The Paradox of Sarenrae


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

1 to 50 of 160 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This has been noted before. Personally, I'm hoping for an AP about it. (Now, where did I put those theses?)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I guess my question is: what are Sarenrite Clerics actually like? Are they the happy go lucky, forgiving hippies described in Inner Sea Gods, or the harsh, legalistic, militant evangelists implied by, say, the Inner Sea World Guide? As a GM and a player, a bit of guidance would be nice.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
spectrevk wrote:

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?

Sarenrae isn't all loving and kindness. To those who ARE unredeemable she shows quite a different aspect. Like the rest of the Gods she leaves many decisions about redemption to her mortal proxies. the Dawnflowers ARE following her ideals, it's where they draw the line on redemption vs wrath that they differ from the rest of her following.

While the worshippers of a god do follow the god's ideals, there's a good possibility that it's not strictly a one-way street, that the gods are to at least some extent, what their followers make them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?

Sarenrae isn't all loving and kindness. To those who ARE unredeemable she shows quite a different aspect. Like the rest of the Gods she leaves many decisions about redemption to her mortal proxies. the Dawnflowers ARE following her ideals, it's where they draw the line on redemption vs wrath that they differ from the rest of her following.

While the worshippers of a god do follow the god's ideals, there's a good possibility that it's not strictly a one-way street, that the gods are to at least some extent, what their followers make them.

Dawnflowers invaded Osirion (or rather, convinced Qadira to do so) without any real reason beyond spreading their faith by force. Weren't they also behind the push on Taldor? And in what way are the slaves in Katapesh, Qadira, and elsewhere "beyond redemption"? Why aren't slavers worthy of her ire?

It makes no sense for a Lawful Good deity to support slavery, particularly the kind of slavery that exists in Golarion.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

James Jacobs has stated this was a mistake and miscommunication between early Golarion worldbuilders. With Inner Sea Gods, they hoped to fix some of the issues with the division in the Sarenrae faith. She is supposed to be the absolute kindest of the good gods, but new sourcebooks won't wholly fix this (though even in Inner Sea Combat, I believe, her ban from Taldor seems to either be retconned or recently fixed, as what is described as her largest cathedral is sitting there). Hopefully we might someday see an AP devoted to this issue, or even a module (Which James Jacobs has hinted at).

Also, she's neutral good :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
spectrevk wrote:
LazarX wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?

Sarenrae isn't all loving and kindness. To those who ARE unredeemable she shows quite a different aspect. Like the rest of the Gods she leaves many decisions about redemption to her mortal proxies. the Dawnflowers ARE following her ideals, it's where they draw the line on redemption vs wrath that they differ from the rest of her following.

While the worshippers of a god do follow the god's ideals, there's a good possibility that it's not strictly a one-way street, that the gods are to at least some extent, what their followers make them.

Dawnflowers invaded Osirion (or rather, convinced Qadira to do so) without any real reason beyond spreading their faith by force. Weren't they also behind the push on Taldor? And in what way are the slaves in Katapesh, Qadira, and elsewhere "beyond redemption"? Why aren't slavers worthy of her ire?

It makes no sense for a Lawful Good deity to support slavery, particularly the kind of slavery that exists in Golarion.

Who says Sarenrae's version of Lawful Good is the same as Iomedae's? Lawful Good covers one ninth of a very large box. And more importantly what you don't seem to understand is that the deities of a faith, don't run their churches the way a Pope does. Pharasma still kept granting the villain of a certain Pathfinder Tales novel spells even though he had fallen from much of the faith's central tenets. Free Will apparently is an important part of the overall Golarion paradigm, no matter who the diety concerned is.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Nargemn wrote:

James Jacobs has stated this was a mistake and miscommunication between early Golarion worldbuilders. With Inner Sea Gods, they hoped to fix some of the issues with the division in the Sarenrae faith. She is supposed to be the absolute kindest of the good gods, but new sourcebooks won't wholly fix this (though even in Inner Sea Combat, I believe, her ban from Taldor seems to either be retconned or recently fixed, as what is described as her largest cathedral is sitting there). Hopefully we might someday see an AP devoted to this issue, or even a module (Which James Jacobs has hinted at).

