Orphaned by Apollo, the infant Asclepius was saved by Hermes. The god named the child and placed him with the centaur Chiron who taught him the healing arts. Whilst examining a dying patient, Asclepius saw a snake crawling up his wooden walking staff. In fear Asclepius struck the snake dead, but to his amazement another snake entered the room bearing a herb in its mouth. With the herb the second snake revived the first. Apologising for his rash action, Asclepius befriended the serpents and used the herb they brought to him to heal the patient. Hades objected to Asclepius helping a mortal cheat death, but when he treated Ares' wounds at Troy, Zeus made him the god of medicine.
Asclepius appears as an older man with a thick beard, wearing a simple toga. Around his staff he carries his two serpent attendants who gather his herbs for him. Asclepius is kind and compassionate, caring for all forms of life and nearly impossible to anger.
Temples of Healing
Asclepius’ temples are called asclepeia and are centres of healing as well as worship. Many mortals come to these temples sick or injured and make sacrifices and offerings at the altar. Afterwards the patient spends the night in the holiest part of the temple, the abaton. Come the morning, the patient reports any dreams and these guide the priests to the cure for the patient. If the cure works, the nature of the malady, the cure and details of the patient are recorded on stone tablets and the patient makes another sacrifice to Asclepius.
The largest and most famous temple dedicated to Asclepius is at Epidaurus in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Positioned in the middle of a large grove, the temple complex is centred around a shrine featuring a large statue of Asclepius in ivory and gold. Asclepeia are found across Greece, though they are never situated inside the walls of a city as cities are considered too dirty.
Most rituals at an asclepeion involve using non-venomous snakes. These are not sacrificed but crawl freely around the dorms where the sick and injured sleep. They are considered to be his servants or messengers and their movements are frequently invoked as omens.
Ferryman of the Dead
Charon takes souls across the river Acheron if they have the coins to pay. Without his aid it is near-impossible to cross the marshes and mud of the turgid Acheron. He does not allow the dead to make the trip back and will only suffer the living to cross if they have permission from Hades’ court.
Steadfast and humourless, Charon cannot be bribed or cajoled though he does like to collect working songs which he sings in a deep whispery voice as he pulls the ferry along. The craft was once a punt propelled by a single oar or pole. As the population of the world increased he enlarged the ferry and it now seats a hundred, pulled across the river on a chain suspended between the river banks.
Charon appears as a human seven feet tall, dressed in unkempt ragged clothes. Over these he wears a deep hooded, heavy, reddish-brown cloak that hides everything except his glowing eyes and crooked, broken nose. There are small shrines to Charon in Hadean temples for those wishing a smooth passage to the Underworld. Charon ignores them, since that's his job anyway.
Deimos and Phobos
Panic & Fear
The twin sons of Ares and Aphrodite, Deimos and Phobos, are the gods of panic and fear respectively. They appear where these emotions are strong and inspire more, turning a tense situation into total chaos. Their father enjoys their company and in battle they take the form of horses to draw his chariot. Their aunt Enyo has become their guardian of sorts and tries to moderate their behaviour.
Deimos and Phobos appear as youths not more than twelve years old and are always together, holding hands and staring. In contradiction to their realms the twins themselves are impassive and unemotional, simply standing and watching.
Small blood-covered shrines to the twins can be found in the larger temples of Ares, alongside shrines to Enyo. Mortals wishing to summon them must sacrifice a live animal which suffers and thrashes as it dies, spraying the petitioners with blood. The oaths to complete the ritual are said while fist-deep in the animal's entrails.
Craftsmen To The Gods
The three Cyclopes, Brontes the Thunderer, Steropes the Lightening and Agres the Bright, are children of Uranus and Gaia. They suffered under both Uranus' and Cronus' reigns and were imprisoned in Tartarus before being freed by Zeus. In return, these master metalworkers gave exquisite gifts to Zeus (the Brightest Thunderbolt), Poseidon (the Trident of Seas) and Hades (the Helm of Darkness). These weapons made victory in the Titanomachy possible and Zeus and the Cyclopes still enjoy a friendly relationship with Olympus. They serve as craftsmen and builders for the Olympians and make lightning and thunder for Zeus.
