What does your Golarion setting look like / what changes have you made to the setting?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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After reading through my copies of the Rise of the Runelords and Return of the Runelords campaigns, Guns and Gears, and some other books, I decided to post this thread.

What does your current Golarion setting look like, and what changes, major or minor, have you made to the setting to make it your own?

On my end, having been fascinated by the themes and ideas present in the Rise amd Return of the Runelords lore, as well as themes of interworld travel and technology raised throughout the publications of camapigns as well as Guns and Gears, I decided to place much more emphasis in terms of Golarion's legacy affecting both its past and its future.

Specifically, the "ancient age" of Golarion had basically the same themes as Godbound or Exalted, in terms of the great empires that spread across Golarion and their champions (this is my reinterpretation of a lot of the early "god" lore of the setting). Eventually, a vast cataclysm(s) ended this age. The "current" age of Golarion is set some 2000 years more or less after this (I decided to shorten a lot of overly long timespans), in a vastly post apocalyptic world in the ruins of greatness but also in a time of restoration and progress afterwards, although large tracts of the world are still unexplored.

I've also set up a number of crossover points with my other settings, through my Planescape Future "nexus" setting.

I would very much like to see what you have done! Your input is encouraged.


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I'm honestly very content with the state of 2e canon. There's not much I can think to modify, other than wanting more info on some new places (Arcadia, Iblydos, bits of Southern Garund) or how things have progressed (Numeria, Sarkoris), and I think the Golden Road needs a sensitivity pass, but I love things out of the box, as it were.


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So I made some cuts.

Basically, I cut out or shrank most of the big nations, especially in Avistan. The Chelaxian Empire and Taldane Empire are both in total shambles, most nations like Brevoy and Nidal are basically just powerful city-states (Andoran is actually a name for a network of city-states following similar principles), and Arcadia/the Mwangi Expanse are much closer to Varisia and see a fair amount of trade and travel between one another. Avistan is a Points of Lights setting of city-states, small towns, and open wilderness.

The gods of Golarion are muddled with the gods of Greyhawk, many considered to be older/more dangerous versions of the "new gods" (Cayden Cailean is Olidammara, Erastil is St. Cuthbert, Shelyn and Pharasma are sort of both derived from Wee Jas, etc, etc). There is no objective divinity, meaning nobody's really sure the gods even exist--a goblin can worship an interesting rock and derive clerical powers, hypothetically.

Also, because it's for an Age of Worms campaign:

AoW Spoilers:
The Whispering Tyrant and Aroden are now the same being, having been muddled together by historical retellings that prefer to remember Aroden as a beacon of shining virtue. The Whispering Tyrant is also another name for Kyuss, the undead god of worms and rot and the AP's Big Bad. Kyuss is the Thirteenth Guise, and represents the final decay of a god who wanted the world to last forever.

Oh, and Tindalos is in the Eye of Abendego. It was created to hide the secret of a dracolich's stolen phylactery.

Basically, I recobbled Golarion into a setting I can get behind, trimming a lot of what I considered (for my campaign) to be fluff and deemphasizing the role of big kingdoms and empires. I emphasized my favorite regions, like Varisia and the Mwangi Expanse, and deemphasized the areas I'm less interested, like Cheliax.


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dsfgdfg I forgot the original title of that image has a curseword in it, hang on!

Fixed.


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keftiu wrote:

I'm honestly very content with the state of 2e canon. There's not much I can think to modify, other than wanting more info on some new places (Arcadia, Iblydos, bits of Southern Garund) or how things have progressed (Numeria, Sarkoris), and I think the Golden Road needs a sensitivity pass, but I love things out of the box, as it were.

This is about how I've been running Golarion when we play there. So far the biggest changes I've been incorporating are on the micro rather than macro level. Undead in my games tend to be less overtly evil than default Pathfinder, for example; I played up discontent with various members of the Tyrant's army in Tyrant's Grasp, with some undead just wanting to be left alone to be spooky in their graveyard or what have you.


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The largest thing that is different is that the Glorious Reclamation's invasion and the Silver Raven's revolution were made to coincide with the start of Wrath of the Righteous. The schism between between Galfrey and Cansellarion put the Queen of Mendev in a tight spot.

