Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments

4.80/5 (based on 10 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments
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Known as the City of Monuments for its jaw-dropping skyline of ancient ruins, magnificent towers, and stunning sculptures, Magnimar embodies the spirit of the frontier realm of Varisia more than any other city. But life in the City of Monuments can be an adventure all its own. With strange monsters lurking amid the city’s ancient foundations, bands of thieves battling for control over the city’s alleys, and the decadent attitudes of its oldest families, Magnimar lies at a crossroads. Will it succeed despite the obstacles thrown in its path, or is the City of Monuments doomed to crumble under the pressure of its own runaway success?

Magnimar, City of Monuments provides a detailed guide to one of the most popular cities in the Pathfinder campaign setting, the perfect base between adventures or setting of an entire urban campaign. Inside this book you’ll find:

  • An expansive gazetteer of Magnimar’s nine districts, from the marble-lined streets of the Alabaster District to the blood-drenched alleys of Underbridge.
  • Notes on the plans and plots of dozens of Magnimar’s most famous and infamous movers and shakers, from heads of government to criminal masterminds.
  • Revelations about the city’s deadliest mysteries, insights into the cults that plot amid its shadows, reports on the monsters that hunt beneath its streets, and other secrets.
  • Allies and enemies for all sorts of adventures, including healers and hell-raisers suitable for any type of campaign.
  • Stat blocks for a wide variety of Magnimar’s denizens, whether they be citizens, angelic guardians, or gigantic monsters that haunt the city’s fears and legends.
  • Dozens of connections to adventures set within Varisia, such as the Rise of the Runelords and Shattered Star Adventure Paths.

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

By Adam Daigle and James Jacobs.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-446-7

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

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Best City Guide Ever

5/5

Short Version: This book took Magnimar for me from "oh, that city with the Irespan" to one of my favorite cities in all of fantasy. No kidding. It's really, really good.

Key to that were the monuments. If run correctly, and that won't be hard giving this book, they take the city's history and make those events real and tangible to the players. They also grant some sweet uses for less popular skills and an interesting type of minor boon.

I have two complaints: one almost legitimate and one petty. The almost legitimate one is that the book doesn't provide a good way to find points of interest if you don't know what district they're in. I understand not wanting to eat up page count with an index, but I would have liked one in a perfect world.

The petty complaint is that now I want monuments in all my cities. It seems churlish for Magnimar to have all of the fun.


Amazing artwork, maps, and lots of great ideas

5/5

I think the other reviewers covered most of what I liked about this book. I am really enjoying the amount of material available for Varisia, since I'm planning on doing Rise of the Runelords, Jade Regent, and Shattered Star as kind of a loose 'Varisian' trilogy eventually. Things like this allow me to add in those little details that make a game come alive. I'm already worried about getting lost in Magnimar when I do Rise of the Runelords - there's just a lot of potential for adventure hooks here.

Let me also say that the artwork of the notable NPCs is just amazing, especially the portraits. The cartography looks great as well. If the quality of the campaign settings continues to impress, I'm going to start picking these up every time a new one comes along. If Paizo keeps doing these so well, we could potentially have one of the greatest RPG settings of all time out there with the Inner Sea, Avistan and Golarion. Nice work.


All I expected and more

5/5

I was very much looking forward to this book, hoping that Magnimar would get as excellent a treatment as Korvosa and Kaer Maga, and I was not dissapointed.
From the second AP installment on, one could sense that Magnimar was a unique beast, yet the (good) support article and the entry in the campaign setting did not flesh it out enough to make it more than a nice fantasy city with some unique features, interesting enough, but destined for so much more...

This book is the 'more'. From the brief, yet interesting history of the city, to the distinct look and feel of the districts, to the monuments and their hidden powers to the corruption and the powerful organizations making the city less than the paradise it could have been, this book gives a GM a city to play with and to grip the attention of his/her players.

