The Religion skill, as used by free agents

Rules Discussion

The Religion skill is still useful for characters that don't worship a deity, by and large. Recalling Knowledge on religious subjects, deciphering scripture, and Identifying Magic is an essential skill for many characters that don't necessarily follow a deity. They could be a member of law enforcement that polices the faithful such as the Graycloaks or the Pure Legion, or they may be followers of a non-deific faith or philosophy that frequently come into conflict with cultists, fiends, and undead. Shoanti of the Skoan-Quah or Skull Clan, Sarkorian followers of the Green Faith, or members of the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye are all examples of characters that would benefit from the Religion skill. Most Religion skill feats don't require worship of a deity. All of the skill feats focused on identifying magic work just as well whether you worship a god or not, Student of the Canon could be useful for characters who hunt down cultists and druids who study standing stones, Exhort the Faithful requires that the character follow a religion, but not a deity, Divine Guidance calls out philosophies in its description, and Pilgrim's Token requires that you've visited a holy site and received a token but doesn't specify that the holy site must be dedicated to a deity. Even Consult the Spirits doesn't mandate that you have to worship the deity the outsider you consult follows. Only Battle Prayer, Sacred Defense, and Sanctify Water require worship of a deity.

When you start looking for a constant item bonus to Religion, you start running into problems. The Thurible of Revelation would work, but is a held item that only provides a bonus to Religion for an hour, and it costs 5 gp to do so each time. The Cassock of Devotion is a high enough level that it must be crafted, and it requires that the crafter be a cleric that worships the deity it's dedicated to. One of its benefits is for clerics alone. The Phylactery of Faithfulness only works for followers of the deity it's dedicated to. You could potentially work around this as an occult or primal spellcaster, an oracle, or divine any list caster, using the Thurible of Revelation to make Decipher Writing and Identify Magic checks and the Staff of Providence to make Recall Knowledge checks, but if you ever have to make a Religion check that isn't one of those three, such as a check to Recognize or Learn a Spell, Trick a Magic Item, or use the Research exploration activity, you're out of luck. You can't use your hand for anything else when it's holding a Staff of Providence, either. And the Sage's Lash provides a +3 item bonus to Religion checks and isn't even divine, but is a 18th level apex item. Everything else is either a consumable or not of common rarity.

If you were a GM and were working with a player who wants their character who doesn't follow a deity to benefit from an item bonus to Religion checks, how would you go about it? Would you let the Phylactery of Faithfulness work with non-deific faiths, or provide access to an item that provides a bonus to Religion checks but doesn't require mandate that you follow a deity?

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Yeah, I would just homebrew an item that gives the same benefits as a similar item but doesn't have any deity restrictions.

Sovereign Court

Yeah I'd probably stick to the general design pattern of an item giving both a skill bonus and also some other ability, not just bare skill bonuses. But there's no problem with adding new item alternatives. PF2 moved away from the PF1 paradigm of turning specific body slots into an optimization minigame; you just have only so many investment points.

For divine casters, orange prism aeon stone is a good source of +2 religion.

Onkonk wrote:
For divine casters, orange prism aeon stone is a good source of +2 religion.

It's uncommon, though, like all aeon stones in this edition.

Liberty's Edge

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GM_3826 wrote:
Onkonk wrote:
For divine casters, orange prism aeon stone is a good source of +2 religion.
It's uncommon, though, like all aeon stones in this edition.

Which just means the PC should do some efforts (but not too many = Rare), as required by the GM, to access it.

There are quite a few level 3 items that provide a +1 bonus to various skills. I would basically copy one of them over to religion.

The nonmagical ones tend to be somewhat limited to a portion of a skill (Infiltrator Picks, Lensatic Compass, Professional Fishing Tackle, Extreme Climber's Kit, Expanded Healer's Tools, and so on).

The magical ones cover a whole skill, are invested, and the level varies by what other bonuses they offer. For example: Hat of the Magi, Coyote Cloak, and Pendant of the Occult are still level 3, Healer's Gloves are level 4, Diplomat's Badge is level 5, Choker of Elocution and Primeval Mistletoe are level 6.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

One easy way is do it +1 item bonus plus thematic cantrip without attacks or saving throws. Guidance would be a good one, or shield, or forbidding Ward.

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