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Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Purity (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 12 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Purity (PFRPG)
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True heroes know that evil is not an abstraction, nor a concept to be debated. Rather, it is a relentless adversary, a dark tide that seeks always to roll over the world, turning the hearts of gentle souls with its claws and whispers. Against this onslaught stand a proud and pious few: those priests and soldiers who dedicate themselves in body and soul to the forces of light, ready to lay down their lives in defense of the innocent. Aided by the powers of their gods, these stalwart champions use sword and spell, faith and ferocity to protect all that they hold dear. For they know that if they do not—who will?

Faiths of Purity presents a player-friendly overview of the good-aligned religions of the Pathfinder campaign setting, along with new rules and information to help players customize pious characters in both flavor and mechanics.

    Inside this book, you'll find:
  • Information on each of the major good-aligned gods and his or her corresponding religion, including what's expected of adventurers of various classes, ways for the faithful to identify each other, taboos, devotions and ceremonies, church hierarchies, holy texts, religious holidays, and more
  • New traits to help represent and cement a character's background in the church
  • New feats and combat tricks for all holy warriors
  • New god-specific spells for a wide variety of spellcasting classes
  • Paladin codes for sacred warriors of each major god, as well as new organizations and knightly orders
  • Details on good-aligned minor deities, racial gods, empyreal lords, and more!
    Faiths of Purity includes key information on:
  • Cayden Cailean, god of freedom, ale, wine and bravery
  • Desna, goddess of dreams, stars, travelers and luck
  • Erastil, god of farming, hunting, trade and family
  • Iomedae, goddess of valor, rulership, justice and honor
  • Sarenrae, goddess of the sun, redemption, honesty and healing
  • Shelyn, goddess of beauty, art, love and music
  • Torag, god of the forge, protection and strategy

Written by Colin McComb

Each bimonthly 32-page Pathfinder Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for social, magic, religious, and combat-focused characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-314-9

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Product Reviews (12)
1 to 5 of 12 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 12 ratings)

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Excellent Introduction to the "Good" Gods of Golarion

*****

Faiths of Purity is a well-conceived entry in the Pathfinder Player Companion line, with a stated premise to showcase the "good" gods to adventurers and laypeople of all stripes, not just clerics and paladins. I really like the idea, as religion can and should be part of a campaign setting that affects far more than just a couple of PC classes. Starting off with what you have to admit is a pretty awesome cover (repeated as the inside back cover), the inside front cover summarizes (including portfolios, alignment, domains, favored weapons, centers of worship, and nationality) the seven good-aligned "core" faiths in the Pathfinder setting: Desna, Iomedae, Shelyn, Cayden Cailean, Erastil, Sarenrae, and Torag.

After a brief introduction that summarizes the theme well, the bulk of the bulk is devoted to two-page entries on each of these seven faiths. Each entry is divided into a one-paragraph summary of the god and then one to two paragraph long sections titled "Adventurers" (what adventurers who worship the god tend to be like), "Classes" (how different classes do or do not tend to fit in with the faith), "Goals" (what a worshipper of the god wants), "Identifiers" (clothing, symbols, or other markers commonly associated with the faith), "Devotion" (how lay worshippers act and demonstrate their allegiance), "Other Faiths" (how worshippers see and are seen by those of other faiths), "Taboos" (what worshippers *won't* do); "Traits" (two different Religion traits, most of which are bland and unimpressive), and finally, "The Church" (the longest section, with an overview of holy sites, church rules, holy texts, symbols, etc.).

The important thing to remember about these entries is that they explain things from the view of what everyday worshippers (and most PCs) would know. These entries are not "high-level" church theory or geopolitical roles, but are instead insights into how worshippers behave and see the world. They're thus perfect for players wanting to run a worshipper of one of these gods, and far more useful than material in most other books or on a Wiki. I'd strongly suggest passing this book around during character creation if someone is interested in the "good" gods of Golarion. Before moving on, I should also call out the artwork, which is really good!

The next section of the book is "Minor Deities" (4 pages). This is a bit of a hodgepodge section, with "lesser gods of goodness" like Apsu the Waybringer, Kurgess the Strong Man, and Milani the Everbloom receiving a few paragraphs of description and one trait each. Next, there are a few paragraphs (and a trait) devoted to each of the racial pantheons: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, and Halfling. These sections were odd, in that it's not just the good deities from each of these pantheons that are covered (thus confusing the theme of the book), and there's far too little space to do each pantheon justice. The traits for gnomes and halflings aren't bad though. Last, there's just over a page on the Empyreal Lords (sort of demigods), with about a paragraph each on Andoletta, Ragathiel, Arshea, Korada, Valani, and Sinashakti. There's a single "catch-all" trait for worshippers of any Empyreal Lord. Again, there's just not enough room to make the coverage of these faiths satisfactory, and I wonder if it would have been better to save it for a separate book later on.

