What are your hopes for a Tian Xia revisit / rewrite?


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With the greater push for diversity in 2e (hand in hand with decolonizing the approach to the Mwangi, and showing greater care with representing diverse inspirations), Tian Xia is definitely primed for a second look and hopefully one a little more nuanced than we've seen before. What sorts of changes and new material are you most hopeful for?


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The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.


Gamerskum wrote:
The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.

It's a little frustrating that almost every nation in Tian Xia is "this is fantasy [real-world nation]" rather clearly.

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I find that to be an exaggeration <_<

That or I'm not sure what real life nations Kaoling, Chun Ye, Shenmen, Kwanlai and Wan Shou among others are supposed to me


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CorvusMask wrote:

I find that to be an exaggeration <_<

That or I'm not sure what real life nations Kaoling, Chun Ye, Shenmen, Kwanlai and Wan Shou among others are supposed to me

That's because your leaders keep secret the hobgoblin menace from the east (or west depending on your home country). Beware the green peril!

Shadow Lodge

keftiu wrote:
Gamerskum wrote:
The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.
It's a little frustrating that almost every nation in Tian Xia is "this is fantasy [real-world nation]" rather clearly.

That's a complaint that can be leveled at every human country on every continent on Golarion.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Gamerskum wrote:
The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.
It's a little frustrating that almost every nation in Tian Xia is "this is fantasy [real-world nation]" rather clearly.
That's a complaint that can be leveled at every human country on every continent on Golarion.

What nations are Cheliax, Alkenstar, and Rahadoum? Contrast material like those to “Minkai is where ninjas and samurai come from, and everyone has Japanese names.”

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Gamerskum wrote:
The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.
It's a little frustrating that almost every nation in Tian Xia is "this is fantasy [real-world nation]" rather clearly.
That's a complaint that can be leveled at every human country on every continent on Golarion.

That is an exaggeration as well.

Like, iirc, both Avistan, Garundi and Tian Xia nations tends to be combination of different cultures or fantasy tropes that don't perfectly line up with real life equivalents. Taldor takes a lot from Byzantine for example, but it doesn't really much like greek culture wise. Sometimes even one real life nation/cultures traits are split into multiple different nations or mix and matched differently.


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keftiu wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Gamerskum wrote:
The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.
It's a little frustrating that almost every nation in Tian Xia is "this is fantasy [real-world nation]" rather clearly.
That's a complaint that can be leveled at every human country on every continent on Golarion.
What nations are Cheliax, Alkenstar, and Rahadoum? Contrast material like those to “Minkai is where ninja and samurai come from, and everyone has Japanese names.”

That's leaving out the locations in Tian Xia that aren't based on anything in particular though. Every region has some places that are analogues to a real world location and ones that aren't, or that only loosely reflect a culture.

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keftiu wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Gamerskum wrote:
The Dragon Empire Primer was pretty nuanced with more then just Chinese and Japanese based peoples and full of a diverse section of cultures. It was a small book though so a large hardcover would be cool.
It's a little frustrating that almost every nation in Tian Xia is "this is fantasy [real-world nation]" rather clearly.
That's a complaint that can be leveled at every human country on every continent on Golarion.
What nations are Cheliax, Alkenstar, and Rahadoum? Contrast material like those to “Minkai is where ninjas and samurai come from, and everyone has Japanese names.”

Umm, I'm going to sound really nitpicky in this thread, aren't I? Sorry about that x-x;

Anyway, Minkai has Japanese sounding name sure and lot if similarities, but for better or worse, ninja and samurai are pretty common in multiple different tian xian nations(kaoling have hobgoblin samurai, jinin has elf samurai, shokuro is kingdom of ronin) So uh, instead of "Minkai is stereotypical samurai land" its that "You could fight ninjas in fantasy!Cambodia" and I shall refrain from commenting further because I'm not expert on asian cultures and I have never compared ratio of Japanese culture compared to other Asian cultures whose tropes and features have been mixed in Tian Xia. I'm sure someone else is more qualified to comment if they made it seem that all of asia is Japanese or if they did as good job mixing up different cultures as they did with their fantasy europe.

