How have you modified Golarion to suit your game?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Kalindlara wrote:
RedRobe wrote:
Iron Gods is the first campaign I've GMed in Golarion. I haven't really changed anything in Golarion so far. However, I don't really like what the Androffan tech and robots look like, and have been describing things in Star Wars terms. I have even toyed around with the idea of changing the backstory for the Androffans. As I am a huge Star Wars fan, and will probably not get to run a Star Wars campaign anytime soon, I thought about changing Androffa to a planet in the Star Wars universe. Divinity then becomes an expedition that occurred a few thousand years before Outbound Flight, and was the inspiration for that failed project. I love the thought of my players' characters encountering droids instead of robots. They could find lightsabers and holocrons and learn that the Androffans had access to a mysterious mystical energy known only as the Force, but no connection to magic. This way I can scratch my Star Wars itch and still run this amazing campaign.
Since (Dreamscarred Press-style) psionics doesn't exist in Golarion normally, this might be a good place to use it. ^_^

I hadn't considered that, but that might be a good idea. I thought about using the Force classes from the d20 Star Wars Revised Core Rulebook, and just allow the character's hp total in vitality to power the Force skills.


My changes started off small but grew quite extensive to the point that I stopped using Golarion completely.

Part of the problem is that things that were interesting reads to me as a GM and worldbuilder mean nothing to my players (e.g. Aroden's death). Paizo refuses to detail much of the world and even many Inner Sea kingdoms are little more than a blank space on the map. Every re-release of the setting changed just enough to screw up how I had the world developing which made it increasingly difficult to run AP's as written or use sourcebooks.

A book being an interesting read doesn't necessarily make it useful for my game. When Paizo doesn't seem invested in something it's hard for me to be as well ("We know all about Aroden but we aren't going to tell any body; neener, neener") and my players certainly won't care.

Too many blank spaces on the map and too big of a "vagueness and lack of info is a feature, not a bug" attitude. It became far easier to go back to my homebrew where I can make stuff up without having to second guess Paizo's worldbuilding strategy (such as it is).

I had thought about jumping ahead a few centuries and taking some of thw rost outcomes from the AP's and applying them (the north is a demon-infested wasteland, the computer AI becomes a god, there's a new pahroah with a flying city in Osirion, etc.) but, again, it was less time intensive to go back to my homebrew.


Kingmaker is the only AP I am GM-ing in Golarion. Twice.

The first one, I used Mythic Adventures both for the PCs and for some enemies.
In mine Golarion version, the Age of Lost Omens is not an age without prophecies properly working. It is instead an age where, after Aroden's death, there are only very few prophecies. But those few ones are still fully functional!
I made a custom prophecy about the Mythic version of the AP story, involving both Pharasma and Erastil and the fate of the AP's BBEG. The text is enough vague that the prophecy will be always became true, even if the Party fails and dies.

The second one, I used Mythic Adventures but also completely changed the point of view of the AP. It's named Legacy of Old Sharptooth.
In this campaign there are no prophecies working, but in the PCs are all kobolds of the Sootscales tribe. All the AP's encounters are reviewed from the kobolds'point of view.
And Old Sharptooth is not an idol, but is instead a true god (second son of Tiamath and Apsu, and minor brother of Dahak).
Old Sharptooth was imprisoned by the AP's BBEG in her personal quest to godhood, and the players must free him in order to defeat her and her's mythic minions.

The Exchange

SPOILERS BELOW

After the Carrion Crown, Tar Baphon and the Grey Friar are both alive and well. The party wished the dark stone material below the Gallowspire to positive plane material. His army is in ruin, and both went to Eox for aid.

The Azlanti empire isn't in total ruin. A small enclave exists in a pocket dimension and from time to time, make appearances.

Garund is a power in the world, along with Arcadia. The Osirions, Rahadoumi, The Shackles, Sargava and further south all hold treasure, power and lost secret magics.


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

I tend to hew to canon for the most part, but personal preference has led to some weird distortions from the baseline...

1. Gnomes and halflings are both extremely rare. Nonevil goblins are vastly more common, and while they're still generally distrusted by humans, dwarves, elves and the like, the nonevil ones mostly mind their own business.

2. No Catfolk. Not sure if there are any canon Catfolk NPCs yet, but I just.... blame anime otaku for my tremendous aversion.

