Humans are the most common race on Golarion and form societies all over its lands, from wild tribes in the Mwangi Expanse to civilized kingdoms and democracies north of the Inner Sea. They are not one race, but the amalgam of many, including the scions of the extinct Azlanti, the diabolical and expansionist Chelaxians, the noble but clannish Garundi, the passionate and skillful Keleshites, and the scholarly and arrogant Taldan. From the wondrous and mystical land of Tian Xia come the various races commonly known together as the Tian possessing strange customs and even stranger faiths. Also a strange and exotic race are the Vudrani, with their own customs and beliefs. Barbaric human races roam Golarion, such as the xenophobic black-skinned Mwangi, the cold-hearted pillagers known as the Ulfen, the nomadic but generally peaceful Varisians, and the wild barbarians called the Kellids. Also, closely tied to the untamed Varisian region, the noble but fierce tribes of the Shoanti fight both imperialists as more monstrous invaders.

I once saw an Azlanti wizard at a carnival in Dagger mark. I lost three sailors to a rug merchant in Keno whose Azlanti patterns beguiled the simple-minded into snares of ancient origin. Even the ship’s cook calls himself Azlanti on account of his pale skin and dark hair. The true Azlanti died out millennia ago, yet these men I have known keep their culture and tradition alive through the ages. And in this sense, the Azlanti will live forever. – Ioan Grell, Pathfinder

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
The ancient Azlanti were a regal, beautiful folk with handsome features and an aloof demeanor. Their skin ranged from olive to pale white, with uniformly dark hair approaching black. Azlantis were known for expressive brows and slightly recede hairlines resulting in a sort of widow’s peak. Today, humans still identify these traits as Azlanti, whether or not the connection is genuine. Only one physical trait – a deep purple color in the eyes – is seen today as absolute proof of strong Azlanti heritage.

Azlant, the first great empire of man, sank beneath the sea 10,000 years ago. The shattered remnants of its once-grateful architecture perch precariously atop the slivers of land that still remain of the island continent, vast mazes of crumbling rock that form a wall across the treacherous Arcadian Ocean. Here and there along the Inner Sea, and infrequently inland far from modern cities, a ruin of some forgotten Azlanti outpost lies at the heart of a trackless forest or the edge of a forlorn coastal cliff. Today, there is no more Azlant. The god Aroden was the very last pure-blooded scion of that once-proud race, but with his recent demise, the line is now extinct.

Although extinct, the Azlanti live on in culture, spirit, and song, a lost race whose influence has not yet faded. Taldans and Chelaxians proudly claim Azlanti blood as the foundation of their stock, with some (falsely) claiming to be pure descendants of the ancients empire. These folks view their Azlanti origins as the source of traits like intelligence, grace, magical aptitude, and beauty, using the connection as a major point of distinction that sets them above other races.

The blood of Old Azlant lives on not just in the sunlit kingdoms of regal Taldans and Chelaxians who cling to it in memory of past glories, but also in the darkened depths of the world, where the inbred survivors of lost Azlanti colonies chart new histories unrelated to the high ideals of lost centuries. These forgotten degenerates fled below Golarion’s surface in the dark days of the Earthfall, and while their extreme xenophobia and isolation have kept their stock undiluted over the millennia, relentless incest has reduced them to mutated, cannibal savages. The subterranean remnants of time lost Azlanti colonies on Avistan and Garund retain only the base physical trappings of humanity, having long ago descended into animalistic cannibalism. They remember only the barest scraps of their past glories, and many of their widespread, isolated communities have lost even the art of language. In certain cases, inbreeding resulted in terrible mutation.

Perhaps the truest claimants to the glories of Old Azlant are the reclusive aquatic humans known in civilized society as gillmen, the so-called Low Azlanti who have manipulated the politics of Absalom since the city’s foundation and who are rumored to have the ear of the ruling council of Andoran. When the ancient Azlanti rebelled against the aboleth masters that raised them from barbarism and doomed their civilization to extinction, countless thousands plunged into the turbid waters of the Arcadian Ocean. Most drowned, but some few found succor with their aboleth enemies. For reasons that remain occluded to this day (but which surely have nothing to do with compassion), the aboleths rescued a small fraction of the drowning humans, warping their flesh to help them survive in the undersea realm. Caught somewhere between merfolk and the humans from which they descended, the Low Azlanti emerge from the depths occasionally to serve the mysterious agenda of the aboleths, dwelling in a permanent fashion only in pool-laden embassy in the town of Escadar, off the Isle of Kortos.

The exact nature of Old Azlant’s culture eludes historians, but certain elements of the empire’s art continue to thrive in the modern day. Genuine Azlanti jewelry commands high prices in the markets of the Inner Sea, and each new discovery can trigger new trends among the high society. The intertwined pattern works of Old Azlanti artisans lives on among weavers, stone carvers, and tattooists, and the Azlanti high copula architectural style inspires most of the monumental structures of Andoran’s visionary masonic orders.
Much of what is known about the culture of Ancient Azlant is conjecture based upon artifacts or fragmentary historical records rescued from ruins more that 10,000 years old. Modern humans claiming Azlanti descent often attempt to cloak themselves in the trappings of the fallen empire, thus attaining some measure oft its greatness. Because the remnants of Old Azlanti art discovered to date often depict legal robes of crimson or deep green, modern Azlanti tend to garb themselves in finery of those hues. Likewise, slavery is known to have existed in the lost empire, so modern Azlantis see the ownership of a servant class as part of their ancient birthright. Such attitudes are not popular in abolitionist Andoran, which fashions itself after Old Azlant in architecture and many elements of philosophy. Here, as elsewhere, those with the strongest claims of Azlanti blood are often members of the old guard, more interested in tradition and honor than in blazing new trails or embracing modern ideas.

