Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs (PFRPG)

3.80/5 (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs (PFRPG)
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Secrets of the Sands

In the heart of the Inner Sea region stretches one of the oldest human empires still standing today: the mighty and mysterious land of pharaohs and pyramids known as Osirion. Hosting as many accursed tombs and treasure-filled ruins beneath its shifting sands as above, Osirion offers no shortage of adventure for characters of all sorts. From the cosmopolitan capital city of Sothis, seat of the Ruby Prince, to the desolate wastelands of the Osirian Desert, discover the might and majesty that lifted humanity out of the Age of Darkness and could potentially usher in a new golden age if unearthed from the past.

Learn about every corner of Osirion, the backdrop of the exciting Mummy's Mask Adventure Path, with this comprehensive sourcebook on the nation, its history, and its inhabitants. Within these pages you’ll find:

  • An overview of Osirion's 8,000-year history, the rise and fall of its countless pharaonic dynasties, and a portrait of its current political and social landscape.
  • Detailed gazetteers of the nation's distinctive regions, including the Brazen Frontier, the Footprints of Rovagug, and the Scorpion Coast.
  • A comprehensive exploration of Sothis, Osirion's capital, the vast metropolis that makes up the heart of the nation—that can serve as a useful base of operations for explorers or a safe haven for desert-weary travelers.
  • A dozen new monsters and sample NPCs from the region, including the vicious hetkoshu, the deceptive living mirage, the elite Risen Guard, and the mythic sphinx colossus.

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

Written by Alex Greenshields, Amanda Hamon, Jonathan H. Keith, Ron Lundeen, and David N. Ross.
Cover Art by Michal Ivan.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-595-2

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

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Filled with Adventure Sites for Your PCs

5/5

Osirion is Pathfinder's stylized version of Egypt, a nation of endless deserts, market bazaars, treasure (and trap)-filled tombs, and half-hidden pyramids built by generations of now-mummified pharaohs. It's a classic locale for adventuring, and a good example of how the official campaign setting of Golarion was intentionally designed to have something for everyone. Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs is a 64-page source book in the Campaign Setting line. Overall, I think it's an impressive effort that does a great job providing the back-drop for endless adventures in the Indiana Jones vein.

Have to love the cover, with the Iconic Oracle (Alahazra) battling the guardian of some ancient tomb. The same image is in the inside back-cover, while the inside front cover is a map of Osirion. Sometimes when we get maps of fantasy nations, only a few cities and the basic geography is presented--but that's not the case here, as there are *dozens* of pyramids, ruins, monuments, and other adventure sites noted. The only way it could be improved is if there were also a player-friendly (spoiler-free) version of the same map.

The book starts with a six-page introduction, and the guiding theme of Osirion is clear: the place has a history! A long time-line of notable events takes up half the section. Fortunately, the history of Osirion is really interesting and adds enough detail to allow for a more "authentic" experience for PCs with an interest in archaeology and history--different sites to explore are tied to different eras or pharaonic dynasties, and this can give clues to what might be found there.

The rest of the first 2/3 of the book consists of six-page summaries of six different areas of Osirion. Each area is covered with an overview, a gazetteer of notable locations found within it, and a stat-block and half-page map of a major settlement located there. I'll spare a few lines for each, but first I'll note that the artwork interspersed throughout is excellent and evocative: just compare it to what was in the early Campaign Setting books and see how far Paizo has come. In addition, the writers integrated a wealth of material from previous Paizo products, including such things as adventure paths, the Lost Kingdoms book, and even Pathfinder Society scenarios. I really appreciate the continuity and attention to detail. Anyway, the six regions covered are:

* The Brazen Frontier: Pretty much your generic ruin-filled desert full of somewhat-bland gnolls and plenty of places to explore. I liked the sidebar on the Pahmet Dwarves (one doesn't think about dwarves in the desert!). The map and stat block is for the small city of Ipeq, a hub of commerce built on the banks of a river.

