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Sentient Cosmic Force

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"Ohohoho, little goldsparkle, it is much, MUCH, more than [a hellish realm]. Every single thought or feeling you have ever had, both consciously and subconsciously, becomes reality in the Warp. Every single human emotion becomes a power. Every single metaphor becomes a literal meaning. Everyone's wishes, dreams, desires, fears, and nightmares are incarnated. Of course, the reason the Warp is so corrosive and horrifying is because so many conflicting and contradicting ideas are floating around inside of it. And the "Gods" are, in fact, collective subconscious constructs that reflect crucial mental aspects of ALL life."

A sentient cosmic force is a form of Background Magic Field with a will of its own. Like a Background Magic Field, it is a pervasive form of Applied Phlebotinum, existing on a planetary or universal scale, that acts as "fuel" for Functional Magic. It is generally not material, existing as an intangible energy or on a spiritual level, though it may have a physical manifestations in areas that act as a nexus or wellspring for it. However, while Background Magic Field is simply an inanimate part of nature, a sentient cosmic force is capable of thinking and acting on its own.

It can favor some people or factions over others. It can communicate, or at least be communed with. It has goals, and can enact plans to further those goals (which may involve picking someone to be The Chosen One). It is rarely described as actually "alive", however — it is not something that can be spoken to directly. In this way, sentient cosmic forces are generally distinct from deities: while you may meditate and commune with it in a temple, it doesn't actively seek prayer or worship. More plainly, although a sentient cosmic force is aware of events and capable of influencing them, it is not a person.

If a sentient cosmic force is hostile, or even actively evil, then expect the world this force is in to be a Crapsack World. Of course, it might be too alien to fit any notions of morality that we can understand. The Dark Side exists when the will of a good or neutral cosmic force is corrupted, or as the Evil Counterpart to the good aspects as a necessary counterbalance.

A subtrope of Background Magic Field and Cosmic Entity. May overlap with The Lifestream when it's created by life itself or when things become one with it after death. Contrast Physical God, where the cosmic force has a face and a body to act out its will directly. Compare Sentient Phlebotinum.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Truth in Fullmetal Alchemist is the source of alchemy and knowledge. Few people ever see it though (only those who attempted human transmutation). At the end, it punishes Father for his actions and gives back Al's body in exchange for Ed giving up his alchemy power forever.
  • In Getter Robo, Getter Rays are eventually revealed to be a quasi-sentient entity with the power to accelerate evolution, which "chose" mankind over the dinosaurs. Getter Emperor can be considered an Anthropomorphic Personification of the force (as can its larval form Shin Getter, when at full power). Getter Rays are depicted variously as any combination of Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, The Assimilator, The Corruption, Creepy Good and Omnicidal Maniac, depending on continuity and how mentally stable their chosen heralds are at the time.
  • The Ide of Space Runaway Ideon is implied to have started manipulating all parties from the beginning of the show, when the Solo Ship and the titular Ideon machine are discovered, to ultimately destroying the universe at the climax of the Be Invoked film in order to restart it. In the TV series, the Ide displays its power through the Ideon by unlocking more of its armaments, one of which is a energy beam generating from its hands like a sword that can cleave a planet apart, with another being a gun that fires enough power to level galaxies.

    Comic Books 
  • The dark energy that infested Astro City during The '80s is implied to be this. It's an energy field that is implied to be attracted to (or induces) feelings of vengeance and malevolence in others, and can empower beings like The Pale Horseman and Lord Soverign with paranormal abilities.
    • Starfighter's Lorus is a more benevolent version. We don't know much about it except that it can be channeled for various mystical effects by drawing certain symbols, but it evidently chose heroic Duncan Keller to be its agent on Earth.
  • Bone: The Dreaming, which Word of God acknowledges was drawn from Australian Aboriginal beliefs.
  • The DCU has the seven entities representing the rainbow-derived "Emotional Spectrum". All of them both are fueled by the energy that comes from certain primal emotions/drives of living creatures, and can imbue living beings who strongly connect with those emotions/drives with various powers and abilities (most of which conveniently match up with the abilities of the Green Lanterns). In rainbow order, they are:
  • The DCU also has the Source from New Gods. Just how many of these does one universe need, anyway? In any case, The Source emanates from beyond "the Source Wall", a giant wall on the outskirts of reality; the New Gods, and possibly everyone, go there when they die, but it is also sentient and communicates with the New Gods through a giant burning hand that gives them hints about what actions they should take.
