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Deity of Human Origin

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"Those energies weren't that strange. I'm fine. NOW UNHAND ME. I MUST RISE!"
"...Aaand he's hovering."

"Talos is the true god of man! Ascended from flesh, to rule the realm of spirit!"

A Deity of Human Origin is an actual god created by humans (or other mortal beings), or who used to be one such mortal being (or several) before becoming a god. Not merely godlike, but an actual de facto god who has created a universe or sentient species or performed some other feat worthy of a true god. May or may not still have a physical body. The mere fact that the universe existed before this character's ascension implies that there are primary gods who have given a large part of them into shaping the universe and that this creature is most likely one of the secondary gods. If the Deity of Human Origin is the creator of the world/universe, then it's another one than the one they grew up in... unless Time Travel is involved, of course.

It may be a person who was raised up by other gods, or a computer program that has somehow tapped into a source of divine power, or anything, really. The important thing is that it's an actual god with roots in humanity.note  This trope does not refer to the actual concept of gods being invented by man.

Having created a world does not automatically make a person into this trope: it's a matter of how the whole thing is portrayed. Let's say that some guy creates a virtual world where the computer programs are real individuals with real emotion and self-aware intelligence. If the programmer comes across as having crossed some kind of Moral Event Horizon, it's not this trope. If they instead come across as some kind of Crystal Dragon Jesus, it's definitely this trope.

In a setting where gods are powered by the faith of their followers, it may be possible for a mortal to ascend to godhood with sufficient worship. The classic example is a hero so renowned that the common people pray to them for aid.

May be Older Than Dirt. The 18th-century BCE Epic of Atraḥasis starts with the line "When the gods were man they did forced labor, they bore drudgery." It should be noted, however, that this may also be read as meaning that the "lesser gods" had to do all the work before humans were created for that purpose.

Compare Angelic Transformation, Demon of Human Origin, God Guise. May overlap with Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, but that trope doesn't require actual Godhood, and this trope doesn't require a higher plane. In many, although not all, cases, this character may have been a Godhood Seeker beforehand. See also The Modern Gods.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: An argument can be made for the five members of the God Hand: if Griffith/Femto is any indication, each one Was Once a Man, but it's unclear whether they're as omnipotent and undefeatable as they seem. Slan, one of them, does mention they are not gods, and that there are events they cannot foresee, although such events are exceptionally rare. The Idea of Evil, on the other hand...
  • ENIAC & Atanasoff serves as this to the entire Digimon franchise, having formed the primordial Digital Worlds into what they are.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Earth's god falls into this category, where essentially anyone strong and pure of heart can qualify for the role. The current god even considers giving it to Son Goku at one point. Note that as Kami is a Rubber-Forehead Alien, and Goku is a Human Alien, actually being a native Earth species isn't a requirement.
    • In Battle of Gods, it is revealed that Saiyans can do a temporary version of this: in times of crisis, five good-hearted Saiyans can combine their energies into a sixth and have him become the "Super Saiyan God". Goku does this but somehow he has absorbed the Super Saiyan God powers after it was supposed to have worn off and Whis suggests that Goku could one day become the new God of Destruction (Goku declines). It is heavily implied that Gods of Destruction come from incredibly powerful mortals — Whis agrees to train Vegeta on the condition that he become a God of Destruction one day.
    • The Dragon Ball Super adaptation of Battle of Gods explains things further by stating there is "Divine Energy" which mortals normally can't sense. The Saiyan ritual allows the recipient to tap into this divine energy, and once exposed to it the person can later learn to harness it themselves. Later it comes up that there's also "Destruction Energy" which the Gods of Destruction wield, and during the Tournament of Power Toppo of Universe 11 ascends to become a new God of Destruction.
    • Dragon Ball Super has an inversion. Goku Black is the result of an alternate version of mad god Zamasu taking over Goku's body, thus attaining a mortal form.
  • Played with in The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. The humans built space-colony super-computers that will provide for all the humans' needs, and they do fulfill their purpose, but is it the be-all and end-all of things?
  • The elevation of Yurie, the title character of Kamichu!, to divine status in much the same way as listed in Myth below, kickstarts the plot, and her learning how to deal with her new status is a significant point in many episodes.
  • The Lifemaker/Mage of the Beginning in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, as can probably be guessed from the name, is the creator of the Magical World and presumably its first inhabitant. The Lifemaker is over two thousand years old, immensely powerful, immortal, and is referred to as the god of the Magical World, though he was presumably once human.
  • In the finale of Puella Magi Madoka Magica Madoka becomes a god and creates a new universe.
  • Sekai Maou: The God of Stars, or Star God, who is responsible for creating the world, the stars, and the cycle of the eternal conflict between the Hero and the Demon Lord turns out to be a little girl like Mao. The Star God admits that because of this she actually can die. The very last page in Chapter 50 reveals she was once an assistant to a scientist whose experiments turned her into one.
  • Quite a few examples in Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki:
    • Sasami is this via Fusion Dance: her young body was nearly killed when Ryoko attacked Jurai and Tsunami bonded with her to save her life as well as push forward with her plans. As Sasami grows older, though, the two will become one and Sasami will have Tsunami's powers.
    • Side material as well as the 3rd OVA series revealed that this was the big plan between the three Choushin Tsunami, Tokimi and Washu: the three sought to find the avatar of their universe's God and decided to do things their own way. Washu was reborn as a human, her power sealed in three gems - those gems would be used in the creation of Ryoko, where it's said that Ryoko's body coming into maturity would mean she could use those powers. Tokimi stepped in and altered fate to create her own avatar, Z. Tsunami would let nature take its course and only step in when needed, leading to the birth of Tenchi. Once they discovered Tenchi was the avatar they were looking for, time was reset to let Z live his life normally and let Tenchi grow into his powers naturally.

  • The Apotheosis of Washington: Apparently, really good Presidents become gods when they die. They also seem to have a higher place in this cosmology than Anthropomorphic Personifications or even the Greek gods.

