the all-seeing eye
Ancient Osirian legends speak of the god-king Nethys, a man whose monomaniacal pursuit of magic opened the fabric of reality to his probing vision, revealing to him the secrets of creation in this world and in the Great Beyond. The sight catapulted him to godhood and tore apart his mind, creating two minds in one body: a destroyer who seeks to cleanse the world through its destruction, and a guardian who seeks to heal the world of its ills.
Nethys is a god of two warring personalities, prone to sudden and unexpected mood swings. He teaches that the use of magic for its own sake is the highest calling of mortals, for it is only when working with magic that one can change reality itself, and he embraces all who take up the study of magic. He does not care about the type of magic involved or the ends to which people turn it, only that they honor it and exult in its gifts. His alignment is neutral, his favored weapon is the quarterstaff, and his domains are Destruction, Knowledge, Magic, Protection, and Rune.
Anyone with a passion for magic is welcome to worship Nethys. Though he is believed to have once been human, his worship is strong among all races that employ magic. Nethys teaches you how to manipulate reality, and to enter his church is to join with your fellow practitioners—if not in an alliance, than at least in a shared goal. Your god does not care what you do with your magic. He cares only that you seek out this power with the intent to use it. Small
wonder, then, that many power-hungry adventurers would turn to his calling.
Nethys’s worshipers have no built-in moral compass of any sort. You might worship the All-Seeing Eye so that you can dominate your village or raze a city with a word, or you might worship him so that you can save your friends’ souls from torment at the hands of demons in the Abyss. You might simply desire knowledge, the more esoteric the better. Nethys cares about your deeds and motivations as little as he cares about your soul, and many followers of Nethys take pride in the fact that their god generally ignores them, for it means the power they achieve is fundamentally their own.
If you are a wizard or a sorcerer, Nethys is among your top choices for a god to worship, yet his congregation is not limited to these classes. Any who are capable of channeling arcane or divine power are welcome to join his faith: alchemists, bards, clerics, druids, inquisitors, oracles, rangers, summoners, and witches all find a welcome home in the faith. Indeed, Nethys values magic so highly that any one of these might choose to become a priest in the church, with all the rights and duties such a position entails—clerics are certainly encouraged, but they have no special prerogative within the faith, especially if they cannot defend their positions with magical knowledge or power. Those without spellcasting abilities may work for the church, but are destined for roles as second-class citizens at best, and as expendable guardians or experimental subjects at worst.
You wish to look deeper into the world, to explore reality, and to move beyond the spaces of everyday life. You love magic, and while you may use it to seek knowledge or power, your greatest desire is to increase your understanding of that art. When you adventure, you seek spellbooks, artifacts, magical items, and anything that will improve your grasp of the structures of magic. You look for gold not as wealth, but as a means of acquiring more magic. You may be willing to trade your understanding with other spellcasters, or you may wish to hoard your knowledge, but you always feel that the next epiphany is close to hand. You experiment with your knowledge, brandish it, and likely show off your mastery more than necessary. Afte r all, Nethys teaches that magic itself is a limitless resource, and its use is a sign of refinement.
Individual temples have great latitude in how they behave, dress, and promote their religion. Some choose to focus on the healing arts. Others focus on the purely destructive, or proclaim the supremacy of illusion. Their methods and aims are as diverse as the many schools and traditions of magic, and without the presence of Nethys’s black-and-white mask symbol it can sometimes be hard for laypeople to distinguish between a true believer and an unaffiliated spellcaster. If you are partaking in a formal ceremony at a temple of Nethys, however, you are expected to wear a robe and hood in the colors of your temple. You are adept at seeing both sides of issues, and have no problem articulating or even ardently supporting conflicting beliefs—a practice that, combined with your expectation that those without magic should obey those who possess it, may vex your allies.
You have great latitude in your devotion to Nethys. You can choose to invoke his name merely as an oath, to live every day in emulation of him or one of his aspects, or to fall somewhere in between. The faith judges you only upon your magical knowledge and power (with the former being more important in good-leaning temples, and the latter in evil ones). You are welcome to participate in temple ceremonies as an unannounced visitor, and you can choose to take a more active role in evangelizing for the faith as the mood strikes you. Just as Nethys can be fickle and unpredictable, so can you. As long as the direction you choose in life points toward the pursuit of greater magical knowledge and skill, you can worship as you please.
Your dealings with members of other faiths is on an individual basis. If they practice magic, they have earned at least a small measure of respect in your eyes; they are a part of the magical community. If they do not practice magic, they must at least be friendly and respectful toward its practice. If they are not, you have nothing but scorn for them, for they are not only benighted but willfully choose to turn away from one of the most fascinating aspects of life. They have chosen ignorance, and as you revere knowledge, you cannot help but despise them. In return, many other faiths see you as a valuable resource, but may be wary of your god’s mercurial nature and see your justifiable pride as arrogance.
The faithful of Nethys have few taboos, but chief among them is showing the uninitiated what magical ability feels like. As those people have not studied for or been blessed with magical power, opening that world to them is a terrible sin. Any spell that temporarily grants spellcasting ability to another or item that confers actual spellcasting abilities by channeling power through the user must not be shared with the magicless populace (items that create magical effects themselves are exempt). Breaking this taboo is a sure way to incur the disfavor of Nethys and your peers. If the uninitiated wish to possess spellcasting abilities, the correct routes are apprenticeship, prayer, and other forms of personal achievement.
Underlying Principals: You’ve spent a large amount of time around magical items, and understand the similarities between many of them. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Use Magic Device checks, and it becomes a class skill for you.
Arcane Depth: You have studied the great masters of spellcraft, and your knowledge is exceptional. You gain a bonus of either +1 on Spellcraft checks or +2 on Knowledge (arcana) checks. Which bonus you receive is chosen when you take the trait and may not be changed.
The church of Nethys is decentralized, with no governing body beyond the power structure within a given temple. The best-known temples are those in places of strong magic, such as Nex, Geb, Absalom, Kyonin, Thuvia, and Osirion, for the major cities in these regions are sites where the most powerful of spellcasters converge to demonstrate their skills or display their knowledge. As Nethys himself is believed to be of Osirian stock, his worship is most prominent there, and many of his most ardent believers have been lost to the sands as they sought the place where their god lost his mortality to the vision that transformed him into a god. In general, however, worshipers of Nethys can be found anywhere.
Within each church, authority is determined solely by knowledge and power. The holy book of Nethys is The Book of Magic, a comprehensive guide for learning and harnessing magic, as well as a treatise on its use. As with anything related to Nethys, it comes down squarely on certain issues, only to contradict itself shortly thereafter. If you were to learn about morality from The Book of Magic, your worldview would be fractured and insane. Its codicils and metaphors support a variety of different positions, and many temples of Nethys adopt the set of positions they find most convenient given their particular needs.