    • Furthermore, it also has the Endless from The Sandman (1989); Death, Destiny, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (formerly Delight). Each embodies their given role, and often appear as something different to whoever's looking at them (Dream, for instance, was simultaneously perceived both as a tall Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette by John Constantine and as an ancient Martian God by the Martian Manhunter). However, they aren't explicitly required to fulfil their role for it to continue happening, with the universe accommodating — Destruction retired, and the universe kept on going, and when Dream was imprisoned for most of a century, despite some significant side-effects in both the mortal world and the Dreaming itself, things kept going.
  • The Phoenix Force and the Power Cosmic are two Marvel Universe examples, although the former is hard to explain due to countless revisions.
    • There is also the Captain Universe power (which itself is an extension of the Microverse’s Enigma Force), which goes around the universe to imbue a powerup to superpowered individuals in order to let them combat a great upcoming cataclysm that the universe (or rather, the power) foresees as so great that it should not come to pass. Spider-Man possessed it for a time, because he had to stop a nuclear reactor from wiping New York off of the map while the Avengers were occupied elsewhere, and a later Captain Universe ended up on the pre Secret Wars (2015) Avengers roster, and aside from being handicapped by a brain-damaged and amnesiac host, spoke for itself.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: as in Marvel canon, the Phoenix Force is this, and is merged with Destruction of the Endless, another example of this trope, along with the latter's siblings, and Galactus.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • The Concepts are all this, being the living embodiment of their respective aspect of reality. This includes Celestia and Luna, though they're a bit more limited due to being incarnated into the mortal world at the moment. They aren't just Equus's day, night, sun, and moon, but the cosmic concept of those things. The same applies to Discord.
    • The Blank Wolf is a cosmic entity that exists to be reality's immune system, and will appear to erase anything threatening it. He's also an angel born from the torn off wing of Fate herself.
  • In the Contractually Obligated Chaos series, this is the best way to describe the plot. The rest of the cast gradually decides that the plot is more or less a sentient being which controls everything, and they are subject to its whims. It's usually benevolent, but prone to pursuing Rule of Drama, Rule of Funny, and/or Rule of Cool without warning. No one is safe from it; arguably, this includes the author. Given that the source material is the Beetlejuice cartoon, this manages to make perfect sense.

  • Eywa in Avatar is a Genius Loci physically comprising the neural network between the various flora and fauna on Pandora, and comprising the memories of various creatures, but is sentient and can cause Gaia's Vengeance when required. By the time of Avatar: The Way of Water she has created an avatar for herself in Kiri.
  • While its motives are unclear, in Excalibur a Force-like... force... is identified as "The Dragon".
  • In the Final Destination series, the main cast is faced off against "Mr. Dead", which is to say Death itself. Death has no form or body, but rather exists as a sentient force of nature that brings about the deaths of those that are meant to die. It's also rather Eldritch-y, being an inscrutable and unstoppable entity picking off hapless mortals in ridiculously cruel ways.
  • The Force from the Star Wars universe. It's an energy field, it gives powers. It has a Chosen One (and in-universe was believed to have caused his virgin birth, though it was revealed out-of-universe that he might have been the product of Sith meddling with life). It has a will of its own, but nobody fully understands it (and it might be impossible to do so). The Jedi and their evil counterparts the Sith, along with a variety of lesser groups from the Star Wars Expanded Universe and Legends, each have their own belief systems about the true nature of the Force, but out-of-universe it's generally presumed that the Jedi are closest to the truth. The Sith believe that the Force is something that can, and should be, controlled and exploited for all its worth. Given the horrible fates that befall nearly every Sith, the Force apparently disapproves. According to Word of God, the Will of the Force is determined by a Hive Mind of sentient microorganisms called the Whills that act on the universe through the midi-chlorians in an attempt to rid itself of the Dark Side's corrupting influence on others.
    • There are some cases in which it is less distant and more immediately helpful. In Rebel Force: Uprising, when Luke is being tortured and put through brainwashing so bad that even Obi-Wan's spirit can't help him anymore, he hears an inner voice encouraging him. He thinks it sounds like him but older, and assumes that it's his father's voice. We know it's not.
