Eminent Domains

Friday, April 27, 2018

Deities and their domains are a big part of what makes clerics special. Logan set the stage with his cleric blog on Monday, so now let's get into the weeds and take a look at how we structured deities and domains.

Basic Deities

For each deity, we present some basic information, including areas of concern, titles, alignment, edicts, anathema, and favored weapon. Most of these are familiar or self-explanatory. One of the newer entries, anathema, is a concept Logan mentioned on Monday. This entry provides examples of actions that violate the deity's tenets. Let's take Shelyn as an example.

Shelyn

The Eternal Rose is the goddess of art, beauty, love, and music. She seeks to one day redeem her corrupted brother Zon-Kuthon.

Alignment NG
Edicts be peaceful, choose and perfect an art, lead by example, see the beauty in all things
Anathema destroy works of art or allow one to be destroyed except to save a life or in pursuit of greater art, refuse to accept surrender, strike first
Favored Weapon glaive

This entry gives you a good idea of how to play a Shelynite PC of any class. For example, a fighter faithful Shelyn might consider wielding her goddess's favored weapon, and even lay followers would likely feel terrible guilt at committing anathema acts even though they face no mechanical consequence for doing so. But what kind of cool stuff do you get if you're a cleric of a specific deity?

Clerics and Deities

Your choice of deity is essential when determining what type of cleric you play. A free-spirited and optimistic Desnan cleric, a tyrannical and scheming Asmodean, and a self-reliant perfectionist Iroran all relate to the world in different ways. We wanted to reflect this with a variety of character customization options based on deity! We've included a chart that indicates each deity's areas of concern, alignment (and the alignments allowed for their clerics), type of channeled energy (positive, negative, or either), signature skill, favored weapon, domains, and spells. For instance, here's Shelyn's entry on that table:

ShelynArt, beauty, love, and musicNG (LG, NG, CG)PositiveCraftingGlaiveCreation, family,
passion, protection
1st: color spray,
3rd: enthrall, 4th: creation

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

The deity's areas of concern include a brief restatement of her titles.

You'll notice the alignment lists not only Shelyn's alignment of neutral good, but also all the alignments her clerics could have in parentheses. Listing it this way allows us (or you, for your own deities) to be more expressive when creating deities. For instance, Norgorber now has slightly different alignments permitted for his clerics depending on which aspect of the deity they worship! Or, you could create a new deity of balance through opposing extremes who accepts only neutral, lawful good, chaotic good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil clerics.

Listing the type of channeled energy the deity grants allows for some really exciting situations. For instance, Lamasthu may be an incredibly evil deity of nightmares, but she's also a deity of the wild fecundity of the Abyss, so she allows her clerics to choose negative or positive energy when channeling. You could even have a good deity that granted only negative energy (none of the core deities worshiped in the Inner Sea region of Golarion do so, but it could be possible for a deity like Tsukiyo, perhaps, as part of his dualism with Shizuru) or an evil deity that could grant only positive energy.

The deity's signature skill is in addition to those all clerics gain, so Shelynite clerics always have the ability to reach great heights in Crafting. Norgorberite clerics, in contrast, gain Stealth in order to blend into the shadows, allowing them to fit in well with clandestine groups.

What about those spells at the end? Those are three extra spells that all clerics of Shelyn can prepare and cast! These aren't in any sort of special "domain slots" like before; you can cast them as few or as many times as you want. Oh, and Sarenrae has fireball!

But wait, Mark, what about...

Domains

Pathfinder First Edition has a list of domains that cover a variety of basic concepts but miss others entirely, and they are fairly generic, which means they don't always convey the nuance of why your deity has that domain. A great example of this was the Death domain and all its undead spells not really fitting with Pharasma, the goddess of death who hates undead.

One of the earliest and coolest innovations to domains in Pathfinder appeared in the Advanced Player's Guide, where subdomains altered domains to add nuance. In the playtest, we're bringing in that sort of flexibility right away! Each domain has a basic power and an advanced power, and because domain powers work as spells, creating a new domain that's perfect for your world is as simple as adding two spells. This allowed us to include significantly more domains in the game and will allow us to expand to even more domains with ease. Here's the list of new domains that don't share a name with any of the old domains (some names you might recognize from subdomains):

  • Ambition
  • Cities
  • Confidence
  • Creation
  • Dreams
  • Family
  • Fate
  • Freedom
  • Indulgence
  • Light
  • Might
  • Moon
  • Nature
  • Nightmares
  • Pain
  • Passion
  • Perfection
  • Secrecy
  • Truth
  • Tyranny
  • Undeath
  • Wealth
  • Zeal

