The Golden Road

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Last week we looked at the Eye of Dread region of Avistan, as described in the forthcoming Lost Omens World Guide, and boy was it gloomy! Let's change the scene for this week's look into the new state of the campaign setting in the era of Pathfinder Second Edition. What better locale to differentiate itself from mist-shrouded, undead-infested than the sunny deserts of the Golden Road?

Illustration by Mary Jane Pajaron

This is one of the largest meta-regions in the book, stretching along the northern coast of Garund from the island of Nuat, across the Obari Ocean and Stonespire Island, to Qadira where Avistan and Casmaron meet. Five nations comprise the Golden Road—Katapesh, Osirion, Qadira, Rahadoum, and Thuvia—and while they all feature wide deserts, they're nevertheless distinct from one another, providing endless inspiration for adventure along trade caravans, teeming bazaars, long-lost pyramids, or hidden oases.

In Katapesh, the mysterious Pactmasters maintain their enigmatic rule over the mercantile nation, as implemented by their agent, Pactbroker Hashim ibn Sayyid. In the bazaars of Katapesh, adventurers, collectors, and purveyors of the bizarre can find just about anything they seek, assuming they can effectively barter for it. The nation takes its name from the euphoric drug, pesh, the foundation of the region's black market, and full stats for the drug's refined form are available for players or GMs willing to risk addiction for the pleasure of a little escape. The slavers of Okeno off Katapesh's eastern shore still peddle flesh, despite facing an influx of abolitionist movements on the waters of the Inner Sea and Obari Ocean. While the slave trade has been outlawed in Absalom, it's very much alive in Katapesh, giving liberators and Firebrands a new target in their war for universal freedom.

Illustration by Luca Bancone

In Osirion, Ruby Prince Khemet III has rescinded his policy of welcoming outside explorers to the nation's many ruins, after many of the new discoveries brought more trouble to his land than they brought wealth. In perhaps the most trying event of Osirion's modern history, the Sky Pharaoh Hakotep I rose from his tomb in 4714 to reclaim his ancient empire with a fleet of flying pyramids. Though he was stopped by brave adventurers, upon his defeat, that fleet of pyramids pyramids fell to the ground, causing incredible devastation in population centers like Sothis and peppering the desert with newly unearthed ruins for Osirionologists to explore.

Illustration by Mirco Paganessi

The rise of a new, more capable ruler in Taldor has quieted Satrap Xerbystes II's saber rattling in recent years, but Qadira represents just the eastern tip of the continent-spanning Padishah Empire of Kelesh. Over the millennia, trade and expansionism from the empire have led to many wars and conquests across the Golden Road, including a lengthy rule over Osirion and the religiously-motivated Oath Wars that led Rahadoum to adopt their Laws of Mortality. Though tensions between Qadira and its neighbors may have calmed of late, the nation's military remains under the control of the satrap's vizier, Hebizid Vraj who was appointed by the Padishah Emperor himself, and has the power to overrule the satrap if he leads the nation in directions against the empire's interests. What those interests are and what they may lead to in the future is anyone's guess.

Illustration by Oksana Federova

Rahadoum continues its longstanding tradition of eschewing all divine interference by strictly enforcing the Laws of Mortality, which restrict the preaching of religion and the trade of holy texts or symbols. Where other nations might have thriving churches to myriad deities or demigods, the Rahadoumi instead have some of the most advanced schools of arcane magic, science, and philosophy on the Inner Sea. Of special interest to characters who wish to forge their own destinies instead of being pawns to supposedly "higher" powers, the Godless Healing feat allows for augmented healing in the absence of a divine healer.

Illustration by Klaher Baklaher

To Rahadoum's east, Thuvia stands out for being less a single nation than a confederation of allied city-states. The nation's economy is largely dependent on a single product, the powerful sun orchid elixir, which allows those wealthy enough to purchase a vial extended life and youthful vitality. Though the tradition of alternating which city would host the annual auction for the season's batch of the potent alchemical concoction, recent shifts in the balance of power have some Thuvians worried that the delicate balance may soon come to an end. Agents of all five powerful city-states now advocate for unification into a more traditional nation, though each believes that their city should be the new capital.

