The Excuse Plot: One of the Ancients has been thrown out of the pantheon, and now the others must find a new god to replace it. To determine this new god, several ill-begotten descendants of the old god must compete in a tournament to see who is the strongest. The winner will ascend to godhood. (The game, of course, is one set of the tournament.)
In game, 2 teams start on opposite sides of an arena, with a Citadel, item shop, portal for reinforcements for their side to travel through, and a number of defensive buildings. The map also often has "flags" that can be captured by either team to control structures (like an artifact shop with very powerful and expensive items, for example), or provide bonuses to the controlling side. In each match, Demigods start at level 1 (or a level decided at the start), and must gain levels and gold over the game. Experience is provided by killing "reinforcements" (autonomous soldiers who spawn from portals, travel through the arena, and fight for their team), killing enemy Demigods, destroying defensive structures, and capturing flags. Several of these actions also supply gold, which can be used to buy items, purchase powerful team-wide upgrades at the Citadel, or other bonuses. Matches may have one of 4 victory conditions, chosen at the beginning, either destroying the enemy Citadel, destroying enemy fortresses, achieving a certain "war score" first, or getting a certain amount of Demigod kills. Destroying the enemy Citadel is an instant victory in any gamemode, but it is MUCH harder to take down in games where that;s not the primary objective.
The game was sold with 8 playable demigods, and 2 more have been added in a free patch. Demigods are divided into assasins and generals, "Assasins" being pure fighting demigods, and "generals" having the option through skills and items to control minions. The current demigods are as follows:
Rook: The Mighty Glacier of the group, he is literally a walking castle, with abilities based around towers and brute force.
Regulus: The Archer. He uses a giant crossbow and mines to damage enemies from a distance.
Unclean Beast: A monstrous creature, this demigod uses abilities related to poisons. Has a number of slowing skills and some direct damage. One skill, Ooze, requires life rather than mana.
Demon Assassin: Added in a recent patch. A Fragile Speedster who can teleport around and swap places with opposing Demigods. Also the only one capable of getting natural chances to critical hits and evasion without equipment.
Oak: A former guard, Oak in game appears as a large, empty suit of armor. Has abilities related to summoning spirits and protecting allies.
Sedna: A former tribal girl riding a massive snow leopard. Has a number of healing skills, summonable yetis, and some other utility skills.
Queen of Thorns: The Ms. Fanservice of the demigods. The Queen of Thorns has skills related to plants, as befits her name. She has two different stances, one oriented towards defensive abilities, one oriented towards damaging abilities.
Lord Erebus: A Vampire lord, he has a passive aura that can Animate Dead. He also has a number of damaging abilities.
Oculus: Added in a recent patch. A Squishy Wizard with several powerful lightening skills.
This game provides examples of:
- A God Is You: The storyline goal of the game.
- All There in the Manual: Most of the game's story (well, well, what there is of it) is found in side materials.
- Animated Armor: Oak is an empty suit of armour possessed by its former wearer.
- Artificial Stupidity: Averted. Even on the lower difficulty settings, the AI will play inefficiently, but not badly.
- Deliberately utilised by the computer when playing the single-player campaign on higher difficulty levels. The higher "difficulty" doesn't come from the enemy being smarter so much as your previously more-or-less reliable AI teammates suddenly becoming Too Dumb to Live. Given that this feeds extra gold and experience to the enemy demigods as well as leaving you constantly outnumbered and unsupported (and that beating an entire well-farmed team single-handedly is ABSURDLY difficult) it borders on Fake Difficulty.
- Attempted Rape: In the Queen of Thorns' lore, the first man she ever met was so overcome by her beauty (and the fact that she wore no clothing at all) that he forcibly grabbed her and kissed her. As soon as he touched her she drained the life from him before she even realized what was happening.
- Awesome, but Impractical: the All-Father's Ring accessory, which can be purchased from the atrifact shop. The stat boosts instantly slingshot any demigod to One-Man Army status, but is incredibly expensive.
- Bad Ass Normal: Sedna sort of fits. She does have amazingly powerful healing abilities, but compared to all the unusual shapes and abilities of the other demigods, is otherwise quite ordinary.
- BFG: Regulus' autoloading crossbow.
- Body Horror: Unclean Beast's backstory involves this, and Unclean Beast himself has elements. (One skill involves oozing body fluids in an area, for example.)
- Brutal Honesty: Sedna. Yes, her tribe's shaman was a fraud. No, she didn't have to barefacedly point this out to everyone for no particular reason. For one thing, it eventually drove him to try to kill her.
- Chess Motifs: The Rook is reminiscent of the Rook chess piece.
- Copy Protection: Subversion - much like their earlier game Sins of a Solar Empire, the only DRM Stardock requires is a CD-key to activate Demigod's online features.
