Introducing the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide

Monday, March 28, 2022

Sometimes, a bullet is best.

A gang of outlaws, each with their own grudge against the villains who wronged them, must join forces to get their revenge. In the steam-powered city of Alkenstar, where most business is as orderly as the hands on a clock, these rugged antiheroes will have to go against the grain if they’re to settle their vendettas.

Will the vigilantes have enough firepower to cut a path through Alkenstar’s soot-stained streets? Or will they, like so many others, get swallowed up by the ever-churning gears of the City of Smog?

Outlaws of Alkenstar Player's Guide Cover featuring the iconic inventor, Droven and their automaton, Whirp jumping away from an explosion


Inside the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide, you’ll find player-friendly, spoiler-free information and tips to help you make a new character perfect for the Outlaws of Alkenstar Adventure Path.

This Player’s Guide contains details and advice about:

  • Alkenstar, the City of Smog, including summaries of well-known landmarks, dossiers on the city’s most famous personalities, and special rules for you and your Game Master to consider.
  • Your Character, including the backstory of how you came to be an outlaw and the nature of the illicit job for which you’ve just been hired.
  • Character Suggestions, including recommendations for alignments, ancestries, classes, languages, skills, and feats well suited to this Adventure Path.
  • New backgrounds to inspire your character’s criminal past and the nature of their grudge, including Banished Brighite, Framed in Ferrous Quarter, and Ratted Out Gun Runner.

Start your adventure today!
Download the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide

Want to run Outlaws of Alkenstar as a Game Master?
Order Outlaws of Alkenstar: Punks in a Powder Keg.

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Outlaws of Alkenstar Pathfinder Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Second Edition
51 to 83 of 83 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

You don't have to be evil to commit a crime. Not even murder. The act is evil, it doesn't mean the character is.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

"I try to do good, but at heart I am a very bad man." -- The Kildar

"You do know he's possessed by a demon, right?" -- Barbara Everette, the Queen of Wands, speaking of Mike Jenkins, aka The Kildar.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm pretty sure we're just trying to use the "outlaws are the good guys, the law is the bad guys" trope that's as old as Robin Hood if not older.

That story changes *a lot* if Robin Hood himself is a truly reprehensible person.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I’m a little confused why Taldane is the Common tongue down here; Taldor never controlled anything in the vicinity, the region was historically ruled by Osirion, and a lot of neighboring trade is with speakers of Mwangi or Kelish. A lot of older art (1e especially) portrayed the folk of Alkenstar as kind of inexplicably white, and this doesn’t help with that -I’d love thoughts on all this from folks who worked on it?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Probably people speak Taldane because of trade. Doesn't Alkenstar trade (both goods and expertise) considerably through the inner sea?

I could see people wanting to not speak Osirioni so as to distance themselves from Nex and Geb in a "we are not them" matter, but it seems like people should speak Osirioni, Kelish, and Vudrani in terms of human languages.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

^Good point about trade. It's amazing what percentage of people on Earth speak English even in many countries that AREN'T the US, US Possessions/Territories, the UK, the British Commonwealth/former colonies, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Good point about trade. It's amazing what percentage of people on Earth speak English even in many countries that AREN'T the US, US Possessions/Territories, the UK, the British Commonwealth/former colonies, etc.

Yeah, but not as the main language. I think former English colonies (or dominions/colonies of those colonies) are pretty much the only countries that have it as a first language. Perhaps there are exceptions that I am not aware of though.

But as a first language Taldane does not make so much sense.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Berhagen wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Good point about trade. It's amazing what percentage of people on Earth speak English even in many countries that AREN'T the US, US Possessions/Territories, the UK, the British Commonwealth/former colonies, etc.

Yeah, but not as the main language. I think former English colonies (or dominions/colonies of those colonies) are pretty much the only countries that have it as a first language. Perhaps there are exceptions that I am not aware of though.

But as a first language Taldane does not make so much sense.

Common and first language are not the same thing at all. Common is what is used for understanding foreigners.

Trade with a lot of people from all around the inner Sea makes Taldane the Common language.

