Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms (PFRPG)
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The shattered remains of dead civilizations lie dormant throughout the Inner Sea. Whether such ruins are entombed under tons of rubble, sunk beneath white-capped oceans, or warped into blasted wastelands by otherworldly energies, the perils of these obliterated empires are equaled only by the unfathomable treasures locked within their crumbling temples, crypts, and citadels.

Lost Kingdoms provides a detailed overview of six of Golarion’s most famous and mysterious ancient nations, fallen empires that promise intrepid adventurers the opportunity to claim untold riches, explore fantastical realms of antiquity, and unravel mysteries thought long lost to the sands of time.

    Ancient kingdoms explored in this 64-page book include:
  • Ancient Osirion, the pharaonic empire whose rulers constructed treasure-laden crypts, pyramids, and temples dedicated to their own honor.
  • Ghol-Gan, where cyclopes raised ziggurats to otherworldly deities, but whose works now serve as half-flooded temple-lairs for alien horrors.
  • The Jistka Imperium, the first true civilization to rise after the apocalypse of Earthfall, famed for its golem-crafting artificers and expansionist magistrates.
  • Lirgen and Yamasa, whose astrological divinations and ancestral spirits led their cultures to prosperity, but failed to warn them of the coming of the great hurricane destined to destroy their lands.
  • Sarkoris, where barbarian warlords and druids now raise spears against the demon-spawning rift in the center of their ancestral lands.
  • Thassilon, a divided empire ruled by the runelords, vile wizards whose sin magic enslaved entire tribes of giants and shackled them to building monuments to their glory.

Lost Kingdoms is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game setting.

By Wolfgang Baur, Adam Daigle, Jeff Erwin, and F. Wesley Schneider.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-415-3

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

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Enough Lore to Launch a Thousand Adventure Hooks

4/5

Golarion is often known as a "kitchen sink" setting, with areas (if not whole countries) effectively devoted to specific themes or genres. I remember, years ago, being turned off by the notion, thinking that it sounded very generic. But the more I've read about Golarion over the past few years, the more I've come to appreciate how much depth underlies the setting. Lost Kingdoms is a perfect example. The book, a 64-page entry in the Campaign Setting Line, provides an overview of six different ancient nations whose legacies continue to influence the "present." Adventurers always need mysterious ruins, long-buried threats, and fantastical ancient treasures to encounter, and this book does a great job grounding the "present" of Golarion into its "past."

To get the formalities out of the way, the inside front cover shows the geographical extent of each of the ancient lands overlaid on a map of the Inner Sea. The inside back cover reproduces the front cover sans text. There is a two-page introduction that gives a one-paragraph nod towards some of the other "lost kingdoms" not covered in the book (notably, Azlant and Shory), as well as a timeline to help organize some of the major dates mentioned later in the book.

Now to the heart of the book. Each of the ten-page-long country entries is divided into sections: how the area was historically, how it is today, its denizens and dangers (past and present), and the treasures and rewards that await exploration. Each entry also includes a map of the ancient realm, general descriptions of some adventuring sites, at least one new monster or NPC, and a much longer, two-page description of a major locale. The artwork throughout is impressive (in particular, look at the picture of Areelu Vorlesh on page 46--it just doesn't get any better!). Six ancient empires are covered: the Abendego Gulf, Ancient Osirion, Ghol-Gan, the Jistka Imperium, Sarkoris, and Thassilon.

The Abendego Gulf is one of those topics I never really thought about: what existed before the massive, permanent, and cataclysmic storm known as the Eye of Abendego formed? The answer is a nation called Lirgen, whose leaders and populace were devoted to astrology and fortune-telling, and its breakway region, Yamasa, whose residents had to eek out a much more practical life in a swampy land. There's a thematic irony that the Eye formed when Aroden died and prophecy failed, meaning that an entire nation of fortune-tellers couldn't predict the destruction of their own nation! Today, the region is littered with sunken cities in which great treasures can still be found (as 90% of the inhabitants of Lirgen and Yamasa died when the Eye of Abendego formed), but it's a dangerous land filled with small bands of ruthless scavengers. The chapter introduces a thematically appropriate spell (Embrace Destiny) and details a flavourful adventure setting called the Dim Gate (an ancient observatory that, perhaps, can create a portal to Eox!).

The entry on Ancient Osirion covers the Egyptian-themed country's long, long history. Fortunately, it's an interesting history, though I wonder if another "lost kingdom" should have been covered instead, since Osirion is already the subject of a Campaign Setting book (Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs). On the other hand, a *lot* of modules and adventures are set in the region, as it's hard to resist the lure of recently-uncovered pyramids and the like. A few things that stood out for me in this entry was the Ubashki Swarm (a swarm of undead cats!), a drug called mumia (made from . . . you guessed it), and an NPC patron who often sends adventurers out on digs and explorations (except he's secretly a ghoul!).