* The Footprints of Rovagug: Forbidding volcanic badlands. There's a lot of good adventuring to be had here, including Aspis Corporation-controlled mines and a red dragon. The map and stat block are for Tar Kuata, a monastery of Irori.

* The Osirion Desert: Vast and desolate, a classic desert in the popular sense. Eto, a small city, is featured and depicted as the perfect staging area for explorers and treasure-hunters.

* The Scorpion Coast: Somewhat generic, with ruins and danger everywhere. One of the things that sets it apart, however, is that clans of various elementals vie for control over the area. The featured city, El-Shelad, is really interesting with lots for a GM to work with in terms of political undercurrents and intrigue.

* Sothis: The capital of Osirion. It's hard to cover a metropolis well in just six-pages (other cities, like Magnimar, have had entire sourcebooks devoted to them), but I thought the writers did a great job packing in a lot detail. My favorite part was learning about the Risen Guard, an elite group of soldiers who have proven their loyalty by allowing themselves to be put to death and then raised.

* The Sphinx Basin: Like the Nile in Egypt, Osirion features a major river called the Sphinx, around which most commerce and civilization has concentrated. This is where you want to be to tell stories of riverboat murders, crocodile attacks, and so forth. The section has a really good discussion of the contested balance of power between the cities in the area. The port city of Totra is featured, but I loved the paragraphs on the cursed city of Djefet and something called the "Prison Barge of Ap-Tula" (a 3,000 year-old floating fortress built to contain the worst dangers in Osirion).

The next section is "Plots and Perils" (8 pages). The section starts with rules for two natural hazards found in the deserts of Osirion: khamsin storms (terrible sand storms) and mirages. I always like things like this that challenge PCs in a non-combat way and help them to see the value in skills like Survival or feats like Endurance. One of only two PC options in the book is presented here, in the form of a spell called "Reveal Mirage". The rest of the section consists of several paragraphs each on the following "adventure sites": Fort Fang (gnoll slavers base), Gralgor-Ot (ruins filled with undead, but more interesting than I've made it sound), Lamashtu's Flower (secret Lamashtan temple), the Lost Mines of Siwat (very inventive underground "lost village" where the humans have evolved for generations not realizing there's a world above them), Mephit Spring (demons and fire elementals abound), Oszoxon Spire (home to a missing tribe of scorpionfolk), the Pyramid of An-Hepsu Xi (classic lich pharaoh tomb), the Pyramid of Doom (ghost-inhabited tomb that needs a better name), and the Tomb of Statues (home to a mummified medusa!). The sites are given good, enticing descriptions, but do note that there would still be a lot of work necessary by a GM to build encounters and stat blocks if PCs actually want to adventure there. This section is a campaign tool-box, not a pre-written adventure.

Last up is a healthy, 12-page bestiary. Random encounter tables are provided for each region of Osirion, and they've avoided the common mistake of setting a ridiculous range of CRs. In fact, looking at the tables provides a natural blueprint for when a GM should send PCs to different areas--the "Footprints of Rovagug", for example, range from CR 4 to CR 7, while the Osirion Desert ranges from CR 8 to CR 11. As for new creatures, the section starts with several new animals: hetkoshu crocodiles, jackals, ostriches (including rules for ostrich animal companions), and asp snakes. Animals aren't usually exciting additions, but they help make for a well-rounded world. New monsters include Sphinx Colossi (the first creature I've seen with mythic levels in a regular product), Living Mirages (a great concept for an ooze!), Pharaonic Guardians, and Uraeuses (the creepiest LG beast you'll ever see!). What I actually find even more valuable are "generic" NPC stat blocks written for "Desert Hermit", "Osirionologist", "Risen Guard" (which references a Pathfinder Tales story I remember reading, Christopher Carey's Dune Runner), and "River Cleric" (a worshipper of Wadjet)--I'm far more likely to need NPC stat blocks on the fly than I am new monsters, and they take a while to custom-build.

