Pantheons of Golarion


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


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Will there ever be supplements deities not just as individuals, but rather as pantheons?

The Core deities are kind of a mish-mash of entities who have a few lines describing their relationships but not really in any greater detail than how "Shelyn and Zon-Kuthon are siblings" or "Asmodeus and Sarenrae hate each other but both hate Rovagug more". There's also mentions of how Torag is a dwarf god, Calistria is an elf god, and Aroden (RIP) is a human god. But we rarely see any complex groupings of deities based on origin, or by the cultures of their worshipers. The only true Pantheons (as in, a family or otherwise related group of deities worshiped by followers as a whole) are the orc pantheon orcs, the Azlanti pantheon, and the Archdevils of Hell in Cheliax.

If you look at mythology in real life and in many other settings, cultures have unique and distinct groupings of gods that they pay respect to, and while priests might serve only one god at a time, most members of the population will give prayer to different gods depending on the situation. Forgotten Realms is a big example, which has a pantheon for each core race plus several human pantheons by ethnicity. In a world where these gods really do exist, the same gods can even appear in multiple pantheons under different names and take on varied cultural affectations while keeping their alignment and core tenets.

In Golarion, as complex as the cultures and histories are, we never really see cultures grouping gods together in thematic sets barring rare exceptions. Even characters who are not divine casters are usually presented as devotees of singular gods rather than following a polytheistic religion.

Since we're getting Gods and Magic soon, is there any chance of seeing things like the elf pantheon, the dwarf pantheon, the Varisian pantheon, the Ulfen pantheon, etc? It would certainly flesh out religion as a whole for each culture, as well as the relationships between gods.


I could have sworn in 1e there we're dwarven panethons and elven pantheons. I also know that the various setting books( which are still canon to 2e) have greater imnformation between the various dynamics of the core dieties. Some that if you examine it actualy leads ro a complex strings of affairs, romances,and even potnetial children.

I mean, if we look at the worlds oldest rpg most recent offering it offers even less in terms of information about each god in its core rules

Paizo Employee Developer

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You'll get to see a few of these in Gods and Magic. The handful of pantheons will even have rules for worshipping them, which will allow GMs to build their own pantheons using the existing ones as a guideline.


pixierose wrote:
I could have sworn in 1e there we're dwarven panethons and elven pantheons.

There were...a few.

Luis Loza wrote:
You'll get to see a few of these in Gods and Magic. The handful of pantheons will even have rules for worshipping them, which will allow GMs to build their own pantheons using the existing ones as a guideline.

Will we see the return of the Osirion pantheon? (Will we see other myths like Greek or Norse?)

Silver Crusade

I remember that most of the dwarven gods in Inner Sea Gods were related to Torag somehow. But other than that, there weren't a lot of strong connections that I remember. But I also didn't read it cover to cover - just used it as a general reference when making dozens of PFS characters and looking for oddball deities to worship instead of the standards.


Other them the elven, the dwarven and the orc pantheons, there're also the following:

- The Goblin Hero Gods
- The Four.
- The Heavenly Court in Tian Xia, with Shizuru as their leader.
- The giants have their own set of gods, but I don't known if they are a pantheon or something more akin to the core deities relation.
- The Elders are close to a pantheon to, I guess.
- The elemental lords? They - the evil ones - did work together at some point to defeat their good rivals.


I kind of imagine pantheons would be different based on which city-state or country you live in. With each pantheon have several shared members, or even the same members but a different order of importance.

In short, I don't think pantheons are very common at the divine level (courts of gods sharing a realm would be uncommon), but the average person probably turns to a list of deities depending on what they're praying for.

Paizo Employee Developer

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scary harpy wrote:
Will we see the return of the Osirion pantheon? (Will we see other myths like Greek or Norse?)

The plan is to include the ancient Osirion pantheon with the basic rules required for their worship (alignment, domains, edicts, anathema, etc.). There's no current plans to include the Greek or Norse gods, but never say never!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Luis Loza wrote:
scary harpy wrote:
Will we see the return of the Osirion pantheon? (Will we see other myths like Greek or Norse?)
The plan is to include the ancient Osirion pantheon with the basic rules required for their worship (alignment, domains, edicts, anathema, etc.). There's no current plans to include the Greek or Norse gods, but never say never!

Yay! Sekhmet!


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Garretmander wrote:

I kind of imagine pantheons would be different based on which city-state or country you live in. With each pantheon have several shared members, or even the same members but a different order of importance.

In short, I don't think pantheons are very common at the divine level (courts of gods sharing a realm would be uncommon), but the average person probably turns to a list of deities depending on what they're praying for.

