Faiths of Golarion

Faiths of Golarion CoverHey everyone! Thanks for stopping by. Today we’re taking a look between the the covers of the latest ‘gods’ book: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Faiths of Golarion! Although I’ll be mentioning what’s in this book and talking about my favourite parts, this is not meant to replace the book itself. The opposite, in fact! It’s meant to let you know what’s inside so you can decide for yourself whether this is a book that will be of use to you. For me? Definitely! Curious what’s inside? Read on!

Featuring cover art by Igor Grechanyi that showcases the gods Gruhastha, Hei Feng, and Nivi Rhombodazzle, this soft cover book is 64 pages in length. Other contributing artists include Gislaine Avila, Emanuele Desiati, Vlada Hladkova, Sandra Posada, Luca Sotgiu, and Vicky Yarova. Contributing authors include Kate Baker, John Compton, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, Ron Lundeen, Liane Merciel, Michael Sayre, and Owen K.C. Stephens.

Like the many god and faith themed books before it, this book takes an up close look at a variety of faiths, talking about the gods and goddesses, their faith, church, priests, worshippers, holy texts, holidays, aphorisms, planar allies, and so on. It also features information on their alignment, domains, subdomains, favoured weapons, centres of worship, paladin and anitpaladin codes (if there is one), obediences, and boons (usable by those who take the deific obedience feat, or take levels in the exalted, evangelist, or sentinel prestige classes from Inner Sea Gods). There’s plenty of awesome art in this book, with each faith discussed having four images: one of the deity, one of the holy symbol, one of a worshipper, and one action shot of the deity.

Faiths of Golarion - FaithsThere are ten faiths discussed in this book. Each is a lesser detailed but very important faith. This includes a few racial faiths — the halfling goddess Chaldira Zuzaristan, the gnome goddess Nivi Rhombodazzle, the elf god Ketephys, and the dwarf god Magrim. It also includes information on deities from other regions of Golarion such as the Tien gods Hei Feng, Shizuru, and Tsukiyo, as well as the anadi goddess Grandmother Spider who is popular in the Shackles and Sodden Lands, the Vudrani god Gruhastha who is popular in Vudra, and the Razatlani goddess Kazutal who is popular in Arcadia. Each of these faiths is incredibly important to their respective cultures and I’m thrilled to see them get some of the attention they deserve. Information on the racial deities, especially, I feel was long overdue. Before sitting down to read this book I was most excited for further information on Ketephys, Shizuru, and Tsukiyo. All of the entries were great, but after reading I was most inspired to make worshippers of Grandmother Spider, Kazutal, and Tsukiyo.

So who, exactly, are these deities?

So glad you asked!

Chaldira Zuzaristan is a brash and reckless halfling demigoddess of battle, luck, and mischief. She fights against oppressors, tyrants, and injustice, trusting in her luck and companions to see her through. A bit of a thieving troublemaker, but not malicious, Chaldira is good friends with the goddess Desna, who shares her love of travel. One of my favourite parts of the article on Chaldira is her eccentric planar allies, particularly her herald The Button Fellow.

Chaldira Zuzaristan

Grandmother Spider is a cunning goddess of twilight, illusions, family, and weaving. Created by the gods as a tool be used alongside her brother, Achaekek, Grandmother Spider was tasked with weaving the world and the destiny of the mortals in it. But she rebelled against the gods and wove a new destiny for herself, granting herself free will and divinity. She’s a trickster, teacher, and folk hero. I particularly enjoyed reading about her relationships with the other gods — she once stole Asmodeus’ keys and enjoys teasing her brother Achaekek. Who doesn’t want to irritate the assassin of the gods?! Haha. I also adore all the art in this section!

Gruhastha is the vudrani god of  peace, understanding, and self-improvement. Once Irori’s nephew he sought to record his knowledge for the world. Upon completing his perfect book, the Azvadeva Pujila, he became the divine embodiment of that holy text. Now Gruhasta seeks to enlighten the world so that one day it will be so perfect it becomes one with Nirvana. Interesting!

