The Saga Lands

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Strap in, Pathfinders, because we're entering the home-stretch of our grand tour around the Age of Lost Omens, as presented in next month's Lost Omens World Guide hardcover sourcebook. We've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks on the continent of Garund, but now we're headed back to where it all began way back in 2007 with the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path—the northern stretch of Avistan now known as the Saga Lands!

A glimpse of the Saga Lands. The city seems to be hewn of stone, with two fantastically gigantic statues guarding each side of this entrance. Each statue depicts a person holding a long, thin staff in one hand, the top of which has a kink in it. The other hand holds a large tablet close to the chest of the statue.  They are mirror images of each other.

Illustration by Roman Roland Kuteynikov

Throughout Pathfinder's history, no region has been as thoroughly explored in the pages of our adventures as the frontier land of Varisia. For millennia, the untamed land was defined by its ancient past, as Varisians, Shoanti, and explorers and colonists from distant lands all eked out a living in the shadow of cyclopean Thassilonian ruins. But in the past decade, the long-dormant runelords awakened and attempted to reclaim their former empire. Alaznist, Karzoug, Krune, Xanderghul, and Zutha have all been defeated, and the powerful heroes who foiled their plans now watch over the land, leading many to hope for a safer future for inhabitants of cities like Korvosa and Magnimar. As the latter grows in prominence to become the largest and most influential Varisian settlement, Korvosa continues to decline, even under the new leadership of Cressida Kroft, who took over in the wake of the tyrannical, plague-tainted rule of Queen Ileosa.

The Gray Maiden. A fully armoured warrior with a matching shield almost as tall as they are. The shield is pointed at each end, edged in gold, and has a rune in red across the front. The Gray Maiden also wears an armoured face mask, a plume of red hair flowing from the back. Her cape is almost the same color as her hair. She wields a long sword in her right hand.

Illustration by Andrea Tentori Montalto

But Magnimar is far from the only kingdom in resurgence. In the northern reaches of Varisia—the hilly plains of the Nolands and the impossibly high Kodar Mountains—the two surviving runelords have claimed a new kingdom of their own: New Thassilon! Under the conflicting rules of envious Runelord Belimarius and the less expansionist Runelord Sorshen, New Thassilon is already on the brink of civil war as the two powerful wizards vie for contril of the new kingdom. From her capital of Xin-Edasseril off Varisia's western coast, Belimarius already sets her sights on the elven forest of Celwynvian and the southern Lands of the Linnorm Kings, but these long-established lands are not so quick to roll over and bow before the upstart runelord. Sorshen has set her capital in Xin-Shalast, high in the Kodar Mountains, where no one has claimed the land since before Earthfall. With no feuds for territory (other than from Belimarius, who has no desire to share power), Sorshen has opened the isolated city up to outcasts and exiles from across the world, promising them a safe place to live their lives free from the oppression of their enemies.

A horizontal royal blue pennant flag with a 7 pointed gold star on it. Two matching gold ribbons hang freely from the top of the straight edge.

Illustration by Rogier van de Beek

To the north, the balance of power in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings has shifted, and three new linnorm crowns sit upon new brows. King Thira Ash-Eyes earned her right to rule Kalsgard after her father, King Svienn Blood-Eagle departed for Valenhall across the sea, leaving the throne vacant for her should she slay a linnorm (she did). In Icemark, the Varki ranger Nankou surprised many by being the first non-Ulfen to earn the title. In the southern city of Jol, the famed adventurer Ostog the Unslain puts his moniker to the test as the Linnorm King closest to Runelord Belimarius's lands. What great sagas of these new Linnorm Kings and the mighty heroes who vie for future vacant thrones will be told in the near future? Perhaps some wise skald will regale us with tales of heroism in another decade's time.

Thira Ash-Eyes. A stout woman wielding a round wooden shield and a plain longsword. Her dark red hair is pulled back in neat dreadlock rows. She has a jagged tattoo across her right eye and wears a fox-head medallion. Both shoulders are clothed in heavy brown furs and she wears thick brown boots strapped with brown leather and round buckless

Illustration by Yasen Stoilov

Relations between the Ulfen of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and the Jadwiga of its eastern neighbor, Irissen, have cooled in recent years (pun intended), thanks to the rise of Queen Anastasia, who hails from a distant world where magic is less prevalent. While not a daughter of Baba Yaga like the ice queens who preceded her, the legendary witch's blood nevertheless flows through her veins. A much more benevolent ruler than past queens, Anastasia gives the people of Irrisen and its neighbors hope for a better future. Nevertheless, the constant winter of the enchanted land continues, and rumors of Baba Yaga's presence in the land out of season persist. Could the mother of witches have plans to reassert control over the land by placing a new daughter on the throne in Anastasia's place?

