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Vudra and "Indian Flavored" RPGs


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Well team, someone had to break down and do it, so I am!

I started really drafting up my version of Vudra the other day. I am trying to follow the canon material as closely as possible, but there is not a ton to work with. Here's what I've been able to dig up:

...

* Vudra is made of hundreds of smaller kingdoms, each most likely ruled by a Rajah, who may or may not answer to the Maharajah.

* The Maharajah is descended from some God-like Hero, similar to Rama in many aspects.

* Vudra operates with a strong caste system that is tied to their religious system. To me this implies a lawfully aligned society, yet their only representative in the inner sea, Jalmeray, is Chaotic Neutral. Explanations anyone?

* There have been three castes mentioned in the canon material:
- Padapranja – Warriors (and most likely Rulers?)
- Kezavazresthin – Merchants (and most likely Artisans?)
- Atanpratta – Explorers

To the developers - how did you come up with the names of the castes? They don't appear to be actual Sanskrit or Hindi. Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

* There are thousands of Gods in Vudra, but Irori is held above all others. Irori appears to be more of Buddha figure rather than a Hindu styled deity.

* Monks are common in Vudra, along with the misunderstood Psionic Arts.

~~~

There are definitely things I will include in my setting that are completely mine, the first of those being a new race called the Elephasi, a race of humanoid elephants who live in a strict matriarchal society. Females are exclusively clerics and healers, where the males are monks, bards, and very rarely paladins.

Beyond this I'm still in the beginning steps. Luckily, I have a fairly extensive base of Indian historical knowledge, and a some background with Hinduism to work with, so I'm at least headed in the right direction.

If anyone wants to help me, give advice, contribute or whatnot please post! And I'd love to hear from the developers on this one.

(Please note that I'm not super-interested in Psionics, so this thread has nothing to do with Mind Magic besides that it is supposedly common in Vudra.)

-Levis

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Kind of up and down and running around at the moment, but some supplementary reading material from other players here:

VedicDragon's India-themed campaign notes

ValkyriePaine's custom Vudran caste

Heh. V-names for Vudran-appropriate material.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Mikaze wrote:

Kind of up and down and running around at the moment, but some supplementary reading material from other players here:

VedicDragon's India-themed campaign notes

ValkyriePaine's custom Vudran caste

Heh. V-names for Vudran-appropriate material.

Thank you for those links! Good reading! :) I'll be sure to incorporate some of those aspects into my campaign! VedicDragon's postings will take a bit of time to properly dissect!

Andoran

I'm definitely interested in more Vudra-based campaign "stuff." When I asked James Jacobs in the Paizo chat about what will be included in the new world guide about it, he made it sound like it will pretty much have the same old information in the new guide as the old. The map might be a bit expanded though. ;)

Tokoz
The cat that's at


Running a pseudo Indian/Southeast Asian inspired PbP right now. Feel free to check out the source materials and follow the thread if you like.

re: Castes: figure the 4 traditional castes
-Priests
-Warriors
-Farmers/merchants
-Untouchables

Add
-Mages

-Explorers, though canon, seem to be a subset of the warrior caste to me. Could be a fun one though, the "inter-caste" group, where they belong to all and none at teh same time.


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Funny, I started work on my version last week...
There are two more castes mentioned in the canon materials -- Rajah and Bhuridhana, "kings" and "rich men" in Sanskrit. They are described under the Vudran ethnicity in the Campaign Setting.
There are scattered refs to places and regions in the various books. The Campaign Setting and EScape from Old Korvosa are the main sources.
I decided the first Maharajah was a foreign invader because his name didn't sound Vudrani to me -- like the Arya, the Saka, or the Moghuls, repeated foreign invasions kind of help form the "mythic India" in my mind.
Since cross-pollination can't hurt, if you're interested, I can post more.


PS. In India, Varna (the four or five divisions of society) is mainly distinct from caste; these are finer subdivisions, sometimes with murky associations to particular Varna. Castes are a mixture of bloodline, profession, and locality. So we can have both; but, as in medieval and later India the castes are more important and the Varnas are symbolic.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Jeff de luna wrote:

Funny, I started work on my version last week...

There are two more castes mentioned in the canon materials -- Rajah and Bhuridhana, "kings" and "rich men" in Sanskrit. They are described under the Vudran ethnicity in the Campaign Setting.
There are scattered refs to places and regions in the various books. The Campaign Setting and Escape from Old Korvosa are the main sources.
I decided the first Maharajah was a foreign invader because his name didn't sound Vudrani to me -- like the Arya, the Saka, or the Moghuls, repeated foreign invasions kind of help form the "mythic India" in my mind.
Since cross-pollination can't hurt, if you're interested, I can post more.

I would love to hear more about your campaign. Thanks for bringing up those castes names. Out of curiosity how do you think monstrous humanoids and other races fit into the caste system. Are they completely separate?


Sounds like Exalted, to be honest.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Levis wrote:
Jeff de luna wrote:

Funny, I started work on my version last week...

There are two more castes mentioned in the canon materials -- Rajah and Bhuridhana, "kings" and "rich men" in Sanskrit. They are described under the Vudran ethnicity in the Campaign Setting.
There are scattered refs to places and regions in the various books. The Campaign Setting and Escape from Old Korvosa are the main sources.
I decided the first Maharajah was a foreign invader because his name didn't sound Vudrani to me -- like the Arya, the Saka, or the Moghuls, repeated foreign invasions kind of help form the "mythic India" in my mind.
Since cross-pollination can't hurt, if you're interested, I can post more.
I would love to hear more about your campaign. Thanks for bringing up those castes names. Out of curiosity how do you think monstrous humanoids and other races fit into the caste system. Are they completely separate?

Monstrous castes, if they exist as castes, could be seen as reward or punishment for those reincarnated into them. Each monstrous type may have its own specialized place in Vudran society, and that place could be one of honor or shame. Those castes might also be "dead-ends", where those born into them are stuck reincarnating into the same caste over and over, with little or no hope of being reborn into mainstream humanoid castes.

Certain types of nagas are honored advisors and guardians, rewarded for their loyal service, for example.

The Rakshasa article in Pathfinder #10 is useful along these lines as well. Basically, they're folks that cheated the system and got themselves into a completely separate reincarnation cycle from everyone else, being reborn again and again as raskshasas rather than recieving their proper karmic punishment(which considering the kind of person that would become a rakshasa, would likely be pretty hefty).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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It just so happens I made a naga-like race the other day.

Also, the WotC site had the Mahanaga or Mahasarpa campaign setting on their site several years ago. The PDF might still be available for inspiration. It's 3.5 with some 3.0 Oriental Adventures mixed in.

THORANAGA

Thoranaga are small, serpentine folk with the heads and faces of humans and the bodies and tails of a snake.

+2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, -2 Dexterity: Thoranaga are durable and charming, but their unusual forms lack a certain grace.

Small Size: Thoranaga have a +1 size bonus to AC and attack rolls, a +4 size bonus to Stealth checks, but suffer a -1 size bonus to CMB and CMD.

Slow Speed: Thoranaga have a base land speed of 20 feet.

Aberrant Nature: Thoranaga are aberrations and are immune to any effect that specifically targets humanoids.

Bite: Thoranaga have a bite attack that causes 1d4 points of damage plus 1 ½ their Strength bonus.

