War For The Crown; Player's Guide

Great nations proceed at the behest of a select few, and
those select few are driven in turn by small things:
whimsy, greed, fear, disease, love, or the right knife in
the right back. The War for the Crown Adventure Path
will take players up and down the length of Taldor
and beyond, and while they run their blades through
monsters and cast fireball against evil cultists, these
champions of Taldor will play the deadliest game of
the Taldan arena: politics. They’ll tangle with magical
monsters, match wits with senators, and play dirty pool
against some of the most skilled spies in the Inner Sea,
all to stop the nation of Taldor from collapsing into civil
war. If they avert the end of its 6,000 years of history
and culture, then maybe, just maybe, they can steer the
staunchly traditionalist nation toward the future.
The Adventure Path’s tone is one of action, espionage,
and intrigue. The PCs are dashing rogues who sip
exquisite drinks in formal clothes one night, only to
crawl through the mud and cut down enemies the next
The ultimate goal is to help Princess Eutropia claim
her birthright and ascend to the Lion Throne, hopefully
without the struggle destroying her good intentions
and optimism. The characters themselves start out
with little political power. They may be minor nobles,
merchants, or even commoners, but their adventures,
their associations, and the gratitude of an empress will
help them rise to become some of the most important
figures in Taldor.
The Adventure Path begins in Oppara—Taldor’s
glittering capital city—during the Grand Day of
Exaltation, an annual celebration that culminates with
the Grand Prince elevating an extraordinary commoner
to the ranks of nobility. Oppara is a city of extremes;
despite being among the wealthiest settlements in all
of Avistan, it hosts the largest population of destitute
and homeless residents. While they share a city, each
population leads very different lives, separated by wealth
and tradition more than stone walls
In a city of over 100,000 souls, the PCs may be friends,
family, schoolmates, or complete strangers. Regardless
of the heroes’ connection, the War for the Crown
Adventure Path assumes each party member has
some investment in Taldor and its future
They may be resource-strapped gentry trying
to look out for their tenants, reformers
who hope to make tomorrow better, or
selfish schemers who want to climb the
social ladder, but regardless of their
motivation, they won’t back down
once the chaos starts. Many of the
campaign traits (see page 8) offer
ways to tie a character’s past or
future to Taldor’s government.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting
Taldor, The First Empire discusses
much of Taldor’s culture, history,
and geography, and provides
some insight into the national
mindset, making it an invaluable resource for players
and Game Masters alike.
The Grand Day of Exaltation provides a motivation for
characters to gather in Oppara even if they must travel
from the far-flung corners of Taldor or beyond to do so.
Minor nobles, ordinary citizens, and even peasants try to
make the trip at least once in their lives to see the capital
at its most convivial. Some citizens of Andoran, Cheliax,
Galt, Isger, and Lastwall—countries Taldor still regards
as wayward colonies—cross their nations’ borders to
enjoy the fireworks, parades, feasts, and sporting events
that fill the week leading up to Exaltation. Entertainers
from across the Inner Sea region journey to Taldor
to capitalize upon the cheap food and generosity the
festivities encourage.
Even residents of nations beyond Taldor’s former
colonies have reason to visit this cosmopolitan trading
hub. Tourists and opportunists can find the same appeal
in the spectacle of the Exaltation, but the week is business
as usual for the year-round flow of trade. Oppara’s ports
see an endless succession of trading ships arriving from
and departing toward Absalom, Rahadoum, Druma,
Varisia, and even Taldor’s former enemy Qadira—though
Keleshites may find equal parts hostility and hospitality
when they disembark.
This is a week when important treaties are signed and
trade deals negotiated against a background of wine,
music, and raucous color. And just as Oppara attracts
politicians and strangers, it attracts schemers and
criminals aiming to take advantage of both.
Adding to this year’s excitement are rumors that
the Taldan senate will finally vote on the matter of
primogeniture: Taldor’s ancient law that decrees only
male heirs may inherit their families’ titles,
lands, and the authority that comes with
both. Its repeal would be an enormous
step forward for all of Taldor’s women
and people of other genders.
Furthermore, it would give Taldor its
first official heir since the accidental
death of young Prince Carrius 20
years ago: the Princess Eutropia
Regardless of which side of the
issue a given citizen supports,
nearly every Taldan is passionate
about the vote, and waiting for the
results with bated breath.
Wherever your character
hails from, two things bind
you to your fellow adventurers
the aforementioned desire to save
Taldor from itself, and a woman named Lady Martella
Lotheed. Whatever brought you into the public eye—your
own political ambitions, a sports victory, a protest—also
earned you the attention of this young schemer looking
for fresh talent for her own growing web of intrigue. In
exchange for your service, she offers coin, new clothes,
and invitations to one of the most prestigious social
events of the year: the Exaltation Gala, held in the senate
building. Anyone in Taldor needing a favor, an ear to
bend, or a patron can find one during this annual event,
as senators and nobles alike gather for hours of food,
wine, and music, as well as for official senate business to
be conducted before the Grand Prince arrives to formally
exalt a citizen. No matter your feelings on the busywork
the Lady Lotheed has in mind, these invitations represent
rare access to high society and networking opportunities
that can change the courses of lives.