Queen Anastasia. Headshot of a woman with long, dark brown hair and grey eyes. She looks off to the left. She wears a fur stole wrapped around her neck and a pointed silver crown on her head.

Illustration by Oksana Federova

Like the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the Realm of the Mammoth Lords to Irrisen's east seems on the precipice of peace for the first time in over a century, as the threats of winter witches to the west, the demons of the Worldwound to the east, and the orcs of Belkzen to the south have all subsided. This has allowed the nomadic Kellids of the harsh taiga to travel farther into all three neighboring lands in their seasonal hunts of the region's megafauna than ever before. Despite the lack of open antagonists on their borders, potential conflicts with repatriating Sarkorians, xenophobic Irrisens, and those orcs not focused on the Whispering Tyrant's forces on their southern border could all prove problematic for the migratory Mammoth Lord holdings. After all, honor is everything and tempers can flare, and it just takes one spark to start a fire that could set the entire plain ablaze.

You can barely see the rider atop this huge wooly mammoth. Its shaggy fur is dark brown and has been covered in red war paint across the face, legs, and front. The long, curving tusks have runes carved upon them. The rider atop wields a very long, thin pole arm.

Illustration by Biagio d'Alessandro

Players from this region may select from seven new backgrounds like Shoanti name-bearer, Thassilonian traveler, and winter's child, or take the runescarred archetype, while arcane and primal spellcasters can learn the wintery snowball spell!

A dark-haired woman in layered blue and gold skirts, knee-high cuffed pirate boots, an off the shoulder short-sleeved blouse, and a necklace stands with both hands extended, prepared for battle. Fire is gathering in each of her palms.

Illustration by Christian Schob

Check this space on Thursday for a new piece of flash fiction by Liane Merciel to inspire new stories of adventure in players and Game Masters alike, and then next Tuesday for the final meta-region of the Age of Lost Omens campaign setting: the Shining Kingdoms. Until then, Pathfinders, may your exploits be marked in the sagas of the gods!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Pathfinder World Guides
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I thought we might get an archetype related to New Thassilon!

For reference, here's the list 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: Magic Warrior
8) Old Cheliax: Hellknight Armiger
9) Saga Lands: Runescarred
10) Shining Kingdoms: ?

I'm pretty sure we'll get something related to the Firebrands in the Shining Kingdoms. Looking forward to finding out next week!


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DUDE! Varisia and Irrisen are the main locals I based my homebrew world on, and holy s*@& I made Anastasia the canonical Heir there as well!

So Kellids on the March, Thassilon on the Rise and Three more Linnorm King’s taking their thrones. Im excited to say the least.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Wow, Irissen really is Narnia with a malevolent nigh-omnipotent witch watching over it instead of a God-lion. :p Long may you reign, Anastasia, and represent!


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hah, I didn't realise that Ostog being a new Linnorm King was canon, I thought it was just for the PaizoCon adventure. That's great! Are there any other Paizo PCs that have made their way into the new world guide? The only other one I know is Shensen, who was James Jacobs' character and appeared in Hell's Rebels.


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I'm just happy Ostag proves he's better as being Unslain than some of my other characters.

Also glad to see Kalsgard has fresh blood in it.

Little sad that Korvosa is in decline...but who know?!?

Shadow Lodge

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Proud to have called Anastasia being the new Queen of Irrisen, disappointed in her being a fairly liberal one. She had a worse Fronde than Louis XIV, and we know how he turned out.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Proud to have called Anastasia being the new Queen of Irrisen, disappointed in her being a fairly liberal one. She had a worse Fronde than Louis XIV, and we know how he turned out.

Well, she's still new to the throne. If things go as they did for her predecessors, she'll have a century before Baba Yaga comes back to replace her. A lot can happen in a hundred years. For now, she's still trying to get a grip on being on a different planet where she's the ruler of a nation, and oh yeah, magic is a thing here so there's that too.

Shadow Lodge

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Thomas Seitz wrote:
Little sad that Korvosa is in decline...

Me too - not that it's terribly well-justified. Xin's tsunami would have been about as destructive as Ileosa's plague, and was more recent. Korvosa also has industry in its holdings while Magnimar does not; both have Thassilonian monuments from which to draw strength, and if anything Korvosa's should be more vital given that Sorshen is alive while Alaznist is not.

I remain curious about the map. Has Korvosa lost, e.g., Abken or Sirathu? Has Magnimar gained Ilsurian and Whistledown, and so water routes to all of its holdings?