The bottom line with a Campaign Setting book is how useful it is in gameplay. I haven't run any adventures set in Osirion, but if I did, this book would be the first place I'd turn. That makes it a success as far as I'm concerned.


4/5


Very good

4/5

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

This is a very informative book. It both updates and expands on the information in Osirion, Land of Pharaohs, going into considerably more detail than the earlier book (which, to be fair, is a much shorter book, so just doesn’t have the space that this one has). One of the most important qualities on which I judge a setting book is how many ideas it starts creating in my head. Legacy has simply flooded my head with ideas, enough to run three or four different campaigns set there, and so passes this criterion with flying colours. It’s densely packed with information on cities, adventure sites, denizens, and more.


No Local Gods or Pantheon

2/5

Typically in Campaign Settings one expects an overview of the local gods so that a DM knows the abilities of their clergy in terms of game mechanics and background. In addition, a player may want to play a local priest where a campaign is set in that area.

Apparently, to understand gods of Ancient Osirion in terms of game play and background you need to buy Pathfinder Adventure Path #80: Empty Graves. This reference is made in the Bestiary Section of the Campaign Setting.

First, this is really a short change for a Campaign Setting. For example, the Dragon Empires Campaign Setting provides for a host of local deities as well as a discussion on how more well-known deities are viewed in the locality. Legacy of the Pharaohs has none of that. The purpose of a Campaign Setting is to give a DM the tools to run a campaign. Legacy of the Pharaohs is missing an important aspect for a campaign that many expect to feature ancient and esoteric mystery religions.

Second, there is also a practical issue here. Assuming one doesn't mind paying extra money on Adventure Path #80: Empty Graves, a la Wizards of the Coast, that Adventure doesn't come out for a few months. The consequence of this is that I'm probably not moving forward with this campaign (so no Mummy's Adventure Path) and move forward with another campaign idea without spending more money.


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Grizzlydiles, accidentally imported from Avatarworld.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just got this. Lots of neat stuff.

In addition to the 'grizzly' death, there's also the 100 member Council of the Sun and Sky, of whom it is said 'Each council member represents one of Osirion's major cities.'

Quite the trick for a country that has 13 cities on the map, several of which are actually villages, others 'small cities,' and one of which, Fort Fang, is run by gnolls, particularly when, of those 100 councilors, 5 are members of the Council of Liberated Slaves, and others represent the 16 city districts of Sothis (with districts said to have one *or more* representatives, each)...

Aside from that quibble (I'm gonna assume that the phrase was supposed to read something like 'Each of Osirion's major cities has one or more representatives on the council.');

Love the cover. Great artwork.

The River Cleric has the Protection and Water Domains. Wadjet seems to be LG, so Law and Good are likely also there. That might be all she's got, or she might be a 5 domain goddess and also grant Scalykind. Neat holy symbol on the artwork.

Nice artwork on that Risen Guard. I definitely wanted to see some Osirioni armor / garb, and this fits the bill. (It does seem quite similar to the Risen Guard artwork in the Faction Guide, but that's fine, since I liked that picture as well, and it only makes sense that the Risen Guard would have a fairly standardized look to their armor.)

Love the Hetkoshu. They remind me a little bit of the Paragon Crocodiles, from the Scarred Lands setting, which would be an awesome thing to yoink over to this setting, come to think of it...

Described as a nation strong in faith, it makes sense that so many of the power players in the cities of Osirion would be clerics. I remember in Forgotten Realms Adventures, every city listed had a section of 'notable mages,' and then 'other dudes' as sort of an afterthought. The cities of Osirion have surprisingly few influential arcanists, by comparison, with the highest level sorts being clerics, about half the time (and even the one city with a prominent arcanists academy having a magus 9 and a sorcerer 5 as their mover-and-shaker arcane casters, compared to other cities with clerics ranging from 14th to 17th level). I'm sure Rahadoum or Nex or Geb might take that in the completely other direction, with tons of wizards and less clerics. :)

Very intriguing sidebar on the elemental clans of the Scorpion Coast. Unlike many of the other adventure-seed-ready areas laid down, this one has a bit more long-term intrigue to it, than just 'go find the cure for the curse on the village' or whatever.

