Pathfinder Chronicles: City of Strangers (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Chronicles: City of Strangers (PFRPG)
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In the outcast city of Kaer Maga, your business is your own, and no ware is too dangerous or taboo to find a buyer. Within the walls of the ancient, ruined fortress, refugees and criminals from every nation disappear into the swirling crowds of gangs and monsters. Here leech-covered bloatmages haggle with religious zealots who sew their own lips shut, while naga crime lords squeeze self-mutilating troll prophets for protection money. And these are just the city’s anarchic residents, not the fearsome beasts barely contained in the mysterious dungeons beneath the streets, held at bay by the elite rangers known as the Duskwardens. Welcome to the City of Strangers, a haven of freedom and independence—assuming you survive.

    Inside this book, you’ll find:
  • Detailed gazetteers for all 11 of the city’s districts, from the fabled Balconies of Bis to the necromantic paradise of Ankar-Te.
  • A history of the city and the bizarre, ruined monument that houses it.
  • Thorough briefings on the most important gangs and factions within the city, such as the golem-crafting Ardoc family and the abolitionist Freemen, as well as how they interact with each other.
  • The bloatmage prestige class, in which spellcasters use their own blood to empower their spells—but at a terrible price.
  • Statistics for the caulborn, a mysterious new race of telepathic, memory-eating monsters.
  • A layer-by-layer guide to the dungeons beneath the city, and the echoes of lost races and magic that still guard them.
  • New magic items, random encounter tables, and more.

City of Strangers is intended for use with the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but can easily be used in any fantasy game system or setting.

by James L. Sutter

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-248-7

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

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The Best Chronicle to Date

5/5

To-date I've never seen a real need to review a Pathfinder Chronicle products; that has changed with The City of Strangers. I just can't leave this book alone. Paizo has put out good and great products in the past, but this book represents one of my favorite settings produced by any game company to-date. Between a city that provides ample opportunity for any group, and the undercity that defines the "mega-dungeon", the opportunities for a GM to play out an entire campaign in a single city abound. There's no kidding around though, this city is grown-up. You will not find it a "traditional" fantasy setting, and the themes are certainly more adult than anything Paizo has produced to date (except maybe The Hook Mountain Massacre).

I seriously cannot say one negative thing about this product and strongly suggest everybody consider it for their gaming library, even if they enjoy making their own worlds. The material is just that good.


Need more Kaer Maga!

5/5

I'm still learning about Golarion but so far, this is my favorite location/city/geographic area. Think high fantasy meets Mos Eisley. You have a very eclectic interesting city perfect for urban adventures with enough unique locales to provide numerous campaigns. Plus, underneath the city is a huge, wild and crazy megadungeon. It's a setting that lets you be wildly creative without your ideas feeling out of place. I hope Paizo continues to support Kaer Maga with a continuous line of modules and/or additional supplements.


Terrific!

5/5

Every page of this beautiful looking product is packed full with awesomeness. After reading about four pages I already imagined how I could lure my players to Kaer Maga while I was still sucking up word for word of the wonderfully designed and written content.


Breathtaking

5/5

I never normally review Paizo items, simply because of bias, however, in this case I wanted to tell people on the boards just how good I think this product is.

I can remember reading the original Vault of the Drow as a lad, and being amazed. I wanted to run adventures in the teeming city and vault, take characters through the souks and alleys of the drow, and do so right away. It was more than just an adventure, it was inspiring, a product whose use would outweigh its price a thousand fold. My battered old vault still sits before me now, to use as inspiration when it's needed.

I got the same thrill from reading City of Strangers.

Make no bones about it, this is Pathfinder grown up. The city is no place for the young to venture into, but for those of us who like our fantasy a little darker, this could be one of the most perfect settings ever. If the vertical, teeming city itself doesn’t take your breath away, the numerous districts, all of which are written in tantalising details – begging for more exploration – will. These could each become sites for numerous adventure paths in their own right.