The geopolitics of that corner of the Steaming Sea are bound to be interesting as well, given Ravounel's newfound interest in throwing its weight around in the northern trade routes, and even its small strength eclipsing either Korvosa or Magnimar alone.

Shadow Lodge

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Mark Moreland wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Proud to have called Anastasia being the new Queen of Irrisen, disappointed in her being a fairly liberal one. She had a worse Fronde than Louis XIV, and we know how he turned out.
Well, she's still new to the throne. If things go as they did for her predecessors, she'll have a century before Baba Yaga comes back to replace her. A lot can happen in a hundred years. For now, she's still trying to get a grip on being on a different planet where she's the ruler of a nation, and oh yeah, magic is a thing here so there's that too.

I fail to see how these things would make her more liberal. She was always royal, even if Alexei was supposed to be crowned after Nikolai's death. Actually ruling would not be such a great shock.

If anything, magic would make a wonderful tool to achieve vengeance on the Bolsheviki by proxy in Galt or Ravounel (the manifold distinctions between e.g., the Cadet regime in Ravounel and the Bolsheviki would, of course, be utterly lost on the young queen), or through aid to the regime in Cheliax.

Reclaim the Tsarina's traditional role as guarantor of reaction and gaoler of nations.

Paizo Employee Developer

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:

I fail to see how these things would make her more liberal. She was always royal, even if Alexi was supposed to be crowned after Nikolai's death. Actually ruling would not be such a great shock.

If anything, magic would make a wonderful tool to achieve vengeance on the Bolsheviki by proxy in Galt or Ravounel (the manifold distinctions between e.g., the Cadet regime in Ravounel and the Bolsheviki would, of course, be utterly lost on the young queen), or through aid to the regime in Cheliax.

Reclaim the Tsarina's traditional role as guarantor of reaction and gaoler of nations.

It states she's kinder than Baba Yaga and the Jadwiga, which mostly requires her not to eat an entire man for breakfast.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eleanor Ferron wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

I fail to see how these things would make her more liberal. She was always royal, even if Alexi was supposed to be crowned after Nikolai's death. Actually ruling would not be such a great shock.

If anything, magic would make a wonderful tool to achieve vengeance on the Bolsheviki by proxy in Galt or Ravounel (the manifold distinctions between e.g., the Cadet regime in Ravounel and the Bolsheviki would, of course, be utterly lost on the young queen), or through aid to the regime in Cheliax.

Reclaim the Tsarina's traditional role as guarantor of reaction and gaoler of nations.

It states she's kinder than Baba Yaga and the Jadwiga, which mostly requires her not to eat an entire man for breakfast.

There is no comparison of Anastasia to Baba Yaga at all, and she is described as being "a much more benevolent ruler than past queens" and giving "the people of Irrisen and its neighbors hope for a better future." Not a hair's breath more benevolent; much more benevolent.


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I hope we will get something more on the Realm of Mammoth Lords in this edition, i always found them terribly unappreciated.


Cool! Having not followed along with the latest Runelords adventure path, the arrival of New Thassilon seems pretty interesting. This art looks great, especially the mammoth rider one.

Browsing PathfinderWiki, it seems like...that Anastasia is the real life Anastasia Nikolaevna?!? I hate to be a hater but I'm not a fan of this. It just breaks my immersion to have a real life historical figure as a major ruler on Golarion, especially since the theory about her survival has been debunked. I can always just change it the next time I run a game in this setting, though.

MindFl*yer98 wrote:
I hope we will get something more on the Realm of Mammoth Lords in this edition, i always found them terribly unappreciated.

I agree!


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Hmm.
Can a Runelord, as one of the most powerful mortals in the history of the setting and former ruler in their own right, really be properly called an upstart?

I think they'd disagree.

Shadow Lodge

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Darth Game Master wrote:
Browsing PathfinderWiki, it seems like...that Anastasia is the real life Anastasia Nikolaevna?!?

Yup.

Spoiler:
She didn't survive though. Rasputin resurrected her. Red bayonets ain't got nothin' on occult magicks, it would seem. I wonder why.

Shadow Lodge

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Voss wrote:
I think they'd disagree.

Quite. Who are these barbarians who think they can move into MY lands just because I haven't occupied them in ten millennia? To say nothing of the pestilintial elves who wouldn't even submit and be conquered before my hiatus. They'll see. They'll all see!


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Darth Game Master wrote:

Cool! Having not followed along with the latest Runelords adventure path, the arrival of New Thassilon seems pretty interesting. This art looks great, especially the mammoth rider one.

