12 thoughts on “So, I’m curious… How do you use gods in your games?  Are they active?  Inactive?”

  1. Historically, I’ve had a tendency toward active in other games (D&D, Rolemaster, etc.) but I think it becomes a question for the players in DW.  I like Jared’s suggestion!

  2. I just started running a game for a group of 8- to 10-year-olds who are obsessed with Greek mythology, so Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, etc. are explicitly active in the world and closely connected to all the characters.

  3. The Gods (beings the sentient races worship) aren’t an active presence in my game, although their worshippers are. The Elder Gods, on the other hand, are kind of a key plot element.

  4. In my current game, there are two competing se of gods – old and new – the fun is making the players choose. But I agree with Jared – let the cleric (or paladin or whoever) tell you about the gods.

  5. The last time I played, all the gods had been slain, dead at the hand of the One True Light, the god of humanity. The other races were dwindling and dying out as a result, and humanity had spread across the land in a great and powerful empire.

    The party consisted of a Human Paladin and Cleric, an Elf Barbarian and a Halfling Thief. As you can imagine, tensions were high.

  6. My old game master when I was a teenager used to overuse the Gods on a decline angle. He used to revoke clerical powers at a whim, reverse them, have Gods not answer commune spells… He’d really beat the clerics up using game master fiat. Now if we had Dungeon World back then I’d have suffered that fine on the old 6-. I can only remember being direct agents of higher powers once and that was only that the opposing party were agents of Asmodeus and had hell forged axes, plated mail wreathed in the flames of hell, evil clerics slaying with a touch of foul evil.

    I did take it completely outside the game and advise him that his party of evil wasn’t challenging us but rather he was using them for his own power trip and chase us around the dungeon. Which was just kind of obvious as when the Agents of Balance chose us we got… moral encouragement and no divine gifts bestowed on our sorry asses. He just had this thing that good and neutral deities were the wimps of the pantheon and that EVUL was GRATE!!! Play a paladin? Villagers would throw rotten vegetables at you as you rode through town as they were all secretly worshiping Beelzebub or some such nonsense. Not enough evidence for us good aligned players to start witch hunting the hell out of every town mind you cause that would have been maybe… fun?

    If anything, I’ve reversed psychology pretty heavily in games these days as paladins are treated like kings generally when they hit a town. Excepting that every problem that might be going on gets laid at the paladins’ feet. Easy plot hooks really as paladins generally have a problem saying “no, I’m too busy”. I lean heavily on Greyhawk deities in my own games but that’s more of a sense of nostalgia and maybe it’s a cop out as I’ve known that pantheon for so many years. The world I run tends to be a gritty place of shaken faiths where ever the player characters aren’t at. When they arrive, the clerics and paladins restore that faith through their actions as they are the movers and shakers of the world. The varied personalities, the NPC’s, look to the player characters for help and guidance and the player characters look to the Gods for help and guidance.

  7. In our DW game Tephe, the god of Light and Hope, might actually turn out to be an imprisoned Tarrasque-like creature who has hoodwinked the Priest into delivering the key to his chains right to his lair. The Priest’s player is performing a masterclass in roleplaying denial.

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