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Pathfinder: Riders of the Whirlwind

All week long, we have been looking at the deities of Shadowsfall. So far we have presented our design goals and philosophies as well as an overview of the the archkyton Akaron the Paingiver, Bendes and Ular, the Twin Gods, and Zyree, the caregiver. We round this week out by giving you an sneak peak at Calista, the Journeywoman.

Unlike the other deities described thus far, Calista is seldom worshiped in the strongholds and few of her followers can ever be found within any of the major cities. Instead her freespirited-followers roam through the Outlands, to disover and enjoy all the new places the goddess brings into the Plane of Shadows. The Journeywoman is credited with changing Shadowsfall according to her whims and her followers take great pleasure in being the first to experience it. Whether it is learning every rock on a mountain, exploring a long-forgotten dungeon, battle some kind of new undead or finding magic items that have been altered by their absorption onto Shadowsfall, Calista’s followers are at the forefront of every new experience.

Followers of Calista on the Southern Peninsula frequently serve as guides to those seeking a pass through the Razor Mountains or other dangerous regions of the Outlands. The goddess’ followers, however, are most known for leading refugees to new ruins. Anytime an undead horde overwhelms a town, there are always now homeless survivors that need a place to live. These consummate explorers help these people find a new suitable home, be a cave, shallow holes in the ground or the ruins of absorbed towns.

Calista has a wide range of followers from drow to gnomes, rangers to wilders, even a few time thieves. Thius goddess of the wind has a powerful streak of freedom that many find enticing.

One of the few things that Calista and Akaron have in common is that their oracles are known to probe the mysteries of joy. This new mystery focuses on emotion spells, providing morale bonuses and disheartening ones adversaries.

We hope you enjoyed this look at the deities all week. Next week I will be at GenCon for much of the week so we will not be doing any previews during that time. Look for more previews the week after. If you see me at GenCon, make sure to say hi.

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Pathfinder: Psychopomps, Assemble

If you have not been following along all week, we have been detailing the deities of Shadowsfall. Monday we discussed the design goals and philosophies for the deities. Tuesday we detailed the archkyton Akaron and how the Paingiver’s followers view pain as the epitome of life. And yesterday we detailed Bendes and Ular, the Twin Gods that reward cooperation among diverse groups. Today we bring you Zyree, the archpsychopomp of birth, life and death.

Life. It is the most potent force of nature. It is rawest form it is plants, animals and mushrooms. It comes in all shapes and sizes and all life is sacred. But intelligent life is the highest form of life because it can learn and choose to do great things. Intelligent life can set goals and make plans to achieve those goals. It can fashion tool to help in reach those goals. They can care for one another. In this, there is magic.

That is the wisdom found in the Halls of Life, the worship centers that venerate the archpsychopomp Zyree. Followers are commanded to be fruitful and breed life into Shadowsfall. They see life is the most sacred of things and council couples to make as much life as possible. Couples that cannot have children, typically single-gender couples but also opposite gender couples that cannot bear children, are called upon to care for those orphaned by undead attacks, charging them with teaching how life should be fostered and undeath should be opposed at all turns.

On the Southern Peninsula, worship of Zyree is almost universal. Even those that do not bow before any deity will show enough respect to the archpsychopomp to watch over and raise child if the Halls of Life will call upon them to do so. It is only in Splinter Spawn, the undead necropolis that the deity is not widely worshiped. Yet even here, the wayang and dhampirs that hide from their foes venerate Zyree all the more. For in this place where the Plane of Shadows and the Plane of Negative Energy meet, these living few wage a war against undeath itself.

We hope you find these sneak peaks into Shadowsfall’s deities exciting. Tomorrow we will be coming one of our chaotic deities, Calista the Journeywoman. Please join us then.

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Pathfinder: Deity Twin Power, Activate

All this week we are looking at the deities of Shadowsfall. Monday we started with the design goals and philosophies that went into the deities. Yesterday we are looked at the lawful evil god of the kytons, Akaron. Today we are looking at the twin gods of law and good, Bendes and Ular.

