A small (but important!) complaint about the small paragraph on "Faith"


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Reading through character creation, I really enjoyed how the authors made sure to talk about gender norms, sexual orientation, and nontraditional heroes. However, I was then immediately saddened to see that the same open modern perspective was completely lacking in the short blurb on faith that followed. One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules. Then, turning to page 288 does imply that you can be non-religious but that such characters are the lowest of the low.

This is a rather disheartening approach, especially in light of Paizo's progressive thinking in other areas, and even Sutter's own Pathfinder Tales novels on the subject. I know it seems like a little thing, and it is, but so is mentioning sexual orientation, yet it did a lot to make me feel included.

I'm just asking that maybe you guys consider adding a bit about being faithless or mention that it's ok for faith to not be a big deal to a character.

Silver Crusade

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Davick wrote:
One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules.

How?


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Are you talking about page 12? Because that conclusion doesn't make any sense at all. The first sentence of the paragraph explicitly defines faith as an option not a requirement. No where does it defame the nonreligious.

Scarab Sages

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That page 288 thing is also inaccurate. Since, in the Pathfinder universe, your soul's destination is based largely on the being you follow in life, floating adrift in the multiverse makes sense.

Also, since you're just floating adrift, Pharasma might see fit to sacrifice you to hold back the end times. There's an odd kind of honor to it, actually.


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Faith in the real world is quite a bit different than faith in a fantasy game where the deities have provable, measurable effects on the world. Religion in Golarion doesn't require much faith (by the definition of the word) at all. Non-religious people on Golarion are either ignorant of the gods, or willfully thumbing their noses at divine beings.


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Davor wrote:

That page 288 thing is also inaccurate. Since, in the Pathfinder universe, your soul's destination is based largely on the being you follow in life, floating adrift in the multiverse makes sense.

Also, since you're just floating adrift, Pharasma might see fit to sacrifice you to hold back the end times. There's an odd kind of honor to it, actually.

I mean, it doesn't matter if you didn't worship anyone, or were atheist, or agnostic, or an animist, or what have you. Pharasma judges you anyway, and you go to the afterlife that most closely matches your Alignment. Only souls that actively reject the metaphysical order and do not become petitioners are left to fade away in the Boneyard.

Relevant parts from the River of Souls article in Planar Adventures:

"Their rejection goes beyond mere atheism or impiety, being a deliberate rejection of the metaphysical order. When given the chance to become petitioners and pass on to other realms, such dissidents actively refuse. Many mortal philosophies teach that all atheist souls meet this end, but in truth, most atheists and agnostics whose souls are judged can experience the full range of afterlives just as adherents of any other belief system do, passing on to the Outer Planes best aligned with their convictions."

"These souls are not transformed into petitioners; instead they are escorted into the Graveyard of Souls beyond Pharasma’s court where they can forget and be forgotten. There, these lost souls wander until they find crypts and crevices where they can eternally brood on the failings of reality. Either willingly or because they lack the capacity to care, these dissenting and broken souls then spend eons gradually dissipating, forever excluded from future travel along the River of Souls. Eventually their memories fade, their personalities dull, and nothing remains but a handful of eternally stagnant quintessence."

To OP: It's a whole different beast to play a "faithless" character in a setting where faith as we know it isn't really there. The gods do exist, and there's no denying it. You can certainly play a character that considers them unworthy of worship (Rahadoum is basically a country full of people like this), or one that worships something entirely different (like Animists, or the old God-Callers of Sarkoris, who worshipped Eidolons), or someone that worships nothing at all. Those are all fine. That the playtest has an unfortunately inaccurate line about what happens to the souls of those kinds of people doesn't make it correct.

Now, if you want to play a character that just doesn't believe in the gods at all, you can too. They'll be wrong, but that doesn't make them any less valid to play either.


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TheFinish wrote:
The gods do exist, and there's no denying it.

I'm gonna start making character who don't believe in fireballs and sharp metal objects. I'll be unstoppable. :)

Silver Crusade

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BryonD wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
The gods do exist, and there's no denying it.
I'm gonna start making character who don't believe in fireballs and sharp metal objects. I'll be unstoppable. :)

Maybe a character who thinks all apparent magic is just Numarian tech?


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BryonD wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
The gods do exist, and there's no denying it.
I'm gonna start making character who don't believe in fireballs and sharp metal objects. I'll be unstoppable. :)

You could do this in AD&D 2e.