Just like English in our world.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

That explanation of Common falls apart when you consider that Mwangi is the Common language to the West. How many “foreigners” are speaking that?

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
That explanation of Common falls apart when you consider that Mwangi is the Common language to the West. How many “foreigners” are speaking that?

Actually it all depends on the languages most commonly used by the people with who you interact outside your native culture / language.

If you do a lot of business with people who know Taldane but not Mwangi, then Taldane is the Common language you will use. If most know Mwangi and not Taldane, then Mwangi it is.

IRL, not all areas use English as a common language. But if you do business / interact with people from all over the world, then English it is.

Which is the language I'm using right now actually.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
That explanation of Common falls apart when you consider that Mwangi is the Common language to the West. How many “foreigners” are speaking that?

Actually it all depends on the languages most commonly used by the people with who you interact outside your native culture / language.

If you do a lot of business with people who know Taldane but not Mwangi, then Taldane is the Common language you will use. If most know Mwangi and not Taldane, then Mwangi it is.

IRL, not all areas use English as a common language. But if you do business / interact with people from all over the world, then English it is.

Which is the language I'm using right now actually.

I’m speaking English because I was born and raised in a country where it’s the state language, and I’m discussing a product in that language made by a company in that country. I don’t know that any of Alkenstar’s neighbors use Taldane as a first tongue, but I do know that the major trade nearby is mostly done in Kelish-speaking nations.

What language do all of the Garundi folk native to the region grow up speaking? I imagine it isn’t the tongue of an empire on a continent to the north who’s never had a presence there.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
That explanation of Common falls apart when you consider that Mwangi is the Common language to the West. How many “foreigners” are speaking that?

Isn't there a big, difficult mountain range to the West of Alkenstar (where the Sky Citadel is located) whereas there is a river that runs through Alkenstar that goes to the Inner Sea?

One would think the Alkenstari would have more contach with the Keleshites and the Vudrani than the Mwangi. Since people are really good at getting to places with boats, but going through mountains is difficult to do at scale. I would imagine the Dwarves in particular are invested in making sure that people only approach them from their front door by discouraging passage through the mountains.

Like looking at my Mwangi expanse book, it seems like the mountains immediately to the West of Alkenstar is about where the last Shory city (complete with Dark Tapestry Artifact) crashed, so most people going from the Mwangi to Alkenstar are likely going all the way around via boat, or crossing the mountains to the north or south of Alkenstar and going through Nex or Geb (which are not necessarily welcoming places to travel through.)

Regardless, the safest way through the Mana Wastes is probably by boat since you can mount heavier weapons on a boat than you can on a land-based transport.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
That explanation of Common falls apart when you consider that Mwangi is the Common language to the West. How many “foreigners” are speaking that?

Actually it all depends on the languages most commonly used by the people with who you interact outside your native culture / language.

If you do a lot of business with people who know Taldane but not Mwangi, then Taldane is the Common language you will use. If most know Mwangi and not Taldane, then Mwangi it is.

IRL, not all areas use English as a common language. But if you do business / interact with people from all over the world, then English it is.

Which is the language I'm using right now actually.

I’m speaking English because I was born and raised in a country where it’s the state language, and I’m discussing a product in that language made by a company in that country. I don’t know that any of Alkenstar’s neighbors use Taldane as a first tongue, but I do know that the major trade nearby is mostly done in Kelish-speaking nations.

What language do all of the Garundi folk native to the region grow up speaking? I imagine it isn’t the tongue of an empire on a continent to the north who’s never had a presence there.

From Pathfinderwiki, most people speak Kelish or Garundi, I guess as their own language. But I think it extremely likely, given how Alkenstar depends on international trade with countries and people all over the Inner Sea, that most people know Taldane as well.

I think it is like Dubai, where the native tongue is Arabic but most people know and use English, even if it is not their first language.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

RE: trade with the Mwangi, there’s a pretty famous route through those mountains via a pass called the Ndele Gap that’s dangerous, but reliable (and technically in Nex, I believe). Guns & Gears calls out that Vidrian especially is importing a lot of guns and cannons, while I bet Kibwe and Bloodcove both want a slice of the black powder trade.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
keftiu wrote:
I’m speaking English because I was born and raised in a country where it’s the state language, and I’m discussing a product in that language made by a company in that country.

