The Broken Lands

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Continuing our preview of the ten meta-regions of the Lost Omens World Guide, releasing in August, this week we take a look at the Broken Lands. This region occupies the northeastern corner of Avistan, consisting of Brevoy, Mendev, Numeria, Razmiran, the River Kingdoms, and the Sarkoris Scar (what used to be the Worldwound). While many parts of the world could be described as "broken," this region is particularly scarred by political upheaval, war, and demonic invasion. Player characters in these lands are likely to find rival factions competing for control of a government on the edge of collapse, open conflict between opposing city- or nation-states, or the remnants of the Abyssal horde now cut off from their demonic home plane and stranded in a world no longer focused on eradicating the threat they present.

Illustration by Federico Musetti

Unlike Absalom, which we examined last week, there have been several adventure paths and standalone modules set in the Broken Lands whose outcomes we've canonically codified into the second edition status quo. Among these are Iron Gods, Kingmaker, and Wrath of the Righteous.

In Numeria, the Technic League has fallen from power, leaving Black Sovereign, Kevoth-Kul to kick his addiction to the mind-muddling drugs they'd been feeding him for years all on his own. What erratic behavior may come from the throes of withdrawal, and what political factions may vie to replace the league as the power behind the throne remains to be seen. Perhaps the adherents of the new goddess, Casandalee, will play a role?

Illustration by Valeria Lutfullina and Rogier van de Beek

In the River Kingdoms, a new nation rose in the Stolen Lands (conveniently left unnamed so that the kingdom you created in your Kingmaker campaign doesn't invalidate canon) and overtook Pitax.

In neighboring Brevoy, a king left at the altar has brought the lands of Issia and Rostland closer to war than ever before. Meanwhile, the previously abandoned and sealed Skywatch presents a new mystery for adventurers uninterested in the feuds of the nation's noble houses.

Illustration by Klaher Baklaher

Queen Galfrey of Mendev, kept alive with sun orchid elixir to ensure constant leadership against the agents of the Abyss, has been given a well-earned retirement, and has left the nation in the capable hands of Chancellor Irahai. The end of the Mendevian Crusades, however, has left the nation without purpose or common threat, and the chancellor has her work cut out for her in unifying the people to foster a national culture long overshadowed by the threat of war and legions of foreign crusaders calling the northern land home.

Illustration by Cynthia F. G.

In what was formerly the Worldwound—closed when mythic heroes defeated the demon lord Deskari—demons still lay claim to the tainted wasteland. While before they could count on endless reinforcements from the heart of the Abyss, the surviving demons and cultists are now cut off from their home plane and desperate to survive. The native Sarkorians who once called the land home have begun to return and reclaim their ancestral homeland, but they won't find its current inhabitants particularly welcoming. With the help of remnant crusaders not yet turned south to face the rising threat of the Whispering Tyrant and the strange outsiders that the Sarkorians call their gods, perhaps they can heal the Sarkoris Scar and make it into a stable, fertile land once again.

Illustration by Rogier van de Beek

In Razmiran, once merely a River Kingdom and now a nation in its own right, life continues as it did before the Whispering Tyrant's escape, its citizens taking solace in the knowledge that their land is protected by a benevolent deity, Razmir. The Living God has not opposed the Whispering Tyrant and a constant stream of "donated" corpses to the lich's armies has ensured a tenuous peace between the two powers.

This chapter of the Lost Omens World Guide presents seven new character backgrounds and the Aldori duelist archetype, which allows player characters to master the iconic dueling style of Brevoy's Aldori swordlords!

Illustration by Klaher Baklaher

On Thursday, be sure to check out the second in our Tales of Lost Omens series of flash fiction, written by veteran Pathfinder Tales author Tim Pratt, who previously explored the region in the pages of the novels Liar's Blade and Reign of Stars. Next week, we'll look at the Eye of Dread along the shores of Lake Encarthan, where the shroud of undeath has once again fallen upon the world.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Pathfinder Lost Omens
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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
But 2nd ed D&D was 30 years ago, the number of old players who still consider Vecna a relevant point of reference for anything is dwindling, and the new "Hi, I'm here because Matt Mercer and Critical Role" entrants into the hobby barely know who Drizzt and Elimnster are, let alone some obscure lich who last time popped up in the early 90s.
Wasn't Vecna the BBEG of Critical Role's first season?

