Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide (PFRPG)

4.60/5 (based on 34 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide (PFRPG)
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The Best of All Possible Worlds

Discover the world of Golarion, the official campaign setting for the smash-hit Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! A time of lost prophecies grips the world, bringing with it an unending maelstrom, a tear in the fabric of reality, a surge of diabolism, and the endless threat of war. Yet all is not lost, for these dark times provide ample opportunity for adventure and heroism.

    Inside this exciting and informative 320-page tome you will find:
  • Detailed summaries of the player character races native to Golarion, including more than a dozen distinct human ethnicities
  • Elaborate gazetteers of more than 40 crumbling empires, expansionist kingdoms, independent city-states, and monster-haunted wildlands of Golarion’s adventure-filled Inner Sea region, with locations perfect for nearly any type of fantasy campaign
  • Cultural information and Pathfinder RPG rules covering the 20 core deities of the Inner Sea, plus entries on other gods, demigods, forgotten deities, weird cults, strange philosophies, and more!
  • An overview of the Inner Sea’s history, a look at time and space, a discussion of magical artifacts and technological wonders, discussions of important factions and organizations, and hundreds of locations ripe for adventure!
  • Tons of new options for player characters, including Inner Sea-themed prestige classes, feats, spells, adventuring gear, and magic items!
  • Nine new monsters, including exotic humanoids of the skies and seas, undead and dragons, and an angry demon lord in exile!
  • A giant 21.75"x33" poster map that reveals the sweeping landscape of the Inner Sea in all its treacherous glory!

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

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-269-2

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

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide (PFRPG)

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The Kitchen Sink, and Everything But

5/5

To put it simply, the Inner Sea World Guide is *the* setting book for Pathfinder. There are several other books (softcovers) that provide more insight into particular areas, but this is the book that introduces the whole shebang. Weighing in at 318 pages, it provides an overview of everything that makes up Pathfinder's official campaign setting: the Inner Sea region of the planet Golarion. There are entries on each of the core races and human ethnicities, overviews of each of the nations of the region, a chapter on gods and religion, miscellaneous information like holidays and languages, an introduction to some major organisations that PCs might belong to (or fight against), player-facing material like new equipment and prestige classes, and finally a handful of new monsters for the GM. In short, there is a *lot* of information in the book and I've come to rely on it heavily.

In terms of overall production quality, a reader won't be disappointed. It's attractively laid out, with tons of maps, artwork (some of it recycled from earlier Paizo products), sidebars, etc. It's clear that a lot of love and attention to detail went into the book, which makes sense as it's one of the premier products in the Pathfinder line.

An Introduction (4 pages) kicks things off. One page is a map of the entire Inner Sea region. The theme of the setting is encapsulated nicely: against all prophecies, the God of Humanity, Aroden, has died suddenly, leading to a world "where nothing is foretold, and anything can happen." From another perspective, that's really what Golarion is: a kitchen-sink setting where no matter what kind of fantasy game-play your group wants, it can find a place for it--whether it's gothic tales of horror, swashbuckling tales of pirates, barbarians with laser-swords, steampunk gunslingers, or more traditional elves and wizards. The sum really is greater than the parts, and somehow it all works. The entire setting has a surprisingly rich and detailed history, which helps to tie everything together into a more coherent whole. The Introduction also contains a really nice in-game summary of the Pathfinder Society and a short sidebar explaining how the Inner Sea World Guide has expanded upon and updated the two previous overviews of the setting (the Gazetteer and Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, respectively).

Chapter 1 is Races (22 pages). It starts with a *very* brief overview (a sentence or two each) of where some of the uncommon humanoid races (like tieflings or kobolds) fit into the Inner Sea before devoting a single-page to each of the human ethnicities of Golarion (many with sensitively-handled analogues to real world cultures) and then the other core races like elves, dwarves, etc.. I'm not necessarily a fan of this way of handling things, as it gives the appearance that only humans have different ethnicities while all the other core races are homogeneous. Still, the chapter does succeed in adding a ton of Golarion-specific lore that is absent from the setting-neutral Core Rulebook.