Illustration by Rogier van de Beek

Seven new backgrounds provide new rules options for characters from or associated with the region, allowing members of all ancestries and classes to become black market smugglers, Osirionologists, or secular medics! Furthermore, those adventurers who dabble in the living monolith archetype can transform their bodies into stone in order to better protect the ancient secrets of the region.

Illustration by Ksenia Kozhevnikova

Well, that wraps up our whirlwind tour of the Golden Road meta-region of the Age of Lost Omens campaign setting. Next we'll join Chris A. Jackson (and one of his existing characters from the region) on a short adventure in a bustling bazaar on Thursday, followed by a voyage on the High Seas next week!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Pathfinder Lost Omens
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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was a bit surprised to see that the Qadiran satrap has pale eyes.


Arachnofiend wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Rahadoum kinda has the same issue as the Mana Wastes in being a very idea rich setting that would be hard to swing as an official AP because of class limitations. I wouldn't be satisfied with a Rahadoum AP where you're allowed to play a Cleric.
This seems like a strange stance to me - wouldn't the intrigue of having to hide your worship be part of the appeal of a Rahadoum AP?
A Rahadoum AP in which a party member can be a cleric is a Rahadoum AP in which no player character can be a loyal Rahadoumi citizen. I'd be far more interested in a story in which the focus characters perceive the Laws of Man as right and just.

Are there known Laws of Man beyond "Let no man be beholden to a god"? That's the only one on pathfinderwiki.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

I don't think it'll be a big issue with Razmir. While Sorcerers may be common PCs, they aren't necessarily common in world, let alone 1/4 of that class.

Judging by the amount of stories that make mention of Sorc being mistaken for Wizards, I'd say at the very least they are less commonplace than Wizards.

Not common perhaps, but Razmir explicitly made use of an archetype of arcane sorcerers to pretend to be clerics using his "divine power".

That whole concept, which was cool, seems less necessary with divine sorcerers around.

I dunno, trying to convince the like 1 in 10000 who are a Divine Sorcerers (rare enough that including them isn't considered a major setting shift for Paizo) to get on board with your cause seems a lot harder than teaching people a way of doing things. And even if you did convince them all, that still leaves 99% of your clergy having to pretend anyway.


Malk_Content wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

I don't think it'll be a big issue with Razmir. While Sorcerers may be common PCs, they aren't necessarily common in world, let alone 1/4 of that class.

Judging by the amount of stories that make mention of Sorc being mistaken for Wizards, I'd say at the very least they are less commonplace than Wizards.

Not common perhaps, but Razmir explicitly made use of an archetype of arcane sorcerers to pretend to be clerics using his "divine power".

That whole concept, which was cool, seems less necessary with divine sorcerers around.
I dunno, trying to convince the like 1 in 10000 who are a Divine Sorcerers (rare enough that including them isn't considered a major setting shift for Paizo) to get on board with your cause seems a lot harder than teaching people a way of doing things. And even if you did convince them all, that still leaves 99% of your clergy having to pretend anyway.

I don't know. Are they supposed to be that much rarer than arcane sorcerers? Is that how they're going to be treated in future campaign material?

Is that how non-core classes and especially those released in later books were treated in PF1?


thejeff wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

I don't think it'll be a big issue with Razmir. While Sorcerers may be common PCs, they aren't necessarily common in world, let alone 1/4 of that class.

Judging by the amount of stories that make mention of Sorc being mistaken for Wizards, I'd say at the very least they are less commonplace than Wizards.

Not common perhaps, but Razmir explicitly made use of an archetype of arcane sorcerers to pretend to be clerics using his "divine power".

That whole concept, which was cool, seems less necessary with divine sorcerers around.
I dunno, trying to convince the like 1 in 10000 who are a Divine Sorcerers (rare enough that including them isn't considered a major setting shift for Paizo) to get on board with your cause seems a lot harder than teaching people a way of doing things. And even if you did convince them all, that still leaves 99% of your clergy having to pretend anyway.

I don't know. Are they supposed to be that much rarer than arcane sorcerers? Is that how they're going to be treated in future campaign material?

Is that how non-core classes and especially those released in later books were treated in PF1?

I'm not really sure what the presence of divine sorcerers changes things for him that much, since oracles were already a thing. Theoretically he could have hired them out just as easily as divine sorcerers. I dunno if anyone is particularly more common than the others between oracles, divine sorcerers, and arcane sorcerers, but I'd certainly be hesitant to use the existence of an archetype to argue one is more common than the others among NPCs. All 3 examples strike me as rare flukes of birth that you can't just create out of whole cloth.