Bonus Feat: Thoranaga may choose either Eschew Materials or Improved Natural Attack as a bonus feat at 1st level.

Darkvision: Thoranaga can see through 60 feet of darkness.

Gullet of Storing: Thoranaga have the supernatural ability to swallow an unattended item and store it in an non-dimensional space within their gullet. They can store an amount of items within their gullet equal to their Constitution bonus multiplied by 10 pounds. Storing or retrieving an item is a swift action.

Limbless Form: Thoranaga lack arms and legs, hands and feet, and therefore cannot use the following skills without the aid of magic, their mage hand ability, or some other means: Craft, Disable Device, Linguistics checks to create forged documents, Profession, and Sleight of Hand skill checks. Thoranaga cannot wield manufactured weapons. Thoranaga must have any armor they wear altered as if it were barding. Thoranaga cannot be tripped.

Mage Hand: Thoranaga can use mage hand at will as a spell-like ability. The Strength score of their mage hand is equal to their number of hit dice. Thoranaga can use their mage hand to use tools and wield weapons.

Natural Armor: Thoranaga have a natural armor bonus of +1.

Languages: Thoranaga speak Common and Draconic. Thoranaga of above average Intelligence can choose from the following: Abyssal, Aquan, Celestial, Giant, Infernal, Sylvan, Terran, or Undercommon.

FAVORED CLASS OPTIONS:

Bard: Add +1/6 to the Save DC of any spell with a verbal component the bard casts.

Cleric: Add +¼ to the Save DC of the cleric’s Channel Energy ability.

Fighter: Add +1 to the fighter’s CMD against bull rush and overrun attempts.

Monk: Add +½ to damage rolls when grappling.

Oracle: +¼ on caster levels to overcome spell resistance.

Rogue: +½ on initiative rolls.

Sorcerer: +¼ on caster levels to overcome spell resistance.

Summoner: +½ evolution points for the summoner’s serpentine eidolon.

RACIAL TRAITS

Aberrant Climber: You gain a climb speed equal to your land speed, as well as a +8 racial bonus to Climb skill checks.

Aberrant Form: You gain a +1 trait bonus to Escape Artist and Stealth skill checks, and one of these (your choice) is always a class skill for you.

Aberrant Swimmer: You gain a swim speed equal to your speed, as well as a +8 racial bonus to Swim skill checks.

Divine Sorcery: You choose a number of divine spells equal to your Wisdom bonus (minimum 1). You add these spells to the list of sorcerer spells that you may select from. You must still select the divine spell to add it to your list of known sorcerer spells. You must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the level of the selected spell. You may select this trait multiple times, selecting different spells each time you do so.

Enlarged Gullet: You double the weight limits you can hold in your Gullet of Storing.

Fearsome Gaze: You gain a gaze attack with a range of 30 feet. Those who see you, or who you target as a standard action, must succeed on a Will Save with a DC of 10 + ½ your hit dice + your Charisma modifier or become shaken for 1d4 rounds.

Guarded Thoughts: You have a +2 bonus on saving throws vs. charm and divination effects that attempt to read your mind.

Mage Hands: You can use a number of mage hands at once equal to your Intelligence bonus.

Penetrating Magic: You gain a +1 trait bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance.

Stinger: You gain a secondary natural sting attack that causes 1d3 points of damage + ½ your Strength bonus.

Venomous Bite: Your bite is venomous. It causes 1d2 points of Constitution damage if the target fails a Fortitude Save with a DC of 10 + ½ your hit dice + your Constitution modifier. If you have a stinger, your sting attack is also venomous.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

ProfessorCirno wrote:
Sounds like Exalted, to be honest.

Exalted has a lot of Indian and Vedic influences, but to me fails to capture the essence of the culture. The castes of Exalted work differently with their classes than I would prefer, although I thank you for bringing it up, because until now I hadn't really thought of using Exalted as a resource.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Mikaze wrote:


Monstrous castes, if they exist as castes, could be seen as reward or punishment for those reincarnated into them. Each monstrous type may have its own specialized place in Vudran society, and that place could be one of honor or shame. Those castes might also be "dead-ends", where those born into them are stuck reincarnating into the same caste over and over, with little or no hope of being reborn into mainstream humanoid castes.

Certain types of nagas are honored advisors and guardians, rewarded for their loyal service, for example.

The Rakshasa article in Pathfinder #10 is useful along these lines as well. Basically, they're folks that cheated the system and got themselves into a completely separate reincarnation cycle from everyone else, being reborn again and again as raskshasas rather than recieving their proper karmic punishment(which considering the kind of person that would become a rakshasa, would likely be pretty hefty).

That's interesting. I like the Rakshasa reincarnation cycle bit. I plan on doing something similar to my Elephasi race. But what about Halflings and gnomes. I believe gnomes would be excluded from the cycle as they are from the first world. Possibly they are a race that is an exception in the caste/reincarnation system.


Levis wrote:


That's interesting. I like the Rakshasa reincarnation cycle bit. I plan on doing something similar to my Elephasi race. But what about Halflings and gnomes. I believe gnomes would be excluded from the cycle as they are from the first world. Possibly they are a race that is an exception in the caste/reincarnation system.

I assume the Elephasi parallel my Ganapata. Elephant-heads. These would be Devata in my cosmology.

I followed the Hindu/Buddhist reincarnation concepts: different races are ranked by their karma:
1. Deva, Devata: Gods, Good or Neutral Outsiders; demi-gods; divine descended mortals (Aasimar et al.)
2. Lawful or Good Humans [originally just Brahmans]; Vidyadhari (psionic Elves)
3. Gandharvas and Apsaras (Elves, Fey); other Humans, Peri (non-Vudran elves); Kinnara (good harpy-like beings)
4. Garudas (Shapechanging birds (Magical Beasts?) and Vanara (Monkey-people; Rukshya (bear-people); Kimpurusha (neutral manticore-like people)
5. Nagas (Dragons)
6. Yakshas (Giants, Ogres and Monstrous Humanoids); Kabaira (Gnomes); Guhyaka (Horses with wings and human head)
7. Kumbhandas (a type of Dwarf); Dhvara (non-native Dwarves)
8. Asura (Devils)
9. Rakshasas and Pisachas (Goblinoids, Demons)
10. Pretas (Undead)
11. Those in the Hells or Abyss.

Note the emphasis on Law. I have quite a few intelligent races (all from legend) but most are more than CR 1 (i.e., not normally PCs). Power level has nothing to do with the value of a particular being in terms of reaching Deva-hood.


Generally, the cycle of reincarnation extends beyond the Material Plane; hence the First World and the various other planes would be ranked like castes and creatures along with everything else.
In traditional Buddhist and Hindu thought it _is_ possible to reincarnate as a non-Human or animal. Note the low rank of dwarves; not sure why, but the sources agree on this. On the other hand, the Nordic dwarves were pretty low ranking on the worthiness scale too. Sadly, traditionally, the darker the skin, the lower the rank. Vishnu and Krishna (whose name means 'dark') manage to be major exceptions. Perhaps Blue was seen as the 'lightest' color. More likely, these were non-Aryan gods.
It's also kind of odd for westerners that dragons _want_ to be reincarnated as humans (if they give a fig about dharma, that is. Neutral or Evil creatures tend to devolve or stay the same, like the Rakshasa).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Jeff de luna wrote:
Levis wrote:


That's interesting. I like the Rakshasa reincarnation cycle bit. I plan on doing something similar to my Elephasi race. But what about Halflings and gnomes. I believe gnomes would be excluded from the cycle as they are from the first world. Possibly they are a race that is an exception in the caste/reincarnation system.

