What do you want from a Lost Omens: Tian Xia?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


We've been using the "What do you want to see changed in 2e Tian Xia?" thread as an informal general discussion space for that continent, but I figure the angle of that title might be skewing the conversation some, or scaring people off. With 2e steadily expanding its focus beyond the familiar climes of Avistan, and an apparent surge in relevant material coming in 2023's releases (an Underworld Dragon is the master of the Treasure Vault, Rage of Elements adding the missing elements of the Wuxing philosophy), I can't help but wonder if we might be seeing Tian Xia's shores soon.

So what are you excited about? Most Tian nations have had to make do with a handful of pages of published canon, so there's abundant space (and need!) to expand, flesh out, and create completely brand new things. Which nations do you most want to see play in, or adventure content for?


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To pull from a recent post of mine there:

Quote:

Digging around some and man, I can't wait to see Minata in fuller detail - it honestly feels like an upgrade from the Shackles. You've got sailors and pirates everywhere, prehistoric ruins from before Earthfall, volcanoes, beastfolk descended from interplanetary slaves of the ancient past, floating cities, petty kingdoms, tons of little shadow magic-obsessed weirdos and maritime Ysoki... there's an awful lot to like.

You're also a stone's throw away from the Valashmai Jungle (once home to an interplanetary empire, now home to kaiju), Nagajor (the intrigues of immortal servants), Dtang Ma (ruled by Thai sorcerers!), Xa Hoi (Vietnam with its dragon kings), and Pan Majang (a Darklands realm full of violent haunted clockworks), which is just an insanely rich palette. People drift to Minkai out of popular love for Japan, and the three main Successor States are the 'heart' of the region, but I think all the coolest stuff is happening down in the south.[/url]

Dark Archive

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Sidenote, I kinda suspect though that books name is likely going to be something more like "Lost Omens: Dragon Empires" like how we have Inner Sea rather than "Avistan and north of Garund"

(honestly though not sure what Casmaron, Garund's south and Arcadia based books would be called. Saruran would be "File not found" and Azlant clearly "Shattered Continent" xD)

Wayfinders

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I'm expecting a format somewhat akin to a combination of the World Guide and various regional books like Mwangi Expanse and Impossible Lands.

- A rundown of general continent-wide history, both distant and recent (including some new-to-canon events that transpired over the past decades, with equivalent impact to 1e Adventure Paths for the Inner Sea, just 'off-screen').

- A breakdown of the continent into microregions (plenty of discussion was had how those could be arranged but that history could really help inform the makeup - after all, the Eye of Dread didn't quite come to be until very recent).

- A description of each microregion's constituent nations and territories, with prominent locales, NPCs and plot hooks, and some thematic player options to boot for each like backgrounds, items and archetypes.

- A section on religion, with new/returning deities and how existing deities like Abadar and Pharasma are worshipped locally.

- Ancestry stuff - info on who's common (humans, tengu, kitsune, elves, ratfolk, etc.), additional options therefor, and some new arrivals (samsarans! wayangs! oni tieflings!).

- Rarity adjustments for ancestries and equipment, since dwarves and longswords are probably uncommon while tengu and naginatas might in turn be common.

- A small bestiary? Or at least, a quick reference of the most prominent Asian-inspired monsters from across the bestiaries, Adventure Paths and other books.

Ultimately, Lost Omens: Dragon Empires would be as much of a baseline for the continent as a whole, and a way for Paizo to gauge interest in what people want to see more of next in the future - it's a whole continent after all, and you can't really do it justice with just a single book, but having a modern (both narratively and sensibilities-wise) base would be smart before doing deep dives on specific places.


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I do hope whatever form we get it in, each country has more than a single page to itself; it would be a shame to have waited this long for expansions on the brief descriptions in the old Dragon Empires book, only to have World Guide-length entries here.

Dark Archive

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Ye, would be nice if they were at least 1e inner sea world guide length entries :'D


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Kanabo Hobgoblins. Specifically as a way to help all that good 1e hob art stay relevant in some way: just say a kanabo hob looks like that because something something Oni influence.

Also, I'd love to see them do a sort of perspective swap; how do the people of Tian Xia see the Inner Sea? How do they feel about Aroden's mess, etc. I'd love to see the 'main' setting through the lens of another people, and how they relate to it; most of Golarion's major threats and changes originate from the Inner Sea so seeing that from the other side of the world would be interesting.

