Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting (OGL)

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Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting (OGL)
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Note: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide has replaced this volume as the main Pathfinder campaign setting book. The newer volume has been expanded and updated, and is designed for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. And the PDF is cheaper, too!

Golarion, the exciting world of the Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Pathfinder Modules, comes alive in this massive 256-page full-color hardcover tome primed up and ready to go for your new campaign! Detailed sections on more than 40 nations—from the frontiers of Varisia to the devil-tainted cities of Cheliax to the frigid Hold of the Mammoth Lords—provide a full picture of the world of the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting, with new rules, new magic and spells, detailed descriptions of more than twenty gods and their religions, and a gorgeous poster map detailing the entire campaign setting. The Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting provides classic adventuring style and cutting-edge game design perfectly suitable for the world’s most popular roleplaying game!


Written by (in alphabetical order):

Stan!
Keith Baker
Wolfgang Baur
Clinton J. Boomer
Jason Bulmahn
Joshua J. Frost
Ed Greenwood
Stephen S. Greer
Jeff Grubb
James Jacobs
Michael Kortes
Tito Leati
Mike McArtor
Rob McCreary
Erik Mona
Jason Eric Nelson
Jeff Quick
Sean K Reynolds
David Schwartz
Leandra Christine Schneider
F. Wesley Schneider
Amber E. Scott
Owen K.C. Stephens
Todd Stewart
James L. Sutter
Greg A. Vaughan
Jeremy Walker
JD Wiker
Also included are essays on world-building written by Robert J. Kuntz and R.A. Salvatore.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-112-1

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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PZO1111


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4.50/5 (based on 25 ratings)

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An excellent, if slightly flawed resource!

4/5

(Re-posting my Amazon review, here)

A lot of this review is going to be negative, so let me start out by saying, I love this world, and this is an excellent source book. I'm nit-picking because I feel there's so much to improve, but where they started is amazing.

Also worth note before I get started: there is a new version coming out sometime in early 2011, so if you can get this book at cover price, it's probably still worth it, but some of the crazy prices I've seen at 2-5 times the cover price are definitely not worth paying. The new version will be an update to the latest Pathfinder rules (this edition is just OGL-compatible), which means you can expect the sections about character classes to change, but that's probably about it. There's not much "crunch" in this book, as one might expect, and so a rules update is kind of tangential to its content. There is also a book about the Inner Sea region coming out (Pathfinder Campaign Setting World Guide: The Inner Sea (Revised Edition)), so if you are specifically interested in that region, you might want to go that route either alone or in addition.

Now to the review. The cover art is blurry. An odd defect, given Paizo's usual standards, but I'll assume this is an artifact of their early rush to print when they were just getting started in the post-Dragon/Dungeon magazines era.

Inside, the book is beautiful. The art is spot-on and really gives a sense of the world. The poster map that comes with the book is excellent, if somewhat more sparse on detail than I would have expected. The races are wonderful. I especially love what they've done with gnomes: a race I previously couldn't care less about is now one of my favorites!

However, as you start to read, you definitely get the sense that someone forgot to write the introduction chapter. You end up having to essentially read the entire book cover-to-cover in order to make sense of the world. An intro that told us, "This is Golarion. Most of the action will take place in or within 1000 miles of the Inner Sea, a temperate sea that acts as the divide between the two major continents...." and so on. Not an in-depth view of the countries and peoples. There's plenty of that later on, but just a quick intro so that I don't feel lost the first time a major country or god's name is dropped as if I'm supposed to know what it means. I actually bought this book because the Adventure Paths were giving me the same lost feeling, and it solved that problem, but only after I slogged through most of the book (starting with the History chapter helped a bit).

In the writeups of the races, I have roughly the same problem. You almost have to start reading them from the middle, because that's usually where they get around to explaining who and what they are, rather than how they found themselves in some historical calamity, but again these write-ups are brilliant. Gnomes are much improved over their D&D roots, but every race has some excellent flavor to it. Elves will definitely be interesting. They're not really very nice, and I like that about them. In fact, between the Elves and the Drow, it's actually hard to choose a group to support, but the Drow have a point in feeling abandoned and wronged by the other elves.

