The Padishah Empire


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Quandary wrote:

At first I thought Iblydos could have territory from the coast nearest the islands, stretching inward towards the Castrovin Sea... But if Paizo`s map is REMOTELY accurate, that`s just alot of land mass to cover. (Is Iblydos supposed to be connected to the Kelesh Empire or not?)

I kind of like the idea of an inland Iblydos being a remnant of a previous large kingdom/empire/culture ...With the islands and the remaining inland territories having taken very diffent paths but still being known as `Iblydos` (local neighbors in either locale would be widely separated by what looks like lots of mountains, and likely might not be 100% clear on the distinction between near-by Iblydos, far-away Iblydos, and Iblydos of myth/history). Splitting up the remnants of ancient culture seem to put it`s true nature/history slightly further out of grasp, i.e. more mysterious.

As `one of the oldest nations`, I can see a para-Armenian/Metsamor/Urartu vibe (some `Greek` temple styles first appeared in Urartu and connections with the Minoans seemed to exist as well). Similarities with Sumerian/Akkadian cultures would fit here (at least in it`s earlier past, it`s present could be more Greek-like). Fitting that into a background of a fallen Giant/Cyclops civilization (with Human component) seems pretty do-able :-)

Keep in mind that the Greeks/Macedonians under Alexander the Great conquered territories from the Balkans to Egypt to the Yaxartes and northern India. They also founded cities everywhere, including Alexander Eschate, which is now in Tajikistan.

I have been playing around with an AP concept relating to the Sindbad stories. In the original voyages (and some of the movies, too), the sailor encounters episodes from the Greek myths, including Cyclopes and a Circe-based adventure. I wonder if this why Paizo placed Iblydos in the Obari [i.e., Indian] Ocean.


Yeah, I was just unclear on if Iblydos is a vassal state/whatever to the Kelesh Empire or not...
(if it is, present-day geographical contiguity seems doable, if not, not so much)
Somehow I like the idea of 2 phases of an ancient empire culture, with giants most prominent in one part, and tragic endings all around :-)

Ancient Greek/Minoan/Urartu/Mittani/etc culture with Giants/Cyclops also somehow makes me remember the proximity to the Kellid-occupied steppes to the north, which seems plausible to create some forgotten historic relationship/events there... along with Iobaria/Ninshabur/Kaskkari which could share certain elements with ancient Iblydos or Sparta/Persia...

...Casmaron has been on my Golarion wishlist for a while :-)


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Just some notes on a certain historical-theological conflict I always found interesting:

Devasura Sangrama (The Deva-Asura Wars)

Glossary
Ahura, Asura, Aesir, Os: A class of divinities whose name derives from the word for breath or perhaps ‘lord’ or ‘child’ or ‘oath’.
Deva, Daeva, Div, Deo, Dei, Theoi: A class of divinities whose name derives from the word for brightness.

The conflict between the Ahuras and the Devas is one of the oddities of Indo-European religion. Apparently a set of beings with different though overlapping portfolios believed in by the early Arya peoples in South Asia, they, after an apparent religious schism, became the demons and gods of the Vedic and Avestan religions. However, where the Asura or Ahura were the powers of god in the Avesta; they were the anti-gods or demons in the Veda, and the Deva likewise held opposite positions in each pantheon.
The majority of Indo-Europeans appear to have worshipped the Deva, as witnessed by the Theoi of the ancient Greeks and Dei of the Romans, as well as Jupiter, Zeus, Div, Dis Pater, Tiwaz/Tyr, Dievas, and others, the (original) chief god of the pantheon. The Vedic Dyaus, interestingly, was deposed and slain by Indra, his son.
However, the Persians, Germans (including the Anglo-Saxons), and Norse seem to have accepted the Ahura as their primary gods. The Persian chief Ahuras were Ahura Mazda (Ormazd), Mitra (Mithras), and Apam Napat (Neptune). Both Mitra and Apam Napat, apparently too important for any one pantheon to claim exclusively, are Devas in India. The Deva Varuna (Uranus) appears to be linked likewise to Ahura Mazda. The Norse Aesir are originally ‘Ansu.’ As Odin breathed the life into the first humans, he may be the direct equivalent of Ahura Mazda. Note that Tyr or Tiwaz is a Deva (that is what his name means, yet is an Aesir to the Norse).
The geography of the Vedas and the Avestas is strongly interrelated. It is unclear where the original sites were, but many scholars claim that the ritually important Vedic Sarasvati river (now lost, but believed to flow between the Ganges and the Indus) and the existing dry river of Haraswaiti of the Avesta (H in the Avestas is S in Sanskrit; hence Ahura = Asura). This is the Helmand river of Afghanistan, in the ancient region of Arachosia. The goddess of the Haraswaiti is Anahita, a Yazata, and her source is Hara Berezaiti, the axis mundi mountain (equivalent to the Hindu and Buddhist Meru/Sumeru). This mountain later became known as Alborz, and was associated with peaks in the Caucasus, northern Iran, and elsewhere.
In Iranian mythology, the Divs became strongly associated with the Caspian-Kashmir region. The Mazanian (Mazainya) people who dwelt between Caspian and the Alburz (todays Mazandaran) were Daeva-worshippers (Daevayasnas). This people was particularly associated with Varunya [Varan, Varuna], the Daeva of Lust. Azi Dahaka himself is sometimes called Mazan, which can mean ‘haughty, gigantic.’ Another name for the general area was Verkana, or in modern Iranian, Gurgan, or in Greek, Hyrcania, meaning the ‘land of Werewolves.’ Along with a site in what is now Azerbaijan, Hyrcania was one of the traditional locations for the Gates of Alexander which blocked the monstrous host of Gog and Magog from irrupting into the civilized world. Red Sonja was a Hyrcanian (btw), and in Howard’s work, Hyrcania was infamous for its sorcerers. [Turan, Drujistan, Iranistan, and [Af]Ghulistan correspond to the Padishah Empire in the Conan mythos, but that is a subject for a later post.]

