Alseta, the Welcomer, is the goddess of literal and metaphorical transitions. Doors, hidden passageways, and the flow of time all fall under her purview. She fills a unique role among Golarion’s gods, not only serving as the gods’ steward, but also acting as an intermediary both among the respective gods and between the gods and their followers. Alseta’s dominion over doorways and thresholds also makes her the goddess of teleportation and planar travel. In this aspect, many elves revere her as the patroness of the aiudara, or elf gates. This kindly guardian goddess treats all beings with respect and, in turn, enjoys reverence from members of nearly all faiths.
Goddess of doors, transitions, and years
Domains Community, Law, Magic, Protection
Subdomains Arcane, Defense, Home, Inevitable
Favored Weapon dagger
Centers of Worship Absalom, Brevoy, Lastwall, Taldor
Obedience Find a physical boundary between two places, such as a doorway, a bridge, or even just a line drawn in the sand. Kneel with your back to this boundary and contemplate all the ways your life has changed during the previous day—this could be as simple as a new person you met in passing. Stand, turn, and step across the boundary while chanting a prayer to Alset.a On the other side, kneel and meditate on the transitions and changes that await you in the coming day. At the end of this meditation, out of respect for the transition to the new day, vow to perform a mundane task in a distinctly different manner during the coming day than you have done previously. You then gain a +4 sacred or profane bonus on Disable Device checks to unlock doors and a +4 sacred or profane bonus on Perception checks to detect secret doors. The type of bonus depends on your alignment—if you’re neither good nor evil, you must choose either sacred or profane the first time you perform your obedience, and this choice can’t be changed.
1: Keeper of Keys (Sp) hold portal 3/day, knock 2/day, or glyph of warding 1/day
2: Safe Passage (Ex) Alseta smiles upon your attempts to clear away obstacles that would hinder travelers’ passage.
You do not risk triggering a trap while attempting Disable Device checks unless you fail your check by 10 or more, rather than by 5 or more as normal. If the trap is part of a door or archway, or is otherwise triggered by passing through a door or archway, you gain a +4 sacred or profane bonus (of the same type as that provided by your obedience) on your Disable Device check.
3: Summon Door (Sp) You have an uncanny knack for acting as a holy gatekeeper against those who would stand against you. Three times per day, you can use passwall as a spell-like ability. When using this ability, you also conjure a strong wooden door (hardness 10, hp 40, break DC 30) at one end of the passageway produced by the spell. The door has a lock requiring either a plain iron key (which magically appears in your possession) or a successful DC 30 Disable Device check to open. You can also conjure the door so it comes into being already unlocked and open.
1: Warden (Sp) alarm 3/day, arcane lock 2/day, or greater stunning barrierACG 1/day
2: Turning of the Seasons (Sp) You have a deep understanding of your goddess’s connection to teleportation. Once per day, you can use teleport as a spell-like ability. When you use this ability, increase your familiarity of your intended destination by one step (a place you’ve viewed once becomes a place you’ve seen casually, a place you’ve seen casually becomes a place you’ve studied carefully, etc.).
Using this ability cannot result in a mishap; if you roll a mishap on the spell’s table when determining how well the teleportation works, treat it as a result of a “similar are.a”
3: Eviction (Sp) The Welcomer trusts your judgment enough to grant you powerful magic to keep your enemies at bay. Once per day as a standard action, you can bar all creatures from passing through a specific door or entrance within 30 feet of your position. This functions as the spell antilife shell, except that it functions on all creatures regardless of their type. This effect lasts a number of rounds equal to your Hit Dice. If a creature trying to penetrate the barrier has spell resistance, you must overcome that resistance in order to keep it out. You can use your Hit Dice in place of your caster level on this spell resistance check.
1: Watchful (Sp) line in the sandACG 3/day, mirror image 2/day, or countless eyesUM 1/day
2: Past and Future (Ex) You catch glimpses of the future that allow you to avoid your enemies’ strikes. You gain improved uncanny dodge as a rogue of a level equal to your Hit Dice. If you already possess the improved uncanny dodge ability, or if you would gain it later, you instead gain a +2 sacred or profane bonus (of the same type as that provided by your obedience) on attack and damage rolls against creatures that are currently flanking you.
