Full Item Description
The Battle-club of Heracles is a massive olive-wood cudgel, fully 5 feet long and 12 inches in diameter at the head, tapering to 4 inches at the handle. It is studded with 6-inch long, iron-hard cats’ claws along its length. Even for a weapon of this size the club seems unnaturally heavy and only the strongest of men can wield it, but even they must do so two-handed.
The battle-club was the first weapon Heracles owned, made from an olive tree he uprooted with his bare hands.
Used in the fight against the Nemean Lion, whose skin was said to be impervious to all weapons, it proved ineffective and Heracles was forced to suffocate the beast. In most versions of tale he achieves this by thrusting his arm down the Lion’s throat, however bite marks along its haft suggest that he may have used the battle-club for this purpose.
After slaying the Lion he removed its’ skin, using its’ own claws for the job, and mounted those same claws into his battle-club. Thereafter he wore the skin as armour and always carried the club into battle.
After Heracles’ death, the battle-club became a repository for his immortal soul (or possibly a link to his divine essence, it is not at all clear which) and thus became a focus for his worship as a hero-cult.
Mundane, Magical and Mythic Properties
The battle-club acts exactly like two-handed mace or war-maul and in battle it is used in exactly this manner. It does inflict slightly more damage than other weapons of this type, although this has more to do with the lion-claws embedded in the head than in any innately magical properties.
The true power of the club is the link it provides to the immortal soul of the hero-god Heracles. With the aid of the battle-club, the spirit of Heracles may be called and worship may then be offered. Thus the battle-club is essential for the operation of Cult of Heracles.
The Cult of Heracles
In life Heracles was known for his great physical strength, extraordinary personal courage (especially in battle), ingenuity and sexual prowess, and these are the virtues the cult emphasises above all else.
The cult virtues fit will with the ethos of the barbarian warrior and the cult is therefore much favoured by barbarian warbands. It also has a considerable following amongst adventurer types who are attracted to its message of personal freedom.
Magical benefits (if your game world and/or preferred magic system allows this) should include enhancements to physical strength and charms to boost courage or moral in combat.