“Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless.”
When lords and ladies flex their might and the gods bring their powers to bear, it is almost universally the small folk of the world who pay the highest price.
Those of the farms and rural communities are those who suffer most, and so there is a god for them. This god is known as Erastil, and he is the voice for the family and community.
Erastil’s Deific Lore
Erastil is a steady deity who believes in the simple and traditional way of doing things rather than more modern methods. He has been around for a long while and does not see a need for things to change all too much.
Erastil is Lawful Good, so his tradition and hidebound nature are explainable.
Erastil is known by a few different names all over the world. Old Dead Eye, the Elk Father, and Stag God are popular in human lands. To the Stone Giants, he is known as Estig the Hunter.
His symbol is a bow and arrow made from deer or stag antlers, pointed downward with a knocked arrow. The longbow is his favored weapon. His favored colors are brown and green.
To Erastil and his church, deer, elk, and other hoofed animals are considered sacred. They also consider farm animals to be favored and sacred as well.
The first legends of Erastil originate in the Age of Creation with the war against the Rough Beast Rovagug. Erastil was known to take part in the battle against the Monster and his eventual sealing within the Dead Vault.
Legend has it that Erastil was the one to give the longbow to mortals, and he is associated with the interaction of mortals and the wilderness.
When depicted in art or sculpture, Erastil is either shown as an aged human or as an elk-headed humanoid. He is often shown in combat with wild animals, armed with his signature longbow.
When he does take physical form, he can also appear as a large and powerfully built stag. He sometimes appears to hunters in great need to lead them to safety.
The Summerlands manifest as a vast plain of rolling hills, farmland, and dense forests crisscrossed with gentle streams. The pastoral land is broken up by small trading communities of petitioners.
Allies and Enemies
Erastil attempts to keep a good relationship with the Good deities of Golarion. However, his hidebound and traditionalist nature sometimes rubs them the wrong way.
Abadar is a close ally, but his focus on civilization at the expense of the wilderness often leads to disagreements between the two.
Old Deadeye has a fatherly relationship with Desna but considers her way too flighty to be trustworthy.
He enjoys the company of Shelyn, who will often call on the Stag God to show her the most lovely parts of the Summerlands.
He also respects Iomedae, but like Cayden Cailean, he wishes she would settle down and start a family.
Among the evil deities, Erastil generally considers all of them deplorable and beyond hateful, though he holds a special anger for Urgathoa for the spreading of illnesses in communities.
Minderhal is the only evil deity he tolerates for his work as a craftsman.
Erastil has many servants who follow him in his aspect as a god of family and the wilderness. Some specific servants are:
- The Horned Archons are Erastil’s divine servitor race. They are powerfully built humans with the head of an elk or stag. They serve Erastil as trackers and explorers.
- Arangin is a warhorse with ruby-colored fur. He is known to appear to those who are lost to lead them to safety.
- Blackfeather is an archer who can take on the form of a human, an eagle, or a hybrid form between the two. He is known to watch over villages, gazing down at passersby from the rooftops.
- Grim White Stag is Erastil’s Herald. He appears as a 30-foot-tall white stag with living branches for antlers and green vines intertwined over his legs.
- Proudsnout is a celestial boar that serves Erastil as a hunting companion.
- Scorchbark is an Arboreal regent and serves as an ally in combat. He gets his name from scorch marks on his bark from a fight with a Barbed Devil.
Erastil’s church is widespread all over the world but is almost never found in a city. In fact, most of his followers will never enter a city in their entire lives, preferring to remain in the hinterlands or deep wilderness.
Erastil calls upon his followers to give up the trappings of modern life and live simply among the rural communities at the edges of civilization. Among the faithful, the old ways are the best ways.
To live within a family unit and build your own community is considered a sacred act. This includes protecting your community from rampaging monsters, bandits, or even the occasional undead attack.
To commit suicide is perhaps the most grievous of sins since it is abandoning your duty to family and community.
Edicts: Care for your home and family, fulfill your duties, keep the peace, protect the community
Anathema: Abandon your home in its time of need, choose yourself over your community, tarnish your reputation, tell lies
Most of Erastil’s worshipers come from small pastoral communities. They are typically the small folk of low economic means but rich in spirit, love, and gumption. They live very simple lives of quiet dignity.
Those few Noble Knights and Paladins of Erastil typically also live simply, scorning the trappings of office and nobility for more practical ways of living.
Erastil’s Paladin Code
The paladins of Erastil are gruff, strict traditionalists. They seek to preserve the integrity of rural life and communities. Their tenets include the following affirmations:
- My community comes first, and I will contribute to it all that I can. If I don’t give something back, who will?
- I must offer the poor in my community assistance, but I may not do the work for them — instead, I must teach them to contribute to the settlement. It is only through cooperation that a community grows strong.
- When danger threatens, I am not a fool. I seek first to make sure the weak and innocent are safe, and then I quell the danger.
- I keep to the old ways, the true ways. I am not seduced by the lure of money or power. I remember that true honor comes from within, not from the accolades of others.
