Friends In High Places

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The people of Golarion have literally hundreds of gods that they could choose to follow. In fact, many people follow the teaching of multiple deities in their everyday life. A farmer might pray to Gozreh for rain, Sarenrae for lots of sunlight, and Erastil for a good harvest all in the same day. Considering this was a common aspect of so many of our characters and stories in Pathfinder, we thought that Lost Omens Gods & Magic was the perfect time to introduce a way to represent polytheism mechanically.

Pantheons are groups of related gods that can be worshipped either individually or together. In some cases, these gods share thematic ties. The farmer mentioned above sees Erastil, Gozreh, and Sarenrae as important because of their influence on the farmer’s crops. In other cases, gods are all part of the same pantheon due to their common worshippers. Most elves worship the same group of elven deities, for example. Sometimes gods might be actually related, such is the case with Torag and his family who make up the dwarven pantheon.

Torag, dwarven god of the forge and strategy, strikes an iron at his anvil.

Art by Emile Denis

Gods & Magic introduces new rules for worshipping pantheons. A character can choose to worship a pantheon, which is very similar to the worship of an individual deity. A pantheon features a stat block with its own set of alignment restrictions, domains, edicts, anathemas, and so on, thus following the same rules as the worship of a single deity. Pantheons do have a wrinkle, however. Instead of simply worshipping the pantheon, a character must also select a patron deity among those that are part of the pantheon. Think of the patron deity as a character’s focus or guide to the specific pantheon. A character worshipping a pantheon must follow the edicts and avoid the anathemas of both the pantheon and patron deity, with the patron’s edicts and anathema taking precedence. Having a patron deity prevents a worshipper from becoming caught between mutually exclusive edicts and anathema from all the gods they worship as the worshipper can ultimately fall back on the patron’s requirements in conflicting or unusual situations.

Dwarf Pantheon

  • Alignment LG (LN, NG, N)
  • Areas of Concern Ancestry, crafting, dwarves, relationships
  • Divine Font heal
  • Divine Ability Constitution or Wisdom
  • Divine Skill Diplomacy
  • Domains creation, family, protection, wealth
  • Alternate Domains duty, glyph
  • Cleric Spells 1st: ant haul, 4th: creation, 7th: retrocognition
  • Edicts develop skills useful to your community (especially mining, crafting, and trading), honor your ancestors through traditions and rituals
  • Anathema dishonor your family, willingly break a contract or oath, irreparably damage an ancestral relic
  • Favored Weapon warhammer

This book presents a few sample pantheons, such as the dwarven pantheon and the Godclaw. However, pantheons can come in all shapes and sizes. We recommend that GMs use the pantheons featured in the book as a starting point for what you can do with pantheons. In fact, let’s see what we might be able to come up with using some of the gods featured in Gods & Magic!

Desna, Shelyn, and Sarenrae rest in a beautiful forest clearing.

Art by Klaher Baklaher

You could consider gods who are each other’s’ allies. Desna, Shelyn, and Sarenrae all work together in their fight against evil and are even known to be lovers. If we made a pantheon that included their themes and values, we might end up with something like this.

The Prismatic Ray

  • Alignment NG (LG, NG, CG)
  • Areas of Concern Defeating evil, guarding innocents, and wholesome creations
  • Divine Font heal
  • Divine Ability Wisdom or Charisma
  • Divine Skill Diplomacy
  • Domains creation, moon, protection, sun
  • Alternate Domains family, healing, travel
  • Cleric Spells 1st: sleep, 3rd: fireball, 4th: creation
  • Edicts Create works that inspire good acts, defend those who cannot defend themselves, pursue evil
  • Anathema allow evil to spread, destroy that which brings joy to others, fail to offer evil a chance to surrender
  • Favored Weapon shortsword

Here, I tried to snag a bit from each goddess. I settled on the Primastic Ray as a name that represents all three. The various colors represent Shelyn, while the ray could be either moonlight for Desna or sunlight for Sarenrae. Of course, this is just one take on these three deities. I could have chosen to focus more on the travel and freedom aspects of Desna or the healing aspects of Sarenrae. What’s fun about pantheons is that you can usually make them however you like, so long as they make sense thematically.

