The Impossible Lands

Friday, July 5, 2019

When we were first dividing the nations of the Inner Sea region into the ten meta-regions that comprise the Age of Lost Omens campaign setting, one of the first ones we floated as a proof of concept was the Impossible Lands—the nations of Geb, Nex, and Jalmeray, and the magic blasted wilderness of the Mana Wastes. This is the "high magic" part of the core setting, where centuries of warfare between archmages shaped the land and imbued the local culture with magic unlike anywhere else on Golarion.

Illustration by Roman Roland Kuteynikov

At the heart of this region are the nations of Geb and Nex, each named for the mighty archmage who founded it and home to incredible wonders, even millennia after the conflict that came to define them. In Nex, the northern of the two lands, the mysterious Arclords carry on the magical research started by their founder, who disappeared into an extraplanar realm at the climax of his war with Geb. In Quantium, the nation's capital, towers soar above vast palaces illumined by the ethereal glow of perpetual arcane lights, and visitors are as likely to run into a golem on the street as they are an ambitious scholar of wizardry.

Illustration by Mirco Paganessi

To Nex's south lies Geb, a land of undead ruled by the ghostly necromancer of the same name. The debauchery of the Blood Lords who govern the nation at Geb's behest is legendary, and nearly every day visitors to the capital of Mechitar can witness glorious feasts of humanoid flesh, parades to the glory of Geb and Urgathoa, or misery wrested upon the living for the pure enjoyment of the ruling class. Geb's fertile fields are the breadbasket of the region, for nearly all of its produce can be exported to other nations, Geb's own populace needing no sustenance from the earth. A constant target for enemies of undead—from the displaced Lastwall Knights to the church of Pharasma—Geb has no shortage of adventure for those who dare risk passage across its forsaken borders.

Illustration by Fabio Gorla

Between Geb and Nex stretches the Spellscar Desert of the Mana Wastes. Having changed hands countless times in the centuries of magical warfare between the two nations, the wastes were a constant battlefront, and ages of arcane attacks and defenses did irreparable harm to the land itself. Primal storms of raw magical energy flow in unnatural patterns through the unforgiving desert, and pockets of dead magic leave travelers with no defenses against the mutated inhabitants of the scarred region. In the Duchy of Alkenstar, however, the innovative inhabitants have embraced technology as a defense against the wastes' threats, developing new alchemical and clockwork wonders to protect them. The most closely guarded of their secrets is the key to firearms, which have slowly spread from Alkenstar throughout other parts of the world, but which are still largely produced in the duchy itself, guaranteeing a stable economy for the isolated city-state even amid the chaos of the Mana Wastes.

Illustration by Roberto Pitturru

Across the Obari Ocean from Nex lies the island nation of Jalmeray, home to a large population of ethnic Vudrani. Here the mystical practices of psychic magic are common, and students of more martial pursuits harness the elemental powers within themselves in the monastic Houses of Perfection. Just as Qadira serves as the Inner Sea's gateway to the riches and wonders of the Padishah Empire of Kelesh, Jalmeray offers just a taste of the mysteries and power of distant Vudra, and many heroes stop here on their journey eastward around Casmaron only to find enough adventure here to keep them in Jalmeray for decades.

Illustration by Ksenia Kozhevnikova

Player characters from or adventuring in the Impossible Lands can make use of seven new backgrounds, the student of perfection archetype, and the Eye of the Arclords feat, allowing them to harness some of the magic of the region and add a spark of ancient arcane mystery to their repertoires. Yesterday, we posted a for a glimpse into life in the Impossible Lands with Tim Pratt's story, "Bound for Glory." Next week, we'll journey west into the Mwangi Expanse, so get your mosquito nets ready!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Pathfinder World Guides Tales of Lost Omens
Grand Lodge

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Huzzah!


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Does this mean we'll be seeing more of Nex in 2e? Because I've been hoping for that for years.


I like the appearance of Geb, the undead band is pretty interesting.

Those Clockworks attacking the Dwarf and Gunslinger are Automatons from the Tekritanin League.

The flying spires in Jalmarey are pretty cool.


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That undead parade is.... quite, quite cool-looking.

