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Taldor: breaking the stereotype


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Cole Deschain wrote:

... Except for the part where it refers to gladiatorial battles and slave fights.

Page 20, Taldor, Echoes of Glory.

Now, this same source says that Sarenrae's worship is outlawed,so this might not be true- but unlike the Sarenrae business, I cannot recall any direct contradictions to the presence of slaves in Taldor.

As I wrote above nothing prevents those slave fights to be unlawful, happening because of bribes, widespread corruption and the appointed officials turning the other way.

Then again I'm well aware there's no source saying that Taldor has outlawed slavery. As I mentioned a few times that idea is something I believe will help make Taldor more interesting, especially if instead of slaves they had serfs.
Consider the fact that funcionally a serf is someone who is "owned by the land" instead of being owned by a person. He has some rights but the duties far outweight them. To your average Andoran abolitionist or Galtan demagogue the difference between a slave and a serf would be non existent anyway, but introducing the concept for Taldor would make Taldor different and go well with its character ("Slavery? What an uncivilized institution! We are not quadiran savages... We have serfs instead!")


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Rogar Valertis wrote:
As I wrote above nothing prevents those slave fights to be unlawful, happening because of bribes, widespread corruption and the appointed officials turning the other way.

But nothing about the source indicates that they're anything but on the up and up.

Certainly, Taldor Your Way may indulge in the hair-splitting hypocrisy of distinguishing serfs from slaves, but considering that the practice in Cheliax is likely based upon pre-existing Taldan policy (since Cheliax got most of its initial legal culture and governmental machinery from Taldor) and since the slave as a concept fits nicely with the Eastern Roman undertones of much of life in Taldor, I question the aversion.

Frankly, pseudo-Byzantium would be a more interesting direction than "Medieval Western Europe" in any event.


Cole Deschain wrote:
Rogar Valertis wrote:
As I wrote above nothing prevents those slave fights to be unlawful, happening because of bribes, widespread corruption and the appointed officials turning the other way.

But nothing about the source indicates that they're anything but on the up and up.

Certainly, Taldor Your Way may indulge in the hair-splitting hypocrisy of distinguishing serfs from slaves, but considering that the practice in Cheliax is likely based upon pre-existing Taldan policy (since Cheliax got most of its initial legal culture and governmental machinery from Taldor) and since the slave as a concept fits nicely with the Eastern Roman undertones of much of life in Taldor, I question the aversion.

Frankly, pseudo-Byzantium would be a more interesting direction than "Medieval Western Europe" in any event.

Actually the "Eastern Roman undertones" as you call them are actually quite limited (the Grand Prince having the Ulfen Guard, the "byzantine bureaucracy",...). The fact a "pseudo Byzantium" would be more interesting than "medeival western Europe" (a concept influencing Taldor's depiction as well) is questionable, especially because the "eastern" elements are already represented in the setting and Taldor would end as it is now, a place with very weak characterization.

The eastern roman empire as a model suffers from the fact conceptually it existed as the successor to the old roman empire as a whole during the dark ages. It was a successor entity. Taldor on the other hand is the old empire that went through rough times but avoided territorial disgregation of its core lands. The successor entity would be Cheliax instead.
Since you think Taldor would be more interesting as a "pseudo Byzantium" please tell me what aspects of that empire you find entertaining? Aside from the fact there's preciously little in Taldor's image that reminds of Byzantium (check all of the drawings reguarding Taldor, none have a byzantine feel, basically all of them reference a medieval Europe image or even later times) I don't see the appeal at all.

As for slavery I already explained why I think Taldor should handle the issue differently than what Cheliax, Quadira and Andoran do. And yes, the idea is there's A LOT of hypocrisy going on, and that too fits Taldor's image.
Fact is Taldor should not come out as a land ruled by evil like Cheliax is or as a land where even bankers are good people who work for the cause oif freedom like Andoran. In my opinion Taldor should give players and GMs a chance to adventure in an interesting and different environment with its own peculiar challanges. And the feel should be that of a neutral land, with good and evil coexisting.
So corruption exists and it's widespread in taldor but there's also people keeping their word and standing for ancient ideals of honor.
There's poverty but also generosity.
Slavery is not an institution but serfdom is.
Intrigue is everywhere but there's also people refusing "the game" as a mean to advance themselves.
Contraddictions are usually more interesting than a monolithic description of good or evil and besides in Taldor's case there's need of strong characterization compared to the current state of things imo.

Edit: btw while it's true that Taldor is never said to not have slavery, that particular institution in almost never associated with Taldor, which means it's not a core concept for it like it is for Quadira and Cheliax.


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Byzantium did not see themselves as the successor to Rome. The were the part of the Roman Empire which did not fall. They were Romans and Latins. The difference is a more modern consideration

The identification of Taldor with Byzantium rather then Rome is interesting because it is something done less often in RPGs, while Rome comparisons are quite common.

Personally I think the issue of slaves is a minor detail, with more interesting things to consider first.


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Rogar Valertis wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:
Rogar Valertis wrote:
As I wrote above nothing prevents those slave fights to be unlawful, happening because of bribes, widespread corruption and the appointed officials turning the other way.

But nothing about the source indicates that they're anything but on the up and up.

Certainly, Taldor Your Way may indulge in the hair-splitting hypocrisy of distinguishing serfs from slaves, but considering that the practice in Cheliax is likely based upon pre-existing Taldan policy (since Cheliax got most of its initial legal culture and governmental machinery from Taldor) and since the slave as a concept fits nicely with the Eastern Roman undertones of much of life in Taldor, I question the aversion.

Frankly, pseudo-Byzantium would be a more interesting direction than "Medieval Western Europe" in any event.

Actually the "Eastern Roman undertones" as you call them are actually quite limited (the Grand Prince having the Ulfen Guard, the "byzantine bureaucracy",...)

The fundamental structure of their government and the slow loss of provinces to and rivalry with Not Arabs/Persians/Turks are quite limited?

Knowing government and geopolitics are trivialities should leave everyone more relaxed about next Tuesday at least.


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Rogar Valertis wrote:
Actually the "Eastern Roman undertones" as you call them are actually quite limited (the Grand Prince having the Ulfen Guard, the "byzantine bureaucracy",...).

Serving as the slowly but steadily diminishing remnant of a once dominant empire serving as a buffer zone between their fractured western former citizens as a vibrant, rising empire to the east, the relatively tolerant attitude toward a variety of faiths, the willingness to deal with- but never trust- their occasional sparring partners to the east, the assumption of far more temporal power than they've actually had in a while...

The Eastern Romans had a lot in common with Taldor as we know it.

Quote:
The eastern roman empire as a model suffers from the fact conceptually it existed as the successor to the old roman empire as a whole during the dark ages. It was a successor entity. Taldor on the other hand is the old empire that went through rough times but avoided territorial disgregation of its core lands. The successor entity would be Cheliax instead.

Right up until the death of Constantine X and the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, that empire called itself the Roman Empire. The idea that the entire empire fell when Rome did is... an unfortunate misconception fostered by the way our school currciula swing from Gibbons' distaste for the "Byantines."

Quote:
Since you think Taldor would be more interesting as a "pseudo Byzantium" please tell me what aspects of that empire you find entertaining?

We haven't got a million Eastern Roman Empires to pick from in fantasy RPGs to date?

It does much to explain why Taldor still thinks it's such hot stuff despite having comedown in the world a great deal?

It adds a nice sting of distrust toward their western neighbors (ingrates!) to explain the Taldan attitude toward other societies?

It allows Taldor to adopt some of historical Constantinople's role as as a bastion of preserved knowledge from an earlier age, only now coming to be appreciated by their fractious western neighbors?

While Taldor makes a lousy version of Justinian's empire, it's a pretty good stand-in for the latter-day Eastern Romans.

Dark Archive

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I treat them like Spain.


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The more and more I look at Taldor the more it reminds me of France during the 30 years war era. Cheliax reminds me of Spain during this era with the inquisition the imperial ambitions and the rebelling territories. The reason for that era's France was the constant political manovering's by the king and his advisors within the nation to get things done. Also with the various infighting and bandits with the watch on the political landscape that surrounds the nation at this time.


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Roger Valartis wrote:

{. . .}

Fact is Taldor should not come out as a land ruled by evil like Cheliax is or as a land where even bankers are good people who work for the cause oif freedom like Andoran.

Who says the bankers in Andoran are good? . . .


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Here's something that I have given a decent amount of thought on so does it help clear things up or not let me know.

