What do you want from a Lost Omens: The Golden Road?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Temperans wrote:
The water issue is solved by a series of decanter of endless water. Or just using a golem/construct so that steam is not even an issue.

Decanters of Endless Water are cheaper than I remembered, so this could work. Golems, on the other hand, are insanely expensive(*), even for their originally intended purpose.

(*)Or at least they were in 1st Edition -- I can't seem to find the construction cost quickly in 2nd Edition. Anyone ever manage to get a Golem crafter to work out in 1st Edition? (Edit: And 2nd Edition doesn't seem to want you to find the cost easily -- seems to want Golems to be NPC forces only.)


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Temperans wrote:
The water issue is solved by a series of decanter of endless water. Or just using a golem/construct so that steam is not even an issue.

Decanters of Endless Water are cheaper than I remembered, so this could work. Golems, on the other hand, are insanely expensive(*), even for their originally intended purpose.

(*)Or at least they were in 1st Edition -- I can't seem to find the construction cost quickly in 2nd Edition. Anyone ever manage to get a Golem crafter to work out in 1st Edition? (Edit: And 2nd Edition doesn't seem to want you to find the cost easily -- seems to want Golems to be NPC forces only.)

My rationalisation for a trans-Garundi railroad had more to do with political concerns than economic - if they can't retake Khaji, and don't build a rival navy, then building a railway, or the magical equivalent, is another way to cut into Cheliax's trade monopoly. If Rahadoum really wants to screw Chellish trade that badly, breaking the back of their influence on trade by controlling the ocean, any amount (as long as it doesn't beggar them) is worth it. And in the long term, however much they spend is eventually going to be recouped with not only freight but the connections made building it, and international goodwill from Thuvia and Osirion. If attacks are a concern, they could even hire adventurers to protect the train, or as a deterrent build them with thick armour and magical weapons, like an armoured train. I was fascinated by your comparison with real-life African rail history, that's a subject I'm not familiar with, and might prove ripe for influence. I've seen photographs of Egyptian steam engines, and they look marvellous.

But yes, even if they were steam engines rather than golems or other constructs, there are certainly ways to get that water. Not just endless decanters, which would become a highly contested resource (especially when Rahadoum needs all it can to fight its own climate change), but the roaming clans of water elementals across the desert, Marids who live there, even dragons who control the oases and might be happy to allow a small station for a small bit of tribute.


There was a proposed Trans-Saharan rail line under the colonial French, meant to connect Algiers and Dakar, but it never really got off the ground, and what was built was done under the Vichy regime with forced labor. While we obviously want to avoid those historical atrocities, the image of grand infrastructure against the forbidding desert is clearly a compelling one!


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keftiu wrote:
There was a proposed Trans-Saharan rail line under the colonial French, meant to connect Algiers and Dakar, but it never really got off the ground, and what was built was done under the Vichy regime with forced labor. While we obviously want to avoid those historical atrocities, the image of grand infrastructure against the forbidding desert is clearly a compelling one!

Oof, yeah, absolutely not what I was intending, and another reminder that I really should read up on that history precisely for cases like this. I was hoping to work in a railway story thread on Golarion that avoids leaning on the colonialist tropes that surround the US transcontinental railroad, but having the Vichy French sprung on you isn't pleasant. And it's making me reconsider whether actually establishing it is a good idea, rather than just having it as a potential plot hook for players and DMs to explore, pro- or anti-, on their own.

I do still adore the idea of Rahadoum inventing its own internal rail network using golem engines, though. With how resource-scarce it seems, they'd naturally investigate ways to maximise resource extraction and build up their industrial base, and doing it all through mundane tinkering or arcane magic would be another thumb in the eye of divinity, especially if they have ways to prevent the Aeons and Inevitables that normally planeshift in any time someone invents something interesting Golarion "isn't ready for." If anywhere on Golarion would, it would be Rahadoum.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Oooof, I have some...thoughts about railroads. Railroads in the US directly contributed to a lot of negatives, and anyone in the setting proposing a railroad network is a villain in waiting, even if they don't realize it yet.


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YlothofMerab wrote:
Oooof, I have some...thoughts about railroads. Railroads in the US directly contributed to a lot of negatives, and anyone in the setting proposing a railroad network is a villain in waiting, even if they don't realize it yet.

