Is there anything more fantasy than Gods and Magic? From the divine that grant our characters extraordinary power, to the prime evils that descend upon our worlds, these forces often find themselves taking center stage at the table. Pantheons have become so intertwined in our settings, that it’s one of the first question my players have when I introduce a new world. Many tabletop RPGs have their own deities, but it’s always been Pathfinder’s interpretation that I find most interesting. I believe it’s because the team over at Paizo have always prioritized their deities in everything from rule-books to smaller adventures. As proof of this, I hold in my hand the newest book in the Pathfinder Lost Omens Line: Gods and Magic.
For those of you not familiar, Pathfinder has just released their 2nd edition, and have included a new product line of books focusing on the world of Golarion. This series is known as Lost Omens, and you can read our reviews for the Character Guide Here and the World Guide Here. This brings us to Gods and Magic, which is the third release in this series. The fact that this book is coming so early in Pathfinder 2nd edition’s lifespan should indicate the importance the game designers place on the Gods inhabiting their setting. The first thing I noticed when reading Gods and Magic, was the almost singular focus. At it’s core, the title sums up exactly what you’re getting into. After a brief introduction that covers the role of the Gods, and the importance of belief/faith, we are treated to a full two page spread of each major God in the Pathfinder setting. So, let’s ascend into the review!
Upon viewing the book cover, I knew I was going to love the art. The cover is a departure in style from what normally graces Pathfinder books, however, it really nailed the intention of this book visually. That singular focus is a huge boon to Gods and Magic. As soon as we dive into the content, it’s clear that many hours of work went into this release from a sheer design and page layout standpoint. Each God gets a full two page spread that includes things you may expect, such as, full art of the deity, their alignment information, and any associated symbols. In addition to this, we also receive a few things you may not expect. Details like a list of boons/curses that the God may bestow, and, one of my favorite flavor elements, a list of aphorisms. These are common sayings that worshipers may use in conversation. Sprinkling these phrases throughout role-play encounters will add that extra immersion to help your players feel part of the world. Perhaps, upon returning to the inn after an adventure, the party toasts their good fortune with the local barkeep who says “May your life be as free as your taps!” Clearly marking him as a worshiper of the great Cayden Cailean! Each section is full of philosophies that bond followers of that particular God together. If one of your goals is to provide the Gods a more tangible feel in your game, than a book such as this has tremendous value. Though, it wouldn’t be Pathfinder if we didn’t get some player options as well!
While Gods are a significant portion of the book, the character options chapter certainly brings the Magic. Continuing the focus of the book, this chapter covers new feats, spells, and magic items that are thematic to the divine or a specific God. From Battle Prayer to Draconic Barrage, I found a number of spells and abilities that players will thoroughly enjoy at the table. While these new options will certainly see use among the divine casters, it never makes the book feel required. This is not meant to be a core rule-book, and you won’t be missing out from a power level perspective. However, if you really want to emphasizes the Gods in your game, and reward your faithful with a few extra spells, than Gods and Magic will be a welcome addition to your RPG collection.
The real strength of this book lies in its singular focus and design. Bringing the Celestial planes within reach for players and GMs alike, Gods and Magic is a marvelous resource for anyone who wants to incorporate more of the divine into their game. Supplements such as this expands the world of Golarion, while also inspiring GMs with countless ideas for their own settings.
Have you received the divine gift of Gods and Magic? What do you think of this latest Pathfinder release? And what God sparks your imagination? Let us know in the comments below!