Origins: The Puranas explained that the Asuras and Devas (or Suras, or Adaityas) were first cousins, descended from the daughters of Daksha Prajapati. The Devas claimed amrita, the nectar of immortality, and control of heaven, sparking the enmity of their (older) relations.
Conversely, the dualistic theology of the Persians described the Devas, or Divs, as the creations of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman), the principle of evil, and foe of Ahura Mazda, creator of the Yazatas and humanity.
In my own campaign world, I attempted to resolve the Daeva-Ahura good-evil problem by introducing the concept of each god having a ‘shadow’ – the bad part of the god which served as the member of the evil pantheon for my world.

The Exchange

Wonderful post, as always, Jeff! Now I really want to see some werewolves incorporated into Casmaron!


Zeugma wrote:
Wonderful post, as always, Jeff! Now I really want to see some werewolves incorporated into Casmaron!

Well, I forgot to add-- Hyrkania/Gorgan is etymologically related to *Vargr, the Norse word for wolf... and thus to Worg, from Tolkien.


Quandary wrote:
As `one of the oldest nations`, I can see a para-Armenian/Metsamor/Urartu vibe (some `Greek` temple styles first appeared in Urartu and connections with the Minoans seemed to exist as well). Similarities with Sumerian/Akkadian cultures would fit here (at least in it`s earlier past, it`s present could be more Greek-like). Fitting that into a background of a fallen Giant/Cyclops civilization (with Human component) seems pretty do-able :-)

I myself would probably see anything built by the Cyclops (cyclopses?) and other giants as being more like the Myceneaen ruins. Isn't the word used for old Myceneaen ruins literally "cyclopean"?


Jeff de luna wrote:
Another name for the general area was Verkana, or in modern Iranian, Gurgan, or in Greek, Hyrcania, meaning the ‘land of Werewolves.’... Well, I forgot to add-- Hyrkania/Gorgan is etymologically related to *Vargr, the Norse word for wolf... and thus to Worg, from Tolkien.

Yes! I actually wrote an article along these lines this for a now-gone werewolf fanzine a few years ago, using a book by linguist and historian Bruce Lincoln ("Priests, Cattle, and Kings") which argued for a shapeshifting cult devoted to Indra among the early Indo-Iranians that used the sacred haoma to transform into dasyave-vrka, lit. "wolves to the aliens/outsiders", so they could protect their tribes from enemies (or raid those same enemies).

I seem to recall the author arguing that Indra could have been a eumhemerized champion of the cult, maybe back when they worshipped the older deity Kolvo (the half-alive, half-dead goddess of night, winter, death, and war). Which would make Indra a drunken berserker werewolf dragonslayer god, which is just too cool for words.

Thanks for the great entry, Jeff!


Eric Hinkle wrote:
Jeff de luna wrote:
Another name for the general area was Verkana, or in modern Iranian, Gurgan, or in Greek, Hyrcania, meaning the ‘land of Werewolves.’... Well, I forgot to add-- Hyrkania/Gorgan is etymologically related to *Vargr, the Norse word for wolf... and thus to Worg, from Tolkien.

Yes! I actually wrote an article along these lines this for a now-gone werewolf fanzine a few years ago, using a book by linguist and historian Bruce Lincoln ("Priests, Cattle, and Kings") which argued for a shapeshifting cult devoted to Indra among the early Indo-Iranians that used the sacred haoma to transform into dasyave-vrka, lit. "wolves to the aliens/outsiders", so they could protect their tribes from enemies (or raid those same enemies).

I seem to recall the author arguing that Indra could have been a eumhemerized champion of the cult, maybe back when they worshipped the older deity Kolvo (the half-alive, half-dead goddess of night, winter, death, and war). Which would make Indra a drunken berserker werewolf dragonslayer god, which is just too cool for words.

Thanks for the great entry, Jeff!

Indra's an interesting guy. He definitely took a turn for the worse in Indian mythology, where he's a drunken, selfish letch. He shows up in Persian material as Andar or Indar, an archdeva of Ignorance and Heresy.

I wasn't aware of his link to the wolves. Very cool. But India, there aren't any wolves to speak of, and dogs are an unclean animal. Dogs (and tigers) were definitely linked to wandering bands of warriors with shapeshifter characteristics in Vedic texts and in southern India (see my Baughat notes in the Vudra thread)-- I wonder if the animal got changed because it was unrecognizable. The Turks and the Mongols definitely have a wolf cult going on. Some tribes claim to be descended from a she-wolf, in fact.


Jeff de luna wrote:


Indra's an interesting guy. He definitely took a turn for the worse in Indian mythology, where he's a drunken, selfish letch. He shows up in Persian material as Andar or Indar, an archdeva of Ignorance and Heresy.
I wasn't aware of his link to the wolves. Very cool. But India, there aren't any wolves to speak of, and dogs are an unclean animal. Dogs (and tigers) were definitely linked to wandering bands of warriors with shapeshifter characteristics in Vedic texts and in southern India (see my Baughat notes in the Vudra thread)-- I wonder if the animal got changed because it was unrecognizable. The Turks and the Mongols definitely have a wolf cult going on. Some tribes claim to be descended from a she-wolf, in fact.

I should have added that Lincoln claimed that the werewolf cult got crushed by the "sovereign" cult (the gods of the priesthood and kings) for various unstated-but-nefarious reasons, like the warriors' claiming the best part of captured loot for themselves. That and their attitude of "Loot! Burn! Kill!" was all well and fine when they were steppe dwellers, but when you're living in a civilized society? Eh, not so good.

