Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows

****( ) (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows

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A Land Chained in Shadow

Ten thousand years ago, faced with extinction, the terrified leaders of Nidal heard whispers in their minds—promises of salvation for their nation if only they'd submit their people's bodies and souls to perpetual servitude. Those leaders' assent transformed them into conduits for Zon-Kuthon, the god of envy and pain, and has sealed Nidal's fate to this day.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows draws back the curtain from one of Golarion's most wicked and mysterious theocracies. Within these pages, you'll find:

  • Detailed descriptions of Nidal's history, including its tragic fall into Zon-Kuthon's grasp.
  • An in-depth gazetteer of the entire nation, from settlements to more sinister features.
  • Malevolent adventure sites from the Castle of the Captive Sun to the Tower of Slant Shadows.
  • A bestiary of shadowy creatures, including the suffragan kyton, that lurk in Nidal and beyond.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but it can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-033-0

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

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****( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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At long last...

*****

... all the bits and pieces of information we've had coming out piecemeal over the years coalesce into a quite enjoyable write-up of Nidal, arguably the most screwed-up nation-state in Avistan.

The sense of just how oppressive the place is really comes across in the art and the writing, and the historical bits are quite well fleshed-out.

While not quite as outré as it maybe could have been, it's still pretty grim going in places. At the same time, you get a taste of what Nidal was before it knuckled under to a god of pain and darkness, and a sense of what the place has to offer.


A terrific description of one of the most evil countries

*****

Nidal is an intriguing nation and one of the most unique to Golarion, in my view.

This first part of the book does a brilliant job of portraying the thorough depravity of the place and what it’s like to live under the oppressive, slightly insane theocracy. The following chapter on adventure sites is full of adventure hooks and places/reasons to visit. The book finishes off with half a dozen well chosen, nidalese themed monsters.

I think it’s hard to portray a truly evil place without descending into parody and this book has avoided that trap with great skill. It was exquisitely written and a joy to read (albeit with the occasional shiver).

As with all good sourcebooks, I ended up with half a dozen campaign/adventure ideas rolling around in my head. That’s the point of these kinds of supplements and I can’t give it anything other than five stars.

More like this please!


At best, I am not impressed...

*( )( )( )( )

I bought this book in the expectation of a little edgy goodness. It is a guidebook about Nidal for crying out loud. It even came with a "graphic content"-warning.

Well, that warning was overselling the content in the worst way. I expected a horror movie and I got the disney-fied all-ages version. I am so disappointed. This book has no spells, no magic items, no classes. In fact, no crunch at all. It is one big, sanitized National Geographic article. Yawn! I could have pieced the entire content together myself with a few hours of work from previous sources, with the possible exception of the city maps.

If it was possible to get a refund on the basis of "try again, buddy", I would.

Needless to say, this book is not recommended.


Seems like a cheerful place.

*****

This book does a great job of conveying what a country being run be Zon-Kuthon for millennia actually looks like and how the practicalities work out. Nidal really makes a lot more sense to me, and I'm a lot better equipped to run an adventure there after reading this. Check it out!


Beautiful and Horrific

*****

Long shrouded with secrecy and terror this books finally dives into the shadowy horror that is Nidal. And it is wonderful.

The overview of the various areas and the art along with it are awesome, and an absolute treat for GMs and players who have long had/wanted characters to be from this dreadful place.

Warning: this book contains VERY disturbing themes and certain pieces of art, being, ya'know, the country of misery and torture. And now that you've been warned, enjoy ^w^


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Sovereign Court

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Leg o' Lamb wrote:

I still want a Kyton specific book.

A book on Nidal is nice and all, but a companion book covering Kytons is like the peanut butter to this book's jelly. I am aware there will likely be a bestiary chock full o' kytons but it is not the same. It really isn't.

You're certainly not alone. ^_^

Paizo Employee Creative Director

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Wisearse wrote:
I just wish that this would have hit while Wes was still around. It was my understanding that this was his area of the world with his love of Cenobites and Barker. Here is to hoping he makes a return as freelancer to put his mark on this. That being said, very much looking forward to it!

I'm pretty sure the Clive Barker/Cenobite fan-boy contingent is still WELL represented at Paizo, even with Wes gone.