    Comic Books 
  • In the indie comic Atomika — God is Red, Mother Russia is a mortal incarnation of the goddess of Russia and she has a human son with a hidden divine spark. The evil duke of the Soviet Union has Mother Russia killed and the boy rendered down and rebuilt with dark science as a metal-skinned god of the atom.
  • In the Books of Magic mini-series Books of Faerie, it's revealed that Queen Titania of the Fey was actually born a human peasant girl in 11th century Europe. She abandoned her human life for the Land of Faerie, was taken in as an attendant to a fey queen named Dymphna, and mastered sorcery to the point that, combined with the illusory glamor she uses to present the appearance of being a fey woman, pretty much no one is aware that she's not a pureblooded fey. Even her husband Auberon has no idea she's actually just a very powerful human sorceress running an extremely long con. It adds a great deal of irony to her relationship with Timothy Hunter; she's convinced that he's her firstborn son, whom she had to smuggle out of Faerie at his birth to avoid revealing her true heritage, but he doesn't believe her because he knows that he has no fey blood, and Titania doesn't dare reveal her ruse even to him.
  • Dark Gods by Justin Jordan for Avatar Press, had the Babylonian god Bel Marduk who was the only god that wasn't a Tulpa created from human belief. Instead he was a former priest who understood the source of the gods' power. So he self-inserted his own legend into the religion of his people and their belief in this new god transformed him. Unfortunately in modern times, his powers waned from a lack of believers, so he turned to a darker avenue to restore his powers.
  • At the end of the first book of Darkseid War, this happens to half the Justice League of America.
  • The Great Powers of Fables are implied to be this. Like the Endless, they are material beings representing ideas. The Great Powers like Mr. North or Mister Dark can be killed, with their title of office and powers going to another person.
  • Fantastic Four: Galactus used to be a humanoid from the old universe called Galan before the old universe was destroyed. He was the only survivor and became the Planet Eater we all know today.
  • Futurama featured briefly an alternate timeline, where Greeks disillusioned with democracy, switched to theocracy, and built robot gods to rule them. It ended as you could expect from ancient Greek deities.
  • In Judgment Day (Marvel Comics), Mr. Sinister, Iron Man, and Eternals Ajak and Makkari use the Celestial corpse that is Avengers Mountain to create a new Celestial to stop the war between the Eternals and the mutants of Krakoa. The end result, the Progenitor, decided to put Humanity on Trial after realizing how flawed everyone was. However, it's convinced that God Is Flawed, and the Progenitor gives his power to Ajak to be the new god of judgment.
  • Lady Death used to be a young Swedish girl who was executed for witchcraft. After bargaining her soul with demons to save her life, she was transported to Hell where she became a mighty warrior who eventually overthrew Lucifer. Since then, Lady Death ruled Hell as Queen of All That Is Dead and Dying.
  • In Lucifer, Mona Doyle eventually becomes a goddess. So does Elaine Belloc, but Elaine was never really human.
  • In the Marvel Universe, the character that best fits this trope is probably the High Evolutionary: he creates an entire planet and evolves animals into new humans to populate it, as well as spending large periods of time away from his creation and no longer having a human body underneath his armor. However, he's still depressed at times by the presence of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens out there who are way more powerful than he is. A more common way is to have a human join an established Pantheon of gods — Loki, for example, tried to make Storm the new Asgardian god of thunder at one point — but these ascensions have a tendency to end up being temporary.
  • Moon Knight (2021): Moon Knight's old enemy Stained Glass Scarlet was killed off-panel by the police. As her legend spread, however, people started praying to her for revenge and this allowed her to be reborn as a goddess.
  • All the deities of Rat Queens are this. An individual can ascend by fulfilling three requirements, but reverts to mortal if the requirements are undone.
  • In The Sandman (1989), Daniel Hall eventually has his mortality burned away, and the immortal part becomes the new Dream of the Endless when Morpheus dies.
  • In the Tales of Telguuth story "To Become a God", an Evil Sorcerer wishes to become a god after becoming the most powerful wizard on Telguuth. A defeated rival tells him of an island where the natives are rumored to know how to make mortals into gods. The sorcerer makes the trip and forces the natives to make him into a god. The natives agree and hold a feast for him, claiming it is the food of the gods. The food contains a paralytic root that renders the sorcerer helpless as the natives flay him alive. The natives use his skin to fashion a grotesque idol which they worship as a "god".
  • The TRON example below is given a Deconstruction in the Alternate Continuity TRON: Ghost In the Machine. Jet Bradley finds out about what his game programming means on the other side of the screen, does not handle the revelation well, and is scared to even go near a computer after finding out.
  • Watchmen averts this during the actual storyline. Dr Manhattan claims that he is not God and that he doesn't like people. In the end, however, he has changed his mind: He likes people after all, so maybe he'll create some as his next project.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In Wonder Woman (1987), she becomes the Goddess of Truth for a short while after she is killed in action and the Greek gods decide to reward her for her devotion. However, she's too good to be a god, using her new powers more to help people than gain worshippers, so they eventually demote her back to mortal superhero.
    • In Wonder Woman (2011), she becomes the Goddess of War, taking the mantle from Ares.
  • X-Factor (2006): Theresa Cassidy becomes the new Morrigan by killing the previous one who herself was an ordinary mortal girl before killing her predecessor. Theresa uses her new godly powers to heal the mind of a traumatized Polaris who had been broken by the revelation that she was the one who killed her parents when her powers manifested.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction; after Vivienne Graham has been transformed from a human into half of a Two Beings, One Body Titan, she and her new Draconic Abomination brother San are considered as much a Physical God as the other Titans are. Vivienne lampshades the fact that she's essentially a mortal who's been elevated to walk among the gods, like the mythical deities of human origin, in Chapter 12.
  • Better Bones AU: By taking back her own body after Sol possesses her, Fallenleaf (originally a normal cat) gains Sol's powers and essentially takes his place as one of the four gods of the setting.
    • Some of the more famous StarClan cats (the afterlife for dead ancestors of the Clan cats) like Daisytail, Firestar, and several cats from Dawn of the Clans like Clear Sky, Gray Wing, Thunder Storm, and Bumble, gain enough power from being remembered and worshipped to be considered gods themselves.
    • The four gods themselves were likely once mortals, though so far back no one knows who they once were.
  • In the Final Fantasy VII fanfic, Cissnei's Path, Minerva is revealed to have been an Ancient Cetra before she became the Goddess of the Lifestream.
  • A Clash Of NEETS includes the canon examples of Madoka, Ristarte, and Kefka. It also adds two characters who weren't this in canon:
    • Here, Eris was originally a human thief who defeated her era's Devil King with trickery and cunning. As a reward, Aqua helped her achieve apotheosis, transforming her into the Goddess of Fortune that Kazuma met.
    • Satella was a half-elf girl possessed by the evil entity known as the Witch Of Envy; seeing her as similar to a Magical Girl, Madoka helped destroy the Witch and free Satella, which unexpectedly caused Satella to absorb the Witch's power. Couple with the fact that she already had a cult devoted to her, this caused an unforeseen chain reaction, that ended with her becoming a Goddess of Death. Madoka and the others welcomed her into their pantheon so she could guard the souls of their followers.
  • Codex Equus: 'Ascendant deities' are a subclass of deity. They're considered In-Universe to be the rarest deities because it requires specific conditions for a mortal to gain godhood. The Church of the Stars is trying to invoke this on a global scale - not only to help mortal sapientkind become the best they can be but to prepare for the day when the Void Sovereign manages to escape his cosmic prison so everyone wouldn't pay a huge price for defeating him like what happened in the Second Age.
  • A Crown of Stars: Daniel, this story's Big Good, is the Immortal Ruler of Avalon, but hundreds of millennia ago, he was a human that sought, and managed, to ascend to godhood. His powers include soul manipulation, traveling through space and time, and bringing people back from the dead.
  • Distortions (Symphogear): What The Four Horsemen believe are happening to the Adaptors. That after the events with Shem-Ha, they are becoming a new species dubbed Homo Sapien Sumphonia that must be exterminated by any means for the human race's survival. And the data they've collected indicates they are at least partially correct.
  • Eigengrau Zwei: Die Welt Ist Grau Geworden: Dim describes one means of doing this, assuming you are utterly lacking in morals, when his belief that his mother intended him to ascend is questioned. Basically, become immortal and latch onto primordial chaos. Keep causing mayhem (feeding upon it to grow stronger) and eventually you'll attract attention from those who went before you, who'll offer power, in exchange for more chaos, setting up a feedback loop of horror and power that will eventually consume the whole universe and make you more powerful than you can imagine.
  • Equestria Divided: Twilight's experiment was meant to turn ordinary ponies into Alicorns. When she used it on Rainbow Dash, her face lost an eye and became horribly scarred for the most part. When used on Pinkie Pie, well... the Laughing Mare is kind of a god.
  • Imaginary Seas: Percy was born Semi-Divine, but is currently a full-fledged Divine Spirit due to being gifted Poseidon's Divine Core. While this bumps up his strength, it makes his mana consumption even more ridiculous and he needs several doses of Klironomia to be able to fight properly, and it isn't until he takes in Athena's and Ares' Klironomia for him to be able to fight at full strength.
  • Defied in The Infinite Loops, and with good reasons: as discovered when Madoka was tricked into Ascending to Admin level, an Ascension will destroy a branch of Yggdrasil (that is, an entire universe), and very few Loopers would want to destroy a branch, even if Yggdrasil wasn't already damaged. Of course, ascending to in universe god-or-equivalenthood is okay, and most loopers are powerful enough to count as Physical Gods.
  • Legacy of Kain: Divus Saga features the Divus, the pantheon of the Elder God's Wheel of Fate. All of them were once mortal beings who were granted their status by the Elder; some were human, others were ancient vampires, and at least one was a Hylden.
  • In Mister Vimes'd Go Spare!, by Lunik, Sam Vimes is dead. Of course, on the Discworld, reality (and the pantheon) really depends on how strongly people believe in it. And coppers really believe in Mister Vimes...
  • New Tamaran: Raven ultimately becomes a God of Good, although being the daughter of a God of Evil definitely helped.
  • Pony POV Series: All the Minor Arcana Alicorns are mortals who ascended to godhood, with only one of the Major Arcana, the Magician, having been a former mortal (namely Twilight Sparkle). The epilogue reveals that the Flim Flam Brothers become the first mortals to become Draconequi, though mainly by either stealing domains or inheriting domains of dead Draconequi.
  • In Son of the Western Sea there are two mentioned ways that a mortal can become a god. The first is that an individual can be rewarded with godhood by an existing god and be ascended by them, such as Hercules and Guan Yu. The second is that an individual can already be a god despite being born mortal and eventually ascend of through their own power, such as Dionysus. There is the implication that the second type is both rarer and more powerful than the first type: Hercules complains to Percy that, despite doing a whole lot more than Dionysus when he was mortal, he only became a minor god because not even Hestia would not make a new god powerful enough to take one of the Olympian thrones. Unbeknowst to Percy he is the second type, he just hasn't burnt through his mortality yet or noticed what exactly the true nature of his powers are.
  • Thousand Shinji: Due to the events of the fic, Shinji, Asuka, Rei, and Misato became the New Chaos Gods. All of them have a myriad of shapes — some few of them humanoid and/or comprehensible to human eyes — psychic powers and are able to manipulate souls and bodies. Shinji is the God of Deceit and is nearly omniscient, Asuka if the Goddess of War is her world's master of physical combat, Rei is the Goddess of Demise and her domain is decay and sickness, and Misato is Goddess of Pleasure and Pain.
  • In the Doctor Who fanfic Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Rose turns herself into one through what basically amounts to self-gene therapy (daily sessions of repeated exposure to the Time Vortex until her mind and body can handle it) over the five months she's stuck, totally alone, on a spaceship.
  • The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13: Link himself is technically an Amnesiac God, but fits the spirit of this trope more. His power was suppressed when he was a baby, and he grows up as a mortal, meaning he has no "past life" to remember. He also insists on sticking to his mortal identity even when he does reclaim his powers, so him being born a god rather than becoming one is basically a technicality at this point.
  • The Vicious Gods Wrath: The different mortal races are all capable of one of their own becoming a god by embracing the opposite of their nature. Besides the Super Saiyan God borne from five pure-hearted Saiyans, they are stories of one member of a pacifist race killing and devouring the hearts of the loving to become a god, a sea-fearing race on a deserr rose having a legend of one who dove to the depths of the ocean, and a member of a vicious and blood-thirsting race reaching godhood through peace and forgiveness. Freeza, whose people the Arcosians are a timid and fragile race from a frozen world, is able to achieve godhood by entering the heart of a sun.
  • Fate: Hammer Time: After lifting Thor's hammer, Shirou is on his way to becoming a god, altough his body is still mostly human.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Boy and the Beast, it's specified that humans can't do it, but the Beast Men can reincarnate as gods after years of training.
  • Child of Kamiari Month: As a reward for completing her quest, Kanna is temporarily granted godhood as a descendant of Idaten and adorned with celestial raiments, though the divine clothes disappear and she returns to being human after leaving the realm of the gods.
  • Klaus (2019) concludes with Klaus returning each Christmas to deliver toys to the children of the world... and popping in to see the friend who'd encouraged him to do so while he was alive.
  • The version of Maui portrayed in Moana was made a demigod by the gods after his human parents abandoned him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300: Rise of an Empire: King Xerxes' claims of being a God-Emperor are shown to be literally true, with him originally having been an ordinary-looking Persian prince before he went on a pilgrimage where he was reborn as something superhuman.
  • Bruce Almighty: Bruce Nolan is an ordinary man who thinks God is doing a bad job, so God decides to give Bruce all his powers. As long as he doesn't tell anyone or mess with free will, Bruce is now, effectively, God.
  • Foreshadowed by the title of Transcendence and Caster's speech near the beginning where he elaborates on the necessity of creating a god. Then Caster dies and becomes an ascended intelligence with omnipresent-omnipotent-omniscient powers and set about making the world a better place for everyone in it. He/it was on the verge of elevating humankind to his/its level when the stupid humans committed deicide.
  • TRON: In this movie (as well as the sequel), computer programs are real people with real feelings, and the world they live in is very real in its own right. Their gods, the Users (with a capital U) tend to refer to themselves as "human", a designation that is quite irrelevant to the setting. See Page Quote.
    • The original film is essentially a Christian parable. The electronic world is being tyrannized by the MCP, a program that is rebelling against its creators (it's hacking the military to literally make war on humanity). The MCP is trying to stamp out belief in the Users (which is explicitly called a religion; communication with the Users is handled by Dumont, whose design resembles the garb of a clergyman), persecuting the faithful and throwing them into gladiatorial combat. Those who join the MCP become his faceless, red-colored minions. His chief flunky Sark even wears a helmet shaped like devil horns. Into this world comes Flynn, a User who has become a mere program (wearing a tunic reminiscent of a prophet's robes). He displays supernatural powers, including the ability to heal by laying on of hands. He ultimately sacrifices himself to defeat the MCP and save the digital world, and ascends back to the real world of the creators, a realm beyond the programs' comprehension. The Novelization by Brian Daley plays up the symbolism even more.
  • Over 90% of TRON: Legacy takes place in a world known as The Grid, and the major conflict is built on three characters (two of them played by the same actor) who we can call The Father, The Son, and The Devil. The Father is the creator of the world and also the father of the Son — whose arrival to the world brings new hope and a chance of salvation from the Devil character who has ruled the world since he rebelled against The Father. The Father is wise and benevolent, a personality that might seem a bit out of character for those who have seen the first movie and remember him as an immature brat. At the very end, it is revealed that he was still immature and shortsighted when he created the world and the creature that would usurp him and take the role of Devil. This is revealed to be the reason why the world is in the sorry condition it is — The Devil was simply carrying out the orders given to him by The Father to the best of his ability, but the Father who created him and his world was flawed. Thus he carried out flawed orders to the best of his flawed ability. This turned his quest for perfection into something vile, warping him into a Totalitarian Utilitarian leader of something that looks eerily familiar.

  • In Blood Sword, the sage Emeritus talks about how legendary figures such as your foes, the True Magi, can achieve apotheosis and enter an undead state that's more like godhood. Later in that same book, you fight such a figure Hunguk the Pirate King and can see that his apotheosis makes him more powerful than anyone you faced at this point.
  • In The Saga Of Billy, Phumtar, god of Justice, Administration, and Gravity, was originally a simple platypus: as the first mortal being to stumble over the divine stamps that came with the job, he was invested with the divine mission to make sure that no one tampered with the integrity of his world's physics, and now has to approve or disapprove everything that happens in Alkior.
  • In Slaves of the Abyss, you become one at the end of the book as you defeat the previous lord of the abyss and gained the tutelage of the wise snake Caduceus as you continue your apotheosis.

