Alternate Way Of Preventing Gods From Interfering


Homebrew and House Rules

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Dark Archive

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Here's a few ideas.

It's All A Game:
To the gods, the universe is one giant game of chess - moving pawns around and outmaneuvering the enemy to win is very satisfying, whereas flipping the board means you have to set up the pieces and start all over again.

It Needs To Be This Way:
The influence of religion on the world eventually leads to a permanent utopia. The gods are actually time-travelers from this utopic future sent back in time to ensure that events take place to make this future possible, and any deviation from the events of their future's history could erase that utopia from existence.

The Gods Are Jerks:
The gods would love nothing more than to take over the mortals' puny little realm! There's just one problem - something's interfering with their ability to screw with reality. The deities have found, purely by accident, that they can circumvent this restriction by giving power to *cringes* the mortals. Each god has put references to this object in their text, urging their followers to find and destroy it at all costs in the hopes that the gods may have their playthings back.

Hopefully Someone Will Get This:
The gods are actually kids stuck in some video game they can't win and are on a meteor hiding from a one-armed / one-eyed crow juggalo chess piece with a sword stuck in its chest. It's all very confusing and nobody really understands.

Sovereign Court

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*teleports in*

*stabs Lunias*

*teleports out*

Dark Archive

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Jack Noir wrote:

*teleports in*

*stabs Lunias*

*teleports out*

...As a Seer of Doom, I'm wondering how I didn't see this coming. Huh. That's actually starting to huuuuuuurrrrrrrr-*THUD*

Dark Archive

Alleran wrote:

I've been toying with the old "gods as outgrowths of concepts" idea. So the god of fire isn't just a powerful outsider with fire-based power it grants to followers, it is fire, or an outgrowth/embodiment of it, all throughout reality.

And if this is the case, then a god in its natural state would be, by necessity, spread out across reality, with no true form to attack unless one could somehow simultaneously attack all fire everywhere at the same time (and the result of that attack, whether it succeeds or fails, is going to backlash throughout everything that god influences and touches). Of course, anything that powerful is a whole new ball game anyway, but it makes for a great defense mechanism, and it lets them look at many different things at once, spreading themselves across the fabric of the universe.

Why don't they form avatars? Simple. Forming a physical manifestation would basically amount to concentrating themselves down into a single, corporeal form. All of fire everywhere in reality, manifested in one place. That's huge. A god "touching down" in corporeal form is going to set off every alarm in reality at once, because while they're busy there, the rest of reality starts having serious problems when that fundamental concept is suddenly not there (which is why trying to kill a god will cause serious problems for reality).

The god of fire? Let's just say that you could probably toast marshmallows off the heat from half a galaxy away when he touches down. And you wouldn't want to be standing next to him. The rest of reality that he's taken apart to manifest in one spot? Suddenly there's no fire. Anywhere. It's all busy in one spot. Suns go out. Stars die, galaxies stop shining.

The god of magic? Great, now everybody within range of a continent (or maybe a planet, or a solar system) suddenly has enough magic to shatter worlds with the flick of a finger. The rest of the universe can't muster up so much as a cantrip.

Let's not even get into what happens if a deity of...

I am so stealing this!

Dark Archive

Necromancer wrote:

Ripped from one of my settings:

Deities require mortal acknowledgment to stay alive. Yes, deities are alive, but in a much more flexible way than the living can understand. Undead briefly understand it following creation or restoration via their creators. Outsiders instinctively recognize it by in their footsteps before finding a comfortable place to stop.

Mass worship means little outside of bragging rights. Portfolio control offers nothing other than a constant mental nagging--chronic headaches for some. Ascending to godhood can be likened to be trapped underwater with only a few straws to breathe through. Oh, yes, they're trapped; and the worst thing is, only they know why.

Every god and goddess was once mortal--all of them, no exceptions. Each one made the same journey: ascension, hubris, recollection, revelation, and then an eternal conflict.

Ascension is when a mortal makes the decision to shed their physical shell and heed the siren call. It doesn't matter what certain condition presented ascension as an option--they accepted, that's all that matters.

Hubris occurs when a deity believes themselves greater than their elders. They wage war, attempt romance, engage in subterfuge, and direct their follows on the Prime to do the same. However, nothing changes; their peers persist and no effort seems to alter a thing.

Recollection follows once a deity finishes flexing their divine muscles and remembers their mortality. What challenges there were! What excitement! And then they look back onto the world they left--really have a look and not just mentally tune into their supplicants' prayers and sins.

Revelation begins when the deity realizes what they've left behind and what little they've gained. They decide to reach out and--wait, what's that? There's something out here...between them and the Prime. Something different. It's blocking the way and it almost hurts to touch it...pain...that's an old feeling. It doesn't pursue, though, it merely exists. It's funny...

Or this one. I could also use this...

Grand Lodge

All the gods are dead. All of them.

The world was created from plane shifts of outsider races. This is the cross section. They never existed.

