Pathfinder Player Companion: Humans of Golarion (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Humans of Golarion (PFRPG)
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Masters of the Realm

Brave, cunning, and adaptable, humanity dominates the countries of the Inner Sea. Discover the legendary history and secret ambitions of humankind, the most populous race of the Pathfinder campaign setting. With the potential to do anything they set their minds to, humans have become unrivaled heroes, infamous villains, and even deities—and now the course of humanity’s future is in your hands. Learn of the varied and distinctive ethnicities of humankind, from rugged Ulfen vikings and scheming Chelish diplomats to noble Garundi travelers and mysterious Tian merchants, and master the unique skills and traditions they use to face the dangers of a world that refuses to be tamed.

Humans of Golarion presents a player-friendly overview of the fantastical human cultures of the Pathfinder campaign setting, along with new rules and information to help players customize characters in both flavor and mechanics.

    Inside this book, you'll find:
  • Information on the physical traits, philosophies, traditions, histories, and cultures of humans—the most populous race in the Inner Sea
  • Insights on each of Golarion’s major human ethnicities, designed to help players create distinctive and exciting characters ready for any adventure
  • A detailed map charting the historical migration for the most common human ethnicities in the Inner Sea region
  • Revelations about Aroden, the fallen god of humankind
  • Notes on the lost empires of humanity, such as Azlant, Thassilon, the Jistka Imperium, Ancient Osirion, and more
  • New traits, spells, and weapons for each human culture

This Pathfinder Player Companion is set in the Pathfinder campaign setting and works best with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the 3.5 version of the world's oldest fantasy roleplaying game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Written by James Jacobs, Colin McComb, Sean K Reynolds, Amber Scott, and Larry Wilhelm

Each bimonthly 32-page Pathfinder Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for social, magic, religious, and combat-focused characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-315-6

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Acceptable Primer for Human PCs

3/5

Humans are the default race for many fantasy worlds, and the official Pathfinder campaign setting of Golarion is no exception. Since all the other Core races had received Player Companions, it was only natural that humans would as well. The challenge for a book like the 32-page Humans of Golarion is that we all know what humans are "like" since . . . we are humans! Instead of being about humans as a species, this is a "race book" that's far more geographically oriented than the others. Although humans are humans, their societies and cultures vary across Golarion, and that's what this book focuses on.

"Don't mess with frost giants" is the quite valid lesson to draw from the great cover, which is reprinted sans text as the inside back cover. The inside front cover reprints the human racial traits from the Core Rulebook, but, more usefully, has a list of "Human Half-Breed" PC races like Aasimar, Gillmen, Tieflings, etc., and where their details can be found.

The first few pages of the book cover the things that are really interesting to learn about other races (like "Physical Features" and "Senses") but that are rather unnecessary to discuss when it comes to humans. The book nicely draws the theme that humans, despite being physically weaker than many other races, are an extremely fecund, energetic, and adaptable race, and that that, more than anything else, is why they're so dominant in Golarion. The next few pages are a quite in-depth history of human migration throughout Golarion, including a map that shows how the major human ethnic groups circulated throughout the Inner Sea. It's heavy background and not exactly gripping, but I do appreciate the devotion to world building. Of more interest (at least to me) was the page and a half overview of humanity's "lost kingdoms" like Azlant, Jistka, Thassilon, Shory, etc. There's only a paragraph or so discussion of each, but it definitely leaves the reader intrigued and curious to learn more.

The next thirteen pages are dedicated, on a one page per entry basis, to covering the major human ethnic groups on Golarion. Each entry has basic information like Languages, Favored Regions and Religions, Male and Female Names, and Appearance, along with several paragraphs on common behaviors and perceptions. We learn that Chelaxians, for example, "believe in strength, honor, nobility, and success", while Garundians tend to "approach life with gusto, and worship with song and dance." The following ethnicities are covered: Azlanti, Chelaxians, Garundi, Keleshites, Kellids, Mwangi, Shoanti, Taldans, Tian, Ulfen, Varisians, Vudrani, Half-elves, and Half-orcs. I found the entries a bit bland, like reading from an encyclopedia, but they are a concise way to get a "sense" of a group. From a meta perspective, the human ethnicities of Golarion are obviously inspired by real-world counterparts. The Tian are Asian-inspired, the Vudrani are India-themed, etc. However, Paizo is smart enough to avoid lazy or offensive stereotypes, and I think they've made a real effort to be inclusive of the world's diversity. I found a few of the entries curious: the Azlanti, for example, aren't around anymore, so why devote a page to them? And half-orcs and half-elves are at least partially covered in Orcs of Golarion and Elves of Golarion, respectively. A few extra pages could have been used for something else.

