Issue that needs to be fixed in revised Campaign Setting book


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This came up in a thread in the Pathfinder Society forums but really needed to be addressed in general.

Pharasma has Death as one of her domains and several of the domain spells deal with creating undead, but Pharasma is completely opposed to that and despises undead. I understand that she is the goddess of death and not having that domain would be wrong, but the Campaign Setting entry for her really needs to have alternate domain spells for her in place of the create undead spells.


I'm not sure that is necessary. Any cleric of Pharasma knows that she despises the undead, so they won't prepare undead-creation spells in their domain slots, rather using those slots for spells from their other domain.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

This came up in a thread in the Pathfinder Society forums but really needed to be addressed in general.

Pharasma has Death as one of her domains and several of the domain spells deal with creating undead, but Pharasma is completely opposed to that and despises undead. I understand that she is the goddess of death and not having that domain would be wrong, but the Campaign Setting entry for her really needs to have alternate domain spells for her in place of the create undead spells.

This is an unfortunate bit of weirdness that, in order to fix, we would need to change the Death domain. I kind of wanted to do that, actually, but that would cause some backwards compatibility issues and so we decided not to do that.

So it's not something really that can be fixed right now... and since there are 5 domains for Pharasmin clerics to choose from, and even if one of them IS Death, the fact that you have two domains basically just means that for those levels, a properly played Pharasmin cleric will just end up with one actual domain spell choice for those few levels where create undead lives.

Sovereign Court

It would have been nice if one of the APG sub-domains where an appropriate alternative for Pharasma... maybe we'll see one in Faiths of Balance. (hint-hint.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Calixymenthillian wrote:
It would have been nice if one of the APG sub-domains where an appropriate alternative for Pharasma... maybe we'll see one in Faiths of Balance. (hint-hint.)

That would indeed have had been nice. Wish we'd thought of it at the time.

There'll be a Pathfinder AP installment describing Pharasma during the Carrion Crown AP. So likely at around PF #44 we'll have a chance to address this.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
So likely at around PF #44 we'll have a chance to address this.

Even better! :)


James, as someone in the other thread where this came up pointed out, the Souls sub-domain, which only Pharasma has access to, also has the animate dead domain spell. Should this be added to the errata thread for the APG?

Or does Pharamsa maybe need a rewrite about her hatred of undead, or at least give her a tolerance of the mindless undead, skeletons and zombies, that are created by animate dead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd say the simplest thing to do is a largely fluff solution: add some text about certain servants of Pharasma who voluntarily linger in the Boneyard so that their spirits can be be called into service by mortal clerics of Pharasma, temporarily incarnating to aid in their quest.

It probably would require some actual mechanical changes. Presumably, undead created in this way would crumble the moment they were out of a Pharasman's control, and the Pharasman would be expected to release that control as soon as the pressing need for such service had passed. They would also be neutral aligned, and not subject to smite.

Contributor

Maybe Pharasma gives her clerics the power to reverse those spells so they can Deanimate Undead? She'd like that a lot, and I'm thinking her clerics would to, especially if the casting time were put down to combat usefulness.

Alternately, and more creepily, what about if the clerics of Pharasma could do a ritual to Deanimate Undead at a distance, so long as they had access to the undead's name and/or grave? Sort of saying a mass for the dead and calling the wayward spirit back to Pharasma?

There'd be a good bit of drama in that and also some outright usefulness.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

James, as someone in the other thread where this came up pointed out, the Souls sub-domain, which only Pharasma has access to, also has the animate dead domain spell. Should this be added to the errata thread for the APG?

Or does Pharamsa maybe need a rewrite about her hatred of undead, or at least give her a tolerance of the mindless undead, skeletons and zombies, that are created by animate dead.

I'll see if I can get that errataed.

Pharasma's dislike of undead is too interesting a hook to rewrite, in any event. And she's not an evil deity anyway, so it doesn't make sense that she'd be messing around with undead in the first place.

