Sell me on Golarion vs Forgotten Realms & Eberron


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.


William Edmunds wrote:
So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

The #1 thing I like about Golarion is the complete absence of "canon lawyers" at the present time. It makes a cool setting for "sandbox" style campaigns, which is how I DM my games.

For me, 3.5E Forgotten Realms was completely ruined by the presence of hardcore FR "canon lawyers". IMHO, this style of lawyering is even more insidious than "rules lawyering".


Factions. One thing Paizo is doing well is making the interactions of the various factions and powers of Golarion interesting.

FR is great, I absolutly loved it when I bought the original grey box set. I think it sufferes from bloat and the silly concept that the novels are 'core' to the setting, but if that's cool with you it's a rich detailed setting.

Eberron is amazing if you want the 'pulp' feel that it embraces. I have wanted to play in an Eberron campaign since it was launced, but the closest I have been able to get is having an Artificer cohort in a high level campaign.

Golarion is awesome for the factions and Kingdom interactions. My current love is Qadira obviously, but the other factions and their interactions all seem very well thought out and promises a lot of interesting stories to be told.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
ggroy wrote:
William Edmunds wrote:
So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

The #1 thing I like about Golarion is the complete absence of "canon lawyers" at the present time. It makes a cool setting for "sandbox" style campaigns, which is how I DM my games.

For me, 3.5E Forgotten Realms was completely ruined by the presence hardcore FR "canon lawyers". IMHO, this style of lawyering is even more insidious than "rules lawyering".

As a benefit this remains a giant "yet" as the cannon doesn't exist yet, and so no cannon lawyering can be done. That being said, I have seen some of that already.

Still a clean slate is nice to work with from time to time, and is why WotC nuked FR the way they did.


Galnörag wrote:
ggroy wrote:

The #1 thing I like about Golarion is the complete absence of "canon lawyers" at the present time. It makes a cool setting for "sandbox" style campaigns, which is how I DM my games.

For me, 3.5E Forgotten Realms was completely ruined by the presence hardcore FR "canon lawyers". IMHO, this style of lawyering is even more insidious than "rules lawyering".

As a benefit this remains a giant "yet" as the cannon doesn't exist yet, and so no cannon lawyering can be done. That being said, I have seen some of that already.

Still a clean slate is nice to work with from time to time, and is why WotC nuked FR the way they did.

Hopefully Golarion will not suffer from "canon bloat" too soon, and that "canon lawyers" will not be taking over too soon. Otherwise, that's when I'll be jumping off the Pathfinder/Golarion "treadmill" and cease being a customer of Paizo's Pathfinder products.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
ggroy wrote:


Hopefully Golarion will not suffer from "canon bloat" too soon, and that "canon lawyers" will not be taking over too soon. Otherwise, that's when I'll be jumping off the Pathfinder/Golarion "treadmill" and cease being a customer of Paizo's Pathfinder products.

1) it is inevitable, in fairness to FR its OOOOOLLLLLDDDDD, it has been around since First Edition, and has been a venerable and important part of gaming culture. If it sunsets a little in its dotage it doesn't mean it is bad, it just means its stories have been told

2) it is hardly a reason to abandon Paizo, hopefully they will do what any good company does and keep up old campaign worlds while the explore new ones.

3) PFRPG is campaign world independent, actually even the APs could comfortable be put in any home brew or preexisting campaign without great strife. So really absolutes seem unreasonable?

Liberty's Edge

Hey, guys....I got this handled.

Go to the paizo blog.
Go to "all of the following are true."
Now.......buy the stuff.

Scarab Sages

I like a lot of crunch. Don't have much problems with canon. Have a ton of problems paying to keep up with canon. Golarion, as pointed out, doesn't have much canon going, yet. It makes it easier to integrate the world. At this point, I don't have to worry a lot about running a home brewed adventure followed by an off-the-shelf adventure and the two providing conflicting story lines or history.


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To be fair, I liked that the FR novels were canon, but the scope of the novels changed from 1st to 2nd to 3rd edition. Most of the people I know that wanted them to be canon wanted it because they liked Character X who was the King's cousin that might show up again in a sourcebook or novel in the future, but by the time 3rd edition rolled around, it wasn't minor character continuity or cultural quirks that were "canon," it was "oh, half or Cormyr is ravaged by this army, and dragons destroyed this or that, but you aren't getting a sourcebook to sort any of it out, and it may or may not end up being important to the next RSE trilogy that has already started before the last crisis ended."

In other words, it seemed like, Avatar books excluded, most novels in the 1st and 2nd edition timeframe tended to tells stories about characters that fleshed out a given region, whereas series at the end of 2nd and throughout 3rd had major ramifications for whole countries and organizations. That should have never been the case.