France during around the 30 years’ war period is a good analogue for Taldor the more you think about it. Take for the fact that the Hundred years’ war had ended France had finally reclaimed its borders and the political situation outside those borders was very tenuous. Now at this point in time you had a patriotic but decadent and scheming upper class and a very patriotic lower class with still possibly serfdom in and around the place. The king and his advisors had to chart a very treacherous path through the various feuds, schemes and bickering of his aristocrats and bureaucrats. As it was France had recovered the borders of France during the Carolingian period. The reason Taldor matches France is that the Grand Prince and his advisors must chart a path through the political minefield that is the Taldan senate. He also must deal with scheming and feuding royal houses and their various vassals essentially fighting proxy wars for influence and power.

On the other hand, it has an old foe along one border, a burgeoning democracy on another and a nation that is rife with chaos and political instability on the third border. Having to rebuild after the Qaidiran war and deal with the death of Aroden has meant that the country must spread both its manpower and finances thinly. With political instability, both inside and out Taldor is a decadent nation trying to re-find itself in a new age of uncertainty. With a strong belief in the glories of the past and a fairly stubbornness about it how will Taldor evolve going forward.

Sorry about the treatise on the subject it’s just the more I think about the more it makes sense anyway hope this helps people think about the subject in a different light.

Thanks
EtG


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Oh, I very much doubt that any nation in Avistan is a direct analogue to any one real-world nation- for all the Byzantine similarity, the feudal rights of the aristocracy are far more western European in character, making the comparison to France in the early 1600s not at all misplaced.

Shadow Lodge

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Who says the bankers in Andoran are good? . . .

The same person at Paizo who keeps scrubbing class struggle out of all [three of] the urban rebellion APs.


Cole Deschain wrote:
Rogar Valertis wrote:
Actually the "Eastern Roman undertones" as you call them are actually quite limited (the Grand Prince having the Ulfen Guard, the "byzantine bureaucracy",...).

Serving as the slowly but steadily diminishing remnant of a once dominant empire serving as a buffer zone between their fractured western former citizens as a vibrant, rising empire to the east, the relatively tolerant attitude toward a variety of faiths, the willingness to deal with- but never trust- their occasional sparring partners to the east, the assumption of far more temporal power than they've actually had in a while...

The Eastern Romans had a lot in common with Taldor as we know it.

So you think Taldor should resemble Byzantium because of the decadence and the conflict with Quadira?

The tolerant attitude isn't a factor. Most places in Golarion are tolerant towards religion(s). And btw I believe you are overstimating byzantine "tolerance" as it was. The same might be said for the commercial ties with the east. Taldor has some, as does everyone else. As for the assumption of more power I believe Taldor description is more about an assumption of relevance more than power per se.
All things considered if these are your reasons to link Taldor to Byzantium they don't really look like something making the setting richer or more interesting.

Cole Deschain wrote:
Rogar Valertis wrote:
Quote:
The eastern roman empire as a model suffers from the fact conceptually it existed as the successor to the old roman empire as a whole during the dark ages. It was a successor entity. Taldor on the other hand is the old empire that went through rough times but avoided territorial disgregation of its core lands. The successor entity would be Cheliax instead.
Right up until the death of Constantine X and the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, that empire called itself the Roman Empire. The idea that the entire empire fell when Rome did is... an unfortunate misconception fostered by the way our school currciula swing from Gibbons' distaste for the "Byantines."

The idea that the entire empire fell is not accurate at all but it's not something I implied. I said the Eastern Roman Empire was a successor entity to the Roman Empire. And it was, simply because it was NOT the Roman Empire but a fraction of it. Similar things could be said about the Holy Roman Empire btw. The division between east and west happened in 395 a.d. decided by emperor Theodosius I (not a very tolerant person btw). The western roman empire fell in 476 a.d. while the eastern roman empire lasted until 1453 a.d.

No matter how the byzantines considered themselves the only heirs to the original empire. They never managed to reconquer it all and they were NOT the roman empire. They were a successor entity.

Cole Deschain wrote:
Quote:
Since you think Taldor would be more interesting as a "pseudo Byzantium" please tell me what aspects of that empire you find entertaining?

We haven't got a million Eastern Roman Empires to pick from in fantasy RPGs to date?

It does much to explain why Taldor still thinks it's such hot stuff despite having comedown in the world a great deal?

It adds a nice sting of distrust toward their western neighbors (ingrates!) to explain the Taldan attitude toward other societies?

It allows Taldor to adopt some of historical Constantinople's role as as a bastion of preserved knowledge from an earlier age, only now coming to be...

-I don't think we have that many roman empire analogs in fantasy and as I stated before Taldor's image is clearly not eastern but western (medieval but also later times). Besides that one could argue the eastern feel is more than represented in the setting considering Quadira, the Khelesh empire, Osirion, Vudra, Katapesh and probably a few other places I cannot recall right now.

-The fact the (later) Byzantine empire thought of itself as a very powerful entity even during its decline isn't a byzantine prerogative. Pretty much every empire and world power has thought the same of itself until the very end.

-This is actually interesting but not a great motivation to want to make Taldor some sort of pseudo Byzantium.

-Again an old empire (Taldor is described as decadent and dissolute btw) gets to be a depository of knowledge is not something exclusively byzantine. And Golarion is not our world, there's A LOT of depositoies of knowledge around there (it's actually the poit of Pathfider to discover them...).


Cole that's what I was thinking France at that period was overcoming the Hundred years war and was threatened by the Spanish hegemony on Europe. That why them mixed with the Byzantines seems to make absolute sense since they both had the trappings of Imperial ambitions, but were finding themselves in a new world balance.


Eldred the Grey wrote:

Here's something that I have given a decent amount of thought on so does it help clear things up or not let me know.

France during around the 30 years’ war period is a good analogue for Taldor the more you think about it. Take for the fact that the Hundred years’ war had ended France had finally reclaimed its borders and the political situation outside those borders was very tenuous. Now at this point in time you had a patriotic but decadent and scheming upper class and a very patriotic lower class with still possibly serfdom in and around the place. The king and his advisors had to chart a very treacherous path through the various feuds, schemes and bickering of his aristocrats and bureaucrats. As it was France had recovered the borders of France during the Carolingian period. The reason Taldor matches France is that the Grand Prince and his advisors must chart a path through the political minefield that is the Taldan senate. He also must deal with scheming and feuding royal houses and their various vassals essentially fighting proxy wars for influence and power.

On the other hand, it has an old foe along one border, a burgeoning democracy on another and a nation that is rife with chaos and political instability on the third border. Having to rebuild after the Qaidiran war and deal with the death of Aroden has meant that the country must spread both its manpower and finances thinly. With political instability, both inside and out Taldor is a decadent nation trying to re-find itself in a new age of uncertainty. With a strong belief in the glories of the past and a fairly stubbornness about it how will Taldor evolve going forward.

Sorry about the treatise on the subject it’s just the more I think about the more it makes sense anyway hope this helps people think about the subject in a different light.

Thanks
EtG

I agree. Personally the vibe I get from Taldor is like something out of a Dumas novel, the three musketeers especially (enche the need for a decent equivalent for Richelieu... which implies an influent religion having the ear of the sovereign).


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Rogar Valertis wrote:
So you think Taldor should resemble Byzantium because of the decadence and the conflict with Quadira?

That's one of several reasons I cited, yes.

Quote:
The tolerant attitude isn't a factor. Most places in Golarion are tolerant towards religion(s).

Except that Taldor has theoretical reasons not to do so,unlike many regions in the Inner Sea.

Quote:
And btw I believe you are overstimating byzantine "tolerance" as it was.

You are welcome to read up on their repeated dealings with various Islamic powers. While they were first and foremost a Christian empire by the end, they were so "lax" in banging that gong outside of requesting aid from the west that many crusaders were appalled at their "collusion."

Quote:
All things considered if these are your reasons to link Taldor to Byzantium they don't really look like something making the setting richer or more interesting.

Why not? You seem to think you've articulated the case, but you haven't really done so from where I sit.

Quote:
I said the Eastern Roman Empire was a successor entity to the Roman Empire.

Which is incorrect from a political, historical, and factual point of view. Or are you saying that the occasional contractions of the Roman Empire meant that it was a "fraction" of itself?

The Eastern Romans enjoyed continuity of government, culture, and just about everything else that makes a state a state. The loss of territory (which was fairly steady, the resurgence under Justinian aside) is irrelevant to the national identity of the "Byzantines."

