Between the devil-bound nation of Cheliax and the storied realm of Varisia festers a land enveloped in gloom, where 10,000 years of obeisance to a fell god have warped the people and landscape into shadowy horrors beyond recognition.
Welcome, then, to Nidal.
In Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows, we draw back the curtain for the first time on this theocracy dedicated to Zon-Kuthon, god of darkness and pain.
The book includes a stunningly detailed look into Nidalese history and daily life, both in the nation's oppressive cities and in rural villages, where keeping the appearance of absolute dedication to the Kuthite religion is a matter of life and death. This book also reveals new details about how, 10,000 years ago, Nidal's leaders made the pact that placed the nation in eternal servitude to the evil Midnight Lord. A gazetteer of the entire land, detailed threats in the gloom, and a shudder-inducing bestiary round out this book's offerings.
There's a lot to be proud of in this book, and foremost on that list for me are the absolutely stellar authors on this project.
I'm so pleased to say that all of the lore and gazetteer information in Nidal, Land of Shadows was written by Liane Merciel, the author who brought you the incredible novels Nightglass and Nightblade. Those novels provided bone-chilling glimpses into the stark wickedness of Kuthite life, and Liane did an incredible job building those details into a rich, nuanced, and horrific world for Game Masters and players to explore. Some of the most memorable creatures and set pieces from the novels—Joyful Things, anyone?—are now fully integrated into the Pathfinder RPG.
Continuing the list of first-rate authors, the book's foreboding adventure sites were written by none other than Lyz Liddell, a Paizo editor who is as conscientious and thoughtful a writer as she is incisive and affecting. Lyz did a great job creating and expanding locations that range from an underground hub of Desnan resistance to a stronghold of rogue kytons to a certain tower where a tapestry of living flesh is not the most horrifying thing inside.
In the book's bestiary, our author list continues to shine. For this stark task, we pulled on board Ron Lundeen and Mark Moreland, two of Paizo's own developers. Mark's work, in truly fine form, includes the monster write-up for the Joyful Thing mentioned above, and I think it turned out spectacularly creepy and atmospheric. Additionally, I'm so pleased to say that Ron, whose new monsters in this book include a gristly new kyton, joined our team in the office shortly after completing this assignment—one of many reasons why this book is quite special.
There's so much to say about Nidal, Land of Shadows that I'm going to leave further discussion of it for another blog. For now, take a look at this beautiful opening piece from the second chapter!
Illustration by Federico Musetti
Amanda Hamon Kunz