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


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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So, small spoiler alert for anyone who doesn't have Lost Omens: Mwangi Expanse yet: it's a home run.

It's genuinely incredible. The worldbuilding is so vibrant and fresh, it stands totally distinct from so much of traditional fantasy, the art is a delight... Paizo has set an astonishingly high bar here. I'm really, really impressed - and I think this book should do very well! Between it and the upcoming Absalom book (one I'm personally less hungry for, but I know people /adore/ dense city setting books, as an old Sharn: City of Towers fangirl) I fully expect most or all of the Meta-Regions to get this treatment eventually (with Arcadia and Southern Garund in the mix, please!) in books of their own.

The care given to revising, reframing, or outright changing within in-setting action problematic older material within the Mwangi Expanse is heartening, and it has me looking to the Golden Road for a similar eventual update. The region has some bits I adore! But there's no denying that previous content has stumbled into some fraught places and tired tropes; ever-present slavery, religious zealotry, endless bazaars full of drug dens, a clear Crusades-inspired conflict with Taldor... It needs some of the same love, from North African and Middle Eastern writers especially.

So I wanted to ask folks here; any hopes, dreams, or desires for this region, once the lens turns towards it? I'd love to spark a conversation!


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For myself, I'd love to just go down the list of nations:

Rahadoum: I'm honestly very happy with this nation; it's one of my favorites on Golarion, and I like that their atheism has been presented as a respectable belief system in 2e materials so far. Seeing Rahadoumi magical studies and nonmagical healing blossom opens up so many interesting characters! I'm also super compelled by the potential for environmentalist plotlines, as characters aid state efforts against desertification; that scares me a lot more than orcs or demons these days, as a Californian. The violent oppression of religion I could take or leave.

Thuvia: Has always felt a little one-dimensional to me (it's the Sun Orchid place!), and it's mercantile wealth has always felt thematically redundant with Katapesh so nearby. I feel like there's a lot of potential to make the individual city-states feel more distinct - have they been written about more somewhere?

Osirion: Hooooo boy. Osirion is my single least-favorite place on Golarion. If you want Fantasy Vikings, you get a lot of variations on that flavor in the northern Avistan, but here Fantasy Egypt literally just is Fantasy Egypt. It's always felt hokey to have an Earth Pantheon here worshiped intact and unmodified, but to have it be in a place full of pyramids and mummies... it feels like a Hollywood set, not a place people live. I'd really like to see this place lean harder into being only three generations free from thousands of years of imperial rule for Ravounel and Vidrian to look to, as a symbol of what nation-building after a revolution really gets going can be like (and don't remind me that the Pharaoh's name is literally the Ancient Egyptian name for Egypt). This is a nation founded with the blessing of the god of magic, a place that birthed one of the greatest necromancers in Golarion's history - let that magical pride be a cornerstone! And if we can see some indigenous archaeology, trying to replace pulpy colonial tomb looting in favor of people reclaiming their own storied heritage?

Katapesh: This one's rough. Almost every vision of Katapesh feels like an Orientalist painting, full of greedy merchants, miserable slaves, and drug addicts, and that's Not Great. If it must be the "exotic market" of the setting, I'd sooner see it lean harder into the cosmically weird undertones, what with the Pactmasters being aliens and Lost Omens: Legends hinting at aboleth plots all over the place. Middle Eastern alien psychic intrigue is a genre space I could be very happy with, while a more mundane abolitionist plotline would be tough to get right, but could potentially be incredibly satsfying as a way to beat back the evil of slavery in-setting. Okeno is kind of horrific, and not necessarily in a way that I think makes for interesting storylines, so much as just being mired in trauma; seeing a shift here would be really nice, especially with the kholo (gnolls) getting a much more nuanced approach in the Mwangi book.

Qadira: For the most part, I really like this! The idea of only the furthest province of an empire that dwarfs any concept of a nation anyone in the Inner Sea can imagine is a really cool one, and Qadira has been mostly presented as an incredibly refined, intelligent, and justifiably-proud place to be from. The threat of conflict with Taldor gets uncomfortably close to the Crusades for me, as mentioned before, but I love the idea of that conflict or those internally being daring spy games - a War for the Crown-style plot on this side of the border would be an absolute treat. Thankfully, one of the most-worrying elements (the Cult of the Dawnflower) we know has been resolved off-screen, and is not something the writing team enjoy.


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keftiu wrote:
And if we can see some indigenous archaeology, trying to replace pulpy colonial tomb looting in favor of people reclaiming their own storied heritage?

You know that tomb looting basically is a large part of what the PCs do in the game?

Quote:


The threat of conflict with Taldor gets uncomfortably close to the Crusades for me, as mentioned before

And why exactly are the Crusades problematic but not the previous conquest of the area? The Crusades were not any different than other wars which there were many.

I find the entire area to be rather lazily designed with too much copying from existing cultures, especially ancient egypt, instead of having their own fantasy culture.

Wayfinders

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Ixal wrote:


You know that tomb looting basically is a large part of what the PCs do in the game?

