Saga of the Serpent's Skull
Golarion has scores, if not hundreds, of deities, including those which come from other planes (but not those from other worlds in the Material Plane). While most of these are venerated by a select small group — deities for each specific race, for example, or those with very limited localized regions of control — there are twenty major deities whose worships is widespread across the Inner Sea region.
The 20 most Prominent Gods are:
- Abadar: God of cities, wealth, merchants, and law
- Asmodeus: God of tyranny, slavery, pride, and contracts
- Calistria: Goddess of trickery, lust, and revenge
- Cayden Cailean: God of freedom, ale, wine, and bravery
- Desna: Goddess of dreams, stars, travelers, and luck
- Erastil: God of Farming, hunting, trade, and family
- Gorum: God of strength, battle, and weapons
- Gozreh: God of nature, weather, and the sea
- Iomedae: Goddess of valor, rulership, justice, and honor
- Irori: God of history, knowledge, and self-perfection
- Lamashtu: Goddess of madness, monsters, and nightmares
- Nethys: God of magic
- Norgorber: God of greed, secrets, poison, and murder
- Pharasma: Goddess of fate, death, prophecy, and birth
- Rovagug: God of wrath, disaster, and destruction
- Sarenrae: Goddess of the sun, redemption, honesty, and healing
- Shelyn: Goddess of beauty, art, love, and music
- Torag: God of the forge, protection, strategy
- Urgathoa: Goddess of gluttony, disease, and undeath
- Zon-kuthon: God of envy, pain, darkness, and loss
The deities listed above represent the 20 gods and goddesses whose faith has most widely spread throughout Avistan and Garund, but there are dozens more who only have a local following, are worshiped by only a single race, or have a tiny number of worshipers. Others are widely worshiped in distant lands but have little influence in the lands along the Inner Sea. Some are the last vestiges of a dead god’s power, some are famous heroes whose mortal fans have elevated them to near-divinity, and some are powerful extraplanar entities who possess god-like abilities but are not actually true gods. To most mortals, the distinction between these levels of power is irrelevant — the test is whether or not they answer prayers.
While the gods listed above have many worshipers in these lands, a priest of one of the following gods is less likely to be able to find a shrine, temple, or even other members of his faith. Others may believe the religion is a mere cult, a new name for a better-known deity, or even a false faith.
It is also worth mentioning Aroden; despite the death of the god in 4606, and the dispersion of his remaining followers and clergy (mostly into the church of Iomedae), worship of Aroden continues in many parts of the world. This is particularly true in those regions influenced by Cheliax (such as Sargava and Andoran), though Cheliax itself has largely abandoned its former god in favor of… less then savory choices.
Lastly, there is Yig, Father of Serpents and dead god of the Serpentfolk. Legends hold that the snake lord lives on in his decapitated head. Much like with Aroden, worship has continued after death, though as the Serpentfolk are secretive and potentially long-dead, there is no way to verify Yig’s existence.
A philosophy takes as its central tenet not the teachings of a deity, but the teachings of a train of thought. In most cases, a philosophy is created by a mortal, and while philosophies often persist long after the founder’s death, the founder himself is not a deity. Followers of philosophical ways of thought can (and usually are) of varied classes.
There are countless philosophies to choose from in Golarion. Some of them are simple concepts, such as atheism (the “gods” may be real, but not divine and therefore not worthy of blind devotion and worship), pantheism (veneration of all the deities as warranted by the situation at hand), and agnosticism (no mortal can say what is divine and what isn’t — the workings of the divine are fundamentally unknowable by mortals). Others are so fantastically complex that very few creatures count themselves as followers of the philosophy, and fewer still claim to fully understand it.
Listed here are four of the most widespread, well-known, or notorious philosophies currently active on Golarion. For the most part, adherence to a philosophy does not preclude membership in another organization or religion, although there are certain implications in most philosophies that make some choices untenable — you wouldn’t expect to ever see a diabolist priest of Desna, for example.