and finally freed the last of the elder things that were chained therein. As hundreds of volcanoes exploded simultaneously, the skies were blackened and the holds of the dwarves were cracked and destroyed. The goblins swarmed these strongholds and the dwarves were forced to flee. The Golden Mountains had become the Bleeding Mountains, so named for the red rivers of lava that now flowed there and for the copious amounts of dwarf blood spilled by the goblins. The dwarven diaspora had begun.


ASUR: Kabir of the Sun; ruler of The Noble Procession (the aristocratic and beautiful, chivalrous and vain fey, especially the ancient elves and even the rebellious drow who are their closest relatives)

BEL: Kabir of death and rebirth; rules the Mourners (fey concerned with the dead, such as banshees)

GHOBB: Kabir of geology; rules the Keepers of Kitchen and Pantry (the household fairies, as well as the useful folk of the fairy world such as leprechauns and brownies)

KARN: Kabir of the hunt; rules the Bloody-Minded Lot (mean-spirited killers and torturers, such as red caps and trolls)

NUDD: Kabir of the oceans, the “ancient mariner”, who went to sea and never again set foot on land; he might be said to rule the fey of the water, though he shows little interest in doing so and generally leaves them to their own devices

TUT: Kabir of mischief; rules the Merrie-Met (tricksters, dancers, and makers of mischief like satyrs and sprites)

YS: Kabir of fertility; rules the Painters of Flowers and Dapplers of Dew (the fey that make the world go ‘round, the nature-workers of Nod such as the flower fairies, nymphs and dryads, as well as the storm giants – though nobody really rules those folks)


ALAD: Igigi of Benevolence (NG)

AZAG: Igigi of Morbidity (NE)

AZUR: Igigi of Virtue (LG); After Azur’s destruction by Zid during its crusade in the Material Plane against evil, when it stretched itself too thin and made itself vulnerable, Azur was shattered into seven archangels (solars), generally known as the Seven Virtues.

GUZU: Igigi of Rage (CE)

NIM: Igigi of Love (CG)

SUUL: Igigi of Madness (CN)

ZID: Igigi of Logic (LN)

History of Nod, Part I

It’s good to be the God of Nod …

There have been requests, so here it is. It will also appear in the NOD Companion (coming soon … I swear!) I have generally hesitated to get too much into this, since, in my opinion, this is just stuff from my personal campaign. I’d like others to feel free to concoct their own history of NOD if they use it in a campaign. Still, some folks like to get the “official” word on a campaign setting, so I guess this is it.

We begin with the Primordial History of NOD

I first conceived of NOD as a campaign setting about 5 years ago. It had two key sources of inspiration. The first was a map that depicted what some folks believed would be the layout of the continents on Earth millions of years from now. Is NOD meant to be the future of Earth? No. Just liked the map.

The second bit of inspiration came from the fiction of Dunsany and Lovecraft, specifically the Dreamlands. Having grown up on more Tolkienesque fantasy, they were both a revelation and a welcome “shot in the arm” to my imagination. I had created worlds that were little more than fantasy versions of the CIA’s factbook – collections of make-believe countries (mostly based on real world countries) and currencies and languages, etc. Tons of background that would rarely come up when a motley band of tomb robbers, religious zealots, scoundrels and necromancers were descending into the unlit depths of the world in search of fame, fortune and experience points.

NOD, therefore, would be a dream world, one conjured by the dreams, fantasies and mythologies of everyone who ever lived (but mostly dreams, fantasies and mythologies that I made up myself, or that were in the public domain – after all, I live in the real world and don’t fancy getting hit with a lawsuit!)

NOD is composed of dreams. In that regard, it has no geological or cosmological history. It wasn’t, and then it was, and slowly, it got itself crammed with all sorts of fantasy nonsense to entertain and annoy people who like to play fantasy games.

The LAND OF NOD once floated in a great sea of undiluted Chaos. Beset by demons and their ilk, and other things born in nightmares, those organisms that tried to eke out a life on the little planet had a tough time of it. Fortunately, what exists in the Material World has a soul in the Ethereal Plane. Like souls tend to flock together in great eddies in the Ethereal Plane, and these collections of souls, united by common purpose, gain a sort of divine sentience. It was thus that Ka, the first deity, was born.