Elves tend to distrust humans of Azlanti heritage, remembering the battles of ancient days before the fall of the Starstone, when the aboleth-backed scions of Azlant toppled the great cities of the elvenfolk and forced the race to abandon Golarion through interplanetary gates. Despite the passage of 10 millennia, the elves have not forgotten the transgressions of the past. Many, especially among the mysterious seafaring elves of the Mordant Spire, still hold a potent grudge. For their part, Azlanti humans tend to look down on non-humans even more that they do their less genetically gifted human cousins.

Humans claiming Azlanti blood often favor Aroden, last scion of Ancient Azlant. Since his death a century ago, some have turned to Iomedae or other common gods, but these are devotions of convenience rather than cultural choices. The death of the Last Azlanti renewed interest in the forgotten ancient deities of the original Azlanti culture, but only a few fragments (of an often disturbing nature) have thus far come to light.

Language and Naming
The ancient Azlanti tongue has been lost for centuries, known to modern scholars only in its fragmentary written form. Certain Azlanti terms and elements of grammar survive as the foundation of the Taldane language, known across Avistan and Garund as Common. Only the mysterious seafaring elves of the Mordant Spire speak Ancient Azlanti fluently, barking aristocratic orders to explorers investigating the ancient ruins they claim as their own.
Today, Tandans and Chelaxians with Azlanti blood favor the naming conventions of their current culture, but those wishing to strengthen their connection to past glories often adopt names discovered in ancient Azlanti manuscripts, wall inscriptions, or the few scant bits of history and art that survive to the modern day. Azlanti names usually begin with vowels, and neither males nor females adopt surnames. An Azlanti must make his one name important enough to last in memory and history.

Male: Alamander, Akorian, Arioch, Erodel, Ellismus, Igorian, Illsmus, Ixiolander, Olhas, Othollo, Ostarian, Ureste, Udhomar

Female: Aswaithe, Amesducias, Aliandara, Estrude, Emalliandra, Iomestria, Iaome, Ommarra, Oviento, Udarrin, Ulionestria
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

For centuries, these peoples lorded over Avistan as the heirs of the Azlanti and the chosen people of the god Aroden. Now that god is dead, but Chelaxian pride lives on. This pride gives them great power and self-assurance, yet also blinds them as to the dangers that they face. – Kial Tellen, Almas University scholar

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Chelaxians are the descendants of Azlanti refugees, their blood mixed with that of pale-skinned Ulfen raider-merchants from the northern climes. As a result, they tend as a people towards dark hair, dark eyes, and pale skin – skin lighter than their duskier Taldan cousins. They have sharp features, in particular prominent, narrow jaws; strong noses; and thin, arched eyebrows.

The inherent self-confidence of the Chelaxians, instilled from birth, has served them well through the death of a god and the fall of an empire. They believe they are inherently more capable of handling any situation than are other human groups – this might take the form of either helpful, positive advice or arrogant dismissal of rival viewpoints. This aggressive attitude causes them to persevere even in desperate straits. When faced with an insurmountable challenge, where a Varisian might seek easier paths or a Kellid might grumble about the will of the world and move on to other matters, a Chelaxian re-evaluates a situation and seeks not only the most expedient answer, but also the most advantageous one.

This self-confidence is bolstered by a great heritage and a love for learning, which manifests in theology, arcane studies, and mechanical invention. Chelaxian specialists are particularly capable in discovering, developing, and adapting new techniques revealed by their own research or learned from other cultures.
Chelaxians favor rich trappings both in their homes and on their persons, and even the meanest of them dresses to the best of his ability. Popular outfits include velvet doublets and silk leggings with rich brocades and lace trim, often covered with a cloak of rare and valuable color or made from the hide of some uncommon creature. In more hostile climes, they prefer inscribed armor (often of dwarven manufacture) and filigreed weapons with rich and detailed provenances. This is not to say that, when money is tight or circumstances dictate, they are not above traveling in mufti or mixing with the hoi polloi in order to avoid difficult circumstances. They never sacrifice their bearing, however, and cannot hide their confidence.

Chelaxians are by and large an industrious, aggressive, self-confident people, combining the best and worst traits of the Taldans and Ulfen peoples. They have a flair for organization and refined cultural taste, and as a result soon came to dominate their region of Avistan. They undercut the power of, and later successfully rebelled against, their elder Taldan neighbors, and soon dominated the surrounding regions either directly or indirectly, forming the Empire of Cheliax. They even successfully removed the center of worship of the god Aroden from Taldor to their empire, and spread both north into Varisia and south into Garund in a series of conflicts known as the Everwar.

As a result of their continual expansion, Chelaxians soon dominated and subsumed native peoples and cultures, so that often a region would have a ruling elite or caste of Chelish origin or with a strong Chelaxian heritage and blood ties running back to the empire. The empire continued to expand, and with the expected return of Aroden (under the empire’s guidance), none of the Chelaxian people had any doubt that it would eventually regain the power (and riches) of ancient Azlant.
Aroden’s death a century ago killed the empire, as vassal states quickly rebelled and Cheliax fell into civil war quelled only by the kingdom’s current diabolical aristocracy. Diabolism speaks to the legendary Chelish pride and wrath, as well as for the need for order and control bred into the citizens of an imperial heartland over centuries of privilege. This diabolism has been integrated into the society by many houses, but none so much or fanatically as House Thrune, who now holds the power over Cheliax.