A depiction of both aspects of Nethys, the god of magic, in an ancient Egyptian style.

Art by Cynthia F.G

Speaking of thematic ties, have you heard of Ancient Osirion? Turns out they had lots of deities back in the ancient days. Also, did you know that Nethys was originally an Osiriani pharaoh? That’s fun! Well, let’s see what we can do with that. Gods & Magic includes rules for worshipping the Ancient Osirian gods. A good number of them (Isis, Selket, and Thoth to be specific) also have a focus on magic, just like Nethys. If we take those four, we might get a pantheon like this one.

Wards of the Pharaoh

  • Alignment NG (LN, NG, N, CG)
  • Areas of Concern Abjuration magic, protection, self-improvement
  • Divine Font harm or heal
  • Divine Ability Constitution or Intelligence
  • Divine Skill Medicine
  • Domains Family, knowledge, magic, protection
  • Alternate Domains glyph*, healing
  • Cleric Spells 1st: soothe, 4th: resilient sphere, 9th: disjunction
  • Edicts Use magic to defend yourself and your allies, maintain magical wards, seek greater magical knowledge
  • Anathema Destroy wards that are actively protecting innocents, refuse to use your magic to help those in need who ask you
  • Favored Weapon staff

All of these deities have a focus on magic, but a lot of them are also focused on the protection of others or on knowledge. I chose to lean into these aspects a bit, creating a pantheon themed around using magic to protect others while still keeping the pursuit of knowledge. Nethys is a neutral deity, but I doubt that he would be against improving one’s magical skill regardless of what school of magic it’s for. As a result, he made a fitting, but very interesting addition to the pantheon.

Casandalee, goddess of artificial life and free thinking, producing runes and mathematical symbols.

Art by Emile Denis

Let’s try one more pantheon before I go. With the focus on knowledge, I want to snag a few knowledge focused deities and see what we can create. I start by grabbing Brigh and Casandalee. Then, I take Irori as he is an obvious choice. From there, I include Shyka who can understand all events throughout time thanks to their unique focus on time. Finally, to introduce a little chaos, I’ve added Ydajisk, a protean demigod focused on language. With all of those deities, we might get something like this.

Pillars of Knowledge

  • Alignment N (LN, N, CN)
  • Areas of Concern Learning, innovation, safeguarding knowledge
  • Divine Font harm or heal
  • Divine Ability Intelligence or Wisdom
  • Divine Skill Crafting
  • Domains Creation, knowledge, secrecy, truth
  • Alternate Domains glyph*, perfection, time*
  • Cleric Spells 1st: message rune*, , 3rd: hypercognition, 9th: retrocognition
  • Edicts Seek new knowledge, use your knowledge and skill to improve the world around you, protect knowledge from becoming lost
  • Anathema Choose to use old knowledge or tools after they have been improved upon, destroy knowledge, refuse to answer a query for which you know the answer
  • Favored Weapon light hammer

Again, this leads to a fun little mishmash of different themes and ideas for each of the deities. Some of the most fun comes with creating anathemas for the pantheons. Brigh and Casandalee are both goddesses related to invention and innovation, so asking a worshipper to make sure they are using the latest knowledge and tools is an interesting way to express these themes. Ydajisk calls for worshippers to keep old languages—and old knowledge—alive, but they also keep you from holding your tongue when asked a question.

As you can see, pantheons can make for limitless interesting combinations and ideas. We’re looking forward to providing more pantheons in the future, but we’re most excited to see what pantheons players and GMs create for their own games. You could maybe take the four Horsemen and create a pantheon to worship all four. If you like the spirit of competition, you could create a pantheon that includes Kurgess and other sporting deities. I’m sure our fans will create lots of fun and memorable pantheons in the years to come. If you want to check out pantheons, make sure to snag Lost Omens Gods & Magic when it releases on January 29th. It’s going to be divine!

Luis Loza
Developer

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Tags: Lost Omens Gods & Magic Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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6 people marked this as a favorite.

Yay, a full-body image of Casandalee where she doesnt have a gaping hole in her chest! :D


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm digging that Osiriani art!

