Divine sorcerer spellcasting without "official" deity


Rules Discussion


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Several spells granted from the bloodlines require a deity but the class seems to go out of its way to say that you don't need one to cast your spells. So is this an oversight?

Is there some excerpt that I missed that says what to do when an atheistic angelic sorcerer tries to cast spiritual weapon?


What spells does this apply to?

For spiritual weapon there used to be some default alignment ones in 1E that you could use or pick one

It doesn’t say the spell doesn’t work without a deity so it is up to the player / gm

Also atheism is bold choice in a world where gods are demonstrably proven to exist (paraphrased from an actual play podcast). Lots of characters at least pay token respect to one of the deities


I think that you use your own alignment in the spells that use the deity alignment to define the type of damage.


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Atheism really shouldn't be an option on Golarion. It's more accurate to describe them as Misotheists, at least in the case of Rahadoum, which gets labeled as Atheist.

Atheism means you lack belief the gods exist. In Golarion, there is proof that the beings called gods by others exist. If you're powerful enough you can go the plane they reside on and see them. There is no room to "not believe" in the being called gods.

You're only real options (IMO) are to:
1) Reject that they're not really "gods" because you have a different definition of what it requires to be a god - Ignotheism

or

2) Reject them out of hatred (because you see them as a destructive presence even if the being itself claims to do good, in the case of Rahodoum).- Misotheist


Lanathar wrote:

What spells does this apply to?

Divine lance for one, which is a problem for the only ranged damage cantrip in the divine list. If you don't have a deity or your deity is true neutral, then...screw you, that's why.

It isn't clear its usable with a 'token respect' deity either, or anything that isn't explicitly the 'Deity' class feature from the Cleric class


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You could truly lack personal belief in gods because you believe they are a ruse made up by the Illuminaty/government/reptiloids. It happens in real life too, that proven stuff is rejected as made up. Atheism in Golarion would be a conspiracy theory.

As for the godless sorcerer, they could cast all spells except the ones that require a deity. And I would think it has to be a deity which would grant you spells - so you have to be of fitting alignment (that's a personal take thogh).


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My concern is that there are 3 of the 4 divine bloodlines that have these spells as given spells that these players can't just avoid taking. The angelic, demonic, and diabolic all have these as given spells. My main concerns here are:
Spiritual weapon: what form does it take?
Divine wrath(angelic & demonic), divine decree(all 3), and divine aura(all 3): why are they being forced to waist slots in there limited repertoire with spells that state they can't even cast? It's not that they should just not take them like divine lance, but as bloodline spells these are a slap in the face to those that might worship things that don't grant spells such as lower level demons(mwangi expanse), ancestor worship(Shoanti tribes), or even those that are apathistic(those that just don't care if there is a deity).


Intriguing. Probably default to the alignment of the source of the bloodline - so evil from demonic and a weapon that seems appropriate - sword for angelic , so kind of mace for infernal

It is not clear and is a good point. Shame the iconic isn’t one of these

I believe the Oblivion Oath sorcerer has angelic and has good aligned abilities . But not sure of alignment or deity


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As written, you need to worship a deity to cast these spells. The deity does not, as far as I can tell, have to be part of a class feature, and the effects of the spells is linked to your deity and not your bloodline (a Sarenrae-worshiping diabolic sorcerer would cast a Good-aligned divine aura). This would also be the most PC-friendly way to handle it, because in most groups being a demonic/diabolic sorcerer and casting the Evil version of these spells would be problematic.

One might argue whether it was a good call by the devs to introduce divine sorcerers that explicitly get power from their heritage and not an external being, and then make spells powered by those beings mandatory anyway.


It does need clarifying and is a problem to an extent. But the atheist point seems to be looking for loopholes or flaws.

