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Protection from Evil and Good states that it protects from aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead.

What category do Gods fall into? Are they their own category?

The origin of this question is that our characters in a recent published adventure (spoiler below) have had an unfortunate interaction with Gods:

In Tomb of Annihilation, different gods possess each of our characters as we pick up magical items. Protection from Good and Evil states that it prevents possession. We are wondering what class to choose to protect against possession again. As requested in comments below, the possessions occur in the Temple of the Nine Gods. Additionally, the possessions appear to not necessarily be beneficial. One God, Wongo, for example, causes the PC to "act without concern for the well-being of others.” Another formerly brave PC we noticed is now acting cowardly.

Answerers, thank you for your liberal use of spoiler markers. It has helped avoid learning too much about the adventure but still understand how the particular spells mentioned might interact with Gods.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the Gods who possess your characters are actually helpful, so resisting their possession may not be the best idea. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Apr 25 '18 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you specify the chapter/encounter this happens in? And the named deities as well? I imagine there is probably a difference between a god and a demigod as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Tommy Apr 25 '18 at 16:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage Some of the events seem to not be so helpful (details added to spoiler.) (Do you want to mark your comment as a possible spoiler? Not sure if people may want to avoid accidentally reading that.) \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Apr 25 '18 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tommy Details added to spoiler. \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Apr 25 '18 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Gods are individuals of the species deus deificus. According to current theory, there is only one of them, and they are all different. They reside in loose breeding groups known as "pantheons". Attempts have been made to take a census of them, but problems usually arise - mostly having to do with none of him/her being able to count past "ME!". Efforts to eradicate them have proven fruitless, as getting rid of one or even an entire pantheon just causes another one/pantheon to arise spontaneously. Current methods of restriction are focusing on a "tax and discourage" strategy. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Apr 25 '18 at 22:26
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So far as I'm aware, only one god has been statted out for 5e to date- Tiamat, who is a Gargantuan fiend. This would imply that gods count as a creature from their relevant plane.

Three caveats-

  1. Tiamat is immune to most spells, including protection from evil and good, so other gods probably will be too.
  2. The stats are technically for Tiamat's physical form, which may be an important distinction for you.
  3. I personally consider the Dragon Queen campaign that you find those stats in to be quite unbalanced. YMMV.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Might mention; Celestials are good and Fiends are evil, but there doesn't seem to be a term for neutral gods (LN, CN). \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Apr 25 '18 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm also checking Rage of Demons to see if those demon lords who are part-time gods (such as Orcus) differ significantly from the others in a way that can be pinned on divinity. \$\endgroup\$ – TheVagrantDog Apr 25 '18 at 16:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Tiamat is not an avatar in 5e. The full-fledged god is statted \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 25 '18 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd argue that point due to her Discorporation feature, but the campaign says "god" so RAW you are correct- I'll make an edit to note that. \$\endgroup\$ – TheVagrantDog Apr 25 '18 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TheVagrantDog It might get really muddy if you look at Arch Fiends as gods, yes you can worship them and you seem to get spells from them but there has been long debates in all editions on whether it is that they are simply proxies for something else to work toward their goals. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Apr 25 '18 at 16:43
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RAW Gods have a type. Tiamat is mentioned is a Fiend.

RAW Protecting yourself from good or evil possession is a purpose of Protection from Good & Evil.

RAI Also protecting yourself from troublesome gods getting inside your head.

The specific event referred to in the OP's spoiler occurs in:

Tomb of Annihilation pg 129: The spirits are bound inside magic items scattered throughout the tomb. When a creature of the humanoid type touches such an item, the trickster god bound within attempts to inhabit that creature. With a successful DC 16 Charisma saving throw, the creature resists the god's power, and that god can't attempt to inhabit the same creature for the remainder of the adventure.

The 'gods' of Omu are spirits bound within a magic item and within the temple itself. In Appendix F, they are all listed with an associated creature.

- I'jin is an Almiraj, a beast
- Kubazan is a Froghemoth, a monstrosity
- Moa is a Jaculi, a beast
- Nangnang is a grung, a humanoid
- Obo'laka is a zorbo, a monstrosity
- Papazotl is an eblis, a monstrosity
- Shagambi is a kamadan, a monstrosity
- Unkh is a flail snail, an elemental
- Wongo is a su-monster, a monstrosity

All those gods are given types. Of the gods listed the only one Protection from Good and Evil will work against (RAW) is

Unkh, the elemental.

