Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Qadira, Jewel of the East (PFRPG)

4.40/5 (based on 10 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Qadira, Jewel of the East (PFRPG)
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Glories of the Dawn

Sprawling along the eastern shore of the Inner Sea lies Qadira, one of the mightiest nations of the region. Itself merely the westernmost tip of the vast Padishah Empire of Kelesh, Qadira has long stood as a bastion of culture and faith for humanity. Great dangers and wondrous opportunities for adventure await within this storied land—those who visit Qadira are well-advised to prepare for their journey!

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • Comprehensive information about the history of the mighty nation of Qadira, its people, their customs, and their faiths.
  • A first look at many elements of the Padishah Empire of Kelesh, including new societies, new faiths, and new organizations from that ancient region.
  • A full map of the nation of Qadira that covers both its civilized regions and its wilderness, revealing never-before-detailed jungles, strange new sites in which to adventure, and the full expanse of the land's beautiful but deadly deserts.
  • A detailed and robust system for finding patrons and working with Qadira's movers and shakers among the nobility and powerful merchant families.
  • Several new monsters, including genie-touched horses, along with a wide range of new player options for characters from Qadira, including archetypes, feats, magic, traits, and much more!

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Qadira, Jewel of the East is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-912-7

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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Fantastic!

5/5

I love this book! The world and lore are my favorite part of Pathfinder, and Qadira has always been one of my favorite parts of the setting. This book does a great job, and gives me so much that I can use to flesh out my Qadiran characters. Please keep these types of books coming I would love to see something similar to this that deals with Vudra!


Excellent book!

5/5

As a lover of geography courses, this book hits all the right notes. Qadira comes across as a real place, with concise but well thought out emphasis put on the factors (cultural/economic/geographic/etc) that make a nation and its peoples what they are. There are also frequent and interesting glimpses of Kelesh and Casmaron, with particular emphasis on how Qadira's status as an Inner Sea nation affects its relationship to the greater empire. Amongst all of this excellent information lie plenty of adventure hooks and rules options to help Qadira come alive during a game. The ashiftah battle witch is a simply written but super flavorful archetype (for real check it out), and the genie-touched horses are a clear fit. The patronage system adds some structure to help you convey what for a GM could be a very important but difficult to navigate aspect of Qadiran culture.

Basically, this book really adds to the Inner Sea and Golarion as a whole. You should buy it!


Perfect Campaign Setting

5/5

This product benefits greatly from having a single author instead of being a patchwork quilt with multiple contributors. It's not a boring, "here's a timeline, gazetteer of places, some organizations, then a bestiary" kind of rote by the numbers standard thing. It gives us a lot of flavor stuff, from relationships with other nations, customs, new crunch like patronage subsystems and witch archetypes. In many ways, Qadira reminds me of the old 1e Forgotten Realms box set in that it really gets down to the brass tacks of what life is like in the environment and makes it come alive for me. Jessica Price does a great job here and this product is a very strong argument for more single-author Campaign Setting books.


Great Campaign Book

5/5

This a great book that brought Qadira alive for me. I especially loved the patronage system and the witch stuff.


Okay book

3/5

The book has some nice fluff to it and expands what little we know of the Keleshite empire and its people, but that's pretty much all the good parts. I was hoping for some good settlement descriptions and notable personalities, city maps and such. The map is needs work and was changed from a previous map of Qadira (new mountains, river, and a forest!).

Now all this could be due to the fact that the Keleshite Empire and Casmaron have not been fleshed out yet. But I see book this as a lost opportunity to do exactly that. Create an anchor for us to go into that continent.

My biggest issue with this is the populations. They're HUGE in comparison to the Avistani nations. You could add up all of Cheliax, Andoran and Taldor and not come up with those numbers. This from a country that is mainly desert. Like how would Zimar ever harass the Qadiran ships when there is a city almost 5 times its size on the opposite banks of the Jalrune river.


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Project Manager

23 people marked this as a favorite.

And yes, the format of the book is a bit different.

I think that we gain something special from having a single staff member outline and write a region book and not be constrained by our standard templates for setting books. I love Sutter's First World book, and I especially love that it's structured really differently from my Qadira book--the First World is very different from Qadira, Sutter's very different from me, the things that interest him are very different from the things that interest me, and I like that in both books, the content is dictating the structure rather than vice versa.

