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"A land of innocence has no need for gods... until fate intervenes. When people pray, a god is always born. That god is You."

A Simulation Game released by Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios in 2001. The core concept of the game has you taking on the role of a god, represented by a disembodied hand, ruling over various tribes on various islands. You can pick things up and move them around, and cast miracles by making gestures with the mouse. You also eventually acquire a Creature, a somewhat autonomous giant animal that can learn various tasks and spells from you.

But the interesting part about this game is that the environment changes depending on what sort of a god you are. A god who sends rainclouds to the fields, heals the sick, builds homes for the people, and gently converts neutral or enemy villages with cute doves will eventually rule a land suffused with light, where rainbows arc the sky and trains of sparkles follow the god's hand, and your Citadel, or temple headquarters, becomes a white Disney-esque tower of beauty and joy. For a god who decides to sic wolves on neutral or enemy villages, make your subjects worship you until they die, feed the corpses to your Creature, then throw around a few fireballs for light relief... the sky will start to grow dark and threatening, the hand will become demonic and followed by noxious smoke, and the temple will grow spikes and generally look really badass. Interestingly, you can train your Creature to either follow your morality example to the letter, or be your complete opposite. The Creature's appearance will change, too, with its behavior (for example, a horse trained to be good will become a super-sparkly unicorn, while an evil horse becomes dark-colored and monstrous-looking.)


At least, this was the idea. The major complaints about these two concepts was that players found if they wanted to be good gods, they had to do absolutely everything for their worshippers, who couldn't even wipe their own behinds without divine intervention. Evil gods had to be constantly spreading fireballs and terror all over the place; they had to be the meanest, most fearsome gods in the land and couldn't be nice for even one moment to anybody. There was little middle ground; being anything inbetween resulted in not being nice enough to be constantly loved, yet not being fearsome enough to ensure worshippers were too scared to worship anybody else. Additionally, if you took your attention off your Creature for more than five minutes, it started defecating all over the place and even chowing down on it.


The sequel, Black & White 2 (2005), added a significant wargame element where players could decide if they wanted to be defensive or offensive rulers, defending their cities from oncoming attacks or taking the invading armies head-on, in lieu of the usual god-game elements. The sequel also addressed many of the most vocal complaints about its predecessor, such as the unwieldy building interface.

Unfortunately, Lionhead Studios was acquired by Microsoft and eventually closed in 2016. Neither game was ever released digitally, so the only present way to obtain the game legally is to buy a secondhand copy, effectively making the game Abandonware.

Not to be confused with Pokémon Black and White or the Michael Jackson song "Black or White," or the 2012 film This Means War (2012) (which is titled Black & White in Japan). There is also a Taiwanese series by the same name.

The game contains examples of:

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    Tropes A—C 
  • Accordion to Most Sailors: A Sidequest Sidestory throughout the original game concerns a group of would-be sailors who need your help in building a ship and gathering supplies for their voyage. Every time they entreat you for help, they do so with a song backed by accordions.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • In the first game, AI Gods always fireball or lightning your Creature if you send it into their territory. Your Creature can easily counter this with a Rain Miracle (and will do it instinctively if it knows the spell; it doesn't even need to be taught). The enemy villagers aren't so lucky, if you place your Creature in a hostile village. With enough luck, you can get the entire village burnt to the ground without hurting anyone yourself.
    • Another from the first game: AI gods cannot distinguish poisoned food (when you drop a red mushroom on food, it turns green and deadly for humans) from normal, untainted food. Combined with liberal use of pause-dropping (pausing the game immediately after your hand leaves your borders while grabbing something, then unpausing once you're in the desired location and dropping the object immediately after) poisoned grain on the enemy Village Stores, their entire population will eventually wither and die, and as villages with no people need no Belief to take over, you can quickly conquer your foes' territory.
    • Enemies in the sequel will automatically close their gates if your armies or your creature approach them. What is meant to be a defensive measure can actually be used in your favor if you place a catapult outside their gates, effectively locking their armies in. This is especially useful on Lands 6 and 7 where the enemy likes to send periodic attacks on your town.
    • The second game has a hilarious example in the final Land. If the player and the Creature are fast enough to destroy the outermost gate of the Aztec Capital, there's a chance the Aztec armies will not attack at all, making it much easier to defeat them and beat the game.
  • Anti-Hero: In the sequel, the player character, if you decide to be evil. This is because your main mission is to rescue humanity from a Religion of Evil (Mayincatec in the original, and an army of zombies summoned by an evil god in the expansion). This is compounded by the fact that any deviation from dyed in the wool pacifism is considered evil, to the point that even attacking enemy soldiers in defense gives you evil points. Which means that a player relying on military force to defeat evil will risk being branded as evil according the Karma Meter. This is averted in the first installment, as your enemy, Nemesis, is portrayed as being well intentioned (albeit violent and power hungry), if you choose to be evil yourself.