Ghol-Gan is one of the lesser known lost kingdoms: an empire ruled by cyclops! It has a classic rise and fall (into degeneration) arc, but it frankly doesn't sound that interesting for exploration. It needs a cooler hook to set it apart from other, more flavourful areas. And although I've already mentioned how good the artwork is, the portrait of a new monster in this section (a one-eyed sort of organgutan called a Ngoga) is a bit too much on the silly-side.

The Jistka Imperium, on the other hand, has a fascinating history full of founding myths (complete with scriptures), marvels of golem-building artifice, clashes with Ancient Osirion, and the terrors of unstoppable plagues. Although largely invisible and forgotten to those living in Golarion today, there are some really great possibilities for adventure here. Need I mention they once built a golem so large it carried a castle on its back?

I already knew a bit about Sarkoris from the Worldwound Campaign Setting book. In essence, Sarkoris was what existed before reality was torn asunder to let the demons of the abyss pour into the area, rendering it a nightmarish hellscape. Sarkoris is described as being the birthplace of the kellid peoples (before they spread elsewhere) and as having hundreds of faiths, cults, spirits, and village idols (a really different approach to "religion" that I wish appeared more in fantasy literature). The section describes a surprising site: a small town named Gundrun that has somehow been reborn in the Worldwound and is populated by descendants of Sarkoris who dream that someday the nation might rise again.

Last up is the area I have a special affection for since I've devoted the last couple years' worth of Sunday nights to running Rise of the Runelords: Thassilon. It's great to see the whole thing laid out in such a clear overview and to see the forest for the trees. So much fantastic lore (and cool monuments) are presented in this section. A new monster, an "Inverted Giant", has the most awesomely perverse backstory, and I really liked the extended description of an monument called the Emerald Chambers (999 rooms of death, and 1 of untold wealth!).

Of the six entries, I would say the ones on the Abendego Gulf, the Jistka Imperium, and Thassilon are the most interesting and important. Ancient Osirion and Sarkoris already have some historical coverage in other sourcebooks, and the Ghol-Gan empire just wasn't particularly interesting. On the whole, however, Lost Kingdoms is a really solid book that has moments of brilliance and enough lore to add depth to countless adventure hooks and stories. It's definitely worth purchasing.


Review got erased by taking too long AGAIN

4/5

So since I had already forgotten stuff when I wrote this article first time, I'll have to do shorter version now that I have to write it again due to it disappearing to "No back ups :D" space.

Abendago Gulf: I felt like this info might as well have been in Sodden Lands Campaign Setting Book and that article's space should have been reserved for something like Shory mentioned earlier. Lirgen's culture was interesting sure and helps me flavor stuff in Seers of the Drowned City, but its not really interesting for adventuring purposes because 1) Lirgen's lost culture is still known and remembered unlike actual ancient empires' cultures 2) fortune telling doesn't work anymore nowadays 3) article doesn't really present any interesting threats of bbegs, most of foes mentioned are just bandits or monstrous humanoid tribes 4) most interesting thing about sodden lands is eye of abendago and that isn't really mentioned at all since its not directly related to the culture 5) Yamasa is basically mentioned as after thought as "Its swamp land, was about rice fields and nowadays inhabited by cults". If I went by article alone, I'd guess Abendago Gulf is if I want to make underwater city exploration adventure. Sure I know from other sources that its one of primary places to find Night Heralds in, but this article doesn't really do good job of presenting it as interesting location for campaign.

Dim Gate part of article was the best part about it though, lich being instructed by mysterious entity to build a gate sure is intriguing.

Ancient Osirion: I spent paragraph wondering about cover mummy's comic book cover pose spine, apparently use of enlarge person and questioned what is up with fantasy artists and mummies having mammaries.

Besides that, I liked that article managed to present Ancient Osirion background as mysterious(with Nethys and stuff) without mentioned ancient astronauts stuff at all, I noted that Ancient Osirion is already easy to like due to Ancient Egypt irl giving images to what adventuring there is like and that I liked present day stuff info too and mummia drug was interesting.

Ghol-Gan: Wondered how Amiri fighting raptor is related to ancient cyclops empire, noted that I found empires' fall kinda lazy(serpentfolk's brutal culture just happened to spread through cyclops' mighty empire so fast their relationship with Azlant just eroded to hostilities? Why would cyclops adopt their culture? Because giants are just inherently more evil than humans? Seriously, I don't get the reasoning), and noted that Ghol-Gan makes much more interesting underwater ruin exploration adventures than Lirgen's ruins. Also its cool to get details about ancient non human civilization in otherwise human dominated world.

