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Gods & Magic

Source Gods & Magic pg. 6 2.0
A defining characteristic of fantasy as a genre is the presence and use of magic—a fantasy roleplaying game without magic would be like a science fiction story without technology or a horror story without fear! Pathfinder posits four traditions of magic: arcane, divine, occult, and primal. For a faithful character, divine magic is usually the most intrinsically appealing, as it reflects a direct connection to a deity.

Divine magic is the intersection of the instinctual and faith-based vital essence that rules over life and death, and the otherworldly spiritual essence that forms the building blocks of all souls. It can close wounds in seconds, call down blasts of divine vengeance, uncover hidden truths, reveal the future, and even temporarily turn a devotee into an avatar of their god. The idea of divine might invokes images of a righteous crusader, but neutral and evil gods similarly imbue their devotees with power to further their own causes. The divine tradition also encompasses spiritual philosophies that don’t involve any specific deity, as well as pantheons of multiple deities.

This book presents an in-depth look at the gods presented in Chapter 8 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, including alternate domains and divine intercessions each god grants. Following that are 20 additional gods, with rules for playing their clerics and champions, including how to assume the forms of their mighty avatars. Following these entries, this book describes demigod pantheons, such as the Eldest and the empyreal lords, as well as spiritual philosophies, including the Green Faith and Sangpotshi. This book also includes exciting new domains, feats, items, spells, and weapons useful for many characters, not just clerics.

Why Belief Matters

Source Gods & Magic pg. 6 2.0
Faith is important in any fantasy world where mortals can wield divine power. On Golarion, the existence of the gods is not a speculative question. To the contrary, the veracity of each of the gods is demonstrable, visible through manifestations ranging from powerful divine spells to portentous curses and boons.

Belief and devotion shape life on Golarion in numerous ways. Generally, the gods imbue their most devoted followers with their magic. A cleric’s adherence to the principles and observances of their god underpins their ability to access the divine magic that powers their spells. A champion forges their very identity in devotion to their deity and cause, from which they draw their righteous zeal. Other mortals often view with awe those characters commanding divine power through such intense piety.

Yet these are exceptional cases, and more mundane faith is common. A fighter might worship Kurgess, the god of healthy competition and physical development, while a barbarian similarly follows Gorum, the god of strength and battle, each finding inspiration for their personal growth and values in their worship. Wilderness-roaming characters, such as rangers and druids (whose magic derives from primal forces rather than the divine), may feel drawn to the Green Faith or Shoanti animism as an expression of their connection to the earth—or they might venerate Gozreh, the god of nature; Sarenrae, the goddess of the sun; or Tsukiyo, the god of the moon. Scholarly characters, such as alchemists and wizards, may recognize that religious devotions provide them with a connection to community, a sense of purpose, or even a path to greater personal power. They might worship a deity associated with intellectual pursuits, like the god of magic, Nethys, or they might enjoy established and well-connected churches, such as those of Abadar, the god of cities and wealth; Iomedae, the goddess of justice and honor; or Asmodeus, the god of tyranny and pride. Sorcerers and bards, on the other hand, might be inspired to worship Shelyn, the goddess of art and love; Desna, the goddess of luck and travel; or even Cayden Cailean, the god of freedom and alcohol. Devotion might be woven into their self-expression, or it could provide a connection to like-minded followers, or give them a deeper sense of purpose. Characters who rely on perfecting their skills, such as rogues and monks, might be drawn to the worship of Irori, the god of knowledge and self-perfection—or of Norgorber, the god of secret knowledge and thievery.

While most characters faithful enough to gain power from their deity do so in service to a single god or goddess, most people on Golarion venerate many deities, giving praise or asking for aid based on the circumstances of their lives. The focus of a person’s faith may change as circumstances do. A barbarian might have a central devotion to Chaldira, the halfling god of battle and luck, but add prayers to Shelyn god of beauty and love, when she finds true love. Upon the untimely death of her lover, she may turn to Pharasma, god of death and fate, or to Desna, god of dreams, to ease her grief—or to Calistria, god of vengeance, to repay the death. Similarly, a dishonored politician might continue to honor Gruhastha the Keeper but offer a prayer to Achaekek, the mantis god of assassins and death, to regain her power.