Divine magic is actually pulled from the world itself. IE It is planer magic pulling from the planes.


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The king and his men stole the queen from her bed,
And bound her in her bones.
The seas be ours, and by the powers
Where we will, we'll roam.

There never were very many gods, and the ones that do exist have all been magically bound by one or another group of spellcasters so that, rather than relying on eldritch creatures, men could rule the world by the sweat of their brows, the strength of their backs, and the courage in their hearts.


There's some good stuff here that is really getting me brain storming. Thanks guys!


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1) The gods actually can't/aren't allowed to due to rules that are above them.

2) The gods ARE meddling and interfering; that's why there are clerics. For whatever reason, that's the best and most efficient way they found to influence the world.

3) The gods are less powerful that they'd like us to believe, and can't split their focus that much. Manifesting would mean thousands of clerics without power and that's would be really bad rep for business...

4) There are no such things as gods; only powerful individual (clerics), the believes and constructs of societies (religions) and a few benevolent/malevolent spirits than answer to divination spells. TIt's just a big mascarade and everyone powerful enough to know that agrees that it's better that way.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ten Ideas

1) The gods are far away and can't perceive much of individual events or people. The world is hazy to them, or perhaps individuals are like individual ants are to a human. Clerics are different in that they are temporary homing beacons for the god's attentions; they can bring divine awareness into our world enough to manifest some method of divine action. But only the clerics with the strongest connections (as in, high level) can be so fine an antennae to make the god's power manifest directly into our world (working miracles, etc.)

2) The gods do manifest in our world. It's called having clerics. The clerics (and other priests) are the special intermediaries between the god and humanity. Perhaps sometime long ago in the primordial past, the would-be priests struck some kind of deal for how gods would interact with humanity/sentient races (and therefore the rest of the world).

3) The gods are lazy or apathetic, but of such power and awareness that they can "feel" mortals' emotions and pleas. They answer prayers and empower priests in an "Okay, here ya go kid now go away, you bother me!" sort of concession. Evil gods might get off on the strife and pain their actions or in-actions cause.

4) The mortal world does not have the importance we think it does, or at least not in the way we think it does. Our prime purpose lies in what we mortals call an "after life", but really that is only the beginning of our true lives. This mortal world we call "life" is actually merely a boot camp on a truly grand scale- the gods want the truly great to serve them as petitioners and ultimately merge with them in the void beyond our mortal lives. If the gods were to “coddle” humanity, that would prevent many potential great people from realizing the potential, or at least prevent separating the wheat from the chaff.

5) The gods once worked more directly in the world, but were long ago eclipsed in power by the churches and other trappings of their faith. As a god’s belief structure evolves, it ossifies and achieves a transcendent existence of its own beyond any one being’s conscious control. This typically leaves the original deity a husk of its former self (such as the turtle deity in Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods book). This phenomenon might explain the iconography and/or idolatry taboos within many faiths.

6) The gods exist as manifestations as Jungian archetypes of the collective human (or given fantasy, inuman) unconsciousness and are therefore intercede only through mortal action. This can take the place through the brute display of the strongest mortals’ faith (i.e. spells like Miracle) but more often comes about through a coordinated show of faith through combined actions (as in, mundane social movements/trends brought about by many normal people working in tandem with each other.)

7) Deities are all ascended mortals. It is the destiny of every mortal soul to ascend to divine status; it’s only a matter of time (unfathomably long in our mortal perspective, but not so much in a being of the infinite’s sense). Intervening directly would interfere with people reaching their inner divinity and is thus avoided.

8) Deities are all ascended mortals, but the act of divine ascension means cutting oneself off from human frailties and concerns (and thus cutting oneself off from mortal perspectives and ultimately the rest of humanity itself.) Certain quasideities, divine avatars, and demigods may be able to stay in the mortal world, but true godhood means joining a reality truly out of touch with any known by mortals. It is a lonely existence and perhaps a great and truly noble sacrifice, giving up the depth of mortal existence for the width of immortal existence.

9) South Park had it right- the mortal world is actually one great reality TV show. If the gods solve all our problems for us, it means the show becomes boring and thus gets cancelled. (Thus dooming all of mortal existence.)

10) “When you do something right, people won’t be sure if you’ve done anything at all.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nwvCGLmFEA

Silver Crusade

It's just too much bother. They have other things they need to do. We gave you your spells for the day, now shoo! Shoo!


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Few random concepts...

Achronology. The gods are dead, or have yet to actually come into existence, but their power transcends time...they can grant spells to their worshipers regardless of whether they still exist at the time of those worshipers. In the latter case, the gods know they will die, but do not know why, and seek to learn what happened and whether or not they want to change it, which they can do by granting that power and learning what their clerics of the future know. In the former case, they are concerned of the possibility of a time paradox wiping them from existence and hesitate to interfere directly...or actively can't.

