Beliefs

Religions and philosophies vary tremendously in their scope and focus. Most people on Erin have a measure of respect for at least one religion or philosophy, and many are devout believers. Their faith can color their entire worldview, from what they consider worth their time to the extents they go to in pursuit of their goals-in addition to their concern about what divine assistance will answer their calls and prayers.

Though not everyone feels the need for belief to shape her perspective, most agnostics at least pay lip service to some ideal that gives power and purpose to the people around them, just to be safe. Some actively deny all religion, relying on their own strength or wits alone, but even many of those who deny that the gods deserve worship still follow codes of honor or other philosophies that unite them with their fellows and inform their views of the world.

Modes of Belief

The countless beliefs spread across Golarion can be divided into the four broad groups presented below, though some fall into multiple categories. These categories have less to do with a faith's dogma than its structure-how the faith is organized and taught. Getting a sense of the different options can help you decide which style of belief is best for your particular character, and each section notes classes that are commonly drawn to that mode of belief.

Communal

Communal beliefs are built on national, cultural, racial, or other group identities. They prescribe duties and privileges specific to the group, maintaining its unique identity over time and keeping longstanding traditions alive. Religions and philosophies that are communal reflect concerns that are relevant to the group and its traditions as a whole. In some societies, weak or nonexistent law enforcement leaves a communal belief as the only institution to mediate between people. Though some groups hold up their communal beliefs as superior to others, many are simply different the members of a tribe might be proud of the influence of their heritage without looking down on foreigners for not sharing in it. These beliefs usually engender loyalty between members.

Communal Beliefs

Name Main Associated Region
Atheism Althena
Diabolism Melahverfi
Ichimeiyo Amihama, Kyan

Ecclesiastical

Ecclesiastical beliefs are those centered around deities and mediated primarily by priests such as clerics and adepts. In addition to a deity or deities, all ecclesiastical groups share the assumption that there is at least one ultimate authority on their respective principles (such as a deity, divine herald, or high priest) who understands more than everyone else and teaches and leads those who understand less. Lawful and neutral deities usually have well-structured hierarchies among their clerics, and the leaders of such movements often wield a great deal of authority over those below them. Members are expected to defer to the judgment of their superiors Ecclesiastical religions serving chaotic deities, on the other hand, tend to be disorganized, often so much so that they begin to resemble individualistic traditions.

Many ecclesiastical traditions strive to inspire patience and a respect for authority among believers-though individual prophets and visionaries might buck the power structure to attempt sweeping changes and reforms within a faith, potentially creating sectarian conflict or instigating clashes with other faiths. All clerics and most inquisitors and paladins follow ecclesiastical traditions as members of deity-based churches, and some druids and other divine casters do as well. Well-defined churches dedicated to deities and pantheons are, as a rule, ecclesiastical in structure.

Name Main Associated Region
Gods Anywhere

Individualistic

The tenets of individualistic beliefs are rooted in the power of the self. Some groups that encourage individualistic belief also have a religious component, holding up a god or ideal as the model for the individual to aspire to, but others merely teach about the potential locked within each person. The focus of any individualistic path is on the power of each person to carve out her own destiny and choose her own way of relating to the world. These philosophies and religions often tout practical benefits that lure in ambitious new practitioners.

Many fighters and rangers practice individualistic beliefs, appreciating the freedom to work out their own directions in life. Sorcerers and rogues gravitate toward these beliefs for similar reasons, but especially because they're commonly accustomed to relying on their own wit and luck to get by in difficult situations. Monks and wizards, on the other hand, often appreciate the way that an individualistic path encourages them to grow beyond worldly limits and attain their full potential. Codes of honor are an example.

Codes of Honor

Codes of honor are beliefs built around firm restrictions on behavior. These restrictions generally serve to set a practitioner apart from non-practitioners, often making them better, stronger, more holy, or more perfect in some way. Codes may apply to initiates into a specific organization, members of a specific culture or social class, or lone individuals who strive to be all that they can be by sticking to unbending standards. What they all share is a distinctive lawful streak and a strong emphasis on self-control.

