Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Balance (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Balance (PFRPG)
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Perfect Order, Perfect Chaos

There are those who walk a middle road, the heroes to whom questions of morality come second to some greater goal. It is to these bold individuals that the gods of balance offer their hands. Whether it’s the god of cities and civilization or the guardians of the wild places, the goddess of death or the twisted and insane lord of magic, the neutral gods of Golarion are every bit as active as their righteous or evil counterparts. Often misunderstood, their worshipers run the gambit from enlightened scholars to bloodthirsty paragons of battle, all bound together by the same knowledge: that there are distinctions more important than good versus evil.

Faiths of Balance presents a player-friendly overview of the neutral-aligned religions and faiths of the Pathfinder campaign setting, along with new rules and information to help players customize pious characters in both flavor and mechanics.

    Inside this book, you'll find:
  • Information on each of the major neutral gods and his or her corresponding religion, including what’s expected of adventurers of various classes, ways for the faithful to identify each other, taboos, devotions and ceremonies, church hierarchies, holy texts, religious holidays, and more
  • An overview of the ancient Green Faith, to which many druids still hold
  • New character traits to help represent and cement a character’s background in the church
  • New feats for holy warriors
  • New god-specific spells for a wide variety of spellcasters
  • New magic items designed specifically for members of the faith
  • New religious organizations and military orders, plus a paladin code for the chosen warriors of Abadar, god of cities
  • Details on minor neutral deities, powerful fey entities, and more!

Written by Colin McComb

Each bimonthly 32-page Pathfinder Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for social, magic, religious, and combat-focused characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-316-3

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Solid Introduction to the Neutral Faiths

4/5

Faiths of Balance is a thirty-two page introduction to the major "neutral" faiths in the official Pathfinder campaign setting of Golarion. The eight faiths covered are Abadar, Calistria, Gorum, Gozreh, Irori, Nethys, Pharasma, and (more a philosophy than the deity) the Green Faith. The introduction explains that this book isn't so much about the gods themselves but about their average worshippers. I occasionally found a minor bit here or there that expanded on what we already knew about these faiths from major books like Inner Sea Gods, but for the most part this companion book is better thought of as a readable, capsule summary for players than any attempt to introduce "new" lore into the setting. Still, it's much more reasonable to expect the average player to read a page or two about their new cleric's god in a companion like this than a lengthy treatment in a hardcover book.

The inside front cover depicts the holy symbols of the eight faiths covered in the book along with their alignment, domains, favoured weapons, and centers of worship. The inside back cover reproduces the covert art, sans logo. The interior artwork is generally of a high quality, with the depictions of individual priests of each god a highlight.

The first part of the book is on the faiths. Each of the eight faiths gets a two-page overview that includes a discussion of its goals, identifying symbols and tenets, taboos, how they interact with adventurers and other faiths, how different (core) classes are or are not represented, and two new religion traits for characters who worship that deity to select from. Unfortunately, most of the traits are rather mundane and unimaginative--very much in the "you get a +1 bonus to a skill, and it's a class skill for you" vein (which can be useful, but doesn't exactly spark creativity and distinctive backgrounds). I was originally going to go through each of the eight faiths in this review, but it's probably more useful for me to sum things up by saying the entries are generally well-written and informative. I didn't know, for example, that Nethys rarely pays any attention at all to his worshippers, that Gorum believes that those who surrender on the field of battle should be spared, that Pharasma has some surprising beliefs about abortion, or how well Abadar plays into the old-school D&D idea of advancing civilization and bringing order to the dangerous wilderness. There's also a two-page summary of minor neutral deities in the setting (like my favourite, Groetus, the God of the End Times)--each of these gets a paragraph or two of description and one new trait.

The remainder of the book is a series of two-page entries on topics including religious organisations, feats, magical items, spells, and holidays.

The religious organisations covered are The Companies of the Red Standard (a knightly order sworn to Gorum), The Reborn House (adventuring spellcasters sworn to Nethys who try to right wrongs caused by magic), The Sacred Order of Archivists (scholars of Irori who try to preserve history from destruction), The Sea Dragons (Abadarians who maintain civilised seaways), The Voices of the Spire (militant Pharasmins totally devoted to the destruction of undead), The Wasp Queens (female thieves who worship Calistria), and The Wind Callers (worshippers of Gozreh who work with ship's captains). Although there's only a couple of paragraphs of description for each of these organisations, they're really flavourful and interesting--and I could definitely see entire campaigns premised on every PC being a member of one of these groups. Certainly could be a fun change from the "a bunch of random adventurers meet up" tradition.