And I remember the Turkish and Mongol wolf cults too. A lot of Central Asian steppe dwellers venerated wolves, or so I've read.

The Exchange

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Quandary wrote:
As `one of the oldest nations`, I can see a para-Armenian/Metsamor/Urartu vibe (some `Greek` temple styles first appeared in Urartu and connections with the Minoans seemed to exist as well). Similarities with Sumerian/Akkadian cultures would fit here (at least in it`s earlier past, it`s present could be more Greek-like). Fitting that into a background of a fallen Giant/Cyclops civilization (with Human component) seems pretty do-able :-)
I myself would probably see anything built by the Cyclops (cyclopses?) and other giants as being more like the Myceneaen ruins. Isn't the word used for old Myceneaen ruins literally "cyclopean"?

Do either of the Pathfinder bestiaries have entries for cyclops? I know they are supposed to be a vanished race, but they do mention a supposed living one in Qadira: Gateway to the East.

The Exchange

The PRD has stats for a level 5 cyclops, but the PRD doesn't say which Pathfinder book it can be found in (or even if it is in a Pathfinder book)...unless I'm reading the PRD incorrectly. Also, the text at the bottom mentions southern jungles, and AFIK there aren't any jungles in Iobaria or most of Qadira.


Zeugma wrote:
The PRD has stats for a level 5 cyclops, but the PRD doesn't say which Pathfinder book it can be found in (or even if it is in a Pathfinder book)...unless I'm reading the PRD incorrectly. Also, the text at the bottom mentions southern jungles, and AFIK there aren't any jungles in Iobaria or most of Qadira.

Bestiary (1), p.52 has the Cyclops. The Varnhold Vanishing (Kingmaker 3) has the Great Cyclops (p.84-5).

The Campaign Setting (soon to be outmoded, but I bet this remains): p.154: re Iobaria "...Marked with the distinctive script of the ancient Cyclopes who ruled much of Casmaron, Avistan, and Garund before the rise of Azlant..."

Thus the generic Bestiary implies a jungle setting and the CS definitely makes them range across many climes.

I think the vanished race more refers to their extreme rarity and the collapse of their empire.


I completed a trade routes map to further understand the Casmaron-Tian Xia links.

I used RW current patterns (which aren't going to vary on Golarion unless the world spins some other way, etc.) to establish the routes that would take spice and other trade goods back and forth from Tian Xia to Vudra and hence to Avistan. This would be the alternate route to Tian Xia after the Crown of the World (potentially one could sail northwest from Kaladay to northern Tian Xia but that region of the "East Asian" continent is described as steppes and nomads, not making for a good trading area).

Note that Vudra lies across the equator, which means that the current patterns flip, and Tian trade gets dropped off there for shipment west. This is a more elaborate version of the RW trading pattern where spice and silk, etc., got shipped to southern India and Sri Lanka and picked up there by different merchants for the markets of the Middle East.

There's some space for serious piracy south of Geb (we know Mastrien Slash ended up there, a famous pirate captain, from Seekers of Secrets, p.44, and she unified the amazon tribes around there - they would be cutting across the Obari Ocean toward Iblydos, like the RW Horn of Africa. I would put the Arabic semi-legendary isles of the Moon (Qamr) - the Comoros and their 17th-18th c. pirate legends like Libertatia, there. Sarusan seems to be a mix of Madagascar and Australia in its position along the trade routes and the CS's description.

The straits between the Sumatra-like island and Vudra also would be a choke point as well.

The southern Vudra Sea (east of Vudra) would be ringed with volcanoes-- my reasoning is that something needs to abut Vudra and throw up the pseudo-Himalayas needed for an Indian climate-- and we know Nagajor is volcanic as well. Plus the whole Krakatoa-Indonesia theme requires fiery mountains.

The Exchange

Oooh. Nice map, Jeff! I hope the guys at Paizo see this and comment on it, if they think the trade routes would work like this or some other way (but I suspect it will be similar to how you've made it).

Also: VOLCANO GODS!

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Trade route looks pretty cool. I'd definitely keep the ship routes away from Sarusan, though. That place has bad mojo and next to zero contact with the rest of the world. Also, those who venture there cannot recall the details of the place shortly after they leave. So not a lot of trading goes on between it and the rest of the world.


Revised map, less Sarusan, more open ocean avoidance.


Jeff de luna wrote:
Revised map, less Sarusan, more open ocean avoidance.

Though I should note that centuries of explorers managed to skirt northern Australia and failed to notice/go ashore unless by accident...


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Jeff de luna wrote:
Revised map, less Sarusan, more open ocean avoidance.

Very cool as usual. As soon as I get done with looking at the current playtest I will go back to looking at Casmaron. Erik mentioned at GenCon last year the possibility that they would tie the Epic Rules to this area. Should we think about that as well?


Justin Franklin wrote:
Jeff de luna wrote:
Revised map, less Sarusan, more open ocean avoidance.
Very cool as usual. As soon as I get done with looking at the current playtest I will go back to looking at Casmaron. Erik mentioned at GenCon last year the possibility that they would tie the Epic Rules to this area. Should we think about that as well?

That makes a lot of sense from a mythic perspective. The Arabic, Persian, and Indian heroic legends involve a fair bit of planes-hopping/fighting outsiders from a PF perspective, and lots of Wish magic.


this is a work in progress-- a 72 mile to the hex map of the Obari and Vudra Seas region for a pet project of mine: a (possibly PbP) sandbox-style seafaring campaign in that area. I'll update when I make major changes.

Oh, and it's done with the free hexographer.com tool.

