CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Unified Faith

Drawing Power From More Than One Deity

When most people think of clerics, paladins, and other classes that are cast divine spells, they picture a person who dedicates themselves to one power. In D&D it was Pelor, Gruumsh, and Corellon Larethian. In Pathfinder we have Sarenrae, Abadar, and Torag. Does a cleric have to dedicate him or herself to one deity? My answer to that is a resounding “No” and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Although most people are well aware than in 3.5, and by extension Pathfinder, the core cleric was opened up to worshiping a philosophy. A lot of folks forget that this was a concept from the Second Edition D&D Complete Priest’s Handbook. They outlined divine casters that could worship and receive spells from not only a deity, but also a force (e.g. nature or the sun, etc.) or a philosophy.

Although Pathfinder Society – the global gaming entity, not the in-game organization – says that divine spell casters must worship one god, the book Faiths and Philosophies very specifically lays out ideas for pantheism. It lays out codes of honor, druidism, juju, and totemism as compatible belief systems. It also says that oracles, paladins, and summoners tend to be common pantheistic believers.

I’ve spoken on the topic of paladins before, and why I believe they do not gain their powers from a specific god but from being paragons of righteousness. In much the same way the Green Faith draws its power from all the gods of nature to create a pool of energy that druids – and also hunters, rangers, shaman, and some witches and clerics – draw from, paladins power stems from a pool of energy create by the very idea of good and law that lawful neutral and all the good deities fuel. In this same way we can say that divine beings of similar bents may feed into this pool.

To further illustrate the example of divine class drawing from a pool of energy from deities with a common ideal, I’ll point you to the Hellknight Order of the Godclaw. Taking the ideals of strict law from  Abadar, Asmodeus, Iomedae, Irori, and Torag, the order has its own – very harsh – lawful doctrine. The thing is they have clerics, warpriest, and even paladins that have been granted power without actually worshiping one of the deities specifically. It is pointed out that “it is uncertain from where they get their divine power; it may be the case that their magic comes from their own convictions.” This statement lends further precedence to the idea that you can worship a group of like-minded gods to gain divine power.

I’d also like to point out that there is also a difference between drawing power or worshiping multiple deities and paying homage to multiple deities. The common folk in all likelihood do not venerate one deity among the others. Since each deity affects their way of life, they would probably give each deity their due when needed. Pray to Abadar or Asmodeus – depending on location – when making contracts, giving a prayer to Erastil for a good harvest, or leaving out a sacrifice to Urgathoa for a plague to pass your family by. Whereas a cleric, or other divine class, that worships multiple deities dedicates himself to a single purpose espoused by all deities.

So what are a few common purposes that you may find? Cultural pantheons are fairly common. Racial pantheons are probably the most common examples, but the people of Sakoris often worshipped small like-minded groups of Gods, Demon Lords, or Empyreal Lords. These groupings were small but this worship was led by witch, summoner, druid, or other spellcasting intermediary. Pathfinder even has a feat if you revere an entire pantheon called Pantheistic Blessing, which grants you a one time a day spell like ability based on the pantheon you follow.

Here are some ideas for other groupings of deities for your Pathfinder game:

Alazhara, Calcabrina, Shamira, Lamashtu, and Geon as the brings of dark dreams and nightmares. Evil is the common domain from each of these beings but madness, darkness, and trickery are all good secondary domains. Clerics, witches, oracles, shaman, and even anti-paladins wouldn’t be out of line for followers of the pantheon of night terrors.

Cayden Cailean, Kurgess, and the dwarven deity Trudd easily make up a small pantheon for those renowned for their bravery. Good and Strength would probably be the domains for those classes who received them. With Trudd as a member of the group, paladins wouldn’t be out of line among the other divine classes that could worship this group. Warpriests and combat minded clerics would also probably being among the most devout worshipers.

Pharasma, Magrim, Magdah, Chadali, and Bifrons could all be seen as the myriad aspects of fate. Fate can be uncaring or seem good or evil. Those who gain domains would probably draw from luck, knowledge, or rune. Depending on how they viewed fate, good or evil are also possibilities. Clerics and oracles are probably the only divine classes that would draw power from these concepts, but bards and rogues may also be among this pantheon’s worshipers.

Given the vast number of beings that can grant divine power there are probably dozens of other philosophies powered by these deities that could be followed. I would love to see some of the ideas that you have. What ideals and the deities attached with them can you come up with? Would you allow pantheistic priests in your games? Let’s hear about your experiences with these ideas.

Giving pantheism a go in your games or with your next character? Then I’m happy the CRB could inspire you. To help support this blog please consider becoming a patron. Contributing to my Patreon helps keep my life running while I write the content you enjoy. If a one-time donation is best for you then you can find me on Paypal.

If you’d like to join the growing social media family of the CRB you can find me on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter. Questions, comments, and discussions are always welcome. My inbox is open on all platforms. Don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to get the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions through Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment