The Inner Sea is the heart of the Pathfinder campaign setting. From devil-worshiping Cheliax to cosmopolitan Absalom, the savage and frozen Lands of the Linnorm Kings to the steaming jungles of the Mwangi Expanse, there’s a place for any character or adventure your imagination can come up with. Yet while a Game Master or player might know all the secrets of the setting, courtesy of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting World Guide: The Inner Sea, what does a character know about his or her world? With the Inner Sea Primer, Game Masters can quickly and easily introduce their players to the Pathfinder campaign setting, and experienced players can customize their characters with new, setting-specific tricks and traits.
Inside this Pathfinder Player Companion, you’ll find:
Player-friendly overviews of every nation of the Inner Sea Region, telling characters what they need to know about their homelands—or those of their enemies.
New character traits for every country and region, helping to flesh out characters and tie their backgrounds and mechanics into the setting.
New archetypes for three Inner Sea sword fighting styles: the Aldori swordlord, the Qadiran dervish, and the Taldan rondelero duelist.
A complete overview of the major gods in the region, and what every resident should know about them.
Three new arcane schools: the item crafters of the Arcanamirium, Egorian’s infernal binders, and the stealthy illusionists of Osirion’s mages of the veil.
Overviews of the most common races of the region, from elves to half-orcs, as well as the most common human ethnicities.
Written by Colin McComb
Each bimonthly 32-page Pathfinder Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for social, magic, religious, and combat-focused characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.
It has been awhile since I actually bought this, but another thread brought this product to mind again.
The Primer is an excellent starting point for any player who wants to join in the adventure in Golarion. It gives a nice 1/2 page snippet of each of the countries of the Inner Sea, along with some discussion of the religions and magic schools found around the area.
There are 3 fighter and 3 wizard archetypes that fit well into the backstory of the realm, and are well put together as well. The Aldori Swordlord is still one of my favorite fighter archetypes (mixes well with the newer Aldori Swordlord prestige class from Paths of Prestige).
Shortly after this book came out, I ended up buying extra copies so that I could give them as Christmas gifts to my gaming group who was going through Rise of the Runelords at the time.
It's hard not to echo what previous reviewers have stated, but maybe it's important for the publishers to get the general feeling of the praises and gripes about their products.
The book does a great job of introducing people to the Inner Sea. I have had some difficulty adventuring in the area and reading the fiction and not having a map in front of me to help me figure out, "Where the heck are we, anyway?" :) Further reading in the book also helps understand both of the aforementioned as the nations are detailed well-enough.
The lack of artwork was, like a previous poster said, kinda' glaring. For a $10.99 product I know we can't expect Rembrandt, but to use the inside back cover to repeat the front cover artwork is a little weak. How about a picture of the Starstone Cathedral or something equally as epic?
Still, I recommend the book to anyone who adventures in The Inner Sea. Very helpful.
The one major issue I see with this is the fact that there is almost no artwork here. There are only three pieces of art in this book. One is the cover, which looks great, the next is inside the front cover, it is a nice map of all the nations. The third piece is inside the back cover, it is the same exact art work that is on the cover. That was very disappointing to see. There are four other small pieces of art, maybe a quarter of a page in size. Other than that, this seems like a good product to introduce new players to the world. Not to heavy on info, but enough for players to base there character from some of the city states described.
I would of maybe liked to see less info on the politics of each of the city states described and maybe more on the the ecology or types of adventures you could have here, like the physical aspects of the state.
I took one star for the lack of art work and to much politics in the descriptions. If it were priced more than 10.99 it would get less stars.
I own both the Gazetteer and the original CS. Up until now I've used the Gaz as a player's guide, but this release, being intended as such, serves as an admirable replacement. Some setting details are (thankfully) held back. The new map (printed inside the front cover) is bright and easy to read; my favorite yet.
Speaking of maps: Unlike the Gaz, there is no fold-out map. While I get that it probably had to be left out at this price, it is still missed. One thing they should have included was the the holy symbols of the gods -- seems a strange omission.
Hopefully Paizo will discount the PDF of this product. A $5 price would make it a really easy sell for new Society gamers. (****-)
This book was badly needed for some time already. So far, the only solid intro book for Golarion was the Gazzetter, which was a slight bit too long for wooing new people. Here comes the Inner Sea Prmier, written by industry veteran Colin McComb.
The most important question is: does it do the job ? Can it be used to introduce new players to the PF campaign setting ?
The book starts with a full page map of the Inner Sea region. This is the first Golarion map with clearly visible country/region boundaries and capitals marked, which is a great plus. On a flip side, it's a bit too brightly colored.
Coming up next is a short timeline. Excellent move, as the CS timeline is kinda intimidating. This one details the major events without getting sidetracked by Tian Xia emperors discovering the use of a teapot.
Then comes the bulk of the book - short descriptions of countries/areas, each has half a page. Apart from crucial facts and background, each region has two traits for players. This is a great move, as it helps flesh out a PC from given area from the get go. There is also a short mention of Bad Places, such as Darklands or the Worldwound.
The next chapter gives us three archtypes for melee classes. Archetypes are something that I absolutely adore, as they are the 2e kits done right. Kudos for giving us that instead of PrCs.
The following chapter details the major and minor gods of the setting. After this comes the magic chapter, with three variant Wizards. Finally, the races and ethnicities of Golarion are briefly described.
How do I feel about this book ? I think it's a great introduction to Golarion, enhanced by Colin's excellent writing and evocative map, icons and artwork. It's great for what it's supposed to do.
My only minor complaints are lack of new archetypes for divine/skill classes and no section on The Great Beyond. However, those are minor issues and don't knock a star off my final score.