Tales of Lost Omens: Dyrani Of The Harvest

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The crowd in front of the vast chasm surrounding the Starstone Cathedral was slightly larger today than most days. Visitors from all over Golarion stopped by the great pit every day to marvel at the ancient edifice at its center, to dream of the stone hidden away behind its massive walls, lethal traps, and immortal guardians. It was said that the Starstone granted immeasurable power to any who could touch its crystalline surface and pass the final test of spirit. Those who succeeded became gods. Most simply fell to their deaths in the chasm outside and the rare few who made it in the cathedral were usually never heard from again.

Normally, an attempt by one of the “hopeful” would draw a huge crowd of locals and visitors alike, all interested to see if the would-be god could even make it across the chasm. The celebration was usually all in good fun, if you could call someone risking their life for immortality fun, but it could turn unruly in an instant, the mob demanding the poor soul fling themselves into danger. In either case, it was good business for those of us who ran shops in the Ascendant Court, selling sweet treats and chilled wine.

But not today.

Today was the fourth supposedly prophesized moment of ascension for Dyrani, and business was terrible.

Her first attempt was almost a year ago. The Osiriani woman had only been on the Avenue of the Hopeful for a few weeks at that time, and although she didn’t have a large throng of supporters, she still drew a good crowd to hear her tale and see her make the attempt. For over an hour she spoke of her accomplishments, from the moment of her birth under an auspicious sign, to the tremendous thunderstorm that bore down upon her parent’s small home giving her a connection to the rains and floods, the crops, and the land. The people listened to her claims of connection to the harvest and how she could be counted on to bring rain to struggling farmers and ensure a season of plenty for all upon her ascension. They even saw her plant a simple seed into the ground and encourage it to grow, yet when it came time for her to leap, something changed. She looked out at the chasm and declared that it was not the right time.

“The seed was not yet ready to sprout,” she said, adding that once the plant has matured, she would take the test.

Suffice to say, there were more than a few jeers and cries. But for all the disappointment, Dyrani benefitted quite a bit from the show. For the next few months farmers, gardeners, and food merchants began to stop by her rustic stall on the Avenue and pay their respects to her and the growing plant. They say it never hurts to get in early with new gods. Even if only one in a thousand passed the test, those who do are sure to remember any who believed in them from the start. For my part, I sold a lot of harvest breads and orange tea to her faithful.

A woman dressed in fancy clothing is cautiously approaching the edge of a giant chasm in a city. A bunch of rowdy drunks and street punks are cheering the woman on

Illustration by Mirco Paganessi from Absalom, City of Lost Omens


Dyrani even gathered a few devotees to aid in her preparations. She anointed each in a grand ceremony, dubbing them the High Priest of Rains, the High Priestess of Sowing, and the High Priest of Harvest, respectively. They were mostly harmless, wearing ridiculous hats and making pronouncements about the weather. Most would-be-gods attracted a few desperate fools, even when they had nothing to give other than vague promises about the future. The feeling of importance, of belonging was often enough. The avenue was usually cluttered with these supplicants, shouting edicts and making the case for their still-mortal deity. It wasn’t bad for business, really. Most visitors came just to see this spectacle, even if there was no attempt that day. Some of my best days selling sweet pastries have been after a good brawl between the high priests of various would-be faiths. No one wins... except us.

The second attempt was scheduled for later that summer. By this time, Dyrani had amassed a vast crowd of followers, and there was a festival happening in the Grand Bazaar, so the city was swollen with visitors. The Avenue and the Court were packed with people, many of whom began drinking and chanting for Dyrani just after dawn. Her High Priests were there of course, collecting tithes in vast cornucopias made from straw. From the moment I saw them, I knew it was not going to be the day. These hopeful never go through with the test when the coin is flowing freely. There’s still too much to be gained. Later that day, the High Priestess of Sowing pronounced that Dyrani had read the tea leaves (from my stall no less!) and decided that the most auspicious time to take the test would be at the end of the harvest, so that she could prove her worth to all the other gods and make this year a harvest like no other. Fortunately for the harvest deity, another hopeful made the attempt later that afternoon, screaming as he plummeted into the void. I think he wanted to be the god of fish or some such nonsense.

Over the next few months, Dyrani’s appearance changed significantly. Gone were her woolen dresses—now she wore elegant silk embroidered with golden wheat. Her simple grapevine crown was replaced with a wreath of bejeweled golden leaves, and now she carried a massive silver scythe, so that all might know that the goddess of the harvest was near. It had been a good few months for her and her faithful, as the donations came flooding in from visitors and locals alike. But as the end of the harvest drew close, there were signs of stress.

