There are roughly 3,000 gods on the Discworld and research theologians are discovering more every day. Most people make the mistake of thinking that gods came first and then came the people to believe in them, when in fact the people came first, and then their belief created the gods. Gods and people go hand in hand: gods need people to believe in them, and people need something to blame. The system seems to work quite well.
Gods feed on belief. The more people believe in a god, the more powerful that god becomes. As gods lose belief, they become weaker and smaller. Once there are no more believers, the god becomes a mere echo of a voice on the wind. Some small gods are gods that were once powerful, others are gods in potentia, as it were, waiting for someone to erect a small cairn, or pile of stones as a short prayer so that they can gain some power, perform a few miracles and gain believers. It is revealed by Hughnon Ridcully in The Truth that Gods can get sick, but from Small Gods we already knew that gods can die from lack of belief.
Gods, of course, play games with the fates of men. The game they play is somewhere between Dungeons and Dragons, Risk and Chess, with Monopoly and Battleships thrown in for good measure along the way. Don't think the game is complicated though; gods don't have the patience for complex games. They prefer games that are short and violent. The game is played on a map of the world that is, on closer inspection, the world itself. If you look closely enough at the tiny pin that is Cori Celesti in the middle of the board, you can see the gods on top of it in their home of Dunmanifestin, playing the game. If you look closer still, you can see the board with a tiny Cori Celesti and on top of that...
The gods are described playing games with the fates of men in:
Other appearances and notable mentions:
- Pyramids describes what happens when the whole pantheon of a country manifests all at once.
- Small Gods describes the statues of the gods worshipped in Ephebe. It is also the first mention of a 'monotheistic' God, (Om).
- Monstrous Regiment describes extensively the rules set forth by Nuggan, the state god of Borogravia.
- Hogfather makes mentions of several gods, and some of the new ones created due to a surplus of belief created by the disappearance of the Hogfather, something of a god himself but later more of an anthropomorphic personification.
- Going Postal tells of an incident in which a man got several religions; the gods that he found are described.
Discworld suffers from a surfeit of gods. New ones may be created at any time, and old ones fade away when no one believes any longer. Here is a (necessarily incomplete) list of some better-known deities from around the Disc.
Gods of Dunmanifestin
These gods, sometimes referred to as the gods of the "great consensus", are those in whom belief is most widespread on the Disc. This is partly because they take on many forms to draw belief from many cultures, sometimes with the aid of disguises. Their primary Roundworld influences are the Norse and Greek pantheons, with plenty of fantasy and other human cultures thrown in.
- Bibulous, god of wine and things on sticks. Resembles John Belushi.
- Blind Io, chief of the gods. His eyeless face is blindfolded, while many all-seeing eyeballs swarm around his head.
- Destiny, guides promising young adventures to their heroic destiny.
- Errata, the goddess of misunderstandings; a trouble-maker.
- Fate, not to be tempted. Also not popular around the games table; he always wins.
- Fedecks, messenger of the gods.
- Flatulus, god of the winds.
- The Lady, whose name is not spoken.
- The Monkey-god, possibly based on Roundworld's Hanuman, mentioned as a member of the Dunmanifestin elite in The Last Hero.
- Neoldian, smith of the gods.
- Nuggan, state god of Borogravia: a twit. Lately reduced to small god status.
- Offler of the Bird-Haunted Mouth: crocodile-headed and widely followed.
- Pedestriana, Goddess of feet and pedal dexterity.
- the Sea-Goddess who loves dolphins and takes revenge on seaborne dolphin-abusers.
- Seven-Handed Sek, says Vengeance is His.
Other gods of the Main Continent
- Aniger, goddess of squashed animals - recent; possibly another "oh god" like Bilious.
- Anoia, goddess of things that stick in drawers (formerly Lela the volcano goddess).
- Bilious, oh god of hangovers.
- Bissonomy. She is currently an obscure Virtue, but according to Chaffinch, she was once a goddess and a consort of Blind Io.
- Epidity god of potatoes.
