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Katapesh Sailor

ML: Garavel's page

47 posts. Alias of Gordon the Whale.




The Songs of Shazathared are obviously patterned after the Arabian Nights. A lovely princess (Shazathared, Scheherezade) is captured by a lord, and tells him a story every night to preserve her life. Cool.

The thing is, in 1001 Nights, after 1001 nights, the lord agrees to let the princess live, happy ending, and the stories get dispersed.

In the Golarion version, Jhavhul gets bored of Shazathared, and she moulders in his mansion for centuries, still trapped, even to the present day. Why does anyone know the stories? How do the stories get transmitted from a secret chamber in a palace in the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire to the Material Plane? Does Jhavhul repeat them? He doesn't seem like the type.

One of my players is really taking the Songs of Shazathared as a personal quest, so I know this is going to come up. Any ideas?


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Now recruiting for two level 2 characters in an ongoing Legacy of Fire campaign. Here is the campaign page, where you will find house rules and links to the gameplay and discussion pages.

I am managing party creation differently than normal in two ways.

First, the campaign started with one character, and new characters are added as the game progresses. Outside of roleplaying games, this is a very common trope for heroic fantasy: One hero begins their quest alone, and encounters allies as they go. There are currently two players. The two characters under consideration will be the third and fourth, and will be added relatively close to each other.

Second, each of the spots in the campaign comes with a general character concept and backstory. The exact build and details of the backstory are up to the player, and they have total control over their character once play begins. However, the GM want to make sure that the right character types, both in terms of mechanical party balance and in-character motivation, are present at each point in the story.

If you feel that this constrains you too much, then I wish you luck in finding a campaign that suits you better. There are many to choose from here on the messageboards.

Character Generation

  • Premade Character Concepts: Each of the spots in the campaign comes with a general character concept and backstory. The exact build is up to the player, and they have total control over their character once play begins. However, the GM wants to make sure that the right character types, both in terms of mechanical party balance and in-character motivation, are present at each point in the story.
  • Nonstandard races: This is a very genie-centric campaign. Most of the character concepts can accommodate some kind of genie-touched race (ifrit, oread, suli, sylph, or undine). For the purposes of this campaign, genie-touched races can generally pass as humans, though they can be distinguished by someone who knows what to look for. Some character concepts also allow other nonstandard races. Characters which take powerful nonstandard races (more than 12 RP in the race builder) do not gain a flavor feat (see below) at level one, but do gain flavor feats at every even level.
  • Traits: All characters get two traits. One will be a LoF campaign trait, which I will assign to you as part of your backstory. The other is at your discretion.
  • Ability scores: 20 point buy. Alternatively, roll (on the boards) 4d6 for each, keeping the highest 3 dice, and assign rolls to the 6 scores as you like. You may reroll the entire set one time. You may not roll and then decide to do point-buy instead. If you want to apply for two different roles, and want to roll for ability scores, use the same rolls for both roles. (Haha.)
  • Starting equipment: Standard wealth by level. If you start with an item creation feat, you may use it to create one magic item, which counts as half-price for calculating your starting wealth. You may not spend more than half of your starting wealth on any one item.
  • HP: Characters receive their full hit die hp at first level, and half-plus-one at later levels.
  • Source material: I allow material from all Paizo works. Let's leave out Antagonize, though. 3rd party material may be allowed on a case-by-case basis. If something isn't working for party balance and fun, I reserve the right to ask the player to change their build.
  • Flavor Feats: PCs recieve one bonus feat at level one, and one at each even level. These feats should help make the character more interesting, rather than simply provide a mechanical advantage. Typically, these feats give highly situational bonuses, and typically do not affect combat. Combat applicable feats may be allowed if they are sufficiently situational, non-optimal, and interesting. Players should ask the GM if they have questions about what feats qualify.
  • Fractional base saves: Multiclass characters will use fractional base saves and attack bonuses. High BAB: 1/level; Med BAB: .75/level; Low BAB: .5/level; Good save: 2 + 0.5/level; Bad save: 0.33/level.