If your players are still doing the unscrupulous tomb-looters thing in the year of our lord 2021, I have some bad news for you.

Ixal wrote:


And why exactly are the Crusades problematic but not the previous conquest of the area? The Crusades were not any different than other wars which there were many.

While I can't speak for Keftiu, in my case it's like...You can have conflicts with other nations, cross-continental ones even, that don't hew quite so closely to a series of particularly brutal historical religious conquests.

Ixal wrote:


I find the entire area to be rather lazily designed with too much copying from existing cultures, especially ancient egypt, instead of having their own fantasy culture.

While there's some good ideas in there, they're somewhat obscured by a lot of the old, sloppy writing - but this was the case with so much of the Mwangi Expanse for the longest time, yet now it's pretty much my single favorite region in the game, if not my current favorite fantasy setting period.

For myself, I'd love to read more about the Vourinoi elves, Jaric halflings, as well as the Ouat, Pahmet, Paraheen and Vahird dwarves (Kulenett dwarves also sound very interesting, but they're Impossible Lands material), plus any other nonhuman ancestries and ethnicities of the region (such as the gnolls and how they're different and/or similar to the ones in the Mwangi Expanse...but please god, without so much slavery and demon worship, which even the Mwangi Expanse book alludes to still being a thing in here).


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RiverMesa wrote:


If your players are still doing the unscrupulous tomb-looters thing in the year of our lord 2021, I have some bad news for you.

Do your PCs turn over all the gold and magic items they find in dungeons over to the descendants of the rightful owner?

If not, then I have some bad news for you...
Quote:


While I can't speak for Keftiu, in my case it's like...You can have conflicts with other nations, cross-continental ones even, that don't hew quite so closely to a series of particularly brutal historical religious conquests.

What exactly makes the Crusades more brutal than the Umayyad conquest of that area, or the conquest of Anatolia or Persia? Or Spain and Sicily?

And while not religious, lets not forget the Mongolian conquest and the destruction of Baghdad.
Religion wars were waged constantly, yet somehow people always single out the Crusades as special.


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this turned out way longer than I expected but here we go.

As someone who's interested in both diverse fantasy and the history of the real-world regions this part of the setting draws inspiration from, I'd be into this, especially if it featured authors from or with a connection to said regions. However, I agree that it would be good if it addressed the issues you speak of (though the Grand Campaign feels more like the various Abbasid-Byzantine wars to me than the Crusades).

A huge semi-anarchic city of markets with traders and goods from all over (and the realm it controls) is an interesting premise, but yeah, Katapesh does have a risk of falling into orientalist tropes, so I think re-framing things a bit so that it doesn't feel like it's entirely about slavery and drugs could help. I think you're right that focusing more on the weirder aspects is a potentially good way to do that.

I don't hate Osirion, but I do think it's a bit cliche. I think that depends on how it's presented though, it is a bit more unique than it seems in some ways. After all the pharaonic cultural elements are an intentional revival of its own ancient history with the period before that more akin to IRL medieval Egypt so exploring that fusion more would be cool. Agreed that encouraging Osirian or Osirion-approved PCs to do the dungeon delving instead of Howard-Carter-esque foreign archaeologists is probably for the best; the Ruby Prince's decision to outlaw the latter as of 2e helps though. I'm curious about the "seraph of destruction" mentioned in the LO world guide. The wiki also mentions elementals being relatively common in Osirion's deserts which sounds neat and could be elaborated upon.

I don't have particularly strong feelings about Qadira either positive or negative but Legends and the latest World Guide both hint at potential changes approaching both there and in the heartland of Kelesh and I'm excited to see where that's going. The tension between the vizier and satrap could be fun to delve into although Lost Omens Legends has given us some of that.

I like Rahadoum--could be a bit of my atheist bias creeping in, but they aren't atheists per se and their attitude towards religion is quite different from my own. Its history with the Jistka Imperium and Osirian Empire could be used as a way to create interesting ruins and whatnot for those who are into dungeon crawls. Going over my LOWG copy, I noticed something I'd miss before, that Rahadoum is known for mechanics and engineering. Could be cool to know more about that.

Thuvia is one of my favorite regions in Garund, I like the focus on alchemy and the fact that it's an alliance of multiple city-states, which each have little details that set them apart while still having common elements. It allows some variety. Plus, the idea of a realm that thrives due to controlling a powerful magic item is neat to me, I like it when fantastical elements are strongly integrated into a setting like that. I think it would be good to give some detail on the rural areas of Thuvia as well though; different Water Lords and tribes could allow for even more variety not to mention threats from the div. On that note, a creature of Persian origin in a region that's presumably based on the Maghreb is a strange choice, but that ship has sailed.

Oh, and the Cult of the Dawnflower stuff definitely needs some work, that is many kinds of yikes. Fortunately I know there are people within Paizo with a similar dislike of it, so I think/hope that'll be downplayed in future books.


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RiverMesa wrote:
For myself, I'd love to read more about the Vourinoi elves, Jaric halflings, as well as the Ouat, Pahmet, Paraheen and Vahird dwarves (Kulenett dwarves also sound very interesting, but they're Impossible Lands material), plus any other nonhuman ancestries and ethnicities of the region.

Seconded. We don't have much info about most of those, except maybe the Pahmet, so more detail would be good.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Would love to learn more about Rahadoum and Yjuvia personally. The culture and technology of a region like Rahadoum in a fantasy setting is fascinating, and would personally love to learn more about the Rain Wall and that entire region of the nation.
Thuvia definitely feels like it needs to be fleshed out more and expanding on the city States that make up this alliance and giving them an identity is much needed.
Lastly would love to see an expansion on the 2 empires that came before in the same area. Jiska and it's use of golems as well as its origin with Arustun and the Poleiheira feel like they would be key to some fascinating locations and lore.
Secondly would love to learn more about the Tekritanin League. Here is a group that became so entwined with language and communication that speakers of their evolving language could be in theory understood by a speaker of ANY human language, which is absolute madness. Tell me more about them!


Garund sure has a lot of dwarves, huh.


One could say it...dwarfs every other continent in its dwarven diversity :P

Although Ouat are a very specific group and are more or less a Pahmet sub-ethnicity, IIRC, and the Paraheen are from Qadira so not Garundi.

Wayfinders

I also wonder if there's room for some brand-new ancestries around the place.

While the shisk, goloma, conrasu and anadi were at least loosely foreshadowed in the World Guide and Age of Ashes, there's no such precedent for any potential Golden Road ancestries...Unless some desert-y humanoid group from a Bestiary or another source was to be fleshed out (not that I can really name anything that'd fit the bill), since apparently Paizo tries to not drop things as major as new ancestries out of nowhere, and it might be extra weird in an established region without pulling the "extremely secretive and reclusive" thing over and over.

Wayfinders

...Almost right after I wrote this, I was hit with the genius thought of "wait, what if kasathas were there" (in addition to the potential obvious addition of the witchwyrds).

I mean think about it:
- they're desert-dwelling people on their homeworld, and guess what north Garund mostly consists of
- their creators (the Pactmasters/witchwyrds) are right there as well, and there could be more of them than said witchwyrds (since AFAIK there's like, five of them?)
- it'd be a way to spice up the region with a distinct flavor, and incorporate the kasathas beyond their 1e turf of Numeria (where...it was never explained how they got there in the first place anyway?), and give them a more fleshed-out culture that more closely resembles what they might have had going on in Kasath/in Starfinder on the Idari
- playable aliens in fantasy is so cool, and playing one in Fantasy North Africa sounds like a good time


RiverMesa wrote:

...Almost right after I wrote this, I was hit with the genius thought of "wait, what if kasathas were there" (in addition to the potential obvious addition of the witchwyrds).

I mean think about it:
- they're desert-dwelling people on their homeworld, and guess what north Garund mostly consists of
- their creators (the Pactmasters/witchwyrds) are right there as well, and there could be more of them than said witchwyrds (since AFAIK there's like, five of them?)
- it'd be a way to spice up the region with a distinct flavor, and incorporate the kasathas beyond their 1e turf of Numeria (where...it was never explained how they got there in the first place anyway?), and give them a more fleshed-out culture that more closely resembles what they might have had going on in Kasath/in Starfinder on the Idari
- playable aliens in fantasy is so cool, and playing one in Fantasy North Africa sounds like a good time

The 2e team seems really, really reluctant to support characters with more than two arms, looking at the Conrasu.


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Rahadoum and Thuvia are what I want from Lost Omens Golden Road. I'm interested in Katapesh, Osirion, and Qadira because of some stories that are playing out there, but I don't particularly feel captivated by them as settings in their own right. Maybe a new setting book could revitalize my interest, but as of now I'm more interested in seeing official adventures set there than I am in seeing a setting book to make it my own.

Rahadoum and Thuvia feel more like places I could set my own stories and thus places I could use a robust setting book detailing the area and the cultures involved. Rahadoum really interests me, and is a place I'm reluctant to set campaigns without more details. I'd like to tell stories surrounding conflict between the Laws of Mortality and the various religions that try to operate in the area, as well as involving the ancient ruins the nation is built on top of, but without more setting building I feel I would do so clumsily. Thuvia is my preferred place to represent the center for alchemical knowledge in the Inner Sea, and where I would position plots that revolve around alchemy as a theme. I'd like more details, and more work on alchemy in general (maybe a Secrets of Alchemy book?) to do those stories before starting.


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I wonder how radical a shakeup to Osirion would be allowed to be; as it stands, it’s probably near the bottom of places on Golarion I’d ever want my own play to touch, but getting it out of being a bad pulp movie set and into a place people actually live with culture pf its own… I don’t envy that writing assignment, but I’d love to see it pulled off.


