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Sunken Empires (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 8 ratings)
OPDSEE

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Lost Worlds and Sunken Mysteries

The life of an adventurer should be full of great daring, and little is more daring than retrieving the sunken treasures of the Underdeep! Sunken Empires is heaped high with glorious new magic, monsters, and rules for lost technology and abolethic horrors, including:

  • History of the Aboleth by David "Zeb" Cook
  • Full Ecology of the Aboleth
  • Glyph magic and seaborne familiars
  • Feats and gear for Net Fighters
  • Lost technology from Lightning Spears to Lemurian Coil Rifles
  • More than 10 new coastal and undersea monsters

Come learn the secrets of the coral drake and the dangers of the goblin shark!

With advice on designing your own lost civilization and hundreds of hooks and story ideas to scatter along the coast for beachcombing adventurers to find, Sunken Empires is one Pathfinder Roleplaying Game sourcebook you don't want to miss.

Sunken Empires fans may also want to check out the Sunken Empires Web Compilation PDF!

Product Availability


Print/PDF Bundle: The PDF will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase.

Print Edition: Ships from our warehouse in 2 to 14 business days.

PDF: Fulfilled immediately. Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at webmaster@paizo.com.

OPDSEGAZ


See Also:

Product Discussion (183)
151 to 183 of 183 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Contributor

Dark Sasha wrote:
If I had been doing reviews at the time this came out, I guarantee a 5 star review.

You know, Dark Sasha, there aren't any rules saying that reviews are only valid if posted immediately after a product comes out. We'd love to hear your breakdown of Sunken Empires!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dark Sasha wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
Print/PDF Bundle now available!

This is a really excellent deal, in my opinion.

If I had been doing reviews at the time this came out, I guarantee a 5 star review. The only thing that keeps it from a 5+ is the barest hint of a really cool adventuring site in the form of a map to a mostly underwater city that isn't discussed much in the text, tantalizingly just out of reach. It is like a diver who can't dive deep enough to reach the gleaming treasure just out of reach in the black of the abyssal deeps beyond.

Do a review you... you know you want too. :)

Osirion

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liz Courts wrote:
Print/PDF Bundle now available!

Awesome! Thanks! *goes off to order*


How does this compare to Alluria Publishing's Cerulean Seas? Is it a replacement or is it more complementary? If you had to choose one to purchase, which one would it be?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
How does this compare to Alluria Publishing's Cerulean Seas? Is it a replacement or is it more complementary? If you had to choose one to purchase, which one would it be?

It is a greatly shorter take on the subject (64 pages vs. 288) and heavy on the aboleths, tentacles, and ancient civilizations. Also, very little open content in its mechanics, whereas Cerulean Seas' crunch is all open content.

The Alluria book is just a lot longer and in-depth, but it's focused on a setting of a drowned world while Sunken Empires focuses on, well, sunken civilizations and such as a part of an existing setting. Each book's content is easily used in your games, though.

Contributor

Thank you for your interest in Sunken Empires, Caedwyr! Glad to hear you are considering it. One correction -the book is closer to 80 pages, not 64 -still not anywhere near the wordcount of Cerulean Seas, but a much, much different animal. I encourage you to click on the "Reviews" tab above (or here) and peruse the various reviews there, a few of which give very detailed breakdowns of the book's content. I think you'll see that Sunken Empires is designed as more of a plug-and-play sourcebook, rather than a stand-alone campaign setting, and it is easily adaptable to your campaign no matter what you may be running. Secondly, it is designed more from a perspective of encouraging normally-reluctant PCs to get their feet wet with underwater explorations, rather than a "all-underwater-all-the-time" campaign, so it may or may not suit your needs in that regard.

And, as Kvantum states so succinctly, it is indeed heavy on darker aspect of long-sunken lands, though I can assure you that the open-versus-not-open OGL content of the book is of no consequence to this book's usefulness at the gaming table. Unless you are a publisher planning to reprint the material or hoped to add the content to d20pfsrd, the OGL status of its mechanic material (which is significant) can't possibly have any bearing to your consideration of its purchase and its future usefulness in your games. Frankly, the comment's focus on that aspect are puzzling, and I just don't want that to detract from your consideration. =-)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Brandon Hodge wrote:
And, as Kvantum states so succinctly, it is indeed heavy on darker aspect of long-sunken lands, though I can assure you that the open-versus-not-open OGL content of the book is of no consequence to this book's usefulness at the gaming table. Unless you are a publisher planning to reprint the material or hoped to add the content to d20pfsrd, the OGL status of its mechanic material (which is significant) can't possibly have any bearing to your consideration of its purchase and its future usefulness in your games. Frankly, the comment's focus on that aspect are puzzling, and I just don't want that to detract from your consideration. =-)

Brandon, it's the hypocrisy involved that really gets me. Pathfinder is a game that owes its very existence to the OGL and open content. Kobold Press releases great content for that game... but when it comes to focused releases for terrain types like this or Midgard: Northlands, so much of the crunch is closed content so no other publisher can support it. It's the same kind of thing WotC did. "Here's dozens or hundreds of pages of great new rules crunch except no one else can ever reference it and we'll never support it again so enjoy." It just sees highly counter-intuitive or even hypocritical to me to support a game based on the OGL with non-Open content, as well as self-defeating for Kobold Press as a publisher. How do you maintain long-tail sales of a product? Get its open content mentioned in another publisher's book and increase sales of that older title.

