Churches And Powers Of Faith
Mythic Champions of the Spheres

While mythic heroes do not always act as deities or demigods in the world, some - particularly those who take the Divine SourceMA universal path ability - create churches and actively recruit followers that they grant power to. This page includes rules, guidelines, and principles for establishing churches.

Establishing And Strengthening A Church

Churches are complex, widespread organizations - especially those who have spread enough to establish bases in multiple countries. However, churches are not created equally, and many of them focus on different goals or objectives. When you start a church, each of its six attributes begins at 0. You gain a number of points equal to your Charisma modifier when the church is formed to increase these attributes, and you may lower an attribute to gain an equal number of points to spend in one or more other attributes.

Scores can range from -10 to +10, but may not exceed +4/-4 when the church is first formed. You gain an additional point for your church at each character level, bonus points at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, and an additional point each time your permanent Charisma modifier goes up by +1. You are not required to spend all of these points, but can reduce one attribute by 1 each time you spend a point.

For plot reasons, GMs may cap the effective level of a church. For example, if you are level 8, your church may only have points as though you were level 6. When this cap is removed (or adjusted upwards), you immediately gain the maximum number of points you could have and may distribute them immediately. This represents breakthroughs in your church and changing policies.

Note that a low score is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, a church with a low Reaction score may not be quick to adjust, but that can also insulate it from public pressure and help it focus on its primary mission. Similarly, a church with a negative Loyalty score may have no interest in expanding or advertising itself, which means it may be overlooked if anti-religious fervor suddenly sweeps the area. At the GM’s discretion, a negative score may apply a penalty to checks made against a church by an opposing faction whenever it might come into play. To go with the previous example, there might be a penalty on Diplomacy checks made to try and get fanatics to leave a negative-Loyalty church. It is acceptable, and even encouraged, to stop adjusting a church’s scores when they seem appropriate for its style. The GM may impose limits, if they desire, on the attributes of any given church.

A good sample spread for a church is one score at a max of 10, one at a max of 7, two at a max of 4, and then the remaining scores must be 3 or lower. This is not a hard requirement, but GMs should discourage trying to maximize everything. Maximizing too many attributes is typically unrealistic for how an organization would actually behave, and setting limits such as these helps encourage diversity.

Guidelines are provided below, but the exact nature of each attribute depends on the church and is frequently affected by their patron’s personality and views. As a general rule, larger churches can do more with the same score. If two churches with 6 Might fight each other, but one church is ten times larger, the bigger church is probably going to win. If the GM decides one church is significantly larger than the other (after accounting for things like both sides calling in help from elsewhere), they may apply any bonus or penalty to church attributes that they feel is appropriate.

On a similar note, high scores generally mean that more people in and around the church are affected by that attribute, while a negative score means few or no people are affected. How much of an emphasis churches put on a particular attribute is often public knowledge, as explained on the following table.

Table: Attributes And Public Perception
Attribute Public Perception
+10 The church is famous for this attribute. Its actions in this area are widely known (a DC 5 Knowledge (religion) check), and doing well here occupies a significant amount of the priests’ time.
+7 The church is well-known for this attribute (a DC 10 Knowledge (religion) check) among average people. The priests think maintaining this is important.
+4 The church is known for this attribute (a DC 15 Knowledge (religion) check) by those who study religion, but not the general public. The priests spend some time doing it, but it is not an overriding concern.
0 The church places no special emphasis for or against this attribute. It is not known for the associated behaviors.
-5 The church avoids or limits this attribute. If the church is well-known, knowing they avoid it is a DC 12 Knowledge (religion) check.
-10 The church avoids or limits this attribute as much as reasonably possible. If the church is well-known, knowing their behavior in this area is a DC 5 Knowledge (religion) check.

Secretive churches and cults add a +5 difficulty penalty to the DCs of all Knowledge checks made to gather information about them.

Churches often cooperate with each other and with other major organizations to advance their mutual interests. For example, a church may have few defenders of its own to protect its buildings, but it may be able to count on holy warriors from a more militant church just down the road to come to its aid during times of trouble. Whenever a church gains help from another (as determined by the GM to be reasonable), they may use their ally’s score instead of their own for attempting a check.