We produce a ton of content every month, and never seem to have enough people to do it. Heavily templated books are our friends, since they cut down on writing time, layout time, copyfit adjustments, etc. In the event that we find we have to push a product back or cancel it, and we need something else in that slot, something like Castles of the Inner Sea or Dragons Unleashed, that can be divided up among six or seven writers, means we can go from freelancer assignments to text turnover in a few weeks rather than the three months or so we'd give someone who's writing an entire Campaign Setting or Adventure Path.

I don't think books like those automatically suffer from having multiple authors, assuming all the authors are good and the developer has enough time to ensure that the voice is consistent.

I do think that nation/region books tend to suffer if they have too many authors, because all of the parts are interconnected--or at least, from my perspective, they should be. Geography shapes history. History shapes government and culture. Individual behavior can reshape all of these things. Something as small as a difference between etiquette between two nations can start a war. And the way an individual dresses or talks to their mother has millennia of politics and culture behind it. If sections on culture and history are written by different people, they're likely to not reflect those connections.

So, a single author's passion project, or a collaboration between two people who share a vision, is going to allow more of that interconnection than three or four authors with discrete sections on a short timeline.

It's hard to make that happen, though. :-)

It's even harder to coordinate if there are multiple people involved. John and I are friends, and we live near each other, and though the patronage system is the thing that he wrote, his influence is present throughout the book. Mechanics aren't my strong suit, and he helped me figure out how to translate a lot of what I cared about in terms of what it's like to be a member of the Qadiran military or a rider from Al-Zabrit into actual mechanics. Likewise, he and I spent a lot of time talking about the various strata of Keleshite society for the flavor of the patronage system. I don't know how that would have happened if we didn't work in the same office, or if I'd been on a short timeline to write the book.

I had basically a year to write this book, which is why there's so much detail. I had time to research various historical empires and study how they rose to power and maintained control over large areas filled with diverse cultures. I had time to write probably 85% of a 128-page Kelesh setting book so that each of Qadira's two "parents" -- the Inner Sea region and Kelesh -- could contribute to its culture. I wrote journal entries from various generals during the conquest of southern Casmaron, and a section on the Imperial Family, and a history of the Sarenite church, and a Kelish grammar primer. I wrote what I wanted to write and what I felt I needed to write to understand how Kelesh's daughter state operates. Most of that stuff will probably never see print (and even the stuff that made it in often got cut in copyfit), but it's the bones of this book.

When we're given free rein, I think everyone on staff would structure a campaign setting very differently, based on what we focus on, and I really want to see what people like Crystal and Amanda and Adam and John--people who joined the Paizo creative staff after the people who sort of set the tone for what Pathfinder Campaign Settings were going to be like--would do if they were given carte blanche to do a 64-page book to develop an area of Golarion. And I suspect that someone like Crystal, for example, who has an anthropology background, would need time beyond what it took to actually write the text to do the background work of figuring out how a nation or region functions, because she would approach it with the richness of her training and background.

So, even though these books tend, I think, to be easier to produce once we get the text in (I did a dev pass on Sutter's book and basically changed a couple typos and that was it), making the text happen is harder, because Paizo staffers are busy people.

I think it'll be a while before we have another confluence of two staff passion projects back-to-back like this.

But I'm trying to get us time to have some more single-author, free-rein campaign settings by staff in 2018. :-)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Jessica, you would make a good Geography teacher! Speaking as such, myself, I really do think you would.

I shall have to flip through this when I see it on the shelf.


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

Gee, a book about Galt would be pretty awesome...

Project Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:

Jessica, you would make a good Geography teacher! Speaking as such, myself, I really do think you would.

I shall have to flip through this when I see it on the shelf.

Aw, thanks! :-) Geography is destiny, as they say.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yay for passion projects!


I would like to see one about Hermea.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

I have my own hopes for a Campaign Setting, but I'd rather not jinx it by mentioning it.

(Especially since I'm hoping to write it!)


Hermea and Galt would be awesome!

Also, people have the book now? Is there anything on the white feather monks?

Contributor

PannicAtack wrote:

Hermea and Galt would be awesome!

Also, people have the book now? Is there anything on the white feather monks?

There is a small blurb.

Dark Archive

Jessica Price wrote:

"I had time to write probably 85% of a 128-page Kelesh setting book"...

How are the chances that we will see this in print?

Thanks for giving a much needed part of Golarion form! :-)

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:

Jessica, you would make a good Geography teacher! Speaking as such, myself, I really do think you would.

