Frequently Asked Questions and Errata
Overall Game Structure
- Scheduling Change: Era Centrum split into two parts
- Because of the difficulties involved with trying to run Era Centrum in one long session, it
has now been split into two different sessions of four hours each. The first session will be known
as Era Centrum A, the second as Era Centrum B. There time period between the two sessions
will be known as the Mid-Centrum Rift. Some notes:
- The two session are still considered part of the same era. Gods will not receive mana for
terrain or get to choose new personal goals until the end of Era Centrum B. However, any
powers that last for an era (I think there are only two) are considered to end at the end of each
- Though the Mid-Centrum Gap is not a full transition phase, players will be able to do many
of the things that are normally done during transition phases. Specifically, a player may: Buy
new sphere cards. Create myths. Create new lesser gods. Create demi-gods. Transform a child
demi-god into an adult demi-god. Receive mana for personal goals completed.
- If you can't make a game
- Just because you can't make a specific session doesn't mean your character is completely
unable to effect events. Gods are allowed to loan your sphere powers and mana to other players
as long as you make advance arrangements with the gamemaster. (Sorry, divine servitors who
don't show are just out of luck.) You may loan one specific sphere power (not the entire sphere)
to one other god, along with the mana to use it up to three times. The other god may use your
mana only to cast the power and may not use his own mana to do so. However, she is free to
employ the power in whatever manner she sees fit. (Example: If Pele were not going to be at the
game, she could loan her power Volcanic Anger to Moloch, along with 14 mana (it costs
7 to cast). Moloch can only use that 14 mana to cast the power and, furthermore, may not use
any of his own mana to gain further uses of the power. However, it's completely up to him who
he uses the power against.)
- Full descriptions of sphere powers available to all
- Previously, full descriptions of each sphere were only given to gods who actually had that
sphere (or were lords of a lesser god who possessed it). Everyone else had to make do with a
short description. That limitation was mainly due to logistical concerns that had nothing to do
with the actual game. By the beginning of Era Centrum, the power descriptions on this Web site
will be the complete versions. Printed versions will also be included in the player packs placed in
- Game Post-Mortem
- After the Gods game is complete, I plan to hold a game "post-mortem". This will be a
meeting in which everyone interested can gather and discuss exactly what worked and what
didn't. Why? Because, I put a hell of a lot of work into this game system and am not going to just
toss it out when we're done! I plan to eventually do a complete re-write of the entire system
(incorporating all of the things in this FAQ, for example) so that I and anyone else interested can
run other gods games using what will then be a play-tested system.
- How do I win or lose? What happens when a Supreme Deity is chosen (or not
chosen)? What can the Supreme Deity do?
- To answer these in order:
- Winning or losing depends on who you're playing.
- If you're a god: you win if you become Supreme Deity, you lose if you get obliterated, and
any other result is somewhere inbetween -- exactly where is up to you.
- If you're a demon: you win if no Supreme Deity is chosen, you lose if a Supreme Deity is
chosen -- there's nothing between, it's all or nothing!
- If you're a divine servitor: you lose if you are obliterated, but you have no way of "winning"
the big game, so you can concentrate on personal goals.
- If a Supreme Deity is chosen, all demons are obliterated and Heaven and Earth are safe for
eternity. If no Supreme Deity is chosen, all gods and divine servitors are obliterated and Heaven
and Earth are destroyed and reduced to the primal nothingness of the Void.
- The exact powers of the Supreme Deity were not detailed in the rules, because once one is
chosen the game is over. However, players have reminded me that they need to know the answer
in order to properly role-play their characters; they need to know how willing their character
would be to let someone else become Supreme Deity. So, the answer is: the Supreme Deity is
essentially omnipotent, with a few exceptions. He cannot obliterate or control the actions of
another god, nor can he bring an obliterated being back to life. Other than that, the Supreme
Deity can grant or take away powers, change the rules of how things work, exalt any god or
servitor to be his right hand, consign any god or servitor to the Aybss and an eternity of torment,
and basically re-arrange Heaven and Earth to suit his whim. At the end of the game, the Supreme
Deity (if one is chosen) will get to make a speech announcing all of his plans for the new
Gods and Sphere cards
- Can I trade sphere cards with other gods (or give them away)?
- No. This was only possible during Era Null. From that point on, gods are stuck with the
spheres they have. The only exceptions are: a) greater gods may give away a single sphere card
to a player who is not already a god, making her a lesser god; b) gods may purchase extra
non-archetypal sphere cards during Transition Phases Secundus and Tertius; c) if a lesser god
is elevated to greater godhood, he immediately gains one non-archetypal major sphere card of
- What happens if an archetype (a greater god with 6 cards in a sphere) is
- If this occurs, then there is no longer an archetype of the sphere in question. Gods are then
free to purchase cards in that sphere or gain them upon elevation.
- Can lesser gods create other lesser gods?
- What happens to a lesser god if his lord is obliterated?
- The lesser god suffers no penalties. If he has no other surviving lords, then he remains a
lesser god but is unbound and doesn't have to worry about being anyone's minion.
- If a lesser god has more than one lord, what happens if that lesser god is
- All lords of that lesser god suffer the full penalty equally!