Also, she's neutral good :)

Ah, that does explain a lot. I'm still a bit confused as to how the kindest of the good gods, and a Neutral Good former angel, has the center of her worship in one of the largest slave states in Golarion (one assumes that Qadira has about as many slaves as Cheliax, if not more). Even if we assume that followers don't hew to the exact dictates of their deity in all matters, we're talking about a society-wide institution that is directly opposed to the definition of "Good" as far as the Alignment rules go. I mean, if we're giving Sarenrae a pass for her followers practicing slavery, why not Asmodeus?

Come to think of it, that'd be a great slogan for Chelaxian evangelists: "Why not Asmodeus?"


7 people marked this as a favorite.

First off, she is neutral good, not lawful. Also, being the goddess of redemption, she is kinda be very forgiving, to a fault. She is well aware that some people are 'doing it wrong' but she believes it best for them to work it on there own or with the help of the other faithful mortals. The reason does this is because the last time she decided to directly intervene, she got her herald killed, got pissed and the ripped open a rift to Rovagug's prison, releasing(among many other things) a Tarrasque.

So yeah... As long as you don't go too far(why slavery isn't too far, i can't tell you), she will let mortals be idiots in her name.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:

First off, she is neutral good, not lawful. Also, being the goddess of redemption, she is kinda be very forgiving, to a fault. She is well aware that some people are 'doing it wrong' but she believes it best for them to work it on there own or with the help of the other faithful mortals. The reason does this is because the last time she decided to directly intervene, she got her herald killed, got pissed and the ripped open a rift to Rovagug's prison, releasing(among many other things) a Tarrasque.

So yeah... As long as you don't go too far(why slavery isn't too far, i can't tell you), she will let mortals be idiots in her name.

The other point is that you'd be a pretty poor goddess of redemption if you write off your followers for not being perfect models of your creed.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

First, I'd like to note that Sarenrae is Neutral Good, not Lawful. Just for the record.

spectrevk wrote:
I guess my question is: what are Sarenrite Clerics actually like? Are they the happy go lucky, forgiving hippies described in Inner Sea Gods, or the harsh, legalistic, militant evangelists implied by, say, the Inner Sea World Guide? As a GM and a player, a bit of guidance would be nice.

Most of them are the former. There's a large faction of them in Qadira that are the latter. They're basically heretics, and have shifted the church in that specific area in a more Neutral direction. Bear in mind that you can be within one step of their deity's alignment and still receive spells...so the schismatic sect in question in Qadira is True Neutral rather than Neutral Good.

Per James Jacobs, they're actually just on the verge of having Sarenrae become personally involved in correcting their behavior...but she's been being merciful and been giving them every chance to seek redemption on their own before that happens. Because, y'know, Goddess of Mercy.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Forgiving minor infractions is one thing. Waging large-scale war in the name of a goddess who is supposedly warm and fuzzy is something else entirely.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

She is not warm and fuzzy. She personally kicked Rovagug butt into a prison(asmodous helped a little) and she destroyed a city of her own followers because they went to far(they were also driven crazy by rovagug fart gas or something). She is very forgiving, but she is not afraid to put the hurt on when you go to far, and simply put, they have not gone far enough yet. This is quite possible a mistake on her part, but as I mentioned above, it wouldn't be her first one.

Honestly it sounds like you are talking about Shelyn or something and you think she should be acting like Iomedae.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here is a similar thread I started a while ago. James Jacobs posted an interesting response.

link.

I for one happen to like the idea that there is a fractured faith, that there is a hard militant side to the faith, intent much more on burning those who are "deemed" iredeamable, and those who are interested in redemption.

To me it makes sense that politics power and religion would would drive a "spread of the faith" by the sword across northern Garrund, and into Taldor.

To me it makes sense that the faith of Sarenrae is not well loved in Taldor. They have had to deal with an aggressive powerful southern nieghbor, namely Qadira after all.

Just because a nation of people Taldorans, don't like a particular church, or branch of a faith, say the cult of the dawn flower, does not mean they dislike Sarenrae, but they may be wary of her faithful all the same.

