Born a mortal Taldan peasant of unbeatable physical prowess, Kurgess was discovered as a young man by a traveling merchant. The merchant had driven his carriage into a ditch, when the young man appeared and lifted his vehicle out single-handedly. Impressed by the farmer's incredible stamina, strength, and speed, the merchant brought him to the city of Cassomir, where he began sponsoring the boy in various competitions and races. Kurgess was able to best all of them and shared his winnings with his patron. After this, the two began traveling the countryside, taking part in any sports competition they could find.
Kurgess' fame spread far and wide, sadly bringing jealousy and bitterness with it. During the third annual Raptor Run in the Taldan city of Oppara, Kurgess's enemies laid a deadly trap for him. The young man became aware of this and was killed while successfully saving the other racers from the raptor's talons.341
In the decades that followed, the memory of Kurgess and what he had accomplished were not forgotten. Athletes and other competitors began calling on Kurgess for aid, and more than a few events were dedicated in his honor.3 Soon thereafter, the gods Cayden Cailean and Desna elevated Kurgess to godhood, either because they were so impressed by his accomplishments and actions, or because he was secretly their half-mortal son.5
In the last 300 years there have been rumors that Kurgess has occasionally reappeared and taken part in sporting events, intent on protecting and encouraging those who take part in them. This has lead to a gradual expansion of his faith, especially throughout southern Avistan,3 and particularly in the Andoren town of Falcon's Hollow.6 The Strong Man is now also worshiped as far afield as Widowmaker Isle in the Shackles where a bloody gladiatorial competition known as the Carnival of Kurgess is held every other year.7
Kurgess strongly believes that competition is healthy, as long as all the participants are playing by the same rules. He detests cheating, seeing it as a sign of moral defect. He encourages mortals to challenge themselves and push beyond their comfort zones, hoping to inspire greatness and the setting of even higher goals.8 The Strong Man also teaches how not to be a sore loser, as well as how to be a graceful winner.9
The demigod makes his home on the plane of Nirvana in a realm known as Kurgess's Field. It lies adjacent to the Forest of Whispered Longing, and often hosts small gatherings of his faithful from across Golarion and the Great Beyond. There shades can challenge the demigod's servants in respectful tests of strength and speed, and his followers spread Kurgess's doctrine of physical competition, self-sacrifice, and fair play.10
As has already been mentioned, Kurgess and his followers are on very good terms with the faiths of Desna and Cayden Cailean.5 Less well known is that he finds common cause with the goddess Milani, who shares his rural origins and desire to protect those in need.11
Church of Kurgess
Followers of Kurgess are called Kurgessans.1 Even though priests of the Strong Man are always welcome in the temples of Desna and Cayden Cailean,5 Kurgess's clergy are generally itinerants who travel between sporting events, fairs, and tournaments. They carry with them small, brightly-colored portable shrines in the form of puppet theaters or wooden podiums, usually with a place for depositing donations. While at these competitions, priests treat sports injuries, and make sure that events are run as cleanly as possible. They also provide minor healing to adventurers for free, providing they regale them with stories of their brave and just accomplishments,8 or beat them in a test of strength.12 Most also learn a craft such as woodworking, creating small dolls and other toys to give to children at these events.8
Because the church of the Strong Man has only been active for a few hundred years, it does not put much emphasis on structure and rigidly defined dogma. This makes it popular among those who wish to do good without the restrictions of elaborate ritual or hierarchy. Kurgess is also popular among archers, athletes, entertainers, jousters, mercenaries,8 scouts, and messengers.12
Temples and shrines
Among his most fanatic worshipers are darechasers, elite athletes who are adept at channeling adrenaline to overcome physical trials and adversities. These Kurgessans often use their heady successes to dare themselves into performing ever-greater feats of prowess.14
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Kurgess” in Inner Sea Faiths, 66. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 171. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 229. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Other Gods” in Gods and Magic, 46. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Falcon's Hollow” in Towns of the Inner Sea, 20. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “Shackles Gazetteer” in Isles of the Shackles, 36. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- Inner Sea Gods, 179. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Divine Influence” in Champions of Purity, 20. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “The Outer Sphere” in The Great Beyond, A Guide to the Multiverse, 47. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Milani” in The Shackled Hut, 68–69. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “Minor Deities” in Faiths of Purity, 18. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Vigil” in Cities of Golarion, 47. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Darechaser” in Paths of the Righteous, 10–11. Paizo Inc., 2016 .