What sort of characters work best for War for the
Crown? A champion for social reform? A scheming
vizier looking to secure her own wealth and power? A
dashing lothario looking to woo every pretty face in
the empire? A military grunt with a sturdy sword? The
answer: any of these ideas and more. While War for the
Crown contains a fair amount of clandestine work and
social interaction, it still has its fair share of monsters
to slay and dungeons to delve. Whatever a character’s
motivation is for diving into Taldan politics, there
should be opportunities aplenty.
At its core, War for the Crown is a campaign for people
who want to fix a broken system, not take it over for their
own gain or tear it all down in bloody revolt. This difficult
course means learning to blend in among those whose
rule you seek to undermine, rather than upturning their
world and starting from scratch. It means compromise
and subterfuge and keeping up the appearance of loyalty
to various despicable sorts even as you work behind the
scenes to undermine them. But through all this, as your
patron rises in power and prestige, so too do you, and
your actions can help shape Eutropia’s rule when—or
if—she finally reaches the throne.
The characters in War for the Crown fight on behalf
of a neutral good candidate, and while their purpose
is to get their hands dirty on her behalf, characters
with good or neutral alignments will have an easier
time navigating challenges and achieving goals. Lawful
characters shouldn’t feel beholden to tradition, as the
laws of succession end up in uncharted territory as
War for the Crown begins, while chaotic characters
should take some solace that Eutropia’s long-running
goals include overturning corrupt and unfair systems
for the betterment of all. More mercenary characters
will find plenty of chances to earn wealth, fame, and
prestige in Martella Lotheed’s service; even characters
of evil alignments can exploit these same opportunities
if they keep their darker impulses concealed from
their comrades and can be persuaded to work well
with others.
The challenges in War for the Crown rely as much on
calm words and a winning smile as they do a sharp blade,
and while combat will present itself, characters who can
blend into the social scene or investigate strange events
will find more opportunities to shine. Most character
classes are suitable for War for the Crown, but those
that revolve around rugged wilderness themes or with
few options outside of combat may have less to do in
many parts of the story. Character classes with diverse
abilities—especially the bard, inquisitor, investigator,
medium, rogue, swashbuckler, and vigilante—will find
themselves well prepared for the variety of challenges
they encounter. Martially inclined players will find
more utility playing brawlers, cavaliers, and paladins
than most fighters or rangers. For spellcasters, those
whose arts come from study and control—alchemists,
arcanists, clerics, magi, and wizards—are more readily
accepted in high society than those whose magic is a
result of oflen-untraceable ancestry, happenstance, or
unknowable forces; oracles, sorcerers, summoners,
and witches are typically looked down upon in Taldan
society. In much of Taldor, classes that thrive in the
wild world—barbarians, bloodragers, hunters, rangers,
and skalds—will find their skills less useful and their
presence less welcome than their urban counterparts.
Many Taldans distrust druids in particular, invoking
as their reason the centuries of animosity towards the
Wildwood Lodge of the Verduran Forest.
As much of War for the Crown focuses on the history,
legacies, and zeitgeist of Taldor, along with conspiracies
and strange forces, the various occult classes are
especially appropriate for this Adventure Path.
Some potentially useful archetypes are listed below:
Players will encounter a variety of opponents throughout
the course of the War for the Crown Adventure Path as
they traipse through urban sprawl, ancient dungeons,
fetid waterways, and sweltering plains. The best
choice for favored terrain is urban, followed by plains
and underground. Throughout the adventure, rival
humanoids—especially humans—will be the PCs’ most
frequent opponents, backed up by animals, magical
beasts, and evil outsiders.
Given the nature of the campaign, characters are most
likely Taldan natives from middle- or upper-class
families, but Lady Lotheed may well have recruited
a lower-class PC who came to her attention through
extraordinary circumstances. Young or inexperienced
aristocrats, apprentice merchants, rising celebrities,
students, reformers, guild members, journalists, and
aspiring spies all have reasons to invest themselves in
Oppara’s treacherous political stage. Eutropia has also
gained the support of the Sovereign Court, a secret
society that believes that those entrusted with the power
of a title must be bound to use it wisely and respectfully,
and so Pathfinder agents from all across Avistan and
Garund may find themselves in Taldor to assist her.
Common is by definition the language of Taldor, as
Taldor originated the Common tongue. Academics and
sophisticates oflen opt to learn Azlanti, Celestial, or Elven
as a status symbol. The nation’s proximity to Qadira
means many merchants, soldiers, and travelers speak
Kelish. Taldor’s historical march over much of Kellid
territory means many lower-class citizens, especially
those living in and around the Verduran Forest, speak
a bit of Hallit. By contrast, Taldor’s many dwarves and
halflings rarely use nonhuman languages outside of their
own communities, making experience with Dwarven and
Halfling rare outside of those groups.
Oppara in particular sees a large variety of languages.
Skald is common among soldiers and servants thanks
to the presence of the Ulfen Guard, while Taldor’s trade
relationships with Osirion and Jalmeray lead a sizable
minority of merchants and accountants to study Osiriani
and Vudrani.