Chelaxian humans thrive on the northern coasts of the Inner Sea, and the exploits of their once-mighty empire spread Chelish seed throughout Avistan and Garund. Haughty, cultured, intelligent, ambitious, organized, and ruthless, Chelaxians have become a dynamic force in the world, and not always to the world’s benefit. They are also commonly found in the former holdings of Imperial Cheliax, which includes Andoran, Galt, Molthune, Nirmathas, and the southern reaches of Varisia, including such urban centers as Magnimar and Korvosa.
As a people, Chelaxians are serious about oaths, contracts, and promises, and they believe in playing by the rules, all the while checking for loopholes to best subvert those rules. In urban centers, numerous lawyers, justices, and bureaucrats have Chelaxian blood in their veins. Chelaxians also tend to organize themselves and to work together toward a common goal, taking direction from an established and recognized leader. Such a talent for organization has served well among the empire’s legions in its conquests, but since that time it revealed that other leaders and goals can arise and easily split the population. A common joke is that while Varisians might form an angry mob, Chelaxians instead create a well-ordered, disapproving queue.

The advanced, urbane nature of the Chelaxians is seen in their love of theater in general and opera in particular. Even the smallest and most remote of Chelaxian communities boasts a local theater company, and those with trading connections with the larger cities often import noted actors, actresses, musicians, and playwrights to their stages.
High Chelaxian Opera is the most advanced form of this art, found mostly in the cities of the south, and performed in Ancient Azlanti (librettos are provided for the literate patrons). More common are the tragic and comedic operas performed in most major cities. Tragic operas are usually about legendary stories, such as The Hand of Aroden and Aspex the Even-Tongued. In recent years, the current government of Cheliax commissioned new works more appropriate with the latest political situation, such as The Feast of Asmodeus, and Victory of the Hellknights. Comedic opera is more open and relaxed, and as a result more popular with the lower classes. These operas are often filled with physical humor and bad puns and mostly deal with separated twins, princes and princesses growing up amongst the rabble, and last-minute rescues by authority figures. Mock fights with wooden swords are also very popular.

As a result of their inherent lawful tendency, they often have difficulty with other races and elasticity with more flexible attitudes to property and socially acceptable behavior. Combined with their view on other regions as being rightfully theirs, they tend to have bad relationships with their neighboring countries.

Chelaxians are nothing if not organized and orderly. Therefore, they tend to be lawful neutral in general. Lawful evil alignments are more common than lawful good, but both are more prevalent than chaotic alignments. People with this alignment, and the behavior going with it, are often mocked and treated as pariahs.
For many centuries, Chelaxians were almost exclusively worshipers of Aroden, the Last Azlanti. With that god’s death, they have turned to a variety of gods and beliefs, including Erastil, Iomedae, and Zon Kuthon. These are almost always choices of circumstance more than intent. One belief, however, has become strong in Cheliax after their patron’s death: diabolism, and more specific the vile devil-court of Asmodeus.

Chelaxians venerate those heroes who embody their values: strength, nobility, ambition, and – most of all – success. Chelaxian heroes tend to be accepted into the larger community with titles, grants of land, and marriage into the more respectable houses. By the same token, those heroes deemed a threat to the local ruling class are watched and, if necessary, removed, either by sending them on quests to other areas or – if necessary – in the dead of night.

Language and Naming
Cheliaxans speak their own language, derived from ancient Azlanti. Because of the spread of their power and influence throughout Golarion, most people speak this language. It is generally known as Common.

Chelaxians have a common first name and a family or surname. Those of particular power or legendary ability might gain a sobriquet as well, such as “the wise”, or “the rat-biter”. Chelaxian names tend to be grandiose and learned, and are used in full when officially addressing them.

Male: Aerous, Alexite, Gellius, Grachius, Gruckalus, Lurconarr, Manius, Marcellano, Morvius, Pavo, Pellius, Petronicus, Rutilus, Solangus, Ursion.

Female: Asmodia, Aspexia, Aula, Boudra, Drulia, Imperia, Korva, Noravia, Novennia, Pavanna, Pontia, Quinta, Rulla, Valeria, Vibia

Family Names: Alazario, Albus, Ambusta, Baradin, Chartagnion, Crispin, Fullonna, Galonnica, Jeggare, Krupt, Leroung, Pindleloric, Ratarion, Rugatonn, Taruanor, Thrune, Voralius, Wardroxan, Wintrish
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

As I entered the Garundi town I was met immediately by an angry mob. “Be gone, outsider!” they yelled, while waving sticks and torches in the air. It was with no small amount of surprise that I discovered they were shouting not at me, but rather at one of their own, and chasing him from their midst. When it was clear he would not return, the crowd turned to me. “Welcome, stranger!” the headman called out. “Please come in and taste the fullness of Garundi hospitality!” – Dr. Levanston Jeggare, Pathfinder

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
There is no certain knowledge regarding the origins of the great and noble Garundi race, with their proud cheekbones, broad shoulders, dark skin, and often prematurely white hair. Regardless of the climate in which they live, Garundi dress in colorful clothing equally practical and beautiful. They usually attempt to incorporate parts of traditional garb into whatever outfits they don. This frequently means that men wear sashes, kilts, long robes, or flat-topped hats, while women cover themselves in billowing blouses, wraps, and shawls. As they originated on a continent known for its temperature extremes, their clothing usually consist of loosely fitting layers. In the northern sections of Garund, traditional Garundi dress adopted aspects of Keleshite garb, while heavy Vudran influences are recognizable in Nex.

The Garundi people seem to be among the very oldest in the Inner Sea region, as some truly ancient ruins made by lost Garundi civilizations predate the Earthfall and the collapse of Azlant. The notable ancient empires of Osirion, Jistka, and the Tekritanin League all brought civilization to northern Garund after the end of the Age of Darkness. These Garundi kingdoms were among the first to rise after a millennium of worldwide savagery, and they helped to drive civilization north into Avistan.