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Fantastic blog! Love the sample pantheons! :D


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Real life LOL at Casandalee being surrounded by our own mathematical symbols.

Silver Crusade

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!

Sekhmet is a goddess of war and slaughter, mentioned above is Selket (Serket), a goddess of medicine and magic.

Agreed that the Prismatic Ray is pretty neat.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The thing I'm most interested in is the meaning of "picking the patron deity". On one hand this is probably a bit of a mechanical kludge to enforce a deity's anathema but not have the possibility of conflicting anathema.

But on the other hand, what does it mean if a character worships the Dwarven Pantheon and picks as their Patron deity not Torag (who, as the patriarch would be the obvious choice) but Folgrit, Magrim, or Dranngvit? Am I just "a good religious Dwarf" who just happens to have a specific interest in motherhood, funerary rites, or debt collection respectively?

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Love it! Now I want the gossip about Brigh and Casandalee ditching Shyka and Ydajisk in favor of Epoch to form Triune, though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes!!! Finally a mechanic for polytheism. This book is looking better and better as we get closer to the release date. I'm hoping there'll be enough PFS-legal options to keep me busy with both divine classes and lay worshipers.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
thewastedwalrus wrote:
Rysky wrote:

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!

Sekhmet is a goddess of war and slaughter, mentioned above is Selket (Serket), a goddess of medicine and magic.

Agreed that the Prismatic Ray is pretty neat.

Oh I’m aware, but she was in the Ancient Osiriani Pantheon in P1 so I figured she’d be back for this book if they’re mentioned :3


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I asked about creating a circus oriented pantheon in last Friday's Twitch stream, and Luis suggested the name "The Big Top" for it. Suggested deities: Kurgess, Shelyn, & Desna, possibly Gozreh for animals.

When the rules are out and I can see the full list of deities, I'm setting this one up!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

If only the Circus Pantheon could wait until we have an option to replace the inquisitor. You know you want to play a Circus Inquisitor with the white greasepaint and floppy shoes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Will Lost Omens Gods and Magics detail how to create a pantheon from the current deities already introduced in the Core Rulebook and LOGM?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ooooo, I dig it! Creating pantheons is always fun and you could really lean into that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Xenocrat wrote:
Real life LOL at Casandalee being surrounded by our own mathematical symbols.

Is that what you see? Interesting.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Vomiapous wrote:
Will Lost Omens Gods and Magics detail how to create a pantheon from the current deities already introduced in the Core Rulebook and LOGM?

No, but that's because there's not really any rules-based requirements. You can create a pantheon from any set of deities simply by picking a set of deities around the chosen theme. Can be 2 deities, 20, or 200... but keep in mind that the more you add to a pantheon, the more complicated it gets to worship as a cleric, especially if you have a lot of contradictions built into the anathemas and edicts.

EDIT: That said, that's kinda the point of this blog; to show you how easy it is to do! :D

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thewastedwalrus wrote:
Rysky wrote:

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!

Sekhmet is a goddess of war and slaughter

Yay! Sekhmet!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Dennis Muldoon wrote:
Love it! Now I want the gossip about Brigh and Casandalee ditching Shyka and Ydajisk in favor of Epoch to form Triune, though.

Isn't the main problem here that Epoch does not exist yet? Like Shyka can tell you all about Epoch because he and she and they etc. exist at all points in time simultaneously, but the Machinefolk on Aballon have yet to perfect artificial intelligence.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

YAY! Pantheons.

Also aren't the pictures supposed to be agents or worshipers of the gods and not the gods themselves?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Gamerskum wrote:

YAY! Pantheons.

Also aren't the pictures supposed to be agents or worshipers of the gods and not the gods themselves?

Not here.

In previous books we've done both, but in this one, it's pictures of the gods themselves.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Gamerskum wrote:

YAY! Pantheons.

Also aren't the pictures supposed to be agents or worshipers of the gods and not the gods themselves?

Not here.

In previous books we've done both, but in this one, it's pictures of the gods themselves.

I will definitely be appreciating that about this time next week...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am so wanting my pdf.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*Praying to the Paizo Shipping Gods* Please ship tomorrow! My Excitement is about to explode!

