Second oldest of the divine tribes, the Dodekatheon comprises the Olympian Gods of Greco-Roman legend. Their origins are murky, since the ancient Greeks already knew their Gods when they migrated to the Mediterranean Sea around 4,000 years ago, but they were still changing and growing 2,500 years ago, and their forms only became set around 1,500 years ago.
Where the Pesedjet emphasizes social and cultural stability over and against individual rights, the Dodekatheon has sought to impose patterns of individuality within the community on humanity. Arete-personal excellence in service to humanity-is the motivating urge of this tribe of Gods and its Scions. It is important for most people to know their place, but it is equally important for some to rise above their stations and create new patterns for human life.
In modern times, the Dodekatheon’s Scions seek to manifest and awaken great spirits in society-as artists, warriors, spiritual seekers, judges, leaders and poets. Extraordinary individuals can strengthen the fabric of reality so that Titans can gain no purchase on it or rip through illusion’s curtains. Sometimes, the Scions of the Olympians challenge mortals, and sometimes, they are the mortals challenged by the Gods. Both routes lead to greatness-an exaltation of human endeavor that blocks the Titans from destroying the World.
Aphrodite AKA: Venus, Turan
As beautiful and capricious as the sea that birthed her, Aphrodite is impossibly gorgeous no matter what disguise she puts on. Men and women fall in love with her in an epic way the moment they lay eyes on her. Aphrodite herself falls in love with equal fervor-only to come crashing out of love in an epic way a few months or occasionally years later.
To modern eyes, Aphrodite has assumed roles ranging from fashion model to arm candy to the super wealthy. She has been the executive of a fashion magazine, the hostess of a TV game show, a cheerleader for a championship football team and a soulful lounge singer. Fickle, demanding, fascinated by intelligence yet never really seeing its use, Aphrodite keeps her attendant fans waiting on her, hand and foot, so that her every whim is supplied. Her indiscretions are always overlooked, laughed off or excused. Her paramours rarely get off so easily. When she vanishes suddenly, her former victims are usually left penniless and suicidal. In fact, finding her is merely a matter of tracking the string of failed relationships and ruined lovers she leaves behind.
Her Scions tend to follow one of two paths: Either they are genuinely loving and communicative with their partners, while providing inspiration and guidance to all their friends in matters of love and relationships; or they tend to leave a string of broken hearts and ruined people behind them. Usually incredibly beautiful themselves, they still have difficulty wielding that beauty in the presence of their mother.
Lord of music, the sun, art and beauty, Apollo is the healer and the sender of plague. He can cure with a touch or smite with his golden bow. Blond, blue-eyed, with muscled olive-tan skin, his smile sends quivers through half of both male and female populations, yet his love affairs seem fated to be short lived and touched by tragedy. Apollo’s tendency to speak truths others are unwilling to face is guaranteed to win respect from half the room and make the other half want to start swinging.
In modern times, Apollo has been a New Age massage therapist and a Piccadilly Circus pick-up boy, a brilliant neurosurgeon, a cruel film reviewer and a ponderous academic. Whatever his role, he is invariably a well-known and respected (if controversial) figure. His Scions tend to take after him. Classically handsome or beautiful, muscular and active, they tend to follow careers in the arts, music or health professions. Many are entangled in the machinations of Fate, owing to their father’s long-standing interest in and control of prophecy.
God of war, Ares has a profound ability to incite murderous rage in almost anyone around him. His screams are enough to terrify hardened Army Rangers-one general who’s seen him in action thinks atomic weapons are less dangerous. Dark and hirsute, Ares does not conform to anyone’s idea of a perfect warrior-until he raises his weapon. What that weapon is from day to day hardly matters. All that counts is that he has one.
In modern times, Ares has been a weapons manufacturer, a black-budget accountant, a Special Forces commander, a psychotic deserter, a militia leader in the mountains, a survivalist and a renegade Soviet officer. Hardened veterans go pale when reminded of him, and women tend to cry or spit at the sound of his name. Most of his methods rely on going to strange places, meeting lots of interesting people, and killing them.
His children are rarely as fierce as he. Ares is not above motivating his Scions with negative reinforcement, but he knows that his children are called to a different kind of war than he was. They need skills of cool calculation and battle-tested reason more than the rage of war. Therefore, he tests them constantly for he knows he might need them someday.
Sister to Apollo and Goddess of the moon, Artemis eschews the company of men, preferring the companionship (and touch) of women. Dark-haired and white-skinned, Artemis always has a predatory gleam in her eye, whether she’s chasing deer or skirts. Like her brother, her hands can heal, while a shot from her silver bow brings comatose sleep for as long as she wishes. Vain and proud, she rarely lets anyone gaze upon her without changing their lives forever. Fierce and sensual, she resolves to change as many lives as she can. In modern life, Artemis has played a rock guitarist in black leather, a senator in a power suit, an erotic dancer in feather fans, a dominatrix and a doctor. It has not, in fact, proved beyond her ability to assume all five of these roles in a single disguised lifetime. More than any other Goddess, Artemis has the power to change her form and shape more or less at will, while remaining true to herself.