- Rules Change: No mana discount for higher levels
- We're dumping the 10% mana discount you get for each extra sphere card you have higher
than the level necessary. Since this would really only apply to 3 players in the entire game, it's
simply a waste of time. The costs given will be the same for all gods, no matter how many cards
they have in that sphere.
- Rules Change: Gods may buy minor sphere cards
- When purchasing sphere cards during transition phases, gods may now purchase minor
spheres, in addition to non-archetypal major spheres. However, a god wishing to purchase the
first card of a minor sphere must gain written permission from the lesser god who originated that
minor sphere. Once that first card is purchased, the god may purchase more without permission,
up to a maximum of four.
- Rules Change: New costs to buy sphere cards
- When buying sphere cards during a transition phase, the first card in a single sphere costs
100, the second card in that sphere bought at the same time costs 200, the third costs 300, and so
on. This is unaffected by how many cards you may have had in that sphere previously, and is
calculated only on the number of cards you are buying during that specific transition
- Rules Change: Limit on the number of lesser gods
- Just as there can only be twelve greater gods in heaven, there can now only be 24 lesser
gods in heaven. No new lesser gods may be created until a vacancy opens up in the ranks of the
lesser gods. Positions vacated during a transition phase will not be announced as open until
the following game session. After that, vacancies are filled on a first-come, first-served
- New Rule: Demi-gods
- Any non-archetypal god, or group of non-archetypal gods, may create a demi-god by each
contributing one sphere card (major or minor) each to the new demi-god. While non-archetypal
greater gods can create demi-gods, players should note that they also have the ability to create
much more powerful lesser gods for exactly the same investment. A demi-god is considered to
be the child of the gods involved. (Solo parents may couple with a mortal on Earth or come up
with some other interesting means of reproduction; examples abound in the mythologies of our
own Earth.) The new demi-god may be an adult or an infant.
Adult demi-gods are played by actual players; the parents of the demi-god must find a new
player to portray the character. (Adult demi-gods may thus be created only during transition
phases.) The new demi-god can use the powers of his sphere card(s), but does not receive mana
from any of the sphere sources, such as worship, terrain, or events. The only way a demi-god can
receive mana is to have it given to her from another player. The adult demi-god has the same
relationship with his parents that a lesser god minion has with her greater god lord (see the rules
for Era Null).
Infant demi-gods are represented by dolls or stuffed animals. They can be created at any time,
even during the game, as long as the parents have a doll or stuffed animal available; simply
register the birth with a gamemaster. (So, if you plan on having children, be prepared.) The new
demi-god is essentially a divine artifact in the possession of the player holding it. All of the rules
and powers which apply to divine artifacts apply to infant demi-gods with two exceptions:
Destroy Artifact (sphere of Chaos) and Pervert Artifact (sphere of Deception) do not work on
demi-god infants. Specifically, they can be taken away as a surrender term or washed away by
Floods of Heaven. An infant demi-god can be killed without special powers by any player who
has possession of it; gods with the sphere of Chaos do not receive mana for this. The possessor
of the infant demi-god can use the demi-god's sphere powers as if they were her own. She does
not, however, receive mana from those spheres and, furthermore, may not add the demi-god's
spheres to her own to achieve higher power levels. (Thus, if you pick up an infant demi-god with
1 sphere card of Sea it only allows you to cast first level Art powers. If you have 3 Art cards of
your own, you may not add in the demi-god's sphere to cast fourth level powers.) During
transition phases, an infant demi-god may grow up into an adult demi-god only if the last
possessor finds a new player; this means that the demi-god character will probably be loyal to
whoever raised him, rather than his parents (though he remains the minion of his "biological"
parents). If no player is provided, the demi-god remains a helpless infant for a few more
During transition phases, a demi-god may also be promoted to lesser godhood by one or more
greater gods (as long as there's a vacancy) using the normal rules for creating lesser gods. In
addition to the major sphere card(s) provided by his new lord(s), plus the four cards in a new
minor sphere of the player's devising, the character gets to keep his demi-god spheres, which are
now fully active (and provide mana). The new lesser god also loses all bonds of "minionship"
with his parents, and is now considered the minion only of the greater god(s) who elevated
- How many goals can I have?
- Each character may select one goal during each Transition Phase, for an eventual
total of three. Though each goal is chosen before a specific era, it need not have anything to do
with that era, since goals last throughout the entire game until they are fulfilled. It is thus
perfectly possible to pick as your first goal (before Era Aleph) something which you can't or
don't plan to achieve until Era Omega. Goals must reflect your character's personality and
myths. You may, of course, have any number of goals in your own mind which will affect your
own role-playing, but these will have no effect on the game mechanics, only on your
- Rules Change: Mana from complete personal goals awarded at end of
- In order to retain my sanity during the actual games, mana from achieving goals will only
be given to you at the end of each era. It is your responsibility to come to me and inform me of
how you achieved a goal. The only exception to this rule will be during Era Omega, when mana
from achieved goals will be given out during the actual game.
