My thoughts on an Arcadia AP


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So, I've been pining for an Arcadia AP for quite some time now, and taken a few stabs at writing one myself. (Needless to say (a) it wasn't successful and (b) its a ton of work). However, in the process I came up with some interesting thoughts that I'd like to share with the group.

I started off the process by thinking about the correlation between Golarion and Earth. I won’t go into the details here (that’s what Wikipedia is for). But I felt that any Arcadia AP has to answer two questions: Why make the trip across the ocean and why is this trip made so infrequently? Yes, there are tiny colonies scattered out there, but to this point no one on either side has made a concerted effort to cross the ocean regularly.

Let’s tackle the second question, first. Why, in world of teleport, is this trip difficult? The straightforward answer is that you can’t teleport. The obvious reason for why you can’t teleport is that there’s something in ruined Azlant which prevents you from crossing the ocean. Teleportation need not fail automatically - just frequently enough that its risky. I did something similar in a home-brew campaign east of Kingmaker. There, a long standing influence from the negative energy plane caused regular planar reversals emanating from a central location. You could teleport and dimension door locally, but long distances were suicidal. This also made long distance sending problematic too, as sendings had to pass through each inversion as if it were another plane. There was great RPing getting half garbled messages.

So, walking, flying and sea travel are the only way to cross the sea. That answers qeustion two. But what about question one - why go through the bother?

On earth, natural resources drove colonization. Its a great theme, and I don’t see why it should be any different here. But what natural resources? Gold is frequently (and somewhat erroneously) cited as the reason, but timber and furs work just as well. However, in Golarion with magic and druids and et cetera, its much easier to get these things and refine them. What we need is something more exotic.

I settled on adamantium. Sky-metal. Perhaps another craft, perhaps something remaining from the fall of Azlant. But enough sky-metal to equip an army and seriously upset the balance of power in Golarion.

Okay, so having come up with the basic underlying premise, the next step was to ask myself how this would fit into the existing game world. What story would be best told in this setting? My answer to that was Taldor. Taldor is the obvious choice, as THE failing empire, and as the analogue to Rome / Byzantium. Imagine if, in the 1450s, Byzantium suddenly invented the rifle? (I know.. There are many steps missing for that to happen, but suspend disbelief for a moment). With some artistic license, Constantinople would not fall and the Byzantine empire would be resurgent. That’s the premise that I’m going for. Not the results, but the idea entrenched within the Taldane government that this discovery of skymetal in Arcadia is the key to revitalizing the empire, to reconquering the lost provinces and regaining honor against Qadira. (note: a side effect of this is that it subtly changes the nature of Taldor to an aggressive, expansionistic empire. Or perhaps “returns” is more apropos.)

So, how does this all come about. I put together a loose framework for the six APs, which I’ll share with you now. But first, the hook. I proposed that my AP start out with a ship washing up along the coast in Taldor. The freshly minted PCs, nearby, are asked to check it out. The ship is badly damaged and far-travelled. Everyone inside is dead, but within the ship are maps charting out some of the Arcadian coastline. And on one of those maps, is marked an adamantine mine and placer adamantine deposits. A DC 10 Geography check will be sufficient to tell the party that, if true, then this is several lifetimes’ worth of fortune to be had. Checking back with the locals, they are strongly suggested to take this to the local governor, since such an expedition would be completely beyond the PCs financial resources. The news quickly makes it way up the chain of government to the Grand Prince, who personally backs the PCs with a boat to check it out.

That would be the first third of AP1. The remaining 2/3rds of AP1 would be the sea crossing, ending with landing on the shores of Arcadia. AP2 would be the exploration of the interior and coastline, looking for the places pointed out on the map, meeting some locals, and returning. AP3 would be colony building. AP 4-6 would tell two stories - the investigation of the source of the skymetal (which would have an Azlant connection) as well as the repercussions of Taldor trying to rewrite the political balance.

