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


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Morhek wrote:
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...

I love religious doctrine schisms as much as the next guy, but I feel like from a brand management perspective you don't really want to get into

"Well, there's the Orthodox Sarenites of Avistan, which is your fairly bog standard worship; there's the Reformed Church of Sarenrae, mostly in Qadira who preach love and peace; there's the Western Sarenite Church of The Sun, they go for their sword a bit quicker, we all blame the Rovogug thing..."

Even though this is how a world wide church that interprets doctrine at a mortal level would probably end up, if you did this for every religion, you're left with a mess in both publishing and understandability.

This is the sort of detail that's best left to GMs who want inter church politics and the Splinter Faith feat. As an example, when I run games, the Glorious Reclamation is the second largest branch of Iomedae worship in Avistan. Its also useful for players who want to play in their own little sandbox of what deity worship looks like to them without me having a fit over it.


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I feel like the basic theology behind PF and similar systems makes actual heresy very difficult to be possible. It's nearly all turned into apostasy and the embracing of a new patron deity.

(I always considered this an interesting break with the game's roots from people with Christian mindsets; you pretty much need a theological setup like Christianity or Islam for heresy to even be possible, and the genre assumptions of polytheism and possible direct communing with the deity preclude the existence of it.

"Hey, Sarenrae, is assassination in your name okay?"

"Nope. Please stop."

"Welp, that settles that.")

ETA: But here's what I can envision:

"Hey, Sarenrae, is assassination in your name okay?"

"Nope. Please stop."

"But we're doing it for you! Here, have another infidel!"

"I said no!"

"We mean it all to help!"

"You know what? No. Just stop. No more of my light. I can't let you do this."

"Aw! But we really love you! We promise, only the finest sacrifices in your name!"

"I don't want your sacrifices! Please, just stop this nonsense and I'll forgive you."

"Hey, Ahriman/Nurgal here. I see you want Sarenrae's forgiveness. I bet she just doesn't understand just how much you love her, just how many you're willing to kill for her. Keep going. She's sure to see your devotion one day. I'll support your efforts."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Going with some of what was said in the beginning, Thuvia seems the most underdeveloped. Given that their main export is a product of alchemy, I would just double down on Thuvia being the leader in Alchemical research in the inner sea. Give them homunculi and super-soldier armies, transmutation factories that turn desert sand into valuable materials, alchemically treated castle-walls hard as diamond. Go crazy. I'd love to see what Paizo and folks could come up with a theme centered on alchemy.


MMCJawa wrote:
Going with some of what was said in the beginning, Thuvia seems the most underdeveloped. Given that their main export is a product of alchemy, I would just double down on Thuvia being the leader in Alchemical research in the inner sea. Give them homunculi and super-soldier armies, transmutation factories that turn desert sand into valuable materials, alchemically treated castle-walls hard as diamond. Go crazy. I'd love to see what Paizo and folks could come up with a theme centered on alchemy.

If you haven’t already seen, the Impossible Lands book goes quite heavy on this theme for Nex! It might make them hesitant to double down on something so similar, especially when Thuvia’s five city-states have other cultural anchors (Lamasara’s artists, Merab’s devout Sarenite faith) to define them.


Wrong John Silver wrote:

I feel like the basic theology behind PF and similar systems makes actual heresy very difficult to be possible. It's nearly all turned into apostasy and the embracing of a new patron deity.

(I always considered this an interesting break with the game's roots from people with Christian mindsets; you pretty much need a theological setup like Christianity or Islam for heresy to even be possible, and the genre assumptions of polytheism and possible direct communing with the deity preclude the existence of it.

"Hey, Sarenrae, is assassination in your name okay?"

"Nope. Please stop."

"Welp, that settles that.")

ETA: But here's what I can envision:

"Hey, Sarenrae, is assassination in your name okay?"

"Nope. Please stop."

"But we're doing it for you! Here, have another infidel!"

"I said no!"

"We mean it all to help!"

"You know what? No. Just stop. No more of my light. I can't let you do this."

"Aw! But we really love you! We promise, only the finest sacrifices in your name!"

"I don't want your sacrifices! Please, just stop this nonsense and I'll forgive you."

