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Who are the people of Nidal?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion


Specifically, what is the human ethnicity dominant in Nidal? Varisian is one of the common languages and the region is noted in the Varisian write-up, but every NPC that I can find noted as coming from Nidal is Chelaxian (who are not mentioned as being common/dominant in the region).

I'd also note that (AFAICT) the Varisian people were not really identified as such before the break-up of Thassilon, which precludes them being the horselords of ancient Nidal.

So, any ideas?

Osirion

Well Chelaxian are a Ulfan/Azlanti mix. The chances are good the current people are mostly Chelaxian with some Vairsian blood.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Well Chelaxian are a Ulfan/Azlanti mix. The chances are good the current people are mostly Chelaxian with some Vairsian blood.

Do you believe that it is an error that Nidal is not mentioned as a favored region for Chelaxians?

Osirion

Not sure, they may be a unique ethnic group. Chelaxcains are a mingled race, so could be the people of Nidal. But they could also be of Chelaxian, varisiran , ulfan and killard blood as well.

Grand Lodge

I think that the people of Nidal are more closely tied to the people of Cheliax than Varisia. Not just the governments, but the average everyday person.

People of Nidal are horselords, fisherman and loggers.
People of Korvosa are mixed Chelish!
People of Magnimar are Chelish.
Varisians are the natives before Cheliax built some colonies.

I'd say that the Nidalese are not of Varisian descent but Chelish or Taldane.


Well, Nidal was one of the (minor) survivor states from the Age of Darkness. Cheliax emerged after 3007 AR. Hence, the Nidalese are more likely to consider Cheliax an offshoot culture rather than the other way around...


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This is supported by the fact that only the entry for Varisians of the campaign setting has Nidal as a favored region; Nidal does not appear nowhere else as favored region.

Since the time of darkness the people of Nidal was very isolated, and just recently the Chelaxian empire was able to conquer the land and lift the isolation.


They are their own people. I don't think the books covered all ethnicities, it's similar in Brevoy.

Cheliax

Lanx wrote:
This is supported by the fact that only the entry for Varisians of the campaign setting has Nidal as a favored region; Nidal does not appear nowhere else as favored region.

Actually, the Campaign Setting only lists Azlanti as having Nidal for a favored region. The Inner Sea World Guide lists Nidal as a favored region for Tians, Varisians, Halflings and Half-Orcs while Azlanti and Half-Elves have it as a favored region by dint of having any region as a favored region.


Do we have any guideline on how early the Chelaxian ethnicity developed as a distinct group? I'm sure the blending of Azlanti and Ulfen blood greatly preceded the nation/territory of Cheliax itself (and the people were probably not called Chelaxians for a great while), but were the horse-lords of Nidal composed of these people?


HappyDaze wrote:
Do we have any guideline on how early the Chelaxian ethnicity developed as a distinct group? I'm sure the blending of Azlanti and Ulfen blood greatly preceded the nation/territory of Cheliax itself (and the people were probably not called Chelaxians for a great while), but were the horse-lords of Nidal composed of these people?

Also, southern Cheliax was part of the Jistka Imperium.

Contributor

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Not sure, they may be a unique ethnic group.

This is more or less my view.

Nidal is an ancient nation. For most of its history, it's been highly isolationist; it's only relatively recently that Cheliax has had any sway in the region, and even now Nidal is extremely insular, with only one semi-open port city. I just don't see a lot of intermingling happening.

Plus, you know, there's that whole business about their unique collective blood bargain with Zon-Kuthon. I'd imagine that would have some influence too...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

EDIT: whoops, just saw someone else did the first part, my bad.
Actually, according to the Inner Sea Guide...

