Pathfinder Lost Omens: Absalom, City of Lost Omens

3.80/5 (based on 13 ratings)
Pathfinder Lost Omens: Absalom, City of Lost Omens

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THE CITY IS YOURS

For nearly 5,000 years, the great city of Absalom has stood at the center of the Inner Sea region's culture, commerce, and prophecy. Now, after the death of its founder-god Aroden, the disappearance of its lord mayor, and new attacks from some of its greatest foes, Absalom stands at the crossroads of a new and uncertain destiny!

This lore-packed 400-page guide presents a fascinating locale suitable for years of Pathfinder adventures! A huge poster map of the city, more than 250 locations, and more than 400 interconnected NPCs set the scene in unprecedented detail, beckoning your characters to walk upon streets paved with centuries of history. Follow in the footsteps of generations of questing heroes to chart a new path for the City at the Center of the World!

Written by: Allie Bustion, John Compton, Jeremy Corff, Katina Davis, Vanessa Hoskins, James Jacobs, Virginia Jordan, Erik Mona, Matt Morris, Liane Merciel, Dave Nelson, Samantha Phelan, Jessica Redekop, Mikhail Rekun, Brian Richmond, David N. Ross, Simone D. Sallé, Shahreena Shahrani, Abigail Slater, Chris Spivey, Diego Valdez, and Skylar-James Wall

Content Warning: While Absalom, City of Lost Omens contains a great deal of content suitable for everyone, it also presents themes of slavery, ableism, body horror, and human experimentation. Before you use this material in a campaign, understand that player consent (including that of the Game Master) is vital to a safe and fun play experience for everyone. Talk with your players before using these themes at the table and modify descriptions or scenarios as appropriate.

ISBN: 978-1-64078-235-8



Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Pathfinder Nexus on Demiplane
Archives of Nethys

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3.80/5 (based on 13 ratings)

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A disappointing book...

2/5

After over two long years of waiting, I finally got this book in my grubby dwarven hands a month ago. I lovingly put it on the shelf to wait for a couple of weeks, so that I could savor it in peace. When I eventually had a whole evening to spend on reading it carefully through, I felt confused. I had had really high expectations for this book, so why didn’t I feel excited and inspired by its contents?

The book begins with a nice history section, and then describes all the major players, guilds, houses and factions in the city, including the participants in the War of Strings. I also like the parts about architecture and culture, and the glimpses at what a typical day and a year will be like for average residents of Absalom. All of this is great material for GMs, although honestly, I thought something similar to the ”Entwined Destinies” section at the end of Lost Omens : Legends would have been super helpful, perhaps even mandatory part for a book about Absalom. And in my humble opinion, that is where the good stuff more or less ends, on page 77, unless you count those chapter-opening art pieces of each district, which are great.

I had expected something like Worldwound, City of Strangers or Rule of Fear, with loads of inspiring locations, story hooks and NPCs. In secret I had even hoped this book would be just like the excellent Sandpoint : Light of the Lost Coast, which includes quests and adventure seeds for every location and NPC mentioned in the book. Well, I should have realized that it’s probably not going to happen in a book that describes over 250 locations and 400 NPCs.

And that is kind of my point; this book was (obviously) a very ambitious and time-consuming project. It is also a prime example why sometimes less is more, and why deadlines are deadlines. The number of NPCs and locations in this book is just overwhelming, and sadly, I think most of them are not very inspiring and some may even be completely irrelevant in many campaigns. In my opinion the writing feels very ”forced”, and thus many locations feel like boring landmarks, and almost all of the NPCs lack interesting goals or ways to hook them up with PCs.

And that brings me to another major failure in this book: the lack of any real adventuring content. There are many sidebars containing brief story quests and encounters, but IMO most of these are tired old clichés or outright jokes. Even the better ones are not very imaginative, either; there are living mushroom threatening a fungi farmer, and a kobold tribe harassing sewer workers, and… that’s pretty much it.

Where are the Key-lock Killers, Choppers and other local boogeymen and legends of Absalom? Where are the local haunted alleys plagued by shadows, ghosts or ”mystery slayers” such as Walcofinde or Living Graffiti? Where are overall the mysteries, enigmas and secrets of this metropolis for the PCs to discover? I even felt a bit cheated to see those ”ready-built Undercity locale” maps, all of which were first published in Last Watch. I have a hard time believing there are no unpublished dungeon maps lying around in the Paizo office, but for some reason they recycled maps from a previous Adventure Path.

