Developing Fantastic Nations

Developing an ordinary kingdom for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game isn't very difficult - between the Gamemastery Guide and Ultimate Campaign, rules for normal nations are plentiful. That said, these rules frequently fall short of being able to generate the kind of memorably unique nations that magic-heavy worlds might possess. This page offers a series of tables and ideas to help you quickly create a unique nation. Note that you are by no means required to follow these tables exactly - they're meant to serve as inspiration, and if you have an idea you think would work better, then you should absolutely use that instead. For example, in traditional games, Clerics acquire their powers through the Selected method because they choose to enter a church and practice a faith. However, you may decide that Clerics are all Inherited positions instead, meaning that every Cleric is part of a specific bloodline.

Similarly, do not feel obligated to roll on every table. If you've already decided that a nation is Negative towards magic-users, there's no need to roll on the Attitude Toward Magic table. You may have a complete idea after rolling on just one or two tables, and that's great! These tables are meant to fill in the gaps and spark ideas, and you should only use them when you think it's necessary.

For more help with concepts and creativity, we recommend picking up a copy of the Tome of Adventure Design by Frog God Games, which was a partial inspiration for this page.

Alternative: Developing Fantastic Threats

As an alternative to creating a nation, you can use the tables here to generate a type of magical threat or problem that a country is facing. For example, perhaps you roll up a military force focused on Expansion, with a magic focus on an Ethereal/Fire hybrid element. Their strange magic might pass right through physical barriers to strike at foes, and stopping this is extremely costly for the local nation. For fun, you decide to roll on the environment table and find out that they're from a Tundra region - and you decide that the army is actually a large Viking-style raiding party with magic they've never shown before, which completely changes the idea you had in mind.

A threat can be as simple as a throwaway villain at the early levels or as major as an antagonist for an entire campaign. Don't be afraid to roll up a few things and see what kinds of ideas hit you.

Acquisition of Abilities

This table focuses on the common ways people can obtain their powers. Roll once for each category to see if that method of acquisition is common to the region. Note that not every method of acquisition is necessarily appropriate for every class, and you may have to reflavor things to fit the results. For example, if there are no "Inherited" powers, Sorcerers would either not be present or have to come up with another way of getting their powers, such as being people who simply have their power.

Note that "Commonly Available" isn't the same thing as "Available At All". Something may be possible but still relatively rare within the nation, and plenty of character concepts can fall under this. In other words, a result of "No" doesn't necessarily mean a character with that method is impossible to create in the area - just that it's not common to the region. However, certain decisions - such as "All Clerics are Inherited, No Exceptions" - may lock character ideas out. This isn't necessarily bad, just something to be aware of.

Most places are likely to have only one or two popular means of acquisition, and deciding which is which is usually best determined by the other tables. Each area with any widespread availability of powers should have at least one common method of acquisition, but having multiple methods can lead to more interesting results for a society. Any more than three is probably pushing it as a feature of the nation, though. If all results here are 'No', reroll the entire set.

Method of Acquisition Chance of Yes Chance of No Description
Aberration 1-20 21-100 The character may simply have their abilities, confounding those who try to explain why. It's not inherited, it's not forced, it's not a gift, and they didn't choose to acquire their talents - but they have them the same way they have the ability to breathe, whether or not they need to study in order to improve their abilities.
Forced 1-30 31-100 The character had no choice in the matter. Unlike Inherited powers, Forced powers tend to be acquired after birth somehow, such as through rituals, divine beings forcing it on them, an encounter with a creature that would later become an Eidolon/Companion, or something else along those lines. Forced is similar to Gifted, but usually has a negative or unwilling aspect to it.
Gifted 1-40 41-100 The character was somehow gifted with their power. A dying/retiring figure may have passed it on to them, or they may have been chosen for some reason or other to take up a power that few have access to. There may even be a public way to grant someone power (such as a coming-of-age ritual). Gifted is similar to Forced, but usually has a more positive connotation.
Inherited 1-80 81-100 The character inherited their power. Their family may have a natural knack for magic, be given the blessings of deities, or otherwise naturally obtain their abilities. Regardless, one particular type of magic appears in most or all members of their family or group, although the exact details (spells/spheres known, etc.) may vary. This is distinct from Gifted in that Inherited people generally have no choice in the matter.
Selected 1-80 81-100 The character can dedicate their life to a particular path, and acquires power simply by following that route. This is a "public" option, similar to picking a career and broadly available within the nation to anyone who has the ability to follow it. Magic schools may be involved. Characters who get their power by praying to a deity - such as the traditional Cleric - are usually Selected.
Taught 1-70 71-100 The character was specially taught their abilities. This is similar to Selected, but Taught characters are the "private" route, and fewer people have access to them. Taught characters tend to either teach themselves or have a mentor who showed them the ropes. There may be some kind of restriction on who can be Taught, such as "those with natural talent", "those with the money to pay for it", or "those who enlist in the army for a specified amount of time". Regardless, the teacher usually has their own agenda, and those taught often support that.