All deities don't necessarily exist. Take achronology, and add a twist...not all of these gods will come to exist. Some of these gods may even be the same god at different points in time, or possibly alternate versions of the same god that could exist, and they battle through their cleric proxies to try and ensure that they are the god that will come to pass. Who or what will become these deities...who knows?

The gods did in fact battle directly, but they are now exhausted, and have been slumbering for aeons. Granting power to their followers is something they can (and literally do) in their sleep, guiding things to a certain extent, yet more concerned with recuperating in the long run.

The gods can and do destroy worlds. There are a lot of worlds. The ones who do haven't gotten to this one yet, or perhaps the good gods (or gods who like worlds to exist in general) actively hide the world from these gods. One reason they don't manifest directly could be that they don't want to draw too much attention to this world for fear of drawing the attention those deities who delight in destroying entire planets to this particular world.

The universe is a big place. The gods do manifest, but this world isn't considered important enough for them to manifest directly. Maybe you have demons invading, but in other places, demons are coming out of a portal the size of the Great Red Spot on a planet the size of Jupiter with its own unique inhabitants. Or a galaxy whose center has formed a portal bigger than worlds into Abaddon that is sucking the life out of an entire galaxy...just not the one your world is in. In short, the fires you have going on here may seem bad, but the firefighters have many more pressing issues elsewhere in the multiverse...and the evil gods are more concerned with their very successful gambits on other worlds.

Gods only have a passing interest in the material plane, and worry more about events occurring on the outer planes of a much greater severity. For them, working on the Material Planes is a way to unwind. Like growing a bonsai tree, trimming it, and so on and so forth. Not really terribly important.

Gods are more concerned about future outsider minions than their current embryonic mortal forms. They must work to grow the attributes in mortals that will give them greater potential to become an outsider. Those who never experience trials and tribulations rarely bloom into great good, great evil, great chaos, great order...and thus become nothing but planar fodder, or even perhaps simply dissipate into nothingness, having stood for nothing. From their perspective, this is actively worse than their followers getting killed.

The gods are too powerful. Directly interfering actively destroys the universe, or at least a sizable fragment of it. This has happened many times, but the gods just recreate everything and send the perpetrator to time out. Or the people of your world wonder why a large swathe of stars vanished a hundred years ago.

The gods don't see mortals directly, only the grand scheme of time. A mortal is more often part of an overall trend, though occasionally key mortals are more like a linchpin. They don't see the specifics of what mortals do with their power, though they can sense when that power is being used against their will...in fact, granting it is a direct expression of their power, each of them working to manipulate things from their cosmic perspective by sending these tendrils of power into appropriate locations, molding and shaping trends and shapes that are centuries in the making. Individuals are just too short-lived and small to really see.

The gods have stopped interfering directly because those who try have vanished, only to reappear again later, with no memory of what happened to them. It turns out that manifesting directly in the plan traps a deity in mortal flesh, and they lose their divine powers and memories because they are beyond what a mortal can possess or comprehend. Thus they spend a regular lifetime as a human, a giant, a dragon, or something similar, only returning after that entity dies, with no memory of their mortal life. Thus they restrain themselves, unsure of what happens, though perhaps some deities have figured it out and keep it a secret for their own advantage...like tempting a deity to interfere and arranging for their mortal self to achieve immortality, thus taking that deity off the board nearly indefinitely.

The gods interfere all the time, but due to conflicts, a group of deities has created a temporary peace by taking it upon themselves to forcefully arbitrate, going to the deities who have an interest in a particular series of events and working out a series of compromises. Thus, recent history for the past few thousand years has all been done by committee...and many deities are finding it to be too much of a pain in the ass, and are either withdrawing, or trying to find obscure corners of the universe to play with by themselves or with a few other deities they consider friends and think they can work with.


Odraude wrote:
So in doing some world building, I'm trying to think of a good reason why the gods and goddesses of the setting wouldn't interfere with the universe. I'm looking for something else besides a pact of non-interference or an overdeity that prevents them from interfering. Some reason why an evil god doesn't destroy good worlds, or a good god doesn't smite evil themselves. Any suggestions?

The laws of the universe. While there are laws that mortals must obey that gods can completely ignore, the reverse is also true. This is one of them.


Back when I was worldbuilding in 2E, I created a world where the planet formed from the mists of space. A bunch of gods noticed, went there, and started making stuff. Then stuff got broken. The gods went to war on each other. Out of hundreds of deities, only about two dozen survived. The last gods stopped, declared peace, and then rebuilt the world they'd more or less razed. They even used the bodies of the fallen gods as material, which had some nifty effects in certain locales. And then they agreed they'd never do that again. Mortal proxies could fight each other if they wanted, but the gods themselves would get involved more directly. Every time they looked at the world, they were staring at a cemetary.


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A strongly worded letter.