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

Something that I thought was really fun about Katapesh from 1E was pesh magic. Yes, pesh can be a drug that is abused, but from the Sahir-Afiyun and Sorcerer of Sleep (Archetype) we see the native culture using pesh as a magical stimulate that allows them to achieve an understanding of there bodies and of magic in unique ways. For me this felt like native Katapeshi had a deep respect for pesh and its use. However, visitors to Katapesh treat pesh like a drug, and some local merchants are willing to take advantage of this by selling pesh in marketplace drug dens. I would imagine this is heavily frowned upon by most native Katapeshi who value pesh and its cultural importance.

Wayfinders

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Brinebeast wrote:
Something that I thought was really fun about Katapesh from 1E was pesh magic. Yes, pesh can be a drug that is abused, but from the Sahir-Afiyun and Sorcerer of Sleep (Archetype) we see the native culture using pesh as a magical stimulate that allows them to achieve an understanding of there bodies and of magic in unique ways. For me this felt like native Katapeshi had a deep respect for pesh and its use. However, visitors to Katapesh treat pesh like a drug, and some local merchants are willing to take advantage of this by selling pesh in marketplace drug dens. I would imagine this is heavily frowned upon by most native Katapeshi who value pesh and its cultural importance.

I think you're onto something here, and I'd love to see a native North African/Middle Eastern writer take a swing at something in this vein.

While vivid and non-colonialist/orientalist descriptions of the people and places of the area is the #1 way to ...humanize? the region, both in terms of broad cultural and historical writeups and in terms of small fun tidbits like we see in the Mwangi Expanse book, ranging from food to unique styles of magic and fighting (surely I can purchase some nice falafel-type dish from a street vendor in Osirion?), I also want to know what the...distinctly fantasy side of it all looks like.

I already mentioned wanting descriptions of the native nonhuman ancestries and ethnicities, but I also want to know how existing creatures and creature types slot into the Golden Road - elementals were mentioned, genies feel like an obvious fit, but you could also have fey that conjure mirages of oases in deserts to mislead travelers, blue and brass dragons could roam the deserts, ghouls might make some sort of appearance as they have Arabic folkloric origins, various outsiders could be involved, and I'm sure there's dozens of creatures one could derive from North African folklore, myth and religion that could infuse the bestiary section of such a book, but that's not my area of expertise.
(Keftiu also mentioned the aboleth plot that's strongly hinted at, which is its own fun campaign hook.)


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keftiu wrote:

For myself, I'd love to just go down the list of nations:

Osirion: Hooooo boy. Osirion is my single least-favorite place on Golarion.

I agree that Osirion is not very original

With that said note every region needs to LG wholesome. Some regions like Katapesh are going to to be unpleasant by moderns sensiblities. And if you look at cultures that inspired Katapash or Qadira slavery was everpresent. Katapash is meant to be what its meant to be, not every region has to be unproblematic. Thats why you have Andorans fighting against slavery and other injusticies over there (Which the Okeno Pirates hate). Much like the Worlwound its not a pleasant place not meant to be. Its a symbol of what can happen if wealth is the only thing that matters and you are willing to sell you parents to get it.

Conflickt between Taldor and Qadira has nothing remotelyto do with Crusades. Absolutely nothing. The Crusades was a multinationell and religiously motivated conflict. Qadira vs Taldor is not.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Considering that according to existing Pathfinder lore (correct me if I'm wrong):

1) The Osiriani gods actually ARE the gods from ancient Egypt, and

2) "present" day on Golarion (4721 AR) is simultaneous with 1920s Earth, and

3) Osirion was founded more than 7500 years in the past, which is more than 2500 years before the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt...

then it becomes clear that Osirion is not actually an unoriginal copy of ancient Egypt - it is ancient Egypt that is a copy of ancient Osirion.

Joking aside, there is clearly a way to make Osirion interesting and original while (mostly) hewing to the existing lore.

Dark Archive

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I think there is one thing to understand about Osirion that I think even the setting to some extend forgets:

Ancient Osirion and Modern Osirion are treated as two different things.

At this point most people are probably like "Wait what are you talking about? Its same country" but then I point out that Lost Kingdoms has Ancient Osirions among such nations as Jistka, Thassilon, Abendego Gulf, Ghol-Gan, Sarkoris... Yeah Setting treats Ancient Osirion as "ancient kingdom that doesn't exist anymore", for some bizarre reason ^_^;

I think logic of it is that third age of Osirion(aka current age) is much less impressive than first and second age of Osirion, but it would be kinda like treating old Taldor/Cheliax as separate from current versions. Though I do realize that Osirion is much older than either of Taldor and Cheliax. 8000 years old is pretty impressive number :'D That said, Taldor is about 6000 year old and I don't think you can count start of Taldor as seperate ancient kingdom.

Basically I think what happened here is that Ancient Osirion and Osirion relationship is supposed to be something akin to Ancient Egypt and Modern Egypt, except that Osirion still has pharaohs and such :'D On some level comparison is apt: Ancient Osirion's gods(aka Egyptian gods) left Golarion so long ago that they aren't really worshipped in modern Osirion(though they started making come back recently). Ancient Osirion also spans from where Rahadoum is today to where Geb and Nex is today. Aka it was extremely massive high magical nation with god backed up rulers. Second age started decline but it still had four super powerful co rulers, then Osirion got made into Qadira's puppet state for 3000 years until current age.

