Saturday, April 7, 2012


My favorite published gaming world these days is Paizo's Golarion.  While I enjoy building a world from scratch, from my own starting points and with carefully chosen elements (with input from players, of course), I also enjoy the richness of a well-designed world made by the cooperative labor of many imaginations.  Golarion is a high magic, polytheistic, kitchen-sink world that is the work of many designers and authors.  You can play in it, run it, or just read about -- moreover, you can read stories set in it by good authors.

If you are unfamiliar with Golarion, Tracy has written a series of introductory posts on it at Troll in the Corner.  The PathfinderWiki has over 6,000 articles detailing the world that are freely available.  And the mountain of material from Paizo continues to grow.  If you want a descriptive dip of the toe into Golarion, grab the Inner Sea Primer.  If you're a fan of fantasy fiction, then check out the Pathfinder Tales line.  You can start with the Web Fiction for free, but I don't think you get the full experience until you try a novel.  Any of them are good, and you can check out the blurbs and reviews for indications of what is up your alley, but my recommendation for a first would still be one of the two authored by Dave Gross.  And not just because he writes about my favorite character, Count Varian Jeggare. Okay, maybe partly...

Also, if you are a fan of the Lovecraft mythos, you will enjoy Golarion as a game world as it includes lots of nods towards Innsmouth.  Lovecraftitis has not, as yet, infected the fiction.  It will be interesting to see how long that state of affairs will continue.


  1. There are times I wish they had gone slower on the build up. Maybe still giving out details for Varisia and the surrounding regions without ever getting more than a few details about the rest of the inner sea region.

  2. On the other hand, I like the fact that they've taken a kitchen sink approach, while still allowing the various regions to interact in a (mostly) organic way. They take the time to explain how the presence of one nation affects those around it. While the results aren't always perfect, the effort is there, and I appreciate that.

    I also like the fact that the Inner Sea World Guide followed its predecessor (the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting book) in giving each nation a one-line summary for each nation that allows GMs to quickly determine the tone of a given region. As such, you could easily confine your entire campaign to that region and run only the kind of genre you want. Looking for Gothic horror? Stay in Ustalav. Want urban intrigue? Hang out in Abaslom. Wanna be Indiana Jones? Spend some time in Osirion. Gotta scratch that itch to play Thundar? Pay a visit to Numeria.

    You can do all of that without having to worry about mixing genres, because each of these regions is large enough to allow for a whole campaign that could easily ignore the existence of the other regions around it.

  3. Fair enough. Plus the adventure paths add much to the region they are set in whether or not you use the path in part, in whole, or at all.

  4. True. The Adventure Path issues really are just as much source books as Paizo's other products. The expansions on the various deities, the regional information, the bestiaries...all of it's really useful stuff. ... I just wish I had time to actually read and absorb it all. ;-)

  5. I like Golarion for the same reason I like most other published campaign settings: Great ideas I can rip apart in use in my own homebrew. I am really looking forward to the upcoming Skull and Shackles AP, since one of my games is set in a faux Carribean.