A Taste of Thuvia

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

By Pallomar Gladhammer, traveler extraordinaire and the greenest “dwarf” in the Gladhammer clan

Illustration by Jose Parodi: Pallomar Gladhammer, a half-orc man. His Varisian attire includes an open blouse with full sleeves, an open vest with a high collar, and voluminous pants tucked into boots. His headscarf, belt, and bracelets are decorated with multiple metallic discs. He has his arms out in a welcoming manner and looks jovial

It’s me again, dear reader!
Art by Jose Parodi

Greetings, dear reader of Golarion’s Finest guides and articles! I’ve just returned from another adventure and as always, after visiting new locales throughout Golarion I return to share my experiences with my favorite readers: you! (My, aren’t you looking particularly fine today?) Before I get into the details, I wish to remind you, dear reader, that this trip was sponsored by Golarion’s Finest. They paid for my fare, room and board, and other amenities on this trip, and I’m eternally grateful to the fine folks at this fine publication. Make sure to check out their latest release, Lost Omens Travel Guide, available wherever you might find other fine guides!

My latest travels brought me back home to the Inner Sea. While my time in Segada was fun, I was excited to be coming back to something familiar. Little did I know that my assignment wouldn’t see me back in Avistan like I imagined, but would in fact take me to Garund! Specifically, I was sent to visit the desert lands of Thuvia, home of the famous sun orchid elixir.

My trip started when I left the boat in Merab. I had traveled along the South Tack before, but this was my first stop at this vivacious city. The sights and sounds were invigorating! The calls of merchants selling their potions and elixirs within the Flowing Market greeted me as I walked past to the Temple of the Redeeming Sun to watch the Sarenites perform their dances for the Sunwrought Festival. Lucky me, to have arrived during the solstice!

Illustration by Gislaine Avila: A basket holding multiple triangular pastries. One is torn open, exposing the cooked meat within. The pastries are served with a side of chutney.

Whether you try Tareq’s or visit a street vendor, these pastries are worth a stop!
Art by Gislaine Avila

While the festivities were thrilling, I found that I was famished from my journey, so I decided to slip into a nearby restaurant. A kind halfling by the name of Tareq sat me down at a table and after a bit of conversation, I decided on the spiced meat pastries. While I had walked past many food vendors selling the same pastries earlier, he insisted that he made them better than any street cart. How could I pass up the best meat pastries in Merab? Reader, let me tell you, I don’t think Tareq was lying. These were absolutely delicious. I highly recommend giving them a try while in Thuvia!

I resumed my explorations of the city, wandering until one particular building sporting a number of strange glass additions caught my attention. Confounded, I asked around and was told to make my way to a higher point in the city so I could look down on the building from above. My new vantage point revealed the building’s true artistry—the glass additions resemble the petals of a sun orchid! After further inquiries, I learned that this particular design is in the Sunswept style, an architectural style that originated in Osirion but had spread throughout the other nations of the Golden Road.

Illustration by Vlada Hladkova: A building in the Sunswept style. It resembles the bottom half of a pyramid surrounded by four glass walls. The walls are curved outward and upward to resemble flower petals.

I’m sure it’s a lot of work to make those glass walls!
Art by Vlada Hladkova

As I took some notes, I heard the familiar sound of a cheering crowd nearby. I followed the jubilant cries expecting to find more festival celebrants, but my investigation soon discovered that the cheering was coming from a local stadium. Rather than buy a ticket inside, I followed some local youths up to the top of a nearby armory (more climbing!) to look down into the Merab Stadium. A game of basilisk was underway!

Basilisk, for my less sports-inclined readers, is a sport where two teams attempt to score with a ball across a small field. The catch is that there’s a second ball in play—the titular basilisk—that forces any player it hits to freeze in place. Luckily, just like when dealing with a real basilisk, you can avert your gaze. In fact, that’s required in this game! Anyone holding the scoring ball lowers a visor on their helm to “protect” them from the basilisk. This prevents the basilisk’s “freeze” but has the unfortunate side effect of making it really hard to see! The player holding the ball needs help reaching the goal, so all the players have to work together to guide the scoring ball while also avoiding becoming frozen. It’s an exhilarating watch!

Illustration by Klaher Baklaher: A basilisk player. They are wearing pads and a metal helmet with the visor down. They’re holding a leather ball in one hand and a wicker scoop in the other

It’s a wonder they don’t trip with those helmets!
Art by by Klaher Baklaher

The game at hand was an important one (hence the particularly raucous cheering). The Merab Vultures were playing against the Riddleport Rollers, but this was no ordinary match—a newly developing rivalry between the two teams heightened the stakes! The Vultures’ former guide, a gnome by the name of Yima “No Eyes” Vitton, had recently been transferred to Riddleport. Now the remaining Vultures, and Merab as a whole, had it out for the “traitorous” Rollers. It was all in good spirits, but it was a fun game to watch! Local authorities unfortunately shooed us from the armory before I could catch the end of the game, so I found my way to a local tea parlor. There, I traded stories with the locals and learned a fair amount of local legends. One of my favorite stories was the tale of the camelop and the drake.

With the day winding down, I retreated to my room to rest in preparation for another full day. And indeed, the rest of my trip was just as exciting and eventful! The people, culture, and of course food of Merab are all fantastic and I highly recommend every dear reader makes the journey if they can. I’d love to tell you more, but Golarion’s Finest only paid for one thousand words and I’d like to see if I can convince them to pay for the rest of the story. For now, I’ll say as I always do, see the sights you can and read about those you can’t. Safe travels, readers!

Now making his way home to Highhelm,

Pallomar Gladhammer

For those of you interested in seeing more of the sights and sounds of the Inner Sea, consider checking out the Lost Omens Travel Guide! You can learn about the region’s different trade routes, festivals, foods, architecture, pastimes, stories, and more from the vibrant illustrations and immersive in-world reports within its pages. Bon voyage!

Luis Loza
Senior Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I do like this extra work on fleshing out Thuvia :3

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Adding all of this to my campaign setting document. So glad to see this!

9 people marked this as a favorite.

I want to walk the cities of the Golden Road SO badly.

Well, maybe not Katapesh.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

When the Paizo art makes you hungry... dang delicious looking samosa.

Liberty's Edge

Sign me up for basilisk!

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