3: Portal to Safety (Sp) Once per day as a standard action, you can transform an open door or archway into a temporary one-way portal, connecting it to another open door or archway of your choice that you have seen or of which you have a reliable description. This portal functions as a greater teleport spell targeting any creature that passes through the first doorway until the end of your next turn. All creatures that pass through the doorway, up to the limit imposed by the spell and your Hit Dice, arrive at the same location, and the destination must include an open door or archway from which the targets exit.
Alseta acts as a guardian of boundaries. She strengthens city gates, shields guards from invaders’ arrows, and turns away unwelcome visitors. Alseta is also a guardian of metaphorical boundaries, particularly those related to time and life. Those celebrating birthdays or marriages or embarking on new ventures often invoke Alseta’s name. Expectant mothers and mourners of the dead alike often pray to Alseta in the same breath as Pharasma, and indeed, some consider the Welcomer and the Lady of Graves’ faiths intrinsically linked.
Alseta appears as a kindly human woman dressed in simple gray clothing, and she wears a smiling mask on the back of her head. She is even-tempered and considers her words carefully; when she speaks, she does so with an authority and poise that soaks into the very bones of listeners. Alseta is, above all, courteous and treats all beings, from the humblest peasant to the mightiest of the gods, with respect and civility. In return, she expects the same from any who deal with her, and has little patience for those who do not practice such courtesies.
Those who earn Alseta’s favor find that physical blockades often open easily to them, or that metaphorical obstacles melt away more easily than expected. They uncover new opportunities in unexpected places, and receive flashes of insight that illuminate options that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred to them. Those who displease the goddess find themselves barred at every turn or feeling as if they were stuck in ruts. Doors jam when being opened, and swing loose to admit drafts when they should hold fast.
Alseta’s holy symbol is a woman’s face in profile, facing left, wearing a smiling mask on the back of her head.
The church of Alseta is best known for the abjuration services it provides. For a fee, Alsetan priests will enchant locks to resist picking, ward a building against teleportation, and set magical traps to deter or slay unwelcome guests. While these spellcasting services provide the church with most of its income, they make up but a small part of the church’s regular activities.
As Alseta serves the gods, so does her church serve its community. Temples of Alseta open their doors to visiting dignitaries and provide neutral meeting grounds for enemies to resolve disputes. Alsetan priests officiate weddings and other civic ceremonies, mediate negotiations, and witness the signing of important documents. The church of Alseta also inspects and maintains city walls and gates, ensuring they remain strong enough to repel both humanoid enemies and rampaging monsters. Alsetan temples and priests work closely with local constabularies, offering discounted healing and spellcasting services to any individual harmed in the course of defending the city’s gates. At the neighborhood level, Alsetan priests bless the thresholds of houses and other personal residences to keep them safe from hostile forces.
Most followers of Alseta are courteous and civic-minded; they are often hosts, negotiators, diplomats, seneschals, or otherwise involved in formal and informal administration.
The most popular professions among her faithful tend to be barrister, diplomat, magistrate, and city guard.
People join the church looking for ways to support and strengthen their community, and members must commit to community service as part of their initiation into the faith. This usually takes the form of acting as a concierge for the temple or as a door greeter before services. For petitioners more talented in manual endeavors, repairing public doorways is a popular project.
The church of Alseta is not as rigid or hierarchical as that of most lawful gods. This is in part because her local flock is rarely large enough to sustain such a hierarchy; additionally, her worship is mostly informal, with prayers whispered during times of transition and over the dedication of doorways rather than in formal services.
Where temples exist, the top-ranking priest is called the high chamberlain; this priest directs the church’s activities and organizes lower-ranking priests into whatever order she deems necessary. Priests operating outside of a temple’s influence are called chamberlains, and are technically subordinate to the nearest high chamberlain. In practice, though, they tend to operate at their own discretion.
Services to Alseta are usually processional in nature.
