Above the Gods
The setting features entities even more powerful than its gods.


(permanent link) added: 2011-06-28 13:34:32 sponsor: MasterGhandalf (last reply: 2013-01-18 10:16:40)

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While gods are usually the most powerful forces/ entities in a given setting, this isn't always the case- sometimes there are beings out there that are so powerful, they are considered to be even greater than the gods. They may represent Big-G God in comparison to a Fantasy Pantheon of little-g gods, be Anthropomorphic Personifications of eternal concepts, or even abstractions of forces far too powerful for mortals to wrap their heads around. In other cases, they're even Eldritch Abominations. These sorts of beings usually don't interact much with our level of reality, though there are exceptions. Compare and contrast The Old Gods, for an older generation of deities who may or may not be more powerful than the current pantheon, but do not transcend the label of "god" completely.

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  • In The Silmarillion, the Valar are a pantheon of immensely powerful entities that can be considered gods, but Eru Iluvatar, Arda's true monotheistic deity, is far more powerful than them (and created them in the first place). Ungoliant might also be a manifestation of a higher dark power, or just a particularly unpleasant demon- Tolkien never really elaborated much on her origin.
  • The Highgod and Chaos from Dragonlance, as well as Ao from Forgotten Realms.
  • David Eddings really likes this one:
    • In The Belgariad, UL and the two opposing Destinies are much more powerful than the gods (the Destinies are exactly equal in power; how they stack up to UL isn't elaborated on).
    • In The Elenium, there's Bhelliom (bound in the form of the local McGuffin for most of the books) and its opposite number Klael.
    • The Dreamers has the original male and female creative powers embodied as the peasant couple Ara and Omago.
  • The Faerie Queens in The Dresden Files are as good as gods, but the Faerie Mothers (formally, the Queens Who Were) are an order of magnitude stronger, though they seem to be pretty restricted in how they can use their power, and don't do much during their one appearance other than offer some cryptic advice.
  • In the multiverse set-up of The Wizard Knight, beings are intended to worship the inhabitants of the world directly above theirs as their gods. Therefore, anything that's two or more levels above the observer would count as this.
  • In the Mithgar books, the Fates are said to be above the gods, and the Great Creator is above them. Whether or not any of these exist as discreet entities or just abstractions is left ambiguous.
  • Played with in The Death Gate Cycle. The Sartan and Patryn races ''aren't' 'technically gods, but consider themselves to be such- and get a nasty shock when they learn that there are things more powerful than them out there.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's multiverse, several works feature powerful physical beings worshipped as divine, but the Shards of Adonalsium are more powerful than any of them.
  • In Mortal Kombat, the Elder Gods existed along an entity known as the One Being, who constantly fed off of their essence in order to sustain itself. In order to save themselves, the Elder Gods cooperated to weaken its omnipotence and divided the One Being into the realms (and by proxy, the six Kamidogu as seen in Deception). Merging all of the known realms together will eventually reawaken the One Being and it's hinted in later games that the likes of Shao Kahn and Onaga are being influenced by it in their conquest of the realms.
  • Dungeons And Dragons
    • Basic D&D Immortals rules. The Immortals are the BD&D equivalent of deities. The Old Ones are a group of extremely powerful beings who as to the Immortals as the Immortals are to mortals. If someone becomes an Immortal and reaches the highest level of Immortality twice, they can join the Old Ones.
  • In The Sandman you're dealing with a Fantasy Kitchen Sink scenario, so there's gods to spare, including the monotheistic 'Christian' God. None of them can stack up to The Endless within their given purview, however, and most of them step rather carefully around them. Most of this comes from the fact that the gods are NOT, in fact, immortal - they can be destroyed, by various means. The Endless, meanwhile, are... ENDLESS - even if killed, which can only happen with the cooperation of one of their numbers, they are simply reborn with a new body within the hour. Mind, the gods tend to have much broader powers than the highly-specialized Endless, so the respect often goes both ways.
  • The Snarl, resident Eldritch Abomination from The Order of the Stick, is so much more powerful than the gods that it wiped out an entire pantheon in minutes. The remaining gods were able to beat it, but only because it's completely brainless in spite of its power.
  • In Roger Zelazny+Robert Sheckley's "Millenial Contest" series (Bring Me The Head of Prince Charming et seq), the two opposing sides are represented by stock angels and demons (I don't remember whether the Christian God or expy thereof headed up the angelic side; the demons, iirc, had a board of directors) but both are subject to "Ananke" (glossed "Necessity") and nobody knows whether Ananke is itself subject to anything.

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