On the other hand, in between (and sometimes during) epochs of powerful civilizations and sprawling empires, the Garundi people seem to take to wandering. Garundi influences are felt across the entirety of the continent with which they share their ethnic name, and many scholars believe the Mwangi descend from very ancient Garundi wanderers. Individual clans of Garundi, if not entire communities within communities, exist in cities across southern Avistan and are reported even to occasionally turn up on the wide steppes of Casmaron.
While scholars agree that they originally came from the southern reaches of Garund, few can agree on exactly when this migration occurred or what prompted it. Despite some superficial similarities, there is no reliable evidence that the Garundi had any direct ties whatever to the Azlanti culture of the Inner Sea, although a great deal of evidence shows they were contemporaries.

Garundi communities can be found throughout Garund’s civilized nations – and even through many of the uncivilized ones. They generally make for kind and caring neighbors, happy to pitch in to build a stronger community for everyone to enjoy. The interactions between individuals and families within their own community is not well understood by outsiders.

Garundi culture tends to divide itself into relatively small clans, about 15-20 families that travel together. These clans form the basic unit of Garundi society, unlike the nuclear-family-based cultures of the Taldans and Chelaxians. In their hearts, it seems Garundi are expansionists, as a newly founded clan tends to travel until it discovers an area suitable for development not already claimed by another Garundi clan. That others might claim the territory seems to matter little to the Garundi. Once the clan finds a suitable location, it immediately begins building a permanent settlement if one does not exist and establishing a strictly hierarchical community. This hierarchy is only applied to Garundi families. Any families or clans from other cultures have no part within this organization – neither above nor below the Garundi society, but outside of it completely. So while one Garundi family might rank higher or lower than another, all non-Garundi families are considered equal.
Any other Garundi clans that pass through the territory are welcomed as honored guests, but are not allowed to settle permanently. After a full month has passed, the visiting clan is obligated to leave or to pay a hefty tribute to the dominant families of the existing community. If this tribute is paid every month for a full year, the clan is allowed to join the permanent community, but must take up the lowest rung on the social ladder.
Even the earliest records of Garundi arrivals in the northern countries indicate this behavioral pattern – a clan would arrive and immediately settle in the port city. The next arriving clan would stay a month or two at most, then move on to the next town inland and establish a community there. This trend continued until, in present times, thriving Garundi communities exist throughout the civilized nations.

Often it is possible to estimate how long the Graundi community has been part of a town by how thoroughly its members have established themselves in the greater community through marriage. Children of mixed Garundi marriages rarely have the deep black skin tone of their southern forefathers. In coastal nations, such as Osirion, Rahadoum, and Thuvia, Garundi skin tone ranges from light brown to the deep red of Osirion’s ruling caste.
While the wave of immigration from the southern continent ended centuries ago, there yet remain new clans wandering the land searching for a town, fertile valley, or river delta to claim as their own. These clans come from existing Garundi communities and are generally composed of individuals whose ancestry placed them on the lower social strata. With little or no hope of bettering their or their progeny’s positions in the established community, they opted to band together, leave the community, and search for greener pastures elsewhere. in many cases, individual Garundi strike out on their own, hoping to achieve such acclaim and personal success that upon their return they are invited to marry into upper-class families.

Garundi communities can be found in nearly every corner of the map. Since these communities generally work hard to blend in and become integral parts of their surroundings, it is sometimes easy to miss them. Particularly large Garundi populations are found across northern and eastern Garund, of course, but many are also found in southern parts of that continent, as well as in southwestern Cheliax, Qadira, Taldor, southern Andoran, and increasingly in Isger and Galt.

Garundi worship gods with song, food, and dance. They tend to see little use in somber ritual, although they do frequently adopt the slow chanting that seems so popular among the Chelaxians and Taldans. Even when praying to Pharasma in her role as goddess of the dead, Garundi sing and dance (frequently slower and more exactingly than more celebratory dancing, though). The birth of a child, also an aspect of life controlled by Pharasma, brings out the brightest, most gaily colored outfits and loudest, fastest songs and dances. In ceremonies celebrating the worship of Nethys, god of magic, Garundi dance with bright streamers (to represent magic, even when spellcasters are present) and black and white robes (made in such a way as to lift at the waist when the wearer spins about). Garundi in the northern deserts of Garund tend to worship Sarenrae, while those in the south of that continent frequently bend knees to Gozreh.

Among other peoples, the Garundi have the reputation of being pack rats – amassing collections of stones, leaves, twigs, and even clumps of earth as they travel. This is not an urge for material possession, but an expression of the significance that physical location holds for this culture. A Garundi clan does not consider itself successful until it has a particular place on a map to which it belongs and can claim it as its own. Since it sometimes takes years or even generations to find the right location, though, the clan gathers mementos of the places it has been – physical records of a spiritual journey. During the annual week-long midsummer Kianidi festival, they present their collections to the clan elders, who select the most appropriate items to be added to the official clan history. It is considered a great honor to have one’s keepsake selected, and individual status within the clan is measured in part by the number of items selected from the Garundi’s collection.

Language and Naming
Garundi speak Osiriani, a language directly related to Ancient Osiriani. This language is spoken all over Garund. Garundi names are used to define both the territory claimed by the clan and the individual’s place in the local hierarchy. Those at the top of the hierarchy have names that span the entirety of the territory – the name of the city, geographic region, or a nearby major river or mountain. Mid-ranking Garundi are named after sites, geographic features, or buildings known to most locals – waterfalls, neighborhoods, or important local industry. Low-standing clan members have names of local sites (often from near where they were born – streets, statues, trees).

