Clerics of Erastil and portraying them in a nice way


Kingmaker


Hello Folks!

I will start my third session with the Kingmaker AP this friday. My group has dealed with the temple and will (after "dealing" with Tuskgutter) return back to Olegs and interact some more with the Cleric of Erastil there...

Now comes my problem: How is Erastil "good"? I understand the whole "protecting the family" thing, but I find it odd (and from a certain viewpoint not good, but neutral) that Erastil is so men-centered. We have a world, where there is no physical distinction between men and women. A female fighter is no different in her combat stats from a male fighter.

I thought about just striking that little tidbit out and reducing Erastil to the protection of family and the home, as well as an god who don't get cities and don't like them.
How did you do it?

If this is in the wrong subforum, just tell me, I will petition the mods to move it. But I wrote it here to get feedback especially to the NPCs of the Kingmaker AP...

Thanks, Jeremias

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

James Jacobs did post that Erastil's misogyny was a mistake and something he'll get rid off from the setting at the earliest opportunity, so you might just strike that tidbit out and play your game happy that you and the Creative Director are of the same mind :)


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I tend to do Erastil as Lawful Grumpy, but take the good part of his alignment seriously. Not so much that he's misogynistic, but that he believes in strong sex role divisions. Men do men stuff, women do women stuff, and it works and keeps the villages alive, just as it has for thousands of years. Most if not all pre-ndustrial cultures do have fairly strong sex roles.

And it's not male superiority: men, in Erastil's view, have just as strong a responsibility as women to stick to their role and do their thing. Nobody gets to go off haring after their own goals without making sure that their family and community are provided for first and always,


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You really don't have to do much - Erastil's focus around cooperation, shared work for the benefit of all in the community, and community protection are pretty much enough to display how good he is.

In most cases, aside from pushing marriage off on everybody, the male chauvinism of any Erastilite priest will probably neither be overt nor evangelized. He'll minister to men and women alike with his protection, healing, and helping hand. It's just his attitude about authority will vary - he'll probably expect the PC party leader to be male and will approach one if looking for help or sending them out on a mission. I don't think he would necessarily advocate for it nor do it out of malice, but he would expect that's the natural way of things and behave accordingly.

It doesn't have to be much different from earlier in the 20th century. If calling at a home and a kid came to the door, he'd ask if the man of the house was in. He probably introduces married couples as "man and wife". He would expect any body of village elders to be men or mostly men. He would expect a barn raising event to involve the men making the barn while the women cook food and make quilts with the men planning out, scheduling, and directing the affair in their authority as heads of the households. It's all very Amish or traditional farmstead family values kinds of stuff.

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What? Really? I felt Erastil was pretty great as he was, flaws and all. SKR defended him really well too.

As to how to present him in a good light, there are a few things that you could do very easily.


  • Don't make the clerics pushy.
  • They only expect their followers to follow the doctrine of Erastil.
  • Ease off on the focus on the gender roles. The church teaches them, but clearly allows exceptions.
  • Just because a man is supposed to be the head of the house, doesn't mean that women are put down and forced to submit. Allow female followers of Erastil to be as strong and tough as the males. They till the fields and herd the animals, they also fight off the monsters and bandits alongside their husbands. The women followers and Erastil himself wouldn't put up with any abuse or mishandling.
  • Erastil is clear about his feelings on protecting people. His clerics would be very open about allowing people outside their faith helping with that.
  • While they wouldn't be pushy, and should be open, the clerics don't put up with nonsense or stupidity. They will speak their minds if they see or hear something that could bring harm to others or someone's livelihood.
  • If asked, a cleric will give his opinion and allow others to decide how to act on it. If they are not asked, they will only tell you their opinion if you are suppose to be a devote follower of their god.

Scarab Sages

In our Kingmaker game, Jhod has won the hearts of the people by going around and lending a hand early on when things were mostly frontier and the going was a lot more rough. If a farmhand was hurt or sick, he tended them and then filled in and did their chores for the day to help out. If someone needed goods taken to market he did that as well. Basically was a friend to all who needed aid among the rural smallfolk.

Thats sort of how I see a priest of Erastil acting.


Thanks for your opinions and advice! I am clearly learning about Golarion only a little faster than my players (except for one who even bought the Inner Sea Guide... But he like me plays in two APs, RotR and KM), so I have much to process, especially the many new religions.

I think I'll try redcelt32's way with Jhod. I think that would be the right way for my game. Even putting him at odds with the Surtova cavalier who wants to be king... My druids (who the cavalier dubbed "Waldwichtel", "woods imp") will like that. :)

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You don't like Archie Bunker the god? Why ever not!

