Clocking in at nearly 400 pages, Metropolis of Misplaced Omens is what we name within the business an enormous thicc chunky boi. Rightly so, too—that is the crown jewel of Paizo’s setting, in order that they’re going to offer it the area to breathe. That mentioned, that is positively a little bit of a case of ingesting from the firehose. Potential readers and GMs are suggested to stay to the sections most related to your present session or marketing campaign. Fortunately, the main districts are largely unbiased, and any spillover is brief and particular.
The preliminary chapters of Metropolis of Misplaced Omens additionally left a bizarre style in my mouth. It’s attainable that is as a result of content material modified from older variations of Absalom that have been conceived in, let’s assume, much less enlightened occasions—humanoid slavery solely just lately turned unlawful in Absalom metropolis, and there’s energetic and thriving worship of a god of thievery and homicide. There seems to be a definite undercurrent of semi-belligerent libertarianism underpinning a lot of the depictions of authority and accepted energy relationships: authorities organizations and civic paperwork are routinely described as corrupt, “sprawling”, or “metastasized”, and it’s apparently widespread sufficient apply for the excessive govt workplace to intentionally delay convening the ruling legislative physique to “protect … the political higher hand”. The one exception to this rule seems to be the varied armed legislation enforcement businesses, that are described in a devoted sidebar as “typically [having] a status for competence and civic service”.
It’s a tough steadiness to strike between offering gamers with an possibility for going about Adventuring ™ in a metropolis and touchdown on legislation enforcement because the closest parallel. However Metropolis of Misplaced Omens’ depiction of civil organizations doesn’t sq. (for me no less than) with the opposite efforts the Paizo devs have made to handle and rise above lots of the points that plague our actual world.
Some Dang Good Stuff Y’All
Let’s get into all of the stuff that makes this ebook a pleasure to learn and an actual deal with for GMs—and belief me, there’s a LOT!
For instance—do you know that badgers are a typical pet animal in Absalom, proper subsequent to cats and canines? Properly you do now! Do you know that there are evening markets run and frequented by kobolds? Why not! Absalom even has its personal Florida Man—his identify is Zusgut, and sure, he’s a goblin. A goblin KING, thanks.
The authors have additionally carried out an INCREDIBLE job at getting the thoughts of the reader firmly planted on Absalom’s streets. Initially are the “Day within the Life” and “Yr within the Life” sections, that are indispensable in establishing town as a residing, respiratory place you may dwell in, relatively than a group of NPC names and a few stats about what you should purchase. The sidebars are additionally performing some extremely heavy lifting, too—some describe the Smells of Absalom (the SMELLS!) and there are common sidebars that characteristic a tune referring to that specific chapter. Nailing the main senses—time, sight, odor, sound, even style—are what set this ebook other than many, lots of its friends.
The Location Grasp Record, I’ll admit, made my eyes cross the primary time they landed on it, nevertheless it’s more likely to be a useful software as considered one of some ways to lookup a given landmark when a GM is pressed for time. Fortunately, the listing can also be adopted by a much-more-neatly-organized index of locations. There’s additionally a two-page unfold devoted to a desk of rumors! RUMORS! And one other two-page unfold of minor retailers and companies, full with a punchy description and a sprinkling of some NPCs!
Really, most all the things within the first two chapters, “Absalom” and “Information to the Metropolis”, is a deal with to learn, my considerations about ideology however.
Meat and Potatoes
The actual heft of Metropolis of Misplaced Omens is the twelve chapters devoted to the twelve main districts that comprise Absalom metropolis. Every chapter is laid out largely the identical method, with every chapter cramming as a lot character and potential into that construction. I’ll begin with what I like that exhibits up as widespread components, and transfer on to items from the districts that actually stood out.
Every district begins out with a lovingly detailed full-page illustration meant to seize the spirit of that district. As well as, my little cartographer’s coronary heart (which can also be my GM coronary heart) sings with pleasure to see not solely does every district embrace a thumbnail map highlighting the placement of every district in relation to the remainder of town, but in addition a full-page map with all its streets, buildings, and notable areas specified by massive, daring element. I’ve only some minor usability points right here—it is likely to be good to have a sidebar on the identical unfold because the full-page map with a listing of the names of all of its factors of curiosity, and it seems just like the factors of curiosity are labeled on the map alphabetically, not by any sample of positional order, which I feel I’d favor. (For instance, how on earth did they resolve that the Starstone Citadel was NOT focal point primary?)
