A Night in Katheer

Friday, July 24, 2020

Players who read though Lost Omens Legends might find that they want to learn more about just what kind of deals Baba Yaga can offer them or the cool alchemy techniques that Artokus Kirran saves for only his most important students. GMs who read through the book might see that Queen Abrogail Thrune has contracts that can offer great power (with an obviously high price) or that Runelord Sorshen can teach a new, enchanting spell. These cool new options are easy enough to hand out, but we want tables to do more than just snag a new feat or magic item. We want you to meet these legends in the flesh! At least, as best as one can with a roleplaying game.

To help out with that, I’ve put together a brief little encounter in Qahir Palace, home of Satrap Xerbystes II, his wife Shahiyan Deena al-Parishat, and his vizier Hebizid Vraj. The palace is located in Katheer, capital of Qadira. For this encounter, the PCs have earned the right to visit with Satrap Xerbystes. Perhaps the PCs are here for a diplomatic endeavor to win the satrap’s favor. Maybe the vizier called them to the palace to task them with an important mission. It could also be that the PCs won Deena’s attention after a notable horse race. Whatever the case, the PCs are now in the royal palace and, of course, things are about to go wrong.

The encounter below is for 9th-level Pathfinder characters. First, let’s take a look at the map. The map is of a large Qadiran palace that has lots of room for intrigue, stealth, and of course, combat. Feel free to use this map as you like in your own game, sprinkling in encounters, traps, and more as you see fit. Today’s encounter takes place in the throne room, but could totally spill out into the rest of the palace!

A map of Qahir Palace.

Art by Firat Solhan

Untagged map for my VTT friends
A map of Qahir Palace.

Art by Firat Solhan

Qahir Palace

This luxurious palace serves as the home for Xerbystes II. The palace itself is relatively small compared to others throughout the Padishah Empire of Kelesh, but remains impressive nonetheless. The palace is lit with bright light throughout the day and the guards that patrol the palace use personal torches after dark. The palace ceilings rise to a height of 20 feet on the first floor and are only 10 feet high on other floors.

  1. Palace Stairs: These fine, marble stairs lead up to the palace.
  2. Bazaar: Shahiyan Deena al-Parishat allocates this space for local merchants to sell their wares. She specifically selects merchants with unique or high-quality items in an attempt to showcase Qadiran crafting skill.
  3. Entryway: This grand domed arch serves as the palace entrance. The pair of guards posted here make sure to only allow expected guests inside and also keep an eye on the bazaar.
  4. Barracks: The palace guards sleep here between shifts.
  5. Stable: Deena keeps a number of her prized mounts here as this stable offers better defenses than the stable on the palace grounds. The staircase leads down to the armory landing (room 23).
  6. Meeting Chambers: Xerbystes and Hebizid use this chamber for meetings with diplomats and other guests.
  7. Courtyard: This open-air garden offers a break from the cramped quarters of the palace.
  8. War Room: Xerbystes uses the table’s illusion magic to discuss battle strategy with his advisors.
  9. . Storage: Palace staff keep food and other supplies here. The staircase descends down to the additional storage (room 26) and the rest of the basement.
  10. Throne Room: Xerbystes holds court in this large chamber. A secret door on the back wall allows Xerbystes to slip away to other floors in times of danger. Spotting the door requires a successful DC 25 Perception check, though a specialized mechanism prevents immediate use for the door. Xyrbestes, Deena, and Hebizid all know the required method of using the door and can do open it with a single Interact action. Anyone else will need to succeed at three total DC 30 Thievery checks to Disable the Device that locks the door. The secret passage leads up to the secret chamber connecting the royal bedroom (room 19) and the basement tunnel (room 29).
  11. Servant’s Quarters: This are the resting quarters for the palace staff.
  12. Kitchen: The palace staff are available at all hours to make a meal here.
  13. Dining Hall: Xerbystes holds regular dinners here for guests. The palace staff use the smaller tables as serving tables during meals.
  14. Bathing Room: This is Deena’s personal bath.
  15. Shahiyan’s Chambers: This are Deena’s personal quarters.
  16. Office: Deena uses this office when writing letters and other messages.
  17. Vizier’s Chambers: Hebizid stays in these chambers and uses the connected office for his work.
  18. Vizier’s Office: Hebizid uses this office for his work.
  19. Royal Bedroom: This are Xerbystes’s personal quarters. A secret door connects to hidden chamber. Locating and using the door uses the same rules as the secret door in the throne room.
  20. Lounge: Xerbystes relaxes here during evenings, usually with Deena or Hebizid as a companion.
  21. Bathing Room: This is Xerbystes’s personal bath.
  22. Stairwell: This staircase leads down to the main hallway between the servant quarts and the kitchen, allowing the staff quick access when tending to royal needs.
  23. Armory Landing: This small landing contains a staircase that connects to the stable (room 5) upstairs.
  24. Armor: The palace guards keep their equipment and extra gear in this room.
  25. Guard Lounge: The palace guards relax here when off-duty or taking breaks. Extra beds are kept here to support additional guards during important events.
  26. Additional Storage: The rest of the palace storage is here and connects with the storage upstairs (room 9).
  27. Library: Xerbystes keeps notable reading material and important documents such as financial records here.
  28. Royal Treasury: This room holds the palace’s treasure. A guard stands at the entryway at all times of the day.
  29. Basement Tunnel: This secret tunnel connects to the other secret chambers on the above floors. Locating and using the doors that connect to this tunnel uses the same rules as the secret door in the throne room.
Palace AttackSevere 9