At the VERY least, the article in PF when we get to her should provide some alternate spells for the troublemaker domains.


James Jacobs wrote:


I'll see if I can get that errataed.

Pharasma's dislike of undead is too interesting a hook to rewrite, in any event. And she's not an evil deity anyway, so it doesn't make sense that she'd be messing around with undead in the first place.

At the VERY least, the article in PF when we get to her should provide some alternate spells for the troublemaker domains.

Hey James, any update on an errata for this yet?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


I'll see if I can get that errataed.

Pharasma's dislike of undead is too interesting a hook to rewrite, in any event. And she's not an evil deity anyway, so it doesn't make sense that she'd be messing around with undead in the first place.

At the VERY least, the article in PF when we get to her should provide some alternate spells for the troublemaker domains.

Hey James, any update on an errata for this yet?

I spent part of today trying to figure out where to put the information into the upcoming World Guide: The Inner Sea and didn't really find a good spot for it. The Pathfinder Adventure Path that covers Pharasma (probably PF #44, but no promises) is still probably going to be the best place for this.

But it'll most likely boil down to this: IF you're a Pharasmin and you take the Death domain, you just have to rely 100% on your other domain for what 3rd level, 6th level, and 8th level spells you can cast. Not a perfect solution, but it does the trick.

Note: This still doesn't qualify as errata. The fact that there's essentially 3 spells in the Death domain that worshipers of Pharasma probably shouldn't ever cast is just an unfortunate bit of flavor vs. rules that players of Pharasma will just need to cope with. Again... you have 5 domains to choose from (more when you include subdomains, from the APG), so it's not like Death is the ONLY choice.


James,

Actually the question of errata was more for the Souls subdomain, available ONLY to Pharasma, added in the APG because it was so recent and could be still be errataed and changed in a 2nd printing. It is, of course, way too late to change anything about the Death domain.

Sovereign Court

Faiths of Balance seems the natural home for this, no?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

James,

Actually the question of errata was more for the Souls subdomain, available ONLY to Pharasma, added in the APG because it was so recent and could be still be errataed and changed in a 2nd printing. It is, of course, way too late to change anything about the Death domain.

It's unlikely that Jason'll go for an errata based solely on Golarion's flavor, alas.

Contributor

I wrote a little bit in the Osirion book about how Pharasma's clerics (in one specific instance in a holy necropolis) tend to turn something of a blind eye towards some undead, allowing clerics of Groetus (or perhaps a cult of Groetus within the orthodox Pharasmite church) to bargain with, interact with and minister to.

Contributor

Todd Stewart wrote:
I wrote a little bit in the Osirion book about how Pharasma's clerics (in one specific instance in a holy necropolis) tend to turn something of a blind eye towards some undead, allowing clerics of Groetus (or perhaps a cult of Groetus within the orthodox Pharasmite church) to bargain with, interact with and minister to.

Interesting.

It also makes an intriguing question of whether Pharasma is allowed to judge souls in absentia. For example, if She has an appointed hour for every soul, and souls chose to miss this--for example, going to a party at Urgathoa's place instead--the Lady of Graves could simply pronounce judgement, send a memo to the relevant gods that a particular soul belongs to them and if it's not where it's supposed to be, it's not her business, and close the file on that individual.

In that case, you'd think that the undead would be really interested in the Cult of Groetus, since it means that once the last mortal soul dies and Pharasma files the paperwork, Groetus might very well come by to end the world, which would really put a damper on most plans for Necrotopia.

This theology might give rise to an interesting custom among the followers of Pharasma to specifically spare some of the living. Not only do you need to let the cattle breed so you can feast later, but if Groetus is going to end the world if the last mortal dies, well, that's a definite buzz-kill.

Dark Archive

Todd Stewart wrote:
I wrote a little bit in the Osirion book about how Pharasma's clerics (in one specific instance in a holy necropolis) tend to turn something of a blind eye towards some undead, allowing clerics of Groetus (or perhaps a cult of Groetus within the orthodox Pharasmite church) to bargain with, interact with and minister to.