Dark Archive

Who's developing this?
Is it a single writer or are more people involved (besides the multiple artists)?

Contributor

19 people marked this as a favorite.

Just stopping by to see what people are interested in, for, uh, idle curiosity, and stuff...

Silver Crusade

1 person 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
Liane Merciel wrote:
Just stopping by to see what people are interested in, for, uh, idle curiosity, and stuff...

Hey Liane!

*glomps*

Dark Archive

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

Does this confirm what many of us are hoping, Ms. Merciel? Will you be contributing to the Nidal book? Please say yes!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liane Merciel wrote:
Just stopping by to see what people are interested in, for, uh, idle curiosity, and stuff...

My friend would really like some non-evil (LN) Kuthite stuff.

It'd also be interesting to get a pain-focused Mesmerist, since that's the only class with a pain-related feature built in.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Maybe some rules for becoming a Joyful Thing? Or other sorts of "self-mutilation for power" options that are decent mechanically?

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
QuidEst wrote:
Liane Merciel wrote:
Just stopping by to see what people are interested in, for, uh, idle curiosity, and stuff...

My friend would really like some non-evil (LN) Kuthite stuff.

It'd also be interesting to get a pain-focused Mesmerist, since that's the only class with a pain-related feature built in.

The recently released Book of the Damned hardcover has some feats that a Kuthonite might like, and there's no Alignment requirements on them.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do like Nidal and stuff, but I don't actually know enough about it to know what I would be interested to know .-.

Well, I guess the thing about Nidal I'm most interested in is Hell's Vengeance's article on what happens to places if Glorious Reclamation wins. What happens in Nidal afterwards is really creepy, so would be nice to know hints about how the they pulled off that disappearing trick :D


I'd like more fleshing out of the Druids :P


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm, let's see.

I would like to see some shadowy, super-creepy occult rituals oozing with flavor...Nidal definitely seems like the kind of place that would have such things.

I would also be curious if void kineticists are common in Nidal...their shadowy powers seem appropriate. New utility talents or an archetype for void kineticists with a higher focus on shadows would potentially be cool, but I would also be happy just having it mentioned if they're there and how they're viewed or integrated into Nidalese culture.

Shadow Piercings were introduced in Champions of Corruption, I think it would be neat to see this category expanded on, though just some mention of notable creators of shadow piercings or how they're viewed would be interesting as well.

Some sinister, shadowy spells would definitely be nice to see, mechanically...

I'd love to have more detail about Nidal's dealings with the Plane of Shadow in general, especially d'ziriak, fetchlings, kytons, shae, and umbral dragons, whether with organizations or powerful individuals. Now that Book of the Damned is out, I'd be curious to see if any of the kyton demagogues have cults in Nidal as well...

I think a shadow-focused vigilante archetype that bears some resemblance to the shadowdancer prestige class would be pretty neat, that or just some social or vigilante archetypes...or mention of a few specific ones, can certainly imagine a few vigilantes in Nidal, whether serving creepy cults or fighting against the government (though I suppose those aren't mutually exclusive).

Some new focus powers for occultists would potentially be kind of interesting, mostly imagining illusion and necromancy. Or perhaps the notion of an implement subschool for shadow...?

In general, though, I'm most interested in how the various supernatural elements impinge on people's lives, whether in the form of various monsters, disturbing rituals or traditions various places might have, specific weirdness in various locations, and so on and so forth...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I want 101 reasons not to visit Nidal
And
101 reasons to enter Nidal.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
I want 101 reasons not to visit Nidal...

1. Kytons

2. Kytons
3. Kytons
4. Kytons

ad infinitum

I'd particularly be interested in non-inherently-evil shadow magic. Shadows are neat!

I'm also pretty interested in how daily life actually works in Nidal. Sure, it's a bleak dystopia, but the average citizen is *probably* going to be safe enough* if they keep their head down and don't cause trouble...unless they happen to be a target for some other reason...

*As safe as one can be under a system like that, anyway.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
I'd like more fleshing out of the Druids :P

I'd like more flesh off the Druids.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

A pain focused mesmerist archetype sounds interesting but this is a campaign setting book so don't expect a lot of player options.


The subtitle of this book should be "everything you've always wanted to know about Zon-Kuthon but are too afraid to ask".


