One thing that I didn’t spend a lot of time on in my Wanderhome review was the “small and forgotten gods” of the setting. On the one hand, they’re small spirits that add a “Studio Ghibli” vibe to the game. On the other hand, they’re a really endearing part of Wanderhome that deserves some extra attention.
There’s definitely magic in the lands of Hæth, and otherwordly beings with fantastic power. Just how otherworldly these creatures are and how fantastic their powers might be is left up to your table. It slightly depends on what sort of parameters you pick at the beginning of your journey but also it can let you tell tons of different stories. You might have kami-like animating spirits in pretty much every part of the world, localized gods with great power limited to a specific town or glade, traveling spirits who leave magic in their wake, little fey creatures more concerned with their own business than yours…
Things are really open-ended and the #small-and-forgotten-gods channel of the Wanderhome Discord has a lot of fantastic ideas. I wanted to keep exploring and exploring with them so I made my own Small and Forgotten Gods Generator that just keeps churning out gold.
Some notable examples I generated just now writing my post were:
- Meinnidim is the darting god of kisses. It appears as a tune that sticks in your head.
- Riod is the visiting god of candles. It appears as a growing thing.
- Dicho is the adorable god of snowdrifts. Xe appears as a cave.
- Fika is the upside-down god of naps. It appears as a chalk drawing.
- Bangol is the morose god of thistles. She appears as a talking stone wall.
Tell me that you wouldn’t want to meet each and every one.
And that’s the beauty of this worldbuilding choice. The gods of Hæth are specifically small and many of them are forgotten. If you make up one that seems like it would be a big deal (god of thunder, god of journeys, god of dreams) they specifically aren’t a big deal in a worldwide sense. They might have just a small corner of that subject, be constrained to a small area, etc. That means if you befriend “Bangol god of thistles” then you can have whatever kind of relationship you want and it won’t derail the story. Even if she ends up traveling with you she can’t, say, make thistles grow to tear down a city’s walls or cover a desert in thistle plants. She’s small and precious not big and mighty. Also, you can make any number of other thistle-gods you like because there’s enough room for all these small gods among the thistles of Hæth. They are also forgotten which means you don’t have to learn any of these gods beforehand or expect people to see Bangol and freak out. She’s just doing her thing and it’s story-relevant when you want it to be.
All the pictures of small gods in Wanderhome are impossibly cute: parades of capering mushrooms and twisting swirls of leaves. I tried to capture that in this generator as well and that means the generator also works as a sort of digital koan. You can sit there and press the button again and again, seeing little gods appear in front of you and then blow away again in the breeze. Use it for your Wanderhome game but also when you’re having a bad day then invite a dance of small and forgotten gods to come by. I’m sure you’ll find something to cheer you up.