Couple this would some incredible radical thinking and invention – I for one will never think of trolls the same again – and some great crunchy rules, encounters and suggestions, and you have a product that, like Vault of the Drow, is going to useful for years to come.

My only regret is that I’ve just started a Hot War AP as a change of pace, and now I’m thinking about wrapping that up quickly so I can unleash Kaer Maga on my players.

So, if you’re a fan of dark fantasy, and like your settings a little on the Styes side, check this product out, it is inspirational.


A great book, but missing some art, methinks

4/5

This is a great volume, and a perfect balance of crunch vs. fluff. The city is described in vivid detail, and it makes for a very interesting adventuring area. I'm very, very tempted to take many of the best bits, if not the entire city, and plop it into my homebrew setting.

My only gripe with the book is with some of the art. All of the images a are beautiful and well done, as always, but I noticed a distinct lack of pictures of Kaer Maga itself! The image at the top of Chapter 1 is highly stylized and is pretty obviously not the real city, what with the mountain being made of skulls and the skyline not matching any of James Sutter's great descriptions. Chapter 2's first image is a rather nice view of a Downmarket bazaar, but the city is only in the background.

I really would have liked to see a painting or two of the city either from the outside, with a view of the monolith, or of some of the honycombed buildings that are Kaer Maga's architectural hallmark.

Still, don't let that deter you from buying this book. The city itself is a wonderful location, and I can't wait to use the Bloatmage prestige class against my players!


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Just scanned it after downloading looks great one of the best cities in the entire setting

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Labour of love. Great work of a single, deranged, tormented mind of a man, young, yet already depraved beyond salvation.

We need more books like this one ... And more crazy Paizo writers.

Contributor

Gorbacz wrote:

Great work of a single, deranged, tormented mind of a man, young, yet already depraved beyond salvation.

Aww... you guys are making me blush!

Contributor

James Sutter wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Great work of a single, deranged, tormented mind of a man, young, yet already depraved beyond salvation.

Aww... you guys are making me blush!

Careful, everyone, that's part of his seduction routine! Next step, guitar!


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Great work of a single, deranged, tormented mind of a man, young, yet already depraved beyond salvation.

Aww... you guys are making me blush!
Careful, everyone, that's part of his seduction routine! Next step, guitar!

Personal experience, Sean? :)

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What happens at PaizoCon, stays at PaizoCon....


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
What happens at PaizoCon, stays at PaizoCon....

LOL!!!!!


I echo the others in my enjoyment of this book so far! Now I have to figure out how to get my players there, since only one of them actually wants to go anywhere near there...

And that brings up a possible 'Easter Egg' question. In the section describing the Therassic Spire, it tells GMs that it is (spoilered, just in case):

Spoiler:
"...a satellite of a much greater Thassilonian library, its location a lost secret that the caretakers search for unceasingly in their ancient and uncountable tomes."

Would that library happen to be

Spoiler:
the Library of Thassilon underneath Jorgenfist detailed in PF#4?

I ask because my players are nearing that location, and I would love to be able to tie the two together with references found there (^_^)

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dalesman
"Bringing Big D**n Justice to the Bad Guys Since 1369 DR"


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Dalesman wrote:


Would that library happen to be ** spoiler omitted **

Probably, as the location of that library was named as

Spoiler:

Therassic Monestary

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In an effort to make the PathfinderWiki more useful and user-friendly, we have started creating indicies of Paizo publications, and not only listing the page numbers of a book's major topics, but also linking them directly to wiki articles.

I have started on such an index for City of Strangers, although as of this writing, I have only made it about halfway through the book. Also please note that I have elected to create the index first and then write articles about each of the topics, so most of the internal links will lead to empty pages.

Please let me/us know if you find these indexes useful and how we might be able to improve them.

Other indicies (also works in progress) include those for Dave Gross' Hell's Pawns, The Lost Pathfinder, Heart of the Jungle, in addition to our popular Monster Index.