Hei Feng is a wild and unpredictable tengu god who is very popular in Tian Xia. A moody god of the sea, storms, thunder, and wind, he is always accompanied by his four companions, the Counts of Lightning, Rain, Thunder, and Wind. Drunken, boisterous, and easily angered, Hei Feng is a dangerous deity. As one of the most popular Tian gods I’m happy to see he got some attention. Turned out Hei Feng is my son’s favourite god in the book.

Hei Feng
Hei Feng and his four Counts.

Kazutal is a deity I didn’t know much about, but wow! She is awesome! Haha. Also known as Mother Jaguar, she’s a war goddess whose focus changed over the Age of Darkness, when community and togetherness became integral for survival. Now a goddess of war, family, togetherness, community, liberty, and safety, she promotes a love of your neighbours, family, and friends. This love should be spoken of plainly and without shame, for its these bonds of love that cause neighbours to have the courage to stand up and protect one another. It’s love that makes communities strong. Those who don’t show love of others are considered cowards. Which is awesome! I really enjoyed reading about her faith’s take on love, and the evolution of her religion. I also adore the art in this section! It’s amazing!

Ketephys is the calm, stoic elven god of hunting, the moon, and the forest. He’s a god of archery, and urges his followers to respect nature, replace what they take, and never waste. This is one of the gods I was most excited to see included in Faiths of Golarion, as the elven deities were among those created back when Pathfinder didn’t have it’s own rules, and I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for further details on them. There are some details, of course. A paragraph or two throughout the various Paizo products, but I wanted more. I would have been happy to see details on any of them, but I’m particularly pleased to see its Ketephys.

Ketephys Worshipper
A worshipper of Ketephys planting a garden.

Magrim is another deity that’s been around since the beginning of Pathfinder but lacked much information. The dwarven god of death, fate, tradition, and the underworld, he’s fair, unflinching, and unwavering. Magrim considers Pharasma a respected elder, and is often tasked by her to repair damaged spirits that enter the Boneyard. I really enjoyed learning how Magrim fit alongside Pharasma, and his role in the dwarven afterlife.

Nivi Rhombodazzle is about as different as Magrim as you can get. This gnome gambler fled underground to escape her many angry creditors and ended up becoming the first of the svirfneblin after she traded a rare gem to Torag in exchange for divinity. Talk about a deal! Nivi’s an impulsive daredevil addicted to the thrill of a wager. She urges others to test their skill, push their luck, and experience the best life has to offer. And when luck turns against you and you’re in a lot of debt? Run, of course! Best of luck! Haha. She’s a tricky, thieving little thing whose faith is said to hold the key to staving off the Bleaching.

Vicky Yarova
Hei Feng proves to be a poor loser in this art featuring Gruhastha, Hei Feng, and Nivi Rhombodazzle. Illustrated by Vicky Yarova. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Shizuru is another of the gods I was most interested in reading about. This draconic Tien goddess is also known as the Empress of Heaven, and is the main deity of the Tien pantheon. A goddess of honour, swordplay, the sun, and ones ancestors, she’s incredibly popular among the people of Tian Xia and players of Pathfinder. I particularly enjoyed reading about her relationship with Tsukiyo, her lover who died and came back to life changed.

Which brings us to Tsukiyo, the final deity in Faiths of Golarion. Killed by his own jealous brother, Tsukiyo was the beloved of Shizuru. But his lover couldn’t accept his death and she ordered Qi Zhong, god of medicine and healing, to bring his back to life. It worked, but Tsukiyo came back changed. Now quiet, contemplative, and possessing an uncommon outlook, he is god of the moon, spirits, and outsiders. He teaches that no matter a person’s perceived flaws and oddities, all are a whole person deserving of respect. This applies to those society shuns, deems insane, are disabled, or those suffering from mental illness. I absolutely love what they did with Tsukiyo. Delightful from start to finish.

Which brings us to the end of Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Faiths of Golarion! If you’re a fan of learning about the many deities of Golarion (like I am) I highly recommend picking up this book!

Enjoy!

