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This book isn't exactly what I expected, but overall I think Paizo did a great job with it. I was picturing a book that was carved into gigantic sections for each of the main deities (and possibly some choice other gods), and within those chapters you would get the full-throttle version of each, including some monsters, hierarchy, maybe some nice plot hooks, locations, specific feats, spells and items. If your party was at odds with a particular god worshiping cult, then that was the chapter to solve all of your GM problems!
That's not quite what you get here. It does have a lot of that, but spread out a bit different. Also note, that this book definitely pulls together quite a bit of info that is in other books, but it does it pretty well and I think it's worth it to have the complete resource campaign setting book for inspiration. The rest of this review is written with the understanding that not all the info is brand new.
Here's a couple important points:
1. The main deities are given nice long entries along with some new mechanics for obedience, boons and variant spell casting. There's also (anti)Paladin codes for those gods that support them and some general guidance on how dedicated priests of each god should act. I think this is helpful to give inspiration and motivation from a story perspective. Framework like this makes it a lot of fun for a GM like me who sometimes just can't decide on NPC stuff. The feats - at least the diety specfic ones - seem fairly well done to me despite what I've seen other reviewers say, and I really appreciate this as well. I'm a fan of flavor driven content, and any character options that make you feel like your PC is a hardcore follower of a god helps, IMO.
2. There is a section on "other gods" and I'm not really sure what Paizo's intent was here. It starts with I guess what you could call the "Class B" gods, and gives a half page description for each. This seemed weak to me, as this book should be the one where gods such as Ghaulander (sp?) finally get some game-specific info to work with - a worshiper NPC, some boons, a short description of some stronghold, anything more than what they did. Giving this group a nice two-page spread for each would have gone a long way with fans.
Then, this same section continues to list many many many race specific gods, along with a few others but with only a few lines of text for each, and I really don't understand why. I would have liked to see something else added here or leave it out for another volume down the road.
3. The character options section took up more of the book than I was expecting. I only say that because again, I feel more pages should have been spent on the gods themselves. There are 3 prestige classes, several feats (most pertaining to a deity, but not all) and several new spells and magic items. For the most part, it gives the feel that, if you want a PC that is super-focused on a deity and that will play a large part in the campaign, then these are the options for you. If you don't want that, then you probably don't need to bother - but that's what this book is all about (and there definitely are some good ones in there). I think they did a pretty good job here.
(I will say though, there are a few feats/spells that maybe needed a couple seconds of play-testing before print. But this isn't the only book that does that.)
4. There's a short bestiary giving two (one high level unique, one low level) monster associated with each (main) god. I love this kind of thing and it's done well. More ready to use game content when focusing one deity.
5. I like the tables in the back giving a nice run-down of who's-who in the deity space, listing favored weapons, domains, all that stuff. Only thing is it just leaves you wanting more detail on all those gods and demigods
The book looks great, and for any GM that gets inspiration from flipping through all the source books, this is another one for you that pulls things into one place. Even if you don't put the gods in your campaigns at all, about half the book is still full of options you can use as a player/item/monster resource. I would have organized it differently, and dropped a few low-value pages to reinforce others, but overall it's a good book.
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I finished reading this book a while ago, and have been chewing over how to rate it. It's a real mixed bag, so I'll break it down by pros and cons:
-It contains information valuable for every GM in Pathfinder, and roleplaying information that should basically be mandatory reading for every player of a divine character in the game. It contains all the paladin/anti-paladin creeds, the tenets of each faith, tons of fluff on festival days, common sayings, and a list of outsiders that can be used for planar ally spells.
-It has an amazing, amazing amount of crunch to it. If you're thinking about choosing a god in Pathfinder, you've now got hundreds of pages of spells, obediences, feats, traits, prestige classes, and magic items to wade through. I like books with a lot of crunchy bits, and this book is crunchier than a Snickers Bar.
-It has a mini-bestiary in the back, which gives you two monsters associated with each god, one high level (CR 15 or so) and one low level (CR 5 or so). So when your players loot a temple, you've now got an quick reference for which monsters to send after them. The bestiary is also super useful for Sacred Servants and other people who use Planar Ally spells.
-A fair bit of it is a reprint of material found elsewhere. That said, it's nice having it all under one cover.
-The organization is a bit wonky. Some parts are sorted by god, other parts are sorted by category. It would have been nice to have had the book all sorted one or the other.
-And here's my biggest issue with the book: Deific Obediences are just stupid. It's a feat for 3rd level characters that doesn't give a major benefit until 16th level. It gives a minor benefit when you take it, and another minor benefit at 12th, but no major benefit until 16th. If and only if you take a prestige class devoted to the subject, you can cut down these benefits by up to 7 levels, meaning you can have a 9th level character now running around with a major power designed for 16th level PCs.