Attitude Towards Magic

Nations full of fantastic power often have specific attitudes towards that power, and this can affect the way society as a whole views it. It's best to roll on this table after rolling for a magic theme and major trait, as those will tend to sharply influence these results. This table is skewed towards positive/neutral attitude towards magic - this is based on the assumption that if something is useful, as magic typically is in this game, most areas are probably going to like having it around. However, local factors can influence the likelihood of an area accepting magic, and it may be better to simply choose whatever you feel is most appropriate.

Most nations are basically positive towards magic in the sense that using it is not illegal, magic items can be sold, and there may even be schools teaching it. However, national views do not necessarily reflect specific social groups. You can also use this table to roll for each individual group, such as 'Royalty' or 'Homeless' to get a more complex, nuanced view. For example, perhaps you roll that the royalty is Negative towards magic while commoners are welcoming - this may reflect an episode in the royal family's past where magic was used against them, but they grudgingly tolerate it for the national interest.

d100 General Attitude Towards Magic Description
1-15 Welcoming The nation is actively welcoming and supportive towards magic. It may encourage magic users to immigrate, or perhaps it has a government based on magical power. There may still be limitations on when and how people are allowed to use it.
16-60 Positive The nation is generally positive towards magic and allows people to actively use it for business, et cetera. There may still be limitations on when and how people are allowed to use it.
61-80 Neutral The nation has no particular attitude towards magic and largely treats it like anything else. This is more common in areas of low magic, where it doesn't have world-altering potential, so there may need to be additional backstory for any high-magic nations with this trait.
81-95 Negative The nation has an unfavorable view of magic. It may be grudgingly tolerated, but practitioners shouldn't be open about what they can do.
96-100 Hostile The nation is actively hostile towards magic and specifically tries to control or eliminate its users. This could be widespread, or the country could be hostile to any magic that's not controlled by the local Government. (In which case how normal people see magic depends on how the Government uses it.)

Sub-Category: Political Presence of Magic

In nations that are Welcoming, Positive, or Neutral towards magic, such power often has some kind of place in its political structure, whether it's a sagely wizard advising the ruler or a council of mages that run things themselves. Note that there can be many reasons for each of these results - for example, mages could be barred from political positions because of fears of mind-control affecting the government, or they could be barred because a great caster negotiated a deal to keep casters safely away from politics as long as they helped to keep the kingdom safe. Consider the results of other tables when deciding how to interpret the result of this table.

Note that this table does not imply that people can get positions just because they have magic. Most governments require at least basic competence among employees for any position, though magic can be a shortcut. Also, consider the typical traits of magic types - you can roll once on each of these for every type of fantastic power, or choose based on the results of other tables. For example, perhaps a nation is very welcoming of divine power but somewhat suspicious of natural power.

d100 Political Influence Description
1-20 Actively Encouraged Mages are eagerly sought out by whatever form of government exists, and may even have accelerated advancement through its ranks. In its more limited form, only mages with certain traits (such as divine magic users following certain deities) are welcomed.
21-40 Accepted Mages are generally accepted throughout the government, and often for some positions in particular.
41-60 Not A Factor Use of magic is not considered a factor for most positions in the government. Possessing magical ability is generally a secondary factor next to their ability to do the main job.
61-80 Barred from Some Positions Mages are accepted in the government, but are barred from some positions (especially those where magic could be abused to their own benefit).
81-100 Barred from All Positions Mages are specifically barred from all positions in the government. There may be specific exceptions (such as a permanent advisory role), but it's not anything that ordinary mages can get a job doing.

Behavior of Armed Forces

Fantastic nations often have fantastic armies to go with them - but what these armies focus on can vary widely. This table does not represent the exclusive actions of an army - individuals can and often will differ. If the army is large enough, you may want to roll separately for each major group - for example, if the overall army has seven Legions, each Legion may have a specific focus (and any duplicates may be rivals, or regularly deployed together, or whatever else seems most interesting for the nation you're creating). Forces may also have multiple common behaviors, although they will rarely exceed two focuses.