These domains allow for a variety of powers that can really give you the feel of playing a cleric of a specific deity, both in combat and out! For example, take a look at this fun noncombat basic power from the Indulgence domain:

Enhance Victuals (Transmutation) Power 1

Casting 1 minute (Material, Somatic, Verbal Casting)
Range touch; Target 1 nonmagical pint of water or pound of food

You transform the target into delicious fare, changing water into wine or another fine beverage or enhancing food's taste and ingredients to make it a gourmet treat. The transformation also attempts to counteract toxins in the food or water. If you have Spell Points, you can add an additional pint or pound for each additional Spell Point you spend. The feast vanishes if not consumed.

Heightened (+1) Increase initial and additional pints or pounds by 1.

So if you're a cleric of Cayden Cailean or Urgathoa, you're going to be able to party in style. Since powers are automatically heightened as you gain levels, that means for just 1 Spell Point, a 7th-level cleric can make enough gourmet food for her whole adventuring party to have a meal, and they'll be able to throw a banquet to serve an incredible number of guests if they pour plenty of Spell Points into it during downtime. That's all with only 1 minute to prepare, making them a wonderful host for any occasion!

Meanwhile, the Fate domain has an advanced power that might come in handy in a clutch. But I'll ask you before we dive in—are you feeling lucky?

Tempt Fate (divination, Fortune) Power 2

Casting [[F]] Somatic free action; Trigger You or an ally within range attempts a saving throw.
Range 120 feet; Target you or a willing ally in range

If the triggering saving throw's result is a success, it counts as a critical success. If it's a failure, it counts as a critical failure, and the critical failure can't be reduced by abilities that usually reduce critical failure, such as improved evasion. If the triggering ability did not have both a critical success and critical failure condition, tempt fate fails and your Spell Point is refunded.

With tempt fate, you take your fate into your own hands, promising either total vindication from your saving throw or total disaster! This was a favorite of Jason's cleric of Pharasma in one of our playtests, and needless to say, it's a better choice to use this for your strong saving throws than your weak ones.

But what about Shelyn? Let's close by taking a look at two of the powers from her granted domains, one for in combat and one for outside of combat:

Unity (Abjuration, Fortune) Power 2

Casting [[R]] Verbal reaction; Trigger You and one or more allies within range are targeted by a spell or ability that allows a saving throw.
Range 30 feet

You allow your allies within range to use your saving throw modifier instead of their own. Each ally decides individually which modifier to use.

Unity is really useful for a support cleric with good saving throw modifiers, and it's particularly great for those dangerous area effects that require Will saving throws like a harpy's song, since few allies will be able to match your cleric's Will modifier!

Artistic Flourish (Transmutation) Power 2

Casting 10 minutes (Material, Somatic, Verbal)
Range touch; Target one item or work of art
Duration 24 hours

You infuse the target with artisanal and artistic vision. Its quality increases to match your proficiency rank in Crafting, to a maximum of expert. The target is a beautiful and impressive piece for its new quality, but the effect is obviously temporary, so it can't be sold for more than normal. This doesn't allow you to use the target to Craft a magic item that requires the new quality or perform any other task requiring a permanent item of that quality.

Heightened (4th) If you spend 1 additional Spell Point, the maximum quality increases to master.
Heightened (8th) If you spend 2 additional Spell Points, the maximum quality increases to legendary.

Not only is artistic flourish a great way to express your character's inner artisan, but it can also be of great use in a pinch when you could really use a very specific tool or item of high quality. Legendary-quality items aren't cheap, after all! This is also a great example of one way that using Spell Points allows us to play around a bit more and make the spell more interesting by varying costs. You saw this a bit earlier with enhance victuals, but here it's more than just the ability to save extra castings for a large batch. These sorts of flourishes are possible to word under a "uses per day" system, but it's awkward, and they're straightforward to create and easy to understand with a Spell Point pool.

So who's your favorite deity? What sorts of new domains can you imagine with this new system? Let me know in the comments below!

Mark Seifter
Designer

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4 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, look! Something to read.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

You had me at Pharasma.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Holy moly!


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Oh, look! A free action.
I like those almost as much as I like reading.


Going back to a question I had in the Cleric blog.
Can the spells gained from a domain come from outside the divine spell list.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Very cool domain powers/spells.