A list of "Human Weapons" takes up the next two pages of the book. The idea is to discuss which of the groups covered above are most closely associated with various weapons. Blowguns, for example, are said to be often used by Shoanti and Mwangi, while temple swords are used mainly in Vudra. I think a "Favored Weapons" line in the entries above would have covered the issue adequately without spending two pages on it.

The next curious decision is to spend two pages discussing Aroden, the dead god of humanity. Aroden is probably the most important background figure in the world-lore of Golarion, but is of little importance for "present-day" humans in Golarion. It's the sort of interesting information that would be great in a campaign setting book for a GM who wants to incorporate some history and depth into an adventure, but for a Player Companion it's just not really necessary.

"Human Racial Spells" are the next two pages. Five new spells are introduced and linked (but not restricted to) particular human ethnic groups. I thought these spells were good both flavour-wise and mechanically. I particularly liked the Summon Totem Creature spell for Shoanti spellcasters as it ties in directly to their quah (clan).

Last up are a full two pages of race traits restricted to humans of the associated ethnicities. There's a lot of them here (24!), but for the most part I found them minor, unnecessary, and forgettable. I did appreciate the little index of human-focussed traits introduced in previous Paizo products, though of course such an index quickly becomes outdated.

Overall, I think Humans of Golarion serves fine as a cheap and concise primer to give to players to answer the "so where's your human PC from?" question. In other words, it's not ground-breaking but it is useful. My biggest complaint is that too much space was spent on material of dubious value to players.


Everything you wanted to know about humans...but were afraid to ask

4/5

GOOD:
The information about the history of humanity in here is far better than the one in "Inner Sea Races".
It is possible to create a cleric of Aroden with the info in the article about him!
The traits section is nice. The spells are ok.
The migration map is very good.

BAD:
No feats. No special "human only" abilities.

UGLY: Could have been better, but is the weakest of the "XXX of Golarion" books.

Weak but still worth it for the crunch.


Vastly Superior to i.e. Inner Sea Races

4/5

Evaluating is based on comparison. Now that Inner Sea Race Guide is out, in retrospect this is a much better product than people gave it credit for.

If you want crunch, it's true this is not the sourcebook to find it in. There is some, but not as much.

But as far as role-playing - and not being completely slanted like Inner Sea Race Guide - this is far superior to more recent products.

Buy this one, not those. Unless you're only into doing what's fashionable in the current year. In which case, you won't need to buy anything - you're just going to RP your own ideology anyhow.


Great fluff, but almost no crunch

3/5

This book has a great deal of background info on Humans in the Pathfinder world of Golarion. The history and sociological info is well written and expensive. The only issue I have is with the map- they have a nice map of migrations, but the history section repeatedly mentions various regions and kingdoms- but altho the map contains said areas, they are no labeled. A rather puzzling omission.

The rather small amount of crunch is provided with a small but choice list of humano-centric spells. There’s also quite a bit of background info on various human regional weapons, but as they seemingly forgot the chart, you’d have to check back into various other sourcebooks to make it work.

There’s also a nice section about Aroden.


Another poor product

1/5

This is simple a slightly revisited, book on humans form other sources... Clearly a poor effect, I've all but given up to this line of products..


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Steelfiredragon wrote:

they are tooo, planar humanoids they are still humanoids.....

well I guess I won't be getting this book right away then.......

good thing too, as it was a toss up between this one and another paizo book...

Well, they are outsiders(native) :) Tieflings have a large (and excellent) article in 1st episode of Council of Thieves.

Besides, the planetouched don't feature as prominently in Golarion as they do in FR or default 4E.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've added the author credit to the product description. (The image is still a mockup.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Steelfiredragon wrote:
they are tooo, planar humanoids they are still humanoids.....

Their "type" is outsider, not humanoid.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Tim Statler wrote:
Mike Silva wrote:
Half-Halflings
Quarterlings?

Mathematically, a human/halfling child would be a three-quarterling.


Am curious to see if this book wiill throw up any race/class combos that grant alternative features such as class abilities/racial skills/racial weapon proficiencies etc...

Never quite envisioned a Ulfen Skald wielding a rapier or whip for instance... but throwing axe and hand axe might be a better fit...

BD


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

How about half-dragons, or can we expect that in a book about dragons?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are indeed still Azlanti around. Check out the adventure "From Shore to Sea."


Vic Wertz wrote:
I've added the author credit to the product description. (The image is still a mockup.)

I hope they keep that same, handsome fellow on the cover though.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the product image and description to match the finished product.


That's an upgrade! =)

Dark Archive

Nice cover


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, that is an AWESOME cover!

This is the direction I have wanted Golarion artwork to go in since the beginning. Keep it up!


Elorebaen wrote:

Wow, that is an AWESOME cover!

