My gateway into roleplaying games and the science fiction & fantasy genre was mythology. In elementary school, I found a book on Greek and Roman mythology and I was hooked. I would spend my time in the school and local library finding what other books about mythology they had. My sources did not have the breadth and depth that one can find on the internet today but I was tenacious. I remember reading Egyptian, Finnish, Aztec, and Mayan mythologies and just imagining the worlds that these people inhabited.
I enjoy playing Pathfinder as it has this broad setting that has so much potential but the books themselves are almost all mechanics. They leave out setting stories that I so badly want when I am playing a roleplaying game. This is not to say that the lack of setting material makes it impossible for me to play in a world. Far from it. I enjoy Apocalypse World wherein the group created the setting as they go. If I am given a robust setting at the outset, I want to be able to read about it as I digest the mechanics. This makes everything coalesce for me.
In Pathfinder and other variants of D&D, this is even more important for me. I play clerics. I invest my character into the deity that they represent. I can play a stereotypical member of the clergy but I would much rather have some depth, even if it is only just in my head. Pathfinder has suffered in my eyes for this lack of information in the base books. There is plenty of setting information strewn about in their adventures. I have not had the opportunity to participate in any of these so I miss this information and feel left out as a fan of the system.
Inner Sea Gods corrects this problem. This is a campaign setting book that addresses the main gods in the largest section of the setting. It delves deeply into each deity and and provides information on the deity, their church, the priest’s role, relations with other religions, realms, and planar allies.They take what has been a single class and give players a means of taking that class and tailoring it to fit their specifications. In addition, the authors provide aphorisms and holidays that allows players to add even more depth to their interaction with the setting.
I picked up the book and was in heaven. The book provides a better understanding of how each religion fits within the setting as well as how the people in a given village would see a cleric of a particular deity. From a player perspective, I feel like I have a better grasp of the cleric in this setting. I can participate more fully with those who are veterans of the setting without continually asking how this or that religion is viewed. As a GM, I now have ways of both making the games I run have more depth and a way reward my players that are vested in the setting by being aware of this investment more fully.
The book is gorgeous. It is a full color hard back book that weighs in at hefty 332 pages with a price point of $39.99. The art is gorgeous throughout. In particular I loved the depictions of each deity presented. The picture of Sarenrae was just gorgeous. There is plenty of setting material presented but the mechanics are not ignored either. There are three prestige classes presented in this book and each deity has a list of benefits that they provide to members of these classes. In addition to these new prestige classes, there are new feats, spells, and magic items added to the mix as well. The various altars are a nice way to add a nice benefit for clerics to visit temples before heading out on an adventure.
Pathfinder: Inner Sea Gods is a book that has been sorely needed in the Pathfinder library. It fleshes out the setting for those of who don’t play the adventure paths and has plenty of crunch to add to any on-going game. I am very glad I picked it up. If you are a fan of Pathfinder, then this is an excellent addition to your library.