Especially excited to see that non-combat powers/spells are getting some play. Lends itself to a much less combat-centered kind of campaign, which I really like!

Silver Crusade

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Thanks for making Shelyn your first example here.

It’s a perfect expression of her beauty. Now... if I were Lyric the Singing Cleric and not Lyric the Singing Paladin, are you saying that I would be able to Color Spray? Will that spell still be able to stun people with rainbows at higher level? (Sort of like how Heaven’s Oracles do it in PFS 1?)

I am also hoping for a MUSIC domain. Both Unity and Artistic Flourish are exciting domain powers for me.

Hmm

Liberty's Edge

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Clerics of Sarenrae = unlimited fireballs? Who needs wizards.....

Paizo Employee Designer

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Imps wrote:

Going back to a question I had in the Cleric blog.

Can the spells gained from a domain come from outside the divine spell list.

Those spells are domain powers, which necessarily aren't on the divine spell list nor any other spell list. They're gained from domains.


Aha! So, looks like some deities might still allow versatile channeling, or its equivalent - or at least a choice. Good to know.

And Squee! Unlimited casting of your deity's "signature" spells?! Have I understood that right?

EDIT: apparently not. I clearly haven't put enough proficiencies into speed-reading. But at least it looks like clerics get at least one more skill!

Really looking forward to playtesting all this!

Incidentally, my 2 favourite deities are Abadar and Ragathiel, if you're willing to share any more info about them?

Gunny wrote:
Clerics of Sarenrae = unlimited fireballs? Who needs wizards.....

Hey now - your shoes won't shine themselves, will they?


Thank you for posting this on my lunch break!


11 people marked this as a favorite.

Clear proof of flagrant pro-cleric bias!


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"Ummm. Please tell me that my Goddess still loves my singing, and not just boring building stuff?"

Silver Crusade

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Ser Guii de Facien wrote:
"Ummm. Please tell me that my Goddess still loves my singing, and not just boring building stuff?"

“I also plan to keep singing!” Lyric smlles down at her goblin friend. “Maybe we can sing together!’

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mildly disappointed that there's no Time domain, but otherwise I'm super excited for everything else from this. I really like the idea of the clerics not just being "one step away", but only from a certain set of alignments that fits with the deities.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While I really like this new system, it does mean that the wealth of deities that are already published aren't going to work in PF2. It won't be too hard to come up with bonus spells or signature skills for a home game, but we're going to be without any "official" mechanics. PFS players are probably going to have a rough time.


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Very interesting. I have some mixed feelings about the loss of domain spell slots. On the one hand, it's great that you can now fill up with as many of your deity's spells as you want, and that's awesome. On the other it was nice to have a special slot set aside for spells that were either useful but not interesting or vice versa. Though it looks like domain powers can be a repository for such things now. Tempt fate sounds like something I'd love. People I play with are always hounding me for being reckless :P

Nethys has always been my favorite, though. I can't wait to see what sorts of things he can give!


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Iammars wrote:
Mildly disappointed that there's no Time domain, but otherwise I'm super excited for everything else from this. I really like the idea of the clerics not just being "one step away", but only from a certain set of alignments that fits with the deities.

I'm sure when Brigh gets an update, we'll get a Time domain, considering that's supposed to be something increasingly under her purview.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Correct me if I'm wrong but this mean that clerics of father skinsaw will be able to be CN?

Liberty's Edge

Question - is the list of new domains in addition to existing domains? Or is this the comprehensive list?


Gunny wrote:
Clerics of Sarenrae = unlimited fireballs? Who needs wizards.....

Not unlimited. Domain spells still use spell slots, you can just prepare them in any spell slot of the correct level now.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Gunny wrote:
Question - is the list of new domains in addition to existing domains? Or is this the comprehensive list?

These, plus a bunch of the original domains (but some of these cover for some of the originals already). I initially had a list of all the domains but it was too long and looked like a giant wall of text, so I figured the new ones were more fun.


Maybe is because I don't have much experience with Clerics but I found this blog entry quite confusing and difficult to understand, I'll wait to read the playtest document and hope is more clear.


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Why are you listing pints of water and pounds of food? You really need to either use bulk or pounds (or kg), going between them willy nilly will just make a great confused mess of things.

I've been pretty vocal about my issues with bulk, but being inconsistent is an even worse decision.

