Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures (PFRPG)
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Dive into Adventure!

There's plenty of adventure hidden beneath the gentle tidal cycles and crashing waves of Golarion. Discover the rich ecologies and complex societies hidden in the briny depths of the oceans and seas. In this book you can learn more about merfolk nations, the dangerous sahuagin, peaceful aquatic humanoids, and the aquatic terrors that wage war against them. Dare deadly environments, explore strange underwater cities, and find lost treasures within these pages.

This book also provides a wealth of rules for underwater combat and ways for terrestrial adventurers to adapt to aquatic environs, including new archetypes, feats, and magic items. Dive in to underwater adventure!

Inside this book you'll find:

  • A thorough gazetteer of Golarion's five oceans that explores the various points of interest and conflicts between those who make these bodies of water their home.
  • A look at Golarion's seas and their inhabitants, as well as strange treasures that can be found within their depths.
  • An expansion of rules for underwater combat that clarifies those presented in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook and introduces new challenges to consider.
  • Dozens of new archetypes, class features, feats, spells, and items both magical and mundane that players can use to prepare their characters for adventures beneath the waves.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-944-8

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscription.

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***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Worth the price for the Aquatic Rules chapter alone

****( )

First things first: this is Campaign Setting, so if you bought it to power up your PC and found out that many options are so narrow that they work best for NPCs ... well, you get what you deserve for not reading my review.

Second thing is that there are some very nice things for PCs here. I kind of wish that some of the stuff here was included in Blood of the Seas, but that ship has sailed. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You got the joke, right? Right?

Anyway, apart from rules material, this book has two things going for it. One are the chapters on Golarion's oceans and seas which, while evocative and well written, are somewhat brief. They're more primers than full descriptions, so as usual with Paizo, there's a lot for a GM to fill out with her or his imagination.

Now the big kahuna is the Aquatic Rules chapter which gathers, updates and expands the rules for aquatic movement and actions. Why is this such a great deal? Well it's because these rules are horribly spread across the core rulebook thanks to the CRB inheriting less-than-stellar layout of the 3.5 PHB. Here you have everything in one place - movement, buoyancy, combat, spellcasting, drowning AND the creme de la creme, some guidance as to how do spells work underwater. My snarky tongue-in-cheek argument about lightning bolts underwater suddenly holds far less water than it used to. AHAHAHAHAHAH! Also a joke! C'mon, you did get this one, too? Let me know in comments below.


Okay, but not amazing

**( )( )( )

The book does what it says on the tin, but nearly all of the new rules elements are unusable in all but the most heavily water focused games. An example of this is the Drowned Channeler Spiritualist, who has to be within 25 feet of a major body of water to gain /any/ benefit from Shared Consciousness. Not any water, not even a lake or major river - it has to be something on the scale of an ocean or sea.

If this was an exception and not the rule, I could give this three stars - but this book is sadly not so. Nearly every rules element has no effect outside of water, some actively penalize you for being on land; unless you regularly play entirely-aquatic games, skip this book and save yourself $16+


Life Is Better Down Where It's Wetter

****( )

A good solid book about Golarion's oceans and seas and it also has some nice additional/expanded under water rules. While I do like some of the additional class options, spells, etc. I would have preferred less crunch for more world building.


Excellent, although too many rules for my liking

****( )

I find this book very hard to rank in the usual one to five star way.

I enjoyed the first forty pages immensely. They give a really good survey of the oceans and seas of Golarion including plenty of adventure hooks, details of who lives where and everything you'd want from an introductory 'gazetteer' of such large areas.

My main complaint is that each section is too short and further that there's no discussion of the bodies of water to be found in the Darklands. Given the importance of underworld regions to a fantasy world, the latter in particular feels like a glaring omission.

The reason for that is no doubt the perceived need to include the mechanics in the latter part of the book. I suspect that these rules elements are well done and probably even necessary (I don't buy the campaign books for rules, so I haven't done more than flick through the later parts of the book) - nonetheless, I wish they'd been provided in some other way. It feels to me that this isn't really a campaign setting book, but rather two thirds of a campaign book plus some rules stuff.

Given all of that, I still consider this good value and it's a welcome entry in the line. I'd just personally prefer that the flavor proportion of these books be given greater weight.


Very Solid

****( )

The majority of this book details a lot of the oceans and seas throughout Golarion, along with sunken treasures and the occasional NPC. It has a ton of flavor text and pretty good art.

It also goes into the nitty gritty details on movement and combat underwater, even changing a rule in the core rulebook about "cover from the water's surface".