To be honest, there are a couple of decent campaign seeds mentioned in the book, but both are no more than just short ideas revolving around a single NPC, who suffer from the same lack of details and methods for their plans than the rest of the NPCs do. And what of Starstone? I was really hopeful to get additional information on the Test and the Cathedral, but instead there’s a nasty surprise in the book for GMs and players who might have dreams of deityhood as the endgame of their campaign. And I think there’s also other crucial stuff missing, such as a proper description and map of Shadow Absalom, or descriptions (and maybe even some maps) of new siege castles.

The book describes a very Utopian city with almost a Disney-like feel to it, and the goal was likely to evoke a sense of wonder in players. In this city residents brush shoulders with marble-hewn and gem-studded gargoyles, and tourists ride prehistoric giant birds or elephants to sunset. Here monstrous crime lords weep at the thought of visiting fancy restaurants and the opera, while moustache-twirling villains snarl helplessly at PCs engaging in witty philosphical debates and games of chance on flying carpets with visiting efreeti noble ambassadors. There’s even a list of NPC ”Kite Enthusiasts” and another of ”Children”, but not one for high priests or wizards. And that sentence alone describes to me what is kind of wrong about this book, at least from this veteran GM’s perspective.

I see this book as a big pile of wasted potential. I think this could have been a LOT better, but maybe I’m not just part of its target demographics? Maybe it’s meant to be a family-friendly book without too many darker or offensive elements, and primarily targeted at (younger) newbie players?

"The city is yours"? It's not mine, sorry to say.


Great book!

5/5

I haven't fully gone through it all yet but there is so much information in here. Great addition for any GM or player.




5/5


A great book! Very inspirational!!

5/5

First of all, I've never really been interested in Absalom, other than the cool stuff regarding the Starstone. That said, I love this book and could find inspiration in it for years to come. Especially coupled with the book of the Grand Bazaar (which I'm extremely thankful to Paizo for splitting into it's own book as that's the only way to properly cover a market of that size and scope.

I've been reading it all day since I got home from work and I honestly haven't noticed anything about slavery, so I'm not sure what previous reviewers are upset about. And I have no idea who this other guy that everyone is upset over is so I can't say anything about that but if you're looking for an expansive and evocative metropolis for your campaign or you're running any of the countless adventures set in or around Absalom they've released in the last three years then I highly, highly recommend this!


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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

With the Lord of the Black Sands returned to its May release, this is the only Pathfinder book that has been or is expected to be delayed (I don't know the Starfinder releases).

I wonder what makes this book different from the others, including SE rulebooks and the July Lost Omens title. Is it the map folio?

Anyways. Eagerly awaiting news on this one, and of course we all hope it's good news.


How crucial was this book to the upcoming AP?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
How crucial was this book to the upcoming AP?

I'd hazard a guess that as much as Guide to Korvosa was for CotCT. Useful, but not essential.


That makes sense.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

any news when this book releases ?

Silver Crusade

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

I'd sit back and wait for updates. Erik, who is writing this, is likely 120% busy saving Paizo from the fallout of COVID-19.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I thought it was already written. Bestiary 2 has a date, so what happened here?

Silver Crusade

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

Bestiary 2 and APG were off to printer last month or so, this was still in development. Erik's spare time for writing was likely eaten up by his duties as publisher, with the pandemic throwing the market upside down and whatanot.

Wayfinders

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's more than one writer for this book. I'm not sure where you got the impression that Erik was the only author for this entire 296-page hardcover. Do you have a source for that, Gorbacz?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lindley Court wrote:
There's more than one writer for this book. I'm not sure where you got the impression that Erik was the only author for this entire 296-page hardcover. Do you have a source for that, Gorbacz?

I think he was the head of this one, though. I know he had to specifically delay Dead God's Hand this last winter to work on the Absalom offering. How much of this one rests entirely on his shoulders is probably not public knowledge.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lindley Court wrote:
There's more than one writer for this book. I'm not sure where you got the impression that Erik was the only author for this entire 296-page hardcover. Do you have a source for that, Gorbacz?

I got that impression from the fact that Absalom is Erik's part of Golarion, he's meant to write this book for who knows how long and he's the one author on this one, and if there are any others, it's still his book.

Paizo is respectful of who "owns" which part of Golarion and just like a book on planar stuff is for them unimaginable without at least James Jacobs and Todd Stewart on the author list so is a book (finally) tackling stuff such as siege castles or the secret history of the city.

So, it's Erik or no book. Given that it's on hold and not cancelled, I believe that Erik, who happens to be Paizo's publisher, is so busy with publishing that the book has to wait.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Lindley Court wrote:
There's more than one writer for this book. I'm not sure where you got the impression that Erik was the only author for this entire 296-page hardcover. Do you have a source for that, Gorbacz?

I got that impression from the fact that Absalom is Erik's part of Golarion, he's meant to write this book for who knows how long and he's the one author on this one, and if there are any others, it's still his book.

