A Disabled Deity is a god or similar being who, despite the power and physical resilience that comes with divine status, is disabled in some way. Because of the obvious complications in even figuring out what would count as a disability to an entity like a Sentient Cosmic Force
, this trope is generally applied to Physical Gods
. This trope is Older Than Feudalism
, dating back at least as far as Hephaestus in Classical Mythology
. It's not uncommon for contemporary uses of this trope to be inspired by mythological figures.
Somehow, using their godly powers to cure themselves never comes up as a viable option
. Depending on how divine powers work in this setting, there may be a certain amount of Fridge Logic
involved regarding why a being who can change shape or alter reality
can't grow back a lost body part. This may be justified out-of-universe if the disability has symbolic significance
or is part of the deity's "theme" (such as visual impairment
for a god of knowledge, or a Red Right Hand
for a God of Evil
This is for gods with physical disabilities, injuries, and such. For deities who are mentally ill or just not all there, see Mad God
and Almighty Idiot
Anime & Manga
- In The World God Only Knows, Vulcan can't walk, and has difficulty with her vision and hearing. However, she can imbue herself into an inanimate object, moving it around and using it to see and hear.
- The misfortune gods in Binbō-gami ga! often walk around with bandaged limbs due to the various accidents that result from their divine powers.
- Michael Moorcock's Corum stories. In the first trilogy Corum loses his left hand and right eye, and is given the Hand of Kwll and the Eye of Rhynn to replace them. These items were originally part of the ultra-powerful beings Kwll and Rhynn, who were disabled by their loss.
- The Crippled God from Malazan Book of the Fallen, due to a severe case of Wound That Will Not Heal. Millennia of pain haven't done his state of mind much good either.
- Blind Io, chief of the Discworld's gods, is an aversion. While he has no eyes in his head and wears a blindfold, he has a bunch of eyes floating around him that let him see (which causes problems when a raven comes around).
- Belgariad: Torak's disability doubles as a Red Right Hand. The Orb of Aldur burned the left side of his body leaving especially his face and hand horribly scarred. Gods are also incapable of healing because they are (the Orb notwithstanding) incapable of being harmed.
- In The Elenium, Azash was castrated by the Younger Gods, which weakened him enough that he could be trapped inside an idol.
- In the Spirit Animals series, four of the godlike Great Beasts were slain while protecting humanity from the Devourer. As immortals, they cannot truly die, and the series kicks off with the four reincarnating as the spirit animals of four children. However, death and rebirth has stripped them of much of their power, and there's no telling how long it will take to return.
- The Grim Reaper in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel has a Hook Hand.
- Morgoth from The Silmarillion was burned by the Silmarils and lost the power to shapeshift as a result. The burns will also hurt him for eternity.
- How you define "deity" in the Trek Verse is tricky, but there is an entity in the Q Continuum trilogy named 0 (as in the number) who is a Q-level Reality Warper. He is also very much a bad guy. The Q Continuum punished him by restricting his travel speed to light speed and putting up a barrier around the entire galaxy just to keep him out (yes, this is the one Kirk kept running into in The Original Series. Oh, and the barrier being in the center instead of the edge of the galaxy in Star Trek V isn't an error; that's a second barrier to hold one of 0's underlings.) His restricted movement is represented by his having a bum leg in his human form/disguise.
- In Ever World, David comes up with a plan to save the Greek gods from the Hetwan and Ka Anor. To convince Hephaestus to help, he helps him design a wheelchair (Hephaestus is described as having a gorilla's upper body with kid's legs).
- Egyptian Mythology:
- After the god Set killed the god Osiris, he ripped his body into 14 pieces and scattered them across the world. The goddess Isis gathered up all of the body parts except his phallus (which had been eaten by a catfish) and bandaged them together like a mummy. The other Egyptian deities then resurrected him... well, almost all of him.
- Bes, the dwarf god.
- Norse Mythology:
- The blind god Hodur in Norse Mythology, who is best known for his Accidental Murder (abetted by Loki) of his brother Baldr.
- The Allfather Odin was missing one eye. He sacrificed it at Mimir's Well in order to gain the Wisdom of Ages.