At larger houses of worship, these begin with a group prayer on the church’s front steps, after which the gathered worshipers proceed, single-file, into the temple.
As worshipers pass through the temple’s chambers, they reaffirm their faith in the goddess. The devotees linger in the main sanctuary and listen to a sermon before exiting on the temple’s opposite side. They end the service with a second group prayer.
TEMPLES AND SHRINES
Few temples are dedicated solely to Alseta, but small shrines to the Welcomer are ubiquitous in many places. They can adorn city gates and bridges, entryways and arches, and the major streets’ cobblestones, invoking the goddess to guard these edifices from invasion or disaster. Many also keep small shrines to Alseta in their homes, hoping the goddess will safeguard them from intruders and thieves.
Freestanding shrines to Alseta are less common. These serve a functional purpose as well as a religious one and take the form of sundials or stone calendars.
Where they do exist, temples of Alseta are elaborate buildings designed in honor of the goddess, celebrating her through architecture with numerous rooms, trapdoors, and hidden passages. The temples have an almost labyrinthine aspect; rooms in the temple always have multiple exits, and hallways connect back to themselves to form endless loops.
Each temple includes a main hallway that follows the building’s perimeter. Priests carry icons of the goddess and symbols of the changing months and seasons around this hallway in grand processions to celebrate the equinoxes, solstices, and the turning of months and years.
A PRIEST’S ROLE
Priests of Alseta are generally outgoing paragons of courtesy and fair-mindedness. This makes them excellent hosts, negotiators, and diplomats, and many are also members of local governing bodies. Alsetan priests are famous for their equitable dealings with members of other faiths, and many call upon the Welcomer’s priests for aid or succor when members of their own church can’t be found or trusted. Churches of other faiths sometimes hire priests of Alseta to bless the entrances of their temples, resolve interfaith squabbles, and bear witness to important ceremonies. The Welcomer’s clergy members have a particularly sterling reputation among the clergies of Pharasma and Abadar—given a choice, many of these would rather employ Alseta as an arbiter than Asmodeus, who always has his own wicked interests in mind.
Alseta’s priesthood is primarily made up of clerics, though a surprising number of fighters also venerate the Welcomer. The latter are usually former members of the city watch who are no longer fit to fight, but who still wish to serve their community. Good-aligned and neutral rogues interested in locks and traps also make up a large portion of Alseta’s priesthood.
Good-aligned priests see themselves as guardians of their community. They serve without expectation of reward, although donations are always welcome. Evilaligned priests tend to be cunning trap-masters who enjoy watching their cruel implements mangle and torture would-be intruders. They are equally committed to their community, but may express this devotion as xenophobia or paranoia directed at neighboring communities. Neutral clerics tend to apply themselves to civic improvement or governance for the sake of pure order.
Beyond the abjuration spells an Alsetan priest performs for hire, the blessing of thresholds is an important part of his duties. This usually involves placing a small statue of the goddess above the doorway, or otherwise inscribing images of Alseta and prayers to the goddess on the doorway’s lintel. Many priests of Alseta thus have some skill in stonework or sculpture, and a good number have ranks in either Knowledge (engineering) or Craft (sculptures).
Anyone can petition the church to bless the doorway of a home or business, and priests typically perform these services for free or at the cost for any statuary used.
A typical day for an Alseta priest begins with prayers, which coincide with the rising sun. Most clerics prepare their spells at this time. The day is further divided with prayers at noon and at dusk. The timing of these prayers is of prime importance to the faith, and all priests must set aside other activities to perform these rituals. By the faith’s tenets, even adventuring priests must perform these prayers unless doing so places them in mortal danger. Particularly devout priests may mark the passing of each hour with its own small ritual.
Clerics of Alseta can prepare open/close as an orison, and can prepare arcane lock and knock as 2nd-level spells.
Most of those drawn to worship the Welcomer are interested in peaceful pursuits, such as law, architecture, or diplomacy. However, some faithful possess the courage and drive to pursue the adventuring life. Curiosity prompts these brave souls to explore dungeons locked behind long-sealed doors, or to cross the unfathomable thresholds between the planes. Others seek to seal doors that never should have been opened, closing rifts to the chaotic planes or ensuring that terrible monsters do not escape to threaten the civilized realms. Some take this philosophy a step further and view undeath as a metaphorical door that should never be open to creatures, and these followers of Alseta make it their mission to destroy undead, thus closing that door many times over.
