Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Taldor, the First Empire (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Taldor, the First Empire (PFRPG)
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Taldor Endures!

The first—and at one point, largest—empire in Avistan after devastation of Earthfall, Taldor has stood for millennia, and though its neighboring nations snicker at its lavish parties and out-of-touch nobility, none dare challenge the mother empire's might! With 6 millennia of history spanning the breadth of a continent, Taldor is a land of long-buried secrets and ruins, partnered with modern cutthroat dramas and political action. Secrets and treasure abound across Taldor—many forgotten, but far more deliberately buried. Will you fight to preserve the glorious traditions of the past, or will you pave the way for a reformed Taldor to attain new heights?

Taldor is the dynamic setting for the War for the Crown Adventure Path, making this comprehensive guide to the nation's geography, politics, and history a perfect resource for that campaign, as well as for many Pathfinder Module adventures! Inside this book you'll find:

  • A thorough gazetteer of Taldor's major prefectures and provinces, including details on the reigning nobles of each and over 70 points of interest across the nation, from Antios's Crown and its endless royal necropolis to the militarized city of Zimar.
  • An overview of Taldor's government, foreign relationships, and society.
  • Nearly a dozen adventure sites tied to Taldor's past glories and modern decay, from ruined cities to lost valleys of the dead.
  • Nine new monsters perfectly adapted to life in Taldor, including the corrupting giniver, perfectly suited to hiding in plain sight, and testaments to noble excess such as the titanboar and the blood-bathing baetriov.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Taldor, The First Empire is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but it can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-999-8

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

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Taldar Land of Intrigue

4/5

Not one of my first choices(or second, third, etc.) but still a good read none the less.


Gives Taldor enough Detail to be Playable

4/5

I wrote a lengthy review that the website ate and I don't have the energy to redo it.

The short version is that previously published Taldor material was thin to the point that to set a game in Taldor you would have to basically create the nation from scratch. This book fixes that problem. If you want to run a game in Taldor it is essential, if you want to run a game in the Inner Sea where the PCs can go to Taldor it is very useful.


Glorious!

5/5

This book is rich with culture, history and geography! this reads like a novel, and I find every page containing interesting trivia and long awaited answers to my most Taldane of questions!

The Golden Age of Taldor map is brilliant, and we also get a full timeline for Taldor. Interactions with other cultures is discussed, and a section on religion give us hints on who is considered to be the true 'Taldan Pantheon' (with a satisfying nod to Aroden and its 'arcane' clerics... must... build... one... :) )

The map of Taldor and its prefectures will also become an invaluable tool to any GM running a game set there, which only further aggrandizes its sister achievement and masterpiece: a full geographical section on each prefecture of Taldor, as well as supplementaty information on the provinces (apparently in Taldor, both Bill and Hillary bow to the elephant cavalry!). This section is, for the lack of a better word, a veritable tour-de-force!

Then we have a section on various sites within the Empire, and the coolest harpy cleric of Groetus I've ever seen (when she told you she'd give you the moon she wasn't kidding gents!) This section is a great idea generator for GMs wishing to run their own campaigns or supplement published Taldor-based adventures with a spiffy sidequest or two...

At the end we have a small bestiary which will allow druids and rangers to proudly call their next pet 'titanboar' or 'fading fox' or 'emperor stag'. Selective breeding is a thing in Taldor, and not only for their horses, but for their game too! but for the rest of the bestiary I'll stay silent so as not to spoil that most excellent new bathrobe wearing undead. 'New bathrobe'-wearing undead; or new 'bathrobe-wearing undead', as in new undead? hmmm... hmmm.... who can tell? [/goldblum mode]

Taldor deserved a lore-only book like this. Your mechanical queries can be addressed by the dozens of books preceding this one, but the knowledge gained within these pages will turn the most bland barbarian into a hardcore or unchained Ulfen devotee of the Lion Throne!

Taldor is Avistan.


Mixed bag.

3/5

Lots of flavor. Lots of geography. Not much substance. If you are running a game in Taldor, it's probably a good idea to get this book.

The bestiary in the back feels out of place. IMO use that space to talk about the specifics of Taldor nobility.

There are no mechanics in this book (save the bestiary), which makes it feel out of place IMO. A lot of Campaign Setting books have mechanics in them these days.