Humans are my favorite race, however. I love the fact that they're not just the everyman white, European analog with a few ethnic minorities thrown in for flavor that most fantasy games have. They're a diverse mix of humanity both fantastic and realistic, and the Inner Sea is ideally located to be a mixing pot of Arabesque and pseudo-Eruopean influences of many flavors.

Overall, this is an excellent resource. If you're looking for a fully realized world on which to base a campaign, this is definitely it. If you're looking for a quick reference, then I suggest picking up the smaller Chronicles books such as Gods & Magic and Guide to Absalom that suit your needs.




Excellent setting

5/5

Extremely well written campaign setting, as stated mostly exposition of setting materials with few actual rules additions (it is a campaign setting book after all).

Richly detailed, excellent take on many of the standars of the genre.


wow

5/5

An amazingly well written campaign setting. The book is mostly fluff, but the crunch is very well written, evocative, and balanced, while the fluff draws on some of the best fantasy concepts and giving them a fresh spin. I definitely recommend this title.




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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Ok... we've discussed it, and here's what we're going to do. When the new campaign setting PDF comes out, we'll remove the "Add to Cart" button from this PDF. We'll add a note to the product description saying that it has been superseded by a newer version, and that new customers should buy that version. However, customers who *really* want this version will be able to contact customer service, who will help them purchase it.

...or something close to that, anyway.


Vic Wertz wrote:

Ok... we've discussed it, and here's what we're going to do. When the new campaign setting PDF comes out, we'll remove the "Add to Cart" button from this PDF. We'll add a note to the product description saying that it has been superseded by a newer version, and that new customers should buy that version. However, customers who *really* want this version will be able to contact customer service, who will help them purchase it.

...or something close to that, anyway.

That was what I thought to suggest. I hope that it works out for the best.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Vic Wertz wrote:

Ok... we've discussed it, and here's what we're going to do. When the new campaign setting PDF comes out, we'll remove the "Add to Cart" button from this PDF. We'll add a note to the product description saying that it has been superseded by a newer version, and that new customers should buy that version. However, customers who *really* want this version will be able to contact customer service, who will help them purchase it.

...or something close to that, anyway.

That sounds like a good plan and a decent compromise, Vic!


Trust paizo to listen to their customers!!


yoda8myhead wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Ok... we've discussed it, and here's what we're going to do. When the new campaign setting PDF comes out, we'll remove the "Add to Cart" button from this PDF. We'll add a note to the product description saying that it has been superseded by a newer version, and that new customers should buy that version. However, customers who *really* want this version will be able to contact customer service, who will help them purchase it.

...or something close to that, anyway.

That sounds like a good plan and a decent compromise, Vic!

I'll second that. :)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

Ok... we've discussed it, and here's what we're going to do. When the new campaign setting PDF comes out, we'll remove the "Add to Cart" button from this PDF. We'll add a note to the product description saying that it has been superseded by a newer version, and that new customers should buy that version. However, customers who *really* want this version will be able to contact customer service, who will help them purchase it.

...or something close to that, anyway.

I can't imagine anyone finding that solution lacking - thanks for listening to even the minority.


Yay!

Thank you!!!


(And incidentally, here's proof that there are Paizo fans who stick with older editions.)


Vic Wertz wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
I also don't see the comparison to the Alpha- and Beta- core rules. Those were MEANT to be temporary, right from the get-go. And they were FREE for goodness' sake.
Ok... how about the Core Rulebook itself? Currently, the PDF mirrors the second printing, incorporating corrections to the first printing. In the not-too-distant future, the PDF will be updated to the third printing, incorporating corrections to the second printing, and the second printing PDF will be unavailable.

I have an aside question to the topic Vic, if you happen to know. I have the first printing of the Pathfinder setting thats kinda beat up, but since the old version is going away I was thinking of getting a mint copy for my collection and was wondering if it says "1st, 2nd 3rd ect. Printing" inside the book? or is the setting book still on its first print run?

Thanks DRE

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Andre Caceres wrote:

I have an aside question to the topic Vic, if you happen to know. I have the first printing of the Pathfinder setting thats kinda beat up, but since the old version is going away I was thinking of getting a mint copy for my collection and was wondering if it says "1st, 2nd 3rd ect. Printing" inside the book? or is the setting book still on its first print run?

