What stories can you do with Nex?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


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Talking about the nation, not the dude.

I've never been a huge fan of wizards, which leaves Nex as the corner of the Impossible Lands I'm least compelled by - but it's also the one I feel like I have the foggiest portrait of. What is life like for the average citizen, who I assume isn't a mage of incredible power? What plotlines make it compelling as part of a campaign world? I know it has a city big on ooze manufacturing, and that there's some amount of both fleshwarping and demonic pact-making.

What makes the land of wizards cool?

Liberty's Edge

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I entertain the idea that it is the land of unlimited magic, hubris and power that corrupts, with no ethical safeguards. Similar in atmosphere to Cyberpunk/Shadowrun where technology and greed/thirst for power run amok. With arclords and guilds rather than corporations, but just as corrupt and uncaring about the masses.

Wayfinders

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In a similar manner, in 1st edition it was also the domain of arcanists (the class) - while said class was flimsy in overall flavor and largely baked into the wizard now, it's specifically where advances in arcane magic are made, with new spells being researched - I would imagine often in secret, away from the prying eyes of other groups.

Ergo, espionage, but with spell formulas, untested rituals and experimental magic items instead of hi-tech prototypes!

There's also places like Valkus Isle, a pleasure palace turned hi-security prison for Nex's worst criminals and failed magic experiments alike, and it reminds me of the prison colony from Gothic (a much-beloved cRPG where I live), only higher-magic, what with the one-way magic barrier around it and all.


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It could be a neat place to set a fantasy version of a Cold War-esque spy drama, what with rivalry with Geb not being resolved.


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Lots of magical hijinks. Themes involving surrealism because it's a nation of magic. Expand on the Prestidigitation cantrip to include lots of interesting new tricks.

Liberty's Edge

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Post-apocalyptic setting complete with barren dangerous wastelands spreading between the isolated and crowded oases of life that are high tech cities. Except that here it is high magic. You can find a thousand inspirations on this basis in modern pop culture.


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There should also be eco-friendly propaganda with social friendly mascots to remind people to: don't use your magic to destroy the environment or you will get another Mana Wastelands.

Use your magic wisely! Safety first.


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The political scene in Nex fascinates me. It smells of deeply entrenched power being abused for personal interests, which can be turned into satisfying villains to fight against in a political intrigue campaign. A wealthy business interest, an invisible stalker widely believed to be an assassin, two rival fleshwarpers who run independent shady operations manipulate voting blocks, an old power fey leader in power for millennia, the head of obviously untrustworthy Arclord of Nex, and a senior priest of the demon lord of secrets, all serving relatively stable positions in the Council of Three and Nine. Power that has perpetuated itself over centuries that wields a wealth of knowledge and technical skills to further their own ends, at least in my read of the situation.

There are also figures that might make allies if recruited. Elemion represents the people who have to live with the hardships wrought by the ancient Nex-Geb war out in the wastelands. Iranez of the Orb doesn't appear to have much detail at all, so could be an ally if her story gets fleshed out (or yet another enemy). The high priests of Nethys and Pharasma are both from neutral churches that could be aligned with good goals, and one politician seat that rotates frequently enough that they could be elected into power (and even be one of the PCs). If the party has Good goals, these people seem far less shady and more aligned with such goals even though they would need recruiting.

There's a wealth of antagonists alongside a handful of powerful potential allies that might need to be recruited onto the PC's side while addressing problems relevant to the region.

Dark Archive

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Paradozen wrote:
The political scene in Nex fascinates me. It smells of deeply entrenched power being abused for personal interests, which can be turned into satisfying villains to fight against in a political intrigue campaign.

I like the raw focus on arcane magic over all, so much so that non-traditional races with some arcane bent, like naga or aranea, might have an easier time operating openly than in many other societies, and even 'core' races like gnomes, halflings and dwarves, that have social difficulties in more human-dominated regions, might be able to be get ahead, judged more on the strength of their arcane skill, than on their racial heritage.

With so little information to go on, I like to assume that several members of the ruling Arclords are not human, and that one in particular likes to claim that Nex himself was a gnome, but only took on human form to be taken seriously (something the other Arclords politely humor, even if they privately scoff at).

I also consider it possible that the Arclords are so focused on arcane power and lore, that the minutiae of governance are seen as a waste of their precious time and intellectual resources, and so they delegate such trivia to a series of lesser bureaucrats, who, over the course of many generations, effectively have come to run the country, leaving the more astute Arclords to realize belatedly that they have effectively ceded control of their own country to an, admittedly, far more effective, group, than themselves. In theory, they should do something about this, eventually. In practice, none of them want to lose ground and sacrifice the time and energy better spent honing their arcane skills, reclaiming the reins of their kingdom...

Liberty's Edge

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Are human-dominated regions that oppress non-humans that common in Golarion ? I felt they were pretty rare exceptions actually (Cheliax mostly).


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

I get strong Emerald City vibes from Quantium, being this beautiful, illustrious city run by a cult of personality surrounding an absentee wizard. The capital city is a wonderful place where magic appears to be pervasive, but underneath this stunning veneer is corruption and intrigue, the state itself being incredibly fractious and held together only by its rulers' shared opposition to their greatest threat: that wicked wizard of the south.