People are after all able to separate a godess from her misguided "faithful followers".

Why wouldn't she come down hard on these misguided and deluded faithful? Well for one thing

Sarenrae is Neutral Good and she most likely wants to redeem her misguided followers.

I guess all in all, it is the imperfections that has made Sarenrae's "faith" interesting to me.

So while things may be "retconned" in my own home games I will keep them as I like them....Taldor being suspicious of sarenraeite worshipers and banning open worship as being seditious. And I will also like the idea of past wars to spread the faith. From those wars we got Rahadoum. Rahadoum is another interesting place.

Anyways I am beginning to rant. I apologize.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:

She is not warm and fuzzy. She personally kicked Rovagug butt into a prison(asmodous helped a little) and she destroyed a city of her own followers because they went to far(they were also driven crazy by rovagug fart gas or something). She is very forgiving, but she is not afraid to put the hurt on when you go to far, and simply put, they have not gone far enough yet. This is quite possible a mistake on her part, but as I mentioned above, it wouldn't be her first one.

Honestly it sounds like you are talking about Shelyn or something and you think she should be acting like Iomedae.

No, I'm talking about the way Sarenrae is described in Inner Sea Gods, versus the descriptions of persistent warmongering by Qadira, the center of her worship. It's not like Taldor or Osirion did anything to Sarenrae's worshippers prior to the opening of hostilities.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I always read the antagonism between Taldor and Qadira to be mutual as opposed to having one clear aggressor - since both sides were in active expansionist modes in the 0-100 AR time frame and on. I mean at the same time that you have the Padadish Emperor pushing west towards Taldor, you have Taldor sending out its Armies of Exploration.

Edit: Misread my notes. Taldor's Armies of Expansion predated the Kelesh occupation of Osirian by 1,000 years (although the Taldor's expansionist period continued on from 37 AR - 2113 AR). And the Kelesh push into Taldor as the Taldane empire started to weaken. So... really just taking advantage of a previous aggressor losing power.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A government using the trappings and a particular spin of a religion for their own expansionist greed? That would never happen… *laughs*

Sarcasm aside… there's a combination of heretics, separatists, and powerful people paying lip service to religion for their own gains that can completely explain a convert all the infidels militaristic version of Sarenrae.

It's similar to a question I had at one of my tables of Merchant's Wake about Pharasma at PaizoCon, mainly how can Pharasma look on Osirion with any favor (including making Orisiani clerics…) when there's so many undead around.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
spectrevk wrote:
Forgiving minor infractions is one thing. Waging large-scale war in the name of a goddess who is supposedly warm and fuzzy is something else entirely.

Sarenrae is willing to forgive anything if their desire for repentance is sincere. She's willing to redeem evil Deities being so bad they're literally powered by Evil on a conceptual level. She'll happily redeem Fiends who've killed thousands, or genocidal madmen if she can. That's what being the Goddess of mercy and forgiveness means.

Dead Phoenix wrote:
She is not warm and fuzzy. She personally kicked Rovagug butt into a prison(asmodous helped a little) and she destroyed a city of her own followers because they went to far(they were also driven crazy by rovagug fart gas or something).

Actually, no, that second description is pretty much completely wrong. The city in question was not of her own worshipers at all. It was a vile place, and she only smote it after they'd killed a lot of missionaries from her church and had priests of Rovagug preaching openly in the streets.

So...yeah, just to clarify. She's certainly willing to destroy the unrepentantly Evil, but she's not as gung ho about it as you're implying here.


I don't see a problem with the disconnect. Sarenrae has done some nasty things in the past (see: Gormuz), and while you could look at it as a problem, I prefer to look at it and see interesting and intriguing plot hooks that make Taldor, and Qadira, a more interesting region. Take it away, and they get a lot more boring. It's not a moral judgement of Sarenrae herself.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


Dead Phoenix wrote:
She is not warm and fuzzy. She personally kicked Rovagug butt into a prison(asmodous helped a little) and she destroyed a city of her own followers because they went to far(they were also driven crazy by rovagug fart gas or something).