This table is mainly relevant if you plan to make the presence of an armed force important in your game. Keep in mind that for this table, the definition of "army" is essentially "an armed force of any size". This table applies equally to small strike groups and full-size military forces, and could even serve as the plot for an adventuring party or someone hiring adventurers.

d100 Main Behavior of Army
1-10 Against the Adversary: There is some threat to the nation, and the force is focused on combating that. This is often a rival nation, but it could also be a powerful monster or some other force dangerous enough to need an army to deal with. They prefer to focus on whatever the adversary is, and while they will occasionally deal with other matters, they prefer to quickly return to their main task.
11-20 Expansion: The force focuses on expanding the territory of the nation they belong to - often through combat - and generally seeks to move forward. They are most likely to follow orders that involve marching out, and dislike remaining in their home territory for too long.
21-30 Exploration: The force is focused on uncovering the world and mapping what they discover. Much like an Expansion force, they don't like remaining in one place, but they're also reluctant to engage in combat without a good reason to do so. An Exploration force will often prefer to negotiate for safe passage, but will fight back if attacked.
31-40 For Faith: The army is particularly focused on spreading the teachings of a deity or some other non-national system. Their focus is entirely on people and places that have not yet converted to their ideas, and will gladly go any distance (and fight any foe) to spread their teachings. They will not go against any place already aligned with their faith (unless it's to stamp out heresy, which they feel stronger about than anything else).
41-50 For Honor: The force is constantly looking for ways to gain honor - particularly through defeating larger or otherwise 'superior' opponents. They are unlikely to go after small, weak foes, but will gladly pursue any dangerous target.
51-60 For Wealth: The force seeks wealth of some sort - often in the form of coin, trade goods, slaves, and the like. On rare occasions, they may also be seeking knowledge. They go to any battle that seems profitable, and avoid anything that is unprofitable.
61-70 Protectors of the Weak: Even when engaged in combat, the force's main goal is the protection of innocents and non-combatants. They are likely to go out of their way to protect even their enemies' innocents. They are reluctant to follow any order that would involve hurting innocents, but work harder in any mission that involves protecting people.
71-80 Supporting the Land: The force is capable of engaging in combat, but spends a lot of time focused on supporting the area they're in. They may be engaged in public works projects (building roads and bridges, canals, etc.), but typically stay on the move so they can get to their next project.
81-90 Extermination: The force is focused on entirely eliminating something. This can be negative (killing every civilian in an area), or it could be relatively positive (totally wiping out an invading force of demons). They are very dedicated to this goal, and typically refuse to quit or do anything else until their job is done.
91-100 Following the Leader: The force unquestioningly obeys a single individual or institution, such as a King or a Church. They will do as their leader commands, and generally refuse to do anything else.


Climate focuses on the overall weather patterns of a nation and can have a significant impact on the way it uses magic. For example, in arid regions like deserts, the ability to magically create water could be far more valuable than the same power in a rain forest region. This table is not meant to accurately convey the real-world coverage of each type of climate; you'll get a very odd map if you try to have the same number of each.

Alternatively, consider selecting climates based on where you want the nation to be in your world. If something is noticeably different from the real world - like a desert at the north pole or a ring of ice around the equator - try to come up with a reason for that. You don't have to feel bound by real world limitations, but trying to explain an unusual result is a great way to spark creativity. Keep in mind that some nations or races may have difficulty crossing dangerous climates, and this can affect how neighboring nations treat each other.

d100 Climate Subclimate
1-20 Tropical Roll again. 1-33 is "Rain Forest", 34-66 is "Tropical Monsoon Climate", and 67-100 is "Savannah".
21-40 Dry Roll again. 1-50 is "Arid", 51-100 is "Semiarid".
41-60 Mild Roll again. 1-33 is "Mediterranean", 34-66 is "Humid Subtropical", 67-100 is "Marine"
61-80 Continental Roll again. 1-33 is "Warm Summer", 34-66 is "Cool Summer", 67-100 is "Subarctic".
81-100 Polar Roll again. 1-50 is "Tundra", 51-100 is "Ice Cap"

Depending on the size of your nation (or other factors, like artificially-created zones), you may decide that it should have several distinct climate regions. In that case, roll multiple times to determine the various zones, then arrange them on a map as you see fit.

Common Classes

For each category, roll 1d100, and consult the table to see if those classes are present or not. Note that this may conflict a bit with the Magic Level table, so resolve such problems as you see fit. This doesn't mean that players are not allowed to choose from the classes in question, but if their class category isn't present, they may need to have come from somewhere else.