Moro wrote:
Faith in the real world is quite a bit different than faith in a fantasy game where the deities have provable, measurable effects on the world. Religion in Golarion doesn't require much faith (by the definition of the word) at all. Non-religious people on Golarion are either ignorant of the gods, or willfully thumbing their noses at divine beings.

Right. And those are valid.


ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Davick wrote:
One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules.
How?

In the same way that before this edition one could reasonably assume nonbinary characters are against the rules.


Bardarok wrote:
Are you talking about page 12? Because that conclusion doesn't make any sense at all. The first sentence of the paragraph explicitly defines faith as an option not a requirement. No where does it defame the nonreligious.

Honestly I don't appreciate you telling me my feelings upon reading it are invalid. Just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it's wrong. You're not being helpful.

Also, read page 288.


Davor wrote:

That page 288 thing is also inaccurate. Since, in the Pathfinder universe, your soul's destination is based largely on the being you follow in life, floating adrift in the multiverse makes sense.

Also, since you're just floating adrift, Pharasma might see fit to sacrifice you to hold back the end times. There's an odd kind of honor to it, actually.

Is it? It sounds like you're just trying to make excuses or reframe it to fit a more religious worldview. That's still the same problem.


TheFinish wrote:
OP: It's a whole different beast to play a "faithless" character in a setting where faith as we know it isn't really there. The gods do exist, and there's no denying it

OK I didn't say otherwise. But you talking about it being OK here on a message board is a lot different than the book creating an inclusive environment for players. That's what I'm talking about. Not the methodology of playing it.

Edit: and honestly, there is denying it. Being wrong in a denial doesn't preclude it. This is a different discussion, but look at things like Han Solo denying the force. Look at real people denying climate change. There's also denying divinity without denying ability. There are Pathfinder books about this very subject. I just want the core book to be as inclusive concerning matters of faith as it is gender and sex.


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Page 12 starts with "Perhaps you’d like to play a character who is a devout believer in the faith of a specific deity. Pathfinder is a rich world full of myriad deities whose faiths and philosophies span a wide range"...

This tells you this paragraph is about people who want to pick the option to create a religious character. Much like a paragraph detailing the option of playing a Fighter props up the fighter and doesn't feature a "Did you consider a Wizard, instead?" line, or the entry about melee weapons doesn't start with "Bows are better, but if you really want to use swords, here's how they work", a paragraph about religious character and deities doesn't need to discuss nonreligious characters.

That said, page 288 clearly describe atheists as people who are s@@@ out of luck. Which, in a world were gods do exist, makes sense.

Golarion is a fictional world, and in this world gods do exist; thus in this world atheists are wrong. Sorry, there's no way around it.


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Davick wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
OP: It's a whole different beast to play a "faithless" character in a setting where faith as we know it isn't really there. The gods do exist, and there's no denying it

OK I didn't say otherwise. But you talking about it being OK here on a message board is a lot different than the book creating an inclusive environment for players. That's what I'm talking about. Not the methodology of playing it.

Edit: and honestly, there is denying it. Being wrong in a denial doesn't preclude it. This is a different discussion, but look at things like Han Solo denying the force. Look at real people denying climate change. There's also denying divinity without denying ability. There are Pathfinder books about this very subject. I just want the core book to be as inclusive concerning matters of faith as it is gender and sex.

I think you may be stretching the definition of inclusiveness. Pathfinder is a game that fundamentally revolves around violence, which would make it non-inclusive to pacifists, which is largely ok.

Gods existing is a big part of Pathfinder's worldbuilding.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Davick wrote:
ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Davick wrote:
One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules.
How?
In the same way that before this edition one could reasonably assume nonbinary characters are against the rules.

... no?

Scarab Sages

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Davick wrote:
Davor wrote:

That page 288 thing is also inaccurate. Since, in the Pathfinder universe, your soul's destination is based largely on the being you follow in life, floating adrift in the multiverse makes sense.

Also, since you're just floating adrift, Pharasma might see fit to sacrifice you to hold back the end times. There's an odd kind of honor to it, actually.

Is it? It sounds like you're just trying to make excuses or reframe it to fit a more religious worldview. That's still the same problem.

Yes, it is. To quote you:

Davick wrote:
Then, turning to page 288 does imply that you can be non-religious but that such characters are the lowest of the low.