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Deities don't actually have an independent existence from their worshippers; instead, they are viruses that infect not the cells, but the mind -- memes, as Richard Dawkins a day a few others describe them. At the same time, they are also superorganisms by way of organizing their hosts (their worshippers) to collective action, with their priests acting as overseers. Thus, they actually do intervene in the world CONSTANTLY, just not usually in the way that they normally claim to -- better to have both their thrills and those of their competitors unaware of what is really going on. Like the more sophisticated biological mobile genetic elements, they also instill instructions to destroy competitors, and infect or destroy any uninfected hosts, with the former being preferred (when the latter is not needed for some additional purpose, because infection of new hosts (including vertical transmission) is how they replicate.

This doesn't fit well into Pathfinder Campaign Setting, but it fits VERY well on our own Earth.


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The idea that there are good and evil (or lawful and chaotic) gods constantly struggling against each other is ubiquitous in fantasy fiction, but it's not particularly common in world mythology. Usually the epic battles between gods took place in the distant past or will take place in the future. In the present, the gods are constantly working in the world - making sure the rain falls, and people are born and die, and plants grow, etc. - but they're not typically in conflict with one another.

Liberty's Edge

The gods gain power and prestige based on the number of souls they attract to them. The more souls they gather, the more powerful they. The catch is, they can only collect souls that offer their worship willingly. They cannot be coerced. Any overt displays of power on the material plane dilute the "purity" of their worshipers' faith and is a form of coercion. If the deities start throwing around thunderbolts, mortals will flock to the ones who make the more impression displays, not the ones who most appeal to the mortal's nature (ie, their alignment).

Another thought: the gods DO interfere directly by manipulating natural forces. That is pretty much how most cultures view the way their gods act. When Poseidon gets pissed, he causes tidal waves and earthquakes. Yahweh didn't stomp all over his creation. He caused a global flood. What we as modern people see as weather patterns and plate tectonics, are the gods trying to get people's attention. The gods just don't appear in humanoid form all that often because, frankly, most mortals aren't worth their individual notice. They save those displays for important clerics and oracles. Or, if they're like Zeus, particularly hot babes who are turned on by large white bulls.

Liberty's Edge

JoeJ wrote:

The idea that there are good and evil (or lawful and chaotic) gods constantly struggling against each other is ubiquitous in fantasy fiction, but it's not particularly common in world mythology. Usually the epic battles between gods took place in the distant past or will take place in the future. In the present, the gods are constantly working in the world - making sure the rain falls, and people are born and die, and plants grow, etc. - but they're not typically in conflict with one another.

Well, yes and no. Many ancient people saw the conflicts on Earth reflected in the heavens. If you were at war with the neighboring city, that meant your god was also at war with their god. If you won, that meant your god also vanquished their god. If you lost, then your god was also defeated. Often times, conquered peoples would adopt the deities of their conquerors having realized that their old god wasn't up to snuff.


Greatbear wrote:

The gods gain power and prestige based on the number of souls they attract to them. The more souls they gather, the more powerful they. The catch is, they can only collect souls that offer their worship willingly. They cannot be coerced. Any overt displays of power on the material plane dilute the "purity" of their worshipers' faith and is a form of coercion. If the deities start throwing around thunderbolts, mortals will flock to the ones who make the more impression displays, not the ones who most appeal to the mortal's nature (ie, their alignment).

Another thought: the gods DO interfere directly by manipulating natural forces. That is pretty much how most cultures view the way their gods act. When Poseidon gets pissed, he causes tidal waves and earthquakes. Yahweh didn't stomp all over his creation. He caused a global flood. What we as modern people see as weather patterns and plate tectonics, are the gods trying to get people's attention. The gods just don't appear in humanoid form all that often because, frankly, most mortals aren't worth their individual notice. They save those displays for important clerics and oracles. Or, if they're like Zeus, particularly hot babes who are turned on by large white bulls.

Gods are not powered by worship in Golarion or its associated multiverse.


This topic isn't about Golarion. It's just for settings in general.


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Stealing an idea from Dan Simmons' Hyperion books--the gods only exist in the far future, so they can't manifest in current time. Their presence warps space time, causing certain things to exist (like the concept of booze, spells for clerics, and outsiders). They can even send minions back in time (heralds)to make certain particular events occur.


I imagine the gods are interfering and doing so at the Best of there ability. But what they can do is empower mortals that willingly give away there soul.
Just like in christianity with god and his counterpart.


In one home brew setting, it's because the gods are (figuratively and[/] literally! sort of, -ish) "too big" to be able to truly manifest on the material. When they hit a certain degree of power, they simply [i]ascend to a "higher" state of existence.

This state is very much so akin to the ethereal plane. Hence any material manifestation they have is more or less the manifestation of a ghost: not physical at all.

Further, though their power is great, it's not unlimited. Thus those they bless with power act (as another suggested earlier) as a kind of force multiplier: wherever their chosen servants are, so too are they.

(That setting also has god hood restricted to lawful good* entities - after having their alignment reverts to evil twice on their path to divinity.)