"Hey, Ahriman/Nurgal here. I see you want Sarenrae's forgiveness. I bet she just doesn't understand just how much you love her, just how many you're willing to kill for her. Keep going. She's sure to see your devotion one day. I'll support your efforts."

I'll be honest I 100% see this happening specially if the initial voice of Nurgal is a hierophant of some kind. The same type of stuff going on in Galt but on a religious level.

And we know its possible because it has already happened to Sarenrae once.


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The other thing I keep thinking about is how Garund, despite being like Africa, doesn't have a Sahel, thanks to the Barrier Wall. And I can't help but think that Thuvia could easily borrow from Sudan-Sahelian architecture and have buildings like the Grand Mosque of Djenne or the Library of Timbuktu as places to travel to.

You'd also be able to place a Mansa Musa style analog in the country, what with its single-resource riches.


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Yeah the lack of a Sahel-equivalent is a bit of a shame. But that's a good point, Thuvia probably is one of the better places to do it--the region is religiously/culturally influenced by the setting's stand-in for Islamic civilizations, but was not directly conquered by them, making it more like the Sahel than the Maghreb in that sense (though otherwise it's the reverse).

I guess there's the northernmost bit of the Mwangi Expanse outside the jungle, but there doesn't seem to be a lot going on there, and the enormous mountains don't really facilitate overland trade. Some of the Bonuwat names in LO:ME are Senegalese, but that's closer to the coast as befits their theme; Thuvia (especially areas inhabited by the Mauxi) might be the best place to draw on the inland parts of that area if a writer wanted to.


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And we've now circled back again to 'man, getting to see Mauxiland would be really cool.'

I'm not complaining.


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It occurred to me that one way to set apart Sarenrae's worship in Northern Garund is through 2e Pantheons. Talking over with friends, it came up that D&D-esque games tend to do very badly representing the polytheistic worlds they're set in, but with monotheistic classes, but 2e's Pantheons allow a much broader view of the world and an opportunity to see the ways Sarenrae and her faith interacts with those of different places, without getting into the weeds with doctrinal schismata. Sarenrae is already paired with her paramours Desna and and Shelyn as part of The Prismatic Ray, with the Mzali sun lions Chohar, Lohar and Tlehar as The Touch of the Sun, and with Ashava, Black Butterfly, Desna, Ketephys, Pulura, Tsukiyo and even Yog-Sothoth as part of the Cosmic Caravan. You could certainly do something similar in each part of the Golden Road.

In Thuvia, the Empyreal Lord Lalaci shares the sun domain and his followers there are notably hostile to the Water Lords who try to stop travellers slaking their thirst, which has some sympathy among local Sarenites. Fettle Sects are also present in at least Merab, bringing peace and comfort to the grieving through the Psychopomp Ushers. And given that Dahak has cultists in Thuvia, you could justify adding Apsu to such a Pantheon, maybe theme it around maintaining the delicate equilibrium of the desert, protecting travellers and punishing bandits and predatory Water Lords.

In Katapesh you might pair Sarenrae with Iomedae - whose followers arrived just in time to help break the gnoll siege of Solku - where Sarenite faith has become something more like the knightly chivalry of Iomedae, and with the extremely recent history of slavery in the country you might throw in Milani for good measure as a goddess who notably had a problem with Sarenrae-worshippers who had no issue with slavery - a Pantheon of crusaders (without the capital C) who stand up for the weak and free the oppressed in a country where the ruling Pactmasters have no financial stake in doing so, and therefore no interest. Or you could have a more mystical Pantheon, where cultists try to induce religious ecstasy to commune with her, and pair her with Cayden for communing through intoxication like the Dionysian mysteries, Ashava for dancing ecstasy like the Sufi mystics, Chucaro for communing through dreams, and Lymnieris for religious ecstasy through orgasm.

In Osirion, I like the idea of the Garundi people incorporating Sarenrae into the local traditions as its culture reinterprets itself and amalgamates those Keleshite influences it wants to retain. My own game euhemerises her name to be Sat-n-rA, "Daughter of Ra," so you could match her with Sekhmet, Hathor and Bastet as "The Daughters of the Sun," or you could say Sarenrae is the Keleshite name of Raet-Tawy, "Ra of the Two Lands," the female sun god and aspect/consort of Ra, and later consort Montu who was assimilated into Horus. In such a pantheon, you could bring Ra, Horus and Sarenrae together. You might even associate her with Qetesh, who in the first bestiary is named as an Empyreal Lord (with no domains provided) and in real life was a goddess who bridged native Egyptian and immigrant Near-Eastern communities.

