Power level of various gods?


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Having read up a bit on how people deal with the powers of various gods (ranging from using the 3.5 stuff to "insta-gib"), I had to start wondering: what about for stuff between gods?

In Golarion, the gods are generally considered to be leagues above demi-gods, let alone humans. Even at the bare minimum, if you assume the stats that are proposed for gods in 3.5, pathfinder gods are easily 10 to 20 cr over even the highest level demigods, and easily able to crush them.

But what about between them? are all gods of roughly the same power level, or are some significantly more powerful then others? are there greater gods that are to the lesser ones as the lesser ones are to mortals? I mean, in at least one case, that of Rovagug, we can assume that he's far more powerful then all of his peers, but as an extra-dimensional reality destroyer I figure he is more likely to be an exception.

So, basically, if some spunky youngster like Besmara or Cayden brew up a fight with grumpy old Asmodeus, What would happen?


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I imagine Asmodeus would talk them out of it and send them on their merry way :-)

Without their wallets of course :-)

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Demigods (which include things like demon lords and archdevils and great old ones) are generally CR 26 to CR 30 in power. Below them are the quasi-deities like nascent demon lords, mythic heroes with the divine source ability, and the like, which are generally CR 21 to CR 25 but can be lower or higher.

Above demigods, which includes all deities who grant 5 domains (note that demigods grant 4 domains, never 5 domains, and quasi-deities grant one to four domains, depending)... there are no rules for how powerful they are. The one thing they share (apart from granting 5 domain choices to clerics) is that they do NOT have stat blocks, and can as a result do more or less anything you want them to be able to do for your story. Obviously, since there's more than one deity at this level, there is a range of power. Pharasma is the most powerful of them all (even more so than Rovagug), but we haven't revealed who is the least powerful, nor have we really pegged the others in on any sort of power tier, since that's kind of irrelevant, since they don't have stats.


Wait wait wait! Pharasma is the most powerful deity? Interesting.

Are you including Apsu and Tiamat in that JJ? My understanding was that they created the multiverse, which would place them in the same position of power as the overgod Ao from Forgotten Realms.

Is Pharasma just not flaunting her power since she is a true neutral god of fate, death, and rebirth and just generally disinterested in things not covered by her domain? Is is stated somewhere (or demonstrated) in writing that she tops the ranks?


Huh... Pharasma is the canonical most powerful deity? Is that known in-universe? How does she interact with Azathoth who's written as basically entropy itself? What about Anubis who seems to be basically her with a jackal head? Is Anubis just an underling?

Is she more powerful than the Abyss, which is stated to be sentient?

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:

Demigods (which include things like demon lords and archdevils and great old ones) are generally CR 26 to CR 30 in power. Below them are the quasi-deities like nascent demon lords, mythic heroes with the divine source ability, and the like, which are generally CR 21 to CR 25 but can be lower or higher.

Above demigods, which includes all deities who grant 5 domains (note that demigods grant 4 domains, never 5 domains, and quasi-deities grant one to four domains, depending)... there are no rules for how powerful they are. The one thing they share (apart from granting 5 domain choices to clerics) is that they do NOT have stat blocks, and can as a result do more or less anything you want them to be able to do for your story. Obviously, since there's more than one deity at this level, there is a range of power. Pharasma is the most powerful of them all (even more so than Rovagug), but we haven't revealed who is the least powerful, nor have we really pegged the others in on any sort of power tier, since that's kind of irrelevant, since they don't have stats.

Claxon wrote:

Wait wait wait! Pharasma is the most powerful deity? Interesting.

Are you including Apsu and Tiamat in that JJ? My understanding was that they created the multiverse, which would place them in the same position of power as the overgod Ao from Forgotten Realms.

Is Pharasma just not flaunting her power since she is a true neutral god of fate, death, and rebirth and just generally disinterested in things not covered by her domain? Is is stated somewhere (or demonstrated) in writing that her she tops the ranks?

I mean, yeah, it makes sense. Pharasma can pass judgement on anybody, including gods. *CoughcoughArodencough* So from that level, yeah, she's the most powerful. Also the fact that Groetus can't end the world until she passes her last judgement.