While Alseta blesses many of her followers with the ability to open locked doors with ease, she also expects her faithful to exercise this power with restraint. This makes her faith a poor fit for those interested in breaking and entering or committing other illegal acts. Alseta’s church is often popular with members of the city watch, and many of the adventurers who worship her also come from the ranks of the constabulary.
Priests of Alseta garb themselves in brown and gray clothing, preferring simple or old-fashioned styles to more modern or flamboyant designs. The highestranking or wealthiest members of the clergy may wear vestments tastefully embroidered with shimmering copper or silver thread. Arch and key motifs are common, and priests favor subtly symmetrical patterns.
The masks Alsetan priests wear on the backs of their heads are their most identifiable feature. Each mask is unique, carved by its owner at the time of her initiation into the church, and represents some aspect of the priest’s past gladly left behind by joining the priesthood.
Alseta’s holy text, The Sacred Keystones, is an allegorical document comparing personal virtues to the four traditional keystones used to support the arches of an Alsetan temple’s main entrances. The four major virtues emphasized in the text are courtesy, duty, honesty, and humility. Many other traditional virtues are derived from these four primary ones, and are represented by different stones in the arch. Although it is mainly a text on morality, The Sacred Keystones employs several extended architectural metaphors, and many passages provide genuine insights into the fields of architecture and engineering.
The church of Alseta helps organize many of the other civilized gods’ festivals, but adherents also celebrate one of their own. In addition, transitions between months are minor holy days.
Turning Day: This festival celebrates the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, taking place at midnight on 31 Kuthona.
On Turning Day, celebrants forgive old debts and grudges and embrace new opportunities. Friends reaffirm their bonds, and longtime enemies exchange gifts in hopes of reconciliation. Turning Days marking the end of centuries or millennia are especially extravagant affairs, and may last much longer than their name implies.
Praise Alseta the opener! May she open the path to virtue and wisdom. Praise Alseta the closer! May she close the path of iniquity and strife.
—The Sacred Keystones
The following aphorisms are drawn from Alseta’s holy book, The Sacred Keystones.
A Door Must Open: Short for “A door must open; otherwise, it is not a door,” this expression reminds Alseta’s faithful that a skill or tool left unused has no value. Some adventurous members of Alseta’s faith take this saying literally, and endeavor to carefully open the long-sealed doors of dungeons or ruins to give them purpose.
Turning the Mask to It: Figuratively, this expression means leaving something—an attitude, feeling, grudge, or material possession—in the past, but carrying the memory, or mask, forward with you.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER RELIGIONS
Rather than pursuing her own goals, Alseta primarily acts as a servitor to the other gods. When the gods meet, Alseta often serves as the gathering’s host. When they argue, she serves as the arbiter of their disputes. When the gods need someone to act as a steward to their realms, they trust in Alseta to secure their holdings in their absence. For this reason, Alseta remains on polite, though not necessarily friendly, terms with most of the civilized gods.
This attitude extends to the members of Alseta’s faith, who get along cordially with the followers of most other gods. In fact, the priests of other gods sometimes include prayers to Alseta at the beginning of important ceremonies to open the way between the mortal realm and the realm of the gods. Priests of Alseta do their best to maintain the same neutrality as their patron goddess.
Alseta has a particularly close relationship with Pharasm.a This is likely due to the overlap between the two goddesses’ portfolios, as death is but the soul’s transition between the mortal world and the afterlife.
The strong alliance between Alseta and Pharasma has led some scholars to suggest that Alseta was once a mortal servant or worshiper of Pharasm.a Others suggest that Alseta was a powerful psychopomp who rose to godhood in much the same way that Sarenrae rose from the ranks of the angels to true divinity. These scholars point to the mask that Alseta wears on the back of her head, noting the similarity to the masks that psychopomps wear.