3. The church of Cayden Cailean totally exists. I swear. The fact that no one has ever met a Caydenite cleric is purely my own lack of use for the deity bleeding through. Not sure why none of my players have ever run a Caydenite, but it certainly makes my life easier.

4. Sargava's tensions erupted into open hostility, with good people on both sides trying desperately to patch things up, while jerks on both sides continue to make things difficult.

5. The border between Nirmathas and Molthune is basically a total warzone. The Nirmathi don't just defend their land, bands of young hotheads stage raids into Molthune with considerable loss of life and property hitting both sides.

6. The Worldwound is closed, as per Wrath of the Righteous. New Sarkoris is currently presided over by an uber-Mythic Paladin-queen, while her male Ulfen Fighter buddy has gone back home to become a Linnorm King(child's play at this point), and her brother, an Inquisitor of Iomeade, is leading an effort to deal with Gallowspire once and for all.

7. I took the Thanoi from Dragonlance and put them up north to make life hell for the Varki and Erutaki. Evil Walrus-Men for the win.

Silver Crusade

Added "Sinter Klaus" (Santa) as an empyrial lord


Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
Added "Sinter Klaus" (Santa) as an empyrial lord

I like that, though for me its a toss up between Empyreal Lord or Eldest as best fitting the character


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I've been considering turning Cernunnos into a CN Eldest as opposed to a CG Empyreal Lord. Being an Eldest fits the original Cernunnos far more than an Empyreal Lord, what with the killing of those who would harm nature and such.

Liberty's Edge

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Barong wrote:

I apologize too. I've just heard that "go play warcraft" so much in a hateful manner I just reacted without thinking of the deeper meanings. It's made me just want to abandon Golarion and find some other setting, despite thought I've put into altering it.

To begin with, I put a Roman-themed goblinoid empire in the big empty area east and south-east of Iobaria.

Hobgoblins run the empire and are lawful-good.

Chaotic-good orcs left through a portal on their world(which was getting too close to the sun)and settled in the hobgoblin empire with local autonomy.

I really liked the aesthetics of bugbears in previous 3.X editions, so on the suggestion of a poster on the forums, I renamed them Barix(after a legendary hairy people), and I made them neutral-good members of the empire.

Goblins are chaotic-good members of the empire.

I made new stats for them so they'd be balanced PC races, though I still need more work on them.

The versions of these creatures in the monster manual I simply made spawn of Rovagug. They are souless, always evil, and reproduce by budding, skirting the issue of "goblin babies" that SilvercatMoonpaw brought up, allowing players to slay them with impunity.

You're entitled to your opinion, but I think making Demons "potentially good" is kinda missing the point. My interpretation is that whenever Fiends turn Good, they just stop being Fiends, and transform into a Celestial. Just like conversely, fallen Celestials become Fiends.

Now, as for my personal preferences, I keep Orcs as an independent culture that's primarily Evil-ish, mostly because they incarnate some of the ugliest traits of "Proud Warrior Race" cultures: eugenic selection of the weak and difformed, an oppressive caste system, institutionalized slavery, and so on. But the Evil isn't Genetic, it's Cultural. Orcs are perfectly capable of choosing between Good and Evil, they just have a skewed perception due to their upbringing. They wouldn't necessarily be Evil, but they'd be very warrior-focused.

Same with Drow, but that's mostly because I really like the "Black Leather S&M Spider-Worshippers" stereotypes. But my opinion on that is that they're essentially under the influence of dark occult powers, so they're as much victims as enablers of this Corruption.

And I just want to unify the Goblinoid races under one "Goblin" umbrella, and basically make them Golarion's equivalent to the Darkspawn. Creations of Rovagug, they exist solely for the purpose of killing and destroying anything that's not a Goblinoid.

In short, I keep Drow the same, make the Orcs into Warcraft style Orcs, and the Goblins into Tolkien-style Orcs.


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I've thought of another thing I'd do:

I'd replace the "darkest Africa" aspect of the Mwangi Expanse with a version of the Three Lands from Spears of the Dawn. I think I honestly prefer nations to "savage wilderness".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, our Golarion (jointly DMed by myself and my partner) started off completely canonical as a baseline, but our timeline for APs keeps everything that happened in previous APs. Probably the most notable difference is that our timeline of AP order and timing is a bit different:

-Played Shattered Star first, so the events of Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, etc. are assumed to have happened, though we haven't played those yet. (When we do, we'll just set them in the "past" of our timeline.)

