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Divine Spells, and being Godless.


Advice


Divine spells confuse me when it comes to characters without gods.
Druids: From nature
Rangers: Typically from their tie to nature, yet what of an Urban Ranger?
Cleric: a godless cleric? how?
Paladin: Can devote to an ideal, so where do spells come from?
Oracle: no idea.
Inquisitor: Same as Paladin.

SO how DO divine spells work without devotion to a god?
Say, an Inquisitor is a freelance investigator, monster hunter, or mercenary, but isn't tied to any god or religious institution.

Thanks everyone!


It's a question of choosing a focus for the divine-mortal agent interaction.

Worship can be described as channeling spiritual power... and some occupations, activities, methods, and ends can lead to a pitch of energies that grant divine power to their pursuers, without involving a conscious dedication to any particular deity.

An investigator may not worship the god/dess of knowledge... but the duties of one are oddly-similar to the duties of that priesthood, in terms of collecting and preserving knowledge.

A monster-hunter's pursuit of lore is as passionate as many a priest's.

A mercenary needs knowledge of factions and forces across their world, as well as tactics and employers...

All three could justify taking the Knowledge domain, because their common, daily practice is like a ritual devotion, or a prayer, in its focus and regularity. Their devotion to pursuing knowledge is what provides the link to the divine which grants their divine powers.

And, like being a priest, as long as they continue to uphold the ideals appropriate to their domain selections, they maintain their grasp on divine spells, etc. Like a priest, if they violate the ideas which they follow, the broken "faith" ceases to empower said person...


Druids: I've never seen them as getting their magic from nature. Rather, I've always understood them to get their magic by pushing themselves into a perfect harmony with the natural world. This harmony grants such a deep understanding of the flow of the wilds that they can manipulate it with ancient magics. Hence why they lose their spells/abilities if they stop revering nature.

Rangers: Similar to druids, except instead of revering nature they simply focus on understanding it. Urban druids would be the same, seeing a city as complex organism.

Cleric: By the books clerics can be devoted to a single ideal, creating powerful belief-based magic from that. I don't personally agree with this, but it works core.

Paladin: They're fueled by an outstanding devotion to law and goodness. They resonate this concept, drawing magic from their bold personality. (Charisma based magic).

Oracle: Easy. Oracles are intrinsically linked to a cosmic concept. The iconic Pathfinder Oracle isn't just godless: she's a pissed off and devoted atheist.

Inquisitor: Same as clerics.

Shadow Lodge

Gods are not the only source of divine power.


It depends on the setting. In Golarian, all clerics must follow a god. All oracles are, in theory, chosen by a god, although the oracle may not be certain exactly who chose hir, and may not choose to worship this deity in return. All paladins and inquisitors must follow a god. Druids and rangers don't have to follow a god, but instead tap into the divine power of the natural world to cast spells, whether or not they do so by invoking a specific nature god.

GMs may have different rules in a different setting, or alter the basic Golarian setting to allow non-deity-specific clerics.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
All oracles are, in theory, chosen by a god, although the oracle may not be certain exactly who chose hir, and may not choose to worship this deity in return.

I think it's important to note that while the Oracle is the spiritual successor to 3.5's Favored Soul, it is not a Favored Soul. Oracles are connected to a divine concept, not any particular deity. The Oracle is of course connected to those deities that hold domain over the concept, but it's still a significant distinction. By the books, Oracles appear to be given more freedom than any other divine class. They can oppose or actively rebel against any/all deities and even their own divine concept while never suffering any mechanical consequences.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kat Tenser wrote:

Divine spells confuse me when it comes to characters without gods.

It's terminal confusion to me as well, so all non nature divine casters are required in my campaign to be bound to a diety if a cleric, paladin, or priest or the like.

Osirion

Kat Tenser wrote:

Divine spells confuse me when it comes to characters without gods.

Druids: From nature
Rangers: Typically from their tie to nature, yet what of an Urban Ranger?
Cleric: a godless cleric? how?
Paladin: Can devote to an ideal, so where do spells come from?
Oracle: no idea.
Inquisitor: Same as Paladin.

SO how DO divine spells work without devotion to a god?

Divine and arcane are just power sources. Since before there was even such a distinction, in 1st edition, you could play a Druid or Ranger without worshipping (or even acknowledging) one or more gods, and 1st and 2nd level cleric spells were said to be granted by the strength of the casters own will (similar to magic-user spells), and didn't require any external extraplanar contact or assistance at all.

It wasn't until the Forgotten Realms made it explicit that, in their setting, all divine spellcasters had to worship a specific single god, technically forbidding pantheism, ancestor worship, etc. (despite having embraced that sort of thing in earlier editions, such as the original Moonshae Isles book). Other settings have ignored that (such as Dark Sun, where one could gain divine spellcasting ability from Dragon Kings, or revering primal elements, or Eberron, where it was unclear if any of the gods even existed).

