Do you favor female deities? (plz look ladies)


Gamer Life General Discussion


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Title says the short of it but there is more to it than that. First I want to get it out of the way and say that I am a male gamer in his 30s who loves RPGs for those who will bring it up for legit or illegimate reasons later. now on to the details.

I got to say that when I play a cleric or other character that is otherwise a believer or in service of the deities in pathfinder I stick with female deities far more often than male deities. There are many reasons that I make this personal choice of preference but I also have seen this trending more frequently than it already was when the game was... less developed. As more and more material has been made available over the life of the game I often think to myself that the female deities are very nearly the only ones that are relatable or interesting as characters.

Shelyn is one such example to me. Despite her reputation of being an "airhead" or a "cheerleader" she feels real. She has a mean half brother that ruins everything he can, but she in deep love for him tries against all logic to try to save him. Most of us have been through some level of this with our own families and I have TERRIBLE siblings that I want to help so I get this. Plus Shelyn may be "cheerleader" like but it is VERY hard for you to not like a cheerleader (aside from when they scream in my ears) as their personality, real or acted, is frequently uplifting. Even the mechanics of this goddess reflect this with her domains of charm, protection, and such. Other deities like Shizuru, Feronia, all embody some of the highest ideals of love and hope whereas few(er) male deities have such appeal.

The other aspect is male deities mechanically often seem weak when put next to the women except for bad touch clerics. Blasters just sun or fire domain so they are roughly equal here. Support clerics favor females because have multiple top tier domains like luck, travel, glory/heroism, and other staples. Many times you can have more good domains than you can use, Im looking at you Desna. By contrast many of the male deities that you want to use are often CE or LE making their domain choices limited because 2 of their 4 or 5 are alignment based only. I grant that there are so many builds out there it isn't hard to find one that is amazing and that uses male deities for any nay sayers.

Finally, it seems like too many male deities are just jerks. among core deities alone 2 male deities want to S&M everything and then destroy it and a 3rd is the patron of murderers. Even the worst of female deities from same pantheon, Lamashtu, is an embodiment of madness instead of a world destroyer. Other pantheons follow relatively similar patterns. Heck every archdevil is male, 3 of the 4 horseman are male, most infernal dukes, and so on. this can by default make it relatively hard to play in non-evil games or groups. EDIT add in: And Cayden while living the male fantasy of drinking, fighting, wenching is fun sometimes I have found that he will sometime repel female players for how sexist or silly he can come off as.

I could go and on about this on so many levels but I think this is enough to get the main point. Id like to know what others, especially ladies, have to say about this. All comments are welcome.


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*nods respectfully towards you*

M'fedora

*tips trilby*


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My fiance's response, (transcribed as best as I could, might be missing some parts): "Actually, I prefer the male deities, or most of them. I usually don't play characters that follow deities, but when I do, I usually stick with Callistria since she's simple.

Personally, I think Pathfinder is a little biased when it comes to males. The perfect example of this would be the Succubus and the Incubus. The female uses subtlety, seduction, and charm, while the incubus is more brute force, S&M rape-meisters.

Personally, I find Zon-Kuthon more tragic, than 'mean' like you tag him. You try and go into where he went and see how you come out. Nethys could be considered tragic as well, what with happened to him, even if he brought it on himself."

Then she went on about Pathfinder being biased with males from what she's seen and lots of frustration. The iconics, the focus in the art and fluff, the more "Rawr destroy overpower" male stereotype stuff, and the only effeminate male is trans, so that doesn't count. So, naturally with all that, of course the females would be more appealing. "I mean, just look at pretty much the first picture/scene in the core rule book. You've got Valeros on the ground cut open, and the Cleric and the Sorcerer standing up to the dragon. Pretty much set the whole tone right there"

Though, tbh, I pretty much agree myself. Then again, the majority of players in this hobby are male, so good marketing is to cater, regardless of how progressive you are about it.

It all stems from the ages-old stereotype of Male = Death, Destruction, Power, Hate; Female = Love, Beauty, Seduction, Life. Which itself stems from ancient religion ("Earth Mother" and so on), but still.


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22, female, disagree with you wholeheartedly.

