“A true teacher would never tell you what to do. But he would give you the knowledge with which you could decide what would be best for you to do.”
― Christopher Pike, Sati
To many in the world, the true goal of life is to reach a stage of enlightenment. At this point, the body and soul are one and the same. This produces a state of serenity and can elevate one’s consciousness to a higher level of being.
For those who decide to walk this path of enlightenment, there is a guide and teacher who has blazed the trail ahead of them.
He is the god Irori, the patron of those who seek to attain self-perfection, archive history, and gain true knowledge.
Irori’s Deific Lore
Irori is the God of Knowledge, Self-Perfection, Healing, and Inner Strength. Like Iomedae and Cayden Cailean, he is a mortal who arose to divinity in times past.
Unlike those others, Irori did it himself through intense training and the art of mental perfection.
He is known quite widely as a deity for the people, but he is extremely lawful. He cares not for the alignment on the Good to Evil scale, though many of his followers are either Good or Neutral.
Irori’s favored weapon is the Unarmed Strike, and his favored colors are blue and white. Irori’s symbol is an open palm hand in the color blue within a light blue or white circle.
Irori’s favored animals are snails for their dedication as well as white tigers, mantises, and octopi.
Irori’s personal history is all contained in a volume of text known as the Azvadeva Pujila. This volume of text tells of his many adventures on his quest for enlightenment and then godhood.
This text is full of parables and koans to help guide his followers to their next level of enlightenment.
Depictions of Irori are rare because of the church’s belief that gods are indescribable. The divine is something beyond what mortals can truly perceive, so therefore any artwork or idol would pale in comparison to the real being.
When he is depicted in art, he is typically shown as a male of flawless build and appearance. He is normally wearing simple monk’s robes and sandals. His head is completely shaved except for a long braid on the back.
He is typically shown seated in a meditative position.
Irori makes his home on the Lawfully aligned plane of Axis. His home is a small realm within the plane known as the Serene Circle.
Allies and Enemies
For the most part, Irori keeps the other gods of Golarion at arm’s length. This is not because of any true animosity but only because he respects their differences and chooses not to interfere with them or their faithful.
He does have some direct feelings toward some of these other divine powers though.
Among his friends are the gods Abadar, Shizuru, Erastil, and Chaldira Zuzaristan. He respects these deities for their Lawful natures and their perchant for civilization building.
All of this is with the exception of Chaldira Zuzaristan, who is sometimes an irritant to Irori but for some reason, she loves helping him.
Irori considers Cayden Cailean, Iomedae, and Norgorber to be minor rivals of his.
This is because these three arose to divinity through the use of the Test of the Starstone rather than through personal self-perfection. Irori considers this to be a form of “cheating” their way to Godhood.
This isn’t true animosity though, as Iomedae’s and Irori’s faith Paladins will often train together.
Irori sometimes has a more contentious relationship with Nethys, whose chaotic nature irritates the Enlightened One.
Irori’s true enemies are Asmodeus, Urgathoa, and Hei Feng — the former because the King of Hell is known to corrupt everything Irori stands for and the latter two because of their chaotic excess.
Those who serve Irori often come to him looking for help on their quest for enlightenment or to help others share in their quest. He has some specific servants of note.
- The Pavbagha are Irori’s divine servitor race. They resemble white tigers with blue stripes instead of black. They arise from souls who are enlightened themselves.
- Cheu Chem is a favored servant of Irori. He is an intelligent celestial white tiger.
- The Old Man is Irori’s herald. He often appears to students seeking to improve themselves mentally or physically. He will trade secrets and training for rare books and knowledge.
- The Sixth Rebirth is a Stone Giant Monk and is one of Irori’s favored servants and trainers.
The Church of Irori is founded by and attended by those seeking enlightenment and self-perfection. Many who come to him are of the Lawful sort, but there are some True Neutral followers as well.
While he is mostly worshiped in Tian Xia, his worship has spread over the entire world.
Irori’s dogma is somewhat personal in nature. The path to self-perfection is different for everyone and is an intensely personal journey.