The feats section contains a reasonable selection, and (appropriate for a book like this) they're reasonably balanced. This section also contains new "channel foci" (a concept introduced in an earlier book) which allows clerics of particular faiths to use channel energy on a special holy symbol to create a particular effect. For example, Abadarian clerics could channel through small gold-plated scales to influence creatures' attitudes (through Diplomacy) as a swift action instead of the normal rule of a minute's interaction. I like the concept.

The entry on magic items is interesting, as the items can be used by anyone (even non-worshippers), but have an extra effect that only works when used by worshippers of the relevant faith. The clockwork key, for example, leads constructs to avoid attacking its wielder, but a worshipper of Abadar can use it to try to paralyze a construct entirely. (I think this particular item is really cool, but overpowered given its price.) This section also contains a sidebar detailing a code of conduct for Paladins of Abadar.

The spells section isn't clear on whether they can be cast by anyone or only worshippers of the deity they relate to. The only spell that jumps out at me as being particularly interesting is one called early judgment, which shows the target what their fate will be in the afterlife!

The section on holidays provides just a brief description of different special events within the eight faiths--I don't think there was enough room to do this topic justice here.

Overall, Faiths of Balance is a solid, concise introduction to the eight major neutral faiths in the Pathfinder pantheon. It's very surface-level material, so don't expect major revelations or deep analyses. But for what it is, it's good.


Excellent book

5/5

Like the other two books in the "faiths" line this book is very very good, it really brings flavor to a lot of deities who (to me at least) seemed very bland before.
Keep in mind that this book contains information about deities that are neutral on the good-evil axis or nuatral in both the good-evil and law-chaos axis, the deities that are neutral in the law-chaos axis but not on the good-evil axis are covered in the other two books (faiths of purity and faiths of corruption).
Here you will also find the paladin oaths for paladins of Abadar.


4/5

I have reviewed this book over on RPGGeek.com.


Neutrality is harder than it looks...Faiths of Balance

5/5

Along with its sister publications, Faiths of Purity and Faiths of Corruption, this volume is a must have for creating a cleric. Rich in detail, broad in scope, and just frakin' neat. Check my full review: Faiths of Balance


Solid book for followers of neutral deities.

4/5

Faiths of Balance is a solid resource for players that choose to follow a neutral deity. With information on what types of adventurer would follow a deity, what identifies worshipers, how other faiths get along - there is a wealth of information to help a player more accurately portray a follower of any of the neutral deities covered in the book. Coupled with new traits, feats and spells there is plenty to help a player or GM.

See my full review at irontavern.com


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Sebastian wrote:

What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? ...

Close. Lust for fine chocolate, cheese with holes, and luxury timepieces.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

This book WILL talk about paladins of Abadar; there's a sidebar about them in the faiths section at the end.

It does not contain information about paladins of Irori. While that's an interesting concept, and it's technically legal... paladins of Irori are super super rare. To the point where the're not really supported as an official "option," really. There's certainly no paladin order of Irori in the Inner Sea region, so there's nothing to say about paladins of Irori in this book.

That might change if and when we talk about how Irori is worshiped in other regions of the world, though.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

This book WILL talk about paladins of Abadar; there's a sidebar about them in the faiths section at the end.

It does not contain information about paladins of Irori. While that's an interesting concept, and it's technically legal... paladins of Irori are super super rare. To the point where the're not really supported as an official "option," really. There's certainly no paladin order of Irori in the Inner Sea region, so there's nothing to say about paladins of Irori in this book.

That might change if and when we talk about how Irori is worshiped in other regions of the world, though.

That's an acceptable answer, I guess.

I guess my Monk/Paladin of Irori is a long way from home.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Faiths of Balance is his cover as well.

Sweet. I figured as much but I've been wrong about these things before so erring on the side of caution seemed like a good plan. :-D

Anyway, the cover art for Faiths of Balance can be found HERE.


Mike Silva wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

This book WILL talk about paladins of Abadar; there's a sidebar about them in the faiths section at the end.

It does not contain information about paladins of Irori. While that's an interesting concept, and it's technically legal... paladins of Irori are super super rare. To the point where the're not really supported as an official "option," really. There's certainly no paladin order of Irori in the Inner Sea region, so there's nothing to say about paladins of Irori in this book.

That might change if and when we talk about how Irori is worshiped in other regions of the world, though.

That's an acceptable answer, I guess.

I guess my Monk/Paladin of Irori is a long way from home.