The half of the Empire that Constantine I chose to live in and make his own has every right to claim its status. I suggest you divest yourself of Gibbon's interpretation. The man got a lot of things done, but his picture was necessarily biased and incomplete.

Quote:
No matter how the byzantines considered themselves the only heirs to the original empire. They never managed to reconquer it all and they were NOT the roman empire. They were a successor entity.

I can only suggest that you read more on the subject, because you're off-base here by a wide margin.

Quote:
-I don't think we have that many roman empire analogs in fantasy and as I stated before Taldor's image is clearly not eastern but western (medieval but also later times). Besides that one could argue the eastern feel is more than represented in the setting considering Quadira, the Khelesh empire, Osirion, Vudra, Katapesh and probably a few other places I cannot recall right now.

As I state about two posts up from this, no analogue in Golarion is direct. The art style does not change the underpinning national character in the writing.

Quote:
-The fact the (later) Byzantine empire thought of itself as a very powerful entity even during its decline isn't a byzantine prerogative. Pretty much every empire and world power has thought the same of itself until the very end.

And yet with the other pieces of Eastern Rome in Taldor, it fits so nicely here.

Quote:
-This is actually interesting but not a great motivation to want to make Taldor some sort of pseudo Byzantium.

Why not? What do you offer that is any more interesting or different?

Quote:
-Again an old empire (Taldor is described as decadent and dissolute btw) gets to be a depository of knowledge is not something exclusively byzantine.

And yet once again, it's a piece of the inspirational whole.

Your resistance to this is amusing, but ultimately seems to be for its own sake. Having experience of my own in this arena, I suggest you just move on from your slavery hangup and work on other aspects that need hammering out. There is room for heavily Byzantine influence and more besides. Golarion is not Earth. Parallels are not direct.

And besides, I like the dashes of 1600s France mixed into the Byzantine stew that ol' Eldred is proposing just fine.


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OH. DUDE.

A 4th Crusade-type debacle in Oppara might be JUST what we need to do something with Taldor...

Because while Constantinople fell and the consequences to the Eastern Roman Empire were mortal, Taldor doesn't have to go that way... and we could use Cheliax or an alliance of other Avistani governments as the bad guys...


I will answer this for the last toime because it seems continuing is non productive for the thread, but anyway:

-The conflict with Quadira is NOT HAPPENING in the setting as it is. Some Quadirans want war but they cannot have it because the empire they are part of doesn't want war. And in Golarion Taldor lost nothing to Quadira. It reconquered what it had lost after the eventongue conquest. So all you are saying is that you find Taldor interesting because of an animosity that is going nowhere in the setting and will probably go nowhere.

-Until very recently Taldor was in fact written as being less tolerant than other nations against Saerenites. Even now that the cult of Sarenrae is allowed in Taldor there are references to them still being looked at with suspicion. Again this is nothing noteworthy: most nations in Golarion are tolerant and you claiming Taldor being special because they have reason not to be doesn't make them special, makes them subject of a retcon.

-Check out how "tolerant" the byzantines were with the pagans in their lands. Or even with the arabs when they defeated them. You mentioned the byzantines took slaves. Check out who they were. And by the way claiming that by the end crusaders were appaled by their tolerance means very little. Because you arbitrarily decided to base you assumption on a very specific period of Byzantine history (the "very end" which I suppose means around 1453 a.d, right? Because I find your mention of SOME crusaders opinions meant to justify the sack of Constantinople during the 4th crusade would be better placed around 1204 a.d. If instead you mean to imply the western powers didn't help Constantinople to stave off the fall the reasons are CERTAINLY NOT to be found in their commercial dealings with the ottomans or the fact that by that time they lacked the power to crack down on muslims in their lands and feared to provoke their neighbours, but rather with a very complex set of motivations. For example: Weakness of France and England, bad blood with the Pope, Spain completing the Reconquista and having no troops to spare, Venice being ambivalent and the german pricipalities fighting among themselves just to mention a few).

-Costantine did not choose to live in "half of the Empire" he just moved the capital from Rome to Byzantium and reinforced the tetrarchy system introduced by Diocletian. He was still the emperor of a united empire.

-It was emperor Theodosius I who DIVIDED THE EMPIRE IN 2 DIFFERENT ENTITIES, EAST AND WEST. This happened in 395 a.d. From that point there were 2 different entities SUCCESSORS of the Roman Empire as a whole. Therefore the old empire ceased to be in 395 a.d. and become 2 successor states. This is a simple historical and undeniable fact. So I'm afraid YOU are the one who's off base.

-You speak about "eastern romans" as having enjoyed "continuity of government, culture, and just about everything else that makes a state a state" with the previous empire. This is factually wrong. They diverged a great deal from the old empire, and the divide between them and the west grew extremely large in a very short time. The very idea of moving the capital to Byzantium was Constantine idea to deal with a senate he did not trust because he was a Christian and they were mostly pagans. He also introduced CHANGES meant to rein in competitors for power (the culmination of the dominate process if you want). Yes the eastern empire managed to survive in a period of great strife and that was no small feat. But the state that was the eastern roman empire was a very different beast from waht the old empire was. Its institutions were different, its religion was different (a HUGE difference), its people was different (you cited the 4th crusade... ever read about the hate against the "latins"?), its culture was different and kept diverging. They could claim Constantinople was the new Rome, but there was preciously little in common between them and Rome. Besides it's important to remember that Rome still existed and it became a competing world power as the Pope's seat (which actually meant A LOT).

-The art and image of Taldor actually mean a great deal in estabilishing the feel of the place. Much more than a few analogies with the Byzantine empire.

-You may find whatever you want "amusing". I for one find amusing the fact the stuff you cite as "heavy Byzantine influence" really is not that heavy at all but ends up being just a bunch of generic fantasy tropes. Old empire having bad relations with a neighbouring state? Old empire being a depository of knowledge? Old empire having delusions of grandeur? If you think these to be heavy Byzantine influences I don't know what to tell you. These are just some light parallels.
You want an heavy byzantine influence on Taldor? Then be prepared to change Taldor as it is a great deal and to implement a lot of eastern aspects into the setting. But as I stated above Golarion alredy has an overabundance of eastern themed countries, and Taldor's image up to this point has been decidedly western in feel.

-Personally I'm rather puzzled by the idea that having an invading army sack Oppara could help improve Taldor as a whole. But then again you seem dead set with linking Taldor with an RL empire that ended up destroyed and assimilated by an invading power, so maybe there's a pattern there.

-I give you an idea for a Taldan AP could be centered around the death of Sativan III by murder and the consequent war for the succession causing some sort of "World War" with the event causing conflict around the inner sea region (the Quadirans invading, the Chelish claiming ancient ties and not so ancient deals best left unspecified here, the Andorans reacting, the Galtans seizing the chance to spread their revolution). I myself suggested something like this a couple of times in the past. But this should NOT be something as shameful for Taldor as reenacting a fictional 4th crusade would be.


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Rogar Valertis wrote:
-The conflict with Quadira is NOT HAPPENING in the setting as it is. Some Quadirans want war but they cannot have it because the empire they are part of doesn't want war. And in Golarion Taldor lost nothing to Quadira. It reconquered what it had lost after the eventongue conquest. So all you are saying is that you find Taldor interesting because of an animosity that is going nowhere in the setting and will probably go nowhere.

...

Uh, no, see, the Eastern Roman Empire also had long spates of Cold War with its hostile neighbors- and even had periods of cooperation with some of them.

Furthermore, the parallel being present doesn't actually translate to "and that's how things should go for Taldor." But more on that later.

Quote:
-Until very recently Taldor was in fact written as being less tolerant than other nations against Saerenites. Even now that the cult of Sarenrae is allowed in Taldor there are references to them still being looked at with suspicion. Again this is nothing noteworthy: most nations in Golarion are tolerant and you claiming Taldor being special because they have reason not to be doesn't make them special, makes them subject of a retcon.

But that tendency toward intolerance also fits the parallel you despise for... no reason you've clearly stated, actually.

The internal schisms of the iconoclastic movement in Eastern Roman Christianity led to all sorts of back and forth. Heck, Constantine nearly embraced Arianism before doing an about-face and endorsing the Nicene Creed.