Note that I'm also not well read on Casmaron so I'm not sure if its supposed to be part of asia while Tian Xia is rest of asia not featured in casmaron, but either way, as result of mix and match cultures, Minkai's main gimmick is "There are five royal families that have divine mandate to rule the land and emperor is from one of the five families". Its bit boring gimmick compared to "We worship the devil!" or "We have guns" since lots of rulers claim divine mandate anyway, but in their case its literal.

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CorvusMask wrote:
Note that I'm also not well read on Casmaron so I'm not sure if its supposed to be part of asia while Tian Xia is rest of asia not featured in casmaron

Casmaron is analogous to Anatolia, Scythia, Mesopotamia, Siberia, Persia, India, Turkestan, and their interstitial regions, with the Caspian Sea blown out of all proportion so that there's less land to fill up with space-filling empires (one's quite enough, or two if you count Vudra).

Tian Xia is basically everything else on the Asian mainland north of Malaysia: Yakutia, Mongolia, China (more than one), Indo-China (including Thailand and Myanmar), and Korea, and also Japan which is not on the mainland.

In Tian Xia's case there are also certainly countries for fantasy folk, some of which are counterparts to familiar Inner Sea peoples while others draw from east Asian mythologies. The same is probably true of Casmaron, though most of the countries haven't been detailed yet.


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I have heard that Tian Xia's original books weren't very culturally nuanced, and lent even harder into tropes than the Inner Sea already does.

So I'd love to see some East Asian people, and especially East Asian people who are experts in myths and histories of East Asian cultures. I understand obviously that that can be hard, because there are a lot of different inspirations for Tian Xia, so I don't expect every nation there to require a new author if that would make the book impossible. Just a bit of extra input.

And maybe change Amanandar a lot. It's pretty much the same role as Sargava, here are white people who took over a part of this continent, so the white-as-default player can feel at home. We can have Tian characters in the Inner Sea without a Tian nation state, you can have Avistani in Tian Xia without Amanandar. Don't have to completely erase it, just don't have the Taldane's rule the nation. They're a lost army from across the world, have them be adopted by Amanandar as citizens after working with the locals to defend them after the fall of Lung Wa. That's a much kinder, more interesting place to me.


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Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the concept of Amanandar either. Between that and Sargava there seemed to be a bit of a double standard in 1e, in that Avistani people got to have colonies or conquered territories in Garund and Tian Xia but not the other way around (unless you count the long-gone Jistka Imperium). Might have been interesting if they did, actually, and for Garund they could've easily modeled it after al-Andalus. But I think moving away from colonialism altogether is probably a better move.


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What are your hopes for a Tian Xia revisit / rewrite?

Politics and other dynamics between core imperial successor states, how do they relate positively and negatively.

(Related to above)
Oracular Emperor Cult, and not just how it rules in Po Li, but it's presense elsewhere which seems almost certain since it's ideology is built around ancient empire, not just Po Li.

Ancient historic weirdness, most recent Lung Wa empire is one thing, but all the weird ancient planar stuff seems good to bring things beyond "not XYZ" real earth analogs, like Cyclopes and Azlanteans frame Inner Sea.

Nagajor, probably at least the largest major principalities and some lesser ones which are nonetheless important and/or evocative.

Xa Hoi, c'mon literal Dragon ruled society, what's not to love?

Minata could be better defined, which I take would be in very distinct islands ministates or groupings, which really allows alot of design freedom.

Dtang Ma sorceror confederation always sounded cool to me, now it's probably half-primal sorcerors as well as arcane and occult/bardic.

Overall, use the time gap/update to mix things up to make each country more dynamic.

Give the monster countries interesting agendas they are working on.

The underwater nation and flooded Wanshou are physically interesting, as is the Wall of Heaven mountains which seems mostly pockets of rando, but developing things like it's coastal residents would be nice.

Maybe prep to build connections to Ivory and Shining Sea and north of Casmaron (Zavaten Gura! Ice ships?),
speaking of which the xenophobe/separatist Kaladay is interesting part of Casmaron with major ties to Tian Xia I'd be interested in.

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At least Amannandar wasn't case of them conquering nation from locals <_< Like iirc, wasn't it that General Amanandar liberated place from bandit warlords and locals we-

...Ah, actually, thats about as bad if not worse since isn't that white savior trope?