Ka was composed of the souls or spirits of everything alive, and in fact still is. In those primordial days, though, Ka was mostly composed of the spirits of simple organisms and beasts (as they outnumbered sentient beings by a significant margin), and thus embodied (so to speak) the desire to survive.

Seeing its subjects beset by the creatures of Chaos, Ka injected bits of itself into the Material Plane – like sticking one’s fingers into the bowl of jelly. These protrusions of Ka took material form in the Material Plane, and they are called the Kabir. The Kabir might be considered the first of the fey, though in game terms they would be considered outsiders. Their shapes were variable, but primarily humanoid, for humans, the most advanced animals on NOD, gave them the benefit of their own advanced minds.

The Kabir went to war with the demons and other chaos creatures. In this war, they created soldiers from the stock of creatures already living on NOD, and in this way gave birth to the fey, the giants and the dragons. In time, they achieved a sort of victory, and life flourished on NOD. In time, Ka was shattered, or at least smaller eddies formed within Ka. These were the animal lords, each a collection of animal souls united by the drives of their component species, and more alignment-oriented entities, composed of the souls of sentient beings based on their own dedication to philosophical concepts like Law, Chaos, Good and Evil. These entities could also project pieces of themselves into the Material Plane, appearing not only as the planets that orbit around NOD, but also as the various outsiders (devils, angels, etc.) that plague and aid humans and demi-humans.

The structure of the Nodian cosmos was the product of ZID, the “god” of Reason and the Need for Order and Organization, through the workings of the polyhedroids, who are its manifestations in the Material Plane. They derived the crystal spheres that guide the movement of the planets and constructed from raw chaos the Firmament, which holds the undiluted chaos of the cosmos at bay, the churning of this chaos serving as the motivating force that keeps the Nodian cosmos in motion.

The Kabir eventually retired from the Material Plane to the pocket dimension of Fairyland, leaving their fey children behind to serve as nature’s agents on NOD. Since NOD has no innate physical laws to govern it, all that happens in NOD must happen through an intelligent agent. The polyhedroids are in charge of the big things, like gravity and the conservation of matter and energy, while the natural flourishes like the seasons are overseen by the various fey courts.

Next up … a brief history of the elves and gnomes

Demigods, the First Adventurers

It would be hard to tell who the first adventurer in literature ever was, but I suppose Gilgamesh might fit the bill. Gilgamesh is the son a human king and the goddess Ninsun, making him a demi-god. In the annals of adventuring, he has good company – Heracles, Achilles, Cuchulainn, Hanuman, Māui, Perseus, Theseus, and many more.

So if demigods can be adventurers in myth and literature, why not in Blood & Treasure?

First things first – we need to define our demigods. If one has some experience in fantasy role playing games, they’ll know that demi-gods are usually depicted as extraordinarily powerful entities. Obviously, characters that powerful would not work well as adventurers, unless one was doing some pretty epic adventuring.

Our demigods are going to be a bit more human (or demi-human), and like other adventurers, are going to become more powerful as they advance in levels. In other words, they’re going to be on par with the other characters – don’t expect them to eclipse the magic-users, thieves and fighters in the party.

No ability score lower than 10, one ability score higher than 15

Padded, leather, studded leather; bucklers and shields

Any weapon

Bend Bars, Break Down Doors, Find Secret Doors, Ignore Pain, Jump, Monster Lore

At 1st level, a demigod’s player must choose their character’s divine ancestry. Whether a god or goddess, they must choose one of the following domains for their character’s divine parent based on their character’s highest ability score.