Wayfinders Contributor

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I want it to be at least as detailed as the Mwangi Expanse book was. That was a brilliant book, with delicious details about each region. We deserve more than a few skinny pages about each nation!


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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
I want it to be at least as detailed as the Mwangi Expanse book was. That was a brilliant book, with delicious details about each region. We deserve more than a few skinny pages about each nation!

Part of me wonders if drilling down some on a single Meta-Region might be the smarter idea, but they might want to do a World Guide overview for the whole continent first. I'm really curious which approach they'll do for an eventual Arcadia book.

Dark Archive

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There is of course option that they would reveal Tian Xia meta regions first in core rulebook, like how Guns & Gears revealed Arcadia's meta regions


CorvusMask wrote:
There is of course option that they would reveal Tian Xia meta regions first in core rulebook, like how Guns & Gears revealed Arcadia's meta regions

A LOWG-style continent overview, divvied up into Meta-Regions/microregions (why do we both both terms?) could be a lot of fun, but I just worry there's not enough room for everything to get proper depth. That said, doing that plus a big bomb of info for local branches of known Ancestries (the various Humans, Jinin's Elves, Kenku and Kitsune, Oni Tieflings, etc) plus new ones (the return of Samsarans and Wayangs, plus maybe the Locathah of Xidao and something unexpected) and a small bestiary.

It risks being a taller order than even the Mwangi book... we'll see how Paizo decides to tackle it eventually.


Can someone try and sell me on Kwanlai at all? I've had a hard time getting excited about it, or having much of a vision for the nation other than "Tengu Land."

Dark Archive

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Oh as the everything tengu enthusiast, that is easy answer for me:

Kwanlai's appeal is that its clustermess of chaotic clans recently united under beneficent half-celestial ruler after uprising post fall of lung wa. Before fall of Lung Wa, it was poor region treated as prison colony and tengus where severely oppressed and discriminated agaisnt. Then in same year Lung Wa collapsed, the rebellion took its independence and Lung Wa never had chance to punish them because it collapsed on its own year after.

It's very much region rather than nation only kept united by efforts of its current beloved ruler and threat of tentacles from north, its also why I say its crime if any Kwanlai related adventure wasn't named "Murder of Crows": Its very much land of clan hood and dagger shenanigans. I very much would think that rude outsiders get the "Caw caw you walked to wrong neighborhood!" treatment.

In otherwords, character from Kwanlai could be one of minor clan members(Or maybe one of five major ones) out for self interest or to score vendetta vs other clans or they could be visionary who wants to help with uniting their land and uplifting it from squalor it is in due to centuries of oppression, taxes and lack of support.


1. In East Asia, dragons are portrayed as benevolent creatures, in contrast to the European dragons, which are hostile. It would be nice to see that dichotomy reflected in some way (if not with dragons, something else).

2. It would be nice to have a long history for the continent that includes ramifications for world-level events like Earthfall, but from a different perspective. (The parallel for this would be Chinese astronomy, which organizes all the stars into completely different patterns.)

3. Minor, but I would very much like Paizo to be clear on naming conventions and stick to them. If first names are surnames, the book should be consistent throughout. Yes, it can be quite annoying, especially if not all of Tian Xia has the same convention. But whatever rules are set should be followed. *cough cough* Venture Captain Amara Li *cough cough*


Watery Soup wrote:
1. In East Asia, dragons are portrayed as benevolent creatures, in contrast to the European dragons, which are hostile. It would be nice to see that dichotomy reflected in some way (if not with dragons, something else).

On this, at least, there's some precedent - Xa Hoi has been ruled by sovereign dragons for thousands of years, and everything seems to suggest their long dynasty has been just and successful. Sea dragons, another imperial dragon species, are noted to be benevolent, though they prefer solitary lives. Sky dragons are traditionally Lawful Good, preferring lives of religious devotion and study on the mountain peaks, but their writeup says they welcome those who seek them out. The upcoming Treasure Vault's framing device is a Kobold narrator in the hoard of their underworld dragon master.


When it concerns dragons, the usual is:

* Chromatic (european style) are evil.
* Metallic (european style) are good.
* Imperial (asian style) are: Forest (CE), Sea (CG), Sky (LG), Sovereign (N), Underworld (LE).
* Esoteric (weirdoes) are neutral unless they are Occult (NG) or Nightmare (NE).
* Outer (weirdoes) tend to be neutral but never neutral good.
* Planar (weirdoes) run the gamut of alignment.
* Primal (european-like style) they have no real alignment pattern.


