Favorite city and why?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


The next campaign I run is going to be city-based, although probably not an adventure path (I may steal from one or more, however). I'm scanning through the various offerings in Golarion, and was wondering which ones are favorites, and why people like them.

Thoughts?


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I like Magnimar. The cities architecture is cool. The city has intersting back story

Liberty's Edge

I'd go Magnimar, Absalom, Katapesh, or Goka depending on what particular style you want to go with.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'd go Magnimar, Absalom, Katapesh, or Goka depending on what particular style you want to go with.

There's nothing on Goka really, is there?

I'm leaning towards Kaer Maga or Magnimar currently. Kaer is a touch small, but very cool. Magnimar seems cool, but I'll know more in July ;)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Kaer Maga, hands down.

Liberty's Edge

Ooh, yeah. I clean forgot Kaer Maga. That's it's own heaping helping of flavor right there, and awesome with it. If you're leaning that way, go for it.

And Goka's got a blurb, but no, notmuch beyond that, but if you want to do something Asian-themed, it's kinda the place to use.


Korvosa or kaer maga.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Kaer Maga. Interesting and evocative as hell.


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I'm partial to Magnimar, myself.


Read more Kaer Maga last night, and man that place is awesome. The on thing that doesn't make sense to me is that Kaer Maga only has 8,000 inhabitants. Square footage wise, the city is at least the same size as Korovsa, and definitely bigger than Magnimar. Plus the place is described as being very dense. Seems like a population of at least 20k would make more sense.

Meh, it's my world now, and so I'll just boost the population anyway ;)

I wish the Magnimar guide was out *now* (insert petulant whine here), because that city is also nifty. However, for the campaign I'm thinking of (kind of like Terry Pratchett's Night Watch stuff) Kaer Maga fits really well. Well, except for the lack of a night watch, of course ... have to figure that part out ;)

How's Katapesh? Worth getting the guide? Arabic feel would be a nice change...


Shoot ... I went and bought Katapesh, which is awesome, and now I'm split about which one I want to go with for my next campaign. Maybe it is fortunately Magnimar isn't out yet ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Absalom, because it's, well, the city at the center of the world. If i want to see a major mix of cultures, I'd go there, Plus, the Cathedral is always a nice tourist location.

Or Quantium, for similar reasons.


Quantium sounds interesting - is there anything about it anywhere but the Inner Sea guide?

Silver Crusade

I like Kaer Maga.....everywhere you turn there is opportunity for adventure, weather it is on half a chicken walk dealing with the myriad of personalities, organizations etc...or in the dungeon layers below the city....or on the plains outside the city.

Drunken Dragon, I'm not sold on Absalom. when i take a look at it's place on the map it reminds me of Singapore. Both are city states, both sit astride major trade routs.....but they are just city states.....not nation states, nor the capitol of nation states.

One thing I liked about the Pathfinder world (Golarion) , as it was initially introduced, was the colossal ruins the cities were built around.

Riddle Port had the Cypher Gate.

Magnimar had the Irespan,

Korvosa had the "Mastaba", a huge step pyramid upon which the royal palace was built.

Kaer Maga is built inside a colossal structure.

Sothis had a giant bug in the middle of it. I forget its name.

I know Absalom has the Star stone cathedral and perhaps it's the art, but Absalom doesn't seem to have any colossal archetcture. Archetecture that was built with giants in mind not humans.

Anyways....there are lots of cool cities on Golarion.

Contributor

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In no specific order:

Kaer Maga

Axis

Katapesh

Shadow Absalom

Awaiting-Consumption

Galisemni

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh yes, leave it to King of Crosstrade to remind us about his creations. Shadow Absalom and Awaiting-Consumption are both locales that I desperately want to read more about...


Kaer Maga, hands down.

Something about this city just does it for me.


I really like the flavor of Kaer Maga but have not had a chance to run anything where my PC's have encountered it.

Since my campaign is based in the River Kingdoms I am partial to Gralton. I get to inflict my horrid french accent on my PC's at every turn (since Galt=France in my version of Avistan). *grin*


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Korvosa's been a lot of fun to play in. I'm not yet sold on Riddleport, however, but the lack of reading on my part there may be a contributing factor. I really want to read more Magnimar stuff, however, as I had real trouble preparing for what little I ran there.


Riddleport. Who wouldn't like playing in a den of thieves and scoundrels.


Todd Stewart wrote:

Shadow Absalom

Awaiting-Consumption

What are these?


As soon as I read the thread's title, the picture of Kaer Maga appeared in my mind.
Just look at it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Shadow Absalom is a reflection of Absalom on Plane of Shadow. Spooky.

Awaiting-Consumption is the most "open" and "hospitable" settlement on Abaddon, which is quite a lot considering that it's a massive slave camp for mortals whisked away by daemons.