- Rules Clarification: Immortal rivalries
- As stated inthe rules for Era Null, the Immortal Rival goal is rather nebulous, simply
foiling the plans of one's enemy. In order to make this quantifiable, the following changes have
been made. To pursue an immortal rival, you must inform the gamemaster or appropriate referee
of a subsidiary goal detailing HOW you plan to embarrass your rival. Examples include: I will
arrange to have him killed in a duel; I will destroy his demesne; I will have him stripped of all
mana; I will cause a named culture which worships him to lose all of its cities and revert to
barbarism; I will get him kicked out of a certain pantheon; etc. At any time, you may have only
one such subsidiary goal for each rival at any time. When it is achieved (or you give up on it), it
can be changed to something else. Remember, the amount of mana you receive will depend on
how difficult your subsidiary goals were. Subsidiary goals that required just a simple request to
an ally or the use of a single history power will be worth no mana unless you complete a lot of
- What is the difference between a (C) and a (CD) power?
- The (CD) powers are simply a subset of the (C) powers. A power with either a (C) or a
(CD) can be used during any combat, whether it be a sneak attack or a duel. The only difference
is that the (CD) powers may be used immediately before a duel. Once combat begins,
actions from outside observers have no effect whatsoever on the two combatants. However, just
before a duel (and not a sneak attack), anyone in the room may cast (CD) powers on the
combatants, beefing them up in advance for the coming combat. This is the only time in
which characters may use their combat powers to help others.
- If I'm about to be in a duel, can I wander around Heaven and get gods to cast (CD)
powers on me?
- No. The gods who are going to assist you must all be physically present in the Hall of
Doom and cast their (CD) powers on you immediately before the duel begins. They can leave
once the duel has begun.
- Can a combat power be used mutliple times in a single combat?
- No. This was inadvertently left out of the rules. Each combat power may be used only
once in any single combat between two individuals.
- What is the sequence of events during combat
- Each round of combat has two parts. First, each party has the chance to use a single power.
This is essentially simultaneous, but if the two powers are in contradiction (ie, one precludes the
use of the other) then the one with the higher level works first. After this, the combatants do a
round of rock-paper-scissors, after which the round ends. Combat ends only if both combatants
mutually agree to end it, one of them uses a power which allows her to disengage, or one of them
reaches 0 hit points.
- Rules Change: At what point in the combat sequence do you disengage?
- According to the regular rules, during each round of combat the combatants may first each
use a power and then do a set of rock-paper-scissors. Since disengaging happens as a result of
powers, this would allow a player to disengage from combat before his opponent can even try to
strike a single blow, which is not the original intent. Thus, disengages now occur at the
end of the combat round in which they are cast. So, if you cast a power which allows you
to disengage, you still must finish that round with a set of rock-paper-scissors before the combat
- Addendum to Above: What about the power "Smooth Talk". If that ends a fight, is
it a disengage?
- No. Smooth Talk forces your opponent to agree to end the combat, thus ending it
by mutual consent. It can thus be used even when some other power prevents you from
disengaging. In addition no one receives mana. While it is not a disengage power, Smooth
Talk does take effect at the end of the round in which it was cast, thus allowing your
opponent to try to get in at least one blow.
- New Rule: Combat results must be reported
- Because a number of gods receive mana from combats in Heaven, all combats must be
reported to a referee as soon as possible after they are completed. A specific referee will be
assigned this job so you know where to report them.
- If I attack a demesne and there are three people inside defending it, does this count
as combat against multiple opponents?
- No. You actually fight a series of individual combats with each person in the demesne
(though those inside are under no obligation to defend it and can simply let you attack it on your
own). Assuming you defeat the first person, then you regain all of your hit points, lose the effects
of all powers cast during the combat, and begin a new combat with the second defender, who
gains all of the normal advantages from defending that demesnes. If the attacker is defeated but
has allies standing by, they can immediately attack the demesnes, maintaining the sequence of
attacks. During any such sequence of combats, no one may leave or enter the demesne until the
demesne is destroyed or the attacker(s) gives up or are defeated. People outside can contribute to
the defense of the demesne only by attacking those who are "waiting in line" to attack the
demesne. (Similarly, attackers who somehow got inside the demesne can attack defenders
waiting in line to defend.) These combats are not actually in the sequence but can prevent others
from participating in the attack/defense of the demesne. Just remember that between each
combat, surviving characters regain all lost hit points and lose all bonuses and penalties which
they had gained from combat powers.
- Rules Change: The victor in a combat may not choose to forego imposing
- In the rules for Era Aleph, section "Combat", sub-section "Ending Combat", second
paragraph, change the final sentence to read as follows: "The victor must accept the surrender,
but must choose one of the terms of surrender from the following list:"
- Rules Clarification: My character receives mana from "fights between gods".
What constitutes a fight?
- For purposes of receiving mana, a combat is only considered a fight if one or both
combatants are seriously trying to kill or otherwise harm the other. Such a fight must actually be
finished, ie. one of the combatants disengages, surrenders, dies, or is obliterated. If a combat is
between two friendly parties, is ended by mutual consent of the two parties, or is between a lord
and his minion, then the combat is considered a sparring match. No sphere has sparring matches
as a source of mana. Sparring matches may be fought as non-dangerous duels to test one
another's mettle, as a form of "trial by combat", or simply for their role-playing value. All
combats are considered to be fights unless the two combatants agree at the outset that it is a
sparring match or a referee decides that, in her judgement, the two parties do not actually intend
one another harm.