Galnörag wrote:
PFRPG is campaign world independent, actually even the APs could comfortable be put in any home brew or preexisting campaign without great strife. So really absolutes seem unreasonable?

I don't play 3.5E/Pathfinder at all these days. I'm using Golarion for my 4E D&D game.

I haven't been using the Pathfinder adventure paths and modules that extensively yet, other than taking some of the storylines and encounters for my homebrew 4E game.

Essentially my 4E game consists of homebrew adventures done in a Golarion "sandbox".

Scarab Sages

Most (all?) of the "Companion" line is written crunch free and specifically for the PLAYERS. It's been a couple of months since I cracked the cover on the Campaign Setting, but, I believe it is free of crunch as well. This makes it REAL easy to use the world for any rules you want to, really.


Well its as the designers said "Its your Game" Yu have a setting and its up to you to take it in the direction you want without worrying about what is canon and what isnt canon. Its as the name suggests Pathfinder, find your own path...


If Golarion "canon lawyers" keep on saying "you can't do that" over and over, I mind as well just make up my own world. In the past I did this when I had a lot more time and patience. These days I don't have much of either to devote to world making.

Constantly arguing with "canon lawyers" about "you can't do that" over and over, just puts a complete damper on the game for the DM and other players. This was my unfortunate experience with playing several 3.5E FR games, which had one or more FR "canon lawyers" playing.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
William Edmunds wrote:
So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

Golarian from FR? Less bloat is the main thing, and more room to work around. Can't say much more, I tend to shy away from FR.

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. Granted, there are some nice epic level threats, just none between level 12 and 20.

From what I've run:

Golarian allows for horror and traditional campaigns, and can easily jump into the noir territory if you want.

Eberron allows for the Noir, and has trouble getting away from it. It has these really great moviesque moments when you are level 7, which then go away once you're too high level.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Well, the perks I can see for Golarion are manyfold.


  • Designed to integrate from the beginning a 'patchwork' of cultures, similar but not carbon copies of earth cultures.
  • Oblique references to past creations in the RPG universe, and nods to many of the same inspirational sources that EGG and co. drew from.
  • More mature content. Not in the 'look! boobies!' sense, but in the moral conflict kind of maturity. In Faerun, Thay (pre-nuke) was really seen as 'that evil nation over there' in Golarion, Cheliax is 'Here's an evil nation, and here's options on playing a character from there.' Slavery is also touched on in a more mature and historical context.
  • Gnomes rock. Seriously, this is the first take on gnomes that makes me want to play one.
  • No concern of players going "Well in obscure book X, overpowered class Y is said to be common!"

For the Realms (pre-nuke)


  • Well developed (some say overfarmed) campaign setting.
  • A bit more PG in most areas. Black hats are pretty clearly defined.
  • A huge following online, with lots of fans and fan sites.
  • Easy to end a game "Mystra dies, nukes go off, all your spellcasters explode violently."

For Eberron


  • 4x fluff is mostly compatible
  • Lots of options from Ruin raiding to court intrigue (This holds for Golarion too)
  • psionics pre-integrated
  • Halflings rock.

For me, Golarion has the intrigue of Eberron, the expansiveness of the Realms, and lots of great nods to the past and my childhood.

In the end, play whatever realm you're comfortable in.


EricTheRed wrote:
Most (all?) of the "Companion" line is written crunch free and specifically for the PLAYERS. It's been a couple of months since I cracked the cover on the Campaign Setting, but, I believe it is free of crunch as well. This makes it REAL easy to use the world for any rules you want to, really.

So far I've been using the Golarion books in exactly this manner for my 4E D&D "sandbox" game based in Golarion.


It's interesting, I have not seen the faction considerations that are mentioned by others, but then I am just purchasing and using the the Adventure Paths rather than any of the organized play stuff (where factions come from).

One of the core concepts with Golarion was the intention to build the world up through the adventures rather than through source books. I believe this was one of the things that many of the key authors loved about Greyhawk back in the day. In contrast, Forgotten Realms (and this is coming from a former Forgotten Realms junky) seemed to be built by source books.

I don't know that I personally feel this is 'better' just a stylistic difference. I think it does certainly make things more approachable for someone just wanting to get into it. On the other hand, Paizo is kicking out adventures at a crazy rate, so only the really invested are going to be able to afford the subscriptions to the adventure paths, game mastery modules, and all the convention level modules that are being put out. What's more is that the longer someone takes to "get on board" the further out ahead the adventures get, and older ones (the ones introducing the world being built through adventures) go out of print after a while.

This also means that there has not been a lot of crunch that has been added to the game through all of the supplements. A FR book would come out and have many new feats and prestige classes to help flavor the characters to the area, and there is a lot less of that in the Pathfinder stuff to date (and what has been released is generally severely underbalanced to the point that most people look at it and just walk away), with the occasional gem here or there.

