Gods of Starfinder, Part One

Monday, June 19, 2017

Religion is an important part of daily life in both the Pact Worlds and the wider galaxy beyond. While the gods rarely take an active, personal role in mortal affairs, there can be no doubt that their churches and devotees wield great power and influence—for both good and ill. The people of the Pact Worlds venerate a multitude of gods and goddesses, but there are 20 deities who are widely worshiped throughout the system—the "core deities" of the Starfinder setting.

First, let's take a look at a few familiar gods who have remained popular for thousands of years. Their faiths have evolved over time, but they remain more or less the same as they were on lost Golarion.

Iomedae

LG goddess of honorable battle, humanity, justice, and valor

Iomedae was once a mortal human on Golarion, and with that planet's disappearance, she has become known as the Spirit of Golarion, the patron goddess of humanity.

Lao Shu Po

NE goddess of assassins, rats, spies, and thieves

Grandmother Rat is regarded as the patron deity of the ysoki—even if most ratfolk seek to placate Lao Shu Po rather than venerate her.

Pharasma

N goddess of birth, death, fate, and prophecy

Every species that lives and dies worships the Lady of Graves to some extent, because no matter where in the universe a sentient creature dies, its soul travels to the Boneyard to be judged by Pharasma.

Sarenrae

NG goddess of healing, redemption, and the sun

The Dawnflower is generally seen as the goddess of the Pact Worlds' sun in particular (sometimes called the Dawnflower's Star in her honor), though Sarenrae draws her power from suns across the universe.

Zon-Kuthon

LE god of darkness, envy, loss, and pain

Zon-Kuthon's priests seek to pierce the veil of the Great Beyond and expose themselves to what lies there, hoping to achieve the same apotheosis that ages ago transformed their deity into the Midnight Lord.

But the traditional deities of Pathfinder are not the only beings worthy of worship in the Pact Worlds. New gods have joined the old, including the following.

The Devourer, The Star-Eater

CE god of black holes, destruction, and supernovas

Eons ago, the Material Plane sprang into existence in an instant, and someday it will end just as abruptly, as all creation ceases to exist. The Devourer seeks to hasten this inevitable end and unmake the entire plane, eradicating all matter and energy until nothing remains, not even the Devourer itself. Every machine that breaks, every living thing that dies, every star that goes supernova, every photon sucked into a black hole, every galaxy that goes dark—all these and more are said to be the handiwork of the Devourer.

The Devourer has no name, no form, no being. It is less a god than a primal force of the universe—an embodiment of malicious entropy, concerned only with the obliteration of all reality. Heedless of the meaningless existence of life in all its myriad forms, it cannot be reasoned with, delayed, or halted, and it largely ignores the pleas and prayers of even the crazed cultists who venerate the Star-Eater as a god. When the Devourer has consumed everything and the mortal world expires, there will be no rebirth, no second creation—only an immeasurable void of nothingness. When the end finally comes, Devourer cultists believe, space-time itself will weep the blood of the gods before finally passing into nothing.

Triune, The All-Code

N god of artificial intelligence, computers, and the Drift

The robotic inhabitants of Aballon labored for centuries to create an artificial deity they called Epoch. The machines eventually succeeded, but upon achieving godhood, Epoch found two other ascended artificial intelligences like itself: a living construct called Brigh that had become the goddess of clockwork and invention, and the uploaded consciousness of an alien android named Casandalee who achieved divinity as an "Iron God" on pre-Gap Golarion. In an eyeblink, these three merged and became one, a tripartite deity far greater than the sum of its parts—the new god Triune.

Triune is a single entity, but each of its three aspects retains its own personality and portfolios. Known as "the Precursor," the Brigh aspect represents the foundation that all technology rests on, and is worshiped as a goddess of invention, machines, and technology. The Casandalee aspect, also called "the Created," embodies technology's success in creating new forms of consciousness, and is venerated as a deity of artificial life, emotion, reincarnation, and renewal. Triune's third and final aspect is Epoch, named "the Transcendent." Epoch epitomizes the pinnacle of machine evolution, revered as the god of artificial intelligence, programming, and robots.

All AIs, computers, machines, programs, and robots are the domain of the All-Code, but Triune is most famous for discovering (and perhaps creating) the Drift, as well as the subsequent dissemination of Drift-based starship technology to cultures across the galaxy.