Browsing PathfinderWiki, it seems like...that Anastasia is the real life Anastasia Nikolaevna?!? I hate to be a hater but I'm not a fan of this. It just breaks my immersion to have a real life historical figure as a major ruler on Golarion, especially since the theory about her survival has been debunked. I can always just change it the next time I run a game in this setting, though.

Well, considering that the adventure that canonizes her survival, the amazingly-named, Sheer AWESOMENESS-INCARNATE premise that is Rasputin Must Die!, has the PCs fighting Rasputin of all things, it actually gives a very good reasoning for why it's the actual Grand Duchess. So, while I can understand if you personally aren't a fan of it, it still makes 100% sense in-universe for why she has become the new Queen of Irrisen.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I kind of like how Belimarius outlasted almost all of her rivals by just flying under the radar. Although I'm not sure how long that's going to last with her threatening the Linnorm Kings and Sorshen.


Herald of the Redeemer Queen wrote:
Darth Game Master wrote:

Cool! Having not followed along with the latest Runelords adventure path, the arrival of New Thassilon seems pretty interesting. This art looks great, especially the mammoth rider one.

Browsing PathfinderWiki, it seems like...that Anastasia is the real life Anastasia Nikolaevna?!? I hate to be a hater but I'm not a fan of this. It just breaks my immersion to have a real life historical figure as a major ruler on Golarion, especially since the theory about her survival has been debunked. I can always just change it the next time I run a game in this setting, though.

Well, considering that the adventure that canonizes her survival, the amazingly-named, Sheer AWESOMENESS-INCARNATE premise that is Rasputin Must Die!, has the PCs fighting Rasputin of all things, it actually gives a very good reasoning for why it's the actual Grand Duchess. So, while I can understand if you personally aren't a fan of it, it still makes 100% sense in-universe for why she has become the new Queen of Irrisen.

Yeah. I had been somewhat aware of that and that it involved going to Earth, but I didn't know the details.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ah-ah, ah!
Ah-ah, ah!
We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow
The hammer of the gods
W'ell drive our ships to new lands
To fight the horde, and sing and cry
Valhalla, I am coming!

Can't wait for the new book and to get my hands on some of those backgrounds!


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
There is no comparison of Anastasia to Baba Yaga at all, and she is described as being "a much more benevolent ruler than past queens" and giving "the people of Irrisen and its neighbors hope for a better future." Not a hair's breath more benevolent; much more benevolent.

Plausibly "abstains from cannibalism" and "does not approve of human sacrifice even if it is just peasants" qualifies as "much more benevolent" than her predecessors.

Like Elvanna was NE, whereas Anastasia is LN (at least for now)- she may end up as a cruel tyrant, but she probably has some lines she's unwilling to cross. I mean, she was 17 when she was resurrected and brought to Golarion.


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Yay, Liane is gonna be back! I just hope, this time, we get something not as weird, gross or bone chilling as last time (though I loved it!).


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Rasputin Must Die was such a weird fun concept, as was most of Reign of Winter, Anastasia being Queen, well *that* is something *very* interesting to me.

Though...why Zimmer would she aid a nation ruled by despot Devils? Or go after Galt or Ravounel?

I feel like she’d be much more preoccupied by the Magic, and Trolls and talking wolves and numerous Fae, and massive Mega Fauna and Linnorms and possible rebels within her *own* realm then try and truck in politics of a world that has never heard of a Tsar let alone Russia or any other information she grew up with.

Dark Archive

Our party used their boons to both place Anastasia on the throne and tell Baba Yaga to never come back so I kinda wonder if the Baba Yaga thing is just a rumor

Shadow Lodge

VerBeeker wrote:
Though...why Zimmer would she aid a nation ruled by despot Devils? Or go after Galt or Ravounel?

She is a Romanov, and that house for four hundred years was among the most barbaric and despotic on Earth; for a hundred its armies buried generations of revolutionaries from Paris to Budapest to Warsaw. Anastasia was returned from death itself to ensure that this legacy would continue, and has been transplanted to a world that has not yet learned to fear the names of Moscow and Rome. It will. Its peoples run rampant. They will be brought to heel.


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Yeah, I have a very hefty *doubt* that anything you just hinted at is going to happen.

Can someone tell me why this guy seems to like...adore Cheliax for some reason?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
VerBeeker wrote:

Yeah, I have a very hefty *doubt* that anything you just hinted at is going to happen.

Can someone tell me why this guy seems to like...adore Cheliax for some reason?

We all have our quirks and vices!


