An excellent suppliment for Pathfinder: FAITHS OF BALANCE
Nov 20, 2011 (Updated Jan 14, 2012)
by Mark Vaughan
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Excellent, well-developed suppliment to help develop rich, deep characters.
Cons:None, really. Not necessary for the game.
The Bottom Line: You don't have to have this suppliment, but it sure enriches the game.
Faiths of Balance: Pathfinder Player Companion by Colin McComb
Recommend this product?
In the world of Golarion, there are many gods, some virtuous, some malign. Others seek to strike a balance, or else focus on law or chaos without regard to the concepts of good and evil. This volume is dedicated to eight of these beings.
Why would you need such a book, you might ask? Well, if you have decided to play a cleric, it might help to understand your role in the world. The treatment of a priestess of Calistria, patroness of prostitutes, is not going to resemble the same treatment a Carmelite Nun might receive. It moves religion out of the medieval mold of many fantasy role playing games, with corrupt churches, and virtuous friars.
The eight depicted in this volume are Abadar, Master of the First Vault, Calistria, the Savored Sting, Gorum, Our Lord in Iron, Gozreh, the Wind and Waves, Irori Master of Masters, Nethys the All-Seeing Eye, the Two Faced, and Pharasma, Lady of Graves. The last is not a god, but a philosophy, the Green Faith, the veneration of nature. They range from paragons of law, Abadar and Irori to champions of freewill, like Calistria, or pure mayhem, like Gorum. The neutrals range in flavor from Gorez’s and the green faith’s careful balance of all forces, to Nethys’ neutrality through “I can’t be bothered” and Pharasma’s infinitely fair approach (everyone dies).
Each entry contains a bit of biography on the god in question, what Adventurers might find them attractive, what Classes are drawn to their worship (lots of Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards and Witches are drawn to Nethys, lots of fighters and barbarians are drawn to Gorum), what the Goals of the worshipers might be (Abadar, spread civilization, Calistria; live free without restriction) and how Devotion is expressed. Then it talks about how they get on with Other Faiths; for instance, Pharasma, goddess of birth and death detests anyone, like Urgathoa or Orcus, who create the Undead. Otherwise, she has no problems with any other deity. It discusses Taboos next, like Pharasma’s prohibition on creating undead, or allowing them to continue to exist. She also disapproves of killing psychopomps like whippoorwills. Pharasma is Pro-Life. Irori has many taboos, but these are things the worshipper chooses for himself, to improve himself, and the only punishment is starting over and trying again. Gozreh is opposed to pollution of sea and sky. You get the idea. They then list two Traits that followers can take; these “half feats” add flavor to a character. Gozreh offers Child of Nature, which give you a 1 on survival checks, and Strong Swimmer, which gives you a 2 on swimming checks, and adds two rounds to how long you can hold your breath. Calistria offers Opportunistic, a 1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity, and Holy Schemer, a 1 bonus to sense motive, which becomes a class skill for you. Radically different, like the gods in question, and just a touch of flavor text. Finally, it discusses The Church. Calistria’s often serve as the local Brothel. Pharasma’s are often attached to the local Graveyard. Gorum has no need for temples and shrines; battlefields and forges are his holy places. Irori’s holy text Unbinding the Fetters is a how to manual on physical and mental training, diet and exercise, rife with koans to tease the mind and make you think in different ways.
Eight minor neutral deities are discussed over two pages, then two more pages are allotted to Organizations like The Companies of the Red Standard, mercenaries who venerate the Lord in Iron, and the Wasp Queens, an order of female elves and half elves who use their skills to help others extract revenge.
The Combat section includes six feats designed to make clerics more effective combatants, and eight Channel Foci; items that store the channeled power of the gods to be released in specific ways; Nethys’ Sundered Mask heals the wearer instantly of several points of damage if he is wounded, and Pharasma’s Winged Fetish gives the wearer a bonus to saving throws when attacked by the undead.