This is the direction I have wanted Golarion artwork to go in since the beginning. Keep it up!

Yes, exactly my thoughts too. It's less cartoony.

And that's just how I picture an Ulfen in my head.


This will be an interesting one, I might get it. :)

If you ask me, humans are awesome. Not just as a fantasy race, but as a species. Human cultures always strive to DO something, to alter the world around them and craft the landscape. Dwarves dig great mines within mountains and fill the halls with wonders, Elves (depending on what version you're using) live on and among giant trees, but Humans... Humans seem to do something entirely different. Humans MAKE mountains. We divert rivers to provide irrigation, we turn islands into peninsulas to gain an advantage if we're trying to take down a fort, we flood the majority of countries to make the rest of said countries impenetrable. Whenever a group of us settle in one place, large buildings appear, the wild is beaten back and fenced, and great monuments arise in what must be amazingly fast time for the longer-lived races. Even when we move about, we still strive to create or change things, even if only through deed. We seek to create for creation's sake, and alter nature around us, even as we are unsure about our own nature. This becomes even more of a stark contrast to other races if your setting has humans being relatively recent and the dwarves and elves being much older. :D And this isn't even starting on our biology (look up "persistence hunt")

Sorry for the little rant. >_> But yeah, I kinda hope they delve well into humanity as a whole in addition to the specific types in Golarion. Looking forward to the bit about philosophies of/on humans, as well as the traits/spells and (most of all) weapons. (here's to the rare hope the monk spade makes it in) :)


WE ARE VIKINGS!!


Is that Ulfen facing Valeros under the effect of an Enlarge Person spell? Because if not... then boy, they sure raise 'em big in the Land of the Linnorm Kings, don't they?

Seriously, do they breed with giants or the like?

Shadow Lodge

Eric Hinkle wrote:

Is that Ulfen facing Valeros under the effect of an Enlarge Person spell? Because if not... then boy, they sure raise 'em big in the Land of the Linnorm Kings, don't they?

Seriously, do they breed with giants or the like?

You could say they have a thing for "tall" women. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Which, in hindsight, might not have been the best choice for monster for the cover, since a giant doesn't really look like anything more than a giant human anyway.

But still... it's a cool painting.


James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

CaptainTrips wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.

Then the cover's doing it's job perfectly! (by making folks think of a cool Conan story)

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

CaptainTrips wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.

My first thought was this. My favorite all time cover, ever...


Drogon wrote:
CaptainTrips wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.
My first thought was this. My favorite all time cover, ever...

Good call Drogon, that is one of my favorite Dragon covers, right behind the Bridge of Sorrows.

Dark Archive

That cover is stunning.

Will it be a poster ?

Dark Archive

CaptainTrips wrote:
Good call Drogon, that is one of my favorite Dragon covers, right behind the Bridge of Sorrows.

Ooh, Den Beauvais, good choice! I bought the Warlock 5 comics just for his art. It was pretty bad for the first four issues or so, but he really grew into it, towards the end, and it was beautiful.


baron arem heshvaun wrote:

That cover is stunning.

Will it be a poster ?

Maybe you can get the original painting! http://lucasgraciano.blogspot.com/2011/04/pathfinder-cover.html

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

baron arem heshvaun wrote:

That cover is stunning.

Will it be a poster ?

Generally, we can only justify posters for the big hardcover releases.


Nickolas Russell wrote:
Maybe you can get the original painting! http://lucasgraciano.blogspot.com/2011/04/pathfinder-cover.html

Asking never hurt anyone. I asked Craig Spearing about the possibility of purchasing prints of some of his Pathfinder artwork and now I have 3 pieces (Tomb of the Iron Medusa, Godsmouth Heresy, and funeral procession) lying at home, awaiting a fitting frame.

Even if Paizo aren't willing to put a lot of money into posters for their non-hardcover lines (which is perfectly understandable in my opinion), their generous deals with freelance artists allow the artists to sell prints of their artwork, should they be so inclined. At least that is my understanding based on personal experience and previous comments by Paizo staff.


Set wrote:


Ooh, Den Beauvais, good choice! I bought the Warlock 5 comics just for his art. It was pretty bad for the first four issues or so, but he really grew into it, towards the end, and it was beautiful.

Ah, I did not know he did a comic. I'll have to look out for it. Thanks for mentioning that!

Dark Archive

CaptainTrips wrote:
Set wrote:


Ooh, Den Beauvais, good choice! I bought the Warlock 5 comics just for his art. It was pretty bad for the first four issues or so, but he really grew into it, towards the end, and it was beautiful.

Ah, I did not know he did a comic. I'll have to look out for it. Thanks for mentioning that!

It's a messed up comic, and went directly down the waste-disposal chute when he and his writing partner left it around issue 12 ish.