Also what is power 1 power 2, is that level based like item 1 item 3?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Fascinating.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So Wait, just to make sure I am not confused. Are those spells listed at the end of the cleric description, are those the spells that function at will, without taking up slots or spell points? Or are those just spells they can add to their list of prepared spells?


Thebazilly wrote:
Gunny wrote:
Clerics of Sarenrae = unlimited fireballs? Who needs wizards.....
Not unlimited. Domain spells still use spell slots, you can just prepare them in any spell slot of the correct level now.

Given that they are domain powers wouldn't they cost spell points instead of spell slots


Quote:
Or, you could create a new deity of balance through opposing extremes who accepts only neutral, lawful good, chaotic good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil clerics.

Also Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral, but otherwise, hi. 8D

Paizo Employee Designer

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MMCJawa wrote:
So Wait, just to make sure I am not confused. Are those spells listed at the end of the cleric description, are those the spells that function at will, without taking up slots or spell points? Or are those just spells they can add to their list of prepared spells?

Those deity spells are added to the list of spells you can prepare, and you can prepare them just like any other spell.

Liberty's Edge

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Can free actions be used when it isn't your turn by default in PF2? If not, temp fate is very narrow.

Liberty's Edge

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Oh my goodness, as a big fan of divine classes, this blog is everything I wanted out of deities.

I'm really happy that approved alignments are dependant on the deity's preferences or aspects - this can add some real nuance to their design.


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Imps wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
Gunny wrote:
Clerics of Sarenrae = unlimited fireballs? Who needs wizards.....
Not unlimited. Domain spells still use spell slots, you can just prepare them in any spell slot of the correct level now.
Given that they are domain powers wouldn't they cost spell points instead of spell slots

No, domain powers are gained from picking a gods domain at the start or through a class feat, fireball is a spell added to your spell list by following sarenrae.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

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-How long can you go without eating the feast before it vanishes?
-Not thrilled that players can now spam color spray all day long, unless the spell is revised quite a bit in pf2.

As with all the changes, i'll give it a shot and see how it plays out.


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Interesting domain powers - but, if it costs a feat with Expanded Domain to get an extra 1st-level domain power, and a second feat with Advanced Domain to get the 2nd-level power, are these really strong enough?

I mean, I love tasty food, but even so, it seems almost impossible to justify spending a feat on it! Especially with the additional cost of the spell points it requires. Gives a new meaning to "flavor" ability at least...

And then Artistic Flourish - spend two feats and two spell points and 10 minutes to make an item slightly better? Honestly, how many times in an entire campaign do you foresee that ability being used? Or Tempt Fate - spend two feats and two spell points, and if you fail then you just spent those resources to actively make things worse!

When I first read that clerics could take an extra domain with a feat, I thought that sounded cool! Since each deity has only a small number of domains, I feel like the domain abilities could be slightly more powerful than regular feats. Instead, these previewed ones at least don't seem very compelling (dare I use the word "trap")?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Imps wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
Gunny wrote:
Clerics of Sarenrae = unlimited fireballs? Who needs wizards.....
Not unlimited. Domain spells still use spell slots, you can just prepare them in any spell slot of the correct level now.
Given that they are domain powers wouldn't they cost spell points instead of spell slots

The domain powers are domain powers. The deity spells are not domain powers.

You may have been confused to my answer to your question of "Can the spells gained from a domain come from outside the divine spell list." if you meant the spells gained from your deity, as you asked about the spells gained from a domain.


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I have many questions about Anathema. Is there going to be another blog about this (perhaps one related to Paladins...?)

Does a Cleric pick one Anathema to follow or do they follow all of the ones listed for a god?

What happens mechanically if a Cleric violates an Anathema? Does she fall instantly? Is there any sort of "3 strikes" system? Does the Cleric just need Atonement cast on her?

Who decides whether the Cleric has violated an Anathema? One of the listed Anathema for Shelyn is "strike first." There is a lot of room for interpretation there. How many long-winded forum arguments is this going to cause?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Deities only have four domains, that is disappointing.

No healing, life, love, etc. domain that is also disappointing.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Stack wrote:
Can free actions be used when it isn't your turn by default in PF2? If not, temp fate is very narrow.

Can be used off-turn.


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Hmm. Looks interesting. A few things seem a little loose, though.

"Heightened (4th) If you spend 1 additional Spell Point, the maximum quality increases to master." I'm not sure I get this. Does it mean the cleric needs to spend 1 more spell point and be able to cast 4th level spells?