Thanks DRE

This book had only one print run, and since it's being supplanted by a new book, there will only ever be one printing for this one.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Andre Caceres wrote:

I have an aside question to the topic Vic, if you happen to know. I have the first printing of the Pathfinder setting thats kinda beat up, but since the old version is going away I was thinking of getting a mint copy for my collection and was wondering if it says "1st, 2nd 3rd ect. Printing" inside the book? or is the setting book still on its first print run?

Thanks DRE

This book had only one print run, and since it's being supplanted by a new book, there will only ever be one printing for this one.

Thanks thats what I needed to know.

TTFN DRE

Silver Crusade

Does this have prestiege classses? Spells? Feats?


LostSoul wrote:
Does this have prestiege classses? Spells? Feats?

A few of each, but mostly it's background for the various nations/locales.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Indeed it does but if you're patient, it might be better to wait for the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting World Guide: The Inner Sea, which comes out later this year. It's an updated version for use with the Pathfinder RPG AND it's roughly 50 more pages, including some tweaked fluff.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

New prestige classes, spells and feats will come mostly in the upcoming APG. The new campaign setting will focus on, erm, setting stuff.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

At this point, it's looking like the revised book will have four prestige classes, about 5 pages of feats, and about four pages of spells. The prestige classes are pretty locked in at a total of 4 (and will include the Red Mantis assassin, the hellknight, the low templar, and the harrower; all picked up from the previous book or Pathifnder APs and updated to PFRPG). The pages dedicated to spells and feats, though, could shrink or grow in size. Especially if the four pages of equipment or the four pages of magic items changes.

Liberty's Edge

Is the PDF supposed to be this expensive for the campaign setting? It seems to break with the pricing you have on the PDFs for the other hardbacks that are sold.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is the price for the "old" CS, which was introduced way before the other hardbacks. We are yet to see how much will the "new" CS cost.

Liberty's Edge

Gorbacz wrote:
This is the price for the "old" CS, which was introduced way before the other hardbacks. We are yet to see how much will the "new" CS cost.

So the inner sea guide is basically the CS guide updated to pathfinder?


Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
This is the price for the "old" CS, which was introduced way before the other hardbacks. We are yet to see how much will the "new" CS cost.
So the inner sea guide is basically the CS guide updated to pathfinder?

Yes.

Liberty's Edge

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
This is the price for the "old" CS, which was introduced way before the other hardbacks. We are yet to see how much will the "new" CS cost.
So the inner sea guide is basically the CS guide updated to pathfinder?
Yes.

I don't see how you can update fluff to a new system, but cool. I guess I'll wait til the new one comes out rather than b*#*+ing about the price of the old one.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
This is the price for the "old" CS, which was introduced way before the other hardbacks. We are yet to see how much will the "new" CS cost.
So the inner sea guide is basically the CS guide updated to pathfinder?
Yes.
I don't see how you can update fluff to a new system, but cool. I guess I'll wait til the new one comes out rather than b*%*%ing about the price of the old one.

Updated and expanded. 320 pages vs. 256 for the Campaign Setting. Minimum 4 pages per territory instead of the 2 page sections being the norm.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's not only an update to Pathfinder rules, but the fluff will be expanded, too. All countries will get 4 pages. See the comments in the thread for the "World Guide: The Inner Sea".

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Lanx wrote:
It's not only an update to Pathfinder rules, but the fluff will be expanded, too. All countries will get 4 pages. See the comments in the thread for the "World Guide: The Inner Sea".

I'm not sure we've actually released information about what the pricing for the new revised book is going to be yet, but I sometimes lose track of stuff like that...

The revised book will indeed be much more than just a reprint with updated rules though. It's going to be reorganized, expanded, and improved in pretty much every way I can to make it better.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

James Jacobs wrote:
Lanx wrote:
It's not only an update to Pathfinder rules, but the fluff will be expanded, too. All countries will get 4 pages. See the comments in the thread for the "World Guide: The Inner Sea".