    • Tash Arranda in Galaxy of Fear: Eaten Alive finds something that horrifies her, "yet, at the same time, it triggered something else inside her, a powerful and comforting force that seemed to fight against her fear and give her strength." Later in the book she's cornered by attackers and feels it again, calming and protecting her so that she is able to escape, and in general it helps her when things seem darkest. Sometimes this scares her because she feels like connecting to it makes her lose her identity, sometimes it reminds her that You Are Not Alone.
    • And then again, the Jedi can be thrown a curveball sometimes. In the Mortis arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka bump into beings that are pretty much Physical Gods, and apparently personify aspects of the Force. Jedi teachings don't include any specific gods, and none of the Jedi know what to make of them.

  • In Belgariad, destiny/the will of the universe is both sentient and rather snarky.
  • In Fiona Patton's Branion series, this describes the Holy Triarchy, which represents three of the four elemental powers. The fourth, Flame, is implied to have been this at one point, but somehow the Founder of the Kingdom made a pact with It, took It within herself, and became the first Aristok and Vessel of the Living Flame. Characters in the fourth book commit heresy by seeking to do the same with the Wind, Sea and Oaks.
  • Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere contains sixteen Shards, each of which is a fragment of godlike power created when a greater being or force called Adonalsium was somehow shattered into these Shards. Each shard has an Intent (described by it's name), which is the component of Adonalsium that it represents. Shards that have appeared (directly or indirectly) so far include Ruin, Preservation, Endowment, Honor, Cultivation, Odium, and Autonomy. In order to be used, a Shard must be help by a person who will eventually become completely focused on the Shard's intent, literally unable to act in a way contrary to it. The Shards are responsible for the Functional Magic systems that exist on the planets they inhabit, and have some ability to communicate and direct people on those planets to accomplish their goals, although it's unclear exactly how much a totally unlimited shard can do.
    • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy has the diametrically opposed Shards Ruin and Preservation who worked together to create the planet, and are now working against each other to destroy and protect it respectively. Ruin is released at the end of "The Well of Ascension" when it is able to trick Vin into thinking that letting it go will help save the world. Ruin was trapped by Preservation in the Well of Ascension when Preservation betrayed the deal they had made that Ruin would eventually get to destroy the world they created. Preservation is somewhere between dead and dying through the series (the distinction is a little tough with a God who dies over a long period of time), but has a long term Thanatos Gambit set up which accounts for Ruin's eventual escape due to Preservation's significantly better ability to predict the future..
    • Warbreaker has Endowment who gives all people on the planet it inhabits a magical "Breath" which can be passed between people or used to animate and Command non-living organic objects. It is also responsible for creating the Returned, Godlike beings who are people who die then are sent back with a single powerful Breath capable of healing any disease or injury (at the cost of the Returned's life). It is believed (and partially confirmed by Lightsong's actions at the end of the book) that each Returned is sent back with a specific purpose to accomplish, although in the process of coming back to life they lose all their memories, so they have to try to figure out what their purpose is along the way.
    • The Stormlight Archive has THREE shards, Odium, Honor and Cultivation. Getting into the full details of information about them is impossible without excessive spoilers. However Honor leads to both culture and magical focus on Oaths, Odium is to blame for constant violence and strife, and Cultivation seems to have by far the best ability of the Shards to predict the future, and a penchant for helping people improve themselves.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: Yog-Sothoth is often described as The Gate and The Key. It acts as a kind of manifestation, separate entity and integral part of the universe itself. As such, it's not surprising that it doesn't actually do much in Lovecraft's works, and when it does in "The Dunwich Horror", namely fathering Half-Human Hybrids that were involved in a plan for an eldritch invasion, you might think it's a much more limited entity.
  • In James Herbert's The Dark, patches of concentrated darkness, roused in a London house via diabolical ritual, hold and rouse human aptitude for depravity. On the house's demolishment, the Dark spreads citywide...
  • Dinoverse turns out to have one, though it's poorly described. The Time Machine that Betram accidentally built in the first book turns out to have been part of a pattern - people across the multiverse had started building similar machines, with similar lack of understanding, and activating them. At one point it's shown that the required parts for it to work are extremely simple, and it activates on its own. Later said character gets himself fused with this force and is said to be benign.
