In Exalted, a god is any one of the countless beings, composed entirely of Essence, who were created by the Primordials to tend to the running of Creation. They are potentially infinite in number, representing, serving, embodying or ruling anything from a city to a household chore to abstract concepts.
Most gods are minor administrators or bureaucrats with very little power, and may be summoned, commanded or banished by Exalts or even mortals, provided they know the correct rituals. Every god in Creation is assigned to oversee something, and everything in creation is overseen by some God. There are gods of small things, such as minor roads and blades of grass, and there are gods of transient things like caravans or a specific season. Some gods have important tasks given to them by the Primordials or by greater gods who created them, or have otherwise drawn essence from the worship and recognition of humans and grown powerful over the millennia. Such great gods are beholden to none but the mightiest beings.
Every god is unique, though many fulfil similar roles and therefore may have similar forms and powers. As a natural part of Creation, and since their duties require them to interact with the world and sometimes mortals, gods normally have simple forms; many are anthropomorphic animals or plants, for example. The more powerful gods often have humanoid forms. Gods are naturally intangible to mortals and material objects, though many know the Charm Materialize which allows them to manifest a physical body. Every god knows at least one or two charms which allow it to carry out its duty.
Before the Primordial War, all of the gods lived on the Blessed Isle and managed everything that made creation run. After the creation of the Exalted and the subsequent defeat of the Primordials, the gods moved to Yu-Shan, although the majority still maintain domains in creation. The mightiest gods are the Celestial Incarna: the Unconquered Sun, Luna and the Five Maidens. These gods led the war against the Primordials and created the Celestial Exalted, and now spend their time playing the Games of Divinity in Yu-Shan. It is from Yu-Shan that the Celestial Bureaucracy is run, which, with the aid of the Sidereal Exalted, ostensibly oversees the functions and hierarchy of all the gods and ensures the smooth running of Creation. With the neglect of the Incarna, however, many gods have become corrupt and do not fulfil their duties, contributing to the suffering of the Age of Sorrows. Some gods seem to have little connection to the bureaucracy in the first place, and operate entirely in the interests of themselves or their followers.
Gods are fed by prayer; prayer manifests itself as quintessence and Ambrosia. The former is composed of prayers to all the gods of Heaven, the latter prayers to specific gods. The need for prayers means that gods tend to be ruthless about exploiting their domain, specialties and talents to extort prayers - as an example, the Salt Gods who oversee coastlines across the Blessed Isle are currently demanding more expensive devotion and tithing in the absence of a Scarlet Empress to discipline them. The Bureaucracy of Heaven is known to be corrupt, and most Gods are bribable with the right favors.
Some gods are capable of mating and reproducing with mortals, producing God-Blooded offspring. Given the gods' personalities and appetites, God-Blooded are fairly common in different parts of creation.