The presentation is among the best I have seen for setting books from any company. The cartography of the city and its districts is excellent and useful, the inclusion of stat-blocks for the city is great and the art is impressing, with none of the pictures looking like a 'filler'.

The bestiary/antagonist part is good, though if I had the choice between some local critter or NPC and a few additional city locations, I would always chose the latter - but that is a matter of preferrence and as it is the bestiary is a useful supplement and my preferrence certrainly has no bearing on the overall quality of the book.

Not a single real downer in this one. Get it!


A blueprint for how urban sourcebooks should be done.

5/5

City of Monuments continues Paizo's trend of devoting setting books to perhaps the most problematic theme in RPGs: cities. Between the need to paint a vivid picture of the urban environment, the need to provide the players with interesting locales and inhabitants, giving enough space for a DM to frame his/her stories and on the top of that having cartography that works, city books are tough.

Paizo has a notoriously good track record for city books, with likes of Guide to Korvosa and City of Strangers. But I always felt there's something missing. Some books were long on brilliant writing but short on cartography (City of Strangers), others just didn't go deep enough to scratch the itch well enough (Cities of Golarion).

So here comes the Magnimar book, 5 years late (because we first learned of Magnimar back in 2007) and yet just on time (between RotRL anniversary ed. and Shattered Star).

The writing is of usual Paizo Quality: stellar. This is James Jacobs on the top of his game with Adam Daigle as his wingman. Old secrets are revealed (entwined succubi, heh), new questions are introduced, the book gives you everything you would want from an urban sourcebook, from landmarks and taverns to secret societies and dangers. Of note is attention paid to monuments and empyreal patrons, two distinguishing characteristics of Maginmar that got some much-deserved attention.

What blows this book out of the water is the presentation. There are statblocks for districts. Each of those gives you stats, points of interest from several categories (such as Politics or Relaxation). The cartography is ... errr ... where have my pants gone? Oh, I dropped them when seeing the maps here. There's a new cartographer (99 Lives Design) and the maps are outstanding. This is beyond Guide to Korvosa or anything Paizo has done before. One minor snag: no poster map. I believe we're getting one in Shattered Star Map Folio, but still I would love to see one here.

Anyway, we have a new standard for city sourcebooks. Well played, Golem.


Another fine sourcebook

5/5

Disclaimer: I am a freelancer for Paizo, so you could argue I have a biased opinion. If you think that calls for discounting this review, I'm okay with that. On the other hand, I paid cash money for a physical copy of this book, and I've been working with Magnimar as a GM since 2007 (Skinsaw Murders) and long before I was a freelancer. I've read this book cover to cover and more thoroughly than most recent books—so I feel comfortable reviewing it.

Briefly: this really satisfies any itch I have to know about Magnimar and gives me plenty of tools to devise and run adventures, both short and long, in this truly fascinating city.

The majority of the book is broken down into the various districts, each of which are rich with details, plothooks, and NPCs. There is a "Secrets" section in the back similar to Guide to Korvosa, but the district chapters are by no means dry, and also contain a wealth of neat ideas to be mined.

The maps are different than previous books. They're still overhead top down representations, but they're quite clean and crisp (not to imply that the city itself is). When a pointer indicates a noble family's villa, it looks like a villa, the exclusive fenced in club looks like it should—not just one random building in a congested city section. Its laid out with a nice sense of space and proportion. The text compliments the map nicely, and the two authors have spent some time considering why each district is that way it is.. be it for practical reasons or an actual history that is explained. Oh yeah, there is a map for each section of the city. There are location pointers with the tags off of the surface of the map, so you have as much of an unobstructed look at the map as possible while still having specific location pointers.

Few stones have been left uncovered by this book, from the Golemworks, to cults referenced in previous APs and modules, to the Irespan. James Jacobs can be conservative in revealing spoilers on the messageboards, but if you throw down your money on the table, he and Mr. Daigle lift up the hood and let you in on many (if not all) of the secrets of Magnimar. There is a wealth of lore and history here and it all makes easy kindling and fuel for adventures. Some of it intersects with previous products, but in those cases it enriches that content without repeating it. The 'Secrets' chapter can easily spin-off multiple extended adventure arcs for the GM to develop in their home campaigns.