I'm not sure we've actually released information about what the pricing for the new revised book is going to be yet, but I sometimes lose track of stuff like that...

The revised book will indeed be much more than just a reprint with updated rules though. It's going to be reorganized, expanded, and improved in pretty much every way I can to make it better.

World Guide: The Inner Sea will be $49.99 in print, $9.99 for the PDF.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

10 bucks for the Campaign Setting ? Now I'm really glad I never got around to buying the old PDF ! :)

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Lanx wrote:
It's not only an update to Pathfinder rules, but the fluff will be expanded, too. All countries will get 4 pages. See the comments in the thread for the "World Guide: The Inner Sea".

I'm not sure we've actually released information about what the pricing for the new revised book is going to be yet, but I sometimes lose track of stuff like that...

The revised book will indeed be much more than just a reprint with updated rules though. It's going to be reorganized, expanded, and improved in pretty much every way I can to make it better.

World Guide: The Inner Sea will be $49.99 in print, $9.99 for the PDF.

TY, sir.


Vic Wertz wrote:
World Guide: The Inner Sea will be $49.99 in print, $9.99 for the PDF.

I click on the link, and get:

Sorry
The requested URL was not found on this server, or you do not have permission to access this area.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Aaron Bitman wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
World Guide: The Inner Sea will be $49.99 in print, $9.99 for the PDF.

I click on the link, and get:

Sorry
The requested URL was not found on this server, or you do not have permission to access this area.

D'oh! Sorry—I've fixed the link above, and in all quotes including said link. (I think...)


Vic Wertz wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Lanx wrote:
It's not only an update to Pathfinder rules, but the fluff will be expanded, too. All countries will get 4 pages. See the comments in the thread for the "World Guide: The Inner Sea".

I'm not sure we've actually released information about what the pricing for the new revised book is going to be yet, but I sometimes lose track of stuff like that...

The revised book will indeed be much more than just a reprint with updated rules though. It's going to be reorganized, expanded, and improved in pretty much every way I can to make it better.

World Guide: The Inner Sea will be $49.99 in print, $9.99 for the PDF.

Very Nice.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Are "stalk beetles" (p. 123) essentially just giant stag beetles, or are they something else we haven't seen yet?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

delabarre wrote:
Are "stalk beetles" (p. 123) essentially just giant stag beetles, or are they something else we haven't seen yet?

When we first ordered the text for this book, we asked our authors to throw in new monster references. The plan was to then mine the book for those new monsters and develop them into actual new monsters... a process that ended up being spotty at best.

In the revision, I'm going to try to do a better job describing what these things are if they're not in a Bestiary. In this case, I'm 99% sure I'll be replacing the word "stalk" with "stag."

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

James Jacobs wrote:
delabarre wrote:
Are "stalk beetles" (p. 123) essentially just giant stag beetles, or are they something else we haven't seen yet?

When we first ordered the text for this book, we asked our authors to throw in new monster references. The plan was to then mine the book for those new monsters and develop them into actual new monsters... a process that ended up being spotty at best.

In the revision, I'm going to try to do a better job describing what these things are if they're not in a Bestiary. In this case, I'm 99% sure I'll be replacing the word "stalk" with "stag."

Hey, James, is a swarm of those beetles known as a "stag party"?

Liberty's Edge

I'd bet the local brothel empties out pretty quickly when one of THOSE comes to town...


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Probably a little better then a party of stalkers?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Erik Mona wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
delabarre wrote:
Are "stalk beetles" (p. 123) essentially just giant stag beetles, or are they something else we haven't seen yet?

When we first ordered the text for this book, we asked our authors to throw in new monster references. The plan was to then mine the book for those new monsters and develop them into actual new monsters... a process that ended up being spotty at best.

In the revision, I'm going to try to do a better job describing what these things are if they're not in a Bestiary. In this case, I'm 99% sure I'll be replacing the word "stalk" with "stag."

Hey, James, is a swarm of those beetles known as a "stag party"?

yes.

And the greasy layer of slime that they leave behind after they eat people is "stag film."

Liberty's Edge

Uggghhh!

Did I just hear a rim shot? ;)

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

James Jacobs wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
delabarre wrote:
Are "stalk beetles" (p. 123) essentially just giant stag beetles, or are they something else we haven't seen yet?

