Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Taldor: Echoes of Glory

Just read the quick little book Taldor: Echoes of Glory from Paizo last night. The Pathfinder Companion series are short little books, 32 pages. About a third of the book is a description of the country itself, a third is a description of Oppara, the capital city, and a third is mechanical options like a prestige class, some spells, feats, and NPCs.

Taldor as a setting element is kind of interesting; it's got a lot of clear (and purposeful) correllations to the late Byzantine Empire (including even an analog to the Varangian Guard); it's a country on the brink, teetering towards dissolution. Maybe not even teetering, a succession crisis is brewing as well. Qadira even works as an analog to the Ottomans (or the Sassanids before that); a powerful Eastern rival with smoldering border conflicts and territory that often goes back and forth.

Although the book was a very interesting read, one thing that I don't think it did as well as some of the other Pathfinder books, however, was give immediate and obvious adventure hooks. The text is great information for supporting games, but if you set a game in Taldor, what do you actually do? I'm not sure. I mean, I'd have to think of it myself; the book itself doesn't immediately suggest a lot of gaming activity. There's some vague mention of brigands and river pirates, and it says in several places that ruins abound due to the decayed state of the empire, but that's not much to go on, and it's kinda generic to boot. Maybe Paizo doesn't really see that as a problem; they are primarily, after all, an adventure publishing company, and this Pathfinder Companion product line is supposed to merely be support. I don't know that I see it as a problem either, because I've been running games for a long time and am confident I can think of plenty of things to do. But it's worth noting.

The next volume in the series is Qadira and after that Cheliax, both areas of the Golarion setting that interest me greatly (enough so that I wish they were getting the larger Pathfinder Chronicles treatment rather than the relatively more abbreviated Pathfinder Companion treatment. Oh, well.) I imagine I'll pick both of those up in short order as well. In the meantime, I'm still marching through Monster Manual V and have picked up my copy of Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh to read (and review) next.

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