Contributor

The Dalesman wrote:

And that brings up a possible 'Easter Egg' question. In the section describing the Therassic Spire, it tells GMs that it is (spoilered, just in case):

** spoiler omitted **

Would that library happen to be ** spoiler omitted **

Sure sounds plausible, don't it? ;)

Contributor

Branding Opportunity wrote:

In an effort to make the PathfinderWiki more useful and user-friendly, we have started creating indicies of Paizo publications, and not only listing the page numbers of a book's major topics, but also linking them directly to wiki articles.

I have started on such an index for City of Strangers, although as of this writing, I have only made it about halfway through the book. Also please note that I have elected to create the index first and then write articles about each of the topics, so most of the internal links will lead to empty pages.

Please let me/us know if you find these indexes useful and how we might be able to improve them.

Other indicies (also works in progress) include those for Dave Gross' Hell's Pawns, The Lost Pathfinder, Heart of the Jungle, in addition to our popular Monster Index.

Holy crap! That index is amazing!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
Holy crap! That index is amazing!

Thanks! I'll let everyone know when it's finished.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Branding Opportunity wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Holy crap! That index is amazing!
Thanks! I'll let everyone know when it's finished.

And I am finished with the read-through. Check out the "final" index here (link).

Having read through it, I will definitely say that this is now my favorite Paizo publication to date. I think Mr. Sutter has done a great job with providing a top-notch setting, one which could be the site of many different types of adventures. I also like the fact that he only briefly touches on countless topics (well, not countless since I have not cataloged them all). By not spelling everything out, he maintains the inherent mystery of the setting, and he leaves it up to the GM to fill in the blanks, which is actually a much more effective way to spark the imagination.

Now all I need to do is write articles for all those red links.

BrOp


James Sutter wrote:
The Dalesman wrote:

And that brings up a possible 'Easter Egg' question. In the section describing the Therassic Spire, it tells GMs that it is (spoilered, just in case):

** spoiler omitted **

Would that library happen to be ** spoiler omitted **

Sure sounds plausible, don't it? ;)

Squee.

;D

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dalesman
"Bringing Big D**n Justice to the Bad Guys Since 1369 DR"


Looking awesome so far!

Question: Bloatmage Bloat ability - the chart says it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4. Text says 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Text trumps by default, but I thought I'd ask (1d12 is much wickeder).

Contributor

Majuba wrote:
Question: Bloatmage Bloat ability - the chart says it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4. Text says 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Text trumps by default, but I thought I'd ask (1d12 is much wickeder).

After discussing this with James, we like the 1d4/1d8/1d12 option in the text better, as it makes bloating a little more risky for the reckless character--which makes the class more appealing if you're a player who likes to take risks.

Note that if you play the class carefully, you'll probably never rage if you use your bloat ability. But sometimes an adventure requires you to push yourself a little harder than you'd planned....

(We're both pretty sure that the original idea was 1d4/2d4/3d4, and that we had a discussion very similar to the one we just had, and that resulted in the body text change to 1d4/1d8/1d12, but we accidentally didn't update the table.)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Quick spoilery question.

Alignment issue on P. 5 and 42:
Aldair Eamon, the firebrand leader of the Scions faction of the Brotherhood of the Seal, is listed as a Neutral assassin. Is this a typo (since p. 378 of the Core Rulebook lists that they must be evil), or does this mean that he was evil (when he took the prestige class levels) and has since become neutral?

Contributor

Branding Opportunity wrote:

Quick spoilery question.

** spoiler omitted **

Whoops! That's a typo - he should be NE, not N. (And for what it's worth, he probably sees himself as more neutral, while pretty much everyone outside of his faction sees him as evil... I think that's a pretty common character trait for my evil characters. :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
Whoops! That's a typo - he should be NE, not N. (And for what it's worth, he probably sees himself as more neutral, while pretty much everyone outside of his faction sees him as evil... I think that's a pretty common character trait for my evil characters. :)

I think that's actually true in RL as well: most a**hats don't think of themselves as that, they think they're being perfectly reasonable.

Dark Archive

I just have to say that Kaer Maga is my new favorite Golarion city. I have the first several encounters of an adventure path set there written out already, and my players aren't gonna know what hit them.