To that end, most of his dogma is based on practices to achieve self-perfection and enlightenment rather than on specific questions of morality or ethics.
All persons have their own unique path to enlightenment, and those who follow Irori are called to help others follow that path while they progress themselves.
Edicts: Be humble; help others perfect themselves; hone your body, mind, and spirit to a more perfect state; practice discipline
Anathema: Become addicted to a substance, destroy an important historical text, repeatedly fail to maintain self-control
Irori’s worshipers are typically of a Lawful nature, but those of a True Neutral bent can sometimes be found among them.
Those with more Chaotic alignments will find his church too stifling to flourish and will leave rather quickly.
Among his followers, Irori numbers mostly humans. His worship has also expanded to some dwarves and even some Green Dragons who style themselves as non-traditional monks.
Many followers of Irori are aesthetic types. Monks, mystics, scholars, hermits, and martial artists are all found among his faithful.
The overwhelming majority of Irori’s clergy are a combination of Monks and Clerics.
The priesthood is often made up of teachers who have progressed some way down the path of enlightenment already and choose to share that knowledge with others who are devoted to Irori.
There is no set uniform for the priesthood of Irori, but most wear traditional monk’s robes in soft earth tones. They will typically shave their heads and wear a single long braid like their god.
Those priests who manage to achieve enlightenment in their lifetimes will go on to serve Irori in the afterlife as Pavbagha.
Those who fail along the path are then reincarnated to try again. There is no shame in this as enlightenment is difficult to truly achieve.
Temples and Shrines
Temples to Irori are often large and complex compounds that allow the faithful to train and meditate in peace. They are often filled with small cells for the faithful to live in that allow them to be alone without distractions.
The public is not allowed within these temples, and those who wish to join a monastery or temple must sit outside quietly to prove their devotion and not disturb those inside.
Shrines to Irori are very rare as they do not normally serve a practical use.
In addition to the Azvadeva Pujila, the Church of Irori believes all knowledge is sacred. To that end, they collect as many rare tomes and books as they can to keep them safe.
Unbinding the Fetters is a work of a monk of the church that lists exercises, meditation practices, and diets to assist a mortal in achieving enlightenment.
It also contains koans and parables that are specifically designed to shock a mortal’s consciousness to help them consider things they never thought possible.
Holidays are interesting in the worship of Irori. The church recognizes no specific day of importance, but followers are encouraged to select dates of importance to themselves so they may celebrate in their own manner.
There are many ways for player characters to show their devotion to the Master of Masters.
He has many followers who all have their own way of reaching self-perfection, though most of them have some similar abilities, builds, and magic to assist them along the way and show their membership as one of Irori’s students.
These options below can be used by player characters or by NPCs for the GM to populate their worlds.
It is worth noting that Irori’s followers are universally Lawful characters. The path of the Enlightened One is not normally followed by those who have less than complete dedication.
For obvious reasons, these options are broken up between Pathfinder 1e and Pathfinder 2e.
Pathfinder 1st Edition
As one of the more popular deities in Golarion, there are many options for players or NPCs to incorporate Irori worship into their character builds.
Below is a list of archetypes for characters to use when building a worshiper of Irori:
- Disciple of Wholeness (Monk)
- Disciple of Wholeness (Monk (Unchained))
- Iroran Paladin (Paladin)
- Ki Mystic (Monk)
- Scrollmaster (Wizard)
- Unarmed Fighter (Fighter)
Many followers of Irori have one or more of these feats:
These magical items are great for use with a character devoted to the Master of Masters. Some are related directly to Irori’s devotion or just good for a character build connected to Irori:
- Altar of Irori
- Perfection Leather
- Ring of Serene Contortions
- Irori’s Meditation
- Perfectionist Shavtoosh
- Quarterstaff of Contemplation
- Amulet of Mighty Fists (+1)
- Amulet of Mighty Fists (+2)
- Amulet of Mighty Fists (+3)
- Amulet of Mighty Fists (+4)
- Amulet of Mighty Fists (+5)
- Incense of Meditation
- Monk’s Robe
- Purification Talisman
- Robe of the Master of Masters
These creatures are directly related to Irori. They can make powerful allies or possibly deadly enemies:
Irori has one prestige class that is directly related to his worship:
- The Champion of Irori is a person devoted to the uplifting of society through devotion, hard work, and self-perfection. Most seek to make the world a better place by making sure peaceful societies can flourish. They are masters of self-discipline and take joy in perfecting themselves and helping others.