- And boy did they pay for it- on the game's first week of release they estimated the piracy rate was 93%, with pirates completely overloading the game's server capacity.
- Crippling Overspecialization: It is possible to do this with demigod skills (Builds in general seem optimizable for tower killing, creep killing, and/or demigod killing, and can be quite underpowered against other types of enemies)
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Torch Bearer has been driven insane by grief and is considered a member of the Forces or Darkness, but in his ending, he is reunited with his wife and presides over fair and merciful times.
- Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Averted. Your father is a god of light and what he's done is considered an abomination. The other gods of light annihilate him for going around raping physical females.
- Drop the Hammer: The Rook's appropriately-named Hammer Slam skill. Does fairly light damage in its larger shockwave radius, but woe betide anything caught in the impact zone.
- Enemy to All Living Things: Queen Of Thorns is Mother Nature turned horribly abusive.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Unclean beast, Queen of Thorns.
- Fake Difficulty: In addition to AI skill, the single-player tournament difficulty also affects respawn times and starting gold, giving the player's team an advantage or disadvantage. Notably, this is impossible in skirmish or multiplayer - while respawn and starting gold can be adjusted, it always affects both sides evenly.
- Fallen Angel: Not so much fallen angel as fallen god, but your dad! He was one of the most important gods of light but his lust for physical females got the better of him, resulting in all those children, with some of them from demonic creatures and not all the mothers were willing. For this and just generally knocking up physical creatures (which is seen as obscene by the rest of the gods who are immaterial), his fellow gods of light obliterate him and had plans on doing the same to his brood before deciding to give 'em a chance.
- Healing Factor: In Sedna's backstory, she takes a whaling spear to the chest, and proceeds to calmly push it through and through none the worse for wear, then pick it up for future use as a primary weapon.
- Hero Unit: The Demigods.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Without their mounts, the only female demigods Sedna and Queen Of Thorns are tiny. The only other demigod close to being on the same scale is Torch Bearer. The next smallest, Lord Erebus, is at least half again their size.
- Justified with the Queen of Thorns, the fairy race she comes are so small that they're barely visible. By their standards, she's something out of Shadow of the Colossus.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Averted, which is a major part of why the game flopped so badly; only eight at launch with two more patched in before it died. By comparison, League of Legends had forty characters by the time it reached the end of its beta period and currently has more than 130 (and still rising).
- Meaningful Name: Rook. The rook piece in chess is a tower, and represents castles (Or so I heard, certainly rooks and castles are associated). In the game, rook is in fact a large Castle. Torchbearer also sort of fits, in that half his abilities are fire based.
- Erebus is a god of death. Sedna is an Inuit goddess of the sea. Oak is stable and mighty like his namesake. There are more meaningful names than not.
- Mighty Glacier: The Rook. It takes him forever to get anywhere, but when he does, not much will stop him.
- The Medic: Sedna, Priests.
- One-Man Army: All the demigods are this to some extent, with assassins and non-minion general builds more so than minion users.
- One Size Fits All: Justified: the arenas battles takes place in are manifestations of the Ancients themselves, and all equipment is spiritual in nature. This explains why the Unclean Beast can wear gloves, and why Queen of Thorns can equip three sets of armour and still look near-naked.
- Poison Mushroom: Lord Erebus can learn a skill that causes the potion normally dropped on death to deal damage instead of healing it. If you pick it up later while low on HP, you can get full credit for killing yourself.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Torch Bearer manages this single-handedly - his ice mode has a blue motif, skills that focus on impeding enemies, and low, ominous voice clips. Relive the Immolation on the other hand has a red motif, direct-damage skills, and crazed, aggressive voice samples.
- Red Shirt Army: Being statistically identical and released in synchronous waves, reinforcements will inevitably fight themselves to a standstill until a Demigod comes along to kill some off.
- Rule of Cool: Why does the tournament take the form it does? We don't know, but its sure fun.
- Scenery Porn: The arena locations.
- Sibling Rivalry: Despite their greatly varying appearances, all the characters have the same biological father. So they're siblings, the rivalry part comes in from the fact that the rest of the gods will only allow one of these siblings to live and ascend in a winner take all battle.
- Stripperiffic: Queen of Thorns is adorned by a few strategically-placed brambles... and that's about all. Elegantly lampshaded by one of her character select quotes:My eyes... are up here.
- Voodoo Shark: Some manual descriptions attempt to connect the gameplay with the Excuse Plot.
- White Mage: Sedna all the way. She's the only demigod with any meaningful ability to heal others.
- Winter Royal Lady: Sedna.
- You Have Researched Breathing: Some demigods have to choose to learn skills they are described as having in the backstory.
- Possibly justified by having to learn to apply powers on a Demigod-to-Demigod scale - its a far cry from giving some 'extra breath' to a recently-dead rabbit to meaningfully healing another divine being.