He definitely was, including both Eye and Hand, but the Tyrant is vastly different from Vecna in both schemes and appearance, so even those familiar with Vecna from Critical Role won't really see much similarity beyond "super powerful lich"


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On liches-

In the game "13th Age" one of the thirteen "iconics (i.e. "most powerful/important people in the setting") is the Lich King, who rules on an island with an undead army and plots ill for everybody else.

So are *they* ripping off some 30 year old adventure about Vecna, or are they simply acknowledging that "real scary lich" is an archetypical antagonist in this kind of setting, whose "whole deal" is quickly understood in context, and hemming them in with geography makes them a credible but not an immediate threat.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Time to move along, everyone. If you would please follow me back into the Broken Lands discussion. Right this way.

Hey, those Aldori and their swords! Who’s excited to play that archetype?


The release of Vecna , as I understand it, is what is behind the shift, storyline wise, of 2nd and 3rd edition.

Silver Crusade

Luis Loza wrote:

Time to move along, everyone. If you would please follow me back into the Broken Lands discussion. Right this way.

Hey, those Aldori and their swords! Who’s excited to play that archetype?

Maybe, fighting styles are cool, but those swordlords are so snooty >_>

Now a 2hander style (that has nothing to do with Gorum) on the other hand...


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Ignoring all the Vecna b!*#~ing, I can confirm I had no idea about him other than knowing he existed and that he was the last Big Bad of the first campaign of Critical Role, in which he vaguely sounded like Barbossa from Pirates of a Carribean, I'm kind of interested to see what the Stolen Lands is going to be like in canon...like is it going to be touched upon at all majorly? After all, it's the largest of the River Kingdoms at this point and has an opportunity to be this weird conglomerate nation of "civilized" races, Boggards, Kobolds, Centaurs and the rare Giant, and then depending on how much they pull from the game Fey as well.


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I love Aldori Swordlords and their fancy combat style - I'm looking forward to see if they get stances with an ac bonus out of heavy armor and armed with their trademark blades, and what else they can do. Also there was some rivalry within the ranks last time I checked and it would be cool to know how the situation's developing.

Personally I would like more combat styles grounded in the setting's factions and cultures, and would love more archetypes that represent them, or even just feats, to mix and match in order to create your perfect implement of destruction.


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VerBeeker wrote:
Ignoring all the Vecna b$!!+ing, I can confirm I had no idea about him other than knowing he existed and that he was the last Big Bad of the first campaign of Critical Role, in which he vaguely sounded like Barbossa from Pirates of a Carribean,

I mostly just remember his Eye and Hand from AD&D.

Where he was supposedly a long dead (and gone) lich. Then they apparently brought him back late in 2E as a demigod or something.

I think the Eye and Hand mostly stuck in my mind because I'd Moorcock's Corum books around that time and they seemed obviously inspired by those. And Vecna was an anagram for (Jack) Vance. Lots of nice little homages in early D&D.


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MythicFox wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

It's a unique look, though I'd always gotten a Slavic/Siberian shamanistic theme for Old Sarkoris.

I can't remember where I read it, but I seem to recall that Old Sarkoris was also where the Celtish-Pictish analog had been located.

But what I'm more interested in is whether there'll be mechanical representation to play the god-callers, since we no longer have a summoner class.

Excuse me.

The origin of a Summoner archetype is known as The Broken Lands?

Oh my, that's so delightfully meta.


Artificial 20 wrote:
MythicFox wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

It's a unique look, though I'd always gotten a Slavic/Siberian shamanistic theme for Old Sarkoris.

I can't remember where I read it, but I seem to recall that Old Sarkoris was also where the Celtish-Pictish analog had been located.

But what I'm more interested in is whether there'll be mechanical representation to play the god-callers, since we no longer have a summoner class.

Excuse me.

The origin of a Summoner archetype is known as The Broken Lands?

Oh my, that's so delightfully meta.

I'd like to ask how, but at the same time I'm afraid I'll be told to "just Google it" (No Artificial 20, this isn't a critique towards you).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Luis Loza wrote:

Time to move along, everyone. If you would please follow me back into the Broken Lands discussion. Right this way.

Hey, those Aldori and their swords! Who’s excited to play that archetype?

I played an arcane duelist in Kingmaker. I would have loved this, because there was no way I was taking that prestige class as a bard.

Liberty's Edge

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Roswynn wrote:
Artificial 20 wrote:
MythicFox wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

It's a unique look, though I'd always gotten a Slavic/Siberian shamanistic theme for Old Sarkoris.