So took over Kingmaker at the start of book 2 and the previous GM player Erastil as a generic nature deity and my former PC Lily an outspoken and bold rogue/druid female halfling adopted Erastil as her god. She also happened to be married to a halfling wizard in the party named Wink who had a tendency to be overprotective of his wife but still seemed to follow her lead.

Gave the PCs about a year and a half (to avoid starting in winter) between books for kingdom building, in that span Lily learned "her place" from Jhode and started acting meek and deferring decisions to her highly intelligent but low wisdom score husband Wink. The party leader of course noticed as did several others and they all worked on her trying to get her to be herself. Took several diplomacy roles as they moved her steps along the desired course and most of the book. She's now converted to Gozreh and our kingdom's female ruler is considering removing Erastil from her lands....


I had great fun with Jhod. And with the other priests of Erastil (for instance, the guys organizing archery training for the peasants so they would be able to fight off things that threatened their villages -- including tax collectors). Erastil's Lawful, but that's in the sense of "old ways and customs rule" rather than "overarching empires are good".

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IF you want to play Erastil in a way that doesn't make him offensive, reinterpret the make me a sandwich sections as politly chivalrous instead.

Scarab Sages

It really just depends also on how your players react to Erastil. I seem to recall that Azymth's party (Pathfinder Chronicles) decided that when they found a certain someone at the lost temple that Erastil was a judgmental jerk and deserved to be scorned.

Since my players were neutral about the whole thing, and I wanted Jhod to be a friendly NPC that was possible council material, I admittedly played him a lot less assertively as an Erastil priest. Also, I really did not want to overshadow the Green Faith gnome druid in my game who prefers the company of nature to people. I sort of made Jhod cooperative with him and handling the "people learning to coexist peacefully with nature" aspect while the gnome druid handled the "talk to the animals and plants" side of things.

Another aspect is that the high priestess was a higher level priestess of Sarenrae (NPC) who bargained with the ruler for her services in exchange for the council seat and a whole lot of say in religion in the new kingdom. She gets to say which religions are proscribed, one of which has been Abadar until recently since she does not approve of the branch of the church in Brevoy. She also got the queen to agree that no church or temple can be built in a settlement that is bigger than the church of Sarenrae, and if there isnt a church of sarenrae, one has to be built before any others can. The royal family also had to covert to Sarenrae. The queen agreed in exchange for raise dead services provided (not including the material costs of course) early in the game.

So Jhod just might get Erastil kicked out of the kingdom as a faith if he was too overhearing. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
GM_Solspiral wrote:
IF you want to play Erastil in a way that doesn't make him offensive, reinterpret the make me a sandwich sections as politly chivalrous instead.

Or don't interpret the differentiation of men's and women's roles with that level of hostility in the first place. Benignly patriarchal works just as well since Erastil is going to look on any men not married, having kids, or hauling their weight in the community as a bunch of immature punks who need to be put to 'real' work as well.

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I'm not the only one to interpret the text that way... I get your point, I'm just not a fan of this particular deity, too much of a "goog ole boys" vibe for me.

Green faith is getting big in my game. Of course Erastil is a secondary concern to say, Hanspur!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I re-envisioned Erastil as promoting Family as the center of all things. So any unmarried adult (male or female) is encouraged to get married, and any married adult is encouraged to have young-uns. And of course, to ensure that those young-uns are provided for, and are given the benefit of their elders' experience. (I.e. parents should be involved in the raising of their kids.)

Just imagine a kindly old grampa who always greets (unmarried adventurer types) with, "Where's da babies at?"


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
GM_Solspiral wrote:
I'm not the only one to interpret the text that way... I get your point, I'm just not a fan of this particular deity, too much of a "goog ole boys" vibe for me.

Erastil reminds me mostly of a lot of the grandfathers (heck, any of the farmers, really) in the area I grew up. Hard workers, helpful, friendly, but expected their wives to do certain kinds of work while they did others, and made the final important decisions of what to plant, when to get new equipment, and how to pay the bills. They weren't hostile to women as far as any of us could tell - each sex simply had its place.

Maybe this is why my hackles rise whenever people interpret Erastil in the worst possible terms. If it weren't for a certain amount of religious lunacy in Middle America (Kansas, I'm looking at you in particular), Erastil would fit in pretty well all over the rural United States, at least from the upper midwest through the Great Plains. When it comes to community, these are generally good people who would cook a meal for you if you turned up at the door hungry and were willing to do a little work around the farm for it (or at least they did during the Great Depression and a few decades after).

