How much stock should we put in Meta-Regions?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


So the Lost Omens World Guide divvied the Inner Sea up into 10 Meta-Regions, geographic and thematic clumps that easily make little settings unto themselves. My Pathfinder friends and are I all quite fond of the concept... but I realized the other day that I'm not sure I've seen the concept referred to since. With the Absalom book covering the titular city and not the wider Meta-Region and a dearth of other uses of the idea (beyond the Mwangi Expanse, which is a Meta-Region and a 'nation' both, so it's not really evidence either way), it has me wondering: should we all put Meta-Regions from our mind?


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I suspect there might eventually books specifically dealing with a meta-region - the Absalom book covers Absalom instead of the entire meta-region because it is notable enough to merit its own book on its own. Not all of the nations or cities within a meta-region are notable enough to warrant an entire book, so those will probably be covered in books covering the entire region where they can just do a page for those cities.

Additionally, meta-regions can be useful in that they give you a way to refer to those areas that didn't exist before - if you want the PCs in your game to all be from places nearby to where the game is set, you can just say "PCs must be from this region" instead of the more labour intensive "PCs must be from this list of 15 different nations"


Yeah, Absalom is kind of a special case. I mean, it's a notable enough location to be half of its meta-regional name on its own, anyway, "Absalom and Starstone Isle."

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The Absalom book does cover the whole Isle of Kortos, but it spends most of its page count focused on the city itself. But if I recall correctly, the pagecount spent outside of Absalom's walls is more than we've spent on the Isle of Kortos throughout all of 1st edition. Which, admittedly, is a low bar.

That said, the main reason we created the 10 meta regions was because it's easier to spend 10 pages detailing the world in the Core Rulebook. Had we decided instead to do the 45 or so individual nations and regions, it would have ended up being less visually appealing (certainly no half page images for anything) and we would have been compelled to give each region a bit more room to talk about it in the core rules, but as it was we had a very diminished amount of room in the Core to talk about the world content at all... it was the chapter that shrank the most from the initial outline as the rules themselves needed to expand.

I'd love to eventually do books on all 10 metaregions, but realistically... that's a really tall order to get published within the next ten years, since they're big books to put together and we can't really responsibly do more than one a year, and some years we might want to spend that time doing something else entirely.

From an expectations management perspective, it's probably best not to assume we'll ever do all of the meta-regions. Because, again, even if we did, it'd take nearly a decade to do that all at the current rate and our current staffing capacity. A lot can happen in a decade.


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Appreciate the reply, James! Here’s hoping we can sniff around the Broken Lands and the rest of Garund someday (and Arcadia beyond!), but a reality check can be a good thing.

Scarab Sages

keftiu wrote:
So the Lost Omens World Guide divvied the Inner Sea up into 10 Meta-Regions, geographic and thematic clumps that easily make little settings unto themselves. My Pathfinder friends and are I all quite fond of the concept... but I realized the other day that I'm not sure I've seen the concept referred to since. With the Absalom book covering the titular city and not the wider Meta-Region and a dearth of other uses of the idea (beyond the Mwangi Expanse, which is a Meta-Region and a 'nation' both, so it's not really evidence either way), it has me wondering: should we all put Meta-Regions from our mind?

I know you put the word 'nation' is scare-quotes, but the Mwangi Expanse is not a nation. It has one nation-state, Vidrian, and numerous city-states. I know it seems pedantic, but calling Mwangi Expanse a nation makes it seems more centralized and less diverse than it is.

I like meta-regions as a category, especially since it shows how individual states' shared history and present relations, but it's easy to make too much of them. You could argue certain nations should be in different categories, and they were invented for 2E, so the setting works fine without them.


NECR0G1ANT wrote:
keftiu wrote:
So the Lost Omens World Guide divvied the Inner Sea up into 10 Meta-Regions, geographic and thematic clumps that easily make little settings unto themselves. My Pathfinder friends and are I all quite fond of the concept... but I realized the other day that I'm not sure I've seen the concept referred to since. With the Absalom book covering the titular city and not the wider Meta-Region and a dearth of other uses of the idea (beyond the Mwangi Expanse, which is a Meta-Region and a 'nation' both, so it's not really evidence either way), it has me wondering: should we all put Meta-Regions from our mind?
I know you put the word 'nation' is scare-quotes, but the Mwangi Expanse is not a nation. It has one nation-state, Vidrian, and numerous city-states. I know it seems pedantic, but calling Mwangi Expanse a nation makes it seems more centralized and less diverse than it is.

I’m well aware - but it gets to be one big chunk on the map the way a nation is, and saying “both a region and a Meta-Region” felt silly :p


I would enjoy a setting book for most of the meta-regions, but I also understand that the best thing for the setting people to do is to write the stuff that they think is most important/interesting.

So I might be waiting a while for my open seas book.


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Most of the Saga Lands (except the realm of the Mammoth Lords), Old Cheliax (except Isger), and the Eye of Dread (except Oprak and Gravelands/Isle of Terror; the latter will certainly be discussed in Knights of Lastwall), are covered in 1e books, with about half of the Golden Road, Shining Kingdoms, and Broken Lands done and none of the Impossible Lands. Aquatic Adventures described the oceans/seas but of the terrestrial areas only the Shackles had a book AFAIK.

So probably the most likely to get a book is the Impossible Lands, followed by the Golden Road and Broken Lands, and maybe the High Seas. Shining Kingdoms, if it happens, will likely be later since some of its books were near the end of 1e.


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Broken Lands, Impossible Kingdoms, and Golden Road are the three Inner Sea books I'd most want to see.

The Broken Lands had major changes from two 1e APs, with the closing of the Worldwound and all the shakeups to Numeria (the fall of the Technic League, the ascension of Casandalee, and Kevoth-Kul's return to lucidity) meaning we need a good look at where it all landed. I'm antsy to get a good player-focused view of the Sarkorians, who I think have the most interesting story in Avistan.

The Impossible Kingdoms we've never had a great look at, and the seemingly-imminent storm of Nex's return and a possible war with Geb is something that demands to be shown. Fleshwarps stepping into the spotlight as a player option in 2e gives us a chance to explore some really unique flavor for communities out in the Mana Wastes, which I'd be very excited for (I'd love to get away from the classic "mutant barbarians"). Jalmeray is /overdue/ for a chance to shine as the vibrant and exciting taste of one of the most impressive regions in Golarion, to draw on cultures we almost never see in fantasy and dabble in some psychic flavor at the same time.

The Golden Road is hurting for some nuance, between Osirion being an Egypt-inspired theme park and Katapesh leaning on some pretty uncomfortable tropes, and the region as a whole could use some touching up from Middle Eastern and North African writers to help it shine the way the Mwangi Expanse has.

Beyond that? I'd be largely content with the Lost Omens line looking further across Golarion for what to depict; Arcadia, Southern Garund, Casmaron, and Vudra could all shine, and Tian Xia deserves more love than it's gotten.

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