Jistka Imperium: I liked setting enough to almost wish for spinoff setting featuring past of Golarion. Also sad it isn't mentioned more often, I got image from PFS that they were fiend worshippers, but article made it more clear they were just pragmatic and used fiends to power up their golems near end of their empire's existence. Pity that Osirion destroyed most of their ruins, but I'm sure there are enough of Jistka ruins that Paizo could feature them in one module at least pretty please? :D

Sarkoris: Noted that it shares same "not ancient empire, just kingdom lost hundred years ago" thing with Lirgen, but that I found it much more interesting locale than Lirgen. Whats with druidic main faith and lots of small pantheons. I basically wish I could have adventures in pre worldwound Sarkoris.

Thassilon: I like Thassilon already so not much to say there. I noted though that I thought History of Thassilon part contradicted other source materials a little bit and would have liked that part more if it was presented through in universe lens that might include element of it being incomplete and such. Also Inverted Giant is my favourite monster in the book.


Wonderfully evocative

4/5

I came into this book with very few expectations. All I knew was the list of authors and that somewhere within this tome there were golems. That's all I needed, really, as I've been a huge fan of the artificer character archetype for a long time and have held a special fascination for golems.

And golems there were. After reading the section on the Jistka Imperium, my mind was full of wonderfully evocative character, monster, and encounter ideas. Reforging the golem controlling rod to control a massive beast, entire towns on the backs of roaming monsters...And thankfully, this would be a theme oft repeated in this book. The chapters were wonderful for inspiring campaigns, archetypes, and character concepts.

After reading about the Jistka Imperium, I dove into the Sodden Lands to learn about Lirgen and Yamasa. Lirgen in particular was highly interesting. Any nation whose entire deal was the use of astrology and prophecy to tell the future, directly before the death of Aroden, is bound to be fascinating just for the mysteries it raises. And mysteries it raises in spades. Why couldn't they fortell this? What exactly is that otherworldly thing that saved the last 'surviving' astrologer, now holed up in her own observatory fortress? I never thought I'd want to play a character based on astrology, but after reading this chapter I immediately had to make one.

The bloodied past of Ancient Osirion is laid out for us as well. Again, I wasn't expecting Egypt, The Fantasy Land to catch my attention as much as it did. But there were many great sections here as well. The revelation of everyone's favorite drug of choice was both revolting and intriguing at the same time. One almost hopes that there were alchemist discoveries associated with this article, if only to see the twisted things that alchemists could do with a little ground up mummy.

For now, I definitely think the book is worth the price. I honestly did not expect to see so many evocative ideas in here, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. I'll give it 4 stars for now, as I haven't fully read the book. But this review will hopefully be a place holder for a more in-depth review at a later date. And if such an event occurs, I'll be sure to revise the score if necessary.


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Paizo Employee Developer

Steve Geddes wrote:
Who drew Areelu Vorlesh on page 46? Is that signature db - Dmitry Burmak?

That one is LP: Lucio Parrillo.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Patrick Renie wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Who drew Areelu Vorlesh on page 46? Is that signature db - Dmitry Burmak?
That one is LP: Lucio Parrillo.

Ah, thanks.


This comes just in time for my Darklight sisterhood game. Thank you.

Scarab Sages

Albus wrote:

Any mor information on the 7 new monsters?

And how´s the fluff? Especially about Jistka, Lirgen, Yamasa and Ghol-Gan?

Thank´s in advance!

Without going into too much detail (ok, because I still don't have time to really read the book) the 6 (i miscounted somehow) new monsters are

Spoiler:

a CR2 undead cat swarm (Osirion)
a CR6 undead big cat (lynx - Osirion),
a CR7 magical half-cyclops half orang utan (Ghol-Gan)
a CR17 golem Warmashine (Jistka)
a CR5 abyssal swarm (Sarkoris)
a CR11 exGiant right out of a montpassantian nightmare (Tassilon)

For reasons stated I must presume someone else will be able to talk about the fluff sooner than I will.

Dark Archive Contributor

The portions of this book I've read are brilliant. The Sarkoris chapter makes the Worldwound 10x more interesting. Kellids are my new favorite people.

The Exchange Kobold Press

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am thoroughly chuffed to be responsible for the Montpassantian nightmare. The creature was a throwaway reference in AP1, and I jumped at the chance to expand them fully here.

Scarab Sages

Wolfgang Baur wrote:

I am thoroughly chuffed to be responsible for the Montpassantian nightmare. The creature was a throwaway reference in AP1, and I jumped at the chance to expand them fully here.

And you did a wonderful job, sir. That creature and the Behemoth Golem were actually the parts of the book I instantly read while flipping through the pdf- and I am not usually a sucker for new monsters.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I am thoroughly chuffed to be responsible for the Montpassantian nightmare. The creature was a throwaway reference in AP1, and I jumped at the chance to expand them fully here.