The designers probably consider Golarion atheists rare and niche and then that makes an even smaller sub category when applied to divine sorcerers (and smaller still for Neutral ones)

But divine lance being a lot weaker for Neutral deities is a problem for neutral clerics anyway (even those with one axis such as Abadar as it is likely to be considerably less useful that a good aligned one)


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To be honest, if anyone has legitimate reason to question the authority of the gods then it's a divine sorcerer. "I can do everything you do without groveling to a master. So why would I?"


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If you're an atheist who rejects the gods while having god derived power in their very blood you...just don't use the relevant granted spells as a matter of principle. No refunds.


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None of the divine bloodlines have god derived power. They have planar derived power (abyssal, hells, negative energy or celestial).

I'm not sure why any rationale results in 'you don't get a usable ranged cantrip. Ha ha!'


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Voss wrote:

None of the divine bloodlines have god derived power. They have planar derived power (abyssal, hells, negative energy or celestial).

I'm not sure why any rationale results in 'you don't get a usable ranged cantrip. Ha ha!'

Because the actual description of the spell says as much:

Divine Lance wrote:
You unleash a beam of divine energy. Choose an alignment your deity has (chaotic, evil, good, or lawful). You can't cast this spell if you don't have a deity or if your deity is true neutral.


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Yes, that is what it says. You just can't.

That isn't a rationale, either in universe or design-wise.


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A quick errata they could possibly add for divine sorcerers is "Whenever
a spell makes mention of requiring a deity, you count as your own deity for it and if summons ghostly image of your deity weapon then instead it summons one of your unarmed or weapons on hand."


Personally, I would houserule it. Heck most of these are in the Occult list too


Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
Personally, I would houserule it. Heck most of these are in the Occult list too

Huh? I just searched through the spells chapter for any mention of "your deity", and the only spell I found that was occult was spiritual weapon (which lists having a deity as a specific requirement). It's possible to "cheat" deity-based spells onto your personal Occult list using various means - the ones I can find in the core rules are the Impossible Polymath 18th level bard feat, and the Crossblooded Evolution 8th level sorcerer feat (and its 18th level Greater version). You could in theory also have an Occult bloodline that listed them as granted spells, but the core rules don't have any of those, and adding one seems like it would be a bad idea both thematically and mechanically.


Another potential option. In the case of Clerics, a your divine power comes from your deity of choice directly. However in the case of Sorcs, their power comes from their bloodline directly. Thus, an argument can be made that your spells should in some way reflect the source of your bloodline powers.

Infernal Sorc uses Divine Lance cantrip? Evil or Lawful damage. Even if the Sorc themselves is Chaotic Good.

I know that isn't RAW and probably wouldn't work very well in the actual rules considering if it was, considering bloodlines like Undead. But if I was GMing and one of my players came to me with that, I'd probably agree to it as long as they could make a good case for it.


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Well, the way I pretend to handle this is, well I have divine magic, and it comes from inside me. So I am the source of the divine magic. Ergo I must be divine in some way. So for all purposes related to my magic I am my own goddess!


Vali Nepjarson wrote:

Another potential option. In the case of Clerics, a your divine power comes from your deity of choice directly. However in the case of Sorcs, their power comes from their bloodline directly. Thus, an argument can be made that your spells should in some way reflect the source of your bloodline powers.

Infernal Sorc uses Divine Lance cantrip? Evil or Lawful damage. Even if the Sorc themselves is Chaotic Good.

I know that isn't RAW and probably wouldn't work very well in the actual rules considering if it was, considering bloodlines like Undead. But if I was GMing and one of my players came to me with that, I'd probably agree to it as long as they could make a good case for it.

The problem with that is that it would generally work poorly in most groups.

I mean, the fiend-blooded mage who uses their powers for good is not exactly a rare trope. But it would suck if that meant they couldn't cast divine wrath effectively on account of it dealing Evil damage instead of Good, harming their party instead of their foes.


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Claxon wrote:

Atheism really shouldn't be an option on Golarion. It's more accurate to describe them as Misotheists, at least in the case of Rahadoum, which gets labeled as Atheist.

