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Where is all this Varisia focus leading?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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The Shattered Star AP will become the fifth AP set in Varisia (or at least start there), the others being:

Rise of the Runelords
Curse of the Crimson Throne
Second Darkness
Jade Regent

I'm curious: why so much focus on Varisia?

Is it just something inherent in the setting?

Or is this to prep us for some publication in the future? Maybe some Chronicles publication with Varisia as the setting? Perhaps material from the APs could be reference materials for a slow XP mega sandbox campaign set in Varisia.

Or a "sequel" series of high-level modules that can continue from where the APs left off?

I actually have no idea how the APs conclude (with the exception of Rise of the Runelords). So I may be way off here.

Of course, Paizo staff shouldn't feel obliged to answer my question. I just want to add to the Rampant Speculation Fire! :D


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I thought it was kind of a "reprise" of where it all began when they launched pathfinder. Tying in with the RotRL compilation, the five year anniversary, etcetera...

Of course, Varisia is the birthplace of legends.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Varisia is meant to be Pathfinder's "Sword Coast", it will always get some attention.


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There's a difference between 'some attention' and 'too much attention'.

Lantern Lodge

Just because it starts in Varisia, doesn't mean it takes place there...

Jade Regent is a Tian-Xia (Minkai) AP that starts in Varisia to aid in immersion and continuity.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, the first three APs created were focused in Varisia, Jade Regent started in Varisia but then leaves, and the Shattered Star is in Varisia. The first three make sense, because the whole AP line was just getting started: start small and work your way out. Jade regent was only in Varisia for a short while, so I don't even think that should count. Shattered Star is an homage or a look back to the first three. If you take the first three AP out of the count, you have 1.5-ish APs that are set in Varisia. I guess that doesn't seem like too much to me.


If it's Pathfinder's "Sword Coast," then why is it so? I can see the immersion and continuity argument, most definitely. Also, I saw the tie-in between Beginner Box beginning in Sandpoint and the subsequent release of Jade Regent and the Anniversary Edition of RotRL.

But something tells me there's more going on here. :)

And I don't mind the Varisia focus so much. It's just that it perked my ears up to hear there was another Varisia-based AP. (And, at least from the previews, it looks like it doesn't just start there but also spends most of its time there.)

Osirion

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

There are probably differences between various perceptions of 'too much attention', too...

edit: responce to ToadkillerDogs Post


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Because, as far as I can recall, it's JJ's favorite place, and it's the land of adventure.


Why Varisia? The question has been discussed before, in the thread Why do so many APs take place in Varisia?

Is there something more going on here? I doubt it. Many campaign settings have an area that's assumed as the default "home". Mystara had the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Eberron had Sharn. Traveller had the Spinward Marches.

And what was the brand name for that setting in the Flanaess? Oh yeah. Greyhawk.

It's natural for game designers to assume a default location. It makes the setting easier for fans to learn. And of course, it has diversity and tolerance to make it easy for players to fit in their characters in, and for GMs and module writers to fit their adventures in. More exotic locales, with some theme, tend to exclude or discourage certain character or adventure ideas.


I'll accept that. I'll have to look into how Varisia is a good "default" location. The Runelords do provide a good backdrop "past kingdoms" story. And theres lots of room for conflict among the runelords themselves, and within Varisia, just among the human subgroups themselves (I wouldn't mind a "varisians overthrowing the korvosan conquerors" campaign myself).

Still, I think a series of high level modules that cater to that niche of players would be interesting, though I'm not a high level player myself.

I'll check out that other thread too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Varisia isn't crowded. There's a lot of open space unoccupied by anybody (or at least not permanently controlled by anybody.) It's much easier for GMs to set up something here and there than it is for large and (semi-)competent nations like Cheliax and Andor and Taldor, where a lot of times the solution to Problem X is "inform the government and they'll take care of it".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
tonyz wrote:
Varisia isn't crowded. There's a lot of open space unoccupied by anybody (or at least not permanently controlled by anybody.) It's much easier for GMs to set up something here and there than it is for large and (semi-)competent nations like Cheliax and Andor and Taldor, where a lot of times the solution to Problem X is "inform the government and they'll take care of it".

Exactly.

When I started writing my campaign about a year ago, I was a complete Pathfinder newbie, and bought Inner Sea World Guide mainly to save time on world design. Varisia seemed to be the most "standard fantasy world" setting of all of the areas: no central government, three city-states in detente, vast expanses of mostly-unsettled wilderness. The town of Sandpoint seemed the perfect place to set an adventuring campaign. I could have the bad guy control a large expanse of land without the local nobility raising a small army to put him down. The local leaders controlled relatively small areas with small forces so they would naturally rely on adventurers to assist when needed.

[Of course, then I discovered "Rise of the Runelords," which had essentially the same overall plot as the homebrew game I was planning, so I decided to run that instead.]

