->''"They were Gods once, but their worshippers either died out or were converted to the worship of other Gods. They wail and flutter around the edges of reality without substance or even thought. All they have is need. ... We go out of fashion, Sparhawk – like last year's gowns or old shoes and hats. The Powerless Ones are discarded Gods who shrink and shrink as the years go by until they're finally nothing at all but a kind of anguished wailing."''
-->-- '''The Goddess Aphrael''', ''[[Literature/TheElenium The Hidden City]]''

In the world of {{fantasy}}, it is a largely accepted fact that the power of any given deity [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve is proportional to the amount of belief]] in them or the amount of worship they are currently receiving.

The deity could have been originally conceived and shaped by the needs and desires of one small group but like any good {{meme}}, this 'idea' grows with each new person who responds, then spreads the word of this great new 'god on the block'. Soon, the deity has enough collective belief behind their 'name brand' that they come into existence, and use that power to fulfill the needs of their worshippers. In this sense, a god is a form of {{Tulpa}}, a thought form, made completely out of their worshipper's belief and faith in them.

The opposite is also true: As a deity's power base of worshippers shrinks, their divine strength fades and if all worship of them ceases, they may completely fade out of existence. The tragedy here is that worshippers who leave the god because [[ReligiousRussianRoulette he/she didn't grant their miracle]] will continuously weaken the god until they can't grant ''any'' miracles. It's kind of like a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_run bank run]] on a god.

In a similar manner, the well-being of an AnthropomorphicPersonification is often tied to whatever concept they personify. Big concepts like Fate or [[TheGrimReaper Death]] are pretty safe, but [[DeaderThanDisco Disco]] is in critical condition.

A subtrope of ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve, which can be used to explain why PowersThatBe care whether or not anyone worships them. In games where you play as a PhysicalGod, this is often used as a game mechanic to explain why you can't just DeusExMachina your way through ''everything''. It can also be used by authors as a TakeThat against organized religion. Compare ImNotAfraidOfYou, where smaller {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s can be [[PuffOfLogic destroyed through disbelief]].

This weakness is often used by misotheistic (god-hating) characters to deliberately harm or kill a god. It is often one of few ways.

Depending on the setting, the gods can often provide incentives for people to worship them. The gods of most typical TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons games grant divine spells to their priests, which give them all kinds of fancy powers. Mortals and gods then end up in a symbiotic relationship, with the humans providing belief and worship to the gods and the gods providing assorted divine miracles in return.

This trope is related to EmotionEater, but doesn't imply evil, vampirism, or negative emotions unless the god is tied in with those by nature. In belief systems of this kind, the empowered god often gives power back to his worshipers. Gods in such a system should be very worried indeed if they find out that they're down to TheOnlyBeliever. Contrast StopWorshippingMe, for when the god hates the worship they get. Unless the god wants to die and can't because of all the worship...

This trope is dependent on a PhysicalReligion to entice prayer in the first place.

Named for ''VideoGame/{{Gauntlet}}'''s "''[[AnAdventurerIsYou <character>]] [[WizardNeedsFoodBadly needs food, badly!]]''" catchphrase.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', the entirety of Astral Plane of existence, is actually the embodiment of the collective human subconscious. As such, beings that exist in human fantasy such as mythological creatures exist within the Astral realm. [[spoiler:Even the Idea of Evil, the equivalent of God in this setting, is created from humanity's desire for a reason in their suffering.]]
* Very important in ''Manga/{{Kannagi}}''. As traditional faith dwindled the sisters have been losing their powers to the point where they are fighting over the remaining faith power. Nagi's sacred tree which once sustained her has been cut down, and Zange's is inside a church, further dwindling / altering their powers and conditions. Zange has been taking on Christian aspects and resorting to setting herself up as a pop star to gain "faith" in the form of fans. The more believers they get, the more powerful they become.
* In the end of ''Manga/PitaTen'' it is revealed that angels' and demons' existence depends on human faith in them, and once some entity is forgotten it ceases to exist which is a way to kill demon or angel, however if memory is restored it is possible to revive a dead demon or angel. Strangely enough these virtual creatures have quite strong real powers and can manipulate human memory as well.
* In the ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' world, the dragon gods gain strength from praise and worship, which is in contrast to the opposing Mazoku who feed on human suffering. This plays a role in a war between one of the gods and the Mazoku race that occurs a thousand years in the past from Lina's time. The Mazoku crippled the Water Dragon King by killing all the worshipers and destroying all the temples dedicated to the latter.
* The second episode of ''Manga/NatsumesBookOfFriends'' has a very poignant example of this trope (that also doubles as a TearJerker) when a {{Youkai}} that took up residence in a roadside shrine begins to lose his power (and his tether to the living world) as the people who once prayed to him all begin to die of old age. Natsume himself offers to pray to him but the Youkai refuses saying: "It's impossible, because you are my friend."
* A key theme in ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain''; [[spoiler:Masami Eiri]] defines godhood as this, and the main thrust of his scheme is ensuring he will have people believe him to be God, so that for all intents and purposes he will be.
* {{Fanon}} of ''Manga/AxisPowersHetalia'' has it that the Nations are born when their national identity begins to develop, and "die" when no one identifies with them anymore.
** This theory rather strongly brings into question Canada's existence but would explain why he is much weaker than his twin.
*** Actually, the theory would explain it perfectly, considering that Hetalia takes place around WWII. Canadian historians generally agree that their national identity truly began in WWI, and at some point after Canada gained full independence from the UK.
* Shown in ''Manga/NurarihyonNoMago'' when Senba, a god of healing, feared he would fade away and disappear because no one visited his shrine anymore.
* One chapter of ''Manga/FrankenFran'' shows the point when the UsefulNotes/FlyingSpaghettiMonster finally gets enough worshipers to become real because of this trope. FF being [[BodyHorror the kind of manga it is]], it manifests by absorbing several of its followers into a single hideous mass.
* A major point in ''Manga/NaquaDen'' as the Gods need prayers for power in order to fend off threats from malicious or corrupt Gods. But since most people in the modern era don't believe or worship them like they used to anymore, Nakua has to find ways to get them to do so.
* In ''Manga/{{Noragami}}'', the more worshipers a god has, the greater their power. Main character Yato is hoping to become the most revered deity in the world, even though he's just a shrineless vagrant who waits on cell phone calls for jobs. He's reduced to granting wishes for ¥5, whether they be finding a lost cat, cleaning a bathroom or breaking a curse. However, unlike normal fiction with this trait, a god with no followers whatsoever won't vanish, they'll merely continue their immortal lives with only a fraction of the power they could have.
** Revealed later to actually be a straight example of the trope. Gods disappear if they have no followers to pray to them, and if a god is slain, while a more popular god will reincarnate (albeit without their former incarnation's memories), an obscure god with few believers is out of luck. The fact that Yato has been able to endure for centuries is considered by others to be something of a miracle.
* In ''LightNovel/AmagiBrilliantPark'', the beings from Maple Land need people to like and believe in them or else they will cease to exist. After settling down on Earth, they opened up a theme park with them as the star attractions. The story starts with the park declining in popularity and threatened with foreclosure, so they bring in intelligent human Seiya Kanie to bring the park back in shape and save them. They comment that some of them could probably survive by turning into begging street performers, but that isn't really an option for the less talented and less attractive among them.
* In The Gamer ch97 it is revealed that gods are born from people's shared belief
* Gods don't ''need'' followers to survive in ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'', but it certainly helps. The old pantheons consist of very powerful individuals, but without faithful to carry out their will on a strategic scale, there's not much they can do. Especially since most of the world is some variant of Abrahamic, and all Abrahamic religions actually refer to the same (physically extant) heaven and holy figures, meaning the Angel faction is a ''juggernaut''. [[spoiler:[[GodIsDead God being dead]] and the angels' powers being reliant on a rickety system that requires blind faith that would be compromised by active leadership, along with a manpower shortage after the GreatOffscreenWar]] are needed to balance what would otherwise be a [[StoryBreakerPower story-breaking advantage]].
* In ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'', this is played largely straight. Early on, Tomoe explains to Nanami that fulfilling godly duties increases her overall magical abilities (called "Divine Power") and the fastest way is by answering the prayers who've come to the shrine. Later on in a flashback, Lady Yonomori explains that she came to exist when people living near the river grew fearful of the river flooding and being violent, so they created a shrine, and she came into being. However, eventually the people forgot the shrine and built a dam instead, which drowned the shrine and Yonomori faded from existence - much to the sorrow of Mizuki.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Very, ''very'', '''very''' DependingOnTheWriter in both Franchise/TheDCU and the Franchise/MarvelUniverse. Sometimes the gods complain about this, sometimes they draw plenty of power from the ideas they're embodiments of even if people don't know about the {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s as people, sometimes they flat don't care.
** In general this applies more to DC than Marvel. In Marvel the abstracts are not usually called gods and transcend them. More traditional gods like [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]] and ComicBook/{{Ares}} have not been worshiped on a wide scale for centuries. They don't complain about loss of power or seek out new worshipers. They show no loss of power over time. Some writers have shown a connection between mortals and gods, but generally this is more a cultural connection that allows gods to interact on Earth instead of a dependency on faith.
*** Some entities, usually malevolent entities, that are worshiped as gods in Marvel really do derive power from it- Dormammu, for instance, has his energies constantly replenished by worship throughout the multiverse, while the Elder God Set once gained power not from worship ''per se'', but by violence committed by certain species he was connected to (such as the dinosaurs). However, in both cases their power is more like {{Mana}}- using their powers costs them magical energy, and they only need rest to replenish it (though Dormammu also gains strength from annexing other dimensions). On their own both are as strong or stronger than even the likes of Odin, who is the strongest "regular" god there is and can affect things on a ''galactic'' scale- worship simply means they don't have to worry about tiring themselves out.
** DC gods tend to be more vulnerable to this. It is usually used to justify Ares being a major threat to even the combined Olympian gods and why he constantly spreads war. Several storylines have had Ares and other gods be stronger than Zeus due to changes in worship and things mortals venerate. A lot less people are afraid of the sky or praying for rain than they used too. However, power tends to rely less on direct worship and more on how important the concept a god represents is to the mortal world. Ares can feed on conflict of any kind instead of that just dedicated to him. There are exceptions. The Comicbook/NewGods tend to stay strong without a race to draw strength from, but at times they have implied to be more gods of technology that draw power from across the universe.
*** Actually, they are the gods of Ideas- {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}, for instance, is the God of Tyranny. Incidentally, he is the only god worshipped on Apokolips and he is ''far'' more powerful than all of his minions, each gods in their own right. However, this has nothing to do with how many worshipers he has- he has instead been periodically slaughtering entire ''pantheons'' of gods of other worlds and stealing their power for himself, and he was amongst the strongest New Gods before doing that anyway. The New Gods do not seem to ever depend on worship for their power.
** In fact, New God Orion was ''very emphatic'' about this in his series - when rather pathetically confronted by a defeated enemy with this notion, he replied "[[ThisIsReality You have been reading too much fiction]]. Gods are not dependent on their worshipers - worshipers are dependent on their gods."
** In the ''Comicbook/FearItself'' crossover, Comicbook/IronMan mocks, invokes, ''and'' turns this into one helluva TearJerker. He started [[RageAgainstTheHeavens screaming at Odin and the other gods]] (but mostly Odin), yelling that if they wanted a sacrifice he'd give them the "only thing he could give worth anything": his sobriety, by taking a huge swig of alcohol. Even though it was a {{Narm}} scene, it was effective to the fans who know how hard he works to stay sober.
** DC has this apply to [[ComicBook/FreedomFighters Uncle Sam]], whose power is directly proportional to the American People's belief in freedom and liberty. Whether American protectorates like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands' people's belief in freedom and liberty counts towards this is never specified.
** Thor once discussed this with ComicBook/CaptainAmerica. Even he's not certain whether his existence depends on mortal belief, and wonders if he will just vanish when people no longer need him.
** ComicBook/{{Loki}} on the other hand quite confident on claiming that gods ''don't'' need belief... but they do need something from people and that's [[TheoryOfNarrativeCausality stories]]. On one hand believing Loki is not a smart idea on the other they ''did'' demonstrate the ability to affect change by mucking with myths. (To date Loki successfully rewrote Cul, wrote Hela into existence, and retold Loki.)
** Prior to the ComicBook/{{New 52}} reboot, DC villain Eclipso tried to kill {{God}} by destroying the focal point of the worship that sustains Him: [[spoiler:Earth]].
* ''Comicbook/TheSandman'' had gods born from dreams and when they were forgotten they would return to the world of dreams to eventually fade away. ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'' followed a similar idea. The goddess Bast is a shadow of her former self. Ishtar had to become a stripper. Pharamond changed his role and became a minor god of transportation. The Japanese gods absorb articles of faith from other pantheons and modern times to survive. The Norse gods appear to be doing pretty well though.
** In fact, Creator/NeilGaiman frequently reminded readers that [[AnthropomorphicPersonification The Endless]] are not gods, because they do not care if they are remembered and will persist long after humanity is gone. They ''really are'' Death, Dream, Despair etc, and their existence depends on these aspects of the universe rather than mythology, and not just on Earth. That said they can be ''altered'' by human perception or simple changes in the cosmos, but these changes typically happen over the course of eons.
* In ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'', after Bob's character, Knuckles III, dies, his next character (Knuckles IV) manages to get Knuckles III promoted to [[PhantasySpelling gawdhood]]. Temples to Knu-Kyle-Ra are now a recurring feature in the comic. Unfortunately, they don't owe Bob's other characters any favors.
* In ''MyFaithInFrankie'', gods gain power from the belief of their followers. Judging by Jeriven, they only need one true believer to be at full strength, but more may have more effect.
* In one of the later [[ComicBook/ConanTheBarbarian Savage Sword of Conan]] comics, Conan's physical likeness to a hero-turned-demigod is exploited by a local tyrant looking to put down a growing rebellion and win droves of recruits to his army. (Said hero, Shan, had once [[KingInTheMountain promised to return to his people one day when their suffering became intolerable]].) This becomes problematic when the actual demigod shows up on the battlefield and strikes down everyone who participated in the fraud, except Conan. Impressed by his bravado, Shan decides to slay Conan in hand-to-hand combat. Clearly outmatched, Conan undermines Shan by questioning his motives, pointing out that if he really cared about the welfare of his worshipers, he would have freed them from the tyrant long ago; he only appeared on the battlefield because he was in serious danger of losing their adulation. Conan's words make Shan's followers question their belief, which actually de-powers the deity. Conan finally disarms him and runs him through, forcing Shan to retreat to the realm of the gods, now deprived of the worship needed to sustain him.
** Averted by Crom. He's liable to kill anyone who dares pray to him, as it implies his gift of life and the will to do battle was not enough. Though in the movies, he does answer Conan's first and only prayer to him due to the extraordinary circumstances.
* The universe of Asceltis (in French comic books ''Les brumes d'Asceltis'' and ''Les exilés d'Asceltis'') embodies this trope. It is quite scary to see what Gods can do to keep people believing in them.
* In the ''Comicbook/XMen'' comics, the DimensionLord Mojo's magic powers are tied to the number of people who pay him homage, which they do by watching his TV shows.
* The Greek gods in ''The Red Seas'' are like this; on the Isle of Bronze, there are a group of massive statues originally built by Hephaestus in order to absorb faith and thus recharge the gods. For some reason, the Norse gods don't need faith in the same way. {{Satan}} also seems fine, but that's likely to be because most people do believe in him.
* While it's likely not an issue for the true God, this is how [[{{Satan}} The Demon]] came to reach his current level of power in ''ComicBook/GrimmFairyTales''. In the beginning he was one of the weakest of all demons, but he was the first to realize that human prayers contained power, and it quickly took him FromNobodyToNightmare.
* ''Harry Kipling (Deceased)'' works this way, with some creative upshots from Simon Spurrier. For example, since Klux was made from Kipling's tissue, Klux considers Kipling to be his creator and thus a god. Gaining a single worshipper means that Kipling is technically a god, and thus is able to kill other gods. Also, the [[FlatEarthAtheist New Atheist Militia]] realise they can destroy gods by massacring their followers, and their denial ultimately manifests as an anti-god which operates much like any other deity.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Lanfeust}}'', the Darshanide Gods need believers to exist. The first time the heroes visit the divine court, they witness the goddess [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_Renaud Lynrenö]] fading into nothingness as her last believer dies.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Crimson}}'', humans are most favored by the Creator because his existence is sustained by their collective belief and worship, in contrast to supernatural monsters such as vampires, werewolves, dragons and etc. One of the reasons why the Devil managed to turn a very powerful race that predated mankind known as the Grigori, was because they were shunned by God due to their inability to "sustain" him. This turns into a plot-point when [[spoiler:the BigBad's plan to destroy reality starts with [[KillAllHumans wiping out humanity]], which would weaken God enough for her to [[KillTheGod destroy him herself]]]].
* In ''ComicBook/GodzillaRageAcrossTime'', Aphrodite vainly tries to warn Zeus and the other gods of this trope, as she feels that they've become too uncaring for the fates of mortals. Her warnings [[CassandraTruth turn out to be true]] when Godzilla appears and attacks Mt Olympus: Zeus finds that the lack of faith has weakened him and the gods are slain by the King of Monsters.
* This is the case in the setting for ''HermanHedning'', which includes 12 or so creator gods (including the Christian God who created our particular corner of the universe), and countless other minor divine beings. As explained by God himself, gods and certain other entities such as SantaClaus require active belief in them to continue existing. This also applies retroactively, as gods do not exist until someone comes up with them, and enough people belive in them. Once they do, the god will suddenly always have existed. [[MindScrew Of course, this also means that both the god and his creations created EACHOTHER]] as one cannot exist without the other.

