Should Gods have D&D stats?

Deities & Demigods: Cyclopedia of Gods and Heroes from Myth and Legend (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) - James M. Ward, Robert J. Kuntz

I preferred this book way above Legends and Lord because it contained characters from Call of Cthulu and from Faffrd and the Grey Mouser as well as numerous deities from various regions around the world. When they discarded this book for Legends and Lore, pretty much only the deities from world religions (mostly dead, so no, you don't get stats for Buddha) were all that it contained and in a way I was simply not interested in that. What I wanted was a fantasy world, and bringing real world (even dead) gods into the mix simply destroyed that (though that is what they ended up doing with the Forgotten Realms).

I must say that I do agree with another commentator on this book about the fact that it is useless. They contain the stats for the gods but, in all honesty, how are you supposed to kill them, and what is the point of having stats for gods – they are gods. Well, if you look at it in another light, the stats (as outlined in later volumes) are actually meant to be for the avatars, and if an avatar is killed, then the avatar is unable to return to the physical world for a very long time. On the other hand, if we consider that gods are simply human beings that have reached a certain power and status and are then elevated to godhood, then that is another aspect that means that they can have stats.

This is something that has been suggested by and explored through the various editions of Dungeons and Dragons. This idea of godhood came about in 2nd Edition where we had some Forgotten Realms gods killed to be replaced by mortals. Even then this was explored in the earlier editions, namely the editions which went from basic to immortal. In that edition (known as Dungeons and Dragons as opposed to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) once you passed 20th level you would become an immortal, and they had an entire boxset that allowed you to play an immortal. In a way it is simply a more political version of the game, but on a much higher level.

Mind you my theory (which is supported, especially when you consider that some of the Taoist gods came about from human beings) is that these ancient gods were at one stage humans that were elevated to the level of godhood. In a sense it is an advanced form of ancestor worship, where previously the ancestor was simply worshipped as a dead person, but over time, mostly centuries, the ancestor would cease to be human, and slowly become a god. Therefore, once again, having stats for a god may not be a bad thing, except that any hero worth his salt is not going to go out and attempt to kill a major god (though there are some modules floating around, such as Queen of the Spiders, were you do go and kill a god, but they tended to be minor gods or demon lords).