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Why is Varisia featured in so many adventure paths?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


Ok, let me preface this with - I have no real problem with this situation. My party is currently working its way through the Jade Regent AP and this topic came up last session. In a world/setting that is so large and diverse why are the AP set or starting in the same area of the map?

Of the existing adventure paths there are at least 5 that take place or start in Varisia.
Rise of the Runelords
Curse of the Crimson Throne
Second Darkness
Jade Regent
Shattered Star

So my question is with so many intriguing and diverse areas why do the adventures go to the traditional fantasy setting of Varisia? I am not trying to troll here, I really am thrilled with Pathfinder and Paizo, just would like to see more exploration of areas that are not normal. Or a reversal - have the players start in the jungle and then move into the city in pursuit of an item.

And I want to say, I haven't played or read all of the paths, I wish! But I was wondering if maybe Varisia is the official setting start area?

=Dan

Also not sure this is the spot to post this message...

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Varisia was the location of the First AP, Rise of the Runelords, so it's a developer favorite.

Also, it's got a very generic fantasy feel to it, which makes it easy to set an adventure path in it.


Varisia is a good setting for most general-purpose D&D-style adventuring that people are used to. It's the right blend of organized yet untamed frontier that works well with adventurers, so a lot of adventures work very well there, hence many adventures are placed there.

At least, that's my 2 cp guess.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I just figure they laid a pretty good framework in Varisia with Rise of the Runelords, and fans of Pathfinder would like to revisit places that were familiar to them at one time. I know I loved revisiting Sandpoint at the beginning of Jade Regent and seeing all the NPCs again. I looked for a Vancasterkin, but didn't see one.


My first pathfinder character was from Varisia, and that was just from browsing my inner sea guide and deciding it was a cool place. Varisians and their country are interesting and there is a lot for a writer to build with.

Osirion

If I remember correctly, for a while, Varisia=Golarion as far as the public knew. Most of the early APs and such were cast in the only portion of Golarion that was fairly well documented. It wasn't until the original Inner Sea Guide came out that we all knew what else was out there.

The two earliest areas documented were Varisia and Darkmoon Vale, so early APs take place in Varisia, and a lot of early modules take place in Darkmoon Vale.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Varisia sells.


It also makes sense to detail one particular nation heavily through APs, and leave most of the rest largely undefined, and thus more homebrewable. May have nothing to do with it, though...

Cheliax

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

As redcelt32 said, at first due to the AP's that was the only part of Golarion that we know much about. The first campaign book came out about the time of the 3rd AP. So really the 4th AP was their first chance to explore a new part of the world with out repeating a lot of world setting material in the AP. A lot of the early extra stuff in the first AP's where about Varisia because there was no other book out yet about the setting. Since we have had a campaign book only 2 AP's have been set there and one of them Jade Empire left shortly after the start. Just FYI.


I also think that James Jacobs created Sandpoint in his home game, so I think it becomes a starting point for alot of their ideas.


I agree it is a typical adventure setting and I personally love running Curse of the Crimson Throne. Another could be due to the many ruins of ancient Thassilon and we have no idea what happened to some of them.

I won't go into spoilers and say what ones are mentioned or whatever, but that's just my thought on it that there is a lot of interesting material reguarding the runelords and their magic.

I'd personally like to see one set in Kyronin, maybe some political intrigue with Greengold and how certain elves don't like mingling with other races and would perfer to return to the old ways without humans or others and their issues.

One idea I had for a homebrew was someone hiring a man to kill elves only so that the town would almost look anti-elf or dangerous towards elves. Something along those lines.

I'd like to see if they could do a evil campaign set in Irrisen or even Geb as it does mention that there are some living people there, though usually they're necromancers which is why they're welcome. Maybe even hunting down Arazni's organs for her, to prevent her or even for yourself to sell or use against her.

This is why so many people love the settings of Golarian, you can come up with a million and one ideas for every single location. Thanks to the inner sea guide I've come up with many ideas to continue curse of the crimson throne past part 6.