Then the Glorious Reclamation pushed all the way to Westcrown and the Silver Ravens hosted a peace conference in Kintargo where Abrogail Thrune and Cansellarion used the Kintargo Contract to break Asmodeus' hold over the nation and now Cheliax is largely under the dominion of the Divine Magistrix with large swathes of Devil worshipers acting as warlords.

Now, we haven't adventured in that part of the world since this happened, so I've been spared a lot of detail work on this.

Several adventuring parties are around. We have a different Hurricane Queen, A different Queen of Korvosa (Who married PF2's canon one anyway), There's a high level Paladin/Gunslinger who terrorizes the Vampires of Caliphas and et al.


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I dunno if I'd call it a change, since we haven't gotten a ton on this part of the setting and it's internal dynamics yet so I think of it more as me coloring in the lines and empty spaces, but:

I've had the efforts of the Orcs to build sustainable and thriving community attract Erastil's attention. He has a number of clerics in Urgir that are starting to shift the culture away from its historical roots in violence and vendetta, reorienting Orcish honor-culture into things like the hunt and the concept of providing for family and less fortunate. These orcs are redefining what honor means for their people.

These clerics, and their flock, are coming into conflict with more hardline orcs who remember the old ways and don't want to forsake them. This cultural conflict is forming the primary boundaries of the hurdles orcs are going to have to overcome as they try to build a nation.

Bottom line, he's seen what they're trying to do, and is trying to help them.


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TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

I dunno if I'd call it a change, since we haven't gotten a ton on this part of the setting and it's internal dynamics yet so I think of it more as me coloring in the lines and empty spaces, but:

I've had the efforts of the Orcs to build sustainable and thriving community attract Erastil's attention. He has a number of clerics in Urgir that are starting to shift the culture away from its historical roots in violence and vendetta, reorienting Orcish honor-culture into things like the hunt and the concept of providing for family and less fortunate. These orcs are redefining what honor means for their people.

These clerics, and their flock, are coming into conflict with more hardline orcs who remember the old ways and don't want to forsake them. This cultural conflict is forming the primary boundaries of the hurdles orcs are going to have to overcome as they try to build a nation.

Bottom line, he's seen what they're trying to do, and is trying to help them.

Urgir is such a fascinating spot on the map, as the place where Avistan's orcs go when Belkzen doesn't work for them. I'd love to see a fresher look at it in 2e - and what you propose here is really, really compelling.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

my biggest intentional change is the way the afterlife works.
I have enough anxiety about the real world end. I like having a fantasy world where people can meet and remember people they cared for. Its a very small thing, doesn't come up often but yeah.

We probably make a bunch of other smaller changes that can't come to mind at the moment.


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You know, good for you. Genuinely. I tend to do ambiguous afterlives in my settings, but honestly? Sometimes that makes me kind of sad. Maybe it's unnecessary hurt to inflict on myself and my players after an already-upsetting PC death.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
You know, good for you. Genuinely. I tend to do ambiguous afterlives in my settings, but honestly? Sometimes that makes me kind of sad. Maybe it's unnecessary hurt to inflict on myself and my players after an already-upsetting PC death.

Thank you, I always get nervous that people will like judge me for changing that. I can get the appeal of ambiguous endings as well, just if I am running I prefer it to not be the way.


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I am lately trying to allow myself to just let nice things happen in stories sometimes. It doesn't always have to be a grimfest.


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Practically speaking, I'd probably keep most things as-is in a game for ease of use, but it's fun to hypothesize.

Taldans establishing a landlocked colony in Tian Xia (and during the chaos of Aroden's death) that lasted for a century has always been a little far-fetched to me, so I might shrink or even remove Amanandar. At the very least it'd be more integrated with the surrounding societies—as I've mentioned in an earlier post, I'd rather Amanandar be something more akin to the Greco-Bactrian kingdom than a modern-style colonial society. Taldan culture blending with and relying on the local one is far more interesting to me than having a "little Taldor" in Tian Xia.