-We played Council of Thieves next, with no real reference to timeline (subsequently decided it was 19 years after Shattered Star).

-Serpent's Skull takes place twenty years after Shattered Star (because I wanted to play the son of one of my PCs from Shattered Star).

-Iron Gods takes place at roughly the same time as Serpent's Skull.

-Wrath of the Righteous and Hell's Rebels are occurring a year after Serpent's Skull/Iron Gods, roughly concurrently

In our Golarion:

Shattered Star:

The watch captain Kasadei in the first book was decided by the GM to be the heir to the Deverin family. She and a PC got married and are now Magnimar's ultimate power couple. Also, there is now a tribe of Milanite trogolodytes out in the Varisian swamps.

Spoiler:

King Xin was defeated and the entire party is now legendary in that area of the world.

Council of Thieves:

Spoiler:
After the events of the AP, Westcrown is a quasi-independent city-state working subtly to undermine Thrune rule. Mayor is Lord Grulios (uncle of one of the PCs). He is closely allied with Lord Tilernos (relative of another PC).

Serpent's Skull:

Spoiler:
Ydersius is dead, permanently.

Iron Gods:

Spoiler:
Numeria is now ruled jointly by Kevoth-Kul and Kul-Inkit, known as the Black Sovereign and the Black Queen. Technic League has been destroyed and Zernebeth is starting a different version as a more benign research organization. Tech starting to get a little more widespread. Casandalee now a god.

Wrath of the Righteous:

My inquisitor of Desna/sentinel married Queen Galfrey. They're ruling at the moment, but preparing their adopted daughter (another PC, a teenage paladin) to take over when she comes of age.

Spoiler:
Said inquisitor is also a god now, thanks to being the son of Desna and taking divine source. No more Worldwound. Several demons have been redeemed through Arushalae's efforts. Nocticula slowly edging towards CN rather than CE. Paladin PC is now Iomedae's herald.

Hell's Rebels (still in progress):

Spoiler:
The resurrected new version of the Council of Thieves from the Adventurer's Guide is active, potentially allies for the party. The PCs from Council of Thieves are also doing stuff in the background.

...I think that's about it.


I combined Belkzan with the Kingdom of Many-Arrows from Forgotten Realms, which I had done significant homebrewing on before making the jump to PF anyway(just because Wizards decided to let it become the single biggest waste of potential in the setting's history doesn't mean I have to).

Used it as a center of civilization for monstrous races and a haven for outlaws and missionaries from more traditionally heroic races intermingle and clash with old school traditionalists in a feudal society that's identity is it's constant internal conflict to try to forge an identity.

In a lot of ways it's basically America under a feudal system as opposed to a democratic republic, by way of the mongol empire. Near perpetual war with an economy that is heavily tied into it's military with a strong expansionist mindset, with a steady stream of immigrants and new ideas and the inevitable backlash against same, conflicts over religious law vs secular law and whether inclusiveness and diversity are strengths or weaknesses, all while being seen by outsiders as either a curious experiment likely doomed to failure, a great land of opportunity for better or worse, or a great evil that needs to be put down.

My version of Golarion is also vaguely post-apocalyptic. First PF game I DM'd ended with the group getting a hold of a Harrow Deck of Many Things, which has a card - I forget which off the top of my head - that allows the person who draws it to command "any mortal or immorrtal" to do any one thing they want. Player who drew that card commanded Asmodeus to release Rovagug, which lasted for about ten minutes or so before the group managed to draw the card again via wish magic and used it to command Rovagug back in his prison for long enough for Asmodeus to seal him back up.

I asked James Jacobs what effect that would have on the world and he said that, assuming he'd allow it to happen, the damage would be significant enough to leave the setting in a post-apocalyptic state. So my Golarion went through a few years as a mad-max hellhole and is now working it's way back to stability, kinda like Fallout.


I got rid of the pathfinder society completely


SwnyNerdgasm wrote:
I got rid of the pathfinder society completely

I am intrigued and would like to hear more.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
SwnyNerdgasm wrote:
I got rid of the pathfinder society completely
I am intrigued and would like to hear more.

Nothing major, just removed all references to them and don't allow anything from the PFS sourcebooks.

I know they're nothing alike, but they make me think of the Harpers for some reason and I hate the Harpers.