I shall have to flip through this when I see it on the shelf.

Yeah, that section on history shaping government, culture, etc reminded me of the undergrad geography classes that I really enjoyed.

And hooray for in-depth "person on the street" level details - those're some of my favorite things to focus on in a session. Glad I preordered this book!


Only 2 new monsters? (I don't really count the golden horse as monster)

Can somebody tell me anything about the Rabisu? What does it look like for a start? And what is its story?


So the golden horses are just animals?

Contributor

Dragon78 wrote:
So the golden horses are just animals?

Yes, but their progression differs from the standard horse animal companion. They don't grow larger until 7th level, but gain more bonuses.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
They're more snarly than fluffy, tho. :-)
They still fluffy and Gnolly and I love them.

Indeed. Whom among us does not love the majestic gnoll?

*sigh*


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Master Pugwampi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
They're more snarly than fluffy, tho. :-)
They still fluffy and Gnolly and I love them.

Indeed. Whom among us does not love the majestic gnoll?

*sigh*

Yes, sassy laugh-y snarly gnarly fluffy gnolls.

>_>

<_<

{whispers:} Linngnolls? Gnollorms?


Thanks for all the info guys.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Hunt, the PugWumpus wrote:
Master Pugwampi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
They're more snarly than fluffy, tho. :-)
They still fluffy and Gnolly and I love them.

Indeed. Whom among us does not love the majestic gnoll?

*sigh*

Yes, sassy laugh-y snarly gnarly fluffy gnolls.

>_>

<_<

{whispers:} Linngnolls? Gnollorms?

Ooh ooh! Desert linnorms with gnoll and pugwampi worshippers!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So how extensive is the section on gnolls, a couple of pages or just a paragraph or two?


Any information on occult classes in here ?

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Feros wrote:
So how extensive is the section on gnolls, a couple of pages or just a paragraph or two?

A few mentions here and there plus a decent length entry about a particular set of gnolls in the Adventuring in Qadira section.

nighttree wrote:
Any information on occult classes in here ?

Every base class, except the vigilante, has a small bit explaining how they fit into Qadira, including the occult classes.

Project Manager

20 people marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:

"I had time to write probably 85% of a 128-page Kelesh setting book"...

How are the chances that we will see this in print?

Unlikely. I hope we someday do a book on Kelesh, but there are no current plans to do so, and even then, most of it wouldn't make it into the book (64 pages is actually very little space for providing details). Most of the most vibrant bits were incorporated into Qadira in one way or another, and the majority of what I actually wrote was too detailed/dry for a Campaign Setting. You might need that level of detail if you were writing a novel set in Kelesh, but you don't need it to run a game there.

Here's an example--discussion of the relationship between the first two cultures to form the Empire of Kelesh, the Althameri (who've already appeared in Inner Sea Races) and the Aishmayar:

Spoiler:
THE GREATEST NEGOTIATION IN HISTORY: THE MYSTERIES OF THE AISHMAYAR "CONQUEST"
Azir al-Shurala, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Yundaishabur

Keleshites are famous for love of negotiation, a trait instilled in the peoples of the Empire by its Althameri founders. Historical documents suggest, however, that the Althameri may have been on the losing end of the most significant bit of haggling in their storied history—and what's more, may not have even realized that they were involved in a negotiation at all.

The official histories record, of course, that the Aishmayar were the first culture conquered by the Althameri in the early days of the Empire. Yet from the earliest recorded accounts, most historians note that there was something fundamentally different about the Aishmayar conquest. Even though early Althameri conquests tended to be less bloody than similar events in the history of other empires, the earliest encounters with the Khattibi and Midean peoples involved warfare. Later encounters shifted toward economic coercion, and eventually Keleshite rule became an attractive option for nations suffering economically or bordering hostile territory, but even the historians most sympathetic to the ancient Keleshites cannot escape the fact that they first conquered by the sword.

In contrast to the battles with the Khattibi and Midean empires, there are no records of military conflict with any Aishmayar cities. The official histories record that the Aishmayar were simply too naïve and gentle to recognize the intent of their conquerors, and escaped violence by welcoming the invading Keleshites and ceding rule to them without resistance. The Althameri tradition of refusing to use the word "conquer" in reference to the Althameri, out of affection and respect for a people they view as too innocent for warfare, reflects this view.

Non-Keleshite historians in Northern and Eastern Casmaron, however, paint a different picture: one in which the Aishmayar "tamed" the Althameri, gradually directing them away from military aggression toward diplomacy.