You’ll note that I included very few details about the inhabitants of Arcadia. That’s because its kind of unnecessary to the story. The area where this occurs is mostly underpopulated (though this does not presume all of Arcadia is underpopulated). Arcadia needs to be somewhat isolated, almost Iobaria-like, else they would have tried to make contact with the Inner Sea. In my personal campaign, I would have made great use of the Advanced Race Guide and populated much of the area with chieftain-sized humanoid tribes. Humans, elves and dwarves (the main PC races) would have been nonexistent. And, though brutal, these humanoid tribes would have been civilized and organized. Indeed, they would have looked upon the PCs as “monsters” at first. At least, that was my ham-fisted attempt at culture shock. I also have notes as to how this happened (hint: it has to do with the fall of Azlant). And while this would have worked, it isn’t necessary. Traditional PC societies would have worked just as well.

So what elements would have been included? In AP 1 and some of the later APs there would have been sailing rules lifted from Skulls and Shackles (I had intended for a few large naval battles between Taldor and Cheliax as Cheliax tried to close off the Arch of Aroden). AP 2 would have had a Kingmaker-like feel with exploration. AP 3-6 would have included elements of settlement building, with some obvious modifications to deal with the fact that this was a colony. Some of those modifications include (a) higher prices for some magical items and luxury goods; (b) the fact that, for much of the adventure, PCs would be far away from any real base of operations (c) the colony would be small and rustic- probably no more than a few thousand people at the end.

Anyway, that was the premise. What do you think?

Liberty's Edge

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I want to play in your game

Shadow Lodge

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I second that. Amazing ideas.

Dark Archive

Some Employee at Paizo-
"Or, or , or.... we can have 3-4 books of the Arcadia AP have the players somewhere else entirely, with most of it trying to get to it. So that way when you finally get there, they feels more special.


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Sorry to say I'm not a fan because it sounds like you're reproducing a colonial 'terra nullius' perspective. ( http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/orgs/car/docrec/policy/brief/terran.htm )

Woulda worked well 30 years ago but I'd like to see more complex and realistic interactions with the inhabitants of Arcadia.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While the overall premise sounds good and i would find Arcadia interesting, i´m a bit sceptical about some points here.

As Coffee Demon said, the colonial perspective is a bit difficult. Maybe such an idea could be the origin point, but you then find something completely different, perhaps even superior empires and civilizations, with very different struggles, who then might decide to invade your home country.

And also the ship part...
Besides an on the water part in the middle of an AP being very difficult for PCs in feats and skills, i think it´s also not easy to make that interesting and challenging on the right level.
Long ship travel is boring, except when there are many interesting encounters. That´s either meeting other ships, sea monsters, going underwater, fighting the elements or islands in between.
All of that boils down to the infamous filler book that has difficulties being connected to the rest of the AP in my eyes.


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I vote for Arcadian PCs colonizing Taldor.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

A ship traveling to Arcadia usually has to pass through the shattered continent of Azlant. Given the choice, I suspect that most sailors would prefer boredom over that. ^_^

(We'd probably need an Azlant book as well, if this came up...)


Personally It would be better for the players to be survivors of a shipwreck on Arcadia and get to explore, find supplies, find survivors, meet new cultures, etc. Or maybe you were send to find someone, someplace, or something as your mission but also have to keep your fellow explorers, ship's crew, etc. alive.


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I'm cool with an Arcadian AP, but it's gotta have some conditions.

1) Must begin on Arcadia (starting in Segada is the best way to accomplish that)
2) Must not focus on colonization/kingdom building
3) Provides history and cultures of those living on Arcadia
4) Syrinx, gotta have Syrinx
5) It must be about Arcadia, not inner sea centric.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:

A ship traveling to Arcadia usually has to pass through the shattered continent of Azlant. Given the choice, I suspect that most sailors would prefer boredom over that. ^_^

(We'd probably need an Azlant book as well, if this came up...)

