Our latest book, Pathfinder Lost Omens: The Mwangi Expanse is already trickling into the hands of our subscribers ahead of its upcoming release! With it comes new ancestries, deities, and a ton of lore to inspire characters, both native to the Expanse and visiting from other regions of the Inner Sea. We’ve talked a bit about how to adventure when your character comes from another region of Golarion, such as Absalom or Varisia, so today, we wanted to highlight building a character from the Mwangi Expanse. One of the authors for this book, Jabari Weathers, wrote some great guidance for this in the introduction of the book, as well as some questions to help you dig into your character’s connection with their home and what kind of adventures that might spark.
Today, let's go through these questions as we build a character of our own! Meet Bolani, an elementalist (upcoming in Secrets of Magic!) from the Mwangi Expanse.
Our first prompt: “What has your home taught you?” Having a character’s home be central to their personality, challenges, or worldview can be a good way to delve into a new concept.
Though the Mwangi Expanse hosts countless cultures and many powerful civilizations, the vastness and abundance of the land is an undeniable facet of everyday life. The mighty fortress of Senghor plies the sea for netfuls of fish, while the trade city of Kibwe hauls up tons of ores from the earth to fill its marketplaces. Experiencing the turning of the seasons, from the fires and droughts of the savannah to the monsoons of the rainy season, has taught Bolani the true power of the natural world. Humanity can attempt to harness or control the elements, but in the end, such measures will always fail—it is far better to learn the power of each element and adapt to them.
Art by Klaher Baklaher
Our second prompt: “What remains mysterious to you about home?” I’m sure that none of us knows every last fact about our hometowns, neighborhoods, or countries—there’s always room for one more unknown fact to discover or a bit of history to unearth. When a character has questions that they’re trying to get answered, that can give a personal angle to their adventures, and Pathfinder is about adventure, after all!
Bolani mastered many skills in pursuit of elemental mastery, not the least of which is geology. She brags that she can determine where she is in the Mwangi Expanse simply by feeling the rocks through her toes. Yet a few times over her career, she has encountered pieces of stone that elude her understanding—statues that do not seem to belong on this continent, tiny chips that seem to be literally beyond this world. Could these be relics of the Azlani, who ventured into the Expanse to defeat the serpentfolk god Ydersius and then seemingly departed without settling? Might these be related to the Doorway to the Red Star, which has fallen into disuse and mystery since the days of Old-Mage Jatembe? Or might these be crumbling remains from the Abyss itself, trod into the soil of Mwangi by the hooves of a demonic army that even now still lingers?
Lastly: “What are you protective of?” This can be something immediate, like a family member, but it can also be something a bit larger. What kind of changes scare your character most, and why? Is there something that they are working to preserve or even change about their culture or home? Figuring out what your character wants to protect can be a good way to give them direct ties and make their home feel lived in.
When Bolani was young, she could speak to the plants and elements of her home and hear them clearly in response. Now that she is older, she has found that these conversations harder for her to accomplish, and often become garbled or strained messages. She does not know if this is due to some change in her own self or if something terrible is happening to her home, beneath everyone’s notice—no one else she has spoken to has reported such a problem, which leaves Bolani uncertain and troubled. Whatever the cause, her connection to her childhood home is precious to her, and Bolani wishes to reestablish the connection and determine what went wrong to prevent it from occurring again.
Bolani is just one character, and there’s a whole Expanse to explore! Tell us about what kind of characters you’re planning to create, and how they might feel about their homes!
Mwangi Expanse: No Place Like Home
Friday, 2 July, 2021