For one, you seem quick to dismiss evil (male) deities for little reason. I can only assume you play mostly good characters, otherwise they are fair game and, in my opinion, not particularly lacking in character, no matter how much I love Lamashtu. You can always appreciate the unbending cold law of Asmodeus in all the flavors you can come up with. Or Dispater, he has plenty of development to work with - his marriages and unconventional (for an archdevil) relationships with women to begin with and his son Ragathiel, him being Asmodeus' favorite, the First King title, his industrious, if evil, civilization building... If Asmodeus brings up the image of an evil lawyer or judge, Dispater is the ideal malevolent aristocrat - all manners, propriety and cold-hearted decisiveness. And that, to me, is as interesting, if not more, than a 'cheer-leading' goddess of love and beauty.

Leaving archdevils alone, Zon Kuthon has plenty to offer, besides S&M. He's a tragic tortured being, twisted into evil. But that aside he has his deal with Abadar, his residence being in the shadow plane, his relationship with his sister. Those can all bleed into his clergy or Kuthon-loving societies. One of my all time favorite character concepts is a devout Kuthite artist who paints eerie pictures in blood and gore; and this is entirely within Zon Kuthon's purview - pain, sadism, death, destruction of living and breathing beauty to make a mockery. It could even be spitting in Shelyn's direction, mocking her beliefs in the most gruesome of ways. And let's not forget that despite the fact that mad leather clad cultists who go mad with sadistic rage come off as chaotic at first sight... Zon Kuthon is lawful, which is an interesting spin and can come out in your Kuthite characters (a better Christian Grey, anyone? After all, that character could use polish.)

Leaving evil behind... Why not Cayden? A good portion of your stereotypical adventurers are exactly the kind-hearted drunken oafs that Cayden would have among his flock. Wenches, mead, glorious adventures and saving the day, full package. He's easy to work into more standard worship too - celebrations to mark brewery events like first grape crop or opening of the first bath of year's beer, opening of inns (they can even have a shrine at the bar). He's a god of t*!* and wine and, more likely than not, little accidental next generation adventurers that happen when you mix the two. His ascension is both amusing and interesting, which could even prompt many an adventurer to emulate his favored deity to try to reach some piece of divinity for themselves, and there's always the fact that he's also a god that values freedom above all.

And what about Aroden? You can't possibly claim he's underdeveloped or unrelatable. From him being the last Azlanti to his fight for humanity and his death, he's fleshed out as well as the rest of your gods and goddesses. He's 'real', as you like to use that term, he comes off as someone who tries to do his best to protect what he loves, which happens to be the human race and culture.

TLDR: I disagree that flavorful devout characters need to stick to female deities as male gods have plenty of angles and domain interpretations to work with, just like the goddesses.

P.S. Noticed your edit. Being a god of booze and sex is not inherently sexist or "icky" for women, even straight women, since otherwise bar wenches are once again appealing. We are just as capable of "lowbrow" humor or appreciating a beer (or ten) with some side of cheesecake. Unless your players are particularly sensitive to the subject, which is not necessarily limited to your female players, he shouldn't be a problem.


Simply Gabriele wrote:

22, female, disagree with you wholeheartedly.

For one, you seem quick to dismiss evil (male) deities for little reason. I can only assume you play mostly good characters, otherwise they are fair game and, in my opinion, not particularly lacking in character, no matter how much I love Lamashtu. You can always appreciate the unbending cold law of Asmodeus in all the flavors you can come up with. Or Dispater, he has plenty of development to work with - his marriages and unconventional (for an archdevil) relationships with women to begin with and his son Ragathiel, him being Asmodeus' favorite, the First King title, his industrious, if evil, civilization building... If Asmodeus brings up the image of an evil lawyer or judge, Dispater is the ideal malevolent aristocrat - all manners, propriety and cold-hearted decisiveness. And that, to me, is as interesting, if not more, than a 'cheer-leading' goddess of love and beauty.

Leaving archdevils alone, Zon Kuthon has plenty to offer, besides S&M. He's a tragic tortured being, twisted into evil. But that aside he has his deal with Abadar, his residence being in the shadow plane, his relationship with his sister. Those can all bleed into his clergy or Kuthon-loving societies. One of my all time favorite character concepts is a devout Kuthite artist who paints eerie pictures in blood and gore; and this is entirely within Zon Kuthon's purview - pain, sadism, death, destruction of living and breathing beauty to make a mockery. It could even be spitting in Shelyn's direction, mocking her beliefs in the most gruesome of ways. And let's not forget that despite the fact that mad leather clad cultists who go mad with sadistic rage come off as chaotic at first sight... Zon Kuthon is lawful, which is an interesting spin and can come out in your Kuthite characters (a better Christian Grey, anyone? After all, that character could use polish.)