I assume the Elephasi parallel my Ganapata. Elephant-heads. These would be Devata in my cosmology.

I followed the Hindu/Buddhist reincarnation concepts: different races are ranked by their karma:

1. Deva, Devata: Gods, Good or Neutral Outsiders; demi-gods; divine descended mortals (Aasimar et al.)
2. Lawful or Good Humans [originally just Brahmans]; Vidyadhari (psionic Elves)
3. Gandharvas and Apsaras (Elves, Fey); other Humans, Peri (non-Vudran elves); Kinnara (good harpy-like beings)
4. Garudas (Shapechanging birds (Magical Beasts?) and Vanara (Monkey-people; Rukshya (bear-people); Kimpurusha (neutral manticore-like people)
5. Nagas (Dragons)
6. Yakshas (Giants, Ogres and Monstrous Humanoids); Kabaira (Gnomes); Guhyaka (Horses with wings and human head)
7. Kumbhandas (a type of Dwarf); Dhvara (non-native Dwarves)
8. Asura (Devils)
9. Rakshasas and Pisachas (Goblinoids, Demons)
10. Pretas (Undead)
11. Those in the Hells or Abyss.

Note the emphasis on Law. I have quite a few intelligent races (all from legend) but most are more than CR 1 (i.e., not normally PCs). Power level has nothing to do with the value of a particular being in terms of reaching Deva-hood.

You're work here is incredible. My system was similar, but very basic as I just started on it. In your setting how do you plan on handling Hell and the Abyss? Obviously with such a focus on law, the chaos of the Abyss throws somethings off kilter a bit. I love the idea of Dragons wanted to be humans, although I may have them be separated into separate castes by color and AL. Lawfully/Good dragons would be further up the totem pole than chaotic and evil dragons ... possibly each chromatic becoming their opposite metallic if they find a way to atone for their sinful existence.

For the most part I plan on keeping regular monsters (i.e. the manticore, and more bestial monsters) lower in the cycle.

Why did you place gnomes where you did?


Why did I place Gnomes there?
Gnomes (Sanskrit *Kabaira -Kobold/Goblin, in the originally benevolent/good sense) are related etymologically to Kubera/Kuvera, god of the Yaksas, treasure, the earth, and guardianship. They would be considered "small" Yaksas.

Kumbhandas, btw, share a number of characteristics with Tanuki in Japanese legend: lustfulness, huge male parts, drunken-ness, and strength. They are very Chaotic.

Jinn (common in post-Islamic Indian legends) probably fall under #6, I think.

Thanks for the props. I'm a librarian and tend to be good at gathering info. But as I said, 90% is from Hindu/Buddhist teachings. The Buddhists call the intelligent races the 8 legions; they omit Humans and Rakshasas/Pisachas and combine the Pretas with the denizens of Hell/Abyss (Naraka). The Buddhists were more systematic about this, so I used their basic outline and categories. Sometimes the Hindus promoted a lot of these creatures to Devatas, since they were and are worshipped in places. Even Pisachas and Asuras have temples.

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Levis wrote:
* Vudra operates with a strong caste system that is tied to their religious system. To me this implies a lawfully aligned society, yet their only representative in the inner sea, Jalmeray, is Chaotic Neutral. Explanations anyone?

Jalmeray is an experiment, and probably regarded by many in Vudra as a failed experiment.

It probably attracted the odd, the outcast, the shunned. Those Chaotic types who didn't fit the typical social structures of their homeland.
And don't forget the effects of the Arclords time of dominance.
Unwanted sons and daughters are also sent there: rejects and outcasts sent to become monks.

But, to be honest, the actual text in the Campaign Setting doesn't really have much of a CN vibe. I would call it a TN kind of place.
However: "What they discovered in the vaults beneath could not be named—nor unseen. Something howls in the winding darkness beneath the ruins at the center of Padiskar. Frightened locals whisper that it is a spirit or a god, brought in secret from the eastern empire by the Maharaja Khiben-Sald to the holdings of Nex in ancient days."

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Green Ronin's campaign setting "Mindshadows" might be a good place to mine ideas from. I think James Jacobs mentioned somewhere that that could be a good "cludge" until they produce their own stuff.

I also seem to remember that there was a web enhancement for the oriental adventures written by James wyatt called the Mahasarpa campaign. Im not sure where you might find it now.

I hope this is helpful

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20011019a


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It would be interesting to see how outsiders are ranked into the caste system. I think it likely that they would be considered at least a step below their actual equivalent social rank, as they are not from 'civilised' lands.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

As we seem to have the caste discussion well under way, let's bring in an additional subject.

How many large kingdoms are there in Vudra? The land is nicknamed "The Impossible Kingdoms" but how many large and powerful nations are there? My guess would be around five to six, based on previous campaign models, with additional smaller kingdoms scattered around. Vudra also probably has a number of smaller communities of non-standard humanoids that a native to the realm.

And ... go!

Andoran

Levis wrote:

How many large kingdoms are there in Vudra? The land is nicknamed "The Impossible Kingdoms" but how many large and powerful nations are there? My guess would be around five to six, based on previous campaign models, with additional smaller kingdoms scattered around. Vudra also probably has a number of smaller communities of non-standard humanoids that a native to the realm.

And ... go!

I like the idea of twelve. That's just a cool number. And have the large kingdoms surround the smaller kingdoms and be constantly fighting directly or through intrigue to have add the smaller kingdoms to their lands.

If you add religion and castes to the mix, it gets better and more complex. I can't say that the idea is particularly like Indian culture, but it does provide many possible backdrops for the religious and political upheaval that was constant in that part of the world.

Tokoz
Indian Cat

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe 3-5 Big and 3-5 small. Don't want to get TOO complex with PF Politics!!!


SmiloDan wrote:
Maybe 3-5 Big and 3-5 small. Don't want to get TOO complex with PF Politics!!!

Vudra is "about half" of the size of Avistan. Avistan has around 20-22 countries, thus Vudra should have about 10-11, I'd say. These are "regions" though -- the sub-kingdoms being over 100, so there's a further breakdown of 10 or so to each region. We know the name of 1 region or subregion: Sikari (mountains and jungle, in the north (Sikari or Shikari = "hunter"), from Escape from Old Korvosa.

These are some potential motifs:

Indonesian/Malay islands
Tibetan/Bhutanese kingdom
Delta/marshy region
non-human regions
Desert, formerly fertile (like Sarasvati river valley)
colonial trade region
heartland region (perhaps called Dhavala ("white,snowy") (cf. listing under Languages in the Campaign Setting)
"Dravidian region"

I think the Inner Sea coalesced after brainstorming sessions about fantasy motifs and settings (classic, pulp, and high fantasy, especially). What "Indian" or South Asian motifs come to mind in a fantasy milieu? These include Orientalizing stuff like pulp and India's own self-conception of its myths as well.

Things like:
War Elephants
Agarttha/Shambhalla
Mahabharata
Ramayana
Sindbad the Sailor
Amir Hamza
Howard's "Vendhya" and "Kosala"
Bollywood
The Raj
Jungle Book
Amar Chitra Katha
Afghan tribes
The Buddha
The Indika and other Greco-Roman "wonder narratives"
The Thuggees
Ashoka the Great
Akbar the Great
Krishna and the Gopis
Tigers
The Kama Sutra


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The following is the canon info I can find. I am no doubt missing some details -- if anyone sees something I don't list, maybe they can post it too.