  • STR Destruction, Strength, War, Water
  • INT Knowledge, Magic
  • WIS Death, Healing, Sun
  • DEX Air, Fire, Travel
  • CON Animal, Earth, Plant, Protection
  • CHA Love, Luck, Trickery

The demigod gains one power based on his or her parentage, as follows:

  • AIR: Resistance to electricity damage, feather fall at will
  • ANIMAL: Speak with animals at will, charm animal three times per day
  • DEATH: Command undead three times per day
  • DESTRUCTION: Smite opponent once per day (+2 to hit and double damage if you hit)
  • EARTH: Resistance to acid damage, +1 bonus to saving throws while standing on bare earth
  • FIRE: Immune to fire damage
  • HEALING: Laying on of hands ability, per the paladin
  • KNOWLEDGE: Legend lore ability, per the bard
  • LOVE: Charm person once per day, three times per day at 4th level
  • LUCK: Re-roll one saving throw once per day
  • MAGIC: Save vs. magic at +2
  • PLANT: Speak with plants at will, command plants once per day
  • PROTECTION: Barkskin three times per day
  • STRENGTH: Can wield two-handed weapons with one hand
  • SUN: Use light at will, daylight once per day
  • TRAVEL: Haste once per day for one round per level
  • TRICKERY: Trickery as class skill, spell abilities of a gnome
  • WAR: Deals double damage on a charge (if birthed by a war god like Ares) or command double the normal numbers of henchmen (if birthed by a war goddess like Athena)
  • WATER: Resistance to cold damage; cannot sink in water (though can be held under and drowned)

Demigods are supernaturally tough, and gain the Armor Class bonuses as a monk.

Demigods are born to greatness, and are expected to do great things. A 1st level demigod is given an ordained labor by his divine parent. This works as a geas, and requires the demigod to do one of the following by the time he or she reaches 4th level.

  1. Capture a monster* with twice as many Hit Dice (minimum 2 Hit Dice more) as the demigod
  2. Complete a heroic task that would be considered very difficult for the character (the Treasure Keeper has to use his or her best judgment on this one)
  3. Slay a monster* with twice as many Hit Dice (minimum 3 Hit Dice more) as the demigod
  4. Steal a relic (must be worth as many gp as the demigod as XP or be magical)

* Monster in this connotation refers to magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, dragons, prehistoric animals, giants and outsiders

Until the labor is completed, the demigod cannot advance beyond 4th level. A new labor is ordained when the hero reaches 5th level, and must be completed by the time the demigod reaches 8th level. Additional labors must be completed by 12th and 16th level.

  • The first labor completed earns the demigod a one-time use of the restoration spell on him or herself.
  • The second labor completed earns the demigod a one-time use of the raise dead spell on him or herself.
  • The third labor completed earns the demigod a one-time use of the resurrection spell on him or herself.
  • The fourth labor completed earns the demigod the right to ascend into Heaven (or wherever mom or dad are from) when they die.

Demigods are renowned for one of their physical or mental abilities, and this ability grows as their fame grows. A demigod increases his or her highest ability score by one point at 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th level.

A 3rd level demigod can make pleas for assistance to his divine parent. Demigods can appeal for 0 to 2nd level spells by passing a Charisma task check with a penalty equal to the level of the spell. At 7th level, the demigod can begin appealing for 3rd to 4th level spells. At 11th level, the demigod can begin appealing for 5th to 6th level spells. Each time an appeal is answered, the demigod must pledge 10% of their earned treasure to the cult of their divine parent (a minimum of 50 gp per spell level).

A 5th level demigod gains magic resistance equal to 1% per level, to a maximum of 10%.

A 9th level demigod may establish a hero cult for themselves. The demigod must construct a temple in his own honor and in the honor of his divine parent. The demigod then attracts 1d6 men-at-arms per level, 1d6 first level clerics or druids and a 4th level cleric or druid to serve as his high priest.

+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp
+3 hp

The Queens of Elemental Earth

This idea popped into my head today, so I explored it a bit.

The primal earth has produced many wonders, but none so lovely (and few so powerful) as the so-called Queens of Elemental Earth. These five sisters are worshipped as goddesses by many of the folk who dwell beneath the earth and are honored by all elemental earth creatures.

The queens look like astoundingly beautiful statues of women in their natural state. They are translucent and gleam with an inner light that produces a magical aura. Within their eyes dance shimmering motes of light that affect all upon which they train their gaze. They dwell in luxurious palaces beneath the ground, served by lesser elementals and fey creatures.

