Enter the Darklands

Another Friday has come and gone which means another episode of Pathfinder Friday! This week host Dan Tharp welcomed James Jacobs to the show to chat about the Darklands.

“We’re going to kick of 2019 and just blow the doors off the whole show,” Dan insisted James said.

James has been hard at work lately creating monsters for the upcoming Bestiary, and seemed happy to take a break to chat. The episode passed in a flash and, as always happens when James is on the show, I learned something new. (Multiple somethings, if I’m being honest! Haha).

So what are the Darklands?

“The Darklands are basically the underworld of our setting,” James Jacobs explained. “A new campaign setting that basically  lives downstairs from the one that we do most of our settings in.”

The Darklands are separated into three main sections. Nar’Voth, the region closest to the surface, is home to duergar, troglodytes, and derro (among others). Below that is Sekamina, home to the drow. Orv, the deepest layer, consists of massive magical caverns called Vaults, which were created long ago by the Vault Keepers. James explained that these Vault Keepers were actually a type of earth elemental called a xiomorn. Each of the Vaults of Orv is home to its own ecosystems and some are even large enough to hold entire nations. Orv is the perhaps the most mysterious of the layers of the Darklands, and a personal favourite of mine.

James took us on a tour of the Darklands, describing many important locations and their inhabitants. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the aboleths of the Sightless Sea and the spiralling current known as the Braid that they use to travel to the oceans on Golarion’s surface, the drow of Zirnakaynin, and the ancient serpentfolk empire that once stretched across all of Sekamina. James also talked about the origins of the drow and the derro, common themes among Darklands cultures, the caligni, and some of the more benevolent creatures you can find underground. He discussed some of the works that inspired and influenced his underground creations. Much to my surprise, James shared some wonderful information about Rovagug with viewers, and taught us a lesson about the Elemental Planes. It was awesome!

Perhaps my favourite quote of the episode happened near the end, when James summed up the Darklands in one sentence, calling it…

“The giantest of giant dungeons.”

I love it.

Want to learn more about the Darklands? Most of the published information on the Darklands can be found in Pathfinder Chronicles: Into the Darklands by James Jacobs and Greg Vaughan and Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Darklands Revisited by Thurston Hillman. Pathfinder Adventure Path 16: Endless Night (Second Darkness book 4 of 6)Pathfinder Adventure Path 18: Descent into Midnight (Second Darkness book 6 of 6), and the new module Pathfinder Module: Cradle of Night, are also great resources, while Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the Darklands can help players from the surface world survive the Darklands.

Pathfinder Friday streams live on Paizo’s twitch channel every Friday at 4 p.m. PST. You can also watch already aired episodes on their Twitch stream, or watch partial episodes on their youtube channel. Be sure to tune in next week when James Jacobs discusses the Varisian city of Magnimar, and the week after when the iconic rogue Merisiel will (tentatively) take centre stage.

I can’t wait!

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Friday: Runelords, Spoilers, and a Glimpse of the Future!

This past week’s Pathfinder Friday episode was an absolute delight! Marketing Manager and Host Dan Tharp welcomed special guest James Jacobs, Creative Director for Pathfinder, to discuss the history and lore of the Runelords. It was awesome. I highly recommend you give it a watch but, BE WARNED! A common phrase on the episode was essentially: ‘I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but…’ Followed by some spoilers. Haha. It was awesome.

So what did they talk about?

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For starters, James Jacobs shared some wonderful stories about creating the Runelords in the first place. He spoke about brainstorming sessions, allocating sins, and the reasons for making the classic ‘evil wizards’ the big bad guys in Pathfinder’s first Adventure Path. This was my favourite part of the episode.

Afterwards he touched on the Thassilonian Empire, Xin, and each of the Runelords in turn, their sins, their story, how they avoided dying in Earthfall, what happened to them in the time since, and even if they died in the intervening years (likely from PCs in either the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, or the Year of the Risen Rune Season of Pathfinder Society Scenarios, or in the Pathfinder Tales novel, Lord of Runes). He also mentioned what each of the Runelords is up to at the start of Return of the Runelords. This is mostly where the spoilers came into play, particularly in regards to Alaznist and her plans (which involve TIME TRAVEL)! My favourite Runelord to hear about? Sorshen! I love the changes she’s gone through over the years.

They put up an image of a gorgeous map of Ancient Thassilon which is going to appear as a poster sized map in the Return of the Runelords Map Folio. Another exciting spoiler? Jame Jacobs has confirmed that Alaznist’s meddling will cause New Thassilon to be a nation at the end of Return of the Runelords AND in the world of Golarion going into Second Edition Pathfinder. Which is… EPIC! Haha. I love it.

They dropped a few other PF2 tidbits over the course of this episode and the previous one. For starters, last week they announced that although Golarion and the Inner Sea will be the same world with the same places, it will be assumed going into PF2 that all of the PF1 Adventure Paths have happened. That means Queen Ileosa was overthrown, the Runelords were defeated, The Worldwound has been closed, and so on. But, that doesn’t mean that Golarion will be a safe place. Some regions are still as dangerous as always — the Worldwound is still a wasteland overrun by demons, for example (although the Crusades are pushing back and has victory in sight a few more years down the line). In other places new/old evils have risen to cause havoc. Many such changes are being fleshed out now, but aren’t set in stone. We’ll have a long time to wait to get full details on that. James also mentioned that Paizo will be doing something with Nex at some point, but not immediately.

Two other interesting tidbits I particularly enjoyed? Jame Jacobs mentioned that they are intending for all Pathfinder Second Edition Adventure Paths to go all the way from levels 1 to 20! Although, whether this will work out in execution remains to be seen. Personally, I think that’s awesome! Also, James has mentioned that he’s currently working on the first PF2 Adventure Path and that people will be excited for its topic and content. What a delightful teaser! Exactly what that content is? Still under wraps! We’ll have to wait and see.

Future episodes of Pathfinder Friday will include conversations on the Whispering Tyrant, who happens to be the big bad in the upcoming Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path (which is the final PF1 Adventure Path), as well as conversations on the world of PF2, and the product lines we can expect in PF2.

To check out Pathfinder Friday episodes as they air head over to Paizo’s official Twitch stream on Fridays at 4 p.m. PST. You can also watch already aired episodes on their Twitch stream, or watch partial episodes on their youtube channel. I highly recommend you check it out! It’s a favourite in my house.

Jessica