Chapter 2, "The Inner Sea" (184 pages) is clearly the heart (and, by page-count, a full half) of the book. It starts by explaining that the Inner Sea consists of the continents of Avistan and (northern) Garund, explaining that the planet of Golarion contains several other continents that are outside the scope of the book. There's a detailed timeline of the setting's in-game history, which makes for interesting reading once some additional context is provided. The bulk of the chapter consists of four-page entries on each of the major countries/regions of the Inner Sea. Each entry starts with a sidebar giving basic information (like notable settlements, rulers, population, etc.) and is then sub-divided by topics: history, government, and a gazetteer of notable locations. There are 41 of these entries in alphabetical order, so it's pretty hard to cover them adequately in a review like this. I think the best thing to do is repeat my earlier point that there's a place for almost everything somewhere: revolutionary America has an analogue in Andoran, revolutionary France is Galt, Osiron is ancient Egypt, etc. But there are also some very original countries, like Razmiran (a theocracy ruled by a con-man), Rahadoum (a country that has turned against the gods and where worship is illegal), the Worldwound (a wasteland devastated by the presence of an open portal to demonic planes), the Mana Wastes (where magic doesn't work, and technology has stepped in), and so much more. If nothing else, each entry serves as a nice overview to give the area some basic flavour, and then a GM who really wants more detail can look for the matching softcover campaign setting line book for more depth. I was particularly intrigued by the eight page "Beyond the Inner Sea" section, which is more detailed than I would have thought (and definitely worth expanding someday, Paizo!).

Chapter 3, "Religion" (32 pages), contains a half-page introduction to each of the "Core 20" deities of the setting. Other gods get a paragraph or two, but there's also space devoted to archdevils, demon lords, elemental lords, dead gods, and philosophies. It's enough to get started, though serious players and GMs will likely want more detailed information. In terms of game-play mechanics, two new clerical domains (Scalykind and Void) are introduced here.

Chapter 4, "Life" is sadly just ten pages long. This is the chapter that covers the calendar, holidays and festivals, languages, weather and climate, and distinctive flora and fauna, among other subjects. There are some nice samples of things that make Golarion distinctive, but it would be good to someday have an "Inner Sea Almanac" that expanded on the little things that don't seem exciting but help add a major degree of verisimilitude to the setting.

Chapter 5, "Factions" (14 pages) provides a two-page introduction to five different organisations: the Aspis Consortium (an unprincipled group of colonialists & merchants), the Eagle Knights (anti-slavery freedom-fighters), the Hellknights (extremely strict "law and order" types), the Pathfinder Society (explorers and treasure-hunters), and the Red Mantis (assassins). Several lesser groups also get a one-paragraph overview. Overall, the chapter again serves nicely as a brief introduction, though more detailed information on each of the groups is available elsewhere.

Chapter 6, "Adventuring" (30 pages) is for the players. It starts with suggestions on where in the Inner Sea various classes might hail from. It then introduces four new prestige classes: the Harrower (a cool fortune-teller with an interesting suite of special abilities), the Hellknight (an armored juggernaut), the Low Templar (a sort of cowardly knight; it's hard to envision this one appealing widely), and the Red Mantis Assassin (maybe more for GMs than players, but with some eye-raising abilities). The chapter introduces several new feats; most of them are forgettable but a couple (like Rapid Reload and Fey Foundling) have become crucial to some builds and are, frankly, probably overpowered. The chapter provides updated rules for several pieces of equipment introduced in earlier adventure paths, including goblin weapons like dogslicers, Shoanti weapons like the Earth breaker, and more. It also briefly covers firearms, which are suitably rare and problematic (until someone plays a Gunslinger). Finally, there are some new spells (the most famous of which is infernal healing) and magic items (many of which are essential to parts of the campaign setting, like the final blades for Galt, the sun orchid elixir for Thuvia, and wardstones for the Worldwound). On the whole, I don't think buying the book purely for the "crunch" would be a good idea; the material in this chapter is only a supplement to what's essentially a "flavour/fluff" book.