* Implied in ''Fanfic/MemoriesOfDaysLongPast''.
* Outright stated in a chapter of [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8625789/10/The-Sharingan-of-the-crimson-Princess The Sharingan of the Crimson Princess.]]
* There's a ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fic that deals with the gang visiting a realm that serves as a home for the forgotten gods to seek help from Ares. While there Ares comments that two of the gods don't really belong there since they seem to have plenty of followers, a South American god still worshiped by natives, and even more strangely, a [[Comicbook/TheMightyThor norse god]] who seems to have gained power in the last century.
** Another fic has as a subplot Illyria becoming a famous singer with a rather rabid fan base; according to the God-King, they actually work better than modern day worshipers.
* Discussed and generally averted in ''Fanfic/UndocumentedFeatures''. Corwin, an ascended PhysicalGod, seems to have no need for anyone to worship him, but that doesn't deter Chip, his self-proclaimed first worshiper, from doing so. Corwin's admonishments of StopWorshippingMe have gotten to the point of gentle admonishment/RunningGag.
* FanFic/GoddessRebornChronicle, sort of. Given a high amount of UnreliableNarrator, it's unclear how much effect belief and prayer have on demons but it clearly has a high importance. The rise of Humanism for instance is explicitly spelled out as part of why Veritas is doing so well, as well as the spread of Gnosticism, Buddhism, Neo-Paganism and belief systems that believe in choice and humanity's ability to rise above on their own merits and transcend the ordinary.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/RiseOfTheGuardians'', the Guardians (and other beings), [[spoiler:cannot be seen or touched by those who don't believe in them, and are weakened by lack of it. This becomes a problem when Pitch Black, AKA the Boogeyman, attempts to destroy children's belief in them, as he is tired of children not fearing him, at one point weakening Bunny to the size and shape of a regular rabbit]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', in order to stay in the joyous Land Of the Remembered the dead need the living to remember them. If they are forgotten by the living they go the Land of the Forgotten.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Coco}}'', the dead vanish (or perhaps go somewhere beyond the Land of the Dead; nobody knows) when no living person remembers them any more.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/QTheWingedSerpent'', the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl is prayed back into existence and begins terrorizing New York City in the form of a giant flying snake-bird thing with four legs. Incidentally, Quetzacoatl was one of the more benign Aztec Gods.
* While God, angels, and demons in ''Film/{{Dogma}}'' apparently exist independently of humans, they are still influenced by the way humans believe in them. This is made more explicit in some of the deleted scenes.
* In ''Film/{{Elf}}'', Santa's sleigh is said to draw power from children's belief in him. Lately that's been dropping, so he relies on the assist of a modern combustion engine.
* In the 2010 ''Film/{{Clash of the Titans|2010}}'', Zeus and most of the Olympians sustain their immortality through the prayers of humans. This provides a problem when humans not only stop worshiping Olympus, but actively try and starve the gods of badly-needed prayers through blasphemy. As one would expect, [[DoNotTauntCthulhu it doesn't go well...]] especially since Hades doesn't need people to ''pray'' to him. Hades draws power from people's fear of death.
** In the sequel ''Film/WrathOfTheTitans'', prayers have dwindled so much that the gods have all lost their immortality and many have died before the movie even started. They still have most of their powers, but they are fading. Thus, the [[SealedEvilInACan Titans]] are breaking free.
* In ''Film/FreddyVsJason'', Freddy needs people to fear him to be able to infiltrate their dreams, so he became powerless when the inhabitants of Springwood systematically eradicated any trace of his existence. He uses Jason as a pawn to reinvigorate the locals' belief in him so he can return.
* Implied in ''Film/SuicideSquad2016''. El Diablo says that as his criminal empire grew, his [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinesis]] seemed to get stronger in proportion to his wealth, respect, and political power. [[spoiler: And he seems to be possessed or the reincarnation of an Aztec God or something.]]
* ''{{Film/Mythica}}'': Apparently the gods lose power as their worshipers die, according to Szorlok.

