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Inner Sea World Guide – Review

January 23, 2012

As someone who is fairly new to Pathfinder and the Pathfinder Society, I was eager to learn more about Golarion and the specifics of the world in which the society adventures are happening. There are very few details in the core rulebook or gamemaster guide about the different peoples and regions of the Pathfinder world. It could be argued that this is a good thing, in that you can use the Pathfinder system in a world of your own devising, or a popular fantasy setting from D&D or some other book.

The history and lore of Golarion has been published expanded upon in several books since 2007, but none are more complete than the Inner Sea World Guide. Weighing in at 320 pages, it details peoples, regions, factions, deities and geography like no other source book. One of the Skyland Games guys was lucky enough to win it in a random drawing at SCARAB, and it has been an awesome resource to all of us as we have gotten involved in the growing and thriving Asheville Pathfinder Lodge.

The majority of the book is dedicated to detailing the different regions around the inner sea, and the two main continents in which the society adventures have taken place thus far. The first section is dedicated to a dozen different human ethnicities, including their typical regions, religions, and examples of family names. Many of them are directly lifted from actual ethnicities in real life, but I feel it is refreshing to see all types of people represented in a fantasy role-playing game. So often, RPG settings are completely white unless it was a specialty setting meant to reflect a far or middle eastern culture such as TSR’s Al-Qadim or “Oriental Adventures.” It’s nice to have those backgrounds to choose from and makes the world of Golarion feel much more diverse and vibrant.

Especially helpful for society players, but also for general Pathfinder fans, are the sections on factions and religions. Many of the published adventures put the party up against such factions as the Aspis Consortium or the Red Mantis. PCs who choose religious classes like clerics and paladins will appreciate a little more background on their chosen deities and the church organizations around them.

Also included toward the back is a short section of prestige classes, feats, equipment, spells, magic items, and a few monsters. But this book is mostly an atlas, not an expansion.

I would strongly recommend this book for players who are getting involved in society play, or for those who are using Golarion in their home campaigns. It is also a pretty good source book for general ideas about world building and what to include to make your homebrew world feel rich and dynamic.

Pros: Lots of detail about the peoples and lands of Golarion

Cons: Not much else for $50. This is a book with a fairly narrow audience. If you aren’t interested in Golarion, you probably wouldn’t feel this is a good value.

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  1. January 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

    As an inner “sea” guide I’m curious, does it have much information or support for pirating escapades?

    • January 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

      It does include regions in the inner sea that have strong pirate themes such as an archipelago called “The Shackles” and a few other pirate havens. Mostly its about the two continents surrounding the inner sea, and is much more diverse than the book’s name implies.

  1. January 27, 2012 at 6:01 am
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