Many of the Chronicles books that describe cities I find to be a bit dry. This one, on the other hand, I read cover to cover last night and read through it again today. I really liked the way that it covered the city in broad strokes without going too far into the lives of everybody there.

Excellent work, Mr. Sutter. My thanks to you for creating such a great sourcebook.

Contributor

kikai13 wrote:

I just have to say that Kaer Maga is my new favorite Golarion city. I have the first several encounters of an adventure path set there written out already, and my players aren't gonna know what hit them.

Many of the Chronicles books that describe cities I find to be a bit dry. This one, on the other hand, I read cover to cover last night and read through it again today. I really liked the way that it covered the city in broad strokes without going too far into the lives of everybody there.

Excellent work, Mr. Sutter. My thanks to you for creating such a great sourcebook.

Wow! Thank you! I'm not sure there's a better compliment than reading a book twice back-to-back. :)


I enjoy pretty much everything Paizo puts out - but this one really stands out. With prior Chronicles books - I tend to skim and perhaps fully read a quarter of the content. This is the first one I have read cover to cover...amazing stuff!

Dark Archive

BTW--I hope you realize now that you are going to have to produce some more adventures set in Kaer Maga.


One question: Why title this books without the name of the City?

Anyone seeing this on a book shelf in their local gaming store won't have a clue what it's about.

Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh however, is an example of a sensible title.

Kaer Maga: A City of Strangers would have perhaps been a better choice.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
stuart haffenden wrote:

One question: Why title this books without the name of the City?

Anyone seeing this on a book shelf in their local gaming store won't have a clue what it's about.

Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh however, is an example of a sensible title.

Kaer Maga: A City of Strangers would have perhaps been a better choice.

Well.

Anybody who knows what Kaer Maga is, more than likely knows about the book.

Anybody who doesn't know what Kaer Maga is, likely won't see much difference between "Kaer Maga" and "City of Strangers", because both names mean nothing to him :)


Gorbacz wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:

One question: Why title this books without the name of the City?

Anyone seeing this on a book shelf in their local gaming store won't have a clue what it's about.

Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh however, is an example of a sensible title.

Kaer Maga: A City of Strangers would have perhaps been a better choice.

Well.

Anybody who knows what Kaer Maga is, more than likely knows about the book.

Anybody who doesn't know what Kaer Maga is, likely won't see much difference between "Kaer Maga" and "City of Strangers", because both names mean nothing to him :)

I see what you're saying but as least with my suggested title it is clear that the city's name is Kaer Maga and therefore one could "look it up" to learn about where/what it is. Also 2 or 3 years down the road the book isn't really selling itself when sitting on the shelf with its current name.

Also it's possible that you may already know the name from the Campaign Setting [most peoples starting point] Map. However if you google it, it's not going to be obvious that The City of Strangers is relevant, assuming it comes up at all.

Dark Archive

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

You could also read the back cover which is something a lot of people do anyway to figure out what's in a book. Kaer-Maga is the third or fourth word in the back cover blurb.


Ravenmantle wrote:
You could also read the back cover which is something a lot of people do anyway to figure out what's in a book. Kaer-Maga is the third or fourth word in the back cover blurb.

This is true, however my point is that it may not even get picked up!

I think it's poor marketing but feel free to disagree!

On the bright side, I do know what it's about and I'm rather pleased I have it as my players have just move into the cinderlands!

Paizo Employee CEO

kikai13 wrote:
BTW--I hope you realize now that you are going to have to produce some more adventures set in Kaer Maga.

Check out November's module this year!

-Lisa

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

the map of the undercity is absolutely beautiful in a mysterious and sinister kind of way...I love it!

Contributor

stuart haffenden wrote:
Ravenmantle wrote:
You could also read the back cover which is something a lot of people do anyway to figure out what's in a book. Kaer-Maga is the third or fourth word in the back cover blurb.

This is true, however my point is that it may not even get picked up!

I think it's poor marketing but feel free to disagree!

On the bright side, I do know what it's about and I'm rather pleased I have it as my players have just move into the cinderlands!