  • Magic in the Discworld series is explicitly mentioned to be a little bit alive. It's the reason HEX seems to add or upgrade parts of its own accord, and part of the reason that not using magic is one of the most important skills a wizard can utilize.
  • In David Gemmell's Drenai novels, priests are dedicated to the Source, which imparts mystical powers.
  • In S. M. Stirling's Emberverse it appears to be this that caused the Change.
  • The god of Mijaknote  from the Godspeaker Trilogy is a particularly evil variant. It never speaks in words to its worshipers, but influences their thoughts and desires and acts through its priests, the godspeakers, and through specific chosen ones like Hekat and later the Hammer. It demands constant sacrifice to sustain itself and very much wants to conquer the world. A character from outside the Mijaki culture at one point describes it as "a well of dark power".
  • The Empirium Trilogy: The empirium is a magical force that everything in Avitas is made out of. The ability to tap into it is what gives humans their powers. As one of the Queens of Prophecy, Rielle can hear and even request help from the empirium, especially as her connection to it grows stronger.
  • The Domain is implied to be this in Halo's The Forerunner Saga for the Milky Way and seemingly attempts to warn the Forerunners about the downfall of their empire. The Domain appears to have motives separate to that of any other faction, even the Precursors, who created the Domain prior to their near-extinction at the hands of the Forerunners, making it a rare artificial version of this trope.
    • Additionally, the Precursors' own highly advanced technology is said to operate on "neural physics", a highly esoteric branch of science based on the principle that the universe as a whole is alive.
  • Dust, from His Dark Materials: while the "magic" element of it is subtle, it's observed to be attracted to children as they reach puberty, is discovered to be to be the stuff which gives intelligent creatures sentience, and is the reason Lyra's truth-telling Alethiometer works. It also speaks to a character from Will's world who is studying it through her computer and sends her on a quest.
  • InCryptid and the related Ghost Roads series have the Crossroads, an Eldritch Abomination that feeds on the Background Magic Field and offers deals, for which the price is always maliciously high. When it comes to collect, if it doesn't outright kill someone, it takes them to a Death World from which there is no escape. It turns out the Crossroads are a "cosmic parasite" that usurped the role of the Anima Mundi, a sort of "soul of the world", whose bargains were fair.
  • In James Herbert's The Magic Cottage, the universe is said to be driven and shaped by emotion. The titular cottage, with its nurture of intimacy and creativity, stands on a leyline of such "ethereal vitality."
  • A recurring element in Thomas Ligotti's stories, going by names such as Nethescurial, the Tsalal, and the Great Black Swine, and it's always described as absolute evil.
  • The Old Kingdom has the Charter, which is a sort of metaphysical document that orders and defines all life and magic within the world, and is close enough to reality in the titular Kingdom that it can be directly tapped into to power Charter Magic. Whether the Charter itself is truly sentient is debatable though the beings who created it were but it has shown some ability to take steps to preserve itself (and by extension, the universe) mostly by making sure the right people are born at the right time and sending visions to the Clayr. Opposed to the Charter is Free Magic and its elementals the most powerful of which is Orannis the Destroyer as well as The Undead.
  • Perdido Street Station has the Torque, described by one character as a tumor that aborted itself from the womb that produced the forces of Birth and Death. Whilst not evil per-se, it is a natural force that is almost totally uncontrollable that warps and mutates matter and biology into horrifying things. Merely trying to research it can turn you into an Eldritch Abomination. It was once used as a weapon; the results of the Torque Bomb were so awful even after a generous application of Magitek versions of nuclear weapons there's a country-sized region of the world which isn't going to be inhabitable by anything but abominations ever again.
  • The magic from The Soldier Son trilogy acts this way. It's not a living thing, but throughout the entire trilogy it is attempting to force Nevare's hand.
  • In the epic Mind Screw that is "Through The Gates of the Silver Key" we learn that not only is Yoggy its own creature, it is one out of presumably many ultimate archetypes. Every person of any species is apparently a facet of one of these archetypes, and Yog-Sothoth includes all great thinkers and wizards, including protagonist Randolph Carter. It's anyone's guess what/who the other archetypes are.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth is created and sustained by the Flame Imperishable, which emanates from Eru Ilúvatar himself. The author's letters confirm he intended it to be a Crystal Dragon Jesus of the Holy Spirit.