The Exchange

Jeff de luna wrote:

this is a work in progress-- a 72 mile to the hex map of the Obari and Vudra Seas region for a pet project of mine: a (possibly PbP) sandbox-style seafaring campaign in that area. I'll update when I make major changes.

Oh, and it's done with the free hexographer.com tool.

Ooh. Pretty! Now I want to tile my bathroom floor with a big map of Golarion!

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Justin Franklin wrote:
Erik mentioned at GenCon last year the possibility that they would tie the Epic Rules to this area. Should we think about that as well?

Oh. I hope not, actually. It could lead to a glut of super-high level NPCs in Casmerom, making it some kind of super hero land. WotC made this mistake when they put out Dragons of Eberron. Up until this point, most folks in Eberron (besides PC and major bad guys) were fairly low level NPC classes, or maybe had a PC level or 2, but that was it. Then, in Dragons they introduced a city where shop keepers were 12th level experts and the city guards were 10th level fighters [I don't own the book anymore so I'm inventing those numbers from memory, but you get the idea]. It just made the whole world suddenly lop-sided. Once Paizo does Epic, I'd love a Golarion-specific splat, "Epic Adventures in Golarion," or something, with a nice big section on plane-hoping myths, but I REALLY hope that high-levels aren't an assumption Casmeron. If everyone is super, how could someone ever play a 1st level rogue?

Anyway, sorry to post for the first time with a bunch of negativity. I love the maps and the discussions of Indo-European religions are fascinating.


Mosaic wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Erik mentioned at GenCon last year the possibility that they would tie the Epic Rules to this area. Should we think about that as well?

Oh. I hope not, actually. It could lead to a glut of super-high level NPCs in Casmerom, making it some kind of super hero land. WotC made this mistake when they put out Dragons of Eberron. Up until this point, most folks in Eberron (besides PC and major bad guys) were fairly low level NPC classes, or maybe had a PC level or 2, but that was it. Then, in Dragons they introduced a city where shop keepers were 12th level experts and the city guards were 10th level fighters [I don't own the book anymore so I'm inventing those numbers from memory, but you get the idea]. It just made the whole world suddenly lop-sided. Once Paizo does Epic, I'd love a Golarion-specific splat, "Epic Adventures in Golarion," or something, with a nice big section on plane-hoping myths, but I REALLY hope that high-levels aren't an assumption Casmeron. If everyone is super, how could someone ever play a 1st level rogue?

Anyway, sorry to post for the first time with a bunch of negativity. I love the maps and the discussions of Indo-European religions are fascinating.

I don't think you're being negative. You have a legitimate point re Eberron.

I think, however, there are ways to use an epic context in Casmaron that doesn't mean high level NPCs scurrying everywhere. The basic assumption (perhaps) could be that the PCs are among the few humanoid epic characters, and that the planar connections with Casmaron could be frequent enough that either epic heroes are somewhat more involved in that region's events, or that the ultra rare epic characters are somewhat more likely to originate there. Casmaron is the homeland of the Spawn of Rovagug, however, which are pretty much a mess of epic threats. If the density of epic-level entities (not humanoids, mind you) is greater there, it could be the main tie in.
In the legends of Persia and India there are very rare epic-level heroes (i.e., Ram, and other avataras, as well as the really powerful rishis in India, and in Persia some of the Shahnameh characters), but a plethora of dangerous planar-epic threats like asuras, jinn, and incredibly huge dragons, immortal tyrants, etc. The epic-level heroes are pretty much alone at their power level at any given time.


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Just a couple general thoughts on inheritance and government:

First, if ethnic Kelish property inheritance is matrilineal, how did the Padishah emperor come to hold his position? Also, the QGttE the satrap is a man, and on p4 is mentioned a mass exodus of heirs (i presume of both sexes)to fight over the succession for the Empire.

Possibly the matrilineal inheritance is an artifact of the conquered cultures nearer to Avistan and at the heart of the empire it is either equal opportunity or patrilineal, with official position (such as Satrapies) following that tradition? From what I understand, polygamy is also not typical for cultures where inheritance is reckoned through the mother.

That said, are there any indications as to how much power or control the emperor actually has, or how far the territory extends? Do the satraps hold their lands directly, or do they hold it at the pleasure of the Emporer? Obviously, power wanes with distance, since in QGttE it's indicated that princes and princesses have more power further into the empire.

It would be nice to hear more about the inheritance mechanisms, as well. On one hand, you have the early Ottoman model (wince), or the later model, which permitted survivors. Given the prolific current Emperor, the bloodbath when he dies could be of immense proportions, depending.


Alatariel wrote:

Just a couple general thoughts on inheritance and government:

First, if ethnic Kelish property inheritance is matrilineal, how did the Padishah emperor come to hold his position? Also, the QGttE the satrap is a man, and on p4 is mentioned a mass exodus of heirs (i presume of both sexes)to fight over the succession for the Empire.

Possibly the matrilineal inheritance is an artifact of the conquered cultures nearer to Avistan and at the heart of the empire it is either equal opportunity or patrilineal, with official position (such as Satrapies) following that tradition? From what I understand, polygamy is also not typical for cultures where inheritance is reckoned through the mother.

That said, are there any indications as to how much power or control the emperor actually has, or how far the territory extends? Do the satraps hold their lands directly, or do they hold it at the pleasure of the Emporer? Obviously, power wanes with distance, since in QGttE it's indicated that princes and princesses have more power further into the empire.

It would be nice to hear more about the inheritance mechanisms, as well. On one hand, you have the early Ottoman model (wince), or the later model, which permitted survivors. Given the prolific current Emperor, the bloodbath when he dies could be of immense proportions, depending.