Note that for classes from Spheres of Power, their Casting Tradition is the best way of sorting these. The Mageknight and Armorist classes may be either Martial or Arcane, but we lean in favor of Martial for most settings.

Some classes are inherently more common than others. This table only reflects a normal distribution of power types, but can be modified or inverted to reflect unusually magic-heavy regions. For example, there may be a nation where casters are extremely common and martial warriors are rare - and the martial classes' natural skill at combat makes them very valued by mages who want someone tough to protect them.

Class Category Chance of Yes Chance of No Description
Martial Classes 1-95 96-100 Classes like the Fighter, Rogue, Monk, and many classes from Path of War, who tend to have little or no magical power but plenty of mundane talent. Practitioner classes from Spheres of Might mostly fall into this category.
Arcane Classes 1-80 81-100 Traditionally arcane classes like the Wizard, Sorcerer, Witch, and Arcanist, who tend to enjoy the study and use of magic.
Divine Classes 1-75 76-100 Traditionally divine classes, such as the Cleric, Inquisitor, Warpriest, and Paladin (who does not actually need to follow a higher power and may, at your discretion, be included with Martial Classes instead). Note that absence of divine classes is not the same thing as absence of faith, but for some reason or another, any higher powers may have decided not to empower followers in a given region.
Mental Classes 1-66 67-100 Traditionally mind-focused classes, such as anything from Psionics and some Casting Traditions from Spheres of Power.
Nature Classes 1-75 76-100 Traditionally nature-focused classes like the Druid, Shaman, and those with connections to the fey.
Occult Classes 1-50 51-100 Traditionally occult classes, such as the Occultist, Kineticist, and Medium.
Unusual Classes 1-25 26-100 Classes that don't quite fall into the other categories, such as anything from Strange Magic, Pact Magic, or other uncommon 3PP classes.

Note that regardless of these rolls, NPC classes are almost always present as the bulk of the population.


Fantastic nations often have some kind of tie to one or more elements, usually through a connection to a plane of the same type. You can roll on this table at-will to get an elemental theme for the nation, or use it when you've rolled a result on another table that calls for it. If you want to roll on both tables, roll 1d20 - odd results roll again for Major Elements, even results roll again for Minor Elements. If you roll a 20, use the Rare Elements table instead.

Note that results on these tables table are not inherently exclusive (not unless you want them to be, anyway) - a nation tied to Air may still have people with Earth powers, for example. This is simply what people in the nation tend to develop, either as a natural result of having powers or because of some focus (cultural, religious, etc.) that encourages them to do so. You can roll more than once if you want to, but it's fairly rare for a country to have more than three. Past that, the elements are so diverse and spread out that they're probably not much of a focus.

Major Elements
d20 Element
1-3 Air/Electric
4-6 Fire
7-9 Water/Cold
10-12 Earth/Acid
13-15 Negative Energy
16-18 Positive Energy
19 Unholy Energy
20 Holy Energy
Minor Elements
d20 Element Notes
1 Magma Earth/Fire Hybrid
2 Smoke* Fire/Air Hybrid
3 Ice Air/Water Hybrid
4 Ooze Water/Earth Hybrid
5 Ash Fire/Negative Hybrid
6 Radiance Fire/Positive Hybrid
7 Vacuum Air/Negative Hybrid
8 Lightning Air/Positive Hybrid
9 Salt Water/Negative Hybrid
10 Steam Water/Positive Hybrid
11 Dust Earth/Negative Hybrid
12 Mineral Earth/Positive Hybrid
13 Boiling Fire/Water Hybrid
14 Sand Air/Earth Hybrid
15 Air-Dominant Air and all of its hybrids are available
16 Fire-Dominant Fire and all of its hybrids are available
17 Water-Dominant Water and all of its hybrids are available
18 Earth-Dominant Earth and all of its hybrids are available
19 Negative-Dominant Negative Energy and all of its hybrids are available
20 Positive-Dominant Positive Energy and all of its hybrids are available

*: Fire/Air (or rather, Fire/Elec) is also used as Plasma, typically for futuristic weapons and the like.