Quote:
Check out how "tolerant" the byzantines were with the pagans in their lands. Or even with the arabs when they defeated them. You mentioned the byzantines took slaves. Check out who they were. And by the way claiming that by the end crusaders were appaled by their tolerance means very little. Because you arbitrarily decided to base you assumption on a very specific period of Byzantine history (the "very end" which I suppose means around 1453 a.d, right? Because I find your mention of SOME crusaders opinions meant to justify the sack of Constantinople during the 4th crusade would be better placed around 1204 a.d.

Oh, this is just cute. You're upset that an entity that existed for a long time has multiple facets to apply to the clear parallels in a fictional nation in a roleplaying game? Okay then.

I will also note that your lengthy digression on trade actually reinforces the parallel you're trying to undermine.

Quote:
-Costantine did not choose to live in "half of the Empire" he just moved the capital from Rome to Byzantium and reinforced the tetrarchy system introduced by Diocletian. He was still the emperor of a united empire.

Diocletian, not Theodosius, introduced the administrative division of the Empire.

Theodosius merely made the split more meaningful from a tax perspective.

-It was emperor Theodosius I who DIVIDED THE EMPIRE IN 2 DIFFERENT ENTITIES, EAST AND WEST. This happened in 395 a.d. From that point there were 2 different entities SUCCESSORS of the Roman Empire as a whole. Therefore the old empire ceased to be in 395 a.d. and become 2 successor states. This is a simple historical and undeniable fact.

I suggest, once again, that you do more reading. Because you are incorrect. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but the continuation fo governance means that they were not "successor states" in the dismissive fashion you appear to be trying to use to dismiss the clear and obvious parallels.

Quote:
-You speak about "eastern romans"[blah blah blah]

But Constantine, who introduced these changes you're in such an uproar about, was Emperor of the united Roman Empire you claim the Eastern Empire was a successor State to.

You cannot have it both ways.

Either the changes which began before the Theodosian Split happened in the Roman Empire, or they did not.

And since they did....

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-The art and image of Taldor actually mean a great deal in estabilishing the feel of the place. Much more than a few analogies with the Byzantine empire.

A few analogies = Their entire geopolitcal and historical position relative to the nations and setting around them.

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-You may find whatever you want "amusing". I for one find amusing the fact the stuff you cite as "heavy Byzantine influence" really is not that heavy at all but ends up being just a bunch of generic fantasy tropes.

I think you mean, historical trends lifted into fantasy tropes.

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You want an heavy byzantine influence on Taldor? Then be prepared to change Taldor as it is a great deal and to implement a lot of eastern aspects into the setting. But as I stated above Golarion alredy has an overabundance of eastern themed countries, and Taldor's image up to this point has been decidedly western in feel.

Wait, wait, wait... you think "Byzantium" and its culture is somehow represented by Kelesh, Vudra, and other points east?

Okay, seriously.Do some more research on the subject.

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-Personally I'm rather puzzled by the idea that having an invading army sack Oppara could help improve Taldor as a whole. But then again you seem dead set with linking Taldor with an RL empire that ended up destroyed and assimilated by an invading power, so maybe there's a pattern there.

No, see,my interest here is that where the Eastern Empire basically collapsed after the Sack in the Fourth Crusade, Taldor does not have to go that way.

It could serve as a spur to make them get up out of their decadent swamp and remind the rest of Avistan why they still matter.

You seem to be laboring under a great many mistaken assumptions here, but this last one is the easiest to clear up: I don't want Taldor erased. I want the existing parallels to be used to do something different. If I wanted a simulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, I wouldn't be using Golarion at all. Taldor's links to the "Byzantine" empire are flavor, not fate.


Seriously? Selective quoting and deliberate misunderstandings? Thinly veiled insults?

-Yeah the Eastern Roman Empire lost stretches of land, regained it, traded and made war with its neighbours. Is that supposed to be a parallel with Taldor? Because this is the same thing happening between Andoran and Cheliax or Nirmathas and Molthune, Nex and Geb. As things are I don't think Paizo wants to escalate any of these conflicts. And I don't think Paizo wants to make the conflict with Quadira a founding aspect of Taldor. In light of the recent retcon it seems to me they are not confortable with anything resembling racial, religious or nationwide conflict.

-Were the byzantines tolerant or intolerant? Make up your mind please. On the other hand, on this subject Taldans are EXACTLY THE SAME as most of the other peoples of Golarion enche my problem with this being anything noteworthy about them.

-You stated that IN YOUR OPINION the Byzantines were tolerant (and as I explained above your choice to exemplify your opinion was really lacking). I begged to differ and gave you examples of them not being tolerant at all (when they had the power to crack down on "infidels" that is).

-Yes AS I WROTE AND YOU QUOTED (apparently without understanding what I wrote) Diocletian introduced the tetrarchy and LATER ON Constantine I reinforced it. At this time there still was ONE Empire that moved its capital to Byzantium. THEN LATER ON the emperor Theodosius SPLIT the EMPIRE IN TWO DIFFERENT ENTITIES GIVING ONE TO EACH OF HIS SONS (east to Arcadius and west to Honorius). At this point the old empire ceased to be as a single entity and become 2 successor states no matter what the byzantine emperors later claimed. Is this somehow difficult to understand? And by the way a lot of powers that existed in the west claimed to be "the heir of Rome", including the tzars of Russia, the holy roman emperors and much later even Mussolini's regime. Simbology aside (which you can find even in the US btw) it never meant much.

-Yes, a few analogies considering how they easily fall into generic fantasy tropes. And as you note the analogies are limited. For example Quadiran invasion can happen because of Cheliax claiming independence which if we go with the Taldor = Byzantium parallel doesn't really work.

-No I don't think Byzantine culture to be represented by any of those nations. I'm claiming that the setting has several flavours of eastern themed nations. And I'm saying that a byzantine influenced Taldor would add just ANOTHER variation of eastern flavour because Byzantium was an example of eastern culture (ok, this varies according to the period but it increases more and more, for example since the 7th century the eastern roman empire abandons latin as its official language) which in my opinion is not what Taldor needs AND Taldor already has an overwhelming western feel if you consider how it is depicted. For example, check the cover of Taldor echoes of glory... do you see anything byzantine in there?

Liberty's Edge

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As far as the issue of slavery goes, one of the distinctive traits of the Pathfinder setting is that slavery is a legal institution almost everywhere, which has been true in most eras in the real world but isn't represented in most fantasy settings. Serfdom and slavery can absolutely coexist, with serfs and slaves filling different social roles.

I imagine that slaves in Taldor are mostly household servants, where as most agricultural labor is carried out by serfs, and other forms of manual labor are handled by some combination of skilled professionals and various unfree laborers. The military probably also provides a labor pool for certain projects, as it did in the Roman Empire.

Now, one interesting wrinkle you might throw in is for human slavery to be illegal. It's not uncommon in history for members of the social "in-group" to be excluded from enslavement, so it makes some sense. Maybe basically all of the slaves in Taldor are halflings, and they've been attached to the same families for uncounted generations. Taldans may regard it as only natural for halflings to fill a servile role, while at the same time vilifying those who would enslave a fellow human.


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Rogar Valertis wrote:

{. . .}

-Yes, a few analogies considering how they easily fall into generic fantasy tropes. And as you note the analogies are limited. For example Quadiran invasion can happen because of Cheliax claiming independence which if we go with the Taldor = Byzantium parallel doesn't really work.
{. . .}

Last time I checked, it was the Qadiran invasion (that Taldor just barely managed to hold off, and only after a really long war) that enabled Chelaxian independence.

Project Manager

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PSSSST

there's no U in Qadira

Shadow Lodge

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Cole Deschain wrote:

OH. DUDE.

A 4th Crusade-type debacle in Oppara might be JUST what we need to do something with Taldor...

Because while Constantinople fell and the consequences to the Eastern Roman Empire were mortal, Taldor doesn't have to go that way... and we could use Cheliax or an alliance of other Avistani governments as the bad guys...

I feel quite confident is saying that Cheliax is not well-suited to this purpose. If Hell's Vengeance is taken into account, this becomes very obvious. After the events of that AP, Cheliax's focus is internal, and its navy is decimated besides. But even ignoring those events, we're talking about an empire that can't discipline its former Garundi colony, that can't repopulate one of its only two Arcadian colonies, that can lose multiple forty-hull fleets in the Shackles (their attempt in From Hell's Heart was merely the latest, we are told) to a gaggle of squabbling sea rats . . . the picture that emerges is not kind to Cheliax's power projection.