Paizo Employee Creative Director

This is Paizo's 10th anniversary, and the 5th of the Pathfinder brand, so it made sense to go back to the roots and do more stuff set in Varisia this year to celebrate. Between the Shattered Star AP (which is actually the first AP since Runelords to really do a LOT with Varisia, in fact—Crimson Throne spent most of its time in Korvosa, while Second Darkness and Jade Regent didn't stick around long), the re-release of Rise of the Runelords, and some other stuff, this is indeed shaping up to be "The Year of Varisia."

But yes... Varisia is one of the core areas of the Inner Sea region, and its size and relatively uninhabited status makes it the perfect place to get in some classic adventuring.

Those who want something else in the AP other than Varisia need only look to the APs we've done before this one or that we'll be doing after it (and again, I don't really count Jade Regent as a Varisia AP, any more than I count Kingmaker as a First World AP or Serpent's Skull as a Pirate AP)...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, setting one module in Varisia definitely doesn't make Jade Regent a Varisian AP. The majority of it is spent in regions which haven't been explored before in the AP's.

Shadow Lodge

Because it's based on the Pacific Northwest, and is therefore the most awesome region in the world?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Doram ob'Han wrote:
Because it's based on the Pacific Northwest, and is therefore the most awesome region in the world?

I figured that part was implied/obvious.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Doram ob'Han wrote:
Because it's based on the Pacific Northwest, and is therefore the most awesome region in the world?
I figured that part was implied/obvious.

We'll have to agree to disagree on that point.

I'm originally from the OTHER Portland in the US, and I've given my version of Varisia a much more "New-England-y" feel.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

This is a drum I've beaten before, but honestly, enough with Varisia already. Golarion is starting to look like "Varisia and some other places that aren't important." There hasn't been a single Taldan, Andoren, Linnorm King, Mammoth Lord, megadungeon, Worldwound, Rahadoumi, Nex/Geb, Nirmathas/Molthune, Lastwall/Belzken, etc. etc. etc. AP, and yet it's a cavalcade of Varisia. Is Varisia THAT MUCH cooler than the rest of Golarion put together that it warrants this kind of attention? Really? If not, why do we keep going back there? And if so, then why isn't the rest of Golarion more interesting?


RotRL = Varisia

CotCT = Varisia, but mostly just Korvosa, with some dips into Belkzen even

SD = what, like, two books of Varisia? I mean, does anyone know? Did anyone actually play that one? <j/k>

LoF = Katapesh, magical demiplane, plane of fire

CoT = Cheliax

Kingmaker = River Kingdoms, First World

Serpent's Skull = Mwangi Expanse, Saventh-Yhi

Carrion Crown = Ustalav

Jade Regent = 1.5 books of Varisia, then a tour of other places ending in, what, two books of Minkai/Tian Xia?

Skull & Shackles = pirates, seafaring content, mostly occurring in the Shackles

Shattered Star = Varisia

So, out of 11 APs either published or confirmed (66 total volumes), Varisia accounts for about 3.3 of those 11 (20.5 volumes).

I don't think that's too terribly extreme a ratio, especially since it's a popular setting with lots of product support and has a bunch of Golarion flavor already baked in from the start.

And it's highly unlikely that we will see another dip into Varisia for awhile after Shattered Star commences. I think the Paizo crew know not to go back to that well too many times. But for Paizo's tenth anniversary, and to coincide with the re-release of RotRL, I just don't think it's a bad choice. Clearly it's good for sales, because people like the region and want to learn more about it. Heck, I'd buy a 300-page hardcover on Varisia and probably get more use out of it than I do out of the ISWG today (not that the ISWG isn't awesome, but its scope is VERY wide).

In short, the complaints about Varisia-related product saturation seem a bit disproportionate to the actual incidence rate of the setting.

(EDIT: I mean, it's not like we're as saturated with Varisia content as D&D has been with friggin' underdark themes over the years.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Power Word Unzip wrote:

And it's highly unlikely that we will see another dip into Varisia for awhile after Shattered Star commences. I think the Paizo crew know not to go back to that well too many times. But for Paizo's tenth anniversary, and to coincide with the re-release of RotRL, I just don't think it's a bad choice. Clearly it's good for sales, because people like the region and want to learn more about it. Heck, I'd buy a 300-page hardcover on Varisia and probably get more use out of it than I do out of the ISWG today (not that the ISWG isn't awesome, but its scope is VERY wide).

I wouldn't call a return to Varisia after Shattered Star "Highly Unlikely" at all to be honest.

It's kind of the heart and soul of the campaign setting in my opinion.


