Tales of Lost Omens

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Now that we've concluded our Iconic Evolutions video series, I'm sure all of our readers are eagerly awaiting news of what exciting content we'll be sharing on Tuesdays going forward. Have no fear, brave Pathfinders, for I've got you covered!

Starting next week, hot on the heels of what's sure to be the best PaizoCon yet, we'll be showing the first of the new regions of the Pathfinder setting as presented in the Lost Omens World Guide, coming out on August 1. These 10 meta-regions are geographically contiguous and thematically linked sections of the Inner Sea region, each intended to be a bit more accessible to new players and Game Masters than the previous 40+ nations presented in the Inner Sea World Guide.

Cartography by Rob McCaleb

In addition to new groupings of neighboring nations, we've also updated the "status quo" of the setting to incorporate the effects of the past 12 years of adventures. We'll share a few of these changes every Tuesday until August, giving you a glimpse of the state of the world in 4719 AR and beyond. Don't worry, though, we'll do our best not to spoil past APs for those still finishing up their First Edition campaigns, and we'll leave plenty of reveals for August when you can read the full book yourselves.

Illustration by David Alvarez

For fans of the Iconic Encounters series of flash fiction we've tied to the weekly Iconic Evolution videos, we'll be continuing that with a piece starring Fumbus on Thursday of this week, and then continuing the flash fiction trend with a new series beginning next week: Tales of Lost Omens. These pieces are slightly longer than James Sutter's Iconic Encounters, but are still closely tied (as best we could) to an epic piece of art from the forthcoming Lost Omens World Guide. Fans of past Pathfinder Tales novels will be happy to know that we've gotten some of our most prolific authors to return for this series, so stay tuned!

Let us know in the comments or at PaizoCon this weekend what you've thought of the Iconic Evolutions, Iconic Encounters, and other preview content we've featured over the last few months here on the blog. We've been really pleased with the level of engagement on both series so far, and hope that varying the format a bit will keep things fresh and exciting for the coming months.

I've got lots of PaizoCon preparation to get to, so I'll wrap this up, but I look forward to seeing everyone at the con and then showing off our first region next week. Until then, Pathfinders, may your wayfinders always point toward adventure!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Pathfinder World Guides Tales of Lost Omens Web Fiction
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Liberty's Edge

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Life appointments are quite as bad as having a Board of Governors. It means you can't throw the bum out if, say, they were to accept a massive bribe to allow a foreign invasion. It's also uncomfortably close to Caesarism in general.

I wasn't necessarily saying it was a life appointment, I was saying that if you killed the Governors it probably became one by default. And that makes killing them work less well.

My point has always been that Ravounel is not in a stable and secure situation long-term...but is probably stable enough to outlive Cheliax. Which is all it needs to do.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Themetricsystem wrote:

Now wait just a bloody minute, are you hinting that the Tales line has officially been announced as returning for new soft-cover fiction and I somehow overlooked it?!

Is it possible to setup a Tale Subscription like one does for other product lines? If so, where, how and when will I be able to do this?

Even if the books only release to subscribers and you push out another 5000 total copies in excess of KNOWN demand, jack the price up to $17.99 per softcover, and only include front-cover art instead of wraparound to save on costs let me be clear- I will buy it.

RPG Fiction is what got me into RPGs as a child, not TV, not Players Handbooks, not MtG, and certainly not the usenet groups that existed back in the day, it was those cheap paperback TSR novels and I want to PAY you to bring those days back.

Since this post seems to have gotten completely lost in all that, I wanted to respond to it specifically.

While I'd love to be able to announce that the Pathfinder Tales line is returning, that isn't the case. We tried finding another partner to help us get the line restarted after we parted ways with Tor, but nothing came of that search. We still do not have a business model for releasing novel-length fiction that meets our needs. That isn't to say we're not still exploring our options, just that we don't have anything to announce at this time and likely won't have any announcements anytime soon.

RPG fiction is what got a lot of us into gaming, and we love it as much as any of Pathfinder Tales's many fans. We just need more people to give us money to publish them than we've gotten in the past, or we need to alter the model in other ways to require fewer sold copies for it to be profitable.

That said, free web fiction is something we see as worthwhile, and if it generates enough interest, it could precipitate new fiction offerings we haven't explored before. Please continue reading it weekly, sharing it on social media, and spreading the word about the back catalogue of Pathfinder Tales material, either the ebooks here, the audiobooks on Audible, or physical copies available all over the place. We'll see what happens!