I dunno. Sometimes I just feel like it's another case of "flyover country" being given short shrift, ignored, or belittled by viewpoints others would consider more enlightened or cosmopolitan. I know they're not trying to either appeal to or discourage those of us living closer to rural roots, but I can't help but feel a bit let down, especially since so much of what Paizo has done really resonates with me as a gamer.

I don't want any one to get the impression I'm some kind of conservative, male chauvinist. That's not the way I behave nor vote (my new senator is both a woman and openly gay and I support her work to diversify the US Senate on both fronts - she's also not rich, so I guess that's a third front). But from a world-building perspective, having a grumpy, patriarchal old-timer a bit set in his ways as a god of rural communities? That just plain works for me on an immersion level because I've seen that experience.

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There isn't a way to explain this that isn't going to end up offending someone. Sometimes its best to "let it go." For me the section that took him form simple cranky old timer rural diety and into a problem was the section that explains his views on the other gods particularly the condesending tone set towrds the female deities. That's where the line got crossed in my mind so there you have it for any would be PAizo designer, sometimes less is more...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
GM_Solspiral wrote:
There isn't a way to explain this that isn't going to end up offending someone. Sometimes its best to "let it go." For me the section that took him form simple cranky old timer rural diety and into a problem was the section that explains his views on the other gods particularly the condesending tone set towrds the female deities. That's where the line got crossed in my mind so there you have it for any would be PAizo designer, sometimes less is more...

I can see that. I think they'd probably have been better off just explaining how Erastil sees the other deities without trying to put it in Erastil's voice. For example, "While Erastil emphasizes the common toil and goals in building a household, he acknowledges the importance of Shelyn's influence over the relationship between a husband and wife, whether that love is kindled in an arranged marriage or keeps a relationship warm and loving after a long life and many children. He respects her selfless efforts to see to the relationships of others even before her own but thinks she is too often led by her heart rather than her head."

Something like that might have been less likely to sound condescending.


GM_Solspiral wrote:
There isn't a way to explain this that isn't going to end up offending someone. Sometimes its best to "let it go." For me the section that took him form simple cranky old timer rural diety and into a problem was the section that explains his views on the other gods particularly the condesending tone set towrds the female deities. That's where the line got crossed in my mind so there you have it for any would be PAizo designer, sometimes less is more...

For me, that entire section read like it was from the perspective of anyone I know over the age of 70 who was talking about their grandkids.

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Actually there is a way to talk about this without offending people. Just be mindful of how you are saying things, and don't intentionally say anything offensive.

Look, your game and how you run things is your business. If you want to play Erastil as a jerk and nearly abusive to women, go ahead.

His doctrine actually comes close to what my faith teaches. Because I was raised to think that a man is the head of the household, family is central to all things, and that there are supposed to be clear gender roles in family, I was able to play him off in a different way than you.

So, Solspiral, while you played him in a way that is a bit close to one extreme, others, like the OP, want to play him a bit gentler. Lets focus not on the way you treated him, and help the OP portray him in a nice way.

You can either treat him like a grouchy, old, opinionated man who thinks women should stay home and raise kids, or you can treat him like a gentle grandfather who wants to protect you and provides a clear organization to help with that.

Here is where you can make the gender roles a good thing:

  • While a man is the head of the household, that doesn't mean he is a tyrant. He doesn't rule over his home with absolute power, nor does he force his will on anyone.
  • Abuse of any kind, mental, spiritual, financial, physical, and emotional, isn't tolerated. Everyone should be given kindness, protection, and charity.
  • The husband is there to protect the family as a whole. That doesn't mean his wife won't fight off a bandit or two, but it does mean that he is expected to jump into the fight first, that he needs to protect his family's name and honor, and that he needs to work hard to provide for the family.
  • A wife isn't there to be a personal servant to the husband, but it is expected that she support him by offering council, emotional support, and taking responsibility for raising the children.
  • There is nothing said about property ownership in the official write up of Erastil. Therefore, you can easily have it be acceptable for the wife to own property and possessions of her own, separate from her husband. However, it would be expected that everything owned by the family is shared and not kept solely for personal gain.
  • Family comes first, then everything else.

    Read up on how rural farming and homesteading life is like in the River Nations. It is hard, dangerous, and tough. If you don't have a clear structure to follow, you can be lost in that type of life. A family with clear gender roles fits that type of life, and even helps protect it.

    He may have opinions about the other gods, but he doesn't force them on the other gods. I think that is important to remember and keep in mind.

    He also understands where his influence should be. He doesn't interfere with city life, or military affairs, and he certainly wouldn't attempt to push his philosophy on others. He would, however, protect his followers and portfolio. If another religion started to edge in to his area of influence, he would be ruthless in fighting back.