If you plan on doing anything underwater, pick this book up. If not, you probably can do without it.

Overall, good book. 4 stars.


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Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

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Announced for June 2017! Image and description are not final.

Silver Crusade

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

SQQQQQQQQQQQQUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

EVERYBODY IN THE POOL!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Hmm, just noticed this is in Campaign Setting instead of the Core line. Interesting.

Paizo Employee Developer

13 people marked this as a favorite.

Yep, it's just a 64-pager. Half of the book is a gazetteer of Golarion's oceans and seas, and the other half gets into the rules for underwater combat and provides some fun new options.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Nice.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

:O Yay!

I guess this is because of Ruins of Azlant, but still yay xD

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:

:O Yay!

I guess this is because of Ruins of Azlant, but still yay xD

You phrase that like it's a bad thing...


For Kelizandri's sake, I was thinking about the idea of designing an underwater temple of the Brackish Emperor - as a big dungeon. I'm sure going to use this book when it's out, for updates and improvements.

Dark Archive

Great temporary cover - don't know if Valeros is drinking or drowning. ;-)

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
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Quinn, actually.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's about time. Glad I've had a copy of Cerulean Seas Underwater Adventures to tide me over!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Well this is an instant buy for me.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Yep, it's just a 64-pager. Half of the book is a gazetteer of Golarion's oceans and seas, and the other half gets into the rules for underwater combat and provides some fun new options.

Gazetteer?! Huzzah! Looking forward to knowing more about the Eye...and so much more!


Awesome! I was just wondering last week if we would get a book like this sometime. I guess that answers that question!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Just like our world we know more about Golarion's solar system then we do about it's oceans. Well it looks that might change.


Dragon78 wrote:
Just like our world we know more about Golarion's solar system then we do about it's oceans. Well it looks that might change.

The question is, would we really like to know more about it? ;)

Well, I really want to know more about othagu empires, Dagon's influence and the aquatic elves of Golarion. These are pretty iconic aquatic creatures, so I hope there is something good about them in this book.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm really curious about the underwater settlements of Golarion and hope that there will be map of all of Golarion on the inside cover and not only of the Inner Sea.

I could also do without the cover illustration (sans text) on the inside back cover, although i understand if the illustration budget doesn't allow for additional art.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Do we even know the names of Golarion's oceans?


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
Do we even know the names of Golarion's oceans?

Yes, "wiki" do. Antarkos Ocean, Arcadian Ocean, Embaral Ocean, Obari Ocean, Okaiyo Ocean.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Thanks for the info Gold Sovereign.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Now I know the reason that the Campaign Setting line had no products for so long. For the sake of authenticity, Paizo hired actual merfolk to write this volume. What they didn't account for was the long time it took each draft to dry out so that their air breathing editors could proofread them. ;)


I wonder if Lake Lake Encarthan will get some love from this...

Otherwise excellent stuff! :)


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

Just make sure you wait for at least an hour after eating before reading this book.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So I guess this is the book hinted at by Eric Mona a little ago. He said something about a book people have been asking for. I was hoping it was Brothels of Golarion personally.

But this will do.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:

I wonder if Lake Lake Encarthan will get some love from this...

Otherwise excellent stuff! :)

Lake Encarthan isn't featured in this book. While developing it this week, I had some late regret for not ordering more text on some of the larger and more significant bodies of water that aren't oceans or seas (because that was on the forefront of my mind when I outlined and assigned the book).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:

:O Yay!

I guess this is because of Ruins of Azlant, but still yay xD

You phrase that like it's a bad thing...

I phrased that badly yes xD Just meant to express somehow that I guess without underwater ap we would never have this book


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Well I am not surprised that this book doesn't have info on lakes since it is focused on oceans and seas.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Well I am not surprised that this book doesn't have info on lakes since it is focused on oceans and seas.

One can have Aquatic Adventures in lakes and rivers... I do wish Lake Encarthan was in this...perhaps it could get its own book? Or include it with other lakes like the Lake of Mists and Veils. A Lake book or rivers and lakes sounds great to me.

Still excited to see this one as well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Yes, but the book's description specifically mentions Oceans and Seas. There is no mention of lakes, rivers, streams, etc.


Dragon78 wrote:
Yes, but the book's description specifically mentions Oceans and Seas. There is no mention of lakes, rivers, streams, etc.

I agree, but in general it's not unreasonable for people to hope a book called Aquatic Adventures to cover all forms of possible aquatic adventures, just like it's not unreasonable to hope that a book called Adventurer's Guide to be a comprehensive guide to adventuring a few specific Golarion groups.