How do you get that from the page 288 text, which reads:

PF2 Playtest p.288 wrote:

Those who reject the divine might find

themselves adrift in the afterlife, without a home for their
souls to find peace, or possibly even sacrificed to stave off
the end times.

There's nothing about the quality of their experience, other than that their souls don't find peace, and they are single-handedly responsible for preventing the end of existence as they know it. That sounds almost heroic. But yeah, they don't find peace in the afterlife. Question: How many atheists believe in an afterlife? I'd wager not many, and not many with great cause. There's nothing that indicates they are the "lowest of the low" just because they don't find peace. Heck, what domain do the souls of the vast majority of true neutral humanoids go to? What about those souls who were evil in life, turned into slithering muck demons in constant pain and agony that serve the whims of every other powerful evil creature in Hell? Atheists don't seem to have it badly off, relatively.


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The way I see atheism working in a roleplaying game with gods is that the atheist acknowledges the gods' existence and power but does not find that power alone as sufficient reason for reverence. I actually find that very logical, especially in a world where deities are powerful but not all-powerful.


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1 - Golarian is magic heavy but not the Forgotten Realms - most people don't have interaction with magic (divine or otherwise). RotRL made that clear with the local priest having a wand with a few charges for 'extreme emergency'

2 - In a world where magic is real (divine or otherwise) but wizards can reshape reality to their whims without a deity - there isn't anything necessarily outrageous about assuming the 'deities' are all just really powerful wizards (for instance).

Just to point out - that 'demonstrable deities' doesn't preclude the need for real faith for worship - the world that characters move in where magic is constant and everywhere isn't the average world experience for most people, and it's not like Angels and Demons pop up on every street corner - or that Avatars visit the world regularly. I would grant you however, that if someone *needed* proof for faith - they would be able to find it.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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scottieboy86 wrote:
The way I see atheism working in a roleplaying game with gods is that the atheist acknowledges the gods' existence and power but does not find that power alone as sufficient reason for reverence. I actually find that very logical, especially in a world where deities are powerful but not all-powerful.

Have you read "Death's Heretic"? It's a Pathfinder novel, and the main character espouses exactly this world view. He's also an (unwilling) inquisitor of Pharasma. Very good book; I highly recommend it!


Tamago wrote:
scottieboy86 wrote:
The way I see atheism working in a roleplaying game with gods is that the atheist acknowledges the gods' existence and power but does not find that power alone as sufficient reason for reverence. I actually find that very logical, especially in a world where deities are powerful but not all-powerful.
Have you read "Death's Heretic"? It's a Pathfinder novel, and the main character espouses exactly this world view. He's also an (unwilling) inquisitor of Pharasma. Very good book; I highly recommend it!

I will check it out. Thanks!


Davor wrote:


There's nothing about the quality of their experience, other than that their souls don't find peace, and they are single-handedly responsible for preventing the end of existence as they know it. That sounds almost heroic. But yeah, they don't find peace in the afterlife. Question: How many atheists believe in an afterlife? I'd wager not many, and not many with great cause. There's nothing that indicates they are the "lowest of the low" just because they don't find peace. Heck, what domain do the souls of the vast majority of true neutral humanoids go to? What about those souls who were evil in life, turned into slithering muck demons in constant pain and agony that serve the whims of every other powerful evil creature in Hell? Atheists don't seem to have it badly off, relatively.

It does seem that if you're evil, atheism might be a good choice, in a Pascal's Wager kind of sense.


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thejeff wrote:
Davor wrote:


There's nothing about the quality of their experience, other than that their souls don't find peace, and they are single-handedly responsible for preventing the end of existence as they know it. That sounds almost heroic. But yeah, they don't find peace in the afterlife. Question: How many atheists believe in an afterlife? I'd wager not many, and not many with great cause. There's nothing that indicates they are the "lowest of the low" just because they don't find peace. Heck, what domain do the souls of the vast majority of true neutral humanoids go to? What about those souls who were evil in life, turned into slithering muck demons in constant pain and agony that serve the whims of every other powerful evil creature in Hell? Atheists don't seem to have it badly off, relatively.

It does seem that if you're evil, atheism might be a good choice, in a Pascal's Wager kind of sense.

Nah, again, not worshipping someone doesn't mean you don't get judged and sent where you belong. At worst, it takes a bit longer. But a LE atheist is still going to Hell for the most part, just as a CN atheist is still going to the Maelstrom and NG goes to Nirvana. Not worshipping anyone in particular just means you take the non-preferential queue in the river of souls. And that queue doesn't have pretzels. Which is horrible.