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

The one time I ran my PCs through an encounter area set in a Kuthite temple, one of my players quipped, "Wait... are we playing D&D or S&M?"

I replied, "Well, they do both involve role-playing..."

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Meraki wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:
I want 101 reasons not to visit Nidal...

1. Kytons

2. Kytons
3. Kytons
4. Kytons

ad infinitum

I'd particularly be interested in non-inherently-evil shadow magic. Shadows are neat!

I'm also pretty interested in how daily life actually works in Nidal. Sure, it's a bleak dystopia, but the average citizen is *probably* going to be safe enough* if they keep their head down and don't cause trouble...unless they happen to be a target for some other reason...

*As safe as one can be under a system like that, anyway.

I honestly don't think of Kytons when I think of Nidal.

I think of the world described in Liane Merciel's novels, for the most part.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Leg o' Lamb wrote:

I still want a Kyton specific book.

A book on Nidal is nice and all, but a companion book covering Kytons is like the peanut butter to this book's jelly.

Me want, too! Memememememe!!!!

Contributor

18 people marked this as a favorite.

In the department of managing expectations:

(1) yes, I'm on deck to cover part of this book. Definitely not the whole thing. Definitely not any stat-heavy parts;

(2) my tendency is to approach the material from the perspective of "what information would help people tell stories set in this country?" I'm looking more at history, culture, how society functions (and dysfunctions), what everyday life is like for various subgroups, etc. While there may end up being some class-specific material, I don't expect there to be a whole lot of that, and there might not turn out to be much at all.

BUT there should, hopefully, be a lot of stuff that's easily adapted to various class concepts, in terms of both background and development within Nidal, if that makes sense. Not so much mechanics, more story and worldbuilding stuff.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Liane Merciel wrote:

In the department of managing expectations:

(1) yes, I'm on deck to cover part of this book. Definitely not the whole thing. Definitely not any stat-heavy parts;

(2) my tendency is to approach the material from the perspective of "what information would help people tell stories set in this country?" I'm looking more at history, culture, how society functions (and dysfunctions), what everyday life is like for various subgroups, etc. While there may end up being some class-specific material, I don't expect there to be a whole lot of that, and there might not turn out to be much at all.

BUT there should, hopefully, be a lot of stuff that's easily adapted to various class concepts, in terms of both background and development within Nidal, if that makes sense. Not so much mechanics, more story and worldbuilding stuff.

Sounds terrific. :)

For those who haven't read it, Nightglass provides a great glimpse of life in Nidal, especially the first half of the book, although the second half (and the sequel: Nightblade) also provide insights - especially if you want to explore a non-evil, Nidalese mindset.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OH HI STEVE!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh yeah, realized I really want to know how every day life in Nidal works. Like seriously, what it is like for every day commoner live in land of darkness and torture and flesh hooks? And what kind of festivals they celebrate? : D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Oh yeah, realized I really want to know how every day life in Nidal works. Like seriously, what it is like for every day commoner live in land of darkness and torture and flesh hooks? And what kind of festivals they celebrate? : D

I really recommend Nightglass for that. It's not the main focus, but it's definitely a feature.

It's really two books in one. The first half is basically the origins of the hero. The second half is his moment of defining himself. Took me a few goes to read it (takes the right mood, I found - a little slower than many PF Tales novels), but it's well worth persisting with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
OH HI STEVE!

Hey, Gorbacz. :)

(PM incoming)

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
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@Liane, woohoo!

@Steve, *waves*

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Liane Merciel wrote:

(2) my tendency is to approach the material from the perspective of "what information would help people tell stories set in this country?" I'm looking more at history, culture, how society functions (and dysfunctions), what everyday life is like for various subgroups, etc. While there may end up being some class-specific material, I don't expect there to be a whole lot of that, and there might not turn out to be much at all.

BUT there should, hopefully, be a lot of stuff that's easily adapted to various class concepts, in terms of both background and development within Nidal, if that makes sense. Not so much mechanics, more story and worldbuilding stuff.

Well, it's a campaign setting book, so the less rules it contains, the happier a customer I will be. And what you describe here is exactly what I hope to get out of this book.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
WormysQueue wrote:
Well, it's a campaign setting book, so the less rules it contains, the happier a customer I will be. And what you describe here is exactly what I hope to get out of this book.