The High Priest of Rains quit one afternoon after a heated debate about the upcoming attempt. I think I saw him making poses at the end of the avenue, worshipping another perpetual hopeful. The High Priestess of Sowing stopped working the street for donations after a local gang stole her cornucopia. Only the High Priest of Harvest remained loyal, doing whatever was asked, but he was a zealot, having lost his entire family to famine some years back. I wouldn’t be surprised if he leapt into the pit after Dyrani on her day.

When harvest finally came, the crowd was sizable, but it was clear most didn’t think Dyrani would actually go through with it. All were disappointed when the sacred plant was revealed. It was withered and brown. Defeated, Dyrani called off the attempt, claiming she had been sabotaged by agents of Urgathoa, who wouldn’t dare let such a powerful deity ascend. The boos were some of the loudest I’ve ever heard. Nearly all her supplicants quit in the following days, stealing her finery and looting her treasury.

It was a hard winter for the would-be goddess. By the spring, it was just her and the High Priest of the Harvest. Their clothes were stained, and the silver scythe had been tarnished.

And that brings us to today. My shop is toward the end of the Avenue, right across from the vast chasm surrounding the Cathedral. The spectacle is all but gone. Dyrani has drawn right up to the edge. There’s no cheering, no chants, just silence and the sound of the wind. As the clouds break, a shaft of sunlight illuminates the young woman. She looks exhausted, as most do after their long journey down the Avenue, but as she looks up into the sun, its warmth shining upon her, she steps out, over nothing…

About The Author

Jason Bulmahn is the Director of Game Design at Paizo. He spends most of his time staring at schedules and math problems, hoping to find a way to ensure that Paizo creates the most fun, engaging games possible. When not working with the design team on the next Pathfinder hard cover, he is at home, working on even more Pathfinder material to share with folks through his personal imprint, Minotaur Games, or streaming video games on twitch.

About Tales of Lost Omens

The Tales of Lost Omens series of web-based flash fiction provides an exciting glimpse into Pathfinder’s Age of Lost Omens setting. Written by some of the most celebrated authors in tie-in gaming fiction and including Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales line of novels and short fiction, the Tales of Lost Omens series promises to explore the characters, deities, history, locations, and organizations of the Pathfinder setting with engaging stories to inspire Game Masters and players alike.

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Tales of Lost Omens Web Fiction

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great story! I didn't see the ending coming.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's funny, I was just re-reading the classic 1st ed. D&D module AGAINST THE CULT OF THE REPTILE GOD, and was struck by the presence of benign harvest goddess Merikka...

If I were running a Pathfinder campaign right now, I'd totally let Dyrani ascend! And then have Her church grow, with the PCs - a whole adventure path! Love the idea of Urgathoa as an antaganoist - and like Ghlaunder, and Mazzmezz, and some die-hard followers of Deskari...


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Golarion hasn't had a solid harvest goddess since Azlanti times, right?

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

A new Ascended? That would be amazing. This would be an amazing start to a new adventure path.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Good read!


I particularly liked this story. Love the web fiction.

Horizon Hunters

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If I can make Emoji's it would be a BIG FAT PAIR OF EYES!

I wonder what will happen to her! :O

Closest thing we got to Farming God is Erastil and arguably Cayden Cailean right? Unless Sarenrae needs to shine herself more often for that SWEET SWEET Photosynthesis?


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Serhak72 wrote:


Closest thing we got to Farming God is Erastil and arguably Cayden Cailean right?

There is an Azlanti goddess, named Jaidi, who is pretty much the harvest Goddess, but she's not worshipped much anymore, except in a few small pockets. It seems like there are a good many comparisons to these two.

Liberty's Edge

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to me, this story shows the human burden of expectations, both positive and negative, along with the nature of what is truely a test of faith. the ending is one that leads us into speculation. we don't get an answer to the question of did she make it across, because that answer is not relevant in this case. its us watching as this woman goes out and is faced with the ravine, time after time, met with jeering and ridicule but also intense devotion from some of the crowds. that pressure can be smothering and intensifies everything, and of course the prospective goddess keeps making excuses for not taking that step over the chasm. we watch as her most devoted followers start leaving her till only her and an absolute zealot are left, stained, tired, and with all semblance of glorious deific visual gone. we do see her take that first step, but is it out of finally breaking through the fear holding her back, or is it just because she no longer cares if she lives or dies. its good writing, and its ending is haunting because it leaves us to want to know what comes next, or at least to guess or speculate.

