Paizo, $22.99, ISBN 978-1-64078-099-6
An unpopular move that Wizards of the Coast did to Forgotten Realms a while back, which I heartily supported, was the ruthless trimming of the numbers of gods in that place. Naturally, Paizo does the complete opposite of these people when it comes to Pathfinder: the number of gods and goddesses just keeps expanding, so much so that as of late, Nocticula is somehow a deity. Mind you, I approve of that cool kick-ass demon becoming the boss of everyone, but she’s now the goddess of midnight crap and emo artists. Don’t we already have the lesbian fanservice goddesses Shelyn and Desna to cover all these? Paizo could have done so many things with Nocticula, so it’s exasperating that they choose to have another addition to an already bloated roster that doesn’t contribute anything that is already covered by present deities.
Faiths of Golarion fleshes out ten minor deities that have been mentioned but never really given the spotlight, so what is with that lofty yet inaccurate title, really. Let’s take a look at these bloated, pointless deities.
First, the god of Leeroy Jenkins hobbits, Chaldira Zuzaristan, who is depicted like a craggy halfling with a fondness for buttons. Here they try to rein in a bit of her earlier portrayal as the god of suicidal, terminally stupid stumpies, by saying that these terminally stupid stumpies are also supernaturally lucky thanks to her blessings, so I guess that makes these horrid kender-wannabes okay? Her worshipers’ evangelist, exalted, and sentinel boons have strong elements of roll modifications for the better and improve slipperiness in battle, but given how players tend to ape their gods so often, the horrid annoyances of a typical worshiper of this thing will offset any benefit they bring to a party. Her worshipers are encouraged to have no concept of other people’s space or boundary, discretion is not considered a virtue, and rash impetuousness is considered a way to be. Really, any worshiper of this thing needs to be exterminated with extreme prejudice, preferably with the blade of a worshiper of the much cooler Thamir Gixx, the god of psychotic hobbits.
Grandmother Spider, Lolth’s busybody nan, is next. She is ripped out straight from our world’s folklore, only to be made the sister of the killer praying mantis god Achaekek. Oh, is that why previous articles on that mantis god never mentioned this deity? Maybe he is shy and doesn’t like the world to know about his sister. I mean, clearly his mother cheated on his daddy and, gasp, with a spider to boot if he has such a half-sister. Granny here is the nosy, rude, meddlesome prankster. Her worshipers are encouraged to be either obnoxious pranksters or preachy and nagging Karens judging other people’s behavior. Oh, and since her worshipers are nearly all women and they are all encouraged to be caustic and witty, expect plenty of annoying Buffy-speak from her worshipers, when these twats aren’t too busy being rude and intrusive in the name of “being honest” and “delivering hard truths”. Her worshiper boons involve illusions, improvements in bardic performances, and paralysis. Oh, and if these players were of the anadi race, expect them to go all Tumblr-polyamory-party on everyone by talking incessantly about their wives, husbands, boyfriends, etc.
Gruhastha is one of the many gods from Golarion’s own India, or Vudra, and he’s Irori’s nephew. Wait, if Irori were an ascended deity who was formerly human, how does that explain Gruhastha, who is clearly not an ascended himself? Did Irori marry some god whose brother or sister then popped out Gruhuhahaha or however one spells his name? You know what, I don’t want to know. Guruhaha is the god of… the Vudrani holy book, Azvadeva Pujila. Wait, we need a god for one specific book? That probably explains why Vudranis worship a zillion gods. One for the toilet bowl, one for the toilet brush, one for the toothbrush… At any rate, Gawamaha is portrayed as a shirtless hot guy with perfectly muscled torso and long dark tresses, complete with angelic wings of red and green plumes. He has a halo of glowing mantras around his head. His worshipers engage in all kinds of carnality while staying sage, over-educated, wise, and sexy. He preaches a socialist utopia where the rich and the poor are equal, and there will be no prisons because criminals will be reformed rather than punished. They are also perfect warriors, constantly seeking evil to destroy. God, Gumuwawa and his worshipers are as interesting as mud caked on the sweaty rear end of an unwashed hippo on a sweltering hot day.