But as you've said, none of that is actually relevant for individual games. Sunken Empires is a great book, just one about 1/3rd as long as the Alluria release, one with a slightly different take on undersea adventuring and what you might find down there.

Contributor

I haven't looked at what's credited as Open Content in either of the books mentioned, but I can say that the Northlands is part of Kobold Press' Midgard Campaign Setting, so setting information would not be Open Content for that reason--just as Golarion isn't Open Content.

Btw, Sunken Empires is a very good book. That Brandon Hodge character can write! But don't tell him I said so. ;-)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Setting fluff is of course closed content. But rules crunch that supports setting fluff is my big issue. From the way I read this book, the majority of chapters 2 through 6 is crunch, but only bits of chapters 4 and 6 are actually Open Content. New feats, class abilities, bloodlines, domains, equipment, all to be found in this book. None of it OGC, though, at least by my reading of the open content designation.

Contributor

I hear you. The subject is honestly above my paygrade, but I know the relevance of the comments are only applicable if Caedwyer is a publisher or a d20pfsrd contributor, and not to the vast majority of the gamer populace. Since he doesn't seem to be either, I'd rather his purchase of my work not be discouraged by someone's opinion of the admittedly obscure politics of Open Design's open content policies


Heh, actually I'm one of the main contributors to d20pfsrd.com with regards to 3rd party publisher content. So the discussion regarding the Open/Closed content has been useful for me. I'll probably pick this up later, but given the amount of overlap with Cerulean Seas mentioned by posters here and the fact that all the game mechanics in said book are Open content, I think I'll hold off pick Sunken Empires up for now.

Thanks for all the comments.

Andoran

Kvantum wrote:
... so much of the crunch is closed content so no other publisher can support it. How do you maintain long-tail sales of a product? Get its open content mentioned in another publisher's book and increase sales of that older title.

That's not exactly true. If one publisher wants to use some non-OLG content from another publisher's product, they can just ask. It happens often in fact. There are multiple examples of this occurring ... Super Genius Games doing a product of feats for the Spell-less Ranger jumps to mind.

And the publisher that created the non-OGl content can and should continue to support their own material.

Honestly, the average gamer does not care very much how much of a given product is OGL. They just buy it and use it in their games. The average publisher shouldn't really care - 3PP's share all the time, regardless of the OGL.

I do understand, of course, that non-OGL content means that sites like d20pfsrd.com can't post most or all of a product's contents on their site for free ...


Marc Radle wrote:
I do understand, of course, that non-OGL content means that sites like d20pfsrd.com can't post most or all of a product's contents on their site for free ...

Keep in mind, that even if material is Open content, if the publisher doesn't want to see it showing up on d20pfsrd.com, it typically doesn't show up. Take for example, Rite Publishing. For a period, they were not supportive of their Open Content being posted on d20pfsrd.com, and so material from their books by and large was not posted by the major contributors. More recently, they've actually specifically requested that Open content from a number of their books be posted to the site.

The Open/Closed content issue for me is more of a support issue. Open content is available for years to be built off of, used, and made part of games and future design. Closed content has a much shorter shelf life and will likely get rewritten and replaced before too long by another publisher since they can't use the original or can't contact the original publisher who may not be around anymore to approve the deal.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

The weird part of this whole thread is that so much of the Kobold Press content is open, including big swathes of the rules content. Spells, monsters, feats, the Advanced Feats line, the Monsters of Sin line, the Midgard Bestiary: all open content.

Sure, making material open is voluntary, and because most of our releases are adventures or setting books, some of it is closed. But sometimes I get the sense that people are talking past each other.

Given that Sunken Empires declares the spells, magic items, and monsters are open, what other content would you be looking for that isn't open already?

It seems as if Kvantum and Caedwyr are asking that the whole setting be declared open, but I can't figure out why.


I don't actually have the book and was going by Kvantum's comment here: http://paizo.com/products/btpy8ezw/discuss&page=4?Sunken-Empires#158

Kvantum wrote:
Setting fluff is of course closed content. But rules crunch that supports setting fluff is my big issue. From the way I read this book, the majority of chapters 2 through 6 is crunch, but only bits of chapters 4 and 6 are actually Open Content. New feats, class abilities, bloodlines, domains, equipment, all to be found in this book. None of it OGC, though, at least by my reading of the open content designation.