Taldor’s history of empire and trade is visible in its
people. For centuries, Taldor conquered every land it
could and traded with those it didn’t; modern Taldans,
noble and common alike, represent nearly every
human ethnicity. The nation also hosts a wide variety
of other humanoids. Dwarves native to Taldor make
their homes in Maheto and the Sky Citadel Kravenkus
The Verduran Forest supports a large population of
gnomes, centered in and around Wispil. Halfling
villages and farmsteads dot the Taldan countryside,
while their urban counterparts work as bakers,
cooks, entertainers, and servants. Part-humans, from
half-elves to geniekin, also number among Taldor’s
citizens. Some rare races call Taldor home as well
reclusive families of fetchlings dwell in the shadows
of great cities, while gillmen can be found all along
the western coasts. Skinwalkers descended from the
lycanthropes of the Verduran Forest live in the rural
north. Even tengus and vishkanyas have crossed
Golarion to come to Taldor. Non-human visitors are
also a regular occurrence, especially dwarves from the
Five Kings Mountains and elves from Kyonin
Despite this cosmopolitan veneer, Taldor remains
a stubbornly old-fashioned, humanocentric empire
with little regard for non-humans. Stigma toward part-
humans such as half-orcs, half-elves, and geniekin is
especially virulent, with some humans openly labeling
such folk “mongrels” or worse. Half-elves descended
from noble Taldans generally have the resources to
live in comfort, but at the cost of lifelong reclusion
Halflings, gnomes, and half-orcs are considered suitable
only for roles as servants. Dwarves and elves experience
exceptions to this discrimination, but only because of
their perceived benefits to Taldan humans—elves for
their beauty and sophistication, and dwarves for their
part in Taldor’s economic bounty.
The notable exception to this backwards attitude
is the Taldan acceptance of aasimars. The people of
Taldor believe the angel-blooded stem from their eons-
long relationship with the god Aroden, and see them
as physical manifestations of Taldor’s own cultural and
moral enlightenment.
Worship of Aroden is still a part of Taldan daily life
to some degree, but while the church still exists, its
coffers are nearly empty, leaving it with little political
power. The practical gods of Taldor are Abadar, Cayden
Cailean, Norgorber, and Shelyn—the so-called Taldan
pantheon—with sizable cults of Calistria, Iomedae, and
Kurgess as well. Many staunch Taldan traditionalists still
consider worship of Sarenrae taboo, but now that the
faith is no longer outlawed it enjoys a growing popularity
among the poor. Worship of darker gods divides sharply
along class boundaries; indulgent nobles oflen form
cults to Urgathoa to worship her aspect as the goddess
of gluttony and indulgence, whereas the poor turn to
Norgorber, especially his aspect as the Gray Master. The
Green Faith is dominant in the Verduran Forest, and,
surprisingly, the empire has imported some diabolism
from Cheliax.
At many points during War for the Crown, various social
and knowledge skills will prove critical for winning
allies and uncovering clues. While combat and physical
challenges will still present themselves, players may risk
feeling lefl out if their characters don’t have at least one
of the following skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, or
Sense Motive. Skills that are less critical but still appear
frequently include Knowledge (history), Knowledge
(nobility), Performance, Profession, and Stealth. Many
useful feats for social encounters and investigations can
be found in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue
Especially thematic feats include the Cosmopolitan,
Flagbearer, Noble Scion, Secret Signs, Stoic, and Taldan
Duelist feats from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner
Sea World Guide, as well as story feats that delve into a
character’s heritage. Non-humans may benefit from
the Pass for HumanAPG feat as they cross paths with
Taldor’s more conservative personages. Taldor is also
a nation of duelists, and combat feats such as Amateur
SwashbucklerACG, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes,
Improved Disarm, Lunge, Spring Attack, and Weapon
Finesse are all thematically appropriate.
With ready access to a huge variety of services, the PCs
will have little need for crafling feats.
In addition to the Campaign Traits listed below, several
traits from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player’s
Guide are particularly fitting for the themes of War
for the Crown, or provide access to important skills.
These include Adopted, Armor Expert, Bully, Classically
Schooled, Ease of Faith, Eyes and Ears of the City, Fast-
Talker, Fencer, Focused Mind, Magical Talent, Savannah
Child, Suspicious, Well-Informed, and World Traveler
Beyond these, Pathfinder Player Companion: Spymaster’s
Handbook presents many new traits appropriate to this
campaign, in particular Criminal Roots, Deep Cover,
Hidden Faith, Official Ties, and Persuasive Insight.
The War for the Crown Adventure Path guides players
from being relative nobodies with an interest in Taldor’s
politics to major players on the nation’s stage. The
campaign begins in Oppara, glittering capital of the
empire, with the assumption that each character has done
something minor that nonetheless proved sufficient to
earn the attention of some noble circles and led to their
recruitment by Lady Martella Lotheed. Regardless of
background, every character should have a vested interest
in preserving Taldor as a nation, and be willing to work
alongside others to accomplish that greater goal.
Each player character should select one of the
following campaign traits as one of their two traits
available at character creation:
Athletic Champion: Your physique and skill brought
you into the public eye, and a winning smile helps you
stay there. Taldor honors its extraordinary athletes,
celebrating them as cultural heroes. Whether you were
a gladiator, a runner, a wrestler, or any other competitor,
your most recent victory caused someone important to
sit up and take notice. You may never have a political
career in front of you, but for now your name is helping
to bring a little extra money in, and maybe that’s good
enough. Select two of the following skills: Climb,
Diplomacy, Perception, and Swim. You gain a +1 trait
bonus on checks with those skills, and they are always
class skills for you. In addition, you are accustomed to
maneuvering through crowds; you gain a +2 trait bonus
on checks to navigate through a crowd or resist being
moved against your will, including spells and bull rush,
drag, and reposition combat maneuvers.