The Cyclopes are giants of enormous size with a single large eye instead of the more usual two. They prefer to remain undisturbed and react poorly to unannounced guests, so mortals petitioning them for aid should pray to Hephaestus first. They are no relation to the lesser cyclopes whose much smaller body was modelled after the Elder Cyclopes.
The daughter of Zeus and Hera is the twin of Ares but was born long after her elder brother. She is the goddess of bloodlust and violence who seeks battle even more than Ares. During her early years she was a fair-cheeked beauty robed in saffron but over time her savage nature won out. Now she is obsessed with bloodshed for its own sake. Her divine face is splattered in blood and contorts in a terrifying grin as she fights.
The goddess' skin is alabaster white, even under the constant sun of a Greek summer. Aside from the mud and blood on her armour she wears no colours, only shades of grey. When she enters a mortal battlefield the greys change to fit the colours of her chosen side.
Feared by mortals, she has small shrines in the larger temples of Ares. Sacrifices to her are performed on the eve of battle, either to ask for her favour or begging her not to attend. These rituals always require a sacrifice of blood.
The son of Aphrodite and Ares, Eros is the god of passion and obsession. His wife Psyche is an elevated mortal who won the right to marry the god. Eros' realms include every form of passion and obsession whether they are romantic or not. He acts on his Mother's instructions, which gives his actions a particular slant. With his bow and a quiver of enchanted arrows he shoots mortals, and occasionally immortals. Anyone struck by his arrows falls into love with the next person they see.
Eros appears as a well-built young adult male with a large pair of white birds' wings growing from his back. Mischievous and wilful he amuses himself with pranks that have a sadistic streak. Those who cross him find themselves obsessed with the most inconvenient person (or animal or object). The only authority he listens to is his mother, but he exercises restraint with his antics. He may not respect the elder Olympians but they are more powerful than he and there is little fun in provoking them too far.
Gaia is the goddess of the Earth and and ancestor to all the Titan and Olympic gods. Through her union with Kaos, Uranus was created. She then wed Uranus and gave birth to the Titans, the Gigantes and the Cyclopes.
She cannot stand to see any of her children imprisoned or punished. So when Uranus imprisoned the Gigantes and the Cyclopes, she gave Cronus the weapon he needed to castrate his father. When Cronus became tyrannical, she helped Rhea to smuggle away her youngest son, Zeus, helping to fulfile Uranus’ curse. When, in turn, Zeus imprisoned and exile the Titans, Gaia first riled up the Gigantes into rebellion and then gave birth to the monster Typhon.
Failing to defeat Zeus and free the Titans, Gaia has left the Olympic court and resides in a palace hidden deep within the forests of Greece. There she waits, seeking a being powerful enough to unseat Zeus and see all her children freed. She pays particular attention to Athena and waits for her to surpass Zeus as the prophecy predicts.
Hebe is the youngest daughter of Zeus and Hera, the wife of hero-turned-god Herakles and the goddess of youth, pardons and forgiveness. In the Olympic court she is the master of ceremonies and organises entertainment for the gods at court. She appears as a young woman wearing a simple sleeveless dress. In formal situations Hebe is regal with gravitas worthy of a ceremony of gods, but she is playful and talkative outside these occasions. Her personality and position keep her abreast of the gossip amongst the powerful immortals and mortals. Both popular and well-informed, Hebe is frequently consulted by other gods in need of information.
Patron of Prisoners
As goddess of forgiveness and pardons, Hebe is popular among prisoners awaiting their punishments. Hebe has a few temples dedicated to her, the most important of which is her sacred grove at her sanctuary at Philus.
Helios' birth came during the golden age of Cronus' rule, before the tyranny began. He is the son of Hyperion and Theia. Nervous of Uranus' curse, Cronus made Helios god of the Sun. He sent him to dwell in the palace on the Sun, thus distancing him from the Titanic court, but from where Helios can see nearly all that occurs during the day.