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    From what I am able to determine, he's not sexist but believes that people should get married and that both the man and the wife should keep each other in line. The protects and honors his wife while the wife keeps her husband in line from doing something stupid.

    Also this perception is drawn from the old ways mentality that both genders had their own set of jobs in the community and that those who broke from this norm were disruptive to such order. While the religion has a relatively patriarchal type of organization there were woman in the church as well, like nuns in the Catholic Church who were considered equals to the priests, in terms of individual communities and not in overall church structure.

    So while there can be some bias, there is no prejudice towards woman just as long as when they have children they settle down and end their adventuring days. Men are also applied to this rule as well.

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    CalebTGordan wrote:
    Actually there is a way to talk about this without offending people. Just be mindful of how you are saying things, and don't intentionally say anything offensive.

    Even as soft as I went there, I got a book length reply and a semi-stab of running Erastil as an abuser. You proved my point about how easy it is for this conversation to turn into a certain thread that got locked on Friday.

    We can agree to disagree on Erastil and how harmless what he represents is; luckily won't interphere with our other endeavors.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    GM_Solspiral wrote:
    CalebTGordan wrote:
    Actually there is a way to talk about this without offending people. Just be mindful of how you are saying things, and don't intentionally say anything offensive.

    Even as soft as I went there, I got a book length reply and a semi-stab of running Erastil as an abuser. You proved my point about how easy it is for this conversation to turn into a certain thread that got locked on Friday.

    We can agree to disagree on Erastil and how harmless what he represents is; luckily won't interphere with our other endeavors.

    Well, part of that was your interpretation that his condescending attitude was only towards Female deities. His attitude was fairly 'condescending' towards everyone, even Desna, Gozreh & Torag. Which is about what you would expect from one of the oldest & longest standing deities.

    You want to make Erastil palatable, play him like a male version of any of Terry Pratchett's Diskworld Witches, particularly Granny Weatherwax, except you will find that if you do he will wind up acting not terribly different than he is already written up.

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    Actually, the reason that thread got locked was because people were purposefully attacking others, attempting to discredit their very real experiences, and being jerks. My point was supposed to be that the OP wanted to find a way to portray Erastil in an acceptable and nice way. I wasn't clear, and for that I apologize, that the majority of the post was an attempt to do just that. Maybe I should have less direct with you.

    If I offended you, sorry. Clearly this subject is a very personal one for you, but it also is one for me. If you would like a more personal explanation, I would be happy to do so over a more private channel.


    And you knew who you were then
    Elves were girls and dwarves were men
    We could use a god Like Aroden again...

    We all increased the birthing rate,
    and the clerics still wore plate,
    Those were the days...

    Quote:

    We have a world, where there is no physical distinction between men and women.

    A female fighter is no different in her combat stats from a male fighter.

    Well, there's still one distinction left: women can have children, men can't. Women can care for children for the first few years much easier than men can. Dead man= replaceable. Dead woman= thats the end of the family. If you're going through a time when your town reproduces or dies (like the relatively recent age of darkness), the distinction is very important.

    A nice but condescending cleric of erastil might give the female fighter the healing potion or some goodberries, a protective spell, or an old shield lying in someones attic, along with directions to the farm of a nice young man who hasn't found the right girl, or a farm matron who can take her under her ample wing and show her the benefits of settling down with a family.

    Silver Crusade

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    I can see Erastil taking a general "men are the expendible gender" attitude, but he absolutely wouldn't stop a woman dead set on fighting or hunting for her community.

    After all, a happy community is a healthy community, and forcing people into roles they won't fit into fosters dysfunction.

    Honestly, the best thing a lot of folks can do with Erastil is stop derailing his character into Handmaid's Tale territory. (that and pick up the female Erastilian priestess hook in Seeker of Secrets and run iwth it!)


    I tend to find Erastil difficult. While I'd like to one day make a cleric or paladin of his and play them and have fun with it, I can't help but think of him as "the deity that NPCs worship" and as the deity who you make central to a town when you want to show that the town is tiny and uninteresting.

    I suppose I just haven't found the right character concept for the job yet.


    I am currently running a Cleric of Erastil and I am going to play his as this:

    A strong want and love of community. Not just in the neighborhood sense, but companionship among his group, bringing his new group into a tight communion of friends.

    Penance through hard work. Much to the lament of my fellow PC's my cleric believes that if one wants to turn from a life of crime and generally being a dick, they must demonstrate a willingness to build up the same community they tried to tear down. Of the initial bandits we jumped at Oleg's, one discovered that he preferred living to hanging by the neck.

