A world without gods

Homebrew and House Rules

i'm pretty new to the pathfinder system but i am currently writing a new world for my players to play in. I want to remove clerical magic. is their any suggestions as a alternative? or will the PC's just be too frail to take on much of anything?

much appreciated

Well long as you dont mind non magical paladins and rangers with no inquisitors, druids or clerics than its fine.

First, let's define "remove clerical magic". Do you mean you're removing:

1) Clerics
2) Clerics, Oracles
3) Clerics, Oracles, Druids
4) Clerics, Druids
5) Clerics, Paladins

How many classes are you actually removing? Just losing clerics means you can still get healing. Removing oracles, paladins, druids as well makes healing harder. But to eliminate all of it, you have to also nail bards, witches, and any reference or existence to healing magic outright. So also get the rangers and inquisitors. Also, what's the goal?

Potential effects? Well, who will be curing poison, disease, fatigue, ability damage, and whatnot without the caster(s)? In a world with no clerics, paladins and oracles and other casters can do that. Once you begin removing more divine spellcasting classes, it gets harder to remove status ailments. You could say that people use the Heal skill, which is fine, but that still takes time to use and isn't 100% sure of success at lower levels.

Ultimately, you're making some degree of major alteration to the game, be prepared for large-scale ramifications on this one. If it's just clerics, not that big a deal. The more classes, the greater the ramifications.

Finally, can you worship a concept and gain clerical power?

Sovereign Court

Just remove gods and have divine classes gain their power somewhere else. FOr instance, druids could use power exuded by nature to cast spells, paladins could use power of their conviction. Clerics could use the power of their faith in a concept etc etc etc...

May I suggest allowing Oracle and Druidic magic to remain? Also, a 'Godless' world would be an excellent setting for a world in turmoil. perhaps there has been a civil war in the heavens, and what few gods have survived are in hiding, licking their wounds and scrambling to recover the Divine Portfolios.

Minus Clerics and Paladins, suddenly the Undead are a much more monstrous enemy, Healing is decidedly harder to come by and without the underpinning faith in the Gods, societies start to drift off the path, as they no longer have the 'carrot and stick' to keep them to the social conducts that have helped shape them for centuries.

ok so i'm am planning on removing Clerics and Paladins and possibly Oracles and Inquisitors, i am fairly new to this system and i haven't read all the material in the APH but pretty much any magic that is empowered by a god will not exist

and for the gods they do exist but are tied up with their own struggles and don't have time to deal with mortals

Grand Lodge

Mechanically, you just have to figure out a way to get those healing spells in your game, and maybe a few other types (Freedom of Movement and Speak with Dead, for example).

I don't think giving a Druid access to the Cleric Spells would make the Druid any better.
You could make Druid Magic different from Divine Magic -- that makes uber more sense anyway (at least to me), and then just combine the Druid and Cleric Spell lists for the Druid (and Ranger).

Druids would also be the ones to Channel Energy. That also makes UBER MORE sense than Clerics -- it's always been the stupidest thing in the history of the known universe, let alone gaming, that D&D Clerics Turn Undead. It's just SO MUCH more sensible if Druids do it.

Paladins, though?
Maybe they access Arcane spells throught their "worship of a concept" or something.

You don't actually need a god to be a cleric. You could worship trees, or heroes, or even be a cleric of a philosophy. Paladins are explicitly empowered by being just that devoted and good. Inquisitors I think explicitly get their power from gods.
All of that's academic though. It's single lines of fluff from the rulebook and can be changed however you like. If what you really want is busy, inattentive gods, there's no need to remove any classes from the game. If your gods are busy so the divine casters can be removed, there's no reason why you can't rip out all the classes with mechanics you don't want.

I'd nix paladins inquisitors oracles druids, all rangers are skimishers or alternate no magic, and either create a healing arcane school or split them up amongst the other schools, or ditch them altogether so bards are the only source of healing magic and deal with extended down/healing time and tougher encounters. One way arcane casters are even more powerful (and even higher priority targets), the other makes afflictions and energy drain nigh permanent conditions. I guess high level casters could summon outsiders for access to healing.

I would dig it, been thinking about running a game like this, my group rarely has any divine casters anyways. Maybe could still craft potions and other items with those spells, at the +5 DC, just nobody around that can cast them.

If you still have Druids, Bards, Witches, and Rangers, then general healing magic is still pretty well covered.

Witches get raise dead and resurrection, only true resurrection is lost from that line.

The restoration line is a little trickier. Druids only get Restoration (Lesser). One of the Witch patrons (Endurance) grants Restoration (Greater), but they don't get any of the rest of that line. This is going to make negative levels and permanent ability drain harsh.

Witches get Remove Disease, and Remove Blindness/Deafness, and Bards get Remove Fear, so those are covered, but not Remove Paralysis.

Inquisitors and Paladins get Restoration and Remove Paralysis, as well as Restoration (Lesser) and Remove Fear. So they could fill in the gaps if you can get around their Divine ties.

Oracles get access to the full Clerical line of spells.

I'm sure there are other useful spells that would become unavailable, but this gives you a rough idea of what you will be looking at with regard to healing magic. Clerics and Oracles are your only "one stop shops". Most of the rest is spread around and may be harder to come by, but there will be a couple of gaps unless you work around allowing Inquisitors or Paladins.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8

I haven't really found a game I've played in has suffered when we lacked a divine caster. Clever players will adapt. Good GMs will compensate on the fly and make sure the game remains challenging but not overwhelming.

If you're thinking more along the lines of a world without healing magic, there are ways around that. I didn't like the game much but the Lord of the Rings MMO had a neat concept, where your hit points were "morale" and the primary healer class was Bard. I could easily see a quick fix for a campaign world where you strip out clerics, but keep 'healing' from other classes, just refluff it to be morale (I kind of like the idea of a Paladin's lay-on-hands being the Paladin pulling someone up by the bootstraps and tossing them back into the fight).

Pulling out healing magic in its entirety would be harder as the Pathfinder system has the expectation of at least some supernatural healing available. Short of a serious overhaul to the hit points, healing, damage, and recovery system, you could emphasize a reliance on alchemy, healing potions, poultices and the like. Maybe bring in Alchemist from the APG (or that new-fangled Chirugeon archetype I've read about) as the new standard for healing.

If it's just gods you want to remove and not the cleric class, you can be a cleric of an ideal, like Justice, Hope, Tyranny, Beauty, Vengeance. Likewise, I've had games where clerics praised (and were granted power by) powerful mortals or heroes; emperors, religious leaders (ALL HAIL BATTLE POPE!), saints, and the like. Totems can be a fun alternative to the standard pantheons and in a homebrew world of mine, clerics were granted power by the starsign they were born under (Virgo, Aries, Pisces, Taurus, etc. Gemini clerics had to take opposing domains; i.e. Fire/Water, Law/Chaos, Protection/Destruction). You could flavour clerics a little bit more like witches and their patrons and have them make pacts with actual beings, like angels, demons, elementals, or dragons, in exchange for divine power.

Removing all forms of clerical magic can be tricky because of the overlap cleric spell lists have with Alchemists, Bards, Paladins, Rangers, Druids, Witches, Inquisitors, and Oracles. Dropping the class can be done easily as there are plenty of classes to pick up the slack. Dropping the spells would be harder without unbalancing the other classes that rely on similar spell lists.

I have, personally, stripped out some spells to better suit the setting. Currently, the art of resurrecting the dead is lost in my homebrew campaign, so reincarnate, raise dead, resurrection, and the like are all off the table. I'd be leery of stripping out more though.

Liberty's Edge

The campaign setting of dark sun was a world without gods, but it still had clerics and druids, they just drew their power from a different place. Perhaps you could look at that and see if perhaps you would like clerics / divine classes to draw power from other sources.

If not, well, as has been said, other classes can help make up the difference and compensate.

You can have their power come from the positive or negative energy planes. Where a wizard can draw out arcane power from uttering a few words of power and a few hand gestures, why can't a cleric do the same thing, but instead of calling on their deity, they are calling their power directly from the positive or negative energy plane and shaping it to their will. I could see a world where clerics have spellbooks too.

You can also fold some healing into arcane. Make more spells available to arcane casting classes and fold in some healing spells to compensate for the lack of divine magic.

Ultimately you're controlling the game, make it how it works for you while maintaining balance.

James-Farrow wrote:

Hey i'm pretty new to the pathfinder system but i am currently writing a new world for my players to play in. I want to remove clerical magic. is their any suggestions as a alternative? or will the PC's just be too frail to take on much of anything?

much appreciated

Since almost a year ago, I completely dropped deities from every campaign. I removed the nonsensical arcane/divine barrier; now magic is just magic. I renamed clerics "philosophers", dropped medium armor proficiency, and went on as if nothing happened. Priests aren't any rarer, but they're only experts. Magic is what you make of it. If you want to remove healing/restorative magic, go for it; just allow for alternative healing (potions, alchemy, hell even stimpacks) so your players can stay alive from battle to battle.

Dark Archive

James-Farrow wrote:
I want to remove clerical magic. is their any suggestions as a alternative? or will the PC's just be too frail to take on much of anything?

Here's three posts suggesting ways to handle keeping the party healed without using a Cleric.

non Divine healing

Party without a healer

more of the same

The threads around them have a bunch of other ideas as well, but I'm just linking to my ideas. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

James-Farrow wrote:


i'm pretty new to the pathfinder system but i am currently writing a new world for my players to play in. I want to remove clerical magic. is their any suggestions as a alternative? or will the PC's just be too frail to take on much of anything?

much appreciated

You could remove gods without removing clerical magic. Just make it philosophical, or mystical, or psychic, or the like.

I'm running a 20+ year old homebrew campaign that started in 2e (now converted to Pathfinder) that has never had deities in it. There sometimes allusions or archaeological evidence that in the past deities were worshiped, but no longer. Instead, clerics, paladins, and the like follow a Path that fits their beliefs and morality. Clerical orders are designed around domains, and if a character feels his ideals are best represented by such a concept he can become a cleric, paladin, etc.

In the current campaign I'm running, there are deities (based on the Egyptian pantheon and another inspired by Lovecraft). But this setting is actually the precursor world to the above mentioned setting. The players don't know that, though. I decided that by telling them this is the ancient past of their world they might try to muck something up lol. At any rate, the actions they undertake in this campaign will decide the future of deific worship in my settings.

James-Farrow wrote:


i'm pretty new to the pathfinder system but i am currently writing a new world for my players to play in. I want to remove clerical magic. is their any suggestions as a alternative? or will the PC's just be too frail to take on much of anything?

much appreciated

First i like the idea. and its not reay that hard to do. I've beeen playing and running rpg for(GAH!!! over 20 years) awhile so it not that uncommon to have ground with out a healer calss at all so haveing a world with out its no biggy eather. Fift dont over think it. the heaihng skill and salve become much more impoain in game like that giveing a non magical way to heal wounds. In wolrd like that with no "divine magic" comat get much more dangerus. Asuumin there is magic in the world you can make you can simply change the name of clears to healers or hedge mage ect and just decalge those spell are now arcane. If theres no healing magic in the game or very limited like from items only, start player out with more Hp the beta of patfinder gave a good option starting hp max starting HD dubled + con so a fighers would start with 20+ con in hp.(I use this anyway i find it give newbie a better chance to live to beging with)

You can also use he Vitality wound rulse thse can be found in Starwars d20 ( NOT SAGA RULE) or the Complete Arcana. I'm not 100% sure wather rules are pen gaming or not so i want go in to it much then to say it alows you not to realy wory about healing alot sice you rgen Vitaly (HP) realy quik acter combats over but crits become nastyer so when a player acculy becomes wounded used right can add some good drama to your world and give it a very gritty feel.

I've always thought that it's silly that wizards can't tap into the positive energy plane when they can clearly tap into the negative one. If the gods are too busy to grant spells to their clerics, simply make them like wizards with religious leanings. Then again, if you don't want religion of any sort, but might like philosophers, use that and have it simply be wizards following the tenants of a certain philosophy while casting arcane spells normally. Simply combine the divine and arcane magic spells.

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