Name Main Associated Region
Ichimeiyo Amihama, Kyan
Verilian Knights Aleris

Shamanistic

Shamanistic beliefs rely on the guidance provided by certain special people who are particularly well equipped to interact with the divine world. These chosen individuals, commonly called shamans, are different than ecclesiastical priests in that they intercede with many different divine forces on behalf of themselves or their adherents, rather than dedicating themselves to a single one. Non-shamans who hold shamanistic beliefs generally rely on shamans to interact with and interpret the spiritual world on their behalf. Although these lay believers generally have little personal experience of the divine outside of certain shared rituals, a few lucky (or unlucky) souls stumble upon their own brief contact with divinity, such as a chance encounter with a powerful spiritual being or a vision glimpsed in a fever dream. A shaman might reach out to deities or revere the natural world through druidism and the Green Faith, but could also cut deals with a variety of entities.

The most well-known shamans are druids and oracles, although witches and summoners sometimes take on similar roles due to their compacts with powerful beings. Shamanism is also common among barbarians, who might prefer its rooting in the concrete, physical world or who experience the divine during rages and other ecstatic emotional states.

Druidism

Druids revere and draw power from the natural world, seeing in the endless cycle of creation and destruction a single great pattern into which all existence is interwoven. Although most people see no difference between druidism and the Green Faith, the distinction is an important one. While anyone capable of drawing on the magic of nature's essence can become a druid, the Green Faith refers specifically to the most prominent tradition of druidism and nature-worship, with its own histories, techniques, and dogma. Adding to the confusion is the fact that while druids make up the majority of the Green Faith's adherents, members of other classes are also welcome to share the faith-if not the deepest secrets of druidism.

Druids and Green Faith followers seek to learn and represent the needs and interests of the natural world, including not only animals and plants, but also nature spirits such as fey and kami. Other faiths, such as Tamashigo, hold a similar reverence for nature, but differ in their methodology and dogma.

Name Main Associated Region
Green Faith Anywhere
Tamashigo Amihama, Kyan
Unaffiliated Druid Anywhere

Juju

Special: Shaman is the only divine caster class that can become a priest of the juju faith, it is their default belief and cannot be changed.

The tribal people of Calari walk a path between the mortal world and the spirit world, or hanajuju. Those who follow their ancient traditions believe that countless entities known as wendo move among mortals, shaping fate and guiding destiny. Though not gods, the wendo are capricious and demand worship in exchange for cooperation. Wendifa lead rites and sacrifices to gain insight from the wendo and offer their followers some protection from the unforgiving forces of nature. Wendifa of great power can bend the spirits of both nature and the living to their will, earning them respect from both foes and followers.

To the uninitiated, juju is a complicated system of objects and symbols for protection and power. Some even believe it to be an organized religion with a standard set of beliefs and rituals. Those with greater experience know that juju is a living, breathing faith-an ever- evolving collection of traditions transmitted by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Fetishes, power objects, and ancient sigils are the tools of worship, but they are not the heart of juju, nor are the practices of one tribe common to all.

The heart of juju is communion with the wendo through elaborate rituals designed to summon the spirits, who carry messages and entreaties to hidden spiritual entities of immense power. These rituals involve idols and sacrifice,
music and dance, and the crafting of metumbe, detailed pictograms identified with specific wendo. The nature of these rites can range from celebrations and offerings of food to the bloody sacrifice of intelligent beings, depending on a tribe's moral tendencies. Failing to follow the precise directions of a ritual, improperly fashioning a wendo's metumbe, or-worst of all-allowing nonbelievers or hen kudu ("lost ones") to witness a ritual can bring the wendos' wrath, requiring even greater sacrifice to appease the spirits. Juju is a highly personal faith, with each practitioner keeping to the rituals and taboos handed down from his family or tribe.

Though they prefer to stay close to their wendifa for guidance, juju practitioners who travel the world follow their rituals closely, seeking guidance from the spirits while making sure to guard them from the eyes of ben kudu. Rather than choosing a specific patron, most wendifa deal with a wide range of wendo according to their needs. While undead-creation exists within the faith, and is often fixated on by outsiders, it isn't indicative of the religion as a whole, and reflects merely the specific practices of individual tribes.

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