While I'm on the letter A, I'd probably make some tweaks to Andoran as well. The uncomfortable dissonance of a US-styled realm being abolitionist becomes a little more bearable if you treat the People's Revolt as being less like the American Revolution and more like a reverse Civil War (the anti-slavery side secedes rather than the pro-slavery one) with a Reconstruction that lasted (instead of getting cut off after a dozen years as in our history). Perhaps you could even go further and make it led by the former slaves like Haiti, but some have already made that comparison about Vidrian, so maybe not. It might also be nice to tie it in with its Mediterranean-like neighbors more; some Balkanesque elements could fit, although that might require changing a few names here and there.

In either case, these comparisons don't necessarily mean I'd directly model those off of the historical events and polities I mentioned, I just personally like to use those types of analogies as a way of understanding and articulating worldbuilding. And no hate to the writers, just having fun with this thought experiment.

Liberty's Edge

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I have not really considered this question TBH. I guess my greatest change is that deities are faces (or facets) of a greater power, or maybe a greater concept is a better word.

It is the reason why you can have several deities of the sun without them being local interpretations of the same being.

I used this to introduce Arioch in the setting, as one of the masks of Nyarlathotep (or maybe it's the other way around) who tries to usurp Nethys place as the primary deity of magic on Golarion.

Also, in times long past, elves on Castrovel had a vast and terrible empire akin to Melniboné. Which has thankfully long faded from memory in the mists of eons past.

All of this was inspired by the concept and backstory of one of my Jade Regent's players' PC : Eldric the pyromancer.

Also the 5 storms are actually backed by 5 lesser deities of Evil, including Sithhud, Pazuzu and the aforementioned Arioch.

This was because I wanted to do a Mythic version of JR and felt the 5 storms needed more oomph as well as some stronger explanation for their title.


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keftiu wrote:
TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

I dunno if I'd call it a change, since we haven't gotten a ton on this part of the setting and it's internal dynamics yet so I think of it more as me coloring in the lines and empty spaces, but:

I've had the efforts of the Orcs to build sustainable and thriving community attract Erastil's attention. He has a number of clerics in Urgir that are starting to shift the culture away from its historical roots in violence and vendetta, reorienting Orcish honor-culture into things like the hunt and the concept of providing for family and less fortunate. These orcs are redefining what honor means for their people.

These clerics, and their flock, are coming into conflict with more hardline orcs who remember the old ways and don't want to forsake them. This cultural conflict is forming the primary boundaries of the hurdles orcs are going to have to overcome as they try to build a nation.

Bottom line, he's seen what they're trying to do, and is trying to help them.

Urgir is such a fascinating spot on the map, as the place where Avistan's orcs go when Belkzen doesn't work for them. I'd love to see a fresher look at it in 2e - and what you propose here is really, really compelling.

Thank you! I just love the idea of a deity like Erastil looking at what they're trying to do as a people, and especially their defiance of Tar-Baphon and saying "You're ready. I'm here, and as long as you stand thus, I stand behind you."

Liberty's Edge

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At first I felt that having Erastil encouraging a people to get rid of their traditions was pretty out of character for the one I consider as the deity most grounded in tradition and ancestral wisdom.

But then I considered the angle of getting rid of Evil traditions to replace them with Good ones and I feel it is an awesome opportunity for a more positive and inspiring portraying of both Orcs AND Erastil.


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The Raven Black wrote:

At first I felt that having Erastil encouraging a people to get rid of their traditions was pretty out of character for the one I consider as the deity most grounded in tradition and ancestral wisdom.

But then I considered the angle of getting rid of Evil traditions to replace them with Good ones and I feel it is an awesome opportunity for a more positive and inspiring portraying of both Orcs AND Erastil.

It's not even necessarily getting rid of orcish traditions - ideals of strength, endurance, self-reliance, and glory can all be reframed in the name of a more sustainable community, rather than their most self-interested forms.

You see some of this with the Matanji, who are just of fond of getting into big fights as any other orc you can imagine, but firmly aim that violence at fiends.


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Well from a starting point I incorporated a lot of elements from other settings, which involves messing with the map a bit. Stretch out the west coast a bit around Conqueror's Bay, put some no-man's land between Nidal and Varisia, slap a Waterdeep right in the middle of it. Freeport goes down in the Shackles because of course it does. Dragon Age's qunari set up shop down in Sarusan. Things like that.