Actually, no, that second description is pretty much completely wrong. The city in question was not of her own worshipers at all. It was a vile place, and she only smote it after they'd killed a lot of missionaries from her church and had priests of Rovagug preaching openly in the streets.

So...yeah, just to clarify. She's certainly willing to destroy the unrepentantly Evil, but she's not as gung ho about it as you're implying here.

I'm re-reading it over again right now(I'm getting this from the Mythic Realms book by)... it never states they ever stopped worshiping Sarenrae, or started worshiping Rovagug. But on that note i read a little further and its states that after doing this and realizing she'd been played by Rovagug is when she decided to go full on redemption goddess(or just even more so then she was before).

So yeah, I was playing up the 'gung ho' attitude a bit more then I should have maybe, but I still disagree with the notion she is 'warm and fuzzy'(she can be, but she is also the first butt kicker of evil).


I thought I read that one of the reasons she destroyed the city was because they killed her herald, but I can't seem to find it now...


You are correct, the people murdered the angel Kohal. That was the straw that broke the camel's back, as it were.


spectrevk wrote:


No, I'm talking about the way Sarenrae is described in Inner Sea Gods, versus the descriptions of persistent warmongering by Qadira, the center of her worship. It's not like Taldor or Osirion did anything to Sarenrae's worshippers prior to the opening of hostilities.

Qadira is not the center of Sarenrae worship. The capitol of the Keleshite Empire is, Qadira is only a vassal. The empire commanded Qadira to stop attacking countries. Now the cult of the dawnflower is searching for a loophole to attack someone anyway.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:
You are correct, the people murdered the angel Kohal. That was the straw that broke the camel's back, as it were.

It was. She sent Kohal to rein the people in, and he was destroyed. She got her smite on, which resulted in the destruction of the city and the creation of the Pit of Gormuz. She then realized that Rovagug had managed to play her, which is why she now prefers to err on the side of mercy.

Liberty's Edge

Dead Phoenix wrote:
I'm re-reading it over again right now(I'm getting this from the Mythic Realms book by)... it never states they ever stopped worshiping Sarenrae, or started worshiping Rovagug. But on that note i read a little further and its states that after doing this and realizing she'd been played by Rovagug is when she decided to go full on redemption goddess(or just even more so then she was before).

It's described slightly differently in her original deity article from Legacy of Fire (which is what I was going by). The two descriptions aren't actually inconsistent, though, now lookng at the Mythic Realms one. Having gradually gone evil enough that the city as a whole ripped an Angel apart, primarily due to Rovagug's influence, some Rovagug worship is basically inevitable. As are other depravities, as mentioned. The fact that the Mythic Realms bit doesn't explicitly mention the city as a whole turning from her worship...but it seems pretty damn likely.

Dead Phoenix wrote:
So yeah, I was playing up the 'gung ho' attitude a bit more then I should have maybe, but I still disagree with the notion she is 'warm and fuzzy'(she can be, but she is also the first butt kicker of evil).

Oh, totally. Just noting that she's also really nice, too. Even by the standards of Good deities. Much nicer than, say, Iomedae or Torag, for example.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.


Isn't Sarenae the archetypical arrogant, Lawful Stupid Paladin God based on her portrayal in WotR?


Caedwyr wrote:
Isn't Sarenae the archetypical arrogant, Lawful Stupid Paladin God based on her portrayal in WotR?

That was Iomedae.


Alleran wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Isn't Sarenae the archetypical arrogant, Lawful Stupid Paladin God based on her portrayal in WotR?
That was Iomedae.

Ah, thanks for the correction.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Alceste008 wrote:
Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.

True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).

Liberty's Edge

spectrevk wrote:
Alceste008 wrote:
Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.
True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).

Abadar is Lawful-Neutral and if my memory is good, not many Good deities are actively against slavery.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
spectrevk wrote:
Alceste008 wrote:
Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.
True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).

Incase you missed it in the link Elyas post earlier...

