Eclipse d20: The God-Blooded Template

Cuchulain in Battle

Forward!

Quite a few myths and tales revolve around the sons and daughters of gods – but, oddly enough, such individuals are often little more than mortal. They often show some exceptional attributes or skills – but Gilgamesh, and Perseus, and Cuchulain, and Arjuna, and Oedipus (a fine example of why being a demigod often sucked), and many many other demigods from various cultures were quite mortal. They were generally amazingly talented mortals, but they were simply humans writ large.

Oddly enough by modern standards, divine parents – whether mother or (more commonly) father – generally do relatively little for their offspring. There may be occasional advice or short-term assistance offered at (fairly random) times – but demigods are usually left in the care of their mortal parent unprotected. Even at best the divine parent rarely takes an interest in their offspring before said offspring becomes a hero – and, given how many demigods die in acts of heroism, it seems likely that many more die before ever becoming heroes. While Hercules strangled the two snakes sent to kill him as an infant, he was exceptional even for a demigod – and it seems likely that the tactic worked often enough, or why would Hera bother trying it?

Demigods usually age and die fairly normally. They may well see their offspring – divine grandchildren – massacred by their divine aunts and uncles or even by their grandparent. Their divine parents may keep a celestial scrapbook of their offsprings mighty deeds – but their spirits usually wind up in the same generic (and generally dull and depressing) afterlives as everyone else’s after they die if they aren’t condemned to some special eternal torment for daring to think that they’re important or that it was perhaps wrong of the gods to inflict horrible torments and dooms on people, or to massacre innocent grandchildren over trivia, or otherwise treat people as playthings.

How DARE a child question the actions of his or her parent!

Demigods generally DON’T get much inherent magic, or blatant supernatural powers, or wings and claws, or weird immunities.

That’s a bit strange in d20, where having a far lesser being than a god for a parent can provide all kinds of powers. Half-dragons, half-celestials, half-infernals, half-jinn… All of them get powers that far eclipse those of most classical demigods. For that matter, half-celestials – such as the child of a Lantern Archon – can “inherit” powers that go far beyond those of their celestial parent.

No, that really doesn’t make a lot of sense, even by d20 standards. Oh well.

So perhaps gods are jealous of their power, and don’t pass much of it on – or maybe they’re fundamentally just people and the divine power is just sort of an add-on, rather than a part of their basic nature as it is for dragons and spirit entities. Ergo, their kids only get touched by that power, rather than having some of it as a part of them.

Thus they don’t need a very large template.

The God-Blooded (0 CP / +0 ECL):

  • Gain +2 bonus feats (12 CP).
  • Gain a +2 to any one attribute (12 CP). In worlds using the half-price attribute rule this should be taken as +2 to any two attributes.
  • Get Action Hero/Stunts, Specialized/only to produce effects related to their divine parent, the user does not necessarily know that this power is available and must actively call on his or her divine parent to use a stunt, only works when the user is currently in his or her parents good graces and is doing something he or she approves of (3 CP).
  • Get Major Favors/Their Divine Parent, Specialized/these only work well when the deity decides to act as a sponsor, and lends the character aid in some great quest or special mission. When the character asks for something, it invariably creates at least as many problems as it solves. Worse, the deity generally arranges matters to produce a great show – rather than the results the user really wants (3 CP).

The entire package is, however, both Specialized and Corrupted for reduced cost. The God-Blooded are invariably entangled in supernatural affairs – whether or not they’re at all prepared to deal with them. They are pawns in divine games, peripheral targets in divine quarrels, and will be called on to run all kinds of divine errands (“quests”) and offer various sacrifices – and will be expected to do so out of loyalty and gratitude. Of course, even if their divine parent has never done a single thing to earn any loyalty and gratitude, it is very, VERY, unwise to say so.