    At first opportunity, he is going to try matching up his companions with "suitable" mates so they can all experience the joy of marriage and children.

    He holds close the belief that all monsters and savage beasts, whether they walk on four legs or two, are a threat to the community and must be put down. In the cases of the two legged monsters (i.e. Humanoids) look above to the part about penance.

    The man v woman staying at home thing, he believes that as long as there is a strong parental figure raising their children, it does not much matter to him. Children need their own parents, not someone else, raising them.

    At least that is how I am playing him.

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    savior70 wrote:

    I am currently running a Cleric of Erastil and I am going to play his as this:

    A strong want and love of community. Not just in the neighborhood sense, but companionship among his group, bringing his new group into a tight communion of friends.

    Penance through hard work. Much to the lament of my fellow PC's my cleric believes that if one wants to turn from a life of crime and generally being a dick, they must demonstrate a willingness to build up the same community they tried to tear down. Of the initial bandits we jumped at Oleg's, one discovered that he preferred living to hanging by the neck.

    At first opportunity, he is going to try matching up his companions with "suitable" mates so they can all experience the joy of marriage and children.

    He holds close the belief that all monsters and savage beasts, whether they walk on four legs or two, are a threat to the community and must be put down. In the cases of the two legged monsters (i.e. Humanoids) look above to the part about penance.

    The man v woman staying at home thing, he believes that as long as there is a strong parental figure raising their children, it does not much matter to him. Children need their own parents, not someone else, raising them.

    At least that is how I am playing him.

    And you hit a couple of points that I think people, including myself, often miss with Erastil.

    First, a cleric would be trying their hardest to foster a community and help it grow into a healthy and productive one. This means being a peacemaker, a teacher, a mentor, or anything else the community needs to grow to its fullest potential. In a party situation, this is the member that is willing to be the listening ear, the shoulder to cry on, the mentor, the judge, and often the leader. They may even be a bit too much in their attempt to keep their party focused, on the straight and narrow, and together. That rogue that keeps pulling stunts? Yeah, he will be watched like a hawk and given stern talking toos.

    Second, they will work hard and expect the same from everyone else. They help with building construction, ranching, farming, brewing, or any other much needed task. In a party situation, they are setting up camp, chopping wood, hunting, and doing the heavy lifting. They expect everyone else to do the same, so that lazy rogue once again is going to be asked more than once to get off his rear and do something.

    They are monster hunters. If it is a threat to their community or party, they want to be in the thick of things to protect it. They may even seem as battle focused as clerics of Gorum, but not nearly as (as they would see it,) foolhardy or reckless. They will think first and attack, preferring to allow others to attack while they offer support (unless they are a paladin of course.) They have respect for nature, but they have no problem taking out dangerous animals if it means a safer place to live.

    Lantern Lodge

    I mainly run Erastil as a god of the hunt, concerned with protecting communities from threats, providing food, and general other ranger things. I take him to be concerned with those that are overly aggressive on one end or too lazy on the other. He has a lot more trouble with Cayden Calien than Sarenrae, for example, and has an open admiration for Desna and Shelyn. He gets downright cranky with Abadar. He also believe strongly in a time for youth and a time for settling down to form a family, and grow a village. And I play him as having as many female priests as male priests.


    One thing to remember about presenting Jhod Kavken, he's already nearly been kicked out of the church of Erastil for his mistakes.

    Even then he was exiled, his dreams of the lost temple came after a lot of wandering, he realizes that this is Erastil giving him a chance to redeem himself.

    I ran him as a guy who had been given a second chance after his own arrogance got him deep in trouble, and who was ready to help others get that second chance in turn.

    DBH


    @DBH: Same.. And i play him with a lot of aches, which he uses as excuses not to come with the group.

    "My back aches lad, you wouldn't expect an old man to go hiking in the wilderness would you?"
    == lazy attitude
    == semi-reason why he is not high up the chain of the Erastilites


    Jeremias -- It's your game, don't worry about making changes to how things are for the setting, and the Gods. If you want Erastil to be a nice guy, there's absolutely room for that in the game you are running, simply allow him to be a nice guy.

    In my Kingmaker game, Erastil is more the provider, god of home and hearth, field and meadow. A rather hands off rural god watching over the life of his subjects and those they interface with. He's mostly benevolent, but can be stern when he needs to teach a lesson - think of him like, as others have mentioned, a grandparent.

    My point though, is that in the game you are running, you have ultimate control of how the npcs, and thus gods, are portrayed - If you want to make changes, feel free!


