Best additions to Golarion your Gamemaster and/or you have come up with.

From time to time, an issue will come up, or an idea will spark in a GM or player’s head that needs to be spoken aloud. These moments can lead to amazing things.

They can be major things like “all stone giants have thick Russian accents,” “The dwarves of five kings mountain traditionally settle honor duels by tying daggers into their beards and having beard fights,” or “Due to people discarding their exotic pets when they grow too big Dinosaurs are an invasive species in Cheliax and citizens organize dinosaur hunts to keep the population down.”

Or they can be minor things like “In my Golarion, Laori Vaus speaks like a valley girl from Clueless,” or “Sandpoint’s Old Light got renamed to the ever-burning tower of McPhee after one of my party-members got drunk and bought 50 scrolls of continual flame.” As long as they’re fun, these additions can be amazing.

What are the greatest tidbits that you or your GM have added to your shared version of Golarion?

Generally, when I am able, I try to use the original form of Golarion rather than the more modern one that keeps getting more defined.

For us Taldor is a crumbling empire that is politically relevant because of it’s vast wealth. While there are plenty of “old money” families and intrigue and the like, one of the more well known characteristics of the Taldan people is their tendency to act as patrons for others, leading humanity towards advancement across all fields. The nation doesn’t change to be more “with the times” because, from their perspective they have proof that the old ways work. Essentially even though the empire is in decline, they are not a 100% stupid and negative write up that really has no point to exist.

In my head, Dwarves tend to have crude British accents/slang, but also tend to be more literal and also combine meanings of words to be a play on words related to metal craft, the forge, or stone. So, for example in British English “bent” has a specific slang meaning, but when the Dwarves use it, it’s more of a play on a bent sword being broken, damaged, or useless. “Mate, your mind’s bent” is the equivalent of “You are crazy!”.

“Rocks for brains”, to Dwarve is a complement, not an insult, (you are saying they have a strong mind, not that they are dim witted).

Divine spells are meditative mantras or recitation of religious passages, not “prayers” per se, and every class that gets spells from a specific Deity has their spells sort of tailored to the theme of that deity. This has no mechanical effects, (such as making them harder to identify), unless the character has a specific trait of feat to do so, but it helps a bit to differentiate Divine and Arcane casters a bit, and also Classes like the Cleric and the Oracle. Oracles all cast a given spell mostly the same way visually, while a Cleric of Sarenrae casting a Fireball might look like a mini sun coming into existence and bursting, while a Cleric of Asmodeus’ fireball will be intimidating and may be a large, dark fist slamming into the ground and sending “hell” fire out.

I do something similar with Channel Energy, where I envision light, glowing green to be the color of serene, spiritual energy, and darker, glowing purple to be the color of entropic spiritual energy. One of my Clerics, when they channel to heal the living calls on a soft rain with light green mist filled with soft music being sung in the background, for instance.

Irrisen isn’t undergoing 10,000 years of winter. It’s been trapped in the same winter the whole time. There isn’t any food, because no plants equals no herbivores equals no carnivores, but there doesn’t have to be, because many of the people haven’t physically experienced more than a single day, over the centuries they’ve been trapped. If they try to ‘escape’ the White Witches lands, the years catch up to them when they leave the boundaries of the endless winter, a year a day, until they wither and die (which, for some, is preferable to the literally endless horror they suffer in Irrisen).

Desna is an elder god, related to Cthulhu, Azathoth, etc. The other elder gods / great old ones consider her the ‘crazy cat lady’ of their collective, actually caring about these tiny mortals, since they are literally incapable of understanding her feelings of compassion, empathy, wonder, etc.

The rift at the center of the Worldwould summons demons from the Abyss, it doesn’t call them. As a result, most of the demons in the Worldwound are incapable of summoning other demons (but not all of them…), and the wardstones prevent them from physically leaving, or teleporting out to terrorize all of Golarion. They aren’t just hanging around and refusing to win because they want to, or watched too much Battlestar Galactica, they are literally stuck, and the occasional outbursts come from weakening of the wardstones, or deliberate attacks on them, which Mendev desperately tries to push back and repair. Other lands bordering the Worldwound, such as Numeria, Ustalav, the Realms of the Mammoth Lords, even the Hold of Belkzen, have their own defenses, some more horrible than anything that the Mendevian crusaders are willing to countenance. The wardstones themselves were created by the last Sarkorians, to contain the outbreak, although the Mendevians don’t advertise that…

The timeline is compressed, by a factor of five-ish (some have suggested a factor of ten, but that’s a bit too much compression, IMO). History is far too long, IMO, for so little to have actually changed or grown or developed in Golarion.