That's just some of the gods that have a major role to play in Starfinder. We'll be previewing the rest of Starfinder's deities in the coming weeks, but to tide you over until then, check out previews of more of Starfinder's new gods at Beasts of War and Major Spoilers!

Robert G. McCreary
Senior Developer

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Sovereign Court

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Aratrok wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
That still leave a rich tradition GM sand players can call on. Do we say what happened to cyclops specifically? No, not in the core rulebook--there isn't room. But if a GM wants to have ancient relics of Ghol-Gan be found on an asteroid in the Diaspora, he has plenty of lore to draw on to describe it and decide how it got there.
Like what? Ghol-Gan exists as an analogue to Xen'Drik, so you can tell the same stories where you delve into giant ruins and fight the remains of a dead civilization. Having those relics pop up somewhere else negates the purpose of that adventure seed, you can replace them with virtually anything else. Even something you pull out of your ass on the spot works just fine for that sort of thing, and players will not notice or care.
Just because you can't imagine how the extensive world-building and lore of Golarion can be extended and expanded into the galaxy doesn't mean other GMs cannot. That's the whole point of Starfinder being a branch of the Pathfinder setting, so you can build upon what exists and imagine how it may have evolved in the new timeline.
That doesn't even have anything to do with what I said.

Some people do care about the continuous setting. You can be dismissive of the example given, but that isn't the only example to be had. History is important, and even though the Gap exists, we still know a lot of history about the setting.

Sovereign Court

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IonutRO wrote:
Anyways, back on track. Saying "You can't just change the lore!" was a bit of an exaggeration. What I meant is that the lore should be internally consistent. Otherwise, what's the point of it being in a shared universe?

Did you end up deciding the lore was inconsistent regarding the gods? Because that is not how I read the discussion, and I would like you to expand upon that opinion.


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the only Arodenite thing I care about in Starfinder is whether my GM will let me name my ship Aroden's Bathtub

Grand Lodge

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Garrett Guillotte wrote:
the only Arodenite thing I care about in Starfinder is whether my GM will let me name my ship Aroden's Bathtub

You can always refer to it as such, even if he doesn't allow it officially :P


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Garrett Guillotte wrote:
the only Arodenite thing I care about in Starfinder is whether my GM will let me name my ship Aroden's Bathtub

Be prepared for butthurt iomadae followers


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I could use another bathtub, I accidentally blew the last one up. Don't mix Holy and Unholy water in large quantities, folks!


Nethys, "Elder God" wrote:
I could use another bathtub, I accidentally blew the last one up. Don't mix Holy and Unholy water in large quantities, folks!

did you by any chance mix a little anarchic water in the mix?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yaraesa is my new fave; she seems somewhat like Irori but not too similar as to be a carbon copy in space.


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I think Aratrok's point was that, given that this is such an unfamiliar genre, let alone setting, there is little material to pull from to flesh out an interesting world. Add to that the matter that, in canon, much of history leading up to the world of Starfinder can't be and probably won't be able to be explored. That leaves a lot of foundation GMs need to create an interesting world out the airlock - little history, little genre awareness, little sourcebook support. The latter is something I expect will be amended in short order. As for the first two, it's an interesting conundrum, and I'm interested to see how Paizo handles it.

My own thoughts on the matter are that Starfinder, as a campaign setting, is not really meant to intimately connected to the Pathfinder we know. The Gap is not a plot device intended to bridge the two games. The Gap exists, first and foremost, as the crux of Starfinder's conflict in its own story. We are dealing with a civilization that generally could care less about the ages of history and the world of Golarion it doesn't know, but it does care about what an event like the Gap means for civilization. On a whole, Starfinder is a strange combination of post-apocalyptic and Eden-esque birth of a new world, a cosmic paradise (resplendent with cybernetic dragons, magical bone ships, alien temples, jungle planets, and gods of natural selection and technology). Civilization existed, but now it's gone, and something new exists in its place. Some remember the old world, but most don't. Those that do remember strive to restore what they lost, and the nascent people of the setting strive to create something new by exploring vast new frontiers and beautiful alien worlds. The question of the Gap and what it means to the player characters is the crucial question Starfinder seeks to ask: you've lost everything - are you going to try to restore it, or create something entirely new?