Child of Oppara: You belong to a noble family that
matters in Taldor, though as the story begins you may
or may not be on good terms with your relatives. Your
upbringing among the city’s well-to-do gives you an
upper hand when it comes to knowledge of high society,
and you start the game with a modest inheritance
With Princess Eutropia’s efforts to provide for Taldor’s
common citizens and overturn years of tradition, new
lines are being quietly drawn in the sand, and you have
found yourself embroiled in these intrigues whether you
intended to be or not.
With this trait, the assumption is that you belong to a
minor noble family (and can make up your family name).
In this case, your family keeps a small manor in Aroden’s
View or Senate’s Hill. If you want to be a member of
one of Oppara’s major noble families, you must take the
Noble Scion feat at 1st level.
You gain a +1 trait bonus on Appraise and Knowledge
(nobility) checks, and one of these skills is always a class
skill for you. The Noble Scion feat (see the sidebar) does
not have a Charisma prerequisite for you. In addition,
you start play with a noble’s outfit, a signet ring, and a
single additional nonmagical item worth no more than
200 gp.
Disgraced Noble: Your noble family used to matter,
until your father took a stand against Maxillar Pythareus,
the commander of Taldor’s military. True or not, the
accusations Pythareus leveled against your family in
return destroyed your reputation and isolated you from
the society you grew up in. Now the only thing that
matters to you is clawing your way back up the social
ladder, either for your own quality of life or to clear your
family’s name. You’ve had to practice deception as you
began working your way back into Taldan social circles;
you gain a +2 trait bonus on Bluff checks to conceal your
identity and a +2 bonus on Linguistics checks to spot
or produce forgeries, and one of these skills is always a
class skill for you. Once each day, you can choose a single
humanoid you believe to have been involved in the
conspiracy to destroy your family; you gain a +1 morale
bonus on attack and damage rolls against that NPC for a
number of rounds equal to your character level. At 10th
level, this bonus increases to +2.
Rising Star: All too oflen, great minds must suffer for
their art, but you’re one of the lucky ones. Your skills
attracted the attention of a noble patron who pays for
your food, housing, and tools. As your patron introduces
you to other cultural elites, you’re slowly learning to
navigate the treacherous waters of high society, but you
still remember the lean times when each meal was a
hard-won treasure. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense
Motive and Survival checks, as well as checks using a
single Crafl or Perform skill of your choice; one of these
skills is always a class skill for you. Once each day, you
can invoke your patron’s reputation or name one of your
own prominent works to gain a +2 circumstance bonus
on a single Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check. You
begin the game with a masterwork musical instrument
or tool appropriate to the Crafl or Perform skill you
selected, a gifl from your patron.
Senatorial Hopeful: While you belong to a noble
family, hailing from the outlying prefectures means you
lack the pull and wealth needed to rub shoulders with the
stars of Oppara’s social scene. Your life has been quiet,
isolated from the thrum of fashion and pop culture, but
you see this as a source of insight and aim to help people
by someday joining the senate. It’ll be a long journey, but
you’ve already begun learning which hands to shake and
how to listen carefully when others tell you what they
want. You gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy and Knowledge
(local) checks, and both of these skills are always class
skills for you. Once each week you can call on family
connections to obtain a single piece of equipment or
consumable magic item (such as a potion or scroll) worth
up to your character level × 25 gp. Delivery of the goods
you request takes 1d4 days. At 10th level, the potential
value of a magical item increases to your character level
× 50 gp, and your requests can also include spellcasting
services and wands.
Taldan Patriot: You love your country, its history,
and its people… even though they may not love you
back. Whether you’re a bureaucrat, a minor noble, or a
soldier, you want your community to be the best it can
be and you channel that love into a position in service
to the people of Taldor. You gain a +1 bonus on all Sense
Motive and Knowledge (history) checks, and these skills
are always class skills for you. In addition, once per
day you can recall a specific fact about a Taldan noble’s
personality—quirks such as a hobby or pet peeve—
including information you would normally learn as a
discovery check in social combat.
Young Reformer: Perhaps you were born at the
bottom of Taldan society and you’re tired of seeing
your friends and family toil endlessly with no hope
of a better life, or maybe your privileged outlook was
shattered by empathy or tragedy. Either way, you know
the system is broken, and you’ve dedicated your life
to fixing it. But tradition rules Taldor as much as any
Grand Prince, and change requires more influence than
you have… so far. You’ve got a few friends and allies,
and plenty of determination, but while you work toward
the power you need to change the nation, you’ll have
to resort to more discrete ways of righting wrongs and
curbing the abuses of the upper class. You gain a +1 trait
bonus on Disable Device and Knowledge (local) checks,
and one of these skills is always a class skill for you.