Male: Akin, Amare, Dahrehn, Daudi, Jaali, Jawara, Jirani, Jiri, Kito, Melaku, Omari, Rafiki, Rani, Rubani, Sefu, Zahur, Zuri

Female: Akina, Amara, Ashia, Deka, Eshe, Hasina, Jini, Jwahir, Kahina, Kamaria, Leyli, Malkia, Ofrah, Pendah, Rana, Raziya, Zalika
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

It’s a special form of Hell to serve an Qadiri princess. Each and every one of them is spoiled, coddled, and – most of all – indulged by their fathers and all around them from a young age. Worse yet, a Keleshite princess generally knows her way around a blade, a spell, or an incantation to Sarenrae. – Alaren Kalepopolis, Chelaxian explorer

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Keleshites have uniformly black hair and almond or slightly yellowish eyes. The men tend to grow long beards. Clothing ranges from gauzy silks to a practical linen and cotton robes, with headdresses, veils, and turbans common to keep sun and sand out of the hair and eyes. Gold and silver decorations are popular not just for Keleshite women, but also among the men, who encrust their weaponry and top their turbans with lavish displays of wealth.
Some Keleshite nomads tattoo the space below their eyes dark blue or black as a measure against the sun’s glare in the desert, although this gives them a haunted, ghoulish appearance. Slaves and sailors among the Keleshites wear only scanty shirts and loincloths for men, long pantaloons and veiled wraps for women.

Below their necks, Keleshites favor loose-fitting clothing ideal for the hot desert days (but long enough that they can wrap themselves in their robes through cold desert nights or long sandstorms). Their caftans, tunics, and other clothing are typically made of a light and airy gauzy silk and adorned in embroidery (the wealthier the Keleshite, the more elaborate the decoration).

Far from inured to the decadent wonders of the East, Keleshites favor exoticism in all things. For the nobles, that might mean mammoths and frost drakes, and for a thief of Katheer it might mean someone who carries armor as heavy as a crab’s casing, but Keleshite curiosity is a powerful thing. Their love for novelty drives traders and slavers to seek new markets and new products, and it drives their wizards to new investigations of elemental forces.

The Keleshites are a difficult folk. Their tremendous sense of superiority grates on those unfortunate enough not to be born among their number, and the existence of the Keleshite Empire means the Keleshites’ sense of entitlement is not based purely on past glory. Their power, learning, and skill are all quite real. Yet they are also cruel slavers, jaded mystics, zealous warriors, and hot-blooded lovers – a race bred from the heat and fire of the desert.
A Keleshite, it is said, will never bore you. As a whole, they value boldness, wit, and sly tactics over caution, brute strength, and proven but unfashionable pursuits. They can be quite aggressive – quick to anger and quick to forgive. Non-Keleshites never forget the sting of their insults or the warmth of their smiles. Keleshites dare you to find someone more interesting than them.

Keleshites are great lovers of luxuries. Their various cities and settlements include populations in Absalom, Katapesh, Osirion, Nex, and (most of all) Qadira and its capital, Katheer. Further east, the great Diamond Sultanates of interior Casmaron stretch for vast distances, and Keleshites rule in almost all of them. In all these places, the love of magic, learning, and horsemanship is great. Horse racing is an obsession with many wealthy Keleshites, who think nothing of spending chests of gold coin on a valuable racehorse for use as a sire. Likewise, the jockeys who do the racing (many of them young women, halflings, and gnomes) are treated as heroes if they can bring the best from a horse.
Much is made of the divide among men and women in Keleshite lands, but the facts are simple: Young women are treated as jewels beyond price, because they give rise to the next generation in noble and merchant families. By contrast, young men must fight to earn a place for themselves. 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. While probably true, behind the scenes, the raging competition between women and the outrageous deeds of men eager to make a good match are, perhaps, no less ridiculous than what happens throughout most of Golarion.

Keleshite sailors are common throughout the Inner Sea, even as far north as the Lands of the Linnorm Kings in summer, and they are both loved as the bringers of luxuries and hated as slavers. Keleshite slavers use barbed nets, poisoned cups, and bolas to capture their victims. Once they catch a victim, they use magic or heavy manacles until their merchandise can be brought to the Great Market in Katheer or to one of the slave galleys that ply the Obari Ocean. Other common professions amongst Keleshites include camel drovers, traders, weavers, scribes, architects, and hard-bitten mercenaries – especially superior light cavalry and light infantry.

The Keleshite connections to the djinn and other creatures of the desert go beyond simply borrowing words. Many Keleshites claim their people were amongst the first humans to learn agriculture and other aspects of civilization, gaining this knowledge from the deserts’ powerful djinn or as a result of deals made with powerful blue dragons. Neither djinns nor dragons deny these claims, and are more than pleased to take the credit. Today, relations between the Keleshite people and the djinn remain peaceful and profitable to both sides. In exchange for wondrous arcane secrets, the Keleshites pay their djinni mentors fabulous fees in material goods. Although Keleshites deals with blue dragons living in the deserts around Qadira, neither side savors their interactions. Many of the dragons see the encroachment of humans as a threat to their rule.

Keleshite faith is dark and dangerous. Most worship Sarenrae, the goddess of the sun, in a harsh form appropriate to their desert lands, and follow her with great zeal. All oaths among the Keleshites are sworn in Sarenrae’s name. Lesser gods of the Keleshite include corrupted, scheming forms of Abadar and his peer Irori. Travel and learning seem to come naturally to Keleshites – they are instilled in childhood as great virtues, and every Keleshite aims to own a fast horse and a rich stock of traveler’s tales.
At the same time, some Keleshites follow Rovagug, the god of wrath and destruction in many forms, in whirling cult ceremonies and in the fatalism that afflicts those who struggle against ocean and desert all their lives. Much of Qadira lies in ruins. Much of the Keleshite Empire is not what it was, although it still shines very bright. Things collapse, and Keleshites fear and respect that collapse.