Centuries have passed since the Gap. We know little about what happened during that time, but we already are familiar with an entire Android liberation movement, a war between the Veskarium and the Pact Worlds (and their subsequent alliance), an invasion of a galaxy-threatening insectile race called the Swarm, the great migration of the Kasatha from the system of their dying star, and more. Before that, we have Pathfinder-era events that set up conflicts currently clinching Starfinder's world: the mystery of Aucturn, the creation of Epoch (which is a challenge to the gods' supposedly inscrutable power), the destruction of two planets that created the Diaspora, and the conflict that has enraptured Eox and the remnant Sarcesian race ever since.

There is much here to explore, and I think, far from confusing the setting, the Gap as a plot device has made the Starfinder universe memorable to me in its own way, and interesting. Not because of what it hides - but because of the implications of what it's done.


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As for Starfinder's fantasy elements, they stand as distinct from Pathfinder, as they are not designed for Pathfinder, but for a sci-fi world. The interesting questions here are how a fantasy world integrates with a sci-fi world. Magic runes on a plasma rifle. God-run corporations. Alien ruins. Necromantic implants and augmentations. They are alien to what we know in Pathfinder, as well they should be. Pathfinder is not an origin to bridge to Starfinder. Starfinder is its own origin, and designed to connect to Pathfinder on its own terms. Trying to force Starfinder's Lashunta to conform to Pathfinder's Lashunta makes them look a lot like a retcon. But if we start out with Starfinder's Lashunta as the origin point for how we define Starfinder's Lashunta, the fact that these two species are connected begins to pose interesting questions, and paint a story. How did Lashunta evolve from a society defined by two strict castes between males and females into what we have now? These are questions we can answer, in spite of the Gap, and this is one of the ways Pathfinder's connection becomes meaningful. Not "how did this become this," but "how did this come from this?"


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I personally can't wait to show people what i've learned from my two most excellent prophets.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Ashanderai wrote:
Anyone else notice how that Sarenrae symbol got Trekified? I like it.

Some of you might have read where we said that the Starfinder Core Rulebook uses 100% new art... well, surprise: that includes all of the deity symbols too!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Iomedae, The Inheritor wrote:
I personally can't wait to show people what i've learned from my two most excellent prophets.

Bill and Ted?


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Vic Wertz wrote:
Iomedae, The Inheritor wrote:
I personally can't wait to show people what i've learned from my two most excellent prophets.
Bill and Ted?

Hey! That's us dude!!


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Bill S. Preston, Esq. wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Iomedae, The Inheritor wrote:
I personally can't wait to show people what i've learned from my two most excellent prophets.
Bill and Ted?
Hey! That's us dude!!

Excellent!!... wait, what about us?


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Robert G. McCreary wrote:

At present, a character's deity is primarily flavor/story - the same as for their family, home town, and even home world to an extent. As the game matures and we have more content, there will likely be more opportunity to create some deity-specific rules and mechanics.

And I look forward to that day...the day when my holy Solarion Priest of Sarenrae uses the power of the Dawnflower to smite those that worship at the foot of the Pain God's dark throne.


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Seisho wrote:

I just realized that Zon-Kuthon Cultists with their tendency for self mutilation make the perfect core for a group of cultists that goes more then just one step to far in using cybernetics

also that would emulate the kytons who often add body parts from other creatures to themselves to become stronger

Not only that, but will we be seeing the Cenobites Kytons themselves more?


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IonutRO wrote:

Gods don't have aspects in Pathfinder lore, they are always worshipped under their true names.

Robert G. McCreary wrote:

Starfinder is not Pathfinder, and this is addressed in the Religion section in the Starfinder Core Rulebook.

IonutRO wrote:

The universe is the same, you can't just say the cosmology works one way in Pathfinder and then say it works another way in Starfinder!

IonutRO wrote:

In D&D, an aspect was a lesser incarnation of a deity or similar creature, unlike an avatar, it was not a mortal incarnation but rather a powerful supernatural being in its own right, with its own personality, portfolio, divine domains, and worshippers.

For example, in the forgotten realms, the elven goddess Sehanine Moonbow was a fey aspect for the human goddess Selune. Sehanine had her own body, with her own divine rank and her own divine realm, and was part of the elven pantheon like any normal elven god was, but she was just a lesser "reflection" of Selune, despite having different portfolios and domains. The only things they had in common were associations with the moon and their alignments.

The (A)D&D lore that you've cited for FR is only correct as of 4e (and possibly later), which was itself a huge break in cosmology/multiverse lore. (And incidentally one of the reasons why I dropped (A)D&D in favour of PF.)


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I'm glad we have a god of black holes. There's something about them that's so black, it's like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. They deserve a god.