Gods can be interpreted differently depending on culture. In the Forgotten Realms, Lathander and Amanautor are respectively the Neutral Good and Lawful Neutral aspects of the same Lawful Good sun god, each with their own cults and followers. So in Golarion, I would expect something similar for the same god in different pantheons. Dwarves who worship Abadar for instance might give him a different name and consider him a member of the dwarven pantheon, tying many of his deeds with those of Torag, while those in Tian Xia might see Abadar as a member of the Heavenly Court and call him by hia Tien name.


Frogliacci wrote:
Gods can be interpreted differently depending on culture. In the Forgotten Realms, Lathander and Amanautor are respectively the Neutral Good and Lawful Neutral aspects of the same Lawful Good sun god, each with their own cults and followers. So in Golarion, I would expect something similar for the same god in different pantheons. Dwarves who worship Abadar for instance might give him a different name and consider him a member of the dwarven pantheon, tying many of his deeds with those of Torag, while those in Tian Xia might see Abadar as a member of the Heavenly Court and call him by his Tien name.

Abadar is still called Abadar in Tian Xia. The only thing that's changed is his epithet/title: in Tian Xia, he is the God of Walls & Ditches. The same is true for Desna (the Resplendent Goddess of Fortune, the Goddess of the North Star), Pharasma (Mother of Souls), Lamashtu (Grandmother Nightmare), Irori (Iro-Shu*, the Enlightened One), and Shelyn (The Lady of Chrysanthemums). Also, all evidence (at least, in PF1) seems to indicate that this is the case in other regions of Golarion (deity names & symbols don't change, but epithets do, & their areas of concerns may be tweaked).

Not particularly realistic nor something that works for everyone, but that is how it has been handled in Pathfinder.

It is possible that things could change in 2E!
However, it's also very unlikely...

*:
Irori is one of two deities (not counting semi-canon composites like Shimye-Magalla = Desna+Gozreh) that I could find that does have a different name in another culture, albeit just a variant spelling.
The other is Shelyn, who is known as Syriss among storm giants.

If I 've missed any other deity that is known by a different name (not just a variant spelling) in PF1, let me know!

<edit> Oh! I forgot about Zon-Kuthon, who was known as Dou-Bral before his change. But really, the two names practically represent two different deities (& there are also curious hints scattered about that seem to imply that they may not even be the same deity!).


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Seventh Seal wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
Gods can be interpreted differently depending on culture. In the Forgotten Realms, Lathander and Amanautor are respectively the Neutral Good and Lawful Neutral aspects of the same Lawful Good sun god, each with their own cults and followers. So in Golarion, I would expect something similar for the same god in different pantheons. Dwarves who worship Abadar for instance might give him a different name and consider him a member of the dwarven pantheon, tying many of his deeds with those of Torag, while those in Tian Xia might see Abadar as a member of the Heavenly Court and call him by his Tien name.

Abadar is still called Abadar in Tian Xia. The only thing that's changed is his epithet/title: in Tian Xia, he is the God of Walls & Ditches. The same is true for Desna (the Resplendent Goddess of Fortune, the Goddess of the North Star), Pharasma (Mother of Souls), Lamashtu (Grandmother Nightmare), Irori (Iro-Shu*, the Enlightened One), and Shelyn (The Lady of Chrysanthemums). Also, all evidence (at least, in PF1) seems to indicate that this is the case in other regions of Golarion (deity names & symbols don't change, but epithets do, & their areas of concerns may be tweaked).

Not particularly realistic nor something that works for everyone, but that is how it has been handled in Pathfinder.

It is possible that things could change in 2E!
However, it's also very unlikely...

** spoiler omitted **

If I 've missed any other deity that is known by a different name (not just a variant spelling) in PF1, let me know!

<edit> Oh! I forgot about Zon-Kuthon, who was known as Dou-Bral before his change....

Different regions in Golarion have their own naming conventions, and there isn't really any indication of any "divine tongue" by which Gods are named. If anything it would make much more sense for deities to introduce themselves to their mortal followers by names that are meaningful in their native language.

It doesn't take a whole lot to give evocative alternate names to deities on top of titles (eg Minkaians could call Desna by the name Hokkyokusei, which means North Star in Japanese; without the deity herself being any different in domain). It would certainly work to encourage roleplay and add a ton of regional flavor to the world. It was always weird seeing mentions of say, Pharasma, alongside gods with vastly different naming conventions in a tribal shrine. Like, can these people even pronounce "Pharasma"?


I'm not disagreeing with your original premise or with the fact that different regions do have their own naming conventions & so would have different names for the same deity.