Hey Stuart! You have a good point. The decision to start using shorter titles for the campaign setting line came from a couple of places:

1) The fear that having what's essentially a nonsense word in the title would turn people off (and as much as I love the city, and am glad some folks already knew about it, I suspect that you're part of the well-informed minority :).

2) The desire to keep our book titles from getting really bloated... i.e. "Pathfinder Campaign Setting - City of Strangers, a Guide to Kaer Maga."

3) It just seemed punchier.

We've been going back and forth on the issue for a while (you can see us experimenting with the convention in things like Seekers of Secrets), but if it sounds like most folks prefer the longer titles, you can bet we'll take that into account!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Do people build and live on top of the hexagonal wall?
Or is it just an empty expanse of stone up there?

Contributor

Zen79 wrote:

Do people build and live on top of the hexagonal wall?

Or is it just an empty expanse of stone up there?

You know, in my mind, nobody really lives on top of the wall, simply because there's more than enough space inside (which comes with a ready-made and leak-proof ceiling). Now that you mention it, however, there are undoubtedly a few crazy folks who build houses up there, probably anchoring them to the stone with pitons and cables so the wind from the cliff doesn't sweep them off. (For some reason, I imagine it's mostly gnomes who feel the urge, plus rookeries of squabbling gargoyles.)

Could make for a really fun encounter location!


This book has some great ideas marred by a couple of visually grotesque ones. The bloat mage and the group with mouth issues are NOT for the squeamish. Unfortunately, I'm part of that group. I wish I could un-see and un-read some of this book.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Titles that are too long (what James Sutter calls "bloated" above) can cause some very real problems when it comes to creating covers, catalog entries, and even listing the title next to other titles. Shorter titles not only help us to avoid making our art director angry by forcing her into corners when it comes to cover design, but also help us to get the point across without being too wordy. In a lot of cases, and especially with titles, less is more.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Majuba wrote:

Looking awesome so far!

Question: Bloatmage Bloat ability - the chart says it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4. Text says 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Text trumps by default, but I thought I'd ask (1d12 is much wickeder).

I'm a bit confused. Why would you say 1d12 is wickeder then 3d4 for this ability? It still caps at the same.


Rathendar wrote:
Majuba wrote:

Looking awesome so far!

Question: Bloatmage Bloat ability - the chart says it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4. Text says 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Text trumps by default, but I thought I'd ask (1d12 is much wickeder).

I'm a bit confused. Why would you say 1d12 is wickeder then 3d4 for this ability? It still caps at the same.

I believe it is because one is less likely to accidentally hit a 12 with the 3d4 than with the 1d12. The 3d4 is less likely to hit the extremes of very low and very high that could lead to a bloatmage raging.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Blazej wrote:
Rathendar wrote:
Majuba wrote:

Looking awesome so far!

Question: Bloatmage Bloat ability - the chart says it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4. Text says 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Text trumps by default, but I thought I'd ask (1d12 is much wickeder).

I'm a bit confused. Why would you say 1d12 is wickeder then 3d4 for this ability? It still caps at the same.
I believe it is because one is less likely to accidentally hit a 12 with the 3d4 than with the 1d12. The 3d4 is less likely to hit the extremes of very low and very high that could lead to a bloatmage raging.

Well, i suppose so yes, but the max is the same. So it doesn't seem to be to change much either way in practice. (yes i understand the % chance of any given roll is different)

Liberty's Edge

Okay, I just purchased this at my FLGS and I'm reading through it.

Great book, great setting.

Just one question: The White Lady what, Mr. Sutter, made you come up with that one?


Rathendar wrote:
Blazej wrote:
Rathendar wrote:
Majuba wrote:

Looking awesome so far!

Question: Bloatmage Bloat ability - the chart says it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4. Text says 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Text trumps by default, but I thought I'd ask (1d12 is much wickeder).

