Polyhedral Pantheons: Pathfinder Edition

The Revisited Polyhedral Pantheon Design technique still has a couple difficulties, though.

First, if you use only the Revised System Reference Document (RSRD) you don’t have enough domains.  The RSRD includes 22 domains — slightly more than needed if you don’t want the gods to have personal domains, but not enough to cover the shared domains and the personal domains (32 needed).  This was mitigated at the time I wrote the original article by the volume of domains available from third party publishers, of course, but that can mean a lot of additional work to track down the additional domains and evaluate them.

Second, while it is something of a good thing that each domain is shared by multiple gods, they are shared in pairs.  That is, if three gods share the Magic domain, two of them will also share the Knowledge domain, two of them will also share the Destruction domain, and two will share the Law domain.  While some coherency and similarity is good, this starts to feel too homogeneous to me.

Pathfinder helps with the first, and both if you use the Advanced Player’s Guide.

Pathfinder Domains and Subdomains

Pathfinder helps in a couple of ways.  There are 33 domains, one more than needed to use this technique fully.  They are designed by the same team, so there is reason to think they will be comparable in quality (third-party materials have varied widely).  Also, the Advanced Player’s Guide presents subdomains — each of the main domains has two or more subdomains that change the spells and domain powers.  Some subdomains are even shared between domains (the Demon subdomain is associated with both the Chaos and Evil domains).

For the most part, though, this means that for each domain used there are at least three ‘actual domains’ that might be selected from that can change the interpretation or application of the primary domain.  This helps provide some more mechanical differentiation between clerics of different gods.

At the same time, it causes there to be greater coherence in the followers of a particular god.  It will be possible to predict with some accuracy the spells that might be known by all followers of a particular god (if they are high enough level to know them), while not strictly restricting them to these spells.  Overall I think this is a good direction.

Domain Subdomains
Air Cloud, Wind
Animal Feather, Fur
Artifice Construct, Toil
Chaos Azata, Demon, Protean
Charm Love, Lust
Community Family, Home
Darkness Loss, Night
Death Murder, Undead
Destruction Catastrophe, Rage
Earth Caves, Metal
Evil Daemon, Demon, Devil
Fire Ash, Smoke
Glory Heroism, Honor
Good Angel, Archon, Azata
Healing Restoration, Resurrection
Knowledge Memory, Thought
Law Archon, Devil, Inevitable
Liberation Freedom, Revolution
Luck Curse, Fate
Madness Insanity, Nightmare
Magic Arcane, Divine
Nobility Leadership, Martyr
Plant Decay, Growth
Protection Defense, Purity
Repose Ancestors, Souls
Rune Language, Wards
Strength Ferocity, Resolve
Sun Day, Light
Travel Exploration, Trade
Trickery Deception, Thievery
War Blood, Tactics
Water Ice, Oceans
Weather Seasons, Storms

Closing Comments

It’s getting late and I’ve got work to do in the morning, so I’ll stop here for now.  Tomorrow I’ll write up an example showing how this might actually be applied in practice.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Polyhedral Pantheon Clerics | Keith Davies — In My Campaign - Keith's thoughts on RPG design and play.

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