* Raymond E. Feist's Midkemian books have this. There are a number of classifications of gods. There are beings that are "more powerful than gods, yet less," and they are the forces of nature. They do not have a consciousness, but they can be influenced but cannot be controlled. There are the controller gods which are the primal stuff of the world. They could care less about the people or what they are doing. Prayers to them are irrelevant. Next, there are the lesser gods. These are the ones that people pray to. They are also forces of nature but are identified and idealized by the people and interact with them. The lesser gods are the ones that fit this trope. And if enough worshipers go away, they would lose their power and potentially die. However, they may also return if at some time in the future enough worshipers begin to exist again. This is because they are still at their heart the personification of some aspect in nature or concept such as justice, the sea, or war. The god of magic, Sarig is one such dead god. When a god "dies" the natural force doesn't die with it, but rather that aspect is taken up by another god, at least until such time as the old god returns. An example of this is the God Killian who is the goddess of nature, but also reigns over the oceans and seas, having taken over for her dead brother Eortis, the God of the Sea.
* Adam R. Brown's ''Literature/AstralDawn'' series plays with this trope through the high spirits. Many high spirits became gods during a period called the God Age. The psychic energy they received from their followers made them even stronger than they had become. All high spirit gods, be they light or dark, are beyond normal space-time, allowing them to feed off of their worshippers from a specific time period. This means they never need to worry about their worshippers decreasing or dying off.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' use this with a few unique ripples. Spiritual entities need some level of recognition to operate on Earth. Thus the various old gods (with a little 'g') have very little ability to act on their power. This is laid out in info concerning [[spoiler: the Venatori, who fight the Oblivion War, trying to get all memory of magical entities removed from the human psyche, and therefore cut their connection to the material world. Need-to-know basis doesn't even begin to describe it. But now ''you'' know, so now they have to kill you. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Smooth]]]].
** Also evidence suggests that this doesn't apply to God (with a big 'G') and His assorted Archangels. Not that it would really matter if He did need prayer, given how many believers He has.
** Interestingly enough, the other god swe've met so far ([[Myth/NorseMythology Odin]]) and Hades seem to have plenty of power, despite not having that many followers, though Hades makes it clear that he is "weaker". But "weaker" is relative. To a major god. Neither comes close to the Abrahamic God in power (at least, as far as we've seen) but both can still throw some weight around. (That said, [[spoiler:it is implied that [[BadassSanta Santa Claus]] is an aspect of Odin, and Santa Claus, even if he doesn't have many real believers, is a pretty big influence nowadays...]] and Hades is rather famous... as a backstabbing ManipulativeBastard that doesn't even vaguely resemble his actual personality, but hey, fame is fame.)
** It should be noted that they do not cease to exist with lack of worship. They can still be active in the spiritual realms and other dimensions. Recent books have implied that how humans perceive the universe is very limited compared to gods and other supernatural creatures. To humans, the god might be inactive, but they are still active in other ways. Many of these entities predated humanity and it is unknown how they came into contact with Earth or if the ever changing rules of magic had anything to do with it.
** Alternatively, it is possible (if more of a stretch) that it's not based on ''worship'', but on ''awareness''. Lots of people know who Odin is, but not many worship him. This theory gets traction in ''Skin Game'' when Hades, who is still as powerful as ever, says he never asked for prayers and sacrifices, and was honestly a bit confused at the point of worshiping him. After all, what would come of it? Did they think he would be merciful? Answer: no. Hades is not merciful. Hades gives you exactly what you deserve, good or bad, completely fairly. Which is why we can all take heart that, [[spoiler: Deirdre's fate will be just as horrible as she deserves.]]
** Even the type of worship a god receives can change. Butcher notes in their heyday, the old gods would need to listen to prayers, make social calls, and do more active things. If, as the modern world doesn't worship like that, a god could still get a cult of followers believing in the principals the god holds to and using the newest name the god has picked up, that would suffice. So a god could use a comic book character or persona to gain followers, take that belief to sustain himself, but not have all the old obligations he once had.[[note]]Heracles is mentioned to be using the Incredible Hulk in such a method[[/note]]
** The Oblivion War acknowledges this trope and uses it against some very old and very evil gods. These ancient and evil forces don't need prayer to reenter the human world, just simple knowledge of them will suffice. So those who fight on humanity's side seek to make sure the total sum of any who remember a god is zero. If word of a god's followers is discovered, orders to take them out are sent to a small group of people, to minimize the numbers of people who might learn that god's name. The current number of fighters is close to 200 for the entire world. Now, some beings, like spirits of intellect, can have knowledge of the name but that won't sustain the god. They need mortals to know their name. Once a god's rememberers are all eliminated and all is quiet for a few hundred years, [[spoiler:the Archive, the repository of all human knowledge, written or typed, deletes the name of the god from her own memory]] and the god is now sealed away to Oblivion. As those on humanity's side forget and never record how many they killed, it has lead to an interesting point they don't know how well they have done. Simply recording the kill could be enough of a tether for the god to work its way back.
* In ''The Devil's Apocrypha'', in which SatanIsGood and GodIsEvil, God manipulated evolution on Earth to produce sentient humans in his image. He then advises us to commit brutal, violent acts in his name - the faith gives him nourishment. Satan and his followers, meanwhile, stand for free will and moral justice, and advise us not to mindlessly obey God and be reduced to his sheep.
* Creator/FritzLeiber's stories of ''Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser'' have a unique take: all temples in the city of Lankhmar are located along the Street of the Gods. Less-popular religions are located at the end of the street closest to the city gate; the more numerous a deity's followers, the farther from the gate his temple is located. Religions ebb and fall up and down the street throughout Lankhmar's history.
* In the Creator/AEVanVogt story ''The Book of Ptath'', gods are powered by "prayer sticks," which are actual machines (albeit, [[MagicFromTechnology Sufficiently Advanced ones]]) that are physically manipulated by their worshipers to send power to the god.
* ''Literature/AmericanGods'' uses this as a central plot point. There's some major FridgeLogic (or perhaps FridgeBrilliance) at one point given the slighting way one of them refers to Jesus. Given that deities are powered by belief and sacrifice, he (probably along with Vishnu) would likely be the most powerful god around at present.
** There's also the implication that each nation has localised versions of gods: the American Kali mentions that there is a much more powerful Indian Kali, the protagonist briefly meets an Icelandic Odin and a powerless Jesus in Afghanistan is mentioned.
** Ēostre is shown to be one of the most powerful old gods thanks to Easter. Even though most people, even self-proclaimed "pagans", don't know about her connection to the holiday.
** Gaiman was originally going to include a scene where Shadow met Jesus, but didn't like it and took it out. It's included in an appendix to the 10th Anniversary Edition. [[spoiler: There he explains that he is very successful, but at the cost of losing a cohesive identity as so many people come up with their own idea of what he is.]]
* Creator/DavidEddings uses it in ''Literature/TheElenium'' and ''Literature/TheTamuli'' trilogies. At one point, the goddess Aphrael becomes ill because her worshippers are being killed.
-->'''Aphrael:''' They were Gods once, but their worshippers either died out or were converted to the worship of other Gods. They wail and flutter around the edges of reality without substance or even thought. All they have is need. ... We go out of fashion, Sparhawk--like last year's gowns or old shoes and hats. The Powerless Ones are discarded Gods who shrink and shrink as the years go by until they're finally nothing at all but a kind of anguished wailing.
* Creator/DouglasAdams' ''Literature/TheLongDarkTeaTimeOfTheSoul'': Old gods who have fallen out of belief become powerless destitutes, while a new god is actually spawned as a critical mass of Guilt builds up through the book.
* In ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'', [[HollywoodAtheist Oolon Colluphid]] uses the existence of the Babel Fish to prove the existence of God, but since "proof denies faith" and God Needs Faith Badly, the concrete proof of his existence caused him to promptly vanish in a PuffOfLogic. The text goes on to mention that while he made bank with the book spreading this argument, it's generally considered a bunch of dingo's kidneys.
* Creator/TerryPratchett uses this one a bunch throughout ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''. The Discworld is lousy with small gods, most of them just "a pinch of existence," barely sentient and incapable of much more than disturbing dust or influencing the minds of animals. But the right minor miracle in the right place at the right time...
** ''Discworld/SmallGods'' concerns the rise, fall, and return of the Great God Om, patron deity of the theocratic empire of Omnia. He left at the height of his power, promising to return during the rise of the next prophet. When he does come back from his godly vacation, he finds himself inexplicably trapped in the body of a small tortoise, unable to conjure more than a spark of static. As it turns out, his followers began to believe less in him and more in his church, or more specifically that showing proper commitment to the church [[ChurchMilitant was less likely to have you tortured to death for heresy]]. By Om's return, only a single lowly acolyte believes in the actual deity Om rather than Omnianism. There's also one man who disbelieves in him so intensely and specifically (and to his face) that it's almost as good; Om is suitably impressed at this and takes something of a liking to him.
** ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' introduces Nuggan, a minor deity hailing from Borogravia. An unpleasant god with an unpleasant mustache, he's a bossy little deity whose holy books are three-ring binders so he can constantly add to the list of Abominations that make life so miserable for his followers - when the Silver Horde brings a Borogravian bard to Dunmanifestan, they have to physically restrain the man from attacking his god. By ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'', the Abominations have helped cripple a war-torn Borogravia's economy (no more crop rotation) and have become so deranged (Abominating babies and the color blue) that citizens have taken to praying to the land's Duchess for succor. [[spoiler:In the end, Nuggan is revealed to have faded away, with the Abominations as a sort of echo, while Borogravia's faith in its Duchess has given the now dead woman a quasi-deity status, much to her consternation.]]
** In ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', this fact is deliberately used in an attempt to kill the Disc's [[CrystalDragonJesus Crystal Dragon Santa]] by using MindControl to stop children from believing in him. When the Hogfather falls out of existence, all that belief goes into [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve completely random concepts that never existed before]], such as [[OddJobGods the Verruca Gnome; the Eater of Socks; and Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers]]. [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Oh, and it might mean the end of the world]]. Hogfather also shows that old gods and mythological beings don't always fade away, sometimes they just change jobs. The Hogfather used to be a harbinger of the sun, and [[spoiler: the Toothfairy used to be the original Boogey man]]. This would later come back in Going Postal and Making Money, described below.
** ''Discworld/TheLastContinent'' features the God of Evolution, who has no worshipers. He exists because he believes in himself very strongly, or more precisely, what he does.
** During ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' Moist Von Lipwig perpetrated a con that resulted in the border-line small god Anoia, Goddess of Things Getting Stuck In Drawers, seeing a sudden surge in popularity and a possible promotion to Goddess of Lost Causes. Moist prays to her on the basis that she owes him, and ''Discworld/MakingMoney'' reveals that this may have paid off - [[spoiler: the secondary villain suffers a sudden and disabling malfunction of his dentures when one of its springs gets unstuck at a critical moment]].
** In hindsight, the golden [[spoiler:Guardian]] at the Gate (a.k.a. "He looks just like my [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Uncle Osbert...]]") from ''Discworld/MovingPictures'' was probably a god of some sort, as he needs people's remembrance, and by extension, their belief that [[spoiler: he can protect Holy Wood from the Dungeon Dimensions]], if he's to [[spoiler: stay awake]].
** "The Lady", also known as; "She-who-shall-not-be-named... The 'Million-to-One' Chance - and all of the other chances as well... The One who will desert you when you need Her the most - and sometimes She might not..." is generally though of as the most powerful goddess in the whole Discworld Pantheon. She has few if any true worshipers, but -everyone- directs a prayer her way when they are in a really tight spot.
* This is the prominent plot point for Creator/MargaretWeis and Creator/TracyHickman in the ''Literature/RoseOfTheProphet'' series.
* The gods of the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' setting don't die without worship, but getting it does make them more powerful.
* Creator/MercedesLackey can't make up her mind on this one. Most deities in the world of [[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Valdemar]] are actually just aspects of the God and the Goddess (and the One is implied to be both at once), whose power descends down to the clerics instead of the other way around, but in one vignette it's explicitly mentioned that a demon can [[AGodAmI ascend to divinity]] by running a sex cult and feeding off all the worship (and a few worshippers too). This inconsistency came about because the short stories that demon appeared in weren't originally part of the Valdemar [[TheVerse 'Verse]], but rather were {{retcon}}ned in later.
* Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/DaughterOfTheLioness'' series mentions this principle, although it's not necessarily the ''number'' of people who believe, but who's in power. The trickster god Kyprioth needs his followers to defeat the mortal followers of his siblings Mithros and the Great Mother Goddess in order to gain enough power to defeat them, return from the exile they imposed, and resume rule over the Copper Isles.
** There is also a case of regional variance in power. The Graveyard Hag is a fairly weak goddess of trickery in most of the world. In her domain of Carthak her power is so absolute only her father the god of death can oppose her.
* A variation on this occurs in Creator/TanithLee's ''Literature/TalesFromTheFlatEarth'' series, where most of the god-like "Lords of Darkness" derive themselves from humanity's understanding of abstractions; i.e. they start out as mindless forces, and over time, as humanity personifies them, they become actual entities with full-blown personalities. The actual creators of the earth, however, the Gods, are pretty much oblivious to humanity, and ignore prayers and offerings. The Lords of Darkness are often worshiped as Gods, though (this is a major plot point in the second and fourth books), and are about one level or so below the actual Gods in power. Azhrarn, the first Lord, and personification of Wickedness, is different from the other lords, in that he's older than the universe, doesn't need human belief to be personified, and is probably as old as the Gods, but not as powerful; though it is implied that human perceptions of him do "fluff up" his definition, or at least has some relation to how he manifests, but only slightly. However, it is strongly implied, if not outright stated, that without humanity, Azhrarn would lose his sense of purpose, even though he would still exist. The other lords, like Chuz, Lord of Madness, or Uhlume, Lord of Death, are explicitly the products of human imagination, do not predate the universe, and it is implied that they would fade away without humanity.
* ''Literature/TheEndOfMrY'' by Scarlett Thomas: Gods are created by belief and, of course, gain power from worship. Apollo Smintheus, the mouse god, has a cult of six guys in Illinois with a website. As you might guess, he's not particularly powerful.
* In ''Literature/ForLoveOfEvil'', Creator/PiersAnthony shows that YHWH used to have a lot of power, but since belief in the Hebrew God had waned, his place had been usurped by the Christian God.
* Subverted in ''Literature/TheSoldierSon'' trilogy by Creator/RobinHobb. The main character attempts to denounce that he owes ones of the "Old gods" a favour, saying that he "Believes in the Good God - You have no power over me" at which point the Old God laughs and tells him "How weak do you think Gods are? Do you think we require your belief in us to exist, how weak would such a god be?"
* ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier'' brought us the Greek gods (who were also the Roman gods, the Norse gods, etc.,) known as The Beings, who were kin to Apollo in the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries original series]] episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?" They eventually get all powerful thanks to the worship of the Danteri... and the fear of the ''Excalibur'' and the ''Trident''. [[spoiler:They're beaten by said crews becoming quite literally fearless, along with the help of Mark [=McHenry=] (the descendant of Apollo and Carolyn Palamas)... and Woden/Zeus/Santa Claus, god of all gods.]]
* The short story anthology ''Gods of War'' (by Christopher Stasheff, et al) features this, but also indicates in addition to the Greek, Norse, and Japanese gods (among others) who fall into this trope, there is the 'one god' who is above the others and has no such concerns or limitations.
* This is how it works in [[Creator/DaveDuncan Dave Duncan's]] ''Great Game'' trilogy. Any "Stranger" -- a human from another parallel world -- can absorb power of human emotions and faith, use it for miracles and eventually become a "god". [[spoiler:The balance of power in the world of Vales is being upset by one lesser god who has discovered a much more efficient means of getting divine power from worship -- human sacrifice -- and threatens to overthrow the major gods.]]
* Played very straight in ''Literature/TheActsOfCaine'', but with a [[BackStory history]]. A long time ago, gods had whatever power they could draw from T'nalldion a.k.a. Home, the fundamental pattern/source of all magic on Overworld. Then this [[BadassNormal lowly human]] named Jereth got involved in a religious war, kicked some ass, earned the title of [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Godslaughterer]], and [[HeroicSacrifice died]] to establish the Covenant of Pirichanthe, which limits the power of all deities to what their believers provide. The exceptions are the Outer Powers which feed on the suffering and fear of sentients, and the [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters Blind God]], who is happily nigh-omnipotent on Earth despite the fact that his worshipers neither believe he exists nor care.
* Partly how gods are created in ''Literature/TheGodEaters'', where a human born with magic is worshiped until (at least in the case of [[spoiler:Medur]]) they gain enough power to return after death. Eventually, however, they amass enough power that they don't need belief to keep going. Still doesn't mean they're indestructible, though.
* Several short stories by Creator/LordDunsany explore this trope, most literally ''Poseidon'', in which the eponymous deity complains that he can no longer cause earthquakes without the blood of bulls. Perhaps humans just got smarter over the years.
* In the ''Literature/BookOfSwords'', when people find out gods can be killed, their faith is shaken. Eventually, it is discovered that humans created gods by believing... which they stop, destroying all the gods. This leads to the question of "If humans made the gods, where did humans come from?" (Inversion of a question often asked theists in RealLife.)
* [[GodIsEvil Yahweh]], in ''Literature/TheSalvationWar''. A {{lampshade|Hanging}} is hung on it by an intelligence officer, who describes him as "Like [[Series/StargateSG1 the Ori]]." Satan, on the other hand, is collecting suffering in Hell. They are both collecting because [[spoiler:they both have the unsubstantiated belief that they need more energy to AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence since both of their universes are shrinking and will collapse eventually (in a few billion years)]].
* Expanded by Creator/DanSimmons in his short story ''Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell'', where different versions of ''Hell'' as well as God become true on the basis of the number of people who (consciously or not) believe in them. Vanni Fucci, a blasphemous thief condemned to [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Dante's Hell]] simply because Dante did not like him very much, takes an opportunity to take over a televangelist's show and convince everyone not to believe in Dante's Hell anymore. HilarityEnsues.
* In Jennifer Fallon's ''DemonChildTrilogy'', the Primal Gods are the ones that will exist as long as life exists (Love, War, the Oceans), and don't rely on human belief for power. They do gain strength through worship, but this doesn't entail praying, but by doing things related to their aspect (for example, "honouring Dacendaren" is a euphemism for stealing; Damin Wolfblade is favoured by Zegarnald, God of War, because he wins a lot of wars), whether the individuals doing so are intentionally honoring the relevant gods or are even sapient (a racoon stealing eggs from a bird's nest is just as much a form of worship for Dacendaren as a pickpocket making off with someone's purse; a war between two ant colonies honors Zegarnald in the same way that a war between two nations does). On the other hand, the Incidental Gods are demons that gather enough worshippers to become gods. The BigBad of the series is an Incidental God that has gathered enough followers to challenge the Primal Gods' power.
* In Creator/HarryTurtledove's MagiTek novel ''Literature/TheCaseOfTheToxicSpellDump'', this has become the province of bureaucracy; the EPA is responsible for creating artificial cults to sustain "endangered gods." In this setting, it's especially clear that only ''worship'' will sustain a god: merely being acknowledged to exist doesn't suffice to keep them around. Thus, a pantheon of Chumash native deities can be dying out from lack of sincere prayers directed towards them, even though plenty of ''non''-worshipers in the EPA are aware of their existence and concerned for their welfare as "endangered gods". Maintaining artificial cults is as much a practical matter as it is idealistic; all of the magic is divine. One of the gods maintained by an artificial cult, for example, is Hermes, and spells calling on him are the basis for most of their telecommunications.
* The Nameless Ones in Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin's ''Literature/TheTombsOfAtuan''.
* In Creator/OrsonScottCard's ''Literature/{{Enchantment}}'', the old Slavic gods Mikola Mozhaiski and the Bear of Winter aren't killed by a lack of belief, but their concerns are much smaller and they try to live normal lives until they're needed again for godly duties.
** Zeus is currently enjoying his retirement in the Caribbean.
* In Creator/SimonRGreen's ''The Literature/{{Nightside}} Series'', gods function rather like this. They even have harkers out on the Street of Gods trying to increase their base of worship to gain more power. Who often dissolve into shouting matches over whose dogma's right. It's a God eat God world out there...
* Averted in the short story ''The Food of the Gods'' by Creator/PoulAnderson (in collaboration with his wife Karen.) Here it is stated that while worship - or at least reverence - is needed in order to achieve Godhood, once that state is reached the resultant deity is immortal, and no longer requires active worshippers. Some degree of continuing respect, however, is necessary if a God (or pantheon) is to have any continuing major influence on the mortal world. As an example, it's related by the god Hermes that when Christianity displaced Paganism, a dark age followed because the Olympians held too much of civilization within themselves. It was only when the Christian Trinity allowed Greco-Roman mythology to be rediscovered that the Renaissance became possible.
* The Greek gods in Marie Phillips's ''Gods Behaving Badly'' have been holed up in a house in North London for a century or two, reduced to shadows of their former selves because the faith that made them powerful is now going to "[[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} the upstart carpenter]]" and his father.
* C.S. Friedman's ''Literature/ColdfireTrilogy'' is set on a world where an occult force makes human imagination become real. Unsurprisingly, a number of god-beings start to appear who answer prayers in return for feeding on their worshippers' life-energy.
* The zealot species Yuuzhan Vong of the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' seems to think this way: "The gods may have created us, but it is we who sustain them through worship."
** Although with their creation myth (life was created through a terrible wound inflicted on its creator), this could instead refer to the ''expression'' of their worship through omnicide returning the gift of life to the gods.
* A dark variant of this exists in the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen''. Gods gain strength, retain their power and influence and become even more powerful thanks to the prayers of their followers. A god who is not prayed to becomes gradually forgotten and eventually dies. Yet at the same time, accepting worship binds them to their followers, sometimes even distorting their nature and directing their actions against their own will.
* In Laurell K. Hamilton's ''Literature/MerryGentry'' series, the main characters are fairies, and referred to repeatedly as deities or former deities. Those who are still believed in [e.g., Frost] grow in power, and those who are no longer believed in diminish. There are also characters who exist as a sort of vampiric ghost of gods whose worshippers have died out, referred to as the Starving Ones - [[spoiler:they are responsible for several slaughters, increasing in scale, in one of the books, as they use the energy to attempt to rebuild themselves.]]
** The Fey are touchy about this, as most both believe in the existence of higher powers (which have no need for worship) and that they never were gods, seeing the collapse of most of their power (causing them to watch the deaths of the worshippers they could no longer care for) as punishment for the hubris of ever thinking they were. At the same time, they ''are'' influenced by human attitudes, and ''can'' feed off human notice, admiration and attraction. Also, by now the title character technically has a few human worshippers.
* ''Literature/TheCosmere'':
** ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' has an unusual take on the trope: the Returned subsist on [[OurSoulsAreDifferent what are effectively human souls]] (Breath) that ''must'' be given willingly. Thus, Returned need people to believe in them enough that they would willingly give up their souls to see them live another week. In this case, it helps that the Returned can, in turn, give away their own Breath - albeit [[HeroicSacrifice at the cost of their life]] - in order to heal someone. Additionally, any person who gives up their Breath for one of the gods receives generous financial compensation.
** [[GreaterScopeVillain The Shard Odium]] does this in a weird way. He doesn't need or want worship, but rather encourages mortals to hate and blame him for all their problems, as this [[spoiler:implicitly gives a person's agency to him and thus makes him their master. He wants to destroy all the other Shards and become the sole deity of the Cosmere so that ''everyone'' will blame him for their suffering, cementing him as the most powerful being in existence and making all mortals his servants.]]
* Subverted in Creator/JohnRingo's ''Literature/SpecialCircumstances'' series. The more people who worship a deity (even by proxy), the stronger their mortal servants are.
** That's because the deities with more worshipers have more power to lend to their priests/priestesses.
* In the ''Literature/IronDruidChronicles'' the gods have their own sources of magic and don't really need to be constantly worshiped to remain powerful, but active worship is required for them to be able to physically manifest on Earth, and the way people believe in them shapes their appearance when they do. However, they only need to manifest after their original bodies die. Otherwise they're fine.
** Jesus does not like to appear to people because he would have to appear nailed to a cross and it's a very painful experience, even for a deity. Mary's appearances are much more frequent and often triggered by the belief of old devout ladies.
** Complicating matters is the fact that if two groups of believers in the same god diverge enough in their beliefs, the god will split into regional aspects. There are dozens of versions of the Native American god Coyote running around. The Thor from American comics is brought up a few times, but according to Odin 1.0, he exists only as a concept. Without worship he doesn't have enough magic to manifest himself.
** [[Myth/SlavicMythology Perun's]] grudge against Thor was him blaming Thor for being forgotten and weakened in power. Yet in actual practice did not appear any weaker. On the other hand, Jesus is the most powerful known supernatural being and one of the most widely worshipped. So as a whole the series flip flops on how much gods need prayer.
* In “Oblations at Alien Altars,” the introduction to ''Deathbird Stories'', Creator/HarlanEllison makes the point that for all their seeming puissance, gods are a remarkably fragile lot (although in one of the included stories he acknowledges that the truism is Nietzsche’s). He writes that “When belief in a god dies, the god dies.” Several of the stories address that idea.
* Used subtly in ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'':
--> '''Eros''': "My [[Myth/ClassicalMythology mom and dad]] are [[LoveGoddess Lust]] and [[TheBrute Violence]]. This is L.A."
* This is the rule that underlies the metaphysics of John Scalzi's novella ''The God Engines.'' The more worshipers a god has, and the stronger their faith is, the more powerful the god gets. It also puts a couple of twists on the idea - first, gods get more power from worshipers who converted from another faith than from people who "inherited" the religion, and more still from worshipers who convert from atheism. [[spoiler:The main character's god even keeps planets sequestered from all religion as a sort of "atheist farm," just so they can be converted with a quick miracle to provide a power boost when needed]]. And second, gods can [[spoiler:''[[YourSoulIsMine eat souls]]'' to get even more energy from each person, although even other gods consider that a MoralEventHorizon]].
* This is the case in Creator/RogerZelazny's ''Literature/DilvishTheDamned''. In the short story "Devil and the Dancer", the last worshipper of an almost-forgotten god is very important to him and he has to do the things she wants, even if he finds them revolting. It works in the opposite direction too: the BigBad Jelerak has been mentioned in evil spells so many times, [[SpeakOfTheDevil the mere mention of his name]] can summon dark spirits.
* For the most part averted in the ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' book series. The Olympians have not been widely worshipped in centuries and have not suffered any major loss in power. The Titans were sealed in Tartarus for thousands of years and survived. The almost unheard of snow goddess Khione is doing fine. However, there is some link. Its been stated that if Western Civilization were to fall it would weaken the Olympians. Being forgotten can cause a god to lose their will to live leaving them to fade from existence though like Khione or the Titans it is largely a matter of personal will. The god Pan tried to fade two millennia ago, but the beliefs of nymphs and satyrs caused him to continue to live.
** Come ''Literature/TheTrialsOfApollo'', where Apollo is rendered mortal, there is a bit more information provided on the subject. All of the pantheons in this universe ([[Literature/TheKaneChronicles Egyptian]], [[Literature/MagnusChaseAndTheGodsOfAsgard Norse]], etc.) are tied to the cultural impact they have had on society, and draw power from the memories and beliefs people have about them. This explains why the loss of Apollo as the god of the sun can still leave the world in functioning condition, without people wondering where the hell the sun went, because the sun gods of other mythologies (and the scientific explanation for why the sun rises and sets) can pick up the slack. Should the culture they are tied to disappear, or should no one remember them, then they would ultimately fade away. [[spoiler: This trope is also exploited by the new [[BigBad big bads]] of the series called The Triumvirate, a trio of Roman emperors who made such an historical impact that they have been able to live for thousands of years off of peoples worship and memory of them.]]
* In ''Literature/DarkHeart'', the gods of Caliel are more powerful the more worshipers they have. The world's new gods, Vraxor, Shayna and Nimrod, exploited this effect to undermine the power of the old gods and ultimately destroy them.
* A variation in the Creator/FrankPeretti novels ''This Present Darkness'' and ''Piercing The Darkness''. God doesn't need prayer, but it gives angels a power-up, allowing them to trash demons.
* Central to the Creator/FredricBrown story "The New One," where it also applies to mythic beings other than gods, and even to stuff such as ectoplasm. However, even a strongly believed-in being will not show up at all before being "invoked." [[spoiler:The human protagonist ends up invoking a fellow with a stovepipe hat and red, white and blue clothing, who then [[Main/EagleLand proceeds to kick ass]].]]
* ''Literature/TheFolkOfTheAir'' by Creator/PeterSBeagle features a former earth-mother goddess from the neolithic era now working as a therapist in a fictionalized Berkeley.
* In ''Little Man On The Subway'' (Creator/IsaacAsimov) Mr Crumley mentions that he can only make minor miracles, because he does not have enough followers.
* Naturally, this is noted in ''Literature/TheToughGuideToFantasyLand'', and that gods cease to exist without belief in them.
* In ''LightNovel/GodComplex'' its established that mankind is extinct early on, and many of the elder gods are scrambling to find alternative power sources. Gods proportionate power and rank amongst one another was determined by their real world worship counterparts, with Christianity having taken power once intended for other pantheons.
* This becomes a significant plot-point in the last two ''Literature/BrimstoneAngels'' novels. The god Enlil is all but dead, and needs mortal worshippers to power himself back up to the point of being able to have much effect on the world. Unfortunately for him, the only mortals he's been able to make contact with are [[DraconicHumanoid dragonborn]], who are a proud race of {{Nay Theist}}s who neither need nor want a god to worship. The eventual agreement that's reached is more like a business contract than a religion, with the dragonborn agreeing to pray to Enlil so long as he uses his restored powers to protect their city, and even give him an affectionate but silly nickname (Uncle Lightning-Bolt) as a reminder that he's their ''ally'', not their master.
* PlayedWith in ''Literature/TheCrocodileGod.'' Haik is the titular crocodile-god of the ancient Tagalog tribe in the Philippines. He isn't literally dying from lack of worship--but thanks to the steadily dwindling numbers of pagan Filipinos, he's ''extremely'' [[TheAloner depressed and lonely.]] By the story's timeline in 2017 America, Filipino-American Mirasol is TheOnlyBeliever thanks to their ReincarnationRomance, and [[RealityEnsues she wonders if Haik has PTSD.]]

