Sell me on Golarion vs Forgotten Realms & Eberron


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

After reading every single post, being a diehard FRCS fan for years, I think I'll take the plunge and buy the Pathfinder campaign setting when I get paid next.

Selling points for me:
-Realistic histories
-Dark bad guys
-Lack of shining armor knight style good guys
-Paizo made it
-Some of my favorite authors helped with the creation
-The system is endorsed by the All-God Monte Cook
-New take on the Drow and the Underdark
-No Harpers


MerrikCale wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:


Golarion was created by Ed Greenwood AND Keith Baker (among others).
speaking of which is there a list somewhere linking who created what sections?

I don't think so. On the product discussion thread, I think some contributors 'put their hands up' to which parts they wrote, and others clarified which pieces they wrote on the Campaign Setting reference/errata thread in the chronicles forum, but I don't think I've ever seen a comprehensive list anywhere on the boards.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Epic Meepo wrote:
William Edmunds wrote:
Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

The Forgotten Realms setting was created by Ed Greenwood.

The Eberron setting was created by Keith Baker.
Golarion was created by Ed Greenwood AND Keith Baker (among others).

To be more exact... Golarion was created by Paizo's editorial staff, with a big dose of my own 25-year-old homebrew campaign and a lot of design work from others here, particularly Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn.

Both Ed and Keith have written content for Golarion, but I wouldn't say either actually "created" Golarion.

As for who created what sections... that more or less boils down, for the most part, to Erik Mona, Jason Bulmahn, and myself. Some regions were created by other folk; Wes created Ustalav and helped a LOT with Varisia. James Sutter created Hermea. Mike McArtor created Alkenstar. But the majority of the rest was Jason, Erik, and to a lesser extent me (my own focus for creation was on Varisia, Belkzen, Mediogalti Island, Thassilon, and Kyonin).


Epic Meepo wrote:
William Edmunds wrote:
Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

The Forgotten Realms setting was created by Ed Greenwood.

The Eberron setting was created by Keith Baker.
Golarion was created by Ed Greenwood AND Keith Baker (among others).

I don't believe this is correct. Greenwood and Baker were contributing authors to the campaign setting hardcover. Golarion was conceived in-house by Paizo staffers. The cover of my Pathfinder Chronicles Gazetteer, which preceeded the the CS has "By Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn" on the cover.


Sorry, James. Certainly didn't mean to omit you. You beat me to the punch in any case.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So the distinction here is between who created and who wrote each section? Because this Paizo New Release strongly implies that the list of contributing authors had a significant role in writing the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting hardcover.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

DarkWhite wrote:
So the distinction here is between who created and who wrote each section? Because this Paizo New Release strongly implies that the list of contributing authors had a significant role in writing the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting hardcover.

The distinction is between who created the world and who actually wrote up sections of the world. As for how much each of the contributing authors had on that book... that varied from 2 pages for some up to dozens of pages for others. I don't really recall who wrote what, though... Mike McArtor was pretty much in charge of that part of the procedure.

But in most cases, we'd give an author a section to write on, give them the relavent parts from the 64 page gazetteer (written by Erik and Jason with a little more help from me and a few others here at Paizo), and told them to expand on what had already been said. Then we took what they wrote and developed those words into what we needed them to do. In most author cases, that was basically not much more than spell checking and grammar checking. In other cases, rewrites were involved.

In the end, it really was a pretty complicated tangled mess and there wasn't really an easy way to pin down what parts of the whole were written by which author, which is fine, since the whole book does read like it was written by one person. For the most part.


Frostflame wrote:
Well major setting changes if done at all should be done once every five years or so to take the campaign into new and fresh territory. Renewel to a setting is just as important as continuity. Right now things are pretty much new in Golarion and everyone is exploring the regions and possibilites this new magical world has to offer. Once things start slowing down a change should occur to give us something new and more wonderful to explore.

NO. Sorry, but just NO. I don't care if Rise of the Runlords was set in Varisia. There's plenty of room for other adventures there. The idea that an entire region gets "used up" after an adventure, an AP, or a novel is preposterous. The whole of human history on this one planet shows that countless stories exist.