Paizo Employee Contributor

Brother Fen wrote:

...to tide me over!

I see what you did there.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

For those wanting high quality underwater and water proximal adventuring content, Cerulean Seas has you covered:

Cerulean Seas - The core underwater adventure book, with a mini campaign setting as well.
Waves of Thought - Adds psionics (think Dreamscarred Press) to the underwater adventures presented in Cerulean Seas.
Indigo Ice - Polar seas and sea-proximal adventure content. Features the majestic and bloodthirsty penguin empire.
The Azure Abyss - Deep ocean adventures in the twilight and dark realms. There are elements of the underdark here, but also much more.
Celadon Shores - Features more content focusing on Eastern-inspired civilizations, mostly around shallow seas, lakes, and rivers this time in a flooded world.
Beasts of the Boundless Blue - Bestiary for all of the above. Each book previously mentioned has an incredible bestiary in it, and this collects a number of previously published creatures and adds a whole bunch more. The awesome:filler ratio is pretty good in this one too.

I hope that Paizo doesn't reinvent the wheel again with Aquatic Adventures and instead borrows some of what works from Cerulean Seas and similar products. Or if they do decide to retread well walked paths they produce something superior. More underwater content is always welcome.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
I hope that Paizo doesn't reinvent the wheel again with Aquatic Adventures and instead borrows some of what works from Cerulean Seas and similar products. Or if they do decide to retread well walked paths they produce something superior. More underwater content is always welcome.

?


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would assume that this book will have about as much in common with Cerulean Seas as Occult Adventures does with Psionics Unleashed.


Rysky wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
I hope that Paizo doesn't reinvent the wheel again with Aquatic Adventures and instead borrows some of what works from Cerulean Seas and similar products. Or if they do decide to retread well walked paths they produce something superior. More underwater content is always welcome.
?

To expand, in the past when paizo has covered content that was previously covered by another publisher they have typically recreated all that content as though no one else has ever done something (in scientific sense, they don't do literature searches). In some cases in the past several years, this has resulted in the paizo solution being rather poor (see gun rules) compared to what had already been done by others for the Pathfinder system. More recently, they have seemed to do less of that, of which as David knott 242 notes, Occult Adventures does something new compared to Psionics Unleashed. It is my hope that they either adopt some of the underwater adventure systems provided in Cerulean Seas, don't rush in to fill those gaps with a different system just for the sake of being different, or even take a system provided by others and improve upon it.

The addition of designers like Alex Augunas, Mark Seifter, and Owen Stephens who have a broad knowledge of 3rd party products is probably a contributing factor to why we've seen more of the second and third options on my list, and that makes me happy.

A great 3rd party example of that is actually the Cerulean Seas books and how they handle a lot of Paizo content. Other good examples include the Leadership Handbook, Ultimate War and Ultimate Battle (and many other Legendary Games products), Ultimate Charisma, Companions of the Firmament, and many others I can't recall at the moment.

So this post is really more of a saying "I hope paizo continues to follow recent practices and do their literature search/research on what is already out there for this content, and then build on that foundation or take inspiration/improve what others have done." This seems to produce higher quality products which I am all for.

To add to my previous lists, there is some great underwater adventure content by Kobold Press: Sunken Empires that is worth taking a look at as well for inspiration.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
I hope that Paizo doesn't reinvent the wheel again with Aquatic Adventures and instead borrows some of what works from Cerulean Seas and similar products. Or if they do decide to retread well walked paths they produce something superior. More underwater content is always welcome.
?

To expand, in the past when paizo has covered content that was previously covered by another publisher they have typically recreated all that content as though no one else has ever done something (in scientific sense, they don't do literature searches). In some cases in the past several years, this has resulted in the paizo solution being rather poor (see gun rules) compared to what had already been done by others for the Pathfinder system. More recently, they have seemed to do less of that, of which as David knott 242 notes, Occult Adventures does something new compared to Psionics Unleashed. It is my hope that they either adopt some of the underwater adventure systems provided in Cerulean Seas, don't rush in to fill those gaps with a different system just for the sake of being different, or even take a system provided by others and improve upon it.

The addition of designers like Alex Augunas, Mark Seifter, and Owen Stephens who have a broad knowledge of 3rd party products is probably a contributing factor to why we've seen more of the second and third options on my list, and that makes me happy.

A great 3rd party example of that is actually the Cerulean Seas books and how they handle a lot of Paizo content. Other good examples include the Leadership Handbook, Ultimate War and Ultimate Battle (and many other Legendary Games products), Ultimate Charisma, Companions of the Firmament, and many others I can't recall at the moment.