And here are the characters currently up for recruitment:

The Lawyer:

This character is a member of the Pathfinder Society (not organized play; just the in-game organization). Their backstory should end with them joining Delvehaven, the Pathfinder lodge in Westcrown, Cheliax, where they meet Felliped Leroung, a young nobleman with a passion for knowledge and antiquities, and then are assigned to accompany him on an archaeological mission to the wilds of Katapesh.

This character's motivation for adventure is the acquisition of wealth, power, and fame. This sounds selfish, but they seek to achieve these goals only through honorable means. They should be a force for rationality and legality in the party, but a desire for financial rewards and advancement in society is also good. They are interested in knowledge, but primarily as a tool to achieve their greater goals. This character should be LN. Their campaign trait is Seeking Adventure.

As a level 2 character, the Lawyer starts with 1000 gp worth of equipment. Go ahead and choose your starting equipment, but be aware that at the beginning of the campaign, you will be a prisoner and not have any gear on you.

Mechanically, this character will be responsible for divine magic and diplomacy. They do not have to be a heal-bot, but they will be the closest thing in the party. My suggested class is cleric of Abadar; an oracle would also be an option. Human is good, especially considering the Chelaxian origin, but half-elf, tiefling or any genie-touched, especially oread or ifrit, would also work. The other standard races would be okay with a compelling backstory for it.

The Hunter:

This character is a native of the dry interior of Katapesh and Osirion. Their backstory should end with them being hired as a local guide by an adventuring party passing through Ipeq, in Osirion, headed south through the gnoll-infested Brazen Peaks into Katapesh. The character should be generally familiar with the local gnoll tribes and geography, but should not have spent a lot of time in the Brazen Peaks in the past year or two.

Their motivation for adventure is the joy of the hunt, though the pleasures of material rewards are not lost on them. This character should bring a hatred of gnolls and a willingness to use underhanded tactics to the party. Their campaign trait is Gnoll Killer. Alignment should probably be in the range of CN, N, or CG.

As a level 2 character, the Hunter starts with 1000 gp worth of equipment. Go ahead and choose your starting equipment, but be aware that at the beginning of the campaign, you will be a prisoner and not have any gear on you.

Mechanically, this character is responsible for dishing out damage in combat, tracking, and wilderness survival. They should use two-handed weapons (though not necessarily to the exclusion of ranged weapons.) My suggested class is ranger, with gnoll as favored enemy. That really seems like the best option, but you might be able to make a barbarian or inquisitor work, too. Human is a good race, but half-elf, half-orc, gnoll, or genie-touched, especially suli or ifrit, would also work. The other standard races would also be okay if you can make a compelling backstory for it. A gnoll PC may use a gnoll out of the advanced race guide with two class levels or a bestiary gnoll with only one class level.

Recruitment will be open until 10 pm on Monday, August 6, US CDT. (3 am on Tuesday, August 7th, GMT)


The ruby tuning fork given to the PCs by the captain of the sunset ship in The Jackal's Price is never explained in The End of Eternity. I understand that's because of a lack of communication between the writers of different adventures, and can accept that. But here's a suggestion for how to use it:

In my campaign, all four elemental seeds still exist in Kakishon, and each is responsible for a persistent magical effect related to its element. The Earth Seed, as in the published adventure, is in the lair of Obherak's shaitan on Khandelwal, and it powers the flow of the sandrivers. The fire seed is in the Fireforege on Salenax, where it powers the perpetual eruption of the volcano. The Water Seed is in the lair of Khartosk the dragon turtle, described in the set piece, where it provides a constant flow of water to replace that which is lost in the cataract over the edges of Kakishon. The Air Seed is at the top of the tallest mountain on Aliskiren, where it causes an eternal blizzard that keeps the ice island cold.