James Jacobs wrote:

Sarenrae herself, and her church, does not tolerate slavery, but nor do they preach "Kill the slavers!" They would certainly look for non-violent ways to seek a slave's freedom—purchasing the slave and setting the slave free is probably the preferred method.

Now that said, there's a wide range of individual variations among the specific worshipers of Sarenrae—as with ANY religion. There are some worshipers of Sarenrae who would, perhaps, seek to simply comfort slaves if possible, espcially if they see the alternative (living on your own with no support structure in a dangerous city) is more painfula nd dangerous than slavery itself. There's ABSOLUTELY some worshipers of Sarenrae who crusade against slavery and slavers themselves and DO use violence against the slavers.

Now, as for Qadira? It's important to keep two things in mind about Sarenrae's faith being the most widespread faith in Qadira:

1) It's not in charge. The government of Qadira is richer and more powerful than the church of Sarenrae in Qadira, and as a result, the government is the one that gets to say if slaves are legal or not. The church has to either go along with that or rebel, and in Qadira's case, the church has opted to go along with it.

2) The church of Sarenrae in Qadira is NOT the most faithful of all of Sarenrae's churches. In fact, it's one of the most corrupt of her churches, because they've more or less lost sight of the "redeem your enemies" and "peace is better than war." Over the course of many generations, the church of Sarenrae in Qadira has become militarized, basically, and they're a lot more pro-war than they should be—but not SO pro-war that the chruch is in immediate danger of losing all their clerical powers. This church's tolerance of slaves in Qadira is but one of many examples of how the church is straying from Sarenrae's path. It's also why there's a schism building among the church, as a growing number of worshipers are coming to realize that things have somehow gone sour in the faith here. But an...

Liberty's Edge

spectrevk wrote:
True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).

Uh...as Dead Phoenix notes, she actually is actively against slavery. There's a faction of her church that isn't...but they're heretics, and factually wrong about their Goddess's desires. Read the sidebar on them in Inner Sea Gods, it's noted as one of their explicit divergences from the mainstream church.

Also, as Ravenblack notes, Abadar is LN, and while the Good Gods all seem to dislike slavery to varying degrees, it's mostly only the CG Gods who are focused on doing stuff about it.


This thread seems to be discussing the Taldor/Quadira/Osirion relationship, which are not completly dependent on religion. The Sarenite church may be a mayor factor in the kelleshite Empire, but it´s not a complete theocracy, like the arabian nations were no theocracies in the medieval ages. You can look at it like the medieval catholic church. Although Jesus clearly preaches a peacefull lifestyle, thousands of crusaders took up arms to conquer Jehrusalem with fire and sword. If a highpriest of Sarenrae confused the animalheaded gods of Osirion with incarnations of Lamashtu, war would be the only salvation of these "poor people". Thus it would actually be an act of good, at least in the priests minds. And nobody can say anything against intentions.
Lastly, while we do have much more active gods on Golarion, they´re still A. lagerly occupied with many countries and worlds, and cannot send messengers to every priest misunderstanding they´re creed
B. the good gods want mortals to find goodness by themselves, and appearing in front of a mortal everytime he does something wrong would make him unable to make moral choices by himself. Good is a decision of consience after all.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is an interesting topic, because it takes an editorial knot - as mentioned by James Jacobs - and turns it into an opportunity to expand the setting's theological concepts beyond the limiting system of alignment. This paradox (thanks OP!) makes Serenrae more nuanced and real, like a god one could imagine in literature, more than most Golarian gods, who fit neatly into their binary slots. It's hard to reconcile but it's pretty cool.

A few reasons Serenrae might tolerate slavery:

1. The enslavement of some of her faithful is the karmic balance Serenrae must endure for her defeat of Rovagug. Such a beast can never be bested by force or will alone: Serenrae had to pay for his imprisonment. She and her most enlightened followers struggle with the burden of this cost. This is my favorite theory.

2. It's a test for her followers. Humanity must free itself of the evils of slavery, not the gods, not if humans are to a gain the enlightenment Serenrae wishes for them. She has made clear in her lessons and visitations what she expects, but she will not remove her blessing from followers who seem to be lost. She bides her time, waiting to see if they can find their way on their own. It's crucial to her that her followers find their own light.