- I remember that reputation is everything. Mine is pure and upstanding, and I will repair it if it is broken or tarnished. I stand by my decisions and live so that none shall have cause to blame me.
- I show respect to my elders, for they have done much. I show respect to the young for they have much left to do. I show respect to my peers for they carry the load. And I shall carry it with them.
- I am honest, trustworthy, and stable. If I must leave my lands and community, before I go, I ensure that they will be tended in my absence. Even when duty calls, my duties to my home come first — letting them lapse makes me a burden on my people.
Most clerics of Erastil often work as active members of their community, building and maintaining the simple way of life they follow. They often double as builders, craftsmen, farmers, and even midwives.
When dressed formally for church functions, their robes are often simple furs and hides with the holy symbol of Erastil worked or burned onto the surface.
The holy text of Erastil’s church is known as the Parables of Erastil. It is a combination of holy text and almanac for the faithful.
It details methods of building small villages, cultivating and irrigating farmland, and foraging in the wilderness.
Erastil’s church celebrates three holidays:
- Planting Week is celebrated on the vernal equinox and involves planting for the harvest later in the year.
- Archer’s Day is held on the 3rd day of Erastus and involves summer games culminating in an archery contest. The day ends with feasting and partying with pranks and games lasting until the wee hours of the morning.
- Harvest Feast is celebrated on the autumnal equinox and involves a huge feast to celebrate the harvest.
As one of the core Good deities in Pathfinder, there are many options for players who want to show off their devotion to Old Deadeye.
Erastil is a great option for most newer players as well because his dogma is very easy to follow and he is a relatively easy deity to understand.
All of these options below can be used by PCs or NPCs under the GM’s control.
Pathfinder 1st Edition
Pathfinder 1st Edition has a myriad of options for players and NPCs — from build options, magical toys, and even allies to call on in times of need.
These archetypes make it easy for players to build Erastil-flavored characters fast or provide good NPCs for the GM:
Erastil-influenced characters are likely to have one of the following feats:
These magical items make for great rewards for players who follow Erastil or perhaps for items to be used in worship to Erastil:
- Altar of Erastil
- Deadeye Leather
- Deadeye’s Spotter Ring
- Kinbonded Bow
- Bracers of Archery (Greater)
- Bracers of Archery (Lesser)
- Bronze Skinning Knife
- Cloak of Elvenkind
- Efficient Quiver
These creatures can make potent allies for followers of Erastil or deadly enemies to his foes:
Followers of Erastil have access to a Prestige Class:
The Hinterlander is a guardian of the small communities that exist on the fringes of civilization. Farms, ranches, orchards, and rural communities are all known as Hinterlands, and the Hinterlander is their guardian and protector.
Domains and Subdomains
Clerics of Erastil have access to the following domains and subdomains:
Spellcasters who pledge their faith to Erastil generally have one or more of these spells in their repertoire:
Traits are a method of customizing a player character beyond the normal feats and skills that everyone else has. For more information on how traits work, check out our article here.
Followers of Erastil may have one of these traits:
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Pathfinder 2nd Edition has some of its own options for players to reflect their devotion to Erastil.
- Divine Ability: Constitution or Wisdom
- Divine Font: Heal
- Divine Skill: Survival
- Favored Weapon: Longbow
- Domains: Earth, Family, Nature, Wealth
- Alternate Domain: Duty
- Cleric Spells: 1st: true strike, 3rd: wall of thorns, 5th: tree stride
Due to the swearing of ancient pacts and agreements between the gods in creation, the deities cannot personally interact with mortals very often.
To do so might undermine the power of mortal free will and possibly invite equal retaliation from a deity’s enemies.
Therefore, the gods of Golarion have to work in more subtle ways. One way is through granting powers to their clerics but another is to use Divine Intercession.
Divine Intercession allows a deity to give boons to those who please them or curse those who have undermined their faithful.
Sometimes a deity may use a boon to arm their follower for something they might face in the future. Other times they might curse a certain follower as an example until the behavior that displeases them changes.
Erastil favors those who commit themselves to their communities and detests those who disrupt these families.
Minor Boon: Erastil shares in his bounty as long as you work for it. Whenever you roll a critical failure at a check to Subsist in the wild, you get a failure instead.
Moderate Boon: You share Erastil’s sharp eye, allowing you to use a longbow in any situation. When you attack with a longbow, you can ignore the longbow’s volley trait, and longbows have double the normal range increment for you.
Major Boon: You become a friend to the land. You can cast speak with plants as a divine innate spell. When you are in a healthy natural environment, the land sustains you without need for food or drink. You can cast the commune with nature ritual without any secondary casters or secondary checks.
Minor Curse: Erastil curses your table and punishes you for relying on others’ hard work. Any food you didn’t grow, gather, or otherwise harvest yourself tastes like ash and leaves you fatigued.
Major Curse: Erastil leaves you unable to have children (or otherwise reproduce or propagate if you do so in a different manner). This curse also affects your livestock, pets, and crops.