Well well, that might be a complete differet AP.

And the Arcadia AP could then be the sequel, with either some passengers from that ship or even offspring^^

I have a tendency to join Captain Yesterdays conditions on this topic though.


Wyrwoods!


Really, don't do the same mistakes as Jade Regent. Start the AP in it, and stay there. The Arcadia AP doesn't need to be a Taldor/ Cheliax/ Varasia/ and then some Arcadia. Unless you want Jade Regent to happen again and you know people still aren't all happy about that.

Silver Crusade

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Conservative Anklebiter wrote:
Unless you want Jade Regent to happen again and you know people still aren't all happy about that.

When you say "people" you mean yourself under your main alias, Hayato Ken and who else? :)


You mean *Looks at "More Tian Xia please" thread* all those people?


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Just because i want more Tian-Xia DOES NOT MEAN i'm unhappy with Jade Regent, putting words in my mouth is not appreciated. Thank you.

Community Manager

Removed some posts and their responses. Keep this on-topic, please. Commentary on Jade Regent should go in its own thread.


Canorous End (I think that is the name...the failed Cheliax colony) would be an awesome place to start an adventure, what with the weird aberrations behind that colonies disappearance.


Can you remind me again about "Canorous End" MMCJawa?

Paizo Employee Developer

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The three Avistani colonies in Arcadia are Anchor's End, Canorus, and Elesomare. The first two are Chelish and the last one is Andoren.


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So I'm going to preface my follow-up thoughts by saying Arcadia is huge. It is the equivalent of North and South America. So there is room for dozens, if not hundreds of AP ideas. What I was proposing would only occupy a small portion of the contient - something equivalent to the size of Nova Scotia or Maine. Or to reverse the idea - imagine if the description of Golarion started in Arcadia and someone wanted to "do an AP about Avistan". Because, you know, all Avistan looks the same.

Anyway, on to my follow-up comments.

So, I kept the initial comments somewhat vague because of spoilers (you know, on the one in a million chance that Paizo liked the idea (ok.. one in a trillion ;) )). Its somewhat amusing because several of the complaints I'd addressed internally but didn't mention here. So, apologies for that. Let's recap and fill in:

AP1 starts with finding the ruined ship washed up onshore and the map (MacGuffin). The first third is very traditional, with some intrigue and subterfuge dealing with the Taldane court. There's a couple attempts on the PCs lives and the chance to do a deal with some other elements in the court that could affect later books but in the end the PC's get their charter (and 2nd level) and set sail.
The middle third is the crossing, which is mostly an exploration of the edge of the Arcadian archepilago. I would throw in some ship problems forcing the PCs to land, look for supplies, etc.. which also strengthens the bond between the PCs and the crew, thus putting them in the role of natural leaders. Remember, while the PCs have the charter to explore, they do not necessarily have the role of colony organizer and they certainly aren't ship captains. At this point, they're important, but not the most important people on board. So they need to build that trust with the crew.
The end third is landing on the shores of Arcadia - at the mouth of a river system, likely. (That's what I had on my maps, anyway). They find some remnants of the ruined ship's landfall, and set up a small stockade. While they are preparing their base of operations, they are attacked by a large band of CR appropriate level humanoids (I think I had kobolds listed here, but goblins or someone else works). Depending on how the PCs do, the colony could take some to many casualties. But they eventually win. From some of the survivors, they learn of large settlements of humanoids off to the north and south. They triangulate themselves with known colonies and basically find themselves in a rather large "blank" part of the map - essentially a part of Arcadia where traditional PC races don't venture far. It's sort of like Iobaria, but more remote and probably more deadly. The AP ends with the PCs sending a report back home via one of the ships, likely with a nice chunk of skymetal as proof of the colony's viability.