The adopted Scions of Artemis are no less changeable. Assuming one role in youth, they tend to become something else in their rebellious teenage years, only to shake off that chrysalis in favor of a new form in young adulthood, and still other roles in maturity and declining years. Artemis herself likes her children to pass through various stages and life patterns, and she finds ways to encourage change among her more settled offspring.
Honey-haired and well-rounded-voluptuous, some would say-Athena is the best at everything, perpetually wise except when her ambitions reduce her to foolish actions. As Goddess of wisdom, Athena has the power to mediate disputes, to resolve them by force or to create new techniques that render the argument irrelevant. She has no patience for those who rely on aggression alone to solve their problems. Athena tends to be proud, however, and she can be misled into risky contests by challenging the depth and breadth of her skills. She does not lose gracefully.
In modern times, Athena has been a devoted middle school teacher, a waspish librarian, a first-rate artist and a popular motivational speaker. Those who see her often use terms such terms as “old soul,” “many-layered” and “quick-witted.” Her sharp-tongued intelligence scares off many potential partners, but though chaste, she has proven a devoted patron to many a Scion who’s impressed her with their cleverness and quick wits, regardless of those Scions parentage.
Her adopted Scions are similarly well endowed with graces of art and artistry. Skilled at languages and fine crafts, they tend to become famous artists and performers-unless their mother pulls them away to other tasks and projects, such as saving the World.
The wildest and craziest of a wild pantheon, Dionysus is a Scion of Zeus who was elevated to godhood about 3,000 years ago. God of wine and celebration, he is the perfect party boy, whether you want to stage a sedate wine tasting, a drunken orgy or a drug-fueled rock concert in the back of beyond. Invite him, and a party will usually show up in his wake. Darkhaired and slender while still being soft, Dionysus is capable of persuading even the most straight-laced prude to loosen his tie and party down.
Dionysus has dabbled in being a rock impresario, a club owner, a wine merchant, a food critic, a grand cordon chef, a drug dealer, a microbrewery manager and a restaurant owner. He also likes to take on short-term roles as the handsome stranger with the really good pot or the really good bottle of wine at the concert. It’s telling about Dionysus’s abilities as a father that he much prefers to create Scions during casual encounters than as part of some long-term disguise.
His Scions are similar. Wherever they go, they tend to establish a party around themselves. If they stay too long in one place, it congregates around them, attracting the missing elements of that celebration. This happens partly because the Scion is fun to be around, but also because Fate finds it useful to create such events around the Scion. The more potent the Scion is, the larger and more raucous the soire.
Gray all over and heavy-set, Hades is the dour God of death and the Underworld. Joy claims him every six months when Persephone comes to his realm. Although she is a springtime Goddess, Hades found her to be as devious as he, and discovered love rarely granted to Gods of doom and gloom. But Persephone’s mother ripped his fair bride from him and contrived to keep her away from Hades for half of every year. The result is a tormented and angry soul who occasionally beds mortals to assuage his sense of being lost in the currents of eternity.
In modern times, Hades plays roles within a narrow band: the miserly commodities broker, the tight-fisted rich old uncle, the suspicious Treasury Department official, the aggressive IRS agent and the Mafia don looking for his missing tribute. Hades is always looking for the return of his missing wealth, whether it be lost souls trying to find their way to the Underworld or more material wealth mined from the ground without his permission. He seeks mortal partners who remind him of his queen. Of late, he is angry about his planet being demoted.
Hades Scions often come off almost as manic depressive. Their moods shift on a dime from doom and gloom to hopeful and humorous (though it’s often the black humor of the gallows). These Scions commonly act as Hades’ agents in the World, reclaiming his lost property (be that wealth or souls) and forwarding the Unseen One’s agendas.
Lord of the forge and all manufactured things, Hephaestus is a mountain of a man, bearded and barrel-chested. He is capable of creating automatons sophisticated enough to imitate human beings, weapons capable of bringing down Titans and Gods, palaces to surpass the greatest of those of the World’s kings, and tools that can refashion the universe. His software can rewrite civilizations or engineer the collapse of one. All things that depend on mechanical or artificial design are within his purview, and he can effect startling changes in all of them. His two great disadvantages are his crippled legs, which prevent him from moving easily from place to place. He’s also become reliant on his workroom of tools and equipment, which were crafted from his own power and strength as a God. Without them, he is rarely as capable of moving mountains as some would like him to be.
In modern times, Hephaestus is the absent-minded professor or the engineer who loses his glasses. People who recall meeting him are always astounded at the combination of theoretical comprehension and practical applications that meet in his head. So few builders understand the metaphysical underpinnings of their works, while few theoreticians grasp how their mental gymnastics can be used in the real world. Hephaestus understands both, usually with great trepidation at what his knowledge could unleash upon the World.
His Scions tend to be similarly distracted, yet are excellent at assembling odds and ends into formidable tools. Most tend to inherit either his theoretical brilliance or his mechanical aptitude, but not both. The smith-lord prizes and favors those few who do most avidly and insistently.