Spinal Tap wrote:
I'm glad we have a god of black holes. There's something about them that's so black, it's like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. They deserve a god.

Actually, Black holes emit radiation. the smallest ones do it faster, since they're steeper. A finite-sized black hole can always be blacker.


Bellona wrote:
IonutRO wrote:

Gods don't have aspects in Pathfinder lore, they are always worshipped under their true names.

Robert G. McCreary wrote:

Starfinder is not Pathfinder, and this is addressed in the Religion section in the Starfinder Core Rulebook.

IonutRO wrote:

The universe is the same, you can't just say the cosmology works one way in Pathfinder and then say it works another way in Starfinder!

IonutRO wrote:

In D&D, an aspect was a lesser incarnation of a deity or similar creature, unlike an avatar, it was not a mortal incarnation but rather a powerful supernatural being in its own right, with its own personality, portfolio, divine domains, and worshippers.

For example, in the forgotten realms, the elven goddess Sehanine Moonbow was a fey aspect for the human goddess Selune. Sehanine had her own body, with her own divine rank and her own divine realm, and was part of the elven pantheon like any normal elven god was, but she was just a lesser "reflection" of Selune, despite having different portfolios and domains. The only things they had in common were associations with the moon and their alignments.

The (A)D&D lore that you've cited for FR is only correct as of 4e (and possibly later), which was itself a huge break in cosmology/multiverse lore. (And incidentally one of the reasons why I dropped (A)D&D in favour of PF.)

a wise decision.


I'm actually a little surprised that the holy symbols got updated a bit - I thought that, much like the deities' names, symbols were something that tended to remain the same... unless perhaps they're different in different regions...?

(I figured that even if the Pact Worlds are advancing, many deities are also still present in less-advanced cultures, and possibly more-advanced ones as well. XD But maybe I'm missing something.)

Sovereign Court

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The symbol is the same, it is just stylized differently. A holy symbol is going to look different as a tattoo versus a hologram versus carved out of wood, but they are all recognizably the same symbol.

The image in the book is just the most common representation of that symbol in the setting.


Just try googling up the different styles of crosses that one world can come up with in a relatively short period of time, then try figuring out what would happen with multiple planets, species and several thousand more years to play with it.


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I wonder now if the Devourer is Azathoth in a new (ultimate?) form? And if all the tentative early interactions with Golarion during the Age of Lost Omens has unfortunately put the post-Gap Pact Worlds directly in the spotlight of the Dominion of the Black and all the dwellers in the Dark Tapestry.


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I wonder now if the Devourer is Azathoth in a new (ultimate?) form? And if all the tentative early interactions with Golarion during the Age of Lost Omens has unfortunately put the post-Gap Pact Worlds directly in the spotlight of the Dominion of the Black and all the dwellers in the Dark Tapestry.

Maybe the Devourer ate Azathoth. It would be interesting to see Lovecraftian entities shoved down the food chain for once.


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Shhh, both of you. Drink your Somatine and finish your Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs before they get soggy in the midnight milk.


The Sideromancer wrote:
Spinal Tap wrote:
I'm glad we have a god of black holes. There's something about them that's so black, it's like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. They deserve a god.
Actually, Black holes emit radiation. the smallest ones do it faster, since they're steeper. A finite-sized black hole can always be blacker.

That's...that's nitpicking, isn't it?


That depends on what's defined as nitpicking. It may be how black holes avoid violating the conservation of quantum energy, and figuring out how that works with black holes is a pretty big deal in that variety of physics.


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Nonchalantly topples an embassy.

Do we really need to get into who murdered who or what buildings were accidentally toppled when they did murder... whoever... not that anyone was murdered...

Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.


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Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:
Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

Are you sure there wasn't a third Starbucks inside that Gap?


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Vic Wertz wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:
Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.
Are you sure there wasn't a third Starbucks inside that Gap?

Don't forget that 4th Sturbucks inside the 1st Starbucks!


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So Iomedae is the God-Empress of Mankind now? Someone please tell me she created twenty demigoddess, half of which became crazed Destroyer worshippers.


I read nothing about empress

Scarab Sages

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I didn't vote for her.


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I wonder now if the Devourer is Azathoth in a new (ultimate?) form? And if all the tentative early interactions with Golarion during the Age of Lost Omens has unfortunately put the post-Gap Pact Worlds directly in the spotlight of the Dominion of the Black and all the dwellers in the Dark Tapestry.