Once per day, you can call upon your coconspirators
to have “made arrangements” on your behalf, allowing
you to attempt a Knowledge (local) check in place of a
single Bluff, Disable Device, Intimidate, or Sleight of
Hand check. The DC of this Knowledge (local) check is
equal to the DC of the skill check it replaces. Whatever
arrangements you make—for doors lefl unlocked,
guards strong-armed out of your way, stolen keys lefl
for you to find—must be reasonable to have anticipated
and achieved beforehand; you could arrange to have
a noble convinced you’re a very important diplomat
traveling in disguise, for example, but if a fight breaks
out you could not rely on your network of contacts to
feint for you in combat. You don’t have to use this ability
in advance; you can announce its use as you encounter
a challenge, implying you foresaw this challenge and
made arrangements prior to your arrival.
You are a member of one of the significant noble families of
Oppara, whether or not you remain in good standing with
your family. In many cases, these families are Imperialists
loyal to Maxillar Pythareus, and as such you either are a
black sheep or your family has cut you off entirely.
Prerequisites: Charisma 13 or Child of Oppara trait,
must be taken at 1st level.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on all Knowledge
(nobility) checks, and Knowledge (nobility) is always a
class skill for you. You also gain an additional benefit
depending on which family you belong to.
Basri: You come from the long line of ambassadors,
diplomats, and travelers that make up the Basri, and
your family maintains the strongest ties to the elven
nation of Kyonin of any Taldan humans. Select one of
the following as a bonus starting language: Celestial,
Elven, Gnome, Sylvan. You gain proficiency in one of
the following weapons: longbow (including composite),
longsword, rapier, or shortbow (including composite). If
you gain proficiency in all martial weapons at 1st level,
you can instead select elven curve blade.
Clement: Your Garundi and Mwangi ancestors served
Taldor proudly during the Sixth Army of Exploration and
were awarded titles for their service. Your family, which
has maintained their noble titles to this day, is known for
keen insights and biting observations. You can substitute
your Wisdom modifier for your Charisma modifier when
attempting Diplomacy skill checks.
Corcina: Your family came to prominence during the
Second Army of Exploration, and maintains a legacy as
explorers and sailors. You gain a +1 bonus on Climb and
Escape Artist checks, and a +2 bonus on Survival checks
to navigate.
Karthis: Yours is a family of distinguished military
veterans, charismatic demagogues, and xenophobic
zealots. As the rest of the family becomes increasingly
Imperialist, you have made no effort to remain in their
good graces, but you retain the skills they taught you
during a childhood of rigorous training. You can apply
your Charisma modifier instead of your Dexterity
modifier to Initiative checks.
Kastner: Your stalwart family defines itself by opposing
your devil-worshiping Chelish cousins, a grudge that
inspired some of Taldor’s greatest healers, priests, and
negotiators. You gain one additional use per day of
channel energy, lay on hands, or mesmerist tricks, or 3
additional rounds of bardic music per day. You gain only
one of these benefits, even if you later acquire a second
class that provides one of the other class features listed.
Lotheed: Your family ranks include the greatest
wizards and arcane scholars in Taldor, and schooling
in some of the most comprehensive arcane libraries in
the Inner Sea was your birthright. If your Intelligence is
11 or higher, you gain the following spell-like abilities:
1/day—dancing lights, prestidigitation, read magic, unseen
servant. The caster level for these effects is equal to one-
half your class level.
Merosett: The cunning members of your large family,
a longtime fixture in Oppara’s bureaucracy, specialize in
tracking lineages and sidestepping red tape. You gain a +5
bonus on Bluff checks to send secret messages and Sense
Motive checks to discern secret messages. You halve
the time required to search through archives, navigate
government offices, review contracts, or otherwise work
with the complex bureaucracies your family has mastered
for generations.
Stavian: As a close relative of the Grand Prince, yours
has been a life of material comfort and indulgence,
colored by constant threats and direct influence. You
gain a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves against poison and on
Will saves against enchantment spells of the charm and
compulsion subschools.
Talbot: Your starkly conservative family are merchants
and entrepreneurs first and aristocrats second, willing
to forgo duty if they can instead pursue profit. They
condemn would-be adventurers and readily oust them
from the family ranks, leaving you an outcast. You gain
a +2 bonus on one Profession skill of your choice. Once
per day, you can use this Profession skill in place of a
single Knowledge skill check
Varima: Your family immigrated to Taldor from
Vudra hundreds of years ago, and thanks to noble roots,
extensive trade contacts, and an unparalleled skill in
negotiation, soon developed into a steadfast fixture of
Oppara’s social scene. Whenever you use Diplomacy to
influence a crowd or a room (but not individuals), you
can roll twice and use the better result.
Vernisant: Your family is descended from the great
general Arnisant, who commanded Taldan forces during
the Shining Crusade… and they will never let anyone
forget it! Their fierce Imperialist support and nationalist
fervor has lefl you alienated from your relatives now, but
their emphasis on scholarship lefl a mark nonetheless.
You gain a +1 bonus on all Knowledge skills in which you
have at least 1 rank.
Vinmark: Newcomers and outsiders, your Ulfen family
was exalted to nobility 19 years ago, when Stavian III
promoted your family patriarch to Baron of Oppara
as a reward for service in the Ulfen Guard. Established
aristocrats consider your family crude, choosing to leave
them on the margins of Taldan politics unless a noble
thinks they could use you to curry favor with the Grand
Prince, but hard-won practicality and newborn cynicism
grant you insight most Taldan nobles lack. Once per day
when rolling a Sense Motive check, you may roll two dice
and use the better result.