It is popular for the nobility to claim Aishmayar descent, and the Empire credits the Aishmayar as one of the seven founding cultures of Kelesh, whose values permeate society even today, but what do we truly know about this ancient, enigmatic culture? In the following discussion, I attempt to read between the lines of references made to the ancient Aishmayar by their contemporaries and examine the journals of the first Keleshites to encounter them.

PRE-KELESHITE HISTORY: ILLITERACY AND ART
The cities of the Aishmayar were ancient centuries before the rise of the Empire, and their sites continue to form the backbone of western Kelesh. Though little evidence remains of these cities, ample visual records and textual descriptions allow us to reconstruct some understanding of their appearance and nature. Most were built around oases, but a few were constructed on sites that must have initially been hostile to human life, especially in arid mountain ranges. It is unclear whether Kelesh inherited the qanat system from the Aishmayar or the Khattibi, but art from nearby cultures suggests that the cities in the mountains may have been centered around stepped pyramids supporting vertiginous silver spires, topped with great nets that caught moisture and diverted it down the spire into reservoirs.

Buildings within the cities were constructed of mud brick covered with vibrant enameled tiles: ground jewels and precious metals were frequent ingredients in their glazes, and the surviving examples portray majestic animals and mythical figures. Interior walls sported trompe l'oeil frescoes, which gave the impression that the furniture within the rooms was set on platforms in lush gardens, on tropical beaches, or on lofty mountaintops. Terraced gardens covered most public spaces, building roofs, and the medians of wide avenues. Visitors from other major cultures claimed that theirs was a languorous way of life, replete with the pleasures of clever conversations, soft fabrics, good food, and sights that intrigued the eye and soothed the spirit. The remaining ruins from their cities show they were skilled in engineering, legends from Northern Casmaron speak of the near-miraculous abilities of Aishmayar physicians, and the ancient Althameri claimed to have learned much of music and the arts from them.

The picture painted by this evidence is one of sophistication, not naiveté.

Much of the scholarly attribution of cheerful innocence to the ancient Aishmayar derives from a single peculiarity: their lack of a written tongue. For a people who are credited with achieving so much, the Aishmayar indifference to the written word—and their blithe unconcern with its results, such as written history—can be baffling to members of our literate culture.

What, then, are we to make of their supposed unfamiliarity with the art of war? I suggest that it was not unfamiliarity, but near-immunity to martial aggression bestowed by the remote locations of Aishmayar cities that enabled the culture's famed pacifism.

ISOLATIONISM AND PACIFISM
Prior to contact with the Althameri, each Aishmayar settlement was an independent, self-sufficient city-state, with an elected shah who held their office for life and was ceremonially wed to Aishalat, a serene, bounteous, and supremely indulgent empyreal lord associated with the dew, sleep, and generosity.

The Aishmayar worshipped Aishalat in tandem with Sarenrae, whom they believed to be her older sister, and practiced a particularly pacifist form of Sarenism. There was some peddler-level trade between nearby settlements, and the Aishmayar appear to have recognized themselves as a single people, but each city-state was concerned only with its own internal affairs. References in the texts of their contemporaries suggest that their scattered cities were once a united power, but offer no insight as to why the Aishmayar eventually adopted their isolationist stance. Figures riding unidentifiable winged creatures are a common motif in Aishmayar art, leading some historians to speculate that the culture traversed the harsh deserts with ease until the loss of its winged mounts. By the time of the Althameri conquest, the Aishmayar rarely traveled, for they domesticated no large animals, and rarely sought outside help when disaster struck. The desert itself protected them from invasion, at least until the mounted Althameri turned their eyes toward conquest.

FACE TO FACE: THE FIRST ENCOUNTER
Nur-Iqar-Shamah, shah of Esur, was the first Aishmayar ruler to encounter the Althameri when the general Bitharah and her army appeared suddenly on his doorstep out of a sandstorm, battered from previous battles, but riding high on their triumphs over several small nomadic tribes in the area and hungry for further conquest.

The prophetess who traveled with the army had guided it to the city based on visions she believed came from Sarenrae, to whose worship the Althameri were still new. Bitharah kept meticulous journals, so the Althameri side of the encounter is well-documented, although the Aishmayar indifference to record-keeping and literacy has deprived history of their opinions on the matter.