  • The True Source, which turns The Wheel of Time. The Dark One itself turns out to be one of these in the last book as well, more a personification of evil, chaos, and entropy rather than a person. Rand manages to reseal it by turning its own magic, the True Power back against it, ensuring that the harder the Dark One fought against being sealed, the more tightly it was sealed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Warp Monarch in Chouseishin Gransazer is ruled by a computer-like Energy Being simply called the "Warp Monarch's Will", which is stated to embody the will of the universe and is capable of sending messages throughout the Warp Monarch.
  • The Speed Force on The Flash (2014) is demonstrated to be sentient when it speaks directly to Barry through avatars of people he loves. The Speed Force even gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech for giving up his speed in exchange for a single life, when he could have used it to save many more lives. Also, the only way the Speed Force will give him his speed back is if he comes to term with his mother's death.
    Barry: I'm talking to the Speed Force? Isn't that like saying I'm having a conversation with gravity, or light, or...
  • In Lost this is what's said to emanate from the Heart of the Island.
    Jacob: What's down there?
    Mother: Life. Death. Rebirth.
  • The Morphin' Grid from Power Rangers might be this. An omnipresent energy field that turns The Chosen Many into Rangers, but only when/for as long as the cosmic principles of Good and Evil are out of balance. This presumably makes it sentient, as it has to make those judgments. Despite the mystical connotations, ordinary humans in later series do find a way to tap into it for mundane energy needs.
  • The first season of Space: 1999 floats the idea of a 'Cosmic Intelligence' which is guiding and protecting the Moon on its journey around the Universe in order to use it as a catalyst for change. In one episode, Black Sun, the Intelligence apparently even speaks to two of the main characters.
  • The mycelial network in Star Trek: Discovery, which exists in a pocket of subspace, is said to be integral to the very existence of life. It's even implied to serve as a kind of afterlife, as Stamets meets Culber there after the latter is killed by Voq/Tyler. This is also why its corruption by the I.S.S. Charon is so concerning: if the network dies, it may very well take all life in The Multiverse with it.
  • The Minus Energy present in the Ultra Series is heavily implied to have a life of its own, with it's appearance in Ultraman 80 having it talk to 80 and boast about its creation of Minus Energy monsters throughout the show. By extension, the Yapool Ultraman Ace also count as they are an entity made out of the Minus Energy with a mind of its own and capable of free will planning.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Force from Star Wars is based on Taoism, which teaches that there is a universal force called (but not named) the Tao that flows through all things, passively guiding the universe along a natural course. By living a certain meditative lifestyle, one can become "like an uncarved block" and then allow the Tao to shape them.
  • Certain versions of Pandeism and Pantheism have this — though 'sentient' varies and need not imply activity or sapience.
  • Christianity in particular has the Holy Spirit, who is the third person within the Blessed Trinity and is best defined as being the power of God that carries out His will.
  • Greek philosophical systems, such as Stoicism and Neoplatonism, had the concept of Anima mundi - the World Soul. It is described as an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to the world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body.
  • Algonquian and Anishinaabe mythology has the Manitou (Not to be confused with the horror novel The Manitou), which is described as the omnipresent, spiritual and fundamental lifeforce which manifests everywhere. The Iroquois Native Americans have the Orenda, an extraordinary invisible power inherent in people and the environment, capable of being exerted according to the will of its possessor.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Draconic Prophecy in Eberron can be this. It's left deliberately vague so that the DM can give it whatever nature he wants, but what has been confirmed about it fits: It gives people powers (Through Dragonmarks), it's pervasive and covers the material plane (leaving marks on the landscape, construction, etc). It has a will and a purpose, but those are so complex and long terms that no being can fully understand it. Dragons spend their whole lives trying to figure it out, only ever achieving small glimpses of the Prophecy's nature.
  • Exalted has a lot of examples of this trope. The universe literally runs on Rule of Cool and is self-aware of this:
    • Anyone, not just an Exalt, can channel virtue into actions to increase the chance to success, even if they fight the frickin' Ebon Dragon.