The obedience boons are broken into three categories: one for divine casters, one for melee characters, and one for everyone. However, the incredibly stupid thing is that you can't actually choose which category you get. If you just take the Divine Obedience feat, you get the boons for divine casters. Why? Why on earth wouldn't they give you the boons that are literally designed for all characters? And then these categories don't even make sense half the time. If you're a paladin or cleric of Iomedae, you're far better off taking the boons for everyone, instead of the boons for fighter types and divine casters. If you're a rogue or something, you get little to no benefit from the general purpose (evangelist) boons. And there is a problem like this in almost every god - Rovagug, who has a ton of barbarian followers, grants a bonus on breaking things. Cool. But its general-purpose boons *only* benefit spellcasters. If you are a barbarian, you literally get no benefit from taking those major boons. Desna, likewise, has general purpose boons that only benefit spellcasters. Why were these not put into the category of boons for spellcasters, or given alternate abilities? Pharasma grants a +2 bonus to dagger attacks, but otherwise has not the slightest amount of synergy with stabbing things with daggers. Many of the major cleric boons grant bonuses to channelling energy, but since the prestige class in question doesn't improve channelling energy, it is just terrible. Other problems include generalist boons that only work for bards, or witches, or whatever.
I've spent quite a while going over all the boons, and in perfect honesty and with love towards Paizo... the whole system should be scrapped and re-written.
And if not the whole thing, then at least alternative options should be errated in for the boons that only grant bonuses for a single class, the Divine Obedience feat should probably grant generalist boons instead of cleric boons, since the feat can be taken by everyone, and the divine boon prestige classes should at least stack with channel energy and smite evil and things like that, which are completely gimped where Paizo thinks they are being improved by the options.
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Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!
Product- Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods
Price-~$30 at http://smile.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Campaign-Setting-Inner-Gods/dp/1601255977/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404137191&sr=8-1&keywords=Pathfinder+Campaign+Setting+Inner+Sea+gods
TL; DR-If you want to know about the main Golarion gods, get this book. 90%
Basics- Inner Sea Gods is the first hard cover book discussing Golarion in a long time from Paizo, and as the name suggests, it focuses on the gods of the inner sea region. Chapter one discusses the big 20-the top gods of the setting. Each god gets a few pages discussing important stats for this god and prestige classes for characters of this god, the gods beliefs, the priesthood, the church, temples and shrines, a priest's role in the world, how adventures see the god, clothing of worshipers, holy texts, holidays, aphorisms, relations between religions, the gods realm, planar allies, and a sidebar for characters of this god for different items, archetypes and character options. Each god also gets a picture of a worshiper and the god itself. After the main deities' chapter, the second string of deities gets a chapter with each deity getting half a page followed by a section on race specific pantheons. Next is a chapter on character options including three new prestige classes, feats, traits, domains spells, and items. The book finishes with new monsters and quick stat tables on the gods.
Theme or fluff- I liked and didn't like this one. What was here was great, but what wasn't was what really made this disappointing. The first chapter of the book is amazing! The write up on each god is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn about the gods of this world. However, I would have gladly traded any items and spells in this book for more page space on the second string deities. That was what I really wanted from this book. Gods like Besmara already have a deity write up that could have been copy/pasted from the Adventure Paths (AP) right in this book! And that's the assumed default god of the second highest selling AP! Heck, some gods don't even get the half page as some race deities get less than a paragraph in the pantheons. Now, I know this is kind of nit-picking as +90% of players will pick a main god and use that, but those minor god details are important to me. 4/5
Mechanics or Crunch-This was done well even if I wanted more fluff in the book. Instead of making an ungodly (ha puns!) number of different prestige classes, Paizo made three, BUT each god gives different powers depending on the god the character serves. That right there, along with CMB/CMD, is the smartest thing Paizo has added to the 3.X system! I don't need a book with three classes per god (basically the standard Paizo three: skill monkey, fighter, and caster); I can have two pages explaining each class and 1/2 a page per god giving each god's specific powers for those three. That frees up page space that was much better used and solved a problem in a smart way. The feats, items, monsters, and powers provided by the book are also well done too. Like any large book, there are winners and losers for all the options provided, but overall it's not bad. I think the alters and item are far overpriced for the bonus you get though. As above, since the non-core gods don't get much more than half a page, you can't out of the box play the new prestige classes with the obscured gods. But, those are minor problems. 4.5/5
Execution- It's not a bad book. I might have problems with content, but Paizo knows how to really put a bunch in each book. The art helps keep the reader from getting bored since you are in essence reading at least 150 pages of fake theology textbook. Item, spell, power, class layout is as great as ever. I find nothing to complain about here. 5/5
Summary- If you play Pathfinder and are a cleric, then this book is a no brainer. If you run a Pathfinder game and will use ANY gods at all, then this book is a no brainer. I have my problems with what didn't make the cut for this book as opposed to what did. However, if you are the vast majority of people out there who pretend to worship some fantasy god in this system, then this book is for you. If you want to worship some obscure god, you have a bit of work on your hands. Since I love clerics in my 3.5 games, this a well done book I'm glad is part of my collection but not completely what I wanted. 90%