Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Andoran, Birthplace of Freedom (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 2 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Andoran, Birthplace of Freedom (PFRPG)
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Wedged between the crumbling empire of Taldor and the devil-worshipers of Cheliax, the self-made nation of Andoran shines proudly on the coast of the Inner Sea. Ruled by a Supreme Elect chosen by the people, Andoran is surrounded by aristocratic enemies who believe the republic is an experiment doomed to failure, but who also fear its growing power. Within its own borders, Andoran must face the threat of the greedy Lumber Consortium, warbands of hobgoblins, tribes of werewolves, and increasingly violent creatures of the wilds who are enraged at seeing their forests destroyed for profit.

Whether your players are noble supporters of freedom, agents of older empires, or opportunists seeking to carve out their own places in a young nation, this book has everything you need to run a campaign in the tumultuous land of Andoran, including:

  • In-depth gazetteers of Andoran’s settlements, from the seaport capital of Almas to the Lumber Consortium-controlled city of Oregent, and all the minor settlements clinging to existence on the dangerous wilderness frontiers.
  • Details on the organization of the Eagle Knights, including the Golden Legion, Steel Falcons, Twilight Talons, and Gray Corsairs.
  • Secrets of groups with no loyalty to the government of Andoran, including the thuggish Lumber Consortium and the deposed nobles of the Seven Houses.
  • Numerous adventure sites ripe for exploration, including the fey-ruled Candlestone Caverns and the ancient burial mounds of the Nogortha Necropolis, plus a detailed regional map that allows heroes to navigate the untamed lands between civilized settlements.
  • New monsters, NPCs, random encounter tables, a full write-up of the nation’s patron agathion, and more!

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Andoran, Birthplace of Freedom is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

Written by Tim Hitchcock and Jason Nelson
Cover art by Igor Grechanyi

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-721-5

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***½( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Birthplace of Freedom

****( )

Not bad, but it is hard to compete with some of the other campaign setting books out there.


Competent but not exciting

***( )( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

By itself, I think Birthplace of Freedom will be a very useful tool for people who have already decided to set an adventure or campaign in Andoran. However, I don't think it's likely to attract new people to the setting. It lacks the “Cool!” factor it needs to overcome the fact that, on the surface, Andoran doesn't look all that different to countless other generic fantasy settings out there. Guide to Darkmoon Vale showed that such a factor exists for that region of Andoran, so there's no reason one shouldn't exist for the rest of the country. Political intrigue could easily be that factor, but the book doesn't spend enough time on the politics, focusing instead on generic adventure locations. Birthplace is a competent book, but it's not an exciting book, and Andoran really needs something exciting.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Announced! Cover image and description are not final.


Awesome. I can smell the freedom from here.


O say can you see

Silver Crusade

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I smell drones, death penalty and Gitmo! ;P


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Nice!

Viva el Revolucion! Viva Alysande Benedict!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
I smell drones, death penalty and Gitmo! ;P

Who knew Bags of Devouring preferred MSNBC?! :P


EXCITED


Neat!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I hope there's a mission on trying to get the consortium out of Andoran politics.

*starts designing a team of masked vigilantes called "Wolf Pack".*


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've always designed a homebrewed version of Andoran which has embraced the firearms from Alkenstar in return for staple goods.

After all with hellknights on one side and Taldan Phalanx on the other, an army of musketmen can really hold the line with eagle knight commanders by their side.

I may plan for Andoran to also be playing with the idea of clockwork units (drones) who are starting to mysteriously act in odd ways. ;)


13 people marked this as a favorite.

Diabolists, your game is through
Cause now you have to answer to
Andoran! F*** yeah!
Comin' to save the mother****in' day yeah!

Sovereign Court

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I know that's the mock-up cover, but I really want that to be the actual cover. I really like that piece of art.

That being said, I'm glad we're getting a sourcebook on one of the most evil nations in the Inner Sea. Most of the options won't be suitable for players, but they'll make good depraved enemies for my players to fight.

This message brought to you by the Opparan Beautification Committee.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Iammars wrote:

I'm glad we're getting a sourcebook on one of the most evil nations in the Inner Sea. Most of the options won't be suitable for players, but they'll make good depraved enemies for my players to fight.

This message brought to you by the Opparan Beautification Committee.

Spoken like a true Chelaxian.