Azlanti: Favored Regions: Any
Tians: Favored Regions: Absalom, Katapesh, Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Nidal, Realm of the Mammoth Lords, Varisia.
Varisians: Favored Regions: Land of the Linnorm Kings, Lastwall Nidal, Nirmathas, Numeria, Ustalav, Varisia
Halflings: Favored Regions: Andoran, Cheliax, Galt, Isger, Mothune, Nidal, Taldor, Varisia
Half-Elves: Favored Regions: Any
Half-Orcs: Favored Regions: Absalom, Belkzen, Katapesh, Land of the Mammoth Lords, Nidal, River Kingdoms, the Shackles, Varisia

(emphasis mine)

Based off this this (and some logic), I'd say the majority of the population of Nidal is Varisian with a good population of Tian (it's along the trade route) and Halflings (the "servant race"), a smattering Half-elf, and half-orc blood running throughout, and a hint of Azlanti. I'd imagine that the half-elves (prone as they are to mental instability) would find solace in the dark there, probably boosting the population above what it would normally be (also probably driven by the Forlorn elves attempting to find comfort in their brooding despair). Meanwhile half-orcs would flee from the (relatively) nearby Belkzan to avoid persecution of their home and other nations (and nurse their bitterness in the dark). The Tians just have the bad luck to pass by on their trade routes and some of them get stuck, lost, or fall into it over time. Halflings probably nurse their bitter hatred in the darkness of Nidal at being forced into slaves and some probably pray that they can one day turn the tables - likely they're imported (or escaped) from Cheliax. That leaves Varisians as the base people - which makes sense considering that Varisia is close by, and that the Horselords were nomadic barbarians, much like the Varisians themselves.

RE: Chelaxian, my guess is that the Azlanti had themselves a bunch of good-looking slaves imported to the south (where their homes used to be) and got to makin' babies with 'em, probably in the age of darkness, which means no one really remembers much.

Cheliax

I always kind of figured the base race to be Kellid as they were nomadic and still show up in the countries just north of Cheliax, but this many thousands of years later, it's a moot point.

I would point out that Nidal is probably the only surface nation that should include a recognizable minority population of fetchlings.

To Tacticslion's reference to the forlorn elves and spawning of half-elves, the elves that were left behind in the wake of the Starfall would have been just as desperate for any manner of salvation and would have likely jumped at the chance the horselords provided through Zon-Kuthon.


drayen wrote:

I always kind of figured the base race to be Kellid as they were nomadic and still show up in the countries just north of Cheliax, but this many thousands of years later, it's a moot point.

I would point out that Nidal is probably the only surface nation that should include a recognizable minority population of fetchlings.

To Tacticslion's reference to the forlorn elves and spawning of half-elves, the elves that were left behind in the wake of the Starfall would have been just as desperate for any manner of salvation and would have likely jumped at the chance the horselords provided through Zon-Kuthon.

Optionally, the nobles of the Umbral Court could be families of Fetchlings.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
drayen wrote:
I always kind of figured the base race to be Kellid as they were nomadic and still show up in the countries just north of Cheliax, but this many thousands of years later, it's a moot point.

See, if it were just me guessing, I'd totally presume they were Kellids - the only problem being Nidal isn't listed on Kellids' stuff. That said, given the thousands of years of breeding, yeah, I'd say it's probably a moot point. My guess is likely they were Kellids, but now they're primarily Varisian with a hint of Kellidish features about them.

EDIT: when, in my previous post I said "much like the Varisians", I meant that they are nomadic, not attempting to indicate the Varisians were horse-people, although they do probably use horses (and donkeys) to pull their carts).

drayen wrote:
To Tacticslion's reference to the forlorn elves and spawning of half-elves, the elves that were left behind in the wake of the Starfall would have been just as desperate for any manner of salvation and would have likely jumped at the chance the horselords provided through Zon-Kuthon.

Exactly!

drayen wrote:
I would point out that Nidal is probably the only surface nation that should include a recognizable minority population of fetchlings.
HappyDaze wrote:
Optionally, the nobles of the Umbral Court could be families of Fetchlings.

These both make a lot of sense. Although fetchlings aren't mentioned in the core races of Golarion, they do, thematically, fit very well with Nidal. I could easily see the Umbral Court, with it's long exposure to shadow energies, slowly becoming fetchlings. Dark Ones, too, as that even specifically indicates that they became what they did by making dark pacts with ancient creatures of darkness. But that would be getting into making personal settings! One other thing, it seems that fetchlings would be especially common in the shadow plane "near" Nidal - as I'd also imagine that some of the many things that go "bump" in the night (and dark) took people back with them. Either that or people just kind of stumbled on open portals. (Again, same thing with Dark Ones).