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
VerBeeker wrote:
Though...why Zimmer would she aid a nation ruled by despot Devils? Or go after Galt or Ravounel?
She is a Romanov, and that house for four hundred years was among the most barbaric and despotic on Earth; for a hundred its armies buried generations of revolutionaries from Paris to Budapest to Warsaw. Anastasia was returned from death itself to ensure that this legacy would continue, and has been transplanted to a world that has not yet learned to fear the names of Moscow and Rome. It will. Its peoples run rampant. They will be brought to heel.

You make her sound like a more bloodthirsty version of Ivan the Terrible. That would be quite a feat. And with revolutionaries in Paris I hope you do not mean the war fought against the french revolution. That was not so black and white you make it sound.

Not to forget to conclude from her family to her being the same is not really a thing to do. Leaves a bit of bad taste.


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Mark Moreland wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Proud to have called Anastasia being the new Queen of Irrisen, disappointed in her being a fairly liberal one. She had a worse Fronde than Louis XIV, and we know how he turned out.
Well, she's still new to the throne. If things go as they did for her predecessors, she'll have a century before Baba Yaga comes back to replace her. A lot can happen in a hundred years. For now, she's still trying to get a grip on being on a different planet where she's the ruler of a nation, and oh yeah, magic is a thing here so there's that too.

If I had to guess, when that century is about to be up, it will also be close to the time that Pathfinder 12th Edition is supposed to come out . . . .

Dark Archive

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Don't forget 10 new Ruby Phoenix tournament modules! Maybe they could make one of them into an AP instead...

(when was the next ruby phoenix tournament held again? Lemme check... Oh its 4722, so in three years. Hopefully writers already have ideas ready for it :D)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Dancing bears,
Painted wings,
Things I almost remember,
And a song someone sings,
Once upon a December.
Someone holds me safe and warm,
Horses prance through a silver storm,
Figures dancing gracefully across my memory

Someone holds me safe and warm,
Horses prance through a silver storm,
Figures dancing gracefully across my memory.

Far away,
Long ago,
Glowing dim as an ember,
Things my heart used to know,
Things it yearns to remember
And a song someone sings

Once upon a December


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darth Game Master wrote:
Browsing PathfinderWiki, it seems like...that Anastasia is the real life Anastasia Nikolaevna?!? I hate to be a hater but I'm not a fan of this. It just breaks my immersion to have a real life historical figure as a major ruler on Golarion, especially since the theory about her survival has been debunked. I can always just change it the next time I run a game in this setting, though.

You can find a completely new theory of her survival in Pathfinder Adventure Path #71: Rasputin must Die!


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>> She is a Romanov, and that house for four hundred years was among the most barbaric and despotic on Earth

Sorry, but that sentence is so wrong, on two levels:
a) having ancestors who did bad things doesn't make you a bad person. The historic Anastasia was killed when she was 17, she never ruled, it's hard to make a claim she was a bad person
b) pick any country or region and it's rulers from the same time period: there will be terrible things they have done. It's a bold claim to say one of them was the most barbaric, and imho this shouldn't be done so casually in half a sentence. If you really want to make that claim, you would have to compare the Romanovs to what the rest of the world did in that time, which would for example include countless wars, colonialism, slave trade...

Dark Archive

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Darth Game Master wrote:
Herald of the Redeemer Queen wrote:
Darth Game Master wrote:

Cool! Having not followed along with the latest Runelords adventure path, the arrival of New Thassilon seems pretty interesting. This art looks great, especially the mammoth rider one.

Browsing PathfinderWiki, it seems like...that Anastasia is the real life Anastasia Nikolaevna?!? I hate to be a hater but I'm not a fan of this. It just breaks my immersion to have a real life historical figure as a major ruler on Golarion, especially since the theory about her survival has been debunked. I can always just change it the next time I run a game in this setting, though.

Well, considering that the adventure that canonizes her survival, the amazingly-named, Sheer AWESOMENESS-INCARNATE premise that is Rasputin Must Die!, has the PCs fighting Rasputin of all things, it actually gives a very good reasoning for why it's the actual Grand Duchess. So, while I can understand if you personally aren't a fan of it, it still makes 100% sense in-universe for why she has become the new Queen of Irrisen.
Yeah. I had been somewhat aware of that and that it involved going to Earth, but I didn't know the details.

Well, I can say this much: She didn't actually survive.(and yeah, she has/had post traumatic stress syndrome as result) Rasputin did though, hence why you need kill him :p


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Considering that Annie got a good look at where Nicky II's incompetence and desperate clinging to autocracy landed them all, and the incredibly low bar set by prior rulers, saying she's "much more benevolent" than Baba Yaga and the Jadwiga is hardly an endorsement of the full history of Romanov rule.