The sun god declined to fight in the Titanomachy and Zeus left Helios with his realm but Helios' loyalty is to his parents imprisoned in Tartarus. He dare not openly move against the Olympians but causes trouble amongst them whenever he can. It was Helios who told Demeter that Persephone was with Hades and told Hephaestus that Aphrodite was betraying him with Ares. Through these acts of mischief he disrupts the plans of the Olympians and their champions, but this is the limit of his involvement in politics.
His worship is legal in all of Greece and his worshippers use open-air temples to hold midday ceremonies, the most important one occuring at the summer solstice. He has a small temple at the Acrocorinth, but his largest following is in Rhodes where he is the patron deity.
The Hecatonchires - Briareus the Vigorous, Cottus the Striker and Gyges the Vaulter - are three massive giants with one hundred arms each. Like the Elder Cyclopes they were imprisoned by Uranus and freed by Zeus. Their incredible strength and numerous arms can hurl an endless stream of boulders at foes. In the final battle against the Titans this hail of rocks pinned down Cronus and his allies, allowing the Olympians to overwhelm them.
After being imprisoned in Tartarus for most of their existence, victory left the giants with no purpose or goal. Zeus, eager not to repeat his father's mistake, found good use for them. With their knowledge of the caves of Tartarus they are the perfect jailers for the captured Titans and will gladly keep Cronus and his allies in prison forever as revenge for their own treatment. Despite their strength the Hecatonchires are good-natured and slow to anger, but are just as slow to forget it.
The Judges of the Dead
Rhadamanthys, Minos and Aiakos were three great kings and mortal sons of Zeus and were appointed by Hades to judge the souls of the dead. They see each soul goes where it should: Tartarus for the evil, the Elysian Fields for the glorious and Erebus for all others.
The judges sit upon the audience steps of a stone amphitheatre while the soul being judged stands alone in the centre of the arena. Through the power granted to them the judges know the soul's worth, but they do not know what deeds led to its value. Therefore, they allow all souls to state their case and account for their actions before deciding their destinations. Both judges and the judged may call witnesses from amongst the dead to give testimony, though it is rare for anything to influence the judges. There is no appeal against their decision other than to Hades himself, and he only sees exceptional cases.
Chaos created Pan at the same time he formed Gaia, Nyx and the mortal world. Unlike Gaia he has kept out of divine politics and lives in relative peace amongst the forests and the wood-nymphs. Pan choose for himself the realms of forests, mountains, rustic music and bees.
Pan sees himself as a god at leisure and spends his time chasing after nymphs and annoying shepherds. He spends the heat of day sleeping in a shady spot though waking him will rouse his anger. The pan flute is his own invention, having as single mouthpiece but two open ends for the sound. He used to sing to himself but his half-goat voice was rough and drove the nymphs away. So when he found reeds that made a pleasant sound he fashioned them into a flute and quickly became an expert. His beautiful melodies are charming and can entrance any mortal and many gods but his repertoire also includes discordant tunes which violently assault the senses.
Pan never attends court on Olympus and has no interest in scheming or fighting the Titans. He was made out of the void and considers himself far above such petty rivalries. The only gods he spends time with are Artemis, who he goes hunting with, Dionysus, whose parties he enjoys, and Hermes with whom he plays music. It was Hermes who jokingly suggested that the half-goat Pan became god of shepherds. Pan found kinship with these people living on the edges of civilisation and adopted the realm.
He is the god most seen by mortals, not because he cares for them but because he finds it greatly amusing to play practical jokes on travellers. Mortals in a hurry will often find themselves captivated by Pan's music and forced to spend an afternoon chasing nymphs through the forest. Pan is also encountered by those threatening the herds or forests under his protection. These meetings are less pleasant for the mortals concerned.
Grottos and Glades
Pan lives in the forests of Arcadia where he has his most sacred sites. There are no temples to Pan but instead he is worshipped in sacred glades, grottos and caves. These are simple affairs, marked by a statue to the god at the centre. Sacrifices of milk and honey are made by shepherds who want protection and hunters seeking a bountiful trip.