The Role of the Gods

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As befits a reality in which gods and magic are demonstrable, the deities of the Pathfinder setting are not aloof constructs whose power merely provides options for character creation. They are deeply involved in the fabric of reality, shaping the course of Golarion’s people in particular. Ascension to godhood is a real and living thing on Golarion; deities including Arazni, Cayden Cailean, Iomedae, Norgorber, and most recently Casandalee were mortals on Golarion who ascended to become deities. Others, such as Abadar and Sarenrae, have their homes in other planes and predate Golarion’s existence, yet they nevertheless take an active interest in its workings. Political upheavals can favor particular gods, and some show deities’ direct influence. Cheliax’s pact with Asmodeus has inarguably extended his diabolical influence across the Inner Sea region. The success of the undead nation of Geb is a boon to Urgathoa, while simultaneously offering endless worry to Pharasma and her legions of psychopomps. The destruction of Lastwall was a blow to Iomedae, greatly reducing her influence in that region. While these gods also have myriad extraplanar and extra-worldly concerns beyond mortal consideration, they are still—to varying degrees and at various times—deeply invested in the dramas playing out across Golarion, and they manifest their will accordingly.

Despite a long and deep divine connection to Golarion, it is extremely rare for a god to appear in the world. The gift of divine power is the most common way in which the gods influence mortal (as well as undead and immortal) lives on the planet. Divine intercession, through the granting of boons and curses, is another way in which the gods spread their influence. Golarion’s deities don’t spend the majority of their time doling out curses and boons, nor does every god pay attention to every mortal—no god has that much time amid their plots and alliances playing out on an extraplanar scale. Yet when their attention is attracted through particular merit or outrage, or when it fits into a larger objective, they may intercede to bless or to curse a mortal who has drawn their attention. Finally, a god might speak to a mortal through a dream, portent, or singular religious experience. Such moments can shape a character’s deepest values and motives, and they are entirely at the GM’s discretion.

Campaigns set on worlds other than Golarion can still use the rules and information found in this book to deepen religious themes. The gods exert their influence across the multiverse, and they might enact dramas similar to those described here on any world of the GM’s creation. Alternatively, different gods might take the center stage in another world’s pantheon, or they might have entirely different relationships. On a different world, Rovagug might be the primary deity and principal villain behind truly monstrous schemes, and Nethys—in his role as a destroyer—might support the Rough Beast.

Rules Elements

Source Gods & Magic pg. 7 2.0
This book presents the following new rules elements.

Alternate Domains

Source Gods & Magic pg. 7 2.0
Each deity grants four domains— these are their primary domains. Some deities, however, have such expansive jurisdiction that more than four domains are appropriate for them. Many of these alternate domains are available only to characters who specialize in these areas, as they often fall outside of their deity’s main purposes or areas of focus. This book lists alternate domains a deity may have. Followers of a deity do not initially have access to these alternate domains, but a cleric can take the Expanded Domain Initiate feat on the following page to gain access to one of their deity’s alternate domains, and either a cleric or a champion from an unusual branch of their faith can take the Splinter Faith feat below to redefine the domains available to them.

Changing Faith

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Whether dramatic or gradual, a character may have a crisis of faith or even a fall from grace. When this happens, the character is no longer able to use the spells, feats, and other class features tied to their now-lost faith. As reflects the genuine struggle within their soul, such characters may find themselves hobbled in their actions and interactions until they are restored to good standing via the atone ritual—or, in the case of a more complete break, until they retrain.

Retraining requires substantial downtime—in most cases, at least a month. A character who wishes to retrain into a different faith with similar concerns and domains requires less time to convert than a character moving into a radically divergent faith. Thus, a cleric of Grandmother Spider might move to the worship of Calistria with a month’s tutelage and service in one of her temples. However, that same cleric of Grandmother Spider could not so easily become a priest of Asmodeus, even though both deities share the trickery domain—their longstanding animosity is reflected in their diametrically opposed doctrines and cultures. Such a conversion is not impossible but could take several months of downtime or happen piecemeal over months of in-game development. In some instances, particularly in the case of PCs or other high-profile targets of conversion, a new deity might send an emissary directly to a character struggling with a crisis of faith in order to tempt that character to righteousness or villainy. In these cases, the emissary might be able to offer a near-immediate transformation as an enticement, funneling vital and spiritual essence primed to the deity’s philosophy into the converting character to remove the need for any downtime at all. Such a transformation is not without risks, however, and may come with complications down the line.

At the GM’s discretion, characters for whom divine patronage is essential but who lose faith completely can retrain into a new class. A champion might retrain as a fighter or a ranger, swapping out faith-based feats and class features for appropriate analogues. The length of downtime required in any of these cases is at the GM’s discretion, though the player and GM are advised to work together to determine a suitable time frame that does not fully interrupt play and can help tell a satisfying story.