Atheism means you lack belief the gods exist. In Golarion, there is proof that the beings called gods by others exist. If you're powerful enough you can go the plane they reside on and see them. There is no room to "not believe" in the being called gods.

You're only real options (IMO) are to:
1) Reject that they're not really "gods" because you have a different definition of what it requires to be a god - Ignotheism

or

2) Reject them out of hatred (because you see them as a destructive presence even if the being itself claims to do good, in the case of Rahodoum).- Misotheist

We have people NOW that think the world is flat and the moon landing was fake... the fact that they are provably wrong and that anyone powerful enough can see the proof themselves [take a spaceflight] doesn't change it. As such, plain old Atheism seems as possible in Golarion as flat earthers are now.


In most settings I've seen, atheism just means not worshipping any gods.

I know in golarion it basically means denying that your soul exists but that's not what anyone is talking about here.

It really doesn't seem entirely fair to give divine sorcerers spells that require a deity and then be like "yeah, if your character thinks gods are jerks (likely because they kind of are, or at least have been known to deal out some pretty cruel punishments over minor transgressions,) or just doesn't have any particular devotion to one, you might as well just not write this spell down."


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

To expand further than just the Divine Lance / official Deity issue.

Can a sorcerer with Demonic Bloodline cast Heal, or are they locked into using negative energy, Harm. As a Cleric whether you wield positive or negative energy is determined by your Deity choice during creation. Another option is that they are so fluid in there uses of their blooded magic that they could use both positive and negative energies. And be totally outside the constraints of religious views.


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Heal and Harm aren't aligned spells, nor are they dependant on having a patron deity. Everyone divine caster can use either.

What limitations clerics have is for their Font, and even that is not based on alignment but on the actual god. Some very evil gods - including Lamashtu, the first ascended demon - can get a Healing Divine Font, no problem.
No reason a Sorcerer would have a limit there, thankfully.


graystone wrote:
We have people NOW that think the world is flat and the moon landing was fake... the fact that they are provably wrong and that anyone powerful enough can see the proof themselves [take a spaceflight] doesn't change it. As such, plain old Atheism seems as possible in Golarion as flat earthers are now.

And now I'm imagining a powerful wizard or Cleric hunting down Atheists and Plane Shifting them to various God's Demenses, to prove that the gods exist. And then probably vaporizing them when they try and claim the whole thing was an elaborate illusion or that the Aboleths edited their memories.

Shadow Lodge

Alternatively, what about divine sorcerers who are pantheists? Offer a prayer to whichever religion fits the situation at the moment? Do their spells work with whichever alignment they want?

(Also, in a world with lots of religions, many of which overlap, you could always just decide to be "not religious")


You don't need to be an Atheist in Golarion to not worship a deity. There are alternate belief systems that don't involve one - Whispering Ways, Green Faith and Prophecies of Kalistrade all being CRB examples. I have no idea how many of them are estabilished in the lore outside of that, but the fact that playing a Whispering Way Undead Bloodline Sorcerer penalizes you (or any other philosophy/faith subscriber) feels like an unfun "gotcha".

There are few things that I'm dissapointed about, but "I cannot play Cleric/Champion/DivineBloodline Sorc of Prophecies of Kalistrade/Green Faith/whatever" is one of them.


The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Alternatively, what about divine sorcerers who are pantheists? Offer a prayer to whichever religion fits the situation at the moment? Do their spells work with whichever alignment they want?

The rules don't really support anything like that right now.

I also think that's not quite the right way to think about them, either. Most people in Golarion are going to be pantheistic. Your deity is less comparable to a religion in and of itself and more like a patron deity within a pre-existing framework. Being a cleric of Abadar doesn't mean rejecting the divinity of Iomedae or Asmodeus, they just aren't your personal patrons. Even someone diametrically opposed to your church like Gorum isn't not-a-god, just a bad one from your perspective.

