I think Paizo has generally wanted to strike out in their own direction away from WotC's, and directly copying from them just because they now legally can (especially when they already provide similar enough options of their own) isn't something I imagine them doing.
Likewise I wouldn't expect dragonborn or other post-4e/5e-isms to happen now either.
3rd party publishers can go ham though, but debatably they always could already.
Much of what you mention here, including starting with a Basic Lesson and having Phase Familiar as a feat instead (and possibly also easier access to more hex cantrips, I can't quite remember), is done by the very popular* Pathfinder Infinite book, Witches+.
* - as far as PF2 3pp stuff is concerned anyway, it ain't outselling Paizo probably.
Penny dreadfuls go back to the mid-19th century, not to mention all the other aforementioned historical examples - and Golarion is, on average, literate enough that it wouldn't feel out of place, especially in cities.
The aforementioned 1sp-20gp price range feels right to me as well, especially as pure roleplay items.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Ah yes, with such cozy summer vacation places like [checks notes] tyrannical Mzali, cutthroat Bloodcove, violent Usaro, unstable Vidrian, and all the jungle ruins crawling with demons and cruel fey and monsters.
I love both regions, and it's true that the Impossible Lands have a darker tone than the Mwangi Expanse, but it's not all sunshine and roses on the western coast either.
Anyway, to get on topic:
I appreciate how the Impossible Lands put all the fun and bizarre Pathfinder elements (including many of the weirder classes and ancestries) in one spot and make it all work. It's where the (in my opinion unfairly) maligned idea of an adventuring party of 'freaks' (nonhuman ancestries, odd versatile heritages, classes that stray far from the European fantasy mold) not only fits, but borders on 'normal'.
And of course, all of that exists against a novel cultural blend of East African and South Asian inspirations (not something you often see together), and some pretty complex narrative conflicts, with a whole cold war brewing, social inequalities and injustices in major cities, and colonial legacies everywhere you go.
Several of the mid- and high-level 3-part APs for Starfinder feature several possible hooks for PCs who partook in past APs - though Devastation Ark has the most explicit ties to Dead Suns, and likewise Drift Hackers is a bit more linked to Drift Crashers than something like Against the Aeon Throne (but has hooks for both).
PF2 could try a similar approach, where an 11-20 AP has some transitional hooks for some past APs - though currently the only remotely geographically or thematically neighboring 3-parters with a shared followup would be Abomination Vaults and Sky King's Tomb, and even that is a maybe given we only know the premise of book 1 for the latter.
Whether in remote reaches of Tian Xia, or in Arcadia, I'd very much love a rabbit ancestry, not least so I can make a Pathfinder version of Miyamoto Usagi (of Usagi Yojimbo fame) - or a Razatlani rabbit-person with some inspiration rooted in the Aztec Centzon Tōtōchtin.
From the playtest kineticist blog teaser, we know that metal genies are seemingly called zuhras (with the high-ranking title of damaj) - both names seemm wholly made-up (albeit still rooted in Arabic, given the Google search results), so I'd expect both wood and metal geniekin to be similarly original.
Final render of this is up, it seems.
Now, I'm not at all a physical, let alone special edition, book collector, but it is interesting me to that this is the first special edition mainline rulebook that is blue rather than red (LO books are ones that tend to get the blue covers).
It looks nice, and even nicer in person, I'm sure, but it might peeve those looking for a consistent look to their bookshelf.
Yeah, 2e character creation is vastly different from 1e - don't expect specific 1e ideas like classes with particular archetypes, or even multiclassing as a mechanic, to carry over cleanly (or even at all).
That said, some potential options to represent a samurai with in 2e:
- just a good ol' fighter, be it with a katana or a longbow
- champion, particularly of deities like Shizuru (paladin) or General Susumu (tyrant).
- magus, particularly with hybrid studies like Inexorable Iron (two-handed) or Starlit Span (ranged).
- barbarian, particularly if your GM lets you treat your 'rage' as a 'battle-trance' flavor-wise.
- gunslinger, if the idea of a musket-wielding samurai entices you.
Any one of these might be supplemented by archetypes like cavalier (for a mount, a pledge, and potentially a banner, like a sashimono), monk (for ki stuff), or sentinel (for heavy armor stuff, on classes like magus and barbarian).
There's probably more esoteric options like inventor (steampunk samurai? beats me!) or ranger, and archetypes like eldritch archer and mind smith, but those should at least get you started.
Not to mention all the other namedropped metaregions on the Arcadia map in Guns & Gears - Primal League, Land of Northern Lakes, Salt Stretch, and Lands of Second Souls (which got further elaboration in Book of the Dead with the grappling spirit, and then again with one of the incident reports in Dark Archive which gave us an insight into Tomalán, and the Reborn Soul background).
