See the World, Visit Distant Shores

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Want to learn what lies beyond the border of the Inner Sea region? Eager to set sail to mysterious Arcadia, follow trade roads into vast Casmaron, or venture to legendary Vudra? The journey you chose is up to you, but your destination is right here: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Shores.

Over years of developing the Inner Sea region we've dropped countless hints about this mysterious relic from Iblydos or that distant ruin in Holomog. Now, we're pulling back the curtain just a peak. Actually, we're pulling back six curtains, revealing destination cities on the fringes of such mysterious lands as Arcadia, Casmaron, Iblydos, Tian-Xia, Southern Garund, and Vudra. For the first time ever, we're detailing major cities in these distant regions (or unexplored nations therein), giving you full-fledged, thriving settings for you to explore. Each of these six cities presents new rules options along with them, be they a new player race, new deities to worship, new mythic abilities to claim, or other character options, assuring that your journey to distant shores leaves a distinctive mark.

As defining the lands beyond the Inner Sea region is such a major undertaking for us, we trusted these explorations to six in-house authors who have already proven themselves experts on these rich lands. In their authors' words, here are the six cities you'll find in Distant Shores, as well as some of the most exciting elements you'll learn about in each.

Aelyosos, City of Tides, by John Compton

The people of Iblydos owe their existence to the cyclopses that emigrated from Ghol-Gan during that doomed empire's decline, and though the giants have dwindled in number since, they and humans continue to co-exist on the archipelago. The greatest mortals earn the rite of myth-speaking, in which the cyclopses foresee how that hero might attain mythic power through great deeds. Many of these so-called hero-gods have since ruled one of Iblydos's city-states, granting spells to followers and heralding in a new age of prosperity or tyranny. Since the deaths of Aroden and prophecy itself, the tradition has failed with troubling frequency. Now the last hero-gods age and dwindle, and a new generation of heroes must arise to combat the greatest threat to the islands: the thalassic behemoth Ousmariku.

Illustration by Ben Wootten

Illustration by Davi Blight

Anuli, City of New Beginnings, by Crystal Frasier

I wrote up Anuli, the furthest-north city in the celestially empowered nation of Holomog. It stands out as a matriarchy that isn't evil, and as a good-aligned nation that still has plenty of possibility for adventure: political intrigue, chaos cults, an evil nation of undead on their borders, and 10,000 years worth of abandoned cities and ruins. Anuli is also the only nation on Golarion that has been continuously exposed to the energies of the outer planes for millennia, causing a number of unexpected side-effects, including a new player race.

Dhucharg, City of Conquerors, by Amanda Hamon-Kunz

The most intriguing part about fleshing out Dhucharg was playing with the pervasive undercurrents of dissidence and discord that must naturally arise in a city with absolutely rigid and militaristic social and political structures. On one hand, I got to create a society that has a law for everything, and into which each individual literally has a prescribed place. On the other hand, there's this sense that if any of the dissident elements in the city gain traction, the entire thing might collapse. Mix that intrigue with the fact that Dhucharg is a city of hobgoblins (some of the coolest goblinoids!) and this assignment was a blast indeed!

Radripal, City of Arches, by Mark Moreland

Since I first read about Vudra in the original Pathfinder Chronicles Gazetteer, I've been captivated by this fantasy version of India. So when the opportunity arose to further flesh out this part of the setting, I couldn't let it pass me by. My favorite part of writing Radripal was getting to define three new Vudran deities (of which there are hundreds) and to detail a non-evil city ruled by a rakshasa. Placing the riverside city on both sides of a natural bridge allowed me to define two distinct parts of the city and play with the interactions between them from a religious, social, economic, and demographic perspective.

Illustration by Ben Wootten

Segada, City of Keys, by Adam Daigle

When we first started talking about which city in Arcadia we'd detail, the first things that popped up were places that we've already mentioned, but many of us weren't interested in doing an Avistani colony in a land ripe for something new. We did realize that we needed some element of a touchstone that people were familiar with, so with Segada you get to see not only a city full of Arcadians, but you also get to see how they interact with the Avistanis that have recently come to their shores.

Ular Kel, The Caravan City, by James L. Sutter

A while back, I wrote a web fiction story called "Boar and Rabbit" about two men of the Iridian Fold who are major characters in The Redemption Engine. I'd already decided that the Iridian Fold (introduced way back in City of Strangers) came from a place called Karazh in central Casmaron, a region inspired in part by the real-world steppes of Kazakhstan and other Central Asian nations—places that frankly get short shrift in the States. (I'm ashamed to admit that, not that many years ago, I thought Kazakhstan had been made up by comedian Sascha Baron Cohen. I blame the American public school system.) While "Boar and Rabbit" was primarily a prince-and-pauper love story, the bits of description I was able to seed about Karazh's capital city of Ular Kel kept nagging at me, and I started keeping notes. As soon as Wes posited the idea of the Distant Shores project, I pounced on it, and I'm thrilled to finally get Ular Kel out of my head and into the public eye at last!

You won't have to for long to plan your far-flung adventures, as Distant Shores releases this month. And be sure to let us know which regions are your favorites—as it might help us decide where to explore in more detail next!

F. Wesley Schneider

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ben Wootten Davi Blight Pathfinder Campaign Setting

Mhm, so many tantalizing possibilities. Aelyosos, Anuli and Segada sound particularly interesting.

I remember asking about Casmaron at a GenCon seminar some years ago, while I was running a Kingmaker campaign in neighboring Brevoy & the Stolen Lands - getting ready for a sequel campaign!

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Sounds awesome!

So the gods of Golarion got super upset with the people of Aelyosos for worshiping their "hero-gods" I take it and sicked Ousmariku on them (or am I wrong on that)?

Radripal is ruled by a Rakshasa? Is it a Maharaja or (dare I say it) a Rajadhiraja?

I can barely contain myself to wait until learning all about Anuli and Holomog!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

They all sound equally interesting. I am rather curious as to how Radripal is ruled by a rakshasa, and is yet not corrupted.

Hope to see it in my mailbox, soon!

Liberty's Edge

The art for Segada is interesting with the building sort of reflecting a Pueblo touch but the boats look kind of Western. Hmmm...

J-Bone wrote:
The art for Segada is interesting with the building sort of reflecting a Pueblo touch but the boats look kind of Western. Hmmm...

Where? I see a picture for Radripal and Aelyosos, but that's it.

Berselius wrote:
So the gods of Golarion got super upset with the people of Aelyosos for worshiping their "hero-gods" I take it and sicked Ousmariku on them (or am I wrong on that)?

Then it's been doing that for a long time, given the implications of the tradition. Yet the cities haven't been destroyed by now?

More likely the people have been spurning the gods in general because they aren't giving out hero-gods to rule the cities. Clash of the Titans reference.

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I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it sounds like a nice taste... on the other hand, its not really very useful in the larger scheme of things. it would be much better if Paizo did a more orderly expansion of information.

As ambitious as a six-curtain drawback is, it does, so to speak, have its drawbacks. I would love to see multiple more thorough expansions detailing each region individually, in the tradition of "The Dragon Empires Gazetteer".

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Dragon Empires Gazetteer came out because the Jade Regent AP needed it (plus there was a season of PFS play which had a partial focus on Tian Xia too).

I think that the advantage of the Distant Shores sourcebook is that it gives us a taste of the unexplored regions. Paizo can then see which region creates the greatest positive response, and, based on that, they can plan a future AP/PFS season.

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