Paizo is respectful of who "owns" which part of Golarion and just like a book on planar stuff is for them unimaginable without at least James Jacobs and Todd Stewart on the author list so is a book (finally) tackling stuff such as siege castles or the secret history of the city.

So, it's Erik or no book. Given that it's on hold and not cancelled, I believe that Erik, who happens to be Paizo's publisher, is so busy with publishing that the book has to wait.

And to Piggyback on this Erik's adventure was also pushed back. Amazon does say December for all of them but who knows if that is true or not.


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

December is what you have to put if you are still hoping to have a product out in the current year but don't have an exact date yet.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hoping we get some news about the delay/release at Paizcon Online!

I always been inspired by Absalom, and was super excited to hear this announced (And the Awesome Huge Poster Map). A bit bummed when I heard of its delay, but understandable, and I will excitedly wait to I can (hopefully) give it a good read /use . :)


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Erik Mona content is like fine wine. Cellaring it for a while just makes it better.


So I assume this will get published only after the 6th and final installment of Agents of Edgewatch.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
So I assume this will get published only after the 6th and final installment of Agents of Edgewatch.

We'll find out this week.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Just a heads up, this book has been delayed until end of year or even beginning of next year per Erik Mona.

Erik Mona wrote:

Both products are currently delayed. I messed up and didn't assign enough pages to the Absalom book to do it right, so I'm holding it back until it's as awesome as we can make it. James Jacobs and I have added about 20 additional locations to the manuscript (the city now has a temple for every core god, for example). We've also been working on an NPC appendix that has short summaries of more than 300 inhabitants of the city. So when you go to a shop, you can cross reference the shopkeeper in an NPC appendix and find out who she is friends with, who she is plotting against, and how all of it might play out into an adventure hook to lure the PCs into adventure.

We're hoping the book will be out by the end of the year. If not, it will be very shortly thereafter. The map folio will come out at the same time as the hardcover.

https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo6sh8t?Pathfinder-News-From-PaizoCo n-Online#discuss


3 people marked this as a favorite.

If the delay will result in the final product containing more goodies and being more excellent...I say all fine, all good. The NPC appendix sounds great.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I Was really looking forward to this book. Have we heard anything new about it, Im getting worried that its just stuck in limbo :(

Grand Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
finalresting wrote:
I Was really looking forward to this book. Have we heard anything new about it, Im getting worried that its just stuck in limbo :(

We heard about it during GenCon in panels. They are hoping for early next year but not confident on giving an exact date seeing as they delayed it too often already.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm hoping to see the introduction of Starfinder's Naur as a player option in Pathfinder. Starfinder lore suggests that once lived within Absalom, so this seems like fitting book to add them to Pathfinder. I think a decent way to explain their inclusion is to suggest that they are a rare occurrence during Human births due to the same curse that causes Minotaur to be born from Humans. Tie it into Starfinder by adding that their is no explainable reason behind this phenomenon. I dont expect their addition here honestly, but I'd like to see them at some point. That or a playable Minotaur. I wish to play a bullboy.

I do expect to see Centaur added here as playable though. Considering they are one of the prominent people on the Starstone Isles.

Dark Archive

I think its important to remember that Pathfinder and Starfinder are alternate universes from each other :p Like writers are allowed to import details from one setting to another, but they aren't meant to be perfect fit continuity wise.

Also Nuar in Starfinder are reference to Minotaur Prince of Absalom Nuar Spiritskin in Pathfinder who is human sized minotaur with albinism. Gag is that SOMEHOW during gap he went from single person to entire species :p

But yeah playable minotaurs is more likely I think

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

All we have confirmed is that we would get Gillmen in this book. I don’t think this book has enough space for two ancestry.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Elfteiroh wrote:
All we have confirmed is that we would get Gillmen in this book. I don’t think this book has enough space for two ancestry.

I missed this. When was this said?


How will the announcement of the Mwangi setting book affect this product?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Probably not a lot. If this gets delayed much more, it's going to be awkward to push the two out so close together though, especially with Bestiary 3 and the LOAG in that time frame as well.

Edit: All the writing sounds done now, so we should find out a more definitive release date soon.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

My local store is having an impossible time getting new product even close to the release month. Who could I have him contact to be sure he has this and the folio on release day, whenever that turns out to be?

Thanks!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Depends. Does he normally work through a distributor or does he buy direct from Paizo? In either case, he should know who his primary contact is.

Verdant Wheel

Still no news ?


The release schedule now goes through February, and this isn't listed. So I guess it won't be out until at least March.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

pretty sure this will fall in the pf society guide slot, with ancestry guide taking the gods and magic slot and mwangi expanse taking the legends slot. So I guess it should be out september 2021.