    In my KM game, the cleric of Erastil is the least of my problems. It's the inquisitor of Erastil in the party that's the big headache. Erastilian's tend to use ostracism when there is something wrong in the community, but I perceive them as a basically good folk and so it just doesn't come up much. So... he is running around trying to bully NPC's into confessing to some sort of deviancy. Geesh.

    Guess I better play up the clerics of gyronna...


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    In our game, Jhod was a very conservative type, but it was never assumed that Jhod unquestionably represented Erastil. It was implied that there were more liberal wings of the church, and that Jhod just happened to be a bit of a narrow-minded traditionalist.

    This was actually great fun to roleplay, as Jhod was the kingdom's high priest and my character, the Queen, was a very progressive gnomish lesbian (paladin of Arshea.) Jhod was a dissenting voice and a bit of a thorn in our side on a number of issues, but we needed him because bascially there was no one else capable of filling the position for a long time. Things came to a head when my character proposed marriage to her female half-orc cohort, and Jhod had a meltdown. So we had to go into serious damage-control mode to keep him from quitting the Council, which would have been bad for the kingdom.

    Later on, the other characters suggested replacing Jhod with either one of my higher-level followers or the Calistria worshipper we met later on. My character actually nixed these ideas on the grounds that we *needed* a conservative voice on the Council, or we were making ourselves deaf to the wishes and beliefs of the not insignificant portion of the population that agreed with Jhod.

    Great fun.


    Jhod's one of the council NPCs in my players' group that I tend to forget is there, the other being Svetlana, who can generally get away with being quiet because she's the treasurer and only really needs to speak up when money is involved. [I'd played it up in chapter 1 that while Oleg was the face of the business, it was less because of actual personable skills - because grouchy, loner Oleg really doesn't have a lot of that - and more because he was the kind that people expected to be running a business out in the sticks. Svetlana was the real brains behind the operation, handling all the money, orders, and supply requests, while Oleg mostly just signed things and talked to customers.] He's also the only Lawful Good councilor, the only Good one at all besides Svetlana (CG) and the only Lawful one besides the Duchess herself (LN). He's at odds with much of the group (especially the Spymistress and Magister) but I've always played him as rather meek and quiet, as kind of a backlash to his history of speaking out too strongly getting him in trouble and him trying to both turn over a new leaf and to get less hostile attention.

    At least with Svetlana I have the excuse that I personally am bad at math and can't accurately play up all the calculations and economic comparisons she'd be doing, so any time I discuss building costs with the group it's safe to assume it's through her even if I'm not ICly acting as her. Jhod really has nothing I can latch onto, the character isn't particularly interesting, has made no strong connections with any of the group (no one shares his religion, the one other divine caster is an Oracle empowered by the fey, and the group likes Akiros as he is and has no interest in him regaining his paladin status [in fact there's significant talk of the General, a Barbarian/Cavalier, helping him retrain those levels away into Cavalier levels]), and while I suppose he could stir up a storm by being the dissenting voice on the council, I've not much enjoyed him doing so.

    Interestingly, the Erastil thing isn't an issue for me, as I don't play in Golarion and have swapped his deity to a relatively-comparable one from my homebrew setting, so the lack of interest for me is because I don't find him a particularly engaging character more than his religion. *shrug* My slightly-inflated 2cp.


    Why have a state religion anyway?

    Even after a few years the area is still going to be fairly low population.

    Our Duchess was a cleric of Sarenrae, but her attitude was a state religion would drive off more than it would attract.

    You are trying to attract immigrants to build a new country.

    She set up a church of Sarenrae but also allowed other churchs to settle, as long as they contributed to the country.

    Except for the evil churches naturally.

    If a church came in and ran schools, hospitals, blessed the crops or aided defense then they got pretty much a free hand, and the DnD version of tax breaks.

    On the other hand, a church that came in trying to dominate, get involved in politics, or just make money soon ran into the regal cold shoulder and a string of bad luck (She may be a cleric of Sarenrae, but she is also from the Lebedas family and used to politics).

    The High priest position ended up with the various churches meeting, choosing who would speak for them and sending them to the council.

    DBH


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    @DBH: Because the template they gave with the Kingdom rules was based on an idealized monarchic model & that operates off of a divine right of Kings & that assumes an official state religion, which includes a High Priest.

    The fact that the PC kingdom really is a comparatively tiny, at least for quite a while, wilderness kingdom is really the only legitimate reason to even consider Erastil as a 'state deity'.
    By the time the Kingdom has annexed Fort Drelev, assuming they haven't intentionally kept any towns they have from maxing out in size/growing to more than 1 plat, the nation will have grown to the point of needing to consider a more 'culturally relevant' divine patron anyway.