That said, several of Luis's responses seem to openly confirm that there isn't a Golden Road book in the works (at least not for next year) - between that and some other evidence, I'm still convinced that it's Tian Xia, but if I get proven wrong then so be it.
I assume ganzis and aphorites lack lineages for two different reasons - aphorites have a somewhat 'monolithic' origin story (compared to tieflings or aasimar), whereas ganzis' inherently chaotic nature seems like something as categorized as 'lineages' would go against that chaos.
These aren't bulletproof lines of reasoning of course, but I imagine it's sort of why they don't have them - it's not like duskwalkers have lineages either.
There's this seemingly forested stretch of land on the map of Casmaron smack-dab between Iblydos and Vudra, which has me wondering that it could be a great spot to have a Fantasy Indo-Greek Kingdom - a very real, slightly historically obscure thing, basically unseen in fantasy, but ripe for cool blending of the two cultures.
(If the Ulfen can tap into things like Viking settlers in America with Port Valen or the Varangian Guard with the Ulfen Guard in Taldor, then surely this is an equally plausible idea.
With Highhelm repeatedly described as Fantasy New York With Dwarves, it would feel unwise for it to be an Avistani monolith, but I'm hopeful either way, especially if we get to see dwarves from even further afield.
Also, we're likely due for new store pages next week (with Paizo closed for the long weekend), including the first book of the 3rd AP for next year - which will likely illuminate the direction for 2023's back half! So that's exciting.
The 1e Distant Shores book mentions that the amurrun city-state of Murraseth is in close proximity to Anuli, a city in northern Holomog, near the border with Geb.
However, there's...Basically no room for it on the map of Holomog in Blood Lords #3, especially if it's supposed to be allied with three other catfolk city-states.
So uh, where is it then?
A few miscellaneous tidbits I dug up while browsing the books and AoN:
- the World Guide very briefly hints at bayou stilt-house settlements in the east, which validates my desire for a Fantasy American South region.
- southern Arcadia features creatures such as the thylacines and the jungle-dwelling saurians - who are evil in the context in which they're introduced, but are expressly described as existing in all alignments. Owing to being Huge, they're probably out of the question as a playable ancestry, but they might nonetheless have a nation in there somewhere.
Guns & Gears briefly mentions two very interesting nations in Arcadia not placed anywhere on the map, both in the context of their prevalence of guns.
- Braskoff, only described as "subterranean kingdoms" to the north of Three Craters (potentially in the Primal League or the Land of Northern Lakes). Given their underground nature, the presence of dwarves (and their orc friends) in Arcadia, and the 'dwarfy' name (compare with Janderhoff), I have to assume it's intended as a spot for one or both of these ancestries on the continent, which sounds exciting.
- Heyopan, described as a magocracy, where Nine Dynasties vie for political supremacy, and where folks claim to have figured out the secrets to recreating the star guns of old. No direction whatsoever is given as to where Heyopan lies, however.
For me, it's a tossup between the three brand-new Mwangi Expanse ancestries - but especially golomas and shisks.
Where the conrasu at least have a novel but evocative narrative and aesthetic, there is not a whole lot to grab onto with those two, with a slim selection of feats and a dearth of lore that is largely presented in a "mysterious and reclusive" manner, which I find frustratingly difficult to work with as both player and GM; there aren't even any named NPCs of those ancestries or mentions of them published in the time since - even the conrasu at least have a related incident report in Dark Archive!
Indeed, I was hoping that Impossible Lands would follow up on a hook that Mwangi Expanse put down, mentioning a rumor shisk enclave within the Shattered Range mountains that was within Nex's territory, but alas, no such mention of it there.
I was very excited for those new ancestries since they were first namedropped in the World Guide, but both arrived in the Mwangi Expanse a little light, and have been effectively missing in action since, which I find a little disappointing.
1e Pathfinder did have Summon Lesser Psychopomp and Summon Vanth, both from a rather obscure source (Adventure Path backmatter), so there certainly is historical precedent, but yeah, this does strike me as a potential gap - Pharasmin clerics and psychopomp summoners alike would both appreciate it, I think.
There have been hints that this will have more rules content than similar regional overview sourcebooks like Mwangi Expanse and Absalom City of Lost Omens (as those were very recurring criticisms of both), though we don't have too much of an insight into the specifics yet.
Hoping for some juicy previews of this this month - I hope there'll be a Paizo Live this month to feature it on, though I wouldn't mind Influencer Preview-Reviews either.
Think we'll see new Genies and planar scions for wood and metal? I'd be down.
Frankly I'd be disappointed if we didn't! The item teased in the kineticist playtest analysis already seems to hint at metal genies (zuhras, with a title of damaj for higher-end ones), along with the metal planar language of Talican - both of which would very naturally lend themselves to a metal geniekin versatile heritage entry, I think.