Contributor

Gorbacz wrote:


Awaiting-Consumption is the most "open" and "hospitable" settlement on Abaddon, which is quite a lot considering that it's a massive slave camp for mortals whisked away by daemons.

Yeah, it's name should clue you off about the place's nature as more or less a larder-city.

Sovereign Court Contributor

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I'm looking forward to seeing more on Port Peril, with visions of a mixture of Port Royal and Freeport.

I am fond of Bloodcove, as well.

And Karcau.

And Hemachandra.


Todd Stewart wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:


Awaiting-Consumption is the most "open" and "hospitable" settlement on Abaddon, which is quite a lot considering that it's a massive slave camp for mortals whisked away by daemons.
Yeah, it's name should clue you off about the place's nature as more or less a larder-city.

Oh man that's so creepy. I love it.


Westcrown. I love the idea of cities with night-time curfews due to monsters.

Kaer Maga.


Well, I was thinking of posting a thread asking folks what their favorite cities in the setting where, or which ones they wanted to see developed. I realized that someone might have already asked that question, a quick search, and lo and behold, thread necromancy. :O

One day I want to run something in Carpenden in Andoran. It's not the biggest city even in Andoran, but it's fun. Seven neighborhoods make it up, each swearing it's the original settlement? For awhile they squabbled, even got violent. Enter the government putting troops at various barracks between and around the neighborhoods, only to discover it was an ideal set up to house their troops with all the food grown about the area. The city booms and truly does become one.

Now the city neighborhoods rotate who gets to house the city council etc, and it's settled by a holiday/contest/play battle involving the hurling of moon melons and the like! Winner gets to house the seat of power for a time!

It's a quirky thing, but it tickles me. I can see it as a place that has "me against my brother, my brother and I against our Uncle, and my brother , uncle and I against the stranger" kind of mentality in a mostly benevolent fashion.

I've yet to play there, but Nantambu aka the Song Wind City sounds beautiful and delightful. Not only do you have one of the settings best schools of magic there. The city has marvelous crystal chimes, great canals, and just sounds picturesque.

If I ever get in a strength of thousands AP, I may play my character as a rubber necking tourist just so I can go "ooo what's that" and force the poor GM into description ;) Some folks like a city setting that's grubby, corrupt, and delightfully dirty and I get that, but there's also something to be said for a place of wonder and beauty that feels worth protecting and I think Nantambu definitely falls in that category.

Halgrim is the capital of the ironbound islands, which is my favorite area of the Land of the Linnorm Kings. Part of it might be a bit of hero worship for White Estrid, who rules by rather unconventional means and seems far more bold in embracing new things than most of her peers. I like the half orc acceptance (compared to other areas) and the potential for it as a jumping off point for raids on Nidal, and so on. Of course, in 2nd Edition, it's on a war footing with Edasseril if I recall, and that definitely adds tension.

And yes, I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do with Highhelm

Anybody else want to list a favorite city or three and promote the heck out of it? :)


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I agree with everyone giving love to the Varisian cities, but I am a little sad not to see anyone mentioning Kintargo.

My bias here is that Hell's Rebels was the first AP I properly ran, the AP I have ran most often, and remains one of my favourite adventures.

But even removed from that I think Kintargo is unique and interesting. The idea of a city leading the way after hard-won freedoms, while still having to negotiate their place in the world? That's the sort of place that always needs adventurers, but who's every problem can't be solved. Or you can wind back the clock and see it as the one artistic bastion in a fascist nation- arguably an even better place for intruige and adventure!

But also Kaer Maga is excellent.


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I really fell for Mzali after the Mwangi Expase and Strength of Thousands #4! The pull between its beautiful past and horrific present is so fascinating, and I so dearly want to tell the story of the people caught between seizing their freedom! Hidden lion cults and a police state serving a child-mummy-god are just too awesome to pass up. I’m there day 1 for the Bright Lions AP.

Ngon Hoa, Ramparassad, and Zom Kullan (the capitals of Xa Hoi, Dtang Ma, and Nagajor, respectively) all seem fascinating… and are nearly completely unwritten! Tian Xia’s southern cultures are the coolest on the continent, IMO.

Hajoth Hakados doesn’t do a ton for me as it currently stands (Chesed has a velstrac cult and Starfall is a haven for both androids and Casandalee’s faith), but it’s the only city in Numeria ruled by an alien - hidden Lashunta woman Lady Altouna. Altouna’s a pet obsession of mine, and her city holding hidden alien populations is something that deeply excites me, but hasn’t really made it “on-screen” yet.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Bizzare Beasts Boozer wrote:

I agree with everyone giving love to the Varisian cities, but I am a little sad not to see anyone mentioning Kintargo.

