Paizo’s best designers return to Pathfinder's historic Tian Xia setting

An interview with three of the lead creatives who worked on the new Paizo setting books for Lost Omens: Tian Xia.

Paizo’s best designers return to Pathfinder's historic Tian Xia setting
Tian Xia: World Guide Cover Art, Credit: Ekaterina Gordeeva.

A remaster of the historic Pathfinder setting, the setting book for Tian Xia will be officially released on April 24, 2024. Previously, October 2023 saw the release of the first adventure in Tian XiaThe Season of Ghosts Adventure Path. Before the hard launch of the new books–Lost Omens: Tian Xia World Guide and Tian Xia Character Guide, Rascal sat down (via email) with three of the lead creatives at Paizo, and the folks making decisions for the Tian Xia remaster. 

Below is our in-depth interview with Senior Designer and Tian Xia co-lead James Case, Concept Art Director Kent Hamilton, and Eleanor Ferron, Tian Xia co-lead and Senior Developer at Paizo.

James Case

James Case (he/him), is a senior designer at Paizo and one of the co-leads of the Tian Xia project. As the design lead, James focused mainly on the mechanical crunch portion of the project, setting the specific player and GM mechanics that would appear in both books. 

“Eleanor and I also split the duties of author assignment, coordination, and feedback. I did a little bit of overflow art ordering as well, though nowhere near as much as Eleanor.”

Codega: Creating books often requires taking on a specific point of view, even when writing rules–from what point of view/perspective is the Tian Xia World Guide written? 

Case: One of the things we’ve tried to do from the start of the edition is to write about cultures from their own perspectives rather than from the assumed perspective of an outsider. We aimed to apply this same approach to Tian Xia. If the inhabitants of a region find a given feature of the region frightening—for instance, Shenmen is ruled by ghosts and spider demons—the text will usually describe them as frightening, but where they might find something mundane even if we, the readers, don’t, the text tends to be a little more matter of fact (like how the three seasons in Valash Raj are monsoon season, dry season, and dinosaur season).