The history of industrialization and rail is especially heinous in this country, but I don't know that that makes a train an inherently an evil thing - the powered carts some Xopatli engineers are working on aren't going to end up a destabilizing, colonial project given any of the hints we've seen, and there's no reason to assume the proposed Rahadoumi builders couldn't be conscientious in their efforts.


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YlothofMerab wrote:
Oooof, I have some...thoughts about railroads. Railroads in the US directly contributed to a lot of negatives, and anyone in the setting proposing a railroad network is a villain in waiting, even if they don't realize it yet.

Hence the sensitivity concerns around context. Doing a railway story isn't inherently bad, nor is a railway itself necessarily a net bad, whether the railway is a good or bad thing for specific people in the story, but doing it in a way that doesn't touch on tropes around real life history - the exploitation and theft that built America's, the Vichy French in North Africa, Japan's use of POW slave labour in Indochina, etc. - is a real concern to avoid.


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I don't see a reason to avoid it if it makes for a good campaign hook. If we go with "something like this happened IRL so we can't write it" then there would be no new story outside of slice of life and comedies.

I am not saying that the story has to have those tropes. I am saying that there shouldn't be concern about those tropes being used as long as Paizo doesn't do something crazy.

Liberty's Edge

You need people to build the railroads. And the cost has to be kept low ...

Liberty's Edge

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Now, maybe there are ancient and forgotten rail tracks somewhere below the sands.


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Thinking about Casmaron got me thinking about new Golden Road ancestries, and that everywhere should get something. For Rahadoum you can flesh out the Vahird dwarves. Osirion I've been fairly unabashed about wanting a Maftet ancestry, and if possible a Girtablilu one if it could be properly balanced. But that leaves unique ancestries for Thuvia and Qadira.

In the Casmaron thread I speculated that Paizo could do something interesting with phoenixes, magical beasts so potent they can leave imprints on 1e sorcerer and bloodrager bloodlines. Pathfinder phoenixes aren't celestials, but you could perhaps make some ancestral feats for Ifrits? Which still leaves Thuvia. Given the region has a lot of dragons local to the Thuvian desert, perhaps we could get some more kobold stuff? Or some alchemical beings that Thuvian alchemists have come up with?


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There's three dwarf cultures across the Golden Road - Osirion's Pahmet (and their Ouat monk caste/subculture), Qadira's Paraheen, and Rahadoum's Vahird. Each is worthy of further attention, but the Pahmet have some fascinating, obscure links to the fallen Sky Citadel in Sarkoris that make me especially eager to see them further detailed.

Maftets are something I've grown to really crave as a PC option, and I have to hope the Wings of Alkam in LOIL are foreshadowing them getting the full Ancestry treatment eventually. Shabti feel like an obvious Versatile Heritage, as anyone can make one, though they overlap with both Duskwalkers and Reflections.

I expect more fleshing out of local branches, rather than a bunch of new Ancestries, honestly - the plate's pretty full as is! Garundi, Keleshite, and Mauxi Humans, Vourinoi Elves, the aforementioned three Dwarf ethnicities, the region's under-described Halflings, a wide variety of of Gnomes, Qittaj and Shemtej Amurruns, Gnolls both archetypal and unexpected, Jistkan Automatons, Divspawn Tieflings, Ysoki...

One thing I would really enjoy is using a Golden Road book to further flesh out the Shisks, who just don't have enough meat on their bones in the Mwangi book.


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I just did some reading on the Pactmasters for something else, and it struck me that the Shobhads would be great for Katapesh. They're a desert people, albeit more used to the cold deserts of Akiton, with enough of a resentment of humans to make them interesting without the baggage gnolls have. Their physical attributes make them mechanically interesting, with multiple limbs and perhaps unique fighting styles to match. But especially because they're related to witchwyrds, and can serve as a counterpoint to the Pactmasters themselves. Witchwyrds fled Azlanti conquest, while the Shobhads' ancestors had to stick it out.

My only sticking point is HOW they'd get to Katapesh. Whether trade opening up through the Door to the Red Star has let a clan through drawn by rumours of distant kin, whether an ancestral pre-divergence population arrived before Earthfall and were kept in stasis to awaken today, or whether there have been Shobhads around for a while and their aversion to humanity just meant we didn't know until recently. But if I could put one of Golarion's extraterrestrial species anywhere on Golarion, it would be the Shobhads and in Katapesh.