Cheliax

Tacticslion wrote:
drayen wrote:
I would point out that Nidal is probably the only surface nation that should include a recognizable minority population of fetchlings.
HappyDaze wrote:
Optionally, the nobles of the Umbral Court could be families of Fetchlings.
These both make a lot of sense. Although fetchlings aren't mentioned in the core races of Golarion, they do, thematically, fit very well with Nidal. I could easily see the Umbral Court, with it's long exposure to shadow energies, slowly becoming fetchlings. Dark Ones, too, as that even specifically indicates that they became what they did by making dark pacts with ancient creatures of darkness. But that would be getting into making personal settings! One other thing, it seems that fetchlings would be especially common in the shadow plane "near" Nidal - as I'd also imagine that some of the many things that go "bump" in the night (and dark) took...

I would go further and point out that not all the albinos in the Uskwood are necessarily albino. Some, or many, could be fetchlings; their colorless features expressed as stark white skin and white hair.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
drayen wrote:
I would go further and point out that not all the albinos in the Uskwood are necessarily albino. Some, or many, could be fetchlings; their colorless features expressed as stark white skin and white hair.

The more I think about it, the more I also like the Dark Ones thematic elements as well. Aren't they also pale? I don't have the Bestiary right now to check...


Tacticslion wrote:
drayen wrote:
I would point out that Nidal is probably the only surface nation that should include a recognizable minority population of fetchlings.
HappyDaze wrote:
Optionally, the nobles of the Umbral Court could be families of Fetchlings.
These both make a lot of sense. Although fetchlings aren't mentioned in the core races of Golarion, they do, thematically, fit very well with Nidal. I could easily see the Umbral Court, with it's long exposure to shadow energies, slowly becoming fetchlings. Dark Ones, too, as that even specifically indicates that they became what they did by making dark pacts with ancient creatures of darkness...

FYI, the last winner of RPG Superstar wrote a shadow-plane themed adventure, and it seemed pretty clear that when published it will be ´shifted´ to be located within Nidal, so Shadow-folk as part of Nidal is VERY much part of Golarion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
FYI, the last winner of RPG Superstar wrote a shadow-plane themed adventure, and it seemed pretty clear that when published it will be ´shifted´ to be located within Nidal, so Shadow-folk as part of Nidal is VERY much part of Golarion.

Sorry, by "not core" v. "core", what I meant was that, in the Inner Sea Guide, specifically, they aren't part of the lists of major creatures with important world-wide impacts. I could be wrong about that, however. That they exist in the Beastiaries mean that they do (or did) exist in and on Golarion at some point.

One question - does the path presume Darkfolk or Fletchlings? Or does it not make a distinction (because they are quite different)?


Off the top of my head, there was a signifigant Fetchling population, though Darkfolk also came into play. In the contest, the nobility were just straight human... I have no idea how it will be further developed for publication. But since they specifically moved it to Nidal, I take that as saying that yes, Fetchling/Shadowfolk will play a signifigant part in Nidal, at least as much as the other races tied to it in different sources. You can look up the Adventure proposal in the Superstar threads, and see the comments and news about the location change to get a better idea yourself, until it`s actually released of course...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
Off the top of my head, there was a signifigant Fetchling population, though Darkfolk also came into play. In the contest, the nobility were just straight human... I have no idea how it will be further developed for publication. But since they specifically moved it to Nidal, I take that as saying that yes, Fetchling/Shadowfolk will play a signifigant part in Nidal, at least as much as the other races tied to it in different sources. You can look up the Adventure proposal in the Superstar threads, and see the comments and news about the location change to get a better idea yourself, until it`s actually released of course...

Thank you.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Liane's assessment largely matches my thoughts when I created Nidal. I'm not sure how well it matches with what we have subsequently published, but Nidal has been exceptionally isolationist since before the end of the Age of Darkness, so while there are plenty of Ulfen, Nidalese, Varisians, etc., most Nidalese would consider themselves Nidalese first and anything else second.

I do agree that there are lots of fetchlings running around, though! Probably more than a few dhampyrs, as well.

Grand Lodge

But there's something about that that doesn't seem to fit -- not that designers can't make a square fantasy-trope fit in a round fantasy-nation...

Nidal is populated by horselord plainsmen; in the north are ancient burial mounds for great horseriders and such. And they, MORE than the Umbral Court, are the Nidalese. (90% of the population vs 10%, or whatever)

Yet, the Umbral Court and the inner circle of Pangolais (shadowy) residents seem to be significantly different than the horse-people on the plains of Nidal.