My bias here is that Hell's Rebels was the first AP I properly ran, the AP I have ran most often, and remains one of my favourite adventures.

But even removed from that I think Kintargo is unique and interesting. The idea of a city leading the way after hard-won freedoms, while still having to negotiate their place in the world? That's the sort of place that always needs adventurers, but who's every problem can't be solved. Or you can wind back the clock and see it as the one artistic bastion in a fascist nation- arguably an even better place for intruige and adventure!

But also Kaer Maga is excellent.

Yay for Kintargo! That said, I suspect no one mentioned it because this thread petered out before Hell's Rebels came along and gave Kintargo life. ;-)

Before Hell's Rebels, Kintargo wasn't much more than a dot on the map that I'd had some long-term plans to do something with some day.

Shadow Lodge

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Bizzare Beasts Boozer wrote:
I agree with everyone giving love to the Varisian cities, but I am a little sad not to see anyone mentioning Kintargo.

Why would they? Before the necromancy post (right before yours) the last post in the thread was from 2012. Before 2015, Kintargo was naught but a speck on the map.

EDIT: well, hell, beaten to the punch by a tyrannosaur of all creatures.


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I am embarrassed that I missed the previous post was ten years ago, but never embarrassed to share my love of the silver city.


Bizzare Beasts Boozer wrote:
I am embarrassed that I missed the previous post was ten years ago, but never embarrassed to share my love of the silver city.

Be not ashamed, you are merely passionate! Besides, what's the point of thread necromancy if we don't get a chance to praise the newer stuff?

I've not yet got to play Hell's Rebel's yet, but as I hear nothing but praise, I hope to take a peek around Kintargo myself!


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Bizzare Beasts Boozer wrote:
I am embarrassed that I missed the previous post was ten years ago, but never embarrassed to share my love of the silver city.

Don't be embarrassed! Just sing and play LOUDER to distract people more!

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The two that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest are Kaer Maga and Westcrown.

Kaer Maga just has so much gonzo weirdness going on and a very "Star Wars Cantina" feel that I always get drawn back to.

Westcrown, on the other hand, is so full of rich and tragic history. Council of Thieves may not be the most popular AP, but it really gets you invested in the city and makes it feel like home, to the point where the end of Hell's Vengeance made me very sad. Plus, it's basically Golarion's equivalent of Venice!


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keftiu wrote:

I really fell for Mzali after the Mwangi Expase and Strength of Thousands #4! The pull between its beautiful past and horrific present is so fascinating, and I so dearly want to tell the story of the people caught between seizing their freedom! Hidden lion cults and a police state serving a child-mummy-god are just too awesome to pass up. I’m there day 1 for the Bright Lions AP.

I can't say enough nice things about the LO: Mwangi expanse book and more than one city there shines for me. I agree, Mzali is a beautiful tragedy (and I mean that in a good way) begging for PC heroes to rise to the challenge of the Deathless Child God.


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Ridge wrote:
keftiu wrote:

I really fell for Mzali after the Mwangi Expase and Strength of Thousands #4! The pull between its beautiful past and horrific present is so fascinating, and I so dearly want to tell the story of the people caught between seizing their freedom! Hidden lion cults and a police state serving a child-mummy-god are just too awesome to pass up. I’m there day 1 for the Bright Lions AP.

I can't say enough nice things about the LO: Mwangi expanse book and more than one city there shines for me. I agree, Mzali is a beautiful tragedy (and I mean that in a good way) begging for PC heroes to rise to the challenge of the Deathless Child God.

Strength of Thousands lays the groundwork for a follow-up in some very interesting ways.

Shadow Lodge

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Ridge wrote:
Be not ashamed, you are merely passionate! Besides, what's the point of thread necromancy if we don't get a chance to praise the newer stuff?

Hell's Rebels is almost a decade old, and far more contemporary with the posts from 2012 than with the setting or game today.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Ridge wrote:
Be not ashamed, you are merely passionate! Besides, what's the point of thread necromancy if we don't get a chance to praise the newer stuff?
Hell's Rebels is almost a decade old, and far more contemporary with the posts from 2012 than with the setting or game today.

Well, now I feel old and wizened

;)


For me it's Katapesh. The chance to have all the insane wheeling and dealing you want just spells to me.

And I think because of all the marketing and attention the Varisian cities got, I just kind of want to stay away from them.


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

Got a special love for Carrion Hill, the history of the place and location is quite interesting. All the buried remains of the different settlements meant any building is sitting on top of several layers of troubled history. Not to mention the whole industry that is constantly trying to keep up with the decaying infrastructure is a great touch. Now wonder what might happen to the place with Whispering Tyrant return will the Butcher return back there.


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Kintargo would be my go to if asked to run something today. Given a few weeks notice, I might go with Absalom just to get some use out of the tome that is the Guide to Absalom.


