So, I’ve recently started watching Dark Matter, and I’m really digging the Imperial Ishida stuff. And I’ve been wondering, where is Tien Xia in all this Starfinder mess? I mean, it basically says Starfinder-common is defended from Taldane, so what about the other half of Golarion? Do we have anything from them? If not can we homebrew some stuff.
Like, I guess you could say a curved blade is a Katana, but what about a level 2 melee weapon that does a d8 and has the penetrate special property? And are the languages Tien or Minkai even alive anymore? Is there a Tien/Minkai colony out there somewhere?
What if we want Samurai/traditional Chinese suits of armor?
The armour and weapons in-game can be in virtually any visual style AFAIK. Our GM simply took an enchanted sword and re-skinned it as a monomolecular katana blade.
As for where Tian Min culture is, the cultures of Golarion are still available for anyone to take up and imitate or try to revive -- with the presumable exception of anything that was totally oral and depended on memory, which the Gap will have wiped out beyond recovery -- which basically means that any group of people from virtually any background can have decided to get together and start up a Tian retro-colony / retro-Empire, either in Pact Worlds space or somewhere out in the Vast. The latter is the premise of the adapted version of the Jade Regent adventure path that our group is presently playing in the Starfinder universe and the premise seems to operate pretty smoothly so far.
I suppose all the longswords could be re-skinned as Katana, and the heavy armor from Alien Archive (Kankor?? I don’t have it in front of me right now.). Could work as various forms of o-yori armor. The Curved blades as Naginata, the assault hammer as a tetsubo, and the Dragonglaive as a naginata (though it does require 18+Str.)
Still, It’d be nice to see some more options that are less ‘western inspired.’
The only thing I've noticed so far is that one of the Core 20 deities is (I think) from the Dragon Empires. You're absolutely right that the general culture of Absalom Station (at least as depicted in what we have so far) seems to be drawn far more from the "west" than the "east."
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Per Cole's point, I do think there's a deliberately generic nature to most of the gear.
Default "Absalom" culture may seem relatively "Western"-biased -- in a cynical mood one could speculate part of the point of the Gap is to enable Paizo to sell Starfindery versions of other cultural content -- but the legacy Pathfinder content is still out there and available to adapt, particularly if you're not hyper-fanatical about "balance."
IIRC, the way Common was described makes it actually *much* more ambiguous whether its a direct descendant of Taldan or not. My own headcanon, at least for the moment, is that Starfinder era "Common" bears about as much resemblance to Pathfinder era Common as modern English does with Roman Latin.
Which, in the context of this thread, could entirely lead to "Where did Tian Xia go? Look around you. Its everywhere." The ethnic baseline is "thousands of years of intermingling", and the Common tongue derives as much from ancient Tian as it does from ancient Taldan ( and probably from a couple other languages, not all of them from Golarion ). Culturally, sure, only one of the Big 20 gods are explicitly Tian, but of the returning deities, only two of them are culturally originating from Avistan or Garund ( Iomedae and I *think* Besmara ). The rest are way, way older.
Common is represented by Modern English in Starfinder. It's a lot different than Taldan to be sure. Taldan could be "Olde English" or "Proto-English" for all we know (although we use Modern English to represent Taldan). Starfinder Common could have a lot of loan words from Tian Xia.
Tsunami is a loan word from Japanese into modern English. Algebra is a loan word from Arabic into modern English. That's just two examples.
I've always been somewhat surprised, well, "surprised but not really", that they went with Sarenrae instead of Shizuru being that Shizuru is, supposedly, literally the sun.
But I suppose that Shizuru has too much overlap with Iomedae where as Sarenrae is more distinct, and then you have to get into how the disappearance of Golarion's moon & therefor Tsukiyo affects things and it's all a bit messy.