Spoiler:
I actually agree! As a result, my groups' personal setting has something like 1,700 "deities"... (^。^')
(Only about 600 of those are actually different entities, of which only 500 or so are still "active".)

However, that is not how it was handled in Pathfinder 1E (for the most part).

Perhaps it'll be different in 2E?

<shrug>

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Not giving deities different names in different regions was a conscious and deliberate choice on my part. In Pathifnder, the deities are not vague ideas, philosophical myths, or faceless what-ifs. They are actual beings with appearances and personalities. Their faiths might behave slightly differently in different parts of different worlds, but the deities themselves don't change depending on where someone is on a planet. Abadar is still Abadar, whether he's worshiped on Avistan or Tian-Xia or Verces or Earth.

By not changing his name in each area, the intention is to drive home that fact to us readers that they're the same. I didn't want to imply that their faiths could be so different that they'd have different goals or even different alignments in other parts of the world.

As another anthology... my name remains James Jacobs whether or not I am here in Washington, travel to Japan or Russia or Antarctica, and whether or not someone reads what I wrote anywhere in the world.

I get it that some folks would have preferred having the same deity have different names in different areas... but that's confusing and diminishes the theme of those deities in my opinion, and defeats the purpose of having "familiar touchstones" in a new setting.


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James Jacobs wrote:

Not giving deities different names in different regions was a conscious and deliberate choice on my part. In Pathifnder, the deities are not vague ideas, philosophical myths, or faceless what-ifs. They are actual beings with appearances and personalities. Their faiths might behave slightly differently in different parts of different worlds, but the deities themselves don't change depending on where someone is on a planet. Abadar is still Abadar, whether he's worshiped on Avistan or Tian-Xia or Verces or Earth.

By not changing his name in each area, the intention is to drive home that fact to us readers that they're the same. I didn't want to imply that their faiths could be so different that they'd have different goals or even different alignments in other parts of the world.

As another anthology... my name remains James Jacobs whether or not I am here in Washington, travel to Japan or Russia or Antarctica, and whether or not someone reads what I wrote anywhere in the world.

I get it that some folks would have preferred having the same deity have different names in different areas... but that's confusing and diminishes the theme of those deities in my opinion, and defeats the purpose of having "familiar touchstones" in a new setting.

No one is arguing that the gods change in portfolio or alignment based on region. Rather, the argument is that MORTALS would portray those themes differently in rituals and artistic depictions, as well as put greater or lesser emphasis on them, depending on culture.

As for names, I'd like to think that gods are much, MUCH greater than even the greatest of mortals and outsiders, who in many works of fiction take on different names based on language simply to denote their broad range of concerns. Take Gandalf, for instance, who would probably be a Good native outsider by Pathfinder rules. He is named Olorin in the tongue of the Valar and Maiar; Mithrandir in Elvish; and Gandalf the Grey (later White) in the tongue of Men. None of these different names change his identity or themes, nor make him unfamiliar. But what it does is to indicate that he's widely known across many cultures. And on the topic of mortals -- back when Europe was ruled by a big messed up extended family of Royals, the names of these rulers indeed changed depending on where they were. Catherine the Great, for instance, was called Yekaterina Alekseyevna in Russia. The Germans of her birthplace called her Katharina, and her birth name was Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst.

I don't see how that would differ for Golarion's gods. Not everyone is going to be able to pronounce the Inner Sea names of core deities, or be concerned in their domains in the same way. Gods and their emmissaries want to appear familiar to mortals (at least the ones that care); so it's less that mortals invent different versions of these beings and more that they way they discover these gods should somehow play into their own cultures.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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ALL THIS SAID... Luis and I just figured out some neat stuff for pantheons and how clerics fit in there! Looking forward to seeing how folks react, but looking even MORE forward to how this might open up design space for new pantheons in the setting...

...such as the Cosmic Caravan!


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James Jacobs wrote:

ALL THIS SAID... Luis and I just figured out some neat stuff for pantheons and how clerics fit in there! Looking forward to seeing how folks react, but looking even MORE forward to how this might open up design space for new pantheons in the setting...

...such as the Cosmic Caravan!

All things considered, that sounds excellent.


Some basic information on pantheons were in the 1E book Faiths and Philosophies. Not a lot of info on them, though there is a feat for people who worship one.


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Frogliacci wrote:
He is named Olorin in the tongue of the Valar and Maiar; Mithrandir in Elvish; and Gandalf the Grey (later White) in the tongue of Men.

Consider it translation convention then. Writing "Whosywhatsit (who those other people call Whatsisname)" takes up words that could be better used elsewhere.

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