Despite many of the designers love for Grey Hawk, the core idea that they would like any type of game to fit somewhere into Golarion does give it a feel that is closer to Forgotten Realms than Grey Hawk (this was also a core concept in designing FR).

I don't know that it really does compare to Eberron as they are just very different. Eberron has a very different feel, purposefully, than other fantasy games that sets it apart. For good or bad it is unique.

I suppose another inescapable factor would be that Golarion continued to have 3.5 support while FR and Eberron changed to 4E. Of course, now it depends on your preference between 4E and Pathfinder to determine if the continued support thing is a factor (personally I am still on the fence as to moving to PRPG or if converting will be worth my time, or if I am converting anyway should I just move to 4E).

Another point for an FR fan would be some of the talent they have on board here at Paizo. For example, Sean K Reynolds is one of the major people doing write ups for the gods of Golarion (and a lot of other things) on a regular basis, and you will see he had a major stamp on fleshing out the gods of Forgotten Realms as well. Long time Grey Hawk fans will see the same thing with names here.

Anyway... for me the big thing is that Paizo seems better at telling the stories in adventure form than does WotC so far. If you want to make up and run your own campaigns, I think you would find less with Paizo. If you like taking a pre-published adventure or adventure path and customizing it to fit your players and make an indepth and interesting story, then Paizo is making the products that you want.

Sean Mahoney


Galnörag wrote:
As a benefit this remains a giant "yet" as the cannon doesn't exist yet, and so no cannon lawyering can be done. That being said, I have seen some of that already.

At the present time, the players in my Golarion 4E game aren't really familiar with Golarion or Pathfinder in general. None of them have bought any Pathfinder books yet. Hence that's probably why there hasn't been any Golarion "canon lawyering" going on in my game so far.

This may change in the future if I ever play/DM a game with somebody who is a hardcore fan of Pathfinder and Golarion.


KnightErrantJR wrote:
whereas series at the end of 2nd and throughout 3rd had major ramifications for whole countries and organizations. That should have never been the case.

Issues like this was what many FR "canon lawyers" were constantly harping about, in several 3.5E FR games I was playing in. In the cases where the DM was not current on the up-to-date FR canon, these 3.5E games became huge arguments over the "canon lawyers" saying "you can't do that" because of X, Y, and Z from recent novels A, B, and C, while the DM was making counterarguments and other stuff. (Meanwhile the other players were falling asleep or nodding off).


William Edmunds wrote:
So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

Golarion is not a 'squeaky clean' setting. Warped ogrekin lurk in the hills. Zon-Kuthon and Lamashtu are on the deities list. Ancient Thassilonian mages practised 'sin' magic, subscribing to 'ideals' of Lust (enchantment), Wrath (evocation), Gluttony (necromancy), Sloth (conjuration), Envy (abjuration), Pride (illusion) and Greed (transmutation).

The setting has bite; granted this may be a reason precisely why the setting is not for some people though....


Charles Evans 25 wrote:
William Edmunds wrote:
So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

Golarion is not a 'squeaky clean' setting. Warped ogrekin lurk in the hills. Zon-Kuthon and Lamashtu are on the deities list. Ancient Thassilonian mages practised 'sin' magic, subscribing to 'ideals' of Lust (enchantment), Wrath (evocation), Gluttony (necromancy), Sloth (conjuration), Envy (abjuration), Pride (illusion) and Greed (transmutation).

The setting has bite; granted this may be a reason precisely why the setting is not for some people though....

well the reasons you mentioned kind of make Golarion a highly R rated setting. And when it comes to Zon Kuthon make that NC-17. I think maybe the only rpg concept that freaked me out. I read about him from Curse of the Crimson Throne...Its Hellraiser meets Cthulu. You will laugh but when I read his section from Skeletons of Scarwall i couldnt sleep at night...And with Urgathoa running around, this chick freaks me more than Lamashtu, This only serves as lure to create a strong champion of the light.

Dark Archive

I like the campaign setting a lot. Granted my first experience with this setting was the Curse of the Crimson Throne. We never did reach the end and stopped just shy of the need to confront a Shuanti God.

Reasons I like the setting?

1) Caden Cailean. Literally I love this god, the concept that some guy got drunk, took the test for godhood and became a god, is utterly hilarious to me.

2) My Cleric for the Crimson Throne Campaign was a pantheist. He was a supporter of Many Gods and therefore I had to come into more in depth knowledge of the pantheon. Urgathoa, Zon-Kuthon, Rovagug, Hell even Asmodeus, (pun intended) are all interesting gods from the newer viewpoint. Now that I'm running players through Second Darkness, I have to say with each bit of Golarion lore I learn, it only serves to make things more interesting.

