[Godbound] Be a Fandom of the Player Characters

Probably my favorite new game in the past several years is Godbound. For those not familiar, it's a game that uses the OSR chassis in highly innovative ways to have a game where the PCs are literal demi-gods. It's not about dungeon-crawling, though: it's highly political, with PCs founding their own cults and changing the world by exerting their divine will. It has a seriously crapsack setting, but the PCs have an unusual amount of ability to change that.

This past weekend's session was bonkers.

In the default setting of Godbound, reality has been so badly damaged that natural law itself rarely functions consistently, which has stymied technological rediscovery since the apocalypse. There is one nation, however, the Bright Republic, that has managed to stabilize the laws of physics locally. The vast majority of its tech won't function off the island, but the BR itself is essentially today, tech-wise, complete with TV and internet.

So we're making characters last summer, and my concept is a BR TV star who travels around the other countries having adventures. One of the rare pieces of tech that can leave the boundaries, in the form of a cloaked camera drone, follows her around. The team back home then edits her adventures into a TV show... that's become a massive hit. It's called "Aeterna, Queen of Destiny." (My character has control over Fate, Luck, and Time.) So far, that's mostly been background, though we occasionally give brief asides from the point of view of people watching at home. "Ohhh, that special effect was SICK!!"

Now, though, the meta has come home to roost. For various reasons, the pantheon (you don't have "parties" in Godbound) had decided we needed to go to the BR to gather humanitarian supplies to bring elsewhere. My production team was not happy about this decision, because they want to keep the public in the dark about the fact that the show is non-fiction. So they decide to put on a Con to coincide with our arrival, complete with cast panels, cosplay parade, and the premiere of a "new episode" (actually the footage we filmed while traveling through a Jack Kirby-esque nether reality in our spaceship crewed by time vampire space marines in order to get to the BR in a "timely" [pun very much intended] manner).

So our characters were guests of honor at a convention attended by their in-world fandom, that doesn't know their adventures aren't just a TV show. Though they're about to figure it out, now that demons—disguised as cosplayers—are attacking people and doing even worse things than that.

This writeup really doesn't do this situation justice. It's far and away the most bizarrely, hilariously meta session of an ongoing campaign that I've ever seen. I'm deeply appreciative of my GM and fellow players for going along with this utter absurdity.


  • I've heard good things about Godbound before but I had no idea it could get into this kind of Nobilis-like surrealism. I definitely have to check it out now!
  • Yeah it's often compared to Exalted, in a favorable way, but in many ways Nobilis is a more appropriate point of comparison. The most obvious difference is that in Nobilis (which I know far less well, to be fair) you only have one Word / Thing that you have dominion over, whereas in Godbound, the default is three.

    Our GM actually said that he felt like he had finally found his groove with Godbound the more he introduced the weird, over-the-top surrealist (and meta!) stuff. This, in turn, is helping me think about the next session of my own Godbound campaign. (It's awesome to both play in and run Godbound.)
  • Always fun to hear more about this game! Keep updating us; eventually I'll get through to reading the rules, as well. It still sounds tremendously bizarre to me!
  • The bizarrer, the better—that's really kind of the point. That's what my GM and really our whole group kind of realized as a result of this session. Totally meta and hilarious, but not actually silly or unfocused the way gonzo play can often be.
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