My hope is that the variety of elemental damage types was somewhat rolled into the "fun little ideas that we’ll just implement, but aren’t massively important to the bigger picture of the class" part, but being able to use a particular damage type right out the game is kind of crucial to a not-insignificant amount of kineticist character types, so having an affirmation of that would have been nice.
Other than that, I'm very impressed with the depth of this playtest analysis! Definitely shows that the feedback was taken strongly into account, and that the class will hopefully turn out awesome in the end!
The Spiresworn elves of the Mordant Spire are also called out as having the cavern elf heritage often, though what they live in qualifies more as an ancient ruin than a cave per se.
I could also imagine the Ilverani up north inhabiting caves.
Neither of those strike me as immediately 'iconic' types of cavern elf though, which is weird given it's a Core Rulebook heritage!
Yeah, an 'art-risen' lineage for reflections seems like the most elegant way of bringing that in. (And could also be used to represent a statue, in addition to a painting.)
I have to wonder if Paizo is going to stick to the "there were only ever ten (10) Sky Citadels" or if they'll quietly drop in favor of giving themselves (and by extension, the playerbase) a bit more flexibility - it's near certain there's at least one Sky Citadel in Arcadia (we know there's dwarves there, likely sharing the place with orcs that the Arcadian dwarves are on good terms with), and that basically leaves one wildcard left, which is slightly awkward, especially since so many of the citadels are clustered around the Inner Sea.
Blood Lords #3, Field of Maidens, seems to hint at something really juicy.
From Grace "the Rhino" Owano's Campaign Role section:
Many had fancied Ten Lives to be immortal and her death was a tremendous blow to the militia’s morale. The power vacuum created within leaderless Nwanyi province further demoralized the dejected residents of Anuli. Now in command, Grace looked to Geb. War would reinvigorate Nwanyi, she knew. The nation would pull together, gain support from newly ascendant Nex, and receive the appointment of a new war omwa. Grace doesn’t desire that position for herself, but wants more than anything for her nation to cease its squabbling. She’s in a position to provide it, even at the cost of her life, so she marched in Omwa Slash’s footsteps toward Geb and the Field of Maidens.
It would seem that Nex is in fact back in charge (at the time of this AP, no less), much how Geb is once again at the helm of his own nation - and I'm all for impending/cold war between those slumbering superpowers really causing a regional stir.
It also calls for a stat block from this book, which obviously isn't out yet, but James Jacobs has graciously provided it in the BL #3 product thread.
It's for stone sisters, animated statues of the Holoma warrior-women in the Field of Maidens. (Though a lot of them are 'just' petrified statues at this point.)
When it comes to the mehcanically-defined rarity mechanic, most classes in the game are common - Guns & Gears gave us our first uncommon classes, linked to thematic elements (gunpowder firearms and advanced steampunk tech) not found in every part of the world.
What, then, could a Rare class look like? What mechanical or thematic elements could warrant such rarity - and how could you go about accessing it?
It's unlikely we'll ever get one officially for a number of reasons, but if 13th Age, an RPG in the same fantasy d20 lineage as D&D and Pathfinder, can have what's functionally a Unique-rarity class (The Occultist), then surely Pathfinder could theoretically support Rare classes as well, right?
(I'm aware of Jason Bulmahn's Eventide and how it makes primal classes like druid rare to show that primal magic is all but gone in the world, but that's obviously third-party that plays by different assumptions than mainline Pathfinder and moreover the Lost Omens setting do; It's certainly the most prominent existing example, though.)
Honestly the Jormurdun stuff is somewhat fascinating, and could be really cool if followed up upon - reclaiming a fallen settlement is a Dwarf Fortress classic for a reason, and stuff like it being in the still demon infested Sarkoris Scar, and the time bubble-trapped survivors, offer plenty of additional context and hooks to the situation.
I'm expecting a format somewhat akin to a combination of the World Guide and various regional books like Mwangi Expanse and Impossible Lands.
- A rundown of general continent-wide history, both distant and recent (including some new-to-canon events that transpired over the past decades, with equivalent impact to 1e Adventure Paths for the Inner Sea, just 'off-screen').
- A breakdown of the continent into microregions (plenty of discussion was had how those could be arranged but that history could really help inform the makeup - after all, the Eye of Dread didn't quite come to be until very recent).
- A description of each microregion's constituent nations and territories, with prominent locales, NPCs and plot hooks, and some thematic player options to boot for each like backgrounds, items and archetypes.
- A section on religion, with new/returning deities and how existing deities like Abadar and Pharasma are worshipped locally.
- Ancestry stuff - info on who's common (humans, tengu, kitsune, elves, ratfolk, etc.), additional options therefor, and some new arrivals (samsarans! wayangs! oni tieflings!).