3) This isn't your children's DnD. There is a lot of mature content sure, but its dealt with from a realistic viewpoint. You can gloss over it as well, but in the end you can easily see that Paizo is not pulling punches, they wanted a gritty and real world setting, one that emphasizes the shades of Grey. As a person I explore the shades of grey more often than not, and I love that I have a world setting that does this as well.

Scarab Sages

If your players ever pull Setting Canon on you Pull a real cannon on them...

It's your game, it becomes your setting,

"There's a shimmer in the air..." poof now you just created the point at which the timeline split...

I loved Eberron for the pulp feel, FR was getting to be too much to track for me with all the canon, so I dropped it for Eberron...

Golarion I love because I can run anything I want there...from Alkenstar and the Zobeck, to running Expedition to the Barrier Peaks...it's all avaiable, I cxan leave Golarion and head to Akiton if I feel like running a Space 1889 style adventure...


Being fair, I'm not sure I can give you any objective reason why, given how they're both pretty much the same premise, any concept available in Golarion can be found at FR and viceversa. All I can tell you is the FR just failed to hook me somehow regardless of all the years of persistent fame, whereas Golarion hooked me up right away, and I've been in love with it ever since.

Hmm ok, now that I think about it, there might be a couple differences in the premise:

1) Golarian gods aren't nosy, they leave the people be. I always like being able to play without feeling some deity breathing down my IC neck at all times, also it's nice not to have the damn gods shoved down my throat at every turn and play a no-deity Paladin or Ranger if I want to.

2) Part of the 'no canonbloat' thing discussed above. You won't find heroes around every corner and underneath every rock. Players can feel secure in their role as the story's protagonists without fear of damn Elminster-whatshisname stealing their thunder. This part, however, inevitably won't last long as, let no one tell you otherwise, with success comes merchandising, and with merchandising come NOVELS (that without even counting the 5 existing APs, which already give canon-mongers lots of canon to cling to). The levels of canon-bloat in Golarion will be exponentially proportional to the game's success and directly proportional to its longevity. No ifs, ands, or buts.


Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:

If your players ever pull Setting Canon on you Pull a real cannon on them...

It's your game, it becomes your setting,

"There's a shimmer in the air..." poof now you just created the point at which the timeline split...

A few DMs pulled that on a some Forgotten Realms games I played (and other FR games I'm aware of), when they finally got fed up with the FR "canon lawyers".

What ended up happening was the game went from 5 players to suddenly 1 or 2 players. The 2, 3 or 4 FR "canon lawyers" revolted and walked out, which essentially ended the game abruptly. Most of the time, the DMs had a hard time finding other players to replace the players who abruptly walked out and never came back.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
William Edmunds wrote:
So I've got a bunch of FG and Eberron books from D&D 3.5. Tell me what distinguishes Golarion from FG and Eberron and why I should check it out.

If you're running your own adventures and are just looking for a fleshed out world to set them in, I don't think Golarion is substantially better than several other campaign settings out there. (I think it's very good - but others are very good too).

In my opinion, the main advantage of Golarion is that you can use the Paizo adventure paths and modules easily. That's where I believe Paizo is hands-down the best in the business - in the adventures they produce. Of course you can tweak their modules/APs to fit any campaign world, but it's so much easier to build an immersive story if the character concepts your players are coming up with are derived from the same background material as was used in generating the adventures.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One thing that sets Golarion apart from the others is that it is heavily adventure-centric and PC-centric, which is a direct result of Paizo's business model of relying on adventures for much of their revenue. The assumption of the setting is that at the end of the adventure, the PCs have saved the day and everything is back to "normal" or at least pretty close. Huge events that could destroy or shape the world are always narrowly avoided due to the influence of the PCs. The Adventure Paths all deal with this kind of thing, where a giant meteor is deflected or a crazy archmage is defeated before he can raze an entire country.

I doubt that model will change very much, even if Paizo does license some novels and such, especially if they keep their writers on a short leash. Now, I'm not opposed to a Time of Troubles-style event that reshapes a lot of the world (the Return of Aroden, or an explanation of his disappearance perhaps?), but I'm sure Paizo will involve their organized play in the whole shebang and there will probably be an Adventure Path to go along with it. But rest assured that there will be more problems to solve after it.

If a big event like that is on the horizon, I would encourage Paizo to continue to publish adventures and material that deals with earlier time periods. Call it "Golarion Classic." It would reinforce the idea that Golarion is a mutable world beholden to the players and their DM, not to an established corporate canon.

In fact, let me just suggest to any Paizo officials that are reading this that an Adventure Path set in an earlier time period than the present would be AWESOME. Maybe something dealing with the killing of one of the Spawn of Rovagug, perhaps? (Hint hint).

Anyways, I like Golarion a lot, I like FR a lot, and I think Eberron has one or two good ideas (but I'm not a huge fan overall). But I will be gaming in Golarion and my homebrew setting for a long time to come.

