Pathfinder: Defying the Gods

It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists’ houses and smashing their windows. – The Colour of Magic

As anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m an atheist and the insufferable kind of atheist that goes on about it all the time and has the sheer temerity to point out how nonsensical religious beliefs are. I mean, really, what kind of caddish oaf has the gall to point out the world isn’t flat or that there never was a worldwide flood?

Needless to say, this being such a big part of my life it bleeds over into my games, my approach to gods and clerics in games and my thoughts about magic and gods in games and materials that I write. Personally I like to leave gods in my game worlds uncertain, so that faith has a place in it. I don’t like faith, I think it’s a dangerous thing in the real world but in the fantasy worlds it’s usually all too obvious that there are gods around as they clash in the heavens, provide tangible boons to their followers, manifest and can even be visited when you slip and slide into other dimension.

That sets you on another track of thought though. A pantheistic set of gods, as is typical in most generic fantasy worlds, tends to have a lot in common with the Greek or Roman pantheons and/or some version of the Asgardian gods. Many pantheons share a common thread of mythology in that the various gods squabble, produce dozens of demigods, interfere constantly in the world of men and are often rebelled against by mankind, particularly their demigod offspring.

After a particularly heated discussion with someone I realised that even if I could be convinced that there was a god, given the mythologies around so bloody many of them I would view it as the duty of any good, moral human being to oppose them.

Human history is filled with examples of people standing up against overwhelming odds. Starting revolutions from a handful of people, raiding different states in their own country to try and free slaves or standing in front of tanks in a hopeless gesture of defiance.

Even in a world where gods existed, people might well stand up to them…

Godless Feats

Godless

You are untouched, uninterfered with, beneath the notice of the gods and they are beneath your notice. Your scorn for them shields you from both the good and bad side of the divine.

Prerequisites: This feat must be taken at character generation. Wis 12+.

Benefit: Any divine magic directly cast against you, whether of benefit or denigrating effect, has no effect.

Moral Relativism

Good, evil, law, chaos, they’re just points of view. There is nothing special or metaphysical about it and you are beyond the concerns of subjective morality.

Prerequisites: Wis 12+, Int 12+

Benefit: You ignore all alignment effects and restrictions on item use.

AntiFaith

Others can call upon their gods but in your presence it may well be in vain.

Prerequisites: Wis 12+, Int 12+

Benefits: Your level gives you a pool of points which can be used – in a 24 hour period – to negate a number of cast spell levels equal to your level. EG: If you are level 5 and a cleric casts a level 3 spell, you would spend 3 levels to negate that spell and still have two left.

Faithless Strike (Combat)

Your incisive intelligence and focussed defiance of the gods lets you strike them for great harm.

Prerequisites: Intelligence 14+, Wis 12+,  BAB +5,

Benefits: You do an additional 1d6 damage when striking holy or unholy outsiders (but not elementals).

Philosophy

You apply your mind, rather than your heart, to the problems of the universe and your understanding gives you a degree of power over the world that rivals that of the priests.

Prerequisites: Intelligence 12+, Wis 12+, Cha 12+

Benefits: The godless cannot normally be clerics but philosophers can mimic many of their effects. They use their Int in place of their Wis for determining what spells they can cast but can otherwise cast divine magic.

Doubt (Combat)

Your presence, your existence as a godless figure disconcerts the faithful and makes it difficult for them to maintain their unquestioning faith.

Prerequisites: Wis 12+, Con 12+

Benefits: Any divine magic caster within five feet of you has their DC to cast spells increased by +4.

Defiance

You can weather the wrath of the gods with a smile on your face and a defiant shout straining from your breast.

Prerequisites: Iron Will, Improved Iron Will

Benefits: Against any divine effect, special ability, magical ability or other effect of a divine source you roll your saving throw twice.

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