Today I'm going to take a look at Purple Duck Games' excellent collection of deities,
This pdf is 45 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 40 pages of content - quite a bunch for this new pantheon, so let's check out these gods!
Porphyra, until recently, as the aptly written introduction tells us, was a world without gods - and then elves and orcs united and saw their world almost torn asunder by the arrival of gods and the integration of the respective divinity's domains. That's about the general gist on the fluff-side. Beyond that, this pdf is also the open faith project, making all these deities actually open content and thus potentially available to other 3pps - but should one rejoice and hope people take up on the offer this pdf provides? It should be noted, that each of the gods herein has 4 domains and 4 subdomains - Speaking of them: The pdf provides the new art and time domains, with the movement, sound, future and past subdomains before providing a nice two-page spread-sheet of the deities that includes all domains, favorite animals etc. - all the essential information you'd need on about two pages.
After that, we delve into the individual write-ups of the gods, which follow a similar style as in "Gods & Magic" - i.e., we start with a selection of epithets, worshipers, domains and sub-domains, favored animals and weapons and get information on the legend of the god, the church that worships him/her/it, information on the god's respective unique spell preparation ritual, a unique full-color artwork of the god's symbol and also two new religion-traits per deity.
But what about the deities? Well, they actually are rather interesting - take for example the "Voice of Corruption" Eshalqua, dark patron of business, crime and arts - yes, you read right. What at first may seem eclectic actually makes sense when reading the god's entry. Fenris Kul, as the name promises, is a god linked to the end times - born of a deific purge, the deity now seeks to craft a burning throne from the remnants of the world and its gods. In contrast to these dark ones, e.g. Ithreia stands in her 3 forms (old, young, mature) as the goddess of the sea, storms and prophecies while Forgefather Linium, the god of clockworks, blacksmiths and labor (btw. associated with spiders!) serves as a surprising twist on the type of deity. And then there is Mâl - god of the apocalypse, destroyer, chained god, destroyer of worlds and creature that seeks to transform everything into the likeness of his dread domain.
Nemyth Vaar, god of betrayal, revenge and murder also has a place in society, it seems - able to draw truth from the gibbering madness of the insane, these "holy" worshipers are predisposed to staffing asylums - or ending up as inmates. Nemyth Vaar also gets an extra page of origin fluff! Not all gods are evil, mind you: There is also a goddess of soldiers and darkness, waiting and creating opportunities for mortals to take, a god of the sun and knowledge and the oracles of the dreaming goddess Neria that seeks to serve as a benevolent guide of fate. The absolute opposite would be Rajuk Amon-Gore - a child that lived through the NewGod wars of Porphyra, the deity ascended by immorally stabbing and consuming a nascent godling fated to heal the world, signifying and propagating thus the ultimate immoral end of existence, not with a scream, but with a whimper - to paraphrase T.S.Elliot.
More suitable and enticing for players, perhaps, would then be the worship of Tulis, goddess of martyrs and defiance or of the grand lion Thoma Thule, the King of Kings and newly risen god of absolute rule and order. Ul'Ul, mad maiden and mistress of dance once was a regular goddess of rain and dance that was driven insane by captivity through one Eshalquan mage, representing a dangerous, if not malevolent form of unpredictability.
It should be noted that this review has only scratched the surface of the gods contained herein and that the pdf also contains additional content in the form of new creatures: We get the new M^lite-template that makes creatures appropriately disturbing, resin-spined and gigeresque and two sample Mâlites, one of which, the Custodian, can be seen as a walking Mâlite factory, spreading the taint of the dread divinity. Both creatures get awesome, beautiful full-color, one page artworks - Nice! 13 new spells complete the offering of this pdf, mostly dealing with the new domains and its concerns.
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and comes with a nice plethora of full color artwork I wouldn't have expected from this pdf, much less at this price-point. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks.
I'll say it right away from the bat: didn't expect to like this pdf.
Porphyra, yet another fantasy world it seemed. I expected generic gods that had to stick to confining, general profiles. I was wrong.
Instead, I was positively surprised by the cool ideas (NewGod war, patchwork nature of the world etc.) I could glean of PDG's setting and the fact that the deities herein are not boring: Each and every god and goddess herein features at least one, most of the time multiple twists on the basic concepts of a god - you'll find no run-of-the-mill fire/blacksmith-god, no foe of the undead/sun god and instead get a nice array of deities with intriguing, exciting concepts, cool imagery etc. - in the end, I wanted to know more about the world, more about the deities, more about their holy books and clergy - and that is a great sign. The team of authors has managed to walk the line and create a pantheon that is both easy to use by other 3pps or DMs, while still making the individual write-ups feel unique. Seeing my lack of complaints and the top-notch level of quality this pdf provides for its low price, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars, only omitting my seal of approval because I would have loved a sample holy tome for each deity.
May the gods of Porphyra bless you for reading my ramblings,