Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 9 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North (PFRPG)
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Far beyond the reach of the soft southlander lords lie the frozen forests and icy tundra of the Inner Sea region’s northernmost nations. Here dragon-headed longships ply the arctic seas, nomadic tribes hunt and ride mighty mammoths, and the descendents of the Witch Queen Baba Yaga rule a nation where spring has been forgotten. Whether they’re hardened natives or arctic adventurers, everyone in the northern lands walks a fine line between finding wealth and glory and filling a shallow grave in the bloody snow.

People of the North presents a player-focused, in-depth discussion of the northern nations of the Inner Sea region. Each Pathfinder Player Companion includes new options and tools for every Pathfinder RPG player. Inside this book, you’ll find:

  • Thorough explorations of the different races and cultures that call the frozen north home, from notorious Ulfen raiders to secretive Snowcaster elves to barbaric Kellids.
  • Overviews of the three major nations of the North—the viking Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the savage Realms of the Mammoth Lords, and the evil queenship of Irrisen.
  • New traits and roles to customize characters of every northern ethnicity and nationality.
  • New feats and archetypes for northern warriors, such as the viking and the witchbreaker, plus new icy spells and the winter oracle mystery.
  • Cold-weather adventuring gear and magic items, advice on northern fighting styles, campaign traits, cultural sayings, and much more!

By Matthew Goodall, Shaun Hocking, Rob McCreary, Philip Minchin, and William Thrasher

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Each monthly 32-page Pathfinder Player Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for all types of characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-475-7

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

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****( ) (based on 9 ratings)

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Great player primer for Irrisen campaigns

****( )

As a note, I don't care about roles, archetypes, extra spells, etc. There's plenty of that available in the Core, Advanced, and Ultimate books without my chasing down supplements.

What I care about is understanding the story and setting of Golarion for my PFS campaigns. People of the North does that sufficiently, with a little extra combat material for those people who prefer new weapons instead of story lines. There's a decent quantity of details about the Ulfen, Jadwiga, Irrisen, and the general Frozen North setting - the great thing is that I can just let me players browse the book while we are playing to get a kenning for the North.

I'd actually go the opposite direction than some reviewers, and say more details (daily life, customs, epithets, religion, all that good Guidebook jazz), not more magical harpoons.


The worst player companion I own

**( )( )( )

I'm normally not in a habit of rating products. I'm happy with most of the stuff I get from Paizo (except the math on statblocks sometimes), but I was very dissatisfied with this product.

Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North should have been titled Pathfinder Player Companion: Mostly We Just Stuffed This Full of Roles.

For those who don't know what Roles are, they're basically like pseudo-code for PC construction, offering ideas for building a character concept from existing races, classes, feats, traits, spells, whatever-else from existing products. They present a concept and abilities that concept might have, using already published material. But they're not new material, they're lists of combinations of old material, things better left for website blogs or forum posters rather than published in print product.

People of the North is FULL of roles. It's a 32 page book. Of those 32 pages, six pages are primarily populated by roles, and two more account for as much role text combined as one of those six. Now they do have other things on them, because each role, on average (at an estimate), takes up a little less than 3/5 of a column of text on a page, but they're filler. They're just character build suggestions.

All that having been said, I still gave it 2 stars because it does contain some new content that I actually liked, particularly the actual write-ups on the northern peoples and their cultures. I would have liked more NEW content between its covers. There is some new stuff, including a fighter archetype called the viking that gains barbarian rage at a higher level and can trade some fighter feats for rage powers. What content is new I like. I just feel there should be more new and less re-hash. The artwork is very nice, and is representative of the flavor of the regions presented, I think.

I purchased 4 sequentially published player companions very recently: People of the North, Animal Archive, Dungeoneer's Handbook, and Champions of Purity. People of the North being the oldest of the titles I purchased. I'm happy to say that the following three books lacked completely in Roles, so hopefully they're a dying trend.


Huge disappointment.