The art went from clunky in the first few issues, to stunning, during the last half of the run. He really loved the character of Savashtar, it seems, and drew the hell out of him in the later issues.

The plot? I'm not even sure what was up with it. Like Fathom or Witchblade or the Darkness or Cyberforce or Wildcore, it was the sort of thing I read for the pretty, pretty pictures. :)

Liberty's Edge

"A detailed map charting the historical migration for the most common human ethnicities in the Inner Sea region"

This, has made me go from luke-warm to very excited about this book. I've come to LOVE the detail taken in crafting the world, an things like this are why Golarion is one of the best rpg settings I've ever read.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, if you look real closely here, I think that statue in the background is Karzoug. Man, he gets illustrated more than any other non-iconic - which is fine by me, because Karzoug is teh awesome.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
Hey, if you look real closely here, I think that statue in the background is Karzoug. Man, he gets illustrated more than any other non-iconic - which is fine by me, because Karzoug is teh awesome.

It's just one of his many, many, many statues. Dude liked to put up statues of himself.

(Are they fighting in Xin-Shalast?)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Generic Villain wrote:
Hey, if you look real closely here, I think that statue in the background is Karzoug. Man, he gets illustrated more than any other non-iconic - which is fine by me, because Karzoug is teh awesome.

Karzoug is kind of an iconic—he's an iconic villain. As is the Whispering Tyrant.


hehehehe the whyspering tyrant major secret is that he's a runelord..... hahahahahaha

just kiding,
Karzoug and WT are the iconic villians of Golarion.

the bimbo queen of Cheliax can not even compare with them.

however Baba Yaga is the super iconic villian of Golarion, becasue she spands worlds and the other three can't even begin to compare with her power.

Contributor

CaptainTrips wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.

You mean this?

My first thought, too. Fantastic cover.

Liberty's Edge

Delayed. Booh! :(


Colin McComb wrote:
CaptainTrips wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.

You mean this?

My first thought, too. Fantastic cover.

Colin,

Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking of. :^)


Colin McComb wrote:
CaptainTrips wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

heh...

Actually, the "ulfen" that the humans are fighting is in fact supposed to be a frost giant.

Very cool, as the first thing I thought of when I saw the new cover was the "Frost Giant's Daughter" Conan story.

You mean this?

My first thought, too. Fantastic cover.

Yes, that art was what I though of when I saw the Humans of Golarion cover. Not to say I think that the Humans of Golarion cover is a ripoff, merely that both are very good and happen to have a similar theme.

Silver Crusade

Book on humans, can't wait! Love the cover. Can't wait to sink my teeth into this one.

Bel. :)


Hmmm... looks pretty cool, I might have to subscribe to this line too...


Curses; June is upon us and still no actual release date. D:


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ashram wrote:
Curses; June is upon us and still no actual release date. D:

I made a similar comment in Wake of the Watcher. Vic replied that "...we just haven't put the final shipping schedule into the system (we're waiting to find out whether the Chase Cards are going to make this shipment or the next)."

Contributor

Ashram wrote:
Curses; June is upon us and still no actual release date. D:

I would just like to reply with this:

" PDF:
Will be available for purchase Wed, Jun 15, 2011. "

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Just wanted to echo some of the other comments... STUNNING cover art.

Dark Archive

I was actually hoping to see more info on the various ethnic backgrounds. Seems like a lot of info that is already available in 3 or 4 other books.


Be positive.... be positive...

I really like the migration map! And the cover, like everyone else.

Dark Archive

Elorebaen wrote:

Wow, that is an AWESOME cover!

This is the direction I have wanted Golarion artwork to go in since the beginning. Keep it up!

Ditto. Really screams sword and sorcery, not the MMO stuff usually dominating today's fantasy art (though I admit I enjoy the detail. And the swords bigger than the wielder.)


Was REALLY looking forward to this - since ti was announced but the final version has left me a little... flat to be honest.

Lots of colour and flavour on the different human ethnicities but like bigkilla mentioned you can find that info in a bunch of other sources.

Traits were nice [like traits - traits always welcome] as were the spells, but was expecting something that built on previous info not merely reprinted it.

Don't get me wrong I liked it, but not as much as I'd hoped... Maybe Humans of Golarian deserved to be a bigger Player's Companion given the breadth it was trying to cover?

I'm presuming alot of the cutural "crunch" is being saved for "Inner Sea" books?


I want a companion about the Kellids, this will not have enough pages.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I also am somewhat unimpressed by this book. The three things that I appreciated are: migrations map, writeup on Aroden and weapon groups for new Golarion armament (however, I dearly hope this part gets reprinted in Ultimate Combat).

I understand that not making "Humans of Golarion" would draw ire as to why other races get their books and humans not, but in the end it feels a bit forced.

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