Dark Archive

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A region of the most attractive, and that in a certain way always felt marginalized. So it's a joy to read about it, and I hope it gets something more attention.

Finally .... psychic magic !!!!


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Cole Deschain wrote:
That undead parade is.... quite, quite cool-looking.

Coming to you live undead from Mechitar, it's Samedi Nuit Mort!

Also, suggestions that psychics are still very much going to be a thing in PF2. Interesting.


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Pretty awesome. Really hoping we'll get to see a book about the Impossible Lands at some point!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So, Geb... Is that Geb as in gif or Geb as in gif?

Liberty's Edge

I look forward to seeing more about this region, as I have seen some good adventures set here. Perhaps one question that intrigues me is what has changed in the past decade of the setting. Time will tell.

Dark Archive

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I'm kinda confused how the artwork seems to confuse Automatons and Clockworks since those two things are really really really different things ._.;

Shadow Lodge

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William Ronald wrote:
I look forward to seeing more about this region, as I have seen some good adventures set here. Perhaps one question that intrigues me is what has changed in the past decade of the setting. Time will tell.

I can't think of any APs that have touched this region (maybe "Strange Aeons, briefly?), so if anything substantial has changed, places to look until the setting guide comes out would be modules, novels, and comics.

Also, it seems Avistani-centrism is alive and well, since to the people living in this region, none of the things mentioned in this overview (including magic and industry both of which have hitherto eclipsed backward Avistan's to every degree, though New Thassilon and Oprak may change that) would be "impossible." In fact it would be commonplace.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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We need more Nex.

Makes me wonder if the book will have firearms.

Paizo Employee Developer

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CorvusMask wrote:
I'm kinda confused how the artwork seems to confuse Automatons and Clockworks since those two things are really really really different things ._.;

The Automatons are attacking the duo. The Clockwork is coming to their aid.


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Cyrad wrote:

We need more Nex.

Makes me wonder if the book will have firearms.

Maybe?

Silver Crusade

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I would be delighted to see more adventures in Nex and Geb, the PFS scenarios just managed to whet my appetite.


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Excellent description, makes me want to go on and adventure there right away.

And I love the fun touch with the skeleton playing a flute.


VerBeeker wrote:

I like the appearance of Geb, the undead band is pretty interesting.

{. . .}

I predict that the Gebbite recorder player in the 3rd picture will have some missed notes . . . .

Dark Archive

Eleanor Ferron wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
I'm kinda confused how the artwork seems to confuse Automatons and Clockworks since those two things are really really really different things ._.;
The Automatons are attacking the duo. The Clockwork is coming to their aid.

Oooooooh ok, so they weren't being surrounded xD That makes more sense

Liberty's Edge

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3Doubloons wrote:
So, Geb... Is that Geb as in gif or Geb as in gif?

I have always pronounced it with a hard G, as Geb was one of the names of a deity of earth in Ancient Egypt. (The deity was also known as Qeb, Seb, Kebb or Keb. So, I presume a hard G.)


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This just solidifies my desire for a playable undead race to explore the catacombs and cemeteries of Geb with. I really like the name Graveborn.

I'm also very interested in the Dwarf in that picture. He has Artificer or a similar class written on him.


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I hope to see even more of Geb, Nex and the Mana Wastes in the following years of new APs in 2E.

Jalmeray got my attention following Tim's awesome story, and I also hope for a more in deep look at the island.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Isn't there a leg of The Tyrant's Grasp that goes to Geb or does

Spoiler:
Arazni
come to the PCs?


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Oh, "proof of concept!" Surely that means they wrote so much and/or generated so many good ideas that an Impossible Lands source book is coming soon, right?

Silver Crusade

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j b 200 wrote:
Isn't there a leg of The Tyrant's Grasp that goes to Geb or does ** spoiler omitted ** come to the PCs?

The latter.


I'm really glad Psychic Magic still canonically exists. We knew it was still around implicitly because they weren't planning on major setting changes (unrelated to geopolitics and APs), but it's nice to get explicit confirmation.

Shadow Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm really glad Psychic Magic still canonically exists. We knew it was still around implicitly because they weren't planning on major setting changes (unrelated to geopolitics and APs), but it's nice to get explicit confirmation.

