gods and alignment restrictions


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I know most gods only allow people of certain alignments to be their clerics, but as a far as I can tell there's no rule about alignment and just worshiping certain gods so does that mean you could have a LG worshiper of Rovagug or something similarly absurd?


You wouldn't be a very devout worshipper of Rovagug if you were LG, you'd not be willing to perform the standard ceremonies/sacraments and you'd be constantly breaking the religions tenets. Come to think of it all that rule breaking wouldn't be very lawful either.


Naw, there's nothing stopping you.

If the character's religion is an intrinsic part of their personality, you should probably have some sort of justification. But if they were just raised in berserker clan where they were expected to worship Rovagug and they really haven't given it any thought after growing up, then that seems pretty believable, not absurd at all.


I would argue that someone who wasn't within one step of a deity's alignment, that they wouldn't be particularly devout worshipers. It's a bit like "Easter/Christmas" Christians that go because they feel obligated, but don't really think about it much the rest of the year.

As a GM, I would allow your character to claim they worshiped a specific deity, but not to derive mechanical benefit unless they were within one step.


Technically yes, a none Divine character can worship what ever god they want? The question is WHY does your character worship that god? I am sure people could come up with interesting reasons why, but as a rule, an actual worshiper of a God is going to be close in alignment to the god they worship. Other wise why worship that god when there are countless other potential gods to worship that ARE closer in alignment and mindset to your character?


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I would say that a character worshiping a deity of an opposing alignment is not really worshiping that deity. You may claim to be a follower, but chances are bending and breaking so many religious tenants that the deity you claim to worship is not the actual deity. More than likely you are changing the teachings of the deity so much that they bear little or no relation to the actual teachings of the deity.

The lawful good worshiper of Rovagug could think that he is not actually evil. He could view Rovagug as a cleansing force of nature that burns away the bad parts of society. He could view the damage he does as short term or part of a greater good. He would of course be mistaken and probably delusional, but who said that religious beliefs had to be true. To me a character like this is not actually worshiping the deity, but rather making up their own version of the deity.

I think that it would be a lot more believable for an evil character to claim to worship a good deity, than a good character worshiping an evil deity. Most good deities at least try and convert evil to good. This means they kind of have to allow for some flexibility in their worshipers. Most evil deities don’t convert people, but rather tempt them.


Edward the Necromancer wrote:
Technically yes, a none Divine character can worship what ever god they want? The question is WHY does your character worship that god? I am sure people could come up with interesting reasons why, but as a rule, an actual worshiper of a God is going to be close in alignment to the god they worship. Other wise why worship that god when there are countless other potential gods to worship that ARE closer in alignment and mindset to your character?

Why are there people on earth who stick with their religion even when it isn't a good fit, instead of shopping around and finding one that comes naturally? Honestly, I'm not sure, but I presume it has something to do with perceptions of morality and familial/cultural loyalty.

Why not have a character with an ethos more aligned with Calistra pray to Erastil when they don't think they can go it alone?


The idea of mafioso attending mass regularly and claiming to be good catholics is a standard trope in media, the same idea can be applied here.


Yeah, but thinking or claiming to be a worshiper of a deity is a bit different from actually being connected to them and acting the way they want. IMO, the later is required for the deity to grant you benefits.


Claxon wrote:
Yeah, but thinking or claiming to be a worshiper of a deity is a bit different from actually being connected to them and acting the way they want. IMO, the later is required for the deity to grant you benefits.

Absolutely.


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Edward the Necromancer wrote:
Technically yes, a none Divine character can worship what ever god they want?

It's not even limited to non-divine characters - clerics, inquisitors, and warpriests are the only ones required to be within one step of their deity. Other divine casters like druids, oracles, and even paladins have no such restriction, unless your GM decides to house-rule one.

For instance, I'm currently playing a neutral good adept who for story reasons knowingly worships and receives divine spells from a chaotic evil demon lord... and it's working great.


I still have problems seeing a Paladin worshipping Rovagug, or even Gorum... and the paramount druidfic god is true neutral, so the restriction that makes all druits have one bit of neutral in their alignment is similar to the cleric one... oracles are special in that they are gifted/cursed withnout actually having to worship the godset that gives them their powers.


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for non-divine charcters I don't think it's an issue, it can even be a point of interest for RP. I had a CN pyro gnome that worshiped asmoedous because "he's a fire god and fire is awesome". My character had little to no ranks in religion and didn't really put any further thought into it. That was until he ran into the LN cleric of Iomedea and she found out. She was absolutely horrified and convinced my gnome to convert to Ymeri. It made for an entertaining interaction since she knew that would be easier than trying to convert him to a non-fire god.


Avoron wrote:
Edward the Necromancer wrote:
Technically yes, a none Divine character can worship what ever god they want?

It's not even limited to non-divine characters - clerics, inquisitors, and warpriests are the only ones required to be within one step of their deity. Other divine casters like druids, oracles, and even paladins have no such restriction, unless your GM decides to house-rule one.

For instance, I'm currently playing a neutral good adept who for story reasons knowingly worships and receives divine spells from a chaotic evil demon lord... and it's working great.