"Organizations" (2 pages) provides an introduction to organized groups that are outside of a faith's official clergy. Coverage includes the Banner of the Stag (Erastil), Deepdelvers (Torag), Glory of the Risen Rose (Shelyn), The Halo of Blades (Sarenrae), Knights of Ozem (Iomedae), Starstone Brewers (Cayden Cailean), and The Whispered Song (Desna). Two of the organizations really stuck out to me as fantastic. First, the Glory of the Risen Rose is all about spreading beauty and artwork, and one can imagine so many original adventures that could stem from it. Second, the Starstone Brewers are all about helping the orphans that are inevitably left near battlefields, the sites of natural disasters, etc. Entire campaigns could be themed around either of these two organizations, and offer something very different to the norm.

"Combat: Righteous Warfare" (2 pages) introduces one or two new feats for each of the major faiths covered in the book. I have to commend the writers for coming up with feats that are tied, flavour-wise to the corresponding faith. Substance-wise, the feats are hit or miss, with some potentially really useful (Desna's Butterfly's Sting or Erastil's Bullseye Shot, for example) and others so underwhelming as to be forgettable (Torag's Stone Read and Undermining Exploit). There is a drawing of a classic "bikini armor" woman on page 26 that is regrettable.

I really liked "Faith: Paladin Codes" (2 pages), which offers customized Paladin codes for several faiths that supplement what's in the Core Rulebook. These new codes really help to distinguish Paladins from one another, and are well-tailored to emphasize the particular themes of different deities. Erastil's code contains several elements relating to community and tradition, for example, while Shelyn's code incorporates concepts of beauty and love.

"Magic: Spells of the Faithful" (2 pages) introduces at least one new divine spell for worshippers of each of the major faiths in the book. Overall, I found them flavourful but rather weak in a mechanical sense. They're also all very low-level spells, an area in which clerics, paladins, and druids aren't exactly hurting for choices.

Finally, there's "Social: Religious Holidays" (2 pages). This is the sort of thing that's really important for adding depth to a campaign setting, even if most players will overlook it (because the odds of a day "in game" falling on one of these holidays is slim).

Overall, this book is exactly what a Player Companion should be. It provides a clear, readable, and interesting introduction to an important element of the campaign setting, it gives useful advice on how to portray and interact with that element, and it introduces some "crunch" options that aren't unbalancing. Apart from the "too fast to be good" problem in relation to racial pantheons and Empyreal Lords, Faiths of Purity is a winner.


A source of ideas not rules

*****

I found this player companion rather inspiring, in that it help me think about how faith in a campaign setting can guide player character behavior. I enjoyed the art, and the way the prose was written. I really did not need more charts and tables.


*****

I have reviewed this book over on RPGGeek.com.


5 stars to each page

*****

If I could give 5 stars to each page of this book I would. Paizo did good in choosing the illustrious Colin McComb as author. Colin not only wrote some of my favorite Planescape books (Including the fabled rarity - Hellbound: the Blood War), he wrote my favorite rpg book of all time, The Complete Book of Elves.

Colin did not dissatisfy as this book is amazing to read, useful for players and DMS, and beautiful. It is the first piece of a 3 book series I am guaranteed to value in my collection for years to come.

I enjoyed reading the flavor for each faith, giving me the inspiration to run clerics the way they are meant to be, as members of a greater organization. It also gave me the ability to incorporate faith into my non-clergy characters. The idea of a barbarian saluting Cayden Cailean with a drink before a battle with slavers was totally inspired by this tome.

The concept of a greater body behind each cleric is not lost on me; I am inspired by this book to add this kind of flavor every time faith is represented in my games. This book breaks it down by perspective of adventurers, classes, goals, identifiers, devotion, other faiths, taboos, traits and the church itself. I can look in this book (and the other 2 that are yet to come) when creating clerics, deities, and churches.

I haven't even scraped the surface of what this little 31 page book gives as there are minor deities including nonhuman racial deities, and Empyreal Lords (Which I have been looking for content on), more organizations (because I never want paizo to stop giving us factions), and religious holidays (the calendar plays a huge part in my game, I really needed this).

This books isn't all flavor as it gives combat feats, traits (under each faith), and spells. I bought this book for the flavor and yet I still got some crunch I can apply to my religious characters. The feats aren't exclusive to faiths so we there are a few options for everyone.

Buy this book if you are interested in role playing your characters with more depth, running your campaigns with more religion, and interested in learning more about Golarion. I truly enjoy this book and consider it one of the most valuable that I have; it truly speaks to how I play and gm.


Great resource!

****( )

Bottom line - I love this book. It's a great idea for a product line and players and GMs both can benefit from the expanded information.

Check out my full review here.


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