In Keleshite Osirion and mainstream Qadira, we move to something more approaching the "orthodox" version of Sarenraeism, with a lot more Keleshite influence and a lot more emphasis on Sarenrae's singular value than as part of a wider pantheon, but even in wider Kelesh Sarenrae isn't the only god, just the most popular and the imperial patron. Khattib is known to worship Oathos, originally the consort of another goddess who grew jealous and poisoned him, only to become one of Sarenrae's consorts and patron of the chronically ill. There are also the Mishyrians who revere Falayna and who have been fighting the Moloch worshipping Beshzens for centuries. For Qadira specifically, perhaps add Sinashakti, revered along caravan stops and roadside shrines, Keltheald, a sun god of scenic vistas and beauty, and Ragathiel, who the more militant Qadirans who still itch to teach the Taldans the errors of their ways and remember their persecution bring in, as "Guardians of the Golden Road"? There's a lot of potential there, especially once you get into the different satrapies who would have their own equivalent pantheons focussed on different things.

And finally, in Rahadoum, the remaining Sarenite cultists would maintain a pantheon specifically tailored to hiding - Norgorber and Achaekek, having old roots and wanting to strike back; Sivanah, goddess of illusions; and Nurgal, the wrathful demon lord of the burning sun. If you're wondering where Sarenrae is, that would be because despite their protestations, and in many cases sincere belief, Sarenrae wants absolutely nothing to do with their extremism, hasn't had anything to do with them for a long time, and her disapproval is a secret held only by the sect's senior members who reason that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission, or might even be clerics of Nyarlathotep masquerading as Sarenites, and the only thing stopping the Sarenites of neighbouring Thuvia from putting an end to their machinations against the Rahadoumi state themselves is, ironically, the Rahadoumi state.


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Osiriani referring to Sarenrae as "Daughter of Ra" is amusingly misaimed, since it's almost certain that Sarenrae is more popular than Ra on a universal level. Sarenrae is the goddess of all suns. Then again, as the Osiriani pantheon is explicitly also the Egyptian pantheon, Ra isn't the god of just one sun either. I'd say it makes more sense for Sarenrae to be referred to as Raet-Tawy.


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To be clear, what people believe doesn't necessarily have to be accurate. One thing I like about Pathfinder's gods is where there's ambiguity - has Sarenrae always been a god or was she first an Empyreal Lord who ascended? Was Pharasma the first god who created the universe, or did Asmodeus and Ihys? And so on. Differing accounts and conflicting versions feels more true to a polytheistic world than having concrete answers - the natures of the gods are vast, and contain multitudes. In such a world, the fact that most of Golarion worships Sarenrae in her own right and has never heard of Ra is not a contradiction to the idea that Sarenrae is a daughter of Ra - Ra is ancient, the first god who floated up from the waters of chaos to create the universe (unless it was Ptah who Thought the universe into being, or Neith who wove it into being, or the Aten who caused it to exist, etc.) and he has a LOT of children and grandchildren who are powerful in their own right.

But it doesn't actually matter if Sarenrae isn't related, the important part would be that she's being adopted and adapted into the original pantheon despite her worshippers trying to replace it. In real life Ancient Egypt, many foreign gods were adapted as Egyptian gods or their children through syncretism - the semitic Anat and Astarte as daughters of Ra, Zeus and Hades blended with the Apis bull and Osiris to create Serapis, etc. The natures of the gods are mysterious, hidden from mortals and difficult for us to grasp unless inducted into the Mysteries, the stories and fables told about them merely useful metaphors.