I don't think it would be particularly weird to see, for example, a farmer who's patron deity is Abadar say a prayer or seven to Erastil when it's planting season. That doesn't give them the ability to 'turn on' Erastil powers at-will though either.


Deities and religions here seem to be less like religions and more like party memberships and subscribing to certain ideologies, with immortal party-leaders bestowing magic powers on their favorite followers anyway.

You don't actively deny existence of gods other than your patron deity, just like how you don't pretend the political options other than the ones you vote for and have a membership with don't exist.


The Shifty Mongoose wrote:

Alternatively, what about divine sorcerers who are pantheists? Offer a prayer to whichever religion fits the situation at the moment? Do their spells work with whichever alignment they want?

(Also, in a world with lots of religions, many of which overlap, you could always just decide to be "not religious")

If it works like PF1, it depends on the type of pantheism: Aligned Pantheons is focuses on an important moral and/or ethical position [Godclaw for instance is Lawful dogma] so the alignment is that of the position, Cultural pantheons are based on that of the community while Racial Pantheons are focused around the patron deity of the race.

So, there isn't a shifting alignment: for instance Sandpoint Pantheon is NG as that's the alignment of the city/area, Godclaw is any Lawful alignment as the dogma of it is Lawful and the Orc Pantheon is CE as that;s the alignment of Rovagug.

Shadow Lodge

Actually, I meant would sorcerers call out a certain faith to be able to cast their attack cantrip aligned with that faith?
I do agree that most people who aren't divine spellcasters would probably be casually supportive of most religions, asking Pharasma for guidance, swearing on Norgorber's invisible blood, or whatever.
I was just looking at a different view, instead of "They get this spell but can't use it", could they also be able to get around its restrictions?


The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Actually, I meant would sorcerers call out a certain faith to be able to cast their attack cantrip aligned with that faith?

As written, even a Wizard that took Adapted Cantrip [Divine Lance] would need a deity as the spell requires you pick an alignment your god has.

The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
I do agree that most people who aren't divine spellcasters would probably be casually supportive of most religions, asking Pharasma for guidance, swearing on Norgorber's invisible blood, or whatever.

You have to pick a single diety at present: even in PF1 with a pantheon, it is treated as a single god with a unified philosophy so you aren't treated as worshiping multiple individual gods based on the day/situation.

The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
I was just looking at a different view, instead of "They get this spell but can't use it", could they also be able to get around its restrictions?

RAW no. You can try to get a houserule but that's the best you can do at the moment. You MUST have your single god that you worship written down on your sheet if you wish to use the spell under the current system.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What about a divine Sorcerer casting one of the divine battle form spells (righteous might, avatar, the other one I can't remember atm)? None of them explicitly require you to have a deity, but all of them (except righteous might iirc) have different effects depending on your deity. Do you just choose one of the options as a non-worshipping character?


Cozzymandias wrote:
What about a divine Sorcerer casting one of the divine battle form spells (righteous might, avatar, the other one I can't remember atm)? None of them explicitly require you to have a deity, but all of them (except righteous might iirc) have different effects depending on your deity. Do you just choose one of the options as a non-worshipping character?

Ironically, avatar does not require that you have a deity but is heavily based on having one, and righteous might does require a deity but is less dependent on one (it only gives you a 3-die version of your deity's favored weapon, and that would be easy to change into "whatever weapon you're wielding").

I see these as less of a problem than divine wrath and the others, because for a spontaneous caster the solution to "I can't cast this spell without a patron deity" can very well be "So don't pick that spell." But the Angelic, Demonic, and Diabolic bloodlines all grant you spells that do require a deity, and that makes it more of a problem.


My GM and I have been handling this by allowing deity to more broadly mean the entity granting your spells: for example, I am a diabolic sorcerer, so even though I worship Pharasma, for the spells granted to me by my bloodline (like Divine Decree) the alignments I can choose from are Lawful and Evil because I was granted my spellcasting by a devil. I think that fits the spirit of the spell more.