" The feast vanishes if not consumed." If not consumed within some limit of time, presumably? There should be some indication of duration. Also, I would think it just reverts to its original state, rather than vanishing. It wasn't conjured or anything.


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I'm liking the look of this. I'm glad there are only a few anathema per deity, and not some crazy long list.... I like the concept of anathema, I just don't want it to be tedious and overbearing like the old paladin code. :)

I can see your point about some of the spells formerly granted by domains not necessarily always fitting with all of the deities that grant those domains... so now domains just have a few powers associated to them, and it's the choice of deity that grants the extra spells you can prepare. I know some people won't like that, but I think it's fine. Would still be nice if they were spontaneous cast instead of prepared, though. ;)

I like a lot of the domain abilities. Would be nice if the feast one at least provided some kind of morale bonus at higher levels like the old Heroes' Feast, but at least it's still flavorful and serves the role of Create Food And Water if nothing else. :)

I'm glad some deities can still grant a choice of either positive or negative channeling. The layout of the deity summary bar seems fine to me, and includes the necessary information you'd need to know at a glance.

Overall, good blog :)


I’m a bit confused. In the Domains section, you mention that because Domains are now a set of 2 Domain Spells, that you were able to add more of them into the playtest.

However you only listed 4 Domains in the example for Shelyn earlier.

Will Dieties in the playtest will actually have more than 5 Domains like they did in PF1? And that the listed Domains next to Shelyn were just a sample?

Or does each diety only have 4 domains, but now there is less Domain overlap between the Dieties?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Dragon78 wrote:
No healing, life, love, etc. domain that is also disappointing.

The blog doesn't say any of these things (at least a bit of it is accurate anyway, but still).


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Trimalchio wrote:

Why are you listing pints of water and pounds of food? You really need to either use bulk or pounds (or kg), going between them willy nilly will just make a great confused mess of things.

I've been pretty vocal about my issues with bulk, but being inconsistent is an even worse decision.

Also what is power 1 power 2, is that level based like item 1 item 3?

I didn't notice the mention of actual weight measures. This might mean Bulk is just gonna be for gear-based encumbrance and things will have actual weights too. Personally, I think that's the best approach. Bulk works well for making sure people carry a reasonable amount of gear, but doesn't work that well for much outside of that. Applying it universally either requires more handwaving than weight does, or a more complex set of rules to deal with all the places where bulk starts to fall apart.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Enhance Victuals wrote:
The transformation also attempts to counteract toxins in the food or water.

Is "attempting to counteract toxins" a reference to a defined mechanic, or just filler while you're still working on the mechanics of the spell?


So, you never said what happens to Clerics (or Paladins) who break Anathema...

Shadow Lodge

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Powers are spells that can't be used in spell slots, and Spells are spells that can't be used with spell points?

Paizo Employee Designer

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DrSwordopolis wrote:
Enhance Victuals wrote:
The transformation also attempts to counteract toxins in the food or water.
Is "attempting to counteract toxins" a reference to a defined mechanic, or just filler while you're still working on the mechanics of the spell?

It is a defined mechanic.


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RumpinRufus wrote:

Interesting domain powers - but, if it costs a feat with Expanded Domain to get an extra 1st-level domain power, and a second feat with Advanced Domain to get the 2nd-level power, are these really strong enough?

I mean, I love tasty food, but even so, it seems almost impossible to justify spending a feat on it! Especially with the additional cost of the spell points it requires. Gives a new meaning to "flavor" ability at least...

And then Artistic Flourish - spend two feats and two spell points and 10 minutes to make an item slightly better? Honestly, how many times in an entire campaign do you foresee that ability being used? Or Tempt Fate - spend two feats and two spell points, and if you fail then you just spent those resources to actively make things worse!

When I first read that clerics could take an extra domain with a feat, I thought that sounded cool! Since each deity has only a small number of domains, I feel like the domain abilities could be slightly more powerful than regular feats. Instead, these previewed ones at least don't seem very compelling (dare I use the word "trap")?

The enhance food/drink one serves as purify food/drink and counteracts poisons, which is a fairly narrow ability, I agree, but it's not JUST flavour being served up.

Artistic flourish is a fairly useful ability though, considering the new spell system. While it might not help with magic weapons, 1-3 spell points to make a useful tool grant a bigger bonus for the rest of the day seems worthwhile, especially if the number of items you'd need to compare would be pricey, and it comes with a flavour aspect if you really want. It's a +1 to +3 on any check you have a viable tool for, which has its versatility and use.

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