3. There is a biblical reckoning coming , a point at which Serenrae will anoint her most devoted followers and use them to lead all the slaves out of the accursed lands. She will proclaim the time for redemption to be over, and she will lay waste. Some of her clerics have read the portents and know this time it soon.

Yup yup.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alleran wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Isn't Sarenae the archetypical arrogant, Lawful Stupid Paladin God based on her portrayal in WotR?
That was Iomedae.

She's not that way in the first book.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Slavery as such might well be neutral on the good-evil axis of Golarionian moral metaphysics, being instead associated with law on the law-chaos axis.

And let us look at Sarenraes portfolio. She is a goddess of healing, honesty, redemption and the sun. Nowhere does it say "freedom" or "liberty". Healing, whether of the body or the soul, while itself a good act, ceteris paribus, does not suggest an anti-slavery stance. At most one of caring, but healing is not kindness, though it may be a kindness. Honesty is merely the practice and commitment not to lie. At most it might imply a forthright openness that might well be considered inconsiderate and unkind. Redemption is an odd concept that requires further context to make sense of. Just be the meaning of the term, in a world of concrete and equal moral powers, one might well be redeemed of good deeds, back into the fold of evil. At best, redemption resonates with healing and represents a reintegration into community, a healing of the social bonds or a healing of the soul, if one is willing to accept that evil represents a wound of the soul, which the aforementioned Golarionian moral metaphysics make unlikely. Finally the sun, while often a beneficent force, is also a harsh fire that burns crops in droughts and men in the desert.

It might well be that, while Sarenrae is possessed of a kind nature, her portfolio is not one of kindness. And what ultimately connects to Golarion qua her being a goddess is her portfolio. For Golarionians, she is first and foremost a sungoddess, a goddess of healing, honesty and redemption.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The sun isn't necessarily a good thing, it should be noted.

You won't be a fan of the sun when it gives you skin cancer.

Similarly, if you're living in a desert, the relentless heat is definitely not a good thing, and why some shade is beloved (I think there's actually an artifact that plays off this very thing in Golarion - the Shadowstaff - though I don't have my copy of Artifacts and Legends handy).

There's a reason that "The Burning Hate" is a thing. And Apollo in Greek myth could be plenty nasty (as well as the god of plague, not just a god of healing or the sun, when the latter was associated with him over Helios).

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sarenrae is explicitly not okay with slavery. In print.

To quote:

Inner Sea Gods wrote:
Along with its relative bloodthirstiness, the Cult of the Dawnflower differs ethically from the larger church in that it tolerates slavery, as long as the slaves are not mistreated; free folk can sell themselves into slavery for a span of years to pay off debts or provide for their families, and some habitual criminals are sentenced to a term of slavery to pay their debt to society.

Bolding mine. The Cult of the Dawenflower is the more Neutral aligned heretical sect of whom Sarenrae doesn't approve, remember. The areas they differ from the mainstream Church on are what Sarenrae herself disagrees with.

Also, she's explicitly like the nicest person/deity ever...you can try and paint her as a bad person or not primarily concerned with kindness, Good, and mercy...but you're fighting a seriously up hill battle against just about everything ever written about her personally. Some of her worshipers aren't so nice, but all evidence supports her being basically a saint, as well as an angel and a deity.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Alceste008 wrote:
Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.
True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).

Incase you missed it in the link Elyas post earlier...

James Jacobs wrote:

Sarenrae herself, and her church, does not tolerate slavery, but nor do they preach "Kill the slavers!" They would certainly look for non-violent ways to seek a slave's freedom—purchasing the slave and setting the slave free is probably the preferred method.

Now that said, there's a wide range of individual variations among the specific worshipers of Sarenrae—as with ANY religion. There are some worshipers of Sarenrae who would, perhaps, seek to simply comfort slaves if possible, espcially if they see the alternative (living on your own with no support structure in a dangerous city) is more painfula nd dangerous than slavery itself. There's ABSOLUTELY some worshipers of Sarenrae who crusade against slavery and slavers themselves and DO use violence against the slavers.