Then in the first campaign I ran in this mixed up setting, final session ended with Rovagug being released for about ten minutes before being put back which caused apocalyptic levels of destruction across the world.

Next two campaigns were prequels/going to be happening parallel to that first campaign so we didn't have to deal with that fallout on top of the AP's we were doing.

Rise of the Runelords went off pretty well with my group taking over Xin-Shalast & deciding to set up their own little fiefdom there from which they'd eventually unite Varisia.

Wrath of the Righteous ended up going *very* well with most of the characters taking off to other planes to pursue higher goals but my half-orc fighter/champion deciding to remain on Golarion and conquer himself a kingdom, uniting the Realm of the Mammoth Lords & Belkzen, along with carving off a chunk of Numeria for himself, then going into the land of the Linnorm Kings and slaying Fafnheir and taking over there. Got Irrisen as a vassal state because our Reign of Winter group helping run the country was very good at negotiations.

Also, Nocticula? Very dead. Permanently, irrevocably dead. Name number one on the "let's go hunt down & kill demon lords" kill list. Idea of redeeming her or any of them wasn't even entertained for a moment.

Anyway, the idea was that kingdom & the emerging power of this New Thassilon were going to weather the devastation caused by Rovagug's release - that is to say, earthquakes, volcanic erruptions, storms & floods, the awakening of the Great Spawn, all that good stuff - better than the rest of the world & be the centers of power in the post apocalypse that was to come.

But then some personal issues happened & myself & the groups I was running that setting with at the time largely fell out & went our separate ways & then Return of the Runelords & Tyrant's Grasp happened & the shift to 2e happened which left me in the awkward position for continuing with that backlog of events being that I would no longer be working with people with an attachment to those developments.

So I went off & played in other games & other settings for a while & now am in the process of dipping my toes back into the pathfinder waters & maybe starting with a clean slate again or at least toning some of the changes down to reconcilable levels with the change of the world state.

One thing I found in the mean time that I want to incorporate but is proving narratively challenging to do so is the third party mini-setting of the city of Salt-in-Wounds, city based on having captured the Tarrasque & survives of butchering it constantly & living off it's meat. I love that idea & really want to do a campaign there but I do find some of the details of the setting as published a bit boring & want to inject some Golarion flavor into it to spice it up a bit.

Which dove-tails nicely with the Rovagug getting released thing, but it's kind of central to the city's concept that it's been around a while, long enough for corruption to set in & for it's purpose to have shifted from trying to find a way to permanently kill the tarrasque to profiting off of it's harvest. Which creates another little wrinkle in, how do you have a city that exists & stays free by means of mutually assured destruction(attack us and we'll release the tarrasque and we'll all die) when on Golarion the tarrasque isn't just a random giant monster but the spawn & herald of a god with an active cult who doesn't *care* if they die and actively want the thing released.

Now that second problem I've more or less worked out but the first has me thinking I'm either going to have to do a time jump or retcon the "rovagug gets released" thing to taking place a couple hundred years ago. Also, probably retcon it to just the tarrasque being released.


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I'd probably pair the orcs up with Cayden or Gorum, but Erastil is a cool touch!


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Oh, I have have a pair of related small tweaks: Casandalee has absolutely made herself known to the Wyrwoods through a handful of Oracles, and Epoch is well-underway in its construction on Aballon.

Starfinder doesn't do much for me, but Triune paying off three fairly obscure bits of Pathfinder lore is awesome, and I've always loved constructs in fantasy.


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keftiu wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

At first I felt that having Erastil encouraging a people to get rid of their traditions was pretty out of character for the one I consider as the deity most grounded in tradition and ancestral wisdom.

But then I considered the angle of getting rid of Evil traditions to replace them with Good ones and I feel it is an awesome opportunity for a more positive and inspiring portraying of both Orcs AND Erastil.

It's not even necessarily getting rid of orcish traditions - ideals of strength, endurance, self-reliance, and glory can all be reframed in the name of a more sustainable community, rather than their most self-interested forms.