Divine Intercession

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To make their influence on Golarion felt directly—but without manifesting on the planet in all their divine glory—each god has the tool of divine intercession. Divine intercession manifests as a boon or a curse, of varying duration and power, visited upon a mortal. Curses are not triggered simply by doing something a god does not like, or everyone in Golarion would be cursed all the time; they are often reserved for followers of the god who commit anathema that aren’t strong enough to warrant ejection from the faith, or those who have committed shocking blasphemies. Conversely, an unaffiliated worshipper embroiled in high-profile actions that are anathema to a god could earn a curse. Similarly, boons are not automatically granted to anyone petitioning the god. Certainly, someone who upholds a deity’s edicts could earn a boon, especially when acting under adverse circumstances. Most often, as befits their inscrutable nature, a deity will bestow a boon or a curse for their own reasons. Perhaps a mission is of dire importance to a god’s plan for a specific place or people, or perhaps the survival of a particular character figures in their plans decades from now.

The divine intercessions provided in each entry are examples, and the GM can have any deity grant a different effect than the intercessions provided. These intercessions are special and are always at the deity’s, and thus the GM’s, direct discretion, with the GM deciding when a boon or curse goes into effect. The GM is also at liberty to remove a boon or curse as is appropriate for the game’s story. A PC or NPC can never select a feat, spell, or other rules option that entitles them to a divine boon or bestows a divine curse upon foes. Minor intercessions are memorable for the recipient, providing either a relatively modest and long-lasting effect or a spectacular but fleeting one. Moderate intercessions are hugely significant events that typically come with permanent consequences, and major intercessions can pivotally reshape a recipient’s life, granting powers wildly beyond their innate abilities or inflicting life-changing curses.

Favored Weapon

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Each deity has a favored weapon. These weapons are not restricted for use by their clerics and champions alone; lay worshippers often train with and wield them in battle as another way to show their devotion. Each of the favored weapons detailed in this book is available to any character with access to it. The same is true of the divine items included in this book.

Theme Template

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Theme templates (introduced in the Lost Omens Character Guide) allow a GM to replicate creatures and NPCs that worship specific deities. When you add a theme template that grants many additional abilities, you should consider removing one or more of the creature’s original abilities to compensate, or raising the creature’s level by 1 and adjusting its statistics accordingly so as to add the template’s abilities without taking anything away. Either way, a template adds abilities based on the creature’s final level; for example, if you raised a 6th-level creature to 7th level, adjusted its numbers, and added a template, it would gain the 7th-level or higher template abilities. A deity’s theme template works as follows.

All Creatures: Add any traits in the deity’s alignment. Remove any alignment traits not in the deity’s alignment.

1st Level or Higher: Add the deity’s favored weapon and a wooden religious symbol of the deity to the creature’s items. Add a favored weapon Strike with an attack bonus equal to the creature’s highest melee or ranged Strike (whichever is appropriate). If the favored weapon is simple, increase the damage die of that Strike by one step.

4th Level or Higher: The creature can cast the initial domain spell of one of the deity’s domains and gains a pool of 1 Focus Point.

7th Level or Higher: The creature can cast the 1st-level spell the deity grants clerics three times per day as a divine innate spell.

12th Level or Higher: The creature can cast the advanced domain spell of the domain you chose for 4th level or higher, and its focus pool increases to 2 Focus Points.

17th Level or Higher: The creature has been truly blessed. Either the creature can cast the deity’s other deity spells of up to 7th level once per day each as divine innate spells, or, at the GM’s discretion, the creature gains the benefits of one of the deity’s boons.

Demigods and Other Divinities

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Away from the temple districts of major cities, places of pilgrimage, and mass celebrations of holidays and religious festivals, smaller cults, cabals, and sects pursue their own rites and codes of conduct across the Inner Sea and beyond. While many faithful primarily worship more mainstream and well-known deities, others dedicate themselves to less conventional paths of devotion. This calling from a higher power comes in many forms, whether it’s the potent voice of the fey embodied in the Eldest of the First World; the raw power of fire, air, earth, and water exemplified by the elemental lords; or even paragons of the aligned outer planes such as empyreal lords, archdevils, and monitor demigods. Some mortals even worship the inscrutable and incomprehensible entities from beyond reality known as the Outer Gods, extraordinarily powerful beings that are nonetheless so alien to mortalkind that their followings’ impact fills a similar niche to the worship of demigods.

