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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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
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.

This sounds amazing. (I'm excited given everything you wrote in your post, but especially this.)

And I appreciate not going overboard on the gory descriptions; I've always felt that less information is scarier than more when it comes to that kind of thing.


Our own imaginings tend to be scarier than what's presented.

Contributor

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Set wrote:
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).

That's pretty much exactly where we went with it, yeah. :)

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.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Liane Merciel wrote:
Hey guys!

Probably wishful thinking on my part but I would like to see something to do with Vildeis related to Nidal.

My thought is that she is the perfect foil for Zon-Kuthon as they are both a bit self destructive with all the self-mutilation. Also, I think that they could cross pollinate each other's faiths as well. Some who can't live up to Vildeis' tenants fall to Zon-Kuthon and a few others that seek redemption from Zon-Kuthon rise to the faith of the Cardinal Martyr. That and I'm sure those of Vildeis' faith would want to kick Kuthite ass! ;)

Anyways, Vildeis is my favourite Pathfinder character. :)

On another note I would like to see some positive aspects related to Nidal. Such as extreme discipline and stoicism. As well as misguided attempts at positive outcomes. For example I think that the Kytons have the end goal of self improvement by extremely grisly means. So maybe something along those lines. :)


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

Four months until the next campaign setting book. It does sadden me that they had to reduce the number of campaign setting books released in a year.


Question: waaay back in Dragons Revisited, we got a description of an ancient gold dragon that lives in disguise in Nidal, quietly trying to do good and help the place's miserable inhabitants. Is that still part of canon; and if so, is the dragon mentioned or referred in this book?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.


With how little PFS I have managed to find recently, my Nidalese character will likely still be first level when this comes out. I shall look forward to being able to tweak her to better fit the setting fluff.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hopefully the final cover art is a lot less S&M/torture related.

Silver Crusade

2 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
Dragon78 wrote:
Hopefully the final cover art is a lot less S&M/torture related.

You do realize this is a book about Nidal, right?


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

Yes and I hope there is a lot more to it then that.

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

I think there’s some woods.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

IIRC, that art is from the Nidal chapter in Inner Sea World Guide. My first purchase from Paizo (other than Dragon mags) and still one of my favorite hardbacks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I hope for some dragging of spiked chains through people's eye sockets, personally.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
I hope for some dragging of spiked chains through people's eye sockets, personally.

You've seen one spiked chain dragged through your eye sockets, you've seen them all...

...or, rather, you won't see any more of them after that point, I guess?

Sounds like an interesting read when it gets here. However, after Hell's Rebels and Hell's Vengeance, and the custom Ustalav campaign our DM is running for us soon, I might be blown out on evil and grimdark nations by the time it gets here.

Contributor

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Question: waaay back in Dragons Revisited, we got a description of an ancient gold dragon that lives in disguise in Nidal, quietly trying to do good and help the place's miserable inhabitants. Is that still part of canon; and if so, is the dragon mentioned or referred in this book?

Yes and yes. There isn't a whole whole lot, but I did put in a hook if you want to use the dragon. :)

Sadly I don't think there's anything about chains going through people's eye sockets (at least not in the parts I wrote), and there's nothing about the Empyreal Lords either.

The project had some pretty detailed specifications as to what topics should be covered and how many words should be devoted to each section, and it turns out that it's actually really hard to cram that much material into the allotted wordcount. As a result, a lot of stuff that I would have liked to explore just couldn't fit into the available space, and some topics (like faith and deity interactions) mostly got omitted.

(Incidentally, after working on this project I'm even more impressed with the Qadira book, which is a really excellent piece of work, but I think is also the kind of thing that requires enough time to build an iceberg of supporting material beneath the shown text. There's clearly a lot of writing and development beyond what made it into print on that one.)

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

Neat, except for all the stuff that didn’t make it...

The Qadira book has been one of my favourite Setting books thus far.

*anticipation intensifies*


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hopefully there will be some interesting monsters in this one.


I'm eagerly awaiting more information on the "dark druids" :P


dark druids count me in that means there is chance to proper shifter stuff will be in this book

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Liane Merciel wrote:
As a result, a lot of stuff that I would have liked to explore just couldn't fit into the available space, and some topics (like faith and deity interactions) mostly got omitted.

If only Paizo had a blog where stuff like this could be published as supporting material. :D

(I know there's probably tons of reasons why that is not actually possible, but still, that's the one thing why I miss the old WotC page so hard, when they still used to publish said tons of additional material.)

Naturally we could also open an Ask Liane Merciel thread and pester you about those things after the book has been published :D.