Queen of the Dead
Co-ruler of the Underworld, Persephone is equal sovereign with her husband Hades for the four months of the year she spends there. Her mother, Demeter, is bitterly jealous of Persephone's love for Hades and Persephone is forced to spend a third of the year with her mother to placate her wrath. Persephone's arrival at Demeter's court is marked by a lavish celebration hosted by her doting mother. It signals the start of spring and heralds the return of warmth to the world.
Persephone is more approachable and romantic than her stoic husband. Hades listens to her advice on affairs of the heart, most famously allowing Orpheus to attempt to free his lover on her insistence. She does not patrol the Underworld, preferring to maintain a beautiful garden of exotic and rare flowers in the centre of Hades’ court. It was she who brought the asphodel flower to the Underworld and it now grows in huge numbers across the fields of Erebus.
Persephone appears as a young woman in the full bloom of life but is pale compared to the other gods who spend the whole year in the sun. While in the Underworld she typically wears simple black robes adorned with jewellery from Hades' mines. On Olympus she favours robes of white decorated with spring flowers.
Fear and Love
There are shrines to Persephone in the temple of Demeter and Hades but the worship differs wildly. She is loved and praised as the bringer of spring in temples of Demeter. In temples of Hades fearful offerings are made to her in the hope of staving off death or to help a soul avoid the darker parts of the Underworld. Whilst she prefers to be loved she does accept the offerings made in fear, but will still rarely intercede in anyone's judgment.
Cronus gave Selene, daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, the realm of the Moon. Like her brother Helios she was not trusted by Cronus and the moon was a ploy to remove Selene from his court. She took the role, as eager to escape as Cronus was to be rid of her, and thanks to her mother’s advice to stay out of war she kept the realm after the rise of the Olympians.
Selene has become intimately involved in the affairs of mortals and deities. There have been several romantic affairs, including a torrid affair with Pan and a relationship with Zeus which resulted in three daughters. The true love of her life was Endymion Prince of Elis and together they had 50 children, but as a mortal, Endymion grew old. Selene appealed to the King of the Gods to make her lover immortal but a jealous Zeus denied the request. Unable to face his death the goddess placed Endymion into an eternal sleep and every night she visits the sacred cave where he rests.
Zeus' denial of her request cut deep, and Selene has given up her neutrality and now sides with the Titans. In return, Cronus promises to grant Endymion eternal life. The goddess' position is too vulnerable for her to openly attack the Olympians and she adopts a more passive and subtle approach. From her lunar palace she watches the world below and feeds information on what she sees back to her mother’s spy network. She also ensures her realms favour the Titans' agents so that tides and moonlight are perfect for the agents' needs.
Selene appears as a pale young woman wearing a large crescent crown and a shining cloak which does little to hide the pair of working birds' wings on her back. She is passionate and temperamental and her moods and desires wax and wane. Her cult is legal in Greece and she is worshipped at small shrines across the land, each adorned with her symbol - the moon. Important ceremonies and sacrifices are held on the night of the full moon and lesser ceremonies mark each stage of the lunar cycle.
Thanatos' normal duty is to direct souls from the newly dead into the Underworld and to the bank of the Acheron. From there, Charon carries the souls across the river. When required, Thanatos' role changes. If the gods themselves condemn a being to Tartarus it is Thanatos who collects them, living or dead, divine or mortal. The being is taken to the abyss and handed over to its wardens, the Hundred-Handed Giants. Thanatos is not without fault in the execution of this work. He has been outwitted and beaten in combat on more than one occasion, necessitating the intervention of higher powers.
Thanatos appears as a bearded older man clothed in black robes, with thin skeletal wings. He carries a sword and an extinguished torch which is his symbol. Slow-witted and simple he speaks bluntly and without pity, but he has a dedication to his job and is motivated by a desire to serve Hades. There are no worshippers of Thanatos but some temples of Hades have small shrines to him. The living leave offerings to ward him off, which perplexes him.