Absalom, the City at the Center of the World, has stood at the geographic and metaphorical fulcrum of Inner Sea intrigue for 5 millennia. Indeed, Absalom’s continual influence has shaped not only the face of the planet but the very nature of the cosmos. Its founding is the basis of the calendar system used by nearly all cultures in the hemisphere. More importantly, Absalom is the origin place of four once-mortal gods, and to many, the city is a symbol of the true capacity of humankind. In Absalom, a person can be whatever and whoever they want, and for the right price, it is said, they can procure anything in its grand markets.1
Ah but it’s certainly not just those markets. Thankfully Absalom has grown beyond its early beginnings with a treasure trove of cultures and peoples! And thankfully my group is back to play some Pathfinder! We haven’t played in months partly due to COVID rates, partly due to holidays, and partly due to blizzards/snow storms/ice storms… We’ve finally been able to gather again and explore more of Absalom! Here’s hoping we’re turning the tide with vaccinations, boosts, and general awareness.
The Big City
I talked a little while ago about the team investing some time in shopping at the Grand Bazaar! However, since then we’ve seen the release of Absalom: City of Lost Omens as well as the supporting poster map folio! It’s proving invaluable to me. With development led by Erik Mona, design by Mark Seifter (who recently joined Roll for Combat’s to helm Battlezoo) and contributions from numerous authors including our own amazing Vanessa Hoskins, this tome of 400 pages details the many people and places of the city, including under and around it! But honestly, I’m not just leveraging Grand Bazaar and Absalom for our game. I’ve also started drawing from other material as the Expedition Coalition adventures through the city, namely elements from Agents of Edgewatch! I know Stephen and those playing with him over at Roll for Combat have been enjoying Absalom and the path while we playing Three Ring Adventure stay outside of the city. I can’t go peaking at Extinction Curse so if my players want to roam too far I’ll have to use what knowledge Ateran’s picked up!
The Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar gave me a lovely map of the actual Bazaar as well as details on primary players within those shops. One shop I featured was the Kraken’s Ink Tattoo. Arhan (see above) is a cool guy, who escaped the oppression of Cheliax and found his true self through the wonders of Shelyn and Absalom, where he got to procure a serum of sex shift. I like to believe it was Mistress Clavela who helped him! I really like the idea of Absalom celebrating all cultures and the possibility for you to be your true self. What I also like about Arhan that I could leverage for story was his connection to his boyfriend Brine, an Azarketi who works in the Docks, but also Nara, Arhan’s apprentice. Nara is a kobold with a stall in the bazaar and since we have a kobold in our party – the summoner Kek – I really wanted to show that all large and small had a place here, let alone the connections that could be formed.
The Districts of Absalom
In particular my players have been exploring the Docks, the Coins, and Eastgate and that’s where Absalom: City of Lost Omens comes in handy. The Grand Bazaar is part of the Coins, but there’s other places to visit too. The Clockwork Cathedral has innovative interests that our Inventor may wish to check out. She’ll likely want to visit Brigh’s temple, the Gallery of Innovation as well. A night out may take the group to the Grand Dance Hall of Kortos or the Saucy Wench, a tavern with the chance of a few vagabonds but the presence of the Token Guard as well. There’s something interesting Beneath the Docks as well as a visit to Besmar’s Boardwalk for a bit of carnival-like fun, so I can think a bit about Three Ring Adventure. But I think it’ll be the Grog Pit – “the Dock’s best-known flophouse and most dangerous place to go drinking” – that will really entertain. Eastgate is small, home life but with a chance to meet a nice druid, perhaps at the Grand Holt. I know they’ll be visiting the Wondervale – the former festival of wonders started after Aroden’s apparent death – where Vudrani water gardens and Dehrukani crystal shrines can still be found. And those are just planned locations as who knows what other needs or random exploring the players might do. Hopefully it’s obvious how much I want the party to feel excited and comfortable about coming back to visit. I should also mention the Guide to the City chapter that has details on bonuses based on location traits, a master list of places to visit like various merchants and taverns, as well as tables for Rumors and Shops.
Beyond the Agents of Edgewatch
I’m borrowing also from Agents of Edgewatch to put a couple things in as well. I pulled Mulligan’s from Agents of Edgewatch 1 and made it a quiet cafe called Mulligan’s Blue Tower with the alleged Back Door of the House of the Planes within. I was thinking of some of the speakeasies that exist in cities like New York. I wanted the social challenge of coming to the cafe and finding their way down into the back entrance to the House. I’m using the House of the Planes as still a gathering spot of ne’er-do-wells and criminals as the players in our game are seeking who put a hit out on them as well as looking to find some connections to the Aspis Consortium. Where better than the House of the Planes? They already learned about meeting the Angels at the Puddles’ Royal Cod, which is also something I’ve borrowed from Agents. But shh, don’t those playing for Stephen as they’re not at that point yet…
See, look at that! I even drew the map! Though yes, I did also show the larger fold out map of the city to my players! Absalom’s a nice focal point for your Golarion, Lost Omens-based games for the PCs to visit and hopefully return to. If you want to explore a metropolitan opportunity of diverse people and intriguing, entertaining, or even dangerous locales then I highly suggest you invest in Absalom. Bring your adventures, send your players, or borrow from the myriad materials available now!
I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!
I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!
- Absalom introductory excerpt, Absalom: City of Lost Omens, Paizo
- Absalom splash pages, Absalom: City of Lost Omens, Paizo
- Arhan, Grand Bazaar, Paizo
- Beneath the Docks, Docks chapter, Absalom: City of Lost Omens, Paizo
- Wondervale, Eastgate chapter, Absalom: City of Lost Omens, Paizo
- Rob’s map of the Back Door, Agents of Edgewatch: Devil at the Dreaming Palace, Paizo