Leaving evil behind... Why not Cayden? A good portion of your stereotypical adventurers are exactly the kind-hearted drunken oafs...

Pretty much everything my fiance and I had in mind to say, in a much more eloquent way than either of us could manage at the moment. Kudos.


@Simply Gabriele: just wanted to share that I do not play a lot of good characters but instead I play almost exclusively neutral of some kind. And my favorite deity is Asmodeous so I get what your saying about the bad boys... I just don't want to always play in to the normal fantasies of being the bad boy who can kill everyone he cant trick. And by the way You made a GREAT post and went in depth on the matter, much appreciated.


Also, on a more childish note, Irori, Nethys and Abadar kick ass. Nethys is my personal favorite of the male gods (he's like Sollux/Mituna, but a god!).


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Renegadeshepherd wrote:
@Simply Gabriele: just wanted to share that I do not play a lot of good characters but instead I play almost exclusively neutral of some kind. And my favorite deity is Asmodeous so I get what your saying about the bad boys... I just don't want to always play in to the normal fantasies of being the bad boy who can kill everyone he cant trick. And by the way You made a GREAT post and went in depth on the matter, much appreciated.

Well, I guess that's where our main disagreement lies: Unless the character in mind is a cleric or otherwise part of the deity's church, I think they can strongly gravitate to only one key point of the deity, pretty much disregarding the rest. Which, in the case of evil gods, doesn't necessarily have to be the slaughter of all that look at them the wrong way. And thus you can have rule mad nerds that do everything by the book without being evil, you can have Dispater worshiping gallant knights that are no necessarily slaughter happy, since a nice duel to submission or first blood can suffice... Maybe someone who worships Charon because they see death not as some evil that cuts your life and joy short, but as a necessary end of all lives that gives meaning to existence in the first place.

Evil gods don't have to have only 'bad' people worshiping, after all. Religion can be heavily regional, as per Cheliax. The evilness of it can be intentionally downplayed by the clergy, again, as Cheliax shows. Or Andoran, if you will, where evil churches are permitted to operate in public and focus heavily on other aspects of the faiths to draw people into their congregations. Then there are racial gods. A CN or even CG gnoll can pay serious homage to Lamashtu as his creator, having heard many stories about her giving life, being a mother of many, about her overcoming challenges and achieving godhood. Maybe that gnoll feels Lamashtu blesses him on his travels or grants him powers, whether she does so or not (say a barbarian who thinks Lamashtu fills him with power to defeat his enemies or a ranger who thinks Mother of Beasts blesses him with successful hunt to feed her gnoll children).


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Also, on a more childish note, Irori, Nethys and Abadar kick ass. Nethys is my personal favorite of the male gods (he's like Sollux/Mituna, but a god!).

I do so love Nethys, you can do so much with a mad god of magic.


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Renegadeshepherd wrote:
And Cayden while living the male fantasy of drinking, fighting, wenching is fun sometimes I have found that he will sometime repel female players for how sexist or silly he can come off as.

Female player here to report that Cayden is the best god.

Grand Lodge

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A Caydenite fighter is a great character for lightening things up in a campaign.

Cayden's clergy might also be interested in temperance (not abstinence from alcohol, of course, but temperance) - in ancient Greece, this was a Dionysian adage - "The first three are my blessings: one to health; the second to love and pleasure; the third to sleep. After these three, wise guests go home. The fourth glass is ours no longer, but belongs to violence; the fifth to uproar; the sixth to drunken revel; the seventh to black eyes; the eighth is the policeman’s; the ninth belongs to [hangovers]; and the tenth to madness and the hurling of furniture.”

(the ancient Greeks watered down their wine considerably and to begin with it contained less alcohol than modern wine)


The main sun god in D&D settings was usually male.

I had no problems at all accepting a female goddess of the sun.

For me, gender isn't really a big deal. I care more about the person itself.


I think that on the whole, the Paizo writers have done a pretty good job of making the deities interesting regardless of gender. Because of this, when I go to choose a god for my characters I base it on their porfolios, domains, tenants, and such. When I have a warrior, I choose Gorum, when I have a Varisian fortune teller, I choose Desna, and when I have a druid I choose Gozreh.

Which is nice, that I feel confortable choosing based on the meat of the deity as opposed to other systems where choosing anything other that love, healing, or small fuzzy animals landed you with a male god.


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Quote:
Other deities like Shizuru, Feronia, all embody some of the highest ideals of love and hope whereas few(er) male deities have such appeal.

Cayden says you're not yet drunk enough to make that decision.