The tuning fork, meanwhile, is a focus component that allows the spell plane shift to operate to and from Kakishon, crafted by Nex himself. This provides a way to escape from Kakishon independently of the proteans or Obherak. Before it can be used, however, it must be attuned to the four elemental seeds. Once attuned, it remains so for decades or even centuries, but it has been long since the Sunset Ship traded on the shores of Kakishon, and the tuning fork is now silent.

The PC who is carrying the tuning fork when the party first comes in close proximity to one of the elemental seeds (most likely at the Fireforge) will notice it begin to ring with a pure tone. When each additional seed is encountered, another note is added, and when all four seeds have been encountered, the fork exhibits a slowly pulsing glow.

To learn about the elemental seeds or the tuning fork as its powers, the PCs can use knowledge (arcana), or talk to several knowledgeable NPCs, including Artel Norrin, Dillix Mahad, Obherak, Venema Shodair, and Nalla. Of these, Venema Shodair and Nalla have the most complete knowledge; Artel knows about the fire seed, and may speculate that the ringing of the tuning fork has something to do with it. Obherak likewise knows about the earth seed. Dillix might know something about the other two seeds, and recognized the tuning fork as an artifact that was created by Nex. Any character capable of casting plane shift, including as a spell-like ability, intuitively knows that it can be used as a focus for that spell if they study it for at least a full round once it is attuned to all four seeds.

The locations of three of the seeds are detailed in the adventure and set piece. Venturing to the Air Seed on Aliskiren involves facing bitter cold, high winds, low visibility, and steep, potentially icy slopes. Use the environmental rules for these. In particular, note that flying is not really an option. The seed floats in the air above the peak of the mountain, which is also the nesting site of a thunderbird (Bestiary 2) which will attack the PCs if they come too close.

All four elemental seeds interfere with spells of the teleportation subschool, as described for the fireforge in the adventure. This preserves the difficulty of the environmental hazards on the way to each, and conveniently prevents the use of scry-and-fry on Obherak while he is in his lair.

If folks are interested, I might give this a more thorough write-up.


In my campaign, Obherak has been alerted that the PCs are on the way, and he's marshaling his troops and getting ready for the attack. As shaitan do, he's making plans, and what I'm realizing is... The layout of his base puts him at a serious disadvantage.

In the original draft (thanks for sharing, Jason!) shaitan had the ability to walk on walls, and it made perfect sense. But now they have earth glide instead. I guess they just move around inside the walls, instead of using the actual passages? Or climb? Make stairs using Wall of Stone and Stone Shape? How exactly does Obherak pass through the vertical 30' hallway to his chamber? If he just earth glides through the stone around it, then why even have the hallway? It all seems very awkward, and the central fane is almost perfectly designed to be bad news for the defenders in combat. Invaders are virtually certain to be flying. PCs will cast fly as soon as they see the layout of the room, and Obherak's historical enemy, Jhavhul, has an army of Jann and Efreet, both of which fly with perfect maneuverability. So do Proteans. Even Dillix, in the director's cut, has doppelgangers mounted on griffons and air elementals. Fighting flying opponents is not what Shaitan want; it takes away their bonus from earth mastery and turns it into a stiff penalty, it exposes them to ranged attacks, which they don't have a natural counter for except taking cover in the walls, and opportunities to bull rush flying opponents into the walls using stone curse are likely to be slim.

Now, Obherak may think that his hideout is so well hidden that the inside doesn't really need to be defensible. I personally think he's too smart for that. Given that the complex was written for shaitan with a different ability set... Has anyone made any modifications to make it more appropriate for the way the shaitan stat block turned out? Something that gives them the chance to use their best abilities, while shoring up their weaknesses?


Game Master

Welcome to Katapesh, land of enchantment and burning sands, of trade and adventure, of genies and legends! Our story begins on the evening of the 30th of Desnus, in the year 4711 AR, in the common room of the Breakstride, an inn in the western town of Solku, the last stop on the east-west caravan route before it crossed the Barrier Wall into the Mwangi expanse.