Grand Lodge

well, I expect my opinion may be a BIT unpopular of the other settings. To me, Forgotten Realms more than any other setting, seemed a great setting for teenagers looking for innocent laughs and giggles without worrying about any dark, moral undertones. Even their bad guys were sort of nice compared to Golarion bad guys.

Heck, even their Drow were just misunderstood good guys aingsting about the fall of their race.

Golarion is a fantasy setting for adults. The bad guys are really bad. The good guys are not spit shined and gooey. The stories can be quite mature and take you on a ride you won't forget.

But that is just my opinion.


I think that FR is taking a lot of unfair hits in this thread, but I don't really want to pull it off topic to address them. I think that perception had certainly become reality in some cases, however, and I don't fully blame some of the people that may have picked up the perception of the setting that developed over time.

But I think its still doing the setting a disservice.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Krome wrote:
To me, Forgotten Realms more than any other setting, seemed a great setting for teenagers looking for innocent laughs and giggles without worrying about any dark, moral undertones. Even their bad guys were sort of nice compared to Golarion bad guys.

Hm, doesn't sound like my Realms at all. ^^


Krome wrote:

well, I expect my opinion may be a BIT unpopular of the other settings. To me, Forgotten Realms more than any other setting, seemed a great setting for teenagers looking for innocent laughs and giggles without worrying about any dark, moral undertones. Even their bad guys were sort of nice compared to Golarion bad guys.

Heck, even their Drow were just misunderstood good guys aingsting about the fall of their race.

Golarion is a fantasy setting for adults. The bad guys are really bad. The good guys are not spit shined and gooey. The stories can be quite mature and take you on a ride you won't forget.

But that is just my opinion.

Actually your quite correct about the realms. However to be fair to the realms times were alot different back in the late eighties when it first came out. The subject matter found in Golarion today would have been censored.

Contributor

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I like the realms. Heck, now that I've seen what they actually did with the 4E incarnation, I'll even say that I like it. I'm not going to try to sell you on why Golarion is better than FR because doing so would be dishonest with myself as well as you. It's a good setting.

That said, there are reasons why I'm really enjoying Golarion. As a history buff, it's cool that Golarion intentionally tries to invoke certain periods and images from the real world. But unlike a setting that is historically based, it's a bit like a piece of impressionistic artwork. Cheliax for example, reminds me of Rome, but in a way that simultaneously invokes the Nazis as well as imperial powers, not to mention the fact that it also has the whole devil worshiping thing, which doesn't really reflect any historical period. When there are similarities, there are differences. What this allows you to do is build stories that might incorporate some of the more compelling elements from history, both ancient and a bit more modern, while not going so deep into it that you forget that this is supposed to be a fantasy setting.

Golarion has a lot of interesting characters, but I have yet to see one that is so important and integral to the setting that it runs the risk of overshadowing player characters. I really have no problem with the characters from FR, because a lot of people have read Greenwood's books or Salvatore's books, and there's something to be said for running into those characters in the adventure. What's wrong with fighting alongside Drzzt for an adventure? On the other hand, if that's not your style and you don't like cameos or super powerful characters interfering in the adventure, then Golarion is good. Your characters are probably going to be mostly on their own, or if they receive help from an NPC in the book, there won't be this whole elements of being visited by a celebrity.

Golarion also has huge heapings of cool elements. The Hellknights are cool. The red mantises are cool. Xon Kuthon's followers are... disturbing. The setting specific stuff is very compelling. It all falls easily into the fantasy genre while being uniquely memorable in the same way as the bounty hunters in Star Wars.

Finally, I like how each of the kingdoms has a certain theme going. There's nothing you can't do in Golarion. Want traditional fantasy? Varisia works well. Want gothic horror? Look to Ustalav. Want pirates? There's lots of stuff all over, but some interesting places include the Sodden Lands and the Shackles. Want Arabian Nights? Want something like Arabian Knights? Look to Katapesh.

Finally, Golarion is one setting where the designers and the editors aren't afraid to go there. While I always felt that a lot of TSR's settings were kept within the PG-13 or less range, Golarion frequently wanders off into R rated (and occasionally NC-17) territory. There was a kid playing in my game at a con last year and his dad wanted to know where to get Golarion and I said a lot of very positive things about it, but I also had to warn him that it often deals with adult themes. He smiled and gave me this look like he'd probably be buying this one for himself.

So if you're looking for something that has a strong sense of it's own identity, has historical elements, is versatile, and has adult themes, the Golarion is worth a look.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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I never got into Eberron, and most of my Forgotten Realms is from Second Edition (I have just about all of that), but selling you Golarion ...

