One of the most wide-reaching events to become the baseline assumption of the Pathfinder setting between first and second editions is the Whispering Tyrant's escape from his centuries-old prison to once again terrorize the nations of the living. The specifics of how he breaks free from Gallowspire and the direct results of that escape play out in the Tyrant's Grasp Adventure Path, which wraps up next month with Midwives to Death. Needless to say, things for the lands on Lake Encarthan's western coast are NOT. GOOD.
As we've hinted at with the name of the most recent set of Pathfinder Battles miniatures, Ruins of Lastwall (available now!), the Knights of Ozem who stood vigil over Gallowspire since the Shining Crusade met an unfortunate end, and are now scattered throughout the Inner Sea region, licking their wounds and trying to muster support for taking the battle back to the Isle of Terror, where Tar-Baphon has made his new headquarters. For more information on what became of Lastwall, check out the Tyrant's Grasp Adventure Path. Without giving too many spoilers of the whys and hows, I'll just say that what was formerly Lastwall is now the undead-haunted realm known as the Gravelands. Things sound totally awesome there, right?
To the south, the conflict between the nations of Molthune and Nirmathas has cooled considerably, thanks to the events of the Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path and the advent of a larger threat in the region. Despite the ceasefire between the warring nations, tensions remain high, and agents of the Whispering Way would certainly love to see the people of both nations return to fighting one another rather than directing their military efforts toward the armies of the undead.
The other notable result of the Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path was the establishment of a new hobgoblin nation in the Mindspin Mountains. General Azaersi rules Oprak from the newly founded capital of Hunthul, but the mountains of Golarion's surface aren't the full extent of the fledgling nation's territory. Thanks to a powerful artifact giving the hobgoblins access to the natural resources of the Plane of Earth, the kingdom also stretches into the elemental planes. Azaersi's expansionist tendencies have been redirected toward mercantile growth, and if she gets her way, Oprak could soon become more of an economic threat to its neighbors than it is a military threat.
With the fall of Lastwall and the rise of the Whispering Tyrant's third period of rule, the orcs of Belkzen have broken from tradition and refused to rally to the lich's side. That places them in the unfortunate role of being among the first bulwarks against the undead's expansion beyond the Gravelands and will try the governing abilities of the region's new ruler, Overlord Ardax the White-Hair. I'm sure a nation of disparate orc tribes will do fine in uniting to quell the burgeoning threat to their south and east. What could go wrong?
Players whose characters hail from this region will find eight new backgrounds including cursed family, onyx trader, and Whispering Way scion, as well as the Lastwall sentry archetype!
Be sure to check this spot in two days for the third entry in our ongoing series of Tales of Lost Omens flash fiction when Pathfinder Tales veteran Chris A. Jackson debuts the first of three stories with an exploration of a character cursed by blood to face one of Ustalav's most enigmatic haunts. Next week, we'll follow the Golden Road to see where it might lead your second edition campaigns. Until then, Pathfinders, don't get caught in the Tyrant's grasp!