Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The world of Pathfinder is one of many gods, entities of unfathomable power with influence over every aspect of mortal life. To the average person on Golarion, a prayer to a god for good health, good harvests, or protection from harm is an everyday tradition. A character’s choice of a patron god can have a huge impact on that PC’s background, attitude, and overall flavor. Yet for the player of a PC who is not a member of a divine class, the choice of deity has often proven merely cosmetic. If you aren’t affected one way or another by the whims of the gods, what point is there in following their strictures—in other words, what’s in it for me?

Theological discussions aside, we’ve added a new tool into Lost Omens Gods and Magic to allow the GM to showcase the gods’ influence upon the world, without their actions snatching away the PCs’ autonomy. Called “Divine Intercessions,” these take the form of boons and curses, ranging from minor to moderate to major in scale, that the gods can grant to those who especially please and displease them. While the gods don’t grant these intercessions lightly—otherwise everyone in Golarion would be cursed all the time! —they might be potent enough to draw an adherent’s prayers in hopes of being blessed… or fearful enough a PC might think twice before sacking the local temple!

Shelyn, goddess of art and beauty, playing a harp.

Art by Valeria Lutfullina

In many cases, Divine Intercessions are reserved for adherents of the god in question, who have either pleased their patron deity or committed some manner of anathema. Nothing prevents them from responding to a simple prayer from a layperson either, however; in this way, we offer the gods more nuanced reactions towards their faithful than the often-binary responses that they had in the past. For example, a PC who helps out a struggling artist would probably think little of a grateful farewell of “May Shelyn bless you!”—yet might later find Shelyn repaying that small kindness when it is most needed:

Minor Boon: Once, when you roll a failure on a Diplomacy check, you get a critical success instead. Shelyn typically grants this boon only when the Diplomacy check would serve to increase love or offer a chance of redemption.

Abadar, god of laws and wealth, holding a tome.

Art by Klaher Baklaher

On the other end of the scale, priests or holy warriors of various gods may be forced into sticky situations where the most convenient, or even only, method to solve a problem is to violate one of their god’s anathema. A priest of Abadar might wind up stealing a key in their pursuit of a dangerous lawbreaker—that likely shouldn’t be grounds for expulsion from the church or a loss of divine power, but Abadar might make his displeasure known until his servant atones:

Minor Curse: Any time you steal, illegally harm or kill another creature, or undermine a law-abiding officer or court, a symbol or word describing your crime appears on a visible spot on your skin. This symbol cannot be removed or hidden with makeup (though it can be covered with clothing) and it doesn’t vanish until you make legal restitution for the crime, such as by serving your sentence.

The Divine Intercessions in this book are simply suggestions, as a godly response can be tailor fit to whatever circumstance or prayer provoked it. They provide a strong groundwork for how the gods respond to a service or insult, however; Iomedae and Gorum often bless or curse weapons and armor, for instance. Asmodeus rains down terrible punishments on those who offend him, while Erastil’s boons and curses might not even be noticed by those with no desire for a settled life. For those who truly upset the gods, there are even curses so powerful they could spawn a legend or a campaign in their own right:

Major Curse: Irori makes all living creatures forget your existence. This can be further compounded by raising Irori’s ire, resulting in your name being obliterated from all written records. In both cases, memories and writings rearrange themselves to omit you smoothly, rather than leaving obvious gaps.

Irori, god of knowledge and self-perfection, in a combat pose.

Art by Emile Denis

How might your PCs change if they knew the gods were watching? Would they still prefer kindly gods who prefer to let mortals forge their own path? Or would the temptation of easy boons from evil gods sway them from the light?

Eleanor Ferron
Developer

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Valantrix1 wrote:
Being an atheist is looking better and better.

I doubt most deities would have an issue cursing an atheist who happened to really annoy them - so I don't think this would save you (though it might make a deity more hesitant to grant a boon you.)

Feros wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Is this ruled so you get a Curse from a Deity even if your not a follower or worshiper of that God? If so, is there a way to remove the Curse if your not a follower of the Deity who gave you the Curse? I'd hate to be a Paladin, invoke the ire of Asmodeus, then get a terrible Curse which could only be removed by the aid of an Asmodeian priest. That would put my Paladin in a tough situation with a very difficult choice.
I suspect divine emissaries would be the exception, as no god will want retaliation directly against their own people. Asmodeus wouldn't want a champion in his service to be zapped for defending Cheliax by killing Iomedae's paladins of the Glorious Reclamation.

This is an interesting idea. I like the thought that worshiping a deity and committing acts in their name would shield you from curses for those same acts from another deity. [Granted, I like most options that make deity worship an appealing option for non-Clerics/Paladins.]


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Now the more important part is -- When Irori uses the <Data Not Available> Punch, does He forget He did it?
This is covered in the text of the curse- "all living creatures forget your name." I'm assuming "living" here is a loose synonym for "mortal". So if you steal from Asmodeus, then annoy Irori sufficiently so he erases your name, Big A is still going to know who you are.

It's also covered by the deity statblocks. They don't have them, which means they don't need to worry about whether or not rules affect them. They can just be immune to whatever is problematic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paradozen wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Now the more important part is -- When Irori uses the <Data Not Available> Punch, does He forget He did it?
This is covered in the text of the curse- "all living creatures forget your name." I'm assuming "living" here is a loose synonym for "mortal". So if you steal from Asmodeus, then annoy Irori sufficiently so he erases your name, Big A is still going to know who you are.
It's also covered by the deity statblocks. They don't have them, which means they don't need to worry about whether or not rules affect them. They can just be immune to whatever is problematic.

Plus if there's anybody who's nature would prevent being magically whammied into forgetting somebody who stole from them it would be the god of punishment.


^Due to a massive cosmic misunderstanding, this also means that the patron deity of often painful or at least cringeworthy use of double meanings and not-exactly-accidental confusion of similar or related words is also by nature immune to being made to forget.


Hmm... an order of forgotten monks would be pretty cool. Maybe not a curse, but a secret society erased from all memory would be slick

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

There's a problem about that, if they don't remember each other.


Franz Lunzer wrote:
There's a problem about that, if they don't remember each other.

Well, they're presumably set up some rules that let them figure out how to interact with each other and get things done without anybody knowing who anybody else is. Which is potentially interesting, if the abbot wants you to weed the garden, but the doesn't know who you are or and you don't know the person asking you is the abbot then how do we make sure that the garden gets weeded?

Presumably you could just dress according to your station and you answer to the uniform not the person, but that's not a very secure system at all. Perhaps at night you put your badge of station in a secure vault and the means of accessing the vault are known only to you.


^Actually, if they could figure out the problem of how to interact with each other, they could make an extremely effective cell-based subversive/terrorist organization.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Actually, if they could figure out the problem of how to interact with each other, they could make an extremely effective cell-based subversive/terrorist organization.

Maybe they did and you forgot.

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