Divine spells don't have to 'come from somewhere' anymore than arcane spells have to 'come from somewhere.' Even if they do 'come from somewhere,' that somewhere might not be a god, it might be a concept or philosophy (not in Golarion, but legal under PF core rules), it might be 'nature,' it might be the element of fire (and not any specific god or goddess of fire, just 'fire'), etc.

The whole 'clerics must have a god' thing is a relatively recent invention, and hardly central to the D&D experience. Applying it to all other divine spellcasters, including Adepts, Rangers, Druids, etc. is an exclusively Forgotten Realms trope, like an Overgod or a 'Weave' of magic.


Instead of looking at it by class look at it by the religion. Some religions worship a single god, while others worship a pantheon, some worship concepts.

Christianity, Jewish and Muslim religions are real word examples of a single deity religion. Shinto, Hinduism and Spiritualism are more pantheistic. While Buddhism focus on enlightenment so would be more of a concept.

Game wise it depends on the setting. Most games are usually based on more western religions so most clerics will worship a single deity. Paladins would tend to be more pantheistic drawing on the powers of a group of allied deities. This also fits well to the paladins code where he is more concerned with the alignment instead of the rules of a specific god, but some will serve a deity directly. Druids are going to be more pantheistic and probably going the spiritualist route as will rangers. Oracles serve a concept straight out of the book. Inquisitors will most likely be similar to clerics serving a deity directly. In a more eastern setting most divine casters will be pantheistic or conceptual on nature.

Taldor

LazarX wrote:
Kat Tenser wrote:

Divine spells confuse me when it comes to characters without gods.

It's terminal confusion to me as well, so all non nature divine casters are required in my campaign to be bound to a diety if a cleric, paladin, or priest or the like.

In my campaign setting, there are no gods. Clerics tap into a vast source of divine energy with the power of their faith. Their faith being whatever they want it to be. Of course, most people still make up gods and churches, but gods don't exist. All you need is faith and conviction.


Whether the Gods actually do or do not exist, isn't all that relevant anyway.


I seem to remember 2nd e. priests/clerics getting spells from gods.
In any case, what it seems people are saying is that divine spells can come from belief/faith in an ideal, philosophy, a god, or even oneself?


Kat Tenser wrote:

I seem to remember 2nd e. priests/clerics getting spells from gods.

In any case, what it seems people are saying is that divine spells can come from belief/faith in an ideal, philosophy, a god, or even oneself?
PRD Cleric description wrote:
As their powers are influenced by their faith, all clerics must focus their worship upon a divine source. While the vast majority of clerics revere a specific deity, a small number dedicate themselves to a divine concept worthy of devotion—such as battle, death, justice, or knowledge—free of a deific abstraction. (Work with your GM if you prefer this path to selecting a specific deity.)

{EDIT: Though, I have seen it used for some excellent roleplay, more often, in my experience, it has been used because the player wants domain selections not offered with setting's established pantheon.}

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hama wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Kat Tenser wrote:

Divine spells confuse me when it comes to characters without gods.

It's terminal confusion to me as well, so all non nature divine casters are required in my campaign to be bound to a diety if a cleric, paladin, or priest or the like.
In my campaign setting, there are no gods. Clerics tap into a vast source of divine energy with the power of their faith. Their faith being whatever they want it to be. Of course, most people still make up gods and churches, but gods don't exist. All you need is faith and conviction.

You want to run clerics as a type of armored wizard that's your lookout. Too me, that approach homogenizes the class a bit too much for my taste.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
All oracles are, in theory, chosen by a god, although the oracle may not be certain exactly who chose hir, and may not choose to worship this deity in return.
I think it's important to note that while the Oracle is the spiritual successor to 3.5's Favored Soul, it is not a Favored Soul. Oracles are connected to a divine concept, not any particular deity. The Oracle is of course connected to those deities that hold domain over the concept, but it's still a significant distinction. By the books, Oracles appear to be given more freedom than any other divine class. They can oppose or actively rebel against any/all deities and even their own divine concept while never suffering any mechanical consequences.

I think you're both trying to say the same thing here. Regardless, you're both right:

Advanced Player's Guide wrote:
Although the gods work through many agents, perhaps none is more mysterious than the oracle. These divine vessels are granted power without their choice, selected by providence to wield powers that even they do not fully understand. Unlike a cleric, who draws her magic through devotion to a deity, oracles garner strength and power from many sources, namely those patron deities who support their ideals. Instead of worshiping a single source, oracles tend to venerate all of the gods that share their beliefs. While some see the powers of the oracle as a gift, others view them as a curse, changing the life of the chosen in unforeseen ways.

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