How I Set Up My New PF2 Game, “Gatekeepers.” Part 5: Quickstart Tidegate Gazetteer

When doing a homebrew campaign (such as my upcoming Gatekeepers game for PF2), I have long since given up having everything mapped out in advance. I want a few key things defined (and, if possible, graphed to maps), but only at the lightest level of detail. having done that at the island-level, I also want to put a few things in place for the starting town, Tidegate.

(The map I’ll be using for Tidegate. This is a great piece by, which he makes freely available for commercial purposes thanks to the support from his Patrons. I want to not only pick some of the vast resources I have linked to help have visuals for the Gatekeeper campaign early, but also pick those I can use in an actual produce later if I choose to do so. As locations, like the Smoke Pine Taven become important, I’ll mark them on a copy of this map.)

Tidegate is one of the oldest settlements on Kheysus Island, it’s original founding lost to history and firmly in the realm of myths and legends. It existed before the kingdom of Khetonnia, though in a much smaller form than its current borders. The two most common claims about its origins are that it was originally a temple to a lost sea god, where farmers and hunters would bring offerings to appease the forces of storm and tide. The other is that it was created as a trading post between aquatic species and land-dwelling ones, possibly by a family that included members of both. Of course, these two myths aren’t mutually exclusive, but there’s no real evidence to support either.

Eventually Tidegate was the capital of the Crosstimbers, a Cantref of Khetonnia. The Cantref had no ruling nobility, but was overseen by a Council elected by a vote of landowners (with each acre under production, and hundred acres patrolled but wild, counting as a single vote). Sometime before the Continental Empire conquered the island, the Crosstimbers “went wild,” and most of the nearby woods were ceded to the wild, with any remaining settlements within it independent and fortified.

Tidegate has been ruled by a Town Council ever since, elected by taxpayers with votes proportional to taxes payed over the past 10-years in a running tally. On the one hand, this means the richest people in Tidegate decide who is in charge. On the other hand, it discourages the rich avoiding the paying of tax, and much of how the tax money is spent is dictated by the Duchess of Tides laws on the matter.

The Continental Empire built the Old Keep to the northwest of the town, the Watchtower on the adjacent hill, and the Rampart Wall that surrounds Tidewall shortly after taking over, in preparation for an attack from some international foe that never came. They did so at great expense, and seemed more concerned with defending Tidegate than the larger city of Seagrace.

The defenses became important a century ago during the Bloodletter Wars, when the Bloodletter Dominion tried to conquer the world. They made numerous attempts to take over Tidegate, and it seemed to be their primary objective on Kheyus, though they also did extensive, unknown things on the western side of the island, beyond the Keystone Mountains. Tidegate was besieged several times and numerous defensive battles fought on its walls, but it was never seized by enemy forces.

Current State of Affairs
Tidegate is a fairly stable, prosperous town. It has a regular stream of small merchant ships coming to buy supplies, as well as provisions from and goods from Fishport. Violent crime is rare, work plentiful, and satisfaction among the population high. When there is a serious problem in town it can almost always be traced back to drunk sailors, old feuds between well-establish families, or someone (usually a visitor) acting weird and crazy during a full moon (which is just considered to be one of those things).

Tidegate is the economic, social, and security lynchpin of dozens of farms, outfits, and small settlements within a 2-3 days travel. If there is any regional problem (such as a pack of wolves, or an ogre, or active bandits), people bring the problem to Tidegate and expect the Council to deal with it. If there’s a major local problem a farmstead or thorp can’t deal with, it’s Tidegate they turn to for help.

Tidegate City Council
Not a complete list, just noteworthy members.

Daenen Thraes

Daenen Thraes is a skilled elven blacksmith who is pushing 500 years old. He dislikes talking about the past, but is known to have fought in the Bloodletter Wars and the Imperial Conquest and to have a standing invitation to visit the Duchess of Tides, which no one has ever seen him accept. He has no known family. He runs the only smithing shop in Tidegate, Iron Will Anvils, and makes sure to take new apprentices every few years. He rarely takes commission work himself anymore, and nearly all the work he does do it sold to traveling merchant marines or more mysterious, cloaked figures. (Image by Николай Акатов)