Osirion

Guy Kilmore wrote:
I also think that James Jacobs created Sandpoint in his home game, so I think it becomes a starting point for alot of their ideas.

According to the foreword in the original campaign guide, most of Golarion was a homebrew world of James Jacobs. Mike McArtor said Shelyn was from a novel he had been working on for a long time, and Cheliax was invented twenty some years ago by Erik Mona on a family vacation.

Sort of cool to know where your favorite bits and pieces might be from... :)

Paizo Employee CEO

Some folks have mentioned the main fact, which is that for the first year or so, Varisia was pretty much all we had detailed out in the campaign setting. So the first three APs were set there by default. Since then, Jade Regent started there, but we don't really consider it a Varisia AP, since that was supposed to be the Asian travel AP (which it pretty much is). So if you discount the first three and the beginning of Jade Regent, Shattered Star will be the first time back to Varisia since the beginning. :) OK, I admit, that is a bit of CEO math. :)

There is another reason why we come back to Varisia and some folks have mentioned that. It is our baseline fantasy country, so whenever we veer outside of the bounds of baseline fantasy to do something like a jungle adventure or a gothic horror one, we usually try to fit in a baseline fantasy one for folks who didn't like pirates or Asian tropes or whatnot. Varisia tends to be a place where we can do that easily, though it isn't the only place.

-Lisa


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

1. Varisia is awesome.

2. Varisia has not been overused. While I have a long list of areas within Golarion that I would love to set a campaign within, Varisia keeps topping the list.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah. We set the first 2 adventure paths in Varisia because at that time... that's all we really had.

Which is why when the 3rd adventure path came along, we actually had the Gazetter to work with and as a result you see that AP move OUT of Varisia. But for the first two... at the time those adventures were being written, the Gazetter... the Inner Sea Region... did not yet exist.

Jade Regent was ALWAYS planned to start in Varsia, but 5/6 of that one takes place elsewhere, so I don't really count that as being a Varisian Adventure Path.

And Shattered Star is all about returning to where we started.

The next two adventure paths we've announced don't take place in Varsia. Neither do the next two after that (we won't be announcing those for about a year). After THAT? Things get relatively nebulous.


James Jacobs wrote:

Yeah. We set the first 2 adventure paths in Varisia because at that time... that's all we really had.

Which is why when the 3rd adventure path came along, we actually had the Gazetter to work with and as a result you see that AP move OUT of Varisia. But for the first two... at the time those adventures were being written, the Gazetter... the Inner Sea Region... did not yet exist.

Jade Regent was ALWAYS planned to start in Varsia, but 5/6 of that one takes place elsewhere, so I don't really count that as being a Varisian Adventure Path.

And Shattered Star is all about returning to where we started.

The next two adventure paths we've announced don't take place in Varsia. Neither do the next two after that (we won't be announcing those for about a year). After THAT? Things get relatively nebulous.

yeah I didn't consider Jade Regent to be one as it only starts there but the rest is set up north.

I'm interested in seeing where this one goes and love the CR 1 monsters in it that came out of the runewell, really creepy, but low level.

Edit: Just looked up the name and I mean the fleshdregs.


BPorter wrote:

1. Varisia is awesome.

2. Varisia has not been overused. While I have a long list of areas within Golarion that I would love to set a campaign within, Varisia keeps topping the list.

I'll add my voice to this. Varisia is a really original creation that still appeals to me even after DMing RotRL and playing CotCT. I appreciate what this country brings: multiple cultures living in close quarters (thus lots of possible interactions), excellent mix of wildlands and civilization, ... It's a very inspiring place in Golarion.

By the way, I'll use the chance to say how much I loved reading the Varisia companion this months. The news format is very appealing, and I'm still discovering new things about Varisia after all this time! Excellent player-oriented supplement.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Yeah not feeling the Varisia love myself. It's OK as a setting but I'll admit I groaned a little when Shattered Star was announced.