Just saying, if Dorothy wound up in Golarion instead of Oz, she'd totally start her adventure in Alkenstar.

I also like to imagine the city has a lot of magical counterparts to Inventors, investing heavily in magic-fueled innovation both to keep its public image puffed up, and give it an offensive edge against Geb. Given its proximity to the Shory ruins and relics from Jistka, a lot of magitech arrives in Nex from there, along with magical machines designed by wayward entrepreneurs from Alkenstar.

If we ever get a Nex AP, would be fun to have something in the same vein as Dishonored.

Dark Archive

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The Raven Black wrote:
Are human-dominated regions that oppress non-humans that common in Golarion ? I felt they were pretty rare exceptions actually (Cheliax mostly).

If this was a reply to my post, about difficulty advancing socially, it's not oppression (although, as you say, that definitely occurs, in Cheliax), but a lack of advancement options.

Quick, name off all the non-human rulers or nobles or aristocrats we've seen in Taldor, Andoran, Absalom, Nirmathas, Molthune, Osirion, the Linnorm Kingdoms, Nidal, Thuvia, Qadira, etc. I'm sure there's a half-elf diplomat or two somewhere in canon, but I can't think of any.

It's humans at the top. Everyone else gets to ride at the back of the bus, even if their lot isn't as dire as it is for halflings (and elves) in Cheliax. So I like the notion that Nex might be different. Nex himself may have been human (or was he? Mwahahaha), but now the place is run by a council, and it might not be a humans-only club, which would be kinda neat.

Liberty's Edge

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I see what you mean. It is hardly specific to humans though. Just check the leaders of the nations of Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Hobgoblins.

Dark Archive

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The Raven Black wrote:
I see what you mean. It is hardly specific to humans though. Just check the leaders of the nations of Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Hobgoblins.

Oh, that's true, the leader of the lone elven, dwarven, orcish and hobgoblin kingdoms are indeed elven, dwarven, orcish and hobgoblin, respectively.**

But somewhere like Andoran, all about the egalitarianism, seems ripe to have a dwarf or half-elf or halfling end up in charge for a term. It doesn't even have to be a *long* term, or a dynasty, just a demonstration that Andoran is true to their ideals. Similarly, the satrap of Qadira is appointed by a far-off leader in Casmaron or Greater Kel or whatever, and it's certainly possible for them to appoint a dwarf.

**

Spoiler:
Unless one of them is an Ancient Master. :)


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Set wrote:


Quick, name off all the non-human rulers or nobles or aristocrats we've seen in Taldor, Andoran, Absalom, Nirmathas, Molthune, Osirion, the Linnorm Kingdoms, Nidal, Thuvia, Qadira, etc. I'm sure there's a half-elf diplomat or two somewhere in canon, but I can't think of any.

Micheri Bedard, Andoran diplomat in Cheliax, in the second chapter of Hell's Vengeance.


Is the idea then that players are fantasy Shadowrunners, being disposable assets of feuding local powers?

Liberty's Edge

keftiu wrote:
Is the idea then that players are fantasy Shadowrunners, being disposable assets of feuding local powers?

Sounds great IMO.

Deniable more than disposable maybe.


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I would love the idea of a campaign where the PCs are detectives in a land of magic. Dresden Files (independent wizard for hire), Garret P.I (detective in a city ruled by wizards), Lord Darcy (world governed by magic instead governed by physics and Sherlock Holmes wizard), Craft Sequence (wizard lawyers), Tales from the Nightside (detective in a world of weird magic) or any sort of modern fantasy tropes that can easily fit within Nex.

The campaign hook is that the PCs run a detective agency. Each AP book should be a self contained case story, but with clues hinting of a bigger background plot by a hidden big bad. The last book should be where all the clues connect together and the PCs confront the big bad before the villain of the story gets away with ...

It should address mystery stories and delving into magic being used in mystery stories for PF2.

But that's one idea for Nex.


keftiu wrote:
Is the idea then that players are fantasy Shadowrunners, being disposable assets of feuding local powers?

It's one idea. They could also be attempting to enter into the Nexian political arena for themselves, either as an ends or as a means to a larger adventure. More a Mr. Johnson than a Shadowrunner, if you will.

They could also belong to a faction within Nex that is concerned with the rampent amount of magical and alchemical pollution going on, and want to stop it somehow. That or simply dealing with its aftermath, like having to fight a potent, mutated Nuckelavee.

They can also run afoul of the local authorities and be thrown in to Nex's prison system, which to judge from upthread sounds like a crazy dungeon adventure all its own.

And that's not even taking into account the main aspect of Nex--that it is a hub for arcane magical discoveries. The party could need something an Arclord of Nex has which they need to steal--which kind of falls under the Shadowrunner umbrella--or the party could have to stop an outside faction from infiltrating Nex and taking it for themselves. The disguised lich leader of the arcane academy from 1E's Villain Codex comes to mind as an antagonist.


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Not sure if Pathfinder is well-equipped for this sort of story, but I'd love to see a Nex AP about fantasy journalists. Urban fantasy mystery about political corruption through the lens of PCs working to empower the public with information in the face of broad and effective magical misinformation. Nex has the super shady political arena and huge city vibes to set the scene for it.

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