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I have a world with many gods. They don't like each others, so they want to destroy each others.
Problem: they are immortal.
Solution: they will create another world, with different civilizations (probably one for each of them) and force war between them in order to let battles results decide of the winner(s).

But just to watch is not very fun, so they would like to be able to interfere in middle of battles as well, with mass-destruction spells in an enemy battalion for instance.

The new problem is all of them have an almost unlimited power, as well for their civilizations creation as for offensive spells. One of them can set the entire world ablaze if he wants, provoking the destruction of everyone ; or alternatively making his creatures almost invincible.

So they need a set of rules in order to make the game long and "enjoyable" by everyone (or rather every god). They need a set of rules for this "game" in order to keep fair-play and equality between them.

Assuming they will all accept and respect this set of rules once set, what could it be ?

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closed as too broad by bilbo_pingouin, Pavel Janicek, Frostfyre, Erik, DaaaahWhoosh Jan 14 '16 at 14:54

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    $\begingroup$ And they went and invented Wharhammer. Seriously though, anything is possible, and I think we miss just too many information to answer correctly. $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Jan 14 '16 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ Are all the Gods simply "god like" or are they specific gods, eg God of War, God of Fertility, God of Wine. I can't see the minor Gods lasting long on their own so there would have to form at least a few sides/aliances. $\endgroup$ – ECiurleo Jan 14 '16 at 12:18
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    $\begingroup$ I'd definitely go and look at some war-game manuals, you can find PDFs online and they're pretty much exactly what you're describing. Should help you hammer out a rough cosmic game system. $\endgroup$ – possiblySerious Jan 14 '16 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like a fun game. I would reward my fallen game pieces. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 14 '16 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin Sounds a lot like the Forgotten Realms. Each of the dieties have their own 'worlds' that they are pretty much all powerful in. Then there are the shared worlds in which they all fight for supremacy in that they aren't typically allowed to directly interfere in besides granting specific types of powers. I was more under the impression that Warhammer was just a single world that they all shared and fought for dominance in. Is this incorrect? $\endgroup$ – dphil Jan 14 '16 at 14:20
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Race creation

I would say that at the minimum, the civilizations that they create would need to be mortal, sentient and consistent.

Mortal, for obvious reasons. If they are unkillable, then there is no way for them to lose (at least not easily. They could all be buried underground, but that would be a lot harder). They may be resistant to certain things, and would be adapted to survive and thrive in whatever environment they are placed in, but they need to have some weaknesses. Otherwise, if one of the players cannot lose, it ceases to be a game.

Sentient, so that the civilization can understand why they're fighting. It would not be enough to just make mindless beasts that would charge unfaltering into battle until they are killed. They must be made to understand why they are fighting (even if their god lies to them). This again levels the playing field, as each god can create a species that would be inspired by what that god is like (whether they get riled up by aggression, or submit to reasoned arguments), but would need a tactic to deter dissidence.

Consistent, because it would be too easy to make a creature that can simply transform into what it needs to be. If one god's transforming creatures came up against a herd of rhino people, they could just transform into something that can avoid their charge. This ties into the races requiring weaknesses, as it forces each god to make a decision on their creature's design. Their tactic is to minimize their weakness, not simply make them able to change what they are able to do based on the situation.

Interference

If they are that powerful, then the only way to make it a reasonable challenge would be to allow very little at all. This would likely include allowing inspiration, randomness, and time-constrained "miracles".

Inspiration, as due to the creature's sentience, they need to be coerced in some way into doing the bidding of the god. There would likely be restrictions on this, like not being able to appear in their true form in front of their people. They may be required to use a single person as a conduit - their champion - who must successfully inspire the rest of the people to do the bidding of that god.

Randomness, as there needs to be a dice roll element to the game. It could be like chess where there are strict rules and movements where there are no random elements, however when immortal omnipotent gods are playing chess against each other, eventually they will make every move there is to make, and it will stop being fun. This means that without a random element, they will eventually understand the strategies of the other players, and refuse to do anything to jeopardize their chances of success, so would eventually be stuck in a scenario where their only good move is not to play, so there would be a stalemate, ending the game in a draw.

Miracles, which must only be allowed every so often. This is so that each god cannot use their powers to interfere with other civilizations whenever they choose. They may decide to use their power to create a vein of pure iron where their civilization is digging, in order to allow them to equip their army with weapons and armor, or create a plague that wipes out half an enemy civilization over time. These miracles must be able to be mistaken for natural phenomena, otherwise like you said their choice of miracle could be to just burn the world. So the gods must think tactically, and use their choice of miracle to allow their people the best possible advantage at the best possible time, as they must wait a long period before being able to interfere again.

Other considerations

There will likely also need to be some sort of ratio of birth rate:life expectancy, so that gods cannot just create massive civilizations in a short period of time. If their people multiple rapidly, then they must also die quickly. If they live for a long time, then they cannot be able to produce 30 offspring a week. This would stop overpopulation, and make sure that there is a balance between the species.

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Gods are functionally immortal, but limited

How about this; the gods of your world are incredibly powerful, but don't have infinite energy. Every time they create a being or move to directly influence their battleground world, they can never get that energy/power back. In the beginning when they're at their full strength, all the gods splurge on creating massive powerful civilizations (which requires a simply enormous one-time energy expenditure), personally show up to battles, etc. in approximately equal measure to one another. With every direct intervention, though, the god in question gets weaker. If a god gets weak enough, it can be destroyed by another god. Over eons, the gods have to take a more and more hands-off approach to their world and their creations or risk becoming too weak to protect themselves against the other gods.

If you want to take this idea a step further and add more of a strategy layer to the god's actions, gods could have their power replenished through the prayers and worship of their followers, a la Black & White. Converting some of a rival god's population through kindness, coercion, or force could be a way to strike a massive blow to their power and influence over the world.

It's one solution that wouldn't really require an explicit cosmic ruleset (beyond a standardized "power to influence" exchange rate), but I'm not sure if this fits with your vision of "almost unlimited power." The Warhammer/wargaming suggestions are excellent for that, imo.

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  1. Each god is allowed only one world (with a Population limit?)
  2. Mortal fighters must fight of their own free will
  3. No god may directly attack another god
  4. No god may directly influence a battle (even if its less fun)
  5. All combatants must be human
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