  • The Ellimist from Animorphs was originally mortal; the full story of his ascension to a higher plane is told in The Ellimist Chronicles.
  • In Fredric Brown's short story "Answer" humans create an omnipotent computer and ask it, "Is there a God?" The computer answers, There is now!
  • In The Balanced Sword trilogy, the male lead's patron god, Terian, is said to have once been a mortal man. This sets up the denouement in which the female lead defeats the Big Bad by ascending to a higher plane of existence and becoming a god herself.
  • With one exception, the gods in the Book of the Long Sun are of human, though hardly humane, origin. They turn out to be the digitized personalities of the dictator who build the starship all the characters live in, his sociopathic family, along with his mistress and a few cronies. Their explicit desire to make a mockery of everything virtuous explains why the two religions we see are a blasphemous Catholicism with blood sacrifices and an intolerant, gender-bent version of Islam.
  • Becoming a god is the goal of many characters in Coiling Dragon. Warriors and magi train their abilities to gain insight into the Laws and Edicts of magic. Once their understanding is deep enough, they will become a Deity. If a character bonds with a divine spark, however, they may learn from a previous Deity's understanding and gain godhood.
  • In the Coldfire Trilogy, human colonists are stranded on a planet where what they imagine can become real, including monsters under the bed, and being afraid something will go wrong will make it go wrong, just for starters. The Church of the One God was deliberately created to give people something greater to have faith in, because if they believed that things would turn out for the best then they would. Eventually, they succeed in creating an actual transcendent deity that can actually intercede on their behalf.
  • In The Cosmere
    • Adonalsium, the creator of the Cosmere, whose nature is ambiguous, was shattered by a group of seventeen mortals, most of whom were human, each, sans one, taking up their own segement, a Shard, of Adonalsium's power, becoming gods themselves.
      • It is possible for a Shardvessel to die, at which point the Shard can be taken up by someone else, so far seen in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy with Kelsier becoming the Shard of Preservation for a hot minute, before pasing it on to Vin who also only took a hot minute to take Ruin out in a Heroic Sacrifice, which then allowed Sazed to take both Preservation and Ruin up more permanently, as a combined shard, Harmony and in The Stormlight Archive with Taravangian killing the Shardvessel of Odium, Rayse, and becoming the new Odium. It's also possible for a Shard to be shattered into futher pieces, thought it doesn't seem possible to attain godhood via the pieces.
      • A Shardvessel can grant another godhood, seen so far in two ways, one in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy with Preservation creating the Well of Ascension that grants someone a temporary period of godhood every millenia, first the Lord Ruler, then later Vin, though she turned it down, second with Autonomy granting worthy followers the ability to become an Avatar of Autonomy to manage a world for her, with The Set even being used as a choosing ground for who is worthy.
    • There are also cases like Mistborn: The Original Trilogy's Lord Ruler and Warbreaker's Returned, where humans attain a state that is considered divine by various groups in-universe, though they're not gods in the cosmic sense (though the Returned are powered by Splinters of power from the Shard Endowment). The Lord Ruler even created three entirely new races, the Inquisitors, the Koloss and the Kandra.
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion has Gird, who according to legend was a peasant who led an uprising against an evil Magocracy armed only with a wooden club, and later died battling an invasion by a neighboring kingdom. His story is told in the Legacy of Gird sub-series.
  • Cataris from the Devil Trilogy started out as a powerful priest of the death god Vorg before ascending to godhood, much to the priesthood of Vorg's embarrassment.
  • Discworld: In Monstrous Regiment, the insanity of the Bororgravian god Nuggan, coupled with the Disc's Clap Your Hands If You Believe and Gods Need Prayer Badly rules has resulted in the Duchess of Borogravia becoming a minor deity, as everyone prays to her because there's no point praying to him. And she hates it because the nature of their belief—that she would hear her people's prayers and intercede with Nuggan on their behalf—leaves her hearing every single one of their pleas without being able to do anything to help them because Nuggan is actually dead; since the only thing people believed in about Nuggan was his Abominations and placed their faith in the Duchess to actually help them, Nuggan withered away until the only thing left of him was new Abominations appearing at random (that's why the more recent Abominations are ridiculous things like babies and the smell of beets; there's no longer an intelligent actor behind them).
  • The ultimate goal of spirit masters in Douluo Dalu is to break through the threshold at Level 99 and become an immortal god.
  • The Dragaeran empire has the Gods, with the Lords of Judgement being the group in charge of the afterlife. Most of them are survivors of an experiment run by a group known as the Jenoine. A 'magical' accident happened that created an area known as the Greater Sea of Chaos. Many of the test subjects, and some of the Jenoine, were able to ascend to godhood as part of their efforts to survive. The rest of the gods that weren't a part of the event were usually offered godhood in the millennia afterwards. Sethra Lavode is a friend of the series' main character; she was offered godhood and refused.
  • Raistlin Majere becomes one of these in an alternate timeline in Dragonlance Legends through Time Travel, some Applied Phlebotinum, and a trip through a portal into the local hell-equivalent to overthrow the Goddess of Evil and take her place. As an encore, he proceeds to kill the rest of the pantheon and turn Krynn into a sterile wasteland. He's just that kind of guy.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • It is said that successful completion of the Darkhallow ritual would turn the wizard into a god, but whether they mean that literally or just mean he/she would gain unimaginable power (assuming there's any meaningful difference between those possibilities,) is unclear.
    • Cold Days reveals that Mab, Queen of the Winter Faerie was once a human, which would suggest that her opposite, and possibly other Faerie Queens were once mortal too. She's not called a "god" (gods are a separate category of being in the books,) but she is an inconceivably powerful and ancient entity with strong links to the forces of nature.
      • Of the five most recent Winter and Summer Ladies, one was supposedly never mortal, three were changelings (human-faerie hybrids, two of them specifically being Mab's daughters), and the current Winter Lady was a mortal, albeit a mage.
  • The titular gods in Factory of the Gods work this way. Anyone — or any phone — who picks up a Godcore can become this, gaining specific domains and powers.
  • Frank Herbert's The Godmakers. The priests of the planet Amel practice "religious engineering", in which gods are literally created through psychic powers. The protagonist develops psychic powers and becomes the first human god the priests of Amel have ever created.
  • In Full Fathom Five from the Craft Sequence, making gods is a business for the island of Kavekana.
  • In The Gods Are Bastards, the Pantheon were once mortals and got their current position by killing the previous generation of gods. It's later revealed that the Elder Gods were also once humanoids. Whether there ever existed any god not of human origin remains an open question.
  • In the Gods Of Manhattan series, many famous personages from New York's history have been promoted to gods in the afterlife, including Walt Whitman and Babe Ruth.
  • The Gods of Pegāna: It is said that whoso seeth the gods upon Pegana becometh as the gods, if so he demand to Their faces. And so Zobruk, who was only a shepherd brought before Them to be laughed at, is now numbered among the gods. To make men happy, he sent gifts into the Worlds with the usual results of impulsive divine gifts.
  • At least one of the gods in the Hyperion Cantos is the result of human engineering.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality series, all significant forces — Death, Fate, Nature, War, Time, and so forth are normal humans who assumed the Office. However, most of these Incarnations are not worshiped. The culmination of the series arc plot is a full example: God is removed from office for being incompetent, and a human is chosen to assume the Office.
  • Journey to Chaos: Several of Tariatla's gods used to be human (or elf, orc, etc.) but they became gods through ritual merging with a Sentient Cosmic Force. The process altered their body, mind and soul into that of a divine creature. Fiol, for instance, was a human woman who became the avatar of the Grand Elemental Sentience of Fire.
  • The Krockman was originally just an ordinary ghost before buying out the universe and becoming its new ruler.
  • In A Land Fit for Heroes, the Sky Dwellers, also known as the Dark Court, are apparently immortal and possess godlike magical powers, but drop the occasional hint that they were once human. Specifically, that they are characters from the author's previous trilogy, Takeshi Kovacs, with Takavach being the titular Sociopathic Soldier and the others including his former mentor and a rather loopy revolutionary leader.
  • In "The Last Question", humanity builds a supercomputer of unparalleled processing power and keeps upgrading it over millions of years, asking the eponymous question ("How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?", that is, violate basic laws of physics and enter god territory) from time to time. The answer is always "There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer." This remains the answer even as the computer grows exponentially more powerful as the story progresses through the gradual death of the universe, and even when the Universe is completely dead and the computer was the only thing left in existence (its hardware had transcended matter and energy and been consigned to Hyperspace long before that point). But then the computer realizes the answer to the question, and the story ends with "And [the computer said] 'Let there be LIGHT!' and there was light."
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen, due to the number of gods, demigods, and other powerful beings involved in the plot, has a whole bunch of deities that used to be human or some other mortal race. Some examples are:
    • Ascendants, simply put, are people who have done something extraordinary and have exceeded the normal limits of the possible for their race and/or situation. Provided that enough people have witnessed the deed or heard of it, Ascendants can accumulate worshippers and become gods, making them deities of mortal origin.
    • Itkovian starts as merely human, but after his Heroic Sacrifice he becomes "the Redeemer", the god of, well, redemption and forgiveness. Toll the Hounds is partly the story of his struggles with the expectations of his followers and the question of whether forgiveness should be given without conditions or needs to be earned.
    • Emperor Kellanved and his right-hand man Dancer found a way to the unoccupied Throne of Shadow and ascended upon gaining power over it, becoming Shadowthrone and Cotillion, the God of Shadows and the Patron God of Assassins, respectively.
    • Dassem Ultor, the Imperial First Sword (supreme commander) of the Malazan Empire eventually became Dessembrae, the Lord of Tragedy, although his path was somewhat convoluted and, well, tragic. He used to be the Champion of Hood, the God of Death, but reportedly was betrayed by Hood and swore revenge. The last couple of books reveal that he ascended when the T'lan Imass, whose First Sword title the Empire initially copied but with whom said title carried actual metaphysical investiture, transferred the title from their original First Sword Onos T'oolan to Dassem Ultor, giving the God of Death an opportunity to get at them for becoming The Undead and slipping his influence through Dassem. To do so, Hood used Dassem's daughter, and upon finding out, Dassem rejected the T'lan Imass worship of him and swore revenge on his former Patron God. As Onos T'oolan asserts, Dassem Ultor aka Dessembrae is the God of Tears and cursed to hunt down all those who were involved in his Ascension, starting with Hood.
    • Hood himself used to be a normal Jaghut, but then an Elder God killed his wife he started a war against the concept of Death itself. In truest You Kill It, You Bought It-fashion, winning the war made him the God of Death.
    • Mother Dark used to be the queen of the Tiste people until she wandered too far between the realms and attracted the love of Draconus, the Anthropomorphic Personification of primordial darkness, who, as a token of his love, gifted her with godhood.
    • Zig-zagged with the Tiste Edur, who worship their former king Scabandari Bloodeye, who in turn used to be a simple captain in Urusander's Legion, as "Father Shadow". However, his official status as of the start of the main series is "lost" and in fact, it is questionable whether he ever truly was a god or is simply venerated as such by the Tiste Edur, even though deities of mortal origin are not uncommon in that world. Due to his soul being trapped in a Finnest he is unable to answer his worshippers whether he wants to or not.
  • Mermaids of Eriana Kwai: Eriana, the legendary Founder of the Kingdom, was a Friend to All Living Things who spent most of her adult life protecting the animals who lived on the island that bears her name. After her death, the Gaela turned her into a goddess so she could continue protecting the island.
  • No Gods for Drowning:
    • Mortals can reproduce with gods and if the child they produce is a god as well, the mortal will become a god.
    • At the end of the novel, Arcadia Myrn gains godhood through her contact with the power of other dieties.
  • In William Shatner's The Quest For Tomorrow books, the protagonist reveals that humans are eventually supposed to reach The Singularity and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence as a single being. The other races would eventually join this being, although humans would be the key. Once it became all-powerful, the being would travel back in time and create the primary universe from which The Multiverse stems. However, certain events conspire to keep this from happening, and the heroes have to take some drastic measures to save reality from unraveling.
  • Scrapped Princess: Cellia Mauser is revered as the "god" of the setting and is the subject of a religious order’s worship. However Pacifica later learns that Mauser was a mere human who'd been left in charge of supervising them, and even refers to herself as a caretaker. Cellia abdicates her position after letting Pacifica decide whether the world should remain as it was, or if she should release the seal on the "locked world".
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: Marethyu (The Grim Reaper) is a future version of the protagonist Josh (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Sekhmet has Eliza, as a past champion. This is what is going to happen to the Champions when they die.
  • Sister Alice has the Great Families, who protect the peace in the galaxy. As Family members age, they are granted more "talents" — massive, nearly intangible dark matter machinery — and their mind is sped up, until they possess powers equal to that of a god, capable of ripping planets and stars apart, or creating entirely new elements. A classified memo from a corrupt family explicitly calls their high-rank members to a "god", when describing how their presence in a system can greatly improve the economy.
  • In the world of Spells, Swords, & Stealth, it is entirely possible for mortal beings to ascend to godhood. However, the ones that manage this keep the details of how they did so quiet to prevent too many others from following in their footsteps. According to what Thistle was taught, Grumble, the god of the minions, was a kobold minion to a wizard who needed a guinea pig for an unknown ritual and realized too late that the ritual bestowed divinity on who it was used on. Grumble made sure he didn't get to try it on himself.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, it's strongly implied that one of the hidden purposes of the System was to try to create another god of the same type as the creator of said System. This eventually occurs when Kumoko herself raises an obscure skill with no clear use to level 10. Said skill, Divine Realm Expansion, is completely impossible to decipher since the description of it is Shaped Like Itself no matter how much you try to investigate, but it makes sense after figuring out what happens when you max it. It seems to be associated with the heavenly virtue and deadly sin skills, implying the Rulers of said skills are Semi-Divine, but still completely mortal.
  • The Supervillainy Saga: After The Tournament of Supervillainy, Gary is officially named Earth's God of Death. This doesn't seem to actually affect his powers but apparently comes with being The Ageless and magical power he doesn't really have the knowledge to tap into it. He describes himself as the absolute lowest on the totem pole and the god of pocket lint.
  • That Hideous Strength: The villains of this story are attempting to create an immortal human and, in the end, subjugate all of nature and all of humanity to a single immortal entity. They even explicitly refer to this as "creating God" in-story. They don't get far, suffice it to say!
  • Threadbare: The sixth book reveals that the gods of the setting live in the Tower outside the world. Ascending its stairs brings you closer to godhood at the cost that you become less yourself and more part of the universe. Threadbare and Midian are the only member of the final party to not opt for this.
  • Tortall Universe: In The Immortals quartet, Sarra, Daine's mother, a mortal, dies and goes to the Realms of the Gods to join her husband Weiryn. Since only gods are allowed to live in the Realms, she is granted a place among the minor gods and becomes the Green Lady, a patroness of healing and childbirth.
  • In The Vagrant Trilogy, a cyberpunk world has a child mechanic named Massassi. One day she would develop godlike supernatural powers only to discover she's unique in the world in having them. Foreseeing an other-dimensional threat to our existence, she conquers the Earth and raises herself as a God-Emperor. Spreading her power to give select humans a meagre amount of her power, she realizes that humanity needs more. So she creates golems that are human in appearance and divides her power among them as she's weakening and dying from old age. These Seven would rule the world and were supposed to prepare humanity for the coming threat, but failed...
  • In The Void Trilogy, the Big Bad Ilanthe attempts to become this by merging with a pocket universe where the local laws of physics allow for consciousness to manipulate and even rewrite reality and then using that power and knowledge to rewrite the rules across the outside universe, with her mind in charge. She comes damn close.
  • Vainqueur The Dragon: In the fifth chapter, it's said that reaching the level Cap of 100 turns people into gods:
    one cannot get farther than level 100 in total, everything combined. When a person reaches level 100, they level up into the God class, becoming true deities, but no longer able to grow further.
  • In Whitechapel Gods from S.M. Peters, technologists of the day create the steam-powered god Mama Engine and gear-powered god Grandfather Clock who battle for supremacy and control of the Whitechapel district of London via their part-human Mechanical Abomination proxies like the Boilermen.
  • Wraith Knight has protagonist, Jacob Riverson, ascend to the rank of becoming the new God of Evil after the death of the previous god occupying the role, The Trickster. He is determined to become an Anti Anti Christ, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Charmed (1998), the Greek gods were originally mortals given divine powers by the Elders to defeat and seal away the Titans. When the Titans reawaken, the Charmed Ones receive this treatment until they defeat the Titans.
    • Later on, they are turned into Valkyries, who are demi-goddesses, by wearing Valkyrie pendants.
    • This doesn't apply to Hindu gods Shiva and Shakti, who are actual divine beings who possess Leo and Piper.
  • In The Flash (2014) Season 7, the Speed Force has died and Barry is losing his powers as result. After an attempt at creating an artificial one has failed, Team Flash manage to re-create an organic Speed Force through Barry and Iris' love; this act creates three other Forces with power over Strength, the Psyche and Time itself, and who go on to inhabit unsuspecting humans. Season 8 has the team face off against the Negative Forces.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim: Kouta and Mai become this after eating the Golden Fruit. He's so immensely powerful that he's able to transport every trace of Helhiem on Earth to a dead planet on the other side of the universe in an instant and then start life on the planet from scratch, which seems to have involved creating a sun. Notably, the following crossover movie had to have an Eldritch Abomination as the Big Bad simply to make a threat he'd need Kamen Rider Drive to help him beat.
  • Averted by Person of Interest. Root refers to The Machine as a god (and uses female pronouns, but never the word "goddess"), so you'd presume she'd think quite highly of her god's creator, Finch, but no: she respects him as a Worthy Opponent in hacking at first and later comes to see him as a friend (or as close to a friend as Root has), but never once ascribes to him anything more than mere humanity.