Below is a list of domains and Subdomains usable by Clerics to Irori:
- Education (Knowledge)
- Self-Realization (Strength)*
* Requires the Acolyte of Apocrypha trait.
Followers of Irori often have these spells as a part of their repertoire:
Below is a list of traits that characters who follow Irori might possess.
It should be noted that characters can only have one trait per campaign they are a part of. You should check with your GM before looking at traits to see the rules your GM may be using:
Below is a variant rule that Monks devoted to Irori might want to use instead of the normal rules:
“Monks with access to the quivering palm ability may use it to render a target comatose for an extended period (lasting until the target receives a heal, restoration, or greater restoration spell) rather than kill, chosen at the time the quivering palm is activated.
Monks may use their wholeness of body ability on a willing creature as a standard action. The monk must touch the target, and the target becomes fatigued from this aid.”
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Pathfinder 2nd edition has its own benefits to offer those who follow the path of Irori.
- Divine Ability: Intelligence or Wisdom
- Divine Font: Harm or heal
- Divine Skill: Athletics
- Favored Weapon: Fist
- Domains: Knowledge, Might, Perfection, Truth
- Alternate Domains: Change, vigil
- Cleric Spells: 1st: jump, 3rd: haste, 4th: stoneskin
Because of ancient pacts and agreements between the various gods and powers of Golarion, the deities cannot interact directly with their followers. Meaning they cannot just show up and do everything themselves. This would violate agreements, and in fact invite the other opposing powers to do the same.
The Gods are not powerless to help their devotees though. In addition to granting their Clerics spells, they can also make small movements to influence certain events. Should a worshiper do something that pleases Irori, he might place a boon upon them to assist them further in their adventures. Conversely, should a follower displease Irori, he might place a curse upon them until they right their wrongs.
Irori grants his boons to those making progress on their paths toward perfection.
He avoids bestowing misfortune as punishment, preferring to do so only to give an individual a challenging obstacle to overcome to help them progress in their quest for self-perfection.
Minor Boon: Irori grants you great insight and knowledge. Once, when you roll a failure at a check to Recall Knowledge, you get a critical success instead. Furthermore, the check loses the secret trait, so you know for sure that the result was a critical success. Irori typically grants this boon for an extremely consequential check to Recall Knowledge.
Moderate Boon: Your body rebuilds after adversity, becoming stronger. You can cast wholeness of body as an occult ki spell. If you didn’t have one already, you gain a focus pool with 1 Focus Point and are trained in occult spell attack rolls and spell DCs (the sidebar on the monk class page has full information on what happens when you gain your first ki spell).
Major Boon: You can temporarily ascend to a greater form. You can cast 8th-level righteous might once per day as an occult innate spell. When you do, your form appears unremarkable rather than clad in powerful armaments.
Minor Curse: Irori challenges you to seek another path rather than treat every problem as a nail just because you have a hammer. If you select a check for which you have a higher bonus when another method would have been more appropriate for the situation, such as using Deception to lie through life because it’s your highest modifier, even if it would be better to reach a compromise through Diplomacy, you must roll twice and take the lower result.
Moderate Curse: Irori challenges you to adapt to adversity in order to perfect yourself. You become weighed down as if under heavy weights, becoming clumsy 2 and encumbered until you accomplish a challenging task of Irori’s choosing.
Major Curse: Irori makes all living creatures forget your existence. This can be further compounded by raising Irori’s ire, resulting in your name being obliterated from all written records. In both cases, memories and writings rearrange themselves to omit you smoothly rather than leaving obvious gaps.
Source: Gods & Magic pg. 31 2.0