Hmm... interesting. I wonder if we'll get that mysterious Gost Wolf they cut from the 3.5 incarnation of this product. I've wondered for years what it was.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Glad to see my favorite nation is getting a campaign book. Looks like all flavors I like(Numeria, The Shackles, Ustalav, and now Andoran) have been covered. I appreciate the fluff to crunch ratio for the previous books, since I usually convert them over to D&D(originally 4E, now 5E).


Wicked, I can't wait to see what comes out of this.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Usually the location books often tie in with the Adventure Paths somehow... Either it's gonna be a slow year for non-nation books this year as Andoran, Cheliax, and possibly Taldor get books OR some giant or devil slaying gonna spill over into Andoran?


@Kadabrass: I hope we get an Andoran focused AP. That would make my year!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Somewhat interested - hoping there's some more about the office of Supreme elect; how it's election season goes, and who is vying for the seat, and who succeeded Codwin (since his second term ends in 4714)?

Also, some more light on the Twilight Talons is shed!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Somewhat interested.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Aneirin Rhodri wrote:
@Kadabrass: I hope we get an Andoran focused AP. That would make my year!

I doubt one will be soon with a Cheliax AP around the corner after Giantslayer. Either they are giving the major nations books out of principle as Osirion got a book this past year and Cheliax will most certainly get one around June. That or Andoran is gonna be tied to one of the up coming APs. I do believe they said that Giantslayers was starting in Belkzen but wasn't gonna stay in Belkzen? Or perhaps Hell's Rebels begins with an invasion of Andoran?

I also remember them saying they haven't forgotten their fan's favorite nations so they might just be picking times they can sneak some content in. Taldor got some new modulars, Cheliax and Osirion got/get new APs. Andoran is getting a book in the meantime til it gets either some new Modulars or an AP at a later time but that wouldn't be for another 2 years as the AP after Hells Rebels will likely be somewhere else, possibly exotic, since we'll have some new classes they needed before doing that place...

Poor Qadira doesn't have much in the current plan. The nation didn't even see much light in PFS this past year as Andoran Taldor and Osirion saw. Thought a upcoming PFS Scenario will be paying Qadira some face time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I wonder what kind of monsters we will get.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Axial wrote:

Diabolists, your game is through

Cause now you have to answer to
Andoran! F*** yeah!
Comin' to save the mother****in' day yeah!

Great, they kill Andoran as a faction, and now this comes out?

Hey Ms. Courts! Are you ready to get that Team Andoran puppet line out?

Webstore Gninja Minion

3 people marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Hey Ms. Courts! Are you ready to get that Team Andoran puppet line out?

Ha hah hah...


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kajehase wrote:

Nice!

Viva el Revolucion! Viva Alysande Benedict!

My dear Kajehase, this isn't Galt! This is Andoran.

I am so looking forward to this! Finally, we'll get a lot more detail in the towns/cities of Andoran. Love it already!

Ooooooo, yes! Give us more on the Twilight Talons, PLEASE!?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Looking forward to this, but, as I mentioned in my review blurb from 2010 concerning the Andoran Player Companion, the garb of at least the soldiers and perhaps even the non-warrior folk are just too close to the Continental Army of the U.S. Revolutionary War. As the images are so very important to the book and the engaging of the imagination, it is my opinion that these should be re-imagined in such a way that they are more tied to Golarion and rely less on garb from this period in U.S. history.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Any info in this book about the elite Silver Falcons squad led by the mysterious masked shield champion known only as "Captain Andoran"?

Their battle song...

When Captain Andoran throws her mighty shield,
All those who chose to oppose her shield must yield!
When she gets to a fight and a duel is due,
Then the Gold and the White and the Blue come through!
When Captain Andoran throws her mighty shield!"


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DragonValor wrote:
Looking forward to this, but, as I mentioned in my review blurb from 2010 concerning the Andoran Player Companion, the garb of at least the soldiers and perhaps even the non-warrior folk are just too close to the Continental Army of the U.S. Revolutionary War. As the images are so very important to the book and the engaging of the imagination, it is my opinion that these should be re-imagined in such a way that they are more tied to Golarion and rely less on garb from this period in U.S. history.

It has already been established as such, so why change it now? For some of us, this is part of the allure of Andoran. The entire country is a refreshing change to fantasy culture, including the garb (the other attraction being democracy/equality, of course). Keep it as is. It's really cool, IMO. Why is it a problem? Just choose to follow/use a different nation in Golarion if it bothers you.