Paizo Publishing has unfortunately given us another "Blood of the Night" with this manual. A good way to describe this book is a small amount of "fluff" and not even CLOSE TO ENOUGH "Crunch". The amount of info contained in this manual makes is barely worth the price you'll have to pay for purchasing it (if it's worth it at all). I really REALLY hate to say it but Wizards of the Coast did a MUCH BETTER job with Frostburn and this manual doesn't even BEGIN to measure up to that. The amount of "icy spells" a spellcaster can use can be counted on one hand as can each of the other categories the crunch falls into (aka weapons, armor, gear, etc etc). The fluff makes this BARELY WORTH WHILE yet we don't even get enough of that. All in all, if your obsessed with Paizo's products, go ahead and purchase this. Otherwise, just borrow a friend's copy. I'm so let down and disappointed by the utter and complete LACK OF EFFORT on part of the developers of this particular manual that I'm not even gonna give it a star rating (partially because I think it doesn't even measure up to 1-star).


Ice Cream Soldiers

****( )

A very well put together book for the Pathfinder line. The book contains a lot of information for how to play in the ice box regions of Golarion as well as a nice blurb preparing folks for the Reign of Winter AP. A little too humanocentric for my tastes but I get these things as a toolbox rather than something to run RAW.

The book is more or less divided into two sections the first being race options and the second being character options. The part about races up north is not worth mentioning as far as I'm concerned as it retread more or less the same ground that Pathfinder and D&D in general has gone over again and again. Frankly I'm tired of the standard races and as GM I try to avoid such things so that was a wash for me.

The equipment section and the overview of different areas of the region complete with regional traits was much more useful to me at least and I found it quite fun and somewhat informative. I do like the new Oracle mystery as well as it gives me something to focus some NPCs and an option to present to PCs for this sort of campaign. The two archetypes are alright although I can see ways of tailoring that ranger archetype for special named NPCs that I might want to create as well expand a few things on it when I use the setting as fiction inspiration.

The few pages we got to prepare us for Reign of Winter was very much appreciated by me at least as I have every intention of adapting and running that AP. This alone make the book a reason to have my players pick it up as a partial primer for the AP and while I know I will not run RoW RAW it will prepare them for what I am planning. Overall this is quite a nice book to pick up and I do recommend it to anyone interested in this sort of campaign.


One of the best

*****

Read my full review on my blog.

When Varisia, Birthplace of Legends came out, it set a new bar for quality in the Player Companion line. While the Player Companions that have come out since have been good, they haven’t quite reached that bar again—until now. People of the North once again shows just how good and useful the Companions can be. This book provides everything a player needs to design a character for a campaign set in the far north of the continent of Avistan, particularly in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Irrisen, or the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. The book also provides some details for characters from the Crown of the World, including the Erutaki and the Snowcaster Elves.


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Announced! Image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

No Shoanti? well... That saddens me, but at least there are Kellid and Ulfen for me to use in Epic longboat battles fought at Ramming Speed!

Dark Archive

Hmm interesting title, so is this the first of a series of books? :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

anything with the Linnorn Kings count me in


Stratagemini wrote:
No Shoanti? well... That saddens me, but at least there are Kellid and Ulfen for me to use in Epic longboat battles fought at Ramming Speed!

I'd be willing to bet the Shoanti get some coverage in the upcoming Varisia Player Companion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Sounds interesting but it is definitly a different way of presenting character options. So this one is going to be terrain based as opposed to race based then.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a Stark departure from most of what I've seen on the Companion line.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hm...elves...and I see what you did there, Mr. Laschoni...

I approve of the northern races. They have an interesting culture I'd like to get to know a bit more. I'm certainly interested.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmmm. Perhaps a hint of the AP following Shattered Star? It'd probably come out later in the year if that were the case, but still...

The Exchange

Damnit more money I don't have.

Silver Crusade

Laschoni wrote:
This is a Stark departure from most of what I've seen on the Companion line.

haHA!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Generic Villain wrote:
Hmmm. Perhaps a hint of the AP following Shattered Star?

That's what I was thinking as well.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Freaking sweet
as I love cold environments.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
MerrikCale wrote:
anything with the Linnorn Kings count me in

agreed


Ooh, I'll be looking forward to this. Yay for more Viking fun in the Frozen North.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Yay for more Irrisen and Linnorm King player information. That is a simmering hotbed of a border after all.

Yay!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was waiting for Jim's reaction to this announcement. It was considerably more tame than I expected!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Ooh, I'll be looking forward to this. Yay for more Viking fun in the Frozen North.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Loves it! Barbarians galore!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Geordies and Mackems! Oh my!


JOYGASM !!!!!!

