What's the border of a deity's capability on directly affecting a mortal or the world?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


For convenience, let's limit the subject of this topic to the 20 core deities. Suppose that their power are on the same level, and they don't have infinite power. Then, what do you think is the greatest/powerful/hardest/... thing they are able to do, or what do you think is that they're not able to do?

I came up with this question when I was writing a NPC's backstory. As an Arcanist 19/Archmage 4, it's a natural thing that her god(dess) approached her and had a meeting with her after she took part in an epic fight. But what the god(dess) will do became a question for me - if (s)he is satified with her follower, what will (s)he be able to offer? If (s)he is angry with her follower, what kind of punishment will (s)he be able to give?

While I'm trying to make the plot feasible, I'd like to hear your suggestions: I'll list a few things below and please tell me if you think it's possible for a deity to accomplish each of them; Or, maybe you have a better description of the border of a deity's capability in mind?

Thanks a lot.

------------------------
(1) Grant a character some PC class levels(possibly Cleric), which will not cause the character to advance to over lv20.
(2) Grant a character some PC class levels(possibly Cleric), which will cause the character to advance to over lv20.
(3) Send a character to the near past.(e.g. fewer than 10 years before)
(4) To possess a major artifact that has little connection with his/her areas of concern.
(5) ...

P.S. if a deity is able to do something, however doing such will harm the deity's own interest, then I'll consider this thing as what the deity is 'unable' to do.


The limits of what a deity can do are straight up GM fiat. There are no rules.

That being said, Planar Adventures gave most relevant deities a "Divine Gift" - a blessing that's supposed to be roughly equal to the spell Miracle, which is supposed to be the "standard issue" common least unusual blessing if you've gotten the deity's favour.
You can find the Divine Gifts on their respective deity's page.

That being said, the rules don't expect characters beyond level 20, so I'd rule that out, and time travel is a mess, so I wouldn't suggest that either. Otherwise, sure, if it fits the plot, why not?


What gods do to NPCs really doesn't matter. Go hog wild. Just don't have them participate in battles because this is very, very un-Pathfinder. Especially on Galorian since the gods don't want to take any chance of accidentally releasing Rovagug.

Now doing anything you proposed to players...no. Bad idea. Just don't. So let me explain why its bad.

Forcing huge changes to a player's character takes away the player's sense of agency. Choices like levels and other advancement decisions are suppose to be totally under the players control. Losing control of that is a gross violation of the character, and the player experience. Also the player has just potentially had a lot of abilities thrust upon them. The player may not ever come to terms with everything they've just gained and may forget about abilities and never use them.

Even just rapidly advancing a character will give the same problem. It has less to do with the player not being aware of their abilities and more with the party not being use to the changes in their fellows. You get a little bit of that with each level up. Making a huge change will shake things up even more.

Time travel is...a plot device. Do it for a reason. Your players will do something retarded, like kill the BBG from their first adventure in the past. Or leave their future selves a fortune. Time travel is bad, k?

Artifacts are standard fare. Doesn't matter if its a god handing them out or not. Though if you look through the list of artifacts you'll notice a lot are involved with gods but not directly handed out.

If you are trying to make a NPC special, you might consider that interaction with a deity awakened them to Mythic levels. Mythic characters and monsters are absurdly powerful for their level/CR. Mythic is a whole new can of worms so investigate the entire system before you start slapping on mythic abilities.


The main limitation seems to be that they are only ever in one given place at a time.
Otherwise they can do almost anything as long as they aren't being opposed by another deity-level being.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
SnowyJune9703 wrote:

I came up with this question when I was writing a NPC's backstory. As an Arcanist 19/Archmage 4, it's a natural thing that her god(dess) approached her and had a meeting with her after she took part in an epic fight. But what the god(dess) will do became a question for me - if (s)he is satified with her follower, what will (s)he be able to offer? If (s)he is angry with her follower, what kind of punishment will (s)he be able to give?

As an example, I had Iomedae give a small paladin the fighter's Armor Training class feature.

She also handed out +2 Inherent stat boosts, gave skill points, and bonus feats to all members of the party, that's written in Wrath of the Righteous. Later on, she also gives artifacts to the PCs to aid in their quest.