This is the raw material from what is published so far that we can interpret into our own Vudra setting.
I expect, btw, a boatload of new trivia to appear in "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers."

Vudra Canon Information

Size: ‘half as large as Avistan’ (Campaign Setting, p.154)

Geography:
Sikari is a northern highland jungle region. (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.89)
The Dhavala river basin is the heartland of the Vudran language (CS, p.220)
The Narhari desert, haunt of Trilochan (CS, p.155)
Possible other regions include Khar, Johar, Ukhrul, Vimeri[a] (EfOK, p.43)

Government:
‘More than a hundred mahajanapadas’ (Campaign Setting, p.155)
The rajahs who rule the mahajanapadas answer to the Maharajah, or emperor (CS, p.155)
Called the ‘Impossible Kingdoms’ (CS, p.39)
Vudrani lords use bound genies (Qadira, p.4)

Settlements:
The largest ports of Vudra have populations in the millions (CS, p.155)
Vudra has a high population (CS, p.39)
Vudran cities are “breath-taking” (Dragons Revisited, p.26)
Banaquet, a village in Sikari (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.89)
Reverchaldam, former home of the Breathers of Ash in Sikari (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.89)
Samudhadra, port city (Meet the Iconics: Sajan)
Sihadraman, a splendid port city (Guide to Korvosa, p.58)
Ashawar (?), home of the Ashawar Lancers (Guide to Absalom, p.55)
Udayasankar, near the Stone Egg of Jayalakshmi. (CS, p.235)
Chennipon, lies south of mountains near the realm of the Night Weaver King (What Lies in Dust, p.76)

Other Sites:
Ajitash Valley, the elephant graveyard (EfOK, p.84-5)
Hemachandra, Seat of the Golden Moon (CS, p.155)
Palace of Emerald and Ivy, seat of Vanswati Jhonancore (EfOK, p.60)
Palace of Ivory and Bone, seat of Rajput Shivji Shashibhushan (EfOK, p.84-5)
‘Shadow palace’ of Chayya (CS, p.155)
The Stone Egg of Jayalakshmi, a psionic artifact, and center of psionic learning in Vudra (CS, p.235)

History:
c.-45,000 Claimed origins of Vudra (Campaign Setting, p.155)
563 Khiben-Sald, maharajah of Vudra, visits Jalmeray and Nex (CS, p.201, 84)
573 Khiben-Sald returns to Vudra (CS, p.84)
c.2700 Contact via Jalmeray between Avistan and Vudra (Campaign Setting, p.154)
2822 Jalmeray is reconquered by Vudra (CS, p.84, 202)
4465 The Vudran necromancer Rajput Shivji Shashibhushan creates the Rajput Ambari (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.84-5)
4679 Sikari rage, a disease, emerges in Vudra (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.89)

Culture:
Castes known include the padaprajna (warriors), kezavazresthin (merchants), atanapratta (explorers) (CS, p.39); The bhuridhana and rajah castes are the only castes where men wear much jewelry (CS, p.,39)
Baladatta are girl’s schools for unwanted daughters. They sometimes train adventurers. (CS, p.38-9)
Vudrani seek enlightenment and personal improvement while seldom going beyond their caste (CS, p.38)
Vudra is rich and stable (CS, p.38)
Vudrans prefer luxury clothing, loose-fitting, and brightly colored. (CS, p.39) Vudrani women often wear a lot of jewelry (CS, p.39)
Martial Arts are popular and increasing in popularity, and their masters are exacting and precise (CS, p.39)
Vudrani cultural or exotic weapons include the Bich’hwa, tri-bladed Katar, Pata, Temple sword, and Urumi (EfOK, p.83)
Vudran food is hot and spicy (Dragons Revisited, p.19)
‘Wise-women’ of Vudra declared the Grand Holt in Absalom a holy site (Guide to Absalom, p.32)
Naga-kin bloodline Sorcerers dwell in Vudra (Legacy of Fire Player’s Guide, p.6)
Queen Swaniai is the name of a folkloric figure whose diamond (Queen Swaniai’s Eye) allowed her to see into the hearts of potential suitors, until it was stolen. (What Lies in Dust, p.76)

Gods and Religion:
Chamidu, goddess of beasts (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.37)
Gruhastha, the Keeper (Campaign Setting, p.39)
Irori, the Perfect Human (Campaign Setting, p.39, p.155)
Raumya, the Evil Prince (Campaign Setting, p.39)
Suyuddha, the Warrior Queen (Campaign Setting, p.39)
Anucara, or ‘followers’ are the most successful Vudrani seekers for enlightenment. They serve the gods in Nirvana (CS, p.38)
The Azvadeva Pujila, the Mizravetta Brahmodya, and the Vigrahin Patitraka are religious/historical texts (CS, p.39)
Asura are Vudran devils; four named Asura are Aghasura, Daissiad, Holika, and Vritra; types include the Beatific Ones and the Adhukait; they dwell in Agniagon (CS, p.246, The Infernal Syndrome, p.83, Escape from Old Korvosa, p.82)

Races, Creatures and Monsters:
Asura, Adhukait (Infernal Syndrome, p.82)
Axebeaks (?) (Guide to Absalom, p.19)
Barakot Peacock (EfOK, p.43)
Beatific Ones (Asura) (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.82)
Elephant, Vudran (EfOK, p.85)
Khar great skink (EfOK, p.43)
Johar long viper (EfOK, p.43)
Naga, Royal (What Lies in Dust, pp.88-9)
Rajput Ambari (Escape from Old Korvosa, p.84-5)
Rakshasa, Psionic (CS, p.235)
Rakhasa Maharajah (EfOK, p.86-7)
Sikari Macaque Swarm (EfOK, p.88-9)
Ukhrul wolverine (EfOK, p.43)
Vimerian tiger (EfOK, p.43)
Vudran Gharial (CS, p.215)


Forgot a couple:

History:
571 Vudran merchants import gunpowder to the Inner Sea (CS, p.201)
2187 Irori is introduced to Tian Xia by Vudran missionaries. (CS, p.33, 202)
4320 The pathfinder Selmius Foster opens a spice trade between Absalom and Vudra (Seeker of Secrets, p.26)

Gods:
Vineshvakhi, guardian of celestial treasuries and harems (Mother of Flies, p.80)
Sinashakti, Empyreal Lord of journeys, joys, and messengers (CS, p.175)
Child-goddess (City of Strangers, p.9-10)

Monsters:
Calikang (Mother of Flies, p.80)


I have been thinking a bit on magic in a pseudo-Indian society.

In Hindu legend, it is possible by "austerities" or Tapas (this sort of ascetic is a Tapasvin[a]) to gain divine powers. These are described as 8 types of power (the ashta siddhis):
1. Ability to be as tiny as a mote of dust.
2. Ability to become nearly infinitely large.
3. Levitation
4. Touch anything from a distance (i.e., apportation)
5. Swim through solid earth
6. Elemental mastery
7. Creation or destruction of matter
8. Ability to cast Wish at will

Others I've read of (Ramayana or Puranas are the major sources)
1. Near-immortality (Very few entities, including gods, are truely immortal in Hindu cosmology)
2. Invulnerability to whole classes of entities (humans or women are often forgotten)
3. Invincibility at fighting

These seem to be a Psionic thing. Yogis and Rishis are experts at Tapas. Powerful sages (Rishis) are adept at really severe curses; some can curse the gods themselves.