  • Arrows on Fire: Archer Platoons that are Rank 4 or above are able to utilise these. They're most effective when used on creatures, since the fire effect can stun them very briefly.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The Creature's AI may be the most advanced in video game history, using early, simplified versions of the same techniques used in modern neural networks. He watches both you and the villagers to learn new skills and figures out how to apply them, which you can tweak by rewarding or punishing him for certain behaviours. What makes this truly brilliant is that it considers not just the action, but the context behind the action, for example whether it was one of your people or an enemy that he just ate, whether you handed the villager to him or if he picked them up himself, where you are, the time of day, and all sorts of other factors that get attatched to the action along with the amount of reward or punishment received. A skilled trainer can coax all sorts of complex behaviours from their Creature, such as throwing its own poo into enemy food stores to taint them, casting food miracles into its pen so it's not stealing from anyone to feed itself, or even making the Leashes of Compassion and Agression have opposite effects!
  • Artistic License – History: The tribes in Black & White are all real historical tribes and civilizations, however many of them resemble tribes at different time periods, which leads to 750BC - 12BC Celts coexisting alongside 14th century - 16th century Aztecs.
  • The Assimilator: Partially invoked in the first game, where dropping people into a specific village made them change their clothes to fit the village. Played perfectly straight in the second, however, where the immigrants will maintain their own clothes but otherwise adopt the Greek civilization as their own - to the point where having their original civilization's buildings will cause serious unhappiness and makes you more evil!
  • Automatic New Game: The game prompts the player for his deity's name and symbol, then sends him straight into the tutorial level, which is necessary since the menu system consists of an in-game building that's only constructed as part of the tutorial.
    • A later patch added the option to skip either half or all of the first island.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Using the Storm Miracle offensively seems like a good idea on paper. It has the potential to cause a lot of destruction, at least if it goes the direction you want it to. The problem is that it's generally quite unwieldy, and even worse it has the potential to backfire and come back your direction.
    • The hurricane and earthquake epic miracles. The hurricane can damage some buildings and kill some villagers, but doesn't cause nearly enough damage to justify the man-hours required to charge it up. The earthquake is a bit more useful, but is unpredictable and doesn't do anything that the volcano can't do better.
    • The meteor miracle in the sequel. It's useful for killing creatures, but its mana cost typically doesn't justify using it over a less expensive option.
    • The Mega-Blast miracle is easily the top-tier offensive ability in the first game. However, the way it is presented in the story makes copious use of Cutscene Power to the Max, overplaying its destructive capacity and underplaying the mana costs and other logistical inconveniences. Most damningly, although the mega-blast can instantly destroy pretty much any building with a single shot, it doesn't eradicate the foundations like fireballs or similar miracles do. So any building hit with a mega-blast can automatically be rebuilt by your villagers whereas a building burnt down by a fireball will need to be manually rebuilt by the player.
  • Back from the Dead: In Battle Of The Gods, the Aztec God revives the Gorilla and the Aztec armies as undead monstrosities.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When placing a nursery on an Aztec land in the sequel.
    Aztec Leader: The children? Oh yes, the children... we will not spare them either.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Battle of the Gods adds the "Verdant" miracle, an Area of Effect that transforms any enemies within into livestock. It's the Good god's answer to the Fireball — tidy, non-evil, and permanent.
  • Begin with a Finisher: In the sequel, a Creature can use its unique Finishing Move at the beginning of a fight if its opponent is far smaller or already wounded, virtually guaranteeing a one-hit knockout.
  • Being Good Sucks:
    • Maintaining a Good alignment in the first game is hard, not least because it requires the player to kowtow to the villagers' constant needy, short-sighted whining.note 
    • Inverted in the sequel: being good is by far the easier option, with its focus on building up a Shining City at the heart of the player's godly power, whereas evil play involves sending large armies deep into enemy territory.
  • Beware the Skull Base: On the sequel game's final island, the capital city of the Card-Carrying Villain Aztecs is flanked by skull-shaped mountains.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Minutes into starting the final land of Black & White 2, the Aztecs launch the biggest assault on your town in the game. Even if you survive, your town and armies are likely to have taken some damage.
    Aztec Leader: It is time. Unleash the creature! Warriors, rid our land of the Greeks! Deploy the catapults!
  • Big Book of War: The Japanese Brothers often refer to a book known as "The Teachings of War".
    Japanese Brother: Silence! I will deal with these Greeks according the Teachings of War. I will let them build, and then I will destroy them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the final level of the sequel, the Norse army arrives in force to back you up after the Aztecs attack your city with a volcano. Shortly after, the Japanese send you reinforcements as well.
  • Big Door:
    • Land 1 of the first game has a mysterious locked gate that towers over your village. It can't be bypassed and can only be opened by progressing the main quest.
    • Gatehouses in the sequel have large enough gates to accommodate a full-grown Creature.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Your Temple in the first game is quite deceiving - from the outside it looks like a slightly larger than average building, but the interior is far bigger than that would realistically allow. Some of the rooms of the Temple are bigger than the Temple itself.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: At various points in the games, you and enemy gods have access to multiple forms of these through Miracles. The Lightning miracle provides the original flavour of the trope and can be scaled up to Chain Lightning, while the Mega-Blast miracle launches an extremely destructive Pillar of Light.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done so very often in the sequel by your guides, who will slam themselves against the screen, stand on top of their own text-box and point out whatever things you need to pay attention to in their tutorials.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • Used numerous times in the tutorial, of both games, to walk the player through the minutiae of the game controls.