The bolded section especially. I'm not asking that the setting be declared open content, and neither as far as I can tell is Kvantum. Actually I even said that I'll probably pick this book up despite the issues that Kvantum raised as it looks like something I'd be interested in. It's just a bit lower priority on my want list in part because Brandon and Kvantum have said that another top publication has already covered the same game mechanic material (and I already have it). This means I'm more interested in this book for its setting fluff and not as a must-have for running underwater adventures. If my interpretation of these comments is incorrect, I'd love to be corrected.

Qadira

I've spoken on this many times in the past but I'll summarize my position again. Setting fluff can and SHOULD remain "closed content." It is what makes your world uniquely your world or setting.

However, creating awesome new crunch and then keeping it closed content hurts everyone AND seems against the entire spirit/nature of Pathfinder. You're right in saying that most people probably have no idea or care about this, but we do for obvious reasons, and in truth, we think more people SHOULD care about it.

I've often had to fight the urge to say very negative things about certain publishers or certain products in the past, and sometimes unfortunately gave in to the urge. There was an initial fear I think from some in the industry that we (d20pfsrd.com/similar sites) were a net-negative for their businesses but I think from the many times this subject has come up no one can positively state or prove that their content being on the site has hurt them and many have directly indicated the opposite (and many direct mail us their products to add.) This thread isn't about the merits of being on d20pfsrd.com so let's not get sidetracked on that issue again.

I eventually adopted the attitude that we would strongly support and promote products which strongly support the OGL (by being either all Open Game Content, or the vast majority of which being open.) By the same token we don't support those that don't, which again, is why you don't see much content from certain publishers on the site, nor do you see us "liking" or sharing or retweeting stuff from those publishers. We even give free advertising on the site to some publishers who we feel are models of how the OGL should be implemented (see TPK Games, Jon Brazer Enterprises etc.)

So, simply stated: Why not just say "All crunch is open, all setting material is closed." and go from there? Seems to work for Paizo afterall.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

So if a publisher declares ANY rules content closed, that's what bothers you and Kvantum? Interesting. I think we're going to disagree here. In particular, because so much of the book is already open content.

Pretty much all of chapter 4 is open (17 pages) and likewise chapter 6 (12 pages--the closed material is the Ecology of the Aboleth article). Roughly a third of the book is open content.

Despite Kvantum's claim above, chapter 5 is setting material and not rules material, barring 5 poisons unique to the setting. Chapter 3 is largely setting-related gear, and it was not easy to figure out how to declare it open without also opening up setting elements that need to stay closed (vril and lost technology are keystones of that region of the world).

I grant you, Chapter 2 could have been declared open, but at the time in 2009 and 2010, I wasn't comfortable doing it. The argument that chapter 2 *must* be declared open to be useful in a game seems shaky to me.

The claim that Kobold Press doesn't create a lot of open content, though, is simply false.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Hm, by the way, when did "Open Design" become "Kobold Press"?

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
Hm, by the way, when did "Open Design" become "Kobold Press"?

That information is closed content. =-)


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Haha ;)

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

The changeover happened with Dark Roads & Golden Hells book, back in July. I got tired of hearing the two arms of the company called "Open Design/Kobold Quarterly", and I heard from a lot of retailers that they thought the company only did the magazine.

So...

The idea is to keep the Kobold theme and extend it to the sourcebooks, adventures, and PDFs, to make it clear that the Kobolds do more than the magazine.

And the Kobold Press imprint will, hopefully, be easier for people to remember than the longer double name. Guess we'll see!


I guess as a consumer, the Open/Closed content issue is more of a closed content material is more likely to become another fantasy heart-breaker RPG type publication, whereas Open content material is more likely to get reused in the future. This gives things a longer shelf-life, and all other things being equal, is a benefit for me as part of my library. It also means that I don't need to worry as much regarding copying of IP in these copyright crazy days so long as I throw an OGL statement in and give credit where it is due. Think OGL safe-harbour. Back when everyone used books with their local group, this wasn't such an issue, but with more online play being able to post material on a campaign website/forum/discussion group/custom rules library and not have to worry about any copyright issues is another benefit.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I think the new name is a good idea, and well chosen. Go Kobold Press!

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Back in print!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hey quick question. Are the lost technology firearms presented herein meant to be something you gain proficiency with so long as you have proficiency with firearms in general or something a character would have to take a separate proficiency with in order to use effectively? Also how do these gel with the rules mentioned in expanded gunslinger for railgunners?