Mantrikas are magicians who bend the universe by reciting mantras. Their personal intentions are irrelevant as long as they pronounce them exactly. These seem to be wizards.

Yatu is black magic, such as necromancy. It is a specialty of Rakshasas and certain left-handed devotees of Siva.

Tantra is magic that rather than working through ascetic behavior works through deliberately breaking taboos. This is the secret power of Siva, Kama, and Durga, amongst others. Tantric magicians are very skilled at binding or "turning" demons and devils.

Mayavins are practitioners of the arts of Indra, the fallen King of the Gods. They specialize in illusion, trickery, and such.


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This is an incomplete list of sources for a Vudra campaign, which I've been compiling. Anything that can be added would be appreciated. I haven't added all my NF reading so I'll probably post that in a while.

Resources for Vudra:

Adventures (d20/OGL)
Cult of the Ebon Destroyers (Paizo) (not yet released)
Master of the Desert Nomads (TSR) (Mystara, 1st ed.)
Nightstorm (Mystara/Hollow World)
Rana Mor (Richard Baker) (Dungeon #86)
Pathfinder: Escape from Old Korvosa (Paizo)
Sahasra: Spirit in the Spice Groves (Donna Fitch) (Dog Soul)
Sahasra: Map of the Yakshini Palace (Donna Fitch) (Dog Soul)
Star of Kolhapur (TSR)

Reference Articles (d20/OGL)
“Never the Same Thing Twice” Dragon #84
“Rhino’s Hide, Tiger’s Claws” Dragon #189
“Caste of Characters” Dragon #225
“Arcane Lore: Monsoons and the Power of Om” Dragon #226
"Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Magic of India" Dragon #229
“Strange Bedfellows” Dragon #313
“Ecology of the Rakshasa.” Dragon #326

Supplements (d20/OGL)
Champions of Mystara
Complete Guide to Rakshasas (Goodman Games)
Daring Tales of Adventure #11: The Hands of Kali (Triple Ace) (d20 Modern)
Dharnuvidya & Varman (Skirmisher) (4th ed.)
The Imperial Age: India
Mahasarpa (James Wyatt) (WotC online supplement to Oriental Adventures)
Mindshadows (Green Ronin)
Monsters of the Mind (Green Ronin)
Rhadamanthia District Map 9: Western Karak (AGP) (for the Wilderlands series)
Sahasra (Donna Fitch) (Dog Soul)
Sahasra: Book of Faiths: Hinduism (Donna Fitch) (Dog Soul)
Sahasra: Book of Faiths: Jainism (Dog Soul)
Sahasra: Book of Faiths: Sikhism (Dog Soul)
Sahasra: Items of Magic and War (Dog Soul)
Tales of the Caliphate Nights (Paradigm Concepts) (True20)
Thrilling Tales: Pulp Villains: Thugee (Adamant) (d20 Modern)
Vampire Bestiary (Eternity Publishing) (4th edition)
Victoriana: Jewel of the Empire (Cubicle 7) (not yet released)
World Building Library: Items of Myth and Legend: India 1, 2, and 3 (Expeditious Retreat)

Game Systems (other)
Devastra (in French)
Shard
Tekumel
Tibet: The Roleplaying Game

Adventures (other)
The Assassin Queen (Timemaster)
Fearful Passages (Call of Cthulhu)
Spawn of Azathoth, 2nd ed. (Call of Cthulhu)
Tatters of the King (Call of Cthulhu)

Reference Articles (other)
“The Deceivers.” The Unspeakable Oath 16/17 (Call of Cthulhu)
“Dhanuvidya, Varman, and Avarna.” The Unspeakable Oath 16/17 (Call of Cthulhu)

Supplements (other)
Mysteries of the Raj (Call of Cthulhu)
The Asian Bestiary, Vol. 1 (Hero Games)

Fiction
The Black Company Goes South (Glen Cook)
The Conch Bearer (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni)
Death in Delhi (Gary Gygax)
Elephantasm (Tanith Lee)
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Salman Rushdie)
The Jungle Book (Kipling)
Ka (Roberto Calasso)
Prince of Ayodhya (Ashok K. Banker)
The Serpent’s Shadow (Mercedes Lackey)
Song of Kali (Dan Simmons)
Tamastara (Tanith Lee)

Epics and traditional literature
Adventures of Emir Hamza
Bhagavad Gita
Kama Sutra
Mahabharata
Ramayana
Vikram and the Vampire (Burton trans.)
Thousand and One Nights

Nonfiction
Handbook of Indian Mythology (George M. Williams) (Oxford)
Indian Castles 1206-1546 (Osprey)
Mughal India 1504-1761 (Osprey)

Comics
Amar Chitra Katha comics
Buddha (Osamu Tezuka)
Devi (Virgin Comics)
Ramayan 3392 AD (Virgin Comics)
Sadhu (Virgin Comics)

Films
Paheli (2005)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Spielberg and Lucas) (1984)
The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb aka “Journey to the Lost City” (1959) (Fritz Lang)

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

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WOW! This is PHENOMENALLY helpful! I'll make sure Mark knows about this thread while he's elbows deep in "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers." At the same time, while it's still going to be quite some time before we start revealing tons of details about mainland Vudra, expect a bit more about it in World Guide: The Inner Sea.

As for things on the horizon. We have dreams of a book in the Book of the Damned series that delves into some of the lesser fiendish races, and asuras would definitely be a part of that.

I also have a map of Vudra that I created earlier this year after falling down a well of Indian mythology and reading Sanjay Patel's Ramayana: Divine Loophole, which, if you're interested in Indian mythology and Vudra but don't want to read a cultural epic larger than The Odyssey, is a must own. The thing is, I was drawing my map at about the same time James was doing the sketch of the whole world for the World Guide, and the two don't quite square, so there's going to have to be some revision. But we've got a draft! And I feel like it has a lot of things you're really going to need for a Vundran campaign: dense jungles, foreboding plateaus, some wildernesses that feel developed by exotic cultures and others that are completely foreboding, lots of lakes and rivers, a big island for the "fiends" to come from (ala Lanka), steep mystical mountains for you to have "People of the Black Circle"-style cults and adventures, etc, etc, etc. It's really important to me that this region feel more like Howard's Vendhya than just India with pointy-hatted wizards. So while I want to make sure we get all a ton of cultural touchstones in there that allow us to riff off the myths and religion of the region, there's going to be plenty of new stuff and elements from the core of our world. So that's coming along.

But totally keep building on this and tell us what you want, as we've still got plenty of development left to do on Vudra and can use all the help we can get!


:)
Thanks, Wesley. One of the best things about Paizo is the props you give your fans.
I hope you keep reading... I was inspired by your comments:

Websites and Art for Vudra

Vendhya
“Khorala” article: Go to link .
The People of the Black Circle on Wikisource: Go to link .
Internet archive of the essay “The Blue East” by Darkstorm Dale:
Go to link .

Lemuria and Cthulhu
“Monsters of Mu” by Robert M. Price: Go to link .
Tcho-tchos: Go to link . and Go to link .

Weird Theories:
Website on ancient astronauts. Go to link .
The site is filled with sculpture photos of various Indian mythological beasties hard to find elsewhere. Worth exploring.
Vimanas and flying cities: Go to link .