I don't need Setting-Shaking-Events. I don't need FR-Spellplague or WoW-Catastrophe "the land was reshaped" crap. To me, that's writer-laziness.

If Paizo runs into writers block or a dip in sales, explore the damn world. Go to the unmapped regions, go to the other planets in the solar system, go to a different historical period (earlier or later), and I don't mean 5- 10- or 20- years, move the dial a few hundred in one direction or the other. I'LL keep the setting fresh in the smaller increments through the evolution of my campaign.

In other words, be different. You've been kicking butt so far.

P.S. Apologies, Frostflame. I didn't mean to level any of this at you, specifically. However, this "blow-up the setting to keep it new meme" needs to be hacked apart with a bastard sword, 'cause it seems to be getting adopted waaay too frequently.

If I've offended anyone else, I apologize. I'm sure I've probably hacked a whole slew of people off and it's not my intention. I'd type the whole post again, however. Yes, it's that annoying to me.


Hands BPorter a fresh bastard sword.


I don't know if this has been said, but considering that Wizards apparently only releases two books for their settings each year now, I would say that a big draw to Golarion would be actual support for the setting.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
Golarion was created by Ed Greenwood AND Keith Baker (among others).

To be more exact... Golarion was created by Paizo's editorial staff, with a big dose of my own 25-year-old homebrew campaign and a lot of design work from others here, particularly Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn.

Both Ed and Keith have written content for Golarion, but I wouldn't say either actually "created" Golarion.

I apologize for that. I should have said that those authors developed Golarion, not created it. As in: each of those authors further developed an existing part of the world's framework by adding additional details.


BPorter wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
Well major setting changes if done at all should be done once every five years or so to take the campaign into new and fresh territory. Renewel to a setting is just as important as continuity. Right now things are pretty much new in Golarion and everyone is exploring the regions and possibilites this new magical world has to offer. Once things start slowing down a change should occur to give us something new and more wonderful to explore.

NO. Sorry, but just NO. I don't care if Rise of the Runlords was set in Varisia. There's plenty of room for other adventures there. The idea that an entire region gets "used up" after an adventure, an AP, or a novel is preposterous. The whole of human history on this one planet shows that countless stories exist.

I don't need Setting-Shaking-Events. I don't need FR-Spellplague or WoW-Catastrophe "the land was reshaped" crap. To me, that's writer-laziness.

I'll second that!

Hands BPorter a chainsaw...

GRU

Dark Archive

So far for me Golarion is superior to FR because there is no overarching Metaplot.
And I certainly hope that PAIZO will never ever com up with some Golarion equivalent of the "time of troubles" or, Asmodeu forbid "the spellplague".
I hope, that in the years to come, Golarion will not be defind by the timeline but by a broader exploration of the whole world.

There is still so much to to write about the lands of the Setting Book.

And if these lands are explored,there is room for the Golarion version of
- the "american" continent
- the "indian" subcontinent
- the "asian" continent

If if PAIZO has done these, then of course there are the various planets orbiting Golarion's sun.

But hopefully we never see an evolving "official" timeline. This is when canon begins INHO opinion and when Sanbox Style campaigns start to crumble, because players demand or DMs want their Golarion to be "official".


BPorter wrote:
Frostflame wrote:
Well major setting changes if done at all should be done once every five years or so to take the campaign into new and fresh territory. Renewel to a setting is just as important as continuity. Right now things are pretty much new in Golarion and everyone is exploring the regions and possibilites this new magical world has to offer. Once things start slowing down a change should occur to give us something new and more wonderful to explore.

NO. Sorry, but just NO. I don't care if Rise of the Runlords was set in Varisia. There's plenty of room for other adventures there. The idea that an entire region gets "used up" after an adventure, an AP, or a novel is preposterous. The whole of human history on this one planet shows that countless stories exist.

I don't need Setting-Shaking-Events. I don't need FR-Spellplague or WoW-Catastrophe "the land was reshaped" crap. To me, that's writer-laziness.

If Paizo runs into writers block or a dip in sales, explore the damn world. Go to the unmapped regions, go to the other planets in the solar system, go to a different historical period (earlier or later), and I don't mean 5- 10- or 20- years, move the dial a few hundred in one direction or the other. I'LL keep the setting fresh in the smaller increments through the evolution of my campaign.