What rather tickles my fancy (even though I know Paizo would never do it) is the idea of Andoran as the bad guy nation. The logistics are a bit hard to arrange, but I think something like the following would work. Take Wrath of the Righteous and Hell's Vengeance as having occurred. While the Worldwound still needs purging and repopulating, not all the Mendevian crusaders will want to stay. Many will want to return home. Others will want to find another cause to champion, source of mercenary income, or excuse to keep plying the only trade they know (hey look, a bunch of fighting in eastern Cheliax!). Whatever the reason, you have floods of well-armed, dangerous people pouring down the Sellen. They, naturally, wind up in Cassomir, which struggles to accommodate them and ship them elsewhere with anything resembling speed. Shantytowns develop outside the walls. The ex-crusaders start developing ideas of just sacking this city. Eventually, a large group of them tries.

The attempt is put down, but as the army moves into the shantytowns, first they, then the city itself, begin to burn. There is panic in the streets. Some of the city's poor (egged on by Galtan or Galtan-inspired saboteurs?) start looting. Dockers and fishermen rush ships both public and private, taking them over and fleeing out to sea. Andoran troops, fearful of the chaos spreading to their lands, cross the frontier to restore order.

Well, it's a setup, anyway. I'm sure someone who's actually creative (that is, not me) could do something with it.

Dark Archive

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Take Wrath of the Righteous and Hell's Vengeance as having occurred. While the Worldwound still needs purging and repopulating, not all the Mendevian crusaders will want to stay. Many will want to return home. Others will want to find another cause to champion, source of mercenary income, or excuse to keep plying the only trade they know (hey look, a bunch of fighting in eastern Cheliax!). Whatever the reason, you have floods of well-armed, dangerous people pouring down the Sellen.

This would be one heck of a Kingmaker 'continuing the campaign' plotline, the newforged kingdom in the Stolen Lands having to deal with thousands of former crusaders surging into their lands, eager to carve out their own nation-state (or just seize the one that's already there waiting for them).

Alternately, for a very different twist, it could be the *start* of Kingmaker, with the PCs showing up with this decommissioned army, and actually *instigating* the spoiler-y events behind-the-scenes of Kingmaker, antagonizing locals and setting the whole AP into motion.


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Rogar Valertis wrote:
Seriously? Selective quoting and deliberate misunderstandings? Thinly veiled insults?

I give what I get, good sir.

When your own responses are basically couched in a stone-skulled unwillingness to even admit that there might be something to the comparison, there are only so many ways to say the same thing before it becomes an exercise in futility.

As for "selective quoting," there's little point in citing your entire treatise when it's there if anyone cares to read it.

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-Yeah the Eastern Roman Empire lost stretches of land, regained it, traded and made war with its neighbours. Is that supposed to be a parallel with Taldor? Because this is the same thing happening between Andoran and Cheliax or Nirmathas and Molthune, Nex and Geb. As things are I don't think Paizo wants to escalate any of these conflicts. And I don't think Paizo wants to make the conflict with Quadira a founding aspect of Taldor. In light of the recent retcon it seems to me they are not confortable with anything resembling racial, religious or nationwide conflict.

...

But the conflict with Qadira is a key part of Taldor's in-setting identity. Even with the retcons to the Sarenrae ban, that basic cold war has never gone away. The conflict with Qadira is very much part of the foundation of Taldor.

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-Were the byzantines tolerant or intolerant? Make up your mind please. On the other hand, on this subject Taldans are EXACTLY THE SAME as most of the other peoples of Golarion enche my problem with this being anything noteworthy about them.

Truly funny that you're so hung up on this when the Eastern Romans, like any other nation with a comparable span of history, have been both. The tolerance I cited is the tolerance the Crusaders so affected to despise- they will deal with the cold war adversary without actually trusting them, OR valuing their culture in and of itself.

They were both. And as the influences on Taldor were introduced by someone writing in the 21st Century CE, they're there to be mined.

I'm not going to dignify your caps-laden rant in the next bit with any further discourse. I've urged you to broaden your readings. It's on you now.

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Yes, a few analogies considering how they easily fall into generic fantasy tropes. And as you note the analogies are limited. For example Quadiran invasion can happen because of Cheliax claiming independence which if we go with the Taldor = Byzantium parallel doesn't really work.

1. I have never stated that the parallels are exact, merely that they exist. That you refuse to even consider as much without saying why really limits the utility of a thread that is supposed to be about breathing new life into a comparatively unloved region of the map.

2. The "tropes" you cite came from history for the most part.

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-No I don't think Byzantine culture to be represented by any of those nations. I'm claiming that the setting has several flavours of eastern themed nations. And I'm saying that a byzantine influenced Taldor would add just ANOTHER variation of eastern flavour because Byzantium was an example of eastern culture (ok, this varies according to the period but it increases more and more, for example since the 7th century the eastern roman empire abandons latin as its official language) which in my opinion is not what Taldor needs AND Taldor already has an overwhelming western feel if you consider how it is depicted.

But how much of the "eastern" flavor would come through? Taldor is not the Eastern Roman Empire, just as Cheliax is neither Italy nor Great Britain. Taldor has knights in plate mail on horseback. They have falcata swashbuckling as a go-to swordsmanship style for the region. They have "Byzantine" politics (especially geopolitics) and popular culture in western trappings.

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For example, check the cover of Taldor echoes of glory... do you see anything byzantine in there?

For example, open Taldor: Echoes of Glory and read it... do you not see anything Eastern Roman in its contents?

You can protest and bluster all you like, but until you adequately explain why being influenced by "Byzantium" (something only you have thus far tried to argue against) is not what you want, you're not going to make a very convincing case.

No one is saying Oppara needs a Green and a Blue faction at the Arena, nor that they need to engage in the parricidal intrigues of the Tzimisces at the crown level. But in your noisy and inexplicable desire to deny any influence of Constantinople on Taldor, you are doing the goal of your own thread a grave disservice.

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I kind of figured Hell's Vengeance worked best if you assume that Wrath of the Righteous has already happened. It provides a good justification for a bunch of radical Iomedaeans to suddenly show up with a force strong enough to pose a legitimate thread to House Thrune.


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....... is all I have to say... just to the more recent posts...

Taldor rocks


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Quick question not to derail to much but does anyone know how many square miles Taldor is, just trying to work out a quick population estimate.

Liberty's Edge

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I've been thinking some more about what the role of the prominent gods in Taldor may be; I figured I'd share my thoughts.

Abadar

While Abadar would certainly be a widely-celebrated god, particularly in his role as patron of civilization, laws, and legitimate rulers, his association with such low practices as commerce and money-lending probably make his faith rather gauche among the Taldan aristocracy. Commerce is hardly a traditional pursuit for a landed noble, and being preoccupied with so a petty concern as money is a mark of commonness in a land where the upper classes have legions of serfs to provide them with an income. Likewise, the serfs themselves have more immediate concerns than the vagaries of finance and law, like whether there'll be enough rain this year and whether their sons will be sent off to die in their lord's latest petty feud.

Therefore, I imagine that, while most Taldans pay lip service Abadar as a great and important deity, in practice he's mostly the patron of the urban middle-class. His worshipers are bankers, merchants, petty landlords, and some skilled craftsmen, and those few members of the bourgeoisie who manage to worm their way into the lower aristocracy likely soon distance themselves from the unfashionable faith.

Aroden

I imagine that Aroden is a god who resonates on a very fundamental level with the Taldan soul, all the more so now that he has apparently died. He represents a link to the glory days of the empire, when Oppara was the seat of Aroden's church in Avistan, and beyond that to the mythic era of Taldor's founding by the heroic Azlanti survivors of Earthfall. The belief that Aroden is merely testing his faithful in his absence, and that he will one day return to usher in an Age of Glory for those who kept the faith, mirrors Taldor's own fallen state and dreams of one day recapturing the glories of old. In fact, some Taldans may believe that the failure of the Starfall Doctrine is basically Cheliax's fault, as the god was surely displeased when the center of his church was shifted from glorious Oppara to provincial Westcrown.

That said, the fact that Aroden no longer answers prayers limits the sort of people that remain faithful to him. The struggles faced by the common classes, and by anyone involved in perilous endeavors like sailing or warfare, call for a deity who might actually help out in a time of need. Anyone who regularly has cause to fear for their life or their livelihood will likely turn away from the church of the dead god, out of pragmatism if not for any other reason. Aroden is therefore likely a god most worshiped by old and stable aristocratic families who have no need of miracles to ensure their prosperity and safety.

