What real life culture is Numeria meant to be like (if any)?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


It actually makes me think more of Pandora from Borderlands than any real life place.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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None. The primary inspiration for Numeria was the writing of Robert E. Howard, particularly the Conan stories, and then sprinkled with a liberal dose of science fiction (itself inspired by a wide range of fantasy/sci-fi mixes, ranging from a few key Saturday Morning cartoons, D&D adventures like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and Temple of the Frog, video games like Might & Magic, and movies like Krull).

So, Numeria has a VERY strong literary inspiration source, but nothing from real-world culture, really.


^I had been going to guess some kind of really depraved nerd fraternity like the one depicted in Real Genius (although that movie actually makes it look like the whole university), but turned up to 11.


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Pretty sure Real Genius was inspired by Cal Tech. But with some better looking students.


Was Borderlands an inspiration at all? The Scrapwall and the smilers seem like something right out of it.


In running an Iron Gods campaign set in Numeria, I got the impression of several post-apocalyptic moves such as Mad Max, The Postman, and Damnation Alley, ones where barbaric descendents of the survivors pick through the remains of civilization. In those movies, the image of the barbarians is how civilized people view barbarians, not based on any actual culture of tribal people. Nevertheless, the barbarian tribes in Numeria are Kellids, so we could give them the same culture as the Kellid barbarians in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, which I view as a mixture of the horsemen of the Russian Steppes combined with some caveman imagery.

I have read more post-apocalyptic books, such as The Postman, Earth Abides, Alas Babylon, and A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World than watched post-apocalyptic movies. In those books the primary characters think of themselves as holding onto civilization. The main difference with Numeria is that the technology comes from elsewhere.

And as with any Golarion setting, the players put their own twist on it. They came from Torch, where a remnant of alien technology is used to make new tools. The players embraced the philosophy of making things and studying the alien technolgy to make more things. They became more like the science fiction stories of colonists on a new planet starting with a minimum of tools and building a viable settlement, such as Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky. I had to dig into Ultimate Campaign to handle the businesses they created in Torch.

Two party members, the fighter Kheld and the bloodrager Val, where Kellids. Kheld's backstory is that his family fled the Worldwound in Sakoris. Val's backstory is that she was a survivor of the Mountain Crow tribe wiped out by the Technic League, raised by a Technic League wizard who rescued her and hid from the Technic League. Thus, both were survivors rather than raised in Kellid culture. The strix Kirii, in contrast, was seeped in strix culture: the player purchased Nightglass by Liane Merciel to study the culture.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Yqatuba wrote:
Was Borderlands an inspiration at all? The Scrapwall and the smilers seem like something right out of it.

Nope, it was not.

The primary inspiration for Scrapwall was the Road Warrior movies.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

thundarr!!!!!


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While different Kellid nationalities are differentiated to different degrees, I would look at underlying culture as drawing on ancient barely "civilized" residents of Eurasian steppe, possibly "proto-Indo-European". Stuff like mound graves (kurgans) is archeologically associated with these cultures, which beyond proto-Indo-European can include later Cimmerian/Scythian/Sarmatian (with Greek sources sometimes assuming relation to Celts or Thracians). Mammoth Lords can be seen to exemplify earliest phase of this, and Numeria a later phase with trade kingdoms led by warlords where metalworkers' power is mystical. I would probably place natives of Old Sarkoris and Mendev as closest to Numeria, but other wings of Kellids included Nidalese, Druma (whose campaign setting Profit and Prophecy holds most info on broader Kellid history in Avistan), and a broad presence in all of Central and North Eastern Avistan that may have been assimilated/influenced modern nationalities. (Just from naming conventions used, you could even guess a new ethnogenesis (pseudo/"not" Slavic) is occuring in NE Avistan, fusing Kellid, Ulfen and to some extent Taldane, which is vague parallel of real Slavic nationalities)

Shadow Lodge

Quandary wrote:
a broad presence in all of Central and North Eastern Avistan that may have been assimilated/influenced modern nationalities.

Isger's indigenous people were Kellid.


Quandary wrote:
While different Kellid nationalities are differentiated to different degrees, I would look at underlying culture as drawing on ancient barely "civilized" residents of Eurasian steppe, possibly "proto-Indo-European". Stuff like mound graves (kurgans) is archeologically associated with these cultures, which beyond proto-Indo-European can include later Cimmerian/Scythian/Sarmatian (with Greek sources sometimes assuming relation to Celts or Thracians). Mammoth Lords can be seen to exemplify earliest phase of this, and Numeria a later phase with trade kingdoms led by warlords where metalworkers' power is mystical. I would probably place natives of Old Sarkoris and Mendev as closest to Numeria, but other wings of Kellids included Nidalese, Druma (whose campaign setting Profit and Prophecy holds most info on broader Kellid history in Avistan), and a broad presence in all of Central and North Eastern Avistan that may have been assimilated/influenced modern nationalities. (Just from naming conventions used, you could even guess a new ethnogenesis (pseudo/"not" Slavic) is occuring in NE Avistan, fusing Kellid, Ulfen and to some extent Taldane, which is vague parallel of real Slavic nationalities)

Fantastic answer.


