Heracles is a hero-god and the son of Zeus. Perseus is also a son of Zeus (Zeus has had lots of affairs with mortal women). Achilles is the son of Thetis, a sea nymph, who dipped him in the river Styx as an infant, thus making him nearly invulnerable. Jason (of the Argonauts) is a grandson of the messenger god, Hermes. In at least one version of her backstory, Wonder Woman is formed from clay by her mother the Queen of the Amazons and has life breathed into her by four of the Olympian gods. Looking for a fresh take on the Champions superhero RPG, why not draw upon the mythological Greek heroes?
I recently acquired one of the cornerstone superhero systems and am finding it to my liking. Champions takes combat quite seriously and I rather enjoy that sort of approach if I am not going for fast and frantic White Box style combat. In fact combat and character generation (Champions 1e pretty much invented point buy chargen) take up the bulk of the Champions Complete book. The character point costs are based on how useful the abilities are in combat, so essentially, combat is the assumed standard of play. That is all-good by me, as I enjoy making the rest of the stuff up.
So the setting is an heroic version of ancient Greece before Herodotus starts writing things down...maybe even before Homer. The Olympian gods play their games with mortal human lives and monstrous creatures of legend still roam the land. (Champions Complete doesn't have a bestiary, but I feel confident I can make up some game monster stats after starting with human bandits.) Drawing on the rules for powers in Champions it seems likely that most any supernatural ability from myth and legend can be reproduced in Champions by applying the rules and a little imagination. Cyclops, yes, big and strong, with an inability to judge distances, a weakness for strong drink and a taste for human flesh. The cyclops can toss big rocks, but does so inaccurately (single eye).
Medusa will be fun. The Gorgon sisters have been described variously as a winged human with snakes on her head, the giant crawling snake hybrid seen in Clash of the Titans (1981), or even as the tree-like creature depicted in Perseus the Invincible (1963) sporting a single glowing eye that can turn men to stone (while a dramatic soundtrack plays).
Giant vultures that shoot lightning, hell hounds, animated statues, a metal bull, even sword wielding skeletons can make their appearance as threats for our mythical Greek superhero. The overlap with The Original Dungeon Role-Playing Game is intentional. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson include many classical Greek monsters in the original game. The more tactically complex combat system of Champions should make confronting even a single fantastic creature an epic game event.
Characters will be drawn from the Champions archetypes reinterpreted through a classical myth and legends lens to get the period feel. Game play will be action focused in the manner of comic book hero stories. Villains will be recurring and challenges will be legendary. I am thinking of starting the action at the heroic scale (around 200 CP characters).
The fickle and capricious nature of the Olympian gods should make the referee's job fun. Acting as the agent of one deity who is conspiring against another deity has all sorts of potential. Magical items may bestowed by one god only to arouse the jealousy of another. The fame of a hero's accomplishments may offend the collective gods who decide this mortal needs a lesson in humility (Odysseus!). In classical mythology there are hints at older, non Olympian gods who could present themselves as super villains. I am thinking there is a lot of grist for the Champions mill in this idea.