The two sides had no language in common. Bitharah attempted to communicate through gestures that the Aishmayar should surrender, expecting the sort of defiance she had suppressed in her previous campaigns. She was confident that she and her forces could take the city without a protracted siege, but expected a struggle.

All of this is recorded in the official Imperial Histories. I will, however, draw attention to the following details in the official record:

Quote:
The Aishmayar city had impressive walls, but no standing army, for a few volunteer archers had been sufficient to drive off the occasional raiders who comprised the only military threats the Aishmayar had faced in the last several centuries, though such raids had increased dramatically as the Empire of Khattib began to build cities and roads nearby.

This excerpt, with which every Keleshite schoolchild is familiar, bears closer examination. It is often taken as proof of the Aishmayar's lack of military knowledge, but in my reading, it indicates precisely the opposite: that the Aishmayar's martial expertise was so finely calibrated—and their passive defenses so robust—that they were able to drive off threats with a few warning shots from volunteer archers. Small wonder, then, that they were able to invest so much of their time in arts and leisure, while their neighbors drained their coffers and spent their waking hours raising armies and forging weapons, restricting their advancement in other pursuits.

The nature of the first encounter between the Aishmayar and the Althameri is, of course, one of the foundation stories of our culture: To Bitharah's surprise, the Aishmayar threw open their gates and welcomed the Althameri like kin, ushering the surprised riders inside, telegraphing their admiration for the Althameri’s fine horses and fierce appearances, and plying the thirsty soldiers with water, fruit, fine food, and soothing music.

This emblematic meeting is traditionally taken as evidence of both the Aishmayar's primitive innocence—that they opened their gates to strangers without first discerning whether they held hostile intent—and their benevolence, in that they saw the weariness of the Althameri and offered hospitality.

But a reader who is both less reverent and less condescending might speculate that the inhabitants recognized that for the first time in centuries, they faced a military force that could not be dispelled by stout walls and a handful of archers. Perhaps the Aishmayar were not willing to risk their lives in a conflict so different from the sort to which they were accustomed. But this begs the question: why not simply surrender, then? Why feign lack of understanding of the Althameri purpose in coming to their city?

SEDUCING THE CONQUERORS: THE AISHMAYAR SURRENDER
Two details are significant, here: that the militaristic empire of Khattib was encroaching ever closer to the Aishmayar city-states, and that attacks by nomadic raiders were on the increase.

Let us return to the official accounts: The Althameri, while conquest-minded, were not unnecessarily cruel, and Bitharah’s journal records her intentions to accept the Aishmayar’s hospitality, explain to them the following day that they were now under Althameri rule, and quell the resistance she was certain would result from the announcement. “Bright lady of the dawn, as you rise tomorrow, touch the heart of my host, the lord of this city, and bid him submit,” she wrote, “for he smiles at me as if I were his favorite younger sister, and the thought of killing him hollows my soul.”

What followed, as gleaned from Bitharah’s personal journals and the reports she sent back to the elders of her tribe, was a delicate dance between the fierce Althameri ambition and the Aishmayar culture. The official histories claim that the Aishmayar had little in the way of set hierarchy and no words for “pride” or “insult”—and, for that matter, none for “war” or “conquest.” We are still taught that for the Aishmayar, the joy was in creating works of beauty, not in hoarding them, and the obvious admiration of the Althameri for their creations delighted the Aishmayar in pressing gifts on their visitors.

Bitharah's journals note that after conquering Esur, she and her forces destroyed several raiding parties that attacked her new holdings. Rather than driving them off, as the Aishmayar had done, Bitharah killed or captured all but a few of the raiders, allowing—at the "tender-hearted" request of her Althameri subjects—a few to escape. Presumably these survivors carried word that Esur now slaughtered any who dared attack it.

To an astute reader, Bitharah’s accounts reach almost comic levels of frustration as she recorded her attempts to learn the Aishmayar words for the concepts she wished to convey, and to explain to the Aishmayar that they were now vassals of the Althameri.

Quote:

As we approached the gates of the Aishmayar city of Marshuk, Shalash-Edez-Zereth called out in greeting, and the gates were opened. The citizens invited us in, exclaiming over our horses, their children clapping as if it were a festival.

I am not yet fluent in their language, but as I could make it out, our Aishmayar translator told them that we were great friends of his people. “They tell the most wonderful stories of places they have been,” he proclaimed, “and the raiders flee them, and they wear the gifts we give them as if they were favored treasures.” The people of Marshuk turned to us, eyes shining with admiration.

