Do Mystics Need Deities?


Starfinder Society


From what I gather, the only time a character must worship a deity is if they have the Priest theme. I have an adventure path campaign coming up in December and wanted to make sure that I'm understanding things correctly, as I play Pathfinder a heck of a lot more than Starfinder currently.

Pathfinder = Clerics and other Divine casters need to worship a deity to get their spells.

Starfinder = Mystics do not need to worship any deities to get their spells. Only the Priest theme requires worshiping a deity.


I'm not certain.

Related, society specific Question:
Does a Mystic's deity have to match the list for their connection? It says deities can allow access to non standard connections, but Society has specific rules for a bunch of things.

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DEITIES AND PHILOSOPHIES
Characters can worship any deity or philosophy listed on page 482
of the Starfnder Core Rulebook, or any other source listed in the
Additional Resources document.
Characters with the priest character theme must choose as deity
or philosophy whose alignment is within one step (on either the
good-evil axis or the law-chaos axis) of the character’s alignment

No mention of mystics..

Many mystics serve as priests of various gods, and while you can theoretically choose any type of connection with any entity or concept, deities rarely grant connections that don’t fit within their ethos (for example, Weydan, the god of freedom, is unlikely to look kindly on overlords). As such, each connection lists the deities and philosophies commonly associated with it.

Is pretty clearly more "you shouldn't be a priest of x god with y deity" than "you need to worship x deity to have y connection"

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Mystics don't need to worship a specific entity to get their spells or connection abilities.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There's also no distinction between "divine" and "arcane" in Starfinder.

It's all just "magic".

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵

Thanks Thurston

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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So many mysteries do list several deities - can we take those as merely recommendations? So I could pick an unusual combination, like going with Healing and Zon-Kuthon (healing myself so I can survive more beatings as a front-line mystic)?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
So many mysteries do list several deities - can we take those as merely recommendations? So I could pick an unusual combination, like going with Healing and Zon-Kuthon (healing myself so I can survive more beatings as a front-line mystic)?

Absolutely. Mysteries aren't provided by deities, so it's possible to worship Zon-Kuthon (not as a Priest themed character) and still receive healing powers, though they might not directly come from Zon-Kuthon!

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

I am so happy about this interpretation! Thank you, Thursty.

Hmm

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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I am also very happy with this interpretation ^^

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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It's important to note that this also generally fits into the Starfinder version of alignment not factoring into a lot of classes or beliefs.

One thing that Rob, our creative director, really wanted to push was the idea that you could be a priest who isn't a mystic. You may note some of this happening with [[REDACTED]] villains this season. :)

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I'm really digging the alignment-light way that Starfinder works. It's more of a mild RP tool than a harness (don't say "straightjacket") now, with Infamy, the Society's generally heroic reputation, and secondary success conditions promoting "good" behavior, all nudging people towards being kinda sympathetic hero-material. I think I've seen far less "edgelord" PCs in SFS than in PFS.

(Myself included...)

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

I don't think the society is any more heroic its just that they can go be space cowboys FAR FAR AWAY from anywhere that its the governments problem...

Wayfinders 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Thurston Hillman wrote:
One thing that Rob, our creative director, really wanted to push was the idea that you could be a priest who isn't a mystic. You may note some of this happening with [[REDACTED]] villains this season. :)

"I'm a priest, a Ship-to-Ship Salescreature, and a gardgeteer operative! Go, Abadar Corp!"

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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Starfinder Superscriber

Gods are an area I wish we had more details on.

As the developers have already noted, save for Torag all the Pathfinder gods are still around; Apsu, Cayden Cailean, Milani, etc. If someone wants to make a SFS Priest that's a perpetual drunk android and worships Cayden - or a Ryphorian worshipping Apsu - why restrict them?

No chronicle sheet allows a priest to take up a god or philosophy detailed in the scenario (eg Lissala, Mother Touloo). As far as I can tell deity worship doesn't provide any actual mechanical benefit.

So if someone wants to make a Husk Ghibrani Priest of Mother Touloo, why should we tell them no? Its a perfectly reasonable concept, much more reasonable than a Husk Ghibrani Priest of a god detailed in the CRB.

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

SFS should take the PFS route: your character can worship anyone/thing you want them to as long as it doesn't provide a mechanical benefit. No demanding to share a different, published deity's Divine Blessing feat ability.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
SFS should take the PFS route: your character can worship anyone/thing you want them to as long as it doesn't provide a mechanical benefit. No demanding to share a different, published deity's Divine Blessing feat ability.

For right now, you can. The only issue is that you can't take the Priest theme because that specifically calls out an alignment restriction (one of Starfinder's ONLY such restrictions.) As others have pointed out, I'm not in the mindset of creating a whole set of "special case" rules updates when they can be avoided—we get enough feedback on Org Play rules being different than the core. That being said, I'll keep this in mind and see if there's a good way to squeeze an updated list into a product or for OP to perhaps introduce some new options in the future.


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Note that while Mystics are not forced to pick a connection based on their deity they worship, Divine Champion archetypes must choose connection spells associated with the deity they worship.

Additional Resources wrote:

For the divine champion archetype, when

electing a connection for the lesser divine power ability, you must select a connection that has your deity listed in the “Associated Deities”
header.

Gods don't grant Mystics their magic, but they do grant divine champions theirs.

2/5

I think its more correct to say gods aren't the only things granting mystics there power, some mystics do in fact get their powers from their gods.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There's only one deity with a "Favored Weapon", too, and even that's only found by reading Obozaya's background.

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Starfinder Superscriber
Arc Riley wrote:
So if someone wants to make a Husk Ghibrani Priest of Mother Touloo, why should we tell them no? Its a perfectly reasonable concept, much more reasonable than a Husk Ghibrani Priest of a god detailed in the CRB.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
The only issue is that you can't take the Priest theme because that specifically calls out an alignment restriction (one of Starfinder's ONLY such restrictions.)

Sorry to hammer on this specific case, but I think its an important case to explore;

CRB page 42 wrote:
Choose a deity or a philosophy whose alignment is within one step (on either the good-evil axis or the law-chaos axis) of your own.

None of the philosophies listed on CRB page 482 list an alignment, I haven't found their alignment listed in any Starfinder source material. Those that come from Pathfinder (eg, The Green Faith is N, The Prophecies of Kalistrade LN) we have something to fall back on. We can assume The Song of Silence is NE, The Cycle is most likely LN based on the alignment of the monks in #1-26 Truth of the Seeker, but I've yet to find Paizo source material giving a specific alignment for these philosophies.

Mother Touloo originated from SFS. While she doesn't actually exist as a god, her worshipers share a defined faith and philosophy which is detailed in Yesteryear's Truth and to a smaller extent AP5. Of specific note;

Yesteryear's Truth page 11 wrote:
A married couple known as Brother Koseemo and Sister Alomir (N male and female husk ghibrani envoys) leads the colony. These ghibranis consider themselves the chosen children of the fictional deity, Mother Touloo.
AP5 page 47 wrote:

All husk ghibranis worship Mother Touloo, the imaginary deity created by their Arkeost ancestors. Mother Touloo’s faith espouses community, hard work, and a shunning of life’s

creature comforts.

So if a player wanted to build a Husk Ghibrani Priest of Mother Touloo, would it be a reasonable good-faith effort to consider the philosophy of Mother Touloo to be true neutral (N) given the only priest-like NPCs that have been defined in source material are both true neutral? Or should we consider the Priest theme's alignment restriction to only apply to priests of a god since philosophies don't have alignments?

Neither Divine Champion or Divine Blessing would be applicable to such a PC since they specify that you must worship a god, not a philosophy, though I'd personally love to see the Ghibrani integrating with Pact Worlds culture leading to accepting Mother Touloo as an aspect of Hylax which would greatly soften the culture shock of learning the truth.


Arc Riley wrote:
though I'd personally love to see the Ghibrani integrating with Pact Worlds culture leading to accepting Mother Touloo as an aspect of Hylax which would greatly soften the culture shock of learning the truth.

Hylax, folding the Ghibrani Mother Touloo into herself, taking Mother Touloo's children into her fold.

Core rulebook p.486 wrote:
Though Hylax is traditionally a god of hive creatures, she’s paradoxically fond of individualism, and she encourages her followers to seek strength in community but recognize and embrace their individual value. Differences in doctrine and tradition among her followers are only natural[SNIP]

It seems perfectly reasonable to me for Hylax to take Mother Touloo into herself. Espousing the value of community and the Individual's value within it.

Differences are only natural, after all.

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Starfinder Superscriber

Yea, I doubt Damoritosh appeared to the Ghibrani as a Vesk - they almost certainly saw him in their own image and had their own name for him.

*We* know Mother Touloo is not Hylax, but its common for cultures to absorb faith and practices when they begin interacting with each other. The first time I ran Yesteryear's Truth a player of Keskodai had an extended discussion with Sister Alomir about Mother Touloo, concluded she was an aspect of Hylax, and even improvised Hylax parables about friendship and community to convince the Husks that they worshipped the same goddess.