    • Defied with the Silver Scroll Side Quests and some Gold Scroll Main Quests, most of which are deliberately designed and scripted to have multiple solutions, ranging from helping out as requested, to just ruthlessly taking what you need, to killing everybody involved For the Evulz and then taking what you need. After all, a squishy mortal Quest Giver's "But thou must!" doesn't hold much water to a god.
      Evil Conscience: Hey, I gotta plan. Why don't we trash the house? We can get the Gate Stone that way!
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: It's possible to train your creature to eat all sorts of unusual items, such as beach balls, trees, and poop.
  • The Caligula: The Aztec Leader is this in the sequel, as he not only wants to conquer the Greeks, but constantly boasts about his plans to torture and kill all of their people (including the children), as well as taking their women and "using them for their purity".
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Explicitly stated in the manual - each adviser will try to persuade you to take a good or evil path, but they'll never deceive you in order to do so.
  • Circle of Standing Stones:
    • In the first game, one of the first quests you can do involves reassembling a stone circle. If completed, the stones begin 'singing' a magical song and create a miracle generator that you can use to create food for your village.
    • In the first game, Celtic villages can construct a henge as a Wonder, which boosts the power of its patron god's nature-related Miracles.
    • In the second game, the Norse version of the Temple building consists of a henge. Worshippers gather there to offer prayers that boost the god's Mana.
  • Citadel City: The main Aztec cities in the final lands of both Black & White 2 and Battle of the Gods qualify as this. Both are heavily defended with multiple rows of walls and the strongest armies in the game so far.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Downplayed in gameplay, aside from scripted events: computer players can reach implausibly far outside their influence (see below); they also often have more favourable & powerful Miracles provided by their villages, and (much) stronger starting conditions.
    • In the sequel's final land, the Volcano Miracle the Aztecs use to destroy most of your initial city is scripted, and the AI can fire it off even if the building that generates it is destroyed.
  • Computers Are Fast: Zig-zagged. AI gods are often slower than you at developing their territories. However, gods can act outside their area of influence for a brief time that's inversely proportional to the distance from their territory; the AIs can do this with much more speed and precision than you, so they often manipulate objects much farther from their own territory than you can manage.
  • Colonel Kilgore: The Norse Leader.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Creed, which is the source/concentration/embodiment of divine power. It's split into parts which you must collect, so see also Gotta Catch 'Em All.
  • Credits Montage: The first game ends by showing all of the human characters doing their thing while the credits music plays.
  • Creepy Long Fingers:
    • In the sequel, your alignment will effect your hand in this way should you choose to be evil.
    • The enemy god's hand is this in Battle of the Gods.
  • Cultural Posturing: The enemy leaders in the second game like to go on at length about how much more noble, sophisticated, and/or powerful their civilizations are than yours.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In the core version of Black & White 2, you play as a god. Your opponents are mortals. Consequently, any fight on your home territory tends to last about as long as it takes to decide whether to firebomb the invasion force, crush them with building-sized rocks, or bounce them off their home city walls from five miles away for that personal touch.
    • Beating the last land in Black & White 2 gives you the option to replay from Land 4, retaining your tribute purchases but more importantly, your creature stats. Pitting a full-sized creature against the tiny Norse wolf results in a totally one-sided fight.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Many, many scripted events ignore influence, otherwise break the rules of the game, or are flat-out impossible to replicate in gameplay.
  • Cyclops: The ogres in Land 1 and 4 are humanoids with one large eye in the middle of their face and one horn.

    Tropes D—G 
  • Dead Character Walking: Dropping a dead villager through a Teleport miracle causes it to go back to its daily life, albeit as a skeleton with zero Hit Points that will die again if the player picks it up. It can't be killed by conventional means and villagers sometimes cry about its presence like they do when they encounter normal corpses, but it regains hit points by sleeping and can do anything a villager can... including having children.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: By the time you arrive in Black & White 2, the Aztecs have conquered or wiped out all other tribes and seemingly have no remaining opposition until you rise against them and overthrow them in the final land.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In the sequel, the Norse and Japanese become your allies after you defeat them, contributing an army and a city in the final level. Whether they're simply bowing to a new master or respectfully supporting your effort to end the tyranny of the Aztecs depends on how you defeated them.
  • Deflector Shields: The original game has separate Miracles to block physical and magical attacks, while the sequel combines them into one. In each case, the Miracle creates a spherical barrier of any size, which drains the caster's Mana over time at a rate proportionate to its size and the amount of damage it absorbs. However, people and Creatures can walk straight through.
  • Dem Bones: The undead armies in Battle of the Gods are skeletons. Some cutscenes show the Undead God raising them from their graves en masse.
  • Developers' Foresight: The original game has a way of checking your player name against a database of names it has stored. Should you name your profile after your real name, there's a chance that you'll be hearing a voice whispering it back to you every now and then.
  • Divine Parentage: In the second game a villager accuses you of knocking up his daughter and demands a dowry, but it actually wasn't you (despite being a Greek god) and you follow the girl and take her father to her real lover's house.
  • Diegetic Interface: Zig-zagged in the original. You have a standard pause menu where you can view statistics, change graphic settings, and exit the game. However your Temple and its many rooms are used for saving, loading, viewing creature information and signpost information. Additionally, you cast miracles directly from your worship sites or using gestures instead of selecting them from a menu like in the sequel (although the required gestures are shown in the bottom-right of the screen).