TheFinish wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Davor wrote:


There's nothing about the quality of their experience, other than that their souls don't find peace, and they are single-handedly responsible for preventing the end of existence as they know it. That sounds almost heroic. But yeah, they don't find peace in the afterlife. Question: How many atheists believe in an afterlife? I'd wager not many, and not many with great cause. There's nothing that indicates they are the "lowest of the low" just because they don't find peace. Heck, what domain do the souls of the vast majority of true neutral humanoids go to? What about those souls who were evil in life, turned into slithering muck demons in constant pain and agony that serve the whims of every other powerful evil creature in Hell? Atheists don't seem to have it badly off, relatively.

It does seem that if you're evil, atheism might be a good choice, in a Pascal's Wager kind of sense.

Nah, again, not worshipping someone doesn't mean you don't get judged and sent where you belong. At worst, it takes a bit longer. But a LE atheist is still going to Hell for the most part, just as a CN atheist is still going to the Maelstrom and NG goes to Nirvana. Not worshipping anyone in particular just means you take the non-preferential queue in the river of souls. And that queue doesn't have pretzels. Which is horrible.

It seems to me from the quote you posted above that if you "actively refuse" to become a petitioner after death, you can avoid such judgement indefinitely.


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thejeff wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Davor wrote:


There's nothing about the quality of their experience, other than that their souls don't find peace, and they are single-handedly responsible for preventing the end of existence as they know it. That sounds almost heroic. But yeah, they don't find peace in the afterlife. Question: How many atheists believe in an afterlife? I'd wager not many, and not many with great cause. There's nothing that indicates they are the "lowest of the low" just because they don't find peace. Heck, what domain do the souls of the vast majority of true neutral humanoids go to? What about those souls who were evil in life, turned into slithering muck demons in constant pain and agony that serve the whims of every other powerful evil creature in Hell? Atheists don't seem to have it badly off, relatively.

It does seem that if you're evil, atheism might be a good choice, in a Pascal's Wager kind of sense.

Nah, again, not worshipping someone doesn't mean you don't get judged and sent where you belong. At worst, it takes a bit longer. But a LE atheist is still going to Hell for the most part, just as a CN atheist is still going to the Maelstrom and NG goes to Nirvana. Not worshipping anyone in particular just means you take the non-preferential queue in the river of souls. And that queue doesn't have pretzels. Which is horrible.
It seems to me from the quote you posted above that if you "actively refuse" to become a petitioner after death, you can avoid such judgement indefinitely.

This is also called out as extremely rare, requiring way more than just going "Lol nope". And, to be honest, I've no idea why it's there at all, considering that someone saying "Lol nope" is how we got Urgathoa and Zyphus. So y'know, maybe Pharasma would want to crack down on it.

Then again, an Evil person that goes this way does get rid of the bad part of going to the Evil Planes....but also the good part, where they can attain far more power than they ever had as a mortal. So I guess the Lady O' Graves thinks this is alright, or something.


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This thread does seem a bit silly. Especially this part:

Davick wrote:
One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules.

It very explicitly says that non-religious people do exist. But then you follow up later with:

Davick wrote:
In the same way that before this edition one could reasonably assume nonbinary characters are against the rules.

Lack of explicit inclusion has never implied explicit exclusion when it comes to non-mechanical character traits. Aspects of personality, beliefs, identity, psychological and physiological nature (aside from, perhaps, racial options) have always been open to the player. And I really do hate to have to tell you this (and please do not read this as any sort of endorsement of this behavior), but any GM that would reject your nonbinary characters before could still do so today (outside of organized play, like PFS). Rule 0 and all that. I will always recommend finding a table that suits you and is not hostile toward you.

All the book is saying with regards to those who are non-religious is that they will meet a possibly unsavory end. In this particular instance, non-religious characters are explicitly part of the rules. That you are unhappy with the fact that the powers that be in the universe don't enjoy that idea isn't an issue you take with the rules, but with the implications of the setting. That is unless I am misunderstanding your arguments.


Davor wrote:

There's nothing about the quality of their experience, other than that their souls don't find peace,

Hmmm.....


DFAnton wrote:

This thread does seem a bit silly. Especially this part:

Davick wrote:
One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules.