Jessica

 

Starfinder: Character Focus

I love Pathfinder. My husband loves Pathfinder. My kids love Pathfinder. So when I first heard about the release of Starfinder I was excited. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did Pathfinder, but I knew I’d enjoy it. And I was right! Although it didn’t supplant Pathfinder as my favourite d20 game, it turned out to be a blast. My husband and son were the same. Love that Starfinder! But love Pathfinder more.

StarfinderCover
Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Starfinder Core Rulebook

And my daughter? Ah, my daughter! She loves Starfinder best of all. Absolutely, positively loves it. She has such patience for the game, and for learning it. It should be noted: she’s six.

So, it came as no surprise to me that she finally looked at me and said, “Mom! d20 Diaries needs to hear about our Starfinder characters! Write about my Starfinder!”

And here we are! Mommy’s on it, dear!

So without further ado, (and because my daughter’s certain she’s waited enough!), here they are.

I was the first one to make a Starfinder character in my house. But, I didn’t start by making characters I intended to play, so much as making characters for the sake of making them. I wanted to get a handle on the creation process, and understand the mechanics of the game. I tested out classes and mixed them with different themes, curious how much it would effect the feel of the character. The first character I made with the intent of continued play was a bold, enthusiastic (and admittedly stupid) Vesk solarion by the name of Julakesh Starfist created for playing in the Starfinder Society via play by post. She’s not my only Starfinder Society character, of course. I have three, but we’ll touch on them another time.

So, imagine my surprise when it came time to sit down and make our characters as a family, that my daughter was the first to insist upon a turn. She immediately informed me that nothing would be good enough until we converted her lovingly made rabbitfolk to Starfinder. But, we sat side by side and flipped through the book while I read to her. She thought humans might be okay, and that bug and lizard people were right out (“Ewwww!” was her actual response). But there, right at the back, were the ysoki.

“Rats?!” She said. And then, “Hmmmm… Them are cute…”

And by the time she heard the words ‘cheek pouches’ she was sold. “Them are my favourite!” She exclaimed.

“They.” I corrected, because grammar matters.

“THEY are my favourite! I will be a ee-so-keeeeee with a robot rabbit that I made myself!”

Sure, I thought. She’ll be a mechanic! So I read her the mechanic class and she said, “No way! I am NOT a mechanic!”

Uh… Okay, then.

So we set to work reading through all of the classes and she finally decided upon technomancer. We fiddled with her stats, and picked out her spells. I thought for sure she’d choose something flashy, and was surprised at her very utilitarian, understated choice of air bubble and unseen servant. For cantrips she chose dancing lights, energy ray, mending, and token spell.

We looked at themes and she immediately decided on being a bounty hunter. When asked why she told me, “Cause her is–“

“She.”

“Cause SHE is looking for the perfect mate! She will hunt him down if she has to!”

I decided it was best to discuss that issue no further, and her ysoki bounty hunter technomancer was born! She put skill points into computers and engineering, so she could modify her custom robot rabbit at higher levels, and then chose to put the rest into acrobatics, medicine, physical science, piloting and mysticism. For her feat she chose skill focus (engineering), to better enable her to create her own robot rabbit.

Then we turned our attention to gear. Her first priority? Making her robot rabbit. So we flipped to the chapter on computers and created a mobile computer that looks like a mechanical bunny, with basic AI, an artificial personality, a voice box, locomotion, the ability to function as a personal comm unit, and as her spell cache. Oh! And she wrapped it up in faux rabbit fur for optimal cuddling. It’s the most expensive frivolous object I’ve ever had a hand in crafting. Unfortunately, it used up all of her starting credits (and some if mine as a loan). Apparently I would be making a character who was either generous, or a moneylender…

With her ysoki complete, all she needed was a name. She scrunched up her face in thought, and made up the name Hoponisa! Or Hops for short. She decided Hops was from the dark side of Verces, and used to the cold. And what did she name her robot/spell-cache rabbit? Snowball.

But who would be travelling with our quirky little ysoki? A good question! For answers we turned to my son. After peering over my shoulder as I read to my daughter, and stealing my Starfinder rulebook to gawk at the pictures whenever he could, my son already had a solid idea of what he wanted to make.