Liberty's Edge

So if this follows. _____ of Golarion, Faiths of ____, and Blood of ____. There should be a Companion companion or two, will it be so blunt as People of the South?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Laschoni wrote:
So if this follows. _____ of Golarion, Faiths of ____, and Blood of ____. There should be a Companion companion or two, will it be so blunt as People of the South?

As written, this volume isn't covering all of the north - otherwise it would have to also detail nations like Brevoy, Numeria, Mednev, the World Wound, etc. This one seems to be lumping together the countries wherein being "in the north" is a core part of their identity - Numeria or Mendev could just as easily be found in Garund, for example, but you couldn't stick Irrisen or the Land of the Linnorm Kings down there without drastically altering their character.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

This is about nations where Men are MEN! women are MEN! and MEN! are VIKINGS! Men of the North! The Northmen! or, if you wish, Norsemen.

Even longboats are MEN! in this book! I assume.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Stratagemini wrote:

This is about nations where Men are MEN! women are MEN! and MEN! are VIKINGS! Men of the North! The Northmen! or, if you wish, Norsemen.

Even longboats are MEN! in this book! I assume.

What about small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

We be dragons! Or possibly linnorms.


We Be Pugwampis!

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Winter is coming.

Contributor

Stratagemini wrote:
No Shoanti? well... That saddens me, but at least there are Kellid and Ulfen for me to use in Epic longboat battles fought at Ramming Speed!

You'll get all the love you could want for Shoanti in the book about their home country: Varisia.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Hmm interesting title, so is this the first of a series of books? :)

Maybe. We'll see if it takes. Flexibility is one of the new names of the game with this line, so don't expect "People of the South/Darklands/Planes/Moon/Basement/Etc." But if it plays well and folks like what they see... well, we're all about giving people what they like.

Contributor

Generic Villain wrote:
As written, this volume isn't covering all of the north - otherwise it would have to also detail nations like Brevoy, Numeria, Mednev, the World Wound, etc. This one seems to be lumping together the countries wherein being "in the north" is a core part of their identity - Numeria or Mendev could just as easily be found in Garund, for example, but you couldn't stick Irrisen or the Land of the Linnorm Kings down there without drastically altering their character.

True story. All that, any "People of the Northwest" lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:
As written, this volume isn't covering all of the north - otherwise it would have to also detail nations like Brevoy, Numeria, Mednev, the World Wound, etc. This one seems to be lumping together the countries wherein being "in the north" is a core part of their identity - Numeria or Mendev could just as easily be found in Garund, for example, but you couldn't stick Irrisen or the Land of the Linnorm Kings down there without drastically altering their character.
True story. All that, any "People of the Northwest" lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.

Not to mention the amount of backlash you'd get if it didn't have a barrista/programmer prestige class.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

"Hipsters of Golarion"


1 person marked this as a favorite.
uriel222 wrote:
"Hipsters of Golarion"

You have to explain that one.

I'd rather see a "People of the Northeast". Mendev, Brevoy, Numeria, and the Worldwound are more interesting to me than vikings (although I'm mildly curious about Irrisen and the Snow Elves). I hope there are plans for such a book.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
Fabius Maximus wrote:
uriel222 wrote:
"Hipsters of Golarion"

You have to explain that one.

I'd rather see a "People of the Northeast". Mendev, Brevoy, Numeria, and the Worldwound are more interesting to me than vikings (although I'm mildly curious about Irrisen and the Snow Elves). I hope there are plans for such a book.

It's a Joke about the pacific Northwest of America. Specifically the Seattle Area.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

uriel222 wrote:
"Hipsters of Golarion"

That would be the stilyagi!

Imagine the Iron Guard shaking their fists. "Damn kids and your frothy coffee!"

Seriously, I'm saying it as a joke, but that's how I see them. Flaunting the system and authority, and making one big joke out of the LAW. Based on their priveledged birth.

All joking aside, I'd like to see some trait and player support for lesser jadwiga and stilyagi. Actually being a player in Irrisen should be pretty challenging (but not impossible). Those options would allow a player start without being on the bottom of the food chain.

And stilyagi screams player to me.

Gosh, Jonathan Keith wrote some awesome stuff in Cities of Golarion. I loved the Whitethrone chapter.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Despite my Linnorm lands bias I'm forced to agree - made me want to build a paper-model of The Crooked House (then I remembered I suck at doing artsy stuff). And the Ten Ways to Appease an Ice Troll is pure genius!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
Fabius Maximus wrote:
uriel222 wrote:
"Hipsters of Golarion"
You have to explain that one.