Calistria

Even if she weren't a deity associated with sexual excess, trickery, and bloody vengeance, Calistria is a distinctly foreign god, and one most commonly associated with non-humans at that. In proud and xenophobic Taldor, this is more than enough to make her faith seem scandalous and untrustworthy, but also to lend it an exotic allure. Calistria has little to offer the rural peasant class of Taldor, but in the cities it caters to every vice that a man or woman can imagine and pay for.

In Taldor, Calistria counts actors, elves, prostitutes, sailors, and other such city-dwelling undesirables among her faithful. Though their families would be loathe to admit it, her temples and pleasure-parlors also attract many young noblemen, seeking entertainments not to be found in glittering opera houses and genteel salons. They also come seeking the means to gain an upper hand over their rivals in the great game that is Taldan politics, and Calistrian spies and information-brokers play an important part in the intrigues of the capital.

Cayden Cailean

Although probably a child of Absalom rather than of Taldor proper, the mortal Cayden was indisputably of Taldan descent, and is therefore counted among the pantheon of the Empire's most storied heroes. Unlike his fellow ascended mortal Aroden, however, Cayden Cailean is more popular among commoners than he is among the landed aristocracy. His worshipers include innkeepers and wine-sellers, or course, as well as brewers and vintners, and even many agricultural laborers who provide the raw materials needed to practice those professions. Many of Taldor's professional soldiers and mercenaries in Taldor pray to the Lucky Drunk as well, seeing in him a kindred spirit and hoping to be blessed with bravery on the battlefield.

Moreover, Cayden Cailean is worshiped by all those who appreciate the simple joys of a cool drink, a friendly brawl, and a tumble in the hay with a farmer's daughter (or son). For serfs, whose day-to-day existence allows them little pleasure, Cayden represents all the best things in life, ensuring his nearly universal popularity throughout the Taldan countryside. While the aristocracy may feel uneasy when priests of the Lucky Drunk speak of human dignity and the right of every person to be free, they're simply too much a part of the cultural fabric of Taldor to be done away with. That said, particularly troublesome preachers certainly do disappear from time to time; after all, in these troubled times there are many bandits upon the roads, and no traveler in rural Taldor is ever entirely safe...

Kurgess

Another celebrated member of Taldor's pantheon of heroes, in Taldor Kurgess is usually viewed as an ally or even subordinate of Cayden Cailean, and the two churches work closely with one another. Taldans have a great love of competition in all its forms, and the faith of Kurgass has spread quickly among professional athletes, gladiators, and even members of the aristocracy who seek to prove their worth through physical prowess. In the latter case, Taldan high society is somewhat ambivalent in how it treats aristocratic followers of Kurgess. On the one hand, the Strong Man is perhaps the best example of how Taldor remains a land of larger-than-life heroes, even in the twilight of its power. On the other, Kurgess and most of his priesthood come from distinctly common stock, and many aristocrats see their influence, and perhaps even Kurgess' divine ascension itself, as an affront to the traditional Taldan class structure.

A few soldiers and sellswords dedicate themselves to the Strong Man's faith as well, though not so many as adhere to the worship of Cayden Cailean. Even those who don't take Kurgess as a patron may offer him a praise before engaging in any sort of physical competition, as common superstition holds that the the god himself sometimes visits Taldor to observe or participate in such games.

Norgorber

Even moreso than Kurgess, Norgorber represents something of a conundrum in Taldan polite society. The first mortal to pass the Test of the Starstone after Aroden raised the artifact from the sea, Norgorber is theoretically a paragon of human drive ability. More than that, although almost nothing is known about Norgorber's mortal life outside of the highest levels of his faith, common wisdom holds that he was Taldan, which in theory would place him among the greatest of Taldor's heroes by virtue of his divine ascension. And yet, as in most civilized societies, the worship of Norgorber is formally forbidden by law in Taldor, and his underhanded ways are antithetical to the virtues prized by Taldan culture.

That said, it is an open secret that Norgorber's church wields a great deal of influence in Taldor. Taldor's powerful Thieves' Guild(s) revere the Gray Master as their patron and symbolic ancestor, proud to have a divine "hero" of their own. Many assassins and unscrupulous alchemists in Oppara and beyond revere Blackfingers, and perform poisonings in their god's name on behalf of aristocrats embroiled in Oppara's deadly intrigues. Priests of the Reaper of Reputations are perhaps the most well-known of all, and anyone in Taldor with money and connections (and a flexible moral compass) has likely had dealings with these merchants of secrets.

Sarenrae

Proscribed for more than 200 years by decree of Grand Prince Stavian I, the Church of Sarenrae remains in many ways a religion of outsiders. In addition to Keleshites, who brought the Dawnflower's religion to Taldor in the first place and continue to be subject to racial discrimination, Sarenrae's faith has attracted all manner of outcasts, former criminals, runaway slaves and serfs, and other such villains seeking to find acceptance and make a new start. Her faith also attracts all manner of well-meaning radicals and reformists, particularly those who wish to see the end of slavery and serfdom in their country. Whereas the faith of Cayden Cailean is integrated enough into Taldan society that its priesthood is mostly willing to work within the current order, the outsider status of Sarenrae's priests makes them more willing to call for radical change. The Taldan Church of Sarenrae venerates many holy martyrs who died for their beliefs, and even now that the faith is no longer outlawed, many of the Dawnflower's followers stand willing to die in the name of what they believe is right.

Beyond foreigners, outcasts, and radicals, Sarenrae's church has been gaining ground quickly among the serfs as well - so quickly, in fact, that many wonder how widespread Sarenite beliefs had already become when the faith was still outlawed. This belief has less to do with the church's stance against serfdom than it does with more practical matters; as a solar deity, Sarenrae has an obvious appeal to farmers, and as a goddess of healing, her followers are always a welcome sight for those who can't afford to seek succor with Taldor's more mercenary churches. While faith in Cayden Cailean probably remains more widespread, Sarenrae arguably has a more universal appeal for the rural poor, and the expansion of her faith across the countryside shows no signs of stopping.

Shelyn

Of the ancient deities that the Taldans inherited from their Azlanti ancestors, Shelyn is unsurprisingly the most loved. It is said that no other nation on Golarion is as favored by the Eternal Rose as Taldor, and it is a widely held belief that the goddess herself visits the Temple of the Upheld and Golden Rose in Oppara once a year to spend a day among her faithful. The Taldan people return this affection in kind, and you will rarely find a Taldan so jaded that he or she has never offered a prayer to Shelyn her aid in matters of the heart or in thanks after witnessing a sight of great beauty. Much of the Taldan preoccupation with elegance and fashion stems from their appreciation of the tenants of Shelyn's faith.

As the goddess of love and beauty, Shelyn's appeal is universal, but she is particularly revered by artists, performers, skilled artisans, and the most aesthetically inclined of the nation's aristocracy. The lower classes tend to invoke her name less commonly, as they can ill afford to spend their time contemplating beauty or engaging in the elaborate and lengthy courtships common among aristocratic couples. Nevertheless, nearly every Taldan bride or groom dreams of having a Shelynite wedding, and even those who have rarely spare a thought for the goddess will often travel for days to be married at one of the small Shelynite temples scattered throughout the country. In the cities, the larger and more prestigious temples often have waiting lists stretching months or even years for weddings, and can support themselves almost entirely from the tithes they collect for performing these services.

The Green Faith

Although Taldans generally prefer to worship anthropomorphic deities with ties to their history and culture, the Green Faith deserves a special mention if only because its nominal center lies within the nation. Druids from all over Golarion gather at the Wildwood Lodge on the Isle of Arenway in Taldor once a year to discuss weighty concerns about Golarion's health and to commune with the Will of the World. Throughout the year, the Lodge guards the Verduran Forest, and has a standing agreement with the Taldan Government which allows for the harvesting of some of the forest's valuable blackwood trees under close supervision by the druids.

The Green Faith is probably popular among the people living in and around the Verduran Forest, including the inhabitants of Wispil. The Green Faith is also an attractive faith to farmers, who have a particularly close relationship with the land and the plants and animals that inhabit it, and it seems likely that the faith is found in rural areas well beyond the edges of the Verduran, at least in the northern part of the country.


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Great post Gnoll Bard!

My notes:

Adabar: I agree but I also believe the taldan noble class would stress Adabar aspect as the god of civilization, in turn identifying themselves with those who brought said civilization to other people ("Those unwashed, ungrateful savages!")