In other words, be different. You've been kicking butt so far.

P.S. Apologies, Frostflame. I didn't mean to level any of this at you, specifically. However, this "blow-up the setting to keep it new meme" needs to be hacked apart with a bastard sword, 'cause it seems to be getting adopted waaay too frequently.

If I've offended anyone else, I apologize. I'm sure I've probably hacked a whole slew of people off and it's not my intention. I'd type the whole post again, however. Yes, it's that annoying to me.

No I dont mean crazy earth shattering events like the Forgotten Realms Spell Plague. Those should be so rare of an occurence that it happens once every 5000 or 10000 years. But like you said have small increments of changes slowly build up and then after about 5 or 10 years of real time have a major shift happen in the campaign setting. A major change happens in one nation, and the effects are gradually felt by the surrounding nations over time. These kinds of changes are needed. This could be something simple as the River Kingdoms unifying under one strong Monarch who then sets about to conquer his neighbours. New scenarios and plots open up from something like this.


Frostflame, your explanation puts what you were saying in a different light. I will sit back and ponder as the exchange goes forward.

Tower shield?


Diya wrote:
I don't know if this has been said, but considering that Wizards apparently only releases two books for their settings each year now, I would say that a big draw to Golarion would be actual support for the setting.

Bingo!


Tharen the Damned wrote:

But hopefully we never see an evolving "official" timeline. This is when canon begins INHO opinion and when Sanbox Style campaigns start to crumble, because players demand or DMs want their Golarion to be "official".

This sums it up nicely. I know some are fans of the "big-event" shake-ups to settings, but I'm not.

If the official timeline is pushed out, for example, 5 years, and topples a monarchy or establishes one where one wasn't before, you might see a blip in renewed interest. The questions I would ask, however, are these:

1. Is the event big enough to warrant a setting "re-boot"/shake-up? If not, then why are you doing it? (Other than to boost sales, which is a goal for the business, not the GMs and players)

2. What if my established campaign is set there? I've taken that region/country in my own direction. Do I have to scrap it to stay "official"? Do I keep to my campaign and potentially diminish the usefulness of the future supplements?

I still submit that you're better off looking at other eras, timelines. I mean, which of the following is more worthy of a reboot/update:

A1. Golarion - As written. The current age.
A2. Golarion, 5 years later - The River Kingdoms are now united as a new nation, Magnimar has dominated the Varisia region as Korvosa's monarchy never recovered from Queen Ileosa's rule, and Cheliax has been freed from the iron heel of Infernal influence.

or...

B1. Golarion - As written. The current age.
B2. Golarion - Fire & War. Set 70 years before the original time of the Golarion setting, the Second Mendevian Crusade draws the righteous and just from Cheliax, leaving it vulnerable in its time of need. Go back to an earlier day in Golarion's history and witness the rise of the House of Thrune firsthand. Play as your favorite characters ancestors in a time when Golarion seemed consumed by fire & war.

or...

C1. Golarion - As written. The current age.
C2. Golarion - Age of Enlightenment. His death marked the begining of an age. His rebirth marks the beginning of another. See Golarion a 1000 years in the future, as Golarion's Renaissance is thrown into chaos by the return of Aroden. Firearms have replaced gained dominance in the armies and navies of the world as kingdoms seek to claim dominance of the not just the globe but Golarion's sister worlds as well.

I've been down the "We're moving the timeline slightly forward" route twice now. Once with Greyhawk, once with Forgotten Realms. I didn't care for either, as both messed big-time with my campaign continuity.

Don't advance the timeline. Explore the uncharted territories or pick a different era.


What would you people here say is the basic "theme" of Golarion?

Most settings have something that makes them unique, like "mingling with outsiders in the planes", "surviving in the ruins of a desert world", "kingdoms at war", or "elves in space". What is Golarion about?

I once flipped through a kind of Golarion setting book, I think. But I only saw a couple of countries which are closely modeled after real world countries and societies? What's the greater whole that is made of these?