Wife of Zeus, Hera is the Goddess of marriage. Famed as perpetually loyal and faithful to her husband despite his infidelities, Hera engages in her current philandering ways for the sake of the Gods’ continued survival. Her rationalizations make the other Gods uneasy, but they bite their tongues. Darkhaired with gray streaking her temples and possessing a matronly figure, Hera is regal in a way that few Greek Gods are. Busy men pause to open doors for her, and she keeps them waiting while finishing a few parting thoughts. No one dares interrupt her.
In modern life, Hera prefers roles that grant her access to the good life. She is the chairman’s wife, or the mayor’s. She is the president of the exclusive women’s college in New England or the matron of a political family that has ruled the highest echelons of the nation. She is rarely without her pearls, her peacocks and her dogs. Make her angry, and she’ll ruin your day-possibly your epoch. Her Scions have a complex position in divine society.
No one can deny that they are strong and potentially great assets in the war against the Titans. As the bastard children of the queen of the Gods, however, few know how many Birthrights to grant them. Is Zeus planning on destroying them, despite their usefulness? Can they ever be Gods? Will they overthrow their mother and stepfather?
Lithe, tanned, dark-haired Hermes is the swift-footed messenger of the Gods. He has gone everywhere and done everything. A master trickster and illusionist, he tricked Apollo out of his cows and paid him back with music made with a harp of cow-guts. He stole his magic from Hera, wealth from Pluto, and his traveler’s wits from Artemis. The other Gods are not always fond of him, but they can’t deny he has a certain playful usefulness. Hermes more often plays tricks on Titans and titanspawn than on his fellow Gods, and that makes him useful.
In modern life, Hermes has been an upstart head of a computer start-up, a three-card monte con man, a bicycle messenger, an M&A lawyer and the man who sold the Eiffel Tower-twice. The herald of the Gods also makes a good diplomat and trouble-shooter, both for Gods and mortals, and he enjoys making deals that leave everyone but the Titans happy. As a God of merchants and travelers-concepts unfamiliar or even alien to the Titans-Hermes loves the mortal World and travels in it far more often than the other Gods do. He serves as the principal agent of the Dodekatheon in delivering Birthrights and is often a Scion’s first contact with the divine hierarchy.
Hermes’ Scions are often impressed into similar roles. In a world where communications are frequently intercepted, mouth to ear becomes the safest form of information dissemination. Therefore, the children of Hermes risk life and limb to become couriers and spies for their aunts and uncles among the Gods. Not accidentally do the Scions of Hermes also run life insurance services for the God-born. They are well aware of the risks of being a Scion in the first place.
Legends say Poseidon was the happiest of Zeus’s siblings. He married well, had a horde of children, ruled a vast dominion, received offerings from dozens of cities, had hundreds of temples and shrines, and married a young woman from land in every port for the better part of four millennia. It was a divinely good life.
In the modern age, Poseidon is a passionate but difficult man. White-bearded, half-bald, grizzled and wrinkled, he appears as a startlingly spry and well-preserved man in his 70s. Even in mortal guises, his skin has an almost blue tinge to it. Over the years, the sea God has taken the role of a shipping agent, an underwater archaeologist and a naval officer. He still gambles at the horse races. Most of all, however, Poseidon is an environmentalist. He rages at what humans are doing to his ocean, and he has plans to make them stop. Triton, Poseidon’s son and favorite Scion, does most of the work of contacting his father’s progeny these days.
These Scions are a tsunami building across the World, transforming nations and civilizations, wreaking havoc on a World that forgot Poseidon and forgot to take care of the ocean. The Scions of the Horse Lord will make everyone remember.
Zeus, Sky Father, King of Heaven, Titan-Slayer, Many-Splendored, Crowned in Lightnings. He has many titles, all expressing his strength and power. Legends say Zeus was stronger than all the other Gods of the Dodekatheon combined; some Gods believe he might be stronger than any other two pantheons combined. This very strength could, in fact, be his undoing, for Fate has decreed that a son of his own siring will overthrow him in time. The other Gods caution him to be careful in spreading his divine seed, yet Zeus cannot help himself. His very potency and the heroic nature of his children and the great deeds they do in the World push him to father yet more Scions and bring more soldiers to the side of the Gods in the battle with the Titans and the titanspawn. That his very eagerness could result in the ruin of the World weighs little on his mind. Some suggest he might actually be addicted to the sexual rush or even to the act of procreation.
To modern audiences, Zeus has played many roles: irreplaceable senator, undefeatable mayor, obscure European prince, sharp-eyed president (elected or not, political or corporate, it matters not). He is always in charge, always on top and always in control. When he’s wrong, the results are bad; when he’s right, the results are good. Either way, the results are always epic in scope and scale.
His Scions are a diverse and unruly bunch. Dionysus, Ares, Hephaestus, Apollo, Artemis and Hermes are all his children. So were Heracles, King Minos of Crete and Helen of Troy. That his children are capable of spreading order and justice is undeniable. That they are capable of great destruction and ruin is equally undeniable. Yet it is difficult to explain that to Zeus without giving offense.