General Knowledge about Katapesh:
This may be a review for anyone who has read the player's guide or is familiar with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but that may not be everyone, so here goes:

Katapesh is a country on the west coast of the continent of Garund. If you imagine that Golarion is Earth, then Garund is Africa, and Katapesh is where Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia would be, more or less. But Golarion is not Earth!

It is a generally hot and dry country. The north and west are dry, rugged hills; the central part is savannah and shrublands; and the south is shifting sand. Katapesh is bordered on the west by the Barrier Wall, a range of tall mountains that seperate it from the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse; to the north by the Brazen Peaks, a spur of the Barrier Wall which divides Katapesh from Osirion; to the east by the Obari Ocean; and to the south by a tributary of the Ustradi river, which separates it from Nex.

The capital city of Katapesh is also called Katapesh; it is located on the coast of the Obari ocean. It is ruled by the Pactmasters, mysterious immortal entities whose primary law is, "Do not interfere with trade." Trade is, then, the primary economic activity in Katapesh, with the slave and drug trades each forming large sectors. It is said that anything can be purchased in the bustling bazaars and souks of Katapesh. However, it is not an entirely lawless place; commodities which would be contraband elsewhere are legal in Katapesh, but laws against theft (which includes taking slaves within the city) and disruption are strict. The officially endorsed religion in Katapesh is that of Abadar, god of law, cities, and trade, but among the poor, and especially among slaves, the faith of the sun goddess Saranrae, which preaches salvation for the downtrodden, redemption for those who seek it, and vengeance against the unrepentant, is far more popular.

Although in a cosmopolitan metropolis such as the city of Katapesh, all races can be found, by and large, Katapesh is a land of humans, primarily Keleshites and Garundi. There are no major elvish or dwarven settlements that are currently occupied. Halflings, both free and slaves, live among the humans in the cities, but are less common in the countryside. There is one gnomish town, Finderplain, in the west-central part of the country. Orcs, and their half-orc kin, are much rarer in Garund than in Avistan to the north; here, gnolls are much more common, typically preying on hapless travellers and selling those they do not kill at the slave market in Katapesh. The common language of Katapesh is Kelish.

The main agricultural commodity is pesh, a narcotic derived from the flower buds of a cactus which grows in the northern hills and drier areas of the savannah. Pesh is enjoyed by many of the inhabitants of Katapesh, and all enjoy the economic benefits its cultivation brings, directly or indirectly, but it can be addictive and harmful. Imagine something between marijuana and opium, in both effect and harmfulness.

A middle-aged man sits alone at a table, calmly sipping tea. He is tall and neat, with a lantern-jaw and a well-trimmed black beard. He wears a white keffiyeh and the robes of a desert traveller. He appears to be absorbed in some sort of paperwork, but her periodically raises a rueful glance at the group of four rough-looking men drinking at the bar.
That's you guys; Valik is not here yet.


Game Master

Welcome to the discussion thread.


I'm frustrated with the real-life Legacy of Fire game I'm running, because my players can't manage to all be there at once. PbP seems like the solution.

I'm curious if there would be interest in a Legacy of Fire campaign where the players join up gradually as the campaign progresses, taking the roles of NPCs from the original adventure path. This would mean constraints in terms of race, class, alignment, and backstory, but I would leave the actual builds up to the players (unless they want me to give them pregens...)

The players whose characters join later would have the option of controlling mercenaries (human warriors, standard array) at the beginning of the campaign. Alternatively, they could just lurk and show up later.

Roles available, in order of appearance:

Lv 1 Paladin (Saranrae)

Lv 2 Ranger
Lv 2 Archaeologist (bard)
Lv 2 Cleric (Abadar)

Lv 3 Dex-based melee (Rogue, Swashbuckler, Fighter, Dervish Dancer (bard), etc.)

Lv 8 Old Diviner (wizard)

Obviously, that Diviner wouldn't actually be joining for a long time; up until then I think the party can do fine in the context of the adventure without a primary arcane caster.

Anybody interested?


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