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The Gods of Porphyra (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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In April of this year, Purple Duck Games launched a search for writers to contribute to an open pantheon. This tome is the result of the hard work of over a dozen writers who stepped up to help us create a twenty-seven god pantheon that can be used as open game content in our products and the products of any other publisher that wishes to use them without restriction.

This tome features:

  • Two new domains Art and Time including their four subdomains.
  • Twenty-seven new deities for use in your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign (three keyed to each of the nine alignments).
  • Two religion traits for each of the twenty-seven deities.
  • Updates of the mâlites as a simple template and full stats of the mâlite custodian.
  • 3PP spells to round out the two new domains
  • Preliminary information on the Patchwork World of Porphyra.

Authors: Christopher Kaiser, Mark Gedak, Perry Fehr, August Hahn, John Hazen, Sean Holland, Sam Hing, James H. Lewis, Chris Longhurst, Scott Messer, Sean O’Connor, David Nicholas Ross, and Jeremy Whalen

Page Count: 45

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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(Hopefully) this is the end of generic gods - a stellar pantheon!

*****

This pdf is 45 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 40 pages of content - quite a bunch for this new pantheon, so let's check out these gods!

Porphyra, until recently, as the aptly written introduction tells us, was a world without gods - and then elves and orcs united and saw their world almost torn asunder by the arrival of gods and the integration of the respective divinity's domains. That's about the general gist on the fluff-side. Beyond that, this pdf is also the open faith project, making all these deities actually open content and thus potentially available to other 3pps - but should one rejoice and hope people take up on the offer this pdf provides? It should be noted, that each of the gods herein has 4 domains and 4 subdomains - Speaking of them: The pdf provides the new art and time domains, with the movement, sound, future and past subdomains before providing a nice two-page spread-sheet of the deities that includes all domains, favorite animals etc. - all the essential information you'd need on about two pages.

After that, we delve into the individual write-ups of the gods, which follow a similar style as in "Gods & Magic" - i.e., we start with a selection of epithets, worshipers, domains and sub-domains, favored animals and weapons and get information on the legend of the god, the church that worships him/her/it, information on the god's respective unique spell preparation ritual, a unique full-color artwork of the god's symbol and also two new religion-traits per deity.

But what about the deities? Well, they actually are rather interesting - take for example the "Voice of Corruption" Eshalqua, dark patron of business, crime and arts - yes, you read right. What at first may seem eclectic actually makes sense when reading the god's entry. Fenris Kul, as the name promises, is a god linked to the end times - born of a deific purge, the deity now seeks to craft a burning throne from the remnants of the world and its gods. In contrast to these dark ones, e.g. Ithreia stands in her 3 forms (old, young, mature) as the goddess of the sea, storms and prophecies while Forgefather Linium, the god of clockworks, blacksmiths and labor (btw. associated with spiders!) serves as a surprising twist on the type of deity. And then there is Mâl - god of the apocalypse, destroyer, chained god, destroyer of worlds and creature that seeks to transform everything into the likeness of his dread domain.

Nemyth Vaar, god of betrayal, revenge and murder also has a place in society, it seems - able to draw truth from the gibbering madness of the insane, these "holy" worshippers are predisposed to staffing asylums - or ending up as inmates. Nemyth Vaar also gets an extra page of origin fluff! Not all gods are evil, mind you: There is also a goddess of soldiers and darkness, waiting and creating opportunities for mortals to take, a god of the sun and knowledge and the oracles of the dreaming goddess Neria that seeks to serve as a benevolent guide of fate. The absolute opposite would be Rajuk Amon-Gore - a child that lived through the NewGod wars of Porphyra, the deity ascended by immorally stabbing and consuming a nascent godling fated to heal the world, signifying and propagating thus the ultimate immoral end of existence, not with a scream, but with a whimper - to paraphrase T.S.Elliot.
More suitable and enticing for players, perhaps, would then be the worship of Tulis, goddess of martyrs and defiance or of the grand lion Thoma Thule, the King of Kings and newly risen god of absolute rule and order. Ul'Ul, mad maiden and mistress of dance once was a regular goddess of rain and dance that was driven insane by captivity through one Eshalquan mage, representing a dangerous, if not malevolent form of unpredictability.