Curiosity drives many a Keleshite to travel outside their hot climate and into unknown lands. Among adventurers, they are commonly fighters, clerics of Sarenrae, and rangers specialized in mounted archery. Their favorite martial style is seen as cowardly, which is only half true. A Keleshite would rather kill you from ship or horseback at a distance, not because he is a coward, but because it is a smart way to fight in the desert or at sea. Running around in heavy armor in either place is a fool’s game, and most Keleshites would laugh to see you try.
However, they are not lost in melee combat. Indeed, the proud Keleshite dervishes – twirling swordsmen equal parts warriors and dancers – represent the most iconic image of Keleshite military tradition. Dervishes – men and women – wear long kilts or skirts that twirl and spin with them, creating breathtaking splashes of color and fabric even as the dervishes themselves set about their grim work of blood and steel. Wherever Keleshite people live, dervishes live among them. Dervishes receive preferential treatment in all lands controlled by Keleshites, and in many satrapies and other satellite states of the Padishah Empire of Kelesh they operate above or outside the law. In special training temples, dervishes dedicated to Sarenrae learn to use dance and divine power simultaneously, to burn enemies in a torrent of blades and holy fire. These Dawnflower dervishes are the holy warriors of Sarenrae’s fire cults and amongst the most respected heroes of their folk.

Language and Naming
Keleshites speak Kelish first and foremost – a sonorous, phlegmatic language rich in poetry, scholarly treatises, and lore best left deep within books, unseen by human eyes. Indeed, the language is so old and has served so many generations that its twisting curling characters holds many ancient secrets of magic, betrayals, and prophecies. The language is also widely known by genies, who have close ties to the Keleshite schools of sorcery. “Scratch a Keleshite, find an aeromancer, pyromancer, slaver, or thief” is a saying among their enemies in Taldor, who consider all Keleshite folk tainted by association with djinn and less savory desert spirits.

Keleshite names derive from the cultures of interior Casmaron. Members of high culture tend to adopt names from imperial Kelesh, while the lower classes and certain distinguished warrior castes have names that express their cultural ties to the horse cultures of the unaligned nations of the north-central steppes. The latter often include surnames associated with clan and family, while the former often go by a single name. Names denoted with an asterisk are emblematic of the northern clan culture.

Male: Aakif, Akkuya, Arasmes, Bahram, Fayyaadh, Ik-Teshup, Irizati, Khair, Kobad, Ormizd, Parumartish, Quzman, Rusmanya, Warezana, Xoshak

Female: Amestri, Artazostra, Barezata, Dhabba, Iuni, Izora, Khismia, Kyra, Naadhira, Sahba, Shirin, Utana, Waajida, Xemestra, Zarishu
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

Kellids are belligerent and barbaric, but not inhospitable. True, two warriors knocked out some of my teeth because my everburning torch wouldn’t extinguish in the snow. But once our cleric proved that we were merely effete southerners, and not agents of the Witch Queen, they took pity on our frostbitten frames, fed us raw bear meat, and told their pet giant not to step on us. practically an invitation to join the tribe! -Seldeen Finch, Pathfinder

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Kellids mostly have dark hair and a dark red skin. They tend to dress in simple clothing appropriate to the climate of their homelands. they favor durability and ruggedness, and therefore tend to wear hides, leather, and furs made into loose clothing. In the coldest areas they claim, Kellids line their leather and hides with furs and wear layers of linens or silks underneath. Where the climate turns warmer, Kellids favor the lightest, most supple leathers they can acquire.

Pragmatism is not a character trait for Kellids, it is a survival mechanism. Indirect behavior is for soft people who have time to waste. Although suspicious and violent toward most magic, Kellids are more respectful towards druids. They still don’t necessarily like druidic magic, but they sometimes see it wielded usefully.

Clad in animal furs and bearing fetishes of feather and bone, hordes of brawny, dark-haired Kellids wander the cruel, cold mountains and tundra of northern Avistan, from the Tusk Mountains in the west to the plains of Numeria in the east. Kellids are common throughout Avistan, especially on the northern fringes of Cheliax and its former holdings in the east. Although clearly of common descent, Kellids in different nations live in significantly different cultures, with varied religions and mores. Still, Kellids share a predilection for violence and a well-earned distrust of magic.

More than any other ethnicity, the Kellids are a people shaped by threats. The harsh, cold Lands of the Mammoth Lords and Numeria force Kellid tribes to stay moving, to live lean and primitively. Threatened by savage beasts, ice trolls, wicked fey, mechanical monstrosities, orcs, demons, and more, Kellids learned to fight constantly – if not the monsters, then each other. These threats would kill a lesser people, but the Kellids endured and thrived.
Trapped between the treacherous Witch Queen of Irrisen to the west and the disastrous Worldwound to the east, Kellids tend to distrust magic. Even those who abandon their superstitious homelands for the civilized south tend to hold arcane matters in low regard. Many Kellids cannot differentiate between arcane and divine magic, and so most visitors find it wise simply to refrain from magic use as much as possible.

Tribes make up the main cooperative unit for Kellids, and their tribes hold their main allegiance. Tribes clash over hunting rights, campgrounds, or anything else they can find to disagree on. While most disagreements and clashes resolve over the course of a few years, some tribes are ancestral enemies and continue to feud and war for reasons neither side can recall.

Despite this, Kellids have a tradition of rough hospitality. Although they would kill an armed warrior charging at them, they would take the same warrior, half-frozen and near death, in and care for him. Dying of exposure to the cold and starvation is a death too grim for anyone, even if it means giving succor to a sworn enemy.