This is what the Campaign Setting states (p.25):

"The Keleshites consider inheritance in the male line an invitation to infighting among the menfolk for status and position, and point to the success of their Diamond Empire as proof that female noble lineages are more stable."

Thus as far as the old CS, the matrilineal custom applies to all Keleshites. It also appears to apply to the imperial throne, since the "Diamond Empire" is cited as an example.

Later on the same page, the satrapies are equated with "satellite states"-- which suggests profound influence by Kelesh, but local independence.

On p.153, the satrapies are described as "loosely held." The Empire itself, apparently distinct, "sprawls across south central Casmaron, along the Obari Ocean's vast Kardaji Bay."

If this is the eastern of the two bays in the northern Obari Ocean, as it probably is, if the Empire is in south-central Casmaron, this means that the empire core is perhaps the same size as old Cheliax (before it shed its outlying provinces during the rise of House Thrune).

Matrilineal inheritance is not necessarily matriarchal. My first thought is that since the Padishah Emperor has many wives, he presumably can't claim the throne via any specific one, since this would undercut her position, and introduce many princes and princesses with no imperial claim -- there is no indication that any of his progeny are different in that way (that's reason for the rarity of polygamy in matrilineal lines as you mention). So most likely he is the nephew or grandson of the previous Padishah, and the son of one of his daughters or sisters. This is actually fairly likely if he has ruled for 50 years and is age 80-- most of the time in non-formalized inheritance patterns that are patrilineal, the oldest male succeeds, as in Saudi Arabia, and a 30 year old is unlikely to be the oldest or best positioned Keleshite prince.
If the Qadiran Satrap is a patrilineal title, this could be a relic of the ancient Qadirans, not the Kelesh interlopers.
There was, however, an occasional pattern in ancient Persia and other states in the area of brother/son-sister/daughter/mother incestuous marriage (indeed, examples appear in the Shahnameh)called "self-marriage."
This sort of marriage reinforced the divine mandate of the Shah, and could be implemented to contravene the matrilineal rules or assure a male succession. If this is the case, the marriage itself could be that of the primary wife of the Padishah, but the inheritance of the throne could pass to any brother-sister pair within his children through adoption.

Wow... that's kind of creepy -- an incestuous set of kids conspiring against their other incestuous siblings... Though it was traditional in Egypt as well...


Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days or our lives :)


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Jeff de luna wrote:
Mosaic wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Erik mentioned at GenCon last year the possibility that they would tie the Epic Rules to this area. Should we think about that as well?

Oh. I hope not, actually. It could lead to a glut of super-high level NPCs in Casmerom, making it some kind of super hero land. WotC made this mistake when they put out Dragons of Eberron. Up until this point, most folks in Eberron (besides PC and major bad guys) were fairly low level NPC classes, or maybe had a PC level or 2, but that was it. Then, in Dragons they introduced a city where shop keepers were 12th level experts and the city guards were 10th level fighters [I don't own the book anymore so I'm inventing those numbers from memory, but you get the idea]. It just made the whole world suddenly lop-sided. Once Paizo does Epic, I'd love a Golarion-specific splat, "Epic Adventures in Golarion," or something, with a nice big section on plane-hoping myths, but I REALLY hope that high-levels aren't an assumption Casmeron. If everyone is super, how could someone ever play a 1st level rogue?

Anyway, sorry to post for the first time with a bunch of negativity. I love the maps and the discussions of Indo-European religions are fascinating.

I don't think you're being negative. You have a legitimate point re Eberron.

I think, however, there are ways to use an epic context in Casmaron that doesn't mean high level NPCs scurrying everywhere. The basic assumption (perhaps) could be that the PCs are among the few humanoid epic characters, and that the planar connections with Casmaron could be frequent enough that either epic heroes are somewhat more involved in that region's events, or that the ultra rare epic characters are somewhat more likely to originate there. Casmaron is the homeland of the Spawn of Rovagug, however, which are pretty much a mess of epic threats. If the density of epic-level entities (not humanoids, mind you) is greater there, it could be the main tie in.
In the legends of...

That is exactly what I was thinking, not that there are hundreds of epic characters running around, but that there are epic enemies in Casmaron (Spawn of Rovagug, demigods, etc).

The Exchange

Shizvestus wrote:
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days or our lives :)

*Epic!*


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Some places for your enjoyment from Arabic and Persian legend:

Ahermanabad: ‘City of Ahriman.’ Capital of the Divs. King Arzshenk, bull-headed king of the Divs and servant of Ahriman, dwells here in his citadel. (He is later slain by Rustam). It is located on Mount Qaf (qv).

Alkoremi: Palace of Vathek in Beckford, which overlooked the city of Samarah, in Iraq.

Bartayil (Bartail, Bratayil, Kasil): an island placed in the Indonesian region by sailor’s reports and famed for the loud drumming that could be heard from it. Identified as the island of al-Dajjal, the Antichrist. It is called Kasil in the Sindbad stories, and belongs to the empire of King Mihrjan (i.e., the Maharaja). This island is sometimes identified as the Moluccas.

Ghulistan: Present in REH’s Conan stories, with the implied sense of ‘land of Ghouls’ (Ghuli-estan). Actual meaning ‘country of roses/gardens.’

Habash: Ethiopia (Abyssinia). Many characters from Habash are villainous in Arabic stories because of the region’s stubborn adherence to Christianity and the attack on Mecca by a Habashi king of Yemen in around 570, called the ‘Year of the Elephant’ because of the use of war elephants against the Arabs.

