Far beyond the reach of the soft southlander lords lie the frozen forests and icy tundra of the Inner Sea region’s northernmost nations. Here dragon-headed longships ply the arctic seas, nomadic tribes hunt and ride mighty mammoths, and the descendents of the Witch Queen Baba Yaga rule a nation where spring has been forgotten. Whether they’re hardened natives or arctic adventurers, everyone in the northern lands walks a fine line between finding wealth and glory and filling a shallow grave in the bloody snow.
People of the North presents a player-focused, in-depth discussion of the northern nations of the Inner Sea region. Each Pathfinder Player Companion includes new options and tools for every Pathfinder RPG player. Inside this book, you’ll find:
Thorough explorations of the different races and cultures that call the frozen north home, from notorious Ulfen raiders to secretive Snowcaster elves to barbaric Kellids.
Overviews of the three major nations of the North—the viking Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the savage Realms of the Mammoth Lords, and the evil queenship of Irrisen.
New traits and roles to customize characters of every northern ethnicity and nationality.
New feats and archetypes for northern warriors, such as the viking and the witchbreaker, plus new icy spells and the winter oracle mystery.
Cold-weather adventuring gear and magic items, advice on northern fighting styles, campaign traits, cultural sayings, and much more!
By Matthew Goodall, Shaun Hocking, Rob McCreary, Philip Minchin, and William Thrasher
This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.
Each monthly 32-page Pathfinder Player Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for all types of characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.
I'm normally not in a habit of rating products. I'm happy with most of the stuff I get from Paizo (except the math on statblocks sometimes), but I was very dissatisfied with this product.
Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North should have been titled Pathfinder Player Companion: Mostly We Just Stuffed This Full of Roles.
For those who don't know what Roles are, they're basically like pseudo-code for PC construction, offering ideas for building a character concept from existing races, classes, feats, traits, spells, whatever-else from existing products. They present a concept and abilities that concept might have, using already published material. But they're not new material, they're lists of combinations of old material, things better left for website blogs or forum posters rather than published in print product.
People of the North is FULL of roles. It's a 32 page book. Of those 32 pages, six pages are primarily populated by roles, and two more account for as much role text combined as one of those six. Now they do have other things on them, because each role, on average (at an estimate), takes up a little less than 3/5 of a column of text on a page, but they're filler. They're just character build suggestions.
All that having been said, I still gave it 2 stars because it does contain some new content that I actually liked, particularly the actual write-ups on the northern peoples and their cultures. I would have liked more NEW content between its covers. There is some new stuff, including a fighter archetype called the viking that gains barbarian rage at a higher level and can trade some fighter feats for rage powers. What content is new I like. I just feel there should be more new and less re-hash. The artwork is very nice, and is representative of the flavor of the regions presented, I think.
I purchased 4 sequentially published player companions very recently: People of the North, Animal Archive, Dungeoneer's Handbook, and Champions of Purity. People of the North being the oldest of the titles I purchased. I'm happy to say that the following three books lacked completely in Roles, so hopefully they're a dying trend.
Paizo Publishing has unfortunately given us another "Blood of the Night" with this manual. A good way to describe this book is a small amount of "fluff" and not even CLOSE TO ENOUGH "Crunch". The amount of info contained in this manual makes is barely worth the price you'll have to pay for purchasing it (if it's worth it at all). I really REALLY hate to say it but Wizards of the Coast did a MUCH BETTER job with Frostburn and this manual doesn't even BEGIN to measure up to that. The amount of "icy spells" a spellcaster can use can be counted on one hand as can each of the other categories the crunch falls into (aka weapons, armor, gear, etc etc). The fluff makes this BARELY WORTH WHILE yet we don't even get enough of that. All in all, if your obsessed with Paizo's products, go ahead and purchase this. Otherwise, just borrow a friend's copy. I'm so let down and disappointed by the utter and complete LACK OF EFFORT on part of the developers of this particular manual that I'm not even gonna give it a star rating (partially because I think it doesn't even measure up to 1-star).
A very well put together book for the Pathfinder line. The book contains a lot of information for how to play in the ice box regions of Golarion as well as a nice blurb preparing folks for the Reign of Winter AP. A little too humanocentric for my tastes but I get these things as a toolbox rather than something to run RAW.
The book is more or less divided into two sections the first being race options and the second being character options. The part about races up north is not worth mentioning as far as I'm concerned as it retread more or less the same ground that Pathfinder and D&D in general has gone over again and again. Frankly I'm tired of the standard races and as GM I try to avoid such things so that was a wash for me.
The equipment section and the overview of different areas of the region complete with regional traits was much more useful to me at least and I found it quite fun and somewhat informative. I do like the new Oracle mystery as well as it gives me something to focus some NPCs and an option to present to PCs for this sort of campaign. The two archetypes are alright although I can see ways of tailoring that ranger archetype for special named NPCs that I might want to create as well expand a few things on it when I use the setting as fiction inspiration.
The few pages we got to prepare us for Reign of Winter was very much appreciated by me at least as I have every intention of adapting and running that AP. This alone make the book a reason to have my players pick it up as a partial primer for the AP and while I know I will not run RoW RAW it will prepare them for what I am planning. Overall this is quite a nice book to pick up and I do recommend it to anyone interested in this sort of campaign.
When Varisia, Birthplace of Legends came out, it set a new bar for quality in the Player Companion line. While the Player Companions that have come out since have been good, they haven’t quite reached that bar again—until now. People of the North once again shows just how good and useful the Companions can be. This book provides everything a player needs to design a character for a campaign set in the far north of the continent of Avistan, particularly in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Irrisen, or the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. The book also provides some details for characters from the Crown of the World, including the Erutaki and the Snowcaster Elves.
Basically what you exect as common info for a book about cold regions. Tends to focus on a few player options and leave a lot of others in the cold (pun intended). Very light on the crunch side, especially for non-Barbarians or non-Druids, which arguably needed the most help of any sort of focus from this sort of book.
Undecided on the Winter Oracle or the Viking, (ok, but again basic, not really intriguing or innovative), while the Witchguard seems only suitible for NPC's in most games.
Fluff is nice, if short. Even more Roles than before (yuk), and they do seem very similar, kind of defeating the purpose. If kept, please start moving them to the DM books. The book follows the format of Knights of the Inner Sea and Blood of the Night, so if you liked those two, you will likely love this one. Similar to Varisia, in some ways. If you are looking for a Frostburn-like book, you will not like this one.
Value as a Players Guide: moderate to fairly low
Value as a generic book: decent
Value as a DM Primer (to specific subject matter): fairly high
Fluff Value: good
In my opinion, the biggest three weak points are:
1.) Lack of material to support the flavor, and just lack of well, material
2.) Again, tries to focus on too much flavor, leaving each underwhelming. (note, unlike other books that did this, this one's different focal points are very similar and have decent crossover)
3.) Lack of options for non-Barbarians and non-Druids. A few classes get an option or two, but that's kind of it. Why would you want more Barbarian/Druid material (classes that are already optimized for the "north" frm the CRB, and ignor classes that need help fitting in, (Cleric, Paladin, Cavalier, Monk, Wiz/Sor), particularly in suggestiongs or mechanics that help them function there?