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I cast an Akitonian Ysoki in one of my Golden Road pregen parties - more interplanetary goodies across the region would be a dream come true for me! Might the Witchwyrds’s Kasatha cousins playable down here, rather than in Numeria like everyone expects?


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Double posting, because I'm obnoxious: LOIL mentions that Nex conquered multiple nations of spellcasting Gnolls in the process of forging his nation, and that has me DEEPLY curious about just what exactly their history looks like for the thousands of years before Okeno's slavers set up shop. With their Ancestry bonuses steering them towards being ideal Magi, and one of their number serving as one of Jatembe's Magic Warriors, I'm really keen to see hyena-folk who are heirs to ancient legacies of martial magic.


I'll second (third?) the point that railroads don't have to be an evil thing. Even in the US they were not initially so.

Andoran would actually be a great place to start a railroad -- mixed bag morally (strengthening a democratic nation with good ideals, but also ripe for the Lumber Consortium to use), and a forward-thinking nation to support it, which DOESN'T use slave labor (unlike Rahadoum, unless something changed really recently). But Andoran isn't in the Golden Road region, so that will haven't to wait until another thread, about the Shining Kingdoms.


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Now that I think of it, Nex seems a much more likely port of ingress for peaceful immigration from Akiton, since Quantium is explicitly said to be connected to other planets and planes. Exactly why they'd leave I still don't know, though I understand Strength of Thousands has events happening on Akiton at some point, though not what or why. And absolutely, the Kasatha would be pretty well adapted for the deserts of Northern Garund.

I also like the tidbit about nations of spellcasting gnolls, and given that gnolls are extremely influential further north I'd like to see them as the former rulers of what we now call Katapesh alongside orc clans, perhaps as a nation with a blended culture that Ancient Osirion smashed when it conquered and colonised the area, leaving roving gnoll bands and half-orcs as their only legacy until the culture and history is rediscovered. Not to harp on a point I raised earlier, but it really would be a shame if they didn't give the Golden Road some desert orcs that aren't seen with the same hostility their kin from Belkzen are, or at least for different reasons.

Wayfinders

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I've long been a proponent of Golden Road kasathas - doubly so if you pull on some of their traditional attire that Starfinder gave them, as per this CRB art (or this art of the Idari from Pact Worlds).

Four arms continue to be a problem, though...

Liberty's Edge

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'll second (third?) the point that railroads don't have to be an evil thing. Even in the US they were not initially so.

Andoran would actually be a great place to start a railroad -- mixed bag morally (strengthening a democratic nation with good ideals, but also ripe for the Lumber Consortium to use), and a forward-thinking nation to support it, which DOESN'T use slave labor (unlike Rahadoum, unless something changed really recently). But Andoran isn't in the Golden Road region, so that will haven't to wait until another thread, about the Shining Kingdoms.

Problem I see with railroads as an innovation is that it puts center stage the question of how are all these great public works, as well as the maintenance of all the buildings and roads PCs take for granted, paid for.

From there you dive into technical, social, economical and political topics most players do not care for.


It's going to be a hard sell on any public works projects that are not relevant to defense for anybody who lies between the Isle of Terror and Absalom. If Andoran can frame the railroad in "this will help us fight the armies of the Undead (and also Cheliax)" it makes some sense there politically.


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Morhek wrote:
I understand Strength of Thousands has events happening on Akiton at some point, though not what or why.

If you don't mind spoilers:

SOT:
There is a portal to Akiton in the Mwangi Expanse called the Doorway to the Red Star.


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Darth Game Master wrote:
Morhek wrote:
I understand Strength of Thousands has events happening on Akiton at some point, though not what or why.

If you don't mind spoilers:

** spoiler omitted **

That’s hardly spoilers - that lore dates back to early 1e, as does the reason you’re there…

Spoiler:
Old-Mage Jatembe’s most legendary foe was the King of Biting Ants, who he drove through the Doorway to the Red Star in the ancient past. SoT has the players travel through the Doorway to defeat the King for good and rescue an imprisoned Jatembe.

It’s a really neat payoff to stuff written ages ago! I was happy to see it.


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Yeah, I'm aware it's a 1e thing, mostly just spoilered it on the off chance anyone who was a player in that AP wanted to keep that as a twist, although it's probably obvious what I'm talking about anyway.