    • Mostly averted in the sequel, you control most functions using the Toolbar and any information on your town pops up from a text box by hovering your hand over various elements of your town centre.
  • Doomed Hometown: In the sequel, you arrive at the Greek homeland on Land 2 only to find it under attack from the Aztecs. After the second volcano rises, the consciences laments that the land is lost and that you must now rebuild your following.
  • Drunken Song: The three Norse brewers on Land 4 of the sequel.
  • Easing into the Adventure: In the original, the first land eases you into the existence of a newborn god with a ready-made town of followers, no ability to construct buildings, and no significant opponents. You don't even learn of Nemesis and the driving conflict of the game until late in the land's main quest line, soon before you move on.
  • Easter Egg: In Black & White 2, a text file controls the names of your villagers. You can edit this,note  but by default, it's filled with Lionhead staff names.
  • Elite Army: A literal example; the highest platoon rank (Rank 10) is called "Elite".
  • Ethnic God: Implied, while applying the trope rather loosely. Each god met in the game commands a single tribe, and there are races with no god, due apparently to a long-time war of attrition among the gods. The tribes are based on real-life ethnic groups, e.g. the Egyptians, Japanese, Norse, etc., but the gods are entirely fictitious and have no strong resemblance to any of the gods these groups historically worshiped.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The sequel's Norse and Japanese are Proud Warrior Race Guys in service to the Aztecs rather than truly evil, but in the second Japanese map, your opponent is a brutal warmonger who scorns you for almost everything you do and states several times over he will do terrible things to your people. However, when building a Nursery he exclaims "We shall spare their young. We are not monsters after all."
  • Evil Is Easy:
    • In the first game, playing as evil lets you exploit your villagers for influence, miracle power, and quick sacrifices while you terrorize the rest of the land into joining your banner. By contrast, being good requires you to micromanage your people while slowly cultivating belief through good deeds and resisting the temptation to remind them all just who's the deity in town. Downplayed in that the destruction of buildings, property, and people makes evil wasteful and difficult to sustain in the long term.
    • Zig-zagged in the second game. Typical evil play requires you to send out armies of squishy mortals to claim territories by force, rather than holing up in a defensible location that has the full benefit of your godly powers. However, it also lets you use the full force of your miracles against invaders, rather than passively repelling them.
    • This happens for the creatures too. The first game inverts the trope: while they can attack, they're extremely vulnerable to the miracles of enemy Gods which limits their power offensively making it more valuable for them to stay home and aid the villagers with helpful spells. In the second game it's played straight, since the enemies often have little defense against a titanic living siege engine smashing into their cities. A properly trained creature can easily smash through gates, crush large attacking armies, kill opposing creatures, and destroy key structures like wonders with much greater ease than any mortal army could hope for.
  • Evil Is Visceral: If you are an evil god and build a windmill for your people, the blades will be made of stretched flesh, complete with veins.
  • Evil Sounds Deep:
  • Exploding Barrels: Your reward for helping the oil baron on Land 7 in the sequel.
  • Fanatical Fire: In the sequel, becoming Evil causes most of your buildings to be "decorated" with braziers of smoky red-orange flame.
  • Fertile Feet: Greenery and wildflowers sprout at your Creature's feet if it's high on the Karma Meter.
  • Fisher King: The landscape in your territory changes depending on whether you're a good or bad god.
  • Finishing Move: In creature fights in the sequel, each creature has a move they can execute on the opponent that's almost assured to finish them off shortly providing their health is already low enough. This can be pulled off at the start of the fight or very early on if their opponent is far smaller than them or already wounded.
  • * Fireworks of Victory: When you convert a village to your worship, a small (and entirely anachronistic) fireworks display spontaneously launches from the Village Center.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist:
    • There are people in both games who wouldn't recognize a deity if it were belching miracles overhead. Special credit goes to a yokel in the first game who tells the giant radiant presence in the sky that he won't believe in it until its creature impresses him, and is unmoved by anything else it might try to convince him.
    • One NPC in the second game absolutely refuses to acknowledge your divinity. Amusingly, he generates a small zone of influence around him, meaning that his active disbelief is powerful enough to be a sort of faith in itself.
  • Forced Tutorial:
    • The first 30 minutes of gameplay in the first game (and by extension the entire first island) are basically this - this is particularly annoying when starting a second game from scratch, until Lionhead released a patch to let players skip the tutorial on subsequent playthroughs. The second island is likewise about half tutorial/half actual gameplay.
    • The sequel does this to an extent as well - until Lionhead released a patch, the movement/camera tutorials on Land 1, and basic town management tutorials on Land 3 were unskippable.
  • For the Evulz: AI Gods generally don't. You can, and this can run into Stupid Evil territory when completing story scrolls. Sometimes taking the evil option grants the same reward or an equivalent one as the good option (e.g. gaining a lightning miracle instead of a heal miracle), but often you get no reward but the Evulz. Or an ornery hillbilly setting your town on fire.
  • Friendly Skeleton: Land 4 of the first game has a village who were Cursed into skeletal forms but try to go about their daily lives all the same.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: If you rise from being a backwater tribal god to the God of Evil of the entire world.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The wolf creature was entirely unobtainable in the first game's initial release due to a bug in the quest that unlocks him. A later patch remedied this.