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Maybe for sorcerers, "your deity" picks you instead of the other way around. If you are infused with their power (and maybe you didn't do a single thing to try to get that power), it seems like you are already "picked", regardless of who you pray to. Seems like a good source of Plot to me.....


jkmiami89 wrote:
My GM and I have been handling this by allowing deity to more broadly mean the entity granting your spells: for example, I am a diabolic sorcerer, so even though I worship Pharasma, for the spells granted to me by my bloodline (like Divine Decree) the alignments I can choose from are Lawful and Evil because I was granted my spellcasting by a devil. I think that fits the spirit of the spell more.

It's not RAW but I definitely like this approach. Feels weird that someone empowered by infernal blood can use that blood to cast Good spells because they worship Iomedae or something.

I really like the idea of tying the effects to bloodline.


Looking at the new Lost Omens World Guide, when you pick a god it's your Patron Deity. The godless healing feat in it requires "can’t have a patron deity". IMO, divine spells would require you pick your patron deity.


I don't think there is technically anything that says you can't be your own deity. I'm pretty sure you can be a cleric of yourself, and grant yourself spellcasting, domains, and the like. You could also be a party member's deity.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
To be honest, if anyone has legitimate reason to question the authority of the gods then it's a divine sorcerer. "I can do everything you do without groveling to a master. So why would I?"

”Because your grandmother f##$ed my employee on the clock”

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
sherlock1701 wrote:
I don't think there is technically anything that says you can't be your own deity. I'm pretty sure you can be a cleric of yourself, and grant yourself spellcasting, domains, and the like. You could also be a party member's deity.

There isn’t anything that says you can, so no you can’t.


This "having a deity" thing still bothers me.
Partly because I struggle with the idea in a polytheistic religion.
And partly because... How does it work? What's stopping me from changing my god-havings every week or so to suit my short and mid term goals, the way I'd pray to catch their attention, earn their favor, or appease them and earn a reprieve ?
Why actively punish the divine non-cleric casters that want to take a more pantheistic approach - or a purely utilitarian one, because worship is supposedly not what fuels sorcerer, blood is.

If one's power comes from granma's funtimes with angels, why would one need to align oneself with a specific, unique god - one possibly entirely unrelated to the source of one's power ?
Am I subject to the cleric's alignment restriction ? Why not, if they are the source of my power ? Why, if they aren't ? Does my blood play any role in who I have to choose to use for them spells ? Should it affect what effect they have?

Of course, house rules aren't hard to come up with in this case, but they're hardly perfect and just shouldn't be needed.
It feels like the divine list isn't taking into account the non-clerics (nor the TN gods, really), which I have a hard time believing : the sorcerer's flexibility was one of the first big thing we learned about 2E, and oracles were a big enough deal in 1e that we knew they'd be back.
I don't get it. There's a reasoning, somewhere, and it entirely eludes me.

Ah well.
House rules it is.


Nyerkh wrote:

This "having a deity" thing still bothers me.

Partly because I struggle with the idea in a polytheistic religion.
And partly because... How does it work? What's stopping me from changing my god-havings every week or so to suit my short and mid term goals, the way I'd pray to catch their attention, earn their favor, or appease them and earn a reprieve ?

Time. Downtime. Retraining.

As a real answer to your question, maybe build on the more "general" faiths like the "Green Faith" which I assume means Erastil + Gozreh? Maybe there are two super-umbrellas: Similar Alignment and Similar Portfolios. (So yes, houserules).

As for how "it works":

Generally people revere a single deity. The reason why is because "that's what people do". Just like any culture on our planet: People started doing it, now it's what people do. Even if you go against the grain, you acknowledge that there is indeed a grain.

Do you need a better explanation than that?


Think about religion and patron deities less in term of philosophical organizations fighting about unconformable ideals and competing ways to live and more about supernatural political parties slash mob families that have semi-immortal super powerful leaders that reward the most devoted party members with special benefits.