When I first got the grey box of the Realms, there was sense of wonder, of excitement and the wow of all the good stuff I've been given to explore and become a part of. That is the same feeling I had when I first opened my Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.

There is so much to explore, and in so many ways there is so much more in Golarion. As others have said, there is something from every type of world somewhere on Golarion to enjoy and play around with.

Another thing for me is that the PCs are the heroes. There are a number of NPCs out there, but they don't feel like they are so much more powerful than the heroes that I wonder why I'm even around. This was a feeling I definitely got more and more of in FR, with all the powers of the various wizards (Elminster, etc.) and the gods mucking about on the planet.

There is a freedom to Golarion, with the knowledge that Paizo is not going to explain everything (and yes, I curse that some days when I see a particularly juicy hook I want to know more about!) and is going to leave plenty of room for all of us to roam around in and play with.

So, for me, if you enjoyed the Realms before it got a wee bit crowded, you'll love the elbow room of Golarion :)


Gamer Girrl wrote:

I never got into Eberron, and most of my Forgotten Realms is from Second Edition (I have just about all of that), but selling you Golarion ...

When I first got the grey box of the Realms, there was sense of wonder, of excitement and the wow of all the good stuff I've been given to explore and become a part of. That is the same feeling I had when I first opened my Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.

There is so much to explore, and in so many ways there is so much more in Golarion. As others have said, there is something from every type of world somewhere on Golarion to enjoy and play around with.

Another thing for me is that the PCs are the heroes. There are a number of NPCs out there, but they don't feel like they are so much more powerful than the heroes that I wonder why I'm even around. This was a feeling I definitely got more and more of in FR, with all the powers of the various wizards (Elminster, etc.) and the gods mucking about on the planet.

There is a freedom to Golarion, with the knowledge that Paizo is not going to explain everything (and yes, I curse that some days when I see a particularly juicy hook I want to know more about!) and is going to leave plenty of room for all of us to roam around in and play with.

So, for me, if you enjoyed the Realms before it got a wee bit crowded, you'll love the elbow room of Golarion :)

I like what you said here. I'm hoping that when the novels come out, they'll be more about particular characters you're not obligated to meet, and, if anything, their adventures will be grist for adventure paths, rather than "canon."

You might read about some characters doing this or that in a novel, and be able to trace their steps in an adventure path, but you don't have to be them or meet them to play your own game. FR had a little too much bloat, even though it was fun to read about (..sometimes. Frankly, a lot of the FR books sucked, IMHO).

Hopefully, stories based in Golarion will give us color and inspiration, and not a bunch of canon-lawyers who all want to play a certain drow ranger, or a carbon copy of Seoni, for that matter. =P

Scarab Sages

I essentially use the cannon to set my campaigns up in FR. Such as, if we want to do Cormyr, I ask the group what era do they want to play in.

Time of troubles? Gazneth war? during one of the other dahast wizards?

So I use cannon to shape my campaign. Most of my FR campaigns are Historical romps through the main trigger events, seeing how the characters change the realms from the original history.

My players like changing history.

:D


Honestly, I didn't like the canon of the FR material much past the grey box. It just didn't appeal to me, but that's opinion. What really bugged me about it were the canon lawyers who would inevitably show up.

Even that, though, was a learning experience. One obnoxious Drizzt fetishist wouldn't stop going on about it, and I particularly didn't like that piece of canon. I thought it was a bit overwrought... not sure how to put it.

Anyway, due to the area we were in he was trying to arrange some sort of meeting with this character, which no one else was interested in at all, and the thought of RPing this encounter was grossing me out a bit. I got talked out of kicking him from the group, but finally exercised my DM discretion via news travelling across the realms that Drizzt had died in an inn fire.

I did arrange a burnt corpse propped in a casket outside where it'd happened for the curious, but he wasn't interested in making the pilgrimage, so the matter dropped and he actually was a decent player after that, once we'd established who was DM.

Now I play with an older crowd, though, and those things aren't really an issue.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Dave Young 992 wrote:
Gamer Girrl wrote:
Stuff :)

I like what you said here. I'm hoping that when the novels come out, they'll be more about particular characters you're not obligated to meet, and, if anything, their adventures will be grist for adventure paths, rather than "canon."

You might read about some characters doing this or that in a novel, and be able to trace their steps in an adventure path, but you don't have to be them or meet them to play your own game. FR had a little too much bloat, even though it was fun to read about (..sometimes. Frankly, a lot of the FR books sucked, IMHO).

Hopefully, stories based in Golarion will give us color and...

If you have a chance, check out the Pathfinder Journals from the APs. The first three APs (Runelords, Crimson Throne, Second Darkness) are multi-author following the exploits of Eando Kline, Pathfinder. I found this really well done, as Eando felt like someone I could bump into, but didn't have to, and most of the folks he met were NPCs on the same par.