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
I'm eagerly awaiting more information on the "dark druids" :P

Yeah. One thing about Golarion that occasionally delights me is how they'll mash up some of the things I would consider incredibly unlikely, like druids of gods like Zon-Kuthon (or Gorum!), who, on paper, seem to have zero interest in nature or weather or animals or other more typically 'druid-y' concerns.

That's just totally out of the box, and therefore totally cool.


Quote:
Dark Druids

This is a message from Lord Nergal, "I await you on Dread Isle."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"Dark Druids"?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Sideromancer wrote:
Quote:
Dark Druids
This is a message from Lord Nergal, "I await you on Dread Isle."

Hah, a random Fire Emblem reference :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
"Dark Druids"?

The Uskwood Druid Order ;)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think I remember them being mentioned a while ago but I don't remember where.


Dragon78 wrote:
Four months until the next campaign setting book. It does sadden me that they had to reduce the number of campaign setting books released in a year.

They did? What was the reason for that?

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I think I remember them being mentioned a while ago but I don't remember where.

There's a brief mention of Albino druids in the Uskwood in the description of the "Shade of the Uskwood" feat in th Inner Sea World Guide as well as a more extensive write-up in the Inner Sea NPC codex


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Barachiel Shina wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Four months until the next campaign setting book. It does sadden me that they had to reduce the number of campaign setting books released in a year.
They did? What was the reason for that?

At Gencon, Paizo announced that the Player Companion and Pathfinder Campaign setting lines were being reduced to every other month, alternating between the two lines. I am not sure where the "four months" bit is coming from, as the Nidal book in April will be followed by the Distant Realms book in June, and there has so far been no statement saying that there won't be an August book in this line.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It would be early for an august announcement anyway;)


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

Exactly, although they did already put out the page for the August release in the Pathfinder Adventure Path line.

Contributor

7 people marked this as a favorite.

re: Uskwood druids, there's a pretty neat plot of theirs in Horror Realms under the location writeup for the Uskheart, and I'd suggest checking that out if you want more information about what they might be up to.

This book will have some glancing references to that, mostly in terms of how you might use that to set up Umbral Court intrigues (there are a couple of Umbral Court members that have simmering disagreements with one another, and the Uskheart plays into one of those conflicts), but there's not a whole ton of additional material on that.

re: monsters, I had no involvement in that part of the book and it will be as much a surprise to me as to you, so no hints there. :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What August release was that?


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
What August release was that?

This one.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Places where you can find info on the Shades of the Uskwood: Inner Sea World Guide has a small write up, and Horror Realms has a larger - but also there's one in the Inner Sea NPC Codex, under Uskwood Druid. The last two combined probably give the best look at the Shades. I know it was a pain trying to find scraps of information for my own Shade of the Uskwood PC. xD (He's currently the only evil character in a mostly good or neutral party running through Strange Aeons, lol.)

I particularly liked the small nod that, even when wildshaped, their animal forms retain their albinism.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If your not a fan of Zon-Kuthon, masochistic priests, and/or evil druids what would be the selling point to this book?

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

Liane.

Aside from her, spooky woods!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Liane?

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

Liane Merciel (7 posts up), her writings are wonderful to read ^w^


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I am really looking forward to this book. Hopefully it will be a great read an Liane will kill it (or maybe torture it - more apt for this book :P). I've been p;laying my Kuthite inquisitor for a while now and cant wait to give him even more background story.

The Exchange

Right there with you, Shivok! Both for my Shade of the Uskwood (that I mentioned earlier) and my Shadowcaster wizard I'm playing in Way of the Wicked. I've already pre-purchased it!


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

Any chances to see more about the Whispered Song in the book? According to what was written in Faiths of Purity some of the members of the Whispered Song have tried to burrow into the Umbral Court itself and would be interesting to see members of the opposition hidden in place of relevance between the Kuthonite followers.
I also hope that the book says more about the Milanite activities in Nidal to put an end to the Kuthonites' tyranny.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looks like I will have to find my copy of Faiths of Purity to remember who the Whispered Song are.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well looking back on the Nidal section in the Inner Sea World Guide, Pangolais sounds interesting along with the Barrowmoor, House of Lies, and Orolo's Quay.

Paizo Employee Web Production Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Updated with final product description and cover image!


Chris Lambertz wrote:
Updated with final product description and cover image!

I can't see it


Try clearing your cache. Also, clicking on the cover lets you see the final version.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

That is a great dragon picture!


I can see it now, and it looks awesome.

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