Few / no gods in the Mwangi Expanse?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

1 to 50 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

I’m plugging away at making a little primer to the region, and one thing that’s surprised me as I’ve scraped various lore sources is that there’s almost no standard faiths in the gods like you see in the rest of the world. The default seems to overwhelming be what I suppose would be Green Faith plus ancestor worship, with notable exceptions being the followers of Shimye-Magalla (a Bonuwat ethnic faith, believed by some Avistani to be a syncretic cult of Desna and Gozreh) and the Jambala Jaeg (who are, notably, all dead as of the modern day) being devotees of Pharasma. You get worship of the Empyreal Lords over in Holomog and the Anadi faith in their patron Grandmother Spider, but both are arguably outside of the Expanse and into Southern Garund, and either way are pretty clearly distinct from the common tribal structure.

Am I missing anything? Is this intentional? It’s making advice for Clerics and Champions in the region a little tough, though part of me enjoys the idea of those classes being scarce and others (Druids, Barbarians, Witches, Oracles) being more prominent in their place.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I feel like we need official caster and martial support for shamanic religious traditions to make this work. The Cleric and the Champion classes in the CRB are just too limiting.

I like "here is our roster of gods" not being a thing for every place.

Dark Archive

The bat people at least worshipped Eavsiri(sp? That sun eagle god) and that dead bat demon lord Nocticula killed.

Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The area seems barely developed, as far as religion goes.

There's that Desna/Gozreh syncretist mashup of Shimye-Magallah (sp?), but I don't know if that's ever going to be developed, or, more likely, retconned away, because they don't want to deal with the idea of Clerics of syncretist faiths, or anything that isn't one singular god and their individual Clerics. Sort of a marriage is one man and one woman dealie, but Cleric is restricted to one god and one mortal, no exceptions, no pantheons or syncretisms or non-theistic faiths / philosophies (at least, not for Clerics, since that's a sacred cow (pun intended) that's managed to outlive the 'only LG gods can have holy warriors' stuff, despite walking on a road paved with fallen sacred cows like 'rangers must be good' or 'humans can't multiclass' or 'dwarves can't use arcane magic' or 'you have to duel the current title holder to advance as a monk or druid' or 'barbarians can't use magic items'). And now I've said 'sacred cow' too much, and want a burger. :)

I'd love to see more A) unique Mwangi gods and Empyreals (and fiendish Demon Lords, etc. like Angazahn), and B) more Mwangi-flavored takes on standard big 20 gods, like a version of Erastil who is more about the hunt, or maintenance of herds, ethnically Mwangi, dressed appropriately, and has the head of an antelope or okapi.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder

I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
pjrogers wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.

Understandable, might I ask what the proper alternative is? As a generally annoying Sociology guy I want to be sure to get my nomenclature right, and improve the way I talk about others. My gut instinct says go with the general "Peoples of Mwangi" but my gut also likes gas station burritos so.....

Dark Archive

pjrogers wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.

I was honestly thinking of literal lizardfolk tribes though <_<;

(because literally all Gozreh worshippers I can think of from top of my head are iruxi)


CorvusMask wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.

I was honestly thinking of literal lizardfolk tribes though <_<;

(because literally all Gozreh worshippers I can think of from top of my head are iruxi)

Neither the Storm Kindlers in the Sodden Lands nor the Bonuwat who worship Shimye-Magalla (who some think is Gozreh, or him and Desna combined) are Iruxi!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Winkie_Phace wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.
Understandable, might I ask what the proper alternative is? As a generally annoying Sociology guy I want to be sure to get my nomenclature right, and improve the way I talk about others. My gut instinct says go with the general "Peoples of Mwangi" but my gut also likes gas station burritos so.....

"Communities," "ethnic groups," "peoples," "nations," etc - whatever seems best for the group of folks you're describing. I guess a good general rule of thumb is "how would you talk about Europeans." For example, the phrase "French nation" is commonly used but no one would say "French tribe."

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I think talking about small groups living in a tribal social system (which are a very real thing) as tribal groups or tribal people is entirely reasonable.

That doesn't mean non-tribal peoples are in any way superior to tribal peoples, but the social systems are quite different and that seems worth noting.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
pjrogers wrote:
Winkie_Phace wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.
Understandable, might I ask what the proper alternative is? As a generally annoying Sociology guy I want to be sure to get my nomenclature right, and improve the way I talk about others. My gut instinct says go with the general "Peoples of Mwangi" but my gut also likes gas station burritos so.....
"Communities," "ethnic groups," "peoples," "nations," etc - whatever seems best for the group of folks you're describing. I guess a good general rule of thumb is "how would you talk about Europeans." For example, the phrase "French nation" is commonly used but no one would say "French tribe."

Partly because the Franks had established a settled civilization by the time they started calling themselves French. If you go back far enough, you probably could find a time when it would be proper to refer to Frankish tribes.

