“Welcome to our latest guidebook, Golarion’s Finest Guide to the Inner Sea!
Are you a world-spanning traveler from Arcadia or Tian Xia, planning the trek of a lifetime across the numerous and varied lands of the Inner Sea? Are you a lifelong dweller in one region of the Inner Sea who now craves a different view? Or are you simply an avid armchair tourist, looking to discover more about this diverse and exciting region from the comfort of your own home? If any of these apply to you, then this is the guide you’re looking for!”1
Golarion’s Finest Guide to the Inner Sea is a fine name for this book, but that’s just the name we’re privy to for the in-game context put out by the Golarion’s Finest team, including the noted Editor-In-Chief Keturah Venchaiyak. He’s the signed notary of the What’s In This Book section, setting up an immersive guide for cuisine, culture, trade, and more in the Lost Omens Travel Guide. We’ve a number of fine authors including our Dustin Knight and Jessica Redekop with Development Leads Eleanor Ferron and Luis Loza! Much thanks to our editors as this was a lot of narrative, non-game mechanics text to review and the art! Wow! The cover art by Ekaterina Gordeeva is beautiful! I love the various panes with the wayfinder atop them. Of course there’s a great deal of inspirational art in this guide, complimenting the numerous sections of culture, cuisine, and lore!
The Time & The Calendar section has some detail on days of the week and months alike. I like the references to the ages like the Age of Legend and the current timeline of the Age of Lost Omens since Aroden’s death. I love the shot of Ezren’s Calendar (see below) and the references to his allies or even Relics & Remembrance in Absalom. Clearly Ezren loves Khisa and the Grand Bazaar folks as much as I. Ancestral Timescales calls out how various ancestries refer to units of time. Elves speak in phases of 20 to 26 years while Orcs have 32 hour days! But the goblins? They use songs to tell the time as NoNat1s cleverly refers to! 2 Macarenas and 3 Rick Rolls later…
The Everyday Life section has a lot to provide on languages, rural and urban life, with details on fashion, travel, and adventures in certain environs. I was overly excited – maybe because I love great art and maps – by the Interior Designs, painting a clear picture of a home out in the country or closer to a woodsy town. Festivals & Holidays meanwhile provides ways to celebrate both as well as birthdays, marriages, and funerals. There’s a nice chart of major holidays by month with a bit more on the traditions and fashions while in celebration. Allbirth the Lamashan the 30th holiday gets special attention, which is interesting as it hasn’t had much detail in previous materials. A two page image gives us the layout of an Allbirth festival inclusive of performance information, the wearing of masks, stews, syrupy drinks, and the sweet treats you might enjoy. Then there’s two pages of fashion about masks, weapons, footwear, and even ceremonial weapons. It’s important to remember again this is framed as one of the Golarion’s Finest guides so the writer(s) are detailing the not-so-secret masquerade party tradition that has taken over this holiday once only celebrated by Lamashtu’s followers. One of the notes is that an Allbirth is judged by the quality of the food. Sounds like an autumnal celebration I’d enjoy with serious Halloween feels. In our Expedition Coalition campaign we had an Allbirth celebration and the players loved it so I suggest you work it into your game, maybe to celebrate local town life and culture!
If you’re a fan of Abadar, then check out the Trade section. There’s much ado about Abadar, but of course trade in general. It starts with some lovely art with example copper, silver, gold, and platinum pieces along with details of commerce and the economic day to day. The Trade Routes details various tracks around the inner sea of how sea and land trade are moving. This is useful to me immediately just from talking where ships are coming and going as our game explores the area. Yet I think it’s good to know what areas have regular interaction or influence from cultural trade. I like to pepper in regular news to my game, especially when a party is in an urban area where trade might be common like Riddleport, Magnimar, or Absalom. The Sellen Passage has its own detail about traveling Ustalav, the River Kingdoms, Brevoy, Numeria, and Cassomir.
Now they say scent is the true trigger of hunger, but books can’t quite capture the smell of food. Maybe they’re more aromatic sensory memories of libraries, or school, or your grandparent’s study… But visually, the Cuisine section is a feast for the eyes, especially the two page spread with both food and drink provided. We get details on the mixing and preparation of foods, on spices, seasonings, and beverage enjoyment. However, the highlight is the provided recipes for libations and foodstuffs alike. I’d love some Thuvian Spiced Meat Pastries with a Carpenden Twist! I’ll suggest following Pallomar Gladhammer for A Taste of Thuvia over on the Paizo blog, if you haven’t already! I enjoy rum so I’m planning to try building up a Fruit Cornucopia this weekend before the summer ends.
Speaking of, it’s Back to School for many and the Fashion section has some details with accompanying art and attire. Your design questions are all answered. What’s chic with the Queens of Golarion? What’s a classic to be found in Xin-Edasseril or simply a classic? If you’re going to blend in when visiting Riddleport or the Shackles you can find all the right pieces. The accessories detailed are quite fine. I enjoy a detailed bit of art or character description and the right Varisian scarf or walking cane can really help you pull off an outfit. I can’t go into it all, let alone the amazing Art & Architecture section with detail on various styles from Absalomic to Thrunice or the famous relics, ruins, or structures around the globe We also get common games played in Pastimes with the sport of Basilisk getting featured. Crime & Law has some wanted and bounty posters to use as well further art isometrics for common thief or organization headquarters. Can I get these as pop-up flip maps please?