Osirion, Land of Pharoahs left it unclear which priesthood controlled access to Azghaad's Spire, since it was described as being important to the priests of Nethys, and yet was rebuilt by a high priest of *Pharasma.* Mention of that High Priest seems to have been dropped, and it's all about Nethys now, so that's one potential source of interfaith conflict gone. (Or perhaps the priest who rebuilt it being a cleric of Pharasma, instead of Nethys, was a typo...)

Silver Crusade

Been waiting for you to get this. :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One thing that I wonder about the Risen Guard... where are the Forthbringers getting all those diamonds? Let's say there are around 100 members of the Risen Guard (doesn't seem that unreasonable), that's a total exense of 500,000gp worth of diamonds, not counting ones who have been brought back multiple times.

Also, a level 20 cleric/wizard/mystic theurge... I wonder if she's the most powerful priest of Nethys in the whole Inner Sea region.


Does this replace and make obsolete Osirion, Land of Pharaohs?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Guang wrote:
Does this replace and make obsolete Osirion, Land of Pharaohs?

Yup, pretty much, although I'm sure that there are bits of the first book that were not replicated in the second.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mechalibur wrote:

One thing that I wonder about the Risen Guard... where are the Forthbringers getting all those diamonds? Let's say there are around 100 members of the Risen Guard (doesn't seem that unreasonable), that's a total exense of 500,000gp worth of diamonds, not counting ones who have been brought back multiple times.

Also, a level 20 cleric/wizard/mystic theurge... I wonder if she's the most powerful priest of Nethys in the whole Inner Sea region.

If I remember correctly, the Ruby Prince is a great summoner and binder, so it's likely that he gets them shipped from the elemental plane of Earth.

And I think you're right, she might be the most powerful priest of Nethis, but that's hardly unusual, as it was Nethis' might that enabled the establishment of the empire of Ancient Osirion.


So has anyone else heard that in Osirion, Legacy of The Pharaohs that there is no coverage of the Gods and their relations to the peoples and clerics of the nation. That if you want that information you have to buy it in an upcoming book from WoC. Had I known this I might have waited until the next campaign setting to start.


Dethrill wrote:
So has anyone else heard that in Osirion, Legacy of The Pharaohs that there is no coverage of the Gods and their relations to the peoples and clerics of the nation. That if you want that information you have to buy it in an upcoming book from WoC. Had I known this I might have waited until the next campaign setting to start.

The ancient Egyptian gods are hardly worshipped at all in modern Osirion. Why waste a large chunk of a book on a rare and nearly forgotten phenomenon? Most Osirioni clerics worship the same big twenty gods as everyone else in the Inner Sea.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Dethrill wrote:
So has anyone else heard that in Osirion, Legacy of The Pharaohs that there is no coverage of the Gods and their relations to the peoples and clerics of the nation. That if you want that information you have to buy it in an upcoming book from WoC. Had I known this I might have waited until the next campaign setting to start.
The ancient Egyptian gods are hardly worshipped at all in modern Osirion. Why waste a large chunk of a book on a rare and nearly forgotten phenomenon? Most Osirioni clerics worship the same big twenty gods as everyone else in the Inner Sea.

This is correct, and is why we didn't put that large article into the Osiron book. The ancient gods of Osirion are, well... ancient. They're not really worshiped today, and that means they're obscure corner cases in Osirion. They're not intended to be everyday options for PCs.


So, has anyone played any of the Osirion adventures?

A friend is putting together an Osirion campaign, and I'm itching to know what others think of the setting so far. Egyptian themes have always been a personal favorite.

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