AP2 is the main hex-exploring wilderness AP. Kinda like kingmaker, but not really. Because you're not building a kingdom - there's never going to be enough people to claim more than 2 or 3 8 mile hexes. I liken it more to the old X1: Isle of Dread module. Old school GMs and players will have a lot of fun giving their players the opportunity to map out the area. Things like "there is a lone mountain off to the northwest - you'd guess about 50 miles away" sort of thing. The PCs will also encoutner the nearby humanoid settlements and start to understand that the humanoids have organized into a semblence of society and that they can't just exterminate them any more than they can exterminate all of Belkzen. So the PCs will have to treat with them like any other city state. Based on PC party make up they might side with kobolds, lizardmen, gnolls... etc. This is a area that exists in a tenuous state of peace and the PCs are just the element to shake things up. I see two main goals of AP2 - meeting the neighbors and setting up the relationships that are going to resonate through AP 3-6. So, in terms of climax, this is probably the weakest of all the APs. IT ends with the next resupply ship coming back, some more colonists arriving and the PCs becoming the official leaders of the colony (when the previous leaders die in a raid).

AP3 is where the PCs really start to dig into Arcadia. They learn that the real reason that the humanoids haven't torn each other apart is that they live in fear of the things in the mountains to the west. When one of the towns to the west gets massacred, all the settlements get filled with a sense of dread. They turn to the PCs (as impartial, expendable outsiders) to investigate. Yes. The monsters are recruiting PCs for an adventure. :P The PCs are doubly interested because they have been noting that the meagre placer deposits seem to indicate the source of the skymetal is somewhere in the mountains. I won't go too much into detail here... you know spoilers. But this is the first time the PCs really venture inland.

When I thought of AP4, it was originally going to be dealing with the giants in the highlands between the humanoids in the flatlants and the BBEGs in the mountains. That was before Giantslayer came out and putting giants in here would be too close to that AP. So I'm going to change this on the fly and make use of some of the neighboring (well, several hundred mile distant) city states in Arcadia. The AP would be predicated on the colony hitting some serious survival difficulties, forcing the PCs to take some of the skymetal and hawk it at one or more of the city states. Bringing that much skymetal to any market is bound to attract the attention of soemone in charge, leading the PCs to forge ties with the PC races in Arcadia.

AP5 will deal with the unintended consequences of AP4 - that is that once the secret of the skymetal is revealed, Cheliax will come a knocking. The PCs will get wind of a great fleet of Cheliaxian vessels coming to take control of the colony and wipe out the PCs and humanoids. It's up to the PCs to organize a defence of the colony using both the humanoids and the city states. The PCs have to maintain possibly the most diverse assortment of soldiers ever collected and teach Cheliax a lesson to prevent this from ever happening again. I forsee a naval battle (or at least a skirmish), Cheliax landing with an army, burning its way through some humanoid settlements and eventually beseiging the PCs base (which, by now, should be well defended). Perhaps some of the PCs will have taken advantage of the opportunities availed them in AP1 and let Cheliax in? Interesitngly, the conflict can end with the colony being chelaxin or Taldane.

AP6 has the PCs finally getting to the source of the skymetal, which will be a combinataion of Iron Gods, Giantslayer and Horror Adventures. Basically, something huge and terrible has been sleeping in the ruins (which is what kept the PC races out of this area for milennia) and the arrival of the PCs has woken it up. This has a large, regional effect - driving several of the humanoid tribes into madness and threatening to tear the colony apart.

So that's my follow-up clarification. I still haven't said everything about APs 4-6 because I do want to do this someday and I think its a fun idea. And also, there are about a million loose ends to tie up (that Paizo does this well twice a year continues to amaze me). Again, to reiterate... you can have more or less untamed wilderness in Maine coexisting with great cultures in Mesoamerica and mound builders in the Ohio Valley. Arcadia is vast.


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*addendum (as I've exceeded the time with which I can edit my previous post)

I just reread the Distant Shores supplement and frankly its nearness to where I'd considered placing this AP invalidates a lot of what I have here. So I'd rewrite to make it more human-centric or move it somewhere else.

