Nethys (pronounced NETH-uhs)1 is a Garundi god who holds magic above all things. He gained enough power to witness all that transpired on all planes, and this both fueled his divinity and drove him irreparably mad. He is a god of magic, torn between destroying the world with one hand and saving it with the other. This dual-edged nature of magic is cherished by his followers and is epitomized in his apotheosis.2
Nethys came from somewhere to the west of Osirion. When he first met the tribal chief Azghaad, the eventual founder of Osirion, Azghaad knew to fear and respect him, and asked him who he was, Nethys only said: 'Your god and your king'.3
Nethys granted Azghaad with magical powers, and in turn Azghaad followed all of Nethys' orders with no hesitation. Nethys ordered Azghaad to keep his identity secret from everyone else, and showed him a way to unite the tribes living around the River Sphinx. Channelling the power of Nethys, Azghaad destroyed the Spawn of Rovagug Ulunat, causing the other tribes to voluntarily join Azghaad, who founded the city of Sothis around Ulunat's carcass as the capital of his new nation Osirion. In the early years of Osirion, Nethys ruled the kingdom with Azghaad as his public face, until he ascended to divinity, leaving Azghaad to lead Osirion. In order to repay Nethys' favour, Azghaad named him the official patron of Osirion and constructed the Temple of the All-Seeing Eye in his name.3
When Azghaad died, Nethys selected the Naga Pharaoh as his successor. He sent her violent, nightmarish visions to let all know the fickle power of magic, until the Naga Pharaoh went insane and burnt Nethys' temple to protest his visions. The Naga Pharaoh died in this fire, and Nethys decided to start managing his empire in a hands-off fashion.3
Although his madness makes it hard to act on long-term plans, Nethys is active and approachable by all deities for aid in their ventures. He remains neutral for the most part, unless his powers of omnipresent knowledge reveal he is being betrayed or threatened. He particularly allies with those requiring the use of magic, regardless of nefarious or benevolent cause.2
Despite his indifference, there is one area where Nethys will never act, and that is to support followers of Rovagug in freeing their master. There are limits even to Nethys's love of destruction, and the annihilation of Golarion is not his wish. On the other hand, Gorum and Nethys share a mutual appreciation. As Irori and Nethys are the only mortals to have ascended to deity status without the aid of the Starstone, Nethys has a special interest in the Master of Masters,4 even though Irori does not particularly care for him. Magic scholars of the two faiths sometimes clash, as Irorans tend to want to impose structure on the fundamental nature of magic, while Nethysians revel in the chaos.5
As a human, Nethys had unnatural purple skin and golden eyes with no pupil nor iris. As a god, he appears as a frightening male human emanating great energy. One side of him is youthful and dominating, almost glowing with power while healing the sick and protecting the innocent, while his other half is charred and crackling with leaking magic that unleashes destruction.273
Areas of unpredictable magic are thought to occur when Nethys passes too close to the Material Plane, while dead magic zones (where magic does not function) are seen as a sign of his disfavor. The All-Seeing Eye does not visit his worshipers in dreams to show favor or dislike, a fact that they often mention with pride. They see the divine attention of other gods as patronizing or coddling, and are glad that Nethys does not stoop to such common practices.7
Nethys holds magic above all things. Those unable to do or use magic are held as lesser by the faith, denied the divine majesty of working spells. Creatures with magic abilities or properties are held as sacred to his faith. His divine servitor race are the enigmatic and highly magical burleev, who travel the Great Beyond to conduct research for him.9
- Appearing as woman-shaped cloud of crackling energy, the herald of Nethys is either black or white depending on Nethys' intentions. She can transform objects and shoot eldritch rays.24
Church of Nethys
The learned and powerful church of Nethys is as divided as its god, many even actively opposing rival temples. Magic and the ability to cast it is held above all other things.
Nethys is worshiped by all sorts of wizards and clerics, and all those with an interest in magic and its use and advancement. Rank within the clergy is determined by magical knowledge and power, with the former more important in benign temples, and the latter taking precedence in the more malevolent ones.10 His followers are most frequently found in Absalom, Geb, Jalmeray, Katapesh, Kyonin, Nex, Numeria, Osirion, Qadira, and Thuvia (particularly the city of Pashow,7111213 and among the Mwangi,14 elves,15 gnomes,16 and half-elves of the Inner Sea region.17
While many consider following Nethys an odd choice for a knight, these scholars have equal devotion to the skills of battle and magic. Over the centuries, devotees of Nethys have spread the spells found in Serren's Field Manual, a tome dedicated to the support of knights and soldiers.1819
Priests of Nethys wear skullcaps, robes, mozzetta, and hoods in related hues that vary depending on the individual temple.7
Temples & shrines
Temples of Nethys can take any shape, from that of a wizard's laboratory, to a fortress, or even a small palace. They are always staffed by magically knowledgeable people, and take quite a mercenary approach to their services. Different temples may have a different focus in magic, or a preference towards one of Nethys' aspects, however many try to maintain a balance. The holy scripts of Nethys (The Book of Magic) are always written on a temple's interior walls.10 While inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes that breed fear of those that use magic, many churches are involved in mutation and cross-breeding experiments, occasionally creating new true-breeding species.20
The clergy consider all books of magic to be holy texts to the All-Seeing Eye, and most of the scripts and writings associated with his faith include spellcraft, and dual methods of application and interpretation—often in immediately contradicting paragraphs.
- The Book of Magic
- This is a comprehensive guide for channeling magic and the ramifications of its use and misuse.1021 Although its teachings are always written on the interior walls of Nethys' temples, most priests also carry them as a book or scroll bundle.7
The struggle for dominance between the churches of Nethys, Norgorber, and Sarenrae triggered the Oath Wars in Rahadoum in 2498 AR. This bloody civil war eventually led to the expulsion of all religions from Rahadoum in 2560 AR and the establishment of the Laws of Mortality.22
Services and occasions vary between temples, though most ceremonies involve the active use of magic and chanting. The three major holidays are held in Neth, the month named after the god: Abjurant Day on 8th Neth, Evoking Day on 18th Neth, and Transmutatum on 28th Neth.2324
Gods are often associated with certain animals, either because they possess a quality favored by the god, or because the god's faithful feel a special kinship to them. Nethys's favored animals include peacocks, zebras, and whales.25
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 26. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Ancient Osirion” in Lost Kingdoms, 15. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Nethys” in The Thousand Fangs Below, 73. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 222. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 186. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 223. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 187. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- Inner Sea Gods, 299. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 27. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 86. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 150. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 189. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 25. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 26. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 28. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Knights and Religion” in Knights of the Inner Sea, 18. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “The Spells of Serren” in Knights of the Inner Sea, 28. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- Inner Sea Gods, 102. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Nethys” in The Thousand Fangs Below, 71. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 35. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Nethys” in The Thousand Fangs Below, 72. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Social: Religious Holidays” in Faiths of Balance, 31. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Animal Archive, inside back cover. Paizo Inc., 2013 .