Hexer Hellaina

Hellaina is a gnome who runs the largest herbalism and alchemy shop in Tidegate. She is extremely skilled and well-known for being able to make custom infusions and poltice, and it’s not unusual for a customer to come from the Continent to commission a cure from her. Relations between her and Nana Cutthroat are cool, but not hostile, possibly because Nana knows herbal things Hellaina does not, and possibly because Hellaina has adopted and fully domesticated a few of the Smoke Pine cats, who don’t go there anymore. (Image by KOVALOVA)


Miller has a given name, but not only does he never use it, most folks in town have no idea what it is. He’s the town miller, as was his father and his father before him. The family clearly has some elven or similar ancestry, as they live 150-200 years apiece. The family has grown to be among the richest in Tidegate, and Miller himself employs more people in town (for his mill, but also to run a few outlying farms, act as porters, run bakeries, run warehouses, and so on) than any other single employer. Miller is known to have very minor magic ability, and his family have been building a collection of books that recently grew so big Miller took over part of the Rampart Wall to house it. (Image by diversepixel)

Lantern Siggurds

Siggurds is the head of the Tidegate Council. A locally-born human he left in his youth to travel the world on Circle Trade ships, and retired to the town roughly 20 years ago. He has military experience, and doubles as the town watchman when one is needed. He’s part investor in a number of small, fast merchant ships, and runs a ship-patching and supply business by The Big Dock. He’s seen as a stick-in-the-mud by a lot of locals, but also as a keen city manager and brave watchman, who often helps outlying communities when a child is missing, or a barn burns down, or a pack of wolves is spotted. However, the Siggurds family and the Dale family have been feuding for generations, and often people feel they must either get a Dale’s help, or a Siggurds’ help, not both. (Image by Algol)

Nana Cutthroat

Owner of the Pine Smoke Taven, Nana Cutthroat is believed to the second-oldest citizen of Tidegate, right behind Daenen Thraes. She’s run the Pine Smoke since before the Bloodletter Wars, and seems to have been around before that. She refuses to explain the mis-spelled “Taven” sign, though she sometimes seems wistful about it, and claims replacing it would be stupid because everyone knowns what it means.

She’s a venerable orc woman with a soft spot for strays and outcasts (leading to the Pine Smoke having a large number of semi-feral cats she claims aren’t hers, but no one dares harm), no patience for fools or liars, a surprisingly good hand with children, and an amazing skill at cooking and herbal medicine. Nana (or Goodmiss Cutthroat if she’s in a bad mood) is often torn between not wanting to get involved with affairs outside her inn, and not being able to stand people being stupid about solvable problems. She claims she doesn’t vote for herself to be on the council, and about half of Tidegate believes her. (Image by IG Digital Arts)


A human often accused of having some halfling blood, as an infant Pottage was found as the only survivor of a shipwreck 30 years ago. Nana Cutthroat took him in temporarily, and ended up raising him. He became her cook, and then her manager, and then to her pride and annoyance, set up his own provisions business and general store, which has done very, very well. He’s considered a likeably doofus by most of town, still cooks at the Smoke Pine a few nights a month, and seems beloved by even the most grumpy of Nana’s semi-feral cats. He’s considered a likely candidate for who is voting to put Nana on the council, though she’s been on it since long before he came along. (Image by Lunstream)

Syrkin Dale

Syrkin is the patriarch of the mostly-human Dale family, who have very few members in town but are a large clan that run numerous farms, logging outfits, and some sheep in the surrounding area. No one Dale has much spare money, but all the clan’s trade is funnelled through Dale-owned businesses in town, giving those Dales enough tax money to pool resources and ensure the head of the clan is voted into the council. Syrkin is considered among the smartest, most skilled, most unpleasant clan patriarchs, and he seems intent on stirring discord between people who live within Tidegate proper, and families and settlements outside the Rampart Wall who are merely dependent on the town. He is deeply devoted to his family’s traditional dislike of the Siggurds, and seems to also personally despise Pottage (though no one knows why, and Pottage doesn’t seem to return the animosity). (Image by Zdenek Sasek)

Warden Ellicent

Warden Ellicent is the official representative of the Duchess of Tides to Tidegate, and a formidable tracker, hunter, and trapper. A half-elf she’s considered young for the position, which she has already held for more than a decade. Ellicent seems to dislike being forced to be on the council by ducal decree, and spends as much time ranging as possible. She doesn’t get along particularly with the majority of the council with the important exception of Nana Cutthroat. (Image by Daniel)


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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on September 30, 2022, in Adventure Design, Microsetting, Pathfinder 2nd Ed and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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