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Playing With / Gods Need Prayer Badly

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Basic Trope: In a fantasy work, a god's power is proportional to the number of believers they have, and how strongly they believe in them.

  • Straight: Odin gets stronger the more believers he has, but weaker the fewer he has.
  • Exaggerated:
    • One person's belief gives Odin omnipotence.
    • The gods created by and gaining power through worship create their own gods who gain power through their worship.
  • Downplayed:
    • Odin exists regardless of who believes in him but his powers are connected with his own sense of worth. So as long as his confidence is up, he is powerful. His own friends can boost his powers with words of encouragement but if millions of people worship him, that is certainly a good thing.
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    • He isn't physically affected by lack of worship, but he gets extremely lonely without followers.
    • Odin exists and has power one way or the other, but he gets stronger when he’s being worshiped.
  • Justified:
    • In the fantasy setting, belief is shown to influence reality enough to allow this to happen.
    • Gods are essentially ideas. If no one thinks about them, they can't exist.
    • The believers are all Reality Warpers who make him exist when they believe in him.
  • Inverted:
    • Odin actually gets weaker the more people believe in him.
    • More people believe in Odin after he gets stronger.
  • Subverted: Odin doesn't lose power when his followers are massacred.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Until Ra mocks him for having no followers, at which point Odin vanishes in a Puff of Logic.
    • Odin is lying, so no-one gets any bright ideas.
  • Parodied:
    • Belief and manifestation are so strongly intertwined that a follower of Odin changes their own beliefs just to get to see Odin wearing a tutu.
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    • Capitalism, greed, and materialism becomes so widespread that money becomes a god and starts causing miracles.
  • Zig Zagged: The authors seem inconsistent over whether Odin needs believers or not to fuel his power - one moment a single believer has total control over Odin, and the next moment a whole congregation's collective belief has no effect on him.
  • Averted: Odin exists whether or not people believe in him.
  • Enforced:
    • Executive Meddling and/or the authors: "The god is too powerful, he's a Game-Breaker, but I don't want to tone him down too much. How about Gods Need Prayer Badly? It'd make a nice allegory for belief, too."
    • The writer is trying to justify why God cares about worship so much, without it making Him seem egotistical
  • Lampshaded: A character says; "I don't get how believing it makes it true. How do they do that?"
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  • Invoked: A character tells everyone to believe in Odin so that he can grow powerful and smite their enemies.
  • Exploited: A character sabotages belief in Odin and then coerces him into working for him or her in exchange for a revival in belief.
  • Defied: "You think telling people to Clap Your Hands If You Believe will change anything? I'm a GOD, you fool. Cower, brief mortals!"
  • Discussed: "We're losing the war because no-one properly believes in Odin any more. If they did, he'd be a powerful ally, but as it is he can't help us"
  • Conversed: A character who reads fantasy books points out an author who wrote about this effect and compares it with Odin's case.
  • Implied: The heroes find Odin who is now a homeless old man begging for change. They ask what happened to him and he simply mutters, "When was the last time you knew of someone who worshipped me?".
  • Deconstructed:
    • Odin becomes so powerful that he now has power over the rest of humanity, and begins smiting people who aren't his believers because they cannot resist him.
    • Emperor Evulz manages to become a God of Evil by convincing his followers to worship him.
    • The fact that gods only exist if people believe in them leads to them being, essentially, just another product of Magic A Is Magic A, no different from a wizard's fireballs or a paladin's Healing Hands. Furthermore, this lends a lot more weight to powerful entities declaring "A God Am I", and arguably allows mortals to be superior since their continued existence and power is not dependent on whether other mortals believe they have it or not.
  • Reconstructed: Odin turns out to be a merciful god, or is taught humility by a brief spell with fewer believers fueling his powers.
  • Played For Laughs: There is a retirement home in Florida, filled with the old gods such as Ra and Odin. As it turns out, they lost their powers once people stopped worshiping them. Not that it bothers them. They only care about taking naps and shuffleboard these days.
  • Played For Drama: A dying god recounts how mighty he was when he was the sole deity of the planet but now that only a handful of people believe in him, he is slowly fading away and can do nothing as he watches his few remaining followers cease to believe in him or die out.

Back to Gods Need Prayer Badly, and on your way out, would you give just two prayers a month for the guy in the corner? Save The Gods charity fund. Please. And remember: Give blood, give life.

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