Hey, when I first kicked this idea around Shattered Star was just wrapping up as the AP de jure. And Paizo spent a lot of time not saying anything about Arcadia ;)


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Still don't like it because you're still using an outdated colonial naarative that makes assumptions about 'wilderness' and works with savage indigenous tribe-based cultures that would 'tear each other apart' if not for some external threat. Makes me very uncomfortable.

No place in the entirety of North and South America (that I know of) was not a part of an existing pre-contact human culture before Europeans visited it. You may say 'Golarian is different', but the fact remains that you're referencing a pretty standard colonial story that needs to be retold, in every medium including AP's.

Roleplaying games have traditionally been a bit slow to take up matters of identity and equality, but Paizo does a pretty good job when it comes to gender. An Arcadia AP provides an excellent opportunity to work proactively with matters of race and colonization.


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

I'd like to see a relatively peaceful exploration AP... If the PCs are presumed to not be Arcadian natives, then just being allowed off of the coast to go see who else is out there could be cool.

Alternately, Arcadian PCs sent to travel across the continent making contacts and gathering opinions for just what to do about these weirdos on the coast could allow for a wide range of inter-cultural contacts, ranging from affable to outright hostile.


That's fine, coffee demon. You're allowed to disagree. I'm just not going to engage the debate you seem eager to have. As I've pointed out theres enough room in the game world to tell both stories. I encourage you to start your own thread and describe your own ideas. Point me to it and I'll offer constructive criticsm as well.

Personally, I'm going to put together a nice map of the arcadia already described and go from there. As I mentioned earlier the new supplements have changed my narrative.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

There's no way Paizo is going to tell the white savior story. Just managing expectations. You can totally write and run it yourself, but don't expect them to do something similar - it's not going to happen.

(If nothing else, the Arcadians that we've seen don't seem overly fond of letting Avistani just wander around their continent.)


What about the angle that maybe the eastern part of Arcadia is Arcadia's equivalent of Varisia (flipped east-west, of course), and if you go further west you run across well-developed nation states (not necessarily made of Core Races) that are perfectly capable of holding their own against Avistani invaders (but haven't unified the eastern parts due to intrigues against each other), and just haven't shown up much in overseas commerce because they are highly insular apart from the wars against each other. It's a stretch, but it could avoid the colonialist trap (or at least the standard version thereof).


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We don't need a Kingmaker 2. We don't need a Colonization Story. If we end up with an Arcadia AP, it is going to be quite different than what you are calling for.

To be honest, the best Arcadia campaign would be one which is set wholly in Arcadia rather than using characters from the more commonly known parts of Golarion. But seeing most people are used to Cheliax, Varisia, and Taldor, undoubtedly any AP set in Arcadia will involve characters from the "mainland" who somehow find themselves in Arcadia. Probably along the lines of Reign of Winter with a portal of some kind, though one that only works once.


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Wszebor Uriev wrote:
Again, to reiterate... you can have more or less untamed wilderness in Maine coexisting with great cultures in Mesoamerica and mound builders in the Ohio Valley. Arcadia is vast.

To be clear, Wszebor, I think the bolded part here is the part that is the issue in terms of the narrative that you are trying to tell. I certainly can't speak for Coffee Demon et al on this, but as a historian by training, that's the part that makes me cringe, because that's simply not how it was. I get that you don't want to get into a debate about this, but I think you are mistaken when you assert that just because the campaign setting is vast that your narrative is equally "valid". I mean, sure, as a work of fiction, you are free to imagine things however you like, but as it is, I (and I think others) feel like your conceptions of the "natives" as presented here runs into three cardinal sins:

1) It's based on a false understanding of the real world. This is probably the least of the sins - again, this is a fantasy setting, after all. That said, if you want to get a sense of verisimilitude, it's often better to hew more closely to reality when possible. To be clear, the reality is that the American Northeast was not even close to an untamed wilderness - the great forests with their tall, old-growth trees, open game trails and wide idyllic meadows were the result of intentional and long term cultivation by the civilizations in that area. To the extent the colonists felt that the land was "untamed", they were either reacting to the fact that the land had frequently been recently de-peopled due to massive plague or else trying to justify what could easily have been considered theft when they did things like harvest cornfields which had until recently been tended to by the now deceased natives (probably both). Thus, the idea that there ever was an "untamed wilderness" is as scientifically wrong as saying pterosaurs were dinosaurs, or that tryptophan in turkey causes drowsiness.