While English is the most common language here, the United States doesn't have a state language.

Tell the truth, I'm surprised there's any truly common language in southern Garund.

Side note: the designation of a language as "common" is a ttrpg construct allowing players, gms, designers, etc. to avoid having to worry about what language the characters in the game would actually speak.

I would imagine that Ameiko Kaijitsu speaks pretty fluent Taldane (at least the local Sandpoint dialect thereof). Her father is probably fairly fluent too, but I expect he speaks with a pretty heavy accent, assuming it was his generation that crossed the Crown of the World to come to Sandpoint. I doubt he (or any of the family or its retainers for that matter) would have spoken Taldane before that.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Berhagen wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
^Good point about trade. It's amazing what percentage of people on Earth speak English even in many countries that AREN'T the US, US Possessions/Territories, the UK, the British Commonwealth/former colonies, etc.

Yeah, but not as the main language. I think former English colonies (or dominions/colonies of those colonies) are pretty much the only countries that have it as a first language. Perhaps there are exceptions that I am not aware of though.

{. . .}

Some of them are at least in a state of transition to having English as their main language (for instance, having a large fraction of the books sold there being in English).

Ed Reppert wrote:

{. . .}

I would imagine that Ameiko Kaijitsu speaks pretty fluent Taldane (at least the local Sandpoint dialect thereof). Her father is probably fairly fluent too, but I expect he speaks with a pretty heavy accent, assuming it was his generation that crossed the Crown of the World to come to Sandpoint. I doubt he (or any of the family or its retainers for that matter) would have spoken Taldane before that.

It is plausible that due to trade, the Keijitsu family may have been at least moderately fluent in Taldane before migrating to Sandpoint, and that this may have eased their decision to move there.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wonder if "people in ethnically Osirioni areas speak Taldane" is a parallel to the Hellenization of Egypt where Greek and later Latin became the de jure or de facto languages of Egypt for hundreds of years from about the time of Alexander until the Rashidun conquest.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I wonder if "people in ethnically Osirioni areas speak Taldane" is a parallel to the Hellenization of Egypt where Greek and later Latin became the de jure or de facto languages of Egypt for hundreds of years from about the time of Alexander until the Rashidun conquest.

Egypt had centuries of Greek and Latin rule, while I think the only foreign power to rule over Osirion was the Kelesh Empire; again, my frustration with Taldane being the default is that Taldor never had a foothold down here.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So one thing is that Taldor, as the faded imperial power, is kind of presenting as "a thing that really kind of sucks" (just not as much as Cheliax.) I wonder if we couldn't make a redeeming characteristic of their culture that their language, for whatever reason, is flexible, easy-to-learn, internally consistent, no difficult pronunciations, and has sensible grammar. Indeed this might be a feature of all languages labeled "common" in the setting- they are simply very efficient languages.

Like Modern Korean is a much easier to learn language than Mandarin, and the reasons that more people speak Mandarin than Korean are mostly about politics.

It's possible that Taldane, Mwangi, Tien, etc. are more like modern Korean or Esperanto than English, Mandarin, or Arabic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

^That would put Taldane ahead of English in most respects.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^That would put Taldane ahead of English in most respects.

It's a fantasy game. My fantasy is that all those languages labeled "common" do all the things well that the English language does poorly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

^Isn't that one of those things that would cause the Universe to disappear and be replaced by one with even more bizarre languages?

Acquisitives

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
CE can be big on revenge. " You don't do that to ME."

yeah. but he's going to try to turn on the party in the last act, when they've secured the score.

Acquisitives

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So one thing is that Taldor, as the faded imperial power, is kind of presenting as "a thing that really kind of sucks" (just not as much as Cheliax.) I wonder if we couldn't make a redeeming characteristic of their culture that their language, for whatever reason, is flexible, easy-to-learn, internally consistent, no difficult pronunciations, and has sensible grammar. Indeed this might be a feature of all languages labeled "common" in the setting- they are simply very efficient languages.

Like Modern Korean is a much easier to learn language than Mandarin, and the reasons that more people speak Mandarin than Korean are mostly about politics.