In Carrion Crown, PCs can receive a vision from Desna, that gives a +1 or +2 boost to any ability score.

So, ability score boosts are fairly common. The Divine boons mentioned earlier are also suitable.


Ultimately it depends upon the given game and what is or is not appropriate to that particular game being played by that particular group of people.

If it would seriously derail or break the campaign, then the GM should probably not do it. If they do decide to do it anyway, then they should at least stop and think about it a second time for at least a moment.


I think the answer is "whatever they feel they can get away with".

While there are various specializations of gods (gods of divine light are probably not that great at turning people undead), the real constraints on a god are more practical in nature.

The first constraint is safety. Personally showing up has its risks- as shown when the Whispering Tyrant killed Arazni. When a god takes personal action, they are threatened by other their original target, and any enemies that notice they are out of their heavily guarded divine realm.

The second constraint- which is more important for this discussion- has similar problems. If a god makes a big, shiny new toy... some demon lord will want to kick sand in that god's face and break that toy. Even those with more conservative investments like clerics are still 'made an example of' fairly often. Granting the power suggested above seems like it would attract a lot of attention... the wrong kind.

Sudden power spikes are probably better for NPCs that are living macguffins the players have to protect.


Meirril wrote:

What gods do to NPCs really doesn't matter. Go hog wild. Just don't have them participate in battles because this is very, very un-Pathfinder. Especially on Galorian since the gods don't want to take any chance of accidentally releasing Rovagug.

Now doing anything you proposed to players...no. Bad idea. Just don't. So let me explain why its bad.

Forcing huge changes to a player's character takes away the player's sense of agency. Choices like levels and other advancement decisions are suppose to be totally under the players control. Losing control of that is a gross violation of the character, and the player experience. Also the player has just potentially had a lot of abilities thrust upon them. The player may not ever come to terms with everything they've just gained and may forget about abilities and never use them.

Even just rapidly advancing a character will give the same problem. It has less to do with the player not being aware of their abilities and more with the party not being use to the changes in their fellows. You get a little bit of that with each level up. Making a huge change will shake things up even more.

Time travel is...a plot device. Do it for a reason. Your players will do something retarded, like kill the BBG from their first adventure in the past. Or leave their future selves a fortune. Time travel is bad, k?

Artifacts are standard fare. Doesn't matter if its a god handing them out or not. Though if you look through the list of artifacts you'll notice a lot are involved with gods but not directly handed out.

If you are trying to make a NPC special, you might consider that interaction with a deity awakened them to Mythic levels. Mythic characters and monsters are absurdly powerful for their level/CR. Mythic is a whole new can of worms so investigate the entire system before you start slapping on mythic abilities.

Thanks for your advice. Your point of view on controlling players' resources are thought-provoking.

(However in fact, as the deity's favor is only considered in that NPC's backstory, players wouldn't be involved in it. I'm not that type of DM that trusts PLs a lot :) )


lemeres wrote:

I think the answer is "whatever they feel they can get away with".

While there are various specializations of gods (gods of divine light are probably not that great at turning people undead), the real constraints on a god are more practical in nature.

The first constraint is safety. Personally showing up has its risks- as shown when the Whispering Tyrant killed Arazni. When a god takes personal action, they are threatened by other their original target, and any enemies that notice they are out of their heavily guarded divine realm.

The second constraint- which is more important for this discussion- has similar problems. If a god makes a big, shiny new toy... some demon lord will want to kick sand in that god's face and break that toy. Even those with more conservative investments like clerics are still 'made an example of' fairly often. Granting the power suggested above seems like it would attract a lot of attention... the wrong kind.

Sudden power spikes are probably better for NPCs that are living macguffins the players have to protect.

You've really given me some constructive suggestions. However as I'm not so familiar with the setting of Golarion, could you please tell me how 'big' a toy should be to attract a demon lord or other evils?


SnowyJune9703 wrote:
You've really given me some constructive suggestions. However as I'm not so familiar with the setting of Golarion, could you please tell me how 'big' a toy should be to attract a demon lord or other evils?

Well, an obvious one would be suddenly making a spell caster lvl 15+ from scratch. High level casters are strong enough to trick people into think that person is a god (Razmir is a level 19 wizard with his own fake religion). That is good enough to get some assassin squads sent out since their spells could turn the tides of a battle if the caster is at a key tactical location. That is also the general level of a god's personal herald (a quick look at a few put them at around CR 15, with ~17 hd).

