Cons, Pranks, and Practical Jokes
- This is a page for any cons, pranks, or pratical jokes that are pulled in the series.
- A bit of con lingo: a mark is the victim of the con or prank, the one who is tricked.
The Senseless Stabbing
The Objective: To distract and lure away a shopkeeper from their goods long enough to steal a portion of their wares.
What you need: Between three to four people (one for the 'victim', one for the 'stabber', and the rest as lookouts and distractions), a dagger, and a pig's bladder filled with some kind of liquid that resembles blood.
The Setup: The 'victim' hides the 'blood'-filled bladder inside his shirt, over where his heart would be. The third and fourth people find spots a short distance away from the mark's shop where they can keep lookout.
The Con: The 'victim' casually approaches the mark's market stall, innocently perusing the goods. After a few minutes, the 'stabber' will run up and 'stab' the 'victim' in the 'heart', puncturing the pig's bladder and spilling 'blood' out from where the 'victim' is clutching his chest. The 'stabber' runs off while the 'victim' collapses onto the stall, 'dying'. At this point the mark will be panicking that they just witnessed a 'murder' in front of their booth, and will (hopefully) briefly leave their booth in search of a doctor or an undertaker. While the mark is gone, the 'victim' can steal as much as they can grab. If the mark realizes that they were conned and starts shouting for police, the 'victim' and the two lookouts take off running in different directions through the marketplace crowd (thus creating confusion and chaos and making it hard to choose which person to run after). Afterwards, the four people involved meet at a pre-determined hiding place to divide the loot.
The Drunken Distraction
- used by Iolaus, Hercules, and Jason in Young Hercules (Movie Pilot) and Young Hercules (Novelization).
The Objective: To get past guards and into a city or building (mostly) undetected.
What you need: Between two to three people (one for the distraction and two or so for the muscle), an Old Man costume (a hat, beard, and cloak), and a wineskin full of soup (or some other liquid, preferebly with chunks, that looks about the same post-digested as pre-digested. Bonus points if it has a strong, foul odor).
The Setup: The man playing the distraction should dress in the Old Man costume with the wineskin of soup hidden in his shirt. The other two or so people will hide and sneak around behind the marks.
The Con: The man playing the distraction should start wandering towards the marks, acting drunk and disorderly and carrying on. Singing loudly off key and cracking bad jokes also helps. Soon the marks should grow tired of this behavior and one of them will punch the disguised man in the stomach. Doubled over, the disguised man can now pretend to be sick and throwing up while covertly squeezing soup out of the wineskin, aiming for the shoes of the nearest mark. While the first mark is distracted by the 'vomit' on their shoes, and the other marks are distracted laughing at the first mark's misfortune, the other two men can come out from hiding and incompacitate the marks with very little resistance.
The Third Man Deception
- used by Hercules and Jason in 1.06 - Teacher's Pests.
The Objective: To make it seem like a there is a third man present when there are in fact only two.
What you need: Around two people (one for setup with the ability to throw his voice, the other for distraction), a pair of boots, a high ledge, a bale of hay, a rope, a short stick, and a goat.
The Setup: Arrange the boots with the feet poking over the high ledge, so that it looks like there is a person on the ledge with their feet poking over. Arrange the hay bale on the edge of the ledge, using the rope and the small stick as a lever, keeping the bale from falling off the ledge.
The Con: When the mark walks in looking for the third person, the mark will see the boots and think that the third person is on the ledge. If the mark gets suspicious, the second person can provide a distraction (like squirting goat milk into the mark's eyes), while the first person throws his voice to 'talk' to the third person (carrying both sides of the conversation). The first person then 'asks' the third person for a bale of hay, and covertly yanks on the rope, disrupting the stick and causing the bale of hay to fall, creating the illusion that the third man tossed down the bale. At this point the mark should be convinced that there is indeed a third man on the ledge, and will leave to wash the goat milk out of his eyes.
The Ol' Hand-In-Warm-Water Prank
- mentioned being used by Iolaus in Young Hercules: Cheiron's Warriors.
The Objective: To make the mark wet their bed.
What you need: One person and a bowl of warm water.
The Prank: While the mark is sleeping, dip the mark's hand in the bowl of warm water. This supposedly will stimulate the mark into going to the bathroom while asleep and wetting the bed.
The Ol' Tree Gag
- Mentioned and later used by Iolaus and Jason in 1.25 - Herc's Nemesis
The Objective: To disarm the mark by causing them to embed their weapon in a tree or a wall.
What you need: Annoying taunts, quick reflexes, at least two people (one, unarmed, being attacked and the other to execute the con), and a sturdy tree, wall, or something else large and strong enough.
The Setup: The one executing the con should place themselves between the mark and the wall/tree/whatever.
The Con: When the one person has been disarmed by the mark, and is now having to resort to dodging attacks, the other person should begin to taunt the mark. This will divert attention to the taunter and, with luck, provoke the mark to attack. If executed properly, the force of the attack will result in the mark's weapon getting stuck into the tree/wall/whatever.
The Ol' Negotiation Gag
- Used by Jason in 1.25 - Herc's Nemesis
The Objective: To deceive the mark with promises that amount to 'You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours'.
What you need: Charm, diplomatic skills, and a winning smile. Being wealthy, though not required, also helps.
The Con: When you need a situation to go a certain way, such as keeping a man out of jail a little while longer, the best thing to do is to employ this tactic. Engage the mark in conversation, distracting them with sweet talk and promises of a nice room and good food at the palace instead of several days-worth of camping out in the elements. If executed properly, the mark will agree to the alternative.
The Wheel Waylay
- used by Iolaus and Jason in 1.13 - Forgery.
The Objective: To get revenge on a surly chariot (or wagon) driver who honked his horn at you.
What you need: A strong rope, between one to two (or more) people (one to sneak over to the mark's chariot or wagon and tie the rope around the wheels, possibly one to tie the other end of the rope to something sturdy, and the rest as lookouts and distractions).
The Setup: While the mark is distracted, sneak over to the mark's chariot or wagon and tie one end of the rope around the wheels. Tie the other end of the rope to something sturdy. Then hide, with a good view of the proceedings.
The Con: Wait for the chariot or wagon driver to spur on their horses and head off. The rope will pull taut and yank the wheels off of the chariot/wagon, causing damage to both the chariot/wagon and the driver's pride.