While the queens are ground in neutrality, with some preference for order (i.e. Law), they are, as one might expect, possessed of a very keen appreciation for the wonder that is them. They do not like to be disobeyed or their intentions and desires frustrated, and they have no qualms about destroying lesser creatures that get in their way.

All of the queens can move through rock, stone and soil as easily as a human moves through the air. They suffer half damage from all attacks from manufactured and natural weapons.

Adamantia is Queen Diamond. She has a smooth body of translucent crystal with inner reflections of pink. Adamantia is the strongest and most durable of the five sisters, and she is unforgiving in her disdain of imperfection and muddled thinking. She is always under the effect of a true seeing spell and a zone of truth. She is worshipped as a goddess of clarity, truth and perfection. Her stronghold is a fortress of gleaming adamant, with every surface stark white and lit by a soft, pinkish-white glow. Her court includes elemental earth creatures as well as entities of Law and a host of human paladins that have declared her the focus of their courtly, chaste love.

Adamantia produces an aura of truth (see zone of truth above) that also acts a protection aura against chaotic creatures (per protection from evil, 10-ft. radius). Her gaze acts as a hold monster spell.

Adamantia can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – charm person; 3/day – break enchantment, charm monster, cure disease, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – dimension door, ray of enfeeblement, strength, suggestion, wave of exhaustion. She can also cast spells as a 10th level cleric.

Adamantia: HD 21; AC -7 [26]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 30/7400; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, immune to fire, resistance to cold (50%), magic resistance (65%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Queen Ruby, Rubinia, is composed of a translucent red substance. Her hair (though it is merely sculpted on her head) appears wild and unkempt and her eyes gleam with power. She is worshipped as a goddess of fire and passion and strength. Her court includes elemental earth creatures as well as exiled or rebellious elemental fire creatures. Her stronghold is enclosed in a ruby sphere with spherical chambers that look like bubbles within the sphere and connected by curving tunnels that radiate out from her central court. Gravity is completely relative within the sphere, with people able to walk on all surfaces.

Rubinia produces an aura of weakness (10-ft. radius) that forces people to pass a saving throw or be affected per a ray of enfeeblement. Her gaze forces people to pass a saving throw or be enraged (per the emotion or rage spell, depending on which version of the grand old game you play). Enraged folk never turn their anger upon Rubinia or her servants. Her touch ages people as the touch of a ghost.

Rubinia can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – augury; 3/day – charm person, divination, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – dimension door, flame strike, heal, heat metal. She can also cast spells as a 10th level magic-user.

Rubinia: HD 21; AC -6 [25]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 30/7400; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, immune to fire, resistance to cold (50%), magic resistance (55%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Esmeraude, Queen Emerald, is the most sensuous and beautiful of the sisters, possessed of a green, healthy glow and a warm, though unyielding, touch. Her stronghold is a paen to love and romance, being a series of limestone caverns with jade pools, rushing streams, laughing waterfalls and gardens of flowering trees, ferns and flowers. Her court consists of elemental earth creatures, nymphs and dryads.

Esmeraude radiates an aura of blinding beauty (per a nymph) and her gaze stuns creatures for 2d4 rounds. Her kiss can grant magic-user’s the effects of a mnemonic enhancement for 24 hours, but also imbues upon them a geas that they must visit her once per year and serve her faithfully for one week.

Esmeraude can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – cause blindness; 3/day – cure blindness, cause fear, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – charm monster, dimension door, entangle, plant growth, suggestion. She can also cast spells as a 12th level druid.

Esmeraude: HD 21; AC -5 [24]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 30/7400; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, resistance to cold and fire (50%), magic resistance (55%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Queen Amethyst appears as a woman of translucent purple crystal accompanied always by three legendary panthers with purple-black fur. She is a queen of dreams who commands a court of elemental earth creatures, succubi and illusionists. Her court is held in a palace of mottled purple walls set in a maze-like layout, with many secret chambers where visitors can rest themselves on comfortable beds stuffed with celestial goose down and sleep under silk and satin, perhaps never to wake again.

Amethysta produces a purple aura of slumber (as the daze spell) and her gaze causes confusion. Those struck by her, even lightly, must pass a saving throw or fall into a deep sleep. She can deliver a kiss that drains levels per a succubus.