If anything, Razmir would have a more vested interest in wizards who can fake divine influence, as he could actually train people up into those.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Welp. Apparently the book has been pushed back till late August. Perram from Know Direction confirmed today after folks noticed a change on the product page:

Quote:

I have a quote from Paizo

“I can confirmed that The Lost Omens World Guide will not be available until late August (around the 28th). It will not be available for Gen Con pickup. We are still in the process of updating our website details to reflect this change. Questions can be directed to our Customer Service Department which is open Mon–Fri, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific. They can be contacted at (425) 250-0800 and customer.service@paizo.com.”

- Aaron Shanks

That's really too bad.


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I guess if you're going to push back one of the 3 hardcover releases, it's best that it's the world guide since the game is not playable without the CRB and the bestiary.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I guess if you're going to push back one of the 3 hardcover releases, it's best that it's the world guide since the game is not playable without the CRB and the bestiary.

Yeah. And in the meantime at least the Core Rulebook has the Lost Omens chapter for new players.

But still. It's really too bad. I wonder what happened.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Malk_Content wrote:
I dunno, trying to convince the like 1 in 10000 who are a Divine Sorcerers (rare enough that including them isn't considered a major setting shift for Paizo) to get on board with your cause seems a lot harder than teaching people a way of doing things. And even if you did convince them all, that still leaves 99% of your clergy having to pretend anyway.

Agreed, I think both the "Celestial Sorcerors make Razmirans superfluous" and "Celestial Sorcerors are ideal Razmirans" concepts are missing the point. Firstly, Celestial Sorcerors aren't offering anything that Oracles didn't already in 1E, so how can they possibly change things? But irrespective of faults in the detailed logic, I think in the bigger picture they are missing what the role of Razmirans is... Which doesn't hinge on being ideal PC character option fulfilling "necessity" of healing.

Temp healing not being a real replacement for the real thing was not really a hidden element of them in 1E, so much that the inevitable let-down can only be understood in POSITIVE light from Razmiran perspective: a drug dealer doesn't see their product's limited duration as fault, right? (or alternately, why give the real thing when only simulation is required to keep minion fighting for another 2 rounds?) Razmiran Priests could all cast arcane Infernal Healing when they want real healing, the abilities were not truly competing for same role. In this light, the idea that Celestial Sorceror would be good Razmiran material is absurd, as it actually undercuts real substance of Razmiran church. It also ignores their REAL Domain powers, which is the actually interesting part of their abilities, that suggests there is something profound (or profane) to Razmir's grift (it's not like healing or Positive Channeling is inherent part of many real Deities' Clerics, just Good ones usually, although AFAIK Paizo has left door open to Good Deities not granting Positive Channel just as Evil ones may grant it now).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
tqomins wrote:

So here are the archetypes we know so far:

1) Absalom: Pathfinder Agent
2) Broken Lands: Aldori Duelist
3) Eye of Dread: Lastwall Sentry
4) Golden Road: Living Monolith
4) High Seas
6) Impossible Lands: Student of Perfection
7) Mwangi Expanse
8) Old Cheliax: Hellknight Armiger
9) Saga Lands
10) Shining Kingdoms

And next week we find out if my guess that we'll get Red Mantis for the High Seas was right or not!

Did I miss a blog post about the Impossible Lands?


No, I think that was just some good old fashioned nerd detective work.
Note how not all of the archetypes are specified, only listing regions under assumption all regions will have archetype presented. Although that is slightly misleading framing, since apparently not all of Backgrounds, Archetypes, etc, will truly be available to EVERYBODY from the Region per se, they will have own pre-reqs which only some nations within the regions might fulfill. Blog wording not being rules text etc, and as Paizo stated "we can ignore regions with no impact".
(I made that mistake)


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Ramanujan wrote:


Of course there is also the excellent Pathfinder Tales book Death's Heretic, which is set in Thuvia. The main character, Salim Ghadafar (who is from Rahadoum), is probably my favourite character from all of their novels.