Shadow Lodge

VerBeeker wrote:
It should be noted that the Glorious Reclamation was not exactly unsuccessful in disturbing the status quo of oh "Great Devil Riden Cheliax"

No changes were made to either government personnel or policy. Even the ever-so-abortive January Uprising led to the abolition of serfdom, but Cheliax remains a slave society. It's probably breeding slaves now that its overseas trade is cut off.

Quote:
there's also nothing claiming that survivors of the Reclamation couldn't have slipped over the border to Andoran or fled to some other nation to recover and plot.

Yes there is: the entire text of Hell's Vengeance. The only NPC called out as fleeing the country is an ambassador from Andoran, not even a native.

Quote:
The Bellflower Network isn't even fully destroyed and after a Thrune success just goes further to ground making their cells harder to track down.

The Bellflower Network exists to mark time. It does not and cannot make a substantive difference on anything but a micro level.

Quote:
Then we look at their standing with the outside world, Andoran went out of its way to utterly decimate their slaver fleet while their military ships were focused blockading different ports. Absalom has closed its ports to Slavers, and Taldor is once more on the rise so the Inner Sea just became a bit harder for them to find a way through. Now combine that fact with the Shackles devastating one of their military fleets, with an even bigger bone to pick with the devils now, and Rahadoum now being in control of half of the Arch of Aroden through retaking Khari. Isger was planning on having Molthune, Druma or even Andoran take over their client status if the Cheliax fully fell to civil war. They lost forces, territory and shipping lanes all because a single Paladin decided enough was enough and raised an army behind her. Hell an entire Hell Knight order is good as dead.

And none of this was capitalized on. It was pure opportunistic corner-nibbling.

Quote:
Say they try and take Ravounel...how would they go about it? Try and march their armies through and easily bottle-necked pass?

Per the terms of the Book 6 treaty, they own that pass and have the right to station soldiers there. At best Ravounel gets an equal number.

Quote:
How about go by sea...oh right the waves surrounding Ravounel are filled with Sea Elves that are now loyal to Kintargo,

The aquatic elves are a joke militarily speaking. There are about a hundred of them total in Acisazi, all low-level. Mirivenn was never statted so its contribution is unknowable, and isn't in contact with Ravounel in any event. What is knowable is that the aquatic elves were complete non-factors in both deep-sea encounters that involved them, in Books 3 and 5.

Quote:
why not try for assassins then, well fun fact Vyre is now allied with Kintargo

One of five magnates in Vyre is at all personally invested in what goes on in Kintargo, and is capricious to the nth degree. There are plenty of assassins to go around.

Speaking of assassins, the Red Mantis is perfect for any of Cheliax's purposes in Kintargo, seeing as it doesn't have a monarch per se.

Quote:
And the Silver Ravens do have allies canonically outside of Cheliax, and are trying to foster rebellion elsewhere inside Cheliax their allies include the remainder of the Bellflower Network, the Council of Theives which still survives unmolested in Westcrown, the Eagle Knights, the Scarlet Rose faction of Gray Maidens from Korvasa and numerous religious factions that have no love for Kuthites or Asmodeans, not including the Hell Knight Order that turned tail for the Duchy.

Up the International, sure, but really there's nothing to it. They are neither numerous nor, with the exception of the less-than-reliable Council of Thieves, strong.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:

.

In the official setting, again, none of the PC parties exist. [...] Hence if we want to talk about the setting, we have to ignore the PCs.

That's not strictly true. Groups of heroes did in fact "complete" every AP and module, and their assumed choices affected the game world. In some instances they're assumed to still be around somewhere, and in other instances they're assumed to have leveled beyond mortal concerns and taken off to planes unknown, but they all exist somewhere in setting, as does the knowledge that people like them exist. And of course, characters like Razmir are the equivalent of "canon PCs" in many ways (not to mention the actual PCs that made it into canon at one point or another). The Pathfinder Society is also an in-world organization that has directly affected and influenced the game world canon based on the actions and chocies of the players; many things that are canonically true in Golarion were decided based upon scenario reporting. It is literally a world shaped by the actions of PCs.