Worse, other gods are likely to send monsters, and often their own children (if the two can be told apart) against them, to curse them or to send them to horrific fates (Fun fact! The number of demigods condemned to eternal torment exceeds the ratio in the general population by at least a hundred to one!), and even to just send them into bizarre situations to watch the ensuing “fun”. When a God-Blooded uses his or her “Stunts” or “Favors” it’s all too likely to attract such notice as well…

On the mortal side, God-Bloods are usually plagued by hubris – if only as a result of growing up surrounded by normal mortals, to whom they ARE arguably superior – and a wonderful variety of inherited divine character flaws. The normal folks around them will see their personal relationship to the great powers of the universe and expect them to deal with any inconvenient monsters, horrors from beyond, and attacking armies coming their way. It’s nice to be welcomed as a destined hero. It’s somewhat more awkward when people automatically expect you to be one.

That reduces the base cost of this particular package to ten points.

Fortunately for the cheapskates amongst us, the package also comes with some mandatory disadvantages:

  • The God-Blooded are ALWAYS hunted by something – whether they’re being casually harassed by various gods, have some horror on their trail, or are being pursued to keep some prophecy from coming to pass.
  • The God-Blooded ALWAYS have some major character flaw – effectively being either Insane or Compulsive when it comes up. They may fly into fits of rage, fear and retreat from some force or symbol of an opposing power, be impossibly greedy, or be subject to any of a thousand other psychological problems.
  • The God-Blooded have Obligations; they must undertake quests, uphold their parents name, carry out rituals, officiate at cult meetings, and perform dozens of other tasks for their divine parents – who gave them life, and are bloody well determined to collect as much of it back again as they possibly can on pain of, well, pain…

Altogether those three disadvantages are worth (-10) character points – giving this particular template, as befits the source material, a net cost of… nothing.

Nothing, that is, except your time, your undying loyalty, putting up with those disadvantages, and being constantly harassed by opposing gods.

Obviously enough, the God-Blooded Template is one of the classic answers to “Why US”!”. It’s because you’re the divinely-empowered destined heroes who will do what the gods have asked of you – or else.

It also works nicely for various other divine grants; simply trade in the usual benefits for thirty character points worth of other abilities; there are plenty of sample power-packages for that on the site. Such a package can be quite powerful, since it can focus entirely on a specific ability or go straight to higher-level powers. Thirty character points worth of Shapeshifting, or Damage Reduction or – say – the Path of the Dragon (to duplicate the Spellfire ability) can readily redefine a starting character as a youthful destined hero, a divine champion who may wield some amazing power – but who is relatively fragile and mortal outside of that ability.

Finally, it saves buying another sourcebook for that sort of thing. That’s one of the advantages of using Eclipse.

Eclipse and Eclipse II are available in a number of ways:

There’s the Freeware Edition at RPGnow or Box.Net. It’s complete, but – if you like it – it would be nice if you helped support the system by spending ten dollars to pick up the full package, which includes Eclipse, Eclipse II, the Web Expansion, and will be updated with Eclipse III when I get time to finish that up (a notification to download the package again will be sent out). There’s a review up which also briefly covers Eclipse II Here.

In print-on-demand we have the Softcover (30$), the Hardcover (35$), and the “Direct” softcover edition (24$) which uses a cheaper set of printing options to lower the price. Unfortunately, the cheap options are only available for printing in North America – so for anywhere else, the original versions are probably cheaper anyway.

Eclipse II normally comes with the Eclipse download package – but you can download the PDF on it’s own for five dollars here or buy it in Hardcover (32$) or – once again – in that cheaper North America only Softcover Edition.

By request there’s also the Combined Edition – Eclipse I and II – making sure that you have the complete system, and plenty of examples, in one volume. It’s available in Softcover (36$) and Hardcover (45$). Those are expensive but are, of course, notably cheaper than buying the books independently. Of course, only one person can use it at a time instead of two.

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One Response

  1. […] ECL God-Blooded Template: For those unfortunate Greek heroes who are stuck with quarrelsome divine parents – along […]

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