Amethysta can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – sleep; 3/day – cause fear, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – dimension door, dream, nightmare, phantasmal killer, poison. She also casts spells as a 10th level illusionist.

Amethysta: HD 21; AC -5 [24]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 31/7700; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, resistance to cold and fire (50%), magic resistance (45%), regenerate 3 hp/round, life drain.

Zaffira is a bubbly, almost giddy queen of sapphires. She appears as a beautiful, young woman with translucent blue skin, her eyes like star sapphires and her hair tumbling like cascades of water down her back to her ankles. She dwells in a floating palace of sapphire walls and misty, damp halls occupied by elemental earth creatures as well as sylphs and other exiled air creatures and giant eagles. Zaffira is worshipped as a goddess of innocence, truth and courage.

Zaffira produces an aura of euphoria. Folk who enter it must pass a saving throw or be calmed, losing all desire to commit violence or even engage in argument. Her gaze causes people to break into uncontrollable laughter (per the spell).

Zaffira can cast the following spells as innate abilities: At will – hold person; 3/day – cause fear, discern lies, dispel magic, haste (self), invisibility; 1/day – globe of invulnerability, mark of justice, ray of enfeeblement, resilient sphere, strength. She also casts spells as a 12th level cleric.

Zaffira: HD 21; AC -6 [25]; Atk 2 strikes (4d6); Move 36; Save 3; CL/XP 23/5300; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, aura, gaze, earth glide, half damage from all weapons, suffers double damage from sonic attacks, resistance to fire and cold (50%), magic resistance (65%), regenerate 3 hp/round.

Image found HERE. Painted by Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1786).

Titans: What Are They Good For?

Orcus and Demogorgon, solars and planetars, but whence the titans? These big guys and gals seem to be on a pretty even footing with the demon lords and archangels (depending on which version of the game you adhere to), but they don’t get much love or use. I think this is a shame. To my way of thinking, titans represent a third way when it comes to the solars and the demon princes and dukes of Hell – neutral powers that can stand with the powers of Law and Chaos.

Perhaps the titans are the children of minor gods and goddesses. I’m talking Alala and Eleos, here, not Zeus and Aphrodite. Their parentage is divine and immortal, but they’re not. Well, maybe they are immortal in terms of aging, but they are creatures of the Material Plane and thus mortal in terms of “can be killed”. Where demon lords and solars hang out in the outer planes, titans live in the Material Plane, lording it over lesser beings as kings and queens by dent of their divine birth and tremendous power. How much more interesting to discover that the city-state you just wandered into is ruled by King Criomenos, the son of Moros, demi-god of impending doom and Eunomia, demi-goddess of law and legislation. You walk into this court to announce yourselves as great heroes, and find not a little man with a long, white beard, but a titan, head wreathed in gold, hand resting atop a golden sceptre as tall as your paladin and eyes that have seen centuries.

With that in mind, I decided that any titan that shows up in Nod is going to have a name, a heritage and powers commensurate with that heritage. According to S-n-W, the primary power of titans is spells – two spells of first to seventh level from both the magic-user and cleric lists, for a total of 28 spells. I decided to alter that a bit. Drawing on the old d20 SRD, I decided to instead give them all the spells (level 1 to 9) from the two cleric domains that most befit their parents. Since that gives them only 18 spells (still probably plenty), I decided to make up for it with a special defense (see below) and with the ability to commune with mommy and daddy once per day.

To determine the titan’s parentage, I decided to just make a random table of the cleric domains, rolling once for mom and once for dad. I listed some potential parents from Greek mythology behind each domain.