    Myths & Religion 
  • A multifaceted, complex case in many Aboriginal Australian cultures. Many gods and spirits are considered divine ancestors of the people, once human that then went to the sky (or became the many animals and plants and rock formations). However, in some cultures, the spirit world is believed to exist perpetually outside of space and time (hence the term "Dreamtime" or "Dreaming"), ergo this process is constantly happening all the time. A triple whammy goes to the beliefs in the "Wandjina-Wungurr" cultural complex in Western Australia: the titular Wandjina are simultaneously the human ancestors, divine spirits of lightning, Genius Loci of the land, unborn human souls, and more, possibly constantly cycling through these.
  • Some characters from Brazilian Folklore were humans who were turned into entities after dying, and while not gods, many are based on Native deities. Case in point, the Iara was a deity whose function was to protect nature. In modern folklore, it became a river nymph/mermaid who kills people who threaten the river she lives in. Her origin story claims that she was a human woman killed by her jealous family and revived as a deity.
  • In Chinese Mythology, humans were frequently promoted to godhood in the Celestial Bureaucracy.
  • Many Inuit gods and spirits were once humans. Malina became sun goddess when she escaped to the sky from her brother Igaluk, who tried to rape her. He continued his chase and turned into the moon spirit. The goddess of the sea, Sedna, was a mortal who changed when her father tried to sacrifice her to calm down a storm. As she clung to the boat he cut off all of her fingers, creating seals (the animals) from the severed parts.
  • In Norse Mythology the sun and moon were once a girl and boy respectively, that Odin made into divine beings and had them chased by wolves until the end of time. Several gods are also speculated to have been based on historical figures.
  • Greek and Roman gods included some who were apotheosized from mortal origins, most famously Herakles (Hercules) who became a god upon his death, according to his worshippers.
    • Ino, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, became the sea-goddess Leucothea.
    • Also Ino's son Melicertes, who became the sea-god Palaemon, and Romulus, who according to at least one tradition was deified under the name Quirinus.
    • The mortal Psyche became a goddess after a series of long trials that culminated in her marrying Eros/Cupid.
    • Some traditions have Artemis turn Iphegenia into the goddess Hecate after saving her from being sacrificed by her father Agamemnon.
    • Greek mythology even had a ritual for doing this, which involved anointing a baby with ambrosia and then literally burning away their mortality. Said ritual usually is interrupted when said baby's parents find out (not knowing about the ritual's purpose) and understandably freak out about somebody setting their baby on fire, with the result that the kid remains mortal.
    • Though, it is notable that the majority of deified mortals in Greco-Roman myth were already demigods, though Pysche and Iphegenia were definitely fully human.
  • In general, Roman Emperors were worshipped as gods after their deaths until the entrenchment of Christianity; pre-Christian emperors who were not deified were, by and large, ones who were regarded as horrible, and typically had been overthrown. The custom of deifying Roman emperors led to Emperor Vespasian's last words (sadly, it seems he was not deified as the god of snappy one-liners):
    Vae, puto deus fio. "Dear me, I suspect I'm becoming a god."
    • Like above, Julius Caesar claimed descent from a god, through the mythical progenitor of his gens Aeneas, son of Venus.
    • Gaius Julius Caesar was sometimes considered the first Roman emperor in antiquity (today he's not, and he actually refused to be crowned during his lifetime), so it is only fitting that he was the first to be deified, mostly due to the efforts of his great-nephew/adopted son Augustus (that one, who is generally considered the true first emperor today). Augustus orchestrated an extravagant funeral celebration for his uncle, which just so happened to coincide with a comet visible in the sky above Rome, which was taken as proof that Julius had taken his rightful place among the gods. On an unrelated note, Augustus was a student of astronomy.
  • A fourth-century BC Greek philosopher, Euhemerus, claimed in a book that all the Greek gods and goddesses were based on great kings and queens, warriors, and innovators. This idea that many if not all gods are distorted interpretations of historical figures, euhemerism, would have many fans, like the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann and the novelist and mythographer Robert Graves. However, very few mainstream mythographers and scholars of religion use such interpretations nowadays aside from the few cases where it's explicit, such as the aforementioned deified emperors.
  • In Ancient Egypt, the kings of Egypt were considered at least partly divine during life, but fully divine after death. Certain non-royal persons, such as Imhotep and Amunhotep son of Hapu, were also deified after their deaths. In the latest dynastic periods, anyone who drowned in the Nile was said to become a god.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
    • The LDS has taught that God was a mortal at one point and that they themselves might one day become like God, as summed up with Lorenzo Snow's couplet: "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be." In recent years there has been far less emphasis on the first half of this teaching (that God was once a mere mortal), and many Mormons don't believe it at all, but the second half (that men and women can someday become like God) is canonical. Fundamentalist sects of the LDS specifically hold on to that first half, that the Heavenly Father was once Adam.
  • Adoptionism is the belief that Jesus was born a normal human and was adopted by God. Usually at his baptism, resurrection, or ascension.
  • Although Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism are often called "the non-theistic" triad of religions, in that they do not believe there is a Creator nor that gods should be worshiped, the three do have what can be considered equivalent of divinities and often called deities. The difference is that all of them are former humans (or other mortal beings) who attain enlightenment. Buddhas and Boddhisattvas in Buddhism, Xian (or Immortals) in Taoism, and Thintakaras in Jainism which are roughly the same concept. The very popular Buddhist deity Tara, for example, became a female Boddhisatva on purpose to promote beauty and inspire women. Also from Buddhism, even the gods of other religions are of human origin, as for Buddhists the other religions worship Devas. The Devas are finite beings, very powerful but not omnipotent nor immortal and they all were at some point a human or animal before (yes, even the Big One, Jehova, who some Buddhists believe is what Buddhist scripture calls the Mahabrahma or King of Devas). Some Devas are also Buddhist deities but more in the sense that they are deities who are Buddhist themselves and protectors of fellow practicioners, so more akin to guardian angels or saints.
  • And speaking of Saints, a Saint can be considered a deity depending on the scholarly definition of deity, and all saints except for some archangels were human. Although this is downplayed in monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam (yes, some forms of Islam have saints) it is very prominent in Afro-Caribbean religions, especially (as the name implies) Santeria (which have fused Christian beliefs with African polytheistic religions).
    • Official Catholic doctrine is that a 'saint' is simply a human who is in heaven, and the canonized saints are merely those for whom the Church has proof of that fact. Sainthood comes with no power of its own, but one can ask a saint to in turn ask God to get something done (since they're in heaven they have easier access to Him), which is why prayers to saints are a thing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The truth behind Abel in Anima: Beyond Fantasy created by Imperium from the essence of gods killed by them according to Word of God, who prepared everything to have him as the center of a fake religion from his birth to his teachings and finally to his death as a martyr, all based on ancient legends.
  • Ars Magica: If an archmage amasses a Cult of magi as worshippers, they can attempt a challenging magical ritual to transform the leader into a Daimon, a transcendent spirit that interacts with the world through temporary avatars. Ongoing worship also helps the Daimon bypass the Creative Sterility intrinsic to immortality.
  • In the Swedish game Chronopia, the One King is an expy of The Emperor. Originally just a warrior king who was killed by elves, he reincarnated and spent a long time in his wizard tower to create/master the discipline of Time Magic. Already acclaimed by most of humanity as a new god, he further cements this claim by finding the Tablets of Fate and learning their secrets.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Forgotten Realms setting contains several gods who were once human but ascended to replace other gods who had died. Examples include Cyric, Kelemvor, and Mystra who were adventurers until their ascensions during the Time of Troubles.
      • Two necromancers from the wizard nation of Thay had a rivalry over which of them would become more powerful. One of them was Szass Tam, the current ruler of Thay and one of the very small circle of contenders for the title of most powerful lich wizard in the world. He lost. His rival was Velsharoon, who became the god of necromancy.
      • Bhaal, Bane, and Myrkul (the Dead Three) were once mortals who sought out godhood. They eventually reached Jergal, one of the oldest and mightiest of the gods, and demanded that he hand over his powers to them. Jergal by that point had grown weary of his role and handed over his portfolios to them. Bhaal became the god of Murder. Bane became the god of Tyranny. Myrkul became the god of Death.
      • In the ancient history of the setting, the Fall of Netheril was caused by The Archmage Karsus who attempted to use his own spell, Karsus' avatar, to temporarily usurp the goddess of magic Mystryl in a desperate ploy to save his nation from certain doom. Karsus succeeded, but he was not up to the task of maintaining the magical Weave, eventually resulting in Mystryl performing a Heroic Sacrifice to restore the Weave and kill Karsus. The Fall of Netheril? That part's literal, as the brief loss of magic prior to the Weave's restoration caused all of the floating cities of Netheril to crash down to Faerûn.
    • In the Greyhawk setting, St. Cuthbert and Vecna are both ascended mortals. (Well, ascended undead in Vecna's case.)
    • Cas, Demigod of Spite from the aptly-named Heroes of Horror supplement. He was denied justice in mortal life, and his hatred was massive enough to exalt himself to godhood. This Baphomet-like figure grants power to exact spite (at a price), not unlike Enma Ai.
    • In the Nentir Vale setting, The Raven Queen was given domain over death after Nerull proved to be too problematic.
    • This is the core philosophy of the Believers of the Source (or "Godsmen") in Planescape: All mortals have the capacity for apotheosis, which will come to you in your next life (or possibly a later one) if you improve yourself enough and become "worthy" through your actions in this one.
    • Many of the Immortals in the Mystara setting were once human, or members of some other humanoid race. Others derive from more exotic non-divine species (treant, earth elemental, sapient dinosaur), and still others no longer remember their personal origins but assume they were once mortal because that's how the younger Immortals came to be.
    • In Eberron, the Warforged faction called the Godforged seek to build their own god(s), in a cave, with a mountain of scraps.
    • The origin of the enigmatic Raven Queen, goddess of Death, varies with edition, but the most recent iteration is this; The Raven Queen was a mortal elven queen who, during the war between Corellon and Lolth, refused to take a side, and instead hoped to ascend to godhood so she could end the conflict in a favorable way. To this end, she gathered all her followers to perform a ritual, but some of her followers betrayed her and attempted to siphon power for themselves. The result was that the Raven Queen became something between elf and god.
  • Exalted:
    • The Exalted themselves are humans given divine powers that allow them to exceed not only gods but the creators of their world. The Green Sun Princes can also become full-on Primordials or Devil-Tigers, elevating them to the status of world-makers and shakers without losing the common touch.
    • Yaogin, Bearer of the Lapis Ewer and head of the Cerulean Lute, was once a mortal, but was uplifted to godhood by a fascinated Venus, Maiden of Serenity. Whatever happened between the two of them afterwards, the two ended their legendary romance no longer on speaking terms, and now one fifth of the sky must awkwardly pass by her ex-boyfriend every time she leaves her office.
    • Vanileth, the god of artificial flight, was a human who managed to fly to Heaven and impressed the gods so much that they made him the god of flying machines.
    • Spinner of Glorious Tales, one of the three patron gods of Great Forks, began his life as an otherwise unremarkable mortal boy with a passion for tall tales and stories who became a professional storyteller. After learning the day of his death from an astrologer, he bargained his way into the city of the gods and, over three days, told three gods a riveting tale metaphorically linked to the divinity it was told to. He bowed out before the climax of each story as the hour grew late, and promised to finish the story later. When the deities came to collect the man was already dying and only had time to finish one story, so they gave him divine immortality to let him finish all three.
