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!