To be honest, i would love a new harvest goddess to add to the pantheon of the ascended, but also i am looking forward to possible future ascended goddess of bakery as well. new gods can be fun, but Dyrani here feels like one to show a human cost to attempting to become a goddess. we assume it would be this grand thing, but it looks like most of the time its people gearing up to watch some poor unfortunate die for people ammusement.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Very interesting. I hope we get a part 2 or she appears as a Deity in the Adventure Guide in an upcoming AP.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

13 people marked this as a favorite.

Glad to see folks are enjoying the tale here. I really wanted to give a sense of what it was like to be on the Avenue, what the journey looked like, and how frankly terrifying it could be.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Glad to see folks are enjoying the tale here. I really wanted to give a sense of what it was like to be on the Avenue, what the journey looked like, and how frankly terrifying it could be.

I got that. Does the narrator have a name? I like their cynicism, but also their attention to detail.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

5 people marked this as a favorite.

No, I left the narrator intentionally vague. Just one of the dozens of shopkeeps who line the Avenue, making money off tourists and the faithful alike. To them, the whole thing is just business...

Horizon Hunters

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Are we gonna get a new Ascended? It'd be fun to have someone ascend in the age of Lost Omens. Probably would make for a neat AP too...


I assume that the chasm surrounding the Starstone Cathedral usually does something unfriendly to flight/levitation magic and to Transmutation magic that would let you fly? Why not just use the remaining bridges (supposedly 3 of the 4 still remain)? And what happens if you climb down into the chasm?

Radiant Oath

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Golarion hasn't had a solid harvest goddess since Azlanti times, right?

Technically I think Jaidi is still around, given she's listed as Erastil's divine spouse in Gods and Magic.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if her husband's popularity eclipsed hers in the post-Earthfall world, leaving knowledge of her only really accessible to very hard-core theologians...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I assume that the chasm surrounding the Starstone Cathedral usually does something unfriendly to flight/levitation magic and to Transmutation magic that would let you fly? Why not just use the remaining bridges (supposedly 3 of the 4 still remain)? And what happens if you climb down into the chasm?

The only known 100% fact of the test of the Starstone is that one must cross the chasam without using one of the bridges. Magic or wings or teleportation can work but may also fail.

The wiki says one person crossed by using a tight rope.


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Golarion hasn't had a solid harvest goddess since Azlanti times, right?

Technically I think Jaidi is still around, given she's listed as Erastil's divine spouse in Gods and Magic.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if her husband's popularity eclipsed hers in the post-Earthfall world, leaving knowledge of her only really accessible to very hard-core theologians...

Really? I had no idea; you’d think the goddess of agriculture and spouse of one of the core 20 would get more attention paid to her.

Liberty's Edge

keftiu wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Golarion hasn't had a solid harvest goddess since Azlanti times, right?

Technically I think Jaidi is still around, given she's listed as Erastil's divine spouse in Gods and Magic.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if her husband's popularity eclipsed hers in the post-Earthfall world, leaving knowledge of her only really accessible to very hard-core theologians...

Really? I had no idea; you’d think the goddess of agriculture and spouse of one of the core 20 would get more attention paid to her.

Maybe she stopped paying attention to Golarion during the long darkness because there was little need for her teachings and blessings, whereas her husband's were very much in demand.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Golarion hasn't had a solid harvest goddess since Azlanti times, right?

Technically I think Jaidi is still around, given she's listed as Erastil's divine spouse in Gods and Magic.

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if her husband's popularity eclipsed hers in the post-Earthfall world, leaving knowledge of her only really accessible to very hard-core theologians...

Really? I had no idea; you’d think the goddess of agriculture and spouse of one of the core 20 would get more attention paid to her.
Maybe she stopped paying attention to Golarion during the long darkness because there was little need for her teachings and blessings, whereas her husband's were very much in demand.

I’m pretty sure Ruins of Azlant has a backmatter article that says humanity basically survived because of her blessings. You’d think that - or how important farming still is, as it hasn’t gone away - would earn her a little more respect.

Radiant Oath

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I mean, part of the issue is Golarion as a setting has expanded, shifted and changed over time: Erastil was basically introduced as the agriculture god initially, and then they made the decision to introduce a pantheon the Azlanti worshipped specifically, and once that occurred, they had to reconcile how this pantheon interacted with the Core 20.