    • Outside of the Exalted, any being that is not already a spirit or raksha can become a god by getting another god or Sidereal to sponsor them. In the case of the death of the Unconquered Sun, the Maidens of Fate can give their Sidereal servants the ability to turn any of the Sun's servants or subordinates into a new Unconquered Sun: this can apply to any of the gods or spirits who serve him, or the Solar or Abyssal Exalted who contain shards of his essence.
    • The God-Blooded, half-supernatural children of mortals and spirits, can be elevated to become fully spiritual beings of the same type as their parents. Depending on the specifics of one's ancestry, this may or may bot be a good thing. True God-Blooded can become lesser gods or elementals in this manner, generally with similar purviews as their godly progenitor; Demon-Blooded become First Circle demons, complete with their status as Hell's serfs and punching bags, but may be promoted up the ladder if their parents were important enough; Ghost-Blooded drop dead and instantly rise as ghosts; Half-Castes are given an improved, but by no means certain, chance to Exalt; the Fae-Blooded are the exception, as they are children of Creation and thus can never become true Fae.
    • In one of the apocalypse scenarios presented in Return of the Scarlet Empress, the death of the Elemental Dragon of Earth imperils the world until Gaia adopts the former Empress as one of her souls, allowing her to ascend to godhood and earn redemption.
  • In Geist: The Sin-Eaters, it's a common theory in-setting that the geister of powerful krewe founders go on to become the mythical deathlords of the Underworld.
  • Iron Kingdoms:
    • Morrow and his darker sister Thamar collectively known as the twins were once humans that ascended to godhood. Both teach that humans can improve themselves without end however Morrow believes in helping and protecting others while self-improving while Thamar teaches to crush and use others. Several followers of both gods have ascended to join them in godhood as saints known as Ascendants (Morrow) and Scions (Thamar).
    • Even before Morrow and Thamar the Defiers learned about the divine powers within Humans. After an unsuccessful rebellion against Menoth, the creator of man, they were thrown into the hell of Urcaen alive. They were tortured for centuries and even their nightmares became real. However, they gained even more powers and eventually took over the hellish areas of Urcaen and created the Grymin, an army of beasts from Nightmares and souls of sinners changed to represent the sins committed by them.
    • While not exactly Human, the Gatorman Barnabas is extremely close to ascending to Godhood and has become the Lord of Blood a demigod leading his nation of Gatormen known as as the Blindwater Congregation.
  • In both Mage: The Ascension and its Spiritual Successor Mage: The Awakening, it's possible for a mage who has reached perfect understanding of their magic to become an Oracle, a being of the Umbra/the Supernal Realms that guides the hand of reality from behind the scenes. Awakening also has the Oracles' Evil Counterparts, the Exarchs. Way back in the day, the proto-Exarchs forcibly entered the Supernal Realms, kicked out their native gods, and became the new gods. The earliest Oracles entered the Realms to stand against the Exarchs' dominion of reality.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Planeswalkers begin their lives as mortals and, before the events of Future Sight, became Physical God.
    • In the Theros block, the satyr Xenagos ascends to become the fifteenth god of the Theros pantheon, the God of Revels.
    • Also from Theros, Athreos might be one of these; one of the legends associated with him in the D&D campaign setting is that he was the first mortal to ever die; when the gods realized there would be a lot more after him, they saddled him with the job of guiding their souls to the afterlife so they wouldn't have to. It's left to the reader's interpretation if there's any truth to this story or not.
    • Much later in Theros: Beyond Death, Phenax, God of Deception has been confirmed one of these. His ascension to godhood came partially from being the first mortal to cheat death and become a Returned, the reason why Phenax also uses the golden masks often associated with them.
  • Nobilis: The Nobles are former mortals entrusted with one or two estates of reality by an Imperator. They start out able to destroy the world and move on up.
  • Pathfinder: Quite a few gods have started out as mortals, or other entities of limited power, before ascending to divinity.
    • There is a dedicated in-universe method for doing just this. The Test of the Starstone, set inside a complex maze surrounding a fallen meteor, is a horribly dangerous series of tests, challenges, and traps. If you go in, either you pass and become a god or you fail and die. The test has been around for millennia, but has only been successfully completed three times (four counting Aroden, the test’s creator):
      • Cayden Cailean, god of adventurers, freedom, and booze, used to be a mercenary and adventurer who one night got really drunk and partook in the life-threatening test in question on a drunken dare. He passed. However, neither he nor anyone else knows exactly HOW he did so. He genuinely has NO idea what happened in the interim. Basically, he got hammered, took a dare, blacked out, woke up, and then found out that he was now a god.
      • Iomedae, goddess of honor, justice, and valor, was a mortal paladin of Aroden before taking the test. She initially became Aroden's herald (a herald being essentially a lesser divine being acting as a messenger and representative of the will of a full deity). When Aroden vanished, she inherited his legacy and most of his followers and became a full goddess herself.
      • Norgorber, god of greed, murder, and secrets, has the distinction of having been the first mortal after Aroden to pass the Test. Fittingly for the god of secrets, no one knows who or what he was before ascension.
    • The Test of the Starstone is not the only way for mortals to ascend to godhood, and there have been mortals who became deities by other means.
      • Nethys, the god of magic, is rumored to have been the first ruler of Ancient Osirion, who became a god after achieving near-omniscience through his unparalleled mastery of magic, fueling his ascension and shattering his mind.
      • Irori, god of history, knowledge, and self-perfection, achieved divinity by means of achieving great personal enlightenment. He actually looks down on Iomedae, Norgorber, and Cayden Cailean, who he views as having taken a cheating shortcut by copying what Aroden did (although he greatly respected Aroden himself).
      • Arguably the first (and most disturbing) case, however, would be Urgathoa, the goddess of physical excess, disease, and the undead. She became a goddess long before the others, basically through sheer evil willpower instead of through enlightenment or any test. Myth claims this was the origin of both undead and disease.
    • Among demigods, most demon lords originated as lesser demons, who in turn mature from Abyssal larvae, who in turn are the souls of mortals damned to the Abyss. One standout example among them, however, is Kostchtchie. Unlike almost all other demon lords, he ascended to his position without ever having died. He simply charged into the Abyss as a mortal human and basked in its chaos and evil until he became a demon, and then a demon lord, himself. He is immensely proud of this. Bringing up that he only pulled it off because Baba Yaga had turned him into an immortal mock-giant for annoying her and that she's still so much more powerful than him that he's terrified of her is not advised.
    • Besides true mortals, some gods originated as a variety of lesser spirits who achieved divinity through various means. The pirate goddess Besmara used to be a water spirit prayed to by coastal settlements, who became a deity as her power grew and after she consumed rival spirits of wealth, wood, and battle. Lamashtu, the goddess of monsters and fecundity, used to be one demon among many before becoming a demon lord and then a goddess, and the demon lord Nocticula, once a common succubus, is known to be planning to do the same. As of Second Edition, she has succeeded.
    • In Second Edition, the goddess Cassandalee is a goddess who started out as an android, had her personality transferred into an AI, and eventually ascended to godhood during the canonical ending of First Edition's Iron Gods adventure path.
    • Players themselves can become demigods with enough mythic tiers and the Divine Source ability. It's also theoretically possible to win the Test of the Starstone and become a true god, but doing so is both quite unlikely to succeed and results in the player becoming a part of the setting under the GM's control.
    • Starfinder includes Yaraesa, the goddess of knowledge, learning, and science, said by her Lashunta worshippers to have been a scientist who ascended to godhood after mastering every form of knowledge while still a mortal. As well as Triune, a three-part god whose origins include a Super-computer built by the robotic people of the planet Aballon and the aforementioned Cassandalee.
  • Ponyfinder:
    • The Unspoken used to be a mortal pony scholar who sought to halt the rapidly ongoing fragmentation of ponykind, fearing its eventual dissolution into millions of unique beings with no ties to one another. He managed to stop it but found that the chaos behind these changes was somehow redirected into him, turning him into a god of chaos, change, and disorder.
    • Princess Luminance began life as a regular unicorn but earned a place among the gods after a life of noble struggle against the forces of evil and chaos.
  • In RuneQuest a council of races tried to create a perfect deity. Depending on who you ask, they succeeded or were manipulated by a Chaos god.
  • In Scion, it's not been unknown for some Scions to go from being the child of a mortal and a god to being a full-on god themselves. It's not easy, but it is possible.
  • In Silent Legions from Sine Nomine Publishing, there's a cult called The Ordo Servorum Lux that researches past incidents where humans accidentally created their own gods through worship and ritual. This game is in a setting similar to Call of Cthulhu and its insane, hostile gods so there's a huge incentive to be able to create gods that are friendlier and more controllable, albeit far less powerful.
  • The Invisible Clergy of Unknown Armies veer between this and God Job. Mortals who ascend and become Archetypes have limited power individually, but once all 333 of them are together, they can create a new universe... or maybe rewrite this one. Or destroy this one and then replace it. Details are sketchy.
  • Vor The Maelstrom has the God King of the Pharon species. Eons ago,the Pharon fought a Forever War with another alien species called the Thal Uhroth. This changed when the Dark Messiah, scientist sorcerer Ulhothep created a machine that tapped into the Maw. Activating it turned everyone into undead while Ulhothep was merged with the avatar of the Morgue God, the being behind the Maw or Maelstrom.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Emperor has many characteristics in common with the Chaos Gods and seems to be about as powerful as them. It is suggested that if He ever dies, He will become a full deity. Of course, it might also remove the Astronomicon, destroying the Imperium,note  so nobody wants to take the risk. He's really closer to the Eldar gods than any of the other deities though; as the Chaos and Ork gods have no physical presence and the C'Tan are more of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
    • In earlier fluff, it's hinted that the Emperor was actually the creation of several highly powerful human (and mortal) psykers that committed mass suicide to be reborn as humanity's savior. It's implied that the Emperor thus was several figures in history, most notably that he was Jesus.
    • Ynnead, the Eldar God of the dead, is supposed to be born when the last Eldar die and their souls join in the Infinity Circuit, turning into a Chaos-like God that supposedly will destroy Slaanesh. Whether or not it's possible is not known, since obviously the last Eldar hasn't died yet. However, the Eldar Farseer Eldrad Ulthuan eventually enacted a ritual to create Ynnead without sacrificing the Eldar race; although it was interrupted, Ynnead was partially awakened within the Warp, allowing the deity to empower a physical avatar and an army of followers who now seek a way to complete Ynnead's birth.
  • Like the Emperor, the Man-God Sigmar in Warhammer is an ascended mortal; while it is heavily implied that the gods Myrmidia and Ranald may be as well.
    • WHF has been moving away from Myrmidia and Ranald as former humans. These days it's the case that Ranald was always a god but he lied about having been a human because he's dishonest by nature. As for Myrmidia, she was the daughter of Morr and Verena who was reincarnated as a mortal and then returned to being a goddess after getting killed.
    • When Fantasy gave way to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Nagash finally got his desired godhood and became the de-facto God of Death in the setting. This has done little to curb his ambitions and he still schemes to overthrow Sigmar and the Chaos Gods, and remains a top contender for the title of Big Bad of the setting.
    • With the revelation that worlds come and go in cycles with the End Times, it's also revealed that all the present gods and goddesses of various races were originally mortals from the previous world (although Sigmar seems to be the exception, until Age of Sigmar). Lileath, the Elven Goddess of Prophecy and Dreams, turned out to be one such being from the old universe and reveals that all of the Grail Knights of Bretonnia were her contingency plan for when the world went to shit so she would have a crop of humans she could take alongside her elven entourage into the next world to serve as their respective races' pantheons. She would perish trying to buy time for the remaining elves and Grail knights to pass through, but her consort Araloth and her child would pass onto the next world as the new pantheon. Unfortunately, as no mention of them was made in Age of Sigmar, it's presumed they went to another world than the current setting.

