Gods are the overseers of the order of the world. They watch places, things, and ideas. They monitor the progression of events, existing omnipresent and immaterial. In Creation, gods of field, river, town, rice paddy, hot spring, apple orchard and summer storm report to the gods of Heaven, who manage concepts—in Heaven, gods of war, trade, craft, and passion plan the destinies of nations in a grand celestial bureaucracy.
Each god watches over a portfolio of responsibility, from the gods of the least wilderness trails to the goddess of the Imperial Mountain. They are invested with limited power over their domains, and garner more through worship or promotion. By the laws of Heaven, the gods of Creation cannot intercede in the world—the Creation-Ruling Mandate belongs to the Exalted, not the divinities of forest or city—but countless gods openly defy this ancient law in the Age of Sorrows. Men are fearful of divine wrath and eager to win godly favor, for while the gods of Creation are far from omnipotent, their power is great and their providence priceless. Gods, in turn, bestow boons to chosen peoples that they might reap worship, and levy banes to demonstrate the cost of disrespect. They grant favors to cults, sire or bear God-Blooded children to act as their agents, and seek Exigence that they might Exalt champions.
Once, the gods organized themselves into courts along lines of responsibility, and a few such courts remain—the Ocean Court in the West, or the Court of Seasons who watch the turning of the calendar. But in the Age of Sorrows, most spirit courts are ad-hoc gatherings of the weak beneath the strong—here a divine tyrant monopolizes all mortal worship while his lessers compete for favor and scraps; there the gods are leaderless and fickle, terrorizing mortals as they will. Heaven, the greatest of spirit courts, has grown ever more remote from Creation since the fall of the Old Realm, and its ministers and mandarins now spend their time expanding their portfolios and securing their political titles, choking the celestial bureaucracy on endless procedure while ignoring reports of divine misconduct in Creation.