It very explicitly says that non-religious people do exist. But then you follow up later with:

Davick wrote:
In the same way that before this edition one could reasonably assume nonbinary characters are against the rules.

Lack of explicit inclusion has never implied explicit exclusion when it comes to non-mechanical character traits. Aspects of personality, beliefs, identity, psychological and physiological nature (aside from, perhaps, racial options) have always been open to the player. And I really do hate to have to tell you this (and please do not read this as any sort of endorsement of this behavior), but any GM that would reject your nonbinary characters before could still do so today (outside of organized play, like PFS). Rule 0 and all that. I will always recommend finding a table that suits you and is not hostile toward you.

All the book is saying with regards to those who are non-religious is that they will meet a possibly unsavory end. In this particular instance, non-religious characters are explicitly part of the rules. That you are unhappy with the fact that the powers that be in the universe don't enjoy that idea isn't an issue you take with the rules, but with the implications of the setting. That is unless I am misunderstanding your arguments.

Existince and allowability aren't the same. Trolls exist, but are not player ancestries.

Are you (and the others who agree) saying that a reasonable person (not just yourself) could read a core rulebook that makes no mention of nonbinary characters and accompanies every race with a chart divided into TWO categories, MALE AND FEMALE, and not come away thinking this game doesn't allow nonbinary characters? Or operates under the assumption there are none? As for the argument that this world has deities so deal with it. You could just as easily be saying "this game/setting only has two genders, deal with it"

BUT THAT'S NOT EVEN THE POINT I'M TRYING TO MAKE.

I didn't come here saying I have problems with a setting that has real deities in it. I said nothing more than that I want non religious characters (and thereby players because we all know that inclusiveness of players was the reason the statements about gender and sexuality are included, not characters) to be as included as nonbinary characters. From talking to people at Paizo, I know they want to be inclusive. And this is a suggestion for a good way for them to do that. I didn't come here to validate my own interpretation of what I read. I don't have to do that and I don't owe that to any of you. Frankly you should all be ashamed for trying to lessen the experience of someone just because you don't agree with it or share it. My feelings are MINE and I came here to share that with the authors that they may understand that some people could feel excluded based on how they chose to word this. There is NOTHING any of you could say that would make me unexperience that. So why would any of you want to argue on the side of being less inclusive instead of more inclusive? That's just wrong.


Visanideth wrote:
Davick wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
OP: It's a whole different beast to play a "faithless" character in a setting where faith as we know it isn't really there. The gods do exist, and there's no denying it

OK I didn't say otherwise. But you talking about it being OK here on a message board is a lot different than the book creating an inclusive environment for players. That's what I'm talking about. Not the methodology of playing it.

Edit: and honestly, there is denying it. Being wrong in a denial doesn't preclude it. This is a different discussion, but look at things like Han Solo denying the force. Look at real people denying climate change. There's also denying divinity without denying ability. There are Pathfinder books about this very subject. I just want the core book to be as inclusive concerning matters of faith as it is gender and sex.

I think you may be stretching the definition of inclusiveness. Pathfinder is a game that fundamentally revolves around violence, which would make it non-inclusive to pacifists, which is largely ok.

Gods existing is a big part of Pathfinder's worldbuilding.

Wow, that's just a messed up thing to say. You're saying you do in fact want to exclude the nonreligious from your game. A game thats setting has an entirely nonreligious country no less. This was disheartening to read.


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Davick wrote:
I didn't come here to validate my own interpretation of what I read. I don't have to do that and I don't owe that to any of you. Frankly you should all be ashamed for trying to lessen the experience of someone just because you don't agree with it or share it.

Speaking as an agnostic atheist, a non-straight person, and a racial minority (and also presumptuously speaking for everyone else in this topic whether they like it or not, dohoho), no one here is trying to do that.

But could you please elaborate further on exactly what caused those feelings? It seems that you've confused everyone who's replied in this thread. Perhaps quote the passage and say what you think it implies?


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To quote the second edition playtest rulebook: “Those who reject the divine might find themselves adrift in the afterlife, without a home for their souls to find peace, or possibly even sacrificed to stave off the end times.”.

I want it to be known, as an Athiest, I find nothing offensive about this passage or the ideas it entails.


The aforementioned quote from Planar Adventure (about how Pharasma really does not care if you said a prayer even once, she just cares where you belong and unless you reject the notion of alignment entirely, you're fine) seems like a bit of a retcon (and a good one). Since Planar Adventures was published, I believe, while the playtest book was still being written it's conceivable that the playtest did not reflect Planar Adventures as much as it should, but there's no reason the final PF2 CRB won't. Indeed, it should.