So this post is really more of a saying "I hope paizo continues to follow recent practices and do their literature search/research on what is already out there for this content, and then build on that foundation or take inspiration/improve...

This isn't Cerulean Seas' Product Discussion thread...really doesn't belong.

Also, Paizo doesn't need to keep track of what someone else created. Paizo is Pathfinder, basically. Others can create, hence the license, but Paizo doesn't have to recognize other products as canon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

So does anyone know were the mock cover art is from?


Fourshadow wrote:

This isn't Cerulean Seas' Product Discussion thread...really doesn't belong.

Also, Paizo doesn't need to keep track of what someone else created. Paizo is Pathfinder, basically. Others can create, hence the license, but Paizo doesn't have to recognize other products as canon.

This misses the point of what I was attempting to communicate, but I will take the hint and get lost.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:

This isn't Cerulean Seas' Product Discussion thread...really doesn't belong.

Also, Paizo doesn't need to keep track of what someone else created. Paizo is Pathfinder, basically. Others can create, hence the license, but Paizo doesn't have to recognize other products as canon.
This misses the point of what I was attempting to communicate, but I will take the hint and get lost.

Wow. Sorry you got that impression...point was meant to be "this needs its own thread".


Adam Daigle wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:

I wonder if Lake Lake Encarthan will get some love from this...

Otherwise excellent stuff! :)

Lake Encarthan isn't featured in this book. While developing it this week, I had some late regret for not ordering more text on some of the larger and more significant bodies of water that aren't oceans or seas (because that was on the forefront of my mind when I outlined and assigned the book).

Aw. Well I guess there's always next Campaign Setting book about lakes maybe.

I'm just glad to have aquatic adventures. :)


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Fourshadow wrote:
This isn't Cerulean Seas' Product Discussion thread...really doesn't belong.

Wondering how Paizo's take on underwater adventures will compare with a 3pp's well-respected take on the same topic does belong here.

Quote:
Also, Paizo doesn't need to keep track of what someone else created.

Of course, they don't need to. But I think it would be foolish for them to ignore the excellent work in Cerulean Seas.

Isn't borrowing other peoples' work (and building on it) why there's an Open Gaming License in the first place?


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

Yes, a campaign setting book about lakes and rivers, we will call Huck Fin Adventures;)


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Adam Daigle wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:

I wonder if Lake Lake Encarthan will get some love from this...

Otherwise excellent stuff! :)

Lake Encarthan isn't featured in this book. While developing it this week, I had some late regret for not ordering more text on some of the larger and more significant bodies of water that aren't oceans or seas (because that was on the forefront of my mind when I outlined and assigned the book).

Who were the other key staff? (by which I mean the Designers I guess, if I've got my terminology right).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I'm both excited and scared.

Excited: love underwater / ocean civilizations in fantasy

Scared: when this was done in past, previous settings that shall remain nameless, it heralded the end of days for the setting i.e. backburner item to be developed at the end.... please don't make this the watery grave of Golarion! :(

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:

I wonder if Lake Lake Encarthan will get some love from this...

Otherwise excellent stuff! :)

Lake Encarthan isn't featured in this book. While developing it this week, I had some late regret for not ordering more text on some of the larger and more significant bodies of water that aren't oceans or seas (because that was on the forefront of my mind when I outlined and assigned the book).
Who were the other key staff? (by which I mean the Designers I guess, if I've got my terminology right).

Technically, we would call them the "authors". Of course, in this case, a designer was one of the authors, thus confusing things further!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
So does anyone know were the mock cover art is from?

Strange Aeons 3 Dreams of the Yellow King.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Scared: when this was done in past, previous settings that shall remain nameless, it heralded the end of days for the setting i.e. backburner item to be developed at the end.... please don't make this the watery grave of Golarion! :(

I don't see any indication that this is the case.

1) This isn't those other settings released by whichever company they were released by. This is Paizo, and Paizo has its own business model.

2) It seems to me that this product is made support the Ruins of Azlant adventure path due to begin next August'ish.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I hope this means we will get a Azlant campaign setting book sometime next year as well.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I wonder if it is going to have rules for playing Prawn?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Dragon78 wrote:
I hope this means we will get a Azlant campaign setting book sometime next year as well.

From the Office of Expectation Management

There is not going to be an Azlant Campaign Setting book next year. Aquatic Adventures is serving as the "tie-in" book for the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path (as Heine and others surmised above). I felt that having an entire Campaign Setting book would spoil much of the mystery of the lost continent, and preferred to have that kind of information come from the Adventure Path little by little instead of laying out the buffet.

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