Hell, given how Irrisen has been portrayed until now, even Ivan the Terrible or Peter the Great would be a friggin' improvement.

A 17 year old girl resurrected after seeing the end of the Romanov dynasty firsthand in the basement of Ipatiev House?

She's probably not going to be too keen to follow in her dad's footsteps.


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Anastasia on the Irrisen throne! Not thanks to my group, who never found her, leaving her in the encampment. 8)

The Saga lands summary and development sounds good. I'm exited for the story this week!


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
VerBeeker wrote:
Though...why Zimmer would she aid a nation ruled by despot Devils? Or go after Galt or Ravounel?
She is a Romanov, and that house for four hundred years was among the most barbaric and despotic on Earth; for a hundred its armies buried generations of revolutionaries from Paris to Budapest to Warsaw. Anastasia was returned from death itself to ensure that this legacy would continue, and has been transplanted to a world that has not yet learned to fear the names of Moscow and Rome. It will. Its peoples run rampant. They will be brought to heel.

Actually, she is not a Romanov. She is the daughter of the Tsarina (formerly Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine) and Rasputin. In Pathfinder lore, Tsar Nicholas II is not her father. She is the granddaughter of Baba Yaga, though.

Shadow Lodge

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lowfyr01 wrote:
And with revolutionaries in Paris I hope you do not mean the war fought against the french revolution. That was not so black and white you make it sound.

I was mostly referring to the War of the Second Coalition, and to the abortive invasions of 1830 and 1848 (abortive because those armies were ultimately put to use in Poland and Hungary rather than France).

Quote:
Not to forget to conclude from her family to her being the same is not really a thing to do. Leaves a bit of bad taste.

Anastasia being a Romanov is relevant for two reasons that have nothing to do with any ontology. First, it means she has a legacy, and more than a little pride. Second and more importantly, she can learn the lessons of history. The lesson of her house's history over the 19th Century was that if you give people an inch, they'll take a mile. Alexander II emancipated the serfs and was assassinated for his trouble. Nikolai II, her own father, opened the State Duma and promulgated a liberal constitution - less than 15 years later he was forced to abdicate and was unceremoniously bayonetted to death along with his family including Anastasia herself. From her perspective, these people are ungrateful, rapacious monsters. They need a firm hand like that of her grandfather Alexander III if they are to be kept from bloody retribution. The lesson is not, when given a second chance, to squander it on frivolous magnanimity.

Shadow Lodge

Zaister wrote:
Actually, she is not a Romanov. She is the daughter of the Tsarina (formerly Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine) and Rasputin. In Pathfinder lore, Tsar Nicholas II is not her father. She is the granddaughter of Baba Yaga, though.

Seventeen years being raised in a belief, and being murdered because you and everyone else believed it, is gonna count for something.

(Plus, it's not like she'd give up the title or claims even knowing of a greater legacy. And she'd make a more credible pretender than either of the two we have.)

Silver Crusade

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You are pulling a whoooooole bunch of assumptions out of the nether.


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People would do well to remember that Earth Anastasia is not equal to Pathfinder Anastasia and to leave their Earthly politics at the door.

Shadow Lodge

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Fumarole wrote:
People would do well to remember that Earth Anastasia is not equal to Pathfinder Anastasia and to leave their Earthly politics at the door.

That is such claptrap. If Paizo didn't want to invite comparisons, they'd have made up a setting and a character rather than using Earth and a historical figure. Or is the point that only Paizo is allowed to make political statements, and that our role is either to accept them uncritically or to bite our tongues?


I have always thought that Sorshen is the queen of New Thassilon. But this post implied that Belimarius and Sorshen are co-rulers of New Thassilon. Seems like they somehow agreed to unify their two countries into one. What a wonderful friendship!

Is the woman with red hair King Thira? I thought Ulfen have blond or gray hair. Maybe Sveinn married a Taldan woman? Also she doesn't seem like old enough to be Sveinn's daughter. Shouldn't she be his granddaughter?

Is the mammoth rider a human or an orc? He seems like an orc to me because his skin looks green.

I have never heard of Ostog before, yet it seems that some people have already known his existence. Was he mentioned in First Edition?

Silver Crusade

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What political statement is "we took this folkloric kid that we don't know anything about other than the Don Bluth film that was killed in an uprising and transported her to a fantasy world"?

Again you are running on assumptions and outright making things up on how you think this fictional depiction of a 17 year old would act and think when neither you or anyone else knows anything about her.