All of the art is top-notch, there is no lame or shoddy illustration in the book. The layout is clean, and the sidebars are check full of interesting highlights.

I guess if I had to make one observation that doesn't try to address any one aspect of the book and just comes right from the gut: the content is meaty and rich (I almost want to say dense). Not because it's a hard or boring read, but if you just flipped through the pages quickly it might not stand out. If you sit down and read it, there's a lot of interesting detail here that you're not going to pull out from just scanning the pages. And it's not boring at all. They pack a lot of value in this book.

I loved the Guide to Korvosa, and while this book doesn't try to copy it 100% I think it is every bit as good if not better. Definitely worth the investment if you love Varisia.


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Paizo Employee Creative Director

Grimbold wrote:

Good book but would definitely benefit from a larger map - at least A3 in size. Could not a hi-res map be made available as a PDF download so that GMs could print at the size they prefer?

The map of Magnimar is a poster map in the Shattered Star map folio that's 8 panels (aka–8 11x8.5 sheets).


James Jacobs wrote:
The map of Magnimar is a poster map in the Shattered Star map folio that's 8 panels (aka–8 11x8.5 sheets).

Thanks for the reply and info. Guess I better get a copy!

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Similar to my thread with a Kaer Maga Index, here is an index for Magnimar City of Monuments

:

ALABASTER DISTRICT
Fort Indros 6
Kaddren Villa (founding family; magic) 7
Niroden Villa (founding family; arts) 7
Alabaster Park 7
Serpent’s Run Arena 7
Vanderale Villa (founding family; merchant’s guild) 8
Scarnetti Villa (nobles; new blood) 8
Mindurian Villa (nobles; stonemasonry) 8
Valdemar Villa (nobles; Midnight Dawn) 8
Versade Villa (nobles; parties) 8
Derexhi Villa (nobles; mercs) 9
Heidmarch Manor (Pathfinder Lodge) 9
House of Lords (noble reps hall) 9

BEACON’S POINT
The Wyrmwatch (lighthouse) 10
The Battle of Charda (monument-Attacks) 11
Outcast fishery (business) 11
Shapmaker’s Guild 12
Harbormaster 12
Jaijarko Castle (slums) 12
Lost Lane (Night Scales guild) 13
Washer’s Row (business, szcarni gang) 13
The Pig (tavern) 13

CAPITAL DISTRICT
The Irespan 14
Golemworks (business) 14
Cenotaph (monument-Fortitude) 15
Founder’s Archive Museum of Ages 16
Indros cul Vyrdrarch (monument-Damage vs aqu) 16
Pediment Building (court) 16
The Hells (prison) 16
User’s Hall (government) 17
Lord Mayor’s Menagerie (park) 17

DOCKWAY
The Old Fang (tavern) 18
Eyes of the Hawk (monument-Damage vs abb) 18
No-Horn (poor tavern) 19
Carent’s Camp (Wreckwash gang) 19
Bazaar of Sails (market) 19
Captain’s Club (great tavern) 20
Shucked Oyster (brothel) 20
Bronze House (Aspis Consortium) 20
Impound Yard (docks) 21
The Fifth Wind (monument-Survival) 21
Outcast’s Cove 21

KEYSTONE
Our Lady of Blessed Waters (monument-divine CL) 23
Deadeye Lodge (temple to Erastil) 23
Dome of the Savored Sting (temple to Calistria) 23
Founder’s Honor (monument-Diplomacy) 23
Stone of Seers (magic school) 24
Church of Pharasma 24
Aquaretum (museum) 24
The Burn (gargoyles gang) 24
Varisian Council (government) 25
Cynosure Tower (temple to Desna) 25