I can see the horselord peoples to be very isolationist and secretive toward "outsiders" because they've lived for generations and generations under the shadow (quite literally) of the Umbral Court and its vampire leader in Pangolais.

But I see the inner circle of Zon Kuthon's city-sized cult as being radically different culturally -- but ethnically, ultimately the same.

So if the plainspeople (horselords) of Nidal are an ancient amalgam of a bit of Varisian, Chelaxian, Ulfen and perhaps even some Shoanti, then the people of Pangolais (the inner circle) are the same -- just assimilated from generations of Zon Kuthon's Clerical and Shadow magics.

Contributor

W E Ray wrote:

Nidal is populated by horselord plainsmen; in the north are ancient burial mounds for great horseriders and such. And they, MORE than the Umbral Court, are the Nidalese. (90% of the population vs 10%, or whatever)

Yet, the Umbral Court and the inner circle of Pangolais (shadowy) residents seem to be significantly different than the horse-people on the plains of Nidal.

I can see the horselord peoples to be very isolationist and secretive toward "outsiders" because they've lived for generations and generations under the shadow (quite literally) of the Umbral Court and its vampire leader in Pangolais.

But I see the inner circle of Zon Kuthon's city-sized cult as being radically different culturally -- but ethnically, ultimately the same.

Yeah this is pretty much the direction I went with it.

...although I guess that's supposed to still be under wraps for a year or so, and it's all still very much work-in-progress anyway.


Does all of that mean that the Nidalese are their own isolated ethnicity distinct from Chelaxians, Varisians, and the others that have been written up in the Inner Sea World Guide?

Grand Lodge

HappyDaze wrote:
Does all of that mean ...?

God I hope not.


why not?

Grand Lodge

For my personal taste only, I think there are already enough ethnicities in the Inner Sea region. Making Nidalese an ethnicity unto itself, for my personal tastes, would be too much.

Not that I wouldn't just Houserule it, of course, if the published material went against one customer's personal tastes.


For my taste there's too few of them, compare Earth and Golarion. I'd rather have a new human culture to play than dwarves, elves, half-orcs etc.

Grand Lodge

Let's arm wrestle...

Grand Lodge

Or even better,

Rock, Paper, Scissors.

I'm better at that.

Contributor

What, like a whole new ethnic group? My unofficial draft-shaped opinion on that is: "eh."

Are the Nidalese a separate and distinct culture? Very much yes. You can't spend centuries upon centuries with your entire country beholden to an evil god and not have that warp your society in some pretty profound ways -- some of which do, indeed, have distinct physical ramifications, what with all the rampant holy mutilation and profligate use of shadow magic and so forth. So (some of) the people of Pangolais and the Uskwood, in my view, do (and should) indeed look identifiably different from everybody else in the region.

(This is, btw, to some small extent historically based, insofar as historical precedent applies to a high-magic fantasy world. Back when most people never set foot more than 25 miles from their place of birth and lived, married, had children, and died in the same villages where they were born, you had familial resemblances giving people a distinct look from town to town, let alone from country to country. So the idea that there could be distinct physical traits that marked people from relatively small regions is, IMO, in no way unique to Nidal.)

But whether the Nidalese count as a separate "ethnicity" is not a question that particularly interests me, at least in terms of trying to identify their hypothetical racial heritage. They trace their national ancestry back to the pact with Zon-Kuthon, and don't particularly care (or remember) who they were before that pact. It's the fact of that shared religion/history/ancestral curse that identifies and unites them more than anything else.

Under the dictionary definition of "ethnic group" I suppose they'd qualify (common heritage, religion, cultural traits, self-identification as a distinct group separate from "outsiders," etc.). Under the game definition I don't know. It didn't matter for the story I wanted to tell. ;)

Grand Lodge

Yeah, kinda like the people of Ustalov being Varisians.

Separate but the same.

That is how I see it and would like it to be.


Since the important game aspect on the ethnicity is what languages the character begins the game with, which would you argue is the "typical" human of Nidal:

1) Chelaxian speaking Common
2) Varisian speaking Common and Varisian
3) Nidalese (a new ethnicity) speaking Common and Shadowtongue

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