When we first ordered the text for this book, we asked our authors to throw in new monster references. The plan was to then mine the book for those new monsters and develop them into actual new monsters... a process that ended up being spotty at best.

In the revision, I'm going to try to do a better job describing what these things are if they're not in a Bestiary. In this case, I'm 99% sure I'll be replacing the word "stalk" with "stag."

Hey, James, is a swarm of those beetles known as a "stag party"?

yes.

And the greasy layer of slime that they leave behind after they eat people is "stag film."

Well, I'll point out they're not exactly the same thing. The stalk beetles are the stag beetles that follow the, ah, entertainment home ....


The day after i we switch from Forgotten Realms to Golarion is when i find out the book is expensive and out of print.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ftrain wrote:
The day after i we switch from Forgotten Realms to Golarion is when i find out the book is expensive and out of print.

A new version is being worked on.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: World Guide—The Inner Sea

Should be out in Feb

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

And there is always the PDF which is not expensive and never out of print... Go with the new book though.


Shem wrote:
And there is always the PDF which is not expensive and never out of print... Go with the new book though.

Not expensive ? The PDF version is 35$, compared to the other products which range from 5$ to 15$.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook is a 576-page full-color hardcover. = 9,99$

Golarion, the exciting world of the Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Pathfinder Modules, comes alive in this massive 256-page full-color hardcover tome primed up and ready to go for your new campaign! = 34,99$

Any reasons why the PDF is that expensive ?

Sovereign Court

JiCi wrote:

]Not expensive ? The PDF version is 35$, compared to the other products which range from 5$ to 15$.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook is a 576-page full-color hardcover. = 9,99$

Golarion, the exciting world of the Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Pathfinder Modules, comes alive in this massive 256-page full-color hardcover tome primed up and ready to go for your new campaign! = 34,99$

Any reasons why the PDF is that expensive ?

It's more that the RPG pdfs are cheap, way cheaper than much of the rest of the market (and, of course, the material in them is OGL).

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
JiCi wrote:
Any reasons why the PDF is that expensive ?

The $9.99 PFRPG PDF prices are the exceptions, not the rule. Those PDFs are priced lower to encourage people to pick up the game by keeping the entry point low. If you'll look through most of the Pathfinder PDFs (the ones that support the Golarion setting), most of the PDFs are around 70% of the cover price.

-Skeld

EDIT: Bagpuss ninja'd me.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Skeld wrote:
JiCi wrote:
Any reasons why the PDF is that expensive ?

The $9.99 PFRPG PDF prices are the exceptions, not the rule. Those PDFs are priced lower to encourage people to pick up the game by keeping the entry point low. If you'll look through most of the Pathfinder PDFs (the ones that support the Golarion setting), most of the PDFs are around 70% of the cover price.

-Skeld

EDIT: Bagpuss ninja'd me.

When the original campaign setting book came out several years ago, *all* of our PDFs were priced at about 30% off the print price. A year ago, we experimented with the $9.99 price for the Core Rulebook, and we think it really paid off, so we've continued using that price point for the core RPG line, and we'll also be offering the new Pathfinder Campaign Setting World Guide: The Inner Sea PDF at the $9.99 price.

We won't be lowering the price on this one because many of our best customers paid the higher amount, and it would be somewhat unfair to sell it to others for significantly less—and frankly, we would rather have people buy the new one anyway; leaving this one priced higher makes that one even more appealing. In fact, when the new one comes out, we'll be adding a note to this one telling you that you really ought to look at the newer, cheaper one instead—but if you really, really want this one, you can still buy it.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
...we'll also be offering the newPathfinder Campaign Setting World Guide: The Inner Sea PDF at the $9.99 price.

That's great news, Vic.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Is this book "canon"? Or it is obsolete? I am asking specifically about Appendix B: Pronunciation Guide

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fedor Checherov wrote:
Is this book "canon"? Or it is obsolete? I am asking specifically about Appendix B: Pronunciation Guide

Something like that should be okay, though Inner Sea World Guide is the "current" up to date book.

For lore stuff you can always ask James Jacobs in his thread :3

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