"The god of the sky rules his pantheon and his followers on earth. His miracles are seen when his lands are invaded. When the gods of his enemies fall, he prospers."
-- from the Risk Godstorm rulebook
The gods of the sky are the kings of their pantheons. They sit upon thrones high over the heads of men and scar the world at their whims. Other deities may contest their rule but with few exceptions, these lords reign supreme.
While the god of war's uses are obvious, the sky god is more subtle. The sky god defends his pantheon and his people with great effectiveness, making him the most complex of the gods.
These are the pantheons' sky gods.
The Gods of the Sky
The Greeks' god of the sky is Zeus, the lord of Olympus. He looses his thunderbolts in the Titanomachy, the great war against the Titans who created the world. His rule is a contentious one but only his jealous wife Hera can openly defy Zeus.
The Norsemen's god of the sky is Odin, the All-Father. The greatest of the Aesir, Odin rules the heavenly kingdom of Asgard, connected to our Midgard by the Bifrost Bridge. He commands the gods into the mighty cataclysm of Ragnarok, in which he will perish.
The Celts' god of the sky is Lugh, the Shining One. The lord of the heavens, he is the cleverest of all the gods. As the leader of the gods in the Tuatha De Danaan, Lugh marshals the gods against the goat-headed giants called the fomorians.
The Babylonians' god of the sky is Marduk, the bull calf of the sun. Marduk sets the stars in motion and creates mankind from his blood. He reigns supreme after shattering the power of evil Tiamat in an epic civil war among the gods.
The Egyptians' god of the sky is Ra, whose eye is the sun itself. He bestows his blessings on the pharaohs who rule Egypt in his stead. Ra steers a solar barge across the sky in the day and through the Underworld at night, reinforcing his claim to all creation.
The Sky God's Domain: Godswar
Godswar -- The very name suggests that the ground will tremble, and the sky will crash to the Earth. God-to-god combat is an epic event in Godstorm. It is so major, in fact, that all men stand aside and wait for it to conclude before attending to their own warlike intentions. Looking at Greg Staples' cover, you can see the intent in the eyes of the soldiers. They're standing their ground, perhaps screaming at each other. But they're not moving. That's because Thor and Zeus are searing the sky with lightning, and no one dares swing a sword until one or the other deity reigns in this most epic of clashes.
When gods of opposing pantheons meet in the Invade Territories step, combat between soldiers is postponed until the godswar is resolved. The faith of the attendant soldiers can turn the tide of the godswar.
Starting with the attacking player, each player chooses a god in the invasion. Then each player rolls three dice and adds to that result the number of armies on the god's side of the disputed border. This is that god's godswar result.
For example, if seven soldiers and a god stand in Gaul against eight soldiers and a god in Liguria, the god in Gaul rolls 3 dice plus 7 against the god in Liguria's 3 dice plus 8. The highest total (not highest single die) wins the godswar, banishing the other god to its pantheon card. The defender still wins ties. If gods remain on both sides, the attacker can choose to engage in another godswar, until only one side has any deities left.
A number of things can affect this roll. The attacking war god in Gaul, for example, will win ties against the war god in Liguria. If there's a temple in Liguria, the defender will reroll all 1s rolled in the godswar. Perhaps most importantly, the sky god may have something to say about the whole undertaking.
The Sky God's Power: Divine Wrath
The sky god has his own bonus in godswar, and it can be the difference between winning and Ragnarok. When the god of the sky is in godswar (on either side), its owner rolls an additional die. A war god attacking a sky god wins ties, but he may need more help than that against the four dice the sky god rolls.
If an attacking war god supports a sky god in a godswar, then both powers apply. That player rolls an extra die and wins ties. Other gods' powers may also enter into the picture (how will be explained in subsequent articles).
After all this fighting in the heavens, the conflicts of men are resolved. One side is certainly down its deities, though, and may face a much harder road to victory.
As the most potent warriors in godswar, the gods of the sky want to drive their opponents' gods from the battlefield. They reward their followers who take this path. Next column, we will look at sky cards, some of the most surprising in the game. See you later in the week.
Catch up on any previews you missed!
- Into the Fire
- The World of the Ancients
- God-Fearing People
- Gods Among Men
- The Warlords
- Miracles On the Battlefield
- The Sky Kings
- Blessings From the Heavens
- The Reliquary Opens
- Pandora's Box
Mike Selinker has been playing, designing, developing, and just plain loving games of every variety for many, many years. He is a gamer in the very best sense of the word. Mike lives in Seattle.