“Tribute,” I corrected him in our tongue, for I have not determined the equivalent in his. I did so gently, for now that they are our subjects I did not wish to shame him. “They are not gifts you give us, but tribute you pay us, for we are your rulers now.”

“Tribute,” he agreed, then turned back to his people we had come to conquer. “That is their word for gifts.”

I shall have to continue to work with him on improving his language skills.

What is most striking in this account is how the residents of Esur, by offering their skills as translators, managed to ensure that they were the first to speak to the residents of each new Aishmayar city that the Althameri invaded, and to preemptively dissuade them from resistance. Bitharah's missives record a string of bloodless victories.

What if these translators were not innocent primitives awed by the military glory of the Althameri, but cunning strategists reassuring their compatriots that the situation was well in hand until they could be fully inducted into the conspiracy?

The official histories relate that over time, the Aishmayar generosity, openness, and kindness toward their baffled would-be conquerors transformed the Althameri aggression into indulgence and protectiveness.

Eventually, Bitharah returned home, leaving a detachment of her most trusted warriors at Esur to defend them from raiders or enemies of the Althameri. Her journals make the profound change in her view of the people she came to vanquish quite apparent:

Quote:
I have instructed my second, Alashar, to remain and ensure that the people of Esur come to no harm. Their hands were shaped for creating works of beauty, and I would not see them sullied with blood. We bear our scars with pride; let us bear theirs as well.

Soon after, the Althameri began to settle in Aishmayar cities and intermarry with the residents. Althameri pride demanded that the nomads seize wealth as a sign of their superiority, but their spartan desert existence left them without much sense of what to do with what they acquired. The Aishmayar were happy to teach them to appreciate luxury, to savor beauty, and to build civilizations and not merely encampments. Their silver tongues had convinced the Althameri to sheathe their swords, and under Aishmayar tutelage, the Althameri learned the arts of diplomacy, convincing other peoples that Althameri patronage and membership in their growing empire were benefits to embrace rather than defeats against which to struggle.

IMPERIAL CONFIDANTES: THE CONTEMPORARY AISHMAYAR
Today, the Aishmayar civilization is long vanished, absorbed fully into the Empire. It enhances the prestige of noble families to claim Aishmayar ancestry, while actors and artists are fond of claiming that a trace of Aishmayar blood enhances their talents, but such connections are impossible to prove.

The only descendants of the ancient Aishmayar whose lineage is certain are, of course, the imperial advisors known as shuqalam. They have scrupulously maintained their reputation for being a peaceful people, innocent of the ways of war—they eschew learning to fight, and display profound unhappiness when they must so much as touch a weapon. These attitudes have ensured that they remain the cherished and pampered friends and advisors of their Althameri patrons, to whose rule they pose no threat.

The Imperial Family is, if anything, more prickly about defending the social status of the shuqalam than they are about their own, and while the Aishmayar are listed among the peoples conquered during the Age of the Sword in Keleshite histories, the Althameri refuse to use the term “conquered” when speaking of them. Centuries later, the Althameri still view the Aishmayar with a unique blend of protectiveness, admiration, and gratitude.

A shuqal's lack of ego is legendary: they are utterly devoted to the Imperial Family and the wellbeing of the Empire. They are the only citizens exempt from the military service requirement, their devotion earning them a uniquely privileged place in Keleshite society.

FEIGNING SIMPLICITY: THE AISHMAYAR VICTORY
The Church of Sarenrae holds that the goddess herself directed the Althameri to Usur in order to forge their ambition into something more peaceful and productive than simple conquest. Can a secular historian truly accept at face value the idea that the Aishmayar reaction to Althameri conquest was as naive as it seemed? All evidence suggests that the Aishmayar were an ancient, civilized, and wily people.

The ancient Althameri were accustomed to subsistence-level living, unpracticed in diplomacy, and resentful of other cultures’ disdain for them. With a bit of hospitality and flattery, the Aishmayar, who were likely well aware that they were ripe targets for invasion from many vectors, bought themselves an impressive army and lost little in the way of their own autonomy.

The official histories record a conquest, but evidence suggests that the Aishmayar directed subsequent Althameri conquests, and by pretending to cheerfully surrender, put themselves in a position to rule from behind the throne. The Church may be convinced that the rise of the Empire was the goddess's design; I suggest that it was that of the Aishmayar.