Neithan wrote:
What would you people here say is the basic "theme" of Golarion?

perhaps everything. It is very diverse. You can do pretty much everything in Golarion even the elves in space


Sorry if this should be on another thread but has Golarion got blank lands?
By that I mean specific areas which will *never* be offically developed so that the DM can make them his own without the hard work going down the tubes?


Neithan wrote:

What would you people here say is the basic "theme" of Golarion?

Most settings have something that makes them unique, like "mingling with outsiders in the planes", "surviving in the ruins of a desert world", "kingdoms at war", or "elves in space". What is Golarion about?

I once flipped through a kind of Golarion setting book, I think. But I only saw a couple of countries which are closely modeled after real world countries and societies? What's the greater whole that is made of these?

I would concur with those other posters who have so far indicated that it is far from simple to identify Golarion with a single 'theme'. However, if you want a pretentiously clever* label for Golarion my choice would be 'realism-magic' - sort of what happens when you have world with magic which behaves in a relatively earthlike manner with regard to resulting societies, nations, politics, etc.

BUT in my opinion it really does Golarion a disservice to try to summarise something so organic in so very few words. (Might 'organic' be another description that could be any use?)

*fun poke at myself, please note; I am given to occasional flights of grandiose pseudo-intellectual waffle ;)

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Without things changing in a setting it ends up feeling like a static world. I want to play in a living world, where things change and events have consequences. I don't think we need a spellplague or a time of troubles, in fact I think both are counterproductive, but it seems completely unbelievable, even in a fantasy setting, that over the course of five or ten years not a single nation's government changes hands, not a single border skirmish erupts, there are no natural disasters, no changes anywhere. Nothing is obsolesced by minor changes like these, but they go a long way to make the setting seem more alive. If your campaign is set in Korvosa and you don't play CotCT, then you don't change the monarch. Or you do. That's up to you. But the city's still there and you can have as much an "official" campaign as anyone else, because no one ever runs everything word for word out of the book.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Without things changing in a setting it ends up feeling like a static world.

I tend to agree in general, but given the approach Paizo takes with the adventure paths this will probably take a long time to happen. As long as they keep exploring different regions of their world there's probably not much to worry about.

The problem will arise when they decide to revisit places they've already been before (let's say, Varisa). You can do only so much in a specific region at a given time before the reader starts to wonder why the people in city A never seem to hear about the events in city B. And while it's easy to reference the events of the old APs the opposite is obviously much more difficult to do. You would assume, for example, that the PCs hear about the trouble in Korvosa when they visit Magnimar in the Runelords-AP.

Now, speaking as a DM I've no problems to do this for myself if I wish to, I'm also quite capable of doing my own timeline for my own campaign.

But speaking as a reader I wouldn't mind seeing some dynamic development of Golarions timeline at some point in the future. No world-shaking event, necessarily, but I guess that I'd love to see Paizo's vision for Varisia after the events in Korvosa to use the example once again.

Yeah I know, that this will lead to the problem that said AP couldn't be played without going back in time, but then it has already been suggested to do an AP placed in Golarion's past so I wonder why this should be much of a problem given that CotCP probably never will be reprinted and future Paizo fans will have their hand full with all those more recent APs.

Dark Archive

BPorter wrote:

This sums it up nicely. I know some are fans of the "big-event" shake-ups to settings, but I'm not.

If the official timeline is pushed out, for example, 5 years, and topples a monarchy or establishes one where one wasn't before, you might see a blip in renewed interest. The questions I would ask, however, are these: -snip-

and

yoda8myhead wrote:
Without things changing in a setting it ends up feeling like a static world. I want to play in a living world, where things change and events have consequences. I don't think we need a spellplague or a time of troubles, in fact I think both are counterproductive, but it seems completely unbelievable, even in a fantasy setting, that over the course of five or ten years not a single nation's government changes hands, not a single border skirmish erupts, there are no natural disasters, no changes anywhere. Nothing is obsolesced by minor changes like these, but they go a long way to make the setting seem more alive. If your campaign is set in Korvosa and you don't play CotCT, then you don't change the monarch. Or you do. That's up to you. But the city's still there and you can have as much an "official" campaign as anyone else, because no one ever runs everything word for word out of the book.