Liberty's Edge

I'm SO looking forward to this!

Mike


Maybe we could have an Iron Horses Adventure Path?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:
It has already been established as such, so why change it now?

Because it's needlessly anachronistic and sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the setting, especially given how this nation supposedly grew out of a vassal state of other realms. Also, in a setting where firearms are rare and armored warriors still prevail, they've been set up to be slaughtered in any battle.

While the attire, colonial US anachronisms, etc. would be fine in another setting, given Andoran's prominence in the Inner Sea, just "ignoring it" doesn't really work.

I love the premise of Andoran as a solid "good guy nation", but every time I had to look at the uber-colonial artwork, it killed it for me. Andoran is the nation that I WANT to like the most (I've centered a campaign there).


^Maybe this is the Andoran Navy we're seeing? Or maybe Andoran is more metal-poor than I thought (although then that bodes ill for an Iron Horses AP).


7 people marked this as a favorite.
BPorter wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
It has already been established as such, so why change it now?

Because it's needlessly anachronistic and sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the setting, especially given how this nation supposedly grew out of a vassal state of other realms. Also, in a setting where firearms are rare and armored warriors still prevail, they've been set up to be slaughtered in any battle.

While the attire, colonial US anachronisms, etc. would be fine in another setting, given Andoran's prominence in the Inner Sea, just "ignoring it" doesn't really work.

I love the premise of Andoran as a solid "good guy nation", but every time I had to look at the uber-colonial artwork, it killed it for me. Andoran is the nation that I WANT to like the most (I've centered a campaign there).

Its THAT argument again!

Look, first off, 17th-19th century stuff is my favorite; my homebrew is heavily inspired by the cultures of that era (such as colonial America, the French Revolution, the Age of Enlightenment, Edo Period, etc), so its safe to say that this is totally my cup of tea. I get that this isn't for some people, just as pirates and space lazors aren't for others, but I'm the target demographic for this one.

Secondly, how does this really anachronistically stick out when its stuck between a nation with a space ship jutting out of a mountain, a nation with an abyssal chasm torn into it, or (my favorite) a nation shrouded in fog and overrun by Victorian zombies, vampires, and werewolves and was once ruled by Sauron?

Last I checked, Golarion is supposed to be a kitchen sink, so claiming that ONE nation is anachronistic when the rest of the campaign setting is taken into account is just silly.

Golarion isn't middle earth; there are wizards flying spaceships, dragons with guns, pirates fighting kamen rider assassins, and liches with pith helmets, 'cause liches love pith helmets.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

^I think the above was more the argument about this being the kind of anachronism that gets you killed, no matter how cool it is.

But I wouldn't throw the picture away. Just tweak it a bit: Put in something (insignia, background, etc.) to make it clear that this is Andoran Navy/Marines (so they HAVE to eschew armor, which is very floatation-unfriendly), and/or give them some more ranged weapons (although it doesn't hurt to mix in some long spears to make the equivalent of a Pike and Shot force) (also see sparsely armored example modeled by Swedish Army Museum).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd say it'd be something akin to parade armor (though it's showcased as being used in battle, so maybe an inspirational painting?).


I thought Andoran Knights had Fullplate glamored to look like spiffy colonial attire?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tirisfal wrote:

Its THAT argument again!

Look, first off, 17th-19th century stuff is my favorite; my homebrew is heavily inspired by the cultures of that era (such as colonial America, the French Revolution, the Age of Enlightenment, Edo Period, etc), so its safe to say that this is totally my cup of tea. I get that this isn't for some people, just as pirates and space lazors aren't for others, but I'm the target demographic for this one.

Secondly, how does this really anachronistically stick out when its stuck between a nation with a space ship jutting out of a mountain, a nation with an abyssal chasm torn into it, or (my favorite) a nation shrouded in fog and overrun by Victorian zombies, vampires, and werewolves and was once ruled by Sauron?

Last I checked, Golarion is supposed to be a kitchen sink, so claiming that ONE nation is anachronistic when the rest of the campaign setting is taken into account is just silly.

Oh, it's THAT defense again! Kitchen sink is supposed to be a feature, not an excuse.

It's anachronistic given that in the case of the Worldwound & Numeria, there are in-setting reasons containing/limiting the influence of those regions beyond their borders. With Andoran, you have one of the dominant nations in the Inner Sea which is also one of the largest naval powers whose influence extends far beyond their borders.