    • Nemesis curses your creature on Land 5, affecting his size, strength and alignment. A bug can cause these effects to become permanent.
    • On release, the second game was flat-out unplayable on the vast majority of laptops, as part of the Forced Tutorial requires you to use your mouse's scroll wheel in order to proceed, even though there's an alternative keyboard combo you can use. It wasn't until the first patch where the tutorial was made skippable, finally making the game playable for those who didn't have access to an external mouse (or the admittedly small number of people who still only had a two-button mouse in 2005).
  • A God Is You: You are created as the patron god of a single minor village and end the first game as the world's sole deity.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Unless they're either evil or antagonists. Lampshaded in the second game backstory (if you buy the university books) where it's told that the player god apparently took a sabbatical after defeating Nemesis, and humans took over the land while the player was gone. The missionaries were said to turn into drunks.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Central to the gameplay, since your power as a God is defined and limited by how many villagers you can convert (or breed) and your ability to look after (for Good Gods) or use (for Evil Gods) them well.
    • You are created or brought into the universe by the power of a single pure prayer.
    • The area where you can directly affect the world is defined by how many followers you have in your villages, how profoundly they believe in you (in the first game), and how many buildings you have (especially in the second game).
    • Your ability to create Miracles depends on Mana, which is created by villagers worshiping at your altars.
    • Villages can be impressed with Miracles or other supernatural actions, to convert them to your control.
    • A god who loses all of its followers either ceases to exist or is banished from the world.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Your guides in the game, an old man who floats on a rainbow-spewing cloud and a wisecracking little demon. They use the same actor, since they're both personifications of your conscience.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Just because a god or creature is good in nature doesn't mean it isn't just as capable as an evil god at throwing various kinds of destruction at things that displease them.
    • Battle of the Gods adds a miracle that turns your enemies into fuzzy lambs and bunnies. Permanently. Your villagers might then use those animals for food...

    Tropes H—R 
  • The Hand Is God: A God Is You and the Themed Cursor is your hand. It morphs to match your place on the Karma Meter and is shown physically picking up items, casting Miracles, and interacting with your Bond Creature.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Freeze Creature Miracle. It doesn't harm creatures directly, but it leaves them very open to attack.
  • Herding Mission: One quest on the first Island requires you to locate 10 sheep that have wandered away from their shepherd and return them to him. Downplayed in that your character is a god, so the act of carrying them to the shepherd is rather trivial, and the real difficulty is in locating them all.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the first game, your consciences believe that this is what your Creature is doing to unlock the third Creed Fragment.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. In fact, you can sacrifice them, which gives you more mana than adult sacrifices. And you can kill them in a variety of other ways for your amusement.
  • Holiday Mode: During April Fools, your creature will leave behind smiley face footprints.
  • Horrible Housing: Hovels are the cheapest, smallest, and nastiest housing in the sequel. They're also a deliberate cruelty, since you need to purchase the ability to build them, whereas the default home has a lower production cost per resident and generates happiness instead of unhappiness.
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • Drop a villager onto your altar for mana, evil points (see Karma Meter below), but curiously not blood.
    • In Land 2 of the first game there's a village that is kept eternally young by a priest who constantly sacrifices the children in the village.
    • In Land 8 on the sequel, the Isle of Nymphs silver scroll requires a 21 year old male to be used for a ritual.
  • Hypocrite: The Japanese Brothers in the sequel are often like this, especially in regards to buildings you place down. They tend to admonish you for using buildings they themselves have in their town. It becomes especially amusing when they praise themselves for placing the same building.
  • Improvised Weapon: In the sequel, creatures may uproot trees and use them as weapons against enemy platoons.
  • It Was with You All Along: At the end of the first game, you and your conscience are confused and afraid, since they have only two out of the three required Creeds in order to defeat Nemesis. Turns out, the last Creed is in your own Creature.
  • Karma Meter: The world is your Karma Meter, and we mean that quite literally. The game offers numbers if you go menu diving, but the way the look of the entire game changes is a much more immediate indicator of your god's moral standing.
  • Large Ham: The Norse Leader in the sequel yells the majority of his lines.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Creature Isle expansion is definitely a lot less serious than the initial game.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Hilariously, the turtle of all things is this in the first game. It wasn't very fast when moving around on the map, but in battle it was a speed demon.
    • Apes are this in the second game. Supposedly they're quick learners, but not the best fighters. In reality they can easily trash other creatures in a fight due to having better combos and using special attacks more often. They are also more prone to using miracles when faced with enemy armies which often lets them one shot entire enemy platoons instantly and they spam heal whenever they start getting low on health making them nearly invincible.
  • Love Potion: The Loving Creature Miracle in the original game. Casting it on a creature turns it completely non-violent for a few minutes.
  • Making a Splash: The Water Miracle in both games creates a small rain shower. In the sequel, it can also be thrown as a water bomb.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender:
    • In the second game, only men will join armies unless you manually drop women into the recruitment tents.
    • It's possible to repopulate very quickly with nothing but women and a few male disciple breeders.
  • Mentor Archetype: The Guide in the original game to you and your creature.
  • Meteor-Summoning Attack: A God Is You, and you can learn to call down a brief meteor shower over a small area as a miracle. It's powerfully destructive but expensive to learn and has an extremely high Mana cost.