You see some of this with the Matanji, who are just of fond of getting into big fights as any other orc you can imagine, but firmly aim that violence at fiends.

We have an orc player in the Age of Ashes game I'm in, and she very much acts this way; it's great. Dura the Scar-taker is also a life oracle so she sees wounds as another form of enemy to fight, and one that needs to be approached with swift but considered action. The one downside of her power is that she passively removes the scars of those around her as their bodies heal, which removes the proof of a warrior's accomplishment in battle, so she apologizes whenever one of us has a major wound quickly healed.

Liberty's Edge

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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I'd probably pair the orcs up with Cayden or Gorum, but Erastil is a cool touch!

Really happy to see you back KC. Hope everything is doing well.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I'd probably pair the orcs up with Cayden or Gorum, but Erastil is a cool touch!

Cayden is a fun pull, given that Urglin exports a famous gin!


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I've personally always cast Gorum as being the primary orc god over Rovagug or even the orcish pantheon(what with Gorum having a detailed write up many years before the orc pantheon had proper names).

When looking at good gods to catch their eye, I tend to look towards the Empyreal Lords. Valani & Tolc are the two that I think are natural fits. There are a few others for whom we only have names & titles & no real details for, but based on the titles (Ogoun Of Fire and Iron jumps out) I could definitely see them being developed into something that would appeal to orcish culture & sensibilities while still being, you know, good.

Also Sarenrae's confirmed to be trying to convert at least one orc clan.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh this is another small thing I used to do because I used to not feel comfortable running in golarion outside of adventure paths. I would take themes, places or ideas from Golarion but contextualize or change things up. Like I once ran a campaign with places called Andoran and Cheliax, and they largely were very similar to the Golarion versions but they weren't 1/1. I feel like this is an honorable mention since I am still taken things from Golarion and changing them but in a much more isolated manner.

That being said I am starting to experiment more with running in Golarion with original content and I am excited in getting to do that. So maybe I'll have some big/interesting changes to share eventually.


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Oh another Orc change: Ardax White Hair is Neutral, not Neutral Evil. This lets me treat him as a ruler who will go to almost any lengths to protect his people, and who is a cunning, unpredictable leader without him having to be actively cruel and evil.

He's balancing a lot of plates between a lot of different factions in my games, and I feel like a N alignment better reflects his ability to maneuver them successfully than a NE one.

Liberty's Edge

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TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

Oh another Orc change: Ardax White Hair is Neutral, not Neutral Evil. This lets me treat him as a ruler who will go to almost any lengths to protect his people, and who is a cunning, unpredictable leader without him having to be actively cruel and evil.

He's balancing a lot of plates between a lot of different factions in my games, and I feel like a N alignment better reflects his ability to maneuver them successfully than a NE one.

Interestingly, I changed an undead in the Dragon's demand from LN to LE because I felt being Evil was in no way incompatible with their actions.

IMO you do not have to be actively cruel and evil to be Evil. You just do not care one bit about what happens to innocents.

I like sympathetic NPCs, such as Ardax, still being Evil :-)


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The Raven Black wrote:
TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

Oh another Orc change: Ardax White Hair is Neutral, not Neutral Evil. This lets me treat him as a ruler who will go to almost any lengths to protect his people, and who is a cunning, unpredictable leader without him having to be actively cruel and evil.

He's balancing a lot of plates between a lot of different factions in my games, and I feel like a N alignment better reflects his ability to maneuver them successfully than a NE one.

Interestingly, I changed an undead in the Dragon's demand from LN to LE because I felt being Evil was in no way incompatible with their actions.

IMO you do not have to be actively cruel and evil to be Evil. You just do not care one bit about what happens to innocents.

I like sympathetic NPCs, such as Ardax, still being Evil :-)

Yeah I have no beef with this interpretation. It's not necessarily mine, and I think him being the way he is in canon is pretty internally consistent.

This just worked better for the stories I want to tell.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

For a while I didn't want to acknowledge New Thassilon into my game world, I felt like it added too many complications, but I've largely let that go now and the setting is pretty much 1:1.