I think the APs go a long way to shape Golarion for each individual group. Look at CotCT and what it does to a certain city in Varisia. Look at the possible repercussions if a certain sleeping Wizard is woken and left to his own devices. And look at what can and will happen if somebody claims the Legacy of Fire.

But the good thing is, that every DM can decide if he wants to include these APs or not.

Or I can use my own twist on Golarion and make something ugly happen in Osirion because time has run out for them...

And the good thing is: I know that I can do it without worrying that later on PAIZO will use Osirion in a Metaplot and change the whole story so I have to jump through hoops to keep up with "official" products.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Well I think one 'blip' that should be addressed three or 5 years down the road is the death of the ruler of Taldor and the succession.

It would actually change very little either way. You'd have some internal revolts, the faces on the currency would change, and you'd see the borders shift a little as the chaos hit, but Taldor wouldn't cease to exist.

A few modules set in the 'troubled' areas, and the fate of Taldor's expansion/contraction could be determined by the Pathfinder Society and which faction 'won' the year prior.

For example:

Spoiler:
Taldor wins - Princess Eutropia is confirmed as the first Empress. She launches a campaign of diplomacy and guile, expanding the borders for the first time in decades, Qadria suffers the most.

Qadria wins - Senator Karthis gets his wish and the armies march south, at which point they're propperly slaughtered. As Qadria pushes north, the empress is forced to sue for peace. Qadria, not wanting to over extend, is content to take some key cities and tribute.

Osiron wins. - The heating up of the war results in a stalemate, Osiron takes advantage of the conflict to become more independant.

Cheliax wins - Princess Eutropia never takes the throne. The resulting low key civil war weakens Taldor further, allowing the church of Asmodaeus to get a foothold in the country as the unbearded see security in stability. Many nobles become more hedonistic and depraved.

Andoran wins - Princess Eutropia becomes Emperess, but has to conceed large amounts of power to the senate. Taldor seems to turn inward, but it is to repair and restore infrastructure, the beginnings of a middle class start to appear and influence individual provinces.

No major changes that render cannon worthless, but there's still a change, and the players around the world affected the change.


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

Golarion has it's share of RSEs ... uhm ... GSEs: the Starfall 10000 years ago and the death of Aroden just 100 years ago. Both were really big catastrophes (the last one much like the spellplague in the Realms), but there's a difference: at all times did we look back at them, we didn't experience these events first hand. They were part of the canon when we made our firsts steps in this new world. It would be quite different, I think, if Pathfinder started a few years before Aroden's death. The change this event brought would have affected us in a much greater scale.

So, we do have big worldshaping catastrophes in the setting, but none that affects the Golarion as we know it, changing it to something different. I hope that these events will continue to be exceedingly rare in the future (much rarer as in the Realms of the last years).

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lanx wrote:
Golarion has it's share of RSEs ... uhm ... GSEs: the Starfall 10000 years ago and the death of Aroden just 100 years ago. Both were really big catastrophes (the last one much like the spellplague in the Realms), but there's a difference: at all times did we look back at them, we didn't experience these events first hand.

And I guess that's the difference. WSEs (^^) in the past of a setting create opportunities (See the Fall of Netheril in the Realms). While this is also true for WSEs taking place at the present, those ones equally destroy opportunities. That's why they should be used cautiously and sparingly (if at all).

The Exchange

Matthew Morris wrote:
As Qadria pushes north, the empress is forced to sue for peace. Qadria, not wanting to over extend, is content to take some key cities and tribute.

This is so wrong. Why should we let the brave people of Taldor let suffer under decadent, incompetent rulers, if we have the opportunity to free them all and allow them to join our splendid empire? That would be truly irresponsible.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Azadeh Talat wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
As Qadria pushes north, the empress is forced to sue for peace. Qadria, not wanting to over extend, is content to take some key cities and tribute.
This is so wrong. Why should we let the brave people of Taldor let suffer under decadent, incompetent rulers, if we have the opportunity to free them all and allow them to join our splendid empire? That would be truly irresponsible.