Now, as for Qadira? It's important to keep two things in mind about Sarenrae's faith being the most widespread faith in Qadira:

1) It's not in charge. The government of Qadira is richer and more powerful than the church of Sarenrae in Qadira, and as a result, the government is the one that gets to say if slaves are legal or not. The church has to either go along with that or rebel, and in Qadira's case, the church has opted to go along with it.

2) The church of Sarenrae in Qadira is NOT the most faithful of all of Sarenrae's churches. In fact, it's one of

...

Ah, thanks. I did miss that earlier, and it answers my initial question.


If Sarenrae is granting spells to Clerics who tolerate slavery, then how is she not tolerating slavery?

Of course this setting has Paladins who serve Asmodeous, so ... I guess none of their dealings with religion make a bit of sense.


Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
spectrevk wrote:

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?

We really got to explore the dual nature of Sarenrae in our recent Wrath of the Righteous run. We had two characters - Aasimar twins, a brother and sister - who turned out to be 'children' of hers. Long before that was ever known, the two had decided to play their characters in the vein of the Goddess' likeness. The brother tended to be quick to judge and punish those who seemed irredeemable while the sister was more likely to look for the good in others, to find compassion in her heart for them. Each served as a both a foil and a compliment to one another. Their builds were more or less identical (Dawnflower Dervish Bard with some levels of Lore Warden and Holy Tactician). They took teamwork feats and in combat fought as one, but outside of combat they were often on opposite sides of the choices they were faced with, particularly when it came to opportunities for redemption which were a near constant fixture in the AP, including even one of the PC's.

I won't say anything we did should be construed as canon, but it was very interesting straddling that line of judgement vs. compassion.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Sarenrae is a complex goddess... ALL of our deities are complex in some way or another, in fact (see Iomedae's flaw about not having a lot of patience for rabble rousers or what she deems as fools or trouble makers... she's actually NOT that mean to those who respect her and/or serve her needs well).

In Sarenrae's case, her complexity was made a little bit MORE complex than originally intended when some early work that some authors did on stuff with here before we had a better organized creative control over all of Golarion took her faith and religion in some directions that were never really intended for her. The result is that there's something of a schism in her faith in Qadira, and I've been planting seeds and hints for the past few years to try to reconcile these earlier mis-steps a few folks took in products that got into print to bring her back in line whlie simultaneously setting things up for a possible big event or Adventure Path even where the schism comes to a head.

It'll probably be a while before we get there though, so in the meantime, her religion and faith will remain somewhat complex.

Sarenrae herself is intended to be one of the nicer, friendlier, deities. She's certainly the most forgiving. But when she needs to act to defeat evil to protect good, she doesn't hesitate, nor does she draw things out. She works fast and strikes hard, hoping to get the job done ASAP and with as little collateral damage as possible.

How well her believers hold up to these ideals she sets out is a different matter, of course. Don't mistake the actions of her church as her actions. Free will includes the ability to misunderstand (either willfully or accidentally) religious teachings, after all.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.

Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.
Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."

James, is that more because you think that paladins of evil gods shouldn't happen in general, or is that an unwritten expansion of the "all divine spellcasters' alignment - not just clerics and druids - must be no more than one step away from their god's" rule?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

5 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.

Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."

I was so looking forward to playing a Wziard though! Are you saying there isn't going to be a book called Misspelled Class Guide?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
JoelF847 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.

Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."

I was so looking forward to playing a Wziard though! Are you saying there isn't going to be a book called Misspelled Class Guide?

There better be. The Rouge class is in serious need of a buff.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.

Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."

I was so looking forward to playing a Wziard though! Are you saying there isn't going to be a book called Misspelled Class Guide?
There better be. The Rouge class is in serious need of a buff.

And my babarian character had a serious lack of elephantine features.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
JoelF847 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.

Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."

I was so looking forward to playing a Wziard though! Are you saying there isn't going to be a book called Misspelled Class Guide?

This is due having a high SR (spell resistance)

1 to 50 of 160 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Lost Omens Campaign Setting / General Discussion / The Paradox of Sarenrae All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.