In Legacy of Fire we get a new Pathfinder to follow around for six episodes (the length of the AP) and all written by one author, Elaine Cunningham. These were really good, and Channa Ti is someone I'd definitely love to bump into in a Pathfinder lodge someday. She truly feels like an "equal" ... not superior to the players, but someone you could do something with, and then let it go as your paths diverge.

I hope that this feel continues in any novels, as I like that the main characters are "folks" ... not godlings, avatars, superbeings, etc., just plain folks like the PCs, dealing with life and what gets thrown in their path to survive or not as the fates will it.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
KnightErrantJR wrote:

To be fair, I liked that the FR novels were canon, but the scope of the novels changed from 1st to 2nd to 3rd edition. Most of the people I know that wanted them to be canon wanted it because they liked Character X who was the King's cousin that might show up again in a sourcebook or novel in the future, but by the time 3rd edition rolled around, it wasn't minor character continuity or cultural quirks that were "canon," it was "oh, half or Cormyr is ravaged by this army, and dragons destroyed this or that, but you aren't getting a sourcebook to sort any of it out, and it may or may not end up being important to the next RSE trilogy that has already started before the last crisis ended."

In other words, it seemed like, Avatar books excluded, most novels in the 1st and 2nd edition timeframe tended to tells stories about characters that fleshed out a given region, whereas series at the end of 2nd and throughout 3rd had major ramifications for whole countries and organizations. That should have never been the case.

Knight is right. Paizo will be pumping out Golarion novels at some point, and when they do, I hope they are character/adventure based and not "continental macromanagement summaries" such as the late FR series have given us. "Half of Cormyr is destroyed; the entire town of Tilverton is gone; etc." is really annoying for people who have enjoyed the setting for decades. Even for newcomers I'd say: imagine Paizo putting out a novel in which half of Andoran is destroyed and say, some archmage comes and blows Absalom out of the water with some doomsday Epic spell. O_O I'm new to Golarion's setting and I'd be extremely pissed! now imagine if you've been using your fave setting for 20 years!!!

Contributor

I hope Erik is paying attention to this thread. When they get around to novels, big setting-changing epics are probably not the way to go.

But then I don't see why they'd change the formula from what they're doing with the APs. At the end of each AP, ask yourself what major setting elements have changed. The answer is none. OK, maybe the Curse of the Crimson Throne might be noteworthy, but it's not huge and it wouldn't require a complete rewrite to take the AP into account.

If they follow this with the novels, I think they'll be good. Personally, I'm rarely happy when they blow up a setting (though I do like what they did to 4E FR. Call me weird).


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So far, the only AP with the potential to change the entire setting has been Second Darkness (if the PCs fail miserably). However, as stated in that AP, this will be the exception instead of the rule.

All of the other APs have been restricted to having only a regional impact. Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne have the potential to change Varisa, but a pretty negligible effect on the rest of the setting. Legacy of Fire may end up with Xotani's resurrection, but that won't worry most people outside of Katapesh. Council of Thieves has the potential to change the city of Westcrown, but it's not going to cause the overthrow of House Thrune and the rest of Cheliax. Even Kingmaker, where the PCs can act as rulers, will not have much of an impact outside of Brevoy and the River Kingdoms (shades of the old 1st Ed AD&D H1-4 Bloodstone modules and the impact on Damara in the Realms, although the fight against Tiamat in H4 was incorporated/retconned into the Gilgeam/Unther storyline for the Time of Troubles).

As someone who enjoyed the Forgotten Realms from the 1st Ed AD&D release through most of 2nd Ed, I'll add my voice to those calling for restraint. The Realms were a large change from Greyhawk in the level of detail (which was fairly sketchy for Oerth at the time) and the tone (more high fantasy and magical, where Greyhawk was more gritty and "low magic"). Unfortunately, as time went on the Realms suffered (IMO) from the development too many "important" NPCs, most of whom were obscenely powerful (15th+ level), and too many major setting changes (concentrated in the "heartland" areas) instead of continued exploration (i.e., Nimbral). There were still large areas of the Realms that were mostly or almost completely lacking in development, not to mention the "other" settings like Kara Tur, Maztica, etc. that shared the same world.


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.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
KnightErrantJR wrote:

To be fair, I liked that the FR novels were canon, but the scope of the novels changed from 1st to 2nd to 3rd edition. Most of the people I know that wanted them to be canon wanted it because they liked Character X who was the King's cousin that might show up again in a sourcebook or novel in the future, but by the time 3rd edition rolled around, it wasn't minor character continuity or cultural quirks that were "canon," it was "oh, half or Cormyr is ravaged by this army, and dragons destroyed this or that, but you aren't getting a sourcebook to sort any of it out, and it may or may not end up being important to the next RSE trilogy that has already started before the last crisis ended."

