Okay, so the big news from Gen Con Online, of course, is the release of the Advanced Player’s Guide for Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2). It’s an amazing book that deserves your attention, so go read it! However, I’m equally exciting about the latest lore supplement, Lost Omens: Legends.
This is the fourth Lost Omens product for Pathfinder Second Edition, and I can safely say that they all get my glowing endorsement. You can read about the Lost Omens World Guide here, the Lost Omens: Character Guide here, and the Lost Omens: Gods & Magic book here, to get my full thoughts on those products.
But I’m not here to regale my praises of past products. You want to know all about Lost Omens: Legends! Well, you’ve come to the right place. So grab a cup of coffee and curl up on a plushy armchair, because I have some words for you.
Now, as this is a lore supplement, I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers. In fact, I don’t want to go into too much detail, as the contents of this book feature many of the key players in Golarion’s history. If you’re still playing Pathfinder First Edition Adventure Paths, there are definitely spoilers that might ruin some of the twists and turns of those APs.
Alright, let’s break down my thoughts on Lost Omens: Legends!
Lost Omens: Not a Text Wall
When Lost Omens: Legends was first announced, I was really excited to get some background and flavor for Golarion’s most well-known faces. At the same time, I was worried that the book would be too dense and be comprised of one text wall after another.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of text in here. It reads primarily like a fantasy history book, albeit with a bit more pizazz than your high school social studies classes. Parts of it actually hearken to the Pathfinder Tales novels, as there are sections of prose weaved within.
However, something I really appreciate with the format are the pages of flavor. Most of the sections have an eye-grabbing piece of flavor that pertains to that specific topic. For example, in the section about Abrogail Thrune II, Queen of Cheliax, there is an entire portion dedication to Infernal Contracts. This includes a mock-up contract that you could easily repurpose for your own games:
Additionally, you’ll find diagrams of unique crossbows, tableaus depicting quilts of the Bellflowers, and lyrics to Licktoad Goblin songs. It gives your mind a nice break from reading historical facts, and serves as an additional perspective to set you in the moment. It’s all about understanding the frame of reference, after all.
As long as I’m talking about the non-text portions of the book, let me say that the illustrations are top-notch. Nearly every page has some kind of image on it, that provides a nice layer of context to the history behind it. We all know the saying about a picture being worth a thousand words, and it’s certainly true in this case.
Lost Omens: GM Tools
Let’s talk about Lost Omens: Legends from the perspective of a Gamemaster (GM), and how it might help a GM prepare for a session or campaign. Again, there are lots of great things in the book, so I want to highlight the main portions that I’d consider to be the most helpful or inspirational towards your preparation.
First, I’m going to hit you with some bad news. There aren’t any statblocks for these famous personas from Golarion history. For those of you hoping to bring x and y into your game, it’s not impossible but you certainly have some more work to do on your part.
Don’t lose all hope, however. Even if there aren’t any complete statblocks, there are still class recommendations for some of the characters. But even then, there are characters that are just ‘Red Mantis Assassin’ or ‘Pirate’, which don’t fit into any class designation.
Unfortunately, since this supplement is out when Pathfinder Second Edition is still relatively new, there just simply aren’t enough options yet to create the more badass characters. As much as I enjoy the material, I can’t help but think that this would be a better supplement to come out after Second Edition has been out for a few more years and has more content to draw from.
At that point, Paizo could provide more concrete statblocks so that players and GMs could really build these amazing characters. As it stands, you’re going to get a loose amalgamation of what the character represents, but you’ll be carrying more of the weight through roleplay and GM discretion.
That being said, the layout of the book lends itself well to GM preparation. For one, you’ll often find a muted yellow box at the bottom of some pages, labeled ‘People of Note.’ Whenever you see this, there are page references for the people listed on the page so that you can easily locate entries for those characters within this book and others. For example, you might have to pick up Lost Omens: Gods and Magic if you want to learn about Achaekek’s connection to Jakalyn.
This is a design choice that I really appreciate. At a glance, you can see who’s connected to who, and you don’t necessarily have to wrack your brain trying to remember who some of these people are. I don’t know about you, but I am always mixing up Golarion history.
The other notable tool for GMs is found within the margins of the book. Just like the other supplements that Paizo has released for Pathfinder Second Edition, the main text only takes up 2/3 of the page maximum. The other third is dedicated to little tidbits and anecdotes that shape the lore into a more complete story. This goes hand-in-hand with the point I made earlier about the flavorful segments; so many of these serve as inspiration points that you could build an entire campaign or module around.
Lastly, there are items, feats, archetypes, and spells that you can work into your character-building efforts. At first glance, the list of options seems more limited than, say, the Lost Omens: Gods and Magic supplement. This is true, and the options that you get in this book are more item/feat heavy than the spells were in Gods and Magic. Here’s what you get, based on my amateur count:
- 25 Interesting Items (+1 Masterful Material)
- 18 Fabulous Feats
- 9 Spectacular Spells
The focus in the book is clearly on the people of Golarion, so I’m not as concerned about getting fewer player options in this supplement.
Legends: Parting Thoughts
Just like Lost Omens: Gods and Magic, Lost Omens: Legends is a fantastic supplement that is perfect for anyone chomping at the bit for additional Golarion Lore. You don’t need to have read or played through all of the First Edition Adventure Paths either; everything you need to know is included.
All in all, the Lost Omens series of supplements is exceptional. There’s quite a bit of information that you could piece together by navigating through wiki pages and backmatter, but why would you want to spend your time doing all of that? It’s a superb reference tool that comes complete with never-before-heard tidbits that any Golarion gossiper worth their salt would be happy to get their hands on.
Discloser: Nerds on Earth was provided a PDF copy of Lost Omens: Legends in exchange for an honest review.