From a warfare/technology perspective, if Andoran is entering into battle with inferior weapons/armor compared to, say Cheliax, they're going to get slaughtered unless in-setting reasons are presented for why their unarmored armies can go toe-toe with "traditional" armies - and none of the Andoran source material indicates that it's now the dominant firearm-bearing nation of the setting.

Kitchen sink is supposed to allow for a wide variety of playstyles, genres, locales, etc. It doesn't have to mean "anything/everything goes because it's just a game". If there are in-game reasons presented in the campaign setting material, no problem. If there aren't and it's presented just to look different/cool, you're needlessly weakening the setting by weakening the immersion/consistency factor.

I'm a Golarion fan and I appreciate the design & business considerations behind the "self-contained" nation/area approach. However, the biggest issue that I have with Golarion is that sometimes "halfway" approach of integrating elements into the setting.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

So to summarize this argument, BPorter isn't against the Andoran army having revolutionary war-era uniforms because he doesn't like revolutionary war-era uniforms; it's because it's really impractical to have revolutionary war-era uniforms in a setting where most combatants use legit armor.

Are all Andoran soldiers, like, dex-based fighters or something?


Axial wrote:


Are all Andoran soldiers, like, dex-based fighters or something?

Since several of the Andoran artwork pieces depict two-handed swords being wielded, I'm thinking "no".


So... The Andoran militia wear parade armor, while most other militia wear studded leather armor (or the equivalent). What's the problem?


Kudaku wrote:
So... The Andoran militia wear parade armor, while most other militia wear studded leather armor (or the equivalent). What's the problem?

From Ultimate Equipment: "Parade armor may be crafted from leather, metal, or a mixture of both."

"for use in showy noncombat situations"

"for example, one country's parade armor may be a chain shirt, tabard, leather greaves, and a winged helm"

NONE of those describe the Andoran uniforms & hats. They're clearly depicted as worn in combat, don't incorporate recognizable armor (like chain shirts) and unless belts & bandoliers now count as leather armor, they aren't even wearing leather armor, let alone a studded leather equivalent. The best you could do is perhaps argue that they're outfitted with armored coats, but those are supposed to be made up of metal-reinforced leather jackets where the Andoran uniforms in question sure look like cloth to me.

Even if I accept the "parade armor is standard issue premise" (which I don't) -- why does Andoran do it?

Also, Andoran employs a volunteer army and navy rather than conscripts or mercenaries. While I'm sure there are militia, I don't think they get the spiffy blue coats.


Note that the following question...

BPorter wrote:


Even if I accept the "parade armor is standard issue premise" (which I don't) -- why does Andoran do it?

... is rhetorical. I'm not looking for speculation. I'm looking for an in-setting explanation of it. Also, how is it viewed outside of Andoran? By other, more "traditional" armies and navies? Are the Andorans viewed as wimps putting on airs ("They're pretty but can't fight for sh!#") or are they viewed as the avante-garde of Golarion warfare?

Much focus is placed on the Andoran navy. Perhaps the army operates differently? Which is more respected, powerful, or prominent?

Hopefully, the Andoran book will answer questions like these. Right now, though, they look like they're bringing a mindset to battle that is at odds with the tech & tactics of the world in which they live. Unless they're magic-heavy (also not suggested by canon-to-date), they're going to get their butts kicked frequently unless they have overwhelming numbers in every engagement. Again, as a former vassal state, there's not much to suggest that this would be the case.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Haladir wrote:

Any info in this book about the elite Silver Falcons squad led by the mysterious masked shield champion known only as "Captain Andoran"?

Their battle song...

When Captain Andoran throws her mighty shield,
All those who chose to oppose her shield must yield!
When she gets to a fight and a duel is due,
Then the Gold and the White and the Blue come through!
When Captain Andoran throws her mighty shield!"

...and her occasional companions Mithral Man, the Incredible Angry Troll-Like Fellow, Thhorr - Aspect from another pantheon, Sorcerer that can only cast Enlarge Person, and Sorceress that can only cast Reduce Person, Fly, and Shocking Grasp.


I'm not sure whoever wrote that example thought it through, since a chain shirt alone (never mind the leather greaves) would by itself have a higher AC bonus and armor check penalty than parade armor. A chain shirt would also be four times more expensive.