Ishtakar (Istakar): a ruined city featuring in Beckford’s Vathek; it stands at the border of the Abbasid Caliphate. It contains a palace and many tombs, and is situated in a deep valley in the mountains. Two black watchtowers overlook its only approach. Suleiman ibn Daoud (King Solomon) built this city with the aid of the Jinn. It was destroyed by a terrible storm sent to punish his impertinence by the Almighty. Below the city lie many caverns and chambers, and it is the dwelling place of Eblis (Iblis) and his evil Jinn. A perpetual debauch takes place in the presence of the Jinn King. Many kings from the era before Adam (when Jinn ruled the Earth), trapped in a sort of death sleep, lie in their tombs, vaguely aware of their pain and paralysis. This is Istakar (Istrakh, or Takht-e Jamshid, the throne of Jamshid) in Persia, or Persepolis, founded by the legendary Persian emperor Keyumars (‘the mortal man’) the first human, but now generally known by the name of its later inheritor, Jamshid, i.e., Yama, the King of the Dead and the great sorcerer-emperor. Istakhar is also mentioned by Lovecraft in Supernatural Horror in Literature. The legend in Vathek is a near mirror of that of Ubar, or Irem (qv).

Jawa: Not Java but Sumatra, also called Java the Less by European geographers. Sumatra includes the regions of Balus [Aceh], Jawa proper, Harang, Jaba, Malayur, and Sribuza. Our modern Java was ‘Mul Jawa.’ Balus was said by Ibn Khurdadhbih to be inhabited by cannibals.

Jinnistan: The cloud-land of Jinns and Peris; the capital is said to be the ‘city of jewels’ (Juherabad or Gouherabad). Amberabad (‘city of Ambergris’- a prison/demi-Paradise for the fallen angels/jinn who had repented) is one of its cities, and is mentioned (with Shadukiam or Shadukam ‘Pleasure and Desire’) in Vathek. It lies to the west of the valley of Fakreddin, between Samarah and Ishtakar (qv), a ruined city at the border of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Kalah (Kilah): Principal entrepot of Malaya.

Langa, Langabalus, Alankabalus: The Nicobar Islands. The people of Langa are described by Ibn Khurdadhbih as naked, and eaters of bananas, fish, and coconuts.

Maruth and Haruth, the Pit of: In Babel, or Babylon. This is the prison of the fallen angels (Grigori) who taught sorcery to mortal humans.

Ramni (Ramini, Lamory): Sumatra, or more correctly, a part of northern Sumatra. A land of naked cannibals, according to Mandeville.

Rukh, Island of the: Possibly near Madagascar, where megabirds persisted until fairly recently.

Qumr, Comoros and Madagascar: Sometimes confused with the Malayan archipelago by Islamic geographers who stretched the coast of Africa to bend east.

Qamr, Mountains of the Moon: Source of the Nile, and in the Arabic legends, another realm of the Jinn. These immense snowy mountains fed the Lakes (later Lake) called by Europeans Zaire.

Qaf, Mount: The world-mountain—said to be of emerald. It simultaneously supports, encircles, and stands within the material plane. Ahermenabad, the city of the Divs, is located here, as is the home of the Peris. Mount Qaf may be related to the Caucasus (Russian Kavkas) in the sense of the extended Caucasus-Elburz-Hindu Kush-Himalayas range, which was the limit of the civilized world in the Persian cosmology. The summit of Mount Qaf is visited by Amir Hamza, where he weds a Jinni of the court of King Suleiman, lord of the Jinns.

Qmar: Cambodia (Kampuchea). Confused with Qamr, Madagascar.

Serendip (Silan): Ceylon or Sri Lanka. The Greek Trapobane, this island was confused with Sumatra by European explorers and mapmakers.

Seven Seas: Seven Seas stretched from Arabia to southern China: The Sea of Fars (Persian Gulf), the Sea of Larwi (the Gulf of Cambay or Khambat), the Sea of Harkand (Indian Ocean near Sri Lanka and the Bay of Bengal), the serpent-filled Sea of Kalah (qv), the wondrous sea of Salahit (Malayan Straits), the rainy Sea of Kardanj (Thailand), and the Sea of Sanji (South China Sea).

Sheba: Balqis (Belqis, Balkis) was the daughter of King Ruzvanschad of Persia and a Jinni (female Jinn). She is the Queen of Sheba of the Bible in Arabic/Persian tradition. Because of her mixed ancestry, she had one cloven hoof. Understood as Yemen, but the Europeans (including Columbus) seem to have associated her nation with Zabaj (qv).

Touba: (‘eternal happiness’) a tree said to grow in Paradise over the home of the Prophet.

Ubar/Irem (Iram): The great ruined city built by Shaddad ibn ‘Ad, the sorcerer-king. It is strongly linked (but in contradictory ways) to the Cthulhu Mythos, but was in Arabic legend a vast metropolis built by Jinn, and destroyed by a storm or earthquake by the Almighty as a punishment for the overweening pride of its ruler, who was buried in its rubble. The site of Ubar is a historical location in Dhofar, Oman.

Valley of Diamonds: Part of the way to the Earthly Paradise. It is pitch-black, but strewn with precious gems. Terrible noises and shapes strike fear into the hearts of those who enter. A version of this location appears in the Sindbad legend, which he escapes (there a deep pit) by means of the sheep carcasses thrown into it by locals (that are fetched by giant eagles to eat, and emerge encrusted with gems)—he holds onto one of the dead sheep and his carried aloft.

Waq-waq: I describe this in a Vudra post—but this has been identified with Japan (Chinese Wagou; some argue erroneously). It is an island inhabited by women who are birthed from the fruit of a great tree, possibly with prophetic powers. It lies in the Spice Isles.

