What reason or advantage would someone have to worship an Empyreal Lord over a deity?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Silver Crusade

Like big example You got Irori a full blown deity and Korada an Empyreal Lord.

Irori is infinitely more powerful then korada so what would lead someone to worship korada over irori

Liberty's Edge

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They're more interested in foresight, forgiveness, or peace than history, knowledge, or self-perfection? The empyreal Lords almost if not always have different focuses from the full deities they most closely resemble.

Silver Crusade

Dustin Heaton wrote:
They're more interested in foresight, forgiveness, or peace than history, knowledge, or self-perfection? The empyreal Lords almost if not always have different focuses from the full deities they most closely resemble.

Just one critical thing....empyreal lords(however unlikely it may actually be) Can still be killed. Full blown deities cannot


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"Ah, yes! We're a pretty big city, you know, and we like to go all-out with the festivals. We're really grateful to that Priest of Kurgess when he comes by each year to run our games. Don't get me wrong, Irori's monks are no trouble at all in their monastery, but they don't really get the fun bit of competitive events, you know? It's also nice that Kurgess helps people avoid being sore losers, so we can all have a good mood when we go home."


There’s also the idea that empyreal lords don’t attract as much attention as full-fledged gods do.

Silver Crusade

GM Rednal wrote:
"Ah, yes! We're a pretty big city, you know, and we like to go all-out with the festivals. We're really grateful to that Priest of Kurgess when he comes by each year to run our games. Don't get me wrong, Irori's monks are no trouble at all in their monastery, but they don't really get the fun bit of competitive events, you know? It's also nice that Kurgess helps people avoid being sore losers, so we can all have a good mood when we go home."

Thats not 100% true. I imagine an iroran monk might find fun and enjoyment in self improvement and testing themselves as well. Thought they would probably be an outlier and likely lawful good rather then lawful neutral being simpleminded focused on self perfection.


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in point of fact (assuming I'm remembering correctly) gods can die, just generally not without GM help. see Aroden for details

to answer the question though, see other responses, most people don't worship a god or empyreal lord because they want their god to be stronger, they worship them because they represent ideals that that person values. AKA, npc's aren't power gamers


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Raw power isn't exactly the most sincere foundation for worship.

And a Cleric of an empyreal isn't any weaker, so that's kinda moot.

Why worship the empyreal lord? Because you believe in them.

Liberty's Edge

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Thirdhorseman wrote:

in point of fact (assuming I'm remembering correctly) gods can die, just generally not without GM help. see Aroden for details

to answer the question though, see other responses, most people don't worship a god or empyreal lord because they want their god to be stronger, they worship them because they represent ideals that that person values. AKA, npc's aren't power gamers

And lamashtu killed a god to get his powers and become a full deity. There are also the gods who died during Starfall.


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Yeah I would imagine you worship a god because you believe in their ethos, not because they could beat up the other gods.

Otherwise, everyone would worship Rovagug since it was so powerful that it required multiple gods working together to contain (they couldn't/wouldn't even destroy it).


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Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Dustin Heaton wrote:
They're more interested in foresight, forgiveness, or peace than history, knowledge, or self-perfection? The empyreal Lords almost if not always have different focuses from the full deities they most closely resemble.
Just one critical thing....empyreal lords(however unlikely it may actually be) Can still be killed. Full blown deities cannot

They still don't die often enough for it to make much sense as a factor of consideration.


maaaybe you worship an Empyreal Lord because one of them or their agents helped you out once? Maybe you saw a stag with 5 flaming wings bound by before you did something heroic? Maybe your king had a competition/debate thing to pick their favorite?


This thread.


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Duston Heaton was spot on. Empyrial Lords have different focuses, even if they're more or less similar to a separate, more powerful deity.