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Also, nobody has mentioned Norgorber yet. He is a god of secrets that people just know nothing about. It's awesome. And he has one of the more interesting cults, in that it is divided into four sects, worshiping 4 different aspects of Norgorber.

And, as others have said, Cayden is the best god, so this argument is a little invalid. And Cayden isn't sexist. He supports women as well. And anyone with a kind heart and a mug full of booze. Though he likes the carnal company of women, he is always respectful and kind.

Sczarni

I don't worry about the genders of deities at all, because I honestly haven't read that much about their backstories or fluff. I prefer to focus on their portfolios and domains, and I let each of my characters determine for themselves what the deity means to them.

Abadar is my personal favorite. My favorite ever divine caster was a LE Inquisitor of Abadar who firmly believed that civilization, and particularly cities, were the key to uplifting mankind and would provide everything a citizen wanted out of life if only they worked real hard and played by the rules. He had vocal disdain for druids, and invited backwoods hermits to rejoin society the way a paladin offers a criminal terms of surrender.

My second favorite was a cleric of Nethys, who was the son of a sorcerer but didn't have the gift. He joined the clergy of Nethys partly out of the hope that he could "redeem" himself and be granted arcane talent, and partly because clerics are taught magic. His relations with his sorcerer father were tense, and everything he did was out of a need to prove his worth, either to his father or to his god, or both.

So no, I don't gravitate to female deities. I don't avoid them, but I usually choose one based on what the character would want.


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Sarenrae is probably the only deity I explicitly dislike.


Looking back at previous characters I can discern no strong tendency towards either male or female deities. I'm not well read on Golarion-original deities, though.


I think it really depends on the alignment of the character. Desna, Shelyn, Iomede and, Sarenrae are some of the most popular good deities for mechanical and thematic reasons. Those four seem to have multiple facets to their character which some if the male core deities (Cayden and Abadar) seem really one sided by comparison. I will give you that Zon Kuthon is interesting but Cayden nethys and Abadar just seem uninteresting or atleast not as strongly supported as the four females I mentioned. Hell, I think zon has a lot of content only because of his relation to shelyn.

Sovereign Court

In a world where D&D-like deities are real, sex is just marketing PR.

Sovereign Court

I actually prefer deities not have genders or be modeled after humanoids at all. I like thinking of them as forces or beings beyond mortal comprehsion. Clearly, PF doesnt follow that at all but after all the years ive learned to live with it. Cant wait for occult adventures.


Shelyn's my favorite deity, so I say I'd agree with the op here. I don't think having goddesses being portrayed as beautiful and showing excess skin is inherently a sexist thing to do. Because hey, old depictions of mythological goddesses were painted nude in the renaissance era for example. And heck, other cultures drew their deities nude also.

The thing is that I think games nowadays try to pay omage to those kinds of classic depictions of deities while still being acceptable in our culture. But, as we can see from this thread, you just can't please everyone.

In terms of non deities, I think paizo makes their female iconics more manly than the men. For example, Valeros is very much a heavy drinking adventure loving guy. But compare that to Amiri for example. I was and am still very impressed with her design. She's the only female character I can think of off the top of my head that doesn't wear much, but you don't really think about that. When you see her, you think to yourself "omg she's gonna destroy everything!" Only female character I can think of that's like that right now.

When it comes to succubusses and incubuses, I think they were handled fine. Of course succubusses would seduce men to death. It's man's stereotypical weakness. Women are stereotypically not easily drawn to men in that light, and so it makes sense to me that incubuses would go the rape route. Of course there are exceptions in any story that the dm can adhere to there though.

Honestly I think paizo is doing fine here.

Silver Crusade

I swing both ways. I love playing worshippers of Iomedae, Desna, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Vildeis, and the Black Butterfly as much as I love playing worshippers of Lymnieris, Tsukiyo, Cayden Cailean, Cernunnos, and Korada.

Also Arshea and Gozreh, but good luck trying to box either of them into one gender.

the non-Big 20 listed there need a lot more attention


My thing is deities are what the players make it. I prefer female deities yes, but the thing about deities having personalities? This isn't a video game, deities have personalities when players give them one or when a DM gives them one and interpretation, not automatic programmed ones.

Grand Lodge

Scavion wrote:
Sarenrae is probably the only deity I explicitly dislike.

I'm curious now - why the hate for Sarenrae?

Shadow Lodge

DoubleGold wrote:
My thing is deities are what the players make it. I prefer female deities yes, but the thing about deities having personalities? This isn't a video game, deities have personalities when players give them one or when a DM gives them one and interpretation, not automatic programmed ones.