I agree. The more lore the better. Mayhaps a wee bestiary in the back of the book with a few relevant critters and/or NPCs.

Dark Archive

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

Yeah, I think rule things should be more in lines of statblocks and such rather than new spells and items and such, things that help you with telling story in place and having adventure hooks are nicest things in campaign setting books.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I agree CorvusMask, I like my campaign setting books more world building/campaign setting heavy and stats for monsters, races, and important NPCs are just more useful and fitting in such books. Though artifacts and unique spells/magic items that have a story behind them are welcomed.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh yeah, forgot about artifacts. Yeah, artifacts are nice in setting book since they are by themselves plot hooks/inspiration for adventures :D I guess flavorful spells, feats and such can be nice, but most often they feel like they belong to player companion book rather than feeling like they were meant for npc and gm use. In general its not nice if campaign setting book ends up feeling player book, though I do like that campaign setting books can be used as player handouts as long you ignore the gm only parts :3

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

I don't see the Campaign Settlng as GM only, there's too much culture and flavor in them to not let players read. And you can get culture and flavor from items and abitliea as much as you can from lore.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

They don't ever really recommend setting books to players in player's guides though and that is part of reasoning why construct crafting book is setting book and not companion <_<

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I vaguely recall reading that the original inhabitants of Nidal were nomadic horselords, perhaps Kellids? It would be interesting to see if anything at all of this original culture has left footprints into the culture that has eclipsed it.

I'm also intrigued by the non-evil segments of the population, who might regard 'pain as strength' or embrace a more severe interpretation of slogans like 'pain is weakness leaving the body,' and consider exposing themselves to rigors as toughening themselves to weather an upcoming storm which only their patron has seen up close, and chosen to return to Golarion to prepare them against, unlike other gods, who, to their view, have closed their eyes to it and pretended that it will be avoided or prevented somehow, and aren't bothering to warn or strengthen their followers against.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
I don't see the Campaign Settlng as GM only, there's too much culture and flavor in them to not let players read. And you can get culture and flavor from items and abitliea as much as you can from lore.

To some degree, yes, but by their very nature game mechanics, however flavorful they may be, reserve some space to explain how they work mechanically, and that's space that, in my opinion, is better used for actual lore, certainly in a 64-page book about an Inner Sea region.

Personally I won't mind having thematically appropriate game mechanics in this book, as long as the ratio heavily favors lore.

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
CorvusMask wrote:
They don't ever really recommend setting books to players in player's guides though and that is part of reasoning why construct crafting book is setting book and not companion <_<

Not recommending a book for creating characters for an AP is not the same, as PCs are not required to be from the area the AP takes place on.

Irissen, Land of Eternal for example is not required to be read by people playing in Reign of Winter, but it is an excellent resource for characters that are from Irrisen.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
They don't ever really recommend setting books to players in player's guides though and that is part of reasoning why construct crafting book is setting book and not companion <_<

Not recommending a book for creating characters for an AP is not the same, as PCs are not required to be from the area the AP takes place on.

Irissen, Land of Eternal for example is not required to be read by people playing in Reign of Winter, but it is an excellent resource for characters that are from Irrisen.

Ah, I think you misunderstood what I meant.

I meant that I don't think campaign setting books should have mechanical options players use when creating characters. In terms of structure, Guide to Korvosa is probably easiest example of what I like, first half of it can be used as player handout without gm needing to edit anything or having accidental spoilers/answers to mysteries off handily mentioned, while latter half of it the "secrets" section is exclusively gm inspiration and plot hook ideas. (It would be annoyed if the half I want to show players would casually drop things that most people don't know ruining the surprise or mystery for players, which means I would have to edit parts of it out before handing it to players.) I think most campaign setting books for countries follow this structure, but I haven't read all of them so I don't know for sure..

As contrary example, I love Hold of Belkzen's campaign setting book, but it doesn't work as player handout as its mostly adventure locations and hooks, so if I would show them to players, they would spoil the adventures and hooks right away. Like that one very nice creepy tree connecting to... Well you get what I mean, wouldn't want to spoil that to the players before they figure it out themselves.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Liane Merciel wrote:
BUT there should, hopefully, be a lot of stuff that's easily adapted to various class concepts, in terms of both background and development within Nidal, if that makes sense. Not so much mechanics, more story and worldbuilding stuff.