It doesn't sound like Azatoth. It's been consistently CN, and unlike the Devourer, absolutely has a physical presence. It's just that Azatoth is really bloody stupid and serves no real purpose other than singing to itself. If I had to guess, I'd say the Devourer pretty well exemplifies the Dominion of the Black's theology. It was strongly hinted in the Dominion article back in Iron Gods that they worship black holes, so that fits perfectly.


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Generic Villain wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I wonder now if the Devourer is Azathoth in a new (ultimate?) form? And if all the tentative early interactions with Golarion during the Age of Lost Omens has unfortunately put the post-Gap Pact Worlds directly in the spotlight of the Dominion of the Black and all the dwellers in the Dark Tapestry.
It doesn't sound like Azatoth. It's been consistently CN, and unlike the Devourer, absolutely has a physical presence. It's just that Azatoth is really bloody stupid and serves no real purpose other than singing to itself. If I had to guess, I'd say the Devourer pretty well exemplifies the Dominion of the Black's theology. It was strongly hinted in the Dominion article back in Iron Gods that they worship black holes, so that fits perfectly.

Wait! I think you're onto something. Maybe the Devourer is the deity of the Dominion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I remember one creepy DotB article describing how when creatures were sacrificed to black holes (willingly or not) by DotB, some worshippers would hear laughter in their heads.

Scarab Sages

What, no Desna???


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Incidentally, the Starfinder First Contact book seemed to suggest the Dominion is active on Aucturn during Starfinder's time. I wonder if Dead Suns will take us that direction at some point.


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I guess Dead Suns makes sense with the Black Holes.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
What, no Desna???

This is just a handful of deities that have been announced. We currently know 18, of which Abadar, Iomedae, Pharasma, Sarenrae, Urgathoa, Zon-Kuthon, and Desna have been confirmed to return as core deities. Some minor gods have also been promoted to core, such as Lao Shu Po, and all other core deities from Pathfinder's time - with exception for Torag and Rovagug, also appear to be returning as minor gods.

You can read the full list of Starfinder's core deities in Variel's collected information thread.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

I can almost see you at your desk, laughing in a rich baritone as you typed that last part.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

But doesnt it though? do enough good things and your alignment will shift back. Heck, casting enough spells with the good descriptor will do it alone. Even if you buy into psycology studies its still only, what, five good acts to cancel out one bad one? so build an orphanage to raise ten kids and you are alignment nuetral over killing their parents. :P


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Torbyne wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

But doesnt it though? do enough good things and your alignment will shift back. Heck, casting enough spells with the good descriptor will do it alone. Even if you buy into psycology studies its still only, what, five good acts to cancel out one bad one? so build an orphanage to raise ten kids and you are alignment nuetral over killing their parents. :P

And if their parents were drug dealers you're 5 in the clear.


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Lemartes wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

But doesnt it though? do enough good things and your alignment will shift back. Heck, casting enough spells with the good descriptor will do it alone. Even if you buy into psycology studies its still only, what, five good acts to cancel out one bad one? so build an orphanage to raise ten kids and you are alignment nuetral over killing their parents. :P
And if their parents were drug dealers you're 5 in the clear.

Or if you could reasonably assume they were... that would probably work too.


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Torbyne wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

But doesnt it though? do enough good things and your alignment will shift back. Heck, casting enough spells with the good descriptor will do it alone. Even if you buy into psycology studies its still only, what, five good acts to cancel out one bad one? so build an orphanage to raise ten kids and you are alignment nuetral over killing their parents. :P

"There's no living with... with a killing. There's no going back from one. Right or wrong, it's a brand. A brand sticks. There's no going back."


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Torbyne wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Achaekek, He Who Walks In Blood wrote:


Skitters away, nervously demolishing two Starbucks and a Gap on the way.

I thought you were supposed to be evil.

That is, and has always been, one of the best tricks evil has.

Do something some people see as positive.

As if somehow that means you weren't still evil.

But doesnt it though? do enough good things and your alignment will shift back. Heck, casting enough spells with the good descriptor will do it alone. Even if you buy into psycology studies its still only, what, five good acts to cancel out one bad one? so build an orphanage to raise ten kids and you are alignment nuetral over killing their parents. :P

good actions take a lot more follow through than bad ones. You would need to not just build the orphanage (which takes a while) but oversee its maintenance and upkeep, and make sure that kids got adopted with no backsies.

That takes quite some time.

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