- Rarity adjustments for ancestries and equipment, since dwarves and longswords are probably uncommon while tengu and naginatas might in turn be common.
- A small bestiary? Or at least, a quick reference of the most prominent Asian-inspired monsters from across the bestiaries, Adventure Paths and other books.
Ultimately, Lost Omens: Dragon Empires would be as much of a baseline for the continent as a whole, and a way for Paizo to gauge interest in what people want to see more of next in the future - it's a whole continent after all, and you can't really do it justice with just a single book, but having a modern (both narratively and sensibilities-wise) base would be smart before doing deep dives on specific places.
With the Travel Guide out in the wild in earnest, this is the next Lost Omens book on the docket - and I'm SO excited!
But, for how close it's to release (a little over 2 months), I feel like we still have a rather loose grasp on the exact contents of the book (especially given the size - it's almost 350 pages!), though a lot could be extrapolated from how something like LO: Mwangi Expanse was structured.
I'd be delighted if we could be blessed with another early table of contents tease...
Also, with magic and other supernatural phenomena around, technology isn't quite as likely to rise to the top as the dominant force in the world at large - after all, this is a world where a guy in heavy enough armor who's good enough with a sword can go toe to toe with a gunslinger and wizard alike.
We do know that Alkenstar tech is proliferating a bit more nowadays, and we know of places like the Deadshot Lands in Arcadia or Eihlona in southern Garund where that stuff is also very prevalent, but likely not to the extent that you'll see Cheliax outfit their entire military with muskets.
Lost Omens Travel Guide has a surprising amount of south Garund-related hints, actually.
- a lengthy trade route called the Antarkos Sweep that goes from Katapesh to Vidrian, wrapping all the way around the south Garundi coastline, with such trade goods as crystals from Dehrukani, dinosaur leather from Droon, Anuli spices from Holomog, unique dyes from Tirakawhan, and silk textiles from Nurvatcha. (Kaz'ulu is also described as an especially popular trade hub where you can readily find goods from central and southern Garund.)
- a Vidrian folk tale which originated further down south, the tale of folk hero Kgalaserke features a creature from Garundi folklore called Azamatt the Weeping Flame (and the related Azama volcano in central Garund).
- There's a fermented milk beverage called “kesh,” popular in southern Garund and tasting of tart yogurt and cottage cheese. (Spiced teas are also popular in southeastern Garund, and Taldor's tea is apparently on par with them.)
- Unsure if they handle the whole continent, but apparently Magaambya's war wizards serve as a high-level police force for Garund?
- A calendar system common in Garund, Jatembe's Light (JL) starts at Old-Mage Jatembe's supposed birth date. (No reference point is given, though.)
I'm...fairly certain that Paizo could figure out a way to reframe/update the class from a lore perspective to be more in line with current sensibilities, as they have with a number of others.
This isn't the days of early-to-mid PF1 where things are edgy for edginess's sake, I doubt the theoretical 2e version of the class would resemble either any historical inquisition or the nightmarish satirical take from Warhammer 40,000 - not anymore than champions have their roots in crusaders and templars.
Either way, leaving the class's existing fans (of either its mechanical role or place in the game world) in the dust rather than try to figure out a way to make it fit into the current edition would be...Disappointing, to say the least.
I love the thaumaturge, both mechanically and narratively - it's maybe my favorite class in the game currently. I don't think it's an adequate replacement for an inquisitor.
I was wondering about them too - seems like the 'core' ancestries (CRB+APG), that we know of, would be humans, elves, ratfolk, tengu, kobolds (which allegedly exist in an imperial form, but don't think we've seen any yet) and catfolk (the LOAG mentions an ethnicity of them in the Valashmai Jungle, the Lyashtaki).
I believe places like Goka have populations of the other core ancestries, but I don't know if any of those are 'native' to Tian Xia.
I had a thought that a great kind of locale to have in Arcadia would be one broadly inspired by the American South - though maybe without some of that really gnarly history of slave labor and the like.
A land of bayous and the strange beasts that lurk within, Cajun cultural inspirations, maybe even a respectful take on African diaspora religions like Voodoo - a topic that I know is much maligned in media and pop culture, but if there's ever a place to put something inspired by it in and maybe do it right, Fantasy Louisiana might just be it. This could be a reverse-Senghor situation, where some distant Garundi folks once settled in the area, bringing some traditions along with them. (Mainly Bonuwat, perhaps?)
This could potentially be part of the basically-entirely-undefined Primal League to the north-east of the Deadshot Lands, or it could be in the more geographically accurate location on the southern coast of north Arcadia, which has enough blank room to slot it in. Either way, I think it could have a really fun and distinct vibe.