- God of Evolution, survives without believers.
- Grune, god of unseasonal fruit.
- Herne the Hunted, god of small furry creatures.
- Hoki, the jokester: banished from Dunmanifestin.
- Hyperopia. The goddess of shoes.
- God of Indigestion, the personification of stomach ailments.
- Infernal Zoth, the Undying Renderer.
- Iron Girder, the first steam locomotive on Discworld, becomes a goddess due to acquiring worshippers, in the form of trainspotters, in Raising Steam.
- Jimi, god of beggars.
- Lamentatio. goddess of interminably long opera.
- Libertina, goddess of the sea, apple pie, certain types of ice cream, and short bits of string. May be the Sea-Goddess above.
- Moon goddess, Druidic
- Narrativia, goddess associated with writing and writers
- Night, a god for the easily impressed. Hard to see.
- Noddi, creator god of NoThingfjord
- Nog-Humpty the custard god
- Om, state god of Omnia; pays more attention lately.
- Pippina, Goddess of chaos and discord. Almost certainly barred from Dunmanifestin after the Golden Apple incident.
- Reg, god of club musicians.
- Resonata, goddess of weasels.
- Saponaria, goddess of soap and cleanliness
- Urika, goddess of snow, saunas and theatrical performances for fewer than 120 people.
- Vomita, possibly the Oh Goddess of vomiting and violent purging.
- Wilf, the god of astrology.
- God of Watchmen, hypothetical god of watchmen, police and guards.
- The Mad Snake God
- Genua has many minor deities, created ad hoc (see Voodoo entities, below).
Gods of Howondaland
- Glipzo a tribal deity, inimical to the N'Tuitif
- P'tang P'tang, the newt god; noted for a very small but devoted following.
- Quetzovercoatl, Tezuman god of many parts - possibly only a demon.
- The Luggage, the Tezuman replacement of Quetzovercoatl after Quetzovercoatl was squashed by the Luggage.
Gods of Ephebe
- Astoria, goddess of love.
- Foorgol, avalanches.
- Patina, goddess of wisdom : carries a penguin.
- Petulia, goddess of negotiable affection.
- Tuvelpit, wine. See Bibulous.
- Zephyrus, god of slight breezes.
- Cubal, god of fire.
- Flatulus, god of winds.
- Blind Io, god of thunder (not only Ephebian).
- Fedecks, message bringer of gods (not only Ephebian).
Gods of Djelibeybi
- Bast, cat-headed goddess of things left on the doorstep or half-digested under the bed. Also in Dunmanifestin.
- Bunu, goats.
- Cephnet, a sun god.
- Cephut, cutlery.
- Chefet, dog-headed god of metalwork.
- Fhez, crocodile-headed god of the lower Djel; easily confused with Offler.
- Gil, a sun god.
- Hat, vulture-headed god of unexpected guests.
- Khefin, two-faced god of gateways.
- Sarduk, goddess of caves : don't go there.
- Scrab, pusher of the ball of the sun.
- Sessifret, goddess of the afternoon and undisputed solar ruler after midday.
- Tzut, snake-headed god of the upper Djel, enemy of Fhez.
- What, sky goddess who eats the sun in the evening and plants one of its seeds to grow a new sun in the morning.
- Vut, dog headed god of the evening
...plus eight Supreme gods, four Sole Rulers of the World of the Dead, and many more.
Gods of the Shaman
Voodoo Spirits of Genua
- Mister Safe Way
- Lady Bon Anna
- Hotaloga Andrews
- Stride Wide Man
- Baron Saturday (following the events of Witches Abroad
And, of course, nearly three thousand more.
And while not exactly gods, we should mention the other residents of Cori Celesti, the The Ice Giants, who steadfastly refuse to return the lawn mower.
See also Supernatural Entities for individuals who are not formally worshipped but are sometimes more powerful than the gods.
Other Gods and Deities in the non-Discworld writings of Terry Pratchett
- Gods and God-like Entities of the Nomes: