Religion


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

I know that it is a touchy subject in MMO's, but I'd like to see a religion system in Pathfinder Online. All the table top RPG's have religion. Other MMO's have clerics, paladins, and priests, but is anyone ever a member of a church? They had religion in Everquest, and I thought that it worked very well.

You don't have to be a member of a clergy to be a member of the church. And this could add a new layer to the game. If you could build churches in player settlements, or out in the boonies. You could have religious sway in areas. Your patron God could gain more power. There are so many aspects that could be put into the game for following and being a member of specific religions. Put in a tithe system and religious blessings and favor.

Of course a character who has skills in the tree of a religious based class like a Cleric or Paladin would likely be required to be a part of a specific existing religion, and likely have more sway in such an organization, but that doesn't mean that everyone else can't be part of it either. All religions need followers. And even in real life there are plenty of religious zealots that push church politics and such that aren't priests at all.

Goblin Squad Member

Pannath wrote:

I know that it is a touchy subject in MMO's, but I'd like to see a religion system in Pathfinder Online. All the table top RPG's have religion. Other MMO's have clerics, paladins, and priests, but is anyone ever a member of a church? They had religion in Everquest, and I thought that it worked very well.

You don't have to be a member of a clergy to be a member of the church. And this could add a new layer to the game. If you could build churches in player settlements, or out in the boonies. You could have religious sway in areas. Your patron God could gain more power. There are so many aspects that could be put into the game for following and being a member of specific religions. Put in a tithe system and religious blessings and favor.

Of course a character who has skills in the tree of a religious based class like a Cleric or Paladin would likely be required to be a part of a specific existing religion, and likely have more sway in such an organization, but that doesn't mean that everyone else can't be part of it either. All religions need followers. And even in real life there are plenty of religious zealots that push church politics and such that aren't priests at all.

It is pretty much confirmed that the goloreon dieties will certainly exist, and have some effects on the game, details of them are a bit low but the concept of the pathfinder gods having some impact on the world is more or less confirmed.

Goblin Squad Member

Plenty of games have dieties in them... people raid and kill them. I meant religion as organizations that you can be members of and do stuff for. Maybe even some sort of religious influence system too. Since you can have player settlements and kingdoms, perhaps you can also influence and control areas through religion in a different way as well as through diplomacy and force.

Goblin Squad Member

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A formal religious order would evolve naturally from the actions of the players - we would not need to do anything to make such a thing happen if enough players wanted it.

Goblin Squad Member

If you can build a fort, why not a temple under similiar rules? It would just have a different effect on the surrounding area/commonfolk.

Goblin Squad Member

Religious structures like that of a fort would be good too. I'm also just saying that it would be nice if there was a game mechanic that players could join a religion. Any of the gods present in the game would have a religion tied to them, so to be a cleric or a paladin you would need to be a cleric or a paladin of a specific god. And other players who weren't using religious class based skills could also join for other reasons too.

Goblin Squad Member

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I almost opened a new thread to ask a similar question (all hail the search function).

Aside from social benefits for having a religious grouping, it would be nice for an established religion to offer some in-game tangible benefit for its more fervent followers. Clerics might be a little powerful on their home turf, possibly gaining extra spell power or whatever.

It would be a numbers game, where a particular religion would have to have X number of signed-up followers to grant the benefit over an area of effect. Having Y number of an allied deity's followers would not affect the figures, but Z number of a hostile deity's followers would act as a negative against the original deity's X.

In a game where having a religion gives tangible game-related benefits, it would be interesting to extend some of those benefits to the lay worshippers. A reason to seek out the settlement where your god is being worshipped, and a reason to root out the heretics from your midst.

Goblin Squad Member

Q. Will a character's religion have any mechanical effect in the game? What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a patron deity?

While the exact specifics are still in flux as we implement our rules for clerics (and, to a lesser extent, druids and paladins), choice of patron deity will have a major effect on access to divine powers. Specifically, each deity's holy symbol has its own access to different orisons, domain abilities, and spells. Two clerics of similar alignment but different deities may have very different casting styles. Additionally, for all player characters, the different churches serve as alliances—being friendly with the church of Iomedae is different from aligning with the church of Asmodeus, much in the same way that joining the Red Mantis Assassins is different from membership in the League of the Wood.[/b]

@Sadurian: I like the idea of Religions going on hard recruitment drives for more divine favors for their temple etc. And their divine rivalries spilling over to knocking out the rival temple to stop it interfering with their patron's deliver of favours.

Particularly "beasts of divine power x displease divine power y and slaying them pleases divine power y also" etc.

Rival orders within the same religion would be fun too.

Goblin Squad Member

Please spare us from proselytisation, persecution...and necromancy. None has ever had tangible benefit.

Goblin Squad Member

As Ryan said, what we do with this past the provided game mechanics is up to us. In UO, I worked with a guild who over the course of a 3 year story-arc, reestablished a religious order that had (according to our storyline) existed a thousand years prior, complete with rituals, uncovered ancient lore, a hierarchy of ranks with appropriate duties and powers, unearthed artifacts, etc.

In PFO, a religious group could establish temples, use their twice-marked members to create new soulbinding points as places of religious power, even declare holy (or unholy) war upon enemies. It's really as wide open as any group is willing to take it. Though the actual game provided benefits might be limited to what was mentioned in the blog, the player created benefits provided to members of these groups are only limited by our imagination and creativity.

Goblin Squad Member

I don't see merit in asking the developer to build perks into the game for religious institutions. Ryan's consideration that the players who wish advantages should have an obligation to provide those advantages is sound.

Note that I specified religious institution rather than religion. Religion is how you live. A church is where you gather together. A religious institution is the government of a church, a political entity.

Goblin Squad Member

Hobs the Short wrote:
use their twice-marked members to create new soulbinding points as places of religious power,

These places of religious power, though, are not really places of power without a mechanical benefit.

I appreciate that its nice to have a social organisation wrapped around the religion (which is, after all, what most 'churches' are), but wouldn't it be more satisfying to have worked all those months on consecrating an area of religious power, to have gained followers and driven out unbelievers, and you establish a holy demesne where your clerics can actually draw upon the religious power you have established.

Otherwise, there is no real point to having a place of religious power.

I am, by the way, also looking at it from the possibility of having sacred groves or lakes for druids and other nature-centric types. An area where your deity's power is particularly strong.

Goblin Squad Member

Sadurian,

Perhaps the differentiation is whether we are talking about a place of religions significance vs. game mechanics granted power. Certain specific buildings in a settlement will likely provided an in-game benefit (storage, crafting stations, etc.). We have yet to hear if a point of interest temple provides any similar perk.

However, from a role-play standpoint, you can create all the religious significance you wish, even worth waging wars over, without needing any GW granted power. To me, if my character was a devout member of such a religion, my desire to construct and/or protect a place of player-generated religious significance wouldn't be any less enthusiastic simply because it didn't grant some mechanical perk. So I guess my answer to your question is no - my level of satisfaction, from a RP perspective, wouldn't depend on whether the religious location had any mechanically provided power. The point to having a place of religious power is the significance it holds for its followers, and the level of devotion it instills within them.

Goblin Squad Member

Other games have shown that you don't need to receive a benefit for RP to take place. If you build it, they will come. So, just build it. They'll come.

Goblin Squad Member

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I like the idea of leaving most Establishment of Religion to the players. For one, Divine Magic in Golarion (as far as I know) does not require a deity as it did in settings like Faerun. It is possible for Clerics and Paladins to draw divine power through philosophies and deeply held convictions.

Religious institution is about establishing a support network and/or attempt at hierarchy to the idea of faith. This is fully able to be handled by players.

Likewise, it makes life easier for the Devs if adding a new deity, empyreal lord, archdevil, or other icon of worship does not require establishing mechanics to balance additional systems like favor or divine boons.

Let the players handle it. All the devs should worry about is allowing players to tap into the domains made available by the gods so that their abilities properly represent their faith. Maybe adding some personal customization, like tabards with holy symbols for the major faiths.

Goblin Squad Member

If there are special powers granted by specific deities to their devotees (after all, according to the pathfinder core rulebook the clerics of a specific deity have some characteristics in common, such as that deity's favorite weapon), then those mechanics should I believe be between the particular devotee and their god or goddess, and not depend on some council of polti--I mean, bishops.

Goblin Squad Member

Lifedragn wrote:
I like the idea of leaving most Establishment of Religion to the players. For one, Divine Magic in Golarion (as far as I know) does not require a deity as it did in settings like Faerun. It is possible for Clerics and Paladins to draw divine power through philosophies and deeply held convictions.

PRD on Clerics

Quote:
As their powers are influenced by their faith, all clerics must focus their worship upon a divine source. While the vast majority of clerics revere a specific deity, a small number dedicate themselves to a divine concept worthy of devotion—such as battle, death, justice, or knowledge—free of a deific abstraction. (Work with your GM if you prefer this path to selecting a specific deity.)

The primary reason for associating deities for Clerics is to force them into a specific list of domains. This gives the cleric of each religion different flare, because the domain powers will be different at the very least from a gameplay angle.

Now, being as "a small number" are the ones who don't pick a deity, I'm not sure we'll be allowed to. Mainly because we won't be able to work with our GM directly to get things customized just for us.

When things get expanded out to include the polytheistic Oracles who more or less worship what are essentially just expanded domains, there might be the ability to choose to worship one of these more abstract concepts. Until then, I think it's pretty likely that as clerics, we'll be forced to the worship specific deities that match our alignment (well, within 1 step).

Goblin Squad Member

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Personally, it seems that forcing players to choose a deity would be more difficult. When you could just use domains and a new set of abilities/skills. To be a Cleric of Calistria you train the domain features for Chaos and Trickery. Several deities have overlapping domains and you could quickly add new deity themes by adding one or two domains at a time.

Remember, there is no 'Class' system. There are simply sets of features that could fit within an optional 'Archetype' where if you slot them appropriately you gain a "Cleric Bonus".

A domain-focused approach would be the easiest development option to expand from. It has the fewest complexities and dependencies. It also allows for the most player customization. Is this what they will do? I do not know. I do know they have a starter list of deities. But I do not know if they will simply focus on their domains, or if they will make domain options part of selecting a faith.

What if I wanted to play a melee fighter style character but decided to also train up in the Healing domain? I would lose Archetype bonus, but otherwise should be free to do this. I guess there could be a Domains class feature tied to deities. But that seems like it would increase the difficulty in on-boarding new faiths. You also then get into questions of what if you wish to change which two domains within a faith you are following? What does it cost? How about changing your religion?

If you hold domains separately, changing religion or changing domains requires training them from scratch. Much like a fighter wanting to change from sword to bow would begin training himself anew with the weapon of choice, a cleric would grow into strength for their new domains as they express the values earned by that domain (IE, earn merits with it).

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I think there's an intended lore adjustment in that clerics Marked by Pharasma can use the holy symbols of any diety and have the appropriate effects.

Goblin Squad Member

Possibly. I have somewhat mixed feelings on that. It would be a working system. But it still adds a lot of constraint. I guess it is a question of whether you see Domain Powers as a class feature similar to BAB or as a class feature similar to Weapon Groups. One is generic and works across a variety of tools. The other is specific and provides benefits specific to the tools.

My preferred system would be: Divine Spells = BAB and Domains = Weapon Groups. But I fully admit that is personal bias.

Goblin Squad Member

Lifedragn wrote:
Personally, it seems that forcing players to choose a deity would be more difficult.

Actually, forcing people to choose deities increases diversity and allows the devs to balance things better.

If you let people choose whatever they want, as a NG Cleric someone could choose the domains Law and Chaos and get completely conflicting ability sets. After all, they are only 1 step away from both of those. These two domains aren't meant to be taken together from a balance point of view and I'm not aware of a deity that allows you to do such a thing. Forcing players to choose certain paths based on specific deities locks in a (theoretically) balanced group of abilities for that deity. There might be multiple paths to take within each religion, but not all paths are available to you. You may even be able to take all of the domains your deity offers if you choose. We don't really know what their plans are for handling that.

Another facet is how choosing specific deities affects shrines/churches/cathedrals in settlements. One religion's church gives one bonus, but another gives a different bonus. This means a crafting heavy settlement will choose a deity whose bonuses align with crafting while a conquest heavy settlement will choose one that gives bonuses to their fighters. This is pure speculation, but is a possible direction things may go.

Also, changing religions shouldn't be something to be taken lightly, similar to alignment (don't forget the two ideas are linked in Pathfinder). If I'm a devout Catholic who grew up a Catholic and suddenly decide that Scientology is the life for me, my previous experience doesn't really mean much in my new religion and I'll have to start out from the beginning in learning the specifics of the church. There might be some overlap in the things you train and it's quite possible that you're not losing absolutely everything, but will have to rework parts of your character to get back to where you were.

However, the main point is... We don't know. We're speculating. And being upset at how something is designed before they announce how they designed it is a little silly.

It might a thing where the skills are listed in a perk tree that changes with your new religion and auto-fills with whatever perks are relevant to your religion and the transition is as easy as pie.

