What Constitutes a "Patron Diety"


Rules Discussion


I was looking at the Godless Healing feat. It requires that you do not have a Patron Diety.

I have a rogue character that worships a god. He doesn't get spells or any other game benefits, but he does definitely worship.

Does that count as a patron Diety?

Horizon Hunters

Here I think further clues can be found by looking a bit closer at the actual Lost Omen's world guide.

If you look at the feat itself it says the prerequisites to learning it are Battle Medicine and not having a patron deity (we can find out that much through Nethys) and then you combine this with the information on the nation of Rahadoum and we get this entry in a page or two before they lay out the details of the skill: "All forms of deity worship are outlawed in Rahadoum. Possession of holy texts or symbols can result in heavy fines or exile, while preaching within its borders is punished by imprisonment or worse. With the exception of clerics and others who channel the gods’ power, however, religious visitors are still welcome to trade in the ports or study in the nation’s esteemed universities, so long as they do not proselytize or conduct religious rituals while there. "

Taking those two pieces of information together I would say that it is possible for someone trained in battle medicine and who did not use their god for healing spells to be able and permitted to learn Rahadoum techniques (provided they had the good sense to keep their faith mostly private while learning).

Sovereign Court

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I don't agree. I think worshiping and having a patron deity are pretty much the same thing.


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So there's nothing magical about "Godless healing". It's mostly to represent that Rahadoum, without divine magic, has developed more advanced medical technology and theory than the rest of the world.

There's nothing saying that you can't learn advanced medical techniques and theory if you worship a god, but as a GM I would want to know the story of "how a non-Rahadoumi traveled to Rahadoum and convinced them to teach an outsider their medicine."


Ok. Looks like it's not just me. Patron Deity isn't actually defined anywhere. At this point it looks like any distinction is just a judgement call.


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After doing some crossreading I do think in order to count as a patron deity the deity in question needs to have a "mechanical" connection to the character, e.g. granting spells or powers.

This is more obvious for Cleric and Champions, however the reason I do believe this is the case is because of the side text example on page 237, where Shelyn is mentioned as the patron goddess of Lem, the bard doing the performance, so Lem must have chosen her as his Maestro muse and thus gained the Lingering Composition feat and the soothe spell.

The gods must be interested in you to be your patron, not the other way round, so I think simple worship is not enough.


Ubertron_X wrote:


The gods must be interested in you to be your patron, not the other way round

That was how I was viewing it.


I would normally rule that a patron deity is a deity that actually gives you class features or some other benefit (because that is sort of what patron means), but in this case, it feels slightly like exploiting a loophole to take the godless healing feat while worshipping a god - it seems like instead of having a zero-sugar healer they are getting a diet cleric (I am not sure how to articulate that clearly)


Tender Tendrils wrote:
I would normally rule that a patron deity is a deity that actually gives you class features or some other benefit (because that is sort of what patron means), but in this case, it feels slightly like exploiting a loophole to take the godless healing feat while worshipping a god - it seems like instead of having a zero-sugar healer they are getting a diet cleric (I am not sure how to articulate that clearly)

I know what you mean, however I truely think that in addition to rolepaying considerations the intention of the restriction in not to stack extra healing power on characters that already have extra healing power. Clerics have extra heals, Champions have Lay on Hands and the Bard in the example adds Soothe to his spell list for free (an extra spell known, no extra application though).

Though I have to admit lines get a little blurred when it comes to druids or sorcerers (angelic atheist anyone?) who can probably pick up this feat without beating a sweat.

Sovereign Court

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After a bit of research I'm changing my position.

The CRB doesn't give a definition of "patron" but worship is fairly clear; worship is being a serious committed believer who obeys the edicts and anathemas of a deity and fits within the alignment spectrum the deity likes. Worship is required to gain any kind of mechanical benefit from a god.

Pathfinder Society does define things a bit more, and considering that those rules have been hammered out over the last decade I think that they're also present in the thinking of the main game designers (though, not explicit rules).

In the glossary a distinction is drawn between "worshiping" a deity and "revering" a deity. Revering is basically flavor, worshiping is required to gain mechanical benefits of any kind.

The Godless Healing feat requires "no patron". I think it's reasonable to say that a patron relation involves you actually getting something from the deity, and therefore corresponds with worship, not revering.

This also fits with the Rahadoumi First Law: "Let no man be beholden to a god". If you're not gaining mechanical benefits from a god you're not beholden.

So, it's a bit wider than just "don't be a cleric or champion", because you also can't gain Godless Healing if you have a feat that requires worshiping a deity.

TL;DR -

The rogue in the OP's post could revere a god without worshiping it, because he gains no mechanical benefits. And thus can qualify for Godless Healing.


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Sorry Ascalaphus, you were right the first time.

The 'deity' slot on a character sheet isn't class specific. There's nothing about gaining a mechanical benefit to put it there. If you have a deity, you're in trouble when it comes to this feat.