The gods of that setting rely on Ambrosia ("liquid joy") or Soma ("liquid worship")** to sustain their divinity/essence, however those worshippers who die and come to their deities' realms continue to produce this benefit. Hence, the gods are, generally speaking, very good to their worshippers - the heavens are pretty awesome.

Anyway, the reason the gods ascend beyond the power of the world is how the world was created: there are a number of creator deities who bound each other up in fighting due to their opposed alignments: a solar, a balor, a phoenix, by way of example, and others. These, then, set the limits on what reality can handle. Anything beyond them is simply shunted out, as it doesn't fit. They are unable to act freely due to the afore-mentioned mutual bindings against each other. Few know about these at all, and what is known is generally wrong. They generally loosely influence the natural world, and the minds and spirits of those that live within it.

The three "gods" that exist and freely interact with the world, are all CR 7-12 creatures with moderate abilities: they are around the power that mortal creatures at the top of their game (6th level) can defeat, and are the source of civilization in general. They are all three irrevocably immortal and irrevocably good (due to the machinations of the good creators), but irrevocably cursed in unique ways and irrevocably unable to grow (or, by incident, wane) in power (due to the machinations of the evil creators). They generally remain unknown and under the radar, due to their limits, and the world has grown substantially beyond their ability to control. They now seek to subtly influence individuals, cities, or nations to be "better" and police nascent godlings to ensure they don't remain corrupt (part of the process of becoming immortal that most know inherently corrupts, but is part of the process of overcoming that which makes such strongly good individuals later).

So, uh, those are my rambles.

* Sort of. It's more accurate to say that almost all deities must be lawful good before ascension. Also, deities can stray thereafter. However, the other lawful good gods don't permit the true corruption of their own kind, hence most evil deities are quickly destroyed. Chaotic good deities are (generally speaking) ... "acceptable" (as, you know, they aren't evil), as are lawful neutral, but in general, it's a self-regulating system. Corrupted or fallen gods are exceedingly rare anyway, hence neutral gods and chaotic neutral gods... just don't happen. And chaotic evil creatures are generally prey for the demon/fey/nature spirits to feast upon. There are a few "dark gods" who followed a different (and far more difficult) path to divinity, but these are not necessarily evil, either. And now I'm rambling.

** Hypothetically, Torment ("liquid pain") can be used to sustain divinity as well. None of those who have exclusively relied on that method have lasted long, though. A crusade of gods is... an impressive thing.

Liberty's Edge

Have you ever had a lucid dream ? It is a dream where you realize that you are dreaming and try to change things in your dream. It can work, but some changes (trying too hard IIRC) disrupt the threads of the dream and wake you up.

The gods are communally dreaming the world and they do not want to wake up (not even the Evil ones).

So they observe the world and let the creatures of the dream connect to them and draw on their energy but they do not act too strongly for fear of waking up (and leaving the world to the other gods). Maybe they wait and try to amass power, experience, knowledge to improve their ability at controlling the world/dream without waking up.

Maybe the dream creatures' ability to draw on the power of the gods is linked to how interesting the creature feels to the gods (i.e., higher levels through events and adventures). As the gods see the creature more clearly in the dream, the creature can draw more power from the gods.

I guess that in the end, each and every god wants to completely control the world/dream, thereby nullifying the influence/existence of the other gods, even those who are close in philosophy. But in the meantime they tolerate and sometimes ally with each other, if only to promote in the dream their own view of how things should be (easier with other gods of similar philosophies obviously).

Sovereign Court

@The black raven: that's an interesting take on it.

As a variant on that, maybe gods also have a subconscious, filled with worries and repressed desires; and whenever they consciously intervene on a plane to achieve desired results, they also cause some side effects from their unconscious.

So a good god intervenes to do good stuff, but because he's worried about evil, evil things also seep into reality when he intervenes.

And so gods tend to keep their distance, intervening only rarely, because they're afraid of this leakage.


In my homebrew, I use something along these lines:

At first, the gods warred with each other, and the titanic amount of energy was ripping the planes apart. The gods realized that if the planes ceased to exist, so would they. They needed the energy that their worshipers offered to them. So they came to a truce and agreement. The mortals would become their proxies in the battle for control. The god/goddess that has the most worshipers, has the most power. Each deity is allowed to intervene, but only indirectly. Servants can be sent, daevas, demons, etc, but the gods cannot manifest directly. They can speak with, imbue a certain measure of power in, or in other ways communicate with their clerics, but the amount of power they can use to do so is dictated by the number of worshipers. Which is why you see very few truly powerful mortal agents of the gods. There simply isn't enough power to give too many people that kind of ability, without exhausting the god's power. And each god still has to maintain their domains.