Roll D30 – Parent

1. Air – Aello (F), Aeolus (M), Aura (F)
2. Animal – Britomartis (F), Ichnaea (F), Krotos (M), Priapus (M)
3. Artifice – Acmon (M), Aristaeus (M), Hecaterus (M), Philomelus (M), Rhapso (F)
4. Chaos/Evil – Adikia (F), Eris (F), Dysnomia (F), Kakia (F), Kydoimos (M)
5. Charm – Eros (M), Hedone (F), Iynx (F), Peitho (F)
6. Community – Eunomia (F), Harmonia (F), Hymenaios (M), Nomos (M), Praxidike (F)
7. Creation – Euporie (F), Othorsie (F), Porus (M)
8. Darkness – Charon (M), Erebos (M), Nyx (F), Tartarus (M)
9. Death – Macaria (F), Melinoe (F), Thanatos (M)
10. Destruction – Alecto (F), Enyo (F), Moros (M), Nemesis (F)
11. Earth – Chrysus (M), Plutus (M)
12. Fire – Phlegethon (M)
13. Glory – Agon (M) , Eucleia (F), Kalokagathia (F), Nike (F), Pheme (F)
14. Good/Law – Arete (F), Astraea (F), Dike (F), Eunomia (F), Nomos (M), Peitharch (F)
15. Healing – Aceso (F), Eirene (F), Eleos (M), Eupraxia (F), Panacea (F), Philophrosyne (F)
16. Knowledge – Polymatheia (F)
17. Liberation – Momus (M)
18. Luck – Tyeche (F)
19. Madness – Deimos (M), Lyssa (F), Epiales (M)
20. Magic – Astraios (M), Circe (F), Despoina (F), Telete (F), Zagreus (M)
21. Nobility – Kalokagathia (F)
22. Plant – Amphictyonis (F), Carmanor (M), Chloris (F), Karpo (F), Silenus (M), Thallo (F)
23. Protection – Soter (M)
24. Strength – Bia (F), Kratos (M), Ponos (M)
25. Sun – Alectrona (F), Eos (F), Helios (M), Hemera (F)
26. Travel – Angelia (F), Arke (M), Ioke (F), Iris (F)
27. Trickery – Apate (F), Ate (F), Dolos (M)
28. War – Alala (F), Enyalius (M), Homandos (M), Polemos (M)
29. Water – Amphitrite (F), Galene (F), Glaucus (M), Proteus (M), Thetis (F), Thalassa (F)
30. Weather – Briareus (M), Chione (F), Tethys (F), Typhon (M)

A few of the categories are pretty sparse when it comes to divine representation, but what can you do.

You can find the various domains HERE and HERE. The spells that don’t show up in your favorite version of the game are easy enough to convert. If you don’t like conversions, use another spell that fits. Personally, I like the idea of a titan throwing down a spell the party clerics and magic-users have never heard of – maybe if they make a good impression and grovel a bit, the titan will teach them the secret!

Special Defenses
Special defenses should relate to the parentage, and the Ref might want to give them more than one special defense. Defenses for the titan might include:

+5 to save vs. poison or disease
Cannot be attacked by different kinds of creatures like reptiles, birds or plant creatures
Cannot be surprised
Immune to energy drain or falling damage
Immune to a class of spells – i.e. illusions, death spells or mind control
Magic resistance (maybe 15% for the least titans, with a 5% bump per additional hit dice)
Only harmed by +1 weapons
Resistance (half damage) from iron weapons or missile weapons, etc.
Resistance (half damage) to cold, fire, electricity, acid, etc.

You can probably think of others.

Using the example above, King Criomenos might have the following stats:

KING CRIOMENOS, Titan: HD 20 (109 hp); AC –1 [20]; Atk 1 sceptre (2d8) or javelin (2d6); Move 21; Save 3; CL/XP 22/5100; Special: Immune to death spells, spells (bless, cause disease, cause critical wounds, cause light wounds, disintegrate, earthquake, greater status, harm, heroes’ feast, implosion, mass cause light wounds, mass heal, prayer, refuge, shatter, status, sympathy, telepathic bond), commune with Eunomia and Moros.

The Legend of NOD!

Or rather, the legend for the maps of NOD. Long delayed, but here it is …

I think that covers the bases.

In other news …

The descriptions of the Hexcrawl Classics I’m writing for Frog God Games are up on their site. The first one is actually Valley of the Hawks. I just saw a sketch of the cover and it looked pretty sweet – I’ll share it here when it’s finished (and I get permission).

Speaking of sweet art, the illustration of the goddess I submitted to James Maliszewski’s Petty Gods project was just posted on his site (and to the right). If it’s any indication, the art for this project should be quite nice indeed!