This is supported by the sidebar on page 237 of the CRB which mentions Lem's patron deity. Lem is a bard though and bards have no class features directly requiring the worship of a deity. By the argument of many people in this thread, he couldn't have a patron deity. He clearly does, though.

This is also consistent with the literal concept of a patron deity too, which is about the deity that someone in a pantheistic religion chooses to associate with and revere primarily. Nothing about necessarily being the recipient of direct divine intervention.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
So there's nothing magical about "Godless healing". It's mostly to represent that Rahadoum, without divine magic, has developed more advanced medical technology and theory than the rest of the world.

Does it though? A cleric who was trained in Absalom using Treat Wounds on you while you're unconscious heals 5 additional HP with no input or interaction from you. If you, instead, heal the cleric (or anyone else) Godless Healing has no benefit whatsoever.

That's clearly not just you having special training, because it doesn't require any activity on your part. The feat also potentially stops working suddenly if you gain a patron deity (maybe, the rules on prerequisites are a bit fuzzy but that appears to be the intent).

If the feat was just about you being better trained, it'd improve healing you perform, not healing performed on you. Instead, your lack of faith simply gives you a boon when it comes to receiving medical treatment from anyone. That doesn't sound like 'nothing magical' to me.

Quote:
There's nothing saying that you can't learn advanced medical techniques and theory if you worship a god

Other than the feat's prerequisite.


It is a weird feat thematically, it only applies to yourself rather than to others which suggests more of a boon from not worshiping gods than a better knowledge of healing.

My head cannon will explain it as a sort of ki/personal will type ability that comes from a greater sense of self/existence.

Or maybe a mutagenic style medicinal treatment that has had a long term effect on a character. The non worshiping element being enforced by those administering or some form of disconnection from the gods that causes it to simply not work on those who have ties to the gods.

-shrugs-

No easy solution sadly.


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Considering this feat comes from the land of the atheists, I'd be pretty strict about characters who worship a specific deity taking this feat.

If your character pays lip service to a deity/handful of deities, sure, take the feat.

If your character visits a shrine/church/whatever of a specific god regularly, no.

Horizon Hunters

A boon/magic from not worshipping a god doesn't make sense. Where would such a boon come from?

To me it reads as not magic but knowledge of techniques to aid in your own recovery process (breathing techniques, meditation, etc). This seems in line with the prerequisite Battle Medicine knowledge. The Lost Omens book also specifically stated that religious individuals that do not use divine magic or preach are permitted to study and learn in that nation.


Few who have read my posts are likely to be surprised at this (considering just how immersionist I can be), but/and I think Pathfinder could get clearer on what the meta-concept of "patron deity" means in-universe.

Is it something like the Catholic view of patron saints, where it is someone you or related to you choose to have you focus your reverence upon (some of us just choose a patron saint cuz we like them/they're applicable to us; some of us treat our name or baptismal or confirmation name or some combination thereof as determining our patrons)?

Is it closer to the Afro-Diasporic (and maybe Yoruba/Dahomey/Kikongo ~ I know less about the African versions of these religions than their Western Hemispheric descendants) idea of a lwa/orixa being "on your head"? Something that essentially everyone has but that is a choice on a part of the divine entity rather than the human practitioner?

The Mesopotamian concept of a personal deity can be similar to both of the previous or some combination thereof. The Nahua/Aztec idea of the name-day can carry something similar to the Afro-Diasporic idea, in that each day is ruled by a specific teotl who can be treated as having special influence in the person's life.

Or maybe it's more like a Greco-Roman mystery cult-like thing ~ do a particular (often very intense) ritual and magically forge a specific connection between you and the theos, deus, heroon, daimon, or other entity central to that ritual? In which case, someone might have several patron deities within the larger pantheon which receives their worship.

Many of these come with vows and taboos that serve as analogues of the semi-mechanical idea of edicts and anathemas (though they can sometimes get more specific, such as needing to always sleep on clean, fresh, new sheets or not being able to wear a certain color or eat certain foods).

Likely, the meta-concept of patron deity includes all of these. But then the question still remains ~ for thaumaturgical/theological/cosmological reasons do all of these block the whatever it is that Godless Healing represents from working? In which case there might be entire cultures prevented from taking the feat..... Or do some of these views of patron deity get past the Rahadoumi insistence on atheism/freedom from the gods?


Well I don't know about Godless healing but the follow up feat requires you to follow the Laws of Mortality and it's primary tenet is "Let no mortal be beholden to a god." So at least for going that far (and arguably even the first feat being from the same culture) I would say no god what so ever.

Liberty's Edge

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Honestly, this seems like the simple addition of "context" words to help further point to the Deity box on your Character Sheet as being an actual mechanical choice that was made instead of what it is for 90% of Characters, that being a flavor text box.

The way I read it if you put any deity or god in that place on your Character Sheet you will not be able to take the feat.

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