I don't disagree with notion that lot of Osirion seems like hollywood egypt set, but I do think there is lot of nuance to Osirion that could be explored further and I think solid ground work for it has been set up.

Main problem with Osirion as it exists in setting is this: So what IS modern Osirion? Meta wise its setup for "why there are unexplored ruins whose history has been lost who were made my people of this country". Its country that used to be super power who got into decline and eventually puppeted by modern powers until they reclaimed control. But how did culture change under 3000 years of Qadiran rule? That type of questions we haven't ever really gotten answer to. We know that Ancient Osirion is quite different culture wise from modern one, but how we don't actually know that much. I assume Mummy's Mask might have city gazetteers that give more light to this, but I haven't read Mummy's Mask since I want to play it soooo yeah :'D


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CorvusMask wrote:
Main problem with Osirion as it exists in setting is this: So what IS modern Osirion? Meta wise its setup for "why there are unexplored ruins whose history has been lost who were made my people of this country". Its country that used to be super power who got into decline and eventually puppeted by modern powers until they reclaimed control. But how did culture change under 3000 years of Qadiran rule? That type of questions we haven't ever really gotten answer to. We know that Ancient Osirion is quite different culture wise from modern one, but how we don't actually know that much. I assume Mummy's Mask might have city gazetteers that give more light to this, but I haven't read Mummy's Mask since I want to play it soooo yeah :'D

Without getting into spoilers, Mummy's Mask doesn't give a ton of insight in this regard IMO. At its core it is a story about dealing with ancient problems dug up from the past rather than one about modern people dealing with modern problems that connect to their history. I'm GMing it right now and it's an interesting story, but I think it misses the nuance and complexity that it could have if the perspective of the writing was positioned as Osirian people exploring their own cultural history. Instead it reads as outsiders exploring Osirion and its problems.


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Paradozen wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Main problem with Osirion as it exists in setting is this: So what IS modern Osirion? Meta wise its setup for "why there are unexplored ruins whose history has been lost who were made my people of this country". Its country that used to be super power who got into decline and eventually puppeted by modern powers until they reclaimed control. But how did culture change under 3000 years of Qadiran rule? That type of questions we haven't ever really gotten answer to. We know that Ancient Osirion is quite different culture wise from modern one, but how we don't actually know that much. I assume Mummy's Mask might have city gazetteers that give more light to this, but I haven't read Mummy's Mask since I want to play it soooo yeah :'D
Without getting into spoilers, Mummy's Mask doesn't give a ton of insight in this regard IMO. At its core it is a story about dealing with ancient problems dug up from the past rather than one about modern people dealing with modern problems that connect to their history. I'm GMing it right now and it's an interesting story, but I think it misses the nuance and complexity that it could have if the perspective of the writing was positioned as Osirian people exploring their own cultural history. Instead it reads as outsiders exploring Osirion and its problems.

Sounds like the same issue with older Mwangi material; it’s an exotic place for outsiders to go, where the history is cool stuff to loot, rather than a place people live shaped by their history.


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I like Rahadoum (an atheist state in a fantasy world has SO MUCH potential for conflict and interesting roleplaying).

I would love to see more about Thuvia -- yes, the sun orchid elixir is an important detail, but there's a lot more to work with. Seacoast, multiple city states, desert adventures, and the divs, all add up to quite a fun background where lots of adventures can happen. I've never seen it as one-dimensional at all.


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Speaking personally I think Thuvia is one of the least interesting places of the region, as the OP said it's the "Sun Orchid" place. That's basically how everyone would summarize it. So this land definitely needs to grow significantly beyond that. It could potentially be cool if they highlighted how much this land is a more very loose confederation of various clans and city states rather than a cohesive nation. I definitely think the Inner Sea region could use more areas with city-states.

I like RW history so I do like Osirion as well. Though it could potentially be cooler if they stopped showing it as Bronze Age Ancient Egypt but more like "What if Kemetist Ancient Egypt survived up to the Medieval/Renaissance Era". Consider how different and unique their fashion and culture might be from that. Even if it literally is Ancient Egypt, it has had millennia to develop differently on Golarion compared to Egypt on Earth. Not to mention Osirion has been under Keleshite rule for thousands of years, they would have left a significant cultural imprint on them as well. I would imagine the large metropolises hold the greatest degree of Keleshite influence while the smaller and more remote communities like the desert dwelling tribes or monasteries might hold more veneration for traditional Osirion culture.

Katapesh, Qadira and Rahadoum are the places that grab me the most of this region. The only thing they need is more coverage, and more depth and nuance.


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I think Rahadoum is something that could use another pass, specifically from an internal perspective about the interior friction between people who are actually ardent misotheists and the people who just don't think about gods in their day to day lives and have much more important things to worry about than "outsiders bringing in forbidden ideas".


I always thought they could draw some influence for Thuvia from Game of Thrones. The Essos city states all seemed to have unique cultures and mostly existed in the desert. They also vied for prestige amongst one another and had their own little subplots going on.