- What happens if a lord and his minion fight each other in combat?
- If the combat is a sparring match (see above), then it is fought as normal. However, if it's a
real fight (in which the lord is actually trying to kill or beat up his minion), then the minion is not
allowed to cast any combat powers that would in any way affect his lord (assuming the lord was
stupid enough to leave her minion with any mana) and may not use tricks, rock, paper, or
scissors. He can only use blocks. If the minion has no blocks to use, then he is automatically
struck and takes damage on every subsequent combat round.
- I'm about to lose a combat but don't want my enemy to get a certain divine artifact
that I possess. Can I toss it to an ally before surrendering?
- No. Once combat has begun, the two combatants are essentially in a "bubble" until the
combat is complete. During this time they may not affect or be affected by anyone outside the
bubble, may not give or receive mana or divine artifacts from anyone outside the bubble, and
may not use any powers except those marked with a (C) or (CD). This exclusion also applies to
the 5 second "pause for intervention" after the declaration of a sneak attack. All characters
present must either take the defenders place or stay out of it completely. They may not use this
period to cast any powers or to exchange mana or items with the defender or each other.
- Rules Addendum: Accepting surrender becomes optional in Era
- This was inadvertenly left out of the original rules for Era Omega: Ragnarok. Immediately
at the beginning of that era, the rules for surrender are changed so that the victor is no longer
required to accept a surrender from a defeated opponent. Instead of choosing one of the regular
surrender terms, the victor has the option of simply turning down the surrender and killing the
loser (or even obliterating, if the victor has the appropriate powers or items).
combat is complete. During this time they may not affect or be affected by anyone outside the
- Rules Change: Vows of Protection
- In the combat rules, the penalty for breaking a Vow of Protection is listed as all mana.
That should be changed to "50 mana or half of her current mana total, whichever is greater" in
order to be the same as general divine oaths. Furthermore, Vows and Oaths of Protection that are
forced on characters (via surrender terms or the use of certain powers) are only broken if the
character is obliterated, not merely killed as they currently state. Gods may make a separate
divine oath to prevent one or both from dying, but that would be voluntary.
- How does one fight the Guardian Beast in order to enter the Primal
- The Guardian Beast which protects the Primal Wilds will be portrayed by a referee,
Michael Reed. Whenever you exit the house into the backyard, you are considered immediately
lost in the trackless jungles which border the Primal Wilds. If you have and use the power "Safe
in the Wilds", you may ignore this and continue on into the backyard and do whatever you want.
Otherwise, you must wait just outside the door for the Guardian Beast to arrive. You may call
out to get his attention or ask a referee to find him, but you may not enter the yard or
communicate with anyone there until he shows up. If he does not appear in 5 minutes, you have
the option to turn back, having stumbled out of the border jungles without actually penetrating
the Wilds. When the Guardian Beast does show up, you will have to fight an individual battle
with him. (This is considered a sneak attack, but the Guardian Beast is not bound by the Laws of
the Council.) The Guardian Beast is infinite in number, and each person fights their own battle.
If you defeat the Beast, you may enter the Wilds. If you disengage from combat, you must return
to Heaven. If killed, you must go to the Abyss; the Guardian Beast does not accept
- Rule Change: The Window on the World is in the Living Room
- In order to accomodate the number of people we expect to be gathered around the Window
on the World, it has been moved to the living room. The dining room is now part of the
Corridors of Time.
- Where can I make a demesne?
- Demesnes can be constructed in the following places: the Silver City (all rooms upstairs),
the Corridors of Time (the entry hall and dining room), the Abyss (the basement), the Primal
Wilds (the backyard), and the Abyss (above the garage). You may not build a demesne in the
Window on the World (living room), the Hall of Doom (family room), or the Hall of Feasts
- How do I mark my demesne?
- Each god who wishes to create a demesne must bring some type of marker to the game
which will indicate the location of her demesne. This can be a sign, banner, throw rug, or
whatever, but must be distinctive, with some writing or symbology which indicates the god who
owns it. Individuals are considered to be in the demesne only if they are touching the marker or
touching someone else touching the marker. Though theoretically infinite in extent, we only
have so much actual room within Phil's house. We encourage gods to place their demesnes in
areas where they do not block traffic or interfere with other gods' activities. Once created, you
may also move your demesnes about, as long as it remains in the same "realm" of Heaven. A
demesnes can be variable in size depending on the number of people in it at the time. If
necessary, you can even take over an entire room upstairs if this is most convenient logistically
for everyone involved.
- Rules Change: Joint Demesnes
- Gods with the Build Demesnes power may create joint demesnes owned by two or more
deities. All owning gods must be present at the time of the demesne's creation. Mana from the
demesne will be split equally between all owners regardless of how much each contributed to the
demesne's construction. The minions of all owners may freely enter and exit the demesne
and admit "guests".
- Rules Change: Destroying Demesnes
- Though the destruction of a demesne is automatic if you are inside and there are no
defenders, it still takes five minutes to dismantle the demesne, during which time you can be
interrupted by legitimate visitors.
- Who's paying for the refreshments?