  • Miracle Food: The Trope Namer. The first game's Miracle Food is one of the most basic miracles your god can perform, and is a fairly useful way for a good god to keep their own villagers healthy and convert villages to their religion.
  • Mistaken for Superpowered: One Sidequest in the second game has you Invoke this on a wannabe Supernatural Martial Artist, covertly breaking the rock slabs he's punching towards to convince him he has Ki Manipulation powers.
  • Monster from Beyond the Veil: The enemy god in the expansion of Black & White 2. In a world where gods are born through mortal prayer, having one congeal out of an abandoned graveyard and set off to exterminate all life is just plain wrong.
  • Mordor: If you play as an evil god, the land within your area of influence turns black and barren with volcanic fissures and the sun seen from inside is dimmer. In Black and White 2, you can (and usually will) also surround your dark land with imposing walls and black gates that would make Sauron proud.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: All of the other gods have powers you can never replicate, like opening a vortex (you only get the much less powerful Teleport miracle), entrapping creatures, and creating powerful curses. Justifiable in that they're all older and more experienced than you.
  • Mythology Gag: The main antagonist in the first game is someone of your own profession who hides behind minions, also of your profession, and he goes by the name "Nemesis". Sounds awfully similar to a certain game by Peter Molyneux's old Bullfrog Entertainment studio now doesn't it?
  • Nay-Theist: The Hermit on Land 1 in the first game can only be convinced that you're a worthwhile god by showing him a suitably massive Creature.
  • Nice Guy: Khazar in the original game. He's a total stranger yet he rescues you and provides you with a starting village and some resources.
  • Noble Wolf: The Wolf creature can be trained to aid, protect, and befriend your villagers. For some reason, rising on the Karma Meter turns the wolf purple.
  • No Name Given: The undead god in Battle of the Gods is never named. Since it's born spontaneously from a field of corpses, it might not even have one.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In the sequel, the monster in the mine on Land 7 can be heard while laughing or roaring, but it's never actually seen on screen.
  • Not Worth Killing: Implied by Nemesis, mostly as a Hand Wave for why he doesn't kill you early on, when he's capable of easily disposing of Khazar remotely. Possibly because he had to use a spare Creed fragment to do so, and was able to do so since he already had the whole thing.
  • Our Sirens Are Different: The Siren epic miracle in the sequel conjures a huge, spectral female figure for a short time, converting all enemies in its Area of Effect into peaceful civilians on your team.
  • Patchwork Map: Creature Isle has it all - a volcanic area, a sandy area, a snowy mountain, and lush greens where sheep and plants thrive.
  • Percent-Based Values: Several buildings in the sequel have a percent-based bonus on the quantity of food, wood, or ore gathered by workers, which diminishes with the building's distance from the resource and the storehouse. Some, like the University, have a percent-based bonus on those bonuses.
  • Pet Interface: Your Creature is an autonomous being that you can train with new skills and give instructions. It can help oversee your villages, participate in combat, and act out your will in places your own divine influence doesn't reach.
  • Pillar of Light:
    • The Megablast Miracle in the first game fires a thin column of light that destroys anything where it strikes. Its Increased and Extreme variants go all the way to Beam Spam.
    • The Epic Miracles in the sequel. Upon firing them, a beam of light fires out toward the sky from the wonder, and then down on the target location before the miracle takes effect.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Most AI "Evil" Gods love this trope, spending most of their time feeding, housing and providing for their people (with a little overpopulation and excessive worship on the side). There's just no point in killing your own people; Card Carrying Villainy to your own people For the Evulz only costs you human resources and wood to rebuild your own damage.
    • Similarly, their Creatures (when not tied up by scripted events) spend so much time on the Leash of Compassion that they usually end up at 100% Good. Lethys' shining purple wolf from the Land Two is more than a little at odds with its master's arrogant taunts in that same scenario and its Cold-Blooded Torture of your own Creature in Land Three.
  • Obviously Evil: An evil god's hand becomes red and clawed. In the first game, they get a dark, spiky temple; in the second game, all the land under their control becomes bleak and volcanic. Similarly, an evil Creature mutates to a more monstrous form.
  • Offerings to the Gods: Mana can be generated by sacrificing anything living. People work best, but it shifts you towards evil.
  • One-Man Army: Your creature is more than capable of defeating armies by himself in the sequel, thanks to its huge size, great strength, and array of offensive Miracles.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In the final island of Black and White 2, when faced with the massive Aztec city and army, your consciences do this. The Good Conscience advises you that the Aztecs hate the Greeks with a passion, and that you may well need to build massive armies and attack them, something he would never suggest. The Evil Conscience states how they're going to "slay us all like pigs." He's normally never afraid of enemy armies.
    Evil Conscience: He's gonna slay us all like pigs, Boss!
    Good Conscience Pull yourself together! Now we must build as much and as quickly as possible. The Aztecs hate us with a passion. They're going to be relentless. And we're going to need a lot of armed forces too. We could well have to attack.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Sleg the Ogre on Land 1 of the original game blocks the way to a chest. Your good conscience points out how hungry he looks, which prompts the player to feed him.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Japanese Brothers in the sequel. The city builder is softly-spoken and calm, whereas the other brother is more boisterous and threatening.