I received the final piece of art for PARS FORTUNA today – I should get the complete rules up on Lulu today or tomorrow. Very excited about that! I’ll also be starting a series of blog posts on “The Making of …” to give you an idea for my process if you want to make a PARS of your own. In fact – maybe I can compile some fan made material for a free companion PDF to PARS FORTUNA.

With PARS out of the way and work proceeding nicely on Hexcrawl and NOD, I’ll be able to devote more time to the Mystery Men! rules. Joel should begin working on the illustrations soon, so hopefully I’ll have some sketches to show off in the near future.

Got a few ideas for blog posts bopping around in my brain. I’ll announce one tomorrow – think dungeon crawl.

Stay tuned!

The Gods of the Motherlands – Part Three

Lawful god of valor, honor, chivalry and soldiers
Wields a lance
Served by angels
Symbolized by a bull or cross
Mithras’ clerics enjoy a +1 bonus to hit and damage the undead

Mithras is a demigod associated with Minerva. His cult originated with the dervishes, who cast him as the prophesied slayer of Tiamat. Mithras is a patron of chivalry and is worshiped by soldiers and the nobility.

Mithras is depicted as a handsome young warrior wearing a Phyrigian cap and a crimson cape. His temples, called mithraeum, are constructed in caves and kept secret, for his is a mystery cult that is spread from initiate to initiate. A place of honor in his temples is reserved for an idol of the god slaying a bull, a serpent and dog drinking from the animal’s bleeding wound. Other symbols that may appear with the idol are a goblet, small lion, raven and scorpion. Twin celestial torchbearers stand on either side of the idol with their legs crossed. Above Mithras, the symbols for Sol Invictus and Luna are present in the starry night sky. New initiates to the cult are brought to such a temple where a mystagogue explains the symbolism and theology. A rite is then performed to re-enact the Water Miracle, in which a bolt is fired into a rock, causing water to spout from it.

The Mithras cult has seven ranks, which are in order: Raven, Bridegroom, Soldier, Lion, Perseus, Sun-Courier and Father.

Mithras is celebrated September 29.

Nethuns, Poseidon
Neutral god of the sea, storms and earthquakes
Wields a trident
Patron deity of Dominions
Served by fey, water elementals
Symbolized by a trident or dolphin
Sacred animals are the dolphin, horse and bull
Neptunus’ druids can cast Water Breathing as a 2nd level spell

Neptunus is the god of the seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, and earthquakes. He has the power to create new life forms and is the creator of bulls and horses. He can also summon and control non-divine forms of sea life and change his own shape into that of any living being at will. In his true form, he is a man standing a hundred feet tall holding a trident and wearing a crown.

Neptunus is capable of raising islands up from the sea or shattering them with earthquakes. He can bring fair weather to sailors or strike them with a terrible storm, necessitating sacrifices in the form of drowning horses.

Neptunus is the son of Saturnus and Rhea, and the brother of Jove, Juno, Pluto and Vesta. His consort is Amphitrite. He has fathered many heroes, including Theseus and Orion. He is the father of Arion the talking horse by Ceres and the father of Pegasus by Medusa. Other monstrous children are the tritons, mermaids, cyclops and giants.

Neptunalia (July 23-24): Games are held during this festival, including a knightly tournament and boat races. People erect colorful pavilions and use them for feasting and entertaining friends.

Aidoneus, Dispater, Hades, the Silent One
Neutral god of the underworld and its treasures
Wields a mace
Served by earth elementals and the undead
Symbolized by a ram’s head
Sacred animals are the ram, raven and serpent
Pluto’s druids can rebuke undead as a cleric 3 levels lower

Pluto is the King of the Underworld and lord over all it contains, from the souls of the dead to the precious metals and gems locked inside it. Pluto is also the god of wine under the name Dionysus Cthonios. He also has a measure of control over the creatures that dwell underground, especially the treasure hording dragons. Although not evil, Pluto is grim and morbid, and thus not popular among gods or mortals. In fact, mortals fear him enough that they rarely utter his name, lest they draw his attention. Although Pluto rules the Underworld, he is not death itself. That entity is called Thanatos.