“You have a chance to meet with Qadiran royalty. Upon being ushered into the palace, you make your way into the grand throne room.”

A local pro-slavery group, the Burning Sands, has grown upset at Deena’s continued abolitionist stance and have decided to put an end to the abolitionist decrees coming from the palace. The group recently learned of the PC’s visit to the palace and recognized that it would serve as a perfect distraction for their attack on the palace so they can put an end to Xerbystes and Deena.

Creatures: The members of the Burning Sands are disguised as staff and roaming the throne room. A servant notices one of the assassins drawing their blade. Her scream alerts the room and Xerbystes (or the appropriate person) immediately slips into the secret chamber behind the throne room, escaping to safety. It’s up to the PCs to fend off the assassins! 1d4+1 rounds after the combat begins, a squad of palace guards join in to assist the PCs.

Burning Sands Assassins (4) — Creature 8

Assassin (Gamemastery Guide 211)
Initiative Deception +12


Qahir Guards (4) — Creature 5

Elite Palace Guards (Bestiary 6, Gamemastery Guide 211)
Initiative Perception +14

Treasure: Once the PCs deal with the assassins, they earn the satrap’s thanks. In addition to a hefty gold reward of 900 gp, Xerbystes offers the PCs a particularly unique gift. His palace spellcasters have developed a method that can infuse an animal companion with elemental power, converting the animal companion into a genie-touched companion. He is willing to have his spellcasters use this technique on the PC’s companions or grant them one of these companions as a gift.

Art by Katerina Kirillova; Alt text: Deena rides an elementally infused horse

To learn more about Xerbystes, Deena, and Hebizid as well as the power that a genie-touched companion holds, check out Lost Omens Legends when it releases on July 30th!

Luis Loza
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Lost Omens Legends Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition

1 person marked this as a favorite.

That's an awesome illustration, and also a nostalgic throwback to the Quadira Campaign Setting book, one of the most beautifully illustrated.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

ooooh this is really cool! The map could be one revisited for other encounters, perhaps one where Deena secretly recruits you to infiltrate and steal from her to see how good you are before she hires you more openly against a slaver group she wants to bring down!
I hope legends doesn't get overshadowed too much by the APG, the lore and characters are so fascinating and add so much to the game!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Awesome! Thank you for sharing!

Grand Archive

Is this going to be available for society use when they reach 9th level next year? Since it'll take almost that long to reach that level

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Azymondiaz wrote:
Is this going to be available for society use when they reach 9th level next year? Since it'll take almost that long to reach that level

Tonya is tracking the free content for org play consideration. No timeline yet.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm guessing no chance at a 'clean' copy of the map?

Really need to boost my perceptions skill... just noticed the where the clean version was 'hidden'...

There is a > toggle below the map... for the others who might have missed it...


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Deena is amazing and awesome and ARGH WHY IS SHE MARRIED TO THAT WARMONGER XERBYSTES? Argh...he doesn't DESERVE HER! Oh well, maybe she wanted to effect change in Qadira so she married into the position of Queen so she could make a difference?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Love this, can we put posts like this in their own tag so they are easy to find after the fact?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Really cool map! So we're going to get a good look at various locales and nation stuffs? ?


Ah lovely, thanks Luis! Excited to see what more comes from the line <3


And the world's your oyster?


Berselius wrote:
Deena is amazing and awesome and ARGH WHY IS SHE MARRIED TO THAT WARMONGER XERBYSTES? {. . .}

Did she even have a choice?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DeciusNero wrote:
Really cool map! So we're going to get a good look at various locales and nation stuffs? ?

It's a curious map, for sure. In order to stable a horse one would need to lead it up a flight of stairs, through the bazaar, through the entryway and then through the barracks. Rich people, amiright?