  • Remixed Level: Land 4 in Black & White 1 is actually the same place as Land 1, except it has been cursed by Nemesis in your absence. Things start looking familiar again as you remove each of the curses.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: In the Black and White 2 expansion, performing a Life miracle on undead characters will kill them.
  • Rhino Rampage: Subverted with Naxo in Creature Isle. He challenges your creature to a fight, however he remains calm and mild-mannered.

    Tropes S—Z 
  • Samurai: The Japanese swordsman platoons wield katanas and have a samurai aesthetic. It's normally only cosmetic, but a sidequest in Land 6 lets you acquire a squad of elite soldiers who are referred to as Samurai.
  • Savage Wolf:
    • The Wolf creature can be trained to become an aggressive, destructive people-eater. By default, it tends towards this, thanks to its high aggression stat and habit of eating any meat it can find.
    • Several villages in Black & White 1 suffer from wolf attacks. In Land 3, Lethys unleashes a pack of wolves on the Indian village after you convert it.
  • Satan Is Good: If you become an evil deity, Nemesis is the embodiment of Good, despite having killed all other Gods, cursed an island with disasters, and did things that don't seem that Good.
  • Save the Villain: Island 3, where the Island's antagonist begs for mercy when it's reduced to a single village of followers. You can choose to spare it or condemn it to the Void.
  • Scenery Gorn: The sequel begins with you saving a handful of villagers while their city is being invaded and burned, everyone they know is killed, and even the once-familiar landscape is rent asunder by "natural" disasters.
  • Scenery Based Societal Barometer: In the first game, each village center has a statue indicating its current patron god, while flags are raised outside the village store to indicate the villagers' most pressing needs. In the second, town centers have a fountain or brazier to represent their place on the Karma Meter and statues to represent the townspeople's needs and desires, with the height of the plinths indicating their magnitude.
  • Sealed Army in a Can: Two in the sequel:
    • The Ghost Legion is a squad of elite ghost warriors who can be recruited by completing a puzzle over their graves at night.
    • The Seven Samurai are found Taken for Granite and can be recruited by reassembling them in the correct order.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Subverted with the Megablast, which early on seems to be part of Nemesis' Cutscene Power to the Max. However, late in the Campaign, and rarely in Skirmish, you get the ability to use this powerful, destructive Miracle yourself.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The good conscience is the sensitive guy, while the evil conscience is the manly man.
  • Shining City: In the second game, your goal as a Good god is to create cities so magnificent that your enemies willingly defect to your side. This usually makes for happy citizens, beautiful residences, abundant amenities, wildflowers and butterflies, and, since Light Is Good, a metropolis crafted from gleaming white marble with plenty of fountains and lush vegetation.
  • Signpost Tutorial: The game has literal signposts littered throughout the lands and clustered around your temple that remind you of how to do basic deeds, though there are actual advisors who explain the principles as well.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: One villager does this in Land Three, who is also invincible. The Pied Piper in his quest also No Sells any attempt to pick him up with a smarmy "Prod me! I don't care. I don't believe in you."
  • Spell Levels: In the first game, miracles have up to three power levels; base level, Increase, and Extreme.
  • Spikes of Villainy:
    • Your temple will grow them if you follow The Dark Side.
    • Placing Punishment Spikes in the sequel is an evil action.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: In the sequel, human characters are capable of firing epic miracles.
  • Taken for Granite: The seven samurai who were turned into statues by an evil entity.
  • Take Your Time:
    • On the first land in the original game, Nemesis can't actually kill you. His storm can kill all of your remaining people which sucks, however it never reaches your Temple no matter how long you wait. Even if your people are all dead, the Vortex is already there for you to escape through.
    • Subverted on Land 4, where the rain of fireballs can hit your Temple and damage it if your people are dead/kidnapped by gremlins.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The first game allows you to poison other villages' food with red mushrooms, turning it green and deadly to humans. As the AI can't counter it, it is highly effective against it, capable of emptying villages without damaging them. It also doesn't count as evil, funny enough.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: In the original game, the Land 2 Silver Scroll quest "The Plague" has Lethys poison the Indian village's food supply, turning people sick. Your objective is to heal the people and dispose of the rancid food, one method of which is to place it in Lethys' village stores and poison his towns instead. Due to the AI being unable to deal with poisoned food, Lethys' realm will be devoid of people in a few hours, leaving his territory free for the taking.
  • Themed Cursor: Your pointer is pretty much your own godly hand, which you can use to pick up and drop stuff, throw things (including people!), and even pet or slap.
  • The Plague: In the sequel, one sidequest has you saving a town on Land 6 which is affected by a sickness. Not only does it pass to other villagers making it hard to clear away, but it will pass to your soldiers should you run them through the town before getting rid the sickness, killing them very quickly.
  • There Can Be Only One: The villain, Nemesis, has spent some time killing off all the other gods so that he can wield supreme deital power.
  • The Stinger: After the credits roll in the second game, the broken Aztec leader prays alone in front of an altar, begging for a god to help his people. The prayer ends up being a true one, and a new god arrives in Eden, that god being the expansion's Undead God.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Eve is the only female Creature in the first Black And White Creature Isle expansion pack.
  • Those Two Guys: The two sides of your conscience.