Zabaj (Zabadj, Zabag, Saba?): The dominion of King Mihrjan, or the Maharaja: the kingdom of Srivijaya: Sumatra and southern Malaya. Clove (Siyala, or Karafu), nutmeg (Jauz-i bava), and sandalwood (Candal) were exported from Zabaj. According to Ibn Khurdadhbih (c.850), the serpents of Zabaj grow to such enormous lengths that they can devour men and buffaloes, and sometimes even elephants.

Zanj: East Africa

Zulmat (The Land of Darkness): A dark, cold land which stretched before Paradise. It was located variously in Kashmir or Afghanistan, or in Siberia. It was associated with the Great Sea of Darkness, which encircled the world, and separated the island-Paradise in the furthest East (as opposed to the Paradise of Meru) from the Indies.


I'm updating the wiki with some of my research so I haven't posted in a while. But here is some stuff for the Cyclopean kingdom.

The Cyclopes (Notes from Mythology)

Name: Apparently ‘round/circle eye.’ (Kuklos+ops). Alternate names for the Cyclopes are Acmonides (‘sons of the anvil’) and Gasteroceiroi (‘belly-hands’).

Origins: There are two divergent accounts (Hesiod and Homer) as to the origins of the Cyclopes. Hesiod describes them as the Titan sons, three in number, named Arges (‘flash’), Brontes (‘thunder’), and Sterops (‘lightning’), of Uranus and Gaea (of sky and earth); they were imprisoned in Tartarus, guarded by the dragoness Kampe, by their sire and later released by their brother Kronos after he deposed Uranus, but he soon re-imprisoned them. Finally they aided their nephew Zeus in deposing Kronos, through their magical smithcraft. They are described as evil and emotionless, and were the makers of the lightning bolts wielded by Zeus, the trident of Poseidon, Apollo’s bow and arrows, and the helm of darkness worn by Hades and later Perseus. They dwelt in volcanoes, and aided Hephaistos in his forging. The Cyclopes were killed by Apollo because of Zeus’ murder of Asclepius (Zeus’ giant-made thunderbolts were the weapon that slew the demigod); Zeus resurrected both Apollo’s son and his giant allies. An alternate version adds four more Cyclopes, who were the victims of Apollo; the resurrection story is omitted.
Pyracmon (‘fiery anvil’) and Acamas are two more Cyclops (alternately Acmonides, the ‘son of the anvil’ or Argilipus, ‘flashing-bright’) listed amongst the assistants of Hephaistos in Etna or at Lemnos. Because of their building ability, the term ‘cyclopean’ (later so favored by HPL) came to mean construction with immense stones without mortar, as at Argos, Mycenae, and Tiryns. (See here)
The Theosophists identified the Cyclopes with the Lemurians (yet another Asian link) by attributing Cyclopean architecture in the Pacific to them. Some descriptions of the Lemurians make them one-eyed giants. This may be the reason for Lovecraft's use of the term.
Interestingly, Pathfinder Dam in Wyoming is Cyclopean Masonry (without mortar).
In Homer’s Odyssey and its retellings, Polyphemus, a Cyclops, is the son of Poseidon and Thoosa, and dwells in the island of Hypereia (later identified as Sicily or ‘western Sicily towards dark Cimmeria’). These Cyclopes, Polyphemus’ fellows, are shepherds and primitive giants, not the technically skilled Titans of the Theogony. Before encountering Odysseus, Polyphemus killed Acis, the lover of Galatea, out of jealousy after she spurned him.
The events in the Odyssey are a clash between brute strength and cunning, and no doubt influenced the depiction of Cyclops as CE and dumb in D&D.

The Sindbad stories added to later versions of the Arabian Nights were strongly influenced by the Odyssey, and Cyclops-like giants appear in one episode. This encounter was adapted by Harryhausen for the Sindbad movies and his stop motion creature is the design origin of the Greater Cyclops described in The Varnhold Vanishing.
For some reason there is a Cyclops Mountains range in Papua (the part in Indonesia).

As one-eyed beings, we might suspect that the Cyclopes represent the Sun. They do bear names referring to storm and might be compared to the Maruts of Vedic mythology. The Cyclops has been linked (by Othenio Abel) to a Greek interpretation of an elephant skull, as it resembles an immense human skull with a single eye-hole (in reality the trunk-hole).

The Arimasp[o]i: One-eyed Scythian people who battled the griffons. They lived near the Riphaean Mountains (the Urals—Theoi.com fails to notice they are identifiable with historical Scythian/Saka groups). They live beyond the Issedones, who were placed roughly in Xinjiang by Ptolemy. The name means ‘lovers of horses’ (the food of griffons, notably)—not Arima-spou (‘one eyed’). These are humanoid sized, not giants, but could be used as a human-sized Cyclops race—particularly given their Central Asian location.

Hitotsume-kozo; (Japanese: One-eyed boys): Small monsters (youkai) of Japanese myth, who resemble youthful wandering monks, but for their enormous single eye that takes up their entire face. They are a bad omen (though never violent), and prefer silence to human ruckus. They are frightened of bamboo baskets, because they appear to be covered in many eyes (the holes in the lattice).

Psoglav (‘dog-head’): This is a one-eyed dog-headed giant in southern Slavic legend. Giants in Byzantine and eastern Mediterranean tradition are often depicted as canine-headed (as in St. Christopher) perhaps because of the former popularity of Anubis. He has iron teeth and horse-legs. Psoglavs hoard treasure and live in caves.

Tepegoz (‘top-eye’): The shepherd man-eating Cyclops of Mongol-Turkic legend. He has impervious skin (at least to non-magical weapons and attacks). His slayer was his step-brother, Basat, in Oghuz narrative, who becomes his foe as his brother’s cannibalism victimizes their playmates. This legend replicates the Ulysseus encounter in terms of the burning lance and the cave.