"I believe the goddess you call Mother Touloo is the godess we call Hylax. The First Mother, The Forever Queen, she has many names on many worlds and considers all insectoid races her children."

Even without that initial interaction Priests of Hylax would almost certainly be among the next wave to show interest in Elytrio, Shirren and Formian missionaries coming to provide aid to their insectoid brethren. With Hylax as a real stand-in for their fictional deity, when the Husks eventually learn the true origin of Mother Touloo it would likely lead to a broader acceptance of Hylax rather than war.

I hope Jason Keeley reads this before he writes the next "Yesteryear" scenario ;-)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Well... since you want to know?

#1–03 Spoilers:
Mother Touloo isn't real. The first mention of her name clarifies that she's a "false deity" created by the ancestors of the membranes to encourage a large number of the populace to leave. So from a mechanical standpoint, this means that you can't be a Priest of Mother Touloo. This is for the best, as the mechanical benefits from this would be minor at best and impossible to receive at higher level (the 12th level ability would just not work, for example.)

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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Starfinder Superscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Well... since you want to know?

My earlier argument was that worship of Mother Touloo, as a faith and practice universal to the husk ghibrani, should count as a philosophy as described in CRB p484. (I didn't spoiler-tag this since her fictional status has been since disclosed on the Elytrio world information in AP5)

I was using this as a specific example to address the broader issue of priests of a philosophy, but to avoid getting tied up in whether Mother Touloo counts as a philosophy lets talk about The Green Faith instead.

The Priest theme specifies "Choose a deity or a philosophy whose alignment is within one step (on either the good-evil axis or the law-chaos axis) of your own." The philosophies section on CRB page 484 goes into further detail.

You seem to be making an official clarification in this thread that the above bolded words "or a philosophy" is not valid for SFS - that eg you cannot play a "Priest of The Green Faith" in OP;

Thurston Hillman wrote:
The only issue is that you can't take the Priest theme because that specifically calls out an alignment restriction (one of Starfinder's ONLY such restrictions.)

No philosophy listed in the CRB lists an alignment. Also, no philosophy is listed in the Divine Blessing feat.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I think that's a bit of a leap - Thurston seems to be saying that you can't be a priest of a false god, that's not the same as saying you can't worship a philosophy.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hmm. I had never noticed that distinction before.

Good catch, Arc.

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
I think that's a bit of a leap - Thurston seems to be saying that you can't be a priest of a false god, that's not the same as saying you can't worship a philosophy.

I'm going to set aside exploring the specific case of faith in Mother Touloo to focus on the problems with philosophies;

Thurston Hillman wrote:
The only issue is that you can't take the Priest theme because that specifically calls out an alignment restriction

Again - no philosophy mentioned in Starfinder source material has an alignment listed. This is the first problem.

Thurston Hillman wrote:
This is for the best, as the mechanical benefits from this would be minor at best and impossible to receive at higher level (the 12th level ability would just not work, for example.)

This is a second problem, since yes - the level 12 power specifies;

CRB page 34 wrote:
Your deity grants you mystic power.

But I will make an argument that, based on;

CRB page 83 wrote:
Many mystics serve as priests of various gods, and while you can theoretically choose any type of connection with any entity or concept, deities rarely grant connections that don’t fit within their ethos (for example, Weydan, the god of freedom, is unlikely to look kindly on overlords). As such, each connection lists the deities and philosophies commonly associated with it.

... that in absence of deific worship, any deeply held faith in a concept or tradition can stand-in for a deity for the purposes of gaining access to spells - including the Priest theme's 12th level power.

But we're still left with the first problem; philosophies don't have an associated alignment. Eg, obviously someone who follows The Song of Silence is not going to be good-aligned, but we don't know what the alignment is to hold anyone to compliance with.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Welllllll.....depending on how extensive their assimilation becomes, I can see a Ghibrani going to Absalom Station and seeing a big Hylax church with all it's insect like designs and focus on the unspoken community of diversity and going "Oh hey, Touloo worshipers. I mean, they got her name wrong but still..."

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber
thecursor wrote:
Welllllll.....depending on how extensive their assimilation becomes, I can see a Ghibrani going to Absalom Station and seeing a big Hylax church with all it's insect like designs and focus on the unspoken community of diversity and going "Oh hey, Touloo worshipers. I mean, they got her name wrong but still..."

Hylax certainly ticks a lot of the boxes, Community, Diplomacy, Friendship.. but not the aspects of hard work and not relying on the creature comforts of technology.

I've made a Membrane Ghibrani Mystic Priest of Hylax myself, but of course the membranes don't worship Mother Touloo.

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