Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Church of Ptah

This post, which presents a universe-spanning faith for use in space fantasy campaigns, is inspired by the use of Ptah in the old Spelljammer campaign setting. It is adapted for use with the Pathfinder rules.


The Church of Ptah
Fantasy campaigns that take place in space mean that many gods whose influence is limited to a single planet compete for followers in places beyond those worlds. This creates tremendous diversity in those settlements that have arisen since such churches were established, in places such as the Crossroads asteroid colony, but also generally means that no single faith has much authority.

An exception to this is a faith that has had almost universal appeal: the Church of Ptah. Considered by followers to be a creator god—and regarded by some as the creator who brought the entire universe into being via his thoughts and words—this god has proven especially popular among those who travel the spacelanes and spend time contemplating the vast and almost inscrutable nature of the universe. Furthermore, Ptah's faithful claim that his teachings were the source of writing, medicine and engineering among civilized people, an assertion that is disputed by members of other faiths.

Fav. Weapon
God of craftspeople and architects
Artifice, Community, Knowledge

In literature and temple inscriptions, Ptah is depicted as an old man dressed in regal garments and wearing a stylishly shaped beard. Given Ptah's creative powers, however, some believers maintain that he can assume any form he desires. Their preferred holy symbol is the ankh.

Due to the universal appeal of this deity, followers of Ptah can be found on many worlds. They are largely respected in cosmopolitan space settlements, but run into greater opposition in areas controlled by a particular race or culture. This is especially the case in areas controlled by elves, who resent the fact that Ptah is not depicted as, well, an elf.

Competition among Churches
A potential source for adventure hooks in a space fantasy campaign is the competition between rival faiths for followers and influence. In the best of situations, this leads to theological debates when members of competing sects come together, which happens whenever evangelizing clerics set up shop in a new settlement and try to win converts from the local inhabitants. At their worst, these conflicts can lead to physical violence between the sects, even erupting into full-on crusading wars between the faiths.

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