But what I think is a section all will want to hand out to their players is the What People Know section. Here the write up covers the bits and pieces of history known to most including the Age of Enlightenment with Aroden’s rise and then subsequent fall as the Age of Lost Omens begins. Various common knowledge around Cheliax, the Starstone, the Magaambya, and even local countries though the writer points out most can’t exactly identify where those regions are on a map if not a neighboring country. I mean, there’s plenty of people in the United States who will say Rhode Island is part of New York… Support those education referendums and funding bills folks! Knowledge of other continents is mostly generalized rumor, though we do get more on each region in another couple of pages. Any Pathfinder Society players or those with particular erudite training may want to study up.
There’s a whole section on Magic though the six or so pages aren’t enough. I want more, especially the beautiful Spellcasting Signatures! One full of Thassilonian runes from hard form or study, and the other example more personal and less learned, more experienced as Summoners and Witches are mentioned. Of course, a Witch could be divine or primal and not merely occult but there’s a real feel to that here. That’s prefaced with how the common person sees magic, and again I think that’s good for most players to read. Much of this book is just a wonderful primer on the joy of Golarion and the Pathfinder setting. I mean, this book is mostly campaign and lore so it’s really useful no matter what rule system you’re using… Certainly Golarion is best experienced as it can be whatever you want, but there’s a great deal of culture and diversity here that is best to review before changing.
Folklore & Mythology covers various creation myths, fables, and fairy tales among the people of the Inner Sea. Reminds me, I want a Travel Guide for Arcada and Tian Xia. You could easily have one just as the various cultures, people, cities of the Mwangi for that matter! The superstitions noted each come with cute pictures, which might certainly help with remembering them. They might be good for random hazards, haunts and other events. The Tale of Kgalaserke is then presented as a great epic shared and known to many. I do truly love Grandmother Spider! Which leads well into the section on Religion including some new pantheons and the Lucky Month ritual! The first picture of this article with a young person holding a candy cane is drawn from that page. I have to imagine peppermint candy is a joy to many at festival days, though probably not Allbirth. Let’s have chocolate on Allbirth. I’ll call out that the Hearth and Harvest pantheon is likely a good way to review for use during those Kingmaker 10th Anniversary games!
The next section on Nature & Animals would likely help too. It’s interesting to see some details on Pollution throughout the area impacting the natural world. I love the various Flora and Fauna with identifying pictures afterwards, useful to any game whether virtual or in person. I don’t know if Flayleaf and False Flayleaf have ever come up before , but that could be fun. I also want an Irriseni Owlbear to show up in a game. They’re sure getting lots of attention. Could there be other types of Owlbear out there used to warmer climates, even tropical? We get some plant items for our games too at the Herbalist Shop. The Pet Shop adds to those presented in the Grand Bazaar’s detail of the shop called The Menagerie. I know it’s D&D Critical Role plays but that Galtan Orange Cat gave me Caleb and Frumpkin vibes. Finally the map on monstrous locations is useful for some common places to find them. Useful in conjunction with Monsters of Myth!
We then get a few sections that I’ll use often. Weather & Climate can help you pain the picture for the various regions of the Inner Sea and we’ve a nice climate map too for those weather patterns. Natural Disasters might not be right for your game, especially if it’s a current event issue. Remember to think on the lines/veils of your game and remind your players about safety tools like the X card. Not everyone wants to deal with flooding, wildfires, etc. in their game or maybe in that session. It’s okay to not have something on that lines/veils list but still not want to have it in your game. However if you are using them most have references back to rules in order to include them. The Rare Events are irregular enough that maybe those are better to highlight. The Blood Rains of Ustalav are creepy and I wish I’d had such a thing during our Strange Aeons run through. Very good mechanics details are presented to support those events.
Finally, we get The Stars including the star map with the Cosmic Caravan of constellations we know and love first produced during the Pathfinder1E days. I don’t think I’ve seen a write up for each constellation, which is nice. Since I’ve talked a bit of Lamashtu and Allbirth, I’ll note that the Mother constellation is viewed during the month bearing her name. It’s a cauldron and it’s noted that the constellation is considered the heart of the caravan, representing family. If you played Rise of the Runelords you know Lamashtu plays a part of that first adventure. She is the Mother of All Monsters, but still a mother. As we are wisely looking at some people we’ve called monsters in the past, which are now playable ancestries, perhaps Lamashtu will get another look. I mean, look at Nocticula! We also get a moon phase chart and moon cycle names, wrapping up with more crunch: new backgrounds based on astrological phenomena! While I would’ve been happy with a book simply full of campaign details and lore, these are an excellent addition to the game. I really like how Eclipseborn gives you Ill Omen once a day but then you also might get forced to reroll by the GM. However, if you fail, you get to use Ill Omen again! Oh fickle fate, perhaps a good background for a Witch with a Patron of Curses or Pacts!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey as we discuss why I’m so invested in the Lost Omens Travel Guide. We definitely need more travel guides like I said above. Tian Xia, Mwangi, Arcadia… Maybe even whole other worlds. Certainly the forthcoming Rage of Elements will give us a taste of entirely other planes of existence. I’m sure some pathfinder will make that trek and document for us. Let us know how you’re using the Travel Guide whether you’re a GM or a player! The Travel Guide is a love letter to the Inner Sea and years of world building by developers, authors, artists and the entire Pathfinder community. Thank you!
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, Lost Omens Travel Guide, Paizo
- New Rituals banner, Religion section, Lost Omens Travel Guide, Paizo
- Ezren’s Calendar, Time & The Calendar section, Lost Omens Travel Guide, Paizo
- Summoner’s Signature, Magic section, Lost Omens Travel Guide, Paizo
- Pet Shop, Nature & Animals section, Lost Omens Travel Guide, Paizo