Now you can use each God's personality in the "gifts" that they give. A brash, impulsive god may give out huge gifts to someone, which causes a lot of immediate upheaval, but then causes a problem further down the line. That deity may see a sudden influx of worshipers, all feeling that they too will receive immediate gifts. That god grows quickly in power, but when some of the worshipers realize they aren't getting power, or those in power realize that too many others are getting power, it causes inner strife, and they either fall on one another, or leave to find another deity to worship.

Then it all becomes a chess game on both the mortal and immortal sides.


The Gods are essentially equal in power. In general, any 2 gods are more powerful than a single god. Gods of good are better at banding together for the common good than evil gods are at banding together for the common weal.

Lawful gods have a natural bent on creation and recognize they gain strength from their followers.

Even evil gods don't want their followers destroyed.

When a god of destruction gets it into his head to destroy the planet, the other gods band together and stop them. Ask Rovagug about the last time he tried to destroy Golarion.

As I recall he was stopped by the might of a good god and trapped by an evil god. To this day an evil god holds the keys to his prison.


^ . . . and probably makes a strongly implied threat that if his plans are interfered with too much, Rovagug will be let free . . . .


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Don't believe I saw this in the list yet- Blue Collar Gods.

The goddess of the sun for instance has to get up every freaking day before the crack of dawn to go make dawn crack, push that big flaming thing all the way up to the top of the sky, and back down again after lunch. Once she's packed the thing away she is way too tired to deal with squat. Just has a drink, and crashes the hell out until it's time to do it again.

The god of flowers has to personally oversee every single one of the little things bloom, individually, by hand. It's such an exhausting job by the time he's done he just needs to take a vacation, or deal with his other portfolios, until fall rolls around and he has to go tear down all these leaves still lying around.

Clerics then fit in because hey, at least A FEW PEOPLE appreciate all this backbreaking labor they're dealing with all the time, so hey, might as well slip'em a little something nice here and there.


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"Gods" are portfolios picked up by ascending mortals. There is a goddess Osveta, lady of Vengeance - however it is an aura, picked up by a mortal whenever the old one disappears. All the memories and experiences of the old hosts flow into the mind of the new "host" resulting in a god which is the same yet different. So killing a god is rarely effective in inter deific wars, save in the very short run. In with the new boss, just like the old boss. Unless, of course, you find a way to either absorb the portfolio, which risks you no longer being you ... or trapping it and somehow preventing a new taker. Which is presumably difficult.

Conversely, it is possible that occasionally a portfolio ... splits. A shard of some size of its power splits off, perhaps with its own attached fragmented memories and attaches to a new mortal, who then ascends, this mortal is a demigod - a new demigod. And the deific equivalent of offspring.

However, one of the trade off is that being a deity means you are cut off from the mortal plane. If you return to it ... Your mortality returns. All at once. The longer a portfolio has been ascended, and the more powerful it has become, the more severe the effect would be. So occasionally you might have young, less powerful(demigods) - with a new portfolio - roaming around, but by the time they have matured enough in their portfolio to be a major god ... going personally back into the mortal realm would be suicide. On the one side of the barrier great cosmic power ... and on the other - death.

So instead they send celestial or infernal servants, they channel deific energy into mortal hosts, and move the chess pieces from afar.

Incidentally, this IS the cosmology in one world. All the many portfolios are basically the shattered remnants of the One God, Suverran's, power. He got lonely and invested bits of his power in certain mortals in order to enable them to live on a closer level to him and keep him company. The first of those mortals, Ihlvar, is known as "the Breaker" or "the Shatterer" ... and is the reason there is a pantheon.

But one upshot is that, every so often .. A deity might change, and significantly a, creating schisms and upheaval in their church ...


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#1 The multiverse is a gigantic experiment designed by the gods to answer the ultimate question: what is the purpose of existence? Now that they have set the multiverse in motion they cannot interfere with it until it has run it's course. But each of the experimenter gods has created servants that further their own agenda and test their own ideas within the experiment. What do the PCs do once they discover they are lab rats within a vast experiment?

#2 The gods are powerful beings but they have only one source of power, the faith of their mortal followers, when the followers die or lose faith the corresponding god weakens and can eventually die. Direct interference in the lives of mortals or events on the inner planes consumes enormous power and weakens them greatly versus the other rival gods, so they tend to interact indirectly with the mortal races to conserve power. They all also encourage their followers to build temples and hoard vast amounts of religious paraphernalia to increase their power but also as insurance in case all their followers die out. The temples then serves as a physical record for a new group of mortals to discover and bring the god back to life. Perhaps the PCs stumble across one of these long forgotten temples. Do they want to bring a god back to life?

#3 The gods worshipped by mortals are not real gods, they are powerful beings that have positioned themselves as the rulers of reality but they are not truly immortal. If they were to interfere directly in the lives of mortals they risk having the mortals discover that that they are not what they claim to be. It is a total mystery where divine power really comes from. If there are real gods, nobody knows where they are, perhaps the PCs could find out...