One might expect some tension between Alseta and Pharasma’s enemies, particularly Urgathoa and Zyphus, but this is rarely the case. Alseta’s track record of impartiality has earned her the trust of even these deities. Beyond that, Abadar likes and respects Alseta, as they are like-minded on many issues. Of the major gods, only Rovagug and Lamashtu regularly act with hostility against Alset.a These monstrous deities represent the violent, barbarous hordes battering at the doors of civilization; the servants of Alseta oppose the activities of these deities, and are not averse to combat when words fail to dissuade them.
Known as the Argent Gate, Alseta’s realm is an ornate gate and adjoining temple located on a massive piece of solid silver floating through the Astral Plane. Some speculate that it was once a part of the Eternal City of Axis, but that Alseta moved it to avoid making gods of other alignments uncomfortable. Regardless, the Argent Gate is a powerful artifact capable of creating portals to almost anywhere in the Great Beyond. Combined with its location on the neutral ground of the Astral Plane, this makes the Argent Gate an ideal location for meetings of the gods.
Alseta commands respect among the planes, and all but the most chaotic or wicked outsiders are willing to aid her followers, provided that they are properly compensated.
The following are some of Alseta’s best-known servants and can be summoned using spells such as planar ally.
Inzorth (unique blink dog): This two-headed blink dog hunts those who abuse teleportation magic to bypass justly erected barriers. Legends say that it can track teleporting creatures by scent, and that its bark disrupts dimensional travel. Inzorth grows irritable with those who do not treat both its heads with equal deference, and any gift offered to Inzorth must be divided or doubled so that each head receives an equal portion. When addressed singularly, its left head is called “Inz” and its right is called “Orth.”
Lockmaster Pylaethus (unique axiomite): Pylaethus is one of the finest locksmiths among the planes. Rumor has it that he once studied as an apprentice under Abadar himself, but parted ways with the Master of the First Vault for reasons unknown. He now serves Alseta, securing the Welcomer’s gates and doors with locks of unparalleled craftsmanship and complexity, particularly in the rare event when the goddess needs a door to remain closed.
Pylaethus’s most treasured possession is his collection of strange and unusual keys, and he is often willing to perform favors for mortals in exchange for new specimens to add to his collection.
The Welcoming Faces (herald of Alseta): This enormous, construct-like outsider appears to be masks of copper and silver tied together, as if around an invisible head. Each face wears a small, enigmatic smile, even while the creature speaks, which is often. The Welcoming Faces frequently appears to powerful followers seeking guidance on whether to open a particular secured door or whether to embark on a life-changing transition—for the wisdom of passing such thresholds is often of deep concern to Alseta, and thus to the Welcoming Faces.
On rare occasions, the Welcoming Faces also appear to defend temples of Alseta from particularly powerful or evil intruders. The Welcoming Faces also serve as an arbiter between powerful mortals who disagree over a fundamental issue, such as the boundaries of nations or conflicting laws governing access to pilgrimage or heritage sites.
PALADINS OF ALSETA
As the intermediary between and servitor to the other civilized gods, Alseta prefers to remain neutral in conflicts among the gods. This impartiality naturally extends to her faithful, and thus followers of Alseta rarely become paladins.
The elves of Kyonin are a noteworthy exception to this trend. Elves who revere Alseta as the patron goddess of the aiudara (or “elf gates”) swear oaths in her name to defend these sacred elven relics from those who would visit destruction upon them, including the fiendish Treerazer and his demonic forces. In addition to the normal paladin code, the tenets of these elven paladins of Alseta include the following affirmations.
• Doorways are sacred boundaries and should be respected. I will not transgress across the threshold of an occupied structure uninvited unless doing so serves the glory of Alseta or is necessary to prevent a great evil from taking place.
• The Sovyrian Stone is a blessing from the goddess and is the beating heart of the elven people. I will defend it with my life.
• The aiudara are sacred relics and should never be used lightly. It is my responsibility to preserve the knowledge of the keys to these gates, and ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands.
- Campaign Setting - (PZO9290) Inner Sea Faiths