A theologian on gods in gaming

Check out this fascinating exchange between Stewart Butterfield, the founder of Ludicorp, a gaming company developing a massively multiplayer game called Game Neverending, and AKMA, a theologian blogger. Stewart's designing the religious pantheon in GNE and wanted AKMA's advice:

Interactions with the divine should
have just enough predictability to make them worth bothering with, but
absolutely no more (I except simple devices, such as T'aach boosting
your karma for eating a mint). The vital element that this contingency
serves is making it not worth players' while to try to *work* the game
by (as it were) coercing divinities. I'll repeat later on: deities
should be only slightly predictable enough for players to observe that
they do indeed matter. In fact, it would make a worthwhile argument
*within* the game, whether one need adhere to any divinity or not. If
you could attain that degree of subtlety, you'd have won outright.

Regarding game play, I ought to be able to interact productively with
my patron's enemy-spirit, even if just to placate her or him. Think of
classical divinities; they're less mechanistic (by far) than our
imaginations would tend to make them. It makes perfect sense for an
adherent of T'aach to make a propitiatory sacrifice to Thbwappo, the
Source of Halitosis even though the two of them are mortally opposed to
one another, and T'aach should be nettled by this only if the adherent
in question is a keystone figure. People don't matter that much to