I'm considering developing some material on the Eastern Front Academy, which is a low-power new arcane school on the border of Taldor, just because I love an underdog.
And the interesting subtext is the school was started as an attempt to give the town resources as it's way too far in the boondocks to have any natural trade or political capital. But partially because it's new and far from anything it can't attract very good students, so most of them will be unwanted second sons from minor nobility or total newbies who just scraped the money together because they wanted to be wizards/alchemists.
What happens with small population of low-level wizard kids, a bunch of bored soldiers, and some prairie farmers under a lot of economic pressure?
Yeah, I guess given that Azlant was magically ruled by Veiled Masters/Aboleths and destroyed it when they got uppity it would be a conservative assumption that at least one nation is a catspaw.
Also, it's hard to say Cheliax isn't at least deeply in sway of devils. The state religion is diabolism, specifically of Asmodeus, so if he deigned to weigh in on anything there's little doubt they'd do it. And more directly Gorthoklek is on hand to literally reign in Abrogail II and has been there since her grandmother's time.
So one of the more interesting parts of religion in the Inner Sea is that there are so many choices. Even for non-divine casters, depending on how your DM interprets things, gods are active forces in the world, and each has their own ethics, strictures they suggest/impose on their worshippers, and their own goals in the universe, which is much larger than just Golarion, particularly for gods with domains that interact with the Tapestry like Desna.
Yet deities are also socially isolated. Sarenrae is a "keleshite" goddess to many in the Inner Sea, despite having existed before humans arose on Golarion(I'm assuming, since the sealing of the Rough Beast sounds like a bad day Azlant would remember).
It's easier to explain for gods that rose more recently, like the Ascended Three, Irori, and Nethys, since their worship mostly spread from where they were once mortal, that same for gods like The Eternal Emperor, Nalinivati, etc.
Unlike omnipotent creator gods posited in our world, Deities in Pathfinder are limited. They can only pay attention to so many things at once, perhaps explaining why ancient gods don't have worshippers scattered evenly across the world, based on who's most suited to them. They build on existing cults and churches, and worship grows based on human noting their attention. Some may also have cultural biases of their own, or disadvantages. My favorite example of this is Mazludeh, who is mostly worshipped in Holomog, despite being an awesome NG goddess. But she's also very busy keeping the Celestial Concordance running, and is a giant snake person, which probably doesn't help with PR, given the classic 'snake' = 'bad' cliche being rather omnipresent within the setting.
But how do we expect this to evolve going forward? As Golarion advances (we know they do eventually figure out spaceflight and computers, despite magic tempting all their high Int people into the highly individual study of magic) their societies will crash together.
Even now, holy books of many religions are traveling all over the world, which means a lot of dogma is going to smash into each other. Does everybody abandon all the local deities and eventually gravitate to the major ones? Is there an advantage to minor gods? As power gamers we know some cleric domains are better than others, in-universe someone must notice that. And the gods themselves wax and wane: Asmodeus is one of the most successful Evil Deities because he can work with others and has spend eons establishing contracts and agreements and alliances. I get the sense if Lamashtu or Zon Kuthon get in trouble, they're going to have few people interested in helping them.
Starfinder isn't a great answer for this because of the Gap, it's a confounding variable that could have changed a lot of things in ways we don't understand yet.
So does anyone have any thoughts? Are we all going to be worshipping Iron Gods in a few centuries? Maybe a lot more mythic characters will rise and there will be an Age of Demigods? Or is the Luck Domain too strong? All Desna all the time?
James Jacobs wrote:
Xin himself was not a "certified good guy" either. He was lawful neutral. He had some very progressive and respectable ideas about equality of the races, but that doesn't mean he was a good guy... just that he wasn't evil.
that's interesting. I guess it's an artifact of trying to map complex multivariate ethics onto the alignment grid, but being progressive enough to found a new society largely in rejection of a deeply racist old one you grew up in not counting as "good" raises a lot of questions about morality to me.
Obviously Shelyn being a major god to the Azlanti, her worshippers must have mostly been pretty racist, in line with Azlant culture, but presumably they weren't evil, per one-step alignment rules for clerics.
Michael Talley 759 wrote:
I've always liked Aristocrat/Wizards. I think it makes sense that Stavian III didn't progress very far, when you think about it, he spends a lot more of his time being Emperor than he's likely to studying magic.
Taldoran nobles love arcane magic because it's elitist, you can build on and buy it, and magic items last essentially forever. Most of them aren't going to be the most dedicated to pure theory or adventuring, though, they're too rich. Being just wizard enough to pump out low level magic items, potions, glamers, and one-up local rivals is what they've going to be most motivated to do.
On Deific alignment. Lissala seems to parallel the path of Thassilon, starting out as a goddess of rune magic and the seven virtues of rule. She must have been good, or at least Neutral, otherwise Certified Good Guy Xin wouldn't have imported her from Azlant.
In some fluff she supposedly gradually withdrew as the Runelords abandoned service to her and other gods in favor of pure arcane magic and perverted the seven virtues into the seven mortal sins, but in other materials she's a Lawful Evil goddess right in there with them and modern cults, doing Bad Shizz along with incidental rune magic.
So did she... change when the majority of her worshippers went evil? Did the runelords pervert or seduce her to the dark side? Was she always bad and Xin is just an epically bad judge of character(explaining how he didn't see the runelords coming either, I guess)?
The former is kind of horrifying, from a divine point of view. If a large enough ratio of your worshippers doing something forces changes in the god, then Naderi is doomed, which is sad. It also makes the Cult of the Dawnflower a threat to Sarenrae, at least from her current point of view. Retroactively she will have always been a goddess of assassins and warriors of empire.