Well it fits with the faction goals, strength through trade. You push north and wring concessions out of them. It gives a buffer state from other powers and increases your own influence. "Well I understand you've had a deal to bring the Taldan wines into Absalom, but that was before Qadria liberated the port. Now you'll have to renegotiate..."

(That and my example shifts the borders slightly, not wipes Taldor off the map in an GSE.)


MerrikCale wrote:
Neithan wrote:
What would you people here say is the basic "theme" of Golarion?
perhaps everything. It is very diverse. You can do pretty much everything in Golarion even the elves in space

Not to take any fun away from people who enjoy it. But in this case "everything" sounds pretty much like "nothing" to me.

In germany DSA is a very popular game, which apparently follows a similar premise. I didn't get it's appeal either.

But well, this doesn't have to be a problem for anyone. Just thought I might have gotten Golarion just wrong.

Sovereign Court

Eberron wins.

I really haven't got anything else to say. I still hold Eberron as the most inspiring campaign world.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Neithan wrote:
In germany DSA is a very popular game, which apparently follows a similar premise. I didn't get it's appeal either.

I agree that Dere (the DSA world) and Golarion share certain similarities. I guess, "everything" means to me that they have much more simulationistic elements than let's say, Eberron. In my mind they both are what the Realms could have been if wholly developed under the control of Ed Greenwood without being influenced by major business decisions.

For me settings with a specific theme shouldn't be created on a larger scale than a nation (or maybe a country). This has to do with how our own world functions. Golarion is much more similar to our own world than Eberron is. That's the appeal it has for me: not being a monolithic setting without diversity.

Now not to be misunderstood, I'm a huge Eberron fan but as I found out for myself there are stories clearly written to be told in Eberron and there are others that aren't.

That's what makes Golarion so appealing: I have yet to find a story I'd like to tell which I can't tell in Golarion. And through all this diversity it succeeds in feeling like one world, not a bunch of different settings thrown together.

P.S. May be I could express myself a bit better: I didn't mean that there are storys that can't be told in Eberron. But there are storys without the elements making Eberron such a specific place. Which most often mean that major rewriting is due to make it fittin into the setting without changing Eberron to [insert generic place].

Dark Archive

Matthew Morris wrote:

A few modules set in the 'troubled' areas, and the fate of Taldor's expansion/contraction could be determined by the Pathfinder Society and which faction 'won' the year prior.

So Cheliax will finally get a Vassal?

Cool!


Modera wrote:
Golarian from Eberron? Well, Eberron does have the problem that once you hit level 13, the books basically describe you as stronger than anyone on the main continent.

That's a feature, not a bug! I like having the really high-level dangers (giants, dragons, outsiders, epic spellcasters) far away in my campaign world.


Neithan wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
Neithan wrote:
What would you people here say is the basic "theme" of Golarion?
perhaps everything. It is very diverse. You can do pretty much everything in Golarion even the elves in space

Not to take any fun away from people who enjoy it. But in this case "everything" sounds pretty much like "nothing" to me.

In germany DSA is a very popular game, which apparently follows a similar premise. I didn't get it's appeal either.

But well, this doesn't have to be a problem for anyone. Just thought I might have gotten Golarion just wrong.

If you want a very specific flavour pick an appropriate country. 'Arabian nights'? Use Katapesh, Qadira or maybe Jalmeray. 'Frontier area with ancient magic-laden ruins'? Use Varisia. 'Evil realm with tyrannical overlord(s)'? Use Nidal or Cheliax. 'Gothic horror'? Use Ustalav. 'Merchants and intrigue'? Use Druma. 'Guerillas vs invaders'? Use Nirmathas vs Molthune. 'Crusade against evil/chaos'? Use Lastwall vs Belkzen or Mendev vs the World Wound. 'Decaying (Byzantine) Roman empire'? Use Taldor. 'Natives vs colonists'? Use Sargava. 'Ancient Egypt'? Use Osirion. 'Vikings'? Use Land of the Linnorm Kings. And that has nowhere near exhausted the options. Somewhere, if you want to run a game with a particular taste, there is probably a country close enough to what you want.

Edit:
The companion book for that country may not yet be out, but at some point I assume that it will be.

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