    High Priest could be "head of the state religion."

    Or she could be "gal in charge of keeping the different religions from quarrelling."

    Or he could be "representative of the most popular church" with regular run-off elections.

    Or she could be "the king's private chaplain."

    It all depends on how much effort you want to put into the politics of the kingdom, and how the PCs want to handle it. If you don't like the Simple Brevoy-Like Setup from the rules, feel free to complicate it as much as you want. If all the PCs are constitutional historians, it can get very interesting ;)


    The religion was always a background event in my game, I feel that a State religion based on the historical model doesn't work in fantasy games.

    Instead of one overall religion you have several, each with their own area of influence, one dominating your kingdom can end up costing you more than it gains.

    While Erastil might work in a long settled rural area I felt he wouldn't have the same power in a newly developed region.

    You put out the call for settlers and you get those willing to take a risk, younger children with no chance of inheriting, people from
    overcrowded places looking for a chance ETC.

    They would all bring their own religious preferences with them, the various religions would send clerics to get their church going in the new kingdom, it would realistically take time for one church to become the dominant player.

    You could set the state religion at the founding of the kingdom, but as I said in an earlier post, that could put off settlers instead of attracting them?

    DBH


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    DBH wrote:

    The religion was always a background event in my game, I feel that a State religion based on the historical model doesn't work in fantasy games.

    Depends on which historical model you follow. The Roman model would probably work fine. But then Rome was pretty open and accepting of other religions... as long as the state religion got its proper due,


    Bill Dunn wrote:
    DBH wrote:

    The religion was always a background event in my game, I feel that a State religion based on the historical model doesn't work in fantasy games.

    Depends on which historical model you follow. The Roman model would probably work fine. But then Rome was pretty open and accepting of other religions... as long as the state religion got its proper due,

    Good point.

    I was thinking of the more monolithic view of a state religion, like the middle ages christian church.

    Especially since many people seem to have firmly placed Erastil into the arch-conservative, misogynistic role.

    DBH


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    DBH wrote:
    Bill Dunn wrote:


    Depends on which historical model you follow. The Roman model would probably work fine. But then Rome was pretty open and accepting of other religions... as long as the state religion got its proper due,

    Good point.

    I was thinking of the more monolithic view of a state religion, like the middle ages christian church.

    Especially since many people seem to have firmly placed Erastil into the arch-conservative, misogynistic role.

    DBH

    I think I would have a hard time seeing a state church of Erastil, especially in any kind of monolithic capacity. Erastil is more the religion of the rural common folk, the kind of people who generally are disinterested in politics or major religious organizations.


    @Bill Dunn.

    Again a valid point, but then this whole thread is about the problem a lot of people have with the way Erastil has been presented in Kingmaker.

    If you look at the listing for possible NPC leaders in RRR Jhod Kavken is described as 'Self-doubting' and 'Friendly'.

    Not really the guy who's going to lead the church of Erastil to the top in your kingdom with a fist of iron. :-)

    DBH

    Silver Crusade

    Something just crossed my mind:

    How about having the Empyreal Lord Andoletta (Grandmother Crow) equally exalted and having "the other half" of a church shared with Erastil?

    Hell, you could even have both sides of the clergy act like an old married couple. ;)


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I know that couple! No seriously, a librarian I worked for trained to be a catholic nun before going into library science, and her husband is a farmer that hunts recreationaly. Both nice and, in their own way, sweet, but it's an almost otherwordly amount of crotchety.

    Haha! Imagine Andoletta, Erastil, and Torag sitting around a table drinking, watching the newer deities go about their business.

    Silver Crusade

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Lloyd Jackson wrote:

    I know that couple! No seriously, a librarian I worked for trained to be a catholic nun before going into library science, and her husband is a farmer that hunts recreationaly. Both nice and, in their own way, sweet, but it's an almost otherwordly amount of crotchety.

    Wow...that is some uncanny synchronization there. 0_0

    though I am equally a fan of F. Wesley Schneider's "Catholic nun" take and Lilith's "Native American flavored" takes on Andoletta and hope they somehow get combined in Chronicles. :)

    edit-Man, they would just give Cayden Cailean all sorts of hell, wouldn't they?


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    Truth.

    Iomedae may be young, but she handles responsibility well, really stepped up when Aroden fell. Irori may be a little too passive, but he understands disciple and self-improvement. Norgorber, there's just something wrong with that boy. As for Cayden, oh Cayden what're we goin' to do with 'im? He's a good lad to be sure, but...

    Who said you can't have a Native American Nun?