Rare Elements
d8 Result Notes
1 Akashic Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Akashic (knowledge and information), and half the other result you rolled.
2 Celestial Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Good (Holy) and half the Major Element you rolled.
3 Dream Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Dream, and half the other result you rolled.
4 Ethereal Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Ethereal and half the Major Element you rolled. At the GM's discretion, this may have interesting effects on ghostly or otherwise incorporeal creatures.
5 Infernal Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Evil (Unholy) and half the Major Element you rolled.
6 Wild Realm Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is like a normal roll, except any spell or ability with the associated descriptors (i.e. fire spells in a fire-aligned area) trigger a Wild Magic effect according to the table below.
7 Anarchic Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Anarchic (Chaos) and half the Major Element you rolled.
8 Axiomatic Hybrid Roll 1d20. For a result of 1-15, roll again on the Major Elements table, for 16-20, roll on the Minor Elements table. The result is half Axiomatic (Lawful) and half the Major Element you rolled.

Notes: By the time you reach the Rare Elements, things start to get pretty weird - this is intentional. If you get something that's half X and half Y, where Y is already two things, treat Y's parts as quarters instead. You could, for example, get a result that's half Good and one quarter each Fire and Earth. You may also have to be creative with the results to get them to make sense - an Akashic/Fire result, for example, may create flames that burn knowledge instead of bodies. Don't give up just because the result sounds weird - try to make it work, and chances are you'll end up with something unique and memorable. Reroll any duplicate results (i.e. Celestial Hybrid that also rolls Holy Energy from the Major Elements table).

On Wild Magic: This is the basic Wild Magic table. However, if you're using Spherecasting, we recommend using the Wild Magic rules instead.

Table: Wild Magic Effects
Source: Pathfinder GameMastery Guide
d% Effect
01–19 The spell rebounds on its caster with normal effect. If the spell cannot affect the caster, it simply fails.
20–23 A circular pit 15 feet wide opens under the caster’s feet; it is 10 feet deep per level of the caster.
24–27 The spell fails, but the target or targets of the spell are pelted with a rain of small objects (anything from flowers to rotten fruit), which disappear upon striking. The barrage continues for 1 round. During this time the targets are blinded and must make concentration checks (DC 15 + spell level) to cast spells.
28–31 The spell affects a random target or area. Randomly choose a different target from among those in range of the spell or center the spell at a random place within range of the spell. To generate direction randomly, roll 1d8 and count clockwise around the compass, starting with south. To generate range randomly, roll 3d6. Multiply the result by 5 feet for close-range spells, 20 feet for medium-range spells, or 80 feet for long-range spells.
32–35 The spell functions normally, but any material components are not consumed. The spell is not expended from the caster’s mind (the spell slot or prepared spell can be used again). Similarly, an item does not lose charges, and the effect does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
36–39 The spell does not function. Instead, everyone (friend or foe) within 30 feet of the caster receives the effect of a heal spell.
40–43 The spell does not function. Instead, a deeper darkness effect and a silence effect cover a 30-foot radius around the caster for 2d4 rounds.
44–47 The spell does not function. Instead, a reverse gravity effect covers a 30-foot radius around the caster for 1 round.
48–51 The spell functions, but shimmering colors swirl around the caster for 1d4 rounds. Treat this as a glitterdust effect with a save DC of 10 + the level of the spell that generated this result.
52–59 Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material components are used up. The spell or spell slot is used up, an item loses charges, and the effect counts against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
60–71 Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material components are not consumed. The spell is not expended from the caster’s mind (a spell slot or prepared spell can be used again). An item does not lose charges, and the effect does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
72–98 The spell functions normally.
99–100 The spell functions strongly. Saving throws against the spell incur a –2 penalty. The spell has the maximum possible effect, as if it were cast with the Maximize Spell feat. If the spell is already maximized with the feat, there is no further effect.

Land Development Level

Nations tend to have different levels of development. It's worth noting that even "advanced" countries often have immense amounts of unused land - so this isn't the same thing as "progress" or "technological level". Rather, it's simply a way to determine how much of the land has been used. This table is basically arbitrary, but keep in mind that traditional fantasy realms lean heavily towards minimal development levels (that is, well-defended cities and the occasional roads with lots of wilderness).

Wilderness areas tend to be filled by monsters - the further they are from regular settlements, the more dangerous they tend to be, though this isn't universal. Development level also reflects the ability of a nation to protect itself somehow, whether that's by utilizing armed forces or hiring adventures to keep things at a manageable level. Undeveloped nations tend to have the least ability to protect themselves beyond their cities, while completely developed nations have few or no major internal threats most of the time. (This doesn't stop problems like cults summoning demon lords, but it does mean that no high-CR monsters are likely to live there without the nation's consent.)

d100 Development Level Description
1-25 Undeveloped The majority of the nation is untouched wilderness. Settlements are likely to be rare and clustered towards the edges.
26-40 Connected Much wilderness still remains, but a number of cities dot the nation, and are connected by some route.
41-80 Standard Development About 20% of the nation is developed, primarily around individual cities and the farms and towns that support them.
81-95 Well Developed About 40% of the nation is developed and managed territory, and anything else is usually unwanted and ignored.
96-100 Completely developed The only remaining packets of wilderness are intentional, often something like a "Nature Protection Zone". All other spaces are fully managed and developed.