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I absolutely love these sample pantheons! Very well done!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Rules for worshipping pantheons... all I can say is FINALLY it has happened! I love this, all of it!

Fantastic work, Luis and others! This book has already exceeded my (high) expectations just based on a few previews! :)

(Er, speaking of friends in high places, Almighty Asmodeus is still far superior to all the pantheons combined, as my dear friends Lictor Richemar and Grand High Priestess Aspexia would surely expect me to note here!)


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Original blog post wrote:

{. . .}

Pillars of Knowledge
{. . .}
Anathema Choose to use old knowledge or tools after they have been improved upon, {. . .}

But . . . but . . . but . . . they keep sending out faulty patches!


12 people marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Original blog post wrote:

{. . .}

Pillars of Knowledge
{. . .}
Anathema Choose to use old knowledge or tools after they have been improved upon, {. . .}

But . . . but . . . but . . . they keep sending out faulty patches!

You’ll suck it up and submit detailed user error reports to aid the developers, at least if you want more spells tomorrow!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Is the Godclaw the pantheon of deities worshiped by the Hellknight Order of the Godclaw? Abadar, Asmodeus, Iomedae, Irori, and Torag.

If it is, was Iomedae indeed replaced by Ragathiel or not?


The Gold Sovereign wrote:


If it is, was Iomedae indeed replaced by Ragathiel or not?

Now that would be very interesting.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

The thing I'm most interested in is the meaning of "picking the patron deity". On one hand this is probably a bit of a mechanical kludge to enforce a deity's anathema but not have the possibility of conflicting anathema.

But on the other hand, what does it mean if a character worships the Dwarven Pantheon and picks as their Patron deity not Torag (who, as the patriarch would be the obvious choice) but Folgrit, Magrim, or Dranngvit? Am I just "a good religious Dwarf" who just happens to have a specific interest in motherhood, funerary rites, or debt collection respectively?

I assume this is more for roleplay reasons. Mechanically it's silly to follow a pantheon (which mechanically functions similar to a normal deity) & then be required to pick a patron deity.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Original blog post wrote:

{. . .}

Pillars of Knowledge
{. . .}
Anathema Choose to use old knowledge or tools after they have been improved upon, {. . .}

But . . . but . . . but . . . they keep sending out faulty patches!

You’ll suck it up and submit detailed user error reports to aid the developers, at least if you want more spells tomorrow!

Ah! But no, you see. The gods are testing you! The important phrase is "improved upon". If the patch is faulty, it's not an improvement. But, if you can make it work better, even with a faulty patch, you should.


I've been doing something quite like this in terms of roleplaying for a long time. It'll be interesting to see it translated into rules.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Pantheons, eh?

"Oh, most holy Gygax, God with twenty faces! Grant me your blessings and the blessings of your brother gods, Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, and Richard Garfield, may you protect me from the whims of fate and bless me in all that I do."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!

I wonder who added that bit of Golarion Deity Canon originally back in the Planar Adventures book.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Sirfith wrote:
Rysky wrote:

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!

I wonder who added that bit of Golarion Deity Canon originally back in the Planar Adventures book.

Me. And I've been dropping hints about it for a lot longer than that.


I really think they should tie oracles to young acolytes who couldn't decide on a patron deity for their chosen pantheon and as a result of the above mention internal conflicts became oracles instead of clerics.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Sirfith wrote:
Rysky wrote:

The Sapphic Pantheon, awesome.

And yay! Sekhmet!

I wonder who added that bit of Golarion Deity Canon originally back in the Planar Adventures book.
Me. And I've been dropping hints about it for a lot longer than that.

Intwined sun and moon statuettes when?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't know that we ever put anything that blatant into print before Planar Adventures (turns out it's hard to keep track of everything after over ten years), but certainly it's been a topic I've talked about on the boards here for many years.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

All right, working on my “Core 20” pantheon Cleric. He walks around with an armful of parchment spreadsheets full of edicts and anathemas, and takes half an hour to make any decision.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
All right, working on my “Core 20” pantheon Cleric. He walks around with an armful of parchment spreadsheets full of edicts and anathemas, and takes half an hour to make any decision.

