Ye Gods!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

When we decided to set both Pathfinder and the GameMastery modules in the same unique campaign world, one of the first issues we as a staff had to tackle was the pantheon. As Pathfinder Editor-in-Chief James Jacobs regularly points out, without compelling deities, the game is much less fun—and not just for clerics. Before you can know anything about a person or culture, you have to know who's pulling the strings (or who they think is pulling them, anyway). Judging by the response to our "What do you want to know about Pathfinder?" thread on the messageboards, most of you feel the same way.

Since gods are so central to a campaign setting, everyone on the design staff (and a fair number of people who technically aren't) had an opinion. Many were the long Friday afternoon meetings spent hotly debating whether the goddess of love is necessarily good, or whether she should be given the Trickery domain. Whether the gods created the people, or the people, through their belief, created the gods. Whether druids needed a god, and if so, whether or not clerics could worship it. How to make a home-and-harvest god cool enough that people would actually want to play a cleric of one. In the end, however, the chaff was blown away, and our exhausted team found itself staring at a list of twenty core gods, with the provision that the door would be left open for numerous lesser deities as things evolved. And while most of the names and many of the concepts were admittedly swiped wholesale from the exhaustively documented (we're talking hundreds of pages) pantheon of Jacobs' homebrew game world, the resulting list bears each of our marks.

While the full pantheon will be presented in detail in the Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide, which will be available for purchase and free online download this summer, we wanted to preview part of it here on our blog first. Presented below is a brief snippet on the six gods worshipped most frequently in Sandpoint, the location of the first Rise of the Runelords adventure.

Holy symbol

Erastil, Old Deadeye
LG god of farming, hunting, trade, and family
Domains: Animal, Good, Law, Plant
Favored Weapon: longbow

Sarenrae, the Dawnflower
NG goddess of the sun, redemption, honesty, and healing
Domains: Fire, Good, Healing, Sun
Favored Weapon: scimitar

Shelyn, the Eternal Rose
NG goddess of beauty, art, love, and music
Domains: Air, Good, Luck, Protection
Favored Weapon: glaive

Desna, Song of the Spheres
CG goddess of dreams, stars, travelers, and luck
Domains: Chaos, Good, Luck, Travel
Favored Weapon: starknife

Abadar, Master of the First Vault
LN god of cities, wealth, merchants, and law
Domains: Earth, Law, Protection, Travel
Favored Weapon: crossbow

Gozreh, the Wind and the Waves
N god of nature, weather, and the sea
Domains: Air, Animal, Plant, Water
Favored Weapon: trident

Of course, any good pantheon requires far more than a list of domains, and each one of these deities has his, her, or its own quirks and backstory that will be explored in lavish detail in Pathfinder's supplementary material... but more on that later. Stay tuned for further god-related updates in the coming weeks, and as always, we'd love to hear your questions and comments on our messageboards.

James Sutter
Assistant Editor, Pathfinder

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Tags: Gods and Magic
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