I do not allege that this is a bad thing: the history of Casmaron might be far bloodier if the Aishmayar had not been the first major civilization toward which the Althameri turned their eyes, and not only because they defused the Althameri aggression: divided, warring cultures in southern Casmaron might not have survived the rampages of the monstrosities released from the Pit of Gormuz as ably as we were able to under Imperial rule. The Aishmayar have vanished as a distinct ethnicity, but all aspects of Keleshite culture bear their stamp. The famed Keleshite sophistication, love of luxury, and appreciation of beauty comes from the Aishmayar, as does the smooth-tongued wit and scintillating conversational prowess so prized by every echelon of society.

But the tantalizing, ironic possibility remains: we, who so prize our prowess at bargaining, at ensuring we come out the winners of every negotiation, may owe our very identity as Keleshites to a negotiation in which our founders were not only unaware that they had been used, but unaware that they were negotiating at all.

So, by itself that essay would have been almost a 10th of the Qadira book, and it's only about two of the six major ethnicities. <wry> There's just no room for most of this sort of stuff in a book intended to help GMs run a game.

Bear in mind that none of this is canon, and won't be unless it's officially published--and by the time that might happen, it's likely that further work on Qadira/Kelesh will have been done in multiple sources, which may take it in a different direction. Consider this something along the lines of an outtake/DVD extra. :-)

The ethnicity sections in the book are, by necessity, only a paragraph each--enough to give a bit of flavor to people who want to play them (and there's certainly a bit more information about some of them elsewhere in the book). Like I said, 64 pages isn't actually that much space for covering any one subject--I had to cut a ton of gazeteer detail, info on the spice trade, environmental rules for the desert, mechanical options for mounted characters, history, discussion of religions unique to Kelesh, etc. And as people have noticed, the bestiary is tiny--I initially didn't include one at all (all of the horse stuff was in a section on Riders of Qadira), but thankfully James pointed out that we should probably have one, and designed the rabisu from a one-sentence reference that (I think) ended up getting cut from a different section.

However, while most of the material that I wrote about Kelesh that didn't make it into the Qadira book in the first place, or that got cut from Qadira, will probably stay on the cutting room floor, some of it (mostly mechanical options) will appear in a future product. :-)


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Heh. I'm amazed you got it done in a year with that level of background prepping. :p


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I have always been a tolkien/'traditional western fantasy' fan, but paizo's approach to the campaign setting has broadened my horizons immensely. You manage to make those countries out of my comfort zone feel like real places I want to explore rather than caricatures of movie-sets (which is often how I've experienced other 'non-western' campaign settings).

Is it too soon to begin a petition for a kelesh book?

Project Manager

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I write pretty fast, she said modestly.

Project Manager

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Steve Geddes wrote:

I have always been a tolkien/'traditional western fantasy' fan, but paizo's approach to the campaign setting has broadened my horizons immensely. You manage to make those countries out of my comfort zone feel like real places I want to explore rather than caricatures of movie-sets (which is often how I've experienced other 'non-western' campaign settings).

Is it too soon to begin a petition for a kelesh book?

Thank you! We try. Hopefully the fact that a lot of us read a lot of history helps us make the countries we care about less like stereotypes--the need to give every country in Golarion a sort of one-line summary can lead to shallow characterizations, but we try pretty hard to make each setting nuanced once we get around to actually doing detailed writeups.

And IT IS NEVER TOO SOON. }:-)

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Jessica Price wrote:
I write pretty fast, she said modestly.

She writes really quickly. It puts most of us to shame and only mildly embarrasses the rest of us.

Project Manager

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John Compton wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
I write pretty fast, she said modestly.
She writes really quickly. It puts most of us to shame and only mildly embarrasses the rest of us.

Says the guy who develops more products per year than anyone else at Paizo. :-)

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Jessica Price wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
I write pretty fast, she said modestly.
She writes really quickly. It puts most of us to shame and only mildly embarrasses the rest of us.
Says the guy who develops more products per year than anyone else at Paizo. :-)

Acknowledged, though I would say for my day job what I can say for my modest contributions to this book: I've had help.

Project Manager

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John Compton wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
I write pretty fast, she said modestly.
She writes really quickly. It puts most of us to shame and only mildly embarrasses the rest of us.
Says the guy who develops more products per year than anyone else at Paizo. :-)
Acknowledged, though I would say for my day job what I can say for my modest contributions to this book: I've had help.

