For anyone just coming in, information is being put on a wiki as far as stuff like chargen and other useful bits: http://elliquiy.com/wiki/Taldor
, and a timeline of relevant events http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=175702.msg8361397#msg8361397
and some notes on surrounding or relevant countries: http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=175702.msg8354393#msg8354393
Still, read the below as well, if you would.
So, particularly with the release of Ultimate Campaign that helps the GM do such things like help their players manage trading costers, thieves' guilds, noble houses, domains, the face and status games of court, whole nations going to war, the like, and with there being a periodic hankering for higher level Pathfinder in these parts that seems to go unfulfilled, my own thoughts have been turning in the direction of Pathfinder on a wider scale, the sweep of high imperial court in a glittering yet decadent city, that sort of thing, especially after a game that was trying for it somewheres else (different forum entirely in a Taldor focused game at that, nothing that happened here) that I was in just did a terrible job of it.
That and coming to a sad realization that I basically have to create and run the sort of games I want to see happen brings me to where I am. Bear with me here, this is more an interest check than a formal pitch, so it's going to be a bit rough.
So, Taldor! Taldor is a nation within the Golarion setting (and somewhat detailed here http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Taldor
) that is this really wonderful fusion of the twilight era of the Byzantine Empire with certain high chivalric touches. A nation that in its glory days ruled across two continents and spearheaded the defeat of great and terrible evils while bringing a measure of civilization to the world for thousands of years, leaving a legacy in that the common tongue of a continent and a half is the Taldan language, and a standard of culture and style that much of the rest of Avistan (the continent in question) still apes towards. A land that in contrast to many lands that war with their forest dwellers, has a pact with their fey and druids that has endured across centuries. Yet war and moribund decadence have brought a once great nation to a fallen state, wealth and opulence beyond all imagining having also bred lethargy, and smug self focus amidst a vast and sprawling royal caste of dynastic families. Though the periodic rising up of common men to both noble and senatorial class alike keeps a vast populace mollified, they too quickly mire themselves in narcissism and spectacle. It should be said that with a still potent army and navy (though nothing like what it once was), the dregs of empire have terrible strength left enough to give wary pause to those who would take advantage of weakness. Yet on sheer generational diminishment, Taldor seems to be taking an especially exquisite slow march to oblivion all the same, distracted in tournament and gala from arresting her fall. Certainly there are those who would see the glory and honour of their nation restored and defended from her many enemies, if they can survive the maneuvers of a cutthroat courtly society (in whom many are quite happy with being elegantly wasted, thank you very much) while moving to do so.
Taldor’s capital, Oppara the Gilded city is itself a microcosm of everything gone right and wrong with the Empire. Where noble scions can find themselves called home by the majestic roars of fifty foot tall lion statues at their gates. Where palaces the marvel of the world and monuments to catch the breath stretch across a city. Where people can walk across gleaming tiled mosaics that serve as the surface of a massive bridge forged otherwise of pure mithril. And yet where festers as an entire district one of the worst, most dangerous slums in all Golarion, the size of what in lesser lands would be a city itself, and with buildings and alleys so crowded and tottering there are large stretches where the sun never reaches, and people within who live their entire lives without seeing its light.
The campaign itself would be a fairly sandboxy thing open to a potentially large group of players, with a center around the Taldan capital, Oppara, the Gilded City (which again has some light detail here; http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Oppara
), with players creating the people of, be they the high worthies of the royal or senatorial castes, envoys from afar, or those on a lower societal rung getting by and moving for advantage and agenda in their own ways. While the GM, aka me, and whoever else might maybe help along, will certainly initiate plots, player agency and agenda should drive events as much as anything. The idea would be to do something of a sweep of potential starting levels, something like 8-14, simply to have a bit of run the gamut sort of people floating around, from criminals to counts. The further idea would be that if you want to go in at higher levels, you put in some more backstory work with me, that if you want to come in at the highest of the higher ones, it would make for being the head of your own noble house, and putting in some design work as to your family/house history (which is to say, yes, basically that’s a bribe of high levels to put in more conceptual work, the more you put in, the more levels you get).