Kellids in different regions differ in customs and quirks. Mammoth Lord Kellids revere giants to a point that young barbarians raid into hills and slaughter as many giants as they can, leaving a single young giant alive for capture and adoption into the tribe. This giant becomes a protector and are revered by the clan’s mystics. Most tribes have one giant, while larger tribes support more. Tribes in the Worldwound territory band together more readily, as common foes are numerous and relentless. Scars and malformations are common aftereffects of living next to a demon waste, and some Kellids are transformed into evil-looking creatures themselves. A number of them become as evil as the things they fight, and mystics conduct regular cleansing rituals to cast off the evil effects. The Kellid barbarians are said to kill as many demons as all the crusaders in Mendev, but with less fanfare. The wildmen in Numeria are largely a dissolute, cruel people. The sorcerers of the Black Sovereign and his metal soldiers hunt the nomads for sport, while the decadent barbaric court is addled with their drugs. The mutations and disfigurements here are even greater than in the Worldwound, and some drive the Kellids living in the area to madness.
Kellids, particularly in the region of the Mammoth Lords, move easily among the great prehistoric beasts that inhabit their lands, taking the ones they need for meat, fur, and beasts of burden. Part of their success is due to their belief that they are the chosen natives of these lands, but they are also aided by magical talismans created by their druids. These zoic fetishes are collections of hair, stone, and fibrous twine bundled together in loose approximations of the creatures they are supposed to affect. They have the power to dominate animals for as long as the user needs them to be. These fetishes only work on mammalian creatures.

In all regions, strength, bravery, and guile are winning traits. Mammoth Lord Kellids hold yearly contests to test each of these virtues, with prizes plucked from a hidden treasure stash somewhere in the Tusk Mountains. The prizes are said to be much more valuable and powerful than the wildmen understand, and well-informed outsiders are beginning to compete.

As an oral culture, some Kellids have exceptionally well-developed memories. These people can memorize long ledger sheets read aloud, convoluted riddles, and extensive oratories. All Kellids typically remember everything they say, and much of what they hear. Practiced Kellids can repeat conversations word-for-word – sometimes years-old conversations. Reciting meaningful conversations with the dead is part of the ritual of Sending Beyond, commonly practiced by Kellid shamans. Because of their memories, Kellids living in more civilized environs infrequently make livings as secure messengers.

Some Kellids practice an animistic religion, seeing spirits and lesser gods in most visible creatures, places and objects. Most Kellids, though, bow to Gorum, their imposing Lord in Iron. Those Kellids who know of the recent claims by some half-orcs that Gorum is one of them find such preposterous suggestions utterly offensive, leading to a recent growth in warfare. Tribes in the northernmost reaches of the Realm of the Mammoth Lords worship the giant god Minderhal. In the Worldwound and Numeria, some greatly feared tribes pay tribute to Rovagug, the Rough Beast, by committing terrible atrocities. Most tribes also venerate Desna, goddess of travelers. Although depicted as a light, graceful elven woman in the south, the Kellids see her as a stately human woman astride a powerful elk, leading them to successful hunts as they follow herd animals on their yearly treks. Every tribe also has a set of superstitions to preserve life and bring harm to its enemies.

Despite their lack of sophistication and occasional confusion in understanding magic, technology, and other cerebral concepts, Kellids are not inherently stupid. They simply lack the good fortune of living in places that can afford the luxury of education not tied directly to survival. Indeed, Kellids make some of the most talented and skilled barbarians, druids, and rangers in Avistan, and many citizens of the more southerly nations pay handsomely to keep Kellid guides and plainsmen on retainer.

Language and Naming
Most Kellids speak Hallit and have little time for the fancy written languages of weaker peoples. And while their language has no written form, they do use signs to convey messages to others who might pass a spot of importance.
First names are curt affairs, favoring harsh consonants and guttural sounds. Second names are seldom necessary in small Kellid tribes, but are sometimes adopted or given when necessary or noteworthy. When used, last names typically refer to lineage or significant, memorable achievements or occurrences.

Male: Barek, Dolok, Dorn, Gannok, Ganef, Gurog, Holg, Jokum, Kart, Kod, Kronug, Nonek, Roga, Takek, Zoresk

Female: Annik, Belka, Dagur, Fasha, Inkit, Jalket, Kala, Lesit, Luka, Nalket, Selka, Sheleg, Varka, Valki, Yala
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

The use of the name “Mwangi” doesn’t do justice to the folk who inhabit the Mwangi Expanse – from the primitive Zenj of the deep jungles to the Bonuwat boatmen of the western coasts, from the sophisticated Mauxi of Thuvia to the Bekyar flesh-merchants of Desolation Cape, all of these peoples are lumped by ethnographers into a single group. – Pathfinder Chronicles, Volume 7

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Although the Mwangi as a whole look mostly the same, small physical differences can be found between the major tribes.

The Zenj are shorter than average humans, with slender, muscular frames, and wiry black hair. They favor simple animal hides or garments made from plant fibers. The Bonuwat are of average human height with more swarthy or dusky skin tones and a propensity for straight hair, although equally dark in coloration as their Zenj cousins. The Bonuwat have wide mouths and generous smiles and favor colorful and exotic garb featuring vests and baggy pantaloons such as is often found among far-ranging mariners. The Mauxi are tall, patrician folk with grayer skin tones – prone to an ashen appearance – and straight hair like the Bonuwat. The Bekyar are exceedingly tall – many topping 7 feet – with skin tones ranging from dark brown to coal black. They wear their wiry hair long but often straighten it into elaborate coifs.