[[folder:Live-Action Television]]
* ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' implies this, rather than it being outright stated. The Olympian Gods (the primary pantheon dealt with on the show), were shown to have a reach and influence as far as the Middle East, and were considered the greatest of any gods in the show, while others were shown as powerful, but not nearly on the Olympian scale. The show attributed it to less worship, and Ares even remarked to Kal once that his (Kal's) temple, and power had gone down hill since "those tributes stop[ed] coming in". In some episodes set in the modern day, Ares is a lot weaker than usual because modern day people don't usually pray to him.
* The initially conventional Christian-themed horror series ''Series/{{Brimstone}}'', in which a damned policeman is given a second chance at life by {{Satan}} in return for tracking down 113 souls who had escaped from Hell, undergoes a dizzying GenreShift when [[spoiler:the LAPD policewoman who had been his inside track with Earthly authorities is revealed to be the ringleader of the souls, a dead Canaanite priestess who had engineered the escape from Hell by seducing Satan. (The policeman had, unwittingly, been helping her to eliminate members of her "gang" that had gone rogue.) Her plan is to systematically eradicate belief in the God of Abraham from human culture, thereby causing God, Heaven, and Hell, to all blink out of existence. The protagonist realizes that Satan had been desperate to retrieve the escaped spirits, not out of some altruistic desire to restore the CosmicBalance, but because if the priestess were to succeed in her agenda, Satan, being part of the Abrahamic mythos himself, would blink out of existence as well]]. Naturally, just as the series threatened to actually become interesting, the network [[ScrewedByTheNetwork pulled the plug]].
* The ''{{Series/Merlin|1998}}'' TV miniseries explicitly says that creatures like Mab and the Lady of the Lake only exist because people believe in them. Once Christianity moves in and people don't believe in magic, it doesn't exist any more. The climax has Mab literally fade into thin air because the crowd turn their backs on her and move on with their lives.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** The Ori don't actually ''need'' prayer to survive, but they do gain power from human worship, although they're still extremely powerful on their own. Once Adria takes their place in ''Film/TheArkOfTruth'', SG-1 needs to take away her worshippers to make her vulnerable.
*** The Ascended Orici Adria, being the focus of ''everyone's'' worship as [[spoiler:the last remaining Ori]], is too strong for anyone to challenge. However, once [[spoiler:the Ark of Truth is deployed and the Priors stop believing in her]] she loses a significant bulk of that power, opening the way for an [[HeroicSacrifice Oma Desala gambit]].
* In ''Valentine'', it's said that it isn't so much prayer or belief that the gods need as it is "relevance." What this means for the main characters (Aphrodite, Eros, the Pythia, and Hercules, disguised as humans running an LA matchmaking service) is that if they don't do a better job at uniting soulmates, they'll cease being relevant to humanity, and will consequently lose their immortality.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** In one episode, the guys come across the haunting that wasn't - it was just a practical joke. The prankee buys it and posts the story on the internet where it becomes well known in a UrbanLegend kind of way. Once enough people believe that there is a ghost there it actually appears. It was defeated by writing a weakness into the text - once enough people believed it, the ghost was defeated that way.
** In the ChristmasSpecial episode of season 3, the brothers run into two old Gods who are kidnapping people and sacrificing them to themselves. The couple boast that they use to be so powerful people would make sacrifices to them daily, but time moves on and they've assimilated themselves into modern culture and now only kidnap a couple people a year to sacrifice and keep themselves going.
** In the episode "[[Recap/SupernaturalS05E05FallenIdol Fallen Idols]]", one such old god can only survive on the sacrifices of people that worship it. Since belief in the old gods has all but died in the modern era [[LoopholeAbuse it transforms itself into whatever its intended victim happens to worship]], like becoming UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln to eat a Civil War historian, appearing as UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi to Sam, and shapeshifting into Creator/ParisHilton to devour a teenage girl.
* The original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS2E2WhoMournsForAdonais Who Mourns for Adonais?]]" involves a cosmic entity claiming to be the Greek God Apollo, who says that his fellow gods faded away as humans stopped worshiping them. He tries to force the ''Enterprise'' crew to worship him, but their resistance to the idea ultimately convinces him that humanity has indeed outgrown him, and he chooses to fade away himself.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' season 4 BigBad Samuel Sullivan is a super whose [[DishingOutDirt geokinetic powers]] become stronger if he is surrounded by other supers who believe in him. In theory he could ''break the world'' if he had a large enough crowd of supers nearby. His brother Joseph hid the true nature of Samuel's power from him and deliberately limited the size of their super carnival to prevent Samuel from becoming too dangerous [[spoiler:and Samuel killed him when he found out the truth]]. Samuel is eventually defeated when [[spoiler:his fratricide is brought to light, causing his fellow super carnies to lose faith in him, and Hiro teleports them away]]. Samuel is left all alone in an empty carnival as a powerless, broken, shell of a man.
* A recurring theme on ''Series/MythQuest''. In episode 4, the myth they visit is set in motion by spirits attempting to ensure the survival of the aboriginal people who worship them. Cleo then has this opinion about that myth as a whole, and to an extent, mythology in general.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''. The MonsterOfTheWeek in "The God Complex" turns out to be an alien god imprisoned by a race that had OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions. The prison abducts people, forces them through terror into expressing their faith which the god then devours. The episode is a deconstruction of the Doctor, who is also an ageless being with godlike pretensions, sustained by the hero worship of his companions.
* ''Series/AmericanGods'' The fortunes of gods depend on how many people they have praying (or sacrificing) to them, often. A god can even die if they are completely forgotten. Of course, what counts as prayer largely depends on the god - Anansi just wants people to keep telling stories about him being clever, and Media gets power any time someone consumes media, to name a few examples. The single constant is that sacrifice, particularly HumanSacrifice, usually nets a god a lot of power.