2) It's cliche. This, to me, might be the greatest of the three sins, honestly. Everyone has already heard the trite colonial whitewashing story before, and I think you owe your OTHER interesting story ideas more than wrapping them in with a half-baked cliche about noble savage natives. Honestly, if you are looking for a cool additional "hook" for your AP, you could do worse than to try to stand out by showing a more nuanced look at things. I don't even mean that you have to try to make a deliberately anti-racist narrative, so much as consider alternate possibilities. For example, I have a seed of a story idea that goes like this: What if the reason a sapient organism doesn't have tools is because it doesn't NEED them? The connection to Arcadia might be something like this: Civilization took a different track in Arcadia - instead of being empire builders and monument hoarders like the mage-lords of Avistan, the leaders of Arcadian civilization were more akin to what we might think of as sci-fi biotechnologists. They figured why build a city when you can train the trees to grow into buildings for you? Why wall in farmlands when you can just train your crops to grow only in the correct areas? Why till the land with peasant labor when you can train the moles/earthworms etc to till it for you? And so on, essentially taking the idea of real world Native American cultivation of the land and turning it up to 11 (and in the process neatly subverting the "noble savage in tune with nature" trope, I hope). In this model, you can present the meeting of two culture types that are equal, but so different from each other they each represent an outside of context problem for the other, and then let the PCs work out that conflict. In fact, no, actually, I'm claiming that idea, you can't have it:P

3) Unlike cliches about pterosaurs and tryptophan, the 'untamed wilderness' cliche is a fairly hurtful one. It essentially expunges an entire people from history, and in so doing prevents us all from understanding a fascinating and important (if not always pretty) part of the story of the human race. Again, I'm not saying that it is a requirement to go out of your way to be anti-racist, or to try to use your Pathfinder game to try in some way to right the wrongs of history. I get that isn't everyone's cup of tea - sometimes (probably most of the time) you just want to roll dice and have fun telling a cool story with friends. It just seems to me that if we're going to be making up a fantasy world anyway, we might owe it to ourselves to make our fantasy worlds more than a boring, hurtful cliche if we can - and after all, what's the use of fantasy if we can't imagine a better, more interesting world?


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Ok, wow. So, real short and final since this thread has been completely hijacked by.. I dunno.. some weird group of people intent on putting words in my mouth.

I AM NOT intending on telling the White Savior story, retelling the colonization story or propagating any sort of weird fantasies that you seem completely and wholehartedly bent on making it seem like I am. I can't state it any more clearly than that.

As best I can tell, you're looking at the fact that monstrous humanoid races are, in some way, inferior to the usual PC races. And wow... doesn't that say more about you than it does about me? I was trying to tell a COMPLETELY different story - what would happen in a world where the standard PC races were non-existent? How would those civilizations rise and fall? (remember, I was coming up with this idea when all Paizo had was a couple sentences about Arcadia) What would motivate those cultures?

But no, you don't want to talk about that concept. Rather, it's all "OMFG. There's no PC races there - this place is savage and untamed. There's only low level XP there. Clearly it's prime for settling by the civilized folk." Yeah. I'm the one telling the 'racist' story.

Anyway, I'm done with this topic and I'm sorry I even brought it up. I was under the impression that this group was actually open minded. I was apparently incorrect.