Concepts could be anything from members of high society, the owners of brothels, merchants, mercenaries, bodyguards, soldiers and officers, street scum, foreign diplomats/agents, representatives of the pact Taldor has with the fey, or anything in the middle of all that. Doing actual adventurer type shenanigans as a way to garner wealth/power/further your goals in some way would be something for which opportunities would exist. Wars on the scale of nations may or may not happen besides.
Knowledge of the Golarion setting would be great, but as you can see, they have a pretty thorough wiki, so it’s not that hard otherwise to pick up.
Some other general notes:
I quite like pathfinder, but the system can sometimes fall a bit short in letting you feel particularly rounded/competent/capable like characters from fiction. My usual personal solution to that is to award people a feat per level, instead of every other. Lets people branch outside taking only feats that are immediately super class relevant.
Related to the above notion, I like at least the /idea/ of gestalt (*watches people run screaming away*), that bit where you have two simultaneous class progressions (rules found here http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/gestaltCharacters.htm
). I say I like the idea of it, because obviously in practice it can turn into a horrifying min maxing disasterpiece. I’d still like to at least give it a try, and just try to keep a firm hand on any potential disasters and note that in exchange for all these go much broader options, I intend to invoke the Power of Me Saying No To Something Broke as Hell more firmly. Basically I’d prefer to be generous there and hope that people just respect a spirit of getting to have nice things. The rough guidelines would amount to that if you take a prestige class, you have to take it all the way through, that if you multiclass, you take at least 4 levels of that class, and that gestalt means none of the strong hybrid prestige classes or base classes (which basically amounts to..no eldritch knight, arcane trickster, that cleric/fighter hybrid prestige class whose name escapes me, the bard/cavalier one, and no magus. Gestalt Fighter/Wizard or Sorcerer, Wizard or Sorcerer/Thief, Cleric/Fighter, Bard/Cavalier, and Fighter/Wizard or Sorcerer would cover you for all those, respectively)
Related to that above, I’m going to be blunt for a moment. There was another effort a high scale PF campaign on Ell that some people fled from in a group, including me, because, well, it turned pretty fast just at character creation into a twinked out mess that was discouraging to deal with. The experience of that means I’m inclined to some restrictions, largely in the shape of: No Summoners (they are a screaming road to busted, I’ve yet to ever find them not be), No LA races (any player character race from Advanced Race Guide, from the Inner Sea World Guide, from the Inner Sea Bestiary, or from the Pathfinder Core are probably cool just fine though. Though you’ll really need to sell me on the more outlandish ones). We’re going to be using Pathfinder rules for this outside of the gestalt stuff meaning no, zip, zero stuff from 3.5 books, and no third party material. If you are just otherwise dying to use something third party, the most I could swing with is something from the stuff Kobold Press has put out, as their stuff has been generally pretty solid and interesting. I can talk that out at least.
I’m also going with no Gunslingers but, honestly, that’s nothing against how balanced they are, I just don’t find them fitting the thematics. If by some freak miracle this campaign takes off and trundles along for a while and someone wants to mess with Alkenstar or places like that, I’ll revisit that whole thing.
Finally, so, obviously this is a bit of “creating the game to run that I’d like to play in”, but, well, I can never really do that play in a game you run thing, I always find that too bizarre/awkward, which is just my personal vibe there. If someone wants to co-GM to allow for feeling like there’s more room to do that, hey, fantastic, I’ll love you forever. But if not, not, I’d at least like to see a game like this run and put into play, even if I’m the one running. That said, if someone wants to co-GM anyway, that would be fantastic.
So! Did you make it through all that? Congrats! If this is something that might interest you, respond and let me know, if there’s enough interest I’ll put together a more formal setting pitch, full chargen guidelines, some notes on how I intend to handle someone being a member of the upper crust as far as wealth and the like, some examples for what I would be looking for in noble house detail in either short or long versions. And some talking out of what forum rating people would prefer to see for something like this.
update: now including player made banners for organizations! http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=175702.msg8457438#msg8457438