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* A Greek myth/folktale likely written in Christian times by Plutarch tells of the death of the god Pan when people start thinking of him as only a made-up story. One might wonder about the rise of Greek neo-pagans, who have begun worshiping Pan again. Have they resurrected him, or is their belief going unheard?
* Averted in the Abrahamic religions (UsefulNotes/{{Judaism}}, UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}}, UsefulNotes/{{Islam}}) as a fundamental part of the theology. For a more direct example [[http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2050&version=NLT Psalm 50]] states "I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens [...] Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High." In short, though God in the Old Testament demands sacrifices, He does not need it to live - prayer and worship are for the benefit of the one doing them, not God.
* The neo-pagan scholar Isaac Bonewits describes gods as functioning basically as the trope says. He's not alone; this theogony is quite common, especially among Wiccans and Asatru (Norse-pagan revivalists).
* This trope is fairly common in real-world polytheism, especially those with a substantial animist or pantheist component. Among modern religions, it is especially significant in the religions of the African diaspora in the New World (Vodoun, Santeria, Candomble, Umbanda), and in the Shinto animism of Japan. Historically it was an important though implicit idea in Hellenic- and Roman-era syncretism.
* There's a "Person Needs Prayer Badly" in Roman Catholicism. In order to go to heaven (or reduce their time in purgatory) and join the angels, the soul of the deceased needed to be prayed for. This led to the modern idea of the funeral – particularly how the modern Western funeral is such a huge deal – as well as other ideas. This is still part of the Catholic beliefs, but you only pray for the soul in Purgatory as man has no role in deciding the salvation of souls.
* While not all religions believe that their god(s)' power and influence increase in proportion to the number of worshipers, there is no denying that it has this effect on ''the religion itself''. You say the wrong thing to a member of a religious order that has enough clout, you WILL believe in divine retribution. In other words, "religion needs prayer badly".
* Dystheists (those who believe in God, [[NayTheist but believe that]] GodIsEvil) often believe that God will die if nobody worships him. Which is what they hope will eventually happen, because they believe humanity cannot truly be free until God dies.
* The state religion of the Aztec (or Mexica) Empire believed the gods are always hungry – not for belief or prayer, but for human and animal sacrificial victims – and that if they were not fed a steady diet of the hearts of brave warriors, they would surely destroy the world, as they had many times before. The whole Aztec political system was designed to prevent this by waging enough wars that there would always be plenty of [=POWs=] to sacrifice; in some cases, Tenochtitlan and another city-state would stage a set-piece "Flower War" with no objective but giving each side a chance to capture some of the others' soldiers for sacrifice. (Not every state the Mexica forced to participate in this seems to have shared their level or form of piety on the matter – a circumstance Cortez, when he arrived, found very useful to his purposes). To put it more bluntly, many of the Aztecs' neighbors, and particularly the less pious ones, saw them as a mixture of TheEmpire and The ReligionOfEvil, seeing as the Aztecs had a habit of capturing whole villages for sacrifice and then moving into the vacated homes.
* In ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'', a character recalls the gods "crowding like flies" around a sacrifice after most of mankind is destroyed. To clarify, the gods created the humanity so that they will work and feed the gods, allowing them to live in leisure. Then, the gods couldn't stand the noise people made, so they tried to exterminate them a few times, culminating with TheGreatFlood. It was apparently successful, but then they realized they DidntThinkThisThrough...
* According to some sources (most likely fabricated by Christians), the [[Myth/CelticMythology Celtic Gods]], or the Tuatha de Danann, shriveled into the "Little People" (faeries) from lack of offerings and affection after they were overthrown by the Milesians.