Silver Crusade

oh I also ignore the errata with some of the races ages. I'm sorry, but it was better before and makes more sense.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
SwnyNerdgasm wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
SwnyNerdgasm wrote:
I got rid of the pathfinder society completely
I am intrigued and would like to hear more.

Nothing major, just removed all references to them and don't allow anything from the PFS sourcebooks.

I know they're nothing alike, but they make me think of the Harpers for some reason and I hate the Harpers.

That's funny given how many people were angry that Golarion doesn't have a Harpers equivalent and instead has the morally ambiguous, opportunistic and pragmatic Pathfinder Society as the go-to setting-wide faction. Maybe you should give them a good read? They're nothing like Harpers, at any rate.


Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
oh I also ignore the errata with some of the races ages. I'm sorry, but it was better before and makes more sense.

What was changed?


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Demigods are known and referred to by titles and epithets. A demigod's worshipers generally treat its name as a sacred mystery to be jealously guarded; empyreal lords are particularly strict about this.

Rahadoum is an ex-Chelaxian crusader kingdom. The Laws of Man are less than a century old, and came after 450 years of Arodenite mission civiliatrice, Dawnflower insurgency, Hellknight counterinsurgency, Red Mantis terror, and Usij.

Stirge is a rarely-eaten local delicacy everywhere.

Also I fiddled with languages a bit:
Druidic has NO written form. (Secrecy and permanently decipherable texts don't mix.)

Hallit has TOO MANY written standards. Not many Kellids are actually illiterate, but most use scripts specific to their tribe or region and unknown outside it. That's part of how Taldane became a lingua franca.

Polyglot DOES have a written form. (The Maagambya has teaching high-Int students writing-dependent magic for 8,000 years. They've worked something out.)

Dark Archive

Amedras wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

I like the bit about the secret language not having a written form. It always bugs me when I see flavor text describing something written in an indecipherable or untranslatable language as if the game hadn't had a comprehend languages spell from the very start.


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Given the nature of wjat I've been running, I've mostly limited my use of Golarion to two regions: Varisia and Ustalav, with a little bit of Belkzen and the Darklands.

Most of my changes have been to include necessary plot-point locales from non-Paizo sources to my version of the game-world. So...

In Korvosa...

  • St. Alika is called "St. Alika the Twice-Martyred", and there is a poorly-maintained shrine to her in Old Korvosa. (This was done when I ran TPK Games' The Reaping Stone in Korvosa.)
  • An ancient Thassilonian temple opened up underneath a mill in Thief Camp. (This was for Raging Swan's Dark Waters Rising.)
  • The University of Korvosa has a department that studies Thassilonian clockworks, and has reverse-engineered their construction. (This is to use adventures from Kobold Press' Streets of Zobeck collection.)
  • The Jeggare Museum has frequent strange happenings. (This is so I can use Blakros Museum PFS scenarios in Korvosa.)
  • There is a badly-run Sarenite mission house in Old Dock. (Cribbed from Pathfinder #13: Shadow in the Sky.)
  • A healthy and unmarried King Eodred II still stits on the throne...until I run Curse of the Crimson Throne, and until those events happen, there are no Gray Maidens in the world.

In Ustalav...

  • There is a range of the Hungry Mountains called the Svalich Peaks. Nestled therein is the nearly forgotten, mist-shrouded valley of Barovia, ruled by the half-mad vampire Count Strahd in Castle Ravenloft.
  • There is a partially-sentient forest called the Old Margreave in which dark fairy tales play out. (Kobold Press' Tales of Old Margreave.)

In general...

  • I use little-to-none of the PFS lore about the Pathfinder Society. In-game, it's a gentlefolk's club of armchair explorers who send out real expwditions. My version is akin to the real-world Explorer's Club crossed with the National Geographic Society.
  • The Bank of Abadar issues letters of credit that can be redeemed for cash at other banks, akin to how the Knights Templar ran a de facto international bank in the real world.

I'm sure there are more, but these come to mind.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Leap year, in my Golarion, happens once every 4 years, instead of once every 8 years.

This is so I can sync days/weeks/months/years in the real world to those in my Golarion. As a result, I look up things like lunar phases, weather, etc. much easier.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I imagine the higher level Red Mantis assassins could easily develop some Ed Gein-y magical means of acquiring a new face.

Years later, this makes me wonder what a Red Mantis Archetype for Vigilantes could be like.