Bit of an odd duck. 3 out of 5 stars.


Disappointed

1/5

I was really hyped to hear one of my favorite locales on Golarion was getting revisited. After all it had been more than 8 years since Taldor was explored and given the new 68 page format of the country sourcebooks I assumed many details could be explored.

Unfortunately this book did not impress me at all. It was lackluster and pretty bland, no wow, no pizzazz. It did not inspire any additional interest in Taldor.

The book is divided into four parts so Ill briefly talk about each of them without giving too much away.

Life in Taldor – The first section details a history of the people of Taldor and lightly touches on the nobility and titles of Taldor. I was especially disappointed in this. Nobility and titles in Taldor are a cornerstone of this nation, something that make it distinctive in character from other nations, a highlight of that nation and yet the titles section was given a half-page description of generic noble titles, many titles previously describe we not even written about or mentioned.

The history of its Imperial house was non-existent, there was no list of Grand Princes, nothing descriptive of noble houses. I mean at this point I don’t know the name of the imperial house of Taldor because it remained as skeletal in description as what is found in the Inner Sea Guide. There was just nothing.

Gone was any mention of The Bearded as the ruling social class as it was ret-conned and minimized like the banning of Sarenrae. It fails to detail any of the more than 50 Grand Duchies and their locations other than 12 that correspond with the primary prefectures that it states are in the Empire.

The history section is mainly a descriptive rehash of events that have been already covered in other books, there were very few new events detailed within. More could have been included for an empire that is six thousand years old. The description of the Taldan people was literally two paragraphs long and the other two pages spent on the topic were on Chelaxans, Andorans and other surrounding nations and races.

Gazetteer – The Gazetteer generally does a good job at describing the twelve main prefectures of Taldor and it adds some details, new cities and locales and personalities. One of my favorite parts was some details on the ruling nobles of the prefectures. The cities described were mainly just that descriptions – there were no details on population, racial make-up, no flavoring whatsoever.

Adventures in Taldor - This part is a good but brief description of some key locales within Taldor. Each locale is given a one page description, with details and major NPC descriptions which is probably enough to get a GM to build his own adventures around.

Bestiary – This part is really unnecessary and should have been relegated to the upcoming AP. The monsters are lackluster. Taldor is supposed to be an Empire that tamed its heartland so the real monsters should be the humans within. But the book doesn’t do much in that aspect.

There is no mention of the lands directly to the east of the empire. How they may have affected the empire or anything. The updated map was pretty good I did like that they included some locals from the novels and pathfinder scenarios, except that Yanmass still has two locations in previous maps - one next to the river and another away from it. Even the novel Shy Knives have it located near the river. So I am not sure if Yanmass is a port city or a city in the center of the plains.

Overall this book is a huge disappointment for a nation whose ruling class is supposed to be a distinctive feature that is supposed to add to the character of Taldor. Yet it does very little to fill that gap, it leaves Taldor feeling generic and boring.


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So hucksters then Mark?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
So hucksters then Mark?

I wouldnt say so - maybe a bit deluded as them thinking they will bring their deity back somehow.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In preparing for the upcoming AP, I came across a strange detail in this book:

Quote:
The current ruler, Grand Prince Stavian III [...] has no living sons, having lost his only male heir, Carrius II, in an equestrian accident.

Why does the Grand Prince's son have a regnal number, even though he died before his father and never succeeded to the throne at all?

Dark Archive

Zaister wrote:

In preparing for the upcoming AP, I came across a strange detail in this book:

Quote:
The current ruler, Grand Prince Stavian III [...] has no living sons, having lost his only male heir, Carrius II, in an equestrian accident.
Why does the Grand Prince's son have a regnal number, even though he died before his father and never succeeded to the throne at all?

Probably because there already had been another Carrius (I) in Taldors past.

He was meant to be the next in succession and just died before he could inherit the throne.
Princes in real live are also called "the second" sometimes, even when they don´t sit on the throne.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Probably because there already had been another Carrius (I) in Taldors past.

He was meant to be the next in succession and just died before he could inherit the throne.
Princes in real live are also called "the second" sometimes, even when they don´t sit on the throne.

I've never heard of that, nobody would ever refer to the Prince of Wales as "Charles III" unless he had actually succeeded to the British throne.