For an in-depth explanation (with cute robots and neurotic but cute womenfolk), read this.

...it's only over 2000 strips...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Kajehase wrote:
And the Ten Ways to Appease an Ice Troll is pure genius!

Yeah, heavily influenced the Frostfur Captives. :)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So who is working on this book?

I loved Frostburn and I am hoping this is as good or better.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber
Azure_Zero wrote:
So who is working on this book?

Top people.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Speaking as a fan and a customer, I'd nominate Jonathan Keith if he is available and/or has the free time. As I said, I liked his stuff before.

Heh. Top People!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I think you mean "Top Men"


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Nah. I'm an equal opportunities kind of guy.

Contributor

Kajehase wrote:
Nah. I'm an equal opportunities kind of guy.

We get ourselves into a lot of trouble trying to satisfy our own OCD or internally manufactured parity. You can see in my response to Dark Mistress above that if this book performs well we'll totally consider doing another like it, but I have no intention of "People of X" becoming a series before I see that it's worthy of it. This book is also covering a lot of ground and has varied masters to serve, and it's unlikely in the near future that we'll have a reason to take a similar view of say... the people of the Southeast with details on Taldor, Andoran, Qadira, etc, or the people of the farther Southeast with Osirion and Jalmeray. That's not because I wouldn't love to or because such books wouldn't be awesome, but we've got literally dozens of totally awesome ideas for this line and I think it'd be a shame to straightjacket ideas we're more excited about and that potentially serve our product strategies better just because the compass rose has other directions.

So not saying we won't do more like this, not saying we don't want to do more like this, but we're keeping the Player Companion line flexible so we can try lots of different things and find out what folks really get excited about. So expect a lot of variety in this line, especially in the coming year. But if it turns out that readers want "People of the ____" to be a subseries more than anything, I'm sure this guy's sales will prove that out and we'd be fools to ignore it. Because we're definitely watching.

Contributor

Azure_Zero wrote:

So who is working on this book?

I loved Frostburn and I am hoping this is as good or better.

Did someone make that "Top Men" joke already? Dang.

Just for a bit of perspective, Frostburn was a how many hundred page book with tons of prestige classes, monsters, and other crazy environmental stuff? This is a 32-page guy with a lot of cultures and ground to cover. There's going to be tons of cool stuff in here, but just remember a larger container can hold more than a smaller container. In other words, Zoobooks not Encyclopedia Britannica, surgical not comprehensive.


Stratagemini wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
uriel222 wrote:
"Hipsters of Golarion"

You have to explain that one.

I'd rather see a "People of the Northeast". Mendev, Brevoy, Numeria, and the Worldwound are more interesting to me than vikings (although I'm mildly curious about Irrisen and the Snow Elves). I hope there are plans for such a book.

It's a Joke about the pacific Northwest of America. Specifically the Seattle Area.

Ah. I thought they were a problem in all urban areas.

Dark Archive

8 people marked this as a favorite.

One thing I am really hoping is in this book. Well things I should say. I would like to see culture aspects to help bring them to life. Common forms of dress, any forms of address for nobles etc that is common to them(like in Russia you had a Czar instead of a king), common types of foods(since most cultures develop their own types of foods) just anything to help make that ethnic group/s come to life and stand apart. So when PC's go there it feels different and not just cause the people have funny names and or look a little different.

Liberty's Edge

Dark_Mistress wrote:
One thing I am really hoping is in this book. Well things I should say. I would like to see culture aspects to help bring them to life. Common forms of dress, any forms of address for nobles etc that is common to them(like in Russia you had a Czar instead of a king), common types of foods(since most cultures develop their own types of foods) just anything to help make that ethnic group/s come to life and stand apart. So when PC's go there it feels different and not just cause the people have funny names and or look a little different.

+1 to this.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Laschoni wrote:
This is a Stark departure from most of what I've seen on the Companion line.

Perhaps it's because so many people in the North have Iron Will.

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
... so don't expect "People of the South/Darklands/Planes/Moon/Basement/Etc." But if it plays well and folks like what they see... well, we're all about giving people what they like.

Awesome. I'm totally hoping for People Under The Stairs next year.

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