I once played a paladin who followed Pharasma, god of death and prophesy. He followed a deterministic philosophy and was of the opinion that just as he had no choice but to do good, those he fought had no choice but to be evil, and that "justice" was a sham. He was quite misotheistic and never missed an opportunity to mock traditional paladins and clerics of LG gods. He was an interesting character, very different from the paladin stereotype.


Klorox wrote:
I still have problems seeing a Paladin worshipping Rovagug, or even Gorum...

Rovagug is almost certainly out because of the paladin code's prohibition on evil associates - you'd have a hard time convincing me that worshiping someone doesn't count as associating with them, so a paladin could only worship Rovagug when necessary to defeat what they see as a greater evil, and even then with periodic atonement spells.

Gorum, on the other hand, is absolutely a viable choice for a paladin's deity:

Paladin, Pathfinder Wiki wrote:
Like fighters, paladins also might pay service to the deities of war
Gorum, Pathfinder Wiki wrote:
Gorum is considered the divine embodiment of martial prowess and glory on the battlefield


Gorum is far too chaotic and grim, a paladin worshipping him would need to get regular atonements, or risk falling, I assume thet the 'gods of war' mentioned in the paladin fluff means Iomedae, or the likes of Heironeous in non Golarion settings.


Klorox wrote:
Gorum is far too chaotic and grim, a paladin worshipping him would need to get regular atonements, or risk falling, I assume thet the 'gods of war' mentioned in the paladin fluff means Iomedae, or the likes of Heironeous in non Golarion settings.

Since a paladin receives his powers from a deity, it certainly means that only a deity who accepts paladins would be a viable choice. A chaotic deity like Gorum (or even Cayden Cailean) probably wouldn't grant powers to a lawful character in the first place.


Since, technically, a Paladin does not need to get their powers from a deity, it is possible to have a Paladin that venerates but receives no benefit from their deity of choice. It then follows that said deity of choice does not need to be granting Paladin powers to anyone, so any entity that does not otherwise violate the Paladin code is valid.

Paladins "of" Gorum can exist in any setting where LG "followers" of Gorum can exist and where Paladin powers are not tied to worshipping a specific deity.


mmmh, that sounds about as logical as paladins of Zon Kuthon


Really, the issue is that the wrote certain classes to be "open" to not being tied to a deity. Arguably this was a mistake to make for a "divine" powered class.

However, on Golarion paladins and others are required to choose a deity and aren't simply sponsored by the universe.


Klorox wrote:
Gorum is far too chaotic and grim, a paladin worshipping him would need to get regular atonements, or risk falling

Huh, I'm looking for the section of the paladin code where it prohibits worshiping chaotic or grim deities, but I just can't seem to find it.

As for the source of their power, paladins explicitly do not gain their spells from deities the way clerics do:

Divine Spells wrote:
Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells.

Paladin spells are powered by the divine forces of law and good. There's no reason a paladin has to worship a deity in the first place, and if they choose to do so there's no reason that deity has to share their alignment.


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Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
Avoron wrote:
Edward the Necromancer wrote:
Technically yes, a none Divine character can worship what ever god they want?

It's not even limited to non-divine characters - clerics, inquisitors, and warpriests are the only ones required to be within one step of their deity. Other divine casters like druids, oracles, and even paladins have no such restriction, unless your GM decides to house-rule one.

For instance, I'm currently playing a neutral good adept who for story reasons knowingly worships and receives divine spells from a chaotic evil demon lord... and it's working great.

I once played a paladin who followed Pharasma, god of death and prophesy. He followed a deterministic philosophy and was of the opinion that just as he had no choice but to do good, those he fought had no choice but to be evil, and that "justice" was a sham. He was quite misotheistic and never missed an opportunity to mock traditional paladins and clerics of LG gods. He was an interesting character, very different from the paladin stereotype.

I built a paladin or Pharasma once; a Dhampir Undead Hunter who saw undead as violating the law that all living things must die and go to be judged by Pharasma. It was, then, his mission to send them on their way, restoring order and justice to the cosmos. But he was also a genuinely good guy (despite a near-total lack of sympathy with undead of any stripe). I keep wanting to play something similar in Starfinder, but I probably need to wait for an AP that doesn’t require you to work with Eoxians.


Avoron wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Gorum is far too chaotic and grim, a paladin worshipping him would need to get regular atonements, or risk falling

Huh, I'm looking for the section of the paladin code where it prohibits worshiping chaotic or grim deities, but I just can't seem to find it.

As for the source of their power, paladins explicitly do not gain their spells from deities the way clerics do:

Divine Spells wrote:
Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells.
Paladin spells are powered by the divine forces of law and good. There's no reason a paladin has to worship a deity in the first place, and if they choose to do so there's no reason that deity has to share their alignment.

As per the Paladin hard stats, they HAVE TO be Lawful Good, AND are divinely powered, Gorum is neither... add to that the comparison with clerics who have to be within one alignmenet shift of their sponsoring deity... it is then logical that a paladin's deity has to be Good, Lowful, or both, and can in no way be evil or chaotic, Gorum is Chaotic, ergo ineligible to be worshipped by paladins.. Druids are not free from this alignment restriction either, since they must be within one step of true Neutral.