As for raw power, I can kinda understand it, but not fully. I mean, no doubt she's powerful, but I just wouldn't have pegged her as the most powerful.

Grand Lodge

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Claxon wrote:

Wait wait wait! Pharasma is the most powerful deity? Interesting.

Are you including Apsu and Tiamat in that JJ? My understanding was that they created the multiverse, which would place them in the same position of power as the overgod Ao from Forgotten Realms.

Is Pharasma just not flaunting her power since she is a true neutral god of fate, death, and rebirth and just generally disinterested in things not covered by her domain? Is is stated somewhere (or demonstrated) in writing that she tops the ranks?

Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.

So just because someone was a real big cheese in the proto-time before the creation of the universe does not mean they survive the process uscathed... or at all. The brothers of Odin after all, created the universe by carving up a meta-giant, it's not like there is more than one of those to go around.


LazarX wrote:
Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.

Very valid. I've just all been curious about Apsu and Tiamat since they're established as the makers, but I haven't seen much about them beside that. Which adds (in my mind) more to the concept of them being distant overdeities.


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LazarX wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Wait wait wait! Pharasma is the most powerful deity? Interesting.

Are you including Apsu and Tiamat in that JJ? My understanding was that they created the multiverse, which would place them in the same position of power as the overgod Ao from Forgotten Realms.

Is Pharasma just not flaunting her power since she is a true neutral god of fate, death, and rebirth and just generally disinterested in things not covered by her domain? Is is stated somewhere (or demonstrated) in writing that she tops the ranks?

Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.

So just because someone was a real big cheese in the proto-time before the creation of the universe does not mean they survive the process uscathed... or at all. The brothers of Odin after all, created the universe by carving up a meta-giant, it's not like there is more than one of those to go around.

Some gods, like the Azlanti ones, can be killed by something as simple a big meteor impact, whereas I'd expect Desna probably gets hit by random meteors every couple million years where she lives without noticing.

It's clear that gods have some seriously big power gaps. After all, if Pharasma is more powerful than Rovagug, and it took dozens of gods, including Asmodeus, just to imprison him, then obviously some gods are insects compared to others.

Just curious how the most powerful god interacts with other things described as unfathomably powerful or are in fact essences of existence... Azathoth and Yogg-Sothoth specifically, as Space and Time.

And if I remember right, there are two infinite planes, the Material and the Abyss, right? I know the Abyss is sentient, but there's also information that Maelstrom is sentient too and it outright created both Elysium and the Abyss.

And I really wanna know how Pharasma interacts with the Jyoti and the positive energy plane.

Grand Lodge

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Myrryr wrote:


Just curious how the most powerful god interacts with other things described as unfathomably powerful or are in fact essences of existence... Azathoth and Yogg-Sothoth specifically, as Space and Time.

Thing is while Azathoth is unimaginably large in size and power... He's also blind, insane, and pretty much completely unaware of the universe. So it is not going to be involved in throwdowns with other gods.

Power isn't the only measure of how a being interacts with others.


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Claxon wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.
Very valid. I've just all been curious about Apsu and Tiamat since they're established as the makers, but I haven't seen much about them beside that. Which adds (in my mind) more to the concept of them being distant overdeities.

Keep in mind that Apsu also incarnated himself into a physical form and Tiamat didn't. She's still 'the saltwater', and as such I imagine they have a different level now. Though Apsu is definitely stronger than his son Dahak as he rather soundly beat the crap out of him.

Grand Lodge

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Myrryr wrote:
Claxon wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.
Very valid. I've just all been curious about Apsu and Tiamat since they're established as the makers, but I haven't seen much about them beside that. Which adds (in my mind) more to the concept of them being distant overdeities.
Keep in mind that Apsu also incarnated himself into a physical form and Tiamat didn't. She's still 'the saltwater', and as such I imagine they have a different level now. Though Apsu is definitely stronger than his son Dahak as he rather soundly beat the crap out of him.