The Nine Unknown Men/Wold Newton theories: Go to link .

Classical and medieval tales about India
Arrian’s Indica: Go to link .
Ctesias’ Indica: Go to link .
John de Mandeville: Go to link .

RPG websites:
Suwarnabumi (True20): Go to link .

Real-world inspirations:
Bhangarh, the haunted ruin: Go to link .
Dwarka: Go to link .
Elephanta Caves: Go to link .
Ellora Caves: Go to link .
The Ganj-i-Sawai: Go to link . Compare to Queen Swaniai in What Lies in Dust.
Hanging Monasteries: Go to link .

Mythology:
Meru: Go to link .
Tripura: Go to link .

More NF:
Net of Magic, Lee Siegal, about magic in India.
Spell of the Tiger. Sy Montgomery

Art
Savage Sword of Conan #114 cover art: Go to link .
Rudolph Ernst’s art:
Go to link .
Raja Ravi Varma’s art:
Go to link .
Edwin Lord Weeks’ art:
Go to link .
Mughal art at the National Museum, Delhi:
Go to link .
Photography
Go to link .


I forgot one of my most important tools: the Sanskrit dictionary. The best online one is here.
Set results as Roman Unicode if you don't read Devangari.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Jeff de luna wrote:

I forgot one of my most important tools: the Sanskrit dictionary. The best online one is here.

Set results as Roman Unicode if you don't read Devangari.

Wow Jeff! This stuff is amazing -- and overwhelming! I'm sorry I haven't been commenting and such in the past week. Such is the life of a college student!

The one thing I have found very frustrating is that souls supposedly go to Nirvana, but in the current cosmology Nirvana is NG. Where is Irori's domain? If I remember correctly, it is never specified in "The Great Beyond".


Levis wrote:
Jeff de luna wrote:

I forgot one of my most important tools: the Sanskrit dictionary. The best online one is here.

Set results as Roman Unicode if you don't read Devangari.

Wow Jeff! This stuff is amazing -- and overwhelming! I'm sorry I haven't been commenting and such in the past week. Such is the life of a college student!

The one thing I have found very frustrating is that souls supposedly go to Nirvana, but in the current cosmology Nirvana is NG. Where is Irori's domain? If I remember correctly, it is never specified in "The Great Beyond".

Well, in Buddhist, or at least Tantric Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhist cosmology, the realm of the gods (Devaloka, or Sumeru or Mount Meru) is _below_ the realms of the Boddhisatvas and Buddhas, so Irori may have a separate domain over and above the gods. Or it's a demiplane. That may depend on one's religious beliefs. :)


BTW, I did draw up a list of Sanskrit names for the various Planes:

Ethereal Plane = Akashaloka, the realm of Aether
Shadow Plane = Chayyaloka, the realm of shadow
Astral Plane = Garbhodaka, the Cosmic Ocean, or Sukshmaloka, the subtle world.

Abaddon = [NE] Pretaloka or Pitaloka
The Abyss = [CE] Naraka
Axis = [LN] Nityaloka, the unchanging realm
The Boneyard = [N] Antarabhava, the intermediate state, the 49 days between reincarnations; also Tiryagyoni, the realm of beasts [N], outside it.
Elysium = [CG] Kamaloka
Heaven = [LG] Svarga or Mahameru or Mokshaloka
Hell = [LE] Asuraloka or Bila-svarga
The Maelstrom = [CN] Pradhana
Nirvana = [NG] Nirvana

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Jeff de luna wrote:

:)

Thanks, Wesley. One of the best things about Paizo is the props you give your fans.
I hope you keep reading... I was inspired by your comments:

DUDE! No problem, and awesome stuff. You're doing us a huge favor and I've got a ton to take in here. I've copied this entire thread into my notes for future reference. Thanks again and if you come across any more, totally keep it up!

Cheliax

Slightly off topic:

It's nice to read a thread discussing future Golarion settings without it devolving into flame wars over crunch on how/why the ruling warrior class should/should not be an alternative fighter/cavalier class or how the "shadow assassin" class is more/less a variant of a monk/rogue multi-class.


joela wrote:

Slightly off topic:

It's nice to read a thread discussing future Golarion settings without it devolving into flame wars over crunch on how/why the ruling warrior class should/should not be an alternative fighter/cavalier class or how the "shadow assassin" class is more/less a variant of a monk/rogue multi-class.

I completely agree. A little while ago I was reading the Tian Xia threads and a light clicked on. I like Asian mythology, but I want to play in a clean slate, mechanically. Vudra works for this. There are few expectations regarding a South Asian settings since there never has been much written for them in the d20/OGL family of games. There aren't classes we "know" belong one way or another, there aren't munchkin-favorite concepts, there aren't uber-sharp swords. This is kind of funny, since some Hindu myths really sound like truly epic, monty hall campaigns. But somehow "chariot-archer" or "ascetic sage" aren't archetypes that bring out the disputes. Never mind that ascetic sages can curse gods.


A different thought viz Irori and Nirvana.
We may have been approaching this the wrong way. Irori is perhaps not = Buddha. More likely he is the embodiment of the principle of tapas, or ascetic and ritual exertions (yoga is an example). This matches the monks and psions all over, and makes him more along the lines of Siva or the Rishis. Tapas is a process which lacks a moral focus, since accuracy and repetition is more important that your thoughts or intentions. The Rakshasas were said to have excelled, like the Asuras, at being excellent at ascetic disciplines to gain magic power, though they did so entirely based on ulterior motives: to displace the gods or dominate the world.
After all, Buddha is not a god (Deva); he is a transcendent idea. Irori is what would happen if a human followed all the ritually correct actions and was not slapped down by Indra or one of the other gods. He would eventually surpass them and become their master. This is why the Apsaras exist, after all: to tempt sages from their devotions and thus prevent them from displacing the gods.
Nirvana, on the other hand, resembles the Pure Land of Amitabha (Amida), where the devout can find paradise. This seems to reflect the compassion and power of the Bodhisattvas (NG, if you ask me).
So, AFAIK, there has never (yet) been a Buddha in Golarion. The astonishingly impossible success of Irori has diverted the need for an escape from samsara into a deep devotion to mastering the cycle.

Cheliax

Jeff de luna wrote:
joela wrote:

Slightly off topic:

It's nice to read a thread discussing future Golarion settings without it devolving into flame wars over crunch on how/why the ruling warrior class should/should not be an alternative fighter/cavalier class or how the "shadow assassin" class is more/less a variant of a monk/rogue multi-class.

I completely agree. A little while ago I was reading the Tian Xia threads and a light clicked on. I like Asian mythology, but I want to play in a clean slate, mechanically. Vudra works for this. There are few expectations regarding a South Asian settings since there never has been much written for them in the d20/OGL family of games. There aren't classes we "know" belong one way or another, there aren't munchkin-favorite concepts, there aren't uber-sharp swords. This is kind of funny, since some Hindu myths really sound like truly epic, monty hall campaigns. But somehow "chariot-archer" or "ascetic sage" aren't archetypes that bring out the disputes. Never mind that ascetic sages can curse gods.

Yah. Hollyweird never got its hands on Indian culture/mythos to slaughter it.