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In terms of "minor" details I've done a bit of work concerning reworking names to have some kind of link to whatever nation/city state/ancestry/whatever the language is associated with in my setting. This is mostly because I feel there's just a lot of really awkward names in the setting as is (although not as bad as some of what you might find in the Forgotten realms).

In terms of the world I really wanted to emphasize the high sci fantasy nature by making the heroes and villains more "super" so to speak which ties into the new lore. I've also redone some nations (ie Cheliax, Nidal, Andoran, Numeria, to name some) as well. I've also really played up the pre existing post-apocalyptic-ness of Golarion.

In terms of cosmology and the universe and stuff I've worked a lot on expanding it and setting up crossovers.


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No spaceship.


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Y'know, I've probably got more firearms than the average Golarion. I've got them proliferating quite a bit across Garund, with how much trade flows across the northern bit of the continent - once one group of caravan guards gets their hands on jezails, everybody's gonna want them, and doubly so once bandits start stealing them.

Dark Archive

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I don't really have much of changes to setting besides ones resulting from ap campaigns(aka lot of npcs that are assumed to be dead are still alive and affecting things. I'm half expecting return to end with Xanderghul still being alive at this party's pace :p one of PC's in rise was Valdemar, so Valdemar family status is way different as well.), if later books tend to reveal info about parts of settings I had to homebrew in sidequests, I tend to see if I can combine them as much as possible or have my homebrew sidequests be broad strokes.

(In this case, I'm thinking that if Minkai ever gets expanded in 2e, likely my entire Minkai homebrew I'm doing now will be broad strokes if we get content like governor names and history, since I don't feel like my ideas for governors are "so good they need to be canon to my setting", I feel like only reason I'm homebrewing them is for necessity of my homebrew idea. I rarely feel that confident in my homebrew that I would be like "Nah, this super secedes the official content, I throw this new book info completely to trash can", that and I tend to do homebrew settings when I want to be purely homebrew)

Radiant Oath

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As a general rule, I multiply all population numbers by ten.


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I've been DMing a rise of the runelord campaign for a bit less than a year now, and the only big change I made so far is that erastil holy weapon used to be a javelin a long time ago (and that javelin is still technically a holy weapon of erastil, altho one the large majority of his clergy and follower don't use). After all, the javelin is the archetypal caveman hunter weapon.

One of my player is a gunslinger that was very interested in playing a erastil worshipper (a pretty fervent one too), and it seemed interesting to do. The god have no love for her (pretty unreliable TBH) gun, but he's not completely against change and progress, just rather slow about it. It's not as if he will accept "gun" as his holy weapon on her lifetime, but if she stay on the straight and narrow, he might end up blessing her weapon regardless of it not being a bow (or a javelin).

Other than that, I've been simply increasing the population of settlement. Depending on the precise one, it's anywere from twice as much people to ten time as much (magnimar, altho most of these people are travellers)


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AceofMoxen wrote:
As a general rule, I multiply all population numbers by ten.

This, at the very least.

I'm also vaguely reminded of the executive meddling that produced a Khorvaire (of Eberron fame) ten times the size of the original, completely messing up a bunch of things based on that.

Wayfinders Contributor

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I've made a number of changes to the setting, but I did it as a freelancer, so I'm not sure they count for the purpose of this discussion...


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My biggest gripe with paizos golarion is how human centric it is, a trope that I never liked in any fantasy media with multiple intelligent ancestries. I find fantasy much more interesting were humans are neither especially common nor especially well liked or influential compared to other ancestries. I was especially disappointed when I read that even absalom is like 80% human, when I always imagened absalom as a fantasy metropolis where all kinds of cultures exist right next to each other, where it's normal to see a conrasu barkeeper or a strix courier and small parts of the city are almost entirely controlles by sprites or poppets.
But it's not a big deal, I just add NPCs to adventures to make uncommon/rare ancestries seem more common and slightly change the lore.


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The biggest changes I made were to make Resurrection and similar effects rare (Pharasma doesn't like to give back) and to institute a whole lot of world class orc universities, which is to say world class universities founded and primarily staffed/attended by orcs who live in big orc cities. Making orcs into academics while also being a culture that values strength, force, and dominance is actually a seamless fit- all you need is social norms to keep the violence in check.

