Sometimes the hero can't save the day alone. That's where gods come in.
In Greek Mythology, gods would often give heroes gifts that would help them on their quest, or simply have fun by making the hero suffer. The main reasons a god will help the protagonist is either because the fate of the world depends on it of because the character has or can get something they want. The god may physically come with the hero on the quest or give them a few "helpful" items.
Since it would be too easy to complete a quest with a god's help, whether they are being genuinely nice or playing prank, their help usually just makes things more complicated.
Note that this is different from Deus ex Machina. This is a more specific trope.
- Pokémon has Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf helping Ash, Pikachu, and Co. during the Diamond and Pearl arc, and Reshiram and Zekrom helping them during the Best Wishes arc.
- Most of the second half of Enlightenments is about Dormin trying to help Wander with his trauma.
- God himself appears to the eponymous characters in Bruce Almighty and its sequel, Evan Almighty.
- Clash of the Titans (1981). Zeus interferes repeatedly to help his son Perseus and punish those who oppose him. He also has other deities give him divine gifts, including a shield, a sword, and a helm that grants the power of invisibility. The goddess Thetis likewise tries to help her son Calibos but it doesn't turn out very well.
- Jason and the Argonauts (1963). The goddess Hera is allowed to help Jason five times during his adventures. Jason also uses an amulet he receives from Phineas to get help from the god Triton (Poseidon's son).
- Xanadu. An Olympian Muse named Kira (actually Terpsichore) inspires two men to artistic greatness: one in the Back Story and one in the present.
- In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, a the Elders Scatatch journeys along with the Flamels and the Newmans, and they occasionally get help from Elders such as Areop-Enap and Prometheus.
- The Kane Chronicles has Egyptian gods, including Horus and Isis, inhabit the main character's bodies as hosts. Others, such as Bast and Bes, escort the heroes along their quest.
- Towards the end of The Colour of Magic, The Lady intervenes to help Rincewind and Twoflower escape Krull. She repeatedly helps out the protagonists of other books, but as soon as you figure it out say her name, she leaves.
- In Michael Moorcock's novel Elric of Melnibone, Elric is saved from drowning by the elemental deity Straasha.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus feature the Olympian gods who sometimes give divine aid. One main character received a baseball cap that turns her invisible. Others have received other items or advice. However, the gods usually want something in return and their help can be incredibly unreliable even when it is in their best interest. Direct interference is often handwaved by Zeus or the Fates limiting it or the gods being prideful.
- This was quite common in Greek mythology with heroes often receiving some form of divine aid in the form of gifts or advice usually from Athena which is why she is sometimes called the goddess of heroic endeavor.
- The Odyssey: Several gods show up to either help or screw over Odysseus while on his journey.
- Bellerophon was given a bridle to control Pegasus. Jason received aid from Hera. Achillis was given god-forged armor from his mother. Etc.
- Perseus received more help than any other hero. Aside from several pieces of magical equipment in some versions the gods tell him step by step how to proceed. In most modern retellings the amount of help the gods give him is downplayed or he is given less equipment because in the original myth he has it too easy to be really considered heroic.
- Hercueles is the exception in that in one story he received several gifts from gods including armor and weapons, but refused to use them choosing to rely on his own strength and skill. The only times he received divine aid was in one labor he could not solve and a couple of battles where he was fighting multiple divine opponents Athena came to his aid to buy him time.
- In most religions' bibles, God talks to prophets and gives them visions of the future, among other things.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The 1E Dungeon Master's Guide had game mechanics for divine intervention - a specific percentage chance that a character's deity would intervene in a crisis situation and aid them.
- At the end of module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, the PCs deities saved them from the destruction caused by Lolth's death.
- Module T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil. The deities Iuz the Old and St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel can appear under certain conditions. If they both appear, Iuz will restore all of his dead leaders to life and St. Cuthbert will do the same for fallen PCs.
- The 2E Al-Qadim'' campaign setting allowed Fate to help or even save player characters in great danger.
- 1E Stormbringer
- PCs received Elan for various actions. If a d100 roll was less than the PC's current Elan, their deity would save them.
- Adventure Stealer of Souls. If Tormiel can get a message to the priests of Lassa, they can petition Lassa for divine intervention to help him. It could take the form of a powerful air elemental or a breeze that puts everyone in the house to sleep.
- In Fifth Edition, Clerics gain a power called Divine Intervention at 10th level. If they're in great need, they can use an action to call upon their deity for aid. There's a percentage check based on the Cleric's level, if it succeeds, the deity provides aid in some way (up to the GM's discretion, but usually in the form of a spell). If the roll is successful, the cleric can't invoke the ability again for at least a week.
- A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oberon tells Puck to make Demetrius fall in love with Helena, but Puck ends up making Lysander fall in love with Helena instead. Then Puck completes his task so that Demetrius and Lysander are fighting over Helena, Hermia is completely confused, and Helena thinks that all three are mocking her.
- During The Cluefinders 4th Grade Adventures, Egyptian gods Horus, Bastet, Sobek, and Isis grant the Cluefinders with special abilities to aid them in their upcoming fight against the god of chaos Set.
- Drawn to Life has you play as "the Creator", creating and guiding the main character throughout the game.
- In NetHack, the #pray extended command lets you ask your god for help. The nature of the help — if indeed the god decides to help you at all — depends on the nature of the trouble and how pleased the god is with you. Worth noting, if your god is sufficiently pleased with you, prayer will have a positive effect (possibly including a gift) even if you're in no trouble at all.
- Super Mario Galaxy has Rosalina help Mario on his quest to save both Peach and the cosmos from Bowser. Rosalina is humanoid, but has acquired magical powers.
- Age of Mythology: The factions can utilize god divine support powers based on the gods they choose.
- Not quite a deity, but Tilly the Cherub in Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey has the credentials for this trope. She shows up to befriend the titular character after his mother dies, and guides him to Bethlehem. Although she eventually returns to Heaven once they reach the city, she still provides some assistance when she directs him to the manger site after Mary and Joseph show up to briefly adopt him.