Days of High Adventure
Dungeon World: The Living Gods

Chris Brackett | 6 May 2010 21:00
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The Dead Gods are not the only gods worshiped in Dungeon World. The residents of the World worship a wide pantheon of deities, demi-gods, and legendary heroes (and villains) - a pantheon that ebbs and flows constantly. It seems that figures aspiring to godhood are in as good supply as people searching for someone (or something) new to believe in.

Mind you, none of these Living Gods are truly divine as you or I would consider it. They have no power in and of themselves; their power comes from the faith placed in them by their followers. (Every inch of Dungeon World is infused with magical energy, and even non-mystics can manipulate this energy - although they don't realize it - with deep enough belief.) As a result, old gods fall and new gods rise as the old ones lose followers to the new ones - the only constant being that any Living God's powers are limited to those his followers believe he or she possesses.

Usually, it's a heroic or noble person that finds him-/herself deified - most often after said person's passing from the realm of the living. Occasionally, however, less noble sorts find themselves ascending, although the power invested by the masses may be driven more out of fear and loathing than out of respect and love.

Another effect of the nature of "godhood" is that even figures that have never existed can ascend to the status of deity. All it takes is enough belief amongst the masses and even legendary figures can rise to wield divine powers. Many times such figures have more power than those who are or were real, as the people who feed the ascendance often have varied ideas about their usually super-human abilities.

Here are a couple of the currently powerful Living Gods to be found in Dungeon World. I present these as examples of how a pair of mundane people can - with enough time - find themselves elevated to the status of deity in Dungeon World. I suggest you use this as inspiration to populate the World with your own ever-changing list of deities.

Gwenvarr the Guardian, Gwenvarr the Simple Lady

Two centuries ago, nomadic raiders from the Frostwolds began a decades-long series of incursions into the lands to the south and southwest. Within the span of one generation, the Ice Reavers (as they eventually came to be known) established themselves as the "Bogeyman" of the residents of Hilltown and the surrounding lands.

After about three decades, the Reavers' depredations became more and more infrequent as they began to integrate with the society they had been terrorizing. It was during this period that their aged leader, Blethre, spurred his men to one of their bloodiest, most violent raids. They swept through three communities before losing steam and returning to their home, killing any living thing and razing every structure they encountered along the way. The men and children of these villages were tortured and slaughtered for sport, the women degraded, used, and disposed of.

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