You mean written mythology? That's been part of fantasy since at least JRR Tolkien, who was writing up Middle Earth since before video games existed. Published game settings haven't been around as long but many or most of them feature written mythology, with the Forgotten Realms mythology being particularly active and intricate.

Do you not like prewritten settings at all? Do you think that Cheliax or Varisia only have culture if the players give them one?

I love writing my own settings and mythologies, and if I did run a game set in Golarion it sure wouldn't be 100% as-written. But Paizo has done a pretty good job with theirs, including interesting and multifaceted deities of both genders.

Domestichauscat wrote:
But compare that to Amiri for example. I was and am still very impressed with her design. She's the only female character I can think of off the top of my head that doesn't wear much,

Really? Seoni doesn't come to mind? She's even got a mild T&A pose on the cover of the Dark Waters Rising hardcover.

Amiri's really just got some midriff action going on. Though you're right that she does look delightfully dangerous.


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A counterpoint: Do you favor male deities? (plz look dudes).

Shadow Lodge

Once you've read his background story, nobody beats Cayden Cailean as the best deity ever.

To consider gender is a bit of a joke in that respect.


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EntrerisShadow wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Sarenrae is probably the only deity I explicitly dislike.
I'm curious now - why the hate for Sarenrae?

I can't answer for Scavion, but I can come up with a couple of answers of my own. First of all, for a good deity, a large subset of her church is awfully militant NOT in the service of good; related to this, an awful lot of her followers are slaveholders, and she doesn't do anything about either of these problems (and it has been reported on these boards that she nuked a city for its sins, so why hold back on the warmongers and slavers?). The other thing (partly related to the above) is that for all her talk of redemption, she doesn't seem to be getting much results.


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Lilith wrote:
A counterpoint: Do you favor male deities? (plz look dudes).

Nice!!!

Not even a little. Especially do not like Cayden. If I want drunk guys hitting on semi attractive women, and doing it badly, I can walk done the street to my horrible bar that serves watered down beer.


Who said all followers of Cayden do it badly?


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This is completely off topic, but perhaps a future reference for the OP:

I tend to instinctively avoid any thread that has "plz look ladies" or equivalent in the topic.


Slaunyeh wrote:

This is completely off topic, but perhaps a future reference for the OP:

I tend to instinctively avoid any thread that has "plz look ladies" or equivalent in the topic.

Yep. Especially since this topic is about deity preference/how fleshed out they are, nothing really requiring 'female perspective' since opinions of all sexes and genders are just as valid, and being 'a lady' doesn't make you any more qualified to talk about personalities of gods.

It comes off weirder than drunk guys hitting on semi attractive women, and doing it badly, really.

The Exchange

I really can't speak to top-tier spell/domain lists because I've never played a cleric beyond 13th level. But putting aside mechanics, I built my cleric characters to fit the campaign and story, so that sometimes, Iomedae fits the bill, while at another time, I went with Asmodeus.

Shadow Lodge

Renegadeshepherd wrote:
Lilith wrote:
A counterpoint: Do you favor male deities? (plz look dudes).

Nice!!!

Not even a little. Especially do not like Cayden.

All other things aside, it's nice to know I'm not alone in being rather unimpressed with all the attention and adoration Cayden gets.

Granted I also don't play with Golarion's pantheon so it doesn't affect me in game, but still. =)


Since I've been playing more than GMing recently, I've found myself more willing to try out clerics and divine-friendly characters. That said, I still treat deities as nothing more than a religion's mythology, but I can weigh in on this.

I prefer characters that are opposite their chosen deity.

Several options for good characters


  • Iomedae is the go-to paladin option, so a male paladin of Iomedae sounds perfect.
  • The next time a wilderness/frontier/rural campaign crops up, I'll probably build a female paladin of Erastil if no one's focusing on ranged.
  • My favorite example of a defensive priest was a female cleric of Torag that acted as the group's den mother.
  • I really want to try out a male inquisitor of Shelyn focused on recovering stolen art (Council of Thieves or maybe Hell's Rebels).
  • For Cayden Cailean, I could easily see creating a female urban inquisitor that keeps an eye on drunk revelers wandering home after dark, helps to keep want-ads near pubs honest (i.e. slavers and quests ending in frame-jobs), and brings everyone's spirits up when oppression and misfortune reign supreme.
  • I've got no use for Sarenrae or Desna. I just don't see anything interesting in either of them.