A nautical-themed monster might worship Oaur-Ooung over Lamashtu, because Lamashtu isn't specific to oceans. A freedom-fighter who's also fascinated with astrology might worship Black Butterfly over Desna because Desna doesn't have the Void Domain.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Even for purely mechanical considerations, the real question is whether the deity in question potentially offers you anything useful. If you are a cleric, you would care about domains and possibly favored weapon. If you are not a cleric but might take the Deific Obedience feat, the benefits and boons of that feat become more important -- especially if you can qualify for either the Diverse Obedience feat or one of the Inner Sea Gods prestige classes to access those boons sooner.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

While the answers above are good for in world justifications, in my experience that real answer is usually it was the only choice to get the exact alignment/domains/subdomains you were looking for.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dave Justus wrote:
While the answers above are good for in world justifications, in my experience that real answer is usually it was the only choice to get the exact alignment/domains/subdomains you were looking for.

Frequently yes, but also more lenient paladin codes (Ragathiel) that are more conducive to smiting.

Generally speaking, I find the Empyreal Lords to be more compelling than the core deities of Golarion, in part because there's some weirdness out there. Kelinahat, for instance, does not necessarily feel like a lock for LG when she's about spying and stealth. What those things mean can be re-examined both ways: what it means to be a spy while LG, and what it means to be LG as a spy. How is each informed by the other? How might that influence the type of character you design?

In PFS, I have a double grandfathered aasimar APG summoner that worships Ragathiel. He has zero mechanical benefit for this, but it informs the character's personality greatly - he preaches a gospel of casting out sin to achieve a more virtuous state. His summoning ritual for the eidolon is this preaching, which ends by vomiting out a devilish figure named Sin. At the same time, he's also a base 18 strength, arcane strike/power attack melee with a longspear. All of this is informed by Ragathiel as a patron, despite not actually being mechanically connected to Ragathiel at all.

Shadow Lodge

Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Thats not 100% true. I imagine an iroran monk might find fun and enjoyment in self improvement and testing themselves as well. Thought they would probably be an outlier and likely lawful good rather then lawful neutral being simpleminded focused on self perfection.

The difference between "my god doesn't mind if I enjoy competition as part of my quest for self improvement" and "my god thinks that friendly competition is the best way to seek self improvement" means quite a lot when we're talking about forming the kind of bond with a deity that dedicated worship represents. You don't want to feel like an outlier in your church.


Because Vildeis is the best religion


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Claxon wrote:

Yeah I would imagine you worship a god because you believe in their ethos, not because they could beat up the other gods.

Otherwise, everyone would worship Rovagug since it was so powerful that it required multiple gods working together to contain (they couldn't/wouldn't even destroy it).

I agree with you, but I expect some people would worship Rovagug for exactly that reason.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have a character who's an Inquisitor of the azata empyreal lord called Chadali (otherwise known as The Serendipitous Path). He quite literally considers himself the Hand of Fate. If he kills you, it was fated to be so, if he helped you, it was fate. He believes himself to be the mortal who acts on behalf of fate. Based on that, I felt Chadali worked. He connects with her more than any other deity. Mechanically speaking, his shtick is rerolls, for himself and for his enemies. Out of character, I chose her for flavor. There are gods I could have chosen, but I decided that Chadali would be a fun fit for this character build.

So, in honesty, I did it for flavor. In character, he believes that she is the perfect essence of fate and has called upon him to be her hand in the world.


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For the same reason not every one on Earth worships the same guy, even though he's supposed to be all powerful and way better.

Because faith doesn't rank like that.