This I like, it helps justify a little bit of the dark side thrown into one of my favorite Golarion goddesses. Makes it harder to answer the question "...but is she a good white-eyed scary lady, or a bad white-eyed scary lady?"

Also, since the PFRPG itself (APG included) is primarily setting-neutral, for those who want to make their own worlds or not make a world and just start a campaign at a dot on a drawn-up map (many an epic campaign in my long and storied RPG life have begun that way) but use those gods for the sake of convenience it makes sense for, for instance, those necromancer types that don't want to be evil (read: Pharasma in the role of Wee Jas for the next generation).

I have recently taken over GM duties from a friend because he just had a kid and I chose Golarion for my setting, which caused me to purchase a lot of the "fluff" 3.5 Pathfinder Chronicles books, especially Gods and Magic and The Great Beyond, because when my friend was running PF for us (our first stab at it) the only thing he knew about the gods was what was in the Core Rulebook, which isn't even a blurb, it's the portfolios and domains and that's it.

He always runs his campaigns in Mystara (and he's a complete maestro GM) and so he just substituted the 3.5 gods with their Pathfinder counterparts' names and we went from there, so these gods were pretty much ours to make up as we went along.

I think that's the beauty of not having those blurbs in the Core Books, especially if you just want a god or a goddess for a Cleric or Inquisitor character and don't want to do all the background stuff:

"This guy is the God of Hunting, and his favored weapon is a longbow... sweet."

That's as far as most players I know get. I remember the core rulebooks I had for AD&D 2nd Edition had ZERO named gods or goddesses whatsoever (although they had rules for making up your own).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
I wrote a little bit in the Osirion book about how Pharasma's clerics (in one specific instance in a holy necropolis) tend to turn something of a blind eye towards some undead, allowing clerics of Groetus (or perhaps a cult of Groetus within the orthodox Pharasmite church) to bargain with, interact with and minister to.

Interesting.

It also makes an intriguing question of whether Pharasma is allowed to judge souls in absentia. For example, if She has an appointed hour for every soul, and souls chose to miss this--for example, going to a party at Urgathoa's place instead--the Lady of Graves could simply pronounce judgement, send a memo to the relevant gods that a particular soul belongs to them and if it's not where it's supposed to be, it's not her business, and close the file on that individual.

In that case, you'd think that the undead would be really interested in the Cult of Groetus, since it means that once the last mortal soul dies and Pharasma files the paperwork, Groetus might very well come by to end the world, which would really put a damper on most plans for Necrotopia.

This theology might give rise to an interesting custom among the followers of Pharasma to specifically spare some of the living. Not only do you need to let the cattle breed so you can feast later, but if Groetus is going to end the world if the last mortal dies, well, that's a definite buzz-kill.

Time doesn't work the same for the soul-judging process. Not only that, but Pharasma can be in multiple places at the same time. In other words, she's ALWAYS there judging souls, regardless of what else she might be doing elsewhere and elsewhen.


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Pharasma has Death as one of her domains and several of the domain spells deal with creating undead, but Pharasma is completely opposed to that and despises undead. I understand that she is the goddess of death and not having that domain would be wrong, but the Campaign Setting entry for her really needs to have alternate domain spells for her in place of the create undead spells.

I'm glad the Forgotten Realms (3e) properly went and fixed a problem just like this.

They admitted that, yeah, giving the Death domain to Kelemvor was dumb and created a new domain - Repose.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
(...) Or does Pharamsa maybe need a rewrite about her hatred of undead, or at least give her a tolerance of the mindless undead, skeletons and zombies, that are created by animate dead.

Strange, I saw it the other way around.

That Pharasma could tolerate willing intelligent undead existing for "proper reasons", ex.: Tomb protecting (or avenging) Mummy-types (the theme, not just the specific monster). They made the choice and the condition wasn't forced to them.

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