As much as I'd like it to be all about how Kytons fit into Nidal society and influence its fashion, class structure, culture mores and the like, I'd actually really just love to see things like that addressed.

The recent Qadira book is a great example of how I wish more campaign setting books would have been presented all along. I'd love to read about fashions of Nidal and any sumptuary laws that may have been imposed on Nidalese society. Everyday life in Nidal, and how rural life differs from the larger towns and cities. How Nidalese art and architecture differs and/or compares to that of its neighboring countries, etc.

Contributor

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So, correct me if I'm wrong, but overall -- from this thread and others -- I'm getting the general impression that what people want is primarily:

(1) What is Nidal actually like, how does it even work, what's it like to walk through its streets and talk to its people, etc.;

and

(2) why on earth would PCs ever want to go there.

Does that sound about right?

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Liane Merciel wrote:

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but overall -- from this thread and others -- I'm getting the general impression that what people want is primarily:

(1) What is Nidal actually like, how does it even work, what's it like to walk through its streets and talk to its people, etc.;

and

(2) why on earth would PCs ever want to go there.

Does that sound about right?

Sounds about right to me.

How, as a player, or GM, can I use Nidalese flavor as A) a place where a character grew up or B) a place the characters are visiting or, most ambitiously, C) a setting in which I can run adventures.

There's been the occasional push to make some parts of the map almost unusable, save as 'bad places' that PCs would never go, adventures would never happen, and which would only serve as places to escape from (or bad memories / horror stories from characters who have already escaped from), such as Geb or Hermea or Rahadoum, and I'd like Nidal not to be such a wasted space on the map. I'd rather it be more like Cheliax, not exactly welcoming or inviting to every character choice, but still a perfectly usable area of the setting.

Contributor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, that's helpful for me to know. :)

I have some thoughts that should hopefully cover those three angles. Whether they'll suit your campaign is a separate question -- I think Nidal is lowkey like Numeria or Alkenstar in that some people just don't want that kind of thing in their fun fantasy adventures, although "relentlessly grimdark, ultra-insular nation chained in eternal servitude to wacked-out pain god" isn't quite as clear-cut a case as robots and spaceships or guns -- but I do hope to incorporate some suggestions on how and why PCs might have left that country, and why parties might choose to swing by.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Liane Merciel wrote:

In the department of managing expectations:

(1) yes, I'm on deck to cover part of this book. Definitely not the whole thing. Definitely not any stat-heavy parts;

(2) my tendency is to approach the material from the perspective of "what information would help people tell stories set in this country?" I'm looking more at history, culture, how society functions (and dysfunctions), what everyday life is like for various subgroups, etc. While there may end up being some class-specific material, I don't expect there to be a whole lot of that, and there might not turn out to be much at all.

BUT there should, hopefully, be a lot of stuff that's easily adapted to various class concepts, in terms of both background and development within Nidal, if that makes sense. Not so much mechanics, more story and worldbuilding stuff.

That sounds exactly like what I would be looking for. I don't need mechanics, stats, or any of that. I would much rather have lore, history, and societal and religious details, customs, rituals, philosophy, and all that kind of thoroughly interesting information.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I thought Qadira, Jewel of the East struck a great balance. In my opinion, one of the best CS products ever. Some player crunch among the mostly GM background/geography/history/culture, which is also applicable to a pc's background story. I hope to see this product follow suit.

The Exchange

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Hi Liane!

Personally I'd love more on the Shades of the Uskwood and how they function with the Umbral Court - do they get along? Do they ever collaborate with shadowcallers on shared interests? There were also hints in various write ups (the one on the Shades particularly) that seemed to hint at a coming war with Cheliax...

And maybe a bit about fetchlings in Nidal, since apparently there's a sizeable population of them. I had thought they were discriminated against, but Inner Sea Temples has made me question that, with Rector Ephrasiet being a fetchling.

Honestly, it kind of ends up being "everything", lol. We also seem to know very little about Ridwan, especially given it's supposed status as the religious center.

EDIT: Also, it'd be great to get some ideas on running Nidalese characters who might be on the evil side of things, or the neutral side. Both in and out of Nidal itself. Reasons Nidalese might be sent abroad - and not just to Cheliax. Does Nidal have ties to other countries?