A sort of 'Manchurian candidate' assassin, who can float past security checks, alignment checks, even detect thoughts, because, until s/he receives the trigger phrase and switches identities, *s/he doesn't know s/he's the assassin!*


I added a cult of scholars, delvers, merchants, and political figures that are dedicated to the goal of raising Azlant from the depths of the Arcadian Ocean via a centuries-long manipulation of Ley Lines and harnessed magic from other ancient civilizations. The organization is headed by a seemingly immortal being claiming to be The True Last Azlanti. Said organization is largely unacknowledged (most people just think their members are just history buffs), but they have an ongoing shadow war with the elves of the Mordant Spire, as well as feuds with both the Pathfinder Society and the Aspis Consortium (absconding to untraceable locations with ancient enchanted objects irritates both groups).


MaxAstro wrote:

My Golarion started as the normal Golarion... and then my players got their hands on it... xD Not to mention we have a rule that the events of any campaign myself or my friend run are always canon for any future campaign we run.

I'm not even sure where to start.

At the end of Kingmaker, my PCs used their wealth to start an industrial revolution, making firearms and to a lesser extent airships commonplace.

At the end of Shattered Star, my PCs decided to ally with First King Xin and rebuild Thassilon as the utopia it always should have been.

Also, the source of mortal magic in Nethys' realm was destroyed by one of my PCs (to be fair, it was starting to show signs of sentience and evilness). As a result, magic was severely weakened and 9th circle casters no longer exist.

My PCs failed Serpent's Skull hardcore, resulting in a serpentfolk empire arising.

Said empire was then swiftly crushed by New Thassilon and has since become a protectorate of the Free Kingdoms (a loose alliance of kingdoms formed by Kingmaker PCs' kingdom).

Irrisen is now ruled by Queen Anastasia (who, by coincidence, is a former PC) and has shifted to a Chaotic Good kingdom; Sarkoris has been rebuilt and considers Nocticula (now a CN Goddess) their patron; Ustalav is shaking off its long darkness after Gallowspire was nearly destroyed and the Whispering Tyrant's hold on the place greatly loosened.

New Thassilon and the Free Kingdoms are both allying with as many different countries as possible, and are both now strong enough that everyone is picking sides and a Cold War is brewing. With PCs on both sides. Often multiple PCs of the same player on different sides. xD

Currently running Iron Gods and the outcome of that will determine where Numeria falls in this whole conflict... Cheliax is currently allied with New Thassilon by virtue of both being very lawful kingdoms, but the events of Hell's Rebels and Hell's Vengeance will likely shake that up.

It's a lot to keep track of, some days. :)

...sorry for the necro, but did you manage to call New Thassilon, Sarkoris, and redeemed Nocticula, all way in advance?


Ylem wrote:

I'm interested in hearing about your modifications, whether big or small. What are they, and what have been the payoffs or downfalls of those changes? For example, I've been changing a lot of names, of countries and NPCs, to better reflect my tastes. Maybe others have changed whole countries or added islands, added or eliminated races, etc. Let's hear it!

I changed a lot of names, because they sound bad and are impossible to remember. Made things what they are. Azlant is Atlantis for example. Cheliax and Chelaxians was a really bad choice of naming.

Some names from RotR are stright up mental :D Volioker Briskalberd, Jubrayl Vhiski, Viorian Dekanti to name a few. I tend to use more clasic names and with surnames of random NPCs to somehow reflect them, so it is possible to remember who the f*ck that guy was.

Besides the names I like the Golarion a lot, like the fact, that worldwide events are based on history of Earth, so you can assume some things like rise and fall of Taldor (Roman Empire) and so on just with an elementary knowledge of real history and geography.

I do not lock things at all, so I can change some minor elements from a campagin to campagin to better reflect its setting and style of play (epic, horror, sandbox).


For the new version, I'll probably have Tar-Baphon Movie Serial Dead: his existence is less of an obvious endgame the way the Worldwound was, but I'd rather assume no one has to worry about him specifically until I want to turn him into the Big Bad.

Also I'll probably add Serpentfolk to the list of main races. Because snakes need more love, not more villainy.

EDIT: Thought of one I should have posted a long time ago: more land connection from Casmaron to Tian Xia. The latter feels weird being skinny, especially with the steppe noamd expy up in that tiny northern bit. Take down part of the Wall of Heaven, extend some land to bridge the ocean, perfect place to have a pseudo-"Mongolia".

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