Belkzen can still be an anarchic wasteland, but that's mostly because it's full of ancaps because Orcs are also all the worst people you meet in grad school, and Avistan is a bit of backwater anyway.


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_shredder_ wrote:

My biggest gripe with paizos golarion is how human centric it is, a trope that I never liked in any fantasy media with multiple intelligent ancestries. I find fantasy much more interesting were humans are neither especially common nor especially well liked or influential compared to other ancestries. I was especially disappointed when I read that even absalom is like 80% human, when I always imagened absalom as a fantasy metropolis where all kinds of cultures exist right next to each other, where it's normal to see a conrasu barkeeper or a strix courier and small parts of the city are almost entirely controlles by sprites or poppets.

But it's not a big deal, I just add NPCs to adventures to make uncommon/rare ancestries seem more common and slightly change the lore.

This.

I also modify a lot of races/ancestries in many different ways.

For example, there are differences between elves native to Castrovel and elves from Castrovel that now live on Golarion, not to mention elves found elsewhere. I also am a lot more generous with "racial abilities" for lack of a better term, all to fit the setting better.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I don't really have any *intentional* diversions as a rule beyond the ones that come up organically from my players interpreting the setting and building their characters in conversation with it; like, for example, a player who wanted to play a minotaur cleric of Erastil, so now we've got a hidden Druidic/Erastilian community with a minotaur population in Cheliax's Whisperwood.

Either the changes are from collaborating to make players' character concepts work, or they're from the choices my players make over the course of an AP; like my Age of Ashes party has elected to build an international trade guild that has slowly increased Breachill's prosperity to the point that they're suing Cheliax for sovereignty, and so in any future games I run in Golarion there'll be a big international trade guild headquartered in the city-state of Breachill.


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Oh, one thing I just remembered! I tend to run a Golarion in which homophobia and transphobia exist. I like to do this in part because my games tend to focus a lot on the social role of adventuring in society. Adventuring is an overwhelmingly queer and disability-inclusive profession in my worldbuilding, because, well, I figure you don't generally become an adventurer if everything in your home life is going swimmingly. There's gotta be a reason you've been pushed to the fringes.

Bigotry isn't universal, though. No, Old Deadeye doesn't go around kicking gay penguin couples off of icebergs. In Varisia, where I usually focus my games, it really varies from town to town. Communities with large Varisian or Shoanti populations tend to be a lot more chill. The Chelaxian- and Taldan-dominated cities are rougher. Sandpoint is, of course, an extremely nice place to move to if you're gay or trans, to the extent that it's sort of a regional joke on par with moving to San Francisco.

I don't necessarily harass PCs with it (and I always check in with them at the start of play), but it is a backdrop. Meanwhile, "adventurer bars" are basically gay bars, and you have to be careful when accepting an invitation to join an adventuring party to clarify whether this is an actual adventuring party, an invitation to someone's four-way, or both.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Meanwhile, "adventurer bars" are basically gay bars, and you have to be careful when accepting an invitation to join an adventuring party to clarify whether this is an actual adventuring party, an invitation to someone's four-way, or both.

Too funny. I love this KC. Certainly makes “being adventurous” quite the double entendre.


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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Meanwhile, "adventurer bars" are basically gay bars, and you have to be careful when accepting an invitation to join an adventuring party to clarify whether this is an actual adventuring party, an invitation to someone's four-way, or both.
Too funny. I love this KC. Certainly makes “being adventurous” quite the double entendre.

Adventurers as euphemism for covert queer communities which may or may not include people who literally fight monsters and adventurers as euphemism for rich, eccentric people from history who toured the world: Meet and spread chaos and situational comedy.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Catgirl wrote:

Oh, one thing I just remembered! I tend to run a Golarion in which homophobia and transphobia exist. I like to do this in part because my games tend to focus a lot on the social role of adventuring in society. Adventuring is an overwhelmingly queer and disability-inclusive profession in my worldbuilding, because, well, I figure you don't generally become an adventurer if everything in your home life is going swimmingly. There's gotta be a reason you've been pushed to the fringes.