Also keep in mind that Tiamat at the very least, is never likely to be mentioned in a Paizo product ever again, for reasons stated by Jacobs long ago.


LazarX wrote:
Myrryr wrote:


Just curious how the most powerful god interacts with other things described as unfathomably powerful or are in fact essences of existence... Azathoth and Yogg-Sothoth specifically, as Space and Time.

Thing is while Azathoth is unimaginably large in size and power... He's also blind, insane, and pretty much completely unaware of the universe. So it is not going to be involved in throwdowns with other gods.

Power isn't the only measure of how a being interacts with others.

Oh I know he is. Wasn't stating he could really DO anything, he's mostly just like a cluster galaxy sized tentacle hurricane explosion thing of power. I'm not sure he can even be called insane. More like mindless.

Yogg-Sothoth however is very intelligent and on the same level as Azathoth.


Wait, if Pharasma is the most powerful, then why was Rovagug a problem to put in the slammer?

Grand Lodge

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Myrryr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Myrryr wrote:


Just curious how the most powerful god interacts with other things described as unfathomably powerful or are in fact essences of existence... Azathoth and Yogg-Sothoth specifically, as Space and Time.

Thing is while Azathoth is unimaginably large in size and power... He's also blind, insane, and pretty much completely unaware of the universe. So it is not going to be involved in throwdowns with other gods.

Power isn't the only measure of how a being interacts with others.

Oh I know he is. Wasn't stating he could really DO anything, he's mostly just like a cluster galaxy sized tentacle hurricane explosion thing of power. I'm not sure he can even be called insane. More like mindless.

Yogg-Sothoth however is very intelligent and on the same level as Azathoth.

No one is on the same level as Azathoth.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Claxon wrote:

Wait wait wait! Pharasma is the most powerful deity? Interesting.

Are you including Apsu and Tiamat in that JJ? My understanding was that they created the multiverse, which would place them in the same position of power as the overgod Ao from Forgotten Realms.

Is Pharasma just not flaunting her power since she is a true neutral god of fate, death, and rebirth and just generally disinterested in things not covered by her domain? Is is stated somewhere (or demonstrated) in writing that she tops the ranks?

Yes. That includes Apsu and Dahak. Neither of those two are in what I'd call the top 10 most powerful deities in the setting. I'm not even sure they're in the top 20. Very likely they're in the top 30.

Note also that Dahak is our evil dragon god. We don't really do much with Tiamat at all. Nor do we do anything with Ao or other deities. How those fit into your game's continuity is left 100% to you.

Pharasma isn't just flaunting her power. She just is the most powerful.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Myrryr wrote:

Huh... Pharasma is the canonical most powerful deity? Is that known in-universe? How does she interact with Azathoth who's written as basically entropy itself? What about Anubis who seems to be basically her with a jackal head? Is Anubis just an underling?

Is she more powerful than the Abyss, which is stated to be sentient?

It's not known in-universe, realy, no.

Azathoth is powerful but again, we don't list the gods' actual powers so just how close it is to Pharasma is unsaid.

Anubis is her minion. He's still powerful.

The Abyss isn't a god, so comparing it to Pharasma is like comparing a whale to hunger. Two ENTIRELY different things. Both can be big, but that doesn't mean they're comparable. (Note too that I'm leaving unsaid whether Pharasma = whale and Abyss = hunger OR Pharasma = hunger and Abyss = whale.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Claxon wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.
Very valid. I've just all been curious about Apsu and Tiamat since they're established as the makers, but I haven't seen much about them beside that. Which adds (in my mind) more to the concept of them being distant overdeities.

Again... the Tiamat element is not really part of the setting anymore. We've backed away from her for D&D reasons and replaced her with Dahak.

Also, just because a deity's mythology credits them with making something doesn't mean they did. It just means their worshipers think so. And dragons are good at self-importantce, hyperbole, and arrogance.

Grand Lodge

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James Jacobs wrote:
Myrryr wrote:

Huh... Pharasma is the canonical most powerful deity? Is that known in-universe? How does she interact with Azathoth who's written as basically entropy itself? What about Anubis who seems to be basically her with a jackal head? Is Anubis just an underling?