Besides Abadar, there's not so many for neutral characters
I wish the Eldest had been given more attention.


  • A male oracle of Calistria is just too damn fun; I've only played one once, but I would build one again in a heartbeat.
  • Abadar...where to begin? There are so many options for this religion in an urban setting.
  • Gorum priests make excellent villains, but I can't really see playing one.
  • Irori, Nethys, Gozreh, and Pharasma have absolutely no appeal for me. Just not interested.

Evil doesn't really open things up as much as I'd like


  • Female clerics and inquisitors of Asmodeus just feel right. Such characters touch upon old gothic aesthetics and bring a kind of classic air to the table.
  • Lamashtu male cultists are an absolute blast to roleplay. Unfortunately, this hits some players' squick button too often and complaints start to pop up.
  • I want to like Urgathoa, if only because of shared interests, but I can't feel the excitement like I did with Myrkul or Wee Jas.
  • Norgorber and Rovagug are just too hackneyed in their motivations and portfolios to draw me in
  • Zon Kuthon and Gyronna stand as the most compelling antagonist-deities/religions. No other deities feel quite as evil and simply wrong as these.

So what's my point? Instead of simply sticking a "jerk" label on a male deity, play a female follower and focus on a single aspect. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

***Also: the shaman iconic is female...female!

walks off grumbling


Even if he isn't even in the top 10 deities I like, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Damerrich: a character based on him (and the guy itself) would be far from two dimensional, and he takes bonus points for expressing an interesting facet of the 'problematic' Lawful Good* alignment.

*Digression:
Like the one million paladin topics have taught me, it's hard at times to distinguish if the most important part of the alignment is the 'Lawful' or 'good' one (for me it's obviously more important the latter, but I digress). Damerrich touches both the 'good' and 'duty' part of it, something that I feel most of the LG deities (Iomedae and Erastil, to name two) fail to do.


Weirdo wrote:

Do you not like prewritten settings at all? Do you think that Cheliax or Varisia only have culture if the players give them one?

I love writing my own settings and mythologies, and if I did run a game set in Golarion it sure wouldn't be 100% as-written. But Paizo has done a pretty good job with theirs, including interesting and multifaceted deities of both genders.

I like playing pregens, but the roleplay part of the game is what people make it. 2 DMs could roleplay DM the same game, but have two different interpretations of a characters personality or what an NPC would do in said situation, unless instructions are specific to include all if's, and's or but's.


Dot for maybe later. Maybe.

Shadow Lodge

DoubleGold wrote:
Weirdo wrote:

Do you not like prewritten settings at all? Do you think that Cheliax or Varisia only have culture if the players give them one?

I love writing my own settings and mythologies, and if I did run a game set in Golarion it sure wouldn't be 100% as-written. But Paizo has done a pretty good job with theirs, including interesting and multifaceted deities of both genders.

I like playing pregens, but the roleplay part of the game is what people make it. 2 DMs could roleplay DM the same game, but have two different interpretations of a characters personality or what an NPC would do in said situation, unless instructions are specific to include all if's, and's or but's.

Sure, two people will have different interpretations of the same deity, but that's not the same thing as the deity having no personality. There are many interpretations of the character of Hamlet (even with an actual script to follow). That doesn't mean Hamlet has no personality.

Necromancer wrote:

Since I've been playing more than GMing recently, I've found myself more willing to try out clerics and divine-friendly characters. That said, I still treat deities as nothing more than a religion's mythology, but I can weigh in on this.

I prefer characters that are opposite their chosen deity.

Several options for good characters


  • I really want to try out a male inquisitor of Shelyn focused on recovering stolen art (Council of Thieves or maybe Hell's Rebels).
  • For Cayden Cailean, I could easily see creating a female urban inquisitor that keeps an eye on drunk revelers wandering home after dark, helps to keep want-ads near pubs honest (i.e. slavers and quests ending in frame-jobs), and brings everyone's spirits up when oppression and misfortune reign supreme.

I like these ideas. But any idea why you prefer characters of an opposite gender from their deity?


Weirdo wrote:
Necromancer wrote:

Since I've been playing more than GMing recently, I've found myself more willing to try out clerics and divine-friendly characters. That said, I still treat deities as nothing more than a religion's mythology, but I can weigh in on this.

I prefer characters that are opposite their chosen deity.