Still, an AP every few years? I can deal with that.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I am glad the APs touch base with Varisia every so often, it's a great setting riddled with ruins, crawling with monsters and always in need of violent hobos to solve its problems.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I am glad the APs touch base with Varisia every so often, it's a great setting riddled with ruins, crawling with monsters and always in need of violent hobos to solve its problems.

lol, violent hobos, I like that :D

Andoran

3 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I am glad the APs touch base with Varisia every so often, it's a great setting riddled with ruins, crawling with monsters and always in need of violent hobos to solve its problems.

I believe they prefer the term 'aggressively self-employed' now.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I am glad the APs touch base with Varisia every so often, it's a great setting riddled with ruins, crawling with monsters and always in need of violent hobos to solve its problems.

Thanks to everyone for the replies...I guess my thing is I love all of the mystery of the other areas in the Inner Sea World Guide. The Mana Wastes for example. After spending so many years playing in fantasy medieval analogues similar to Varisia I am craving something different from what I consider the "norm" in fantasy roleplaying games.

I understand the desire to keep people in a comfort zone, it makes a lot of sense. It isn't at all a flaw, just want to be challenged by a setting. I want to open an adventure and not be in a reasonable facsimile of medieval Europe (with magic, etc obviously).
Chalk it up to a wish from one devoted Pathfinder player...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

They pretty much try and do at least one "niche" adventure path every year. I'm a fan of the more traditional ones (Shattered Stat is looking awesome to me, and most of my favorites are from the Varisia batch) but personally I think they do a pretty good job of switching it around and balancing the "special interest APs" without it becoming gimmicky.

Cheliax

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

If you drop the first three AP's since then everyone other one has been non medieval Europe or at least to me.
Legacy of Fire - Arabian Nights
Council of Thieves - medieval Europe
Kingmaker - medieval Europe(though with a twist as you build your own kindgom)
Serpent's Skull - Indian Jones adventure in the jungle.
Carrion Crown - medieval Europe of gothic horror
Jade Regent - starts off in medieval Europe but then quickly leaves it.
Skull and Shackles - Pirates... need I say more?
Shattered Star - medieval Europe

So since the first 3 we have had 8 AP's, 4 of them are medieval Europe more or less. One starts off there but most of the AP is in Asian setting or traveling over the Arctic circle, with two completely not medieval Europe.

So I can see why it feels like there is a lot of medieval Europe style adventures especially if you add in the first 3. So far Paizo has been pretty good about mixing it up and generic medieval Europe Fantasy is the most popular so it makes sense they make that 50% of their AP's.

But I agree I hope in time we see a few more AP's that take a big step away. I am hoping for a Alice in Wonderland style AP, where poor first level PC's fall down the rabbit hole so to speak and get stuck in the First World and then spend the rest of the AP trying to get home. Or other out there style AP's.


Dark_Mistress wrote:


But I agree I hope in time we see a few more AP's that take a big step away. I am hoping for a Alice in Wonderland style AP, where poor first level PC's fall down the rabbit hole so to speak and get stuck in the First World and then spend the rest of the AP trying to get home. Or other out there style AP's.

Thank you for that list - I am going to target for running the AP that I feel fit more of what I want. As I said I understand the desire to keep people grounded in something familiar. But as a gamer I want to be tested, forced to play outside my comfort zone. I want to play in a setting that isn't a classic European Fantasy archetype...I want to challenge my players to play characters that aren't "standard". Sure some of that is down to me as GM/player, completely aware of that fact. However, an Adventure Path that starts and ends in an exotic location would be awesome. I am running Jade Regent right now and it is great (I don't use the caravan encounters at all as I am trying to get through it before two of my players move to another state) but that only ends in an unusual or exotic location.

As I've said before, although I may be criticizing a tiny bit, I really enjoy these adventure paths. I've run Kingmaker and now Jade Regent (with an eye to running Legacy of Fire and Skull and Shackles) and had a blast with them. Just would like to be surprised by a setting or adventure. When I saw Shattered Star I groaned, it is just too safe...

Cheliax

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

I imagine the next one Reign of Winter will fit what you are looking for better. I know they have said it leaves the planet.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Remember... it's Paizo's 10th anniversary. That's the primary reason we decided to do so much looking back this year, between the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition and the Shattered Star adventure path.