    • The more extreme an Exalt's Virtue, the more Essence he has. The universe respond to your morality (both the Black-White kind and the Blue-Orange kind).
    • And then there are the Pattern Spiders. They are god-machines who are responsible of causality in the Universe, they are sentient, and they can be affected in many ways. The aforementioned Ebon Dragon has Charms solely to screw them.
      • Not only can the Pattern Spiders be affected by you, sometimes it's not even necessary — the Pattern Spiders are bored out of their minds. Enough so that if you try to do something cool enough, they'll usually fudge the rules to make it more likely to work (represented in gameplay as bonus dice).
    • The creators of the universe are also this. They were kind of cosmic douchebagsnote , so the Exalts either killed them or imprisoned them. The Green Sun Princes can invoke their power, and the more one does so, the more universe around him or her works according to his or her patron's ideal vision. Which is not a nice place.
  • Princess: The Hopeful has both the Light (the embodiment of virtue, beneficence, and the desire to make the world a better place.) and its opposite the Darkness (the embodiment of vice, corruption, despair, and malevolence). The titular Princesses are empowered by the Light, while the Darkness has a wide variety of minions created from those who were consumed by vice or despair in various ways.
  • The Warp from Warhammer 40,000 would be a rare evil version. It is malevolent, at least at the moment: originally it was a benign, peaceful force that has become corrupted by all the grief, rage, and suffering that's been happening in the galaxy for the past few million years. It has, in fact, many wills (thanks to its chaotic nature), as its wills can be given identities in the form of Chaos Gods. Just like the Force from Star Wars, it can give super powers, though not often ones you'd want to keep.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has this trope as the pillar of its cosmology. The universal forces of Chaos, Order and Entropy exist and have something resembling a personality, called the Wyld, the Weaver and the Wyrm, respectively. Werewolves' entire lives revolve around the conflict between these three forces, specifically being rather friendly with the Wyld, wary or antagonistic to the Weaver and VEEEEEERY antagonistic to the Wyrm.

    Video Games 
  • In City of Heroes, the mysterious "Well of the Furies" is actually a Sentient Cosmic Force. To date, its exact goals are poorly-eludicated, but seem to involve trying to take control of its Chosen Many, the "Incarnates."
  • Destiny: In the sequel's Shadowkeep expansion, the "Unveiling" lore book reveals this to be the case for the Light/Traveler and the Darkness/Pyramids. In the book, the Darkness relates an allegorical account of how the two of them used to exist in a garden before time began, tending to flowers in it. When the gardener (Light) got frustrated how the garden seemed to stagnate, similar patterns continually arising in it, they tried to introduce a new "rule" into the garden, much to the winnower's (Darkness) alarm. The two fought and fell into the garden, starting time, and becoming cosmic forces that exhibit paracausal power. Later lore released with the Beyond Light, Witch Queen, and Lightfall expansions (and their followup Seasons) imply that this isn't actually truethe Gardener and the Winnower are actually seperate individuals from the Light and the Darkness, instead acting as the source of these powers. The Gardener became The Traveler, while the Winnower became The Witness, the true Big Bad of the Destiny's Saga of Light and Dark.
  • Elden Ring has the Greater Will: an unseen, unheard divine being that acts through messangers. It's a cosmic entity who is credited with having created the very concepts of life, individuality and souls, and is associated with gold, light and immortality. The Greater Will is the entity who created the titular Elden Ring, seeded the world with the Erdtree and is the one that chooses Empyrean. While it can interact with the physical world in some form, it's unknown if it even has an appearance and isn't just a metaphysical, thinking cosmic energy. It's apperently so distant that even its dedicated messangers, the Two Fingers, can take up to hundreds of years of continously calling to establish contact with it.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Anu and Padomay are the anthropomorphized primordial forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. Their interplay in the great "Void" led to Nir, "creation". Nir loved Anu, which Padomay hated. Padomay killed Nir and the 12 worlds to which she gave birth. Anu wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the 12 world to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". Due to being pulled outside of time, neither can directly influence the affairs of the mortal world, but it is believed that their presence is still felt, largely In Mysterious Ways and in Powers That Be type ways.
    • Sithis, a representation of the Void, is believed to be what is "left of" Padomay, a shadow that continues to inject "chaos" into the stasis of creation. Sithis is worshiped by the Dark Brotherhood in their Religion of Evil.