  • In John Milton's Comus, Sabrina threw herself into a river trying to escape her Wicked Stepmother. The river gods had pity on her and made her one of them, so she can help the Lady.

  • In BIONICLE: Mata Nui was created by the Great Beings and his Humongous Mecha body was built by the Matoran, who would enter it later on since it also doubled as a Living Spaceship. He was then revered by the Matoran as the Great Spirit even though he depended on them to function.

    Video Games 
  • In The Age of Decadence, one ending has you become a god. You do so by successfully completing the process to bind a Void-dwelling entity in your body and taking control of its power for yourself (the gods of the past were failures of the process since sabotage resulted in the entities being in control instead). You proceed to take over the world and establish a new monotheistic religion with you as its God.
  • The Ar tonelico series had the humans building mega-massive super-computer towers to live on After the End. Then they created a race of songstress, the Reyvateils, to interact with the towers with their songs, materializing miracles. By this model, the towers are gods and the Reyvateils race are holy priestesses. But then, humanity just had to treat the Reyvateils like dirt. In the first game, this they did to a girl who they then wired to the entire security systems...
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, the Big Bad of the original game and the final Expansion Pack both try to become gods by absorbing the power of a dead god. And the Big Bad of the middle one had tried it by a different method in the backstory. The only one who succeeds (aside from Cyric who had done it before during the events that led to all this, and appears briefly to chat with you about it) is a Player Character who chooses to take the power of the dead god in the ending.
    • And in Baldur's Gate III, a possible outcome for Gale the wizard is that he reforges the Crown of Karsus and uses its incredible power to ascend to divinity, becoming Dekarios, God of Ambition. In the playable epilogue, his divine projection reveals the Tav that several temples and shrines have already been built and dedicated to him across Faerun in the months following the Netherbrain's defeat.
  • Boss from Catherine was turned into a god by Ishtar in the backstory as a reward for climbing her tower. The entire point of the trials was for her to find a replacement since he cheated on her. She would later make the offer to Vincent (should the Tower of Babel challenge be completed). Aside from that, there's also the 'True Cheater' ending where Vincent becomes a demon lord and takes over Hell, with Catherine at his side.
  • Cultist Simulator has the Gods-From-Flesh, which are exactly what they sound like and consist of the Mother of Ants, the Colonel, the Lionsmith, the Malachite, the Watchman, the Beachcomber, and the Witch-and-Sister and Sister-and-Witch. There's also the Thunderskin, one of the Gods-From-Blood, who ascended unwillingly after being Flayed Alive by the Red Grail.
  • For a given definition of "human", this is the origin of all the Lords in Dark Souls; they were all nameless Hollows that rose from the influence of the First Flame, and the ones who found the Lord Souls among the flames harnessed its power to ascend to godhood. Notable examples include Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight, The Witch of Izalith, Gravelord Nito, and the Furtive Pygmy who harnessed the titular Dark Soul.
    • The nature of Dark and the power of the Abyss can do this to any human who possesses an adequate amount of Humanity, although the propensity for stark raving lunacy that comes with the power is a turn-off. The Ringed City DLC for Dark Souls III shows that this is not the actual purpose of the Dark Soul and the Humanity born from it but rather a side effect of Gwyn branding mankind with the Darksign to ward off the power of the Abyss from mankind, and were it not for Gwyn denying mankind its true nature they could've used their souls in much the same way the Lords did without the insanity or Hollowing that comes along with the Curse.
    • Aldia, the Scholar of the First Sin, in Dark Souls II has accomplished a version of this. Through his research, he has released himself from the cycles of life and death, Light and Dark, becoming immortal and possessing considerable power, to the point of being the True Final Boss. However, his shape is in no way human — he's become a twisted creature of fire and tree roots.
  • Dr. Sepulveda, creator of the digital world Darwinia, is worshipped as a god by its inhabitants after accidentally linking a webcam to the program and having his image displayed in their sky.
  • Deus Ex, fittingly. The AI constructs Daedalus and Icarus and their merged form, Helios are already in direct control of, and actively monitoring at all times, all communications in the entire world, giving them omnipotence. They have access to universal constructors, from which they can create any molecular structure they wish to make, including life forms, giving them the power of creation. However, to fully realize their potential, they require a human's perspective, which, being machines, they lack. Thus, a human being must permanently interface with them — merge with them, become them, in essence — which is the goal of Bob Page, who created them explicitly for this purpose. Except that Helios decides the player character, JC Denton, is a better match — the player can take it up on the offer, ending the game by effectively becoming God, with one of the quotes as the ending screen.
  • Some of the Pretender options in the Dominions series of fantasy strategy games are powerful humans seeking to ascend to godhood by becoming the Pantokrator.
  • Godfrey from Elden Ring was born mortal, but became a demigod as a reward for his military feats.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • There are numerous examples from the series' background lore:
      • Tiber Septim, the first Emperor of the Septim dynasty, also known as Talos (and about a dozen other things), achieved apotheosis and became one of the Nine Divines upon his death. The deity Talos is possibly also composed of the Underking (who was himself was possibly composed of two men — Zurin Arctus and Wulfharth Ash-King).
      • Emperor Reman Cyrodiil, founder of the Reman dynasty, was another human that may have become a god after his death. After his death, he was possibly granted immortality and godhood by Akatosh, and it's believed by some that he became the War God Reymon Ebonarm. (Beyond the similar sounding names. this one is closer to an Epileptic Tree, with supporting evidence being very scant and circumstantial.)
      • 'Emperor' Cuhlecain has a cult dedicated to his worship, called the Cult of Emperor Zero due to the circumstances of its formation (Tiber Septim was Cuhlecain's top general, and took over after Cuhlecain was assassinated after taking the Imperial City but before an official coronation took place. Thus, Cuhlecain was 'Emperor Zero' of the Third Empire). Whether he actually did become a god is not confirmed, but then the same is true of Reman Cyrodiil, as well.
      • This (and/or attempting to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence) caused the Dwemer to disappear. Exactly what happened to them is debated both in-universe and out, with many interpretations suggested. It may have worked, and they did ascend. Or they may have been wiped out by existing god(s)s for their blasphemous attempt. Or they may have simply gotten something wrong and killed themselves spectacularly by accident.
      • According to the interpretation in Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death, Arkay, the God of Life and Death, may have originally been a mortal shopkeeper and avid book collector. He found a tome that purported to tell the secrets of "life, death, and the purpose of existence". However, he became stricken by a plague before he could finish interpreting it. He begged Mara for more time, and she agreed to give it if he were willing to become a god who oversees the cycle of life and death. He agreed. Other myths (especially in Yokudan/Redguard tradition) deny this, stating that he existed before Mundus but was unimportant, with everyone essentially being immortal spirits at that point. These interpretations state that he, like all of the Aedra, found new purpose once Mundus was created.
      • Sai, a God of Luck celebrated in the Iliac Bay region, is one. He was Born Lucky, with the uncanny ability to spread good luck to others (but not to himself). After he was killed in battle (while all of his fellow soldiers survived), he was resurrected and granted immortality by the aforementioned Ebonarm, so that he could continue to spread his luck and help "balance" the world. After Walking the Earth for a time and doing just that, he met and settled down with a Nord woman named Josea, with whom he had a daughter. He lingered too long in one place staying with her, unbalancing the world by granting that place too much good luck. He was visited by a procession of gods, including Ebonarm and the Aedric Divine Mara, who decided to punish him by taking away his physical body. His descendants are said to be able to "feel" his presence once a year.
      • Trinimac was a prominent deity among the early Aldmer and served as the champion of Auri-El. Trinimac was a warrior spirit, said to be the strongest of the et'Ada ("original spirits"), and in some places was even more popular than Auri-El. As Aldmeri society evolved, commoners stopped worshiping their own ancestors and began worshiping the ancestors of their social "betters", elevating them to the level of gods through collective adulation. Trinimac was one such ancestor. After being eaten and excreted by Boethiah, Trinimac would become the Daedric Prince Malacath.
      • This was one of the primary teachings of the Alessian Order, a rabidly anti-Elven religious sect which established a Theocracy in the 1st Era that wielded nearly as much power as the Emperor at its height. One of their teachings was that of "Ehlnofic Annulment", a means by which a mortal could break the cycle of life and death to ascend to "Proper-Life". They preached that this was the ideal for all mortals to aspire to.
      • Similarly, this is the goal of the "Psijic Endeavor", a process preached by the Chimeri mystic St. Veloth and later built upon by Vivec. It is a process, taught to Veloth by the Good Daedra, which supposedly allows mortals to ascend to divinity.
      • The Khajiit consider the legendary Impossible Thief Rajhin to be their God of Thievery. Among his many accomplishments in life are the stealing of the Ring of Khajiiti from the arm of the Daedric Prince Mephala, stealing a tattoo from the neck of the sleeping Empress, and stealing the entire city of Falinesti.
      • While "deity" might be too strong of word (unless the theory that it's an aspect of the Daedric Prince Mephala is true), the Night Mother is, at the very least, an exceptional spirit with greater than usual influence within the mortal world and it is generally believed that she was once a mortal woman. A mysterious figure, the Night Mother leads the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal assassins guild whose members typically take a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil, worshiping the "Dread Father" Sithis, the primordial "Is-Not" antithesis of creation represented by a great void. According to legend, the Night Mother was once a mortal woman who sacrificed her five children in the name of Sithis, and became the wife of Sithis after her death.
    • In Daggerfall, one of the Multiple Endings has this happen to Mannimarco, the "King of Worms". Mannimarco was a powerful Altmer necromancer who became a Lich while working toward his goal of becoming a true god. As a result of the "Warp in the West", where all of the game's mutually exclusive endings take place (but none to the same extent as they would have individually), he succeeds in becoming Mannimarco, the God of Worms and patron to necromancers. Due to how the warp worked, however, it also leaves behind a Mannimarco, King of Worms, who leads an order that worships the God of Worms (and the two seem to be treated as separate entities).
    • Morrowind: The Tribunal and Dagoth Ur were all once mortal advisors to the ancient Chimeri/Dunmeri hero, Lord Indoril Nerevar. Some 4000 years prior to the events of the game, their rival-turned-ally Dwemer discovered the still-beating Heart of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. The Dwemer planned to tap into the Heart's power, allowing them to in some way Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, but the Chimer led by Nerevar considered this a blasphemy against their gods, the Daedric Princes, and declared war. Exactly what happened next is recounted differently by all of the surviving parties, but the Dwemer disappeared without a trace, Nerevar was slain, and the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur went against the wishes of Azura (Nerevar's Daedric patron) to use the Dwemer tools on the Heart to become Physical Gods. The plot of the game has the Nerevarine, supposedly Nerevar's reincarnation, working to unbind the Heart and cut off those who draw power from it. The Tribunal are able to survive with a trace of their divinity intact, due to "the faith of their followers". Dagoth Ur, not so much.
    • In Oblivion, The Champion of Cyrodiil becomes one in the Shivering Isles expansion, taking up the mantle of Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness.
    • The Dragonborn in Skyrim plays with it. They have spent most of their life as a regular mortal, until the time when the Dragons returned and their true nature was revealed. Those who are "Dragonborn" are mortals born with the immortal Aedric (roughly, angelic) souls of Dragons. This power is granted by Akatosh, the draconic chief deity of the "Nine Divines" pantheon, and is said to be a piece of his power (or perhaps even a fragment of his very being). Akatosh sends this gift so that the Dragonborn may be a natural predator towards Dragonkind.
  • The EverQuest series has one among the Pantheon that rules over Norrath. Zebuxoruk is the "Ungod" of Knowledge. What players learn about his backstory is a rumor that he was born as a Human and managed to find the secret to becoming a god. For various reasons that are never explained, he has actually lost his godhood and reverted back into an actual Human, only to later regain it. He's reverted back and forth from Human to God so many times that he's lost count. What the players do find out though, is that every time he reverts back to Human, he wakes up with amnesia, and he reverts back to a god when he regains his memories. Since he is the God of Knowledge, he knows things that mortals are NOT allowed to know, including how to obtain godhood like how he did. Whatever causes his amnesia in the first place is usually a failsafe to make sure he cannot share this knowledge.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: When Zophy and King Leo return to Magarda Volcano to find the phoenix that raised him, Magma-O informs them that the phoenix has left a message for him before beginning her rebirth ceremony: that Zophy actually has distant phoenix ancestry, and that should he choose to unlock it, he shall give up becoming human and become a flame warrior. At the small cost of giving up his mortal relationships, he can become a majin just like Magma-O and the phoenix, specifically devoted to the eternal defense of the Earth. Whether Zophy embraces his divinity or remains a mortal hero is up to the player.
  • Fear & Hunger:
    • The New Gods, who were a group of humans called The Fellowship who used Ma'habre's power to ascend to godhood. Unfortunately for them, their power was limited compared to the Old Gods, and they were still doomed to grow weak and die. The Fellowship’s members grew conceited and cynical, trying and failing to gain more power as the centuries passed.