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Another reason to want this book; with how cool the three Mualijae elven nations wound up, I’d /kill/ to see the Vourinoi get some similar love. Desert elves!


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Slavery across the Golden Road (and the wider setting) has also consistently been depicted as evil, no? Okeno is a place a lot of people want to see destroyed.

If you’re looking for “ambiguity,” slavery is the wrong topic; it’s reprehensible and dehumanizing in this world, and people are actively fighting against it. LOWG makes note of how the flesh trade is becoming increasingly unpopular in the nations around Katapesh, and the wife of Qadira’s satrap is outspokenly opposed. There’s also an entire volume of Age of Ashes about driving a slaver ring out of Katapesh, and they’re the main antagonists for much of the AP.

All of this to say nothing about how the Vidric revolution is rightly heralded as a victory against the injustice of slavery - just the same as Andoran’s raids on Okeno and the Bellflower resistance to the practice in Cheliax.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Personally, with the possible exception of Rahadoum, I find the whole Golden Road region completely uninspiring and want to just see some good, fresh, original ideas and writing for that region in any future material that might be published. Otherwise, I am not looking forward to anything from that area of the Golarion map and would much rather have a book on literally any other region on Golarion. Unlike The Mwangi Expanse, which I very much looked forward to and was rewarded for my wait, I have zero expectations for the Golden Road region. So, whatever, we get for it, I hope they blow my socks off and can turn my lack of excitement around.


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A whole section on Thuvian Alchemy could be awesome. Surely the Sun Orchid Elixir isn't the only thing they've been making over there.


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Ventnor wrote:
A whole section on Thuvian Alchemy could be awesome. Surely the Sun Orchid Elixir isn't the only thing they've been making over there.

Especially with Rahadoum - known for their medical, alchemical, magical, and other scientific studies - right next door.

Silver Crusade

Yeah I'd love to know more about Thuvia specially because I'd like to know what sort of culture overall was cultivated around something like the growing and selling of the SOE, some nice Alchemy lore and love.


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I also do want to see non-alchemy hooks for Thuvia, to make it a little more than The Alchemy Place. I would looove political feuding between the five city-states, and to have some character concepts from the region that don’t care about the Sun Orchid at all.


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Yeah the thing that never sat right with me RE: Thuvia is that you can't have a society that revolves entirely on the production and auction of one incredibly precious item. Indeed, if the production and auction of the Sun Orchid Elixir leads to either incredible riches for some or just an overall high standard of living since the money gets spread around better, that's going to lead to people having interests that have nothing to do with orchids or alchemy.

It's like how the UAE has used copious amounts of oil money to construct islands, build an indoor ski area, a wave pool to surf on, the largest mall in the world, etc. and they're planning on build a mountain now. There's no reason Thuvia shouldn't be spending those SOE riches in ways both practical and highly impractical.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Senior Developer

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Listening in, as I do enjoy large portions of the Golden Road

Dark Archive

PossibleCabbage wrote:

Yeah the thing that never sat right with me RE: Thuvia is that you can't have a society that revolves entirely on the production and auction of one incredibly precious item. Indeed, if the production and auction of the Sun Orchid Elixir leads to either incredible riches for some or just an overall high standard of living since the money gets spread around better, that's going to lead to people having interests that have nothing to do with orchids or alchemy.

It's like how the UAE has used copious amounts of oil money to construct islands, build an indoor ski area, a wave pool to surf on, the largest mall in the world, etc. and they're planning on build a mountain now. There's no reason Thuvia shouldn't be spending those SOE riches in ways both practical and highly impractical.

I mean, I do believe there has to be more to Thuvia, though there is definitely 100% thing going on that Thuvia doesn't have self sustainable economy without the elixir.(dunno if it due to lack of resources or mismanagement or due to how situation has developed over centuries) I do think its interesting thing to examine since as you said, obviously their whole culture can't resolve around selling the thing, but it does make me wonder if creator of elixir has kinda stuck into cycle of "I have to keep making elixir or Thuvia's economy crashes" that is further fed by country being increasingly reliant on elixir? x'D

Like that would make what we learned of him from Lost Omen Legends increasingly tragic actually


I mean, most likely Thuvia is a place where people could live successfully without the elixir, since there were people living there before it was invented/discovered. But the loss of the Elixir Economy would greatly change people's ways of life in a way that wouldn't be appreciated for sure.

Some people locally have to appreciate that this can't go on forever, and are working to build something that can sustain Thuvia going forward, and other people are going to have heady intoxication from all the money that's going around and are going to spend it on some truly baffling things.

Scarab Sages

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I read Thuvia as a cartel state, one that has fallen into a quasi-resource trap. Artokus Khirran's entry in Lost Omens Legends supports that reading.


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“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.


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I was surprised at how...cheap, the Sun Orchid Elixir was. It has sold for as little as 50,000 gold in first edition money. Of course, they sell six at a time, and every bid is forfeit, so there's still a lot of money rolling around.

