When offering spellcasters for non-deific religions, please do not forget analogous champions.

Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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In the PF1 CRB, "Clerics of Philosphies" were an option for compatibility with other settings, but were never a thing which Golarion had. PF2 hews much closer to Golarion lore, so Clerics were obligated to pick a deity. Golarion, however, has religious traditions which are not "worship a god"- there are the Rivethun, ancestor worship is common in the Mwangi expanse and Tian Xia, the pantheism of the Vudrani, Lizardfolk tend to be animists, and many people follow a totemic spirit of some kind, etc. PF1 eventually gave us classes like the Oracle and the Shaman who had full divine spellcasting power, which could represent other religious traditions, and I felt it was important to underline how these systems of belief are not less valid than "worship Pharasma" they are just different, by not having them be less potent or just "variant clerics." One of the fundamental issues with having the metaphysics being written down in books is that it takes a lot of the essential mystery out of religion, which is a thing we can restore via "these people believe something fundamentally different and it also works."

So presumably we're planning on supporting those religious traditions with divine magic (and hopefully not "as sorcerers" since that sets up "we have no shaman, no one has the special blood" as a thing). Which is well and good; these things take time, and I can be patient.

But, in PF1 Paladins had no requirements for "worship a god" so I saw a great number of Animist, Pantheist, Shamanistic, or just "has an idiosyncratic philosophy" Paladins, and I didn't see anything wrong with that. After all, there was no mention of "where a paladin's power came from" merely the requirement that they be worthy of it, which is a thing that could apply to anyone from any culture.

So, if we eventually (and we should) get full spellcasters that represent non-deific religious traditions, we should get Champions to match. Since if a relationship with the spirits, or a spirit, one's ancestors, or whatever is sufficiently potent to invest that person with 10-level spellcasting, it should also be able to invest someone else with martial prowess.

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Shamans I always saw as a counterpart to Druids, so I'm pretty sure they'll be Primal (maybe spontaneous) casters and won't have a deity requirement, Oracle will function exactly the same since forcing them to worship a deity would be the exact opposite of how they're set up.

I'm not a fan of Champions having to have a deity but Chammpions of Faiths would be a neat addition.

Seconding the desire for non-godly Champions. Eberron forever hooked me on Paladins and Clerics sworn to an ideal instead of a god.

I think if you are getting power from something other than gods, it should look different/get different abilities. It isn't like there is an excess of "magical, but largely non-spell casting" melee classes, so it is an opportunity for a new and interesting class. Ideals or ancestor spirits seem occult to me, so that is what I think they should make the "non-god paladin" (assuming they make one).

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But if an Oracle, whose powers need not come from a god the Oracle follows, can cast all the spells on the divine list save for those which specify a deity (like avatar, or spiritual weapon) why shouldn't an Oraclesque Champion have access to all of the Champion abilities that don't make reference to a deity?

I mean, an Oracle Gish is one thing (Rage Prophet, probably also just new Rage Instinct fodder), but doesn't really seem appropriate as direct basis of non-deific Champion, which has heavy alignment/anathema that are alien to Oracle (although of note, Instincts do have anathema, although i'm not sure if that would QUITE scratch PC's itch here).

The concept I beleive PC wants to see is more simply Champion of "cosmic Goodness", and Oracle pretty much specifically shies away from that kind of stuff (even avoiding aligned outsider topics like Angels, Demons, etc, which are topics for Divine Sorceror Bloodlines which of course is also not alignment/anethema relevant). Of course, such a Champion should play distinctly from a deific champion, i would even guess a Champion with no Deific Anathema would have to even more tightly follow generic "cosmic [lawful etc] good" Anathema without additinal one to enable flexibility.

But I think Paizo's trajectory is clear they aren't interested in that, meaning it's probably more productive to look at other SPECIFIC schticks that happen to be non-deific. Rage Prophet/Angelic Rage Instict, for one. Actually a Alignment adjacent Anathema (whatever the vehicle) which nonetheless functions a little different from Paladin Anathema/Code is interesting space IMHO, I don't think it necessarily always has to work that one way to fulfill the general concept.

Running out of ideas here for now, so I'll leave it at that...

In terms of "cosmic goodness, I think the best solution would have been to make the champions more like the Hellknights, focused on a particular kind of celestial/fiend/monitor. There are nine kinds of outsider in the Bestiary with enough info to flesh out the outsider-based champions, and I am sure the other 6 big fiends types and 3 big(ish) celestial types will show up eventually. But that would have started with outsiders, not gods, but wouldn't have worked with the "Power of Love" or whatnot unless the player decided that "angels are Love."

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