Several options for good characters


  • I really want to try out a male inquisitor of Shelyn focused on recovering stolen art (Council of Thieves or maybe Hell's Rebels).
  • For Cayden Cailean, I could easily see creating a female urban inquisitor that keeps an eye on drunk revelers wandering home after dark, helps to keep want-ads near pubs honest (i.e. slavers and quests ending in frame-jobs), and brings everyone's spirits up when oppression and misfortune reign supreme.
I like these ideas. But any idea why you prefer characters of an opposite gender from their deity?

Mostly because it provides a nice contrast to the deity's design. This effect feels stronger when the god/goddess in question is usually a certain gender in whatever setting (i.e. deities of beauty and love are always female for some reason).


In one game I was in, there was a running gag about inquisitors of Shelyn. The concept felt so contradictory to the players that they would joke about how all inquisitors of Shelyn are big, terrifying "Catholic Inquisition"-style people who take ideals of "love" and "art" dead serious.


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I think there needs to be more of a focus on cultural interpretations of deities in the write ups. In the real world you can't walk two blocks without running into 2 or 3 different ways of worshiping one of the monotheistic goods and umpteen different interpretations of that gods message.

Extrapolating that to Golarion and looking at Erastil for example, what would he be like if he was worshiped in a matriarchal society - if that community was happy successful and safe would he reinforce gender roles in that society because it's working... I would certainly run it that way.

A nomadic Kelid wandering the frozen north is going to have a completely different view of who is most important and what the gods roles are to a person from Nex.

In an average persons shrine in the home would you have many or all gods represented... To give thanks to the good and beneficial gods and to placate and avoid the wrath of the evil ones.

What would a contract dispute between an Abadarian and an Asmodian look like.

What are the names of the gods in Halit or Garundish.

There is so much more to be done to flesh out the gods.


For me it's not really a matter of male or female. What I prefer is a pantheon instead of a bunch of unrelated deities with competing religions. That's the pattern I see in classical mythology, and I've never understood why it's not used more often in game worlds.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
In one game I was in, there was a running gag about inquisitors of Shelyn. The concept felt so contradictory to the players that they would joke about how all inquisitors of Shelyn are big, terrifying "Catholic Inquisition"-style people who take ideals of "love" and "art" dead serious.

Actually, I have wondered about that. Of course, I would have thought of Inquisitors as something that not just any random member of the priesthood could be, given the special position they have relative to the rest of the clergy, but rather a Prestige Class. (Not saying I have anything against the Inquisitor mechanics -- the mechanics are fine for a Base Class -- just that the social concept seems like you should have to prove yourself for a while before you can get it.) Anyway, as it is, we have it as a Base Class. So, on the one hand, you could argue that not all religions commission Inquisitors, just as not all of them commission Paladins (although that is mechanically enforced). But on the other hand, you could think of what would an Inquisitor of somebody who seems non-Inquisitorial like Shelyn be for? So I came up with possibilities for them like investigating child abuse, forced marriages, art scams (including but not limited to outright theft), prostitution rings, and other attempts to commoditize love. (Unfortunately, the Church of Shelyn sort of shot themselves in the foot for the latter goal with that artwork of her that they often put on their temples, the one that makes her look like a Medieval/Antiquity equivalent of one of those scantily clad models that NRA/Militia types like to have on their calendars or other posters.)

Shadow Lodge

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The Inquisitor class is pretty versatile. They're good at investigating whatever the deity wants investigating as above, but also can be used any time you want a divine caster with lots of skills. My homebrew goddess of knowledge uses them as her main holy warriors because they tend to be more knowledgable about their specific enemies (especially with Monster Lore). She also has paladins, but those tend to act as standard-bearers and bodyguards. My Artemis-inspired moon goddess uses them as hunters (dat track).

Plus in a good church they're likely not so much "Catholic Inquisition" as "Internal Affairs," investigating and moderating any grievances people outside the church have with the clergy, or disputes between clergymembers. Again their Diplomacy and Sense Motive skills make them a solid "face" - unlike most clerics they can max out both skills and still have ranks for stuff like Knowledge (Religion) or (Local) or Linguistics. My inquisitor character was a bureaucratic member of a knightly order who found himself called into active duty.

The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I think there needs to be more of a focus on cultural interpretations of deities in the write ups. In the real world you can't walk two blocks without running into 2 or 3 different ways of worshiping one of the monotheistic goods and umpteen different interpretations of that gods message.

There are a few such tidbits, like Shimye-Magalla who appears to be an amalgamation of Gozreh and Desna, and Storm Giants see Gozreh as two separate deities of sea and sky. But more would be good.