And there are a few modern peoples who refer to themselves as members of particular tribes, even if they do live in settled communities.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Gozreh seems to be common god for tribal people in pathfinder in general. I think its because druids seems to be more common for tribes than clerics in pathfinder
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.

I was honestly thinking of literal lizardfolk tribes though <_<;

(because literally all Gozreh worshippers I can think of from top of my head are iruxi)

Neither the Storm Kindlers in the Sodden Lands nor the Bonuwat who worship Shimye-Magalla (who some think is Gozreh, or him and Desna combined) are Iruxi!

I was thinking of the Mireborn lizardfolk from ire of the storm ^_^;


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am really excited to see playable Iruxi for the sake of Mwangi campaigns, honestly. The wait for orcs, catfolk, aasimar, and tieflings (who all have places in the region) hurts.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:

I think talking about small groups living in a tribal social system (which are a very real thing) as tribal groups or tribal people is entirely reasonable.

That doesn't mean non-tribal peoples are in any way superior to tribal peoples, but the social systems are quite different and that seems worth noting.

I say this not to be a problem, but what is a "tribal social system?" it's not a term that anyone I know in African studies or anthropology would ever use. Do you mean rural subsistence communities that aren't integrated into a larger social, political, and economic structure? If so, those are few and far between, at least in the context of Africa. What were often (are still sometimes) labelled as tribes were often large, complex societies with a significant degree of urbanization, highly developed state systems, and extensive internal and external trade links.

It's a term with a lot of baggage and a very problematic history, and that's why I'd encourage folks to be wary of using it.


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

I would go with whatever the people in question want you to call their social organization. I could easily see a relatively high tech civilization referring to themselves as a tribe or a relatively low tech civilization referring to themselves as a nation -- or either one insisting that you use their untranslated word for their social organization.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
pjrogers wrote:
I say this not to be a problem, but what is a "tribal social system?" it's not a term that anyone I know in African studies or anthropology would ever use. Do you mean rural subsistence communities that aren't integrated into a larger social, political, and economic structure?

What I mean is a trifle more complicated than that, actually. A tribal society is one in which the primary loyalty is to the tribe (as defined by definition 1a here), where there is no built in social and legal system that prioritizes something else over the tribe.

Now that primarily occurs in rural subsistence communities, yes. That doesn't mean they aren't integrated into larger social systems or structures in the strictest sense, though, merely that they are a separate community having only the kind of ties to other communities that a nation might have with other nations (ie: trade relationship, cold wars, treaties, etc.), rather than some sort of laws that place them as part of the same legal entity, or anything like that.

To put it another way, tribal society is effectively a bunch of mini-nations each composed of one tribe (again by the above definition) and each no bigger than a handful of villages (and mostly the size of a village), that form one society due to shared cultural values, beliefs, and intermarriage between different individual tribes rather than because they have some larger organizational structure.

The Celts were absolutely tribal at one point, as were some (though by no means all) Native Americans, as were almost all humans back when we were hunter gatherers. It is a very common for of human social organization, particularly, but by no means exclusively, at low technological levels (and, frankly, one I'd prefer to live in as compared to a lot of the others).

I didn't come up with this definition, for the record, this is pretty much how I've always seen that phrase used colloquially.

pjrogers wrote:
If so, those are few and far between, at least in the context of Africa. What were often (are still sometimes) labelled as tribes were often large, complex societies with a significant degree of urbanization, highly developed state systems, and extensive internal and external trade links.

They're fairly few in the context of Garund, too. Nex, Geb, Holomog, Osirion, and so on would all very much not be tribal societies by any reasonable definition. But they are common throughout large portions of the Mwangi Expanse very specifically. It is an area where tribal societies predominate.

pjrogers wrote:
It's a term with a lot of baggage and a very problematic history, and that's why I'd encourage folks to be wary of using it.

It's certainly a term capable of misuse, but I'm not sure what term you're suggesting as a replacement to refer to the collection of independent rural communities who identify primarily by their tribe in the Mwangi Expanse.

If it makes you feel better, the Land of the Mammoth Lords is also tribal, and is and should be referred to as such at least as much, so this is hardly restricted to the Africa-analogue.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:
I would go with whatever the people in question want you to call their social organization. I could easily see a relatively high tech civilization referring to themselves as a tribe or a relatively low tech civilization referring to themselves as a nation -- or either one insisting that you use their untranslated word for their social organization.

I'd be very leery of any group claiming itself to be a "tribe." I'd ask who is making this claim? In my experience, it usually elites (almost always male elites) seeking to control such communities. Who is included and excluded from such definitions of "tribe," and what is their attitude toward those who are excluded? In the worst case, elite-lead initiatives of tribal identity creation lead to horrific outbreaks of violence such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's certainly a term capable of misuse, but I'm not sure what term you're suggesting as a replacement to refer to the collection of independent rural communities who identify primarily by their tribe in the Mwangi Expanse.