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I like your ideas Wszebor I guess the problem with forum's in general is that when people agree or are happy with something they are less likely to comment it is only when they disagree or are unhappy that they have to imput their 2 cent worth. You should go ahead and run your campaign anyway you like and not listen to any of these people trying to rain on your parade they aren't gonna be their :)


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Too often in America are non white people referred to as "savage" or "uncivilized" and the American colonization is a fascinating story, too often it has only been told from one side.

If people get riled up, it's because we don't want the stories of the indigenous people to be left behind or forgotten.

I will agree, it's a sensitive subject. :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wszebor Uriev wrote:

Ok, wow. So, real short and final since this thread has been completely hijacked by.. I dunno.. some weird group of people intent on putting words in my mouth.

I AM NOT intending on telling the White Savior story, retelling the colonization story or propagating any sort of weird fantasies that you seem completely and wholehartedly bent on making it seem like I am. I can't state it any more clearly than that.

First of all, stow the pious "I just wanted to have a friendly discussion" garbage. If you want to tell a story about colonization, then you have to accept the fact that a discussion of how you discuss colonization is completely on point. It's not "weird" or "rude" or anything else to point out that your conception of the colonization of America (as expressed in your own words) is a) wrong b) cliched and c) (probably unintentionally) racist.

Nobody is putting "words into your mouth" - I quoted an exact thing you actually wrote and explained thoughtfully and carefully why I felt that specific thing that you said was problematic. You may not have INTENDED to be telling the white savior colonial story, but that doesn't change the fact that you WERE.

Wszebor Uriev wrote:

As best I can tell, you're looking at the fact that monstrous humanoid races are, in some way, inferior to the usual PC races. And wow... doesn't that say more about you than it does about me? I was trying to tell a COMPLETELY different story - what would happen in a world where the standard PC races were non-existent? How would those civilizations rise and fall? (remember, I was coming up with this idea when all Paizo had was a couple sentences about Arcadia) What would motivate those cultures?

But no, you don't want to talk about that concept. Rather, it's all "OMFG. There's no PC races there - this place is savage and untamed. There's only low level XP there. Clearly it's prime for settling by the civilized folk." Yeah. I'm the one telling the 'racist' story.

To be blunt, yes, you are the one telling a racist story here, for any number of reasons. Let's get the biggest one out of the way first. Insofar as you seem to be agreeing that the "untamed wilderness" narrative is at least potentially racist, isn't it true that so far the you are the only person in this discussion who has presented that narrative as a valid place to start building an Arcadian AP? In other words, I don't think it's fair to say that I'm the one constructing a racist narrative here. What I'm doing is deconstructing YOUR narrative to point out the problematic underpinnings. Also, as an aside, I find it totally absurd and borderline offensive that you are going to attempt to equate what you perceive as not giving fictional NPC races in a game their just consideration as being the same as the removal of an entire real-world civilization from real-world history through the use of a racist colonial narrative. Like, really?

Second, while I applaud the attempt at a rhetorical reversal of the tables, nobody actually put any words into your mouth but those you actually said. I'm sorry that you evidently feel attacked, but that was never my intent, nor do I think that's a fair interpretation of any of the posts you seem to be objecting to. You are certainly not the first person to make the mistake of thoughtlessly buying into the "untamed wilderness" vision of the colonization of America. That you weren't intending to be racist doesn't mean that the idea you were espousing doesn't have its roots in a fundamentally racist misunderstanding of the world, though. Consider a situation where you heard someone casually using an ethnic slur - even if it was clear the person didn't "mean it", wouldn't it be reasonable to point out the issue to the person? That's what's happening here.