Silver Crusade

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Aenigma wrote:
Is the woman with red hair King Thira? I thought Ulfen have blond or gray hair.
Or, being analogues to Scandinavians, they have red hair as well. They don't come in blonde only.
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Also she doesn't seem like old enough to be Sveinn's daughter. Shouldn't she be his granddaughter?

That's not how baby making works. Also neither of their ages are mentioned.


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I generally avoid wading into these sorts of debates, but for once this touches very close to my own field. So, here we go!

First off, hi, I'm Mikhail Rekun. I'm a Paizo freelancer, though not one who's done anything related to Saga Lands to date. When not writing about duskwalkers and mortics, though, I'm a historian of the late Russian Empire. (I've got a book and everything! Check it out: How Russia Lost Bulgaria, 1878-1886) My specialty is diplomatic history and foreign relations, not the Romanov dynasty itself, but I'm moderately familiar with them.

First point: There is not enough historical information to say firmly that Anastasia would be more liberal or more repressive than the typical ruler. Ultimately, Anastasia died when she was seventeen years old, and as a woman would have never been considered for the Russian throne owing to the Pauline laws of succession (there's some outside edge cases where such a thing was possible, but this was no a concern at the time to my knowledge). I'm not aware of Anastasia ever showing much interest in politics at a young age.

Thus, everything is going to be guess work to a certain extent, and that's even before you factor in the potential PTSD from her family's death, or the way resurrection, dimensional travel, and all the rest would influence the poor girl.

That said, we can untangle a couple of other points here.

The argument that the Romanovs were uniformly repressive, or that the lesson of history is that if you give the people an inch they will take a mile is a bit of an oversimplification. By and large, the last 150 or so years of the Romanovs saw more liberal monarchs alternating with more reactionary ones - you have Catherine the Great followed by Paul I, Alexander I followed by Nicholas I (Nicholas Palki, the real Gaoler of Europe), Alexander II followed by Alexander III, and then Nicholas II as the odd duck in the flock.

Taken as a whole, Imperial Russia was a more conservative land than France or the United Kingdom, but there were regular efforts to modernize, liberalize, and update it - the biggest effort was Alexander II's Great Reforms, which freed the serfs but also brought about massive reorganizations in the judiciary, in civil administration, and so forth.

The reason here is that it was fairly clear that a consistently authoritarian line would leave Russia further and further behind its peers among the Great Powers. I won't get into the details because I am much too lazy to break out my books, but suffice to say that Russia's antiquated administration came with serious costs - more modern states such as Germany were better able to mobilize large numbers of soldiers, and use civic expenditures to arrange railways the way they liked them for easy logistics. Ultimately, Alexander II became a reformer and a liberal (in the contemporary Russian sense of the term), because Imperial Russia had been beaten black and blue during the Crimean War, for all that the French and British armies had their own share of woeful incompetence.

Nicholas II breaks the pattern a bit, because he was honestly not the brightest bulb, but even his own experiences point to the fact that one cannot effectively repress a population indefinitely - the Revolution of 1905 was only really stopped because Sergei Witte essentially bullied Nicholas into granting a constitution and allowing for a legislature, even if the October Manifesto was subsequently defanged to near irrelevance with the various election manipulations. Which in turn played a major role in letting pressure build that resulted in the February Revolution.

So, it's certainly plausible that a reborn Anastasia might conclude that perpetual repression is a long-term loser, because sooner or later the system breaks down. Personally, I think it's even more plausible that she'd become a staunch pacifist and noninterventionist, because the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 had their proximate causes in her father getting involved in unwise and unsuccessful foreign wars.

This post is getting a bit unwieldy, but I'll touch on a second point, which is the idea that the Romanovs were uniquely brutal. As noted, compared to the rest of Europe they were more conservative, and they definitely had their unpleasant moments (best example here would be the regular pogroms launched by basically all the Tsars).

But consider their contemporaries - such folks as Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Dowager Empress Cixi, or the most triumphant example, King Leopold II.

King Leopold II of Belgium's life overlapped a bit with Anastasia's (she was born in 1901, he died in 1909), though I don't know that they'd ever met. But in the Congo Free State, Leopold ran what can only be called a genocidal regime, uniquely brutal and horrific even by the standards of colonialism, which saw such things as routine mutilation, forced labor (slavery, not to mince words), and cut the Congo's population roughly in half. He's someone who could give Hitler and Stalin a run for their money in the body count contest.

Ultimate conclusion then: Yes, the Romanovs were conservative in general and on occasion quite reactionary (the point about Nicholas I and the Revolution of 1848 is a valid one), but they were neither uniformly tyrannical nor necessarily out of line with other European monarchs of the Victorian era.