The frequency that it has been, and continues to be, misused, is the reason that I'd prefer to avoid it.

In terms of our fictional Mwangi communities, Kellid peoples, and lizardfolk villages - we can call them "isolated villages," "nomadic hunter-gatherers," or "riverine fishing communities," all of which are more descriptive and potentially less pejorative.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
pjrogers wrote:
The frequency that it has been, and continues to be, misused, is the reason that I'd prefer to avoid it.

That's understandable, but frankly I think it's a bit late for that in terms of colloquial communication. The use of 'tribal' for isolated villages and the like has entered the popular lexicon and is not going away. Avoiding it in scientific discourse is useful and advisable but in normal conversation, I'm pretty sure it's here to stay and the best thing to do is clarify how narrow its applicability really is (going by my definition above, or something like it, and correcting people when they use it for things outside that definition).

pjrogers wrote:
In terms of our fictional Mwangi communities, Kellid peoples, and lizardfolk villages - we can call them "isolated villages," "nomadic hunter-gatherers," or "riverine fishing communities," all of which are more descriptive and potentially less pejorative.

Sure, and for a specific community you can do that, but all three of those types of community and a dozen more different kinds can all be found in the Mwangi Expanse. If I want to refer to all such communities collectively, which can be very useful, 'tribal peoples' or something like it is really the only overarching term that's at all useful.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.
pjrogers wrote:
I'm going to be potentially annoying African studies guy here and encourage folks to avoid using words such as "tribe" or "tribal," particularly in reference to Mwangi as it's pretty clearly Africa on Golarion. There has a problematic history of these terms being used to justify/excuse colonialism and its most recent manifestations.

Folks, if something like "using X word is problematic" comes up, it would be great if we could actively listen to the person who brought it up, and then alter behavior in the rest of the discussion as needed instead of try to justify ways in which you might construe a scenario where its still okay to use the word. Please roll with information that might be new to you, instead of derailing the thread into a semantics debate.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, the thread has a topic. I’d appreciate if we could, y’know, discuss that.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

The PF2 CRB is weirdly laser focused on "each person follows one god" when, realistically, religion (even in fiction) should be a lot more complex and nuanced than that.

Having there be shamanistic traditions, ancestor worship , animists, polytheists, pantheists, etc. right on the doorstep of the inner sea would go a long way towards giving religion verisimilitude.

Like, I get that "there's a cleric and they follow one god" is really easy to understand and is iconic to the whole family of D20 games, but when we're getting away from the "core rulebook" there's nothing we shouldn't be willing to change up. Like it's bizarre to say I can play a lizard person, a cat person, a crow person, a snake person, or a frog person but I absolutely cannot vary how this character expresses their faith from the "one person one god" model.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

The PF2 CRB is weirdly laser focused on "each person follows one god" when, realistically, religion (even in fiction) should be a lot more complex and nuanced than that.

Having there be shamanistic traditions, ancestor worship , animists, polytheists, pantheists, etc. right on the doorstep of the inner sea would go a long way towards giving religion verisimilitude.

Like, I get that "there's a cleric and they follow one god" is really easy to understand and is iconic to the whole family of D20 games, but when we're getting away from the "core rulebook" there's nothing we shouldn't be willing to change up. Like it's bizarre to say I can play a lizard person, a cat person, a crow person, a snake person, or a frog person but I absolutely cannot vary how this character expresses their faith from the "one person one god" model.

I feel like I heard something about Clerics who follow a Pantheon, but can’t remember where.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

if you have them, read the fiction found in Serpent's Skull. Minor Mwangi faiths take a role in that, with the minor goddess of Kitumu taking central plot role.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I think they've talked about hoping to highlight oracle's polytheistic nature this time around. Might explain why the cleric is so monotheistic.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Winkie_Phace wrote:
I think they've talked about hoping to highlight oracle's polytheistic nature this time around. Might explain why the cleric is so monotheistic.

While the Oracle/Cleric sort of those roles in PF1, and will again in PF2 what bothers me is that the Champion, as written, cannot be anything but a monotheist which was absolutely not the case with the Paladin in PF1.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeaaah, its definitely true that Heart of the Jungle was written from Sargavan perspective :P It doesn't actually tell a lot what local cultures are like or focus on them much.

(aka they really should do 2e mwangi book if region specific books still exists in 2e :p)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:

Yeaaah, its definitely true that Heart of the Jungle was written from Sargavan perspective :P It doesn't actually tell a lot what local cultures are like or focus on them much.