    • The et'Ada are the "original spirits" who formed out of the intermingled spilled blood of Anu and Padomay. Depending on their actions during the creation of Mundus, the mortal world, they would become known as either the Aedra or the Daedra. Essentially, they are the embodiments of the concepts they represent. (Akatosh IS Time, Sheogorath IS Madness, etc.) For example, when someone (usually mortals working with divine implements) "breaks" time, causing time to flow in a nonlinear fashion, they have "broken" Akatosh. These events are known as "Dragon Breaks", essentially Time Crashes during which Reality Is Out to Lunch. For more details about them, see The Elder Scrolls: Divine Beings and The Elder Scrolls: Daedra subpages.
  • The Lifestream of Final Fantasy VII, used as a fuel by the Shinra Electric Power Company. In its solidified form it is the materia that allows the use of magic, and is the combined spirit of all living things of the Planet, and when you piss it off enough it releases a whole bunch of monsters to get rid of whatever is annoying it.
  • Energy-X is implied to be this at the end of the second Freedom Force game; presumably more would have been revealed had a third game been made.
  • The Light and the Darkness in Kingdom Hearts. Each has their own realm (along with a realm where they're mixed, and a realm that lacks either). They're mostly just a Background Magic Field each, but each seems to have a will of its own — the (rarely seen) realm of Darkness creates Heartless, and the (broken from an ancient war) realm of Light rebuilt itself using the pure light found in children's hearts, and will summon/swap around Keyblades depending (to some degree) on the intended wielder's balance of light and darkness. Neither of the forces seems directly opposed to the other, though — most of the reasons that the realm of Light suffers from darkness are due either to the previously mentioned war or to the series' Big Bad, who seeks to disprove myths about Darkness and gain personal power with increasingly reckless and ruthless experiments.
  • Mass Effect: Asari religion is said to revolve around this, moving away from a more literal worship of the goddess Athame. In the third game, we learn Athame was fact real, and a Prothean to boot.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: The Axiom, first mentioned in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. The Axiom represents the entire non-physical part of the universe, and any human who manages to make contact with it becomes something on an level incomprehensibly far above what they previously were (so far, only a single person is known to have done so, and they're a recurring character surfing the multiverse now). It's made clear that The Axiom and YHVH completely hate each other - YHVH hates that a force exists the He may not be able to control, and the Axiom will engineer the existence of Messiahs just to mess with YHVH's attempts to remake the world in His image.
  • In Starhawk, Rift energy, AKA "blue gold", is an efficient power source and spews out of the ground. Direct exposure turns people into exoskeletal, mutant zealots that worship the Rift and attack anyone who tries to harvest it. Sometimes, it grabs people and pulls them into itself.
  • Apparently, the Voodoo from Tales of Monkey Island is this, according to the Voodoo Lady. Of course, real Voodoo has nothing to do with this.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, each fonon has an aggregate sentience (most are named after the summon spirits of previous games), but the one that's most important to the storyline is Lorelei, the aggregate sentience of the seventh fonon of sound.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Nasuverse:
    • "Gaia" is the will of the planet Earth, and "Alaya" is the collective unconsciousness of humanity. The clash between Gaia and Alaya out of their respective desires for self-preservation created some sort of a cosmic force called "The Counter Force". If either Gaia or Alaya becomes closer to destruction, the Counter Force will act towards saving the one closer to destruction, usually at the expense of the other. The form it can be communicated with exists as "Counter Guardians", heroes who have formed a contract with the World to save it when it comes closer to destruction... though the presence of a Counter Guardian means that every other course of action that the Counter Force could've taken has been exhausted, Counter Guardians typically lack autonomy when summoned in that capacity, and their modus operandi is to annihilate both the direct cause of the threat and everything else within the surrounding area (i.e. massive collateral damage/casualties is the norm for such events).