Is she more powerful than the Abyss, which is stated to be sentient?

It's not known in-universe, realy, no.

Azathoth is powerful but again, we don't list the gods' actual powers so just how close it is to Pharasma is unsaid.

Anubis is her minion. He's still powerful.

The Abyss isn't a god, so comparing it to Pharasma is like comparing a whale to hunger. Two ENTIRELY different things. Both can be big, but that doesn't mean they're comparable. (Note too that I'm leaving unsaid whether Pharasma = whale and Abyss = hunger OR Pharasma = hunger and Abyss = whale.)

Or Pharasma = hungry hungry hippo?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Wait, if Pharasma is the most powerful, then why was Rovagug a problem to put in the slammer?

Because she didn't care if he was imprisoned or not. She didn't help put him in prison, but neither did she help keep him out. That was a problem for the other folk.

Grand Lodge

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James Jacobs wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Wait, if Pharasma is the most powerful, then why was Rovagug a problem to put in the slammer?

Because she didn't care if he was imprisoned or not. She didn't help put him in prison, but neither did she help keep him out. That was a problem for the other folk.

She at least would have had some incentive for one possible conclusion. From her viewpoint, everything dies eventually. If Rovagug has its way, her portfolio of death becomes the most important one in the pantheon.

Grand Lodge

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She's so powerful that she doesn't need to claim every soul for herself... dulling them out impartially to the other planes.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Myrryr wrote:

Huh... Pharasma is the canonical most powerful deity? Is that known in-universe? How does she interact with Azathoth who's written as basically entropy itself? What about Anubis who seems to be basically her with a jackal head? Is Anubis just an underling?

Is she more powerful than the Abyss, which is stated to be sentient?

It's not known in-universe, realy, no.

Azathoth is powerful but again, we don't list the gods' actual powers so just how close it is to Pharasma is unsaid.

Anubis is her minion. He's still powerful.

The Abyss isn't a god, so comparing it to Pharasma is like comparing a whale to hunger. Two ENTIRELY different things. Both can be big, but that doesn't mean they're comparable. (Note too that I'm leaving unsaid whether Pharasma = whale and Abyss = hunger OR Pharasma = hunger and Abyss = whale.)

Interesting... So... what's the Pharasman creation myth? Since it's most likely the canonical 'true' one?

Also, I'm still really curious about the Jyoti and why/how they're able to keep all deities out of the positive energy plane (unless there's an exception for Pharasma that wasn't printed?)


James Jacobs wrote:
Claxon wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.
Very valid. I've just all been curious about Apsu and Tiamat since they're established as the makers, but I haven't seen much about them beside that. Which adds (in my mind) more to the concept of them being distant overdeities.

Again... the Tiamat element is not really part of the setting anymore. We've backed away from her for D&D reasons and replaced her with Dahak.

Also, just because a deity's mythology credits them with making something doesn't mean they did. It just means their worshipers think so. And dragons are good at self-importantce, hyperbole, and arrogance.

I understand that they didn't necessarily actually create the multiverse, but someone had to. And as far as I'm aware they're the only ones credited to have done so.

Regardless, my comparisons to Ao and such was just trying to gauge relative position to other deific hierarchies that are more clearly established.

It helps me understand the position of deities of Golarion relative to one another, which helps me to imagine how this might influence their interaction with mortals, outsiders, and other beings based on just how up the food chain they are.

Grand Lodge

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Claxon wrote:
I understand that they didn't necessarily actually create the multiverse, but someone had to.

Why? Unless your story actually encompasses that far, what difference does it make?


Claxon wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Claxon wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Remember that one time events.. such as Universe creation, or Earthfall, can leave a being permanently reduced in power, dead, or changed in status, which is why certain one time events can't be repeated.
Very valid. I've just all been curious about Apsu and Tiamat since they're established as the makers, but I haven't seen much about them beside that. Which adds (in my mind) more to the concept of them being distant overdeities.

Again... the Tiamat element is not really part of the setting anymore. We've backed away from her for D&D reasons and replaced her with Dahak.