I mean, for the most part the non-petitioners who fade away in the Boneyard seem to be people who would genuinely prefer oblivion.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

The aforementioned quote from Planar Adventure (about how Pharasma really does not care if you said a prayer even once, she just cares where you belong and unless you reject the notion of alignment entirely, you're fine) seems like a bit of a retcon (and a good one). Since Planar Adventures was published, I believe, while the playtest book was still being written it's conceivable that the playtest did not reflect Planar Adventures as much as it should, but there's no reason the final PF2 CRB won't. Indeed, it should.

I mean, for the most part the non-petitioners who fade away in the Boneyard seem to be people who would genuinely prefer oblivion.

Everyone is destined for oblivion and recyling in the long run due to outsider death through violence or planar absorption and Maelstrom erosion. Atheism, Groetus, and the Four Horsemen offer the only serious philosophies correctly aligned with the nature of reality. Everyone else is a spiritual dilettante dabbling for a a few thousand or billion years before they suffer the same fate.


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As an IRL atheist who's currently playing an atheist character in the playtest, I have no problem with the way religion is covered in the rulebook. I mean, it might be nice to include something about how the souls of those who don't worship but don't explicitly reject the gods can still go to the normal afterlife of their alignment, but that's probably too deep into setting material for the playtest.

I certainly didn't think that the rules in any way disallowed nonreligious characters, especially considering that Paizo's own setting, which is mentioned as the assumed setting for the rules, has plenty of such characters. To echo DFAnton, could you point out the specific wording which lead you to reach that conclusion?


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Davick wrote:

Reading through character creation, I really enjoyed how the authors made sure to talk about gender norms, sexual orientation, and nontraditional heroes. However, I was then immediately saddened to see that the same open modern perspective was completely lacking in the short blurb on faith that followed. One could reasonably interpret that non-religious characters are against the rules. Then, turning to page 288 does imply that you can be non-religious but that such characters are the lowest of the low.

This is a rather disheartening approach, especially in light of Paizo's progressive thinking in other areas, and even Sutter's own Pathfinder Tales novels on the subject. I know it seems like a little thing, and it is, but so is mentioning sexual orientation, yet it did a lot to make me feel included.

I'm just asking that maybe you guys consider adding a bit about being faithless or mention that it's ok for faith to not be a big deal to a character.

As an atheist myself I just don't get where you're coming from.

You're not standing up against the KKK in the American south 60 years ago. You're dealing with a friendly company that's trying to make a game for you to enjoy. A company that bends over backwards to please pretty much every group of people. A company that will use the word "inclusive" fifty times in a five paragraph forum or blog post.

You may have positive feedback about 2nd edition and you may have negative feedback. But please, let's not waste their time combing through every sentence they write looking for something that may be considered remotely offensive. Maybe together we can try to defy the steriotype of the sensitive millennial.

If anyone here honestly thinks Paizo is anti-secular, anti LGBTQ, racist or anything like that, I think they should just say it. Otherwise I feel like we should leave well enough alone. Even if this edition is a smashing success, the company has to read through thousands of suggestions and bits of substantive feedback. I think pushing our perceived microagressions on them will only divert valuable attention away from the actual task of game design.


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Ezren, the iconic tha thas existed since before Pathfinder was Pathfinder, also chooses not to worship any deity. Granted, he still has to aknowledge the existence of Sarenrae & co, he just doesn't like them I guess. So Golarion atheists are not the same as real world atheists. They'are also a lot rarer in Golarion and probably seen poorly because it usually doesn't end well for them.


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Vaku wrote:

To quote the second edition playtest rulebook: “Those who reject the divine might find themselves adrift in the afterlife, without a home for their souls to find peace, or possibly even sacrificed to stave off the end times.”.

I want it to be known, as an Athiest, I find nothing offensive about this passage or the ideas it entails.

When you're President of Atheismland, and your realm adopts the official position that an eternity of unrest does not concern your kingdom, let me know. In the meantime, your experience does not invalidate anyone else's anymore than a gay person saying not being able to marry doesn't offend them either.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Ezren, the iconic tha thas existed since before Pathfinder was Pathfinder, also chooses not to worship any deity. Granted, he still has to aknowledge the existence of Sarenrae & co, he just doesn't like them I guess. So Golarion atheists are not the same as real world atheists. They'are also a lot rarer in Golarion and probably seen poorly because it usually doesn't end well for them.

