Benefits of casting on holy ground


Rules Questions


Hi guys,

I will be running a scenario soon where the adventurers fight an Evil priest in his temple. Now specifically this is even in the presence of his god.

Are there any rules that influence magic if you are in a temple or sacred place?


DESECRATE or UNHALLOW are probably good places to start.

We can give you more information if you tell us:

What deity does the evil priest worship?

What class is the evil priest?

What level is the evil priest?

What level is the party?

Regarding the god being "present", Paizo doesn't stat full deities, they're too powerful. Specifically their power is in the realm of "plot" meaning it's entirely up to the GM to decide how powerful they are. Given that they can automatically prevent interplanar travel in their vicinity (eg. Free action on someone else's turn to automatically counterspell a 7th level spell cast across planar boundaries) they should be able 5o affect the PCs a lot ... unless "plot" happens.

Dark Archive

The presence of the god, who, hopefully, is slumbering, or otherwise not actively helping, for whatever reason, could result in the cleric being able to pray for spells 'on the spot.' Say, take a round to beseech the (slumbering?) god for power, lay hands on it's body, or touchstone, or the altar built over it's resting place, or whatever, and bang, all spells refreshed (and possibly swapped out for new ones), as if he'd slept for eight hours and then prayed for an hour. All in one full round action, in a specific location. (To give the PCs a way to block him from getting to this place.)

This would be insanely powerful out of combat, but in combat, he's still only going to be casting one spell a round (maybe two, if he can use Quicken spell and has any low enough level spells worth Quickening...), and have a normal cleric's worth of hit points, AC, etc. so it's not like he can't be beaten down, or silenced, or whatever. He's just got staying power for days, and outside of combat, can cast ridiculous numbers of spells (so avoid giving him dozens of minions he could cast all the long-duration buffs upon, as that could get ridiculous fast, both ridiculously unbalanced, and ridiculous amounts of math you have to do!).


Set wrote:

The presence of the god, who, hopefully, is slumbering, or otherwise not actively helping, for whatever reason, could result in the cleric being able to pray for spells 'on the spot.' Say, take a round to beseech the (slumbering?) god for power, lay hands on it's body, or touchstone, or the altar built over it's resting place, or whatever, and bang, all spells refreshed (and possibly swapped out for new ones), as if he'd slept for eight hours and then prayed for an hour. All in one full round action, in a specific location. (To give the PCs a way to block him from getting to this place.)

This would be insanely powerful out of combat, but in combat, he's still only going to be casting one spell a round (maybe two, if he can use Quicken spell and has any low enough level spells worth Quickening...), and have a normal cleric's worth of hit points, AC, etc. so it's not like he can't be beaten down, or silenced, or whatever. He's just got staying power for days, and outside of combat, can cast ridiculous numbers of spells (so avoid giving him dozens of minions he could cast all the long-duration buffs upon, as that could get ridiculous fast, both ridiculously unbalanced, and ridiculous amounts of math you have to do!).

I think this is a cool idea, but I think it should probably carry a penalty with it. Having so much knowledge suddenly crammed into your head should cause temporary mental damage (probably wisdom or intelligence) that can't be healed via magic. Perhaps this has driven the cleric insane.


For the evil temple Unhallow works best. This will prevent the party from summoning good creatures, and give any evil creatures the benefit on protection from good. If you choose silence for the spell to fix to the site it has a chance to shut down the parties spell casters if they are not aware of it. Another option would be a dispel magic targeted to anyone not of the deities religion

Be careful about over using the presence of the evil deity. In Pathfinder deities are plot devices so can do just about anything the GM wants. At most I would extend the area of the Unhallow to include the entire temple instead of just the normal area. In all fairness if you are going to have the deity involved the players should get XP for defeating it. That opens up a huge can of worms.


Maybe to clear it up, I am specifically talking about the Iron Gods Adventure path.

Lords of Rust:
My characters at Level 6 will enter Hellions Domain. The very first Encounter is with his High Priest Nalakai (Cleric) in his temple, and Hellion actually is Right there (as Hologram and on a monitor). I am aware that the Adventure path does not go into any details beyond Hellions spellcasting and I need to be careful not to overbalance the encounter

So we are not talking full fledged Deity, more Mythic Creature that can grant spells. Still, it felt odd to me that there is no tangible advantage for the Cleric to be in the seat of his power/presence of his patron.

Thanks for the Unhallow idea, I forgot about that one.


Sounds like unhallow is about right. One thing to keep in mind is that the first and second effect are permanent. Only the third effect has any limit on duration, and that is still a year. It would not be unreasonable to have the whole temple under the first two effects and a smaller area with the third. It not an unreasonable tactic to cast unhallow multiple times even over time to cover the whole structure. The castings could even be spread out over years.


There are no rules that inherently grant you tangible benefits while in the presence of your god.or in a sacred space.

As noted there are several things you can add - be sure to keep an eye on how that affects the challenge of the encounter - for example unhallow imay count as a CR5 hazard (depending on how you read the trap/environment rules and potentially increases the encounter challenge by 1) and normally requires a level 9 caster..

I would probably keep it simple and liberally apply the +2/-2 "GMs friend" modifier for favourable circumstances and/or a timely cure moderate wounds or negation of an attack once or twice in the encounter - again keeping an eye on the challenge - as GM you don't need everything to be a formal effect .

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