    • The "Ultimate Ones", each the "ultimate being" of an entire celestial body that embodies said world's will. According to Angel Notes, every planet (and the Moon) has an Ultimate One. These beings have utterly bizarre forms and minds to say the least, as one of them (ORT, originally believed to be Type-Mercury but is actually Type-Oort Cloud) even came to Earth responding to Gaia's dying message thousands of years before Gaia died. The reason Gaia can't create Type-Earth as her physical form is because Alaya is preventing her from doing so. She had to resort to striking a deal with Type-Moon, a.k.a. Crimson Moon Brunestud, to allow it residence on Earth in exchange for creating a substitute, the result being the True Ancestors; one particular True Ancestor, Arcueid Brunestud, had been implanted by Crimson Moon with a copy of said Type's personality, and upon its eventual awakening (which will probably lead to her original personality being lost) she will attain her highest level of power and become a being known as "Archetype:Earth" (something that happens in one ending in Melty Blood), making the closest thing to a true Ultimate One of Earth.

    Web Comics 
  • In El Goonish Shive, magic has a will and objectives of its own. It's known to have a flair for the dramatic and even seems at times to have a sense of humor. Among its objectives was a desire to not be used by more than a small fraction of the people, to the extent of changing its own rules... until it was persuaded that the rise of the internet made that not viable anymore and it agreed to go public. Notably, it's flair for the dramatic isn't a personality trait so much as it is Magic being so alien that big dramatic moments are all it really understands of us.
  • In Homestuck, Skaia is described as something like this. The characters also talk about Paradox Space as though it was this trope, but looking at the story itself it seems Paradox Space is about as sentient as gravity or destiny. It's also a term that describes everything that exists ever.
  • In the highly meta fancomic Roommates the Story and Fanservice are referred to as such by Azira and Crowley, Jareth and narration. In its Spin-Off GirlsNextDoor at least Sarah and Sophie think this too. Because these are basically the in-universe representations of Author Powers and Clap Your Hands If You Believe (of the fandom; "Fangirls masquerading as fate".) respectively this may be very very literally true. They also obviously have humor and an agenda (like not even subtly ship Jareth / Sarah). Oh. And also power magic.
  • The Morce from Space Blood, like the Force from Star Wars has a similar role and its two sides with the Zedi being based on the Jedi and the Knights of Len being based on both the Sith and the Knights of Ren but both sides are evil and that the former is towards Light Is Not Good and it turns out that the Morce is made of evil.

    Web Original 
  • In Phaeton the universe itself is implied to be this.
  • The Whateley Universe has its own take on the Tao (see Religion above) that seems to take a somewhat more active role by empowering the occasional Chosen One when it serves its purposes and is generally credited with an Omniscient Morality License by its followers at least. Its current chosen Handmaid is Bladedancer — by all accounts potentially unstoppable if the Tao wills it so, yet "merely" a Badass Normal otherwise (which is most of the time).

    Western Animation 
  • The spin off book "The Enchiridion", from Adventure Time reveals The Multiverse itself is a self-aware entity, and that it is the source of all Magic across all of existence.
  • A common Running Gag in the Classic Disney Shorts was for one of the characters to be trying to handle a job, only for whatever apparatus involved to meticulously move and fall apart out their favour. In "Moving Day" for example, Goofy tries to push a piano into a van, only for it to continuously roll out. As the short continues it moves in more contrived ways, rolling back and forth independently and even jumping when Goofy catches it in the act.
  • There are two cosmic powers shown in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021) that have some hint of inner will. The first is the Power of Grayskull, also known as Light and Justice, who grants those who wield it Personality Powers. By its own volition, Grayskull can only be wielded by a true Champion, someone who fights for those who cannot defend themselves. Its opposite is the Power of Havoc, a destructive and corruptive force that mutates its wielders into reflections of their worst selves. The two powers are always in opposition. If one power finds a wielder, the other power will find someone else to wield them and serve as a Nemesis.
  • The eponymous Magic of Friendship in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic appears to be one of these and is tied to the Tree of Harmony. It manifests in response to strong acts of friendship between ponies, through such vectors as the Elements of Harmony and the Fire of Friendship (which may be weaponized as a Heart Beat-Down or a Care-Bear Stare). Beginning with Season 5, it becomes a Magnetic Plot Device that actively sends specific mane characters on quests to solve friendship problems throughout the world, implying a definite decision-making process.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Candace believes that it's something like this that prevents her from busting her brothers (and probably preventing their mom from noticing anything odd). Whether this is so is ambiguous.

Alternative Title(s): Will Of The Universe, Sapient Cosmic Force