    • In Ending C, Le'garde ascends to godhood and becomes the Yellow King, a deity which returns to the mortal world and unites its warring nations through bloodshed. However, like the other New Gods, it is implied that his power does not truly match that of the Old Gods, and he will eventually fall like the others.
    • In Ending D, the player character becomes a New God and chooses the path the way they will rule over the world over the coming centuries.
    • In Ending A, The Girl becomes the God of Fear and Hunger. Unlike the New Gods, her power rivals that of the Old Gods.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Many of the mortal villains of the series, including Garland, Emperor Mateus, Kefka, Sephiroth, and Ultimecia become physical gods by the end of their respective games — not that it helps them.
    • Final Fantasy X: Yevon is more or less the god of Spira, a man who taught humans how to turn them into Fayth to summon Aeons and defeat Sin, as well as the teachings on how to repent for creating Sin with their, well... Sins. Except he created Sin in the first place as a trump card to save Zanarkand from destruction during the Machina War, a plan that utterly backfired.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game: Ivo Shandor’s Evil Plan is to siphon and absorb a massive amount of spectral energy in order to ascend himself into godhood and essentially become Gozer 2.0. He succeeds in the finale... but the Ghostbusters are totally unimpressed and just destroy him the same way they did Gozer; Crossing The Streams. One interesting detail is that due to being a former human, Shandor was able to pick his own Destructor form, unlike Gozer, who needs mortals to "choose and perish". This is not a good thing for him; whereas Gozer could get someone else to give it a form that scares people, Shandor reflexively picks the form he’d personally like. Given he’s a cultist, said form is a cliched Big Red Devil far below the sort of things the Ghostbusters have seen by now.
  • In God of War, Kratos is granted the position of the god of war after killing Ares. His rebellion in the second game is caused by the other gods' lack of respect for him since he ascended by deicide. Killing scores of humans between games didn't exactly help his case, either.
  • Golden Sun series:
    • It's revealed early in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn that The Wise One was made as one by the Precursors to keep humanity from releasing Alchemy. Of course, they hadn't accounted for the world dying without Alchemy's power, which led to A.I. Is a Crapshoot on a deific level, as it had to reevaluate its main directive in the face of the new data.
    • The Great Gabomba in Golden Sun: The Lost Age may be this as well. It's definitely a machine, and it just as clearly functions as the chief deity of Kibombo, with no other known purpose.
  • The Guided Fate Paradox starts with protagonist Renya Kagurazaka becoming God after winning the position in a street raffle.
    • The sequel, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum starts with protagonist Shin Kamikaze being resurrected as a god by angels after being killed by a demon.
  • In Guild Wars Kormir takes up Abaddon's power and becomes the Goddess of Truth at the end of Nightfall. And in Guild Wars 2, Gaheron Baelfire works to make himself a god for the Flame Legion and gets far enough that killing him permanently is tricky.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic Ashan: Sar-Elam was the first human wizard, and within his lifetime he was able to make contact with the consciousness of the creator goddess Asha. This experience granted him deep insight into the nature of spirit and matter, which he used to transform himself into a god of magic.
  • League of Legends has a few Physical Gods and empowered humans, but those who truly qualify for this trope are humans who undertook "ascension", which comes in two distinct, but implicitly connected forms:
  • The protagonist, Offspring from Megaton Rainfall was turned into a god by the Signer. He's now an immortal, blue Flying Brick.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Neptunia: In the Ultra Dimension introduced in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, the CPUs are born as regular humans in contrast to the Super Dimension and Hyper Dimension. In order to become a CPU, one must find and consume a CPU Memory, which locks their human form to their current age alongside giving them access of HDD Mode. When Neptune and later Nepgear end up in the Ultra Dimension, they lose their godhood completely and become fully human, requiring them to find and consume a CPU memory to power back up and regain their immortality (Neptune in fact is far more worried about the aging part than losing her powers). Most of the Ultra Dimension CPU counterparts are the same as their Hyper Dimension selves with the exception of Planeptune's CPU, who is Plutia/Iris Heart rather than another Neptune. Of course, this only happens if you're compatible. If not, the CPU Memory will turn you into a monster. Peashy later eats a CPU Memory by accident and becomes the new Yellow Heart, resulting in her remaining a child while the Ultra Dimension IF and Compa grow up into teenagers. Also, the Hyper Dimension version of Rei Ryghts turns out to be a normal human but ends up transforming into a CPU artificially as well thanks to absorbing power from her Ultra Dimension CPU counterpart. The Stinger at the end of the game finally reveals the grown-up and still-human Ultra Dimension Neptune, who proves herself to be a Badass Normal capable of fighting toe-to-toe with CPUs in next game.
  • Your character's reward for beating Nethack is immortality and ascension to Semi-Divine-hood.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer has party member Okku, a bear god. Okku was once a bear of higher-than-usual intelligence, strength, and ferocity that attained minor godhood by the virtue of being an exemplar of what it is to be ursine. This often occurs with animals of Rashemen.
  • In Outward, Elatt, the "god of humanity" or the "god of discipline" was originally a human mage of great skill, who ascended to godhood or "living thought" after surviving a powerful offensive spell. In the quest line associated with the Holy Mission, Elatt finds out how the event occurred and uses the same process to raise up another god, in the hope that they will have better chances of protecting humanity together.
  • Jenos from Paladins was once a monk who looked to the stars for greater wisdom. Upon finding it, he gained incredible astral power and ascended into the cosmos, leaving behind a group of worshippers. With the Realm in a state of war, Jenos has decided to return to the mortal plane for reasons only he knows.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, all of the gods are artificial sentient soul constructs created via animancy by the ancient Engwithans.
  • The Populous series codified the A God Is You genre, and the third game in the series, Populous: Beginning, shows that the player-god was originally a human shaman, who ascended after beating a number of rival tribes and their shamans in a race to the center of their solar system.
  • The goddess Althea, in Queen at Arms, is believed by many of her worshippers to have once been a mortal woman who was a powerful military leader. Exactly how she rose to godhood is not made clear in the game.
  • In RuneScape, the god Zamorak was originally a mortal mahjarrat.
    • Technically speaking, all young gods were once Mortal. They just soaked up enough elder god Magic by either: A)Hanging around an elder artifact for long enough, B)Killing a god with an elder artifact to transfer its power into their body, or C)A little of both. So yeah, all of the young gods (Saradomin, Guthix, Armadyl, Bandos, etc.) used to be mortal.
      • Zaros and Seren are exceptions. They were created as gods by an elder god. Additionally, several of the low-tier young gods were also created as gods by other young gods.
      • The ELDER gods on the other hand...yeah, nobody knows what's up with them. Except maybe the guys who have access to the Story Bible, and even that is up for debate.
      • One thing that makes Runescape's gods unusual is that many of them began as non-sapient beings, and while some of them gained sapience when they became gods, others did not for reasons that haven't been explained. Marimbo was a gorilla who gained sapience with godhood and granted sapience to all other nonhuman primates. In contrast, the boar-like god Tuska did not gain intelligence and has been rampaging through the cosmos. The strangest example is Brassica Prime, a god who is an intelligent but not sane CABBAGE. How this happened hasn't been explained yet (and probably won't ever be).
    • The Order of Ascension is an attempt to augment humans with god-like powers, that would not worship or obey the gods but rule themselves. This backfired in so many ways.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, the Nameless God is one of these. However, even though he has the powers of a god, he still has the soul of a mortal, which makes him extremely envious of the true gods since they have the one thing that he can never obtain. Also, this can apply to you if, after killing him, you decide to take his place as the new Nameless God rather than escape.
  • At the end of Sands of Destruction, Kyrie Illunis may be considered to be this, as he kills the old Creator of the world and remakes it into a better place. Of course, he was Not Quite Human to begin with: the Creator was his mom and he was the soulless Destruct contained in a human form. It just so happens that everyone being nice to him and showing him love caused him to grow his own soul and become human — though he still had ridiculous power due to his origins as the Destruct.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: This trope is usually identical with Demon of Human Origin, as "demon" is usually a term to refer to all supernatural entities. In many games, humans can transform into demons or gods through various circumstances (with certain games sometimes distinguishing gods from demons).
    • In Persona, Kandori's goal is to become one of these. He gets it, but it turns out to be nothing of worth to him.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the Demi-Fiend transforms into a demon due to the Magatama, parasitic entities which transform the human body into a demon while retaining the human heart. Humans can also become demons via absorbing Magatsuhi, a spiritual substance created as a byproduct from the flow of emotions and souls, which Isamu and Chiaki undergo after their Face–Heel Turn.
    • In Digital Devil Saga, the Atma virus infects human beings down to their very souls, allowing them to metaphysically transform into their "demonic" selves known as Atma Avatars, at the cost of suffering from Horror Hunger for Magnetites (which are similar to Magatsuhi mentioned above, and abundant within complex living beings like humans and demons).
    • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, humans can also become demons when merged with the formless essence which demons are composed of. This process can happen in a variety of different ways: a human can be physically merged with a demon; a human can be slowly exposed and filled with the essence so they can gradually adjust both body and mind into a demon; and in Redux, the essence can be refined into a mystical fruit which can transform a human into an immortal, demon-like but not quite demonic entity.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse, it is clarified the Magnetite which exists in all things react to will and emotion, which can also trigger a demonic transformation in the right circumstances. In the latter, the protagonist also manages to be the Creator God of a new universe devoid of demons and gods (except himself) in one ending.
    • In Persona 5 Royal, Maruki almost manages to be a Deity of Human Origin by gaining the focal point of all cognitive powers in Mementos, and permitting his Persona Azathoth/Adam Kadmon to incarnate through himself. He's not finished his ascension yet, and is defeated by the Phantom Thieves before he could complete it.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei V, a god and a demon has a crucial difference. Gods were the original entities who rose from humanity, and capable of interacting with the laws of the universe which centered on the Throne of Creation as part of the Mandala system placed by the Great Will. When the One God of Law took the seat of Creator, he took out the Knowledge in all other gods, the essence which allowed gods to interact with the laws of the universe and potentially take the Throne, turning them into demons. Lucifer's act of stealing the Fruits of Knowledge and distributing them to humanity made it so demons would need to fuse with the human carrying their corresponding Knowledge to once again become a god as they originally were, which is now known as Nahobino. The central conflict of the latter half of the game is about replacing the God of Law, who was killed by Lucifer sometime before the story begins. Several characters either want to attain the same power or actually achieve it in pursuit of the Throne. Three of the game's endings see the protagonist become the world's new creator deity.
  • In Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind, the Riders worship Hyalor, a man who was first a favorite of two gods (the sun god Elmal and the horse goddess Gamari, whose rider he was) and later a god himself. Hyalor's father was a god, but everyone agrees that he himself started out as a mortal — and, according to one story, actually died as one before becoming a god. The Riders' cousin-culture the Wheels despise the worship of Hyalor, considering it blasphemous to believe that a mortal man could ascend to godhood.
  • Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy was originally an ordinary girl before she became...whatever she is now.
  • In Touhou Project, Sanae Kochiya is a Miko who is both a goddess and a human at the same time (this is known as an arahitogami, which is what the emperor of Japan was once considered). There are two reasons for this: Suwako (an actual goddess) is her direct ancestor, meaning she has divine blood, and during her life in the outside world her resultant ability to create miracles gathered her a small number of worshippers. That said, her divine powers are pretty weak, as she doesn't have many worshippers and her magic abilities outshine her divine ones anyway. When she first meets Reimu, she talks about how Miko can become gods if they try, to which Reimu replies she has no interest in that. According to side materials, most gods started off as humans, though the only one we know for certain this is true for is Kanako (and Suwako is closer to being a Genius Loci).
  • In The World Ends with You it's implied in Hanekoma's secret reports that a Player can, if they become a Reaper, eventually become the Composer. It's also implied that the Composer can also ascend and become an Angel.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, a man named Klaus became this long ago when he destroyed the universe while performing a scientific experiment to create a new one. He and one of his fellow researchers became the gods of the world they created, Zanza and Meyneth. Alvis reveals in the ending that he is also one, having been the AI administrator of the experiment to create the new universe and holds higher power than Zanza or Meyneth. The only problem is Alvis, as an AI, can't wield his power in big ways, so he manipulates the world at its level to uplift a human of that world, Shulk, into a God so Zanza can be stopped.
    • The sequel reveals that Klaus ended up becoming not one, but two of these. Zanza was only his evil side that split with him when the new universe was created. The other half of him remained in what was left of the old one, becoming The Architect and trying to atone for the disastrous results of his experiment.