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Someone raised a really interesting point to me, and now I can’t un-see it: Minkai is nearly the size of Avistan! It’s absolutely massive on the full world map. While there’s a lot of precedent for favoring faux-Japan over almost anywhere else in their Fantasy Asias, fleshing it out with a big meaty book that really gave the Provinces and special Regions standout identities, to better act as a mini-setting.

I’m extra interested in the Osogen “barbarian peoples,” the Utare and the Yumogu, who both get a really raw deal in their 1e depiction: the text doesn’t have much positive to say about eirher, and claims the Yumogu have a “reputation for deceit.” Their place as indigenous peoples displaced by imperial Minkai clearly casts them as Fantasy Ainu, which does a lot to break up homogeneity and represent a people almost never depicted. The Ainu have some absolutely fascinating bear worship practices that could be yet more fun Shaman inspiration!

Are nonhuman peoples allowed in Minkai? They don’t seem to get much mention.

Dark Archive

It is massive yeah, according to AP map it takes about two weeks to travel from the camp to closest city .-. it gave me confusion of "wait is this map scale correct?"

But yeah, I'm curious of how the "reputation of deceit" thing will be handled in 2e eventually. Like besides the obvious negative assumption, I can see two reasons how that can come to be a thing 1) they culturally consider guile to be a virtue, which clashes with Minkaian understanding of honor 2) its misunderstanding coming from cultural differences regarding stuff like ownership. Like maybe Yumogu don't consider "horses" or animals in general to be property by humans.


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Samsarans are an obvious missing tooth for PF2 at present, and are an obviously inclusion. Locathah might sneak in here via Xidao. Wayangs are too cool and weird not to include, and they're a major presence in Minata. Are there any other Ancestries that make an organic fit?

2e already has the bulk of the related options I can think of; Kitsune, Nagaji, Vanara, Vishkanya, and Ysoki are all already in, though they'd certainly each enjoy some further detail and options.

Liberty's Edge

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Tengu too are already there ;-)


I’m a fool to have forgotten the Tengu!

Looking through LO:IL with an eye towards the future, I can’t help but notice both Locathah and Wayangs getting shoutouts in Jalmeray - there’s one very cute art piece of a Jalmeri riverboat sailing waters absolutely packed with pink Locathah swimmers!


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One thing that's occurred to me: with Avistan loosely 'allied' against the existential threat of the Whispering Tyrant and no major 'hot' wars in known Garund at the moment, I wonder if Tian Xia might be a place where we can see proper wars in this edition.

The big three of Lingshen, Po Li, and Quain have always felt like a tinderbox to me, while belligerent (and Lawful Evil) Kaoling actively raids its neighbors (1e notes them taking human, elf, and samsaran captives, which tracks with them bordering Jinin, Lingshen, and Zi Ha), who might be keen to put a stop to that; Lingshen hosts one of the finest militaries on the continent, while Jinin has a historic warrior tradition.

Distant Shores has Kaoling's ruler, Warlord Kavangaki, is a pragmatist who cares more about internal development (even then, he's noted be a veteran of an attempted invasion of Zi Ha), he's opposed by expansionist elements within the state - it would be trivial for one to go rogue and provoke something truly nasty, and then Kavangaki would face major pressure to commit to the resulting conflict. That same text mentions they enjoy the support of “many” Tian-La tribes and some Gokan merchant groups, potentially lending them human auxiliaries and mercenary support.

Are there any other powder kegs I'm missing?


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Bachuan? (Strangely, Pathfinderwiki now lists them as Lawful Neutral -- I could have sworn they used to be listed as Lawful Evil, although Grandmother Pei still is (but the Sun Chamber isn't).


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Bachuan? (Strangely, Pathfinderwiki now lists them as Lawful Neutral -- I could have sworn they used to be listed as Lawful Evil, although Grandmother Pei still is (but the Sun Chamber isn't).

I’m deeply curious to see what 2e can do with Bachuan, as the current status quo of “literally the two Koreas as they interact today” isn’t really doing it for me.


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^Fair enough, although if I was going to list North Korea in Golarion, I would have not listed it as Lawful Neutral.


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Morhek wrote:

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

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

Were you aiming for the Golden Road thread?


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keftiu wrote:
Morhek wrote:
*whoops*
Were you aiming for the Golden Road thread?

Sorry! Thanks for catching that.