Scarab Sages

Best thread in awhile. Gonna go back and re-read it. Lots and lots of good info.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Mosaic wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Erik mentioned at GenCon last year the possibility that they would tie the Epic Rules to this area. Should we think about that as well?

Oh. I hope not, actually. It could lead to a glut of super-high level NPCs in Casmerom, making it some kind of super hero land. WotC made this mistake when they put out Dragons of Eberron. Up until this point, most folks in Eberron (besides PC and major bad guys) were fairly low level NPC classes, or maybe had a PC level or 2, but that was it. Then, in Dragons they introduced a city where shop keepers were 12th level experts and the city guards were 10th level fighters [I don't own the book anymore so I'm inventing those numbers from memory, but you get the idea]. It just made the whole world suddenly lop-sided. Once Paizo does Epic, I'd love a Golarion-specific splat, "Epic Adventures in Golarion," or something, with a nice big section on plane-hoping myths, but I REALLY hope that high-levels aren't an assumption Casmeron. If everyone is super, how could someone ever play a 1st level rogue?

Anyway, sorry to post for the first time with a bunch of negativity. I love the maps and the discussions of Indo-European religions are fascinating.

Rather than the word "epic" with all of what that connotes a la third edition and whatever Eberron book you're talking about and replace it with the word "mythic". That's what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about heroes with the blood of half-gods and ancient curses and sword and sandal type stuff, not 10th-level shopkeeper type stuff.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Mythic. Mythic, mythic, mythic.
Mythic level adventures.
Mythic adventures.
Mythic PC's.
Mythic weapons (ooooh).
Mythic adversaries.
Mythic mythic mythic mythic mythic.

I like saying mythic :-)

I also think it's a great way to lose the baggage of "epic" while going beyond level 20. Hmmmmmm....


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

Rather than the word "epic" with all of what that connotes a la third edition and whatever Eberron book you're talking about and replace it with the word "mythic". That's what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about heroes with the blood of half-gods and ancient curses and sword and sandal type stuff, not 10th-level shopkeeper type stuff.

Hey no fair! "Epic" adventuring doesn't have to mean 10th-level shopkeepers (though it might mean CR41 mu spores :). Besides, wasn't that a Forgotten Realms thing, not an epic level thing?


carborundum wrote:

Mythic. Mythic, mythic, mythic.

Mythic level adventures.
Mythic adventures.
Mythic PC's.
Mythic weapons (ooooh).
Mythic adversaries.
Mythic mythic mythic mythic mythic.

I like saying mythic :-)

I also think it's a great way to lose the baggage of "epic" while going beyond level 20. Hmmmmmm....

+1: Mythic: different rules, different focus, perhaps than Epic. Plus "Mythic" sounds, well... mythic. RW Epics are mainly very long poems, sometimes with big bad monsters or gods (but usually the encounters come out to less than CR 20, frankly-- I mean Odysseus and Beowulf were not level 20 heroes), human heroes, and a culture-founding motif.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jeff de luna wrote:
carborundum wrote:

Mythic. Mythic, mythic, mythic.

Mythic level adventures.
Mythic adventures.
Mythic PC's.
Mythic weapons (ooooh).
Mythic adversaries.
Mythic mythic mythic mythic mythic.

I like saying mythic :-)

I also think it's a great way to lose the baggage of "epic" while going beyond level 20. Hmmmmmm....

+1: Mythic: different rules, different focus, perhaps than Epic. Plus "Mythic" sounds, well... mythic. RW Epics are mainly very long poems, sometimes with big bad monsters or gods (but usually the encounters come out to less than CR 20, frankly-- I mean Odysseus and Beowulf were not level 20 heroes), human heroes, and a culture-founding motif.

+2 Mythic may be the exact thing that is needed to get people playing an Epic game.


+1 for Mythic. If you want to move away from WotC´s shadow, stuff like this helps.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Justin Franklin wrote:
+2 Mythic may be the exact thing that is needed to get people playing an Epic game.

I like both the comment and your avatar picture. Used a pack of those last night...


Did you ever get around to compiling more Persian, Turkish and Arabian-themed art along with the written sources?

Because some stuff can be surprisingly hard to find. I'm currently using a pic cropped from some sort of 1920s German soap advertisement for a Turkish-looking wizard, for example :D


Coriat wrote:

Did you ever get around to compiling more Persian, Turkish and Arabian-themed art along with the written sources?

Because some stuff can be surprisingly hard to find. I'm currently using a pic cropped from some sort of 1920s German soap advertisement for a Turkish-looking wizard, for example :D

Well, I just got back from Crete (been gone two weeks).

Besides giving me some interesting ideas from the original (or one of the first, anyway) dungeon (the Labyrinth)-- I haven't quite caught up.

However... I'll throw in some more public domain art, because clearly I've been remiss there:

Kay Neilsen.

Edmund Dulac

illustrations from the Lang edition of the Nights

Perhaps one of these will help.

The Exchange

Wow, Jeff. Crete? I'm green with envy! Great links! I had never heard of Kay Neilsen before but apparently he did a lot of work in Los Angeles, where I live. I might be able to find some of those original murals he did if I look around for them.


Architecture of Islamic Countries course images link. Very useful for quick floorplans and sites.


Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Wow. I've been meaning to look for something like that architecture site. Turns out I don't have to. Yay!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

I've been trying to get some idea of the geography of the Padishah Kelish empire and the surrounding nations. Honestly very surprised Paizo have not come out with some additional maps or even some local maps within that area yet.

So far was looking at the fan map of Galorian but this appears to be a bit out of date now as new areas where expanded upon and added, like the kingdom of Karazh.

Guess it might be worth asking if anyone knows of any other more up to date fan maps?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

personally glad Paizo has not done any additional maps for the area.

leave it for the DM.

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