[[folder: Stand-Up Comedy]]
* In one of Creator/PattonOswalt's bits, he hypothesizes that this is true. His wife tells him that she saw a rat at their house, and he doesn't believe her, and assumes she saw a squirrel. He then sees the biggest rat ever crawl across the telephone line in their backyard, get picked up by a hawk, and then get dropped by said hawk in the neighbor's yard, scaring their children, all in 60 seconds. Patton then says that maybe that weird sequence of events was due to a forgotten Sumerian trickster god.
-->'''Patton''': Is there a forgotten Sumerian trickster god, and his feast day is July 3rd, he's got one worshipper left, and the dude killed a goat over a copper bowl, and it gave the god 40 seconds of power in our realm. He just poofed into being.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** In basic D&D, the Immortals need at least some worshipers or they fade away. They can come back if someone starts worshiping them again for some reason. A new Immortal can survive on power from his sponsor for his first year or so, but he'd better have found some worshipers by then.
** In the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'', a god's power is determined by his/her number of worshippers, and needs at least one worshipper to maintain Divine status (albeit at a demigod level). The only exception is the overdeity Ao, who needs no worshippers to maintain power because he rules over other gods. This development took long to come, as the deities were independently powerful before the Avatar Crisis, when Ao got fed up with nobody doing their duties or taking care of their worshippers any more. The post-Avatar Crisis fluff tended to suggest, when the subject came up, that the Gods ''did'' gain power from being prayed to and having followers before the Crisis. What Ao did after the Crisis was, essentially, toning down the power you gained from your Portfolio, and ramping up how much power you gained from belief[[note]]this may explain how Myrkul got the idea for the Spirit-Eater Curse failsafe despite the Avatar Crisis not having occurred yet at that point[[/note]].
*** ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' shows us that a dead god can still exist if its followers are still undead echoes, believing they must live for eternity guarding the temple of a dead god, ''which at the same time creates a demon of hatred'' to fight their dead God, time and time again. The God wouldn't be without its Guardians, and the Guardians wouldn't be without their God, thus both perpetually creating a living echo of each other.
*** ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: Mask of the Betrayer'' backs this up in an exchange with former god-of-death Myrkul himself saying so. [[spoiler:One plot option, however, allows you to grant him eternal rest, [[KilledOffForReal killing him off for good]].]] (more below under Video Games)
** In the ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' setting, this mechanic is explained via the fact that the Outer Planes (where the gods live) is [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve shaped entirely by belief]].
** Averted in ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'', where the deities do not need any worshipers to maintain their power. They do need mortal followers to have much influence in the mortal world however, but they will not die from a lack of followers.
** Also averted in the ''TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'' campaign setting. Several of the greater gods hold their exalted station despite people not being very inclined to worship them. Boccob "The Uncaring", god of magic, is completely disinterested in being worshiped, and in turn very few people actually worship him. Nerull [[TheGrimReaper "The Reaper"]] and Incabulos, god of disasters, likewise do not get a lot of attention, if only because most people fear attracting their notice.
* ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness''
** In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', tribal totems gain power from the Garou they sponsor. In one Time of Judgment scenario, Whipporwill grows weak due to insufficient worship from the Black Spiral Dancers, who divide their fealty among many different totem spirits. Grandfather Thunder then defeats Whipporwill, absorbs his gnosis, and assimilates the Black Spiral Dancers into the now-fallen Shadow Lord tribe.
** In ''TabletopGame/DemonTheFallen'' demons need faith to fuel their powers. They can either force steal it, which causes spiritual damage, or set up cults of various stripes to get a small but steady flow without necessarily hurting their worshippers (unless they ''want'' to be hurt).
* ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'':
** This setting has the Astral Realms, which include the Temenos, the collective consciousness of humanity. Among the conceptual archetypes present there are every god ever worshipped. In this case, since they are formed through human belief, their power is proportional to how much humans regard them, not necessarily through worship. For example, Anubis exists in the Temenos, and though not as powerful as he was when he was actively worshipped by a powerful nation, he is still a relevant and well known symbol, which means he still possesses the power of a minor god. Other gods are less fortunate. Since the Temenos is a focal point for all human knowledge and experience, even a completely forgotten god would still exist somewhere, albeit significantly weakened. Its also suggested that some Temenos gods might be based by humanity on truly divine beings (a theory particularly popular with devout mages who suffer crises of faith upon learning they can meet their deities in the Temenos).
** Similarly, various spirits in the Shadow realm are often shaped and empowered by human belief. Whether a particular one appearing as a god was an inspiration for human worship or was formed by human worship is often unclear.
* The Chaos Gods in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are both formed and fuelled by the concepts they represent. On the other hand, they don't really need prayer: every feeling of anger, ecstasy, hope, or despair feeds one of the Chaos Gods, whether the person who has the feeling is a follower of Chaos or not (and praying to Khorne instead of killing and bleeding is liable to get your head chopped off). Background material indicates this is the same for all deities, except for the God of Atheism, who gets strong if people don't believe in anything.
** It is speculated that the Emperor of Mankind's almost militant atheism and denial of any superstitious talk of "daemons" was a direct attempt to starve the Chaos Gods of belief. While this effort obviously failed, the Imperium's faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind may have helped him become a proper deity himself, enhancing his already-formidable psychic presence and giving humanity a fighting chance, and it must be mentioned that the Horus Heresy is the only documented time when all four chaos gods got off their collective behinds and actually seriously worked to affect the galaxy at large, so the Emperor might have had something right to scare them that way.
** The Necrons' master plan to end Chaos worked like this pre-6th edition. The Ruinous Powers are [[AbstractApotheosis embodiments of emotions]] felt by living creatures, so, if you ''kill off'' all living beings in the universe (the Necrons are zombie robots), there'll be nothing for Chaos to feed on.
** Similarly, the von Carsteins of TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} wants to convert the entire world to zombies under their command in order to deny Chaos their bodies and minds. Sadly, the other factions failed to see the logic in this and fight the vampires as much as they do Chaos and each other.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'': not only do Gods little and big benefit from worship as the currency of [[CelestialBureaucracy Yu Shan]], but ''anyone'' can earn [[PureEnergy Essence]] if they get a Cult worshipping them. Something many player characters will find handy.
** Or the opposite, depending on the campaign: if you start the game marked for death by beings whose job is strongarming gods (which is normal), having a higher profile and more ways to be attacked make it a mixed blessing at best.
** The game spends quite a bit of time and wordcount [[{{Deconstruction}} examining the ramifications of this trope]], too. Gods in Exalted are, by and large, [[JerkassGods jerks]] who want to get as much power as possible, and in Creation, this usually translates to theological feudalism: the strongest local god receives prayer and sacrifice, and in return doesn't cause the harvest to fail and doesn't let dangerous interloper gods take over the region. The [[PathOfInspiration Immaculate Faith]], the religion of the Realm, isn't just about getting prayers to the appropriate gods, it's also about preventing gods from getting greedy and extorting extra worship out of the Realm's mortals.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'', Gods are naturally more powerful in their own home dimensions, and ones where they have a strong base of the devoted, than in any other dimension.
* Before coming up with ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' and acquiring TSR, Creator/WizardsOfTheCoast released a supplement called ''The Primal Order'' to provide formal system-independent rules for deities and ways they interacted with mortals and each other. As described, all gods had a certain amount of power at all times (unless deprived of that by suitable attacks, at which point they could expect to shortly cease to exist barring possession of a loyal home plane to regenerate from over the course of a century), but gathering worshippers both living and dead as well as acquiring planar real estate and spheres of influence all provided significant boosts that only the strangest gods would want to do without.
* Regarding ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' itself, the God cards of the ''Theros'' block qualify. These beings are indestructible, Legendary Enchantment Creatures, but if the god's controller doesn't have a strong enough devotion to that god's color (or colors) [[note]]Measured by the number of colored mana symbols in the mana costs of permanents that player controls[[/note]], they cease to be creatures altogether.
** After months of speculation, [[http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ur/303 it was finally revealed to be the canon situation]], with the Theros gods being born from humanity's beliefs infused in Nyx (Theros' [[TheSacredDarkness magical nightsky]], associated with dreams and the subconscious). As per Kruphix (the god of horizons and mysteries), many gods have come and gone, including previous [[ThePowerOfTheSun sun gods]] (Theros' current sun god, [[GreaterScopeVillain Heliod]], [[{{Irony}} is an arrogant douchebag who proclaims himself "the greatest of these"]]). Following [[spoiler:Elspeth's death]], Ajani Goldmane has openly declared war on the gods by convincing people not to worship them.
** The gods of Amonkhet are also powered by faith. [[spoiler:When Nicol Bolas invaded the plane, he crippled them by immediately wiping out the entire adult mortal population, leaving behind only the faith of scared panicking children. Nicol Bolas promptly killed three of the gods and brainwashed the others into his unwitting shepherds.]]
* This is the status for the gods in the ''TabletopGame/ScarredLands'' campaign... except for ChaoticEvil Vangal, who derives his power from how many people his worshippers slaughter. Otherwise, he would've died, since most people aren't too keen on worshipping a BloodKnight who doesn't even pretend to have any other motive besides fun.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Scion}}'', a character's Legend rating represents how well-renowned an individual is, and determines the strength of his divine powers. Full-blooded deities have very high Legend ratings, but some very famous mortals even without divine Ichor can have very low Legend ratings.
* The godlike Reckoners/Manitou of ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' gain more power when they spread fear and belief in the supernatural.
* The non-Abrahamic gods in ''TabletopGame/InNomine'' are called Ethereals, explained as being formed by humanity's imagination and empowered by their worship. Yves came up with the different Abrahamic religions in order to undercut their power, and Uriel opted to wipe them out directly before God [[PutOnABus yanked him up to the Higher Heavens]] to have a little chat with him about it. Of course, the Ethereals say that Yahweh/Jehovah/God was one of them and simply managed to gain enough worship to {{Retcon}} reality.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Eon}}'', the highly detailed Swedish RPG, kinda works like this; gods generally don't die, but lack of worshippers can lead them to the brink of "starvation". An entity called "King Frost"; an amnesiac old man walking the frozen deserts of the northlands, is theorised to be a 'fallen god' clinging to life. It's worth to note that the gods can return when they get worshipped again though.
* ''TabletopGame/OverTheEdge'', here it's part of AllMythsAreTrue, one character in a splatbook takes a drug that allows humans to commune with the gods. [[spoiler:Hecate scolds him and tells him to go back to church and let her "sleep"]]
* In ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'', [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Numen_erat_Testudo Numen erat Testudo]] was a turtle who ascended to godhood from worship. Unfortunately, his temple was destroyed and his worshipers stopped supporting him, causing him to revert to mortality as [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Testudo_erat_Numen Testudo erat Numen.]]
* The TabletopGame/DiscworldRoleplayingGame naturally inherits this trope from the Discworld novels (see above), and permits "small god" characters -- who have to take the "Faith Maintenance" character disadvantage.

* This one is OlderThanFeudalism - in ''The Birds'', the Greek gods lose power because the prayers they were offered couldn't reach them because of a great wall built in the sky. (Actually, it was not prayers that were intercepted - it was rather more physical smoke of animal sacrifices.) The gods did not immediately lose power - rather, they suffered from hunger, although they turned out to have some stockpiles of smoke and rationed the smoke. It was a plot point that not only Greek gods suffered - non-Greek gods were also starving and did not have stockpiled smoke. They accordingly threatened to attack Greek gods unless they made terms with Nephelokokkygia that would lift the blockade.