Next year we're going to Irrisen and the Worldwound, and in those APs we're going to other worlds and other planes in a greater frequency than we EVER have before....

(prepares for next year's complaints that Paizo isn't traditional enough...) ;-P


James Jacobs wrote:

Remember... it's Paizo's 10th anniversary. That's the primary reason we decided to do so much looking back this year, between the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition and the Shattered Star adventure path.

Next year we're going to Irrisen and the Worldwound, and in those APs we're going to other worlds and other planes in a greater frequency than we EVER have before....

(prepares for next year's complaints that Paizo isn't traditional enough...) ;-P

That is awesome to hear, I look forward to planes travel. The adventure paths have been great and it will be fun to see what paizo does with it. And you will never hear me complain that you aren't being traditional enough. I think that it is fun to challenge not only the players and GMs but also the writers and artists.

I would also like to see some type of globetrotting adventure (chasing a villain, rescuing someone, whatever) but something that hits and highlights the less explored smaller countries or regions.

(I know that suggestion doesn't go there)

Thank you for all the hard work.

=Dan

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Remember... it's Paizo's 10th anniversary. That's the primary reason we decided to do so much looking back this year, between the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition and the Shattered Star adventure path.

Next year we're going to Irrisen and the Worldwound, and in those APs we're going to other worlds and other planes in a greater frequency than we EVER have before....

(prepares for next year's complaints that Paizo isn't traditional enough...) ;-P

When are you going to do a AP about Dinosaur island?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Remember... it's Paizo's 10th anniversary. That's the primary reason we decided to do so much looking back this year, between the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition and the Shattered Star adventure path.

Next year we're going to Irrisen and the Worldwound, and in those APs we're going to other worlds and other planes in a greater frequency than we EVER have before....

(prepares for next year's complaints that Paizo isn't traditional enough...) ;-P

When are you going to do a AP about Dinosaur island?

Already did. Savage Tide. It was the 3rd Dungeon adventure path, and a large part of it took place on the Isle of Dread. AKA: Dinosaur Island.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Remember... it's Paizo's 10th anniversary. That's the primary reason we decided to do so much looking back this year, between the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition and the Shattered Star adventure path.

Next year we're going to Irrisen and the Worldwound, and in those APs we're going to other worlds and other planes in a greater frequency than we EVER have before....

(prepares for next year's complaints that Paizo isn't traditional enough...) ;-P

When are you going to do a AP about Dinosaur island?
Already did. Savage Tide. It was the 3rd Dungeon adventure path, and a large part of it took place on the Isle of Dread. AKA: Dinosaur Island.

Yeah I know, but I meant a island all about Dino's and nothing else. Maybe for the 5 year RPG date? A look back and remake of Savage Tide. :)

If not then I would settle for Alice in Wonderland Adventure Path. Let the PC's fall down the rabbit hole to the First World and spend the rest of the AP trying to get home. :)


James Jacobs wrote:

Yeah. We set the first 2 adventure paths in Varisia because at that time... that's all we really had.

Which is why when the 3rd adventure path came along, we actually had the Gazetter to work with and as a result you see that AP move OUT of Varisia. But for the first two... at the time those adventures were being written, the Gazetter... the Inner Sea Region... did not yet exist.

Jade Regent was ALWAYS planned to start in Varsia, but 5/6 of that one takes place elsewhere, so I don't really count that as being a Varisian Adventure Path.

And Shattered Star is all about returning to where we started.

The next two adventure paths we've announced don't take place in Varsia. Neither do the next two after that (we won't be announcing those for about a year). After THAT? Things get relatively nebulous.

wait, what comes out after nebulous??

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Pendagast wrote:


wait, what comes out after nebulous??

Alkenstar and Arcadia obviously.


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

Numeria! Nidal! Nirmathas! I'd take any of the N nations, really.


That nebluous comment made me think, then I made my save vs the illusion and realized, the reason why so many APs are in varisia is: Because ALL other places are an illusion! Only Varisia is real!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Nebulous must mean Numeria and Distant Worlds.

Must.

MUST.

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