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Apologies for misunderstanding!


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Nah, you're good. I probably could've mentioned it was drawn from older lore.


The Raven Black wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'll second (third?) the point that railroads don't have to be an evil thing. Even in the US they were not initially so.

Andoran would actually be a great place to start a railroad -- mixed bag morally (strengthening a democratic nation with good ideals, but also ripe for the Lumber Consortium to use), and a forward-thinking nation to support it, which DOESN'T use slave labor (unlike Rahadoum, unless something changed really recently). But Andoran isn't in the Golden Road region, so that will haven't to wait until another thread, about the Shining Kingdoms.

Problem I see with railroads as an innovation is that it puts center stage the question of how are all these great public works, as well as the maintenance of all the buildings and roads PCs take for granted, paid for.

From there you dive into technical, social, economical and political topics most players do not care for.

Given that Katapesh has outlawed slavery and it seems likely Qadira has as well, I don't see Rahadoum of all places holding onto the practice. They would tell you they're the smartest, most forward-thinking nation in the Inner Sea - they can work smarter than just by whipping forced labor out of people. I have every reason to believe they would hire people (like the druids used to combat encroaching desertification), or else draw on their Jistkan heritage and build some construction constructs.

Neighboring Thuvia has no shortage of funds to throw at such a thing if it's meant to be international, and from there Katapeshi and Qadiran coin would likely pay for the rest as the powers that be realize how much they can profit out of having a potential Garundi-Casmaron rail line expediting trade.


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Having reread the Shory article in Mummy's Mask Book 5, if Rahadoum and Thuvia are willing to collaborate a group of Shory abandoned Opong'we when a massive blue dragon tore it apart, taking its Aeromantic Infadibulum with them to keep their remaining flying platforms charged, but weren't able to rebuild the city. With a little research, perhaps combining it with Jistkan automata, you could get something that can float above the sands like a maglev but without the magnets, obviating the need for rails entirely. Especially useful with how frequently the sands change as yearly khamsin storms change the landscape.

Notably, while I can't recall them being mentioned elsewhere, it doesn't actually say that the community disappeared so there could still be a clan of Mauxi in southern Thuvia whose ancestors were Shory survivors and who still hold the secrets of the flying platforms.


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Morhek wrote:

Having reread the Shory article in Mummy's Mask Book 5, if Rahadoum and Thuvia are willing to collaborate a group of Shory abandoned Opong'we when a massive blue dragon tore it apart, taking its Aeromantic Infadibulum with them to keep their remaining flying platforms charged, but weren't able to rebuild the city. With a little research, perhaps combining it with Jistkan automata, you could get something that can float above the sands like a maglev but without the magnets, obviating the need for rails entirely. Especially useful with how frequently the sands change as yearly khamsin storms change the landscape.

Notably, while I can't recall them being mentioned elsewhere, it doesn't actually say that the community disappeared so there could still be a clan of Mauxi in southern Thuvia whose ancestors were Shory survivors and who still hold the secrets of the flying platforms.

Especially now that we know sandships exist! Screw the train - we're building Jabba the Hutt's floating barge and stuffing it full of expensive cargo.

Or, y'know, just have a floating magic train like Eberron does... but wouldn't you rather be aeromantic sand-pirates?


keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'll second (third?) the point that railroads don't have to be an evil thing. Even in the US they were not initially so.

Andoran would actually be a great place to start a railroad -- mixed bag morally (strengthening a democratic nation with good ideals, but also ripe for the Lumber Consortium to use), and a forward-thinking nation to support it, which DOESN'T use slave labor (unlike Rahadoum, unless something changed really recently). But Andoran isn't in the Golden Road region, so that will haven't to wait until another thread, about the Shining Kingdoms.

Problem I see with railroads as an innovation is that it puts center stage the question of how are all these great public works, as well as the maintenance of all the buildings and roads PCs take for granted, paid for.

From there you dive into technical, social, economical and political topics most players do not care for.

Given that Katapesh has outlawed slavery and it seems likely Qadira has as well, I don't see Rahadoum of all places holding onto the practice. They would tell you they're the smartest, most forward-thinking nation in the Inner Sea - they can work smarter than just by whipping forced labor out of people. I have every reason to believe they would hire people (like the druids used to combat encroaching desertification), or else draw on their Jistkan heritage and build some construction constructs.

