Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Purity

Paizo has released a new book, Faiths of Purity, about the Good-aligned deities your character can follow in the Inner Sea. Naturally, I downloaded the PDF as soon as I could, and I just finished reading through it.

The first section of the book deals with the main Good gods and goddesses of the Inner Sea region: Cayden Cailean, the Drunken Hero; Desna, the Song of the Spheres; Erastil, Old Deadeye; Iomedae, the Inheritor; Sarenrae, the Dawnflower; Shelyn, the Eternal Rose; and Torag, the Father of Creation. Each one is given two pages that detail what kinds of adventurers might follow them, what classes most commonly venerate them, their goals, ways of identifying followers, ways your character can show devotion, how other faiths view them, things each god considers taboo, optional traits for worshippers, and a description of the church of each god. This chapter is pretty useful; as I mentioned in the Inner Sea Guide review, I like knowing how gods might react to what my players do, and this section gives me a lot of that information. I also enjoyed the church sections; it'll come in handy if someone in my group wants to roll up a Cleric or Paladin.

The next section discusses minor deities. They're given less attention than the core gods, obviously, but there's still a decent amount of information on them. My personal favorite is Apsu, the dragon god, because I have an affinity for anyone who is both a giant fire-breathing lizard and an all-powerful master of creation (Bahamut, I'm looking at you). The racial gods of Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Halflings also get some attention, as do Empyreal Lords (essentially incredibly powerful angels). The section had enough information to warrant worshipping any one of these beings, and the inclusion of Apsu alone is enough to make me like it. The only thing that slightly bothers me is that some Elven holy symbols appear on the Empyreal Lords page, rather than with the Elven gods, but that's not really a big deal.

Next up is a a few pages about religious organizations. I thought these were pretty nifty. There is one organization per god, and each one could easily fit into a campaign; they would serve well both as character backgrounds and NPC allies. I'm especially excited about the Knights of Ozem, a small army of undead-hunting Paladins of Iomedae. Granted, that might just be because I love undead. There's just something about zombies that just never gets old, you know?

After that, there are a couple of pages of new feats. A few of them are decent, but there isn't much to write home about. The two that caught my eye were Butterfly's Sting, which lets you transfer one of your crits to an ally, and Bullseye Shot, which lets you sacrifice your movement action to get a bonus on a ranged attack roll.

The following section offers up codes that Paladins of each god must follow to maintain their holy abilities. I think it's a great idea; it eliminates a lot of the grey area in determining what could make a Paladin fall, and it should come in handy when roleplaying your Paladin. In addition, it reveals that Torag is a very, very angry god; one of his tenets is, I quote, "Against my people's enemies I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families."

The penultimate section has some new spells for faithful casters. Most of them seemed more useful for out-of-combat situations, such as Trail of the Rose, which leaves a trail of mist in your wake, making it much easier to retrace your steps (plus, only allies can see it, so enemies can't follow it to find and eviscerate you). There are also some combat spells, though, like Haze of Dreams (slows your enemies by distracting them with dreamlike visions). My personal favorite is Hairline Fractures, which is primarily used to weaken stone, but can also be applied to golems to mess up their AC.

Last but not least (well, okay, maybe least), there's a short section about religious holidays. There aren't a whole lot of them, but the ones that do exist could add some flavor to campaigns. After all, it might be a fun breather in between all the monster-decapitating to have a party walk into town on the day of Archerfeast and participate in several random contests to win a magical bow. Plus, if you're super nerdy like me, you can use the calendar in the Inner Sea Guide to keep track of the in-game date, and accurately determine if the party is in town during one of these festivals.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good buy. It's short (only 32 pages), but it was only $8 for the PDF, so I'm not complaining. It's primarily fluff, so if that's your thing, go for it; however, if you're looking for a boatload of new options for your Cleric or Paladin, you'll probably be disappointed. Unless two pages of feats and two pages of spells constitutes a boatload. I'm honestly not sure; I'm not that familiar with boats.