From a design prospective, I always wanted a multi-person deity as a god. This can be seen in other game systems such as Exalted where the Sidereals are the chosen of the Five Maidens. The web comic The Order of the Stick has the paladins worship the 12 gods. But I could not think of many examples of a multi-personality deity in a d20 based game. So I wanted to include one front and center.

Bendes and Ular are the Twin Gods over three main areas: hunting, gathering and cooperation. Bendes being portrayed as the mighty hunter while Ular is the wise gatherer. However, they do not let their different contributions divide them. They command their followers, known as Peacemakers, to find a mutually beneficial outcome to any situation that emerges in a community. The Twin Gods do not care what divides a community, be it race, economic class, spellcaster or sword wielder; they command cooperation or they withhold prosperity from those causing problems. The reason being is that they see cooperation between different groups as being the surest way of surviving the harsh conditions of Shadowsfall and the undead hordes that roam the eternal night of the plane.

Clerics and oracles of Bendes and Ular are seen as negotiators while inquisitors and paladins are seen as enforcers of the peace. Followers that do not have a divine calling are expected to be reasonable in all circumstances, especially when working with followers of less reasonable deities.

The stronghold of Blackbat and Bastion remain the strongest centers of worship for the Twins Gods. Blackbat, because of its cosmopolitan nature and its internal strife, makes the stronghold an important center of the Peacemaker’s work. Despite the fact the stronghold’s vampires avoid the temple in the city proper, they frequently ask prominent Peacemakers to negotiate a fair price for the zombies they control. Peacemakers are one of the five founding religions of the Bastion stronghold. Even today, the other religions look to the Peacemakers to help keep the followers of the Slatchak inline, which they cannot always do.

Vole’s Deep is the only stronghold without any kind of structure dedicated to the Twin Gods. It is said that the internal strife forced the Twin Gods to negotiate with Calista a changing in the land, driving away much of the farms and good herds from the region. Because of the changed land near the stronghold, the various faction leaders finally agreed on one thing: to destroy the shrines to Bendes and Ular within the stronghold. Today, Vole’s Deep’s citizens curse the names of the Twin Gods.

We hope you enjoyed this look at one of Shadowsfall’s deities. Come back tomorrow when we look at Zyree, the male and female god of birth, life and death.

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Pathfinder: Akaron the Paingiver

All this week we are looking at the deities of Shadowsfall. Yesterday we looked at the design goals and philosophies that went into the deities. Today we are looking at the lawful evil god of the kytons, Akaron.

Kytons are a race of outsiders native to Shadowsfall. Unlike devils, these creatures do not want to kill you and take your soul, leaving an undead corpse behind. Instead these creatures want you and your living body intact so your screams of pain to please Akaron. Akaron is the an archkyton that all kytons worship. The blasphemous tomes of the Order of the Archkyton tell that pain is the surest sign of life, since undead creatures do not feel pain. The living are to revel in their pain and take orgasmic pleasure in their torment. The Order believes that such pain pleases Akaron and he will help them in their eternal struggle against the undead creatures. This exposure to pain helps to fight on despite wounds sustained in battle.

The worship of Akaron is centered in the stronghold of Bloodchain. Here, if one does not willingly take part in the Order of the Archkyton’s ceremonies willingly, they take part unwillingly. As such, there is an active and lively resistance to Kyton’s rule of the stronghold. Outside of Bloodchain, the Order tends to focus more on willing submission and fighting the eternal enemies of the Paingiver, the undead. The viscous rumors of kidnapping of adults, forced torture and sacrifices by the Order to their god have not been substantiated. The Order helps to defend any stronghold they reside in as long as they are allowed to continue their worship unmolested and are allowed to run the stronghold’s torture chamber.

It is not uncommon for members of the Order to take part in guarding food transits and patrolling the roads of a stronghold, only to uncover plots that may threaten the stronghold. Many others are happy to delve into dungeons claimed by Shadowsfall in search of new magic items and new ways to feel pain from the monsters they encounter.

Tomorrow we look at Bendes and Ular, the Twin Gods of hunting and gathering.