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.

AND FINALLY …

Learn to laugh at life!

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.

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

ARMOR ALLOWED
Padded, leather, studded leather; bucklers and shields

WEAPONS ALLOWED
Any weapon

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

CLASS ABILITIES
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.


DEMIGOD ADVANCEMENT
LVL
XP
HD
ATK
F
R
W
TITLE
1
0
1d12
+0
13
13
13
Scion
2
2,500
2d12
+1
12
12
12
Exemplar
3
5,000
3d12
+2
12
12
12
Champion
4
10,000
4d12
+3
11
11
11
Hero
5
20,000
5d12
+3
11
11
11
Cynosure
6
40,000
6d12
+4
10
10
10
Archon
7
80,000
7d12
+5
10
10
10
Paragon
8
160,000
8d12
+6
9
9
9
Superhero
9
300,000
9d12
+6
9
9
9
Demigod
10
600,000
10d12
+7
8
8
8
Demigod
11
900,000
+3 hp
+8
8
8
8
Demigod
12
1,100,000
+3 hp
+9
7
7
7
Demigod
13
1,400,000
+3 hp
+9
7
7
7
Demigod
14
1,700,000
+3 hp
+10
6
6
6
Demigod
15
2,000,000
+3 hp
+11
6
6
6
Demigod
16
2,300,000
+3 hp
+12
5
5
5
Demigod
17
2,600,000
+3 hp
+12
5
5
5
Demigod
18
2,900,000
+3 hp
+13
4
4
4
Demigod
19
3,200,000
+3 hp
+14
4
4
4
Demigod
20
3,500,000
+3 hp
+15
3
3
3
Demigod