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Deena is amazing and awesome and ARGH WHY IS SHE MARRIED TO THAT WARMONGER XERBYSTES? {. . .}

Did she even have a choice?

Hmmm...good question. Are marriages arranged in Qadira? Do women even have rights there? Can they choose their lovers or do their families arrange them to be betrothed without consulting them?

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

... yes women have rights in Qadira.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not only do women have rights, but same-gender marriage is allowed if desired too!

The light of the Dawnflower blesses all sacred unions!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
... yes women have rights in Qadira.

Something that Deena would be very quick to remind people.


Thanks Rysky and Wei! Also I agree 100% Matt! :D

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love this map art. By the way, this is totally a book that everyone needs to read. Everyone!

(Yes, I wrote for it. But I had a several hours of delight reading through all the sections that I didn't write.)

Go forth and read Lost Omens Legends!

Hmm


The gods bless you for a non grid, non tagged VTT version! Way to many companies just offer the GM version and you gotta deal with moving your token around giant room numbers.


Rysky wrote:
... yes women have rights in Qadira.

Yes, but do scions of noble families have the right to say No to the schemes of their parents? (A real problem in Cheliax and presumably in pre-reform Taldor.)

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Rights? Yes. Does family pressure exist? Most likely. As it does everywhere else.

Y’all really need to back off this “She’s married to this fantasy analogue of middle eastern man, therefore she didn’t have any rights we have to save her!” white savior theory that just spun out of nowhere.


10 people marked this as a favorite.

From Qadira: Jewel of the East (scattered throughout, but especially p.25)

Qadira is culturally matrilineal: a man's closest female relatives (besides his mother) are his sisters, not daughters.
Daughters are important for the continuation of the family line & have a say in who their partners (married or otherwise) will be, although family expectations may influence this.
Sons are important for marital alliances between families as they act as chief negotiators on behalf of their own family even though they marry into the wife's family.
If the husband is of a higher rank, then his wife would be adopted as a 'daughter' of his family & thus ensure that the children's affiliations remain in the family. (In the reverse case where the wife outranks the husband, the children automatically remain in her family & would also outrank any relatives on their father's side.)
Also, if one is disowned by one's mother, one loses all claim to inheritance & possibly one's family name, too (the latter is implied, though).

Note (1): The Empire of Kelesh (of which Qadira is a satrapy) disapproves of slavery*, even though it's a reality (& 'legal') in Qadira (mostly from prisoners of war). (Qadira: Jewel of the East, p.44)

Note (2): Xerbystes II's marriage seems to be relatively 'recent' (i.e. it's a second edition change as he was unmarried throughout first edition).

Going by the above information, it seems plausible that Xerbystes married into a noble family from the larger Empire & his wife is trying to bring the sensibilities (regarding slavery) of said larger Empire to the distant satrapy that is Qadira. (Maybe?)

Note (3): I do not have nor have I read Lost Omens Legends - yet, so the paragraph above is purely conjectural.

*:
"In the larger Empire, a slave is someone whose total income belongs to another. One owns--and can buy or sell--the slave's labor only, not the slave themself, and the term of unpaid servitude cannot last for more than 7 years.
Under Qadiran law, however, one can own another sentient being, often for life, and it is not uncommon for slaves to be prisoners of war."
--Qadira: Jewel of the East, p.25


Quote:
Y’all really need to back off this “She’s married to this fantasy analogue of middle eastern man, therefore she didn’t have any rights we have to save her!” white savior theory that just spun out of nowhere.

I have no issues with Satrap Xerbystes's race or ethnicity Rysky. I just don't like him as a person as I find his constant push to make a case for war with Taldor to be extremely distasteful.

It's like a straight woman seeing a hard working honest man and then seeing his snooty, snob-like, arrogent, cold as ice wife and then asking herself "SUCH A AWESOME GUY WHY IS HE MARRIED TO THAT"?

Hopefully Queen Deena can make a better man out of him. She seems to be well on her way of improving his outlook towards ending slavery at least.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yeah you're not really helping your stance with the "I'm[general] a nice guy/girl!" take.


Rysky wrote:

Rights? Yes. Does family pressure exist? Most likely. As it does everywhere else.

Y’all really need to back off this “She’s married to this fantasy analogue of middle eastern man, therefore she didn’t have any rights we have to save her!” white savior theory that just spun out of nowhere.

That kind of thing is certainly not specific to the Middle East. It was common in Europe as official policy until recent times, as one can see reflected in several plays of William Shakespeare (and that era wasn't the last of it either).

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