I'm aware. And that's not really relevant.


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I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

I'm very glad that Ezren is a nonreligious character. As for how he justifies it in a world where so called gods make regular appearances, I've always assumed that he views gods as beings of great power who have imposed themselves upon us. If a mortal can become a god then they aren't actually anything special, just more powerful and lucky.


Davick wrote:
Moro wrote:
Faith in the real world is quite a bit different than faith in a fantasy game where the deities have provable, measurable effects on the world. Religion in Golarion doesn't require much faith (by the definition of the word) at all. Non-religious people on Golarion are either ignorant of the gods, or willfully thumbing their noses at divine beings.
Right. And those are valid.

Definitely valid, and I don't see how the current text would imply that they are not. That's like trying to parse the old flavor text describing a person who ascribes to each possible alignment, and becoming upset because the adjectives for the LG example were better than those used for the CG. In my opinion. Which is another way of saying "this is how I feel about it."


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Davick, to be honest, I don't think anybody is attacking you or your beliefs. They are just saying they disagree with your interpretation of the relevant passages, as you've laid it out. Perhaps restating a different way would help clear the matter up?

Are you essentially saying that maybe a passage saying the non-theists have just as happy an afterlife as theists would help?


Of course, that's all moot if your GM decides things are different in their version of Golarion. I know my group doesn't always play with a totally 100% faithful rendition of Golarion, and I don't know anyone that does. Your mileage may vary, the rules are a set of guidelines and can be tweaked.


Zolanoteph wrote:


You're dealing with a friendly company that's trying to make a game for you to enjoy. A company that bends over backwards to please pretty much every group of people. A company that will use the word "inclusive" fifty times in a five paragraph forum or blog post.

Yes, exactly. That's why I proffered the suggestion. Because I know Paizo is receptive to that sort of thing and concerned with being inclusive. The community however...

Zolanoteph wrote:
Maybe together we can try to defy the steriotype of the sensitive millennial.

No thanks. Despite your characterization, I wasn't portraying this as a great wrong. Just an opportunity for understanding, growth, and inclusion.

Zolanoteph wrote:
If anyone here honestly thinks Paizo is anti-secular, anti LGBTQ, racist or anything like that, I think they should just say it.

That's a borderline strawman there. No one did say that. If I thought that, I wouldn't be here. As we've established, Paizo is a progressive amazing company that consciously strives to be open to everyone. I saw an opportunity to improve and move towards that goal. So I said so. And yet every reply has been an explanation of how atheism works in Golarion (irrelevant) or an attempt to invalidate an opinion (impossible).

If Paizo doesn't want to add a few extra words to be more inclusive, it won't prevent me from playing their games. It'll make me a little sad, like when I go to a school and see an "In God We Trust" sign hanging up. It's not evil per se, but a note depressing. But randos on the internet not liking my suggestion, especially the few who seems obstinately opposed to being inclusive, won't sway me.


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Ngai M'katu wrote:

Davick, to be honest, I don't think anybody is attacking you or your beliefs. They are just saying they disagree with your interpretation of the relevant passages, as you've laid it out. Perhaps restating a different way would help clear the matter up?

Are you essentially saying that maybe a passage saying the non-theists have just as happy an afterlife as theists would help?

Most people seem to think I'm saying something entirely different than I did. They're attacking either my experience, which makes no sense, or they're arguing about what atheism is in a fantasy setting, which is immaterial to my critique.

I don't even need them to say atheists die happily ever after. I just want the notion of a nonreligious character entertained next to the religious concepts they mention. Just like they made sure to do with the concept of characters challenging other social norms like gender. It seems more like an innocent oversight (probably due to the authors' personal opinion) than any attempt to be exclusive. But that could be easily misinterpreted. And being actively inclusive is better than being accidentally uninclusive.


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Davick wrote:


Wow, that's just a messed up thing to say. You're saying you do in fact want to exclude the nonreligious from your game. A game thats setting has an entirely nonreligious country no less. This was disheartening to read.

There shouldn't be any need to state this, but since you've already gone on two "you can't tell me how I should feel!" tirades, let's do it: nobody is trying to tell you what you should or shouldn't be bothered by.