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Actually, this reminds me I came across some Malaysian RPGers with really interesting work, which I immediately thought would be great people to work on Tian Xia especially areas like Minata.

Here's a review of their work at Malaysian RPG blog: http://roleoverplaydead.com/rpg-zine-review-a-thousand-thousand-islands-201 8/

Here is his own blog which is somewhat wideranging: https://zedecksiew.tumblr.com/#_=_


Ooh yeah, I have heard good things about A Thousand Thousand Islands.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

For the most part I think they handled Tian Xia pretty well. Previous attempts have almost entirely relied on just making a generic Not!China or Not!Japan. Tian Xia pulls from a lot wider field of influences and times.

Honestly, my take is either two ways. Either do a setting that is completely fantastical with no obvious parallels to our world, or go full analog but try to capture as wide a variety of themes, historical, and cultural parallels. Avistan very much does the latter, so I would prefer the other parts of the map do the same.

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CorvusMask wrote:
...Ah, actually, thats about as bad if not worse since isn't that white savior trope?

Yuppers.

Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.


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In a discussion I had with Keftiu elsewhere, the idea of "what if Mongolian horse archers, but it's horseback spellcasters instead" came up, and now I'd love to see such Hongali horsemages (since Hongal reads strongly as fantasy!Mongolia), ideally as an archetype.

Also, death worms. Whether in an outright Tian bestiary (or in the back of books of a Tian AP) or just a normal bestiary, you gotta have the olgoi-khorkhois.

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.

It really depends on how they got there and if non-white people are also located in Not!Europe.

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Death Worm cryptid(complete with shooting lightning) is already in 1e bestiaries though.


CorvusMask wrote:
Death Worm cryptid(complete with shooting lightning) is already in 1e bestiaries though.

Ah, wasn't aware.

All the more reason to bring it back for 2e, then. In Hongal or otherwise.

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Zero the Nothing wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.

It really depends on how they got there and if non-white people are also located in Not!Europe.

Rule of thumb: if one thinks one can pull it off with the requisite level of knowledge, nuance and sensitivity, one definitely can't.


Let's maybe revise to "don't put whole realms ruled by white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, especially if there aren't whole nations ruled by not-africans and not-asians".

But as cynical as it is, I can't say you're wrong about that last part ;P


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Everything else aside, I’m dying to see the Star Titan’s Grave. Numeria is my favorite corner of the setting right now; tossing it into the not!Southeast Asian jungle is even better.


Ooh, sounds cool.

...after a PathfinderWili search, sounds like there's definitely potential for something interesting to be going on there!


zimmerwald1915 wrote:


Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.

I think Golarion must be one of the few game worlds I've seen where a US-ish expy is actually in "Europe".

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NotBothered wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:


Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.

I think Golarion must be one of the few game worlds I've seen where a US-ish expy is actually in "Europe".

I prefer to think of Andoran as a hypothetical Mazzinist Italy.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
NotBothered wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:


Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.

I think Golarion must be one of the few game worlds I've seen where a US-ish expy is actually in "Europe".

I prefer to think of Andoran as a hypothetical Mazzinist Italy.

That's a cool interpretation. Also because American exceptionalism is a hell of drug, all fantasy republics are seen as the USA and therefore the good guys*. So I like the idea of a alt-Mazzinian Italy as inspiration. Fits a lot better, if nothing else because Andoran is part of the old world, and the nobility and imperial powers are still their neighbours.

*Not just by fans, Paizo writes with some of that. Even if it is a case of freelancers adding tones that weren't intended by Jacobs et al.


vagrant-poet wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
NotBothered wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:


Don't put white people on continents other than your Europe analogue, kids, it never, ever ends well.

I think Golarion must be one of the few game worlds I've seen where a US-ish expy is actually in "Europe".

I prefer to think of Andoran as a hypothetical Mazzinist Italy.

That's a cool interpretation. Also because American exceptionalism is a hell of drug, all fantasy republics are seen as the USA and therefore the good guys*. So I like the idea of a alt-Mazzinian Italy as inspiration. Fits a lot better, if nothing else because Andoran is part of the old world, and the nobility and imperial powers are still their neighbours.

*Not just by fans, Paizo writes with some of that. Even if it is a case of freelancers adding tones that weren't intended by Jacobs et al.