And then another part of the issue is that the setting initially assumed very little cultural continuity between Azlant and the cultures that would later form in the Inner Sea region. That the only real Azlanti culture that was left was Aroden and what he brought with him. As time's gone on, the people writing the setting have come to the conclusion that that wouldn't make sense (and I agree) and worship of the gods the Azlanti worshipped wouldn't just cease because the empire no longer existed as a political entity. Communities of survivors would have turned to those gods for comfort and aid, especially ones whose aid would directly impact their chances of survival, like Jaidi.

It's honestly part of a long-standing issue with pantheons in RPG settings (at least in my opinion). Paizo's only begun to explore how complex and multifaceted even a single deity can be throughout history, rather than as a singular unchanging entity designed to facilitate gameplay for classes like Clerics. They've had the time to let their setting's religions become more organic and varied, rather than the frankly artificial-feeling way a lot of the Older TTRPG's settings are.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There is also Erastils and Jaidis daughter, though she is still just an empyreal lord and nor a full fledged diety, and while she is about agriculture her specific domain is way more niche as empyreal lords tend to be.

Also maybe it's just me and where I am in life, but my brain didn't even entertain a mor eoptimistic reading of the ending which is strange since I'm more of an optimist itself. Upon reading the comments and rereading the story, I am abit more intrigued about the ambiuity of it

Acquisitives

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

great little story.

there's a little supplement at the end of one of the AGENTS OF EDGEWATCH volumes that talks about failed and prospective takers of the test. I thought it was a really good read, and built an NPC in my current game from a character mentioned there.


Marcus Ewert wrote:

It's funny, I was just re-reading the classic 1st ed. D&D module AGAINST THE CULT OF THE REPTILE GOD, and was struck by the presence of benign harvest goddess Merikka...

If I were running a Pathfinder campaign right now, I'd totally let Dyrani ascend! And then have Her church grow, with the PCs - a whole adventure path! Love the idea of Urgathoa as an antaganoist - and like Ghlaunder, and Mazzmezz, and some die-hard followers of Deskari...

I can see Zyphus going against her too. A deity that uses a scythe and loves to cause accidental deaths. Honestly, I can see them being the biggest menace to ascendant hopefuls in general.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Considering all the resent she grew from her ascension, I'd gladly see this new goddess:

Dyrani of the Harvest
"The harvest is not a means to an end, it's an end in itself!"

Alignement: Neutral Evil
Edicts: Work until exhaustion, Sacrifice your health for your kids, Support the community, Endure your life till the end.
Anathema: Take a day off, Use birth control techniques, Educate yourself or your kids, Use magic or technology to improve your productivity, Work for a better future.
Followers Alignment: LE, NE, LN, N

Divine Ability: Constitution
Divine Font: Harm
Divine Skill: Lore (Labor)
Favored Weapon: Scythe
Domains: Duty, Family, Toil


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I assume that the chasm surrounding the Starstone Cathedral usually does something unfriendly to flight/levitation magic and to Transmutation magic that would let you fly? Why not just use the remaining bridges (supposedly 3 of the 4 still remain)? And what happens if you climb down into the chasm?

The only known 100% fact of the test of the Starstone is that one must cross the chasam without using one of the bridges. Magic or wings or teleportation can work but may also fail.

The wiki says one person crossed by using a tight rope.

And one of the Edgewatch books mentions a prospective god of bakers that's thinking about baking a bridge across.

Wayfinders Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

That was a lovely story, Jason. I very much enjoyed its pathos, and the changing fortunes of this goddess of the harvest as the whims and bloodlust of the crowd change. I can feel her mingled hope, fear and despair.

For those wanting to track down the "Starfinder Hopefuls' article, you can find it in Agents of Edgewatch, AP 160, Assault on Hunting Lodge Seven.

I do hope that we can see a deity ascend in the Age of Lost Omens, whether it is one of the hopefuls detailed in that article or a newer deity altogether. (Though I have to admit that I am delighted to see so much attention being given to Tufi, Goddess of Baking!)

Hmm

PS If I were to pick one, I'd choose Teki, the goddess of forgotten and unlikely heroes. Because only a truly unlikely hero will ascend that starstone!

Radiant Oath

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I'll be honest, my bias lies with Tufi. Because I feel we need gods in the setting for more mundane, non-adventurey aspects of reality like cooking and baking.