I can't remember where I read it, but I seem to recall that Old Sarkoris was also where the Celtish-Pictish analog had been located.

But what I'm more interested in is whether there'll be mechanical representation to play the god-callers, since we no longer have a summoner class.

Excuse me.

The origin of a Summoner archetype is known as The Broken Lands?

Oh my, that's so delightfully meta.

I'd like to ask how, but at the same time I'm afraid I'll be told to "just Google it" (No Artificial 20, this isn't a critique towards you).

He's just alluding to the fact that many people thought the PF1 Summoner was broken, in the mechanical sense.


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Roswynn wrote:
Artificial 20 wrote:
MythicFox wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

It's a unique look, though I'd always gotten a Slavic/Siberian shamanistic theme for Old Sarkoris.

I can't remember where I read it, but I seem to recall that Old Sarkoris was also where the Celtish-Pictish analog had been located.

But what I'm more interested in is whether there'll be mechanical representation to play the god-callers, since we no longer have a summoner class.

Excuse me.

The origin of a Summoner archetype is known as The Broken Lands?

Oh my, that's so delightfully meta.

I'd like to ask how, but at the same time I'm afraid I'll be told to "just Google it" (No Artificial 20, this isn't a critique towards you).

Well, the original Summoner has the unique distinction of being the only class kicked out of first edition's PFS (unlike say the Anti-Paladin, who was never let in to start).

This, along with the Unchained Summoner's existence, seem to stem out of a broad notion that the Summoner is, as the nomenclature goes, "broken".

I think the God Caller came later though, so perhaps it's reaching.

Deadmanwalking: Not as broken as ninjas.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Luis Loza wrote:

Time to move along, everyone. If you would please follow me back into the Broken Lands discussion. Right this way.

Hey, those Aldori and their swords! Who’s excited to play that archetype?

It's solidly number 3 in my list of "PF2 characters I'm looking forward to making", right behind my goblin monk and half-orc redeemer.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I haven't taken the time to run a swordlord, but I could see myself trying it out sometime.


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Since the origin of the Summoner class in PF1 was "the God Callers of Old Sarkoris" (who largely went away because of the machinations of Ms. Vorlesh), and since we're going to see a kind of Sarkorian Renaissance going forward, I imagine that means a new Summoner class is in the cards somewhere.

I wonder how that is going to work with the minion rules. Will Eidolons be comparatively limited like animal companions are, or are they going to get more action because they are the signature class feature.

As for Swordlords, I always run into the problem where I'm trying to pump AC as high as possible, realize that I'm offense deficient and decide to play something else. Hopefully with fresh eyes I can do something else. PF2 is a much friendlier system for martials without pounce or a strong ranged game.


The blog post wrote:
and the strange outsiders that the Sarkorians call their gods

Are these outsiders a 2E reveal, or is there existing content that talks about who the Sarkorians worshipped other than Pulura some being named Alglenweis?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

At least two PFS scenarios include godcallers as NPCs.


Thanks, DMW and Artificial 20 - somehow I failed to connect the dots.

Andostre, if you're asking who Alglenweis is, she's one of the eidolons summoned by the Sarkorian godcallers. She was called the Daughter of Kostchtchie. There were others, like the Stag Mother and Sturovenen the Dragoneagle.

So I don't think they're a brand new type of outsiders, "just regular eidolons".

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
At least two PFS scenarios include godcallers as NPCs.

They're also talked about in the Spirits and Superstition section of the Kellid entry in Inner Sea Races, there's a god caller and her eidolon in Dave Gross' Pathfinder Tales novel King of Chaos, there's a bit of information about a particular god caller and eidolon in The Worldwound sourcebook, and anyone familiar with Scourge of the Farheavens and Breath of the Dragonskull has interacted with a particular Sarkorian deity who may be making his next appearance outside of a scenario...


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Gorbacz wrote:


Fantasy is still a thing, but pnp RPGs are so small a market that getting a license filmable is pretty much impossible. You have higher chances for a Settlers of Catan movie than you have of anything D&D related.

Uh...they have been actively developing a DnD movie for the last couple of years...Paramount has a release date of October 2021, even if not much is known currently.

DnD might be niche, but so is Shazam or the Eternals, and they are
or will get theatrical. Any IP with a smidge of recognition is getting turned into a movie.

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