Third, while your use of "monsters" as your natives is potentially an issue (it definitely seems to buy into the narrative of natives as an inferior/antagonistic "other", especially the part where your "civilizations" of kobolds/goblins/whatever need to recruit the adventurers to go solve a problem further inland), that is NOT what I was talking about. My issue was very clearly that when you were describing the kind of narrative you wanted to tell, you equated it to the settling of the untamed wilderness of the American northeast. What I am saying is that narrative is based on a racist lie about history, and is a worn-out cliche to boot. That you evidently can't see that point is a pretty good reason why this discussion is probably a necessary one to have when discussing what an Arcadian AP should look like. I'm fairly sure that there are many players who would look at the kind of AP I would make and think "wait, this isn't what I was expecting! Where's my untamed, virgin wilderness to explore?!" The more we talk about why that story isn't happening, the better.

Fourth, insofar as anyone is making "racist" assumptions about how you are planning to treat your monstrous humanoid natives, I would argue those assumptions are rooted in both the language you use to discuss them (e.g: "Yes. The monsters are recruiting PCs for an adventure. :P") as well as the pretty clear positioning of a traditional RPG antagonistic "other" as your analog for Native Americans in your narrative. Calling your natives "monsters" is certainly not a term free of normative judgement, and I think you are being dishonest if you are trying to pretend that you weren't using traditional "monster" races as a way to play with the "noble savage" trope. To be sure, that trope can (and should!) be subverted and challenged by clever narratives, but at this point I confess that I feel like the nuance necessary to do that runs at odds with the cliched colonial narrative you are trying to wrap it in.

Wszebor Uriev wrote:
Anyway, I'm done with this topic and I'm sorry I even brought it up. I was under the impression that this group was actually open minded. I was apparently incorrect.

I'm not sorry you brought it up at all, nor should you be. This is an important discussion to have if an Arcadian AP is ever going to be a reality. I think you'll also find that people who are willing to have this discussion are not close-minded at all - after all, we're not the ones trying to shut down the discussion.


a "create a colony in the wilderness" is a cool idea but I do find it a bit disturbing that Arcadia is always the go to spot. There are plenty of places you can set such in Golarion without attaching the baggage that goes with setting it in Arcadia. Azlant, filled with ancient ruins and monsters, would be a wonderful spot. So would some of the remote areas of Varisia, or the recently depopulated Iobaria.


^By the way, Arcadia isn't the only place that has this problem. Garund south of the northern row of countries (also excedpting Geb, Alkenstar, and Nex) also has this problem, and Sarusan would very likely have it.

One more shot at trying to salvage this thing: WHY would an area of Arcadia be an untamed wilderness? What if it isn't lack of development on account of something missing from the locals, but SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. It Harvests . . . And then goes away for a while to let the Harvested come back in . . . But even in its sleep it is always watching and waiting for the right opportunity to Harvest again. The few indigenous people encountered there aren't necessarily degenerates, but rather the poor people who couldn't escape because their Arcadian neighbors outside the region of the Harvest consider them to be cursed, and their Colonial neighbors (from Cheliax) want to extract bondage from them, and in either case won't let them out.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm not convinced it's as untamed as people think.


We don't know nearly enough about Arcadia to really get a good idea of what kind of AP we could get except for the "exploring a land unfamiliar to the adventuring party/fish out of water" type story.

Maybe Arcadia has steam powered trains:)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:


Maybe Arcadia has steam powered trains:)

Uh that´s one thing i wouldn´t want to see somehow.

I´m perfectly fine with lazers and robots, but that steampunk stuff is not my cup of tea at least.
Arcadia i´m really more hoping for many things ending with ---tl, giant cities in the jungle with lots of mysterious pyramids, cults, etc.


You need steam based trains to be steampunk, you do not need steampunk to have trains.


^Technically, you don't have to have steam-powered trains to have steampunk -- think of a world in which suburban sprawl, corrupt government policy, and a culture of extreme individualism enabled the steam automobile to drive the steam train extinct. Now THAT'S scary . . . .


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Next thing are steam powered railguns then, what would explain why chelish colonization failed there^^

But i doubt such are the plans.


We can have guns, space ships, robots, lasers, bombs, etc. but we can't have trains, something is wrong with this picture.

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