How To Bring Hades II Into Dungeons & Dragons

Been playing a bunch of Hades II and are wondering if its possible to bring its creativity to your D&D campaign? We have done some digging into official material and have some tips.

Published: May 15, 2024 8:00 AM /


Hades II to DND Hero Image depicting chaos and other upgrades.

With the Early Access release of Supergiant Games' Hades II, players are going wild. For something still in development, the game is packed with compelling content. Furthermore, since most enjoyers of TTRPGs like to take ideas from media as story fuel for their Dungeons & Dragons campaign, there's a high chance some players out there want to bring some Hades II to their tables.

In that spirit, allow us to DMs some helpful tips for bringing some of Zagreus and Melinoe's antics into the world's most popular fantasy TTRPG.

First, there are two restrictions I am putting on myself with this list. First and foremost, I will do my best to keep my suggestions to rules and systems found in the official material provided by Wizards of the Coast. This is not meant to discount third-party or homebrew material, but more a matter of discipline. Feasibly, any of these rules should be easy to implement into any campaign with minimal effect on game balance or tone.

Second, I am focusing on translating certain gameplay systems and mechanics to the table, not aesthetic, genre, or narrative elements. If you want a Greek-themed D&D setting with thematically appropriate material, the Mythic Odysseys of Theros supplement is a great place to start.

A screenshot of Hades II, showing Melinoe surrounded by different weapons
How in the world do we make these work?

Bringing Hades II To Dungeons & Dragons – Boons and Weapon Aspects

In Hades II, every time you clear a room of enemies you obtain a random boon from one of the Greek gods. These boons can drastically change your playstyle as you progress. In addition, there are Daedalus Hammers, which can improve your weapons.

How do you bring some of that power and spontaneity to a game like Dungeons & Dragons? A TTRPG whose experience can range from one-shot dungeon crawls with close friends to year-long epic campaigns full of drama and explosive setpieces?

First, we'll cover Boons since it's the easiest. In Chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, there is a section on alternative rewards to treasure and magic items. That section discusses Supernatural Gifts, which come in two forms. Blessings permanently boost a character's stats or give them the benefits of a certain magic item. Charms give players access to more potent abilities but vanish permanently once used several times.

Both of these gifts can be used for Boons. Blessings let players feel stronger than others thanks to going that extra mile, and charms provide a bit of tactical thinking on their end. The section even mentions such gifts can be given to adventurers by the gods either in advance of a perilous quest or as a reward for doing something so spectacular they take notice. Something spectacular as, say Melinoe's dire quest to defeat Chronos, the Titan of Time?

A screenshot from an excerpt of the D&D 5e Dungeon Master's Guide explaining Supernatural Blessings
Tired: Giving out magic items. Wired: Giving out Blessings.

Weapon upgrades on the other hand are trickier. Part of Dungeons & Dragons' core design is discarding older gear for better ones as you level up and progress through greater challenges. In many respects, you are encouraged not to get attached to a weapon because a +1 weapon may be around the corner.

Once again, Chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide provides an answer. Under Sentient Magic Items, there is a section discussing Artifacts. In the world of Dungeons & Dragons, Artifacts are powerful magic items from the ancient past. They are designed to be packed full of unimaginable power well beyond what is readily available.

It also has some handy charts on how to make your own. In addition to having a blacksmith turn your Fighter's regular weapon into a magical +1 weapon, roll once on the Minor Beneficial Properties chart and give it the corresponding benefit. Now that magical sword can cast Dimension Door or protect the wielder from being frighened or charmed. Now it has more personality.

A screenshot from Hades II Showing a list of Chaos Challenges
The risks are tricky, but the rewards are so tempting.

Bringing Hades II To Dungeons & Dragons – Chaos Challenges, Heat Levels, and Training Mirror

In Hades II, Melinoe can accept challenges from the primordial Chaos. These challenges force the player to fight temporarily with a penalty or restriction. The trade-off is once this challenge is completed, the player gets a major benefit.

A more extreme version of this idea can be found with Hades' Heat Levels. These are optional increases to difficulty. More enemies appear. Enemies have more health. You have to clear every battle within a certain time limit. The list goes on.

Since both Hades and Hades II are roguelikes, a genre all about learning and adapting to increasingly daunting challenges and rotating benefits, these systems work wonderfully. If you die, you can take fewer risks on your next run.

They're also the trickiest idea to bring to Dungeons & Dragons. For the most part, the DM dictates the difficulty of a campaign, and character death is due to either bad luck or poor player decisions.

Luckily, there is a way to bring these challenges to a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Introduce these challenges as an optional gimmick of a dungeon the players need to traverse or a scripted section. Keep the timetables short. The duration of a dungeon crawl at least; an in-game day at most.

A screenshot from the D&D 5e Dungeon Master's Guide showing a chart of minor detriments for sentient weapons
DMs, a bit of forethought and these detriments can be nastier than expected.

For restrictions, we'll be utilizing the Minor and Major Detrimental Properties charts in the Artifact section of the Dungeon Master's Guide. As part of the challenge, the player is given a magic item they must bring to the end of the dungeon. Roll on the respective charts and play out how the detriments hinder the party. Use minor effects if you want to inconvenience the group or major effects for something spicier.

For something more active, you can impose penalties on PCs using unique character resources. Inflicting psychic damage on a character if they cast spells above a certain level or using a barbarian rage. If you impose a time limit, introduce force damage after several turns passes in a battle.

But what do you roll for damage? In Chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide under Traps, there is a handy chart for adjudicating traps. use the Damage Severity By Level Chart as you see fit. These challenges are essentially activating a trap when certain criteria are met after all.

A screenshot from the D&D 5e Dungeon Master's Guide showing the Damage Severity By Level Matrix
A handy tool for any DM out there that needs to calculate damage quickly.

But how should the DM reward the players for this extra effort? There are two different avenues for this. One is consulting the Treasure Tables in Chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide and rolling on it for some extra treasure.

On the other hand, you can consult Xanathar's Guide To Everything's section on rewarding magic items to the party. Go to the Magic Item Ingredients chart, found under Downtime Activities, consult the chart to determine the rarity of an item based on the CR – increased by 1-3 based on the severity of the challenges – then hand the participating players a fitting magic item from the book. For more guidance, consult the section in Xanathar's Guide To Everything on rewarding magic items.

Lastly, there is Zagreus' Mirror of Night. In Hades, this was used to give the player ongoing persistent bonuses they can take on each run.

A screenshot of Hades, showing Zagreus standing in front of the Mirror of Night.
With enough gold, I should be able to get a bit of an edge.

This may be the easiest thing to implement into Dungeons & Dragons. In chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, the Other Rewards section mentions Training. A player can receive training from an esteemed mentor or master wizard, gaining additional benefits. This ranges from having Inspiration every day for a few days, gaining new skill proficiencies or just getting a new Feat. As for cost, Chapter 6 of the Dungeon Master's Guide covers training to gain additional levels under Downtime Activities. But the training there can take weeks or months, and leveling up is a much bigger reward than the ones listed. Alternatively, Xanathar's Guide To Everything mentions a mentor would cost 25 gold per workweek.

Have a player invest some gold, have the mentor be a mystical magic mirror, let them build up to a reward over one or two weeks, and you're good to go.

Naturally, these are suggestions for bringing Hades II into Dungeons & Dragons. House rules and custom material is always an option depending on your table. But for those just starting in this hobby, these suggestions above may help give you that extra creative spark.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

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Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This… More about Tyler

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