_New Outsider Races Were Always There, Local Guide Claims:_
---Despite no one ever seeing or mentioning them before, several races described as 'integral' to the local setting of a popular plane of existence have been gaining popularity in tales from planar tourists and reincarnated petitioners.
"I don't know what you're talking about, there have always been Flibbertigibbets in Nirvana, they're the primary servants of a Neutral Good demigod I definitely didn't just make up.", claimed a defensive planar summoner when pressed for comment.
Said races prominently feature the use of several unusual Wondrous Items in their cultural practices and are said to wear arms and armor with a minor trait related to their plane of origin which nonetheless no one has used. Said arms and armor are said to ultimately be largely equivalent to those previously known in combat, with some disadvantages not obvious until several customers attempted to use them outside their normal milieu.
Clerics of the thematically interesting demigod were seen hastily covering a Temple building in one of Golarion's larger but somewhat less recently eventful cities with dust and weathering under the pretext of "cleaning this long-standing and very locally historic building."
When asked, a local figure of some standing with a colorful history and family ties with the church was said to be looking for aid with the traditional enemies of the church, a longstanding political faction with ties to an evil power said to have "plagued the city from time immemorial, or so I have been recently informed."
What do you think is the most unexplored country in the Inner Sea so far in Pathfinder products? I was thinking it was Isger, because it's not very central/dramatic and hasn't had a major storyline but because of the Goblinblood Wars, it actually appears in quite a few books with little details here and there.
Druma or Razmiran maybe? They both have a really cool concept, but don't seem to have a lot of development since they were introduced.
Geb is run by a ghost, Usaro's kings are all killed and magically resurrected as demon apes.
Some members of the Umbral Court in Nidal are clearly not-human, although not super obvious what they are, or were.
Given the ruby circlet they have all worn since then, despite the long line of human Pharoahs, Osirion may actually be run by fire elementals since Khemet the Forthbringer.
Excited to see a mention of Sekamina (which I guess is just named Ydersius now? I can't find a canon reference of what they called their empire, but pathfinderwiki suggests they just named it after their godking.)
We haven't gotten a lot of serpentfolk stuff since Serpent's Skull seven years ago. Anything on the docket? Despite Venomwall being mentioned in early Varisia stuff, I never saw it expanded anywhere unless I missed something, which is a shame because it sounded pretty cool.
Still holding out hope that Nations of Magic: Nex and Geb book will be announced next year.
In line with the Halflings question, in general more detail on non-human sentients and their civilizations on Golarion would be v interesting. Particularly the extremely strange ones could use more detail. I was sad that Nagajor was sketched so vaguely. It was presented as basically 'confucian period mountain chinese villages' which seems crazy, half the population doesn't even have hands! Supposedly humanoids are super rare in that country at all, you'd think it would go in a very alien direction.
Surely Naga civilization has some really weird details that would be fun. What sorts of magical items and utility magic do they use? How do they eat and cook? The Nagaji can't do literally everything, how does an 'average' Naga go through daily routine? Do their buildings even have doors? Imagine going to the grand palace to see the standard 'NPC questgiver princess' and your standard Medium size Human Fighter Beefheart McLargeHuge is just faced with this cat flap looking thing all the Naga slither through ahead of him. Amazing.
from a Beholder's point of view, the biggest problem is that you're the only Beholder. No others of your 'perfect' subrace, no Great Mother goddess. On the plus side, there aren't any of the hated different Beholders they spend most of their time trying to exterminate for having the wrong number of eyes or differently colored plates back in Forgotten Realms.
So first order of business is figuring out reproduction, and making sure your clones or autozygomatic kids are all perfect and identical, then figuring out how to contact, replicate or yourself *become* the Great Mother.
Once that's all sorted, it's just a matter of enslaving all the inferior races and carving out your perfect underground cities in the Darklands.
Nex, obviously. Magical supercity run by stat-boosted geniuses in an unending cold war with an immortal ghost necromancer, his undead demigod girlfriend, their vampire lords, with legions of undead and intangible spies all around you probing every weakness. They can't even surrender because Geb would only accept one from Nex himself, who ain't even there anymore.
One can only imagine their intelligence tradecraft would make a hardened KGB handler weep tears of joy, since both sides can just /true resurrection/ their best agents when they are killed, so they just keep improving forever. And the two sides can use high level magic to attack each other indirectly; but of course Nex is at a huge disadvantage not having enough remaining arable land after all the bioweapon attacks to avoid importing food, and thus agents of Geb.
They probably issue you a first level spellbook and a two week counter-intelligence course just for testing non-evil and requesting citizenship.
For an engineer who loves magic and complicated problems, it's catnip. Logistics, magical arms race, high power level, unambiguous bad guys who are smart, yet a mostly stable (and probably one of the least 'fantasy medieval' flavored) city to live in.
I almost wish I could pick Desna. In the future of Golarion she's going to be amazing, as the civilizations there reach out into space with their improving magic and science. She's like the Starfleet Goddess, protector/explorer of the universe.
Sarenrae is probably the only major God I could worship myself. I respect how she rose from a simple Angel to the most powerful God in combat(she was the deciding blow against Rovogug), and while I might not be as forgiving and generous, I sure would like to be. NG is the best alignment, and all she asks in worship is that I make the world a better place.
Shelyn is a close one, I consider myself an artist, and I like her backstory, but there's too much to be done on Golarion right now, you can't just appreciate love and beauty and let the rest fall where it may. (plus without computers, electronics, or modern materials, most of my art skills are going to be unusable).
But the real answer is Zohls, the Empyreal Lord of Truth. As a researcher, the pursuit of truth, untangling of puzzles, and scientific experimentation is basically how I spend all my time. And even off work, I frantically read everything I can get my hands on, no matter the subject.
When I get hit by that Plane Shift, my first act will be a prayer to Zohls asking her to make me a cleric.