This review is a repost of my original review of this product for the Seekers of Secrets Pathfinder blog. The original review is no longer available on that site and I wanted to preserve the post here at The Iron Tavern.
Faiths of Balance is a 32 page book that is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion series of books from Paizo. The Player Companion series of books have a player focus, but have a good amount of useful information for GM’s as well. This book looks at the major neutral gods in the Golarion setting as well as a brief look at some of the minor deities. Also included in the book are new character traits, feats, spells and magic items with a focus on those members of the neutral faith.
The book starts with covering the seven major neutral gods in Golarion – Abadar, Calistria, Gorum, Gozreh, Irori, Nethys and Pharasma. The Green Faith is also included in the major god section. Each god receives two pages in the book that include a brief overview of the god, why adventurer’s might follow them, typical classes that follow them, goals, what identifies worshippers, the type of devotion, how other faiths get along with followers, taboos, two traits and a little about the church of each god.
The next section briefly covers eight minor deities with a short write up. A brief description of the deity is given, including their favored weapon and a new trait for a follower of the minor deity.
Next are organizations that claim allegiance to the major gods, though not officially sponsored by the church. Each major god has an organization covered in this section.
The last portions of the book include new religious feats, channel foci, minor magical items and new spells. A sidebar within the magical item section contains the paladin code for Abadar and the final section of the book covers religious holidays for each of the major deities.
This book is heavier on fluff than crunch, but with two new traits for major deity and one new trait for each minor deity and dedications sections for feats, magic items and spells there is plenty for a crunch-loving player to find in this book and not be disappointed.
Paizo continues with artwork that pulls a reader into a fantasy world, leading with a wonderful cover featuring Imrijka, the half-orc inquisitor, by Lucas Graciano. The artwork within the book is also of usual Paizo quality.
I found the major deity section full of ideas that would help any character have a better feel for their deity of choice. Whether it be more information on how followers of one deity would react to others to the types of classes drawn towards certain deities to information about the church itself. The information would help me play a accurate follower or as a GM help me shape my NPCs and give a more representative feel of the various neutral faiths.
The minor deity section will be useful to those who prefer to follow those deities, though the detail is brief concerning them. The information in this section could also prove useful to a GM that wants to work in a plot involving NPCs or followers of these minor deities.
The organization section of the book is a great resource for GMs who would like to introduce these loosely affiliated organizations into their game. I found The Companies of the Red Standard an order of mercenaries sworn to Gorum particularly interesting and several ideas floating around of how I could work brushes with this organization into a campaign. I am sure several other of the organizations mentioned in the book will provide ideas for GMs for their own game.
Of the new spells, magic items and feats I found myself most interested in the new channel focus items. Channel focus items were introduced with the Pathfinder Player Companion Adventurer’s Armory and is an object that can act as a holy symbol. The special ability of the channel focus item can be activated by the use of a channel energy. I find this an interesting concept and liked seeing more items available for use. For some reason the whip just calls out for a divine follower of Calistria!
All in all I felt Faiths of Balance was another strong offering by Paizo. While geared towards use by the player I think a GM can find plenty of information to be useful to their campaign as well, especially if the neutral based deities were going to play a larger role in their campaign.
I rated the crunch portion of this book a 3.5 out of 5. Between the new spells, traits, feats and magic items there are several options to help get the feel you might want for your character with a neutral deity focus. I feel the book is stronger from the fluff perspective and offers much to both the player and GM to further understand the nuances of the neutral deities. I am rating it a solid 4 out of 5 on the rating scale. I rate the book as a whole a 4 out of 5 – another solid book from Paizo for players and GMs alike!