BUT:

A trickster god never willingly leaves a host, but its spirit is forced out if a host dies or leaves the tomb, or if a host is targeted by the break enchantment function of the dispel evil and good spell. A trickster god can also be forced out by another trickster god.

Dispel Evil and Good's:

Break Enchantment. As your action, you touch a creature you can reach that is charmed, frightened, or possessed by a celestial, an elemental, a fey, a fiend, or an undead. The creature you touch is no longer charmed, frightened, or possessed by such creatures.

Even though RAW, the god's types aren't listed in the spell (excepting the elemental), RAW from ToA says that Break Enchantment can end the possession (an example of specific versus general), and one could infer RAI that Protection From Good and Evil should function similarly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth focusing on the fact that they are "trickster spirits", not real gods. After all, they were locked up by a lich. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Apr 25 '18 at 17:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth There's nothing 'shaky' about the rationale. I'm using the rules from 5e. In 5e monsters have listed stats, resistances, immunities, powers, etc, not generalized applications. Tiamat for example has Condition Immunities: Blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, poisoned, and stunned. So no, there is no shaky logic here, because any creature statted out in 5e has this information. So if Boccob was supposed to be immune to charm, that would be in his stat block as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Tommy Apr 25 '18 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be important to note that the "gods" here are A. Minor, B. Defeated and thus severely weakened, and C. repeatedly referred to as spirits. It could be argued that they are only called gods as they were worshiped by the locals, but that they are not actual deities. Or at the very least, aren't any more (maybe spirits of dead gods). So this could be addressed in one of two ways - treat them as spirits, which opens them to a wide variety of magics, or treat them as gods with the exceptions specifically listed in the rules being treated as a case of specific beats general. \$\endgroup\$ – cpcodes Apr 25 '18 at 17:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tommy Totally get that. There was a reason they stopped statting out Gods though, started with just doing their aspects/avatars and defeating them had little to no effect on the gods themselves. I do like cpcodes comment though, which might render the entire question and subsequent discussion moot. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Apr 25 '18 at 17:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I suspect there was some weird non-printing characters screwing it up. I fixed it. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Apr 25 '18 at 17:59
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The adventure in question, Tomb of Annihilation, specifically dictates how these gods interact with creatures. The rules it gives, and no others, apply. Their category is not given, because it is irrelevant in this particular case. As you're a player in the adventure, I'll not spoil the specifics.

Any interaction with deities in a 5e adventure is completely governed by that adventure. There are no general rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If OP wishes to know how Protection from evil and Good affects these specific gods, I'll add it in a spoiler tag, but, having read the adventure, I strongly urge not learning it here. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Apr 25 '18 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would it be good to add spoiler tags to the parts of this answer that detail the events in the adventure? \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Apr 25 '18 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Praxiteles, I've removed them instead, as they weren't particularly necessary to my point. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Apr 25 '18 at 19:03
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TL;DR They do not have a creature type.

Spells that consider them usually exclude them

Per the description for Antimagic Field (PHB 213), I would assume that effects created by deities, and by extension deities themselves are immune to most magic effects. As mentioned in the answer regarding Tiamat, avatars of deities may have different stats, but until specific rules are released for them, I would just assume that deities are largely unbound by reality - they effectively have no stat block and are not target-able or able to be interacted with in any way but those they choose.

From Antimagic Field:

Spells and other magical effects, except those created by an artifact or deity, are suppressed in the sphere...

Artifacts are essentially items created by — or with the assistance of — deities, or by other means that puts them outside the realm of mere magic. But deities and their "spells", even though their "spells" may appear magical, are really more like changes to reality itself and would interact with magic or antimagic in the same way that an ordinary rock might (or chunk of adamantium, considering they are likely built to last).

The nature of gods

An actual God would be more a force of nature than a creature, and as such asking what creature type a God is would be akin to asking what creature type gravity is. Sure, they differ from gravity by having a broader range of effects and can selectively apply them based on their own whims rather than a strictly defined set of rules, but the upshot is that I'd say they have no creature type, they have no stat block - they are ineffable. However, demi-gods and other lesser deities would have to be handled on a case by case basis. In general, if a stat block is not included, then treat them as if they are unaffected by mortal magic (or indeed, most mortal concerns). If the text describing them indicates specific ways of interacting with them, then those become valid for that particular deity.

Caveat

This is simply my opinion, for the reasons stated above, but as it is thus far unaddressed in 5E it seems sound. I don't have my D&D Gold box with me, but I seem to recall that the rules in that "previous edition" (in as much as D&D could be considered a "previous edition" of AD&D) were the same — mortal magic simply did not harm gods or demigods, with the possible exception of wish.

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