Neighboring Thuvia has no shortage of funds to throw at such a thing if it's meant to be international, and from there Katapeshi and Qadiran coin would likely pay for the rest as the powers that be realize how much they can profit out of having a potential Garundi-Casmaron rail line expediting trade.

As far as I know, Osirion as of 1e still condemned its prisoners - murderers, thieves and traitors - to hard labour in the mines. Breaking the law is the only way to be involuntarily enslaved legally under the Laws of Equitable Use. Assuming Osirion follows Absalom and Katapesh's leads and abolishes slavery entirely, which seems likely, I could still see the Ruby Prince ordering convict chain gangs to work at breaking rocks and clearing rubble for an easier overland route, or even to improve access to the Mwangi Expanse through the Kho-Rarne Pass. The man is Lawful Neutral after all.


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Putting the Ruby Prince's Osirion on-par with the Thirteenth Amendment.

Still, if Osirion's only slaves are condemned criminals, and no one else in the Golden Road is participating in the trade, then there's very little reason for Rahadoum to still have the practice at all. I've always thought it clashed with the Laws of Man/Mortality anyway.


^That depends upon just how Soviet Rahadoum turns out to be . . . although I wouldn't describe the Soviet Union as Lawful anything.


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As much as Galt exists in a perpetual state of the Reign of Terror, I see Rahadoum more as an analogue to Republican France than to anything Soviet. They don't object to capitalism, just to organised religion and sectarian violence, and the Laws of Man are meant to be a written constitution that removes any divine basis for morality or rule. Something Soviet would still come with a rapid industrialisation, though - for all their sins, the Communist Party turned a feudal kingdom into a modern industrial power that competed with the western powers.

I could certainly see Rahadoum doing some radical things in the vacuum left by, or free of restrictions from, the churches. With most monarchies claiming a mandate deriving from divine right, I don't see them being sympathetic to aristocracy, though that doesn't necessarily mean they'd decide on democracy, especially since Andoran didn't exist yet when Rahadoum established itself. The Council of Elders, what little we know, sounds like an unelected "meritocracy" of regional appointees rather than properly democratic. If you reject the divine feudal hierarchy, you admit that "all men are created equal," so I can see Rahadoum justifying abolition, or at least banning ethnic enslavement like Cheliax practiced with its halflings. The calendar, with its procession of holy days and festivals in honour of gods, would also need changing, perhaps using the secular month names provided by Lost Omens Travel Guide. Holidays are a good idea regardless of their religious affiliation, so Rahadoum likely has festivals celebrating its own achievements - local heroes and secular customs. Perhaps on Golarion it was Rahadoum who introduced the decimal system? And I'm still fully onboard team "Rahadoum National Railway," whatever form it takes. The mental image of massive golems hauling modest passenger cars is just too cool, either as urban trams or longer inter-city lines.

Liberty's Edge

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I see no reason to equate deities with no-democracy. And thus to equate Rahadoum's atheism with democracy.

And I say this as a French guy.

Shadow Lodge

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Yeah, the setting's revolutionary republics have, shall we say, a mixed track record at being democratic republics.


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Shabti ancestry & stats for Ulunat.

That's about it.


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FormerFiend wrote:

Shabti ancestry & stats for Ulunat.

That's about it.

If you hadn't seen, Shabti get some further bestiary love in the final book of Blood Lords, which I hope bodes well for their future odds. Their art looks killer, too!


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Yeah, the setting's revolutionary republics have, shall we say, a mixed track record at being democratic republics.

Well, that shouldn't be a surprise. Earth's revolutionary republics don't have a very good track record of being democratic republics either.


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Discussions in another thread reminded me of the issue of citizenship. I think pop culture assumes that ancient cultures had three classes - slaves, citizens and nobles - but in fact most had quite a large freed non-citizen class, since freedom and citizenship are not interchangeable. Ancient Greece's "democracies" only extended membership into the Assembly and eligibility for elected office to citizens, and in Rome citizenship came with land ownership, frequently after a decade of Legionary service. I'm not aware of pre-Ptolemaic Egypt drawing a distinction between freed and non-noble citizens, but when the Greeks colonised the country they brought their own class system with them. Citizenship had benefits - citizens had an easier time doing business, weren't as subject to conscription or corvee work, were entitled to more protections under the law, and of course had the right to vote for local officials. But they also bore a greater tax burden and were subject to greater administrative scrutiny.