Chapter 7, "Monsters" (14 pages) starts off with a nice overview of the role that various traditional groups of monsters (like dragons, trolls, ogres, etc.) play in Golarion. It then goes on to introduce seven new monsters, each with a 1-page Bestiary-style entry. Potential players will be interested to see that two of them, Gillmen and Strix, are given rules to make them playable races. Rise of the Runelords GMs may be interested to see full stats for the Sandpoint Devil.

As I write this review, Pathfinder Second Edition is on the horizon and Paizo has said they plan to update the official setting with the "results" of all previous adventure paths. For now, however, the Inner Sea World Guide is the best one-stop resource to get started on anything involving the Inner Sea. Lots of books have more on a single given topic, but no book has so much on so many different topics when it comes to the Inner Sea.


Incredible Product

5/5

So I had a few new players starting a session zero, but after making characters, they wanted to jump in to a game. I had nothing prepared because we were deciding what type of game we were going to play. After thirty minutes and this book, I had a strong beginning to a campaign. Every location, government and current events in this book is PERFECT for a campaign. So many starting points and storyline openings. Rich with interesting information and plot hooks. Easy five star and beautiful map. Thanks paizo


An Engaging Setting

5/5

This was the first Pathfinder Campaign Setting product I bought. That would have been early in 2013. I was curious about the references to Golarion in the Core Rule Book and wanted to know more. I got what I wanted in spades! This is an excellent resource for the Golarion setting.

I recently bought the PDF because I forgot where I had put my hard copy. It's excellent because I can just open the file on my computer, find what I'm looking for with a bookmark and I'm good to go.


The Inner Sea is Good for Me

5/5

This is a great resource book. The layout is great and even if you don't feel like using the various nations of The Inner Sea itself it the book gives you tons of ideas on how to build your own fantacy nations. The kinds of civilizations are diverse and all look like great places to have adventures in and make me want to read all of the Campaign Setting product line.

Add to that the feats, prestige classes, items, and the handful of monsters and you've got icing on what is already a great cake of a book.

All in all definitely worth the $9.99 asking price for the PDF!


Best RPG Product Ever

5/5

I can honestly say this is the best RPG product I've ever bought. There's so much reading in it, and I keep dipping back into it over and over again.

This book made me fall in love with Golarion, and each entry has made me dive off looking for more in the campaign setting and tales line.

If you haven't already hit the link to buy, then stop reading and do it now, you deserve it!


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BossArcadelt wrote:
Wow! Best $6.99 I've spent for a game aid. Thank you!

You're welcome!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Does the Live to Fight Another Day ability of the Low Templar come on at 5th, or 6th level?

The table says 5th, but the text says 6th.


The map of the Great Beyond on page 240 does not show up properly on a Mac or an iPad. Can you please correct the PDF to display this map properly? I really want to see it.

As an aside, this is the very first time I have seen an error like this in one of your products. Everything else displays wonderfully (except the interactive map pack for Rise of the Runelords, of course).


This book was my first Pathfinder purchase (followed quickly by the APG) as I was still clinging to 3.5 and Faerun. It convinced me my clinging was unnecessary as Golarion was a lot more diverse. Also, being a Geography teacher, I LOVED the fact that some of these nations had real-world parallels (examples: Galt=French Revolution, Andoran=America/democratic).

One of my fav Bard spells are in this text: Dirge of the Victorious Knights! Get to summon shadowy Hellknights to deal both cold and arcane damage?! That is just so much thematic fun.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Galt!!!!!!!!


PneumaPilot2 wrote:

The map of the Great Beyond on page 240 does not show up properly on a Mac or an iPad. Can you please correct the PDF to display this map properly? I really want to see it.

As an aside, this is the very first time I have seen an error like this in one of your products. Everything else displays wonderfully (except the interactive map pack for Rise of the Runelords, of course).

I just downloaded the Inner Sea World Guide as part of the Humble Bundle and was having trouble seeing any of the maps properly on my Mac using Preview. Switched to Acrobat Reader and they all look fine - works on the iPad too. I think it's to do with how the files for this one were created.

Hope this helps

Rich

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