Agreed. Andoran as not!America annoys me on many levels, and it having an Italian-inspired culture fits better with its location in the south of not-Europe (especially given pre-Thrune Cheliax's similarities to the western Roman Empire).


Darth Game Master wrote:


Agreed. Andoran as not!America annoys me on many levels, and it having an Italian-inspired culture fits better with its location in the south of not-Europe (especially given pre-Thrune Cheliax's similarities to the western Roman Empire).

My Cheliax is a little more Spain oriented than you would draw from the sourcebooks, although that probably comes from little more than where it is on the map.

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NotBothered wrote:
Darth Game Master wrote:


Agreed. Andoran as not!America annoys me on many levels, and it having an Italian-inspired culture fits better with its location in the south of not-Europe (especially given pre-Thrune Cheliax's similarities to the western Roman Empire).
My Cheliax is a little more Spain oriented than you would draw from the sourcebooks, although that probably comes from little more than where it is on the map.

So's mine, but that's all to the good: it gives Andoran even more ability to fill the Italy niche.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
NotBothered wrote:
Darth Game Master wrote:


Agreed. Andoran as not!America annoys me on many levels, and it having an Italian-inspired culture fits better with its location in the south of not-Europe (especially given pre-Thrune Cheliax's similarities to the western Roman Empire).
My Cheliax is a little more Spain oriented than you would draw from the sourcebooks, although that probably comes from little more than where it is on the map.
So's mine, but that's all to the good: it gives Andoran even more ability to fill the Italy niche.

I always thought of Cheliax as more spain than the books implied as well, which is why I love the Mazzinian Italy idea to make Andoran feel more solid to me.

Now I have devil-infused and slightly Spain influenced, new republic and slightly Italy influenced, and fading empire and slightly Greek/Byzantine influenced all in a row along the northern side of the Inner Sea. sits nicely in my head, fits with how Golarion likes to enrich through real-world analogy.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Cheliax isn't intended to map specifically to a real world region. Certainly several southern Europe nations have helped inspire some elements there, including Spain, Germany, and particularly Italy, but the region itself is NOT meant to be a fantasy version of any specific region in the real world.


Yeah, that was how I interpreted Cheliax as well, and is probably a good thing given its "bad guy nation" status. I do still like the idea of Italian Andoran though.


Darth Game Master wrote:
Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the concept of Amanandar either. Between that and Sargava there seemed to be a bit of a double standard in 1e, in that Avistani people got to have colonies or conquered territories in Garund and Tian Xia but not the other way around (unless you count the long-gone Jistka Imperium).

Vudra and Kelesh have colonies in Garund.

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Ianesta wrote:
Darth Game Master wrote:
Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the concept of Amanandar either. Between that and Sargava there seemed to be a bit of a double standard in 1e, in that Avistani people got to have colonies or conquered territories in Garund and Tian Xia but not the other way around (unless you count the long-gone Jistka Imperium).
Vudra and Kelesh have colonies in Garund.

Kelesh used to but doesn't anymore.


I meant that Avistan has colonies in Garund (well, had a colony in Garund) and Arcadia and Tian Xia but those places don't have colonies in Avistan. Not that they necessarily should, but it's a bit problematic.

Also, Kelesh doesn't have a colony in Garund anymore? What happened to Tirakawhan?


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Darth Game Master wrote:

I meant that Avistan has colonies in Garund (well, had a colony in Garund) and Arcadia and Tian Xia but those places don't have colonies in Avistan. Not that they necessarily should, but it's a bit problematic.

Also, Kelesh doesn't have a colony in Garund anymore? What happened to Tirakawhan?

Yes and no.

I mean Cheliax may have viewed Sargava as it's colony in the same way Taldor, still views Andoran, Galt, and Cheliax, as it's colonies but it wasn't actually still a colony as such, in the fact it was run by people who lived there without taking any notice of the home nations.

Also I quite like the idea of historical colonies, it's a reminder of how greedy the old Taldor Empire and the more recent Chelish empire were/are.
A warning from history should they ever gain enough power to look avariciously at their neighbours once more.