Canon tidbits I missed:

The eastern coast of Vudra is treacherous, but is also the sea route to Tian Xia (CS, p.155)

The holy text of Irori is "Unbinding the Fetters." (CS, p.164)

Blowguns are in use in the bamboo jungles of Vudra. (CS, p.208)

Vudrani gunpowder was imported from Tian Xia and hence to Avistan (CS, p.237)

Fine silks are traded from Vudra as far as the Lands of the Linnorm Kings (CS, p.240)

Osirion

Jeff de luna wrote:

A different thought viz Irori and Nirvana.

We may have been approaching this the wrong way. Irori is perhaps not = Buddha. More likely he is the embodiment of the principle of tapas, or ascetic and ritual exertions (yoga is an example). This matches the monks and psions all over, and makes him more along the lines of Siva or the Rishis.

I see Irori as the Golarion equivalent of Greyhawk's Xan Yae, or Zuoken, gods associated with both physical and mental self-mastery and the powers (ki or psionics) that come with that sort of discipline and rigor.

Knowledge, Healing, Law and Strength all seem to flow pretty well with that, leaving Rune as the outlier, and suggesting that his faith strongly emphasizes the use of scripture, calligraphy, etc. as part of the mental self-development part, meditating on complex ideograms, or phrases from various sacred texts, attempting to unravel deeper meanings, sort of like graphical koans.

This list of stuff you've made is freaking amazing. Incredible work!

The Vudran gods are interesting, in that they *might* be able to be interpreted as the standard 'big 20' of Golarion, if the developers are planning to go that route, with the 'Warrior Queen' being another interpretation of Iomedae, and the 'Evil Prince' being the face worn by Zon-Kuthon or Asmodeus, and 'the Keeper' being how Abadar is known to the Vudrans.

Or they could just make up a bunch of new gods. Either works. :)


Set wrote:


I see Irori as the Golarion equivalent of Greyhawk's Xan Yae, or Zuoken, gods associated with both physical and mental self-mastery and the powers (ki or psionics) that come with that sort of discipline and rigor.

Knowledge, Healing, Law and Strength all seem to flow pretty well with that, leaving Rune as the outlier, and suggesting that his faith strongly emphasizes the use of scripture, calligraphy, etc. as part of the mental self-development part, meditating on complex ideograms, or phrases from various sacred texts, attempting to unravel deeper meanings, sort of like graphical koans.

This list of stuff you've made is freaking amazing. Incredible work!

The Vudran gods are interesting, in that they *might* be able to be interpreted as the standard 'big 20' of Golarion, if the developers are planning to go that route, with the 'Warrior Queen' being another interpretation of Iomedae, and the 'Evil Prince' being the face worn by Zon-Kuthon or Asmodeus, and 'the Keeper' being how Abadar is known to the Vudrans.

Or they could just make up a bunch of new gods. Either works. :)

Or, to put a Vudran spin on things, the Vudran gods are misunderstood outside of their homeland. (In the CS, p.39, it states that Vudrani is believed by the Vudrans to be the language of the gods).

One in particular might be Sarenrae, the primary goddess of the Keleshites next door. Sarenrae perhaps = Sansksrit/Vudran "Suryani Rani", "Queen Sun." This corresponds to the real-world Indo-European analogues to the Indian pantheon: Dyaus Pitr = Jupiter; Varuna = Uranus; Mitra = Mithras, Asura = Ormazd, Aesir etc, etc.
I suspect the only Avistani and Casmaroni gods unknown to Vudra (at least as "native" gods) would be the gods that passed the test of the Starstone, and perhaps some Garundi dieties.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

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Jeff de luna wrote:

One in particular might be Sarenrae, the primary goddess of the Keleshites next door. Sarenrae perhaps = Sansksrit/Vudran "Suryani Rani", "Queen Sun." This corresponds to the real-world Indo-European analogues to the Indian pantheon: Dyaus Pitr = Jupiter; Varuna = Uranus; Mitra = Mithras, Asura = Ormazd, Aesir etc, etc.

I suspect the only Avistani and Casmaroni gods unknown to Vudra (at least as "native" gods) would be the gods that passed the test of the Starstone, and perhaps some Garundi dieties.

We've had some debate about these topics in the past. While a lot of these migrating deities and gods known by one name in one nation and by another elsewhere works in the real world (and is utterly fascinating) it gets a little trickier in a world where magic allows your to call up your deity and ask "What's your name," or travel to your goddess's house and ask her doorman how she prefers her letters addressed. Magic, unfortunately, robs the world of a lot of mystery. So if we went the route of "he's called this here, and this there, and that over there" the first question we get hit with is why when any number of spells available to even mid-level clergy can chart the divine phonetics.

That's not to say this can't be done, though. It just means we need to be creative about why it happens. And "the gods are liars" - while probably true - is a somewhat unsatisfying reason.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Jeff de luna wrote:

One in particular might be Sarenrae, the primary goddess of the Keleshites next door. Sarenrae perhaps = Sansksrit/Vudran "Suryani Rani", "Queen Sun." This corresponds to the real-world Indo-European analogues to the Indian pantheon: Dyaus Pitr = Jupiter; Varuna = Uranus; Mitra = Mithras, Asura = Ormazd, Aesir etc, etc.

I suspect the only Avistani and Casmaroni gods unknown to Vudra (at least as "native" gods) would be the gods that passed the test of the Starstone, and perhaps some Garundi dieties.

We've had some debate about these topics in the past. While a lot of these migrating deities and gods known by one name in one nation and by another elsewhere works in the real world (and is utterly fascinating) it gets a little trickier in a world where magic allows your to call up your deity and ask "What's your name," or travel to your goddess's house and ask her doorman how she prefers her letters addressed. Magic, unfortunately, robs the world of a lot of mystery. So if we went the route of "he's called this here, and this there, and that over there" the first question we get hit with is why when any number of spells available to even mid-level clergy can chart the divine phonetics.

That's not to say this can't be done, though. It just means we need to be creative about why it happens. And "the gods are liars" - while probably true - is a somewhat unsatisfying reason.

Hmm. How would Vudrans believe their language is the language of the Gos (CS, p.39, last paragraph) if that is so... I imagine they acknowledge the existence of the non-Vudran pantheons. Perhaps we should read "the gods" here as Vudran gods, though it kind of undermines the evident sense of cultural superiority here. We also know that Celestial is a distinct language. Perhaps these are the beliefs of non-Divine casters, i.e., nearly all the rest of the population, based on what the priesthood tells them. But the gods need not be liars; merely the priests... though that would require some organization, which would be difficult with thousands of deities (many probably have only one cleric, I'd guess). The true names of deities are possibly not what they are called in ordinary Vudran society. South Asian deities often have many names, and many avatars.

I think the gods of Golarion are meant to be objectively real, i.e., their identities are not relative to the viewer, though their appearance and mythology might be.
This is similar to another cultural issue. Caste in Vudra appears to reflect karma and past misdeeds/virtues. This can be verified via magic, presumably. Is caste therefore a perfectly fair and true system in Vudra, or is it imperfect or deceptive? Certainly the majority of Vudrans accept their caste and its dharma, which suggests that most divinations affirm the justice of rebirth. Is this a conspiracy as well?
I'm wondering out loud here. Anyone have any insights?


These are some raw, clunky notes on the nonhuman races of Indian legend.

Aranyani: Goddess of the forest = Vriksaka [dryad] goddess.

