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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Dark Archive

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

YES!!!

but that is my only real grip. Sure the spells and traits are cool. The Aroden stuff is nice. The Migration map is awesome. But I was just hoping for more info on the Ethic groups as i am playing a Kellid Ranger Beastmaster ATM and would be cool for a little more info.

Liberty's Edge

OH MY GOD WHO DID THAT COVER ART?


Uninvited Ghost wrote:
I really like the migration map! And the cover, like everyone else.

A migration map? I assume that it shows the routes taken by the various ethnic groups as they spread across Avistan and Garund?

How very Howardian, in all the good ways!


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
OH MY GOD WHO DID THAT COVER ART?

Lucas Graciano

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kajehase wrote:
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
OH MY GOD WHO DID THAT COVER ART?
Lucas Graciano

Yeah, it hits me in all of the right Frazetta-like ways...this is a great thing.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Well I've enjoyed it, but wish the other ethnicitices besides Cheliax had family names.

Does anyone else want to play a Garundi sorceress with the storm bloodline?

Liberty's Edge

I absolutely love the cover art. When my husband pulled the book out, I was having flashbacks of Frazetta's artwork. Fantastic! I was also thrilled to see an unmarked version on the inside back cover. Keep it up!


Liz Courts wrote:
Kajehase wrote:
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
OH MY GOD WHO DID THAT COVER ART?
Lucas Graciano
Yeah, it hits me in all of the right Frazetta-like ways...this is a great thing.

+1

Scarab Sages

Great background information. I found the book a little superficial and missing things.
No human traits but also no weapon table?!? I know some of the weapons are in other books but there are a few new ones.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Masika wrote:


No human traits but also no weapon table?!?

The "Social" chapter is almost 2 full pages of traits, no?

Scarab Sages

My apologies... No human feats.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A few questions about the Magic chapter of the book:

- in the spell description the class are cited are only those of the Core book.
What spells are available to non-core classes?
Burning arec seem a good candidate for a Magus;
Cultural Adaption maybe for the Witch and Inquisitor
Summon Totem Creature for a summoner.

- Ablative Sphere:
while it is an interesting spell it is decidedly unclear.
When the sphere take damage?
From area spells?
Melee and missile attacks?
The attacks should be aimed at the sphere or at the protected guy (and the sphere is damaged when its AC bonus protect the caster)?
If you must aim to the sphere to damage it, what is its AC?

Dark Archive

I was just checking out the burning arc spell, and noticed that it affects a primary target, and 1 additional target / 3 levels, which would affect up to 7 people, at 18th+ level (assuming that there are that many targets available within 15 ft. of the primary target).

The damage is 1d6/level (max 10d6), and is halved (round down) each time it jumps to another target.

So, at 20th level, the primary target would take 10d6, the first secondary target 5d6, the next 2d6 and the next 1d6. That leaves three 'secondary' targets technically available, but since they take 0d6, it's kind of an empty gesture...

Even 12th level, it's already failing to affect it's fourth secondary target.

Has there been any sort of errata on this, or should I just assume that it bottoms out at 1d6 damage to the 4th, 5th and 6th 'secondary targets?'

Having it always round up (instead of round down) would accomplish the same effect, and up the damage on the second and third 'secondary' targets by 1 die as well, which could be handy.


Diego Rossi wrote:

A few questions about the Magic chapter of the book:

- Ablative Sphere:
while it is an interesting spell it is decidedly unclear.
When the sphere take damage?
From area spells?
Melee and missile attacks?
The attacks should be aimed at the sphere or at the protected guy (and the sphere is damaged when its AC bonus protect the caster)?
If you must aim to the sphere to damage it, what is its AC?

I am disappointed in how this spell has not been addressed after so long. I have an NPC (and soon a PC) with this spell and the mechanics are awfully incomplete.

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