Question about said (very cool) nightmare: the stat block seems to imply that it was created from a rune giant (I say this because of the runes special ability), but the associated flavor text seems to imply that any giant might end up as one of these horrors.

Is the concept that the ritual would inscribe runes onto any creature the runelords cursed in this way, or would other types of giants have different secondary abilities/side effects at the discretion of the GM?

Also, the size confuses me; I'd expect a Gargantuan creature, not Huge.

Sovereign Court Contributor

feytharn wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

I am thoroughly chuffed to be responsible for the Montpassantian nightmare. The creature was a throwaway reference in AP1, and I jumped at the chance to expand them fully here.

And you did a wonderful job, sir. That creature and the Behemoth Golem were actually the parts of the book I instantly read while flipping through the pdf- and I am not usually a sucker for new monsters.

Behemoth Golem = me.

The Ubashki, however, came from one of my nightmares.

Scarab Sages

Jeff Erwin wrote:
feytharn wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

I am thoroughly chuffed to be responsible for the Montpassantian nightmare. The creature was a throwaway reference in AP1, and I jumped at the chance to expand them fully here.

And you did a wonderful job, sir. That creature and the Behemoth Golem were actually the parts of the book I instantly read while flipping through the pdf- and I am not usually a sucker for new monsters.

Behemoth Golem = me.

The Ubashki, however, came from one of my nightmares.

Same to you than: Wonderful job. I am truly looking forward to the time I will spend reading through the whole book (sadly that might not be before my hardcopy arrives. ATM I have to cope with my spare glasses which make reading on screen a painful experience)


I'll be getting this book next month, as I've joined it with my RotR Anniversary Ed. shipment. I am curious, however . . . do we get anything more about the Rune Magic of Thassilon?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Overall a good book, but I was surprised by the chapter on Ancient Osirion - namely, its total lack of info on matters such as the Aucturn Enigman, the Dominion of the Black, the Last Theorem, and the "countdown clocks," all of which were featured in numerous prior products (The Pact Stone Pyramid, Entombed With the Pharaohs, Lost Cities of Golarion, et al). Dang.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sub-Creator wrote:
I am curious, however . . . do we get anything more about the Rune Magic of Thassilon?

Nope. There's plenty of info on the nations themselves, and some hints of legendary Thassilonian treasure, but nothing about Rune Magic.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Generic Villain wrote:
Overall a good book, but I was surprised by the chapter on Ancient Osirion - namely, its total lack of info on matters such as the Aucturn Enigman, the Dominion of the Black, the Last Theorem, and the "countdown clocks," all of which were featured in numerous prior products (The Pact Stone Pyramid, Entombed With the Pharaohs, Lost Cities of Golarion, et al). Dang.

Well, I did touch on those in my turnovers. However, a fair amount got cut, so perhaps Paizo has plans for these subjects they weren't ready to reveal as yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jeff Erwin wrote:
. However, a fair amount got cut, so perhaps Paizo has plans for these subjects they weren't ready to reveal as yet.

I so very hope they do.


I'm a bit surprised on the lack of reviews.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

I think you just volunteered to write one. That's what I heard, anyway. :D

Webstore Gninja Minion

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I think you just volunteered to write one. That's what I heard, anyway. :D

Yep, that's what I heard too!


To review it, I would need to acquire it. To acquire it, I would need to read the reviews. Quite the conundrum, isn't it!

Sovereign Court Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I think you just volunteered to write one. That's what I heard, anyway. :D
Yep, that's what I heard too!

Agreed. In the fine tradition of Paizo board volunteerism.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I failed my save to resist peer pressure.

Webstore Gninja Minion

It's okay, it means you'll get a +2 morale bonus to Craft (review).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If I had known the bonus for actually having the book was so small, I would've just reviewed it without acquiring it! :)

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Morale? I meant untyped bonus. >.>


....don't make a promise you can't keep. Even if it's late and not 100% done...


Rereading this a bit while work is slow...

The ubashki are still extremely creepy.


And Lirgen's proximity to the Ghol-Gan empire is certainly interesting, especially given the links cyclopses generally have to prophecy...

Sovereign Court Contributor

Cheapy wrote:

Rereading this a bit while work is slow...

The ubashki are still extremely creepy.

Excellent!

Dark Archive

Blergh, my first review of this got lost again to "Wrote too long" space...

Anyway, I'm curious at if you guys were also interested by Jistka Empire and Ghol-Gan as presented by the book. Those two ancient empires don't get featured much often, which is pity since they are pretty great.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hint: if you plan on writing anything long on the Internet, and that applies not just to Paizo forums, write it first offline and/or use a text recover browser plugin like Lazarus.

Dark Archive

And it's SOLD OUT! ;-)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:
And it's SOLD OUT! ;-)

I think it was my four-star review from August that caused a run on supply ;)

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