Zespire: Your family runs charities and lobbies heavily
for social reform, leaving them with few friends among
their Opparan peers but heartfelt support from the
common folk and lesser nobility. You gain a +2 bonus
on Diplomacy and Perform checks when dealing with
common citizens and with nobles whose titles are
limited to Lord, Lady, Knight, or Dame.
Special: This is a variant of the Noble Scion trait
presented in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea
World Guide. If you take this version of the feat, you
cannot also take the version presented in that book.
The popular image of Taldor being a nation of inbred
fops sipping tea as their empire burns isn’t entirely
baseless, but reducing the entire nation to only that
does a disservice to its citizens and influence. Much of
Avistan’s culture and language stems from Taldor, and
the empire influenced the history of three continents
But, overseen by rulers with more interest in luxury than
the nation’s well-being, Grand Prince Stavian III being
only the most recent, the nation now is a shadow of its
former self.
Taldor is a nation of long histories and deep divisions
Following Earthfall and the Age of Darkness, it was the
first settlement on Avistan to rebuild itself, allying
disparate city-states into an empire. This mythic task,
achieved by the legendary First Emperor Taldaris, gave
birth not only to a nation but also to a nationalist fervor.
Taldan patriotism praised hard work and discipline; the
nascent empire channeled these values by mastering
cavalry and building roads from Oppara to the Arcadian
Ocean unmatched by the rest of the continent’s
scattered Kellid city-states. Taldor’s military might
created imperial economic power; Taldans saw their
conquests as bringing enlightenment to “backwards”
people and inferior states, seeing the empire itself as
proof they deserved the great wealth that flowed from
their mighty colonies.
Those days of dominion are long gone. Though
Taldans still refer to them as “the colonies,” Andoran,
Cheliax, Galt, Isger, and Lastwall are all independent
nations, their populations and resources no longer
subject to Taldan governance or Taldan use. While the
nation remains a military and economic juggernaut, it has
little to show for its past glories beyond an immense but
ever-diminishing treasury, an out-of-touch aristocracy,
and nationalist nostalgia. Taldan culture still prizes hard
work and discipline, but the common folk are the ones
practicing those virtues, for little recognition or reward;
the nobility, like their imperial predecessors, profess
national pride for its own sake, sure that their continued
wealth shows they must be doing something right. All
the while, Taldor’s once-legendary infrastructure of
aqueducts, bridges, canals, and highways crumbles,
leaving pockets of the population completely cut off from
the nation and areas rendered uninhabitable as rural
farming collapses. A corrupt, labyrinthine bureaucracy
stymies those nobles who do want to improve the
system—or even just maintain their lands.
Taldan people descend from the ancient Azlanti,
though not as directly as they might claim. Their
ancestors wandered slowly across the Inner Sea region
following Earthfall, pushed progressively further east
by orcs and aggressive Kellid tribes. Over time, as they
incorporated blood and language from Kellids, Garundi,
and Keleshites, Taldor’s ancestors grew into a distinct
people. Most modern Taldans can trace their ancestry
to at least two continents but share key features of their
culture, including confidence, stubbornness, a strong
sense of camaraderie, and a love of history and art
Intense traditionalism means Taldan culture is still
steeped in sexism and racism that many other nations
have spent decades gradually shedding. While any
Taldan can own property or hold a title via promotion,
marriage, or appointment, the law of primogeniture
dictates that only men can inherit, both demonstrating
and perpetuating Taldor’s inequalities. While many
reformers are trying to reverse these attitudes—the
emperor’s own daughter, Princess Eutropia, included—
Taldor as a whole resists change, even for the better, as a
matter of principle. The old ways forged an empire and
conquered a hostile world, afler all. Why shouldn’t they
work now?
Taldor stretches around the eastern coastline of the
Inner Sea, extending from the temperate Verduran
Forest in the north to the warm plains surrounding
the Jalrune River in the south, and reaching east to the
World’s Edge Mountains and the rolling savanna beyond
Its domain encompasses foothills, primeval forest, broad
rocky plains, verdant fields, swamps, and desert, divvied
up by an immense network of roads and canals. The bulk
of Taldor’s population hugs the coastline of the Inner Sea
and the banks of the mighty Porthmos River, but large
settlements exist in the World’s Edge Mountains and the
contested southlands as well.
Taldor is made up of 12 prefectures and several
dozen small, largely uninhabited provinces, with each
prefecture divided into smaller duchies, duchies divided
into counties, and counties finally divided into baronies
The nation owes much of its continued prosperity to the
sheer diversity of local products it can export: the World’s
Edge Mountains produce rich, deep veins of iron, gold,
silver, copper, and tin; the coastline offers a wealth of
fish, shellfish, and strong winds to power local mills; the
Verduran Forest produces abundant timber and a variety
of valuable plants, including healing herbs, fruit, and
unique spices. The abundance of volcanoes along the
nation’s eastern and northern borders results in rich soil
that produces a huge variety of apples, figs, grains, grapes,
pears, pomegranates, rice, and olives, all of which find
their way into Taldan cooking.