On the other hand, he does give his overbearing worshipers some potentially useful party-wide combat boons… oh, who cares. There are always those Iomedean paladins, so who needs these overbearing Mary Sues in a party.
Next, we have… okay, if you think Cayden Cailean is already obnoxious as the good —what the Beezelbub—god of alcoholics with no restraint or discretion, you will want to spike your own head when you encounter Hei Feng, which is what you will get when Cayden Cailean goes on a month-long rampage of booze and meth. He is god of tengus, and he promotes recklessness, broken promises, negligence, unprovoked violence, gambling, and other nonsense that will surely make every party so much fun. In fact, it is specifically mentioned here that his worshipers will quickly get bored and abandon a task even if doing so would doom the world, and you have to make them vow fealty to you to get them to behave. His boons transform his already demented worshipers into electrically-charged psychos, so yikes. If you can’t stand edgelords in your party, here are some psychotic edgelords, woo-hoo.
Kazutal is the Arcadian goddess of protection, love, community, blah blah blah. Black Sarenrae with a stupid-looking jaguar draped around her neck. Next!
Ketephys is next. He’s the dark, brooding elven god of killing demons. Like him, his worshipers are loners that lurk in the woods, suspicious of strangers, wary of even their own party members. Did someone ask for more edgelords? His boons turn edgelords into edgelord rangers, and aside from that, this personality-free god is completely forgettable.
Oh wait, next is Magrim, the god of dwarven edgelords. He looks like you’d imagine, and he is completely devoid of any interesting traits aside from being a stumpy bearded version of Pharasma. His worshipers are dour, blah blah blah, edgelords. Screw this thing, who needs him when there’s already Pharasma anyway.
Then we have Nivi Rhombodozzle, the svirfneblin god of gambling. The god herself isn’t very interesting, as she is a walking, talking slot machine basically, but there are some interesting glimpses into her worshipers. Interestingly, rather than the gambling-mad addicts you’d expect, many actually run homes and shelters for those down on their fortunes, and they are also great teachers on topics such as probabilities and statistics. Kids from their orphanages end up being math gurus that are great at games of chance—if that doesn’t make for some great PCs, I don’t know what will. This god’s cults are intriguing too, as some view her as a savior against the Bleaching faced by gnomes rather than a god of chance and luck, so their worship differs significantly from those who view her as a deity of gambling. I like the entry on this god, as it’s actually interesting and adds something to the god lore of Golarion, without being as eye-rolling as the other Tumblr entries in this book.
Shizuru is next, as she is the boss of all Tian Xia gods. Perfect, stern, sexy, hot, unparalleled in combat and wisdom… the only memorable thing about her is her thwarted love affair with Tsukiyo, the Osiris to her Isis. She is the god of noble samurais and everything else, and that’s all there is to her. Boring!
Finally, Tsukiyo, the mopey, emo god who is all “Ooh! I have a mental disorder! Maybe autism, maybe bipolar, maybe all of these and more! And I love my Shizuru-boo, but she doesn’t understand me, so in the shadows I will remain, writing dark and sad poems, ooh!” and yeah, his worshipers are basically your usual insufferable edgelords loudly announcing their self-diagnosed trendy mental disorder of the month and expecting special treatment from everyone else because they are so emo that way. I’d recommend other party members to shank such a character if this character even shows up in their campaign. The last thing everyone needs is someone screaming about being made to pay their share of the tavern fare because they have a mental disorder and everyone else doesn’t understand how hard that is, wah wah wah.
So there you have it. Other than Nivi Rizzledizzle, all the other gods can straight to hell… wait, hell is cool. Okay, they can all just go to some boring plane like Heaven or Elysium and choke on their snowflakery there. If these Paizo folks want more gods, you’d think they will be able to come up with something that isn’t nine flavors of Tumblr.