A world of threats both mundane and monstrous give rise to a hope that there is something more out there. We want to know that we are not alone, that something – or someone – greater than us is out there and watching, even listening. We hope that they care when our prayers reach their ears. The universe is bigger than we know and what powerful entities dwell within it we can only imagine…
Pathfinder Lost Omens: Gods & Magic
No, in this case I don’t mean advanced aliens or dangerous denizens of the Dark Tapestry. Golarion’s populace knows the Gods exist through their priests, demonstrations of divinity, and miraculous powers to protect and heal. While some may choose to deny the gods and their works, many embrace them with quick prayers, holidays, devout practices, and even holy quests.
I was thrilled to get my hands on Gods & Magic because of my joy for the expanding world – or universe in this case – of Golarion. I started Investing In talking about What a Wonderful World it is and the growth of the campaign setting’s rich content with 2E’s Lost Omens releases. The book starts with a section on Why Belief Matters to the world of Golarion and the Role of the Gods, touching on some key points of their influence and history. Some of that history is fairly recent considering Lastwall’s fall. Iomedae clearly felt that blow while there’s mention of Pharasma’s increasing concern with the prevalence of undeath. It’s really not just a wonderful universe presented but a multiverse as some gods were once mortal while others live in planes beyond.
Divine Stories & Rules
Before we delve too deeply in the inspirations of the written content I will first call out the lush, beautiful, imaginative, and truly inspiring art of this tome! Flipping through to see the gods as drawn and evolved from the first edition like Calistria, Gozreh, Urgathoa was an initial draw. However, I’m often seeking those chapter starting illustrations that set the tone of the pages ahead. The start for Demigods and Other Divinities is a good example (see above) but also the Philosophies and Spirituality section. All are truly brilliant and I thank the artists for sharing their work with us!
I read through every entry for the gods first. You get to enjoy all the details of their religion but I love seeing the developing story reflected there such as the case for Arazni, Iomedae like I mentioned earlier, Casandalee, or the Redeemer Queen herself: Nocticula. There’s a lot of creativity, care, and inspiration in these pages. What’s nice is the various options presented make it very clear you don’t have to be a Cleric or a Champion to explore the themes and religious touchstones of a story.
Frankly that’s because of the great crunch of the rulebook as well. The divine intercessions noted for the deities help achieve those options for example. There’s a background that speaks to your devotion whatever your class, alternate domains because maybe your sect of the religion is a little different (cult?) than others, or the new spells as well. Ill Omen, Liberating command are back while there’s some new ones as well! You can be certain I’ll explore those options with my witch Ateran over on Roll for Combat. Despite the godly divine focus there’s primal, arcane, and occult options to explore. The gods touch everything and influence the world around them and that’s part of the point after all.
Inspiration for Your Games
I dove into the various religions and lesser known entities too. I didn’t know much about Sivanah for example but I find her illusionary focus fascinating. Who is she truly behind that last veil, perhaps another lost archmage in disguise? I love the mysteries that Paizo sets up in their writing for us to ruminate about or explore in our games. Nivi Rhombodazzle is another one I don’t think I’d seen mentioned before: literally The Gnome with the joyous gambling and gem focus you might expect. However, the one in particular I’ve focused upon and has inspired a new character you will see soon is that of Grandmother Spider. I love her story as a servant to other gods who manipulated and grew beyond their machinations and control. She’s clever, and encourages support of the community and humiliation of the powerful alike. She reminded me of tales of Coyote of the Navajo culture or Anansi the trickster, knowledge deity of African cultures and then research led me to the Spider Grandmother of the Hopi and Navajo. The inspirations of the real world reflected in the Lost Omens’ tales are wonderful!
I’m a big fan of fey options and stories so reading up on the Eldest is a must; always be respectful with the Green Mother! (If it’s not clear I truly appreciate strong female characters who don’t care about your preconceived notions of how they should act.) The Horsemen are presented and I’m running the Strange Aeons path for my crew so the details for the Great Old Ones were particularly poignant. Seems like Hastur’s development is coming along quite nicely and that’s something I’ll certainly work to showcase. My friends’ characters almost all have some religious tie or aspect like our Alchemist who found trust in Pharasma’s servant Winter when he came down with a taste for flesh but before he did any harm. Now he prays to Pharasma and knows she works to undo the curse of undeath. My brother’s character is devoutly interested in Milani. More than roses have bloomed where blood was spilled and his deadly rogue has returned from death!
I fully intend to leverage the new details in Gods & Magic to build out the themes in the otherwise cosmic horror of our game. You can too by finding a deity important to your or your character’s stories, see where they are heading in the Lost Omens age, and make reference or ties to that interest. The Divine Intercessions can easily become 1E options as well as they are based more in lore and general benefits than hard rules. Desna’s blessings are a good example, including a rest of beautiful dreams that free you of harms, curses, and diseases. Her major boons grants you a fly speed of 40’ that is stronger than the Fly spell of 2E, a fly speed of your speed or 20’. Thus for a 1E option I might have it give a blessing of 90’. You’ve done Desna or her flock a great service after all, and she lifts you up with her light.
You too can check out the powerful entities of Golarion’s universe and the magic that shapes it now by purchasing Lost Omens Gods & Magic. It’s more than a 2E sourcebook as I noted above, proving a wonderful read, visual masterpiece, and inspiration for your first edition games as well! If you’re looking for a review of the book, I highly encourage you to check out Perram and Ryan’s review as you invest in a greater multiverse of Gods & Magic!
And I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!
About Investing In
I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!