There is always the option of writing your own paladin code based on how you interpret Irori.


Heine Stick wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Faiths of Balance is his cover as well.

Sweet. I figured as much but I've been wrong about these things before so erring on the side of caution seemed like a good plan. :-D

Anyway, the cover art for Faiths of Balance can be found HERE.

Sooo pretty. *drools*

Liberty's Edge

Kajehase wrote:
Mike Silva wrote:


That's an acceptable answer, I guess.

I guess my Monk/Paladin of Irori is a long way from home.

There is always the option of writing your own paladin code based on how you interpret Irori.

If I get to play him I will, and I'm sure the other codes in the Faiths of Purity book along with Abadar's in this one will help in fleshing it out.

Dark Archive

So, when do we get the evil version of this book?

Paizo Employee CEO

Chris Ballard wrote:
So, when do we get the evil version of this book?

[Sings to herself while putting up a wreath] "It's beginning to look a lot like..."

-Lisa

Silver Crusade

Lisa Stevens wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
So, when do we get the evil version of this book?

[Sings to herself while putting up a wreath] "It's beginning to look a lot like..."

-Lisa

Need to get those Zon-Zons ready for stocking stuffers!

Dark Archive

Lisa Stevens wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
So, when do we get the evil version of this book?

[Sings to herself while putting up a wreath] "It's beginning to look a lot like..."

-Lisa

Sounds like I may need to be on the naughty list this year.


Lisa Stevens wrote:

[Sings to herself while putting up a wreath] "It's beginning to look a lot like..."

-Lisa

I know that one!

"...a lot like fish men."

So, we'll get it "when the stars are right"? ;)

No antipaladin codes for Calistria and that other one? I can easily imagine an antipaladin of Calistria - almost Slaaneshi.

Still, this one is very much on my list of "Stuff To Get".

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Chris Ballard wrote:
So, when do we get the evil version of this book?

It's beginning to look a lot like... Halloween?


OK, I burned much of a $25 gift card on the condition cards and purity for Erastil. This one is going to have info on the Green Faith? My birthday is at the end of July, if I get another gift card for Amazon, this will definitely be a purchase.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The priestest of Nethys on page 15 looks wicked cool as does all the art.

@FenrysStar - There is a full section on the Green Faith like all the major gods get.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
The priestest of Nethys on page 15 looks wicked cool as does all the art.

Yes I agree, she is cool and cute :)


I must confess, I like Faiths of Balance a lot.

Silver Crusade

I glanced through the PDF and found some great flavor for my inquisitor. Once my print version comes in I'll sit with tea in hand and give it a thorough read.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I loved Faiths of Purity and am really thinking about picking this up. I have one question, and I'm sure the answer is no, but here goes. Is there an antipaladin code for Calistria?

Sure I'll have to wait for Faiths of Corruption for that.


What?! No paladin code for Alseta? I... I'm... a paladin of Alseta... I do have a code...


Lazaro wrote:

I loved Faiths of Purity and am really thinking about picking this up. I have one question, and I'm sure the answer is no, but here goes. Is there an antipaladin code for Calistria?

Sure I'll have to wait for Faiths of Corruption for that.

No anti-paladin codes for anyone.

Contributor

Lazaro wrote:

I loved Faiths of Purity and am really thinking about picking this up. I have one question, and I'm sure the answer is no, but here goes. Is there an antipaladin code for Calistria?

Sure I'll have to wait for Faiths of Corruption for that.

You will, in fact, have to wait for Faiths of Corruption for antipaladins. Or so I have been told by a little golem.


If I was going to open up the Sky Swim spell to all core rulebook casters, what spell levels should be appropriate for them?


Twin Dragons wrote:
If I was going to open up the Sky Swim spell to all core rulebook casters, what spell levels should be appropriate for them?

bump.

Contributor

Twin Dragons wrote:
If I was going to open up the Sky Swim spell to all core rulebook casters, what spell levels should be appropriate for them?

Spells should be designed and "priced" as if they were available to all casters of that type, not just a specific faith. A 2nd-level general spell should be the same power as a 2nd-level spell of Abadar, and vice-versa. So if you want to open up a spell to more members of that class, you just use the listed level.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Twin Dragons wrote:
If I was going to open up the Sky Swim spell to all core rulebook casters, what spell levels should be appropriate for them?
Spells should be designed and "priced" as if they were available to all casters of that type, not just a specific faith. A 2nd-level general spell should be the same power as a 2nd-level spell of Abadar, and vice-versa. So if you want to open up a spell to more members of that class, you just use the listed level.