Though rarely invested with the full strength of a true god, some powerful, unique extraplanar creatures nevertheless carry a spark of the divine that empowers their followers to perform miracles and call upon divine aid in times of need. To the everyday resident of the Inner Sea, such a difference in power is largely academic, as the only ones with the strength to subdue or even slay such a being are largely gods themselves, or figures of myth and legend. These entities are collectively referred to as “demigods.” Some demigods are children of the true gods, others are mortals who have achieved a spark of divinity that allows them to influence the world much like other traditional deities, and still others are powerful divine servitors. Regardless of their origin or true nature, the term has expanded over time to include any of the myriad of powerful entities from the Great Beyond who take an interest in Golarion and answer the prayers of their followers, from divine entities who truly went through a sort of ascension to exemplars of already powerful types of outsiders.

Many demigods are allied with or directly serve other gods, such as the fealty owed to Asmodeus by the archdevils of Hell, but their divinity is not granted to them by their allied deities. The source of these demigods’ power is a matter of ongoing debate among scholars; some theorize that demigods siphon off power from the gods related to their own concerns, while others posit that these demigods are fragments of true deities or concepts given life, and argue that their power may come from the Great Beyond itself. Some particularly fanatical philosophers, largely focused on the study of the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones, insist that demigods like the Great Old Ones are instead the pale shadows of even greater powers that exist outside of the fabric of the Great Beyond itself, though such theories have very little evidence beyond the musings of these individuals.

Worshippers of these demigods have many motivations in pursuing their faith beyond the mainstream gods of the Inner Sea. Many worship demigods for the more narrowly defined concepts and beliefs they represent relative to the gods. A paladin devoted to crusading against the evil influence of devils and demons might don the crimson and gold of the empyreal lord Ragathiel, favoring his gospel of vengeance over Iomedae’s more idealistic view of the battle between good and evil, while a particularly greedy aristocrat might choose the archdevil Mammon as a patron out of a specific belief in the power of money to perpetuate power, rather than Asmodeus’s more general portfolio of power and control.

Others may have cultural attachments to a particular demigod through particular relevance to an ancestry or locale, such as the widespread worship of Kabriri among ghouls and ghasts, the veneration that many fey offer to the Eldest in acknowledgment of the demigods’ power over the First World, and Nurgal’s influence in the deserts of Golarion due to his mastery over the unforgiving sun. Many of these faiths live on through countless decades or centuries, passed on from generation to generation, even in places where more mainstream faiths are prevalent. Some even see these lesser-known demigods as faster or easier paths to power, prestige, or wealth than the avenues available to worshippers of the true gods, through either greater affinity with their tenets or the smaller and potentially less entrenched structure of their clergy. Regardless of their reasons, the faith of a demigod worshipper is no less real than any other. Demigods inspire the same fervor and depth of belief as any other deity, and a flame strike spell cast by a follower of Kerkamoth burns just as hot as one from a follower of Sarenrae, though such abilities may have different appearances between different faiths.

The following pages describe many of the demigods whose followers can be found in the Inner Sea region. Many more demigods exist than are detailed here, including ones whose worship is common in other parts of Golarion, demigods who have ascended from obscure types of planar beings rarely encountered on Golarion, beings of lesser power with very limited presences in Golarion, and those that have fully devoted their attentions to other planes altogether. Additionally, the ranks of the demigods are constantly changing as their jockeying for power—their alliances, betrayals, and competitions with one another— and the distant but ever-present possibility of true apotheosis lead to realignments, declines in stature, and occasional deaths that reverberate through the fabric of the Great Beyond.

Philosophies and Spirituality

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Faith on Golarion isn't limited to worshipping one god. Some worshippers draw power from multiple deities, while others follow the spirits of the world, or reject the divine entirely, relying on secular philosophies for guidance. The following pages present examples of the diverse religious and philosophical practices of the Inner Sea region.


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A pantheon is a group of related gods worshipped either individually or together. Most pantheons are associated with a specific ancestry or geopolitical region, but rarely, a pantheon consists of deities with overlapping areas of concern. Followers work to advance the shared interests of their pantheon, directing prayers to whichever god presides over their current activity or circumstance. At the GM’s discretion, champions and clerics can dedicate themselves to a pantheon. In such cases, the characters still worship a specific patron deity among those in the pantheon, but also follow the edicts and anathema of the pantheon as a whole. A character who worships a pantheon this way can gain the domains, alternate domains, and spells from the pantheon instead of those from their patron deity. They must uphold the ideals of both their patron deity and the pantheon, though the patron deity’s edicts and anathema take precedence. For example, a worshipper of Iomedae could worship the Godclaw, but they wouldn’t take the tyranny domain, as it would be in conflict with Iomedae’s edicts. In rare cases, a character can worship a pantheon without following a patron deity. Such cases are unique and subject to GM approval.

Related Rules

Divine Combinations (Source Knights of Lastwall pg. 69)