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

I know it is probably nothing and I shouldn't get my hopes up but this is now showing on the Upcoming Releases section of the Paizo front page.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

Helvellyn wrote:
I know it is probably nothing and I shouldn't get my hopes up but this is now showing on the Upcoming Releases section of the Paizo front page.

Thanks for calling that to our attention. It is not upcoming for December and will be removed, as well as Dead God's Hand. Sorry for the false alarm.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Bit worried about how much this book has gotten delayed since Agent of Edgewatch is almost finished, so I'm wondering by time I find gm for it if this book still isn't released :'D


Aaron Shanks wrote:
Helvellyn wrote:
I know it is probably nothing and I shouldn't get my hopes up but this is now showing on the Upcoming Releases section of the Paizo front page.
Thanks for calling that to our attention. It is not upcoming for December and will be removed, as well as Dead God's Hand. Sorry for the false alarm.

So to be clear, there is no news on the release date for this or dead gods hand?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
KaiBlob1 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Helvellyn wrote:
I know it is probably nothing and I shouldn't get my hopes up but this is now showing on the Upcoming Releases section of the Paizo front page.
Thanks for calling that to our attention. It is not upcoming for December and will be removed, as well as Dead God's Hand. Sorry for the false alarm.
So to be clear, there is no news on the release date for this or dead gods hand?

That is what not saying anything means in PR-speak, yes.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
KaiBlob1 wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Helvellyn wrote:
I know it is probably nothing and I shouldn't get my hopes up but this is now showing on the Upcoming Releases section of the Paizo front page.
Thanks for calling that to our attention. It is not upcoming for December and will be removed, as well as Dead God's Hand. Sorry for the false alarm.
So to be clear, there is no news on the release date for this or dead gods hand?

Last week, Erik mentioned that this book is in layout now. I'm not sure exactly what that means time-frame-wise, but my guess is we don't see this book before third quarter of next year?

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

After layout comes copy editing then printing, shipping, order fulfillment. I'd say in 5-6 months time (middle of second quarter 2021).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Oliver von Spreckelsen wrote:
After layout comes copy editing then printing, shipping, order fulfillment. I'd say in 5-6 months time (middle of second quarter 2021).

Spring would be such a bonus! I'm just not sure if they won't delay it a bit were it to look like it would release too close to the Mwangi book.


Sporkedup wrote:
Oliver von Spreckelsen wrote:
After layout comes copy editing then printing, shipping, order fulfillment. I'd say in 5-6 months time (middle of second quarter 2021).
Spring would be such a bonus! I'm just not sure if they won't delay it a bit were it to look like it would release too close to the Mwangi book.

Heavens I hope not. I've been pining for this book over everything else. I'd love if it came out in May, a year after the original release date.


Read somewhere that this book is gonna have a gillmen ancestry but couldnt seem to find a source for that, anyone know if its true?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
KaiBlob1 wrote:
Read somewhere that this book is gonna have a gillmen ancestry but couldnt seem to find a source for that, anyone know if its true?

Do a search for "azarketi". According to the Pathfinder Wiki, that is what they call themselves. I think there might be a relevant posting about them under that name.

Edit: This post is all I could find on the Paizo site. Sorry, but James Jacobs made no specific product mentions for them.

Grand Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Luis Loza said it during PaizoCon and in an interview with the Find the Path people on their twitch stream.
Here a Reddit post that mention both.
The PaizoCon panel he said it in should be available on the Paizo YouTube channel.

Grand Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Find the Path interview

About this book starts at 28:30.
Content breakdown: 31:50
Gillmen mention: 33:00


cool thanks


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I would take anything said that early with a massive grain of salt. They didn't intend to delay this book that much, but now that they have, they may have cut stuff to cram other stuff in.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I would take anything said that early with a massive grain of salt. They didn't intend to delay this book that much, but now that they have, they may have cut stuff to cram other stuff in.

Possibly, though we also know this book got larger when they decided to build the NPC section.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, but recall also that the reason they needed to add all those pages was because they misallocated in the first place.

Also there are certain page amounts that it costs less to print at. Hitting exactly the correct number of pages is what they're paid to do, but I think it is entirely possible there was revisions and layout modifications once they had all the extra writing completed in September. Almost inevitable really.

I also saw on the Lost Omens Ancestry page that there are more surprises in store for that book. Gillmen moving from this to that would certainly be a welcome surprise, and might make sense for both.

Hopefully we'll get news soon.

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I would take anything said that early with a massive grain of salt. They didn't intend to delay this book that much, but now that they have, they may have cut stuff to cram other stuff in.

Not only they said they added page to add more content, but Gillmen are confirmed to have extra feats coming in the Lost Omen Ancestry Guide, and not the full ancestry, so I greatly doubt they would have cut the base ancestry.

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