Golarion is a world built by the people who played in it, and while a specific group's particular characters may not exist in-setting, someone very much like them has or does.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
zimmerwald1915 wrote:


{. . .}
VerBeeker wrote:

Quote:

Then we look at their standing with the outside world, Andoran went out of its way to utterly decimate their slaver fleet while their military ships were focused blockading different ports. Absalom has closed its ports to Slavers, and Taldor is once more on the rise so the Inner Sea just became a bit harder for them to find a way through. Now combine that fact with the Shackles devastating one of their military fleets, with an even bigger bone to pick with the devils now, and Rahadoum now being in control of half of the Arch of Aroden through retaking Khari. Isger was planning on having Molthune, Druma or even Andoran take over their client status if the Cheliax fully fell to civil war. They lost forces, territory and shipping lanes all because a single Paladin decided enough was enough and raised an army behind her. Hell an entire Hell Knight order is good as dead.
And none of this was capitalized on. It was pure opportunistic corner-nibbling. {. . .}

If you nibble on corners long enough, eventually you will get to the center. If you're like Homer Simpson, it won't even take all that long.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
What are you on about? D&D parties are motivated by loot and plunder, not principle.

Yeah, much of what you've said is just matters of differing opinion, but this is factually, objectively wrong.

Some D&D parties are, but none that I've ever run or been part of - except when I played Skull & Shackles, where that was the whole point. And even then we managed to motivated more by a desire to shake up the existing power structure than by plunder.

I remember the playtest survey results gave some insight into this. They said that while Pathfinder players have a reputation of being murderhobos, the survey results told a different story. In part 4, Mirrored Moon, for example. I believe most parties negotiated peacefully with the dryad and the cyclopes. The later being normally considered a monster that's ok to kill and take their stuff, but in this instance most parties made nice with them. I know mine did.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:
If you nibble on corners long enough, eventually you will get to the center. If you're like Homer Simpson, it won't even take all that long.

I have to imagine that one side effect of Cheliax's repeated erosion at the margins is that appetite for imperialist adventurism is low. Particularly since key losses in Ravounel and the Shackles were largely precipitated by one Thrune independently attempting something which ended up backfiring horribly. I have to imagine, going forward, Cheliax's attention is directed inwards, for strengthening the Cheliax that remains, rather than outwards.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:


I remember the playtest survey results gave some insight into this. They said that while Pathfinder players have a reputation of being murderhobos, the survey results told a different story. In part 4, Mirrored Moon, for example. I believe most parties negotiated peacefully with the dryad and the cyclopes. The later being normally considered a monster that's ok to kill and take their stuff, but in this instance most parties made nice with them. I know mine did.

There were also those that negotiated (or tried to) with the Rocs and the dragon/fire giant in that part of the playtest.

(My group tried to make a dwarf the new chieftan of the cyclopes.)

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:


I remember the playtest survey results gave some insight into this. They said that while Pathfinder players have a reputation of being murderhobos, the survey results told a different story. In part 4, Mirrored Moon, for example. I believe most parties negotiated peacefully with the dryad and the cyclopes. The later being normally considered a monster that's ok to kill and take their stuff, but in this instance most parties made nice with them. I know mine did.

There were also those that negotiated (or tried to) with the Rocs and the dragon/fire giant in that part of the playtest.

(My group tried to make a dwarf the new chieftan of the cyclopes.)

My party tried to negotiate with the 'Lake Monster' - it was very upset about being called a sea monster. It lived in the lake, not the sea! We had a druid with wild empathy and some ... questionable decision making processes, but through some truly extraordinary rolls they did manage to pull it off.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Ultimately, I think it just comes down to "since Ravounel is already an obligate trading partner, what does Cheliax actually gain from conquering them again that would be in excess of the cost of doing so?"

A city full of people that hate Cheliax? Some luxury goods that they are already buying at a competitive price? A rebellious countryside that has to be protected from outside threats?

Plus, Ravounel being free actually provides an advantage to Cheliax - instead of open coastline, their western border is now an easily-defended mountain range. Not only that, but most people who don't like Cheliax are likely to be fond of Ravounel. If Cheliax can treat Ravounel well enough that they don't openly collaborate with an enemy army, it becomes vastly less likely anyone will even try to attack Cheliax from that direction since they'd have to go through Ravounel.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
What are you on about? D&D parties are motivated by loot and plunder, not principle.