Do you have an example?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Maybe it's a middle name, not a regnal number.

Maybe Taldor assigns regnal names upon birth/adolescence/majority, unlike RL nations.

Maybe Carrius has already ascended in some subset of the domain, like Scotland refused to accept Stavian because they're Protestant and didn't accept Stavian's divorce or something, and because of that, Taldor's Scotland-analogy crowned Stavian's heir Carrius to their throne, while Stavian continues to rule the entire commonwealth.

Could be anything.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:

In preparing for the upcoming AP, I came across a strange detail in this book:

Quote:
The current ruler, Grand Prince Stavian III [...] has no living sons, having lost his only male heir, Carrius II, in an equestrian accident.
Why does the Grand Prince's son have a regnal number, even though he died before his father and never succeeded to the throne at all?

Maybe there was another son named Carrius who didn't survive long past infancy (& so wasn't designated as an heir), while the Carrius you mentioned is the second son of the same name??

Spoiler:
It's not really as far-fetched as it may sound, as it wasn't unheard of for some aristocratic families in the past (e.g. the Romans) to give most of their children the same name (perhaps altering it to account for gender), especially when the prospect of surviving into adulthood was very slim. Of course, those who did survive to adulthood either earned themselves a nickname or were given a number to differentiate them. (I.E. The II after Carrius may not be a regnal number. But, as Samy says, it could be anything.

<shrug>

--C.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Psiphyre wrote:
Zaister wrote:

In preparing for the upcoming AP, I came across a strange detail in this book:

Quote:
The current ruler, Grand Prince Stavian III [...] has no living sons, having lost his only male heir, Carrius II, in an equestrian accident.
Why does the Grand Prince's son have a regnal number, even though he died before his father and never succeeded to the throne at all?

Maybe there was another son named Carrius who didn't survive long past infancy (& so wasn't designated as an heir), while the Carrius you mentioned is the second son of the same name??

** spoiler omitted **

<shrug>

--C.

Yep, you could have Mary 1, Mary 2, Mary 3 and there was one name line that was basically Steve, Not Steve, Definitely Not Steve.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Psyphire's spoiler is possible in theory but then it says Carrius II was "his only male heir", so probably no older also dead brother of the same name, I think.

If there is a Taldan practice to assigne something like regnal numbers to sons of the Grand Prince (maybe heirs apparent only), it would be cool to know about it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zaister wrote:

Psyphire's spoiler is possible in theory but then it says Carrius II was "his only male heir", so probably no older also dead brother of the same name, I think.

If there is a Taldan practice to assigne something like regnal numbers to sons of the Grand Prince (maybe heirs apparent only), it would be cool to know about it.

Maybe he had a buddy named Carrius and named him after him?

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Lots of rich American families also have II, III, IV names from birth. Warren Worthington III for instance.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*nods*

Could have been tacked on by dad to make him come across as even more prestigious.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My favorite is still the middle name explanation, though. Pronounced Carrius "Aye-Aye".


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The American usage of "III" is the continuation of sr. and jr. "II" is not used in that context.

The regnal number thing is made even more weird by information from Crownfall where we learn of Carrius I. See this thread.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

II is used in (at least American naming conventions) when you are named after someone other than your parent in memory of them. So Carrius II was named after Carrius I (who probably didn't start off with the number).


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Rysky wrote:
II is used in (at least American naming conventions) when you are named after someone other than your parent in memory of them.

Interesting, i didn't know about that. Do you know of an example of this custom?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zaister wrote:
Rysky wrote:
II is used in (at least American naming conventions) when you are named after someone other than your parent in memory of them.
Interesting, i didn't know about that. Do you know of an example of this custom?

I don't know any specific people off the top of my head, I just know of the convention of doing so.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
Rysky wrote:
II is used in (at least American naming conventions) when you are named after someone other than your parent in memory of them.
Interesting, i didn't know about that. Do you know of an example of this custom?

Former basketball coach at Georgetown.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Rysky wrote:
II is used in (at least American naming conventions) when you are named after someone other than your parent in memory of them.
Interesting, i didn't know about that. Do you know of an example of this custom?
Former basketball coach at Georgetown.