It should be noted that this review has only scratched the surface of the gods contained herein and that the pdf also contains additional content in the form of new creatures: We get the new M^lite-template that makes creatures appropriately disturbing, resin-spined and gigeresque and two sample Mâlites, one of which, the Custodian, can be seen as a walking Mâlite factory, spreading the taint of the dread divinity. Both creatures get awesome, beautiful full-color, one page artworks - Nice! 13 new spells complete the offering of this pdf, mostly dealing with the new domains and its concerns.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and comes with a nice plethora of full color artwork I wouldn't have expected from this pdf, much less at this price-point. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks.
I'll say it right away from the bat: didn't expect to like this pdf.
Porphyra, yet another fantasy world it seemed. I expected generic gods that had to stick to confining, general profiles. I was wrong.
Instead, I was positively surprised by the cool ideas (NewGod war, patchwork nature of the world etc.) I could glean of PDG's setting and the fact that the deities herein are not boring: Each and every god and goddess herein features at least one, most of the time multiple twists on the basic concepts of a god - you'll find no run-of-the-mill fire/blacksmith-god, no foe of the undead/sun god and instead get a nice array of deities with intriguing, exciting concepts, cool imagery etc. - in the end, I wanted to know more about the world, more about the deities, more about their holy books and clergy - and that is a great sign. The team of authors has managed to walk the line and create a pantheon that is both easy to use by other 3pps or DMs, while still making the individual write-ups feel unique. Seeing my lack of complaints and the top-notch level of quality this pdf provides for its low price, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars, only omitting my seal of approval because I would have loved a sample holy tome for each deity.

Endzeitgeist out.


An entire pantheon, with some associated new crunch, all Open for you

*****

The raison d’etre of the Open Game License is to allow others to reuse that which a publisher declares Open Game Content; 99% of the time, this allows for various game mechanics to be shared. But what about sharing various non-mechanical aspects of game design? In that area, most publishers are highly conservative, apparently afraid that someone will take their characters and settings and make a twisted mockery of them. Every so often, however, you’ll find an RPG book that allows for something like its settings, characters, or even deities to be Open.

The Gods of Porphyra (aka The Open Faiths Project) is one of those books.

A forty-five page book featuring twenty-seven new deities and some associated new game crunch, Gods of Porphyra’s technical presentation makes a good showing of itself. Full nested bookmarks are present for every section and subsection and copy and paste is enabled. In regards to artwork, the book appears more spartan than it actually is, lacking in page borders. However, each god has an image on the center of the page of their holy symbol, and the two new monsters in the book each have a full-page, full-color image. This strikes a very nice balance between being overloaded with graphic design and being utterly utilitarian; other PDF publishers could learn from the presentation here.

The book opens with a brief note from the publisher and some information about the Porphyra setting. Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, the Open Game nature of the setting takes the in-game stance of having the OGC materials come from other realities and dimensions. Hence how the gods here are all non-native deities that arrived to what was previously a godless world. Two new clerical domains, Art and Time, are presented, each having two new subdomains as well.

The book helpfully opens its main section on the new gods with a two-page chart, listing all of the deities and their pertinent information for at-a-glance reference. Each deity is given a single-page write-up, beginning with their “statistical” information in terms of their alignment, domains, favored weapon, etc. I do commend Purple Duck Games for remembering to give us subdomains here, though they did forget to include inquisitions (though to be fair, that’s an easy oversight to make). The majority of the one-page information presents us with the “Legend” section, which tells us of how that deity came to be, and the “Church” section, discussing how that god’s followers conduct themselves in terms of organization and activities.

Interestingly, each also has a paragraph dedicated to “Spell Preparation Ritual” which is the rite by which divine spellcasters of that god regain their spells each day. I enjoyed this section, since it’s little bits of flavor text like this that help to differentiate between clerics of various deities. There’s a mechanical flipside to this in that each deity also has two new religion traits presented, each specific to what it means to be a followers of that particular god.

I had somewhat mixed feelings about the presentation of the various deities. On the one hand, there were some story elements I disagreed with, as some of the legends about where these deities came from seemed off for how deities are usually portrayed in a game world. However, perhaps ironically, that actually makes the in-game mythological nature of these legends more “realistic” in terms of presentation – after all, to the residents of the campaign setting, there probably are no “rules” for how gods function.

Two new monsters are presented, being the creatures of a specific deity. The first is a template with an associated sample creature, while the second is a new monster unto itself. About a dozen spells, all of which are granted from the aforementioned new domains and subdomains, are the book’s final presentation. Some of these may seem familiar if you’re a wider reader of Pathfinder-compatible products, as they all seem to come from other third-party materials, though most likely the majority of them will seem new to you.

Overall, I quite liked what The Gods of Porphyra presents. Knowing the book’s Open nature gives it a feeling of utility, that the publisher is not only making these allowable for re-use, but is actively encouraging us to do so. That’s a feeling that I think should be more prevalent among OGL publishers, especially where setting-based elements of campaign worlds are concerned. Beyond that, the crunch is without any flaws that I saw, and the flavor text is good, though focusing on the Patchwork World of Porphyra more than I suspect most other publishers will want to carry over. Still, it’s good to see some deities presented under the OGL. With any luck, we’ll be seeing them again soon.


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