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A messiah was sent with the specific purpose of saving humanity from their sins, but unfortunately failed to overcome his human weaknesses. He was said to have an " impatient eye " with the opposite sex and succumbed to his lecherous instincts. This led to demigods being born all over the ancient world, numbering in the hundreds. These demigods were considered superhuman, with abilities far outstripping the capabilities of mortals. They would go on to perform great deeds, such as slaying monsters plaguing the world, or sacking great kingdoms for their nations. Their deeds would inspire many myths and stories about their adventures and conquests, provoking the envy of mortals and inspiring others to live up to their legendary reputations.

Gods are considered to be enhanced humans, not only in body but in mind. Every emotion they feel is magnified ten fold, such as love and anger, which led to their dramatic behavior and over-reactions that many of them displayed in myths of the past. Their offspring would naturally possess these qualities, albeit on a lower level than their parents. This is demonstrated in the ancient myths from their overly cruel punishments of mortals to their heroism and fearlessness in battle against monsters. As their egotistical and charismatic behavior is directly linked to their accomplished feats, it isn't that far of a step to desire actual political power as well. The ancient world was a time of might makes right, and the strongest of individuals would naturally seek to dominate others and rule kingdoms. Many kings started out as warlords who conquered some territory and expanded their power base. Demigods could certainly gain the support of the public and would easily overthrow lesser mortals in a struggle for power, seeing as how the ancient world valued the characteristics that they possess.

Demigods allowing lesser mortals to lord over them seems opposed to their nature. How can I make this scenario more likely to occur?

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Because they don't all want to be rulers

Sure, having a load of people at your beck and call is great, but in feudal times any oath of service was a two-way deal. The servant promised to follow the lord's command, pay tithes and fight in their name and in exchange the Lord promises to protect them, be it from acts of God, nature or mortals.

Once you get beyond a small handful, managing your underlings problems becomes a real time sink. You have to make sure they're all fed, healthy, clothed, homed. You have to punish troublemakers and settle disputes. This is all really boring, mundane crud unless you are really into it, and most won't be.

So instead they may gather a small party of loyal servants to aid them whilst they do whatever it is they actually want, be it hunting down and slaying mighty beasts, developing new, powerful spells, or producing great works of art. Some may even have a mortal Lord as a patron, who will provide them with food, shelter and resources in exchange for a shqre of their considerable talent.

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You could go on and follow examples from ancient Greek myths:

  1. The gods say that this particular demigod is destined to serve this king (like Heracles and Eurystheus)
  2. The demigod is happy that his relative has become a king (like Jason)
  3. Demigods just travelling and performing deeds (like Theseus at youth). He knows he will be a king one day but doesn't want to get the crown immediately.
  4. Demigod has lost a kingdom (in battle, because of intrigues etc.)

There are many other options. Just re-read the myths about second-line heroes and you'll find many scenarios :)

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Are we sure the demi-god can always over-power mortals?

In a mythological setup, mortals are not helpess against demi-gods: there are magical weapons that can equalize the odds, direct interventions of gods that decide to help a mortal in exchange for some favors, and so on.
In the Iliad, for instance Diomedes was able to injure Ares/Mars (and I think that in the same book of the Iliad there was another part where Zeus listed all the times when a mortal was able to defeat a god).
For this reason, I don't think a demi-god would always rule against mortals: they can manage (even with difficulties) to win against a demi-god.

Moreover, in order to rule it is important to always act rationally, which is something that not always happens with the demigods, who are people who use to have strong emotional reactions. A mortal ruler who is able to always think rationally, could easily outsmart a demigod taking advantage of this.
Or, in other words, while Sun-Tzu would never defeat Eracles/Hercules in a one-to-one duel, he would easily defeat his armies, which would make him a better leader even if a worse fighter.

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What you are describing is literally the metaplot of Exalted. The gods created the Celestial Exalted (Solar, Lunar, and Sidereals) to overthrow the Primordials and rule over humanity as god-kings, and to do this they gave them supernatural powers and superhuman charisma and could do impossible things so long as it looked cool. There were also the Terrestrial Exalted, who were created to be servants and elite footsoldiers of the other Exalted and were much more mundane in power level.

The problem for the Celestial Exalted is that their absolute power corrupted them, along with a curse that caused all of their human flaws to be magnified tenfold and cause them to do horrible things in emotional outbursts (much like most depictions of "humanity amplified" demigods). For example Desus, one of the most powerful Solar Exalted, had the power to influence people's minds, and used his ability to physically and mentally abuse his wife as well as rape and torture people and then brainwash everyone around him into thinking that was okay.

This abuse of power by the Solars and Lunars caused the Terrestrial Exalted to revolt against their masters (with the help of the Sidereals, who were also corrupted but didn't get the blame for it). The Terrestrials overthrew the Solar and Lunar Exalted and then spent the next six-hundred years making sure they could never come back. They did everything in their power to track down and kill any surviving or newborn Solar and Lunars to make sure they could not rise to power again, and shaped the culture of human civilization such that the populace saw Solar and Lunars at best as unfit to rule, and at worst as horrible monsters that must be destroyed at the first opportunity. At the time the game starts the only surviving Solars and Lunars are a few quasi-legendary figures and barbarian kings living in the far-off hinterlands, as well as the player characters who are often newfound Solars and Lunars that must keep a low profile or be executed by the Terrestrial Exalted.

That would be how you do it. Humanity overthrew the demigods en masse and then took steps to make sure demigods could never seize power again, whether that be killing them whenever they appear or installing a culture-wide fear of them. Legends and stories would be told of why you don't allow these people to have any power, or be highly suspicious of them when they do appear.

Alternatively, you do what Warhammer 40k did. Once the kingdoms of men were ruled by overly-emotional, immature demigods, but they wiped themselves out in a great civil war against each other and the few that survived either retreated into seclusion or went into exile. A few might nominally still be around but overall history since that point has been an age of men, not gods.

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  • $\begingroup$ Until the return of Robute Guillman and the Primaries. $\endgroup$ – Incognito Apr 10 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Incognito Roboute Guilliman was resurrected by an even more insidious force than Chaos: Games Workshop and their Space Marine-favoritism and insatiable desire for money. Seriously, if the Horus Heresy series was never published or 40k didn't devolve into "Space Marines versus everyone else" Roboute would have stayed dead. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Apr 11 at 6:12
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All power that a ruler wields comes from the people that are being ruled. If people do not want to give power to demigods, demigods will not be able to seize it. Even if demigods are super strong and super smart there are too few of them against too many. So, a better question would be why mortals do not allow demigods to rule over them. Some of the possible explanations are listed below.

Inheritance laws

Demigods are banned from inheriting thrones. You can use whatever excuse for these laws. The easiest would be that only mortals can rule over mortals.

Demigods are strong but unsuitable to be rulers

Since ancient times it was known that demigods are exceptionally strong but they are emotionally unstable and prone to self-destructing behaviours. The latter makes them unsuitable for holding positions of political power. Hence, while being welcomed by many rulers as generals and advisors they are unable to muster the support of the masses and nobility necessary to usurp a throne.

Demigods are seen as perpetual foreigners

Demigods may be strong like an ox and swift as thunder and lightning but no one invites an ox or thunder to rule their country. If mortals see demigods as someone alien and remote and incapable of relating to humans then mortals might not welcome demigod rulers.

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