Asura (Danava, Adaitya) (humanoid Giants) ‘Breath’. Female Asuri can take the forms of trees. Ausadhis, female Asuri with animal heads, are associated with night and the moon. Medicinal skills. Obsession with force and violence. Kalakañjakas are the lowest Asuras, suffering from unquenchable thirst. Proud, jealous, and courageous. Associated with light. Males ugly and females beautiful. Asura in Pathfinder are LE devils. Giants, shapeshifters, invisible. Associated with the planet Venus. Danavas are linked to mining, technology, and have wonderful, flying, cities.

Deva[ta] (Guardian Spirits, Lesser Angels) (=Hyang, the ‘invisible ones’, Tibetan = Hla) Associated with Good and Nature. Access to Soma. Liked to sky/day (Dyaus) and earth (Prithivi). Linked to Sun.

Ganas are animal-headed attendants on Shiva; their heads are extremely varied.

Gandharva ‘fragrance-searchers’ (and Apsara (shapeshifters), Vidhyadari) (resembles Elves, Satyrs, Nymphs; Horse, Bird or Human headed) = Air Element; Dakinis [= Jinni] are Dancing Blue Apsaras. Water, fertility, dark woods, and clouds. Apsaras are associated with swans. Gandharvas are associated with love and free affection; a Gandharva marriage is a mutually agreed on one. (Fey) Linked to Sun. Measure out soma and attend the sun’s horses. Medicine, dancing, and music are their forte. Usually depicted with avian traits. (+2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Cha, cold resistance)

Garuda (Suparna) (resembles Griffon-like humanoids, Rukhs) Cowardly unless provoked. Hearty, intense, and industrious. (Monstrous humanoid) Eat only snakes and reptiles. Jatayu is a vulture and nephew of Garuda, via his brother Aruna, the embodiment of the Sun’s morning rays. They had exceptional eyesight. Eagle’s head, wings and talons; torso and limbs humanoid. Can shapeshift to human form. [Were-eagles?] Associated with dead ancestors.

Graha[h]: ghost, spirit. ‘Seizers.’ Associated in or live in lakes. Linked to eclipses, diseases, and childhood illness and accidents. [CE]

Gramani: Linked to the Sun. ‘Fiends and goblins.’
Guhyaka: Horse bodied, with wings and a human head. Follow Kuvera.

Manu or Purusha (Human)

Kimpurusha (Lion-headed; the ‘Indian Sphinx’) (Magical Beast) Serve Kuvera. Sometimes lion-bodied; sometimes human bodied with a lion’s head. Also called Narasimha, Purushamriga (‘man-beast’), Naravirala (‘man-cat’).

Kinnara (Harpy-like; some have horse bodies, wings, breasts, and human heads; others are winged mermaids) Closely related to Gandharvas (Fey) Associated with Indra. Horse-headed variety are also called Vayamukha, Ashvamukha, Turangavaktra (horse-headed) and Mayu (sanskr. Mayu - horse).

Kirata (Half-tigers or lions, humanoid Tigers) (Monstrous humanoid)

Kritya: enchanter, bewitcher

Kumbhanda or Kichaka, Keechak, Payassa-hari [water-carriers] (Dwarf, ‘gourd-spirit’ ‘nightmare-ghost’; pot-bellied with huge testicles, wrinkled face, bulging eyes (cf. Tanuki)) (Monstrous humanoid) Associated with Pretas. Chaotic. Load-bearing. Bearded, male.

Naga, Pannaga, and Mahoraga (There are four types of Naga: Celestial, Divine (Clouds and Rain), Earthly (Streams and Rivers), and the hidden Naga, guardians of treasure and consorters with Humans). (Dragons or Aberrations) Nagini are the human shapeshifters (female). Mahoraga are humanoid with a snake head.

Petas, Pretas: Greedy, irritating, lazy. Goblin-ghosts of evil-doers, the hungry-dead. Travel in groups.

Pisacha (Goblinoids, ‘flesh-eaters’). Disease-spirits. Raksasi (female Raksasas) or Yaksas. Filthy and gluttonous. Dark side of Gandharvas. Their skin is yellow. Related to will o’whisp (ignus fatuus). The oldest language is said to be Pisacha (Paisaci), used for tale-telling, debate, and folklore. The Pisacha were mountain dwellers. Carried bows and stone weapons. [CE] The males father Half-Pisachas on sleeping women. They also live in rivers and sacred lakes; they are pious followers of Shiva. Asapishachikis are a female variety. Animal headed humanoids.

Salabhanjika (Shalabañjika). Also madanika or shilabalika. = Vriksakas.

Svapaka, a dog-headed race.

Vanara (Monstrous humanoid) also Vanavasas, ruled by Sugriva.

Vriks[h]akas (‘the personification of a tree,’ Dryads; tree and forest spirits) Considered a type of Apsara.

Yaksa (also Madanayuta, ‘drunken ones’), related to Gandharvas (‘speedy’, ‘invisible ones’, Pali Yakkha) (and Raksa (‘blood-drinkers, injurers, guardians’ = shapeshifters into beasts) (Ogres, Tree, plant and spirits). It appears that some Raksas (aka Herukas, ‘blood-drinkers’) were identified as the ‘Five Wisdom Queens and Five Wisdom Kings’ of Buddhism: Mahamayuri is one of them. Yaksas include tree spirits and possibly Dakinis. They are associated with Durga. Ashvamukhi are horse-faced Yaksas. Raksas are said to be carnivorous, lazy, cruel, and indulgent. Yaksas are yin-creatures, requiring a source of energy to feed off of. Associated with water. Yakshagana = dance and music form. Putanas are evil Yakshas. Yakshinis are associated with eroticism and illusion. Yakshas possessed magical senses. Native Outsiders; very strong, wise, and charismatic. Nocturnal.
Yatudhanas = ‘evil spirit.’ Putanas are female Yatudhanas, worshipped as Grahinis, ‘seizers’ (abductors of children, childhood disease, but also protectors of children). Linked to the Sun.


In terms of Fiends:

We already have the Asura, who correspond to Devils (and act LE, so this fits).

We also have the Daitya, who overlap with the Asura, but might be interpreted as CE as they include Damsa, a crimson flesh-eating octopus, and S[h]ambara, demon of magic, as notable members.

The Graha, or more properly the Kruragraha are spirits of disease, madness, the planets (!), eclipses, and ill fortune. There are also good Graha who are the auspicious planets, but they are still unpredictable.
This may be NE, and associated with the Daemons.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

One thousand double rainbows could only express one tenth of the joy this thread has given me.

PRINTAN and PUTTAN in my fluff folder.


Mikaze wrote:

One thousand double rainbows could only express one tenth of the joy this thread has given me.

PRINTAN and PUTTAN in my fluff folder.

Dhanyavadaha. I thank Levis for getting the ball rolling. I'm having a great time. I made vegetarian curry this evening for Diwali (it started on the 5th), since I'm soaking in so much. I love learning stuff (and sharing, so I suppose, that is why I'm a librarian/teacher).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Jeff de luna wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

One thousand double rainbows could only express one tenth of the joy this thread has given me.

PRINTAN and PUTTAN in my fluff folder.

Dhanyavadaha. I thank Levis for getting the ball rolling. I'm having a great time. I made vegetarian curry this evening for Diwali (it started on the 5th), since I'm soaking in so much. I love learning stuff (and sharing, so I suppose, that is why I'm a librarian/teacher).

You're welcome Jeff!

I'm amazed at how this all has unfolded. There's so much here! I wish I was eating curry ... Haha!

But my question remains, where is Irori's domain?

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