Bigotry isn't universal, though. No, Old Deadeye doesn't go around kicking gay penguin couples off of icebergs. In Varisia, where I usually focus my games, it really varies from town to town. Communities with large Varisian or Shoanti populations tend to be a lot more chill. The Chelaxian- and Taldan-dominated cities are rougher. Sandpoint is, of course, an extremely nice place to move to if you're gay or trans, to the extent that it's sort of a regional joke on par with moving to San Francisco.

I don't necessarily harass PCs with it (and I always check in with them at the start of play), but it is a backdrop. Meanwhile, "adventurer bars" are basically gay bars, and you have to be careful when accepting an invitation to join an adventuring party to clarify whether this is an actual adventuring party, an invitation to someone's four-way, or both.

We do this as well, We ran a version of War For the Crown where a big part of Princess Eutropias reform goals involved better protections in taldor society for queer and trans folks.


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"Are they.... y'know," limps wrist, "...a Pathfinder?"


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LMAO!

(Actually, normal adventurers in my Golarion tend to think of the Pathfinders as kind of sellouts at best. Like, "Wait, you have a boss who gets to push you around? You get assignments and missions? What the **** is the point, then?" At worst, they start asking tricky questions about stolen Garundi artifacts.)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That change to Taldor culture did adjust the background and motivations of a certain minor npc in book 1 of War For The Crown, which was fun to develop.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

Oh, one thing I just remembered! I tend to run a Golarion in which homophobia and transphobia exist. I like to do this in part because my games tend to focus a lot on the social role of adventuring in society. Adventuring is an overwhelmingly queer and disability-inclusive profession in my worldbuilding, because, well, I figure you don't generally become an adventurer if everything in your home life is going swimmingly. There's gotta be a reason you've been pushed to the fringes.

Bigotry isn't universal, though. No, Old Deadeye doesn't go around kicking gay penguin couples off of icebergs. In Varisia, where I usually focus my games, it really varies from town to town. Communities with large Varisian or Shoanti populations tend to be a lot more chill. The Chelaxian- and Taldan-dominated cities are rougher. Sandpoint is, of course, an extremely nice place to move to if you're gay or trans, to the extent that it's sort of a regional joke on par with moving to San Francisco.

I don't necessarily harass PCs with it (and I always check in with them at the start of play), but it is a backdrop. Meanwhile, "adventurer bars" are basically gay bars, and you have to be careful when accepting an invitation to join an adventuring party to clarify whether this is an actual adventuring party, an invitation to someone's four-way, or both.

To be fully honest, I'm genuinely torn between the sheer hilarity of the nuances of this and the sheer wrongness I would feel if I were to actually try to portray racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia in any of my games as the actual GM.


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D3stro 2119 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:

Oh, one thing I just remembered! I tend to run a Golarion in which homophobia and transphobia exist. I like to do this in part because my games tend to focus a lot on the social role of adventuring in society. Adventuring is an overwhelmingly queer and disability-inclusive profession in my worldbuilding, because, well, I figure you don't generally become an adventurer if everything in your home life is going swimmingly. There's gotta be a reason you've been pushed to the fringes.

Bigotry isn't universal, though. No, Old Deadeye doesn't go around kicking gay penguin couples off of icebergs. In Varisia, where I usually focus my games, it really varies from town to town. Communities with large Varisian or Shoanti populations tend to be a lot more chill. The Chelaxian- and Taldan-dominated cities are rougher. Sandpoint is, of course, an extremely nice place to move to if you're gay or trans, to the extent that it's sort of a regional joke on par with moving to San Francisco.

I don't necessarily harass PCs with it (and I always check in with them at the start of play), but it is a backdrop. Meanwhile, "adventurer bars" are basically gay bars, and you have to be careful when accepting an invitation to join an adventuring party to clarify whether this is an actual adventuring party, an invitation to someone's four-way, or both.

To be fully honest, I'm genuinely torn between the sheer hilarity of the nuances of this and the sheer wrongness I would feel if I were to actually try to portray racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia in any of my games as the actual GM.

Oh it would definitely be something that you could only pursue with total buy-in from your table, but I like it as a way to examine those issues in a fantastical context.

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