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Darth Game Master wrote:
I meant that Avistan has colonies in Garund (well, had a colony in Garund) and Arcadia and Tian Xia but those places don't have colonies in Avistan. Not that they necessarily should, but it's a bit problematic.

Who'd want a colony in Avistan? It is poor in both resources and skilled labor, and too small to be an effective dumping ground for either settlers, commodities, or capital.

That said the line between Avistan and Casmaron is fairly arbitrary, and one could argue that Qadira, or parts of it, are in Avistan.

Quote:
Also, Kelesh doesn't have a colony in Garund anymore? What happened to Tirakawhan?

Ah, nevermind, I was referring to Osirion and points west, which were Kelish provinces at one time.

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Who'd want a colony in Avistan? It is poor in both resources and skilled labor,

You ever get tired of just making stuff up?


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The Caldaru from Arcadia have a colony in northern Garund, so it is not just the Avistani going out and colonizing the rest of the world.

Liberty's Edge

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Rysky wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Who'd want a colony in Avistan? It is poor in both resources and skilled labor,
You ever get tired of just making stuff up?

Yeah...that's pretty unsupported. Skilled labor of various sorts is clearly quite common in various areas of Avistan, and resources of various kinds are probably even more common than northern Garund.

Admittedly, they seem a tad behind in arcane magic, if only in number of casters, but they're hardly vastly behind even there.


Yeah. There are certainly places more advanced than Avistan, but it's hardly a worthless backwater that's millennia behind its neighbors.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Rysky wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Admittedly, they seem a tad behind in arcane magic, if only in number of casters, but they're hardly vastly behind even there.

Not just in number of casters. Their most advanced practicioners of arcane magic are about ten thousand years out of date, and their most advanced institutions of learning do little more than scrape at the crumbs left behind by those figures' contemporaries. The Magaambya, Nex, and Geb are literally (not figuratively) Ages ahead of them.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:


Not just in number of casters. Their most advanced practicioners of arcane magic are about ten thousand years out of date, and their most advanced institutions of learning do little more than scrape at the crumbs left behind by those figures' contemporaries. The Magaambya, Nex, and Geb are literally (not figuratively) Ages ahead of them.

Ah, yes, the ancient out of date Runelords with their obsolete magics like time travel, summoning the Oliphaunt of Janderlay, plentiful artifact creation, soul transfer into super powerful clockwork bodies, and other such tricks that have long been reproduced and copied by [checks notes] nobody, because they were lost and not rediscovered after Earthfall.


David knott 242 wrote:

The Caldaru from Arcadia have a colony in northern Garund, so it is not just the Avistani going out and colonizing the rest of the world.

Is it a colony if it was so long in the past that you don’t remember where you came from, and have had 0 contact with the homeland for thousands of years?

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keftiu wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

The Caldaru from Arcadia have a colony in northern Garund, so it is not just the Avistani going out and colonizing the rest of the world.

Is it a colony if it was so long in the past that you don’t remember where you car from, and have had 0 contact with the homeland for thousands of years?

Yes. The colonial legacy is indelible.

Re: an earlier point, it occurs to me that there is an Arcadian population on Avistan - the strix of Devil's Perch and Ravounel Forest. Though they were probably planted by long-gone (from Avistan) masters and are today an oppressed people under the Chelish Taldans.

And there are fairly substantial Tien communities in the Linnorm Kingdoms down into Varisia, as well as Mendev. Brinewall was originally a colony of Minkaian exiles, though it failed and is today an outpost of New Thassilon.


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Hmmm....
Besides Caldaru in/near Mwangi Expanse, Strix in SW Cheliax are also from Arcadia. (the Syrinx associated with them in Arcadia do pique my interest)
[EDIT: Ninja'd]

And considering the pretty overt "native american" vibe of Shoanti, it doesn't seem out of possibilities that Paizo could further ground their history as long ago coming from Arcadia... Similarly how other Thassilonian servitor caste (Varisians) were clearly suggested to derive from Vudra. I mean, they and their unique language have to come from somewhere, and it's not like their language/culture has been described as variant evolution of Azlanti AFAIK, so they had to come from non-Azlantis. If Runelords could gather Varisians from Vudra, why not Shoanti from Arcadia? They seem to also have contacted Tian Xia albeit with no specific ethnicity resulting from that.

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