Reading through Qadira: Jewel of the East, one of the conditions of the Padishah Empress accepting and acknowledging Khemet III as head of state was that those Keleshites who chose to stay in Osirion would be granted citizenship. So that certainly implies that both Qadira and Osirion have a social structure that distinguishes between citizens and non-citizens. And with slavery on the outs, I expect that the ongoing social tensions might shift toward those between disenfranchised Freedmen and Citizens, and a gradually spreading enfranchisement. I've already made the argument that Rahadoum might take a dim view of entrenched class divisions and would approve of mass enfranchisement, and Katapesh's aggressive laissez-faire free market doesn't seem to care what you were born so long as you have, or can acquire or make, money. It also doesn't have much in the way of a government, aside from the Pact Masters, who are happy to let people fight each other as long as the money still flows. Thuvia is ruled by regional tribal aristocracies, but given how little attention Thuvia has had those might just be terms imposed by outsiders on a complex tribal system that doesn't necessarily map and isn't as fixed as an Avistani-style aristocracy. And Qadira's social hierarchy seems modelled on the Ottomans, despite being ruled by a Satrap rather than a Sultan.

Even Osirion's aristocracy isn't entirely hereditary - regional governors, called the Haty-a, can be inherited but are more often appointed, and Ancient Osirion had Nomarchs equivalent to the Ancient Egyptian sense of the word and is likely to to have revived it. Local village mayors would have been called "Hery-tep A'a, roughly equivalent to "chieftain," and higher courtiers bear titles like "Fan-Bearer on the Right Side of the King." But it's also ruled by the distinctly un-Eqyptian Council of Sun and Sky, a mixture of appointed and elected officials who serve as a de facto parliament. The Pactstone Pyramid features an "Exemplar," a title described as equivalent to a Duchess, but the Ancient Egyptians Osirion is modelled on had a much more fluid system of aristocracy and as far as I can tell the term has never appeared again in official media. The nation seems to have adopted a keleshite social system when the Satraps and Sultans ruled, and El-Shelad's governor is both elected by citizens and retains the title of Wali as a concession to the keleshite enclave in the city.

So, what do we think on different countries' ideas of citizenship across the Golden Road?


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As mentioned above, I'd prefer a vision of the Laws of Mortality that had something of an egalitarian bent - no man should be the servant of a god or another man, in essence. If the older lore presenting Rahadoum as having had slavery until recently is kept, then I say make that tension explicit - a younger generation of Rahadoumi reformers pushing for change in Mortality's name could be really exciting!

I don't really feel qualified enough on Qadiran lore or Ottoman history to comment there, other than to say that I'd absolutely devour whatever the Lost Omens team wants to write there nowadays.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Morhek wrote:
Discussions in another thread reminded me of the issue of citizenship.

I'm running a game in Merab based on all the established lore, and have been coming up with a lot of this myself. Here's how I've been resolving it:

Only a section of the population is considered the citizens of Merab. They enjoy the benefits of the proceeds from the auction, and there is a lot of infrastructure to support citizens. Schooling is free, housing is largely subsidized, and the Temple of the Redeeming Sun provides healing services to citizens as well. Married couples get a nice bonus when they marry and for each child. Citizens get to vote, organized into Wards. Most are free to pursue their artistic endeavors, socialize, etc. There's still a class strata of sorts, but even "lower class" people are taken care of and they feel a sense of duty to contribute to keep the city going.

The next level of the populace is the Ramli (name is my invention). These are the people who aren't fully nomadic but don't live within the city walls. They work the farmlands along the cost between Merab and Aspenthar, in the mines, or work to guard the frontier. They don't have all the same rights as citizens but are extended the protection of the city in case of attack and can rely on them for certain resources in exchange for their work and commerce.

Next class is the desert nomads, other nationalities, and the refugees. This class works as a servant class to the citizens, involved with black and gray markets, or have the means to support themselves abroad. They have no voting power and they do not receive the kind of subsidies which citizens do. Merab is a different experience for them, and they have build communities within the city to care for themselves. There's also a growing community of refugees outside the city in the marshes that the local populace is growing increasingly agitated about.