I bet there's some actuary in Thuvia who tries to calculate the market price of eternal youth. I bet there's also state sponsored adventurers who are supposed to destroy fountains of youth and whatnot. Since the country exports 'youth' for lack of a better phrase I wonder how that influences the culture.

When you get down into the gritty of it, there's a lot of adventure potential in Thuvia's economy.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So, I saw this post a while ago and wanted to put my thoughts out there, and play a little of Asmodeus's advocate. Here goes.

Thuvia: Not much to disagree on here. Thuvia kind of seems almost like a Final Fantasy setting to me, replacing the ubiquitous crystal of godly power with a sun-orchid elixer, which unites disparate city-states in a tenuous peace. I really like that centrality of focus, and flexibility with the types of stories that can be told here. Would love for the city-states themselves to be fleshed out more.

Osirion: I kind of feel the opposite of keftiu here with the Egyptian gods thing, partially because I just really enjoying involving them, partially because it's nice to be able to improve their reputations in spaces where Ra is mostly recognized as the god of those people who enslaved Israelites, and partially because there's a fun sense of awe they can inspire when introduced in sessions — beings so powerful and far-reaching that the players recognize them from their own world. That connection between Golarion and our own world is a big draw of the Lost Omens setting for me. Gods get around.

As for everything else said by the OP, I'm somewhat more in agreement. As CorvusMask said, there's been some fascinating stuff going on in Osirion with the resurrection of Hakotep and the passage of the Laws of Equitable Use, among other things. Osirion is in an interesting place politically too, being a new, modern nation that's built from and based on a much older one (the very oldest surviving nation in the Inner Sea). That struggle between what parts of its heritage Osirion wants to reclaim and what parts it wants to change as it meets the demands of a modern world has some awesome storytelling potential, not to mention the matter of patriotism. Indigenous Osirioni are in a unique position of being descendants of the mightiest empire in the Inner Sea, and a vassal state subjugated by an empire that conquered them. What does patriotism look like here, versus a sense of global identity? How much do Osirion citizens trust and take pride in their Forthbringer Dynasty? I'd love to see more of this side of the Land of the Pharaohs.

Katapesh: So full disclosure, I'm a white dude who doesn't have much concrete experience in identifying what's a disingenuous Western caricature and what's the real thing, so grain of salt. From what I do understand, the archetypal "greedy merchants" and plights of "miserable slaves" were a trope in Arabian storytelling long before they were a trope in the Western "orientalist painting." The merchant class's greed and inhumane treatment of slaves were some of the biggest evils the Prophet Muhammad confronted in his time, and he spent his life fighting for reforms that would end these injustices. There are countless stories in the Quran and Arabian folklore warning against the vices of greed and inhumanity. These concerns are a big deal in the source material, and continue to be today (of note, the movie Bilal is a beautiful story that, I think, deals with these mature topics incredibly well, with a villain that just straight-up channels the Pactmasters — totally recommend it). Honestly, Katapesh has some great opportunities to speak to some very serious contemporary issues about wealth and trade, as a land ruled by profit.

Katapesh, to me, seems like the kind of place that's designed to be a cautionary tale, like Cheliax in Avistan. Erk Ander put this a lot more eloquently than me, but I like Katapesh existing as the Golden Road region's more evil-inclined nation, that's a warning of how bad things can become when you let greed dictate how society runs. Evil is part of the human experience, and Islam and broader Arabian culture seem to have a lot to say about it. I don't think it's prudent to shut that story down simply because Westerners have made a mockery of it, using these narratives to promote racist caricatures. Honestly, I don't think their depictions should really be influencing what kind of stories are told at all. The point of those caricatures seemed to be to say "This is what you should expect from those people." Whereas the original stories those caricatures parodied are all about the struggle. "Don't be like this person — be better." Or: "These are the consequences when you let yourself go." While Katapesh's depiction should definitely veer away from obvious tropes of the orientalist painting, I don't see why an Arabian-inspired setting exploring the dark side of money and greed must necessarily belong to that picture. Problems with whatever ill-informed depictions that may have been present in earlier books aside, the majority of Katapesh's core concept seems fine to me, based on all the stories I've read coming from Arabian cultures. That said, I'm always open to correction here.


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I see the Golden Road as a Magic-Science region. Between Rahadoum and Thuvia there is a heavy emphasis on education and alchemy, Osirion and Qadira seem to have a lot of math and engineering knowledge, and while a slightly different focus, Katapesh is focused on mercantile magic which probably also has a focus on math. Not to mention behind all of this there is a rich tradition of artificers from the Jistkan Imperium, diplomacy and linguistics from the Tekritanin League, elemental magic from Ancient Osirion, and genie magic from Qadira/Padishah Empire.

