How do you burn a god?

Hello, there! Hopefully this is the right place. It felt a little too in-depth for the “First Reading” heading.

I’ve just started running a burning wheel game with a summoner in it; additionally, per a section in the summoning rules, said summoner decided to buy a romantic relationship with a minor deity.

I want to state straight out, I’m super stoked by this idea; as such, i want to do it justice, and play this deity as a character with as much influence as any other relationship a player might buy.

What sorts of things should I hash out mechanically to play this god as a recurring NPC? Additionally, much of the summoning rules have to do with the summoner gaining traits, stats, or skills from the spirits through their bargaining; what sorts of rules of thumb might benefit me in determining what sorts of traits, stats, and skills a spirit has?


The codex has some good info from 270-273 to get started.

Particularly, it’s a good idea to pick a specific piece of the world that the deity is connected to. Something like Marriage, Harmony, Trade, etc. The book says it should have just one as a minor deity. After that, 278 says they should get the Force of Nature trait, which mostly tacks on another compromise to lost DoWs.

Aside from all that? Make sure to remember that black dice are standard, grey are heroic, and white are supernatural, so it should probably have some shade-shifted stuff. And as always, you should make sure that it has solid, grounded Beliefs most of all.

There’s lots more to discuss, obviously. That’s all just a starting point.


Thank you very much! I retooled the god from a minor deity to a full deity with the domains of Twilight, Medicine, and Death. I chose a handful of skills and traits from relevant lifepaths and shade-shifted them, and made sure they got the requisite deity trait.

We’ll see how well it works out in play, but I think it’s a solid starting point. Now I just need to flesh out their beliefs to help with my framework of playing them.


Can I ask which lifepaths you looked at, or ask, even, for a copy of your notes? I’m curious what you ended up with.

As a god of Twilight, Medicine, and Death, I mostly focused on knowledge-based, religious, and medical lifepaths; doctor, physician, priest, etc. Ended up with high mental attributes and low physical ones, grey in general and white for perception, and then in turn a lot of white medical skills; W6 apothecary and herbalism, G6 surgery, miscellaneous skills from those lifepaths and Herbalist-wise.

I figure the summoner/priest/lover of the deity could draw on his god’s much deeper and broader medical knowledge through the empowerment service as per the summoning rules on p. 325 of the Codex, with a suitable price paid, of course.


Sounds like you’ve already done the thing, but the Monster Burner has all the stuff for making entities outside the scope of the regular stocks and lifepaths, depending on how deep you wanna go. Stuff that could be useful might include: the Shade Burner pp. 33-37, the 100 Questions pp. 38-67, and the example Monsters in the Illustrated Bestiary and Creature Codex pp. 241-311.

I realize that the MB isn’t updated to BWG, but there’s this thread here that covers most of the basic conversion stuff: BWG and Monster burner

I also realize that those not lucky enough to have picked one up when it was in stock won’t find this helpful at all, sorry.

Also also though, I’ll second using the Codex stuff for burning deities, those lists are just so, SO packed with flavor, and definitely created two great deities for the campaign I’m just starting. Super great stuff, although it doesn’t help much with the actual burning of the deity as a character with stats.


Sounds like there is good thoughts and sense of the technical resources available for this already - my question is about how you might choose the beliefs/instincts/traits to define this deity. I am especially interested in whether you and the player are cooperating on this to get something that fits (or challenges in a good way rather!) their player and character expectations.

I would think gods and other supernatural forces should be unyielding. A belief like: “I am the master of [insert domain here], I will make my will known to those who worship me.”

for instincts: Always smite those who deny me and the like. They’re a god and I like the idea of at least one being the kid with the Magnifying glass.

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Should deities even have stats? If you give your deity stats, someone will try to kill it. And you may be surprised at how easy it can be done.

Maybe they should only consist of BITs?

But I am unsure of what you consider a deity in your campaign. Someone physical like Hercules? The Monkey King?

Or is it a force, like The South Wind? A unearthly manifestation of an idea or belief that can sometimes enter as a physical avatar?

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Well, in Homer’s Iliad some heroes where able to wound gods, but never to achieve more than that, because gods where able to vanish and because they had supplies of Nectar to heal and recover. Sort of (I’m not a classical scholar :blush:)

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Right? So if that’s the case, maybe all Deities in your pantheon have a trait along the lines of Immortal. “For all Immortals, any Mortal Wound or stat loss resulting in a zero exponent will cause the deity’s physical form to dissipate. The deity’s form will re-manifest [immediately back on Olympus]/[after the full moon]/[after a sacrifice of 3 goats]/etc.”


Well, the gods at the very least have grey/white wound tolerances, so a mortal without a magic sword would have a very tough time doing anything more than a scratch. I don’t intend to be giving my players many magic swords, since it isn’t that kind of game, so hopefully them having stats will only fulfill my intended purposes.

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As for manifestation, we’ve been imagining the gods as Grecian in nature; flawed, “human,” able to appear in tons of different forms but mostly existing physically in the world, or at least a place near the world.

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On a tangent, imagine if a villain “killed” this NPC deity (per my trait idea above)? What would our PC do to see their return? This stuff writes itself!


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