Well then. Looks like our friends in The Evil Party managed to find their way off that island. And from the looks of it, not a moment too soon. Dealing with the divine is always a fraught business, even if it’s “just” a minor deity.

I’ll never forget the first time I met a god. It was way back when I was a gold-dragon-lawyer-paladin. This was an ongoing, high-level campaign, and that session was to be my welcome-to-the-story session. At the time I was still brand new to the group, the setting, and gaming in general. In other words I was badly addled, both in and out of character.

This was epic level 3.5 D&D, and my character sheet was more of a character packet. My dragon dude had just woken up from a millennia-long petrification, and there were all these new proper nouns and PCs to remember. Worse though was the absence of the familiar, comforting presence in the back of my head. The pantheon I worshiped was long dead, their divine essence reconstituted into new divinities. And so, when I prayed for guidance, it was a bizarre sort of, “New god, who dis?” moment. And let me tell ya, it is all manner of intimidating to call God and have someone you don’t know pick up on the other end. I froze up. I honestly couldn’t conceive of a way to respond to that situation. If memory serves, my RP consisted of the words, “Wow,” and, “Ummm.”

Clearly, it is possible to psyche yourself out when confronted by a deity. By the same token though, there’s this equal and opposite problem that comes up when players get a little too familiar with the pantheon. If you’re on a first name basis with the gods—or worse, dare to backsass them—sublime awe gives way to farce.

For these reasons, I tend to favor divine servants, heralds, and “lesser avatars” rather than the full-on glory from on high. For example, the volcano god from my own group’s tropical island adventures was “just” a powerful elemental. He was a theoretically-possible-to-kill CR +5 encounter, but his sweet volcano lair, island full of worshipful minions, and ability to make said island explode in a fiery cataclysm was more than enough to add tension to negotiations. Despite these powers, however, he was still a being you could talk to like a normal person. And that, I think, is a key difference. An entity that possesses human-scale wants and needs rather than multiverse-spanning divine portfolios is much easier to play off of. At the very lease, my group managed more than “Wow” and “Ummm.”

So how about it, gang? How do you like to run your divine encounters? Is it all about ineffable beings that never speak directly to the PCs? Do you prefer intermediaries and servants? Or are your all about letting the heroes access the divine directly? Tell us all about your favorite The Creation of Adam moments down in the comments!


ARE YOU A ROLL20 ADDICT? Are you tired of googling endlessly for the perfect tokens? Then have we got a Patreon tier for you! As a card-carrying Familiar, you’ll receive a weekly downloadable Roll20 Token to use in your own online games, as well as access to all of our previously posted Tokens. It’s like your own personal NPC codex!