I'm a bit confused. Why would you say 1d12 is wickeder then 3d4 for this ability? It still caps at the same.
I believe it is because one is less likely to accidentally hit a 12 with the 3d4 than with the 1d12. The 3d4 is less likely to hit the extremes of very low and very high that could lead to a bloatmage raging.
Well, i suppose so yes, but the max is the same. So it doesn't seem to be to change much either way in practice. (yes i understand the % chance of any given roll is different)

JB had it right - a d12 is over five times as likely to hit 12 as 3d4, and almost three times as likely to hit 11 or 12. So even at 10th level Bloatmage, if you're at your start of day blood pool, and Bloating to prep for a big battle, you have a 16% chance of raging instead of a 6% chance. You also *always* have a chance of sickening yourself, even if you're at 0 blood points.

I love this class :)


I am a little confused about the history of Kaer Maga. In the book it says that the founder of the Thassilon empire found the city on the edge of the cliff that divides the Cinderlands / the Storval Plateu from the Lowlands (can't remember the name of the cliff)....

I thought that this cliff was created not until the fall of Thassilon?


I am not certain if it is mentioned anyplace when the Stovral Plateau rose to form the cliff you mention, but it was certainly present during the reign of the Runelords and the beginnings of Thassilon. That is why they needed the giant steps called the Storval Steps, to make it easier for the giants to travel on foot up to or down from that plateau. Ten thousand years is after all just a blip of time, geologically speaking.


Dark Sasha wrote:
I am not certain if it is mentioned anyplace when the Stovral Plateau rose to form the cliff you mention, but it was certainly present during the reign of the Runelords and the beginnings of Thassilon. That is why they needed the giant steps called the Storval Steps, to make it easier for the giants to travel on foot up to or down from that plateau. Ten thousand years is after all just a blip of time, geologically speaking.

I assumed they where created in the apocalyptic incidents during the fall of Thassilon - but you are right, since the Thassilonians carved steps and monuments into the cliff that can not be. I simply misremembered that bit.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Hyla Arborea wrote:
I assumed they where created in the apocalyptic incidents during the fall of Thassilon - but you are right, since the Thassilonians carved steps and monuments into the cliff that can not be. I simply misremembered that bit.

The geological history of the Cinderlands is detailed in Pathfinder # 10, A History of Ashes, 59. There it is said that the Storval Plateau rose when two tectonic plates collided and one was forced to slide beneath the other, lifting up the Plateau in the process. This also caused the emergence of the cinder cones.

It is further detailed that the land atop the Plateau ignited when Bakrakhan sank into the sea, thus creating the Cinderlands.

So the Plateau is older than Thassilon, but the Cinderlands are the result of its demise.

Dark Archive

DitheringFool wrote:
the map of the undercity is absolutely beautiful in a mysterious and sinister kind of way...I love it!

Me too! That map is just gorgeous, and a modified version that did not include all the locations would work as a really nice hand-out.

Now I'm sorely tempted to run a whole campaign set in Kaer Maga, because this book is absolutely *brimming* with great ideas. And it's written so damn well; I just love the evocative language and the gloomy tone! Everything from the troll augurs to Tallow Boys and all that lies beneath the City of Strangers... man, this stuff is twisted, deranged, ingenous and brilliant!

All I can say is that I think this is the best Chronicles book so far, and I want to see James writing more products! :)

Dark Archive

James, I have a question about CoS, concerning architecture; in the book it is described that the hollowed-out city walls contain caverns and chambers in which the houses have been built. However, this is not how it appears on the map; instead, it looks like there are no separate chambers or caves and in fact the walls just appear to be "ordinary" city walls surrounding pretty much typical, cobbled city streets. Is this just a cartography "glitch"? Or am I missing something here?

Contributor

Hey folks! For the geological information: It's my understanding that the Storval Plateau was already a plateau in Thassilonian times. The geological upheaval you're remembering from the fall of Thassilon is the one that created the Varisian Gulf (which wasn't always flooded--that region sank in the resulting chaos).