If the idea that being nonreligious in a setting where gods exist is ultimately not leading to an happy ending is problematic to you, that's ok. You're completely free to be bothered by it. But it can't be fixed. If gods exists, atheists are clearly not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Nonreligious people ("I know the gods exist, but I refuse to acknowledge them") perfectly know they're setting themselves for some sort of punishment along the way, and they probably make for fantastic tragic characters. But there's no real scenario were the guy who refuses the gods finds himself "winning".

People are simply pointing out that while you make this about "noninclusiveness", the two instances you cite simply state that being religious is an option and not mandatory (an inclusive approach) on pag. 12, and in a very matter-of-fact way detail what happens to the immortal souls of the people who refused to acknowledge the gods on pag. 288.

Besides, the idea that the game should have options and inclusive text for nonreligious people in order to be "inclusive" makes as much sense as saying that the setting should include abrahamic religious to be inclusive to people who are religious in real life. It's not like a muslim player is going to feel a stronger relationship to his character following a fictional religious than the nonreligious one does. Nothing bad is actually happening to your character after he dies. It's all fiction.


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Davick wrote:
Ngai M'katu wrote:

Davick, to be honest, I don't think anybody is attacking you or your beliefs. They are just saying they disagree with your interpretation of the relevant passages, as you've laid it out. Perhaps restating a different way would help clear the matter up?

Are you essentially saying that maybe a passage saying the non-theists have just as happy an afterlife as theists would help?

Most people seem to think I'm saying something entirely different than I did. They're attacking either my experience, which makes no sense, or they're arguing about what atheism is in a fantasy setting, which is immaterial to my critique.

I don't even need them to say atheists die happily ever after. I just want the notion of a nonreligious character entertained next to the religious concepts they mention. Just like they made sure to do with the concept of characters challenging other social norms like gender. It seems more like an innocent oversight (probably due to the authors' personal opinion) than any attempt to be exclusive. But that could be easily misinterpreted. And being actively inclusive is better than being accidentally uninclusive.

So basically the point is that you wanted a "Lack of Faith" paragraph on pag. 12 describing people that don't follow religion, and a chapter on people who don't believe in gods at the end of the book, after pag 288 and before the "Playing the Game" chapter?

Are you sure you're not mistaking inclusion for acknowledgement?


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Moro wrote:
Davick wrote:
Moro wrote:
Faith in the real world is quite a bit different than faith in a fantasy game where the deities have provable, measurable effects on the world. Religion in Golarion doesn't require much faith (by the definition of the word) at all. Non-religious people on Golarion are either ignorant of the gods, or willfully thumbing their noses at divine beings.
Right. And those are valid.
Definitely valid, and I don't see how the current text would imply that they are not. That's like trying to parse the old flavor text describing a person who ascribes to each possible alignment, and becoming upset because the adjectives for the LG example were better than those used for the CG. In my opinion. Which is another way of saying "this is how I feel about it."

By completely failing to mention them while going out of the way to mention other ways to play against social conventions.

Is it a minor thing? Yeah. Is it about feelings? Yes. One difference, is that alignment is made up, and atheism is real. And just like I'm sure you weren't trying to say atheism is silly like alignment, I don't think Paizo was trying to make a judgement statement on atheism either. But what's written is excluding towards nontheists by omission, whetehr with malice or not (probably not). And the fix is simple. So I suggested it.


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Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?


Davick wrote:
Moro wrote:
Davick wrote:
Moro wrote:
Faith in the real world is quite a bit different than faith in a fantasy game where the deities have provable, measurable effects on the world. Religion in Golarion doesn't require much faith (by the definition of the word) at all. Non-religious people on Golarion are either ignorant of the gods, or willfully thumbing their noses at divine beings.
Right. And those are valid.
Definitely valid, and I don't see how the current text would imply that they are not. That's like trying to parse the old flavor text describing a person who ascribes to each possible alignment, and becoming upset because the adjectives for the LG example were better than those used for the CG. In my opinion. Which is another way of saying "this is how I feel about it."

By completely failing to mention them while going out of the way to mention other ways to play against social conventions.

Is it a minor thing? Yeah. Is it about feelings? Yes. One difference, is that alignment is made up, and atheism is real. And just like I'm sure you weren't trying to say atheism is silly like alignment, I don't think Paizo was trying to make a judgement statement on atheism either. But what's written is excluding towards nontheists by omission, whetehr with malice or not (probably not). And the fix is simple. So I suggested it.

Fair enough, I can support that.

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