Liberty's Edge

I think Citizenship goes with nationality here (in the Keleshite citizens of Osirion example, say).

You are a citizen if you belong to the country.

Then you have citizens of other countries and people who are citizens of none.

And both of those could be in the country legally or illegally (likely a distinction more important in Lawful countries).

It is after all the definition of citizenry easiest to understand for most players.


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At least in the case of Qadira, we know there is a sizeable class of non-citizen freedmen across the whole of Kelesh - non-humans, who retain "Foreigner" status. Most dwarves are free but don't possess the rights conferred by citizenship, aside from a very few forge masters. Those halflings who aren't slaves tend to be domestic servants in noble or wealthy houses, and gnomes avoid staying Qadira in case Sedeq slavers take notice. Catfolk and kitsune are curiosities, and immigrant communities of wayangs, dhampirs, tengus and fethclings struggle without patrons, and there's mention of the aquatic peoples who visit the shores or extraterrestrials like Lashuntas (a detail I didn't pick up on, but find interesting). Elves and half-elves were granted it after a Kyonin delegation saved the life of Empress Ashrirat II, and I gather that Aasimars are explicitly an exception to this too.

But it also sounds like if you have a patron with citizenship, not having it isn't a hugely onerous burden - you can still marry and do business with a bit more paperwork, and are still entitled to most state protections as long as you don't wander too close to Sedeq (which I am VERY curious to find out how they're coping with the emancipatory craze sweeping the region, and perhaps finding that their money doesn't go as far as it used to if their main industry has become an international pariah). And in Qadira all citizens are required to spend two years in military service, while non-citizens don't seem to be. Given it was ruled initially by Qadirans, and then independent Keleshites who still modelled their society on Kelesh's Ifrit allies, I assume that the Sultanate of Osirion operated in a similar way, whatever changed Khemet I-III have made to it since.

I won't speak on the Ottoman influence, since I'm also not well-versed on it - most of my reading has been on Classical Greece, the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire, and Ancient and Hellenistic Egypt - other than to comment that I'm at least glad that it doesn't have an easily identifiable equivalent to the Jannisaries, since those are surrounded by some orientalist tropes that are better avoided. I also may be reading more Turkish influence into Qadira than was intended solely because of its geographic location, and it may have more in common with ore-Persian Assyria or other non-Greek Anatolian powers than I think.


Question for folks with more 1e savvy than me - are Rahadoum and Thuvia's alchemists ever portrayed on the "mad scientist" end of the spectrum? Alchemy's not a theme I ever got much excited for, but that changes with Fleshwarps in the mix.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Question for folks with more 1e savvy than me - are Rahadoum and Thuvia's alchemists ever portrayed on the "mad scientist" end of the spectrum? Alchemy's not a theme I ever got much excited for, but that changes with Fleshwarps in the mix.

The prestige class was focused on primarily healing. They could learn mummification and how to capture elementals, so you could definitely create a mad scientist who has gone too far.

https://aonprd.com/PrestigeClassesDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Thuvian%20Alchemist


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I'm just now getting back into the game after five years, so I'm not familiar with all the 1e -> 2e changes that have been made. However, I keep thinking about the North Africa analog and have a few thoughts about it.

Liek ending the Cult of the Dawnflower. It makes sense why it would be done, but when I saw that it sits too close to Islamic fundamentalism, I just thought, why not make it closer to Christian fundamentalism, like the Donatists in North Africa in the 5th century?

Quick history lesson: North Africa became part of the Roman Empire, was converted to Christianity, but then had to deal with Christianity being official then forbidden back and forth a couple times. So, if you were a Christian in Africa, you'd regularly be told to stop it and give up your holy books, before being able to pick it all back up again with the next Emperor.

This caused a problem. The Nicene Christians wanted those who surrendered their books to be allowed back in as priests. But the Donatists said that the priesthood had to remain pure, and so anyone who did turn over their books could no longer be priests. No forgiveness offered.

The Donatists were eventually declared a heresy, but they remained a major problem in the area, St. Augustine tried to mediate. There were a number of hardline sects in North Africa, like the Circumcellions. They were huge in the martyrdom theme, and it led a number of them to hang out at crossroads and ambush Roman legions with clubs in the hope that they would be killed by them.

The thing is, this hardline view became a common thread throughout North Africa. It became the way to maintain one's identity when dealing with wave after wave of invaders.