Some that come to mind :

1. Aasimar/Celestial or Empyreal Bloodline - a form of ancestor worship for those with Celestial heritages.
2. Non-Celestial Aasimar/Outsider (Native) - partial kinship due to Type, where they are "familiar" and their motives/hardships easier to understand than omnipresent "full" deities that might have little grasp of mortal concerns.
3. Great feats that people still see - history may be filled with a deity's divine interjections, yet rarely have they come down to the mortal realm and interacted directly with it; Empyreal Lords come from Celestial stock that have a history fighting for righteousness in modern times, if not now. Which is going to have the more "presence" in your life - the abstract deity or the personification of Celestials that came down to lead you/your forebear in victorious battle?
4. Empyrean Angels are the "faces" of deities, even using their associated deity's favoured weapon, so they are easily conflated by the common person. Remember, there is fluff for the lay-person thinking of Aasimar as Angels, so it is not difficult to believe that they conflate Celestials with deities and "demi"-deities such as Empyreal Lords with "full" deities. Therefore it may be a misunderstanding of the distinction between Empyreal Lords and Empyrean Angels - who often take on subtle tasks that require a more personal touch, requiring a presence across the Planes.
5. Gratitude may play a part, specifically in summoning. Can you reliably Summon/Call a deity? No, yet you can Summon/Call an Outsider or even have a Creature granted the Celestial Template. Psychologically I can see a reason for associating Celestials (such as those that rose to become Empyreans) with usefulness, bestowing their "gifts" upon their summons. Witches may be less common in Divine worship, (as an Arcane Class), yet they may believe their Patron to be an Empyrean Lord, especially with their Familiar "advancing" into a different form (in regards to Magical Effects), then seemingly progressing through hard work, (Spell preparation, actual use in combat/downtime). Add to that the fact that anyone with the Improved Familiar Feat can obtain a Celestial Template version of their Familiar.
6. Emulation - Level 20 Monks are treated as Outsiders for Spell Effects, other Characters may be roleplayed well across a campaign with the reward of becoming a Half-Celestial. Characters with the goal of becoming Outsiders, "advancing" through hard work to obtain greater levels of power, may very well try to tread the same paths as the ascendant Empyreal Lords, (think a diminished version of Elder Scrolls "mantling").
7. Spurning - there are two types for this, the counter-spurning and the fear of being rejected. A Character may be adventuring because their village was destroyed - with no Divine intervention despite piety, the Character turns away from the "full" deities as they see them as abandoning the village. With a lifelong adherence to religion it would be difficult to completely give up on the structure and comfort of it, (especially if the lone survivor is consumed by loneliness/loss), so they look for solace/guidance elsewhere. Then you get Tieflings, Half-fiends and those with Evil Outsider heritages - perhaps they have been conflated with Demons and the like by lay-folk for their entire lives, living a life of abuse and isolation. Why would Good deities, who are in opposition to Evil, not reject them in the same way? That has always been their experience so far ... As they are non-Evil, they turn to a Good higher power that strives for greatness via action rather than placing value on their starting point, especially if they have an association of overcoming disadvantages, (such as Ragathiel's father being an Archdevil).
8. They are a "reject the norm" Character who often eschews standard choices, trying to avoid being constrained by convention and having a slight "sticking it to The Man" attitude.
9. They simply like what they hear about the Empyreal Lords, preferring them over "full" deities due to aligned perceptions/attitudes/interests, (especially if less rigid), and their Boons are more appropriate. Also, Arshea. :p
10. They are granted visions by an Empyreal Lord, possibly as part of a subtle plan to place a Character of great potential in the right place, at the right time, to prevent a catastrophe. Their temple/church/abbey was dedicated to an Empyreal Lord since a historic act by said demi-deity.
11. They are a mortal Cayden Cailean Mark II - there are just not enough deities to ogle, nor depictions of their visages in those naughtier tomes locked away on high shelves.


Cyth-V’sug's entry from book of the damned can shed some light, I think. In that work, it noted that he was originally a qlippoth that noticed that the stronger demons tended to be worshiped by mortal followers. He decided to follow suit (answering desperate prayers of mortals), and in return he obtained power in return (also, he was stained with mortal desires and he became a demon lord; that is somewhat separate, and might be an abyss specific thing).