If you have any notes, I'd appreciate them for my "Literally every single one of the thousand plus Vudrani Gods" Cleric.

Though seriously,when it comes to "lots of gods for smaller, specific things" pantheons are probably a better way to do it. You just pray to the god of doorknobs when you need to pick a lock.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

11 people marked this as a favorite.

In my opinion, if you want to play a worshiper of a huge number of deities, it'd be better to play anything BUT a cleric. Any class can be religous, after all. And if you want to do one of these and still be a divine caster, the best thematic choice (again, in my opinion) at this point is a divine tradition sorcerer. Later in the year, you can add oracle to that list, of course.

Clerics work best, thematically, when they serve one deity. And to me, that means that the smaller the pantheon is, the tighter their theme will be, and the less awkward it'll be to play that cleric.

You COULD do a cleric who worships a pantheon of a thousand, but to me, that dilutes and "genericizes" the best parts of playing a cleric. It's like playing a fighter who doesn't have a favorite type of weapon, or playing a sorcerer who doesn't do anything with their bloodline, or playing a bard who doesn't have a thematic type of performance picked out, or playing a druid who picks a different type of animal companion every day. By trying to do everything, you don't really build up your own "brand."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Has the old ascended pantheon returned? Does it include the more obscure ascended deities (Gruhastha, Kurgess and Milani) now?


Oh pdf when will you arrive? Lol


2 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
if you want to do one of these and still be a divine caster, the best thematic choice (again, in my opinion) at this point is a divine tradition sorcerer.

I hope the key phrase here is "at this point" since I don't like "use the sorcerer" as an answer to all sorts of myriad concepts because fundamentally the essence of the sorcerer is "someone who has special blood whence magic flows".

If my concept for some sort of "pantheist divine caster" is sort of incompatible with "special blood" or "an interesting family tree" I'd rather get that from literally anywhere except the sorcerer.


I am curious how pantheon rules interact with spells like Divine Lance.

Dark Archive

PossibleCabbage wrote:
If my concept for some sort of "pantheist divine caster" is sort of incompatible with "special blood" or "an interesting family tree" I'd rather get that from literally anywhere except the sorcerer.

Polytheistic >:( Pantheism means that everything is divine.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If my concept for some sort of "pantheist divine caster" is sort of incompatible with "special blood" or "an interesting family tree" I'd rather get that from literally anywhere except the sorcerer.
Polytheistic >:( Pantheism means that everything is divine.

I mean, yes. That's the divine caster I want to play. All things are gods and gods are in all things.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If my concept for some sort of "pantheist divine caster" is sort of incompatible with "special blood" or "an interesting family tree" I'd rather get that from literally anywhere except the sorcerer.
Polytheistic >:( Pantheism means that everything is divine.
I mean, yes. That's the divine caster I want to play. All things are gods and gods are in all things.

I kind of feel like a Shaman Druid Order is a good way to do that. Give it a bunch of divination and shaman-thematic spells from other lists, and go from there. Worshipping the spirits in all things as an aspect of the world seems more like an extension of a Druid than a Cleric to me.

Dark Archive

PossibleCabbage wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If my concept for some sort of "pantheist divine caster" is sort of incompatible with "special blood" or "an interesting family tree" I'd rather get that from literally anywhere except the sorcerer.
Polytheistic >:( Pantheism means that everything is divine.
I mean, yes. That's the divine caster I want to play. All things are gods and gods are in all things.

Ah oki, I thought ye were referring it incorrectly to mean worshipper of a pantheon :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:

{. . .}

You COULD do a cleric who worships a pantheon of a thousand, but to me, that dilutes and "genericizes" the best parts of playing a cleric. It's like playing a fighter who doesn't have a favorite type of weapon, or playing a sorcerer who doesn't do anything with their bloodline, {. . .}

Pathfinder 1st Edition actually had archetypes like this for the Fighter (perhaps most thematically, Cad, but that wasn't the only one) and Sorcerer (Mongrel Mage). These weren't the strongest archetypes, but not the weakest ones either, and they made thematic sense.

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