(aka they really should do 2e mwangi book if region specific books still exists in 2e :p)

It’s probably the 2e book I want the most.


not me. it would be the 3rd. campaign book, 2e's book of elves, hoj book .

or books if there ends up being more than 1 for each area outside of any adventure path.

ok it is at least the 3rd book......
though I'd prefer more on the Sodden LAnds.... and mostly because of what may be in that area in africa... but that is the rw and neither here nor there


I recall there being an Absalom book announced, I wonder if they intend to do setting books on each of the meta-regions in alphabetical order? It's just as likely it'll be random and the Absalom book is only because of the adventure path though


wasnt the first absalom book done first after the campaign book in 1e????

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The original absalom book was 3.5, they never did absalom related material in 1e as far as I can remember outside of brief mentions and pathfinder society scenarios


and so was the original campaign setting book..... then came pf1... then pf1 setting book....
but I did mean the 3.5 one


6 people marked this as a favorite.

The way Pathfinder does religion kinda makes it difficult to imitate... anything, actually. Correct me if I'm wrong but I can't actually think of any real world religions with a large number of deities with specific portfolios but where people tend to venerate one specific deity and a pantheistic approach to worship is largely unheard of.

I'm very interested to see how Paizo ends up doing the Oracle because the way it was done in PF1 doesn't really work for validating faiths like animism or ancestor worship as anything more than a misinterpretation of reality. In PF1 a nature oracle is still absolutely getting her powers from Gozreh or another specific deity with a name, and to state otherwise is simply false. The Shaman did a better job of doing the things Paizo seems to want the Oracle to do, so perhaps they'll just borrow some ideas from that class.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

No more about "tribes" and "tribalism" from me, though I did appreciate the opportunity to provide a perspective on these terms from my specific social science/African studies experience.

Returning to the topic of religion, at least one poster has mentioned syncretism which is very much part of the historical and contemporary African religious experience and could be a useful tool for understanding the spiritual lives of the peoples of Mwangi. In this context, oracles and shamans may be much more common than conventional clerics devoted to a single god as a number of folks have noted.

Thinking of champions in this context reminded me of Sundiata, a well known mytho-historical figure from West Africa. His life story is told in a famous epic that would make a great adventure path complete with an evil sorcerer antagonist.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

People keep talking like the pantheistic approach is nonexistent in Golarion. That's simply not true, and there've been a number of examples in various books of people praying to whatever God is most appropriate to their situation.

Now, the worship of one specific patron deity is also very common, perhaps more so than in any real world culture, and certainly more than most, but worship of multiple Gods is hardly unheard of.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Polytheistic!

Sorry, pantheism used as polytheism is my years long pet peevee ;-; It will continue until someone will convince me in English its okay to use pantheism like that(in finnish never heard pantheism used instead of polytheism)


Are the Udo Wengo Mwangi based? In their sparse rules inclusions I've never understood where or how they fit into the setting. The apparent voodoo inspiration made me guess Mwangi, but I don't know.

Liberty's Edge

CorvusMask wrote:

Polytheistic!

Sorry, pantheism used as polytheism is my years long pet peevee ;-; It will continue until someone will convince me in English its okay to use pantheism like that(in finnish never heard pantheism used instead of polytheism)

Polytheism is probably better in general, I'll admit. I was just going with the already used term.

That said as per definition #2 here, pantheism is also appropriate in this specific instance.

Xenocrat wrote:
Are the Udo Wengo Mwangi based? In their sparse rules inclusions I've never understood where or how they fit into the setting. The apparent voodoo inspiration made me guess Mwangi, but I don't know.

Do you mean the Wendo? That's a Mwangi belief system, yes.


Yes, that. I was misremembering a medium archetype based on that belief system, the Uda Wendo.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
People keep talking like the pantheistic approach is nonexistent in Golarion.

It's mostly (currently) discouraged by the rules. In the lore we have a whole bunch of things going on, but the character sheet (and the rulebook) presumes you're going to write down one thing in the "Deity" field.

I *really* hope we don't just start treating "Animism" or "Shamanism" or "Rivethun" or "Wendo" as filling the same kind of mechanical hole as "deity" with an anathema and everything.


Probably a lot of demigods, you know, empyrean lords, archfiends, etc...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

According to the LOWG, of the major deities the most commonly worshipped are Abadar, Calistria, Gozreh, Norgorber, Sarenrae, and Shelyn.


Darth Game Master wrote:
According to the LOWG, of the major deities the most commonly worshipped are Abadar, Calistria, Gozreh, Norgorber, Sarenrae, and Shelyn.

I think most of those are colonial; Norgorber is almost certainly in Bloodcove, and Shelyn was one of the favorites of the Sargavans. It’s also weird to see Desna not make the cut there, given that the Bonuwat worship her and Gozreh together.

1 to 50 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Lost Omens Campaign Setting / General Discussion / Few / no gods in the Mwangi Expanse? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.