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I'm not sure if it qualifies as a city in the strictest sense, but my fave settlement is Basrakal. I like the Island of Misfit Outsiders trope a lot, and it feels like such an interesting adventuring destination because every citizen is amazing quest giver/main character material, almost by definition.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ron Hay wrote:
The on thing that doesn't make sense to me is that Kaer Maga only has 8,000 inhabitants. Square footage wise, the city is at least the same size as Korovsa, and definitely bigger than Magnimar.

Everyone else has picked up and started responding to ancient posts so I will too.

This has been a big issue with all SRD based RPGs, one that now even PF2E has failed to fix.

Populations since the 3.0 DMG came out have been way too low for cities. The numbers that book had were based on Medieval Europe during the absolute worst days of the Black Plague.

At that very same time in human real world history we had cities in Asia, Africa, and the Americas with populations often 10x higher than the 3.0 DMG suggestions. And many of those European cities were full of rubble and abandoned neighborhoods - sometimes even more than half the entire city being ghost towns slowly getting reclaimed into farmland.

Europe didn't recover until the age of sailing, but the rest of the world kept growing. We know of ruins of a few 'on the scale of Rome' cities in North America where the USA now is, and Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) hit over 1 million in the 1400s, but in many ways was actually just a part of an even larger megacity when you include the rival and allied cities around it - all of which existed inside the borders of what is today Mexico City.

Asia and Africa have long had large cities, some of which were larger in their medieval period than they were after up until only a few decades ago, and we could go on and on finding cities all over the real world from medieval, classical, and 'age of sailing that D&D often takes a lot of elements from' eras that were much larger than the silly low numbers of the 3.0 DMG that SRD games have kept copy-pasting without asking questions.

Absalom, if you just look at it's map and overlay something like the area Tenochtitlan proper occupied, should have about 1-3 million, not 300,000... Tenochtitlan had 1 million in a smaller space, that included canals and farms and was on the water in a swamp... And that was a people who spent the entire history of their nation in constant warfare and surrounded by other nations that wanted to wipe them out - so despite extreme pressure and no magic healing they had those numbers.

Those low numbers of the 3.0 DMG - were based on the darkest days of Europe. A time when the people living in the cities with those numbers themselves thought they didn't have enough people to survive the next winter, believed the world was about to end, and came very close to being right about those fears.

These low numbers require things like 'the placing is running loose with murder hobos and serial killers, and those are the nice folks, the plague is everywhere, the food all spoils and is not very nutritious (because the infrastructure to grow and store good crops has fallen apart), nobody has any funds left to rebuild, and all the educated people died a generation ago during the last round of mass murder, starvation, and plague. Basically the worst days of Europe. A snapshot of even Europe during any other period of it's history and things look very different with the population numbers - even if you look during some very nasty wars or revolutions.


Speaking of population size, I feel like that the biggest problem about it isn't giant "sprawling" cities being mostly empty, but non human species population being pitifully low. Sandpoint have around a thousand human (despite the huge number of shops and the big cathedral), but it also have only *37* halflings, and even less elves, dwarves and the like.

I feel like these number are somewhat based on ethnic minorities, something like "how many romani/jewish/arabic people would you find in a medium sized european medieval city (during the plague)", but the thing is, ethnic minorities are still humans, they didn't stay strictly confined in their own communities, they have children/families with those outside of their group. Halflings and the rest tho are species that (appart from elves and orcs with humans) can't interbreed. Those 37 sandpoint halfling have no possible mate except the 36 other halfling (even less when accounting for the fact that some would be elderly/children, and that homosexual relationship can't make childrens).

For the big city is a bit eggregious, but for smaller ones it go straight into plothole territory. With the numbers as is, every halfling/elf/dwarf population can only be big cities offshot (or from "racial" town where they are the majority of the population instead of human), and they can never have a permanent "community" in smaller town the way human do, because there's simply not enought of them for such community to exist. It may make some sense for dwarves and elves, who have lots of their "own" settlement where they are the majority, but it make none for gnomes and especially halfing.

Also, my favorite cities would go to kaer maga as the varisian city with the most unexplored potential (due to the fact that unlike sandpoint, magnimar and korsova, it was never the focus of any AP as far as I know, we always only have been "passing throught" for a single module before moving on), and Nagisa because the chapter on the Alijae in the mwangi expanse book really awakenned my curiosity (in a way elves most often fail to).


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The longest adventure I DMed was centered around Goka, so it's my favorite city. I even had 1 character, as a part of her personal journey, visit the realm of the Oni Daimyo Onmyuza, and I think it was one of the best scenes I have ever run.

Other favorites: Magnimar, Absalom, Kasai, Urgir, Bloodcove, Port Peril and Ilizmagorti.

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