James Jacobs wrote:
Power Word Unzip wrote:

And it's highly unlikely that we will see another dip into Varisia for awhile after Shattered Star commences. I think the Paizo crew know not to go back to that well too many times. But for Paizo's tenth anniversary, and to coincide with the re-release of RotRL, I just don't think it's a bad choice. Clearly it's good for sales, because people like the region and want to learn more about it. Heck, I'd buy a 300-page hardcover on Varisia and probably get more use out of it than I do out of the ISWG today (not that the ISWG isn't awesome, but its scope is VERY wide).

I wouldn't call a return to Varisia after Shattered Star "Highly Unlikely" at all to be honest.

It's kind of the heart and soul of the campaign setting in my opinion.

I agree. My point was, I'd be surprised if you went right back there in the next immediate AP, or even the one after that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I wouldn't call a return to Varisia after Shattered Star "Highly Unlikely" at all to be honest.

It's kind of the heart and soul of the campaign setting in my opinion.

Well, that's certainly a disappointment. I'd hoped you'd focus on other things after that, but I guess it's not to be.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't many of the modules take place in locations other than Varisia?


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Power Word Unzip wrote:

And it's highly unlikely that we will see another dip into Varisia for awhile after Shattered Star commences. I think the Paizo crew know not to go back to that well too many times. But for Paizo's tenth anniversary, and to coincide with the re-release of RotRL, I just don't think it's a bad choice. Clearly it's good for sales, because people like the region and want to learn more about it. Heck, I'd buy a 300-page hardcover on Varisia and probably get more use out of it than I do out of the ISWG today (not that the ISWG isn't awesome, but its scope is VERY wide).

I wouldn't call a return to Varisia after Shattered Star "Highly Unlikely" at all to be honest.

It's kind of the heart and soul of the campaign setting in my opinion.

I'm very pleased to hear that. It's my favorite region, by far.

I'm also hoping for a hardcover, eventually.


Some gms may want a not very detiailed area to start in to have a broad design but still some freedom.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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Gregg Helmberger wrote:
Well, that's certainly a disappointment. I'd hoped you'd focus on other things after that, but I guess it's not to be.

Gregg,

Why not suggest an AP you would like to see? There is a thread for that, I know that it does get looked at and considered.

Even if there is going to be more Varisia content, my hunch is that there will be some other area explored immediately after Shattered Star and Anniversery ROTRL.

If you would like to make a suggestion, may I recommend Irrisen?

4713 is coming, and I bet we could have one helluva an awesome adventure.

Taldor

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

I can only think of one Varisian module (Seven Swords of Sin), are there may Varisian PFS scenarios?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
I can only think of one Varisian module (Seven Swords of Sin), are there may Varisian PFS scenarios?

The module 'The Godsmouth Heresy' is set in Varisia.

This PathfinderWiki page lists only four currently-released PFS scenarios set in Varisia, but the forthcoming scenarios in season 4 promise to focus on Varisia a lot more.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:

Gregg,

Why not suggest an AP you would like to see? There is a thread for that, I know that it does get looked at and considered.

Even if there is going to be more Varisia content, my hunch is that there will be some other area explored immediately after Shattered Star and Anniversery ROTRL.

If you would like to make a suggestion, may I recommend Irrisen?

4713 is coming, and I bet we could have one helluva an awesome adventure.

I'm on record as wanting a megadungeon (that's one that could be based in Varisia and I'd be fine with it -- Kaer Maga, specifically) and a Worldwound AP. :-)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, no. Please no mega-dungeon. I couldn't conceive of a more boring idea for an AP, unless it's one where the heroes clip their toenails 100% of the time. :(

Cheliax

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

I always assumed it was a focal point for the world because it was the most like the "default" DnD setting and by that I mean the early days of DnD. A area with a smattering of of civilization but mostly open wild area's, full of monsters with a powerful long dead empire buried underneath it.


While a mega-dungeon doesn't really tickle my fancy, I'd love to see a Darklands campaign in the vein of the AD&D adventure Night Below, where PCs have to explore the different cultures and creatures in the Darklands while striking alliances with some and slaying others.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
HangarFlying wrote:
Don't many of the modules take place in locations other than Varisia?

Almost all of them, in fact.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We'er actually trying something of a "megadungeon" in Shattered Star... sort of. It's actually six different dungeon locations rather than one giant location, but each volume of Shattered Star will feature a relatively large and iconic dungeon site as is primary location.

That said... there's other stuff going on as well—Shattered Star isn't all dungeons all the time. There's wilderness and urban elements here and there, and lots of non-combat encounters (or combat encounters that can be resolved via things other than combat).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Urk. My enthusiasm for that AP just sank 50% at the very least. Dungeons are about the most boring aspect of roleplaying.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

magnuskn wrote:
Urk. My enthusiasm for that AP just sank 50% at the very least. Dungeons are about the most boring aspect of roleplaying.