If the caster was slowly raised like normal, then they would have trained with normal support structures like an army, a church, etc. They would have been identified and placed under appropriate guard long ago. But if a random farm hand in a no name village gets that much power... they might be a very far distance away from troops strong enough to handle the situation.

Oracle is a good choice for this kind of role, since it is the "divine power violently shoved into your head" class.

The party could be one of a number of mercenary squads scraped together to help in the transport of the 'toy'. This would allow you to have the party move separately to 'scout ahead' or the like (and you wouldn't have to balance things around having a high level caster in the fight...).


The Archdevils that have stat blocks are legitimate threats to Asmodeus, according to lore. This means a CR 30 has the potential to beat a full deity. This probably means most deities are only a max of CR 40, if even that. Take that how you will.


Here are some suggestions that PCs would value, without being so powerful as to break the game or make targets of the PC:
Give +3 stat to a dump stat. How many weak wizards or dumb fighters are there?
Give max HP for current levels. Possible with retraining, but takes time and money to do.
Give bonus feats and skill points related to the deity's areas of interest. What god doesn't want more people doing what they like?
Give a bonus feat, PC choice. Feats are experience, right?
Give some low level SLAs. Could be duplicated by magic items, so no "shiny new toy" problem.
Give a +1 bonus to caster level. What caster will turn that down?
Give a familiar or animal companion. Can be quite useful.
Give a 'get out of death' card. Use next time the PC dies.

If you are going to apply a bonus type, use luck. That is the traditional bonus type from gods.

/cevah


Reksew_Trebla wrote:
The Archdevils that have stat blocks are legitimate threats to Asmodeus, according to lore. This means a CR 30 has the potential to beat a full deity. This probably means most deities are only a max of CR 40, if even that. Take that how you will.

Putting numbers on deities isn't done for a reason. And that reason is someone will insist they killed a god in some game. Or trying to kill a god in *your* game when you have no intention of having deities enter it.

And gods are as powerful as the plot requires. Take for instance the Iron Gods AP. The end boss has divine powers, worshipers, and is on the verge of becoming a true god. If you follow his plan after you defeat him you can create an actual deity! And this is a CR 18 being.

Deities are everything you need them to be to keep the story interesting. You don't want them solving problems unless the problems are ruining your game. You want the players to feel that they accomplished everything. A little help is appreciated, and the feeling a deity is watching them and approves of their actions is great. The feeling the deity solved the big problems is disappointing. If Pharasma uses her divine powers to defeat the BBG in your game...why were your players even there? To get Prarasma to care enough to clean up your mess?

Before you involve a deity, figure out their role in the story. My personal feeling is its usually better to use something other than a god if the players are going to directly interact with the subject. Gods have other agents they can send to solve major problems, there is no reason they need a party of level 10 adventurers to take care of things. That changes if you are talking about level 20 adventurers but who plays at that level?


Meirril wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
The Archdevils that have stat blocks are legitimate threats to Asmodeus, according to lore. This means a CR 30 has the potential to beat a full deity. This probably means most deities are only a max of CR 40, if even that. Take that how you will.

Putting numbers on deities isn't done for a reason. And that reason is someone will insist they killed a god in some game. Or trying to kill a god in *your* game when you have no intention of having deities enter it.

And gods are as powerful as the plot requires. Take for instance the Iron Gods AP. The end boss has divine powers, worshipers, and is on the verge of becoming a true god. If you follow his plan after you defeat him you can create an actual deity! And this is a CR 18 being.

Deities are everything you need them to be to keep the story interesting. You don't want them solving problems unless the problems are ruining your game. You want the players to feel that they accomplished everything. A little help is appreciated, and the feeling a deity is watching them and approves of their actions is great. The feeling the deity solved the big problems is disappointing. If Pharasma uses her divine powers to defeat the BBG in your game...why were your players even there? To get Prarasma to care enough to clean up your mess?

Before you involve a deity, figure out their role in the story. My personal feeling is its usually better to use something other than a god if the players are going to directly interact with the subject. Gods have other agents they can send to solve major problems, there is no reason they need a party of level 10 adventurers to take care of things. That changes if you are talking about level 20 adventurers but who plays at that level?