I believe that the real world element that created the 'half-naked barbarian' sterotype were priamrily Roman gladiator fights; some types of gladiators wore little to no armor, which was unrealistic in a real war, but could have created the image of a barbarian in a Roman mind. Romans left some art depicting gladiators, and so the image was passed down to later generations.

There's also the thing that once the Europeans started exploring the world, a lot of the 'primitive' cultues they discovered lived in a hot climate, and thus wore little in the terms of clothing.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

1000% Thundarr the Barbarian. Although I'll bet there is a hint of Herculoids going in too.


the animated
Conan: The adventurer too maybe?


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A nation ruled by a Barbarian King kept drugged by a clique of High Priests?
Who sadly aren't Serpent People?
But is partly named 'Kull'?

Don't stop the car.
This is Bob Howard country.

So look to his Hyborean Age essay if you're looking for inspiration.
Howard only took to writing 'fantasy' when his regular gig writing historical fiction for pulp publication fell through.
So all he did was take the now very dated notions of History from the 1920's and slap on a fantasy veneer.

One he partly borrowed from his venomously bigoted, yet somehow still compelling pen pal.
You Know The One - he mistook Jazz Music for the Music of the Sphere (and thus, Madness).
And wrote some of the most over-wrought descriptions ever in horror fiction!

You can thank his doting wife for her efforts in bringing his fiction to become a permanent fixture of Nerd culture.
Which makes HP Lovecraft's naked anti-semitism and racism (who was racist even by 1930's standards) even more stark given he loathed the identity of not just his wife (she was Jewish) but also many fellow Jews in publishing who helped build his writing career.

So, Bob Howard with some HP Lovecraft!
Plus the science-fantasy genre trappings of the 1970s and 1980s - mostly as that's when Howard and Lovecraft enjoyed their popular publishing resurgence.

Feel free to take out, or play with, the weirdly dated notions of Civilisation vs. Barbarism (Howard), and the Supernatural As Science Fiction (Lovecraft) to personal taste.

And maybe some Chris Voss (artist) for your spaceship inspirations.


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Something I keep forgetting to ask: am I correct in thinking there's no real government in Numeria? I know it has a king but he's a drug addict and doesn't seem to really care about his duties as king.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Adjoint wrote:

I believe that the real world element that created the 'half-naked barbarian' stereotype were primarily Roman gladiator fights; some types of gladiators wore little to no armor, which was unrealistic in a real war, but could have created the image of a barbarian in a Roman mind. Romans left some art depicting gladiators, and so the image was passed down to later generations.

There's also the thing that once the Europeans started exploring the world, a lot of the 'primitive' cultures they discovered lived in a hot climate, and thus wore little in the terms of clothing.

The Romans also had a certain amount of fear for the Caledonians/Picts (and also the Gaels/Celts). Some warriors from these cultures would wear little or no armor. And in some cases little or no clothing; this may have primarily been a way to show bravery or confidence, but there may have been a secondary benefit: wounds from edged/pointed weapons to bare flesh would not contain bits of clothing and would be less likely to become infected.


Yqatuba wrote:
Something I keep forgetting to ask: am I correct in thinking there's no real government in Numeria? I know it has a king but he's a drug addict and doesn't seem to really care about his duties as king.

I was under the impression that this Priest clique was using the drugs to keep Kull under their sway and thus they are the ones in charge.

Which is much like the Serpent People conspiracy (sorry David Icke, your crazy nonsense is from fiction!) from a famous King Kull story that Robert E. Howard himself penned.


Burgonet wrote:

{. . .}

This is Bob Howard country.
{. . .}
You Know The One - he mistook Jazz Music for the Music of the Sphere (and thus, Madness).
{. . .}

Well, some jazz music IS Music of the Sphere . . . .

Liberty's Edge

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Yqatuba wrote:
Something I keep forgetting to ask: am I correct in thinking there's no real government in Numeria? I know it has a king but he's a drug addict and doesn't seem to really care about his duties as king.

Depends on when in the timeline you are.

Before the Iron Gods AP (in 4716 AR), The Technic League are ruling Numeria much like many drug cartels rule some parts of Mexico, but without a lot of concern for which chieftain claims to be in charge as long as they do what the League says when necessary, and were keeping the king drugged up to keep him out of the way.

After that AP, per the Lost Omens World Guide, the power of the Technic League is broken, and a number of those local chieftains have become full-on warlords unwilling to bow to their theoretical king...of course, said king is in the process of shaking free of his addictions, and is a 15th level Barbarian who conquered the region successfully in the first place, so we'll see how that goes for them, but in the meantime there's no real centralized authority.


Also is Kevoth-Kul based on Conan himself? He is a barbarian after all.

Liberty's Edge

Yqatuba wrote:
Also is Kevoth-Kul based on Conan himself? He is a barbarian after all.

Pretty clearly yes, at least thematically.

He's a barbarian who became king by his own hand and all, after all. Unlike Conan he then succumbed to addiction and decadence, but the parallels remain clear.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Also is Kevoth-Kul based on Conan himself? He is a barbarian after all.

Pretty clearly yes, at least thematically.

He's a barbarian who became king by his own hand and all, after all. Unlike Conan he then succumbed to addiction and decadence, but the parallels remain clear.

And he did get immortality out of the whole addiction deal so, ya know. Win some lose some.


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His name suggests more Kull the Conqueror

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