Good churches almost always aid each other. Lawful neutral and neutral churches typically cooperate with most others (particularly good churches) and remain out of fights. Chaotic neutral churches are unpredictable, but may have friends that they help (and can get help from). Evil churches tend to be independent, and even being together in a hierarchy is not a guarantee of support among them (though churches dedicated to Devils and anyone in Hell’s hierarchy tend to cooperate among themselves). While these are general guidelines, the specific details of a church’s leader are the most important factor in determining whether or not it cooperates with others.

Church Attributes

Churches have six attributes, one related to each of the six ability scores. When the GM wants to determine whether or not a church succeeds at trying to perform a specific task, they may roll an attribute check against DC 15. An attribute check is 1d20 + the attribute modifier. If a mythic character who leads (or is a major figure in) the church is present for this, they may use their mythic surge on the church’s check. If two churches come into conflict, they may make opposed checks with the attributes selected by the GM for the situation. Alternatively, if one church has a positive attribute and the other church has a negative attribute, the church with the positive attribute takes a penalty on their roll equal to the negative attribute (and mythic characters can use their mythic surge to increase the penalty).

In general, churches should only roll an attribute check when there’s a realistic possibility of success/failure in the endeavor. If the situation is genuinely beyond them, or so easy that there's no realistic chance of failure, they automatically fail or succeed on the check as appropriate. Churches with an attribute modifier of -6 or below have no chance of success in that area, but may still use that attribute to resist attempts to influence them.

Note that the attribute check is a general abstraction of different circumstances and behaviors, ranging from things like priests possessing the right talents to sheer luck to having enough money on-hand to hire problem-solvers like adventurers. GMs may use these attributes for non-church organizations, setting the numbers as they feel is appropriate for the group.

Churches that are stable within an area can often try again on any check they fail (once a suitable amount of time has passed). For example, a low-Might church may fail in its attempt to eradicate a monster horde in the nearby area, but after two weeks, the GM decides they are ready to try again and rolls that they succeed at that attempt.

Conflict Examples

Here are some examples of conflicts between churches and how to use their attribute scores.

  • Normal Battle: Might vs. Durability: One church is on offense and trying to destroy another, such as a holy church waging a crusade on a heretical cult. The church on offense uses its Might, while the church on defense uses its Durability to resist the attack and try to remain in the area.
  • All Out War: Might vs. Might: Two militant churches try to destroy each other in a clash of their Might.
  • Attacking The Peaceful: Might vs. Negative Might One expansionist church wants to attack another, exceptionally peaceful church. However, sentiment against attacking such a non-threatening group makes soldiers hesitate, subtracting the peaceful group's score and making it harder for the aggressive church to prod its warriors into battle.
  • Information War: Connections vs. Negative Reaction: One church is trying to influence the surrounding area and leveraging its Connections to sway the local populace and, through them, the opinions of another church’s leaders. The second church has a negative Reaction because they are staunchly traditionalist, making it much harder for the first church’s Connections to work.

Might (Strength)

Might reflects a Church’s ability to project force in support of its ideals. This may include training paladins or warpriests, hiring mercenaries, providing self-defense lessons to its members, or any other method of projecting power that the church believes in. Churches with a high Might score tend to be militant and prize martial prowess, promoting battlefield commanders within the faith, while Churches with a negative Might score tend to prefer peaceful resolutions to problems. Note that the ability and willingness to project force is not the same thing as aggression or ruthlessness; Churches can be very powerful but also restrained or noble in their use of force. This attribute focuses specifically on combat power, not the Church’s ability to influence events in other ways.

Reaction (Dexterity)

Reaction reflects a Church’s ability to move its power around and adjust to changing situations. This could include moving priests into different areas, altering the chain of command, and responding to other Churches that may be challenging it for domination. Churches with a high Reaction score tend to be extremely mobile and flexible, aggressively seizing opportunities and making a major impact in any area they turn their attention to. They also tend to focus on responding to the needs and requests of citizens, often diverting resources to do so. Churches with a negative Reaction score tend to be solid and stable - they may be considered traditionalist or even boring, but the fact that everyone knows what to expect means local governments often settle into a comfortable working relationship with them.

