Into the Black
Monday, August 11, 2008
Ever since we started the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, I've been thinking about the stars. Sure, developing the planet of Golarion is a blast, but what's beyond it? Look at how many stories we've managed to tell (and are currently gearing up to tell!) in just one region of one world—how many more could be out there on the eleven planets and dozens of moons in just Golarion's solar system? More importantly, how strange would they be? What dark mysteries and untold wonders reside on worlds not bound by Golarion's rules of evolution and magic?
Unfortunately for me, the stories weren't mine to explore. Publisher Erik Mona, though certainly open to suggestions, had staked his claim early on the solar system. Though both of us, as part of the Planet Stories team, love science fiction, his is a much pulpier view of the cosmos than mine. Where I saw hard science, astronomy, and almost unfathomable cultures at all stages of technological advancement, he saw Burroughs' war-torn Barsoom and Otis Adelbert Kline's lush Venus, filled with hard-jawed warriors and beautiful princesses wearing scanty moon-garments. Quietly, I shuffled my hopes of gas giants with floating sentient jellyfish and tidally heated moons into my desk drawer and moved on.
That is, until Erik got himself too busy with the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting and needed somebody to cover for him.
The result is Pathfinder #14's extensive overview of Golarion's solar system. Through Erik's love of pulp-era sword-and-planet, and my own affinity for hard SF, we came away with a compromise that I hope has something for everyone. Whether you're into steam punk or cosmic horror, bug-eyed aliens or familiar faces, our system has you covered.
Except for robots. Managing Editor Wes Schneider has long since made it public knowledge that his primary goal in life is to keep me from putting robots into our world all willy-nilly. (NOTE: There may still be robots.)
In any case, from Bretheda to Eox, Aballon to the Diaspora, I hope you enjoy the worlds we've created for you. To help give you a taste of what's to come, here's the entry for Akiton, the Red Planet:
Akiton, the Red: Colder and harder than Golarion, Akiton is a planet of brave four-armed warriors, their lances and flechette rifles gleaming against a backdrop of rust-red rock and sand. Monsters roam these cold mountains and desolate plains, and tyrannical empires raise stark and beautiful cities in the dried beds of ancient oceans. The tribes of the Shobhad-neh, 12-foot-tall behemoths capable of wielding a sword in each of their four hands, are fiercely territorial, and few sane creatures would challenge a single warrior girded in his battle harness, let alone one of the warbands and raiding parties that constantly redraw the giants' borders. Yet there are other races here as well: the timid and crafty Ysoki rat-men, or the red-skinned lizardfolk who hunt the great sand serpents with only crude spears and teeth. Perhaps strangest of all are the Contemplatives of Ashok, into whose soft and throbbing brain-sacs the ether occasionally whispers secrets of things past and those left to come.
Planet Stories Editor