Magic Level

Some nations are distinctly more magical than others. The majority of nations tend to fall into the "Minor" or "Moderate" ranges for magic, but every now and then, there's a nation that falls distinctly outside the norms. The "No Magic" result heavily skews most other tables on this page. Also, the percent of the population that's magical is basically arbitrary, but keep in mind that even in High Magic nations, only a relatively small number of people have the powers of PC classes. Most people are limited to cantrip-level powers, or perhaps first or second caster level talents.

In nations that value casters, people with PC classes are typically prized. In nations that dislike casters, people with PC classes are often feared or even hated. The source of magical power is described in the Acquisition of Abilities table. For NPC classes, magical power is usually acquired through training - possibly in school or by special tutors who look for those with the talent to cast magic.

d100 Amount of Magic Description
1-5 No Magic The nation possesses no (or effectively no) magic at all. This may be due to a divine curse, a society that rejects magic, a natural anti-magic aura, or anything else that suits the game world.
6-40 Minor Magic About 10% of the population has magic. Most are likely to be Adepts or other minor casters, but about 2% of the population has levels in PC caster classes.
41-70 Moderate Magic About 25% of the population has magic. 5% of the population has levels in PC classes.
71-90 High Magic About 50% of the population is capable of using magic, and 10% has levels in PC classes.
91-100 Inherently Magical 100% of the population is capable of casting, and 25% have levels in PC classes. The only people without magic are aberrations or visitors from other areas.

Magic Theme

Many fantastic nations have a particular 'theme' for magic that's particularly common in their country. Results on this table override those for other tables - for example, if the land has an Occult theme, then Occult classes are inherently available (and, indeed, will probably be the majority of people with PC classes). This does not necessarily imply that other traditions and themes aren't available, but rather that they're a minor part of society and far fewer people will be of those traditions.

In a way, this is the most important table on this page. A theme is what really stands out about a country and its interaction with magic. It's what players are likely to remember, it's what impacts the sorts of NPCs that are in positions of power, and it may even impact the adventures that players have. For example, in an artistic nation, people may value the PCs' ability to create art and that can open new routes for them. In an arcane nation, casters may be judged by their intellect and knowledge of spells.

d100 Theme Description
1-15 Arcane The nation follows the traditional arcane styles of wizards and sorcerers, with magic typically learned in schools and/or inherited by particular families.
16-20 Artistic The nation has some kind of artistic tie for magic, such as drawing runes or performing magical ballads. Alternatively, they may work with the art of alchemy, mixing ingredients for specific spells.
21-30 Divine The nation has one or more churches that are particularly prominent and regularly work divine magic within the land.
31-35 Elemental The nation has ties to one of the elements (including positive and negative energy, so a 'death magic' nation would fall under this category). Select the element or roll for it, as you prefer.
36-40 Mental The nation has a strong affiliation for mental magic, especially in the form of Psionics and similar classes.
41-45 Mixed The nation has 2-4 prominent traditions (roll or select the number as you prefer). Reroll on this table, and ignore any additional times this result comes up.
46-50 Nature The nation has a strong affiliation with natural magic (particularly for manipulating plantlife and crops to feed the population), and may have a close connection to the fey.
51-60 Occult The nation has a strong occult tradition - which isn't necessarily appreciated by its population, but is present nonetheless.
61-65 Pact The nation has an emphasis on pacts and agreements. This could take the form of Pact Magic, an arrangement with a particular organization or church, or whatever form of agreement seems appropriate. Loss of access if the agreement isn't followed may be a threat.
66-70 Sphere Focused (Minor) The nation specializes in two different Spheres of Power. Roll 2d20, rerolling duplicates, and consult the list of Spheres.
71-75 Sphere Focused (Moderate) The nation specializes in three different Spheres of Power. Roll 3d20, rerolling duplicates, and consult the list of Spheres.
76-80 Sphere Focused (Major) The nation specializes in five different Spheres of Power. Roll 5d20, rerolling duplicates, and consult the list of Spheres.
81-90 Technological The nation has a highly advanced form of magic or technology, such as that released in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game's Technology Guide. Spells may be converted into 'programs' or 'devices' that are mechanically identical, but flavored differently. Note that more fantastical, low-tech versions of this are better represented by the 'Artistic' theme. There may be some controls in place to prevent their technology from spreading too far. This also covers the Tech Sphere.
91-100 Wild Magic in the nation is wild. Different types of casters are fairly common, but magic also has a tendency to go wrong…

Note: The list of spheres has expanded past the regular 20, but it's not easy to map numbers like 22 (counting Blood and Fallen Fey) to dice. If you want the possibility of those, roll 1d20; if a 20, roll 1dx for however many extra spheres are involved.