Durability (Constitution)

Durability reflects the ability of a Church to survive in a given region when challenged. This takes the form of tithes or other payments from members, support from local governments, security for each church, the ability to hide places of worship from enemies, and partnerships with other churches. A church with a high Durability score can persist in almost any area, whether publicly or under cover. Churches with a negative Durability score tend to be easy to run out of an area, though they may know how to settle in a new area with little difficulty.

Connections (Intelligence)

Connections cover the ability of a Church to acquire information and meet with local persons of interest. A Church with high a Connections score knows most things going on in the area and can usually find the answer to any ordinary question in short order. They may also have personal relationships with kings, councilors, mayors, or other civic leaders. Churches with a negative Connections score may be insulated from the outside - while this means they cannot project influence as well, it also means others find it harder to affect them, and many secretive faiths prefer this. Some Churches prefer to use this method for influencing others.

Miracles (Wisdom)

Miracles cover the overall divine power granted to members. Almost every Church of meaningful size has several members with strong divine powers, and usually at least one at any official building, but some Churches have far more higher-level clerics and priests than others. Churches with a high Miracles score have an easier time providing spellcasting services (whether paid, low-cost, or free) and tend to be known as places where people can go for magical help. Churches with a negative Miracles score rarely cast magic for the benefit of outsiders, and usually only for a high price. Many churches use their Miracles to spread their influence and support their goals, and indeed, this is their main way of doing so outside of Might. Regardless of their attribute score here, churches almost always provide Miracles to their own clergy members (though not necessarily to the regular members of the church).

Loyalty (Charisma)

Loyalty reflects the dedication of the church’s priests and members. Churches with a high Loyalty score have an easier time growing and its members tend to remain with it even through tough times. Churches with a negative Loyalty score work well enough in normal times, but may crack under pressure and see many members flee during tough times. However, even Churches with very negative Loyalty scores tend to have a few devoted or even fanatical members. Some Churches prefer to remain small and focused, so they expend little or no effort on garnering loyalty outside of their existing membership. To a lesser extent, Loyalty also represents the trust the community has in the Church. Any faith that offers public services (healing, banking, funeral rites, etc.) probably has a medium-to-high Loyalty score.

The Powers Of Faith

Author's Note: I'd like to give some personal thanks to Godbound by Kevin Crawford and Sine Nomine Publishing for inspiring these.

Few churches survive for long if they do not have someone to worship. Some gods (and other targets of worship) do not care about running a church or have only the most minimal involvement. However, those who are serious about running a church gain special abilities designed to help with managing it. These abilities are split into ten levels, which are collectively known as the powers of faith. Mortal creatures can access these powers if they can provide spellcasting and domains to their followers. The Divine SourceMA mythic ability is the most common way for mortals to do this, which is why most creatures offering these powers start at Tier 3 or higher. Creatures must take Divine Source a second time to gain powers at Tier 6 and higher, and a third time to gain the Tier 9 and Tier 10 powers. Mythic creatures are considered quasi deities when they first take the Divine Source ability, but do not continue to become demigods or full deities regardless of level or tiers.

If you are not using the Mythic system, your GM may change when each new tier of power is accessible.

Tier 1: Know Your Followers

You always know whether or not a person is a worshiper of yours, though this does not give you automatic insight into their personal feelings. You gain custody of the souls of your worshipers when they die - most deities always have these souls sent to their divine realm, but some have the souls wait or be used for other matters. You may also hear particularly powerful or important prayers from your worshipers, as well as prayers from those in close proximity.

Tier 2: Receive The Power Of Faith

You may receive worship from mortal believers in a more direct fashion. Once per day, you may roll twice on any d20 roll and take the better result. You may use this ability after a dice has been rolled, but before the result is given. You may choose to use this ability on an ally you can see instead of yourself. You may use this ability an additional time per day at 4th tier and every even tier thereafter.