- The god Tyr was depicted as missing one hand. When the gods wanted to bind the Fenris Wolf with the magical ribbon Gleipnir, Fenris refused to let Gleipnir be put upon him unless one of the gods put his hand in Fenris' mouth. Tyr volunteered to do so. When Fenris found he couldn't escape Gleipnir, he bit Tyr's hand off.
- Classical Mythology:
- Aztec Mythology:
- Tezcatlipoca, the god of night and magic, lost a foot while creating the earth from a giant crocodile monster. He replaced it with an obsidian mirror.
- Xolotl, the god of bad luck, was depicted as a hunchback with deformed limbs and eyes that tended to be pulled out of their sockets.
- Nanahuatzin was a Disabled Deity... until he threw himself on a sacrificial fire and became the sun.
- Hackmaster supplement Gawds & Demi-Gawds: In the world of Aldrazar (the Hackmaster campaign setting) the greater gawd Luvia is blind. This gives him a -4 to hit in combat.
- Warhammer: The Eldar/Elf pantheon contains Morai-Heg, who had her hand cut off to gain knowledge of the future.
- Warhammer40000: While in his prime, the God-Emperor of Mankind was in excellent physical condition, in the universe's "present" he's been dependent on life support for millennia.
- Vecna of the Dungeons & Dragons Greyhawk setting is missing one hand and one eye, both of which have a tendency to resurface in the setting as Artifacts Of Doom.
- 4th edition D&D has Torog, who is covered in Wounds That Will Not Heal, has his legs visibly twisted and broken, and whose spine has been twisted so he bends backwards at the pelvis into a capital L-shape. Needless to say, there's a very good reason he's called "The King That Crawls".
- Forgotten Realms:
- Tyr, the god of justice, was blinded by Ao the Overgod for questioning one of his decisions, and, much like his Norse Mythology counterpart, had his hand bitten off during an attempt to subdue Kezef the Chaos Hound.
- The Orc deity Gruumsh is said to have lost an eye while battling the Elven deity Corellon Larethian, although the church of Gruumsh insist this is a heresy spread by the elves and Gruumsh has always had one eye.
- Ilmater is a borderline example. His body is covered in Wounds That Will Not Heal, symbolic of his role as the god of martyrdom.
- In The Dark Eye, The Nameless God is a villainous and self-inflicted example. Chained into a breach in the firmament by the other gods as punishment for attempting to conquer all creation, he rages and tears off bits of his own body to free himself. His mortal followers seek to emulate him and sacrifice body parts one by one as they ascend through the ranks of his cult. This doesn't make them any less dangerous, which can make veteran players very nervous when they encounter a one-eyed NPC.
- In Scion, if a god is disabled in myth, they'll also be so in the game.
- Autochthon in Exalted. Appropriate, since he's the setting's equivalent of Hephaestus, if Hephaestus were a giant steampunk Eldritch Abomination with cyber-organic cancer.
- The Thunder Dragon Lanayru in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is dead in the present and suffering from a terrible disease in the past. If you do some time warping to save him he'll be back to full health in the present.
- The god Tyr in Neverwinter Nights is referred to often as "The Maimed God" because he's missing a hand.
- The halfing thief god Bolo in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is said to only have one arm; the other was cut off as punishment for him stealing the shadow of Progo the god of storms.
- In Eternal Darkness, Mantarok—the Eldritch Abomination that kept the three others in balance—eventually sustains a major disability: Death. However, even as a "dead god", it wields considerable power. The True Ending, in fact, reveals that everything that transpires was all part of its plan to eliminate the other three, leaving Mantarok uncontested.
- In Dungeon Crawl Ashenzari, the god of knowledge and divination, deliberately had itself nailed to the sky. Being bound and crippled, Ashenzari gains the ability to see and know everything. As a result, it grants divine favor and knowledge for handicapping yourself by wearing cursed items and exploring the world.
- The Neptunia series subjects its protagonists to this often. Causes range from simple amnesia, having their worshipers turned to the villains' side, being Trapped in Another World where they don't qualify as deities, being Trapped in Another World with no one left to worship them, or just having their powers stolen by the villain.
- Gargoyles has Odin appear in one episode. Subverted, however, in that he gets his eye back at the end. (The Eye of Odin was a recurring Artifact of Doom in the series; it turns from a dangerous medallion into an actual eye once Odin puts it back where it belongs.)