The Faith section lists seven minor items of faith, one for each god. From Irori’s Manual of Calm Reflection, which grants a 1 bonus to saving throws versus mind-affecting spells ( 2 if you follow Irori) to Calistria’s Triple Stinging Blade, (a 1 dagger that if you make a combat maneuver after hitting, pops out wicked thorns from the blade, doing an additional 1d4 damage) these items reflect the nature and purpose of the god in question. There is also a sidebar discussing the Paladins of Abadar, the only neutral god to maintain a Paladin Order.
Magic lists nine spells (Gorum and Gozreh each have two) specific to the clerics of each god. Pharasma’s Early Judgement shows a person what their fate will be if they die right now (“You are goin’ to HELL!”), which is very unsettling, leaving them fascinated (good) confused (neutral) or shaken (evil.) Irori’s Abstemiousness turns a handful of berries or grain into enough nutrition to sustain one person for one day.
Lastly, Social discusses the Holy days and festivals (or lack thereof) of each diety. All of Nethys’ holy days take place in the month of Neth, Abjurant day (8th) is the day to shore up protection spells (this would be the day everyone changed the batteries in their smoke detector), Evoking Day (18th) is a fireworks display, spell duel, and spell swapping day. Transutatum (28th) is a day of reflection and self improvement (New Year’s resolution day). Gorumites don’t have set holy days, preferring to learn from past battles than to remember and venerate them.
Taken as a whole, this is an excellent source book, most particularly for characters who want to play a Cleric. It also gives a DM a clear idea how the Temple of Abadar will react to the players demands for healing (you have to pay) or help stopping bandits on the north road (assemble the paladins!). You don’t have to have it to play the game, but it offers a lot of prime material in just 32 pages.
An American Game, an American Company; printed in China....*sigh*....
In fond Memory of Gary Gygax, Father of Dungeons and Dragons.
27 July, 1938 -4 March, 2008
"You enriched my life."
The Pathfinder Series, or Dungeons and Dragons Edition 3.75
Core Rule Book
Advanced Player's Guide
Game Mastery Guide
The Inner Sea World Guide
The Rival Guide
Faiths of Balance
Guide to the River Kingdoms: A Pathfinder Companion
Dungeons of Golarion
Classic Horrors Revisited
Inner Sea Magic: A Pathfinder Companion
Lords of Chaos: The Book of the Damned, Volume II
Humans of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Undead Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion
Orcs of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
City of Strangers: A Pathfinder Companion
Sargava The Lost Colony: A Pathfinder Companion
Heart of the Jungle: A Pathfinder Companion
Gnomes of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Rule of Fear: Ustalav. A Pathfinder Companion
Cheliax: Empire of Devils: A Pathfinder Companion
Guide to Darkmoon Vale A Pathfinder Companion.
Dragons Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion.
Faction Guide: A Pathfinder Companion
NPC Guide: A Pathfinder Companion
Dungeon Denizens Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion
A Guide To Korvosa: A Pathfinder Companion
Into the Darklands: A Pathfinder Companion
Cities of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Faiths of Purity: A Pathfinder Companion
Rise of the Runelords
The Skinsaw Murders
The Hook Mountain Massacre
The Fortress of the Stone Giants
Sins of the Saviors
Shadow in the Sky
Children of the Void
The Armageddon Echo
A Memory of Darkness
Descent Into Midnight
Please look at these Piazo Modules:
The Demon Within
Hungry are the Dead
River of Darkness
Seven Swords of Sin
Gallery of Evil
From Shore to Sea
The Witchwar Legacy
Realm of the Fellnight Queen
Carnival of Tears
The Pact Stone Pyramid
Entombed with the Pharaohs
Treasure of Chimera Cove
Tower of the Last Baron
The Crucible of Chaos
Check out each installment of these Introductory Modules from Wizards of the Coast for Third Edition.
The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone.
The Heart of Nightfang Spire
Lord of the Iron Fortress
Keep on the Shadowfell
Dungeon Masters Guide
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