The Fabled Appendix – Erik Mona (Part 3)

Friday, February 20, 2009

In the second part of my interview with Erik Mona about which books, movies, and other resources he would include in Paizo's Appendix N, he explained how the idea of a devil-worshiping colonial power—the concept of which eventually became the feared nation of Cheliax—began as a faction in a miniatures game that he developed in his free time. In this conclusion, Erik reveals that several other nations of Golarion, including Andoran and the Land of the Linnorm Kings, had their beginnings in his miniatures game as well. Of course, no version of the fabled Appendix N would be complete without a list of inspiration and educational reading, and Erik admirably provides a hefty list of source material!

Erik: Another colonial power in the miniatures game was the Vikings; the fact that I am from Minnesota, am a fan of the Vikings football team, am of Scandinavian ancestry, and am a fan of Vikings as a sword and sorcery archetype in general, made their conclusion pretty much inevitable. A lot of S&S authors, such as Robert E. Howard and Poul Anderson, pulled the Icelandic sagas into their own worlds. I wanted to bring this archetype into the world of Pathfinder.

Before we began working on Pathfinder, I created a homebrew setting for my own games. While I never got the chance to play in the world, the very first region I detailed in this setting was the realm of the Vikings, which I called the Land of the Linnorm Kings; when we created Golarion, I imported this realm, name and all, directly into the world. A number of sources influenced my vision of the Vikings: the Icelandic sagas, Poul Anderson's The Valor of Cappen Varra, The 13th Warrior, a number of different history books about the Vikings, and my own visits to Norway.

Another faction in the miniatures game included a fantasy version of colonial America as well as a faction inspired by Revolutionary France. Thus, Andoran and Galt were part of my conception of Golarion right from the beginning. A number of books influenced my conception of the Revolutionary faction, such as Claude Manceron's 5-book series The Age of the French Revolution about France in the years leading up to the Revolution, and Simon Schama's Citizens—I loved the idea of how the revolution started with idealistic intentions but then went horribly wrong.

A number of sources inspired the creation of other regions in Golarion: Irrisen is essentially the realm of the White Queen of Narnia meets Baba Yaga; the Realm of the Mammoth Lords was designed as an homage to classic Lost World tales of megafauna and giants, as well as Hollow Earth-style settings of the kind Edgar Rice Burroughs created; Numeria could best be described as Expedition to the Barrier Peaks meets Thundarr the Barbarian; Mendev was inspired by tales of the Crusades, and has elements of the Demon War from John Ostrander's GrimJack comic book, the Swarm from Hugh Cook's novels, and the forces of Chaos from Warhammer Fantasy; the primary sources of inspiration for the River Kingdoms were the Bandit Kingdoms of Greyhawk and the Young Kingdoms from Michael Moorcock's Elric series; Taldor was inspired by the climate and visuals of the Crusader kingdoms in the Holy Land, as well as the cultural decadence of Ancient Rome and pre-Revolution France; and Absalom was heavily influenced by HBO's Rome series, which depicted noble families whose lineages stretch back thousands of years, while the Starstone and the religious faiths with which it is associated are an obvious parallel of Jerusalem. The Starstone itself is inspired by the Kaaba in Mecca, and was named after a short story by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore titled The Quest of the Starstone. Planet Stories has reprinted Quest of the Starstone in both Northwest of Earth and Black God's Kiss, by C. L. Moore.

Thanks for reading, Paizonians! Stay tuned for more interviews with Paizo staff members as we continue to expand Paizo's Appendix N!

David Eitelbach
Editorial Intern

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