Various inconsistencies in faiths, such as whether or not Erastil’s church is traditionalist or sexist, or Torag’s faith is pro-genocide, or Sarenrae, the goddess of honesty (among other things) is actually sponsoring a Prestige Class based around lying to people, and fighting other members of one’s own faith (Dawnflower Dissident), all boil down to various projects by Geryon, Archdevil of Heresy, who delights in pitting various good faiths against each other. It’s all true, especially the lies, thanks to there being a force deliberately promoting these ‘inconsistencies’ to undermine the faiths of various good gods.

There’s a fair amount of propaganda swirling around the Inner Sea. Hermea has a bad reputation, for instance, despite it being literally impossible for all the lies to be true (gold dragons explicitly police their own against ‘tarnishing,’ if Mengkare was evil, or even just ‘kind of sketchy,’ the skies of Hermea would be swarming with every other gold dragon on Golarion, and their silver allies, come to stop him). Rahadoum, similarly, is histrionically described as being a pit of drought and disease, being punished by the gods for their faithlessness, and yet, if you look at the map of the Inner Sea, Rahadoum is literally the most lush and fertile region in it’s entire latitude. Some ‘punishment’ these gods are dishing out…

We made arshea a full goddess. we changed the appearances of goblins, and added a new race of draconic people and carved out a space for them on an island that was reclaimed from the ocean

Druma is quickly becoming a traditional feudal kingdom at the local level, because the Prophets have no idea how to run a kingdom and throw money at other people to do it. (I wanted a fairly normal human kingdom adjacent to Kyonin and the Five Kings Mountains, and Galt was too cool to change.)

A deliberate change, rather than alteration: Zon Kuthon, and his influence over Nidal, have been replaced by a different LE alien god: Darkseid.

For a Jade Regent campaign that I’m running for a friend who plays solo, I’ve made up a new knight order that is samurai themed and located in Karlsgard Jade Quarters. Since he chose an Archetype that will get a squire later on, it just made sense to establish his PC as a “Knight” in some organization of sorts. So there’s the “Jade Knights” who include all the classes which have overall acces to Martial Weapon Training. In the beginning of the campaign there is a Prequel-Storyline to introduce my friend to game mechanics and Golarion Lore a bit - a great opportunity for some theme flavour adventures in the Jade Quarter as an awesome “Viking Asia” mix with fey monks and stuff…
He’ll get eventually to Sandpoint to look for his father he’s never known to ask for gold to save his mom who took a loan from Asvig Longthews and can’t pay him back since the caravan she’s been investing the loan in has gone missing on the crown of the world for some reason wink

When I DMed for my friends, before the game stopped I had planned of dropping them a redeemed green dragon, but as one of the books says the tarnished metallics lose their shine and says nothing about chromatics, I thought the scales would loses their inherent “cloudiness” and becoming clear and refracthing light like gemstone(in this case, the dragon seemed to have emeralds as scales).

I also interpret the lunar oracle’s final revelation to be the origin of all lycanthropy. (each type came from a different oracle though)

With very little source material for Galt, I decided to play it a bit like France during “the terror” that closely followed the revolution. This was inspired by what I know of Galt and the terror the red revolution is having on it’s populous. Not sure if that is what Paizo had in mind, but I like it. So all of the characters from Galt have “ridiculous french accents.” This feeds well into a plot line I created for a character I play off and on in a home brew adventure I wrote rife with political intrigue that involves some re-tooling of the Kingmaker adventure path and some modules from Taldor (Dragon’s Demand and others.) I also created a population to the east of the stolen lands so that my players are beset on all sides by factions devoted to claiming the land for themselves. Galt, Taldor, the “Ghost Tribes” of the east, the River Kingdoms, and Brevoy all have a stake and agents to further their agenda.