Also, worshipping a formless "Divine Force", like clerics can do (at least in 3.xx, I don't know if that option is allowed in PF) lets you choose your alignment freely, but being a divine class, and worshipping a being that is definitely at odds with your own stand on ethics, is not allowable. That being would demand that you adopt a fairlyh close stand to its own before bestowing its gifts


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Honestly, I'm more confused why you'd even want to worship Gorum heavily as a paladin.

I mean, there's a goddess of just and honorable warfare sitting right there but instead you'd rather worship Khorne minus the throne of skulls for your champion of good and righteousness. Okay then...


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Klorox wrote:
As per the Paladin hard stats, they HAVE TO be Lawful Good, AND are divinely powered, Gorum is neither... add to that the comparison with clerics who have to be within one alignmenet shift of their sponsoring deity... it is then logical that a paladin's deity has to be Good, Lowful, or both, and can in no way be evil or chaotic, Gorum is Chaotic, ergo ineligible to be worshipped by paladins.. Druids are not free from this alignment restriction either, since they must be within one step of true Neutral.

Yeah... clerics have to be within one step of their deity's alignment, because the rules for clerics say so. The rules for paladins don't say anything of the sort - not in their "Alignment" field, not in their code of conduct. Without a rule saying otherwise, there's nothing stopping a lawful good paladin from worshiping a chaotic deity.

Same with druids: they have to be within one step of true neutral, but there's nothing restricting the deities they can worship. A chaotic neutral druid is perfectly capable of worshiping a lawful good deity if they so desire.

Klorox wrote:
Also, worshipping a formless "Divine Force", like clerics can do (at least in 3.xx, I don't know if that option is allowed in PF) lets you choose your alignment freely, but being a divine class, and worshipping a being that is definitely at odds with your own stand on ethics, is not allowable. That being would demand that you adopt a fairlyh close stand to its own before bestowing its gifts

First of all, a deity doesn't have to "bestow its gifts" on a paladin worshiper. As was already mentioned, paladins don't get their power from specific deities, they get it from "the divine forces of law and good." So they can just pick a deity and worship it just like a fighter can, without needing anything in return.

Second, though, it's entirely plausible that a deity would offer power to someone with a very different ethos if they think it could draw them closer to the deity's worldview. Evil beings trying to tempt heroes by giving them power is a classic literary trope, and there's no reason it couldn't apply to other alignments as well.

Tarik Blackhands wrote:

Honestly, I'm more confused why you'd even want to worship Gorum heavily as a paladin.

I mean, there's a goddess of just and honorable warfare sitting right there but instead you'd rather worship Khorne minus the throne of skulls for your champion of good and righteousness. Okay then...

"There are two things I need to do good in this world: the will, and the power.

I have the will. I don't need some ancient book of scripture to tell me to help those in need, I feel the urgency of it in my heart. I will surround myself with friends and allies who share my conviction, so that I may never be swayed from doing what is right.

Gorum, Our Lord in Iron, provides the power. He is present in every sword ever raised to defend the innocent, every shield ever braced to ward against destruction. He is not good, he is not evil, he is nothing more or less than martial prowess itself, and it is through him that I will gain the strength I need to fight for a better world."

Also: have you seen Iomedae's paladin code? It's filled with all sorts of silly restrictions like "death before dishonor" and "never refuse a challenge" that someone who's actually concerned with winning might very well want to avoid.


Avoron wrote:

"There are two things I need to do good in this world: the will, and the power.

I have the will. I don't need some ancient book of scripture to tell me to help those in need, I feel the urgency of it in my heart. I will surround myself with friends and allies who share my conviction, so that I may never be swayed from doing what is right.

Gorum, Our Lord in Iron, provides the power. He is present in every sword ever raised to defend the innocent, every shield ever braced to ward against destruction. He is not good, he is not evil, he is nothing more or less than martial prowess itself, and it is through him that I will gain the strength I need to fight for a better world."

Also: have you seen Iomedae's paladin code? It's filled with all sorts of silly restrictions like "death before dishonor" and "never refuse a challenge" that someone who's actually concerned with winning might very well want to avoid.

Well when you're a paladin, silly restrictions are sort of the name of the game. Poisoning the enemy army from the start is a fine way #win the battle with minimal loss of life but that's not how any paladin rolls. And despite the spiel you mentioned, you still need to reconcile the fact that while Gorum may be the guy helping raise all those swords to protect the innocent, he's also the yahoo wholesale supporting the marauding hordes of darkness on the other side. Pathfinder has no shortage of war or martial (demi)gods of which a good chunk of them are far more befitting a champion of good rather than the guy who cares not from where the blood flows, so long as it does. Besides, you want less silly restrictions in combat, go dial up Torag or Sarenrae.


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I will point out that Gorum dislikes killing those who cannot fight back, which is more than can be said for Torag. Extensive investment in Knowledge (religion) is not a requirement for paladinhood, and I could easily see a half-orc paladin choosing to associate with one of their own rather than the church perhaps most likely to kill them on sight.

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