I don’t think you actually read Iron Gods. I just spent 5 minutes skimming it, and it says Casandalee only becomes a demigod. All demigods are CR 30 or lower for as long as they remain a demigod. They are not full deities. But demigods have the ability to threaten full deities, like the Archdevils to Asmodeus. This is a fact. It is also a fact that anything above CR 40 would be impossible to be threatened by a CR 30, so that means full deities are usually CR 40 or lower. There are exceptions, yes, like Rovagug, but those are not the norm.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
It is also a fact that anything above CR 40 would be impossible to be threatened by a CR 30, so that means full deities are usually CR 40 or lower.

Something you make up is very much not a fact.


If we go to d&d 3.5 most of the gods are lv 40 whit 20 outsider and grater god have 60 lv whit 20 outsider plus all they divine power.
But a real god it's based in their divinity tier rank
If I pass a conversion of iomedae using the deities and demigod book she will be a paladin 20/ cleric 20/ champion 10(dual path hierophant) divinity rank 16


Rysky wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
It is also a fact that anything above CR 40 would be impossible to be threatened by a CR 30, so that means full deities are usually CR 40 or lower.
Something you make up is very much not a fact.

I didn’t make it up. Pathfinder has mechanics to it, you know. Some of those mechanics are how to create stronger monsters, known as monster advancement. And a CR 41+ will never lose against a CR 30 or lower.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
It is also a fact that anything above CR 40 would be impossible to be threatened by a CR 30, so that means full deities are usually CR 40 or lower.
Something you make up is very much not a fact.
I didn’t make it up. Pathfinder has mechanics to it, you know.

They do not, not stats for CR 40 creatures, nor stats for full on gods.

Building a hypothetical creature that is CR 40 from the monster building rules is pretty much irrelevant.


Reksew_Trebla wrote:


I don’t think you actually read Iron Gods. I just spent 5 minutes skimming it, and it says Casandalee only becomes a demigod. All demigods are CR 30 or lower for as long as they remain a demigod. They are not full deities. But demigods have the ability to threaten full deities, like the Archdevils to Asmodeus. This is a fact. It is also a fact that anything above CR 40 would be impossible to be threatened by a CR 30, so that means full deities are usually CR 40 or lower. There are exceptions, yes, like Rovagug, but those are not the norm.

Well, time to put up or shut up. Link to stats on demigods please.


It has been over a decade since I read and had my head wrapped around the 3.0/3.5 materials but as I recall the stats weren't for the actual deities but for their Avatars. Technically the deities still didn't have stats only the Avatars.

In any case creating stats for a CR 40 is highly subjective and as much art as anything. Where CR and creatures start to breakdown is widely different from one group to the next but by the time you hit 40th you are definitely into a realm of having to match the campaign and PCs to the creature and CR is a fairly abstract measurement and of value to basically only that campaign and group.

In short the "border" or "goalposts" are quite mobile as you get into the realm of Mythic or Epic type game play and what might be quite difficult for one group will be a cakewalk for another. And that's without considering whether the group has any desire to play in campaign where deities might be physically confronted and defeated by the PCs. Even in Mythic or Epic play where CR's well over 40 are envisioned and fought the deities themselves may or may not be 'on the table' as anything the group might face in direct combat where stats would be necessary.


Meirril wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:


I don’t think you actually read Iron Gods. I just spent 5 minutes skimming it, and it says Casandalee only becomes a demigod. All demigods are CR 30 or lower for as long as they remain a demigod. They are not full deities. But demigods have the ability to threaten full deities, like the Archdevils to Asmodeus. This is a fact. It is also a fact that anything above CR 40 would be impossible to be threatened by a CR 30, so that means full deities are usually CR 40 or lower. There are exceptions, yes, like Rovagug, but those are not the norm.

Well, time to put up or shut up. Link to stats on demigods please.

Uh, you expect me to waste time linking to evey single demigod that has stats? That’s like 10+ links. You aren’t helpless. Look up the demigods on the deity section on nethys and find the ones that say they have statblocks when you follow the link to the wiki.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Pretty sure Meirril meant to say Deities.

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