#4 The contract of creation has bound the gods so intimately with the multiverse they created that they cannot interfere with it in any meaningful way without breaking the contract and destroying themselves and the multiverse. The contract of creation is a living document that grows in length as the multiverse ages. It defines how the multiverse evolves with time on the largest of scales whilst still allowing variation on the small scale, this small scale variation is what allows mortals to have free will. However Asmodeus was instrumental in writing the contract, and is aware that as time passes these small scale variations will accumulate until they eventually become one colossal god-sized opportunity for Asmodeus to seize control of the entire multiverse. Unless the PCs stop him of course.

#5 There are multiple gods and they are all omnipotent and immortal. They exist in a strange kind of duality; their omnipotence grants them all the power to destroy the other gods whilst simultaneously having the power to prevent themselves from being destroyed. The net result is that they maintain a weird kind of perpetual status quo where they only interact with each other and the multiverse indirectly so as not to create an unresolvable paradox. Their servants on the other hand through a strange twist of logic are far less powerful than the gods and are therefore free to act as they please.


RDM42 wrote:

"Gods" are portfolios picked up by ascending mortals. There is a goddess Osveta, lady of Vengeance - however it is an aura, picked up by a mortal whenever the old one disappears. All the memories and experiences of the old hosts flow into the mind of the new "host" resulting in a god which is the same yet different. So killing a god is rarely effective in inter deific wars, save in the very short run. In with the new boss, just like the old boss. Unless, of course, you find a way to either absorb the portfolio, which risks you no longer being you ... or trapping it and somehow preventing a new taker. Which is presumably difficult.

Conversely, it is possible that occasionally a portfolio ... splits. A shard of some size of its power splits off, perhaps with its own attached fragmented memories and attaches to a new mortal, who then ascends, this mortal is a demigod - a new demigod. And the deific equivalent of offspring.

Fred Saberhagen had some good stories with a similar premise that gods were masks, and when you put one on, you got the gods power (and weapons and pets) but also had to share mindspace with the god's mind. Gods weren't very active because the Titans/Giants had a ray/spell that caused memory loss in the gods. The Pathfinder pantheon could fit that pretty well if you used the idea that if the god's mind was damaged sufficiently, the mortal mind would replace it in the mask, which would explain ascended gods.


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It's been touched on here and there, but I like the idea of gods literally playing a game. Just the same way you or I would boot up Halo or Total War. They don't actually, really care what's going on in the game world (the mortal realm). If their paragon dies, big whoop! They just make another. This can also mean any number of things:

1) They're simply playing roles. Someone has to be the sun god, someone has to be the god of death. That's how you play the game! However, every few billion epochs or so they might restart the entire thing, switch roles, and go at it again.

2) Although they can restart their game whenever they want and make as many paragons, champions, and heralds as they need, they'd really prefer (like we do) for our guys not to die. Sure, we accept that we make dumb decisions and die in games all the time. That's just how these things work. But sometimes they have a character that they just like so much they're willing to cheat juuuuust a little bit to keep it going.

3) And why don't they just swoop in and do this all the time? Because it's less fun for them. It's less fun for the other gods. Why cheat when you can win legitimately? It's frowned upon by the other gods, and since everyone is pretty good-natured about the whole thing there's usually little reason to step on everyone else's toes just to save someone you've invested 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001^infinity of your lifespan creating and guiding.

4) Like certain games (chess, for instance), it could even be that the gods know who would win in an actual fight. They're omnipotent, they're omniscient, they've done this so many times a mortal can't fathom the number, and they know that if they pushed one of the gods would win. Simple as that. And besides, when you sit down to game with friends, even if your buddy is winning and you're losing hard, you probably/hopefully won't stand up and deck him/her, right? Same with the gods. There's no ill will between them outside of what's happening in their game!

5) The gods are at a giant cosmic convention. This is just the draft pod they've been set into for this round. Other gods are at other tables (infinite other tables, by the way) all playing their games with different combinations. It's infinite. Like, it doesn't end. And when they're done they just move on to a different combination of gods and play a new game. Sure, someone won and it burns if it isn't you, but does it really matter? You're going to play again for the rest of forever. Just try a different strategy next time.

6) And these gods are in a game played by other gods. This one is more like the Sims, less like an RTS. The god-gods just prefer that style of game. Their gods, however...


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The gods are just spectators.

They do not actually reside in this universe, but in another one entirely. Due to the metaphysical distance/barrier between this universe and their own, the gods can only observe this universe; their interaction with this universe is limited to granting spells, domain powers, divine class features and the like.

In fact, it is a testament to their divine power that they are able to span the distance/breach to barrier between the universes even if only in this limited fashion.

Kind of like the audience in "The Hunger Games": they see everything that goes on in the arena, but they can only affect the outcome by sending gifts to the kids.

The Exchange

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For some reason I have an image of a campaign world surrounded by an Acme God-Proof Fence. And all the poor deities looking in between the bars, like snotty-faced kindergarteners.