* PhysicalGod Mata Nui of ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' fame would have ''died'' if the Matoran people had stopped doing their jobs. And this trope was applied with good reason -- he was a HumongousMecha, and the Matoran kept him functional by doing essential work inside him.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Populous}}'' is the TropeCodifier. The more worshippers you have, the more powerful miracles you can perform.
** In the first two games, only settled worshippers benefit you in that way, by the strength of the settlement. Giving you the choice between producing a lot of worshippers or personal power and tougher worshippers.
* This ends up becoming a gameplay mechanic and a key plot point in ''VideoGame/{{Neptunia}}''. Goddess party members gain stat points when the shares of their homelands increases, usually by completing dungeons there.
** In the [[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia first game]], [[spoiler:Arfoire, the villain, spends most of the game spreading rumors of a fake overlord with monster attacks and heretics, using the fear and belief of the people to gain power. It's how she kept reviving and getting stronger each time]].
*** ''[[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaReBirth1 Re;Birth 1]]'' (which takes notes from the first game but tells its own story) does something similar, and then flips it on its head. [[spoiler: How do the CPUs defeat a monster that regenerates because people believe it will? [[HoistByHisOwnPetard Run a propaganda campaign to convince a majority of people it won't.]]]]
** In the [[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2 second game]], Arfoire's goons are deliberately increasing Arfoire's shares (by taking them from the goddesses) in order to revive Arfoire.
** At least thrice in the [[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaVictory third game]], but for separate reasons. The first time it happens, Eden, a new nation born from the Seven Sages ([[QuirkyMinibossSquad or what's left of them]]), ends up sapping the shares as the new console on the market, the UsefulNotes/TurboGrafx16. The new console (Yellow Heart) holds well, but [[spoiler:its price threshold and the eventual reveal about who she really is]] marks the end of its short life. The second time, [[spoiler:although it takes place in the past but is explained near the end, the previous nation's CPU, Rei Ryghts, was the leader of [[Creator/{{Atari}} Tari]]. She controlled the populace through fear and greed, but she didn't know her power was fueled by the people, so when ''[[UsefulNotes/TheGreatVideoGameCrashOf1983 that]]'' happened, the people revolted and she became extremely weak. In retaliation, she decided to destroy the entire nation outright]]. The third is when [[spoiler:Hyper Dimension Rei manipulates the populace to only believe in her and weaken every other nation, effectively destroying the balance of the dimension's shares and threatening to destory an ''entire dimension'' with her newfound power]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Alundra}}'': The villagers of Inoa pray to Melzas, who is (unknown to said villagers) actually evil. Even better (or worse,) Melzas ''knows'' he gets his powers from prayer, and thus perpetuates a vicious cycle of secretly inflicting horrible nightmares on the people of Inoa to keep them in fear so that they keep praying to him. Also Nirude, a giant god, lives off the prayer of midgets.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** Throughout the series and in the {{backstory}}, it is repeatedly implied that a deity becomes more powerful as they gain mortal worshipers. According to one theory, the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Aedric Divines]] are technically dead, having sacrificed much of their power during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. Now, they "dream they are alive" through mortal prayer and worship. The deities who did not participate in the creation of Mundus, the Daedra, have CompleteImmortality as they did not sacrifice any of their power to create the world, and can exist independent from prayer and worship. (Though they do seem to enjoy receiving it and may still ''gain'' power from it.) Other lesser deities can be outright killed by lack of worship. The reason it's easier for greater deities (Aedra and Daedra) is because they personify widely-known abstracts, so even if all their followers in one culture are purged, they have another culture to pick up the slack.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'':
*** This is the case for the Tribunal (a trio of Dunmeri {{Physical God}}s) after [[spoiler:[[PlayerCharacter the Nerevarine]] severs their ties to their divine power source (the Heart of Lorkhan)]]. Unlike [[BigBad Dagoth Ur]], who is [[NoImmortalInertia destroyed]] by this process, the Tribunal are able to persist with a trace of their divinity in tact thanks to, as Vivec states, the faith of their followers. Vivec actually has this going on in a second instance as well: In ages past, Sheogorath, the [[MadGod Daedric Prince of Madness]], hurled the "rogue moon" Baar Dau at Vivec's new {{Egopolis}}. Vivec used his power to freeze it in place above the city, and told his followers that it was held in place by their love for him. [[spoiler: Due in [[BittersweetEnding no small part to the player's actions]], Vivec disappears early in the 4th Era. After some temporary measures fail, the moon [[ColonyDrop continues its descent with its original momentum]], destroying the city and causing Red Mountain to erupt, destroying most of Vvardenfell and choking much of mainland Morrowind with volanic ash for centuries to come]].
*** Boethiah's Daedric quest is for this exact reason. His shrine has been destroyed and sunk beneath the sea, meaning he isn't getting as much worship as he used to. He tasks the player with rebuilding it so that he can once again receive worship.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', if the Champion of Cyrodiil choses to do the Daedric quest for Sheogorath ''after'' [[spoiler: becoming the ''[[LegacyCharacter new]]'' Sheogorath at the end of ''Shivering Isles'', their servant questions why they just prayed to ''themself''... only to then reconsider that as the MadGod, that sort of lunacy is rather appropriate]].
** According to WordOfGod, this is a [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/forum-archives-michael-kirkbride motivation]] of the Thalmor in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]''. The [[AntiHumanAlliance Aldmeri Dominion]], led by the religious extremist [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]], a faction of elven supremacists, have forced the Empire to ban the worship of [[DeityOfHumanOrigin Talos]], leading to the Stormcloak rebellion. The "official" reason for this ban is that the Thalmor believe that they descend from the Aedra and refuse to accept that a human could join their ranks. The unofficial reason is because they play up Altmeri religious beliefs which state that [[FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence the creation of the mortal world was a cruel trick which robbed their ancestors of pre-creation divinity]]. [[spoiler:They believe that Talos is one of the last things keeping the mortal world extant, and if he is destroyed, the mortal world would be destroyed as well, allowing them to [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence return to a divine state]].]] There is also evidence that [[VillainHasAPoint they aren't completely wrong about this]]. Furthermore, it's possible that Talos isn't quite a god in the same way as the other Divines are, and he may have even surpassed them (and the Daedra as well). It's quite possible that he no longer even ''needs'' prayer.
* In VideoGame/DungeonCrawlStoneSoup, the amorphous god Jiyva has exactly one follower. If you kill it, Jiyva simply stops existing...[[DevelopersForesight unless you took it upon yourself to worship him beforehand]], in which case he calls you out on it.
* ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'''s gameplay is built on this trope. Each god is called into existence by a single pure prayer and gains power by convincing villages to believe in it above all other gods; a god who loses all its followers vanishes in a PuffOfLogic. Additionally, villagers who actively worship at temples and altars generate {{Mana}} for their god, which enables it to cast Miracles.
* Power-ups in ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' come from the praise you get for performing miracles. [[spoiler:And at the end, Ammy gets an EleventhHourSuperpower through people praying directly to her. [[PowerupLetdown Purely cosmetic, though.]]]] Overall, this trope seems to be one of the game's underlying themes, as it's mentioned quite early on how people's faith in the divine has dwindled.
** This mechanic returns in the sequel, ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}''.
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'', the player literally generates favour for their gods to produce mythical creatures, heroes and upgrades. Greeks pray at temples, Egyptians build monuments, Norse go to war, and Altanteans control town centers to generate favour.
* ''SevenKingdoms'' had temples where you'd sent people to pray to your nations "Greater Being" (based on a god of the respective mythology). In this case, you'd could either summon the god himself (some are fighters, some have special abilities) or trigger a random miracle.
* Used for evil by [[spoiler:the Church of St. Eva in]] ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'', [[spoiler:where half the priests are demons in disguise trying to power-up the BigBad, who is in fact ''[[BeamMeUpScotty not]]'' a god but an evil dragon with an OmnicidalManiac agenda]].
** Subverted by Ladon the dragon god, who's a bit grumpy that nobody believes in him anymore but nonetheless continues to exist.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' works like this (and ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve in general). This is most relevant in the 10th game, ''Mountain of Faith'', where goddess Kanako Yasaka, faced with fading away due to modern Japan's waning faith in the divine, decides to relocate the Moriya Shrine to [[FantasticNatureReserve Gensokyo]], where she ought to have an easier time finding worshipers. Unfortunately this muscles in on the local religious "authority," protagonist [[{{Miko}} Reimu Hakurei]], and BulletHell ensues. After this ends, Kanako stays around and attempts to gain faith other ways, treating the whole thing like a business venture.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Blood Omen: VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' when Kain remarks, "The act had taken on the feel of ritual. Isn't it strange how we must bribe our gods to stay?"
* ''VideoGame/ActRaiser'':
** Subverted in the original for the SNES. While you gain levels as your population grows, it turns out that your powers are dependent on the number of people on the planet, not their faith. At one point, a PathOfInspiration turns a lot of people in one country against you, but it doesn't lower your levels. Additionally in the end [[spoiler:your temples are empty because the people can stand on their own and no longer need you to handle their every need]], but you don't fade away or anything.
** In the sequel, one of the towns you need to save is initially closed off, because the townspeople there don't believe in you (and thus you can't read their minds).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dominions}} II'' the faith of people in various provinces is represented by a candle. This affects the knowledge you have on the province, the level at which you can affect it and, should you move it into the area, the hitpoints of your Pretender God.
* The old gods reveal to the player in ''VideoGame/UltimaVIII''; they are nearly powerless now that about everyone worships the four new gods instead.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMario''. The star spirits in [[VideoGame/PaperMario64 the first game]] gain power from the wishes of the denizens of Mushroom Kingdom. In the final boss fight, the young star spirit Twink gains enough power from Peach's wishes to beat up Bowser's sidekick and help Mario save the day.
* Sierra's VideoGame/CityBuildingSeries cuts both ways. While gods need sacrifices or festivals almost constantly, ignoring them only makes them '''angry'''. Cue earthquakes, plagues, floods, failing crops... On the other hand, keeping them happy also brings benefices.
* In ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'', the gods, demons, and spirits feed on a substance called Magnetite or Magatsuhi - which is human belief and emotion and works as the setting's mana source. In ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'', when humanity was wiped out, demons had to abuse {{Artificial Human}}s to produce Magatsuhi to stay alive. In ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV IV]]'', one of the factions produces Red Pills, foodstuffs the demons find delectable. [[spoiler: The Pills, naturally, are made of materials extracted from conditioned brain matter harvested from the faction's captured enemies, implying they're largely the same as Magnetite or Magatsuhi.]]
** For as long as a single person believes in YHVH as his or her god, He will return, again and again. Unfortunately, it seems the [=MegaTen=] universe works on the same principle as ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' - Humanity's own inner darkness and desire for a God [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters that accurately represents them]] has horrifically twisted Him into a bitter, unsympathetic tyrant with nothing but contempt for humans.
** This trope is exploited in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' if the player sides with Dagda at the game's second of two alignment locks. [[spoiler:Dagda's plan to destroy all gods is to ''kill every human who believes in them.'']]
** This trope is also true for the ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' universe, where [[VideoGame/{{Persona 2}} Philemon, Nyarlathotep]], [[VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} Erebus]], [[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} Izanami]], and [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/Persona5 Yaldabaoth]]]] are all personifications of various aspects of human mind within the Collective Unconscious.
* Referred to in ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'', where Hell is conquered because too many goofy portrayals in media mean that nobody believes Beelzebub to be a threat any more and thus he is weakened, whereas the Soda Poppers are widely hated enough to have the power to challenge him.
* During one {{sidequest}} in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'' (set in the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms''), you meet an avatar of a god with so little belief that he is fading away. [[spoiler:Amaunator]] and a small village of followers were bound to immortally guard "the device" forever, over the years their faith has transformed to hatred and the avatar can barely even show himself, much less do anything.
* The ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' {{expansion|Pack}} ''Mask of the Betrayer'' is also set in the ''Forgotten Realms''. It shows just how far gods dependent on worship will go. They built the Wall of the Faithless, which punishes not sinners but non-believers. Being an atheist or paying lip service to religion is the biggest of all sins against all the gods, and thus the good, evil, lawful, and chaotic gods all agreed that atheists shall be punished by ultimate torture and eventually the very destruction of their souls by having your soul slowly digested over thousands of years.
** It should be noted that if you read the supplements, you'll find out that the current administrator only makes use of the Wall because the other gods forced him to. Also, this is a setting where the gods are very real and walked the earth in mortal form ''en masse'' less than twenty years ago (a period known as the Time of Troubles). On Toril, literally ''every'' atheist is a FlatEarthAtheist: ending up in the Wall for atheism is akin to starving to death because you don't believe food exists.
*** Not quite. The punishment exists not so much for atheism, which is only synonymous if this were monotheism, but for lack of worship and reverence to a particular deity. Long story short? If you either don't pick one specific deity who will save you from the Wall in exchange for your complete acceptance of what they are and stand for, or you worship Ao who exerts power over the others but does not accept worship of itself, or don't make a contract with a devil, whose imprisonment of your soul supersedes it, you're heading for the Wall.
** WARNING! PLOT POINT AHEAD! [[spoiler:The creator of the Spirit-Eater curse that drives the plot of ''[=MotB=]'' is the now-dead god Myrkul, who created it to ensure his {{immortality}} by abusing this principle: as long as there was a Spirit-Eater, there would be at least one person who feared and/or worshiped him, so he could never truly die. Then the game gives you the opportunity to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu finish him off]] [[DeathByIrony with the Spirit-Eater]].]]
* This is a plot point in ''VideoGame/Disgaea4APromiseUnforgotten''. The Netherworld and Celestia need fear and love from humans to maintain their power, but it's become difficult for demons to plant fear in humans since humans have become so [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters corrupt]] that they now fear themselves more than demons. As a result, this means they no longer have to pray to angels for protection and guidance.
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' has an interesting variation on this trope: [[BigBad Hazama]] / [[AxCrazy Yuuki]] [[CardCarryingVillain Terumi's]] existence is sustained by other people hating him. Which really does explain his ''[[MoralEventHorizon thorough]]'' traumatization of [[AntiHero Ragna]] at the start of the story, as well as his [[{{Troll}} behavior in general]]... [[CrazyPrepared He also has his network]] of [[AllPowerfulBystander Observers]] and [[{{Synchronization}} Life-Links]] to fall back on if that lifeline ever failed him.
** Though hatred sustains Hazama/Terumi's existence, thus making it necessary for him to be the worst kind of {{Jerkass}} possible in order to stay alive, he is still as far from sympathetic as one can get. He has ''no'' shades of IDidWhatIHadToDo, and has even openly admitted that he ''loves'' ruining other people's lives [[ForTheEvulz for the sheer hell of it]].
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars II'' with the Suul'ka. They don't need prayer from their Zuul underlings/worshippers. The Zuul, on the other hand, need to give that prayer if they want their "gods" to help. Given their shift from DifficultButAwesome CrutchCharacter to MagikarpPower, this is a vital end-goal for them now. So Worshippers Need To Give Prayer Badly then.
* In ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'', Ares reveals that Superman's One World order had eliminated most conflict, leaving the God of War far weaker. In the game's tie-in comic, Wonder Woman suggests Ares become the god of something else in order to regain his powers, then hilariously calls him, "Ares, God of Ponies". In the game proper, Ares decides to help the heroes, explaining that their struggle against the Regime is empowering him in the short-term, but if the bad guys win, conflict will drop completely.
* In ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'' the gods are powered by worship. This doesn't come up very much, because they have plenty of worshipers. All of them except Jiyva the Shapeless, god of slimes. There's only one slime smart enough to worship it and if you kill it, unless you yourself are for some reason a follower of Jiyva, the god ceases to exist.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV: A Realm Reborn'', the Primals are brought forth from the aetheric flow by the worship of their followers. Unfortunately for said followers, Primals take a very ''proactive'' role in ensuring their continued worship by [[MindRape "tempering"]] them into [[BrainwashedAndCrazy mind-controlled slaves]] who seek to gather ''more'' people to turn into brainwashed worshippers. [[spoiler: The player turns out to be one of a handful of people immune to tempering. This is a good thing, as your first encounter with a Primal is as part of a group of prisoners brought before Ifrit to become his new servants.]] The pantheon worshiped by the player races, the Twelve, are implied to be the same, with [[BigBad Gaius van Baelsar]] claiming they're NotSoDifferent from the Primals, but they at least are benevolent enough not to brainwash people into following them.
** The post-launch patches and first expansion extrapolate on the nature of Primals revealing them to be figments made real more than actual deities, making them closer to {{Tulpa}} than true gods. While they do require worship to be sustained, they are not divine so much as they are very, ''very'' powerful beings made from magic that take a form and personality in lieu of whatever their followers believe them to be. The strength of the Primal is determined by a combination of how fervent the prayers of its followers are, and how strong the source of magic being used to summon them is.
*** This is how the game [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration justifies its hard mode encounters]]; not only are the Primals able to be resummoned if slain, but stronger sources of magic and more fervent prayers from their followers create stronger incarnations.
* Like the ''VideoGame/{{Populous}}'' example above Creator/PeterMolyneux is at it again with ''VideoGame/{{Godus}}'' where the number of followers affects the type of spells you can use.
* ''[[VideoGame/TearsToTiara2 Tears to Tiara 2]]'': The reason Tart at first could not cast even a single heal spell and is no different from a teenage girl. Her people are forced by [[TheEmpire the Holy Empire]] to worship Watos, and her temples are torn down to build churches. Only by [[TheHero Hamil]]'s desperate pleas for guidance was she even able to take form. [[spoiler:Part of]] her powers come back to her on the Canaanites' battle cry of Ashtarte, and prevents both of them from being burnt alive.
* In ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'', humanity prays to provide the Seven Deities with Mantra, which is used as a power source for various weapons in their fight against the Gohma. Unfortunately, the Deities later learn how to take Mantra by force...
* A variation in ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'': Fables are classic fairy tale characters forced into the real world. If their fairy tale is popular among "[[{{Muggles}} mundies]]", then that belief makes the Fable [[MadeOfIron very resistant to physical injury]] and [[HealingFactor capable of healing very quickly]]. For example, ''Little Red Riding Hood'' is one of the most popular of all fairy tales, and hence the Big Bad Wolf can survive dozens of shotgun blasts at close range, and the Woodsman can survive [[HoistByHisOwnPetard taking his own axe to the back of his head]]. It is also suggested that killed Fables can be resurrected if enough people still know about their stories. The only way for a Fable to be permanently killed is if not enough people know about their story any more [[spoiler:as is seemingly the fate of Faith and Georgie Porgie]], or if the Fable is physically thrown down the Witching Well [[spoiler:as is possibly the case with the Crooked Man]].
* ''Everquest'' has two examples.
** Mayong Mistmoore ascends to Godhood because having a raiding party assembled to defeat him somehow counts as worship. When killed, his disembodied voice says "You have martyred me, you have worshipped me." The next several expansions deal with the repercussions until he's defeated again.
** Another expansion dealing with Time Travel showed the bad future after the end of the world. The only two survivors were Zebuxoruk ([[SealedGoodInACan Sealed in a prison that could only be opened by the end of the world]]) and a single tree. The tree relied on him to keep the air bubble around the rock fragment, and that 'worship' gave him just enough power to maintain the air bubble.
* Literally the basic story premise of ''{{VideoGame/Smite}}''. The Gods need prayers, so they fight in various arenas to prove who's [[TopGod Top God]].
* In [[http://sf.my.com/us Skyforge]] the players start out as mere immortals, but as they perform heroic acts they attract followers and gradually become Gods.
* ''VideoGame/DiscworldNoir'': As usual on the Disc. [[spoiler: The entire plan turns out to be an attempt by the worshippers of the small god Anu-Anu to have their god defeat Nylonathotep and thus win enough believers to become a recognised deity.]]
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfInnocence'': A direct, symbiotic case. The Devaloka needs the prayer and faith of people from the Naraka to sustain itself. The church's role was to deliver the prayers of the faithful to the gods. In turn, the gods would bestow miracles upon Naraka with the power of the Heavenly Artes. When the people's faith started to wane, they had to resort to taking human souls to fortify it, and the church lost its influence.
* ''VideoGame/SaltAndSanctuary'': [[spoiler:The Nameless God, the BigBad of the game, is a DeityOfHumanOrigin DrivenByEnvy towards the true gods because they possess the one thing he can never have: the ''soul'' of a god. He exploited the hell out of this trope by imprisoning ''every other god in history'', then began intercepting and answering all the prayers meant for them in their place in order to starve them to death. By the time of your arrival, only the Three are still left standing, reduced to mindless rotting husks that attack you on sight even if you are one of their worshippers. And the only reason they're still standing ''at all'' is because their religion is the most recently founded one in the setting so they've only been imprisoned for a relatively short time compared to the rest, who have all been there so long that they've decayed away to nothing]].
* The [[PowersThatBe Elder Powers]] in ''VideoGame/NexusWar'' games need mortals to keep fighting for them in the titular war in order to have a chance at reshaping the cosmos and keeping the ideas that they represent relevant. The current pantheon is made up of the gods that win often enough that their divinity isn't immediately in peril (and there's no sign of a clear winner in sight), but all of them have no choice but to keep manipulating the war for eternity.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Runescape}}'', most gods require worshipers to maintain their power, but the top two DivineRanks are able to draw energy directly from the Anima Mundi without mortal intermediaries.
* In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire]]'', Rayquaza is depicted as being a PhysicalGod revered by the people of Hoenn, and its [[SuperMode Mega Evolution]] is achieved through the player praying to it. It should also be pointed out that Mega Rayquaza has (as of ''VideoGame/PokemonUltraSunAndUltraMoon'') the highest base stat total of all Pokémon (only tied with both Mega Mewtwo X and Y).