Then the Western Empire collapsed. A number of Christian Roman-Berber states arose, then the Germanic Vandals invaded from Iberia and established their own kingdom. One of the big issues this caused was that the Roman Empire had Nicene Christianity, but the Vandals were Arian Christians, so they went around getting rid of the "old" Christian ways, replacing them with "new" Christian ways, then the Byzantines came in and ended the Vandals and brought Nicene Christianity back. Then the Arabs came in and established Islam. There was a LOT of conversion.

It didn't end there. The Adoptionist sect in Iberia was heavily influenced by Donatist thinking. Although Islam in the Maghreb and Iberia was tolerant of other faiths (with payment of a special tax), the Almohads rose up out of Morocco and forced everyone to convert again in the 11-12th centuries.

We see some of this fundamentalist attitude in response to competing faiths in Garund with Rahadoum. But if we see this as a legacy of the Osirian conquering of Thuvia, then breaking free, then Aroden becoming big, then dying, there could also be a group hiding out in the wilderness trying to hold to an unforgiving version of Sarenrae, which of course is resoundly rejected by her and her church.

Which is where Ahriman can come in to reestablish the connection for the Cult. Someone needs to become the patron god for them right?

Now, 2e has no god with the Sun and Trickery domains, and Ahriman has Darkness and Trickery. But hey, rechristen them as a group waiting for the dawn that has not yet come, a Cult of Twilight as it were, and you've got a group who can honestly be evil, think they're good, focus on a deeply strict expectation of their followers, and can operate as ambushers, trying to spill blood (others and their own) in the name of their cause.


Wrong John Silver wrote:
I'm just now ...

Sounds like a great way to massively expand on the worship of Nurgal as now heretic Serenites learn to cope with the new situation and choosing to go dive in the deep end. It also fits well with the area given how there are small cults of Nurgal in the Garund/Qadira/Ninshanbur area.


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The Cult of the Dawnflower went away because the team didn’t want a core Good goddess empowering a militant, decidedly non-Good wing of assassins. It’s similar to Iomedae ditching LN followers in the edition move.


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Fair enough (and yeah, no evil assassins with Sarenrae's blessing).

But I still feel like Roman/Vandal Africa is an idea source that is untapped here.


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To my knowledge, the only notable comparison to Roman North Africa in Garund is Kharijite Province, which has been in Chellish hands for 700 years and allows Cheliax to control the Arch of Aroden. Otherwise, neither the Germanic Ulfen nor the Byzantine Taldans had much of a presence (which is a little weird, given Taldor send Armies of Exploration as far as western Garund and Tian Xia but never seem to have been interested in Thuvia or Rahadoum, unlike its real-world equivalent).

If we still see Cheliax as an equivalent of relict Western Rome, Khari is where you could probably fit some Roman North Africa tropes, and fit diabolist Chellish immigrants alongside the descendants of Sarenite and Nethysian refugees, and the intermingling of the two - I believe one of the Anti-Iconics is a Chellish assimilated Garundi. Given that context, Nergal, an Infernal Duke "associated with wartime atrocities, riding to battle with poison, plague, and fire to bedevil all soldiers," might be something former extremists who still want their land back from the militantly secular Rahadoum, and publicly disavowed by Sarenrae, might appreciate. Ahriman has an existing presence in the region, and there's a suggestion that Nyarlathotep has been manipulating the Dawnflower Cult into being behind every regime change in Osirion since Qadira conquered it, for reasons even his own followers can't fathom. And Norgorberites were a major faction of the Oath Wars, and is explicitly said to have burned Sarenrae too many times with false redemptions to ever be trusted. If you want a cult of extremists (which I'm still not convinced is a great idea given the setting's inspiration) there are plenty of options.

But I still think there's a place for showing Sarenites who don't much care for what the Qadiran church says, and have their own traditions and roots in the area even if they no longer associate with former Dawnflower Cultists. Sects in Osirion, Thuvia and Katapesh all having very different liturgies and methods of worship and stories about Sarenrae to the original Keleshite orthodoxy, and who would have just as much ecclesiastical reason to oppose Qadira if it ever tried to expand again as nationalist reasons.


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To say nothing of Achaekek's cultists having once been in the region as well. I'd love to pry into the nasty mantis somewhat, and why not in some ancient Rahadoumi ruins?

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