Let’s try this again. I do have certain thoughts about the appropriateness of “caste” as a concept in an American RPG, but I’d like to keep that particular discussion out of this thread. I’ve removed my general comments on “caste” which derailed the discussion I had hoped for the first time around.
My goal here is to enhance my understanding of the current state of canon concerning the Pahmet, the Ouat, and Tar Kuata. This is part of the creation of the background of my first PF 2e character, a Pahmet dwarf who trained as an Ouat monk at the Tar Kuata monastery in southern Osirion. The following reflects what I think I know about this material, and I’d appreciate any corrections, additions, or other thoughts as needed.
As I understand it, Tar Kuata is a monastery of Irori with people of various ancestries, though probably mainly individuals from Garund, both north and south of the Barrier Wall. BTW, is the Barrier Wall the new, official name of the Brazen Peaks, or are the Brazen Peaks just the more eastern portion of the Barrier Wall? I think the latter is the most likely interpretation.
In a couple of 1st edition sources, the overall leader of Tar Kuata is said to be a Garundi human, while the leader of the Ouat monks who reside there is a dwarven woman named Menka Helg. It seems that everyone at Tar Kuata is a follower of Irori, but only dwarves can be Ouat. In theory, you could have a non-Ouat dwarven follower of Irori in Tar Kuata or elsewhere in Golarion.
What seems to really distinguish the Ouat is not only are they followers of Irori, but they actively and explicitly reject traditional Dwarven culture. Their shaving of their heads is given as one example of this. FWIW, I would think that they’d also shave their beards if they really wanted to go all in on rejecting traditional Dwarven culture. It would seem that most Ouat are Pahmet dwarves, but I don’t see any reason that a non-Pahmet dwarf couldn’t travel to Tar Kuata and join the Ouat order.
The Lost Omens Character Guide continues the practice of referring to the Ouat as a “caste.” This is something that I believe goes back to an early reference to the Ouat which described them as pariahs who do jobs other dwarves don’t want to do. However, most of this has been retconned away. “Caste” seems to have stuck around, and I don’t think its best way to describe the Ouat in their current form. “Caste” implies something that one is born into. With their martial training and discipline and very specific spiritual and ethical values, the Ouat seem to be more an order that a dwarf chooses to join rather than an identity that one is born into. So, I think “Ouat order” is a much better term than “Ouat caste.”
So, this is where I currently am with my understanding of this topic. As I noted above, I’d appreciate any and all comments, thoughts, corrections, additions, etc.
Or they could be born into it form a philosophical point of view and destined from birth to be Ouat.
Good, old fashioned Presbyterian predestination? I'm not sure given the reference in the Lost Omens Character Guide about "surface dwarves"(where the Pahmet and Ouat are both mentioned) "adapting at a comparatively rapid rate." This seems to put more emphasis on individual agency and choice.
I suspect that Set is right that the "caste" language remains because in some circles "ouat caste" passes for humor. I also just noticed that the Ouat are referred to as an "order" in the Lost Omens World Guide (p. 50).