Also, apparently there's a gold dragon living disguised in Pangolais and THAT is something super interesting that was buried in Dragons Revisited.


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While we're on the topic of what we'd like to see in the book, I'd love to see something on the relationship between Nidal and Cheliax.

Contributor

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Hey guys!

Update/more in Dept. of Managing Expectations: I've turned in my contributions to this project and I hope that people interested in running games in this corner of the world, or just learning more about it, will find them useful.

Because one of the things that interests me about SF/F is using imaginary worlds as a prism through which to consider real-life problems, one of the goals with the gazetteer was to establish ways for GMs to draw real-world ethical questions into their games. If you want to use fiction (which is what I think tabletop games are: interactively told stories) to explore ethical questions about prenatal genetic testing, paid adoption, governmental policies (esp. punitive policies) intersecting with drug addiction, immigration lotteries, immigrant communities' efforts to re-establish cultural histories that they've largely forgotten, etc., then this book should give you some openings to do that.

On the other hand, if your preference is more for straightforward heroic or horror adventures, you should (hopefully!) find lots of hooks to build those, too.

One thing you won't find a lot of is statted-out traits, spells, and sub-systems. My feeling is that there's a lot of stuff from Horror Adventures, Horror Realms, Occult Adventures, etc. that already covers all those bases. Rules building isn't my strongest point and those books already have so much solid material on running corruptions, curses, etc. that I felt like anything I came up with would be redundant with that material. It's already there, this is a good place to use it, but there's no need for me to spend wordcount repeating what somebody else already did better.

Another thing you won't find -- and this was a very deliberate decision -- is stats for the Black Triune. There's an explanation for who they are, what they do, and the role they occupy in Nidal, but there are no stats.

This is because the power level they would need to effectively occupy that role is so variable depending on your campaign's overall power balance that I didn't think it was advisable to actually stat them out. If they need to be Level 15 to do what they're described as doing, cool, make them Level 15. If they need to be major outsiders with 20 class levels and 5 mythic levels, fine, make them that. But what's appropriate for one campaign would be ridiculous in another, so I didn't stat them.

Finally, the last thing you won't find is a bunch of ultra gory descriptions of specific tortures used in Nidal. There are a couple of things that do get spelled out, and a couple of hints from which you can extrapolate more, but my feeling is that (a) you're creative and you know it's there, so you can go as dark as you want and is appropriate for your own game; (b) I don't need to write out a bunch of detailed splatterpunk that other people don't necessarily want to read; and (c) there are more effective ways of conveying dread than that anyway.

Anyway, that's more or less what I was going for with this writeup. Whether or not that actually got accomplished is something you'll have to judge for yourself. But that was the intent.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That sounds interesting and awesome to me at least :D

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

Sweet, can't wait to read it, Liane :3

Dark Archive

Liane Merciel wrote:

Because one of the things that interests me about SF/F is using imaginary worlds as a prism through which to consider real-life problems, one of the goals with the gazetteer was to establish ways for GMs to draw real-world ethical questions into their games. If you want to use fiction (which is what I think tabletop games are: interactively told stories) to explore ethical questions about prenatal genetic testing, paid adoption, governmental policies (esp. punitive policies) intersecting with drug addiction, immigration lotteries, immigrant communities' efforts to re-establish cultural histories that they've largely forgotten, etc., then this book should give you some openings to do that.

On the other hand, if your preference is more for straightforward heroic or horror adventures, you should (hopefully!) find lots of hooks to build those, too.

Sounds cool. I'm particularly interested in the part about communities (and not just immigrants) attempting to retain / rediscover elements of their past culture that aren't particularly welcome in the current environment.

Pre-Age of Darkness, the inhabitants of Nidal were, IIRC, horselords with a sort of Kellid feel to them, and I'm curious as to whether or not, farther away from the heavier church of Zon-Kuthon/government centers of power, some of the locals still retain some elements of their earlier culture (such as a fascination with horses, or a tendency to think of homes and buildings as transitory and families and bloodlines as forever, even if they haven't been nomadic for many generations).

Looking forward to it, in any event! Appropriately, this area has always been shrouded in mystery, and it will be neat to flip some rocks over and see what squirmy things live underneath. :)

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