Also, just because a deity's mythology credits them with making something doesn't mean they did. It just means their worshipers think so. And dragons are good at self-importantce, hyperbole, and arrogance.

I understand that they didn't necessarily actually create the multiverse, but someone had to. And as far as I'm aware they're the only ones credited to have done so.

Regardless, my comparisons to Ao and such was just trying to gauge relative position to other deific hierarchies that are more clearly established.

It helps me understand the position of deities of Golarion relative to one another, which helps me to imagine how this might influence their interaction with mortals, outsiders, and other beings based on just how up the food chain they are.

Actually, there's also an Asmodean creation myth. Him and his brother created the multiverse before Asmodeaus killed him.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Everyone seems to have forgotten the contact other plane spell.

If you look in the Core Rulebook, on the table that accompanies that spell, there's an asterisk there that notes that all of the deities in the Core Rulebook (the main twenty, in other words) are all intermediate deities. This isn't reproduced either on the PRD or the d20PFSRD; it's just in the Core Rulebook.

So the major deities - Asmodeus, Pharasma, Desna, Shelyn, etc. - are all intermediate deities. Paizo says so.


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LazarX wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I understand that they didn't necessarily actually create the multiverse, but someone had to.
Why? Unless your story actually encompasses that far, what difference does it make?

I am personally curious.

Myrryr wrote:
Actually, there's also an Asmodean creation myth. Him and his brother created the multiverse before Asmodeaus killed him.

I've heard this one before, but just immediately assumed it was BS. Making himself important through such a ruse sounds exactly like what Asmodeus would do.

@James Jacobs, Can you comment on the relative power level of Groetus to Pharasma and their relationship? I know theoretically that Groetus is supposed to be "cleanse" the universe after Pharasma has judged the last soul (including her own?). But it seems like they are somewhat antithetical in function to one another. Pharasma keeps the universe running by keeping mortals birthing, being reborn, and dying and being judged and to provide souls to Groetus(?) to stave off the inevitable "destruction" of the universe.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Myrryr wrote:


Interesting... So... what's the Pharasman creation myth? Since it's most likely the canonical 'true' one?

Also, I'm still really curious about the Jyoti and why/how they're able to keep all deities out of the positive energy plane (unless there's an exception for Pharasma that wasn't printed?)

We haven't yet said anything about Pharasma's creation myths. Almost like she's deliberately not talking about it.

And the Positive Energy plane thing is going to remain a mystery for some time as well.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Alzrius wrote:

Everyone seems to have forgotten the contact other plane spell.

If you look in the Core Rulebook, on the table that accompanies that spell, there's an asterisk there that notes that all of the deities in the Core Rulebook (the main twenty, in other words) are all intermediate deities. This isn't reproduced either on the PRD or the d20PFSRD; it's just in the Core Rulebook.

So the major deities - Asmodeus, Pharasma, Desna, Shelyn, etc. - are all intermediate deities. Paizo says so.

In fact, had we not been so timid about backwards compatibility, we would have removed those deity categories entirely and only had "deity" listed.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Claxon wrote:
@James Jacobs, Can you comment on the relative power level of Groetus to Pharasma and their relationship? I know theoretically that Groetus is supposed to be "cleanse" the universe after Pharasma has judged the last soul (including her own?). But it seems like they are somewhat antithetical in function to one another. Pharasma keeps the universe running by keeping mortals birthing, being reborn, and dying and being judged and to provide souls to Groetus(?) to stave off the inevitable "destruction" of the universe.

Groetus is not as powerful as Pharasma. Beyond that, I want to keep that situation mysterious; you might want to check out the article we published about Groetus in the 2nd Shattered Star installment though if you haven't already.

Grand Lodge

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Claxon wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I understand that they didn't necessarily actually create the multiverse, but someone had to.
Why? Unless your story actually encompasses that far, what difference does it make?

I am personally curious.

Myrryr wrote:
Actually, there's also an Asmodean creation myth. Him and his brother created the multiverse before Asmodeaus killed him.

I've heard this one before, but just immediately assumed it was BS. Making himself important through such a ruse sounds exactly like what Asmodeus would do.