Aroden: I believe a modicum of scorn is in order here as the pride of many a Taldan would have been hurt when the church of Aroden decided to leave for Cheliax. To more than a few Taldans Aroden may have gotten what he deserved for abandoning them for Cheliax!

Calistria: Nothing to add but that more than a few Taldan nobles have probably found out the hard way how taking a calistrian for mistress is not a practice without its own risks.

Cayden Cailean: Agreed. I also think more than a few nobles (especially those whose estates are built around famous wineyards) would at least pay a modicum of respect to Cayden.

Kurgess: The arena in Oppara could very well be one of Kurgess' holy sites.

Norgorber: Right on target.

Sarenrae: She's interesting because she brings the possibility of conflict with her. More than a few nobles could feel threatened or offended by her return to Taldor because of her ties with Qdira. I think that her history within Taldor would make her less appealing even to the common classes as Taldans of any walk of life are of a proud sort and the war with Qdira hits a sore spot for many of them still.

Shelyn: Yes, but if she favors Taldor... what do servants of Zon Kuthon think of it?

The Green Faith: Agreed

Liberty's Edge

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Blech, twelve hours later and I'm just now noticing all those typos. Oh well, glad some people found my ideas interesting, at least. :)

Rogar Valertis wrote:

Great post Gnoll Bard!

My notes:

Adabar: I agree but I also believe the taldan noble class would stress Adabar aspect as the god of civilization, in turn identifying themselves with those who brought said civilization to other people ("Those unwashed, ungrateful savages!")

I imagine these sorts of attitudes were probably more widespread in the heyday of the Empire, when the Grand Prince ruled over many non-Taldan "barbarians" in need of a proper education in the arts of civilization. As this "civilizing" mission came to an end with the loss of most of the empire, the focus of Abadar's faith probably shifted to matters of commerce and law, and it consequently became less attractive to the nobility.

Rogar Valertis wrote:
Aroden: I believe a modicum of scorn is in order here as the pride of many a Taldan would have been hurt when the church of Aroden decided to leave for Cheliax. To more than a few Taldans Aroden may have gotten what he deserved for abandoning them for Cheliax!

I agree that opinions on Aroden in Taldor probably run the gamut from zealous devotion to indifference to scorn, but it's worth remembering that the god's faith never fully abandoned Taldor, and as such I doubt that most of the nobility fully abandoned their faith in the Last Azlanti.

Rogar Valertis wrote:
Sarenrae: She's interesting because she brings the possibility of conflict with her. More than a few nobles could feel threatened or offended by her return to Taldor because of her ties with Qdira. I think that her history within Taldor would make her less appealing even to the common classes as Taldans of any walk of life are of a proud sort and the war with Qdira hits a sore spot for many of them still.

You raise a good point. It might be that Sarenrae's faith in Taldor is actually strongest in those regions furthest from the Qadiran border. Northern Taldans may have met Keleshite missionaries without ever having clashed with Keleshite soldiers, and might therefore be more positively disposed toward the faith.

Rogar Valertis wrote:
Shelyn: Yes, but if she favors Taldor... what do servants of Zon Kuthon think of it?

While pockets of Zon-Kuthon's faithful are found throughout the Inner Sea Region, their influence really seems to be centered on Nidal, and Taldor is somewhat outside of that nation's sphere of influence. I imagine that The Midnight Lord's faith is outlawed in Taldor, and his faithful probably have no more influence than similarly proscribed cults of demon-worshipers and the like.


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Great 3 posts above!

In the case of Norgorber, I wonder if it makes a difference that he may have actually been four Halflings in a trench coat . . . .


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Since Taldor doesn't seem to be a focus development wise, I've chosen to make my own Taldor centric Adventure Path. This thread definitely shows me that their is a least some interest.


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Let's try to determine the standing of the main evil deities in Taldor (Norgorber has already been dealt with though).

Asmodeus: The prince of darkness cult is intrinsically tied to Cheliax. This alone makes hard for its church to gain any momentum in Taldor although the cult's strong emphasis on order and law made possible for it not to get banned.
That said Asmodeus does have a few converts in Taldor, generally people of noble stock ruling their fiefs as true tyrants. Serfs in these lands are often worked as hard as possible, and their lords make sure they know they live and die at their whim.
While often considered crass and unrefined by the vast majority of their peers these cruel nobles are sometimes looked at as people who have found effective methods to counter the madness from Galt and to a lesser extent from Andoran, reaffirming the "rightful order of things".

Lamashtu: As her title implies the "mother of monsters" appeals to monstruos races. This makes her presence in Taldor's most civilized areas almost negligible. In the wilderness, especially near the Fog Peaks in the north, her cult has followers and not only monstruos ones. More than a few rejects and serfs who have rebelled against the authority of their lords and survive hiding in Taldor's woods and bogs pray to Lamashtu and plot their revenge, often by allying themselves with the likes of goblins or giants (and often ending up as their meal). It goes without saying that her worship is outlawed in Taldor.

Rovagug: In Taldor the Rough Beast has even less worhippers than Lamashtu does. The few that exist try to keep their affiliation secret until their natures betray them, often in spectacular fashions. A few flee to the wilderness where they wage short but bloody wars against the constituted order. As with Lamashtu, Rovagus's cult is not allowed in Taldor.

Urgathoa: The Pallid Princess cannot be openly venerated in Taldor as her pratices are widely considered too horrific and gruesome to be socially acceptable. Even so the Pallid Princess has a small but fanaticaly zealous flock in Taldor, as a good number of edonists exist in the country, especially among the nobility. These people embrace Urgathoa's cult with fervor fully convinced that their Country and by extension the world only exist to be "sampled" by them.

Zon-Kuthon: As Shelyn is said to love Taldor so is the god of torment said to hate it. Kuthites are not usually interessed in mundane politics but when it comes to Taldor more than a few of them have tried to turn the whole place into the living embodyment of their god "dreams", twisting a land sacred the Shelyn into a maddening horror of warped flesh. Fortunately most Taldans, no matter their station, istinctively find Zon-Kuthon's worship to be extremely unpalatable and his cult is proscribed throughout the land. That said a few converts exist, be they nobles who went to far while pursuing their decadent practices or wretched serfs who found perverse solace from their existance's woes by abandoning themselves to the Midnight Lord's non existent mercy.


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Shivok wrote:
Since Taldor doesn't seem to be a focus development wise, I've chosen to make my own Taldor centric Adventure Path. This thread definitely shows me that their is a least some interest.

Keep us posted. Will this be something you will be putting together before running a campaign, or something you create on the fly? PbP or campaign journal by any chance?

Shadow Lodge

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I have read somewhere that Taldor was Josh Frost's creation/baby and he was the office "champion" for Taldor. Since he has left, Taldor has gotten less love because others have other priorities.

Can anyone confirm or deny this.


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I cant remember the thread but the dinosaur JJ said it was someone elses baby.

EtG

Edit: Rob and Crystal per JJ in the Taldor book thread.

Liberty's Edge

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Rogar Valertis wrote:

Let's try to determine the standing of the main evil deities in Taldor (Norgorber has already been dealt with though).

Asmodeus: The prince of darkness cult is intrinsically tied to Cheliax. This alone makes hard for its church to gain any momentum in Taldor although the cult's strong emphasis on order and law made possible for it not to get banned.
That said Asmodeus does have a few converts in Taldor, generally people of noble stock ruling their fiefs as true tyrants. Serfs in these lands are often worked as hard as possible, and their lords make sure they know they live and die at their whim.
While often considered crass and unrefined by the vast majority of their peers these cruel nobles are sometimes looked at as people who have found effective methods to counter the madness from Galt and to a lesser extent from Andoran, reaffirming the "rightful order of things".

Lamashtu: As her title implies the "mother of monsters" appeals to monstruos races. This makes her presence in Taldor's most civilized areas almost negligible. In the wilderness, especially near the Fog Peaks in the north, her cult has followers and not only monstruos ones. More than a few rejects and serfs who have rebelled against the authority of their lords and survive hiding in Taldor's woods and bogs pray to Lamashtu and plot their revenge, often by allying themselves with the likes of goblins or giants (and often ending up as their meal). It goes without saying that her worship is outlawed in Taldor.

Rovagug: In Taldor the Rough Beast has even less worhippers than Lamashtu does. The few that exist try to keep their affiliation secret until their natures betray them, often in spectacular fashions. A few flee to the wilderness where they wage short but bloody wars against the constituted order. As with Lamashtu, Rovagus's cult is not allowed in Taldor.

