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Trickster God

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A deity or demigod whose domain encompasses deceit, pranks, and reversals. Most gods have some shape-shifting and use semantics to betray the spirit of an agreement, but these characters are defined by these stories in a way that other (probably Jerkass) gods aren't. They are the divine subtrope to The Trickster.

This trope is Older Than Dirt since it appears in several real life mythologies, where the god's trickery is used as a lesson for the audience. These gods teach indirectly, through inducing/induced hardship, and people learning from it, instead of giving direct instruction. Because of that, they are often associated with storytelling and are as commonly the victim of pranks and mischief as they are the provocateur.

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Sub-Trope of Stock Gods (each god in a pantheon are responsible for standard aspects of reality). Other stock gods that overlap include God of Chaos ("chaos" may encompass randomness, potential, entropy, destruction/disordered creation) and God of Knowledge ("knowledge" may encompass cunning/trickery).


Examples:

Comic Books

  • Rat Queens: Castiwyr is introduced as an immortal illusionist who sets elaborate (and potentially lethal) pranks for mortals to alleviate his boredom. He is present in the deities' realm and thus qualifies as a technical god.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Hermes' trickster nature isn't fully evident at first due to his crush on Diana, but it comes out when he's around the other Olympians and Ares makes it clear that he finds it both endearing (when aimed at anyone but himself) and incredibly annoying.
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    • Wonder Woman (2011): The New 52's version of Hermes does not have a crush on Diana, which ensures that one of his biggest bits of trickery is against her when he makes it seem they are on the same side and have the same goals while working against her since their goals align to a point.

Comic Strips

  • 9 Chickweed Lane: God/"God", an incredibly smug, wormy-looking little man in a suit who previously decided to replace humans with cockroaches because he couldn't stand that such petty things resembled him, starting with a pregnant ex-nun's fetus she gave birth to a perfectly normal baby human girl. Later He talked about quitting his job and letting "the suits" take over and claiming that he prefers the "small talk" of said ex-nun's prayers to "Sister Caligula's" strict performance reviews.

Films — Live-Action

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  • The Mask: The titular mask is supposedly the trapped form of Norse god Loki. Whoever puts on the mask is transformed into an over-the-top version of their "inner selves", with Reality Warper powers.

Literature

  • The Divine Cities: Jukov was the trickster Divinity of pleasure, corruption, chaos, madness, rebellion and a few other things. Stories of him playing tricks on his believers, like changing their form or luring them somewhere, abound. His favourite animal was the starling, but he seemed to favour birds in general, often turning himself or his followers into birds.

Myth

  • African Mythology: Anansi the Spider is often known as the god of stories/knowledge because he tricked sky god Nyame into selling him every story that was ever told. The price was the capture of four dangerous and/or elusive creatures and Anansi promised to deliver five. Many Anansi tales show him being the clever one, and tricking someone else, but many also show Anasi being tricked, if you are clever enough yourself.
  • Norse Mythology: Loki, one of the most famous examples thanks to his appearances in The Mighty Thor and various adaptations. He's a spirit of chaos, and Odin's bloodbrother, who's mostly kept around because he's useful, but ends up causing more trouble than he helps and eventually betrays the gods (though not entirely without reason...)

Live-Action Series

Video Games

  • Dragon Age: Both the Andrastian Chantry and Corypheus agree on this much; the Old Gods tricked the Magister into entering the Golden City. The difference is what exactly the "trick" was. According to the former, it was persuading them into betraying The Maker. According to the latter, it was that the Black City was already empty and corrupted before they got there. This example contains a TRIVIA entry. It should be moved to the Word of God is that the Black City was verifiably golden in appearance before the Magister's attempt to invade it however, which raises even more questions.
  • Dungeon Crawl: Nemelex Xobeh is a Chaotic Neutral god who appreciates trickery and gambling, so they give their followers magical decks of cards to use.
  • Hades: Hermes, while being the messenger, is also the god of thieves and is just as prone to trickery as he was in the original myths. He's collaborating with Charon to help Zagreus find Persephone behind the other Olympians' backs.
  • Path of Exile: When passing through a Mirror of Delirium, a "Strange Voice" whispers words directly into the player character. He's hinted to be the trickster god Tangmazu, whose greatest achievement was turning the goddesses of the sun and moon into eternal enemies. His words are more sinister than playful, speaking words that inspire paranoia and despair.

Web Video

  • In Critical Role's second campaign, Trickster Cleric Jester is devoted to The Traveler...who is curiously not in the official pantheon for Exandria. This is because he is Artagan from the first campaign, who accidentally went from archfey to godhood through posing as one to a young Jester and gained a cult of followers as time went by. When the actual god of Trickery finds out, she isn't too pleased but accepts the transfer of most of Artagan's followers to her.

Western Animation


 
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TWA god of deception

TWA gives his standard blueprints for a trickster god.

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