Also this might be 3.5 proto-Golarion material. Much of that was changed when Paizo got into the game creation buisness in it's own right.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Myrryr wrote:


Interesting... So... what's the Pharasman creation myth? Since it's most likely the canonical 'true' one?

Also, I'm still really curious about the Jyoti and why/how they're able to keep all deities out of the positive energy plane (unless there's an exception for Pharasma that wasn't printed?)

We haven't yet said anything about Pharasma's creation myths. Almost like she's deliberately not talking about it.

And the Positive Energy plane thing is going to remain a mystery for some time as well.

Drat heh. Ah well, I eagerly wait for it. Maybe it'll show up in Strange Aeons?


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James Jacobs wrote:
Claxon wrote:
@James Jacobs, Can you comment on the relative power level of Groetus to Pharasma and their relationship? I know theoretically that Groetus is supposed to be "cleanse" the universe after Pharasma has judged the last soul (including her own?). But it seems like they are somewhat antithetical in function to one another. Pharasma keeps the universe running by keeping mortals birthing, being reborn, and dying and being judged and to provide souls to Groetus(?) to stave off the inevitable "destruction" of the universe.
Groetus is not as powerful as Pharasma. Beyond that, I want to keep that situation mysterious; you might want to check out the article we published about Groetus in the 2nd Shattered Star installment though if you haven't already.

I will try to do that James. I do so enjoy the little tidbits that your share with us about your world.


Well, that was informative, thank you! Also neat to see all the little side cases I hadn't heard about brought forward. Pharasma certainly is one of the most fascinating gods, just due to her sheer power combined with her general quietness about...well...everything.

Also intriguing to know that groteus is not as powerful as pharasma. Since I had heard that she fed souls to the moon-thing in order to keep it at bay, I had always assumed they where of equal footing. The fact that she's more keeping him in check out of choice casts her behavior in a whole new light.

Thanks for all the help!


coffeedog14 wrote:

Well, that was informative, thank you! Also neat to see all the little side cases I hadn't heard about brought forward. Pharasma certainly is one of the most fascinating gods, just due to her sheer power combined with her general quietness about...well...everything.

Also intriguing to know that groteus is not as powerful as pharasma. Since I had heard that she fed souls to the moon-thing in order to keep it at bay, I had always assumed they where of equal footing. The fact that she's more keeping him in check out of choice casts her behavior in a whole new light.

Thanks for all the help!

Yeah... hearing that she doesn't need to feed souls to him really makes it harder to see her as neutral though. Why is she feeding him souls if she's more powerful? Really makes me curious how that doesn't fall into strictly an evil category.


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Myrryr wrote:


Yeah... hearing that she doesn't need to feed souls to him really makes it harder to see her as neutral though. Why is she feeding him souls if she's more powerful? Really makes me curious how that doesn't fall into strictly an evil category.

More powerful doesn't mean she can push everything weaker around with impunity, or that her greater power is applicable in all fields. The USA is more powerful than any other country by a big margin, but it can't (or won't) simply push everyone around in every sphere of interest. It has to compromise, and worry about balancing coalitions.


Slithery D wrote:
Myrryr wrote:


Yeah... hearing that she doesn't need to feed souls to him really makes it harder to see her as neutral though. Why is she feeding him souls if she's more powerful? Really makes me curious how that doesn't fall into strictly an evil category.
More powerful doesn't mean she can push everything weaker around with impunity, or that her greater power is applicable in all fields. The USA is more powerful than any other country by a big margin, but it can't (or won't) simply push everyone around in every sphere of interest. It has to compromise, and worry about balancing coalitions.

That just begs the question of why. What possible reason is there that would require Pharasma to feed souls to something that destroys them? And that HAS to piss off every other god that has worshippers because at least some of those souls should be theirs. How does Desna answer that to her worshippers?

"Oh sorry, you were part of the 1% that Pharasma decided to terminate your immortal soul, but don't worry, she's not evil. She's just feeding you to Groetus for... uh, well, she says it's to placate him, but she's more powerful so that makes no sense. We'd argue with her about that because I care about you, but she's more powerful so we can't do anything about it. But she's not evil!"