It's not that you don't "believe" in the fact that gods exist, or you deny them being gods, picking a god as your patron deity is basically applying for a membership in a divine political party, and if you are a cleric, you are a member who observes the rules so well that the leadership rewards you with magical powers as long as you stay complacent and don't go against the party line.

It is not a matter of blind faith into something that may or may not exist. It is a matter of pledging yuor loyalty to one of the very palpable movers and shakers of the universe hoping that you will get protection and other carrots the divine party uses to get believers.


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Claxon wrote:

You're only real options (IMO) are to:

1) Reject that they're not really "gods" because you have a different definition of what it requires to be a god - Ignotheism

Well...that seems like a viable path for atheism in this setting. if you look at the list of demigods... even a particularly powerful hamsandwich could end up becoming one. Demon lords, infernal dukes, daemonic harbingers, protean lords, etc. A ton of creatures that appear to reach past a certain bottleneck appears able to become a demigod. And for most people, the distinction between a true god and a demigod is an argument for scholars- both can have clerics.

Additionally, there are plenty of creatures that pretend to be gods. Krakens for example. And lets not forget our favorite cult leader/high level wizard, Rasmir, with his own highly organized religion despite the fact that he is still mortal.

High level wizards in particular could make a lot of people ask questions. If a wizard could cast a "cataclysm" spell and set off 'divine punishment' style events... are the gods just casting spells? Are they really ethereal, all knowing beings... or just casters with scrying spells? And back to Razmir- he can help his followers fake domains (giving him the 'portfolio' of charm, evil, law, and trickery).

Of course I realize that there is a difference between a caster and an actual god. But again- can the average person really tell that difference? If someone saw Geb and Nex doing battle, wouldn't many think they are witnessing a battle of the gods?


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Personally, my problems with this aren't from a character frame, but for me as a player.
For probably the majority of the world: Hindu (who already have a pantheon), Buddhists (a non-theistic religion), and the various non-theistic, agnostic, or theologically disinterested individuals - they won't have a problem playing a game where the in-game characters have devotion to their in-game deities.

For strongly irreligious individuals, and people devoted to mono-theistic religions (Hebrew, Islam, Christian) - there may be a problem. Strongly irreligious people probably don't like having theology required in the game they like to play. Strongly religious people probably don't like anything that even smells faintly of idolatry (worshipping something created by people).

I don't like having the game mechanics unlinkably tied to the theology of the setting. It feels exclusionary for some people.

Cleric is a bit of a special case because the entire theme of the class is to be aligned with a particular deity of the setting. I see Druid as being an alternative for someone who wants to avoid the problems of deity.

Champion and maybe sorcerer could be seen that way too, but it doesn't have to be.

So why are there spells printed that state, 'if the character doesn't have a deity, they can't use this spell'?

All that is doing is preventing the game rules from being used to create a custom game setting that is palatable to these irreligious or religious people.

Yes, Golarion has deities.

But does Pathfinder have to? Is in an actual requirement?


I mean, the real problem is that a divine sorcerer without a deity doesn't have access to the one reliable damage cantrip on the divine list.

I have no problem with spells like "Avatar" not being available to divine sorcerers (or oracles) without a deity, but the divine lance not being available is a problem. Hopefully in the APG (with the oracle) we'll get a viable alternative. Or we can just errata the "or do not have a deity" part out of divine lance.

In general spells that require a specific deity to work are better thing to print than spells that require a deity, any deity, do not apply if you do not have a deity.


Modern bureaucracy has totally solved any issues involving clerics worshipping pantheons. Simply put, when the cleric prays in the morning, his/her magic Outlook calendar tells him/her which god is powering spells for the pantheon that day. Some days that might suck (Xeroxus, the TN God of Stationary won't help your divine lance any...), but if you wanted dependability, you should have picked a single god (as anyone who has ever worked for a council, commission, or other group where you have a lot of bosses will tell you).

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