Every focal point may even finish by together with a small listing of notable NPCs the characters may discover there—and what it’s the NPCs are doing! Really a present to floundering GMs. There are additionally quite a few sidebars peppered all through every district that present hooks for instantaneous motion or longer-form journey—a avenue chase might simply be a avenue chase, or it might result in the gamers uncovering the sinister secrets and techniques behind the Petal District’s immaculately-curated cemeteries and mausoleums.
Lastly, every focal point is so lovingly detailed and crammed filled with journey potential I feel it’s a disgrace that every one isn’t given an illustration of some type. You’re already committing to a four-hundred-page ebook, people—we ain’t going to complain about a couple of extra!
Now, onto specifics! In relation to the ASCENDANT COURT, I’m nonetheless extremely tickled that the man operating legislation enforcement on all of the pious folks is named Runewolf the Unbeliever. I do, nevertheless, refuse to just accept Runewolf’s illustration—he’s far too clear and well-groomed. My Runewolf will functionally be an indignant, blond Wookiee.
The EASTGATE district is a bit chillingly acquainted to me—seems like even in Fantasy Adventures we are able to’t escape householders associations and gentrification. Gentrification don’t cease on the Eastgate, nevertheless—the FOREIGN QUARTER principally exists as a direct results of a “overseas folks dwell over THERE” legislation. And it’s explicitly a legislation, too, not the byproduct of some veiled redlining insurance policies such as you may anticipate, or by the will of expats to stay collectively. It’s a LAW, and in some way that has remained in pressure since time immemorial. That having been mentioned, I couldn’t be extra delighted that there are total locations of enterprise devoted to offering scorching lamps and heat bathtubs for visiting lizardfolk!
The IVY district is the third main participant in relation to gentrification, however actually it additionally wins a variety of factors again as a result of it’s residence to a gang of troublemaking LESHYS. They usually’re known as the Brattlebunch, which I positively didn’t misinterpret the primary couple of occasions as Battlebrunch. Ooooo, battlebrunch.
Denizens of the PETAL DISTRICT are mentioned to be “unutterably smug” if their home supplies them with a view of each the Kortos Mounts and Absalom Bay—and actually, temper. Their status can also be imagined to be in direct relation to their place alongside the hill that dominates the Petal District—it’s a disgrace the map of the district doesn’t really present the elevation of the district for GMs who wish to use that.
WESTGATE is principally Absalom Metropolis’s retirement village, so after all they’ve the one police pressure that responds on time. There’s additionally an INSANE super-max jail beneath Westgate’s streets, and the streets are lined with ghoulishly creepy statues of prisoners that received petrified in Absalom’s reply to the Pamplona bull run. That having been mentioned—there’s a worker-owned bar in Westgate that has a practice of dressing up the statue of its outdated miser of a boss, and I extremely encourage you to ignore canon and hold that custom alive.
The Again 9
The previous couple of chapters of Absalom Metropolis concern themselves with what’s beneath, enclosing, and out of doors of Absalom. The UNDERCITY is all the things subterranean that isn’t a cellar, and apparently consists of the large labyrinth that serves because the lair of no matter unknown leviathan that sleeps beneath Absalom Metropolis. WALLS, GATES, AND KEEPS offers readers a glance into the defenses that keep Absalom’s sovereignty and energy, in addition to a number of the historic contingencies put in place which have lengthy since been forgotten. Lastly, and for my cash most significantly, OUTSKIRTS offers readers an in depth look of Absalom’s place inside the broader context of the Starstone Isle and all of the factors of civilization that encompass it.
Simply 1 / 4 of this ebook is devoted to the penultimate chapter: the NPC Glossary. Anybody who was ever given a reputation within the previous 300 pages is given no less than two paragraphs or extra of description, historical past, and targets in order that they are often plopped into any marketing campaign at a second’s discover. The index on the finish of the chapter just isn’t, as one may hope, organized by location; relatively, it’s organized by NPC sort. I may need most well-liked location as the first sorting issue, adopted by occupation.
That about does it for Absalom, Metropolis of Misplaced Omens! It actually ran headlong into the juxtaposition of its core gameplay mechanics versus the will to create a richly textured, multi-faceted metropolis. When you’re over that hurdle, although, this is a wonderful complement to any Pathfinder sport, and properly definitely worth the learn.