Thanks to centuries of neglect, civil engineering
marvels that were once the envy of the world now
slowly crumble, producing striking tableaus of
abandonment: canals clogged with mud and reeds,
tumbledown aqueducts creating beautiful waterfalls
in the middle of fields, and roads that simply end for
several miles before resuming. Despite this, Taldor
still boasts one of the highest standards of living in
Avistan for its rural community, and even in lean years,
few farmers need worry where their next meal will
come from.
Taldor is a hereditary monarchy, with a large senate
that shapes imperial decrees into functional law and
votes on necessary matters that don’t attract the crown’s
attention. A sprawling bureaucracy manages the day-to-
day challenges of governance. Grand Prince Stavian III
sits on the throne, but is an aging, indifferent emperor,
enjoying the excesses of wealth and rarely appearing in
public. The nation’s 222 senators have likewise taken a
light-handed approach to governance, letting much of the
nation’s government run on inertia. While the imperial
bureaucracy remains functional—managing crops, news,
and disaster relief, as well as collecting taxes and settling
legal disputes—bureaucrats’ diligence and effort is set
back by the millennia of cobbled-together offices that
oflen leave departments underfunded, redundant, or
entirely unstaffed and existing on paper only.
Much of the nation’s rule falls onto regional nobles,
so quality of life varies widely depending on the local
lord’s whim. While all Taldans have the legal right to
move freely, in reality moving to a new domain is oflen
too expensive to be feasible, and some nobles even hold
their tenants hostage despite the law.
While Taldor holds tight to its traditions, enough
senators, nobles, and regular citizens have grown sick
of the status quo to form the beginning of a reform
movement. They call themselves Loyalists, and declare
their allegiance to the history, great deeds, and people
of Taldor, rather than any individual—even the
emperor. While she is not a Loyalist, Princess Eutropia
also works to reform many of Taldor’s ancient customs
and broken systems, with a particular focus toward
poverty and gender inequality, and many within
the Loyalist movement support her efforts to repeal
primogeniture and allow any person to inherit family
lands and titles.
In opposition to the Loyalists stand a growing
movement of Imperialists, who consider the Primogen
Crown the one true authority in Taldor, with the senate
and nobility existing only to carry out the emperor’s will.
This disparate group shares the firm belief that Taldor’s
greatness was rooted in its oldest traditions—and that
embracing new ideas was what cost Taldor its imperial
might. Their most extreme members insist that no
middle ground can exist: either Taldor must reconquer
former colonies like Galt and Andoran, or else the empire
is doomed to crumble away into nothing.
While not every Taldan belongs to a faction, the
increasing polarization of Taldan society is raising
tensions across the nation. Other conflicts—growing
political instability in Thuvia, rumors that the Seven
Houses are undermining Andoran’s government, the
squashed rebellion in Cheliax, and the secession of
Ravounel—serve only to intensify the turmoil. Secret
societies and fraternities, a longtime staple of the Taldan
aristocracy that until recently amounted to little more
than private clubs, have begun maneuvering to gain
power or hoard wealth now, with the expectation that
Grand Prince Stavian III’s passing will lead to a painful
and protracted succession conflict.
Every conflict in War for the Crown that takes place in
salons and ballrooms is just as real—and as deadly—as its
daring sword battles through lost catacombs and secret
lairs. PCs will need wit and guile as much as a strong arm
The rules here describe the most common types of social
interactions the PCs will engage in: winning favor and
influencing NPCs. These rules are a simplified version
of the rules for influencing an individual presented in
Chapter 3 of Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue.
Dramatis Personae: For social conflicts, NPCs are
presented in a Dramatis Personae section with their
social stat blocks. A social stat block provides some
basic description, including the NPC’s background,
appearance, personality, and goals. It also lists rules
elements like relevant skill bonuses and the NPCs’
biases, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as their starting
attitude toward the PCs, the steps needed to change it,
and the benefits the PCs gain for improving an NPC’s
attitude toward them.
Skills: This section lists the NPC’s skill bonuses that
are relevant to social interaction, usually including
but not limited to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and
Sense Motive.
Biases: Biases are subconscious preferences an NPC
might not know they have, but that shape who they
listen to, what information they dismiss, when they
welcome interaction, and what might cause them to
refuse outside input. People or circumstances an NPC
has a positive bias toward gain a +2 bonus on all checks
to influence them, while those they are negatively
inclined toward take a –2 penalty on such checks. The
modifier from one bias stacks with other biases, so an
elven woman trying to influence an NPC who favors
elves (+2) but hates women (–2) would cancel out. These
modifiers also stack with strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths: Strengths are particular beliefs, topics, and
values an NPC is especially intractable on; any attempt
to influence an NPC using one of their strengths
takes a –4 penalty. A skinflint politician might have a
strength against the plight of the poor, so no matter if
a PC tries to sway him using Diplomacy, Intimidate, or
any other skill, she takes a –4 penalty if she’s trying to
discuss charity or suffering of the needy.
Weaknesses: Weaknesses are approaches, frames, and
ideas that an NPC is more likely to be swayed by and
that are more useful for influencing them, granting a
+4 bonus on influence checks when used. Influence
checks against a skinflint politician would gain a +4
bonus, for example, if the PC attempting the skill
check opts to offer campaign contributions.
