I feel like there needs to be a barrier to entry for godhood. Like, you need a "bank" of at least 10,000 divine power (or some other number) or you can't access any of it. (but then you can spend 10k on one big thing and be powerless for a bit.)
I'm also unsure about how I want to model the distinction between gods and demigods, and how saints and champions fit into the picture.
This actually fits nicely with some thoughts I’ve been having about immortality.
Basically, I’ve been thinking that the more immortal something is, the more difficult it should be for them to affect the time stream, or more generally, events in the mortal world. A being that is truly immortal (cannot be killed no matter what) would be utterly incapable of any direct effect itself, it would only be able to work through a mortal (or semi-mortal, like a god) will.
(Side note: This also fits beautifully into the whole Ao/Normal gods divide, where you have an Overpower who is a true immortal, but needs the normal gods to trickle down to affect the world at all.)
An intelligent weapon would be pretty close to unable to have any effect on the world (it can still weigh things down, it might have spell-likes it can use on its own, but it can’t do a whole lot without a wielder), so in my thought-basis here, it should be pretty close to immortal. Indestructible by normal means, won’t age, won’t decay, but you can still cast it into the fires from which it was made (or have some other special condition to destroy it).
Assuming there are other gods (I'm thinking of Dark Sun and the Dragon-Kings).
You could require divine power to be spent for varying levels of Apotheosis - maybe X power to attain a certain level, and then X/100 or X/1,000 daily to maintain that level. It would also help explain the war for worshippers - if a god can't maintain a certain level of throughput in the divine economy, they slide from Greater Power to Lesser Power to Demi-Power.
One of the first thoughts when I read Alex's comment was that a perfect soul would be unchanging - incorruptible and eternal, yes, but also unable to learn or grow. A lich wants more time to gather more power; it's basically gambling that it can take in energy faster than it loses energy, and maybe eventually become a god (I see liches as the end result of a psychology that tries to reshape and redefine the universe to meet its whims). By binding themselves to an eternal form, a wizard who becomes a weapon is limiting themself to never being more than a fraction of what they were. It's the opposite of ambition and hubris, and would probably require somebody psychologically broken to voluntarily become a limited eternal being.
This could pretty easily be done using the transformation rules; simply figure out how much GP/special components it would cost to gain the HD/powers of each level of godhood, and make them spend it to gain them.
(With a maintenance cost or not, as you desire.)
Until you actually expend the cost to transform, you’re just a dude with some divine power, not significantly different from a cleric who has a congregation. Once you work up enough power, you transform, and gain actual godhood.
But by that logic wouldn't any wizard who thinks about it for more than five minutes chose being an intelligent glave over being a lich? Since the lich would have to consume the living to satisfy itself, while the glave can exist eturnally without issue.
Remember that scene from Clash of the Titans where Zeus et. al. are standing around a "board" of the world, and Perseus is a clay piece being put in play?
That's the game I'm imagining. Diety-level players moving heroes and kings around events, playing for points.
Or, the deities are clay figures themselves, standing 'on' the board of the godly realms, questing for treasure and power, expending divine power as rations, asking mortals to perform certain divine missions, rituals and sacrifices to aid them in their journey through spheres. As above, so below. If the various spheres of existence are simulacra of the primary sphere, maybe gods are hecrawling too?
Apotheoses really should have their own Magical Mishap tables.
A mad wizard aspiring to godhood is the sort of thing that tends to go wrong spectacularly.
Dark Sun canon has a good example of that, in fact.
(The fact that I wrote up some conversions for dragon-kings and avangion for our Dark Sun campaign is the reason why I went so quickly to the transformation rules in this thread; that’s what I used as a base there.)
I can’t remember right now if I wrote any new mishaps for it, I think I just said they’re always catastrophic.
Minor Mishaps: Accidentally become the god of baggy pants and embarassing anecdotes
ACKS Dwimmermount has a set of immortality rules. That's a decent start, at least. Gods aren't supposed to die.
Did we just jump from B/X to I and skip right over C and M, because I feel like that's what we just did.
The worst part? That's what all your followers are into and their worship is your source of divine power, so now you just have to go with it.
I'd go as far as to make powerful monsters - though significantly less powerful than an ancient dragon - get worshipped locally and gain certain "divine" abilities on the regional or even local level; things like Aboleths, "Spheres of Eyes", "Brain Lashers" or even sentient undead. They might even grant low-level clerical spells to their followers! But these powers will diminish with distance from the "god".
Ooh, I hadn't thought about making it region-based. Almost like lines of supply!
"SAVE ME JEEEEEBUS"
"Sorry Homer, but you're in a no-coverage zone."
This is more or less the way many gods worked in ancient times - they were the gods of this or that country or this or that city-state, and if you moved into that place, you worshipped them as they held sway locally. Omniscient gods with global influence are much newer.
There is also animism as in Japanese Shinto in which there is a huge number of local small-scale gods and spirits (Kami), in addition to certain "greater" gods such as Amaterasu. A tree or mountain could have its own god(ess), with very local influence.
Also, read the 2 Kings and Josephus version of how the Samaritans got their faith; essentially the story goes that when the kings of Assyria deported tens of thousands of Israelites to Assyria, they resettled people from Mesopotamia in their place. Because The Land of Israel belongs to the Hebrew god, and they didn't worship him, he unleashed lions unto them, so the Assyrians sent Jewish priests to teach them the local faith; and, indeed, up to this very day their faith is very similar to Judaism.
My sporadic bedtime reading has been the Discworld series; picked it up again from the first when Pratchett died. As it so happens, I've been in the middle of Small Gods, which very strongly relates to this thread.
[quote="Terry Pratchett, Small Gods"]
"Right," said Om. "Now . . . listen. Do you know how gods get power?" "By people believing in them," said Brutha. "Millions of people believe in you." Om hesitated. All right, all right. We are here and it is now. Sooner or later he'll find out for himself . . . "They don't believe," said Om. "But- "It's happened before," said the tortoise. "Dozens of times. D'you know Abraxas found the lost city of Ee? Very strange carvings, he says. Belief, he says. Belief shifts. People start out believing in the god and end up believing in the structure." "I don't understand," said Brutha. "Let me put it another way," said the tortoise. "I am your God, right?" "Yes." "And you'll obey me." "Yes." "Good. Now take a rock and go and kill Vorbis." Brutha didn't move. "I'm sure you heard me," said Om. "But he'll . . . he's . . . the Quisition would- "Now you know what I mean," said the tortoise. "You're more afraid of him than you are of me, now. Abraxas says here: `Around the Godde there forms a Shelle of prayers and Ceremonies and Buildings and Priestes and Authority, until at Last the Godde Dies. Ande this maye notte be noticed.' "