- You are. Colleen Kennedy is in charge of refreshments and will be collecting money from
players as you first enter the Hall of Feasts. Each player who wishes to partake of the goodies
must pay $5 or 5 mana. Optionally, you may pay $10 and receive 5 mana. Any extra
money will be saved and used for refreshments in the next era. As a further option, you may
offer to help Colleen purchase and prepare the refreshments if you make arrangements with her
- How will I get mana from sources on Earth?
- A "mana distribution center" will be set up next to the Earth map. Each god will have a
separate box for his mana. At any time, you may come by and pick up this mana. Note that this
mana is considered to be in your possession even if you haven't picked it up! So, if something
happens to make you lose or give away half of your mana, you must immediately pick up this
mana and include it in your total. (If you're trapped away from the Window on the World when
this occurs, send a referee to pick up your mana for you.) You may not use the distribution
center as a bank to squirrel away funds.
- Can I "rapid cast" a number of powers on a person without giving him a chance
- No. After using a personal power on another player (we're talking about non-combat
powers here), before using a power again you must give the target a chance to a) attack
you, b) leave the room (though if you can follow you may use another power on him in the next
room), or c) use a power on you in return. Actually, this applies to everyone in the room -- you
can't rapid cast on three people in a row without letting them respond between each power use.
The others must, however, decide quickly. If they dawdle, spend time trying to decide what to
do, or start holding a conversation (anything more than "Attack!" or "Run away!"), then they
have forfeited the "fight or flight" option and you're free to use any power again.
The Great Council
- New Rule: Council positions
- A variety of powers which begin the game in the hands of divine servitors (detailed
below) are actually transferrable. A majority vote on the Great Council can remove a position
and its attendant powers from its current holder and give it to any other character (divine
servitor, lesser god, or greater god). If the holder of a Council position is a god and is obliterated,
then these powers revert to the god with the most cards in the sphere of Chaos. (Thus the
advantage of using divine servitors in these roles, since they can never be truly obliterated.) A
divine servitor who has had his position removed will still have certain inherent powers not
associated with the position.
- New Council Position: the Judge of Heaven
- Whenever a god of Fate And Justice accuses a player of breaking
a Council Law (for purposes of using his combat powers without mana cost), his opponent (the
accused) has the right to challenge this ruling. The two parties must then go to the Judge of
Heaven, who will decide the matter. If the Judge decides in favor of the god of Fate and Justice,
the accused loses 50 mana. If the Judge decides in favor of the accused, the god of Fate and
Justice loses 50 mana. Whichever way the Judge decides, the two parties must immediately
return to the location where they were about to fight and begin the combat as normal.
- New Council Position: the Shield of the Council
- Has responsibility for counting Great Council votes, marshalling duels, keeping track of
who has lost status (and voting privileges) due to forfeited duels, and enforcing Council rules of
procedure. Exact powers to be determined.
- New Council Position: the Bureaucrat of the Abyss
- Processes paperwork for dead mortal souls entering the Abyss. May grant waivers, which
make powers which kill mortals cheaper. Exact powers to be determined.
- If I show up late to a Great Council meeting, can I still vote?
- Yes. The only thing that can prevent a greater god from not voting in the Great Council is
his absence at the time of the vote. As long as you are present at any point between the moment
that a vote is called for and the instant when the Shield of the Council completes the count of
that vote, then you can vote and it must be counted. After the initial three minute intro, greater
gods are also free to leave and return at any time without losing voting privileges. Even if the
Great Council passes a law amending these rules, it does not actually remove your ability to
vote. All that would mean is that if you do vote, then you've broken a Council law and certain
gods get to use certain powers on you for free. (Though note that they still can't attack you in
the Hall of Doom until the Council meeting is officially concluded.)
Creation and the Earth Map
- What is the difference between a base terrain and a special
- There are only seven base terrains: plains, forest, desert, ice, water, mountain, and
volcano. These terrains are exclusive: each square may have only one base terrain. Special
terrains are all the things like rivers, landmarks, dead zones, stonehenges, etc, which can exist in
addition to the base terrain. Each square may only have one of each type of special terrain, but
may have any number of them overall. For a full list of the special terrains, see the Terrain Clarifications.
- During creation, which terrains override other terrains?
- This is a rather complex question. Whether or not a power overrides a base terrain is
specified in the power descriptions. However, the many special terrains are a different matter.
The general rule is that you cannot change the base terrain under a special terrain if it would
make the special terrain invalid. For example, you cannot change a Stonehenge to water. New
special terrains can always be added, with a few exceptions. For a full list of these exceptions,
plus what base terrains each special terrain can exist in, see the Terrain
Clarifications. Also remember that once a culture is placed on a square, the terrain in that
square (both base and special) cannot be further changed.
- Does the term "adjacent" include diagonals?
- Yes. There are eight squares adjacent to every square, except along the edges. Distances
between squares are always based on the shortest route possible using diagonals.
- New Rule: Cost modifiers during Era Aleph
- During the first hour of Era Aleph, all powers relating to the creation of races and cultures
have double the normal mana cost. During the final hour of Era Aleph, all powers which create
or modify terrain have double the normal mana cost.