Weirdo wrote:

The Inquisitor class is pretty versatile. They're good at investigating whatever the deity wants investigating as above, but also can be used any time you want a divine caster with lots of skills. My homebrew goddess of knowledge uses them as her main holy warriors because they tend to be more knowledgable about their specific enemies (especially with Monster Lore). She also has paladins, but those tend to act as standard-bearers and bodyguards. My Artemis-inspired moon goddess uses them as hunters (dat track).

{. . .}

That's why I like the Inquisitor mechanics, but would be inclined to reflavor the Inquisitor mechanics (with some small tweaks) as being those of the MAIN priestly class (Clerics as they are now are powerful -- arguably even more powerful than Inquisitors -- but relatively flavorless), and make the Inquisitor concept be a Prestige Class (or at least Archetype) that builds off that. Incidentally, this would get back closer to the 1st/2nd Edition D&D concept of the Cleric as a 7/9 spellcasting class (Inquisitor mechanics are 6/9, but that's easy to fix), and give more room to build Specialty Priests (Domains just don't cut it as an attempt to replace Spheres and Specialty Priests, which for all the faults in actual implementation, were at least a really cool idea).

* * * * * * * *

Getting back to the original topic, it occurred to me that certain female deities might not necessarily be sympathetic (or at least, not usefully sympathetic) to potential female worshippers suffering from misogyny (which does exist in Golarion -- after all, Asmodeus is a MAJOR deity there, with particularly strong influence in Cheliax). Iomedae seems like the drill sergeant type that would expect her worshippers to tough it out (after all, she came from Cheliax, which almost certainly already had much diabolical influence even before House Thrune officially moved to take power), and Sarenrae would probably express sympathy, but not actually do anything about the problem (see this post above about how bad a job she actually does of fighting oppression and enabling redemption).

On the other hand, male characters having less discomfort than they should about the above could find their way into either of their churches. Iomedae's church feels desperate enough about the Worldwound problem to be commissioning Low Templar (one has to wonder when they will decide they have to start commissioning Really Filthy Templar . . .), and Sarenrae's church already has a lot of slavers, imperialists, and terrorists in it, so a reasonably circumspect misogynist could probably get in without too much trouble. (Reminds me of various countries on Earth that have absolutely terrible records on women's rights, but elect female Prime Ministers from time to time, knowing that they won't threaten the male-dominated order overall -- India and Pakistan are the most obvious examples, and India also has very widespread worship of female deities, for that matter.)


I'm actually not that up on Golarion deities, and I don't usually write religious characters, but of the ones I've drafted most were for female gods. One character is a female elf, and I was trying to work out who she might conceivably worship. She's chaotic neutral, so she could swing in a variety of ways. I remember thinking that Cayden Cailean was pretty cool, but he seemed like the god you have a drink with, not the god you worship. And Calistria seemed like the goddess you hide from, not the goddess you worship (matching alignment being no substitute for actually being able to deal with someone). She could go for worshipping magic itself, and hence Nethys would be an option if he was female and an elf rather than male and a human, but actually the "elf" part is the bigger deal there. Meanwhile Desna is the one she doesn't think she's good enough to worship.

I've also got drafts for characters worshipping Iomedae, Sarenrae, Shelyn, and Desna. A big part of it though is cleric domains. All of those four have decent to excellent domains for what I want to do.

So I suppose the answer is yes. But then, I'm mostly lesbian - men bore me, and the idea of worshipping a man feels weird.

Shadow Lodge

Necromancer wrote:


For Cayden Cailean, I could easily see creating a female urban inquisitor that keeps an eye on drunk revelers wandering home after dark, helps to keep want-ads near pubs honest (i.e. slavers and quests ending in frame-jobs), and brings everyone's spirits up when oppression and misfortune reign supreme.

I've been playing a character like this for almost 2 years now, and can confirm it works really well.

Grand Lodge

Icyshadow wrote:
Who said all followers of Cayden do it badly?

See my previous comment about Cayden also potentially having an aspect that favors temperance. A Caydenite priest who is of one of the tempering orders would certainly favor healthy use of alcohol, but also healthy respect for its side effects - drunkenness, excessive spending of money, time wastage, and heedless violence are all dark sides of alcohol consumption. It's easy to see how Cayden, who stands for protection of the innocent and fighting for noble causes, would work to correct a drunkard father who beats his children, or find ways to quietly help the souse at the bar who drinks away his last copper every week to find a better life (and if that better life involves mindful abstinence from Caiden's cup, so be it).

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