However, saying that their implementation is bad before seeing it is a little questionable.

Goblin Squad Member

I am not saying it is bad. We do not even know what their implementation is. They might not even have true 'Domains' as we know them, but a single benefit from following a given deity.

It does make balance easier to not allow player domain selection but to base it upon religion joined. It does help control taking opposing domains. I do grant those. But I argue that it does not improve diversity.

I am stating that a system that allows players to choose their own domains allows simulation of deities or other divine patrons that exist in Golarion without devs having to touch each of them ahead of time.

Having domains able to be chosen separately, the implementation of domains to support Rovagug, Nethys, and Pharasma would also make possible worshipers of Urgathoa, Zon-Kuthon, and Charon (One of the Horsemen, and a minor figure who might never get Dev attention).

I am merely brainstorming ways to give players the maximum amount of options with the smallest amount of development effort. This is meant to be a sandbox environment. The ability to mix and match to do your own thing fits perfectly with the goals of the larger game system and allows for expanded development of official lore by the players without additional dev effort.

Goblin Squad Member

I think having players allowed to willy-nilly grab their domains would lead to more munchkining than it would leading to better RP.

However, the devs could, honestly, just list out all of the domains in a big tree under cleric and just have each domain require one of a list of deities. If you've got that deity then you can take that domain. To add a new deity would be a matter of just putting their name as a possible req for each of their domains and be done with it.

That means that they'd be putting in minimal dev time and could add every possible thing to worship that was in any sourcebook for Pathfinder ever in like a half hour after they added the domains. This would allow you to worship anyone that was in Golarion. If your deity isn't in Golarion... then it doesn't exist, because it's not canon.

Again, we don't know how they're going to implement things. This solution would completely meet your requirements for letting players worship any deific entity officially in the PF universe.

Goblin Squad Member

That solution would meet my requirements for worshiping any deific entity. I would find it acceptable, but would be saddened by the loss of being able to champion divine concepts without a specific patron, as might a Pantheist. Or one who worships many similar deities but does not wish to select a single one. Someone dedicated to the cause of Good could worship all Good gods equally.

I think you are too worried about potential synergistic exploits for domains. By the time these are all abstracted into game logic, they should be safe enough that any two can be chosen. And being able to select any two Domains should not be too much more out of whack then selecting any other combination of Class Features. Heck, if you have to take domains separately, you are consuming two slotted abilities instead of just one. ;)

Selecting Law and Chaos cannot happen though, as Alignment Domains must match a user's alignment. A neutral character cannot take them by PnP rules, and I would expect similar in PFO.

Either way, I think we are at an impasse. Our opinions have been explained. The devs can read them. Whatever they have or will decide is to them. Neither direction would break the game for me. I just have a strong preference.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm inclined to play a cleric and I'm pleased we're able to join multiple chartered companies.

Think it would be neat if, in addition to belonging to a settlement-company, there could be a company comprising other clerics and paladins of the same deity as me, to which I could also belong. A congregation as such. That priestly company could perform a rp or social function or organize events.

Goblin Squad Member

You also have to realize that a specific settlement or town may not be aligned to just one god's religion. There are many cities or settings in d&d and pathfinder where you'd find a number of different temples to different gods in a city. The settlement may be aligned with a specific Pantheon as oposed to just one good. A pantheon of gods works together, and has gods that cover a variety of needs, occupations, and concepts that are used in a community.

In the example of the greek pantheon(I don't know all the d&d gods off the top of my head, so I'm using a real world example I'm familiar with) in the "crafting" areas of the settlement you would likely find shrines and perhaps a temple to Hepheastus. In the warriors guild or adventurers guild you'd probably find a temple or shrines to Ares and Athena. And so on.

And I know that clerics and paladins, and some other classes that have access to divine spells get the largest direct impact from religious choices, but all religions have followers. It would be good if there were some affinity bonuses for people of the same religion. Perhaps helpful divine spells from a Divine caster of a specific religion work a little better on followers of that religion.

Some games like Everquest 2 for example allowed players to align with a religion even if they were not clerics and have shrines in their homes, and you could sacrifice magical items (green or better) to your god for some favor, which could be used for a variety of religious blessings or miracles based on some level of faith or rank you had in the religion and how much favor you currently had as well with your god.

There are a lot of good ideas that could be used. Though I am curious about divine casters that choose to worship a concept or alignment instead of a specific diety. In the tabletop game there are rules for that, but will there be rules in the online game?

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