A note on elemental vs genie magic. From what I can tell Ancient Osirion’s elemental magic had a much stronger focus on creatures that were Elementals but not Genies, where as Qadira’s/The Padishah Empire’s focus was more on Genies and less on other Elementals. I think this can provide some interesting perspective on how the different nations viewed elementalism. Whereas Qadira/The Padishah Empire was interested in wish-craft, and the Genie’s various innate powers over wish-craft, Ancient Osirion on the other hand, appears to have been more interested in traditional elemental magic. Ancient Osirion appears to have seen elemental creatures as living forces of nature, binding them to a wide variety of places and locations. Genies be intelligent and cunning people appear to have been disfavored for use in Ancient Osirion.

Going a little more local, Qadira has very interesting tradition of horsemanship in the form of the Qadiran Horselords, Sunriders, and Asavir. Also, Qadira is no slouch when it comes to spycraft with the Hatharat being well known for its spycraft training. While Hatharat Agents are clearly connected to Qadira’s spy network, Mages of the Veil and Inerrant Voices may also have unseen connections to the Hatharat.

Osirion’s Living Monoliths highly suggest that modern Osirion isn’t as far removed from Ancient Osirion as outsider scholars might lead us to belief. The Scarab Stalkers have a mystical connection to Ancient Osirion which also suggests the past isn’t as distant as one might think. In both Osirion and Qadira Relic Masters undergo special training in using magic items. Pahmet Dwarves are the only know teachers of Psammokinetics making the tradition very unique to the Osirion and the surrounding area.

Katapesh pesh magic is ripe with possibility, but is largely looked down upon by outsiders. Okeno Liberators are often thought of as outsiders infiltrating Katapesh (and Oken especially), however, this ignores Katapesh’s local liberators, which very likely make up the majority of Okeno Liberators. Katapesh’s local sect of the Abadaran faith, the Balanced Scales of Abadar, see treasures left in tombs and ruins as a wasted resource, and while this is a Katapesh home grown sect of the church, this is likely a growing source of tension.

Thuvia has its own local spycraft in the form of the Guardians of Immortality. While they are hyper focused on protecting the secrets of the sun orchid elixir, their training is a multi-city effort. Tekritanin arbitration is a field of study still taught in Thuvia to this day, and those trained as Tekritanin Arbiters are highly sought after for their skill in diplomacy and linguistics.

Rahadoum’s Pure Legion Enforcers are special agents that lead Rahadoum’s military. Spiritslayers, are subgroup within the Pure Legion Enforcers that specialize in using non-divine techniques to combat incorporeal undead. Poleiheira Adherent’s follow an Arcane/Occult tradition that needs a lot more exploration. Jistkan Magistrates practice a nearly forgotten form of Divine Elementalism, that appears to still see some secret practice within Rahadoum.

Considering everything above, we really need to get the perspective of the people and cultures that occupy the Golden Road, and see their relationship with the different groups mentioned above.


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Kasoh wrote:
I was surprised at how...cheap, the Sun Orchid Elixir was. It has sold for as little as 50,000 gold in first edition money. Of course, they sell six at a time, and every bid is forfeit, so there's still a lot of money rolling around.

I always saw that 50K as less of "this is how much this costs," and more of "this is at least how much you better have in pocket to even think about stepping in the door," since in actuality the price would go much higher pretty quickly.


Perpdepog wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
I was surprised at how...cheap, the Sun Orchid Elixir was. It has sold for as little as 50,000 gold in first edition money. Of course, they sell six at a time, and every bid is forfeit, so there's still a lot of money rolling around.
I always saw that 50K as less of "this is how much this costs," and more of "this is at least how much you better have in pocket to even think about stepping in the door," since in actuality the price would go much higher pretty quickly.

That's probable. And it even could have been the one guy with a lowball bid netting the 6th elixir, but its also the only number ever given for how much it costs. It has sold for 50k at least once or that number would be higher. That is the floor. Sure, the ceiling is theoretically infinite, but 'potentially infinite' is not helpful for determining the relative wealth of the country based on its single major export.

Silver Crusade

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Pretty sure that pricing is for the purposes of crafting/loot budget for GMs, not meaning it actually sold for that amount at some point in time.

Given that it's a silent auction and all losing bids are still forfeit (I'm also pretty sure it's bid per vial as well not everyone throwing bids out on the group and they make a list and go down) it's a safe bet that the actual "starting" and winnings bids are astronomically higher.


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Rysky wrote:

Pretty sure that pricing is for the purposes of crafting/loot budget for GMs, not meaning it actually sold for that amount at some point in time.

Given that it's a silent auction and all losing bids are still forfeit (I'm also pretty sure it's bid per vial as well not everyone throwing bids out on the group and they make a list and go down) it's a safe bet that the actual "starting" and winnings bids are astronomically higher.

Quite possible. But we simply don't know. The only gp value ever given is what it is. It doesn't say 'if you give it as treasure, value it at x' it says 'it has never sold for less than x'. We can assume a lot of things about how the auction goes, but we don't know, so assuming is of dubious usefulness.

You can also look at it backwards in that Thuvia is doing quite well for itself so whatever the elixir brings in must be enough, and that's good enough for most. It only becomes really important when a PC wants to participate in the auction, because then a GM has to figure out what other people are willing to spend and if that is a level appropriate amount of gold for a satisfying adventure for the PC.

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