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Morhek wrote:

To be clear, what people believe doesn't necessarily have to be accurate. One thing I like about Pathfinder's gods is where there's ambiguity - has Sarenrae always been a god or was she first an Empyreal Lord who ascended? Was Pharasma the first god who created the universe, or did Asmodeus and Ihys? And so on. Differing accounts and conflicting versions feels more true to a polytheistic world than having concrete answers - the natures of the gods are vast, and contain multitudes. In such a world, the fact that most of Golarion worships Sarenrae in her own right and has never heard of Ra is not a contradiction to the idea that Sarenrae is a daughter of Ra - Ra is ancient, the first god who floated up from the waters of chaos to create the universe (unless it was Ptah who Thought the universe into being, or Neith who wove it into being, or the Aten who caused it to exist, etc.) and he has a LOT of children and grandchildren who are powerful in their own right.

But it doesn't actually matter if Sarenrae isn't related, the important part would be that she's being adopted and adapted into the original pantheon despite her worshippers trying to replace it. In real life Ancient Egypt, many foreign gods were adapted as Egyptian gods or their children through syncretism - the semitic Anat and Astarte as daughters of Ra, Zeus and Hades blended with the Apis bull and Osiris to create Serapis, etc. The natures of the gods are mysterious, hidden from mortals and difficult for us to grasp unless inducted into the Mysteries, the stories and fables told about them merely useful metaphors.

Trust me, I get it. It's just interesting to think about.


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keftiu wrote:

“Thuvia-as-fantasy UAE” (in terms of coping with being dependent on a single export) is a really, really compelling angle. Between that and the desertification in Rahadoum, I love the potential for some super nonstandard plotlines in the region.

TBH I think the Sun Orchid Elixir as a whole is not really a good plot point for the whole place, considering its a pretty pitiful accomplishment when stacked up against every other person at that level, so to speak. And monopolizing the generic "immortality" thing to a single item in a world of magic feels awkward to me.

I understand from a meta reason it's meant to be a sort of "priceless plot-starting object" but I feel better things can carry that title.


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I'd be overjoyed to see what Pantheons would get printed in a Golden Road book, as there's likely a lot of syncretism going on between the main Inner Sea deities, the old Osirian/Egyptian gods, the elemental lords, the infusion of Keleshite Sarenite faith, and whatever else has made its way into people's souls along the trade routes. Saren-Ra could absolutely be in play here, as could whatever unique variations on dwarven faith the Pahmet practice.

An earnest look at the good and bad of Mortality would also go a long way.


I would like to see more connections to the east. Casmaron seems too huge to have so little information readily available. I also had a great time using an Arabian setting in the past and Qadira must have some amazing history and adventure opportunities. Just how far east does the Golden Road go? If we aren't going far east, then what comes West from the East?What role does Qadira play as that buffering state?


D3stro 2119 wrote:
keftiu wrote:

“Thuvia-as-fantasy UAE” (in terms of coping with being dependent on a single export) is a really, really compelling angle. Between that and the desertification in Rahadoum, I love the potential for some super nonstandard plotlines in the region.

TBH I think the Sun Orchid Elixir as a whole is not really a good plot point for the whole place, considering its a pretty pitiful accomplishment when stacked up against every other person at that level, so to speak. And monopolizing the generic "immortality" thing to a single item in a world of magic feels awkward to me.

I understand from a meta reason it's meant to be a sort of "priceless plot-starting object" but I feel better things can carry that title.

Its not the only thing. However it is the safest short of being a level 20 class that grants it.

The alternate method requires that you drink

Numerian Fluid wrote:
Engine fluid, coolant, hydraulic fluids, and stranger substances have mixed together, the chemicals further transformed by the strange radiations of the ship’s drives.

Upon drinking that there is a 1% chance you get a permanent side effect, of which you have a 10% chance of getting immortality. Otherwise you constantly drink it hoping to get the 1% chance to become younger by 1d6 years for some time. Why is it bad? A 40% chance of getting severely messed up in one way or another.

Yes this is canon, yes its gimmicky, no it is not exclusive to numeria.


Temperans wrote:
Its not the only thing. However it is the safest short of being a level 20 class that grants it.

In 2e? Nah. The Timeless Nature feat druids get doesn't say anything about dying of old age anymore. So 14th level druids can be immortal without having to worry about it. There's also becoming undead.


GM_3826 wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Its not the only thing. However it is the safest short of being a level 20 class that grants it.
In 2e? Nah. The Timeless Nature feat druids get doesn't say anything about dying of old age anymore. So 14th level druids can be immortal without having to worry about it. There's also becoming undead.