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Even all-powerful neutral deities need to follow certain rules. Even if those rules are never to be revealed to mortals, be they in world or in real life.

In other words... it's not Pharasma's fault if a worshiper gets sent to Groetus or whatever... it's the worshiper's fault for failing. Desna, in this case, wouldn't blame Pharasma. She'd blame the failed worshiper and would understand that she didn't want that tainted soul around anyway.


James Jacobs wrote:

Even all-powerful neutral deities need to follow certain rules. Even if those rules are never to be revealed to mortals, be they in world or in real life.

In other words... it's not Pharasma's fault if a worshiper gets sent to Groetus or whatever... it's the worshiper's fault for failing. Desna, in this case, wouldn't blame Pharasma. She'd blame the failed worshiper and would understand that she didn't want that tainted soul around anyway.

Tainted?? That means then that it's something the soul does that determines it's going to be annihilated by Groetus instead of going to an afterlife?

What in the world is that?? I mean, obviously it's not just being evil, so I don't think it has something to do with alignment, but now I'm intensely curious what marks a soul for erasure.


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Myrryr wrote:
coffeedog14 wrote:

Well, that was informative, thank you! Also neat to see all the little side cases I hadn't heard about brought forward. Pharasma certainly is one of the most fascinating gods, just due to her sheer power combined with her general quietness about...well...everything.

Also intriguing to know that groteus is not as powerful as pharasma. Since I had heard that she fed souls to the moon-thing in order to keep it at bay, I had always assumed they where of equal footing. The fact that she's more keeping him in check out of choice casts her behavior in a whole new light.

Thanks for all the help!

Yeah... hearing that she doesn't need to feed souls to him really makes it harder to see her as neutral though. Why is she feeding him souls if she's more powerful? Really makes me curious how that doesn't fall into strictly an evil category.

Remember, Pharasma has Fate as one of her domains. It is the unverise's Fate, her fate, and Groetus' fate that Groetus will consume the universe after the last soul is judged. Giving him souls staves that off for some reason. Due to her position as a deity of fate it seems unlikely she can destroy Groetus without destroying Fate as it's intended to be. Something that might actually destroy her if he she tried. It's unclear exactly what would happen.

Remember, deities of Golarion are powerful, but they are not omniscient nor omnipotent.

In short, I think she probably doesn't have a choice about this role. Deities of Golarion seem to be incarnations of their domains and alignments, not fully capable of free will or decisions as human beings might be.

Myrryr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Even all-powerful neutral deities need to follow certain rules. Even if those rules are never to be revealed to mortals, be they in world or in real life.

In other words... it's not Pharasma's fault if a worshiper gets sent to Groetus or whatever... it's the worshiper's fault for failing. Desna, in this case, wouldn't blame Pharasma. She'd blame the failed worshiper and would understand that she didn't want that tainted soul around anyway.

Tainted?? That means then that it's something the soul does that determines it's going to be annihilated by Groetus instead of going to an afterlife?

What in the world is that?? I mean, obviously it's not just being evil, so I don't think it has something to do with alignment, but now I'm intensely curious what marks a soul for erasure.

In Golarion, soul is equal to the mind. So it's something the person does. The soul is the non-physical portion of the creature's existence. Also, you should know that after a soul is judged is goes to the appropriate plane based on criteria we don't fully know (including to Groetus). The souls that aren't sent to Groetus eventually become petitioners on those planes, and in the process lose their identity. Eventually petitioners become the lowest level outsiders appropriate to their plane of residence.

It could be a situation somewhat like in Faerun were souls that did not belong to a deity were sent to the Wall of Faithless. But obviously different requirements are at play here.

It seems most likely that souls fed to Groetus reach him because their deity (if they had one) reject them for some reason, not necessarily because Pharasma randomly chooses that a soul should go there.


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Just had a thought: What if Pharasma is feeding Groetus with souls (of a type that she considers troublesome anyway) not to fend him off, but to keep him from starving and/or going crazy, with the end goal being to keep him ready to do his job when the time comes?