From this, there is the implication that worship can actually provide power to a deity level creature. Under this assumption, the question on "Why would you worship an Empyreal Lord?" gets a lot easier to answer- the lord explicitly seeks out mortal worship. While they are not as powerful as full gods (yet- sarenrae shows that they can get there), their scope is far more focused- so they are more likely to answer your small town's prayers because they don't have worshipers on 100's of worlds to handle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Because their dogma is closer to what you wish to endorse?

Because your parents worshiped the Empyreal Lord, and you see no reason to change?

Because, having fewer followers, the Demon Lord Shax takes the time to whisper to you, you personally! LUCKY YOU! (And other variations upon feeling exclusive)

Because it wasn't a priest of Iomedae that saved your village, it was a wandering follower of Ashava.

Because no one else quite covers what the demigod in question does (Arshea immediately leaps to mind).


In reality the answer is simply, people pick up religion based on cultural and historical environments. Occasionally people worship a god based on values, but by and large it's a product of upbringing.

If an empyreal lord of its representative did good for a small town, that society may be more inclined towards its worship. Then people growning up in that society going forward.


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Because they are gullible. Trust me, I'm about as enlightened about empyreals as one can be.


there are certain feats only available to those who worship the lords.


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Cole Deschain wrote:
Because, having fewer followers, the Demon Lord Shax takes the time to whisper to you, you personally! LUCKY YOU! (And other variations upon feeling exclusive)

The god of hipsters.

"He who You have not Heard of."


I mean, worshiping the Eldest guarantees immortality.

Until they get bored and take it away :p

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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Short answer: the empyreal lord answers your prayers when the deity didn't.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Because they want to? Because their family did (i.e. they are a patron deity)? Because they want to cause their patron to undergo apotheosis (seems like Arshea became a straight up deity in Starfinder, for e.g., because their portfolio became more salient to a wider number of people, tl;dr "more worshippers = more godlike power")? Take your pick.

Dark Archive

I have a Paladin/Gunslinger that worships Damerrich, God of Executions. The whole theme of the character is that of the White Hat cowboy who rides into town, kills everyone who needs killing and rides off in the sunset. Empyreal Lords just give you more ways that you can play your character.


Cavall wrote:

For the same reason not every one on Earth worships the same guy, even though he's supposed to be all powerful and way better.

Because faith doesn't rank like that.

Actually, on Earth, almost everyone says that their deity is the best and most powerful, and that only their faith worships their deity in the right way, and everyone else is going to Hell . . . including players of role-playing games who can consider the concept of different deities -- although fortunately this doesn't seem to have been on their radar for a while, it's only a matter of time before it is once again . . . .


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:


Irori is infinitely more powerful then korada so what would lead someone to worship korada over irori

Would most mortals even know the difference in the gap of power between an Empyreal Lord and a deity? An Empyreal Lord, while weaker than a full deity, still has powers beyond comprehension in comparison to normal people. Even CR20ish planet killing monsters are trivial encounters for such beings.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Actually, on Earth, almost everyone says that their deity is the best and most powerful, and that only their faith worships their deity in the right way, and everyone else is going to Hell . . . including players of role-playing games who can consider the concept of different deities -- although fortunately this doesn't seem to have been on their radar for a while, it's only a matter of time before it is once again . . . .

That's a fairly Judeo-Christian concept. Down to the notion of "their deity."

More faiths admit to being polytheistic than claim to be monotheistic. And the D&D concept of having your one god, just as a regular person rolling around, in a polytheistic setting? That's just weird. Generally folks venerate many, many gods.

But even then, offering the most veneration to the most powerful god was pretty rare. Among the Olympians, yeah, Zeus was generally acknowledged as most powerful and given respect and worship, but Hera was far more widely worshiped because she was more relevant to folks' day-to-day lives.

Then you have cases like Shinto that, yes, has some big powerful gods, but places much more emphasis on small gods.

Also, the dogma of D&D-style gods doesn't really incorporate an idea that worshipers of other, similarly aligned gods are wrong, or damned, and it's objectively established that they're going to some variation of paradise when they die.