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', the Heroic Spirits (not outright gods but at least a few levels of spiritualism above humans) mostly exist due to - and are partially sustained and empowered by - the belief they've inspired in humanity. Their strength appears based partly on their actual power and partly on pure PopularityPower. As Rin explains in the game prologue, even fictional characters count, what matters is the image created by the minds of the people. The game features two major explorations of this - [[spoiler:Assassin is a nameless samurai called forth to play the role of UsefulNotes/SasakiKojiro, an opponent of UsefulNotes/MiyamotoMusashi]], who is entirely fictional in the Franchise/{{Nasuverse}}. In other words, the pure belief that humanity has in the existence of said hero is so strong that it allows him to exist, [[spoiler:albeit through summoning a nameless spirit to take on his name and fill his role]]. On the flip side, [[spoiler:Archer (EMIYA) is a hero from the future]]; nobody knows of his existence and he therefore owes neither his existence nor any of his powers from belief, persisting as a Heroic Spirit only through the connection all Heroic Spirits have with the earth itself. [[TheBerserker Heracles]], naturally, gets top billing either way you look at it. [[Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh Gilgamesh]] (the very first Heroic Spirit) and Myth/KingArthur also rank highly, as does [[UsefulNotes/AlexanderTheGreat Iskander]] in ''LightNovel/FateZero''. To clarify a bit, if a person gains enough acknowledgement in the minds of humanity at large - be it as a Hero, Villian, or Anti-Hero - , real or imagined, they go to the afterlife known as the Throne of Heroes, rather than what happens to normal souls. Once there, they become pseudo-deific spirits of enormous power known as Heroic Spirits. As the Throne exists outside of time, all Heroic Spirits, past, present, and future, dwell there, even after being completely forgotten. That said, a Heroic Spirit's power(as well as their specific Noble Phantasms. Such as, King Arthur's Excalibur is the most famous part of his legend. So naturally it is more powerful than another, such as Rhongomyniad, another weapon of his, yet a far more obscure one) increases the most people know about it. So while being forgotten won't kill or destroy them, being remembered makes them stronger. It even happens on a local level. Hercules is a famous Heroic Spirit worldwide, so when he is summoned as Berserker in Japan, he retains a far greater portion of his powers than Cú Chulainn - Lancer - who would normally be capable of going head-to-head with him, but is so obscure in Japan that he holds only a fraction of his normal strength. This has lead to him being dubbed by fans as "the Most Useless Servant in the War". For a bit of context, when Vlad the Impaler is summoned in ''Fate/Apocrypha'', he is at about 60% power outside of Transylvania, and he's famous worldwide for inspiring the Legend of Dracula. Cú Chulainn, on the other hand, is so obscenely obscure outside of Northern Europe that its unlikely that people from anywhere else had even heard of him before watching this.
** Don't overestimate this sort of power, however. While the overall belief that the world possesses in a Heroic Spirit can certainly increase their power if summoned, they can still easily lose to a less-known Servant by virtue of simply possessing an inferior skillset to said opponent. There's a reason that Cú Chulainn, despite his relatively unknown nature in Japan, can still take on someone with the fame of King Arthur, Medusa, or even Heracles in a fight and have a good chance of coming out victorious, or someone like [[spoiler:EMIYA]] can defeat Gilgamesh due to the specifics of their Noble Phantasms. Skill is just as necessary in a fight as power, after all.
** The gods of the Franchise/{{Nasuverse}} also experienced this. While some existed before there were beings who could believe in them, many Divine Spirits were created by the belief of humanity. As time passed and worship waned, they faded and became weaker Elementals, or ceased to exist. Gilgamesh was created by the gods of ancient Mesopotamia in a vain attempt to stop this from happening to them. He [[JerkassGods saw that the gods were oppressing humanity]], and [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters instead hastened their end]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/AMomentOfPeace'' the gods of the universe eat human emotions to survive, like baked cheer or gruel made of sorrow.
* [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] to an epic extent in the (now completed) ''[[http://indepos.comicgenesis.com/ Indefensible Positions.]]'' Demons are sentient memes and it's implied that gods are simply demons with a lot of believers.
* ''Webcomic/{{Fans}}'' has the occasional god make an appearance. These gods usually claim they were conceived by Roman clergy, during nights with a little too much wine. These gods include the god of gaming, and the anti-cupid (who shoots you with a tommy-gun and takes away your devotion to another person).
* Being partially based on 40K, the Gods in ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'' work this way. Daemons, or at least [[http://exterminatusnow.co.uk/2012-08-05/comic/the-bookend-of-unimaginable-power/australian-rules-chessmaster/ former mortals]], supposedly do as well.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' universe in general employs this trope to explain any god not in the three original pantheons. In particular, Elan and some orcs are Banjoists, worshippers of Banjo the Clown, god of puppets. He doesn't have many followers, so his divine lightning is little more than a spark. One of the prequel books reveals that mortal character can ascend to godhood in this manner.
** Since Elan was unwilling to leave Banjo (who is an actual puppet) with the orcs, he creates Banjo's twin brother and rival, Giggles the Clown, as the god of slapstick. The violence-loving orcs appreciate this, and immediately convert. So Banjo went back down to a single worshipper, but since they were defined as equally powerful rivals, that probably remains the case. The [=OotS=]-verse has established that being defined as a rival gives free XP to keep one side from being too weak for the role.
** Elan once tried to get Banjo inducted into the Northern Pantheon, specifically to gain more worshippers. The local priest angrily rejected this idea, and Elan then decided Banjo was too good for their pantheon, unaware that Odin (who likes puppets) approved of the idea.
** Similarly, several elves and one goblin (The Dark One) became so revered after their deaths that they ascended to godhood
** Longrunning movie snacks like Popcorn, [[BlandNameProduct Milk Dudes [sic]]], and Soda have apparently gained power "like unto tiny refreshing GODS!" from generations of popularity.
* ''Webcomic/TheGodsOfArrKelaan'' gain power from their followers, but mostly they provide their own (considerable) power.
** Interestingly, the Abrahamic god is shown to be a concept created by a pantheon of minor gods in order to conserve the lessening magic in our world.
** The Traveler Gods actually gain power from worshipers in a slightly sideways manner - worship itself doesn't grant the gods more power, but deceased souls that have an affinity for them (including those that were never worshipers, or never even heard of them) are drawn to their afterlives to seek enlightenment through exploration of some state of being (such as through learning, for Claremont the god of Science). As souls AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence on achieving enlightenment, the gods gather power from the act of ascension. It's in their interests more to promote their portfolios rather than their faiths - Claremont would get more power from fostering a love of learning worldwide rather than creating an authoritarian church to enforce his dogma.
* In ''Webcomic/ParallelDementia'', most nightmares (read: supernatural beings) gain power from belief. This also works for human, as demonstrated by a legendary assassin who faked her death who still gains power from people believing in her former name, Mistress of Blades.
* A slight variant in ''Webcomic/{{Underling}}'', in that they are powered by knowledge of them, even more so belief.
* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'', Coyote believes that this is how he came into existence. [[TricksterGod Whether or not this is TRUE is another matter entirely]]. That said, with what happened to the Native Americans it's clear lack of worshippers doesn't diminish the power of something that has gained it (assuming Coyote's theory is true).
* In ''Webcomic/TooMuchInformation'' some spirits can become Astrals by having enough worshipers. Losing those worshipers causes them to die.
* In ''Webcomic/TrueVillains'', there is a god of everything, but only five have any real power because they are believed in and worshiped.
* ''Webcomic/{{Twokinds}}'': The gods are waging proxy wars to determine which of their creations will become the apex species. Since the humans worship one god (name unknown so far) and the keidran worship Neutral, it's implied that the extinction of a species means the respective god will die or be weakened from a lack of followers. Furthermore, it's implied that the god of the Basitins made his creations extremely obedient so they would always follow the rules, [[GoneHorriblyRight but they were so obedient that they worshiped the law instead of their god and starved them to death]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Seen in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'' with the New Olympians. After escaping imprisonment (by whom hasn't yet been revealed) into the modern world, the old gods of Olympus find themselves greatly weakened and without worshippers to draw power from, and end up having to take mortal hosts. Who in the present day form their own loose school clique at Whateley Academy...
** It's also been mentioned in the canon background material that even simple spirits (basically considered randomly occurring self-motivated 'knots' of magical energy) may be able to evolve into 'gods' over time if given a source of worship to draw on.
* Used in ''Roleplay/{{Adylheim}}'': the less powerful gods require constant supplication and sacrifices to be made in their honour, whereas the more powerful ones merely use this as something of a divine power up. In return they're usually inclined to offer everything from providence to small miracles.
* Because of a ScrewDestiny maneuver by TheChosenOne in the Podcast/MetamorCity setting, the old gods of the pantheon are now {{physical god}}s and have lost most of their strength and power. They gain some of their power back by way of worship from mortal souls.
** In the original Literature/MetamorKeep setting, where the gods are at the height of their power, they draw power from faith and actions done in their name. Though aside from the priesthood most worshipers only pray when they need something, and such favors often have a significantly higher cost.
* Justified with the ''{{WebOriginal/Inglip}}'' meme (for sufficient meta values of "followers" - an Inglip comic maker declaring himself as Gropaga will - mostly - let Inglip win, same for the other cults and gods).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* While negotiating a system of catacombs as [[ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself part of a ritual ordeal]] in ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'', Lion-O discovers a beautiful, brightly-lit room full of treasures. A mysterious figure, clearly terrorized by his presence, attacks him but is too weak and decrepit to put up any resistance. After Lion-O assures him that he is not a thief, the creature introduces himself, explaining that millennia ago he was a much-renowned god, but that his power has withered to virtually nothing after enduring many centuries without having been worshipped. He goes on to explain that ''anyone'' can become a god, but few attempt it as without worshippers this is certain doom.
* In the ''Franchise/CareBears'' episode "Share Bear Shines!", Princess Starglo explains that stars are powered by belief and wishes, but so few people believe in her or wishing on stars that she doesn't have much power left, which leads to her [[TheStarsAreGoingOut turning off all the stars in the sky]] (including the sun). By the end of the movie, she nearly fades away, but is saved by a burst of belief from the Care Bears.
** The Care Bears themselves, as well as their home, stay alive because of the love and goodness on Earth. Ife everyone stopped caring, Care-A-Lot and its inhabitants would fade away.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AaahhRealMonsters'' episode "Where Have all the Monsters Gone?", it's revealed that monsters need the fear of humans to exist. If not enough humans are afraid of monsters, the monsters start disappearing bit by bit.
* ''WesternAnimation/PJSparkles'' lives on love and will die without it. When The Cloak's Malice Mist saps all the love from Twinkle Town, P.J. becomes weak, and Blaze turns back into an old horse. Conversely, the love of just one boy is enough to recharge her powers.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicTrollsAndTheTrollWarriors'', without the power of laughter and happiness the Magic Trolls will fade away and die.