Linda is also amazing. <3


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I'd love to see more of that history - ancient Casmaron cultures are one of my minor obsessions. ^_^


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Me too. I never knew that I wanted an essay on ancient Keleshite history, but I absolutely loved that.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5...

Silver Crusade

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Jessica Price wrote:
You might need that level of detail if you were writing a novel set in Kelesh

Next passion project? :3


That would be a passion project alright.

Liberty's Edge

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Jessica Price wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I have always been a tolkien/'traditional western fantasy' fan, but paizo's approach to the campaign setting has broadened my horizons immensely. You manage to make those countries out of my comfort zone feel like real places I want to explore rather than caricatures of movie-sets (which is often how I've experienced other 'non-western' campaign settings).

Is it too soon to begin a petition for a kelesh book?

Thank you! We try. Hopefully the fact that a lot of us read a lot of history helps us make the countries we care about less like stereotypes--the need to give every country in Golarion a sort of one-line summary can lead to shallow characterizations, but we try pretty hard to make each setting nuanced once we get around to actually doing detailed writeups.

And IT IS NEVER TOO SOON. }:-)

You can add my name to the apparently long and growing list of people who are interested in a Kelesh book. Hell I would likely pay for a book with Essays like the one you have spoilered above. I feel like that essay has entered my head-canon until such time as it is directly refuted by the written product. I would love to see more stuff like that on the campaign setting as a whole.

Project Manager

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Rysky wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
You might need that level of detail if you were writing a novel set in Kelesh
Next passion project? :3

I maaaaaaybe have 75k of a Kelesh novel (which may never get finished, and even if it does, may not get published, or may not get published as a Pathfinder novel, so temper any expectations accordingly). :-)

Silver Crusade

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Jessica Price wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Jessica Price wrote:
You might need that level of detail if you were writing a novel set in Kelesh
Next passion project? :3
I maaaaaaybe have 75k of a Kelesh novel (which may never get finished, and even if it does, may not get published, or may not get published as a Pathfinder novel, so temper any expectations accordingly). :-)

*wants intensifies*

Scarab Sages

One thing I noticed right away: The solar sorcerer bloodline gives searing light (normally 3rd level) as a 1st level spell at level 3.

Also, their 4th level bloodline spell is labeled shield of dawn, is that supposed to be shield of the dawnflower?

Project Manager

Yup, should be shield of the dawnflower.

Dark Archive

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+1 for a 128 page "Kelesh Campaign Setting" written by Jessica and refined down to 64 pages by John.

+1 for a "Pathfinder Tales" novel by JP set in Kelesh (or elsewhere).


No one said there was a new sorcerer bloodline. So what is the concept/source of power for this bloodline?

Project Manager

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Dragon78 wrote:
No one said there was a new sorcerer bloodline. So what is the concept/source of power for this bloodline?

Solar.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
No one said there was a new sorcerer bloodline. So what is the concept/source of power for this bloodline?

It was mentioned in this blog post, under 9.


I don't know how i missed that.

Liberty's Edge

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donato's review makes me really excited to get my own copy.

I also agree that a book gains a LOT from having a single author, and I hope that happens more often in the future.

I'm also very happy that this book is closer to the cultural end of the spectrum than the gazetteer end of the spectrum. Back when I got my Forgotten Realms 1st Ed. boxed set, sure, all those place names and what Elminster wrote about them were cool, but it was the section in the beginning about the calendar, the phrases, the espruar and dethek alphabets and all that stuff that really made the campaign setting for me.


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Wow- reading how much thought and effort Jessica put into this kind of makes me not feel too bad about having never completed the article on Qadiran and Kelesh clothing that I'd begun to work as a possible Wayfinder article some time ago. I feel like it would have paled in comparison.

Can't wait to pick this up, between the preview and Donato's review.


How much information is given about the conflict between Qadira and Taldor?

Project Manager

Axial wrote:
How much information is given about the conflict between Qadira and Taldor?

Given that it's one of the factors that makes Qadira different from other satrapies on Kelesh, quite a bit. There's a section on Qadira & Taldor, but it also permeates most of the book.

Dark Archive

Jessica Price wrote:
Axial wrote:
How much information is given about the conflict between Qadira and Taldor?
Given that it's one of the factors that makes Qadira different from other satrapies on Kelesh, quite a bit. There's a section on Qadira & Taldor, but it also permeates most of the book.

Will you also write a "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Taldor" book in the future now that you are freshly familar with it´s southern neighbor or is that something you´d rather not do?

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