Dark Archive

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Tacticslion wrote:

In one home brew setting, it's because the gods are (figuratively and literally! sort of, -ish) "too big" to be able to truly manifest on the material. When they hit a certain degree of power, they simply ascend to a "higher" state of existence.

I like this one. The gods can't bring their full power to bear in the material plane. Too much of it is interwoven with their home dimensions and / or just too diffuse and ephemeral to be smooshed down into a corporeal form on Golarion. The 'natural laws' of Golarion don't allow for something that big and powerful to manifest all at once, so the best they can do is send down heralds or manifest as partial avatars or something.

There's also the possibility that disentangling themselves from their home realms might entail some sort of personal sacrifice, as the god might have spent millennia suffusing itself into Nirvana or the Sixth plane of Hell, making it a part of themself, and leaving it to manifest elsewhere might remove them from it's power, and perhaps even leave it vulnerable to being snatched up by others. (Less of a problem with some gods, but a very solid reason why a god with untrustworthy neighbors, such as the average demon lord, might be unwilling to just flit down to Golarion to stomp around and show off for the mortal hoi-polloi. The lesson of demon lords who have wandered off, such as Dreskari, who got epically beat down, or Aolar, who got herself annihilated, are there for those who might be considering popping out for a quick bite.)

That sort of built in limitation might also serve to explain why some fantastically powerful individuals, like Tar-Baphon and Baba Yaga, in some cases able to wrestle with, and even triumph over, lesser godlike entities (like Arazni or Kotschtchie), have chosen to *not* become gods, because of the drawbacks that come with being a god, and no longer being able to manifest in the mortal plane and work their machinations. Tar-Baphon need only look at Urgathoa, surrounded by daemons on all sides, existing pretty much at their sufferance, and realize that he's not going to have any safe refuge out there if he gets kicked off of Golarion and needs to find a planar home for himself. He, and Babs, will go from the absolute biggest fish in the pond of Golarion, to the smallest and newish of 'fresh fish' in the big boy's prison yard that is the outer planes.


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The gods are all related to one another. Like any family they sometimes squabble, but none of them has even the slightest desire to bring mortals into their private affairs. Basically, it's none of our business.


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It could be something in the definition of godhood. I mean, demigods can grant spells and they can also come and bash your head... so clearly the true gods are something different.

Obviously demigods have the power to warp reality. Even adventurers warp reality regularly.

Once you become powerful enough, you ascend and become a god. Once you become powerful enough, you've warped reality to the point it wraps right back around into an enclosed space.

So the point of ascension, the creation of the god's planar home, and the reason it's not "here" anymore are all the same thing and occur at the same time. It's almost tautological.

If they get full, uncontested use of their power somewhere... all it does is fold that area into their realm. Some of the gods might want that, but it doesn't help their mortal agents at all.

So they filter their power through mortal agents, making them no more powerful than the petty godlings who call themselves wizards.

Cheers!
Landon


There are heaps of great ideas here. One of my favourites is the blue collar gods who perpetually slave away at their tasks, I guess being a god isn't all that it is cracked up to be!

Some of the suggestions are based on rules or mechanisms within the multiverse that the gods are bound by, for example Landon Winkler's suggestion above (which I really like by the way). The implication for this may be that the multiverse predates the gods and they are at a loss to explain why things are as they are. Perhaps the gods are busy trying to make sense of it all and don't have much time to devote to the lives of mortals on countless worlds.

Getting back to the original question, are there any assumptions we should make about the gods? For example are they omnipotent or omniscient or both? Are they descended from mortals? One way of approaching the question of why the gods don't interfere with the day to day lives of mortals is to work out what motivates them in the first place. It is tough to think of reasons why a omnipotent, omniscient immortal being would be motivated to do anything.


Well, for one when there are
Multiple gods they may be VERY potent, but they can't be omnipotent, or really even omniscient ... because the other deities exist. If they don't have power over the other gods they are obviously not omnipotent - if the other gods can keep secrets from them, they are not omniscient.


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^I think the others meant omnipotent or omniscient from the point of view of mortals -- mortals can't do anything (except in some proposed settings, starving the deities of worshippers) to stop deities from directly doing something or knowing something, and only other deities can stop them. The implication is that if a single deity got the upper hand over all the others, it would have open season on mortals, so that the other deities would band together if necessary to prevent this from happening, much like the international scenario George Orwell described in Nineteen Eighty Four.


But point being, it would be almost impossible for one to have complete ascendancy over all of the others. Sort of a mutual assured destruction bit. If in effect, a deity can't do or know whatever they want, it's somewhat academic whether it is mortals or other deities preventing them from doing so ... Their actions are still not unfettered.


^Right, but the mortals being squeezed under divine heels can't see that, EXCEPT by seeing the action of deities opposing each other.


In my setting, I did it by killing them. Kind of hard to keep interfering after that.


Followed the Klingon example did you?

In Star Trek lore I was told the Klingons killed their gods as they saw them as too much trouble!

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