Also I had a PC for a cooking-themed play-by-post that fell through a few years back who was the master baker of the group, and that was fun!

Wayfinders Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Yakman wrote:
There's a little supplement at the end of one of the AGENTS OF EDGEWATCH volumes that talks about failed and prospective takers of the test. I thought it was a really good read, and built an NPC in my current game from a character mentioned there.

Yakman, I have to ask. Which of the characters inspired your NPC?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

There's technically a new god among the divinities of the Inner Sea that ascended during our age, the Age of Lost Omens. The Iron Goddess, Casandalee. The adventurers of Numeria actually helped her ascend, right?

Yet I suppose she isn't one of the "Ascended", as she didn't went through the Test of the Star Stone... I'm to attached to her, as the Iron Gods AP is one of my favorites.


pixierose wrote:
There is also Erastils and Jaidis daughter, though she is still just an empyreal lord and nor a full fledged diety, and while she is about agriculture her specific domain is way more niche as empyreal lords tend to be.

I didn't know Cernunnos had a sister.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

I'll be honest, my bias lies with Tufi. Because I feel we need gods in the setting for more mundane, non-adventurey aspects of reality like cooking and baking.

Also I had a PC for a cooking-themed play-by-post that fell through a few years back who was the master baker of the group, and that was fun!

God of Cooking, Baking, and Mixology coming in Paizo's Golarion Cuisine cookbook; that they haven't announced, because they have no idea they are making it yet. :D

I will feature not only lore and mechanical options relating to food and drink in Golarion, but real-world recipes as well!! Along with the release of the new Culinarian Archetype, skilled at the creation of magical food and drink capable of buffing and debuffing friend and foe alike, or even creating a familar or companion made of food!!! It is all very delicious really.
(DISCLAIMER: I have been informed by the local Hellknight Order, the Golden League, and the Umbral Court to redact my false statements and make it known that I am a consummate liar and charlatan. No such book exists and shall likely never exist, on pain of my own death. O.o)

Satire aside, there are a few deities you could argue take an interestnin food, but maybe not its preperation. That said, a dedicated God would be nice. I think one could use any number of Deities dedicated to perfecting some form of art, craft, trade, or even alchemy for this, with a bit of added flavor (pun intended). Some examples that seem appropriate would be Abadar (cooking for money), Daikitsu (farming and perfecting a craft/trade, like cooking), Erastil (hunting, farming, and taking car of family and community, such as by cooking), Shelyn (culinary arts are arguably an art form).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
pixierose wrote:
There is also Erastils and Jaidis daughter, though she is still just an empyreal lord and nor a full fledged diety, and while she is about agriculture her specific domain is way more niche as empyreal lords tend to be.
I didn't know Cernunnos had a sister.

Mhmm Hycamora is one of me favorite minor dieties. Because she is a good aligned diety with some bug themes and I think that is few and far between.

Radiant Oath

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ly'ualdre wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

I'll be honest, my bias lies with Tufi. Because I feel we need gods in the setting for more mundane, non-adventurey aspects of reality like cooking and baking.

Also I had a PC for a cooking-themed play-by-post that fell through a few years back who was the master baker of the group, and that was fun!

God of Cooking, Baking, and Mixology coming in Paizo's Golarion Cuisine cookbook; that they haven't announced, because they have no idea they are making it yet. :D

I will feature not only lore and mechanical options relating to food and drink in Golarion, but real-world recipes as well!! Along with the release of the new Culinarian Archetype, skilled at the creation of magical food and drink capable of buffing and debuffing friend and foe alike, or even creating a familar or companion made of food!!! It is all very delicious really.
(DISCLAIMER: I have been informed by the local Hellknight Order, the Golden League, and the Umbral Court to redact my false statements and make it known that I am a consummate liar and charlatan. No such book exists and shall likely never exist, on pain of my own death. O.o)

Satire aside, there are a few deities you could argue take an interestnin food, but maybe not its preperation. That said, a dedicated God would be nice. I think one could use any number of Deities dedicated to perfecting some form of art, craft, trade, or even alchemy for this, with a bit of added flavor (pun intended). Some examples that seem appropriate would be Abadar (cooking for money), Daikitsu (farming and perfecting a craft/trade, like cooking), Erastil (hunting, farming, and taking car of family and community, such as by cooking), Shelyn (culinary arts are arguably an art form).

You joke, but the Lost Omens Travel Guide will probably cover at least SOME aspects of this! ;)


Good story. I want to know what happens next

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