“I love drones, Mom! You know I always ask you to get me one for Christmas and you never do! Well, I WILL have one! I am a mechanic! And I will either be a ysoki or a shirrin. I like the Shirrin best, I think, cause they are so funny… But she is being a rat… Maybe I should be one to?”

“Don’t copy me!” My daughter yelled. “Mom! Him is copying me!”

Obviously, there was a great argument following this statement, which I will spare you, but by the end of it my son decided he liked shirrin better. He would be a bug and have lots of baby bugs dangling off of him in their little canisters, and it would be awesome! So there!

My son decided early that his ‘super-awesome way-better-than-a-ysoki’ shirrin mechanic would be an ace pilot by the name of Vishkesh. His drone was a spy drone, with little arms and hands. With these he would manipulate tools and be a mini mechanic who always helps Vishkesh with repairs–or does them on his own if they’re in hard to reach places. With a flare gun mounted on his back and a chipper attitude reminicent of Claptrap from the Borderlands video games, the little fellow was adorable. He decided to name him Rijin, and even before play began, my son LOVED him. For skills, he invested in piloting, engineering and computers, followed by perception, physical science, athletics and survival. For his feat he chose skill focus (piloting). Enamoured with the iconic mechanics flamethrower, my son decided he would purchase a flame pistol for himself. Along with his other gear he purchased a pig stuffed animal. He decided Vishkesh was from Absalom Station, and worshipped the god Hylax. 

My husband went next, and after much deliberation he ended up making two characters.   However, the one he chose to use to play with our kids characters in the end was a halfing by the name of Tucker Aetherfoot. Tucker’s an operative with the daredevil specialty, making him a nimble, acrobatic fellow. He chose scholar for his theme and nimble moves for his feat. For skills he invested in acrobatics and athletics, of course. He also invested in bluff, computers, culture, life science, perception, piloting, sleight of hand, stealth. Finally, he invested in profession (blogger), his quirkiest choice by far. When it came time to choose his equipment, Tucker invested in a survival knife and azimuth laser pistol for combat purposes, along with some more utilitarian gear. As a nod to his pal, Vishkesh, he purchased a t-shirt with a Shirrin design across it, while to represent his friendship with Hops he purchased a space helmet with a rose tinted visor and stylized mouse ears on the the sides. Tucker comes from Absalom Station, and worships Desna. Thus prepared, it was my turn.

As previously mentioned, I have a few Starfinder characters, and already had a few favourite races (ysoki, vesk, and shirrin), so I wanted to try out a race I hadn’t before. In the end I chose to make a kasatha. Knowing our group would be in need of healing, I decided on Mystic for my class. Although I had a few connections I was debating between, I went with the healing connection in the end, with the concept that my character would be a serene, wise, enigmatic character with a strong respect for life. This granted me the healing channel, and healing touch abilities. I chose the xenoseeker theme, and the bodyguard feat. For zero level spells I went with daze, detect magic, stabilize and token spell, while my first level spells were mystic cure, mind thrust and share language. Deciding my character would be traditional and more interested in cultures than technology, I went with culture, diplomacy, life science, mysticism and survival for my skills. (That’s right! No engineering, piloting, or computers here!). When it came to choose her gear, I picked up a battle staff (love that block ability!), and a pulse caster pistol (because all life is precious). I have ambitions of installing a merciful infusion on my battle staff, but that’s a thought for another day. Then it came time for the name. Now, it should be noted, I love naming conventions, so the Kasatha’s absurdly long lineage name really tickled my fancy. In the end I decided to not go too crazy or off formula. I named her Aya. Full name: Aya Nina Qaru Jehir of Clan Zomala, House Maendar, soul-splinter of the Line of Altronus. Aya worships Talavut, and is lawful neutral. She comes from Idari, the kasathan home-ship.

With our characters complete, it was time to get together, and play. But, that’s a tale for another day!

See you next time, when we head Into the Unknown!

Jessica