“When the realm of Lastwall was devastated by the Whispering Tyrant, the ancient necromancer whose prison Lastwall’s people had guarded for centuries, the Knights of Lastwall formed from survivors of the cataclysm. At first focused on the immediate concern of saving as many as they could, the order soon grew to accommodate multiple strategies. Some knights stayed behind, searching for remnant survivors or fighting a desperate war against the conquering undead forces, while others journeyed to foreign nations in search of allies to take up the fight. Now, the ruins of Lastwall are but one of many battlefields for the knights.”1
Two great adventure paths heralded the end of Pathfinder’s first edition: Return of the Runelords and the Tyrant’s Grasp. Not only were these adventures rife with interesting combats, complex skill challenges, dramatic storytelling, travel to some far distant locales, and amazing NPCs but they also changed – or one might say further developed – the Age of Lost Omens. The Runelords returned and now at least two control parts of New Thassilon. Tar-Barphon, the Whispering Tyrant, broke free of his imprisonment and led an army of undead against Lastwall, devastating many and creating the area now known as the Gravelands. Those Knights of Ozem based in Vigil who survived rededicated their purpose to helping survivors and finally ending Tar-Barphon’s tyranny.
And now, we’ve a book dedicated to them, Paizo’s Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall! Jessica Catalan, Ron Lundeen, Isabella Thorne and a number of contributing writers including our own Ryan Costello helped bring this book to life with Development Leads Eleanor Ferron and Luis Loza! The art’s an inspiration too. What I’ve loved about the different knighthoods in Golarion – including the Hellknights – is how they’ve reminded me of the various knighthoods in the Dragonlance campaign setting. I was always fascinated by either the Wizards of High Sorcery and how they worked together/interacted and the same for the various knighthoods to the point that the Dragonlance game of all wizards I ran introduced knighthoods for each of the three gods of magic. The Lost Omens line has done so much for Golarion and Pathfinder, and that holds true for the development of the knighthoods including the Hellknights, Andoran’s Eagle Knights, and now the Knights of Lastwall!
Knights of Renown
This book has everything. Starting with a historic breakdown and timeline of events for the Knights, it moves into the people, groups, and relationships of the Knights fairly quickly with a highlight on factions and specific individuals, though make sure to take a look at Pathfinder Lost Omens: Legends too. I like the narrative details in the History section as it’s not just the timeline but a reflection of how Lastwall came to be, how it fell, and what the knighthood is now doing in the face of this tragedy and threat. I’ll tell ya what, they aren’t sitting down. This book is the Lost Omens line after all, so it is filled with lore in main detail and side bars like recruitment techniques and slang in the culture section. This is truly how the Knights are fostering one another and growing. The relationship breakdown of allies is encouraging with some details about Absalom, Magaambya, and surprisingly a lot of Psychopomps as well as others. The enemies presented aren’t shocking: Geb, Ustalav, the Whispering Way, the followers of Urgathoa, and the vampire lord Malyas. I like how in one sidebar on allies it mentions the Esoteric Order of the Palpatine Eye was helpful, but the Knights have lost contact and then we see the Order had sent word of disappearing citizens and a likely army of vampires at the former ruler of Ustalav’s castle. Wiped out by a sudden strike? Secret mission and they have to stay quiet? Hopefully they’ve gone underground and not on purpose, lest they rise again…
We get a lot on the factions and I think that’s really important for a larger campaign focusing on Lastwall or possibly an all-knight campaign! If you can do it with all wizards, it’s even easier with knights who can be of various classes, all brought together under one banner and one purpose, it’s just some might disagree about the methods of how to fulfill that purpose. The faction information helps get you there, providing a myriad of opportunities for adventure, social situations, drama between PCs and NPCs alike, and a real sense of the world those characters are trying to save. Creativity and detail provide immersion, and that’s what the authors and developers have certainly given us. While various smaller factions appear in sidebars – read all those sidebars I’m telling ya – there’s primary focus on the Shining Sentinels and the Crimson Reclaimers, including their oaths, how they train, and details on membership. The shield and sword of the Knights of the Lastwall, you could easily place a PC amongst these two orders, there’s many more. I’ve particular interest in the Vellumis Scholars started by Janatimo (again, have Legends handy!) because what the Magaambyans are doing with their understanding of magic and the connectedness of all things will truly be the saving of the Gravelands. It is with positive energy tha Tar-Barphon escaped, so who best to help others embrace learning of the past and how to use new techniques than Janatimo’s Uzunjati?
A number of Notable Figures are presented, some with full page details and some only a blurb. You well know Kalabrynne Iomedar and her child Clarethe Iomedar, first of the Crimson Reclaimers. There’s a mystery there still of who – or what – truly gives the Knights Reclaimant their power. If Clarethe knows, she’s not telling. Perhaps Kalabrynne knows though if so, it’s not mentioned. Ryan wrote this page amongst many others and I really appreciate the sidebar of the friends Kalabrynne’s missing and hopes to get information on one day. What a journey the advisor to the Knights of Lastwall has had, including lost love. She is truly a light and a Legend (yes both she and her daughter are in Legends) that would be a great, inspirational NPC to feature in a game or two. One NPC that really caught my attention was the person detailed just before Kalabrynne: Ileana Tessthake. Ileana’s a vampire you see. She swore the Crimson Oath, died to a vampire, but her mind and morals have endured. Perhaps further work of the power that fuels the knights’ power? I took note of the rapier she has, called out as being a gift of a scarlet robed stranger, armored as if a warrior of ancient times. It would seem there’s a champion of enduring survival and good intent in Ileana.