Starting Attitude: This section describes how the NPC
initially feels about the PC, referencing the attitudes
listed under the Diplomacy skill (Pathfinder RPG Core
Rulebook 95).
Infiuence Checks: This section lists the various skills a
PC can use to influence the NPC, as well as the DC for
each individual skill. Most NPCs will be more easily
influenced by talking about work or hobbies than with
a simple Diplomacy skill check. The Skill and DC
listed in bold is the discovery check to learn what skills
may be used to influence this NPC.
Successes Needed: This section lists the number
of successful influence checks PCs must collect to
either win an NPC’s favor in the short term or shifl
their attitude one step closer to helpful in the long
term. The adventure and encounter will list which
adjustment the PCs need to accomplish.
Special: This section mentions any special
conditions, limited availability, or other modifiers that
might apply to influencing this NPC.
Benefit: This section lists what rewards the PCs
receive for improving this NPC’s attitude.
Story Award: This section lists XP rewards PCs
receive for influencing the NPC.
A PC can uncover a bias with a successful DC 20 Sense
Motive check, and she can learn an NPC’s strength or
weakness with a successful discovery check. These stat
blocks also list each NPC’s skill bonuses for common
social skills, to account for any unusual actions the PCs
might take.
Every adventure will provide a timeline for its social-
focused story. Each event or occasion in social combat
lists a number of social rounds associated with it. During
these social rounds, the PCs can attempt skill checks to
influence NPCs or to generally engage with NPCs in a
specific area of the location. A PC can attempt only one
major action each round, including influencing an area,
influencing a specific NPC, or attempting some mission-
or objective-related skill check. PCs can also conduct
any number of simple actions, such as eating, drinking,
wandering to other areas of an event, and communicating
with other PCs.
Sometimes, a PC can attempt to influence a crowd in
a room, rather than targeting a single individual. The
room’s description will list any appropriate skills and
their respective DCs. Each area has two thresholds, which
represent levels of influence over that area. For every
point that the PC’s result on one of these skill checks
exceeds the DC, one point is added to a pool specific to
that area. Once the number of points earned by the party
as a whole exceeds an area’s threshold value, the GM
provides the PCs with the information and story award
associated with it.
Each social round, a PC can move to any location in an
event and select a single NPC in that area as her target to
influence. She then attempts either a discovery check or
an influence check.
Discovery Checks: A discovery check allows a PC to
learn either one of the skills she can use to influence
the target or one of the target’s biases, strengths, or
weaknesses. The exact skill and DC required for a
discovery check varies; the discovery check to learn a
skill that can be used for an influence check normally
requires a successful Sense Motive or Knowledge
(nobility) check, with the DC listed in parenthesis in
the Influence entry of the target NPC’s social stat block
Learning a target’s weakness or strength requires a
successful skill check using the skills and DCs listed
in parenthesis in the appropriate stat block entry,
and learning a bias requires a successful DC 20 Sense
Motive check; the GM can reveal the skills needed to
recognize these statistics without need for a separate
discovery check.
Influence Checks: An influence check is an attempt to
make a good impression upon or gain the respect of the
target. PCs must attempt a skill check using one of the
skills listed in the target’s Influence entry; they can either
determine what those skills are via a successful discovery
check or guess based on their target’s reputation. A
successful skill check against the listed DC counts as one
success, indicating growing affection or respect for the
PC. Each target’s entry lists the total number of successes
needed to achieve a desired outcome (see Winning Favor
and Changing Attitudes below). At the GM’s discretion,
PCs can attempt to use a skill that is not listed in
an NPC’s stat block but is related to the listed skills;
however, doing so increases the influence check DC by 5.
A PC earns one additional success if her influence check
result exceeds the listed DC by 5 or more.
A failed discovery or influence check can be attempted
again in subsequent rounds with no penalty unless
otherwise noted.
Winning Favor: In some cases, such as making small
talk at parties, a PC only needs to win an NPC’s favor
The intention is to make a good first impression and
be remembered in the future. In these circumstances,
a PC only needs to accumulate the specified number
of successes to win whatever listed benefits the NPC
provides, though said benefits rarely last beyond the
social event in question.
Changing Attitudes: Making long-lasting changes to
an NPC’s attitude is more difficult and time-consuming.
Unlike winning favor, where the PCs simply hope to leave
a good impression for a night, the PCs now hope to make
friends and allies, win hearts and minds, and cause long-
term adjustments to NPCs’ outlooks. In social encounters
where the PCs will seek to change NPCs’ attitudes, each
NPC’s starting attitude toward the PCs is listed in their
influence section, and every time the PCs accumulate
the listed number of successes, the NPC’s attitude shifls
one step closer to helpful. The accumulated successes
are then cleared and the process begins again. Generally,
social rounds are much longer when changing attitudes,
and there may only be a few during any given event,
but the PCs will have more opportunities to influence
these NPCs in the future. This extended time frame can
also work against the PCs; for every week that passes
without interacting with an NPC whose attitude the PCs
are trying to change, they lose one success accumulated
toward winning over that NPC. The passage of time and
loss of successes can’t worsen an NPC’s attitude, though
special events might.