There's a LOT of them in Shattered Star. Just so you know. I've learned it's important to manage magnuskn's expectations... :-P

That said, I do hope you check the AP out anyway, since I'm hoping that we'll be able to present a number of big dungeon crawls in a way that makes them NOT boring as far as roleplaying is concerned.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, I will. My suscription is secure until the end of the year at least, when I will have major revisions in my life anyway ( due to finishing college ).

I'm just so damn tired of dungeons. I'd love an AP where the focus is firmly on the roleplaying part.

And thanks for managing my expectations. After getting all of the Jade Regent modules, I've come around to renewed giddy anticipation of GM'ing it again. I just had to accept that the NPC's have to be worked out by myself and that the subsystems in this AP are to be avoided. ;)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm all for dungeon crawls. BOOYAH!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Toadkiller Dog wrote:
There's a difference between 'some attention' and 'too much attention'.

And, luckily, they've not yet reached that "too much" line in the sand!

Keep it coming guys and gals! Loving every bit of it. =)


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

I would like to chime in on this...I have been playing TTRPG's off and on for 30+ years. My group gets together for about 2.5 hours each week (most of the time) when we spend time socializing and playing.

Personally, I am very happy with a lot of focus on one part of the world. Unfortunately I will never have the opportunity to GM or play in a wide variety of AP's, modules, or anything else. My Carrion Crown game has been running for 8 months and we are still only half way though.

I am planning to run the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary and I will purchase everything related to the campaign and the areas involved just as I did for Carrion Crown. I like having so many references, ideas, and details to pour through to make my campaign as immersive and detailed as possible.

So I for one want to thank you for making this the Year of Varisia.

And a dungeon crawl in each issue of Shattered Star just increased my enthusiasm for eventually running it by at least 50%.

Contributor

I'm really excited for Shattered Star too. It's almost enough to make me force a TPK on my Jade Regent players when the new AP is released :p


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Brodyz wrote:

Unfortunately I will never have the opportunity to GM or play in a wide variety of AP's, modules, or anything else. My Carrion Crown game has been running for 8 months and we are still only half way though.

I am planning to run the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary and I will purchase everything related to the campaign and the areas involved just as I did for Carrion Crown. I like having so many references, ideas, and details to pour through to make my campaign as immersive and detailed as possible.

So I for one want to thank you for making this the Year of Varisia.

I'll add my support for the "Year of Varisia." It's by far and away my favorite area of Golarion, and I'm eagerly awaiting the Varisia player's companion and Magnimar campaign guide, along with the Runelords hardcover.

BTW, we're almost a year into our Rise of the Runelords game, and I just started "Hook Mountain Massacre" this week!


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Rot Grub wrote:
I'm curious: why so much focus on Varisia?

It's a Runelord plot, obviously. They've tasked rune giants to dominate the Paizo writing staff and -- agggh! <thump>


Varisia is great, I like the focus on that region and feel that there is enough of the rest of the world shown/developed through other products that should make the majority happy. Though, that said yes to more Numeria and Mammoth Lords!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I prefer Darkmoon Vale as the game's default setting. Hasn't been much of itsince the move from 3.5 but James hinted at plans for vale stuff when I asked about it.


Honestly, if the default area gets 1 out of 3 or 4 AP's I don't think that's a bad ratio. I don't count "starts there and goes elsewhere" as being set in Varisia myself, so YMMV.


Steve Geddes wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Power Word Unzip wrote:

And it's highly unlikely that we will see another dip into Varisia for awhile after Shattered Star commences. I think the Paizo crew know not to go back to that well too many times. But for Paizo's tenth anniversary, and to coincide with the re-release of RotRL, I just don't think it's a bad choice. Clearly it's good for sales, because people like the region and want to learn more about it. Heck, I'd buy a 300-page hardcover on Varisia and probably get more use out of it than I do out of the ISWG today (not that the ISWG isn't awesome, but its scope is VERY wide).

I wouldn't call a return to Varisia after Shattered Star "Highly Unlikely" at all to be honest.

It's kind of the heart and soul of the campaign setting in my opinion.

I'm very pleased to hear that. It's my favorite region, by far.

I'm also hoping for a hardcover, eventually.

+1


James Jacobs wrote:

We'er actually trying something of a "megadungeon" in Shattered Star... sort of. It's actually six different dungeon locations rather than one giant location, but each volume of Shattered Star will feature a relatively large and iconic dungeon site as is primary location.

That said... there's other stuff going on as well—Shattered Star isn't all dungeons all the time. There's wilderness and urban elements here and there, and lots of non-combat encounters (or combat encounters that can be resolved via things other than combat).

Egads! Ill have to re-subscribe to the AP line when I get home. I have no home group anymore but this is appealing.

Osirion

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

I would love a mega-dungeon. And I have no problem with Varisa.

I would not mind more modules and APs in this part of the world at all.

And there are other things I would like to see happen and areas developed. Especially Distant Worlds.

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