Major Trait

This table offers a number of major traits that impact the nation, its use of magic, and its place in the world. A major trait is a big 'thing' about a country and can help provide interpretation for the type of magic it has. For example, in a Declining Arcane nation, people may be desperately researching magic in the hopes of finding some spell that can turn the country's fortunes around. In a Warring Occult state, people may frequently summon spirits and look for rituals that offer new power to their members. As with other tables, however, a little creativity can go a long way. A Declining Arcane nation could also exist because it spent too much money on magic and not enough on managing the land, while a Warring Occult nation could be riddled with groups trying to undermine it and unable to concentrate its forces. There are no universal answers or reasons on this table.

You do not need to roll on this table if you're creating a regular, stable nation. This list is composed wholly of distinct traits that significantly influence the nature of a country and the way it does things.

d100 Trait Description
1-10 Autonomous The nation rejects contact with the outside and has closed borders, operating fully self-sufficiently. Entering and leaving may still be possible with government permission, but is difficult at best.
11-20 Declining The nation was once great, but is currently in the midst of decline. Many areas are ruined, and neighbors may be looking to conquer it soon.
21-30 Displaced in Time The nation is from either the past or the future, and some event brought it to where it currently is.
31-40 Forgotten People outside of the nation have forgotten that it exists. This could be due to a magical curse, intentional illusions, or physically disguising the land.
41-50 Holy The nation is sacred to one or more deities, who may have personally founded it and will intervene to protect it. Worship of that deity (or deities) is essentially expected of the entire population, whether or not divine casters are around.
51-60 Plane-Blessed The nation has been blessed with the powers and energies of another plane (such as an elemental plane, an alignment plane, or a minor but interesting place like the Plane of Dreams). For example, a Fire-blessed nation would see more people developing fire-based talents, while a nation blessed by a Neutral Good plane would have far more people of that alignment and a general tendency towards its ideals.
61-70 Prosperous The nation is wealthy and prosperous, and displays of its wealth can be seen in any populated area. Surrounding nations may be greedy and looking to plunder its coffers, or cowed by the armed might that wealth can bring.
71-80 Separated The nation is separated into two or more distinct areas. These could be states, areas on either side of a mountain range, or even regions that have a completely separate nation between them and no direct physical connection.
81-90 Trade-Obsessed The nation has an unusual emphasis on mercantile endeavors and pursues trading opportunities whenever it can. It likely has connections all around the world.
91-100 Warring The nation is frequently or always at war, and this affects the lifestyles of its entire population.

Unusual Building Materials

Some nations have buildings that are built, grown, transformed, or otherwise created out of a strange material. This often has a significant impact on the local architecture. This is an extremely uncommon trait and is not necessary for an entire nation to have. In fact, this result could be limited to a single city or even a particular building, such as a palace made out of solid fire.

Similarly, these results do not have to be limited to buildings, per se. They could also be used for walls, roads, or other construction. A wall made entirely of bone could be pretty freaky, while a wall of illusions could be used to make a city look far more dangerous than it really is. Don't just apply this table; instead, consider why a nation might do things this way and use that to help spark your creativity. Also, remember that unusual materials are often used by unusual people and may serve as some kind of symbol or statement about their power. A holy cathedral made entirely of solid light can make a bigger impression than a stone building!

d100 Building Material Description
1-15 Bone Buildings are constructed from the bones of creatures, either by somehow linking them together or by carving the enormous bones of existing local creatures.
16-30 Crystal Buildings are grown as giant crystals, and often hollowed out at some point to make the interiors
31-45 Elements Buildings are made of some kind of solid element - often ice, earth, stone, or sand, but occasionally esoteric things like fire. Magic may or may not be involved.
46-55 Illusion The buildings are actually constructed of solid, normal materials, but are then infused with illusions to give them a vastly different appearance.
56-70 Metal Some sort of popular metal, such as iron, steel or even adamantium is used in the construction of local buildings.
71-85 Plants Buildings are grown as enormous plants, or perhaps integrated with relatively normal-sized ones. Trees are a popular option for this.
86-100 Webbing Buildings are formed by carefully laying down webbing from local creatures, typically spiders. The insides may be shored up with supports somehow.