- New Rule: What happens if all sentient races are killed off during Era
- If this occurs, the game will immediately revert to one hour of Creation, during which
Creation Powers may be used, but History Powers may not. This will for the creation of new
races, but will also allow gods to further alter the terrain. After the hour is up, the rules return to
normal, but the era will still end at the regular hour, leaving less time for the second try at history
- Do monsters and demons have anything in common?
- No. Monsters are natural creatures which live on Earth, basically just really powerful and
intelligent animals. Demons are supernatural creatures which spring from the Void, intent on the
destruction of both Heaven and Earth.
- What's the difference between monsters and sea monsters?
- These are actually two entirely different things and we should have chosen different
names to reflect this distinction. Gods who receive mana from monsters do not get mana
from sea monsters, and vice versa. The only commonality they have is that the various
monster-controlling history powers found in the Monster sphere work on both types of
- Exactly what counts as a divine artifact?
- Basically, any item in the game that has an effect in game terms. This includes not only
items made with the Divine Artifact power, but also Magic Weapons, Machine Weapons and
Armor, Death Weapons, Portraits, Objects of Desire, and Gems of Power. Such items cannot be
stolen from a character, but may be forcibly taken as a term of surrender. If a character dies, any
divine artifacts in his possession must be left at the site of his death while he goes to the Abyss.
The victor is free to pick them up or leave them for anyone else.
- What props will be used to represent divine artifacts?
- That's totally up to you. Any god with the ability to create artifacts must provide a prop to
be its physical representation. Whatever it is should be fairly obvious. Divine artifacts of any
type may not be hidden but must be prominently displayed on your person at all times. If another
character asks if a prop on your person is a divine artifact, you must answer truthfully. Divine
artifacts must also always have an envelope attached. (I'll provide a supply of envelopes, tape,
and string at the games.) Inside the envelope, the creator must place a slip of paper describing
the powers of the artifact, copied directly from the full power descriptions.
- Rules Change and Clarification: Divine artifacts in combat
- 1) During combat, you may only use one divine artifact. If you have more than
one, at the beginning of the combat select one; the others will have no effect and their powers
cannot be used. 2) Each power that is in a divine artifact must still be activated
before it has any effect; the activation cost is equal to the normal casting cost of the power.
Certain powers like "Magic Weapon", "Mechanized Armor", and "Death Weapon" directly make
the artifact give
you extra tricks, blocks, etc; these powers have no activation cost but still have to be activated
before they have any effect. Activating an artifact power
still counts as the use of a power in combat; it must be done at the beginning of a round and you
can only use one power during any round (whether that power is from yourself or from an
Races and Cultures
- If a god is obliterated, what happens to the mana from his
- Any culture which worshipped that god immediately goes into religious turmoil. This
turmoil lasts until the surviving members of the pantheon agree on a new division of mana. If
there are no surviving gods in the pantheon, then the culture may remain in religious turmoil
indefinitely unless cults are introduced. If the obliterated god had any dedicated races, then all
cultures of that race wither away and die.
- What is the difference between a race and a culture?
- A race is a species created during Era Aleph. Each race is divided up into cultures (though
it's quite possible for a race to have only one culture). When the race is first created, a single
culture is automatically created which worships all of the gods who contributed spheres to the
race's creation. Once a race is created, any god may create new cultures within that race.
Each new culture worships the original creators of the race plus the gods who
contributed mana to make the new culture. Different cultures of the same race will share the
same racial abilities, but are otherwise completely independent, with separate populations,
knowledges, religions, wealth, and cultural levels. They may even war with one another.
- Can we alter pantheons while in during Era Aleph?
- Yes. You can add new members or adjust the worship shares. Just remember that you can
only alter the pantheon for a culture. The list of original creators of a race remains
invariant. Also, no member of the pantheon can instigate religious turmoil until Era Centrum. All
you can do until then is veto any proposed pantheon alterations.
- What is a cult?
- The word cult in the rules is used to describe a religious movement that pops up in a
culture without the consent of that culture's deity or pantheon. Certain spheres have the power to
create cults, essentially adding one or more gods to the culture's pantheon. Certain cults also
have the ability to add demons or atheists to a pantheon. These "deities" are handled
just like gods, receiving a percentage of the culture's mana, but are played by the referees.
- Can a culture of a dedicated race learn knowledges that have side effects which
produce demonic or atheist cults?
- Yes. The culture is simply immune to the cult side effect.
- New Rule: Maximum military bonus
- Though there is no maximum on the military bonuses a culture can accumulate, if the
relative difference between two culture's bonuses is greater than 5, then the higher military bonus
is considered to be reduced to only 5 points higher than the lesser. (This does not include
bonuses due to terrain.) Examle: The Tukmet Empire, an advanced, wealthy culture with lots of
bonuses granted by the gods of war, has a military bonus of +12. The Nomads of Sekh, a pitiful
people that the deities have ignored, has a bonus of only +2. If the Tukmet and Sekh fight a
battle, then the Tukmet get to add only +7 to their die rolls. If the battle occured in a forest and
the Tukmet had an additional +4 modifier for fighting in forests, their bonus would increase to
- I'm a god of man and receive a 1.5 multiplier to mana received from worship. My
ally, a god of nature, receives an 0.5 multiplier. We're in a pantheon together and agreed to split
the mana 50/50, but then he ends up getting a lot less than me. Can we adjust the worship
percentages so that I get most of the mana (with the 1.5 multiplier) and then pass on his share to
- No. Gods of nature are supposed to receive less than the usual mana from worship and
gods of man are supposed to receive more. The mana sources are carefully balanced to reflect
this, and any attempt to sidestep it will result in some gods getting far more mana than
they should. Unfortunately, there is a very fine line between the arrangement described above
and the situation in which a god of man pays a god of nature mana to perform a helpful history
power on their culture. The first is completely illegal, the second is perfectly legit. If anyone can
think of a good rules system which will distinguish these situations and prevent the first, please
let me know! In the meantime, I and all of the referees will be carefully watching out for such
cases and will immediately punish all characters involved if we find it, with penalties ranging
from mana fines to the instantaneous elimination of the entire culture by gamemaster fiat.
- I've just used "Direct Culture" to tell one of my cultures to stop a war and go to
peace with someone else. Do I have to get someone from the other side to direct their culture to
make peace also?
- No. Just as it takes only one side to start a war, in this world it also takes only side to start
a peace! (Don't you wish our world was like that?) This only works when the peace directive
comes from a god. If a culture decides on its own to end a war, it will have to use its diplomacy
rating to convince the other side to stop also.
- My culture has professional military, but is at war with a culture from one of those
monstrous, killing, or otherwise nasty races who are always at war. Once my armies are used up,
am I just screwed?
- Only a little. Though those nasty cultures will always declare war it does not mean
that they can't go to peace with your culture. They'll never do it on their own, but will do it in
response to powers from gods. Of course, at the beginning of the next decade they'll immediately
declare war again (the treacherous bastards), but in the meantime your culture has had a chance
to recover and mobilize more armies. Where you get screwed is if you're at war with two or more
of those nasty cultures. Since most history powers only stop one war, you'd have to stop all wars
in a single decade in order to give your people some time to regroup. Otherwise they're stuck in a
drawn-out, grinding war in which the population is going to have to defend itself. Your only
consolation is that the various nasties are probably fighting among themselves at the same
- One of my culture's has been taught Justice. Is it now immune to powers
such as Incite War?
- No. Just cultures will never declare war on their own initiative, but are still effected
nomrally by all god powers which make them go to war. They will also accept requests for peace
from enemy cultures whenever offered.
- Will a culture ever build cities on its own?
- Not normally. Cities are only founded by means of the Teach Civilization/Found
City power found in the sphere of Cities and Wealth. Do note, however, that magical races
can randomly cast first level sphere powers on their own. They'll normally cast it on themselves,
but if they can't (due to insufficient space) will have to cast it on some neighboring
culture. Also, remember that the gods have no control over where a city will be placed. New
cities will always be built in the square where the culture has the highest population at the
moment a city is founded.
- What is the sequence of events during a century/decade?
- Each century is divided into three parts. In the Beginning of the Century portion the
referees will handle population growth, random terrain shifts, activities of cultures on terrain,
and the calculation of wealth points. Deities may not use history powers during this time. Once
that is complete, the Middle of the Century begins the sequence of decades. During each decade,
the following events happen in order: populations/armies move; battles are fought, retreats are
made; population in excess of terrain limits is removed; cultures attempt to use diplomacy;
repeat. A referee may also choose to re-calculate a culture's wealth value if she deems that
sufficient change warrants it. While decades are going on, gods may affect the Earth with their
history powers, though events will continue on their own even while the gods do so. Finally, five
minutes before the end of the century, the referees will finish off the last decade (no matter how
many there were) and begin the End of the Century. At this time they will count and record
populations and various mana sources, enter these numbers into a computer, calculate all mana
sources from Earth, and then dispense this mana into "mana boxes" for each god (basically a
square on a sheet of paper). During the End of the Century, gods may not use history powers.
Gods can pick up mana from their boxes at any time.
- Rules Change: Conflicts on Earth
- To save the referees from rolling huge amounts of dice (or using complex computer
programs) to resolve combats between cultures, we have designed a combat results table (CRT)
which will resolve each combat with a single die roll. If you really want to see it, ask one of the
gamemasters, but it really shouldn't affect your perception of events on Earth; we tried to make
the results correspond closely to what would happen if we had used the original combat system
described in the rules for Era Centrum.
- If I give the command to migrate (via the Direct Culture power), how quickly will
the culture move?
- The migrate command doesn't actually force the culture to move. The movement of its
populations is still determined by the regular guidelines for movement based on their cultural
level (as described in the rules for Era Centrum). The migrate command just determines the
direction in which any movement will take place.
- Many changes to running the Earth Map!
- Well, now that we've finally had some experience actually running the Earth map, here's a
list of rules changes which will make the referee's jobs less insane:
- No more line! Gods who wish to use history powers need not wait in line to do so. Instead,
each god can take a number; gods will be served in the order of their numbers. If a player does
not show up within a few seconds of his number being called, that spot is lost and we'll move to
the next number. Gods may not hold more than one number at a time and may not exchange
numbers with one another. If two gods wish to combine their sphere powers, they must arrange
to pick consecutive numbers. Using history powers remotely (by giving written instructions to a
referee) is no longer allowed. The only exception is changes to a pantheon: these should be made
by submiiting a written sheet signed by all gods in the pantheon; no one need wait in line.
- No more culture sheets! All information on the culture sheets is now being moved onto
three different places. The CULTURE BOARD will be a large board visible to both referees and
players. It will list each culture and indicate it's current cultural level, wealth level, military and
diplomacy bonuses, and all knowledges. Knowledges needed regularly by the referees will be
highlighted. The CULTURE CARD will be a small card actually on the map next to the culture's
population counters. It will contain all of the information needed by the referees to handle
movement, population growth, wealth points, etc. The PANTHEON LIST will be printed out
every century from the computer. It will contain a list of all cultures and their pantheons.
- No more decades! (Well, almost.) Cultures which are at peace will only move once per
century. The remainder of the century, only armies and non-civilized populations which at war
will move, still using the normal decade rules. There is one exception to this: populations will
move in response to changes in their environment. For example, if the population limit of a
square changes, excess population will move out in favor of staying and starving to death.
- The knowledges Fishing and Trade are drastically simplified. Fishing provides a straight 5
wealth points. Trade provides wealth points dependent on the culture's range in sea-faring. If the
culture has no sea-faring: 5 points. Range 3 sea-faring: 10 points. Range 6 sea-faring (from
Weather Wisdom): 15 points. Range 9 sea-faring (from Astronomy): 20 points.
- What does the "avatar" of a transcendent culture do?
- Rather than have a referee run around playing these avatars, the avatra of a transcendent
culture provides aid in a much more abstract way. In essence, it provides extra hit points to each
god in the culture's old pantheon. For every 25 population in the culture, 1 hit point is generated
(rounded down). These hit points are divided among the gods in the pantheon according to their
worship percentages (round off, 0.5 goes up). These hit points are permanent and regenerate
between combats, just like the original 5 hit points everyone started with. Any hit points that go
to an atheist cult are lost. Any hit points that go to a demonic cult are given to all
demons. (If the demonic cult gets 2 hit points, then all demons in the game get an extra 2 hit
Communicatons Outside the Game and the Meta-Council
- Can I transfer mana to another player during the transition phases? Can a player
swear a divine oath to me?
- No. These actions can only happen during actual live game play. Of course, players are
free to communicate with one another in character and even make deals during the transition
phases. But no form of "game mechanic" interaction is possible.
- The Gamemaster's Advisory Council
- Ignore the Meta-Council rules as written in Era Omega. Replace them with the
The Gods Game is an extremely complex system of rules which has never been tested before.
Though I have tried with great care to finesse all systems and powers to provide game balance,
the rules are quite full of unclear explanations, gaps, loopholes, and inconsistencies. This FAQ is
one measure for fixing them. After this game is over I plan to completely re-write these rules so
that I and others can run future Gods Games with 99% of the work already done!
While this FAQ can correct problems that are spotted before the fact, it can't correct problems
that have already occured. If such problems are minor, we'll simply gloss over them and write
down a note to fix it in the future. However, some problems can cause serious imbalances in the
game, allowing some players to achieve or lose more power than the designers expected.
Unfortunately, given the huge scope of a live game (40 people running around a house) I can't
keep track of such problems and nip them in the bud. Thus the Gamemaster's Advisory
During the transition phases, all players and referees are encouraged to report to me any
perceived imbalances (as described below). These reports are completely anonymous. If I think
that such a report warrants further investigation I will send out a message to the entire list of
players and referees asking for your input, since many of you were actually on the scene. Please
send me input only if you were a direct participant or witness to the action(s) cited. One week
after sending the initial message, I will report back to the Advisory Council my decision on the
matter and what corrective measures will be made.
Game imbalances come in two varieties:
Loopholes are unseen or unclear possibilities in the rules systems which allow one or more
players to use the rules to gain greater advantage than I originally planned for. Please note:
Players who exploit such loopholes are not cheating and may believe that they are performing a
perfectly legitimate action (which they are, within the strict context of the rules). Players or refs
who believe that a loophole has been found and exploited should send me word. After soliciting
input, if I agree I will impose corrective measures (usually a transfer of mana) to re-balance the
situation and introduce new rules to hopefully prevent further problems.
Role-playing awards are a special case to correct an imbalance between role-playing and
"rule-playing" which is inherent to this (and most other) role-playing games. I strongly believe
game of this nature should should have an equal balance between "playing the character" and
"playing to win". Unfortunately, rule-playing has its own rewards built into the system, while the
rewards of role-playing are less tangible. Players are thus given an unintended incentive to place
rule-playing ahead of role-playing. The system of personal goals is an attempt to partially
alleviate this imbalance, but does not suffice for all situations. Players or refs who believe that a
player performed exceptional role-playing in a manner that seriously compromised her power in
the game should send me word. After soliciting input, if I agree I will introduce corrective
measures (usually some form of minor award or temporary perq) to re-balance the
- Can I post messages to the entire list of players?
- No. Such communications are reserved solely for the use of myself and Andy Ashcraft.
You can, of course, send lots of messages to individuals or small groups, but if you don't receive
a reply then don't send more; assume that the players don't want to talk. Many players do not
want their inboxes flooded with game-related messages. During the actual games you can be as
persistent and pushy as you want.