One of the best of the PF Tales! Salim is my go to model for the In quistor class.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
tqomins wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I guess if you're going to push back one of the 3 hardcover releases, it's best that it's the world guide since the game is not playable without the CRB and the bestiary.

Yeah. And in the meantime at least the Core Rulebook has the Lost Omens chapter for new players.

But still. It's really too bad. I wonder what happened.

My guess: Current US trade war with China.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Elorebaen wrote:
tqomins wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I guess if you're going to push back one of the 3 hardcover releases, it's best that it's the world guide since the game is not playable without the CRB and the bestiary.

Yeah. And in the meantime at least the Core Rulebook has the Lost Omens chapter for new players.

But still. It's really too bad. I wonder what happened.

My guess: Current US trade war with China.

Not really. The fact is that we had two months in a row in which we shipped 1,000 pages of material to the printer. This fell in the second month, and we believed we had until a certain date to get the material to the printer before the Gen Con cutoff, and there was a miscommunication.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Dansome wrote:
tqomins wrote:
6) Impossible Lands: Student of Perfection
Did I miss a blog post about the Impossible Lands?

No. The Student of Perfection choice was revealed in a mini-contest on the Know Direction Discord server. (The other non-blog-source: we know the Hellknight Armiger choice from a PaizoCon panel.)

Quandary wrote:
Note how not all of the archetypes are specified, only listing regions under assumption all regions will have archetype presented.

See upthread, e.g.,

Luis Loza wrote:
Can confirm. One archetype per region.


I would love to see more from Rahadoum! My primary PFS character is a Pure Legion Enforcer and I would love to build another one in PF2.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Rahadoum kinda has the same issue as the Mana Wastes in being a very idea rich setting that would be hard to swing as an official AP because of class limitations. I wouldn't be satisfied with a Rahadoum AP where you're allowed to play a Cleric.
This seems like a strange stance to me - wouldn't the intrigue of having to hide your worship be part of the appeal of a Rahadoum AP?
A Rahadoum AP in which a party member can be a cleric is a Rahadoum AP in which no player character can be a loyal Rahadoumi citizen. I'd be far more interested in a story in which the focus characters perceive the Laws of Man as right and just.

This assumes that intolerance of other's viewpoints is a necessary tenet of loyal Rahadoumi citizenship.

If true, that is inherently problematic and Paizo is rightly likely to present Rahadoum's restrictions as a challenge to overcome rather than anything else. If not true, there's no issue with loyal Rahadoumi citizens partying with divine worshippers in service of an important enough cause - which an AP is likely to be.

I certainly hope Paizo never releases an AP where "your character must be at least this intolerant to participate" is a thing - even Hell's Vengeance didn't cross that line!


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^ I wouldn't really go that far. I don't really think crying "intolerance" is most useful of perspectives, because Clerics in Golarion are actual servants of trans-planar organization, allegiance to whose agenda is crux of their powers. Banning them isn't really different than banning agent of foreign governments, with Rahadoum seeking to maintain neutrality like Switzerland. That is just the political context of the society, and taking that context on board doesn't seem any different than Skull & Shackles explicitly advisting against Paladin PCs.

Although I do think some sort of official "pass" from higher up COULD sufficiently justify intra-party toleration of Cleric PC, presumably who isn't actively proselytizing. I mean, if Paladins can cooperate with outright servants of evil for a cause, it beggars belief to think that Rahadoum government couldn't. Maybe a plot starting just outside of Rahadoum proper but involving their agents, with reason for PCs to then enter Rahadoum proper, would be convenient segue to rationalize such a scenario. And I think Laws of Man and Pure Legion have alot more grey area than sometimes thought, IMHO the persecution of iconic Oracle Alazhra is not necessarily the strict law of land, but simply over-zealousness by populace not familiar with nuances, and more enlightened sectors of government don't actually have problem with Oracles, even if that subtly isn't universally understood.

Shadow Lodge

FYI, they're the Laws of Mortality now.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
FYI, they're the Laws of Mortality now.

Yeah, bad move IMHO, now it sounds like they are ready to open the doors to Pharasmites or something. Think I'll keep using original.


How does it sound like their ready to open the doors to Pharasmins? Psychopomps are still Immortals, so is Pharasma, in fact, she's the First Immortal.

The Laws of Man too me sound like their restricted to Humanity alone, Tolkein influence most likely in the back of my brain.

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