Unusual Method of Transportation

The nation has some uncommon means of getting around. Like the Unusual Building Materials table, this isn't necessary relevant for every fantastical nation, though the transport should reflect the general characteristics of the nation when present. Unusual transports are not limited to getting around the country; it's common for them to be limited to a single city instead, or even a single district of a city.

For example, nobles might fly around on magical beats to avoid the crowds, while mechanical carts may top the walls of a city to allow much faster movement by the guards. As always, try to be creative when explaining how and why an area uses something from this table. That tends to produce better results than just adding in a trait.

Most fantastic nations have at least some of each of these once they've developed past a certain point; a nation doesn't need the Teleportation trait to have people who can teleport you. This table refers mainly to affordable, publicly-accessible transportation options.

d100 Method of Transport Description
1-45 Magical Beast Some fantastic creature - such as a Griffon - is the most popular method of transport. There's probably an entire industry dedicated to raising and training these creatures.
46-90 Mechanical Movement Some kind of mechanical setup - such as a gondola lift or cannon-launched container - moves people around the region. If the distances between cities are large, users may have to switch transports several times.
91-100 Teleportation The nation has some means of mass teleportation, such as permanent portals in major cities or fires that are linked to each other and don't burn anything else.

Example Nation

The following nation was randomly generated using the tables above, and serves as an example of how these can be brought together to form a single, coherent idea. These tables are listed above in alphabetical order for ease of reference, but have been rolled in a different order for more sensible generation.

Climate: Dry, Semiarid
Land Development Level: Standard Development
Major Trait: Prosperous

All right, by this point my understanding of the nation is already starting to take shape. It's a dry region with some scrubs and other bushes, and prosperous without having developed too much land. I'm picturing a sort of Arabian Nights nation at the moment.

Magic Level: Moderate Magic
Magic Theme: Mental

Now we're stepping into some new territory. Magic is reasonably common in this realm, but it's focused on powers of the mind. Given the Arabian Nights feel, I feel like a sort of mystic, discipline-oriented magic is going to be common in this area.

Common Classes:

  • Martial Classes: Yes
  • Arcane Classes: No
  • Divine Classes: Yes
  • Mental Classes: Yes
  • Nature Classes: Yes
  • Occult Classes: Yes
  • Unusual Classes: No

Acquisition of Abilities:

  • Aberration: No
  • Forced: Yes
  • Gifted: No
  • Inherited: Yes
  • Selected: Yes
  • Taught: Yes

Now I have a better sense for the kind of magic that's available in this region. The unusual classes are fairly rare to begin with, but the fact that this nation lacks normal arcane casters definitely pushes things in a more mystic, religious direction. Furthermore, the majority of powers tend to be either inherited, selected by their users, or carefully taught to them - but on occasion, they may also be forced onto people.

Now, let's put all of this together, shall we?

Festad, the Riches Hidden in the Desert

Located in an arid interior of the world's largest desert, Festad is a prosperous region that was created and is maintained by magic - in particular, through the use of conjured water and manipulation of the weather. It's not enough to turn the area entirely green, but it is enough to keep the sands from encroaching on its borders.

As a relatively central location, Festad's main contact with the rest of the world is through its trade caravans, which go from one end of the desert to the other carrying goods for sale. This has resulted in quite a lot of wealth within its separated cities, which are ruled by merchant-princes that seek to continue expanding their authority. However, even the princes must acknowledge the Temple of Thought - the true center of Festad, where all who have the capacity for magic are tested and trained to see if they can support the nation's efforts. However, there is no arcane magic here - not as the rest of the world understands it, at least. Rather, the Temple of Thought is dedicated to the God of Intellect, and they genuinely believe that having a strong enough will allows one to change the world to match. Those who are true to the god's teachings are granted a fragment of divine power that turns this into truth.

Of course, not all is well within this oasis of wealth… for occult forces are present, lurking in the shadows, and regularly bestow power upon people for reasons unknown. These "Weak-Wills", as the rest of Festad calls them, didn't have the capacity for the land's normal magic but were given it all the same… and many of them despise the way they're often treated as second-class citizens. This hasn't yet broken into open conflict, but it may only be a matter of time…

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