    Silver Crusade

    True, it's just finding the perfect mix of those cultural flavors that feels a bit challenging. Eager to see which direction Chronicles takes her!


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    I always thought the key with Erastil was to play him as a pragmatic god, who believes in community, and believes that family is the way the community survives. After all, there are no pensions, when you get old (for the vast majority) it is your children who look after you.

    Minor essay on Traditional roles:

    Women are needed as mothers to look after babies. Breast feeding can go on for a long time in rural, non-technical settings - I have seen RL ‘guidance’ that suggested some form of breast feeding until the age of six!

    But things like hunting, shooting and trapping are dangerous, and can take you away from home and the family. Even farm work keeps you out of the house all day. But there are plenty of jobs that do leave a person close to home in a way they can manage the family. Cooking, making clothes, preserving food for winter, brewing ale, are all traditional ‘women’ jobs, which keep the home-maker at safe at home.

    So you get the traditional view that women look after the home and the family and men do the stuff outside the home. Interestingly, it was hanging around in the UK (and I suspect most of the western world) in the 70s and 80s. It didn’t really start changing big time (in the RL west) until the introduction of the birth control, pill – and that was a slow change.

    Faiths of Purity says wrote:


    ... a nature deity, a stag-headed god of small towns and untamed spaces, a step between the Green Faith and the modern faiths of the cities. He is a stern patriarch but a friend to those in need. He is not a god for glory-seekers, but for those who seek stability and cooperation in the world.”

    He has fixed views - but he is still a friend, and will give assistance to, to those who need his help - even if they don’t fit his model. He is a god of rural people in small communities - the god of NPC farmers and country folks.

    Faiths of Purity also says wrote:


    “Participation in the community and service to your people is a form of devotion”

    So his priest can accept those two women who live together at the farm up on the hill. “I don’t know what goes on in there and they would certainly be better off if they were married to good men. BUT they keep their farm well, come to church regular and bring a good armful to the harvest fest each year. Last winter, when the browns were having a hard time, they found some work for Mr Brown chopping wood for them and paid him generously with a side of bacon. Good Women, both of them.”

    There is a female priestess of Erastil in Tatzleford. So Erastil isn’t completely Misogynistic.

    Jhod is High Priest in my game, where I use a Roman interpretation of religion – Lots of different deities with different portfolios and different primary worshippers. Erastil represents the deity of the majority of the country folks who come along to this new land. We have an NPC priestess of Pharasma who looks after the religious needs to the ‘city folks’. Next I expect we will have an NPC cleric of Abadar (in the city) as the PCs want banking and improved trade facilities. One of our secondary PCs is a cleric of Iomedae – his long term intention is to establish an abbey training holy warriors and paladins.

    Jhod uses his influence on the council to discourage large developments, and to keep large of the area either ‘wild’ or ‘rural’ – and so far he has managed it. The countryside pretty much belongs to Erastil.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    A general suggestion: the described traits are not traits of the god, even when presented that way, so much as traits attributed to him/her by a regional cult. You can have heretics, you can have significant regional differences, the interpretation of a god can change just as it does on Earth.

    This is the way we handle Erastil. Brevoy is quite patriarchal, and the church of Erastil in Brevoy is pretty much as described. The church of Erastil in the new Kingdom was quite different--its early growth was very much shaped by Elsbet, a kind of Joan of Arc figure who founded the Order of the Elk, a guild of laypeople dedicated to Erastil and to community do-gooding.

    Elsbet and Jhod had quite a lot of conflict, and there was a subplot midgame where enemies of the kingdom tried to turn Jhod against Elsbet by revealing secrets from her past. But by campaign end they were working together, and the structure of the faith in the kingdom was an interesting synthesis of some fairly different views.

    (We didn't have a state religion exactly--the King's ideology was tolerant to a fault. But major churches needed permission, and the ones who got it were Erastil and, much later, Pharasma--and never Abadar or Gorum despite repeated attempts.)

    Similarly, in our Council of Thieves game (in which religion's pretty important, probably more so than in the source material) the Egorian Church of Asmodeus is as sexist as it can get away with, partly in opposition to the Thrune Empress, but things like the Sisters of Iseth show an alternative interpretation. You could have a very misogynistic Church of Asmodei in one place and a completely gender-indifferent one in another, one where the Whore Queens are as big or bigger a deal than, say, Mammon.

    The basic idea is that mortals don't ever know all there is to know about gods, and/or that gods are fairly paradoxical, with multiple aspects that can look contradictory to mortals. So it's quite possible for mortals to come up with drastically divergent interpretations of a god without either group getting immediately slapped down; and in fact they may *both be right.*

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