Mechanically, it's a combo of Domains, Inquisitions, Sacred Weapons, Obediences and so on offered on a Divine Portfolio case-by-case basis. But the title of this thread says "What...advantage would SOMEONE...", so the reason why SOMEONE who, in this instance would be an NPC, is housed less in the mechanics and more in the faith itself.

The OP discusses the similarities between Irori and Korada, so let's start there. First and foremost, look at the Alignments of the deities and thus the Alignment Domains:

Irori: Lawful Neutral; Law Domain
Korada: Neutral Good; Good Domain

This alone suggests to me that the faiths of the two deities have very fundamentally different views. With Irori, worship tends to follow rote patterns, lawful obediences, and doesn't necessarily focus on good or evil so long as order is maintained at all costs.

Korada however is more easy going. Yes, you want self discipline but in all things you want to promote the good. There's an emphasis on forgiveness and I suppose this extends to the self: your master told you to do 100 push ups and you only did 99 in the style he wanted, but that's ok buddy, you'll get it the next time as long as you're trying your hardest.

So when you're looking at the different deities, try to actually conceptualize HOW they'd be worshipped; WHO would want to patronize this deity.

Also, consider saints and underlings.

Pharasma for example is noted as having four unique servants. She is also attended by the divine race known as the Ahmuth Psychopomps. Finally the Lady of Souls has a Neutral alignment, Death/Healing/Knowledge/Repose/Water in her portfolio, and allows worshippers of ANY Neutral combination.

So... a NE cleric with the Death and Knowledge domains might worship Pharasma in a completely different way than a NG cleric with Healing and Water. However, if you don't make the evil one actually a heretic worshipping some demon by mistake, how do you justify these two vastly different parishioners?

Well one way to explain it is that a person, whether otherworldly or mortal, did something amazing in the name of the deity. However this person did it in a way that falls outside the normal orthodoxy of the church. So a dark, tiefling rogue/alchemist with anatomy skills fought and died in the name of Pharasma. She was ruthless, learned, and would stop at nothing to achieve her goals. In her adventures she committed, say, 3 noteworthy acts that border on miracles.

Well after she dies, locals try to emulate her. Along comes an Inquisitor but there is no indication of Heresy or Blasphemy. Instead, the locals are left to continue worshipping Saint Ravensblade and slowly they build up a library, alchemy college, anatomy labs, etc.

So I guess my point here is: there's no ONE way for faith to be expressed, despite the consistent mechanics of the game. Therefore, there should be different philosophical and metaphysical niches that one deity serves over another or even within a single faith.

Sczarni

Some people like their coffee black. Some like some sugar and cream. Why do people do anything? Most would be classified as insane by others. People, what a bunch of bastards; Worshiping whomever they want to!

Why anyone would worship anything other than Unity is beyond me. It is easily provable that all of Golarion is a computer simulation/ mental construct of some sort.


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Also, one could reason that Empyreal Lords actually get things done.

Iomedae is bound by all sorts of vague deific rules, but Ragathiel is completely allowed to go in and raid Hell. A god of action!

I think in Starfinder Shirren view religion as an expression of personality, so for them it might be a way to be hipster and not mainstream as well.


"My family have been Korada worshippers for centuries. I see no reason to mess with tradition."


Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Just one critical thing....empyreal lords(however unlikely it may actually be) Can still be killed. Full blown deities cannot

Aroden...

You worship whatever thing's code you agree with, its like why would you pick SUV when this sportscar is faster... Maybe i dont care how fast it is and being able to drive through mud is more important to me.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
MageHunter wrote:
Because Vildeis is the best religion

Fact check: true.

The core 20 gods basically have one that is in any way interesting (Cayden), whereas by the time they were doing Empureal Lords they had much more interesting ideas.

Vildeis is the coolest of those.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
maouse wrote:
Why anyone would worship anything other than Unity is beyond me.

Well, you know... give it time.

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