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Sunken Empires, a Wonder of the Deep

Sunken Empires, a Wonder of the Deep

What are reviewers saying about Sunken Empires (print/PDF), Open Design’s source for exploring underwater civilizations for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game?

It’s not so much a setting as it is a toolkit for building an underwater setting for your own game. It discusses Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu as worldbuilding examples, and goes on to a walk-through of creating the Lost City of Ankeshel. It discusses how various classes function in an undersea setting, with new feats, non-magical equipment to help characters survive, and the requisite spells and magic items…

My favorite part, though, is the section on undersea adventuring. The first line feels like it was written specifically for me: “Adventurers are most comfortable when the feet are on solid ground”. Yes, please! It then breaks down how to run underwater adventures by levels… It’s a nice breakdown, and puts my player-self at ease that a competent gamemaster shouldn’t be throwing things at a party that they shouldn’t handle. Not that they shouldn’t be doing that on dry land, too, but it’s good adventure design advice. The section goes on to describe various types of “environmental zones”, both coastal and submerged, to further accommodate adventure design.

As with every Open Design project I’ve seen, the writing is tight, the layout is simple and geared toward ease of use, and the artwork is gorgeous. It’s a very well done product. If you have any use whatsoever for water-based adventure material, or want a solid primer on designing underwater settings and adventures, here it is. This one’s going on the self with my other pirate stuff, and I anticipate that I’ll be mining it regularly for ideas.

Read the full review at UncleBear Media.


More than merely presenting a novel adventure setting, this book sets out to equip the GM with the tools to set his own stamp on what could well become memorable adventures, demonstrating how to create a feeling of wonder even amidst what is already a fantastical alternate reality.

(5 of 5 stars, by by Megan Robertson)

Read the full review at DriveThruRPG.


I like how Sunken Empires takes the effort to make aquatic games accessible to any level of play, discussing expected challenges and solutions.

I really enjoyed Sunken Empires and I’ll probably be referring to it for years to come. I already have plans for my first aquatic session—more on that later.

Read the full review at tenletter.

We’ve got a little something for everybody. Pick up your own copy of Sunken Empires (print/PDF).

4 thoughts on “Sunken Empires, a Wonder of the Deep”

  1. I got the pdf and it was certainly worth it. The ideas have even transformed an adventure I was working on into one with an “off shore” element to it. It’s sugarless, fat-free and the flavor lasts and lasts!

  2. Glad you like it! Despite the cover art, it is meant to help any coastal adventure as well as undersea ones.

    And the section on Lost Technology and fallen civilizations seems like it would apply in any Blackmoor/Expedition to the Barrier Peaks/City of the Gods sort of campaign or adventure.

  3. :) Yeah, I particularly liked the background on the lost civilizations: Atlantis, Lemuria, ect. Who researched and wrote that portion?
    I’ve been working on an adventure in an evil city dominated by a Temple of Dagon. Now I’m adding a new “off-shore level” with the help of Sunken Empires. The inspiring reading material alone was worth it. The spells, classes, races and equipment was just mucus on the Abloleth!

  4. That was entirely Brandon’s work; he did some crazy research and the writeup, with just a tiny bit of editorial direction from me.

    I think a temple of Dagon is perfect material to generate from the Sunken Empires toolkit! If it fits on a single page map, consider submitting it to KQ’s mini-adventure series…

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