The Divine Fight
Of course Golarion’s divinities could likely answer my questions. Faiths, gods, angels, and even some dynamic pantheons are presented at the end of the Among the Knights chapter. Some aren’t surprising and are known to me including Sarenrae, Pharasma, Shelyn, and Iomedae. It’s nice to learn more about Katzutal, Mother Jaguar, an Arcadia deity, who certainly has no love for Aroden and yet espouses the good of working in the community as much as fighting the undead hordes. Milani, the Everbloom, is a god I became familiar with during our Strange Aeons game as my brother’s former assassin worshiped her. It’s no surprise to me to see the defender of the innocent and fighter of oppression worshiped by the Knights of Lastwall. However, I was surprised to see Gendowyn, the fey queen and Lady of the Fangwood, listed as not someone I knew of. Here is yet another Adventure Path’s conclusion reflected in the Lost Omens of Pathfinder 2E, specifically Ironfang Invasion. She is the personification of the natural world after all, and aids those who fight against its corruption.
The Crimson Oath gets its own page with a write up from well, would you look at that! It’s Ileana Tessthake again. I’m ready for more on her tale. I wonder if Arazni – who has known devotion and tragedy both as Aroden’s former herald before losing her life to Tar-Baphon only to be made an undead creature at Geb’s hands – would know anything about Ileana. Arazni rose to godhood on her own after freeing herself from control, so it would seem she might sympathize with a woman who also kept her own mind after being made undead against her will. She was also once known as the Red Crusader but of course now she doesn’t want to be worshiped so if she were to say help a well-meaning vampire knight or even a whole section of the Knighthood she’d probably want that kept secret. Look, I’m just connecting the dots here but of course in your game, it’s all up to you.
Knights Need Training
As chock full of lore as Knights of Lastwall is, there’s plenty of crunch and mechanics too in the Knights of Lastwall Options. A number of new background also provided by the lovely Ryan Costello. I’m also curious to see what Rare ones get approved and published. That Tyrant Witness background gives me goosebumps. I really need a Hallowed Necromancer with this background who made the Crimson Oath. Yeah actually, make sure to check out the Book of the Dead. It’s really worth investing in as a Knight of Lastwall or you know, running a campaign about fighting undeath! We also get more feats for the Knight Vigilant, Knight Reclaimant, and Lastwall Sentry archetypes.
I love the various archetype feats to flavor other archetypes as Knights of Lastwall, whether an assassin targeting an undead, a Cavalier waving the flag to inspire others, or a wartime Medic or Herbalist preventing disease or offering the best of the Lastwall soup you can! There’s feats no matter what your class too like Consecrate Spell or Holy Light, illuminating all around you. Various equipment and magic items are presented over six pages, good for campaigns with a wartime, occult, or pulp/noir feel. Bladed gauntlet and armored coat look useful! Ghost Oil isn’t for massaging the undead into the afterlife, or well it is but when applied to a weapon so you hit the incorporeal creatures. As I mentioned before I’m a spellcaster fan, so seeing more spells – Uncommon – for maybe that Hallowed Necromancer or other magical Knight of Lastwall. Martyr’s Intervention seems an excellent spell for a Knight to use to protect the innocent and sacrifice themselves instead.
Knights Home & Abroad
The final chapter Knights of Lastwall Efforts gives us ideas for various Knights of Lastwall campaigns before taking us around Golarion for how various areas are impacted by the Whispering Tyrant or where Knights of Lastwall are working to combat evil. You’d likely not be surprised to find twelve pages for the Gravelands including two pages detailing encounters for you to use in your game! All the dangers presented vary in effective challenge while the detail beforehand talks about major threats presented by the Whispering Way and other foul influences, like carnivorous plants empowered by the Radiant Fire. The Eye of Dread and nearby areas like Ustalav have their own pages, and the Old Grudges sidebar is particularly useful to understand how history is impacting the present day. You can find a bit about Oprak in the Mindspin Mountains – more related to the Ironfang Invasion – and of course Ustalav. While some are banding together to fight the Whispering Tyrant, some may be allying themselves with the foul lich.
It’s important that Absalom has a couple pages considering Tar-Barphon had gone for the starstone. There are now Knights of Lastwall dedicated to learning all they can about his plans, the Cathedral, what powers might be gained, and how to prevent the Whispering Tyrant from ever succeeding. This can be a good way to focus some intrigue on Absalom, bringing Knights there, or introduce the Whispering Way to an Absalom-focused campaign. The Broken Lands and Shining Kingdoms have more information too with a number of useful NPCs mentioned to help with adventure or plot hooks. The final section spreads across the rest of Golarion ;including the Mwangi Expanse, whom we already know have a vested interest by sending individuals for help. One knight has traveled to Arcadia and is trying to prove himself and his squires’ good intentions by fighting ancient Razaltan spirits in a ruin. The Knights of Lastwall have even reached the shores of Tian Xia, eager to fight evil wherever they find it! It’s incredibly difficult to leave behind friends and family, as well as home to help people that you otherwise never would have met or even known.
I do think it’s important to explore those opportunities in game and out of game as well. Learn about those you don’t know, ask questions respectfully, and expand your understanding of the world. I brought up our all Wizards of High Sorcery game I ran, and we all loved seeing the different orders discuss the different ways they felt they could do or should do things. Those roleplaying scenes were always wonderful to watch. You can easily do that now in Pathfinder, either as various students of Magaambya or as valiant Knights of Lastwall striving to purify the Graveland, purge undead, and protect innocents. I highly encourage you to invest in Knights of Lastwall and wage your own campaign against tyranny and evil!
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!
- Introduction excerpt, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall, Paizo
- Introduction banner, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall, Paizo
- Magaambyan Sage, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall, Paizo
- Ileana Tessthake, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall, Paizo
- Arazni, The Unyielding, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall, Paizo
- Campaign banner, Pathfinder Lost Omens: Knights of Lastwall, Paizo