Contributor

doc the grey wrote:
Hey quick question. Are the lost technology firearms presented herein meant to be something you gain proficiency with so long as you have proficiency with firearms in general or something a character would have to take a separate proficiency with in order to use effectively? Also how do these gel with the rules mentioned in expanded gunslinger for railgunners?

What's up, Doc?

Your answer to proficiency to the Ankeshelian weapons is in the appropriate weapons tables for those items--they are all indeed listed as exotic, so your character would need a separate Exotic Weapon Proficiency for each weapon. Even in a world where firearms may be more common, these things go way beyond the norm, and are quite rare and specialized, as you might imagine.

I'll leave the Coilgunner question to the astounding Crystal Frasier, who is responsible for that bit of deliciousness.

Andoran Digital Products Assistant

While coil guns are considered Ankeshelian technology in Midgard, coilergunners aren't automatically any more proficient in other types of Ankeshelian weapons or technology than the average gunslinger. Your GM may decide that coilgunners CAN use Ankeshelian technology, in loo of adding magical coilguns to their campaign, but that's a table decision.

Coilgunner can't use their overcharge deeds with other Ankeshelian weapons. But again, your individual GM can always allow it; You'll need to decide the effects of overcharging these more advanced weapons at your own table.

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:

While coil guns are considered Ankeshelian technology in Midgard, coilergunners aren't automatically any more proficient in other types of Ankeshelian weapons or technology than the average gunslinger. Your GM may decide that coilgunners CAN use Ankeshelian technology, in loo of adding magical coilguns to their campaign, but that's a table decision.

Coilgunner can't use their overcharge deeds with other Ankeshelian weapons. But again, your individual GM can always allow it; You'll need to decide the effects of overcharging these more advanced weapons at your own table.

pedantry:
'in lieu' is what you're looking for. 'Loo' is British slang for toilet, and I don't want to know what coilgunners get up to in the toilet...
Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hey quick question, do you think that the tools needed for crafting lost technology are more in line with those of standard artisans tools or would they need to buy something more like an alchemists lab?

Contributor

Hey Doc! Great question.

Surviving lost technology as presented in Sunken Empires is really more about restoration and preservation than creation from scratch. In other words, the items are typically found filled with sediment and covered in barnacles, their wooden components long since rotted away. The tools needed to restore them to functional order would encompass all manner of materials--rare metals and woods, woodcarver's tools, metalsmith's and engraver's accouterments (likely more along the jewelers or gunsmiths' trade than the blacksmiths') and, yes, likely alchemical laboratory equipment.

On character (or NPC) having all the essential skills to restore lost technology to working order by themselves would be quite rare, and the effort would more likely be cooperative among a secretive order of specialists.

But I think those 3 avenues--woodcarver, jeweler/gunsmith, and alchemist, would get someone well on their way to restoring life to a piece of ancient broken technology.

A vril specialist or arcanist to recharge those batteries wouldn't hurt, either. Stay tuned for Deep Magic for lots of goodies in that department.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Brandon Hodge wrote:

Hey Doc! Great question.

Surviving lost technology as presented in Sunken Empires is really more about restoration and preservation than creation from scratch. In other words, the items are typically found filled with sediment and covered in barnacles, their wooden components long since rotted away. The tools needed to restore them to functional order would encompass all manner of materials--rare metals and woods, woodcarver's tools, metalsmith's and engraver's accouterments (likely more along the jewelers or gunsmiths' trade than the blacksmiths') and, yes, likely alchemical laboratory equipment.

On character (or NPC) having all the essential skills to restore lost technology to working order by themselves would be quite rare, and the effort would more likely be cooperative among a secretive order of specialists.

But I think those 3 avenues--woodcarver, jeweler/gunsmith, and alchemist, would get someone well on their way to restoring life to a piece of ancient broken technology.

A vril specialist or arcanist to recharge those batteries wouldn't hurt, either. Stay tuned for Deep Magic for lots of goodies in that department.

Sweet! I am really excited to see what more deep magic adds to the vril system and lost tech considering that they are factoring in pretty heavily to my home game.

Now that being said does that mean that the standard (ie normal/masterwork tools) tools that players would buy to restore items with the craft (lost technology) skill should be treated as an alchemists lab (200 gp and 40 lbs of equipment) or like normal artisans tools?

Contributor

I would say masterwork artisan tools for the restorative work, and a "vril lab" with the same stats as an alchemist lab for the batteries, which are the more complicated bit.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Brandon Hodge wrote:
I would say masterwork artisan tools for the restorative work, and a "vril lab" with the same stats as an alchemist lab for the batteries, which are the more complicated bit.

Cool! You've just made my one eyed chiurgeon alchemist and his ogrekin warpriest compatriot very happy. I'll probably use the lab idea for some of the more complex non weapons or armor stuff like the power fist or evil sentry shocker thing too.

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