(The geopolitical changes aren't that major either. Most of the new countries are small and not all that strategically placed. The socio-economic changes, on the other hand. . . )


I've always wanted to see an adventure path set in the Mana Wastes, hopefully we will see that in 2e. I'm super excited and I hope we get to see guns in 2e sooner rather than later, I'm itching to see how 2e handles gunslingers (please let them be good).


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Really, nothing about Southern Garund? There's so much to explore and discover there though:

The Vudra colony of Chauxen
The Azata worshiping nation of Dehrukani
The dinosaur-riding lizardfolk ruled nation of Droon
The matriarchy of Holomog
The triad of demon worshiping/slaving Bekyar ruled city states of Kaz'ulu
The mysterious catfolk city-state of Murraseth
The spider-like anadi ruled nation of Nurvatchta
The Keleshite Empire colony of Tirakawhan


Ooh yeah I wish the south had at least gotten a mention, but I figure it'll be in the final book.


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I mean it’s a books about the Inner Sea region, Southern Gary’s is very much not the Inner Sea but there’s nothing saying that Paizo won’t explore the region in the future, they’ve hinted they want to do more with other regions.


*hopes for a sourcebook with archetypes, magic and gunslingers*

Dark Archive

Wasn't there also termite people nation or was that just "what if" thing they considered at some point for distant shores but isn't canon yet because it has never been mentioned in books?


Reminder of the archetypes we have so far:

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

Next week we find out if it's the Magaambyan Arcanist for the Expanse, as folks have been hoping.

I'd especially like that since every other archetype here is not focused on magic (though Student of Perfection will have magical elements for sure). Give us something for the spellcasters!

EDIT: As Elfteiroh points out in another thread, the Lost Omens Character Guide product description contains this language:

LOCG Product Description wrote:
This must-have 136-page guidebook for characters of all types introduces three new ancestries to the Second Edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—the regimented and warlike hobgoblin, the plant-like leshy, and the inquisitive lizardfolk—provides 10 new heritages for the game's core ancestries, offers nearly 100 new ancestry feats, and presents 10 new archetypes to allow characters of any class to participate in the world's most notable organizations, from the adventurous Pathfinder Society to the rabble-rousing Firebrands to the magical masters of the Magaambya!

Given that we already know the Hellknights and Pathfinders are integrated across the two books, and Luis Loza talked on Mark's Twitch stream about how they were really trying to integrate stuff, I'd say this makes it very very likely we'll get some Arcanist archetype for the Expanse. (Like the Hellknight Armiger it might be an "apprentice" archetype that can roll into the other, related archetypes without having to fully satisfy the dedication+2 requirement first.)


I have a slight concern with respect to the lore explaining the development of alchemical firearms in Alkenstar and the current mechanics for how weapon damage scales at higher levels. Presumably, the absence of spell effects in the Mana Wastes is mechanically similar to an Anti-Magic Field in that magic weapons become mundane weapons of sufficient quality for their inscriptions. Weapons becoming less lethal, as well as the lack of the ability to cast spells, is what predicates the development of firearms in lore. If firearms are to have satisfied this need, they would have to be more effective than weapons already available, if otherwise mundane. My concern is whether firearm effectiveness at higher levels will be tied to inscriptions like their more traditional counterparts. Doing so would seem to argue against their lethality as mundane weapons to be adequate for survival in the Mana Wastes as lore suggests.


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Mechanics and lore don’t always mesh, just going to put that out there.

Fire arms were invented to supplant Magic, not supplant other weaponry in the Mana Wastes. They were created to fight off the Mutants that had been effected by Geb and Nex’s Magical warfare.


Alchemical Wonder wrote:
If firearms are to have satisfied this need, they would have to be more effective than weapons already available, if otherwise mundane. My concern is whether firearm effectiveness at higher levels will be tied to inscriptions like their more traditional counterparts. Doing so would seem to argue against their lethality as mundane weapons to be adequate for survival in the Mana Wastes as lore suggests.

Well, we know that we have alchemical items (i.e., non-magical items) that range from item level 1 to item level 20. So no reason why there couldn't be higher-level firearms that are more advanced, more rare, more expensive, & more effective—all without being magical.

But sure, I'm curious to see how PF2 handles this when it gets there. I assume we'll get a gunslinger/firearms playtest before they're introduced, too.