Pluto’s kingdom is called Erebus and contains such places as the Asphodel Meadows, Elysium and Tarterus, the abode of the Titans and devils. The five rivers of Erebus are Acheron (Woe), Cocytus (Lamentation), Phlegethon (Fire), Lethe (Oblivion) and Styx (Hate).

Pluto is the brother of Neptunus and Jove, and with them defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos. His wife is Persephone, daughter of Ceres.

Secular Games (May 31 – June 3): Every hundred years (a saeculum) the Secular Games are held in Pluto’s honor. The games include all manner of athletic endeavors, with nightly sacrifices of lambs, she-goats, bulls, sacrificial cakes, cows and sows.

Lawful god of learning, writing and magic
Wields a staff
Patron deity of Ibis (as Thoth)
Served by elohim
Symbolized by a quill or book
Prometheus’ clerics can learn one 1st level magic-user spell at each odd level, and cast them in place of cleric spells

Prometheus is the god of magic, philosophy, science and learning. He is the patron of scholars, illusionists, scientists, wizards and potters (since he created man from clay). Prometheus’ temples are gathering places for philosophers and scholars to debate and learn; they are often connected to universities and colleges. Promethean clerics are dedicated to the protection of their deity’s worshipers, and the enlightenment of human and demi-humankind.

Prometheus is the brother of Epimetheus (“Afterthought”), Atlas (“Enduring”) and Menoetius (“Ruined Strength”). His parents are the titans Japetus and Clymene. Prometheus’ gift of fire to mortals earned him the enmity of Jove, who had him bound to a rock while an eagle ate his liver every day, only for it to grow back. Prometheus was eventually freed by Hercules.

Aphrodite, Astarte, Turan
Lawful goddess of love and beauty
Wields a mace
Patron deity of Ishkabibel
Served by elohim and nymphs
Symbolized by a mirror or crown
Venus’ clerics enjoy a +1 bonus to reaction checks

Venus is the goddess of beauty, love and gardens. As befits her position, she is an enthusiastic companion of the male gods. She is married to Vulcanus, but this did not stop her from consorting with Mars, Neptunus, Pluto and others. Venus can charm any male, god or mortal, and can generate strong emotions (love, hate, anger, sorrow, etc.) in any intelligent being. The myrtle, dove, sparrow and swan are sacred to her.

Although she can assume any form (all of them beautiful), in her true form she is a woman of astonishing beauty with golden hair. She also has a more martial aspect, sometimes appearing armored and carrying a mace.

Venus was created when Cronus castrated his father, Saturnus, and cast his testicles into the sea. She is married to Vulcanus, but has had notable affairs with Mars, Mercurius, Pluto and Adonis. Her children include Cupid, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia and Fortuna.

May Day (May 1): The day is celebrated by the gathering of herbs and wild water (from which holy water is made), the blessing of houses, ‘beating the bounds’, greenwood marriages, and dancing around May Poles.

Hephaestos, Mulciber, Weyland
Neutral god of fire, volcanos, smiths and invention
Wields a battle axe
Patron deity of Galardis
Served by fire elementals
Symbolized by a hammer and anvil
Druid totems are the bull, boar and serpent
Volcanus’ druids enjoy a +1 bonus to save vs. fire and heat

Volcanus is the god of fire, earth, and the forge. He is the smith of the gods, creating their weapons, armor and thrones. Volcanus is also a patron of engineers and an expert trap maker. Temples of Volcanus are decorated with precious stones and metals and are usually supported by the local guild of smiths.

Volcanus is depicted as a dour, ugly man with a twisted leg. He carries the tools of a smith and his skin is blackened from soot and exposure to fire.

Volcanus is the son of Juno, created by her alone as Jove created Minerva. Hurled from heaven for his ugliness, he was found by the sea nymph Thetis and raised as her son. His wife is Venus, though they are estranged due to her indiscretions. He is the creator of Pandora from clay and the father of Periphetes, the demi-god of bandits.

Vulcanalia (August 23): Bonfires are created in honor of the god. The bonfires are used to roast fish and small animals and a red bull-calf and a red boar are sacrificed at the god’s temple to ward away destructive fires.