Tier 3: Sanctify The Holy Ground

Your worshipers may sanctify temples and shrines to you. When an area is consecrated in this way, you may choose to perceive anything happening within the consecrated area (though you must intentionally choose to watch). You automatically see through all illusions, disguises, and other attempts to hide within the consecrated area. Once per day, you may use any ability you have on any person within the consecrated ground as if you were right next to them (except abilities that can only target you) without expending any resources (such as spell points or martial focus). You may use your abilities more often, but they incur the normal cost.

Consecrated areas must be specific and clearly defined as an area dedicated to your faith. For example, you could share a consecrated area with several other deities in a communal temple, but your worshipers cannot consecrate an entire planet and let you see anything, anywhere, unless they turn literally all of the planet into a temple.

Tier 3: Punish The Apostates

You may afflict offending worshipers of your faith with a curse appropriate to your divine theme, lasting as long as you like and with any level of severity you choose (including death). However, if another deity accepts the worshiper, the curse is immediately lifted. Note that some deities choose mild curses, such as one instance of idle misfortune, as a warning to stay on the right path. Other deities never choose to punish their followers.

Tier 4: Hear Prayers

You may hear all the prayers of your faithful, not just those from especially prominent followers. This is usually a subconscious murmur that is not distracting to you, but you may choose to listen for particular topics or people and be alerted whenever those come up. You may communicate with your worshipers during their prayers, but your voice is subtle and does not force obedience.

Tier 5: Reward The Devout

You can give boons to followers who serve you well. You may establish an obedience that your followers can perform each day for a boon of power (see the Deific Obedience feat in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Faiths of Golarion for information on obediences), and you may create boons for the evangelist, exalted, and sentinel prestige classes. You may also offer Divine Gifts (see Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures for the rules of Divine Gifts, as well as appropriate samples). You may not offer Divine Gifts that have a caster level greater than twice your tier, nor may you create other effects that are similarly stronger than your divine energies. You may offer Divine Gifts to a number of creatures equal to or less than your tier at any one time; if you try to offer any Divine Gifts beyond this, the creatures with the oldest gifts lose access to them first.

Tier 6: Perceive Followers

As a move action, you may see a specific follower and their surroundings, gaining all knowledge of their situation that the follower in question knows. This does not grant notably deep or subtle knowledge of the situation, but it is enough to make their current circumstances clear to you.

Tier 7: Mark The Prophets

You may consecrate specific worshipers as Favored Followers or High Priests. You may have up to two Favored Followers per mythic tier, but only one true High Priest (even if others have the title). Each Favored Follower gains 1 Mythic Tier, while the High Priest (who must choose the Hierophant path) gains one fewer Mythic Tiers than you possess. You may remove these blessings at any time, but cannot bless a new follower with the reclaimed power for 24 hours.

Favored Followers and High Priests should not be camp followers, minions, or other individuals who travel with a deity or directly expend mythic power on behalf of the deity. Similarly, they should not be other PCs (without GM permission).

Tier 8: Manifest Divinity

You may appear before a praying worshiper, instantly traveling to their side and divinely bypassing any barriers (including planar boundaries and antimagic fields). The manifestation lasts for no longer than one scene, as determined by the GM, before you return to your original location. You may create a show when you arrive, typically themed to your divine focus and current mood. For example, a deity of light may appear blindingly bright, while a deity of secrets may appear masked and robed.

Tier 9: Bless A Nation

You may selectively bless or curse a faction or nation that contains a substantial number of your followers (in most cases, you must be either one of or the single largest churches in the nation to qualify, with adherents making up at least 30% of the population; factions require the same minimum percentage of adherents). The faction or nation must have a minimum of 100 members. The blessing or curse provides a +2 or -2 modifier on all d20 rolls the members of that faction or nation make for one month, resulting in a small but noticeable impact on daily life. Once you have blessed or cursed a group, you may not do so again for one year.

Tier 10: Miracle Of The Faith

Once per day, you may cast miracle as a spell-like ability on behalf of one of your followers, affecting either them or their situation. Given the sheer power of miracles, most deities reserve this boon for times of great need.

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