In other words, it seemed like, Avatar books excluded, most novels in the 1st and 2nd edition timeframe tended to tells stories about characters that fleshed out a given region, whereas series at the end of 2nd and throughout 3rd had major ramifications for whole countries and organizations. That should have never been the case.

Knight is right. Paizo will be pumping out Golarion novels at some point, and when they do, I hope they are character/adventure based and not "continental macromanagement summaries" such as the late FR series have given us. "Half of Cormyr is destroyed; the entire town of Tilverton is gone; etc." is really annoying for people who have enjoyed the setting for decades. Even for newcomers I'd say: imagine Paizo putting out a novel in which half of Andoran is destroyed and say, some archmage comes and blows Absalom out of the water with some doomsday Epic spell. O_O I'm new to Golarion's setting and I'd be extremely pissed! now imagine if you've been using your fave setting for 20 years!!!

Well not to disrespect any author but a good amount of the third edition Forgotten Realms novels were poorly written at least to my point of view.


Darrin Drader wrote:
I hope Erik is paying attention to this thread. When they get around to novels, big setting-changing epics are probably not the way to go.

Have they given an ETA on novels?


I have very fond memories of playing in FR so I dont like the beating it gets here, for the most part in D&D 2nd and for some of 3rd, FR was the only play to adventure in, sure we could home brew or visit Sigil, Oerth, Ravenloft etc but FR was so cool we never bothered.

However when I wanted to start GMing of course I wanted to do it in FR and was taken aback by the number of material out there and given how t he world was constanly evolving it required a large collection of up to date material to keep i canon, material that was largely out of print :(

As for Glorian, I love the patchwork nature of the world, its supports every fantasy sterotype quite easily while being very intelligent with it. I think the thing that sold me the setting was Geb, which from the outwards appearance was just a country ruled by undead. However looking deeper reveals a very intresting nation ruled by an uncaring tyrant. Normally you would expect that country to be shunded, but Geb has made efforts to be need by its neighbours. Firstly its a very large breadbasket for the region, mindless undead working in fields, not needing the very food they grow, creates a massive surplus of cheap food. Second given the countries proficiency in magic there services are easy to sell and I bet a few nobles have paid large sums to overcome death itself.

So just a small slice of the pie that is Glorian

PS. Sorry for my poor spelling.


Pick and choose the best bits/what works for you.
Its your campaign and therefore your campaign world.
For me the FR greybox is a nice building block to flesh out and I liked the Ecologies series as well.
I never read any of the books, well I read one and thought it was crap, so I haven't changed this or that because some author did it in a book. Anyway it was my campaign and if I wanted Elminster to wear dresses then he would.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

In the case of comparing Golarion to the Realms, I think the big difference between the two is that Golarion has had better planning. A lot of the problems the Realms faced came from poor decisions made in its early days. Several things that didn't fit were shoehorned into the setting because TSR wanted it to be the catch-all campaign for AD&D. Some poor novels also impacted the setting, and the power escalation got out of control. The Realms isn't a really bad setting, but taken as a whole there were a lot of warts that came from a lack of a good building strategy for the world. By comparison, it seems like Paizo is being very careful in developing Golarion, making sure to avoid the mistakes that older settings have made.

As to comparing Golarion to Eberron, it depends on what kind of fantasy you prefer. My preference is closer to Golarion because I don't like the goblin butlers, magic trains, and other conceits of Eberron. Of course, Golarion has room for those things, but it's not the standard assumption like it is in Eberron.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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).


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?


KnightErrantJR wrote:

To be fair, I liked that the FR novels were canon, but the scope of the novels changed from 1st to 2nd to 3rd edition. Most of the people I know that wanted them to be canon wanted it because they liked Character X who was the King's cousin that might show up again in a sourcebook or novel in the future, but by the time 3rd edition rolled around, it wasn't minor character continuity or cultural quirks that were "canon," it was "oh, half or Cormyr is ravaged by this army, and dragons destroyed this or that, but you aren't getting a sourcebook to sort any of it out, and it may or may not end up being important to the next RSE trilogy that has already started before the last crisis ended."

In other words, it seemed like, Avatar books excluded, most novels in the 1st and 2nd edition timeframe tended to tells stories about characters that fleshed out a given region, whereas series at the end of 2nd and throughout 3rd had major ramifications for whole countries and organizations. That should have never been the case.

<FR Tangent> Amen. If TSR/WotC had kept to the idea of character-based stories and fleshing out some location flavor, FR would probably still be my setting of choice. The combination of RSE-of-the-week and (IMO) declining support products caused me to drop FR about two years after the Time of Troubles storyline saw print. I never went back to it. Sad to say, they were never able to cause me to regret the decision.

<End of tangent>


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 doubt they've learned a few things over the decades!

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