As for the map: the real truth of the matter is that fully mapping Kaer Maga would take an entire map folio, as you'd end up with at least 8 different overlayed schematics of each level for the various vertical levels. In the end, in the interest of having space for text, giving GMs some room to invent their own areas as necessary, and keeping me from going totally nuts, we elected to map only the ground floor, which is the part outsiders see most anyway.

Everything that's shown between the two wall lines is in fact *inside* the walls themselves. The ground floors of the Ring districts tend to be pretty open in their layout (and some, such as the Bottoms and Cavalcade, are actually open to the sky where the upper levels/ceiling fell in long ago). In most such districts, however, the layers above the ground floor are a lot more claustrophobic and hive-like, with the exception being places like Bis where the entire district is pretty much one enormous chamber (hence the need for the balconies).

Hope that helps!


James Sutter wrote:

As for the map: the real truth of the matter is that fully mapping Kaer Maga would take an entire map folio, as you'd end up with at least 8 different overlayed schematics of each level for the various vertical levels. In the end, in the interest of having space for text, giving GMs some room to invent their own areas as necessary, and keeping me from going totally nuts, we elected to map only the ground floor, which is the part outsiders see most anyway.

Everything that's shown between the two wall lines is in fact *inside* the walls themselves. The ground floors of the Ring districts tend to be pretty open in their layout (and some, such as the Bottoms and Cavalcade, are actually open to the sky where the upper levels/ceiling fell in long ago). In most such districts, however, the layers above the ground floor are a lot more claustrophobic and hive-like, with the exception being places like Bis where the entire district is pretty much one enormous chamber (hence the need for the balconies).

Hope that helps!

Hi James,

I just started reading through this supplement (and really enjoying it!), and I had the exact same question about the map.

What I can't figure out from the map is: There don't seem to be any walls or divisions inside the ring districts on the bottom level. For example, there's a road that runs almost all the way around the city near the outer wall, broken up only by the Cavalcade district. If you travel this road, it would seem that you never pass through a wall, which makes the entire ring at ground level appear to be a giant, low-ceilinged room.

I hope this doesn't sound too critical; this is a fantastic idea, and with all the levels and connections, it would be a bear to map out completely. I'm just trying to wrap my head around it.

So, a basic question -- If you were levitating above the Palace of the Child Goddess and looking south, could you see all the way over the rooftops to the south wall (around the Temple of Asmodeus)? Or are we supposed to assume that there are many floor-to-ceiling walls in the way?

thanks!

Contributor

Kreniigh wrote:


Hi James,

I just started reading through this supplement (and really enjoying it!), and I had the exact same question about the map.

What I can't figure out from the map is: There don't seem to be any walls or divisions inside the ring districts on the bottom level. For example, there's a road that runs almost all the way around the city near the outer wall, broken up only by the Cavalcade district. If you travel this road, it would seem that you never pass through a wall, which makes the entire ring at ground level appear to be a giant, low-ceilinged room.

I hope this doesn't sound too critical; this is a fantastic idea, and with all the levels and connections, it would be a bear to map out completely. I'm just trying to wrap my head around it.

So, a basic question -- If you were levitating above the Palace of the Child Goddess and looking south, could you see all the way over the rooftops to the south wall (around the Temple of Asmodeus)? Or are we...

In my imagination--and again, this is just my take--the ground floor of Kaer Maga *is* mostly open, though there are probably some pillars and the occasional wall segment strewn around there (and likely incorporated into the structures... why build four walls for your house when you could build three?). That said, the ceiling height of the various districts varies considerably (and changes within the individual districts as well). In Bis, the ceilings are incredibly high, and in the southern districts you can actually see sky in places, but I imagine that Ankar-Te and Oriat are a lot lower-ceilinged... probably no higher than 20 feet in many places, with larger structures naturally built in those areas where the ceiling is higher. If I had to pick the district that has the lowest ceilings, I'd guess that it's Tarheel... nothing over there is more than a few stories.

All of which is a long way of saying: If you levitate somewhere on the ground floor, you can probably see quite a ways over the rooftops, but nowhere near as far as in a normal city. And after the ground floor, the higher levels get quite cramped and twisted.

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