LOWCLEFT
Matador’s Lodge (restaurant rodeo) 26
The Fish Tank (Gallowed gang) 27
Gilded Cage (casino den) 28
The Fancy Reefclaw (brewery) 28
The Courtesan and Unicorn (harrow brothel) 28
The Dreaming Dryad (excellent inn) 29
Mapstone (monument-Will) 29
The Celwynvian Charge (monument-Reflex) 29

NAOS
Osprey Club (nobles club) 30
Cathedral of Abadar 31
Kaijitsu Villa (abandoned) 31
Deverin (nobles; owns Fancy Reefclaw) 32
House of Welcome (excellent brothel) 32
Defiant’s Garden (lord mayor’s home) 32
Arvensoar (watch tower HQ) 32
Temple to Iomedae 32
Founder’s Flame (monument-+1 DC fire) 32
The Guardians (monument-Concentration) 32
Bastion of the Nail (hellknights) 33
Boria’s (wine/poison) 33
Triodea (playhouse) 33

ORDELLIA
Seven’s Sawmill (lumber mill) 35
Red Kestrel Imports (warehouses) 36
Billivin’s Benevolent Balms and Effulgent Elixirs 36
Embassy Building 36
Rose and Rake (theatre) 37
Mistress of Angels (monument-Initiative) 37
Pug’s Contraptions (clockworks) 37

UNDERBRIDGE
The Gull (Creepers gang) 38
Friendly Merchant (poor tavern) 39
The Rat (Doolun’s gang) 39
Swift Dolphin Warehouse (Midnight Dawn) 39
The Harpy (sculptor) 40
The Shadow Clock (tower) 40
The Gecko (haunted) 41
Shrine of Sarenrae 41

again with notes to jog my GM brain thus the spoiler tag. Enjoy!


I don't like this book organization.

It is kinda of confusing... Its chapters are the city's destricted and I need to read the whole book to get myself used to the city.

I really prefer the format you guys used in the Korvosa's book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So sad it's unavailable in print. Mine is falling apart from heavy use... should've picked up the PDF first. Still a great read!

Ruyan.


The "Print Edition" is showing a price even though it still shows out-of-print. I have the .PDF, but I so love having print copy.

Is there a chance for a second printing edition?

Webstore Gninja Minion

Romaq wrote:
Is there a chance for a second printing edition?

We don't typically reprint material outside of our Pathfinder RPG line—this is not likely to be reprinted.


Thank you. :)


Well shoot, I was hoping for prices on dwellings such as manors, villas, and even possibly setting up businesses and the taxes that would entail. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any of that info in this book. Am I missing something or is it just not included?

Liz Courts wrote:
Romaq wrote:
Is there a chance for a second printing edition?
We don't typically reprint material outside of our Pathfinder RPG line—this is not likely to be reprinted.

Wait, isn't this part of the Pathfinder line of Paizo's products? Or are you talking about the Core Products only (which can be used for campaigns not set in Golarion)?


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

The RPG line are the books with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game logo on their front covers, found here. They are considered evergreen products, which need to stay in print. Paizo also makes Campaign Setting and Player Companion lines, which have their own logos and are more tightly tied to Golarion. When a book on a particular topic is out of print, Paizo is more likely to release a new book on the subject than reprint an old one. Magnimar, City of Monuments is in the Campaign Setting line.

For the information you're looking for, have you looked at the downtime rules in Ultimate Campaign? They're not Magnimar-specific, but they give gp and labor costs for buildings and businesses. (Another perk of the RPG line is that their content is available free in the PRD.)

Grand Lodge

I know I'm super late to the party, but I can't wait to meet this "CE male Chelaxian rouge 4/wizard 3/arcane trickster 4". All kidding aside, I've never been much for the lore (I always flip through books to see what mechanical benefits they offer my characters) but I'm loving this book.


We need a french translation :/


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Please make reprint of this book,, its sou much, Im asking for ?

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