  • Title Drop: Seen in the early beginning of the game, when your advisers are telling you that they represent good and evil. Yin and yang. Black...and White.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the sequel, enemy soldiers will make their way to your town from the enemy territory, and will patiently wait if your gates are closed. Even if you have archers firing down on them from your walls.
  • To the Pain: The Japanese warmonger does this on occasion, but nowhere near the extent of the Aztec Leader, who loves to describe in detail the torture, destruction and suffering he plans on bringing to the Greeks.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: The ending of Black & White 1 is pretty trippy. Your creature dives into a volcano, which erupts, sending him into space. He then uses the Creeds to shower Nemesis' Temple with megablasts.
  • Unblockable Attack: In Black & White 1, creatures engaged in combat cannot block miracles such as fire or lightining like they can for physical hits.
  • Undead Abomination: Gods are created from human prayers and rely on human worship to exist, but somehow, the Big Bad deity in Battle of the Gods forms from a vast abandoned graveyard and sets off to create a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The Good god Khazar rescues you from Nemesis' first attack and helps you establish a new town. You can quite easily turn on him, steal his worshipers, and consign him to death while he protests helplessly.
  • Unholy Ground: On the Norse land in Battle of the Gods, the enemy god raises the undead from a nearby lifeless forest.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: In the second game, the Aztecs have a Gorilla, a creature that the player cannot obtain. It's averted with the Japanese Tiger, which can be obtained with the Collectors' Edition, or by unlocking it by modifying the game. Battle Of The Gods has the same gorilla (now an undead) as the Aztec God's creature.
  • Veganopia:
    • The simple, pacifistic villagers of the first game only farm grain, despite having sheep and cows on hand, and the player gains evil points for putting animals into the village store.
    • Zig-zagged in the second game, where using animals for food is still evil, but one can also raise a grain-fed genocidal army.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Almost as incredible as its opposite:
    • In the first game, with its ability to transport objects from previous lands, it's entirely possible to bring along Important-NPCs-Turned-Villagers from the first island all the way to the last one.
    • The first game lists more statistics than the second, and one of the things it says is that no matter how Evil you are, or how differently-aligned you and your Creature are, it always loves you and thinks you're Good.
    • In the second game, just realizing that (as a Good God) you're able to meet up with the allies of the people who tried to commit genocide, convince them to adopt your way of life, and ultimately side with you against their former Lords is heartwarming. As is seeing a massive crowd from a city gathering everything they've ever owned to make a long, dangerous trek to your city.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • A few examples (second game): Force people to live in cramped hovels, throw them into buildings, crush them with rocks, Roast them with lightning, or a fireball, offer no luxuries and keep them absolutely miserable, sacrifice them for mana, sacrifice them in a torture pit for no real reason, litter the ground with corpses, causes people to openly mourn, have your creature actively eat your people for sustenance, use them as weapons, set them on fire, poo on them, attack their homes. A bit more severe is the fact you can display severed heads on spikes everywhere, intimidating your people to work harder, or you will kill them, make them worship a giant monument to cause large scale devastation, pick up 50 of them and throw them all off a cliff into the ocean, where they drown, force them into the army, where they will probably all die and generally make their life suck. All of this is actually pretty fun to do, but your villagers will beg for mercy for like 10 minutes. Also, you can train your creature to poop on the villagers.
    • First game, the best (if evil) way to gain mana for casting spells was sacrificing townspeople and sacrificing young kids gave way more mana than adults. So really, what evil god wouldn't build a small village next to the altar consisting almost entirely of nurseries and breeder disciples?
    • Not to mention the way you can treat your creature. You can give it a little slap to scold it for doing something you don't like, or you can viciously beat it non-stop for several minutes, leaving it covered in bruises and open wounds.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Zig-zagged, since most quests can be completed in either a Good or Evil way. Depending on the quest, the Evil path nets a different but equivalent reward to the Good, less personal effort than the Good, nothing but The Evulz, or an outright punishment. The latter case comprises everything from a hillbilly arsonist to losing out on an extra village of followers in the punishing final level.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: In the second game, each faction's territory changes in response to their Karma Meter. Evil territories become volcanic wastelands with cities of grimy black-and-red stone beneath a dim, reddish sun. Good territories are brightly lit, teem with wildflowers and butterflies, and have Shining Cities with fountains and plenty of hanging vines.
  • Walking Wasteland: An evil Creature blights the ground it walks on, although the effect is purely cosmetic.
  • War God:
    • The Player Character in the sequel, should you choose to be evil.
    • The enemy god in Battle of the Gods.
  • Warrior Undead: One sidequest in the sequel's Land 4 rewards you with an elite platoon of ghostly Norse warriors, freshly called up from the grave. In practice, their undead state is cosmetic.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: In this case, You Have Engineered Farming! In the first game, it takes a workshop, ten to twenty full-grown trees worth of lumber, and a dedicated professional to build the schematic for... a wheat field.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The destructive Wonders in Black & White 2 (Hurricane, Earthquake and Volcano) can easily tear apart walls, cities and armies. They even leave a permanent scar on the land.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the first game, the good conscience will call you out on performing evil acts if your alignment is good. Conversely, the evil conscience will call out evil gods for petting the dog.

Alternative Title(s): Black And White 2