I'm looking at the picture of p.42 of ISWG and that's more or less exactly how I visualize parade armor. Light and flashy yet functional. The armor simply incorporates a good-looking coat. While we're talking about andoran parade armor, If you check out the Inner Sea Combat you will find the Eagle Knight Dress Uniform, which is a +2 parade armor - clearly the armor is not unknown in Andoran.

As for why... Why not? Parade Armor is excellent armor for its cost. It's identical to studded leather armor (except it gives some minor skill bonuses), which is the usual staple for low-grade military troops. When you're supplying basic troops with equipment you can't really afford to go for plate armor - you save that for the elites.

Coincidentally there is an andoran eagle knight shown on p.45 in the same book wearing full plate - clearly parade armor is not the only type of armor they field.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I wonder what kind of monsters we will get.

Other than the ones in the Lumber Consortium? Yeah, I'm curious too. ;)

On a similar note, I'm curious as to how they'll expand the opportunities for trouble and strife in Andoran. Beyond Darkmoon Vale, there are a few bits and pieces briefly alluded to (such as the possibility of hidden Azlanti tomes of forbidden lore held within the trade halls), but it will be interesting to see how/if these are expanded upon to further flesh out Andoran beyond its general concept as the "birthplace of freedom."

Paizo Employee Developer

16 people marked this as a favorite.
BPorter wrote:

Hopefully, the Andoran book will answer questions like these. Right now, though, they look like they're bringing a mindset to battle that is at odds with the tech & tactics of the world in which they live. Unless they're magic-heavy (also not suggested by canon-to-date), they're going to get their butts kicked frequently unless they have overwhelming numbers in every engagement. Again, as a former vassal state, there's not much to suggest that this would be the case.

Without including the entire contents of the book here, I'll note that Andoran's conflict with nations like Cheliax, Taldor, and Qadira is more a war of ideals than a physical war in which two armies charge across a field of battle at one another. The armor of the Eagle Knights (especially the Steel Falcons, who largely operate outside Andoran's borders) needs to serve as much as fancy, memorable armor worthy of the defenders of the Inner Sea's greatest form of government as it needs to protect them from physical damage.

As for specific pieces of art in prior publications, consider that illustrations from our own world supposedly representing actual events are often not practical in their implementation. I doubt, for example, that Washington actual stood in a rowboat with one foot on the gunwale while it was traversing iceberg-filled waters as depicted in Washington Crossing the Delaware. But such an image inspires patriotism, valor, awe, and respect among those who view it. I'm not saying every illustration of Andoren military units is such a representation, just as I assume you're not saying they all need to be photorealistic.

A true Andoren wouldn't want to include only heavily armored soldiers fighting for the nation's ideals, after all. Doing so would send a message that only those who can afford such protection are capable of standing up for liberty, that dedicating one's life to what is right and true is inherently without risk, and the incorrect assertion that the common people are not stronger than the blades and arrows wielded by tyrants.

We've illustrated Eagle Knights in plate armor, and will continue to do so. For examples see The Inner Sea World Guide (265); Andoran, Spirit of Liberty (23, 29); Paths of Prestige (22); "Noble Sacrifice" (ch 1). Aside from the half-page illustration referenced as depicting impractical armor, all illustrations of Eagle Knights in unarmored blue clothes are of Gray Corsairs or other marine combatants (Andoran, Spirit of Liberty [cover, 2]; Ships of the Inner Sea [16], etc.) It should probably also be noted that the lightly armored soldiers in the referenced illustration are all cut up. It's pretty clear that their lack of armor had negative effects on their ability to maintain full hit points.

TL;DR: What you're afraid of happening with the art in this book is something we're specifically working to make sure doesn't happen.

Also:

'Murica


zergtitan wrote:


I've always designed a homebrewed version of Andoran which has embraced the firearms from Alkenstar in return for staple goods.
{. . .}

Homebrewed or not, Andoran really needs to get its own firearms manufacturing industry so that they don't have to depend upon undemocratic and monopolistic Alkenstar. That said, a firearms industry can VERY easily grow into a monster itself. Looking back at Earth for examples . . . .


Personally I just hope the Various Eagle Knights get an MRP.... Currently PrCing into Eagle Knighthood is ok at best.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
'Murica

What are our chances for decanter of endless waterboarding or an NPC nicknamed "Tricky Dicky"?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

How about a Dixie mini-setting inside Andoran ? Yay or nay ?

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