No, I mean every spellcaster type in the core rulebook; bards, (clerics & druids - already covered), paladins, rangers, sor/wiz.

So regarding these classes which spell levels would be appropriate for assigning the Sky Swim spell too.

Contributor

Ah.

Look at the class level where the existing classes get the spell, and see what spell levels are available to bards, paladins, and rangers at that class level.

By default, these other classes should get the spell at the same level or a slightly later level than the listed class (because a spell that's good for clerics but not super-thematically-appropriate for bards should be available to bards AFTER the cleric's already had it).

For example, a spell that's on the 5th-level cleric list is something a cleric could pick up at character level 9.
At character level 9, bards have been casting 3rd-level spells for a couple of levels, so you probably want to make it bard 4 so the bard gets it at level 10 (after the cleric).
At 9th level, paladins have access to 2nd-level spells, but if you make it a 2nd-level spell then the paladin could cast it as early as 7th level, which means she's getting it before the cleric would--better to make it paladin 3, to delay it until the paladin hits level 10, giving the cleric a "head start" on using it.
If the spell in question were a sonic spell or a spell especially suited to a bard, then you could justify making it a bard 3 spell so the bard gets it earlier than the cleric (but then I'd wonder why the original designer didn't make it a bard spell in the first place). Likewise, if it were a smitey-melee sort of spell or a spell especially suited to a paladin, then you could perhaps justify making it a 2nd-level paladin spell so the paladin gets it before the cleric (but... same wondering).

And as always, compare the spell to other class spells of that level. If the sonic spell is better than other bard 3 spells, keep it at bard 4. If the smitey-melee spell is better than other paladin 2 spells, keep it at paladin 3.

Note that it's okay for a spell to be an optimal spell level and power for one class, and a poor or weak spell for its level for another class. For example, a bard 2 spell is available at bard 4th, and if you made it a sor/wiz 3 or even 4 it probably would be weak compared to fireball or cone of cold, but that's okay because the "target audience" for the spell is bards, and it's okay for it to be a weaker option for other classes--basically, if it's at the right power level for the target audience, it is better for it to be a weak spell for the secondary audience than for it to be a strong spell for the secondary audience.

Dark Archive

I can't seem to find the paladin code for Abadar. Where is it? Would the paladin code be what's listed in the goals section?

Dark Archive

Chris Ballard wrote:
I can't seem to find the paladin code for Abadar.

Page 27, in the sidebar.

It's not the most intuitive place to put it, with the magic items, but I suspect it was the only 'open space' lying around, that wouldn't necessitate cutting down the Abadar write up, or some other section of text.

Dark Archive

Set wrote:
Chris Ballard wrote:
I can't seem to find the paladin code for Abadar.

Page 27, in the sidebar.

It's not the most intuitive place to put it, with the magic items, but I suspect it was the only 'open space' lying around, that wouldn't necessitate cutting down the Abadar write up, or some other section of text.

Thank you. Of course, that's not where I'd expect it to be.


Arachne wrote:
No antipaladin codes for Calistria and that other one? I can easily imagine an antipaladin of Calistria - almost Slaaneshi.

Yeah baby!


Does this book include information on the minor goddess Brigh beyond what is presented in Gods & Magic?


There is a couple of hundred word piece under Minor Deities, do not have G&M to hand so no comparison.

Just purchased all 3 Faith books and am currently reseting my core pantheons. Awesome stuff!

There was a 'non-generic Cleric' article posted a while back, tailoring the Clerics of specific deities more closely. Anyone interested in brainstorming such conversions?


Thanks, Bwang. I went ahead and got the PDF, and can report that the info on Brigh is basically the same as that in Gods and Magic, except for a couple of minor details that differ. Part of me wishes there had been a bit more on this minor goddess, but the other part of me is gleefully realizing that the scant detail leaves me lots of wiggle room for backstory.

It seems like a pretty good book.

Grand Lodge

Hey to any who care:

It looks like the construction information for the calming oils magic item on page 26 got moved to the end of the description of the next magic item, the clockwork key.

Additionally, while we're on the subject, it looks like the construction information may be in error. For one, it requires Craft Potion which was likely meant to be Brew Potion, but actually this could be in error, too, since the item itself does not function like normal potions and oils do. It is more like the various elixir magic items and therefore probably requires Craft Wondrous Item instead.

Grand Lodge

Also on page 27, the construction requirements for the triple-stinging blade say it needs the Craft Weapon feat, which isn't a thing. It was probably meant to say Craft Magical Arms and Armor.

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