Urgathoa: The Pallid Princess cannot be openly venerated in Taldor as her pratices are widely considered too horrific and gruesome to be socially...

I like your ideas, though I think Rovagug might have more of a following, considering Taldor's relative proximity to the Pit of Gormuz. I'm envisioning peasants turned bandit who have lost everything and now "Just want to watch the world burn."

On a related note, I think some of the demon lords have been called out as having a following in Taldor; I seem to recall Nocticula and Socothbenoth being among them.


Bump.


Haldrick wrote:

Just wanted to disagree with one thing from Sir Longears

"Taldor and Magic: I think their view of magic are pretty standard... they are neither fanatic about it nor dismissive. It is simply a tool to achieve something. If you take in consideration the usual picture of a Duke, who probably had devoted much of his life in the military career, he'd probably not be a wizard... on the other hand he would acknowledge the value of having a wizard on his court as an advisor."

A Duke has probably never had a career. Most would not serve in the military. They may get to lead an army due to position/political clout.

If Taldor is modeled after European nobility, Military service would be mandatory for nobles. Midieval Europe had essentially three castes, those who labored, those who thought, and those who fought, peasantry, priests, and nobility, respectively. In these terms "fought" generally meant leading armies of knights and conscripts as part of meeting the obligations of vassalage.


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There's a few core deities whoe have not been covered yet.

Desna: The song of the spheres is surprisingly popular in Taldor. Serfs cannot travel freely between the fiefs forming Taldor's structure and even free lowborn Taldans usually don't travel much. Far from deterring people from worshipping Deasna, these circumstances actually add to her appeal. Common people may not have the means to travel around the country but a lot of them would like to. That's exactly why Desna is popular: she represents something a lot of people think they'd like to do if they could and the fact they cannot makes the goddess of travel even more desirable. Things change with the nobility. Since they can (and do) travel around, and when they do they don't usually enjoy all possible conforts and luxuries, that aspect of Desna holds little appeal for them. Desna's focus on personal independence is also seen by many a noble as a seditious and troublesome concept. This doesn't mean all nobles reject Desna's teachings. For example more than a few occult obsessed nobles worship her as the goddess of dreams and omens.

Gorum: For Taldor, a land that considers itself the bringer of civilization for all of the Inner Sea Region and beyond, Gorum seems an unlikely deity. This is true to a degree, but even here Our Lord in Iron has its own dedicated followers, especially among the nobility. Gorum is worshipped widely in the south and Zimar in particular and a lot of the oldest Taldan Houses have embraced his teachings as a way to mark their difference from what they see as a degeneration of Taldan customs. The ancestors who made Taldor an empire where not fighting duels for sport, they say, but rather with greatswords, axes and plate armor. And of course, among the factions struggling for prominence in taldan political's arena, the militarists are the ones who embrace the gorumite's philosophy of a constant warlike state with abandon.

Gozreh: Work in progress

Irori: Work in progress

Nethys: Work in progress

Pharasma: Work in progress


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
If Taldor is modeled after European nobility, Military service would be mandatory for nobles. Midieval Europe had essentially three castes, those who labored, those who thought, and those who fought, peasantry, priests, and nobility, respectively. In these terms "fought" generally meant leading armies of knights and conscripts as part of meeting the obligations of vassalage.

Suddenly I realized that this sounds suspiciously similar to the Minato of Babylon 5, although they are much more high-tech. Wonder if Starfinder will have a successor state to Taldor?


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
If Taldor is modeled after European nobility, Military service would be mandatory for nobles. Midieval Europe had essentially three castes, those who labored, those who thought, and those who fought, peasantry, priests, and nobility, respectively. In these terms "fought" generally meant leading armies of knights and conscripts as part of meeting the obligations of vassalage.
Suddenly I realized that this sounds suspiciously similar to the Minato of Babylon 5, although they are much more high-tech. Wonder if Starfinder will have a successor state to Taldor?

What!? Stupid auto-correct on my phone! That was supposed to be Minbari! That thing is going to get me into serious trouble one of these days . . . .


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Gozreh: In Taldor the dual god of water and thunder is mainly worshipped along the nation's coast. For obvious reasons those who make their living at sea can rarely afford not to pay their respects to Gozreh after all. Aside from the coast the most significant presence of Gozreh's worshippers in Taldor is registered in the small communities living near the Fog Peaks border, with Gozreh's aspect as god of thunder and storms prevailing on the feminine goddess of water

Irori: In theory Irori's teachings self perfection should mesh well with the proud Taldans but in practice the nation doesn't harbour many worshippers of the master of masters at all. The reason for this is probably linked to Irori's eastern heritage, which in many a Taldan's eyes is usually linked with Quadira even when it is not. The only place where the presence of Iroran faithsul is significant in Taldor is the Monastery of the Seven Forms


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Nethys: The worship of Nethys isn't widespread in Taldor. The church of the "All seeing eye" caters for spellcasters and while Taldor has its fair share of those they are by no means common. Taldan wizards don't usually frequent academies and the Country doesn't have a center of magical study to call its own. Taldan spellcasters usually take apprentices once or twice during their lives, developing magical lineages akin those of nobles (and sometimes they are both nobles and spellcasters). A few of these wizards do worship Nethys and they pass their faith unto their disciples much like the knowledge they impart on them. This means that while the cult of Nethys is tiny in Taldor the pratictioners are usually powerful spellcasters and often wield disproportionate amounts of power both magical and political.

Pharasma: Pharasmins hold several positions of honor throughout taldan society. Generally speaking Taldor loves and respects traditions and the pharasmin are welcomed in most communities as midwives, gravediggers and sometimes even prophets (who are less likely to be hunted down by superstitious peasants due to their connection to the Lady fo Graves...). Pharasma's faithful also have a strong presence among the judicial orders. Many taldan judges are corrupt, but pharasmin are usually considered less likely to accept bribes or to allow nobles to do as they please without repercussions. In a Country where the law heavily favors the highborn that alone is not a small feat and helped endear the cult of Pharasma to the common people.


I've been thinking and I've come up with the conclusion the best foil for Taldor is not Quadira or Cheliax but actually Galt.

Taldor is a land defined by its traditions and its fairly rigid social system with nobility on top. Taldor is an aristocracy with a weak king (the grand prince), on the other hand Galt is the exact opposite of that. Modelled after the "terror" period of the french revolution Galt is basically in a state of constant anarchy and it's ruled by "mob justice", revolutionaries that no matter how well meaning usually get killed by the forces they unleashed and a secret order of "guardians of the revolution" (the grey gardeners). Taldor may hate Quadira for their long war and Cheliax for its betrayal but those sentiments aside Taldor is not THAT different from these 2 nations. On the other hand Taldor and Galt are each other's polar opposite.
I think for Taldor ruling class Galt would be a concern even bigger than Quadira and Cheliax, and for Galt Taldor would be the perfect scapegoat and target to spread the fires of their red revolution.


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^This probably depends upon actual actions by Galt. Right now, Qadira and Cheliax have serious track records of causing harm to Taldor, but Galt doesn't except indirectly by way of Cheliax (the same as is true for Andoran, by the way). Now, if somebody in Galt does something really crazy and attacks Taldor, all that could change. Of course, an additional problem for Taldor (even in response to something like this) is that if they get into a war on their northern and/or western fronts, they have to worry about getting stabbed in the back by Qadira.

A plausible Inner Sea Regional War scenario is one in which Cheliax and Andoran get into war with each other (could be started by either side, or even ignited by a non-state actor, as in World War I on Earth), and Taldor attacks Andoran to try to take what they can for themselves (possibly after trying unsuccessfully to force Andoran into accepting aid against Cheliax that has too high a price), and then Qadira sees this as an opportunity to hit Taldor (as they did once before), nevermind the wishes of the empire they are part of.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
If Taldor is modeled after European nobility, Military service would be mandatory for nobles. Midieval Europe had essentially three castes, those who labored, those who thought, and those who fought, peasantry, priests, and nobility, respectively. In these terms "fought" generally meant leading armies of knights and conscripts as part of meeting the obligations of vassalage.

Suddenly I realized that this sounds suspiciously similar to the Minato of Babylon 5, although they are much more high-tech. Wonder if Starfinder will have a successor state to Taldor?

Science fiction writers are experts at drawing from obscure facts of real life.


Don't really know how I want to go about this but her goes. The Eldest could theoretically have a presence in taldor as various minor cults. The same can be said for demons,daemons and devils.

EtG

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