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What was the rule of Tar-Baphon like?

Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

Hi guys. I am trying to get steeped in the history of pathfinder, and am starting the carrion crown adventure so my curiosities surround Ustalav at the moment.

While there is plenty of documentation relating to the whispering tyrant taking over Ustalav, establishing a Capital, and ruling for centuries, I cannot find anything that suggests what his government would have been like, the power structure, and how the undead ruled the living and to what degree. Surely it was a harsh regime to say the least -- but was it a slave-government? A ruthless despotism? An "Apartheid" type situation where the undead were given rights and authority over the living? I know there are Undead governments in the Gazeteer (Like Geb) and am wondering if I should acquire this material and model/expect it to have been like that... or if anybody can share with me as best they can and/or tell me where I can read up myself.


Nobody knows I guess

don't know want to know though

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

As far as what has been written, Rule of Fear sourcebook and maybe the players guide to the Carrion Crown is about the only sources that I am aware of. Part of that vagueness may be on purpose - the Paizo folks want to leave some of that history open for your DM to fill in (and therefore add villains, monsters, etc., of his own making).

Give it until the weekday though, and maybe someone at Paizo proper can add to the conversation. Sundays are usually a slow day for anyone at the offices to chime in.

As far as can be gleaned from those sources, it sounds like under the Whispering Tyrant, it was sort of akin to an undead fiefdom - with different regions under control of different lords that swore fealty to Tar-Baphon. The impression one gets is that dependent on who was your governor - things could be really bad to worse. For example - being under a vampire lord probably meant you lived but were akin to cattle while living closer to Gallowspire probably meant you were eliminated as a living person and possibly raised to udead status. Overall, it was a bleak existence with minimal hope in every day living.

The thing about Tar-Baphon was that you get the impression that conquering Ustalav was merely the first step. He had a greater vision of making the whole world a place of the undead because he believed that would bring about absolute order and peace. So, once he established his rule and made sure there were lots of "examples" made to keep rebellion at a minimum, he kind of left others to oversee the country while he made his grand plans. It seems like you also had elements of an absent kingship mixed with some beaurecratic elements - managed by the followers of the Whisper Way maybe - developing.

If you are familiar with the old Greyhawk materials, I think it might have been similar to the Kingdom of Iuz the Evil. While he wasn't as undeadish (is that a word?) as Tar-Baphon, both seems to have that element of evil dictator with world-conquering plans and an army to back it up going on.

Hope that helps give you a start.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

The word wondrous utopia is used so rarely in the world since Tar-Baphon's fall. Ustalav was once a cultural melting pot where the dead and the living could shape a better world together. Under the benign guidance of The Whispering King, people had a place in the world, free from questions like: what happens when I die? Whats right and wrong?

Truly, such a wondrous and great society would have changed the world.


Not to bring in the dreaded WoW references, but I think taking a look at the scourge and the lich king is prolly something fairly close to what it was like, especially the Plaguelands area. That at least is my thinking on the subject.

Efficient, consistent, and utterly, unbelievably horrific. Contemplate what it would be like to exist at the whims of a god-like undead archwizard for whom mortal life is a nuisance at best, and beneath the iron trod of his living and unliving armies, and you'll have a good idea.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Vicon wrote:
Nobody knows I guess

Well, if you put it in the wrong subforum...

Grand Lodge

Neutral Evil - uncaring, and exploitive.

"I need crops for my orcish armies - I'l just take everything that village has over there. Resistance will be crushed... if they obey, they MAY live to see another season"

It wasn't ALL undead - the Whispering Tyrant was an equal opportunity employer. Werewolves, Orc, evil demi-humans, Dragons and what have your - as long as they were absolutely obedient and acted without hesitation to whatever was ordered, then they were fine in his Empire.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think there was a lot of dancing. And song.

Like a constant, neverending Broadway musical.

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