I said safest, aka "not dying or resorting to the most evil rituals". Also yeah druid get it at level 14, but that is still not very safe considering things in Golarion. Hence my statement of level 20.


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Also don't leave out the possibility that some pantheon gets stuck with some deity that the rest don't want, like a crazy relative that you really wish you could ban from the holiday table, but for whatever reason, it's not up to you . . . .


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D3stro 2119 wrote:
keftiu wrote:

“Thuvia-as-fantasy UAE” (in terms of coping with being dependent on a single export) is a really, really compelling angle. Between that and the desertification in Rahadoum, I love the potential for some super nonstandard plotlines in the region.

TBH I think the Sun Orchid Elixir as a whole is not really a good plot point for the whole place, considering its a pretty pitiful accomplishment when stacked up against every other person at that level, so to speak. And monopolizing the generic "immortality" thing to a single item in a world of magic feels awkward to me.

I understand from a meta reason it's meant to be a sort of "priceless plot-starting object" but I feel better things can carry that title.

I quite like the idea of the Sun Orchid Elixir being the equivalent of oil to Thuvia's industry, funding the nation's infrastructure with foreign cash but existing in a delicate state if the Sun Orchids ever get overharvested or become extinct in the wild. Though like Rahadoum's militant secularism, when that's ALL the nation becomes known for it becomes a problem, but one easily fixed by giving each of the city-states some differentiation.

UnArcaneElection wrote:

Also don't leave out the possibility that some pantheon gets stuck with some deity that the rest don't want, like a crazy relative that you really wish you could ban from the holiday table, but for whatever reason, it's not up to you . . . .

I like to think Nethyx is the school kid who has to be dragged back into frame for every class photo and wheedled endlessly for every group project, however brilliant he is. Consequently, any pantheon that invokes him understands that his participation is conditional at best, and entirely absent more often than not.


Also, 1st Edition had Order of the Godclaw, which had a grouping of 5 Lawful deities that seemed to function for them as a pantheon in all but name (although some argue that the Order of the Godclaw isn't actually getting their diving spells from them). Not sure if it's still around, but if it is, you can be sure that its inclusion of Asmodeus does not make most of the other members (except Abadar) happy.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Also, 1st Edition had Order of the Godclaw, which had a grouping of 5 Lawful deities that seemed to function for them as a pantheon in all but name (although some argue that the Order of the Godclaw isn't actually getting their diving spells from them). Not sure if it's still around, but if it is, you can be sure that its inclusion of Asmodeus does not make most of the other members (except Abadar) happy.

Indeed, the Godclaw exists as a 2e pantheon with its own pantheon deity entry already.


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Another thread reminded me about Jinn, and how the actual Islamic folklore around them is pretty ripe to expand on. Genies get treated in D&D and (consequently) Pathfinder as basically humanoid elementals, whereas in real life Jinn function a bit more like the Fey - sometimes helpful, usually harmful, existing outside of the naturally ordained order - not necessarily evil, but also not good either. You could really do some interesting stuff there with a 2e supplement for the Golden Road that expands the known types of genies, or introduces some Middle-Eastern themed fey for the region - I keep thinking about Asuulek's interest in a demiplane associated with fire fey. Not to mention, Rage of Elements is about to introduce a whole two new elemental planes to people with Genie-folk associated with those elements.


Yeah, elixir as oil is what I'm thinking, too, although I also think of Mansa Musa and Mali's gold mines as another analog to be explored in Thuvia. Definitely could be the way one city state operates.


Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Also, 1st Edition had Order of the Godclaw, which had a grouping of 5 Lawful deities that seemed to function for them as a pantheon in all but name (although some argue that the Order of the Godclaw isn't actually getting their diving spells from them). Not sure if it's still around, but if it is, you can be sure that its inclusion of Asmodeus does not make most of the other members (except Abadar) happy.

Indeed, the Godclaw exists as a 2e pantheon with its own pantheon deity entry already.

Thanks -- I wasn't looking at the right place in Archives of Nethys for 2nd Edition.


I wonder if Paizo could throw the stereotypical furries a bone and retcon in some previously-unnoticed jackalfolk in the region. They'd be very popular, especially with a lack of non-Shoony canine ancestries so far.

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