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Digging around looking for Valashmai Jungle info, and didn't realize 2e had capped off an old 1e mystery in an Extinction Curse backmatter, of all places!

Two ancient empires have touched the region: one of fire elemental forces, survived today by mountain-dwelling fire yai Oni, and another of interplanar, interplanetary force of reptilian slavers who took thralls from across the universe - seemingly all "beastfolk" Ancestries. The latter are credited as the origin for Valashmai's Amurrun, Iruxis, and Vanaras, and may well be the source of the local Anadi and Grippli as well. Toss in Ifrits (and Azers, if we ever get them!), and maybe even Oni-spawn Tieflings? It's quite a mix!

Every time I dig, Tian Xia's south gets exponentially cooler.


Double posting to say: today's AP announcement had me poking around Legends for info on dwarven notables, and a sidebar mentions that "the dwarves of Arcadia, Casmaron, and Tian Xia" made their own way, separate from the route Tarrgick took - do we have any other references to Tian Dwarves? I've never seen anything before, so this really surprised me!

Dark Archive

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Back in 1e those weren't really a thing, like implication was that dwarves in tian are dwarves who immigrated to there from avistan. Dongun Hold dorf art in impossible lands looks partially asian though


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Rooting around in the Pathfinder Society Guide (for information on the Way of the Kirin, a nearly-defunct mercantile faction the Society has revived and allied with), and came across something potentially of interest: namely, that the Society's Tian branch, the Lantern Lodge, has bases in Goka, Haseong (Hwanggot), Kayajima (Minkai), Zom Kullan (Nagajor), and Ramparassad (Dtang Ma). As the Lantern Lodge is essentially an organization unto itself at this point, those locales might point to where the spotlight falls in future Tian storylines.

Dtang Ma's lodge is notably centered on studying the artifice of Pan Majang's haunted clockworks, while Nagajor's station keeps an eye on the extraplanar refugee settlement the Society dropped into the local Darklands (displacing a Ysoki community in the process), which makes for a novel source of storylines.

It's interesting that for all their foreign influence, Amanandar doesn't host a Lodge - it seems Amari Li wants her organization to stay primarily Tian, or maybe the local government is hostile to the infamous meddlers? The continent's core, where the most militant nations and those closest to the heart of fallen Lung Wa live, are a notable blank in the area the Lantern Lodge covers, which I have to imagine is intentional.

One wonders when the inevitable Shaguang/Yjae expedition will embark from Goka. The Lantern Lodge has done a good amount of making friends - now go do some archaeology, and properly introduce the Tian-Yae people!


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CorvusMask wrote:
Back in 1e those weren't really a thing, like implication was that dwarves in tian are dwarves who immigrated to there from avistan. Dongun Hold dorf art in impossible lands looks partially asian though

I've found our Tian Dwarves!

Jade Regent #3's article on the Crown of the World details in passing the Gurans, dwarves who live on the north pole in their nation of Zavaten Gura, the northernmost reaches of Avistan's mountains, and across the Wall of Heaven mountains in Tian Xia. They're apparently capable sailors, having a unique tradition of aquatic will-o'-the-wisps and once laying claim to a number of coastal holds. For how harsh the Crown is, Guran numbers are considerable; their two largest settlements have a combined population of over 20k!

They also apparently shared Taargick's bloody, colonial streak, as the Crown's bugbears, giants, and trolls claim to have been displaced by an ancient dwarven conquest that slaughtered many of their ancestors. Gurans apparently trade frequently with their Erutaki human neighbors, so there's every reason to believe they could do the same with other humanoids elsewhere - but they have a similar bloody past to many of their Avistani kin when it comes to "monsters."

Dark Archive

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Hmm I suspect that main reason I haven't heard of Gurans being tian dwarves is that they might be considered primarily Crown of the World dorfs? Kinda like how snowcaster elves are mostly in that region and north of Avistan as well


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I was able to catch the excellent “Night Owl” in a theater today; it’s a Korean period piece, a Joseon court drama from the perspective of a mostly-blind acupuncture prodigy. There’s some fun stuff about how Western influence and the conflict between Ming and Qing China is all impacting this much smaller nation.

There’s no shortage of cool Alchemist inspiration from the royal healers and the poisoning plot - but tragically, none of the cool Korean rifles get fired that we see. It’s well worth a watch on its own merits, but also makes stellar inspiration for Hwanggot… or Chu Ye!

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