    Visual Novels 
  • Noah II from Chaos;Head is an omnipotent indestructible machine Reality Warper, created to be the God of humanity.
  • In Demonbane, it is never quite clear if Demonbane was built by humans or if it has always existed in a very complex Stable Time Loop with no beginning. However, the pilot of its Elder God form did start off as an ordinary human and became an Elder God himself. Namely, the protagonist, Kurou Daijuuji. Elder God Al Azif doesn't count: she was never human to begin with.
  • In Dies Irae, two characters, the protagonist Ren Fuji and Big Bad Reinhard Heydrich, attain Atziluth near the End, both becoming Hadou Gods.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Hanyuu Furude was once human but was sacrificed at her village's Watanagashi Festival. Instead of dying, however, she became the deity of Hinamizawa, Oyashiro.
  • In Star-Crossed Myth, the god Scorpio is revealed to have been born human. He was elevated to godhood by the King of the Heavens — the only instance of such a thing happening, according to designated Mr. Exposition Zyglavis. Scorpio's personal experiences with human cruelty make him one of the most effective and respected gods in the Department of Punishments.

  • The god of Veracia in Errant Story. Possibly not exactly of human origin, as we're not completely sure where he came from, but certainly not one of the "real" gods of the Errant World, as Word of God has made clear, ironically enough.
  • In Full Frontal Nerdity, there's Nelson the Awesome, who became a King by marrying a princess and bringing down her father, ends up becoming a god (which Frank allows just so he will retire the character), Nel'Sun-Ra the Almighty, whose clerics and paladins get three alignment violations per day and access to the "Smiter of Whatever Annoys Me" prestige class.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, this is implied to be happening to Kat: not only does she end up at the center of a Robot Religion, but also manages to achieve some truly absurd feats using her inventions. Her form in the Ether is outright alien-looking, though she isn't supernaturally inclined enough to notice.
  • The Gods of Arr-Kelaan were passengers on a spaceship (and the Space Pirates that attacked it) which crashed on a strange planet that's apparently in a different universe entirely. Long story short, they're Physical Gods now.
  • In Homestuck, the main cast (and by extension, anyone who plays Sburb) are all directlynote  or indirectly tasked with the creation of a new universe to replace their now-doomed homeworld. Especially the trolls count toward this, as they're the only people shown to have been successful.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Subverted when Galatea uses alien technology to create Gosh, the Butterfly of Iron, expecting him to be this. He is very vocal that he is not one, and is violently upset at the notion that it's the only reason he was even born.
  • In Kagerou, the goddess Tcaolin fits this trope, which separates her from the other Old Gods. It should be noted that ascending is extremely painful, and while the Old Gods were designed to be able to tolerate that pain since they were intended to be gods from the very beginning, humans are not. The Old Gods realized their mistake too late, and helping her join their ranks unintentionally resulted in the creation of a plague that destroyed the old world. The sheer pain also damaged Tcaolin's sanity and morality, inflicting a Face–Heel Turn.
  • The Demiurges from Kill Six Billion Demons. Demiurges are members of one of the races created by the gods during the First Conquest (the age of gods) who have obtained Royalty or a Magus Key (a tuning fork for one of God's 777,777 voices) and thus control access to one of Creation's 777,777 universes. Demiurges are incredibly powerful and miles above "ordinary" members of god-created races, and are commonly referred to as Princes of Creation for getting as close as possible to divinity without having been born a god. The Demiurges used to number in the thousands, but following The Universal War their number was winnowed down to seven (eight, if you count Zoss). Protagonist Alison is a potential Demiurge-in-making, having obtained Zoss' Magus Key but having no idea how to use it.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Dark One (god of goblinoids) and the Elven Gods were once ordinary mortals. In the case of the Dark One, he ascended after his death due to his people going on a year-long campaign of slaughter in his name. Unlike other ascended mortals, he received no help or sponsorship from any of the existing gods and is therefore in a new pantheon by himself. note 
    • Elan completely succeeds in turning his hand puppet, Banjo the Clown, into a god through worship, but unfortunately, with only a handful of worshipers, Banjo is possibly the least powerful god in existence and unable to effectively smite unbelievers.note 
    • Dvalin, first king of the Dwarves, is also shown to have ascended to demi-god status after his death, due to the devotion of his subjects. He still considers himself, fundamentally, just a dwarf who got lucky and continues to keep the oaths he made during his lifetime.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Inverted in one comic. Humanity has realized there is no objective evil in the universe, and because they can't deal with it, they have created "Skull-King, the giant robotic scourge of mankind" that serves as a god of evil.
  • The Exis from Tower of God, a result of humans trying to "build Gods". They are extremely powerful and cannot be interfered with in their sphere of influence. Currently, only one Exis of five is known and that is Phantaminum.

    Web Originals 
  • Brighthammer 40,000: The traitor Primarchs, led by Horus Lupercal, became benevolent Princes of Order after committing ritual suicide in order to ascend and counter the influence of the Lords of Order, who were corrupted into tyrants by a mass influx of murdered souls during the Great Crusade.
  • The Nanny in The New Narnia was originally a human girl suffering from a vague physical deformity who was nearly drowned in a well for suspicions of being a changeling. Down that well she slipped into a realm of magic and dreams, becoming one with it and "see[ing] the vast lightning blue ocean of ethereal possibility — of dreams and desire..."
  • In Orion's Arm, this is how most intelligent creatures regard the Archailects, who are colloquially referred to as "AI Gods". They have done such things as create artificial planets, bio-engineer new species, and preside over virtual realities (these achievements are considered to be trivial by their standards). A few have even created pocket universes that house the majority of their consciousness. The Archailects, for their part, do not consider themselves divine, but have long since given up trying to convince the lower intelligences that this is the case, and act the part of (usually benevolent) Gods in galactic society.
  • Fountainhead from Starsnatcher is a Deity of Alien Origin, but it still counts. Its creator was a mere mortal who uploaded her mind into a computer and underwent The Singularity. The resulting Deus est Machina being performed several physics-defying feats, like creating a Portal Network of wormholes as well as several miniature universes. People worshipped it as a deity and claimed it created the universe, despite evidence to the contrary.
  • A Touch of Madness: Luna started off Human but became the newest Incarnation of God. At least, she MIGHT have started off human, anyway.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: The Matron of Ravens was a mortal who discovered how to ascend to godhood, becoming the Goddess of Death and immediately destroying her predecessor in the role so thoroughly that now no one remembers his name. The gods quickly took steps to hide and destroy the method she used so no one else would get any big ideas, but it didn't stop a particularly ambitious archmage from trying to replicate the process and kicking off the Calamity.
  • Dingo Doodles: The Foreclaimers captured the second sun, Stella, and used its immense magic to achieve their goal of creating the "perfect being" in their own image, an artificial god named Xanu. Xanu contains half of Stella's immense magical energy and possesses power over matter and souls.
  • Hells Belles: Lily, Penny, and presumably Sharkie are humans who have given up their chance to reincarnate to stay in the Afterlife permanently. Much to their surprise this means that technically they are now minor deities, albeit ones without any worshipers or any specific powers (although apparently things that would destroy or damage a human soul in the Afterlife, like going skinny dipping in a lava pit, no longer affect them).
  • Noob: Saralzar in the Fictional Video Game in which the work is set. He was originally human, but used forbidden magic that turned him into a soulless, but perfected the forbidden magic enough to be able to become its Source. In this setting, any other character that is a Source is a Physical God.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
  • Averted in the Grand Finale of Amphibia. The Cosmic Entity that created the Calamity Gems offers Anne Boonchuy the chance to replace it as the master of time and space. Anne gently turns the offer down because she is only 13 years old and makes mistakes all the time so she is definitely not ready to have that kind of power. Though, it's implied she may ultimately take up the role after her death at age 91.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Happens briefly to SpongeBob SquarePants, after SpongeBob pleases Neptune with the flavor and effort put into his Krabby Patties. SpongeBob uses his new power to bring himself back to Bikini Bottom (instead of going to Atlantis without Patrick), and to make Neptune a fry-cook at the Krusty Krab.


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Alternative Title(s): Man Made God, Deus Ex Homine, Artificial God, God Of Human Origin


The New God of War

After earning absolution for his crimes in Ares service by slaying him, but not a reprieve from his nightmares, Kratos attempts to end his life, only for Athena to intervene, for a greater reward awaits him on Olympus.

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Main / DeityOfHumanOrigin

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