Yeah, much of what you've said is just matters of differing opinion, but this is factually, objectively wrong.

Some D&D parties are, but none that I've ever run or been part of - except when I played Skull & Shackles, where that was the whole point. And even then we managed to motivated more by a desire to shake up the existing power structure than by plunder.

I remember the playtest survey results gave some insight into this. They said that while Pathfinder players have a reputation of being murderhobos, the survey results told a different story. In part 4, Mirrored Moon, for example. I believe most parties negotiated peacefully with the dryad and the cyclopes. The later being normally considered a monster that's ok to kill and take their stuff, but in this instance most parties made nice with them. I know mine did.

My group parlayed with the dryad and gnomes, everything else was put to the sword. Not only did they not parlay with the cyclopes, the party's plan was to lock them in the longhouse and set fire to it before the cyclopes even knew the PCs were around. It ultimately didn't work out that way, but that was their intention.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fumarole wrote:
My group parlayed with the dryad and gnomes, everything else was put to the sword. Not only did they not parlay with the cyclopes, the party's plan was to lock them in the longhouse and set fire to it before the cyclopes even knew the PCs were around. It ultimately didn't work out that way, but that was their intention.

Well, groups certainly differ. The point was that a really high percentage of groups negotiated as much as possible, not that it was universal.

Paizo Employee Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
My group parlayed with the dryad and gnomes, everything else was put to the sword. Not only did they not parlay with the cyclopes, the party's plan was to lock them in the longhouse and set fire to it before the cyclopes even knew the PCs were around. It ultimately didn't work out that way, but that was their intention.
Well, groups certainly differ. The point was that a really high percentage of groups negotiated as much as possible, not that it was universal.

~75% with the cyclops (which requires the PCs to be proactive if they want Diplomacy and also to make some checks they might fail, unlike the dryad where Diplomacy is kind of the default and you can fail but just handle the cyclops) is very high. It certainly should let everyone who's ever thought "I'm one of those few players who likes parlaying and making friends rather than lots of battles that most people prefer" know that they are actually not necessarily in the minority, at least among playtesters who answered surveys, across experience levels with gaming.


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Since there are generally no shortage of fights in a Pathfinder adventure that cannot plausibly be avoided, and since there are no shortage of other games in the world which nearly all of the verbs available to a player in a given context are violent, it's always my preference to talk to whatever it is in case there's a chance everybody gets to go home happy.

I have one player who gravitated to the cave druid in PF1 because "how else am I going to be able to make friends with an Ooze?"

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

10 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Since there are generally no shortage of fights in a Pathfinder adventure that cannot plausibly be avoided, and since there are no shortage of other games in the world which nearly all of the verbs available to a player in a given context are violent, it's always my preference to talk to whatever it is in case there's a chance everybody gets to go home happy.

I have one player who gravitated to the cave druid in PF1 because "how else am I going to be able to make friends with an Ooze?"

During the first book or so of Iron Gods, my wife had functionally set herself up as the half-orc warlord of Scrapwall as she either initimidated or nonlethally conquered her way through significant swaths of the area's local factions. The various groups I've had the privilege of being a part of over the years (across multiple states and gaming communities) have been so inclined towards finding nonlethal resolutions to encounters against sentient living creatures (and occasionally non-sentient and/or non-living creatures) that I'm very much in the habit of assuming that a written encounter should almost always have a "And what if they talk to it instead of stabbing it" clause, or at least a clear explanation of why talking to it is not an option.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:
During the first book or so of Iron Gods, my wife had functionally set herself up as the half-orc warlord of Scrapwall as she either initimidated or nonlethally conquered her way through significant swaths of the area's local factions. The various groups I've had the privilege of being a part of over the years (across multiple states and gaming communities) have been so inclined towards finding nonlethal resolutions to encounters against sentient living creatures (and occasionally non-sentient and/or non-living creatures) that I'm very much in the habit of assuming that a written encounter should almost always have a "And what if they talk to it instead of stabbing it" clause, or at least a clear explanation of why talking to it is not an option.

My party put so much work into befriending the cerebric fungus in the first book of Iron Gods that I ended up having to give it class levels so that it could become an official cohort (I typically ban Leadership but let the party choose a few NPCs to be cohorts and be available to adventure with the party). They named it Audrey Three and it eventually fought beside them in the final battle against Unity. XD

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