Thanks, but I can only find John Thompson III, I was looking for an example of the usage of "II" in an actual American name.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It's right there, the first two letters of "III".

Maybe the last two.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Rysky wrote:
II is used in (at least American naming conventions) when you are named after someone other than your parent in memory of them.
Interesting, i didn't know about that. Do you know of an example of this custom?
Former basketball coach at Georgetown.
Thanks, but I can only find John Thompson III, I was looking for an example of the usage of "II" in an actual American name.

His father John Thompson the second was also a coach at Georgetown, I believe.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Otherwise there's a football player named something something the second.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
His father John Thompson the second was also a coach at Georgetown, I believe.

That is true, but his name is John Robert Thompson Jr., not "II".

I found the football player, though, it's probably this guy: Kellen Winslow II. I think though, that this is an incidental occurrence, and not really an American usage. But you never know. Thanks!

Grand Lodge

I'm in the US and have a friend whose name is Ryan "X" II because he's named after his grandfather.


I believe in this case that Carrius II means that in Taldor, royals get their designation at birth. Also, without the numbers, it would be impossible to untangle this whole mess from a GM's perspective.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
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Why would a royal get a designation at birth? That's just stupid. How do you know they're going to survive? Sounds like a total cock up to me. Why not just admit it?

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Purity of Violence wrote:
Why would a royal get a designation at birth? That's just stupid. How do you know they're going to survive? Sounds like a total cock up to me. Why not just admit it?

Because there are real world examples of people being named that way? Doesn't matter if actual historic royalty was, as Taldor is a made up country in a fantasy world. That can easily just be their tradition.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
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Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Because there are real world examples of people being named that way? Doesn't matter if actual historic royalty was as Taldor is a made up country in a fantasy world. That can easily just be their tradition.

Please supply an example of a real world monarchy that uses this naming system.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Purity of Violence wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Because there are real world examples of people being named that way? Doesn't matter if actual historic royalty was as Taldor is a made up country in a fantasy world. That can easily just be their tradition.
Please supply an example of a real world monarchy that uses this naming system.

Golarion is not Earth.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you all for chiming in on my nitpicking, but I think this is going a bit off the rails for a product thread. Please transfer the regnal number discussion to the thread I created in the War for the Crown forum. Thank you. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Purity of Violence wrote:
Why would a royal get a designation at birth? That's just stupid. How do you know they're going to survive? Sounds like a total cock up to me. Why not just admit it?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that in a world with magical healing readily available, members of royalty dying before adulthood (at least due to natural causes) is highly unlikely barring special circumstances.

EDIT: Sorry, didn't scroll down to the end before responding. Feel free to move/delete as appropriate.


Can anyone tell me how this compares to the old 3.5 splatbook -- "Taldor: Echoes of Glory"? If I have that one, how much new material will I get from this one? Obviously there'll be some; Echoes of Glory was just 32 pages long, and this is... 64 I guess? So presumably at least half of it is new stuff. But about how much is recycled from the older book?

Anyone?

Doug M.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's quite a bit more, I'm quite impressed with how much Mark and Crystal stuffed in it.

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The old book is completely eclipsed by this one.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So, been trying to find this out via Google and looking at the Taldor book (and the War of the Crown books that are out)...but I can't find details on one of the "12" Grand High Dukes/Duchesses (the 12 Dukes/Duchesses that control a prefecture). And that one is Opparos.

The only "controller" mentioned is the Baron Oltar Vinmark, who is basically the Governor of the city of Oppara....but not the Grand Duke of the prefecture from what I am reading. Is it this Baron who is in control of the whole prefecture....is it Grand Prince Stavian III (the ruler of Taldor) who controls this prefecture...or is it somebody I can't find in any of the books?


It's the home of the Emperor so I would say Opparos is an exception. It also has the Senate, the other institutions, and a bunch of floating Grand Dukes with no assigned land.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
I'm in the US and have a friend whose name is Ryan "X" II because he's named after his grandfather.

So was I, but in my case so was my father, so I'm Ed Reppert III. Dad was "Jr.". Don't know if my grandfather ever used "Sr." - he died before I was born.

I've heard of this usage of "II" for cases where it's not a direct succession in the male line. For example, I could in theory have a cousin named "Ed Reppert II" (I don't).

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