It's possible that Taldane, Mwangi, Tien, etc. are more like modern Korean or Esperanto than English, Mandarin, or Arabic.

So... Taldane is Spanish?

Acquisitives

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I wonder if "people in ethnically Osirioni areas speak Taldane" is a parallel to the Hellenization of Egypt where Greek and later Latin became the de jure or de facto languages of Egypt for hundreds of years from about the time of Alexander until the Rashidun conquest.
Egypt had centuries of Greek and Latin rule, while I think the only foreign power to rule over Osirion was the Kelesh Empire; again, my frustration with Taldane being the default is that Taldor never had a foothold down here.

again, it's common, not the default tongue.

if your common-speaking adventurers are talking to the peasants of alkenstar they likely aren't going to get very far. the village hetman might be of more help, but maybe not.

but if they are talking to people that adventurers usually talk to: merchants, nobles, quest-givers, etc., then common should be reasonable - after all, Alkenstar is exporting its products into a Taldane dominated inner-sea.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
I’m a little confused why Taldane is the Common tongue down here; Taldor never controlled anything in the vicinity, the region was historically ruled by Osirion, and a lot of neighboring trade is with speakers of Mwangi or Kelish. A lot of older art (1e especially) portrayed the folk of Alkenstar as kind of inexplicably white, and this doesn’t help with that -I’d love thoughts on all this from folks who worked on it?

Finished reading the Player's Guide and I understand your point much better. Taldane being the only official language of Alkenstar is decidedly odd. By all rights, it should be Osiriani, or maybe Kelish.

Even Pathfinderwiki does not mention Taldane/Common as one of Alkenstar's languages. Something is odd here.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I’m a little confused why Taldane is the Common tongue down here; Taldor never controlled anything in the vicinity, the region was historically ruled by Osirion, and a lot of neighboring trade is with speakers of Mwangi or Kelish. A lot of older art (1e especially) portrayed the folk of Alkenstar as kind of inexplicably white, and this doesn’t help with that -I’d love thoughts on all this from folks who worked on it?

Finished reading the Player's Guide and I understand your point much better. Taldane being the only official language of Alkenstar is decidedly odd. By all rights, it should be Osiriani, or maybe Kelish.

Even Pathfinderwiki does not mention Taldane/Common as one of Alkenstar's languages. Something is odd here.

I just want to avoid repeating 1e’s trend of depicting a city well into Garund as being a place where only steampunk white people live, despite there not being much justification for it. It would be one thing if it was a former Taldan colony or the product of some eccentric foreign duke… but no, its founder was Nexian, and everyone it borders is Mwangi, Garundi, Keleshite, or Vudran.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Given 3 significant NPCs are a Vourinoi elf and a Jaric halfling and what looks to be a Dungon dwarf, I am not really worried about inadequate ethnic representation ATM.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Considering the oldest settled part of Alkenstar is Dongun Hold, I would hazard Dwarven would be the true "Common" of the area with Taldane being the most common human dialect due to trade, but it wouldn't necessarily be the most spoken language.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, how much contact do the Dongun Dwarves have with other Dwarves? It's possible the Dwarves proliferated human language amongst themselves.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Yeah, how much contact do the Dongun Dwarves have with other Dwarves? It's possible the Dwarves proliferated human language amongst themselves.

I believe the Dongun mostly interact with their nomadic Kulenett kin, but also tend to be pretty isolationist; before the founding of Alkenstar, they cut off the surface, and to this day deal with political pressure and insurgent violence from those within their society who want less to do with the surface.

Not exactly a hub of human language enthusiasm.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Good to have some free Alkenstar Outlawin' Players-Guide stuff out there for PF2e. ;)

PS. re:Taldane/Common stuffs: Blame it on Cosmo Aroden? ;p

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Excerpts from the Pathfinder Adventure Path #178: Punks in a Powderkeg (Outlaws of Alkenstar 1 of 3)

51 to 83 of 83 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Outlaws of Alkenstar / Paizo Blog: Introducing the Outlaws of Alkenstar Player’s Guide All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Outlaws of Alkenstar