Lost Omens: Travel Guide, the latest sourcebook for Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2), puts you in the shoes of a tourist looking into the world of Lost Omens through fresh eyes!
Just like stopping by one of those tourism kiosks on the side of the road at Wisconsin Dells, the Lost Omens: Travel Guide makes sure that you know all of the happenings in Golarion during your stay. Maybe you’re in town for a special occasion, or perhaps you’re looking to try some new cuisine. Either way, the Lost Omens: Travel Guide ensures you’ll feel right at home.
The book is written through the guise of Keturah Venchaiyak, Editor-In-Chief for Golarion’s Finest Guide to the Inner Sea, so you know that you’re getting the highest quality travel guide that gold pieces can buy. And the best part is that the book is jam-packed with art to assist you in really visualizing the Inner Sea region and its many cultures.
Let’s travel straight into the details of the book!
Lost Omens: Travel Guide: Who It’s For
If you’re looking for mechanical options, the Lost Omens: Travel Guide is definitively not for you. As with the rest of the Lost Omens line, this book is designed with flavor as a far first. When you put all of these Lost Omens books together side by side, the world of Golarion manifests itself in a vivid and imaginative way.
Whereas the Lost Omens: World Guide provided a lot of geopolitical information on the different regions in the Inner Sea, the focus of the Lost Omens: Travel Guide is more on the finer details of the area’s culture. There’s plenty of information on some of the things that might be relegated to small tables or off-handed margins in other books such as details on calendars or foods you might find at a local watering hole. These are the things that are brought to the forefront to shine instead of being seen as an afterthought.
Here is a listing of the books’ sections to give you a better idea of the magnitude and scope we’re talking about:
- Time & the Calendar
- Festivals & Holidays
- Everyday Life
- Art & Architecture
- Crime & Law
- What People Know
- Folklore & Mythology
- Nature & Animals
- Weather & Climate
- Rare Events
- The Stars
Now, obviously there is a lot to cover in a region as broad as the Inner Sea, so it’s not like you’re getting a super deep dive into all of these topics. After all, the book is only around 125 pages. However, it does serve as a nice reference if you need to work something into your campaign quickly or what to add some depth to NPCs or regions without needing to find another region-specific book.
The Lost Omens: Travel Guide is primarily geared towards Gamemasters in that sense, although I could see players picking this up if they wanted to really learn more about the world they’ll be playing in. Every other page has content that you could build a character around, which makes it quite a valuable book for people who want to be rolling up unique PCs that are more outside the box than normal. This gives you the thematic backdrop for those characters.
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There’s also a really good section on pages 70-71 discussing common knowledge. A lot of times at the table the question comes up whether or not something would be generally known among the populace. Like how prevalent magic is, or what do people know about Cheliax? This helps to answer those sorts of questions in a broad sense, establishing a foundation for the fiction.
Lost Omens: Travel Guide: The Best Parts
Now let’s take a look at my top three takeaways from the Lost Omens: Travel Guide. These are things that caught my eye when reading through the book, and the things I’m most excited to bring to the table.
Basilisk (Pg 61-63)
I’ve always wanted to build a Pathfinder Second Edition character that was on some sort of prominent sports team, preferably with a background as an athlete. However, it’s hard to think about what sports might exist in a fantasy world like this. Look no further than Basilisk.
Basilisk is a game that’s a cross between lacrosse, freeze tag, and dodgeball. The Lost Omens: Travel Guide gives information about how the game is played, what a typical Basilisk player might look like, leagues, and even a spread on a specific team: the Riddleport Rollers!
Oftentimes the development of sports is seen as an aspect of society/civilization development, so it’s only fitting that there be some sports in Golarion too. Now, instead of making up my own imaginary game, I can just run with Basilisk. I might even after to put together an in-game fantasy Basilisk league complete with weekly payouts.
Superstitions (Pg 84-85)
Another fun way to build some flavor into your characters is to introduce a superstition. Lucky for you, the Lost Omens: Travel Guide has two pages filled with superstitions that might be applicable. But these aren’t just one-off quirks for your characters; these tell a lot about the world as a whole.
Take for example the ‘Pests No More’ superstition. This says that throughout Old Cheliax, bats and spiders are considered lucky. As I learned in the Common Knowledge section, people generally know that Cheliax has some kind of diabolical connection. And now you can see how that idea pushes itself into the daily lives of Cheliax’s citizens, because most people find bats and spiders to be a bit unsightly to have hanging around.
There’s also a nice superstition around Riddleport in that if you take a wrong turn you have to retrace your steps going backwards or else you’ll get lost again. Maybe in your adventures your players will attend a Riddleport Rollers Basilisk match and see a bunch of people walking backwards through the city. If the characters wouldn’t know any better, they might think Riddleport was under some sort of curse!
Famous Monster Hot Spots (Pg 104-105)
The last highlight I want to make is a nifty map showing some famous monster hot spots in the Inner Sea. The opposite page then gives you details about those monsters and facts about their history or why they’re dangerous. These are also written in an anecdotal style, so you could recreate some of these encounters for your players as well.
Why does this stand out to me? In the past I’ve had players make monster hunter characters who had to sift through the Bestiaries to find details on monsters that they had already slain or ones that they’d like to. Then, there’s a lot of work that goes into figuring out whether or not those monsters would make sense to come across in the current campaign.
Even though the map only contains a small handful of creatures, it almost serves a similar function as the National Parks Passport for a famous monster hunter. The Passports are a little booklet and you get a stamp from the Rangers when you visit a National Park. You try to fill it up. In a similar way, an adventurer might have a monster passport, and won’t rest until they’ve bested them all.
Lost Omens: Travel Guide Parting Thoughts
The Lost Omens: Travel Guide for Pathfinder Second Edition is presented with so much information that could be pertinent to your campaigns. Even if you are playing in a setting other than Golarion, there’s lot that you could repurpose for your tables if you want to breathe more life into the world for your players.
I mean, what other tabletop roleplaying game book on the market is going to give you a full spread of food images? When that Lost Omens Cookbook hits the shelves, I’ll be the first one in line to pick it up, that’s for sure!
[Disclosure: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of the Pathfinder Lost Omens: Travel Guide from Paizo in exchange for an honest review.]