Quote:
This must-have 136-page guidebook for characters of all types introduces three new ancestries to the Second Edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—the regimented and warlike hobgoblin, the plant-like leshy, and the inquisitive lizardfolk.

Darn...I was hoping for Tiefling, Aasimar, and Dhampir. Oh well, maybe we'll get those ancestries in a Bestiary or area-specific manual?


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Berselius wrote:
Quote:
This must-have 136-page guidebook for characters of all types introduces three new ancestries to the Second Edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—the regimented and warlike hobgoblin, the plant-like leshy, and the inquisitive lizardfolk.

Darn...I was hoping for Tiefling, Aasimar, and Dhampir. Oh well, maybe we'll get those ancestries in a Bestiary or area-specific manual?

Pretty sure Bestiary Ancestries are out for PF2. I think they've said they want to dedicate word count to more GM-focused content for Bestiaries. All of those "PC Race" options would eat up a lot of word count over the course of the book and we'd get fewer creatures to use in our games.


I hope to know more about Vidrian and the fate of the Gorilla King on this week's Lost Omens World preview.

But regarding this preview, there's a question that I had in mind since the release of the Return of the Runelords AP and looking back at Inner Sea Magic. Are the Wizard Kings, Nex and Geb, mythic characters? Are they at least equally powerful to some of the Runelords or the Tyrant? Both were labeled as "Wizard 20+" in Inner Sea Magic, so I suppose they are at least "mythic" right?


^Probably exceeded most of the Runelords, but not Sorshen and Xanderghul (and maybe not Alaznist). Whispering Tyrant sounds really powerful, though.

Tyrant's Grasp:
Haven't seen the AP itself yet, but from other spoilers, not necessarily tagged as such, it sounds like the PCs can't permanently defeat him, but only temporarily pause his ascent to divinity.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Saedar wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
This must-have 136-page guidebook for characters of all types introduces three new ancestries to the Second Edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—the regimented and warlike hobgoblin, the plant-like leshy, and the inquisitive lizardfolk.

Darn...I was hoping for Tiefling, Aasimar, and Dhampir. Oh well, maybe we'll get those ancestries in a Bestiary or area-specific manual?

Pretty sure Bestiary Ancestries are out for PF2. I think they've said they want to dedicate word count to more GM-focused content for Bestiaries. All of those "PC Race" options would eat up a lot of word count over the course of the book and we'd get fewer creatures to use in our games.

As the resident DM, I am very appreciative of this impulse.


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Elorebaen wrote:
Saedar wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
This must-have 136-page guidebook for characters of all types introduces three new ancestries to the Second Edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—the regimented and warlike hobgoblin, the plant-like leshy, and the inquisitive lizardfolk.

Darn...I was hoping for Tiefling, Aasimar, and Dhampir. Oh well, maybe we'll get those ancestries in a Bestiary or area-specific manual?

Pretty sure Bestiary Ancestries are out for PF2. I think they've said they want to dedicate word count to more GM-focused content for Bestiaries. All of those "PC Race" options would eat up a lot of word count over the course of the book and we'd get fewer creatures to use in our games.
As the resident DM, I am very appreciative of this impulse.

Same here. If ever there is a book that should have GM-only content, it is the Bestiary.

Liberty's Edge

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Monster stats in Bestiaries, Monstrous Ancestries in other books

Silver Crusade

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The Raven Black wrote:
Monster stats in Bestiaries, Monstrous Ancestries in other books

So... a PLAYER BESTIARY O.O

Liberty's Edge

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Rysky wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Monster stats in Bestiaries, Monstrous Ancestries in other books
So... a PLAYER BESTIARY O.O

The ever unwritten last tome of the Book of the Damned : PCs unbound


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Rysky wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Monster stats in Bestiaries, Monstrous Ancestries in other books
So... a PLAYER BESTIARY O.O

A Playstiary.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories Subscriber

I was hoping Holomog would be included now. It's just over the border...


Maybe they'll include guns, just make them less of a mess mechanically (crossbow like) and be able to include them in a small equipment entry?


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Ah, the Impossible Lands. Named after the chance of ever getting an AP set there...

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