Furthermore, there's not really enough on Anastasia to make sweeping proclamations as to what kind of ruler she would be, but certainly a benevolent, non-violent Anastasia is entirely possible.

Sources: I've got more books on this topic than I care to think about, but a very good set of readable histories on the late Russian Empire would be the various books of W. Bruce Lincoln, especially In War's Dark Shadow. If anyone is terribly interested in an actual reading list, I would be happy to provide.

Shadow Lodge

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Rysky wrote:
What political statement is "we took this folkloric kid that we don't know anything about other than the Don Bluth film that was killed in an uprising and transported her to a fantasy world"?

Speaking of assumptions, the bold is a massive one (edit: and has been entirely belied by the previous post, kudos). Not only is the history by no means inaccessible, Brandon Hodge was tapped for Rasputin Must Die specifically for his historical knowledge and proven abilities to work "secret histories" into established historical events.

Even if it was true, the idea that it's not worth our time or the audience's time looking into the implications of the things we appropriate for our art is political on its own.

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Again you are running on assumptions and outright making things up on how you think this fictional depiction of a 17 year old would act and think when neither you or anyone else knows anything about her.

Again, this is disingenuous. If Paizo wanted a fictional character, they could have used one. They chose a historical figure, who came out of a context and who is fairly well known both for herself and her context. She is also easily comparable to other historical figures in similar contexts, including the above-mentioned Alexander III and Louis XIV. Like Anastasia, Alexander's father was assassinated, and he only became more autocratic. Like Anastasia, Louis witnessed a rebellion, and he only became more autocratic. So much for character; you have not addressed my point about the lessons of history, which is that an autocratic regime prospers when it doubles down, and topples when it begins to loosen its grip.

Silver Crusade

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
What political statement is "we took this folkloric kid that we don't know anything about other than the Don Bluth film that was killed in an uprising and transported her to a fantasy world"?

Speaking of assumptions, the bold is a massive one (edit: and has been entirely belied by the previous post, kudos). Not only is the history by no means inaccessible, Brandon Hodge was tapped for Rasputin Must Die specifically for his historical knowledge and proven abilities to work "secret histories" into established historical events.

Even if it was true, the idea that it's not worth our time or the audience's time looking into the implications of the things we appropriate for our art is political on its own.

My point was that she was not a ruler and we have no biographies of her that go into any sort of detail that would allow for psychoanalysis or determinations.
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Again you are running on assumptions and outright making things up on how you think this fictional depiction of a 17 year old would act and think when neither you or anyone else knows anything about her.
Again, this is disingenuous. If Paizo wanted a fictional character, they could have used one. They chose a historical figure, who came out of a context and who is fairly well known both for herself and her context. She is also easily comparable to other historical figures in similar contexts, including the above-mentioned Alexander III and Louis XIV. Like Anastasia, Alexander's father was assassinated, and he only became more autocratic. Like Anastasia, Louis witnessed a rebellion, and he only became more autocratic. So much for character; you have not addressed my point about the lessons of history, which is that an autocratic regime prospers when it doubles down, and topples when it begins to loosen its grip.

"Speaking of assumptions, the bold is a massive one" to use your words. There is absolutely no correlation with the things you brought up. "Her father was assassinated so she's going to turn out like this other ruler whose father was assassinated" is 100% assumption from you, just as everything else you said.

Silver Crusade

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Also thankies for the info Mikhail ^w^

And especially for the Dustwalkers and Mortics, I likes those I do yes yes.

Shadow Lodge

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First of all, thanks to @Mikahil Rekun for the extremely useful post. A couple responses:

Mikhail Rekun wrote:
The argument that the Romanovs were uniformly repressive

Was never made. I've contrasted Alexander II with Alexander III, for instance, as liberal and conservative respectively, in similar terms as you used. As you say, there's a lot more depth to go into, but this is a comments section to a blog post and there isn't much return on doing so.

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the idea that the Romanovs were uniquely brutal

Was also never floated. I used the word "among," and in any event, bringing up their contemporaries is simply whataboutism. The point is to suss out how Anastasia might rule. Speaking of which. . .

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Personally, I think it's even more plausible that she'd become a staunch pacifist and noninterventionist, because the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 had their proximate causes in her father getting involved in unwise and unsuccessful foreign wars.

I agree with this, with the caveat that Anastasia might think to use magic to intereve covertly abroad and spare her armies. But I don't see a way clear to her loosening the reins in a longstanding repressive society, when she's only ever seen that lead to ruin for her family and for herself personally (she might also get some schadenfreude from scrying on the Russian Civil War from time to time).

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