Very possible too


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can I ask what happened to the origin story from ages ago where Asmodeus and his brother were the creator gods of the universe? I've never been sure if that was retconned out completely, or if parts of it (such as Sarenrae confronting him, Asmodeus having ancient origins, etc) are still valid.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That origin tale is still valid as are most the others (Long story short since creation of the universe was so long ago no mortal really knows and many gods have there own versions of what happend during creation all of which could potentially be true)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Myrryr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Even all-powerful neutral deities need to follow certain rules. Even if those rules are never to be revealed to mortals, be they in world or in real life.

In other words... it's not Pharasma's fault if a worshiper gets sent to Groetus or whatever... it's the worshiper's fault for failing. Desna, in this case, wouldn't blame Pharasma. She'd blame the failed worshiper and would understand that she didn't want that tainted soul around anyway.

Tainted?? That means then that it's something the soul does that determines it's going to be annihilated by Groetus instead of going to an afterlife?

What in the world is that?? I mean, obviously it's not just being evil, so I don't think it has something to do with alignment, but now I'm intensely curious what marks a soul for erasure.

The word "tainted" doesn't have any mechanical connotations at all. It's just a word I used to indicate that some souls of worshipers are not desirable to a deity—they want devout worshipers, not failed worshipers. It's not something the soul does. It's something the living person does while alive that is out of step with their belief.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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xeose4 wrote:
Can I ask what happened to the origin story from ages ago where Asmodeus and his brother were the creator gods of the universe? I've never been sure if that was retconned out completely, or if parts of it (such as Sarenrae confronting him, Asmodeus having ancient origins, etc) are still valid.

As mentioned above, this origin story remains valid. As valid as ALL origin stories for the creation of reality and all that. They all tell different stories. Which one is "right" is left to the individual to choose. That's why it's a matter of faith and religion, and not one of history and science.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
xeose4 wrote:
Can I ask what happened to the origin story from ages ago where Asmodeus and his brother were the creator gods of the universe? I've never been sure if that was retconned out completely, or if parts of it (such as Sarenrae confronting him, Asmodeus having ancient origins, etc) are still valid.
As mentioned above, this origin story remains valid. As valid as ALL origin stories for the creation of reality and all that. They all tell different stories. Which one is "right" is left to the individual to choose. That's why it's a matter of faith and religion, and not one of history and science.

Out of curiosity though does the Paizo staff know or have an idea on which story is the most true one? Much like how they know how Aroden died (not to reveal but just to make sure anything written connected to the subject is right.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kevin Mack wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
xeose4 wrote:
Can I ask what happened to the origin story from ages ago where Asmodeus and his brother were the creator gods of the universe? I've never been sure if that was retconned out completely, or if parts of it (such as Sarenrae confronting him, Asmodeus having ancient origins, etc) are still valid.
As mentioned above, this origin story remains valid. As valid as ALL origin stories for the creation of reality and all that. They all tell different stories. Which one is "right" is left to the individual to choose. That's why it's a matter of faith and religion, and not one of history and science.
Out of curiosity though does the Paizo staff know or have an idea on which story is the most true one? Much like how they know how Aroden died (not to reveal but just to make sure anything written connected to the subject is right.)

Yes. I do. I"ve shared that information with a few other folks—both how the Great Beyond came to be AND how Aroden died. Neither is something I suspect we'll ever put into print, but both are things that have ripple effects. Knowing the answers to both of those questions allows us to include things about those ripple effects, so that if there IS some unforseen day in the future that we DO publish those answers... they'll make sense in retrospect/hindsight.


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Or you could just do it now, so that we as your community can understand your world and the miniscule interactions everything has better. In fact you could probably create whole AP's around the info provided. little by little adding more and more up to a point where you feel you have taken this game as far as it can go in which you reveal how the universe ends.

I dont see how giving us this info would hurt the game at all. in fact it would probably draw more people as well due to the full richness of the Lore of this universe. You can still create ripple effects it will just be more clear to your players why these things are happening.

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