The Mwangi peoples are the heirs of an ancient civilization that thrived in central Garund countless generations ago, of which little is known and even less is understood. Signs of this civilization are found in the few still-extant ruins of elaborate temples and fortress complexes that lie beneath concealing layers of clinging ivy, vines, and other jungle growth found principally in the forested interior of the Mwangi Expanse as well as in the forlorn mountaintops of the Shattered Range. What caused the abandonment of these ancient communities is a mystery even to the Mwangi themselves, but they all recognize some inner pull that resonates within them whenever they stumble across such remains.
The Mwangi respond in different ways to these ancient ruins but nearly all Mwangi avoid them, save for a few witchdoctors and the insane, who seek to draw power or inspiration from them. The remaining Mwangi are actively discomfited by them, and typically consider the places taboo, so much so that it is rumored that escaping these ruins is what caused the Mauxi to first migrate north across the Barrier Wall. The Bekyar are known to actively fear the ruins, speaking of the “dark wings” that sometimes descend from them on moonless nights. The oldest of these ruined cities is Mzali, south of the Screaming Jungle, where a mummified boy-prince called Wakena rules a vast cult dedicated to reclaiming the lost glories of the past.

The disparate Mwangi peoples are comprised of several different – although related – ethnic groups that stretch from the northern land of Thuvia to the western Mwangi coast, through the central jungles of the Mwangi Expanse to the tip of Garund’s farthest southern reaches. The Mwangi were mostly unknown to the rest of Golarion until recent colonization and trade began. This exploration resulted in a general lack of distinction between different Mwangi tribes among the northern peoples, although there are hints that they were once much more prevalent throughout Garund.

Various little-understood Mwangi groups dominate the population of much of central Garund. Four major subgroups comprise the Mwangi: the Bekyars, the Bonuwat, the Mauxi, and the Zenj. While sharing some blood ties, these groups are in many ways different enough from each other to qualify as their own distinct ethnicities.

The most common Mwangi are the Zenj people who inhabit the jungle-and savannah-covered interior of the Mwangi Expanse. The Zenj are comprised of hundreds of tribes that exist in small permanent villages along the rivers, subsisting on fishing and hunting or as nomadic encampments of herders that follow their grazing beasts across the grasslands and rolling hills of the Expanse. Many of these tribes are interrelated and form trade and marital alliances. Most as a rule require their chieftains to take a spouse from another tribe in order to cement such alliances.

The jungle-dwelling Zenj tend to be patriarchal, with village headmen presiding in council over the fishermen, craftsmen, and hunter-warriors of the village, while the women spend most of their time caring for the young, tending home and hearth, and gathering edible plants and materials for craftwork from the surrounding jungles. The headman is often assisted by a spiritual adviser who is either a shaman of the native totem spirits or a witchdoctor propitiating the spirit world and the walking dead thought to inhabit it. Only rarely does a village have both, although powerful alliances between villages have often led to short-lived paramountcies where a single charismatic chieftain could forge several villages into one. In such cases, both shamans and witchdoctors might be present, although they inevitably participate in heated rivalries that can lead to bullying, character assassination, and even murder.

The Zenj of the rolling savannahs differ from their jungle-dwelling cousins in that they are typically ruled by a matriarch who oversees and distributes the tribe’s food and resources while the women maintain the encampment with the children and elderly and the men alternately hunt or tend to the tribe’s herds of cattle or goats. The herdsmen tribes almost always have a shaman – often female – supporting the chieftain. Only rarely are witchdoctors found among their number, as such figures find the concealment of the jungle more conductive to their dark practices and hidden ways. Although often on friendly terms, the jungle-dwelling and herdsmen tribes of the Zenj generally never form marital alliances, finding the ways and traditions of the other too strange and discomfiting to adopt.
The Bonuwat are a seafaring boatpeople who dwell along the Mwangi Coast and comprise the majority of the Mwangi encountered by the outside world frequenting such ports as Bloodcove as well the Shackles and the Sodden Lands. They are excellent fishermen and sailors and have possessed an extensive trading network along the Mwangi Coast since long before the first northerners began to arrive. They are thought to have crossed bloodlines with some foreign seafaring people in the distant past, although who these people were is unknown.

The Mauxi are a mysterious strain of the Mwangi seemingly more distantly related than the other subgroups. They are generally withdrawn and taciturn, having embraced the ways of decadent Thuvia, and some even found their way into the controlling caste of that land. They deny any connection to the other Mwangi peoples and speak the Osirian tongue but keep Polyglot in practice as a sort of private cant among themselves. Some of the younger Mauxi hearken back to their tribal ancestry and emulate the dress of the other Mwangi groups in a sort of effete style. They are prone to using Polyglot more frequently to accent their perceived exotic air.

Least known of the Mwangi are the Bekyar, who inhabit Desolation Cape of southern Garund all the way up to the coast of Sargava. This group consists largely of slavers and flesh merchants who pray on their fellow Mwangi and just about anyone else they can catch.

The Mwangi who dwell among folk from other lands typically conform to the religions predominantly held by the people there, such as Nethys in Thuvia. Exceptions to this include the Bonuwat – who predominantly venerate both Gozreh and Desna in a unique janiform incarnation they call Shimye-Magalla – and the barbaric Bekyar, who generally follow the tenets of demon lords such as Angazhan, Dagon, or Zura. In addition, the Mwangi who live exclusive of the influence of other races (primarily the Zenj) still venerate their ancient traditions of totemism.

Language and Naming
That they are lumped together stems as much from the relative ignorance of the more “civilized” northern peoples who have conducted most of Golarion’s ethnographies as that they share a common tongue called Polyglot – a pidgin formed from hundreds of tribal languages and dialects. Only the Mauxi tribe uses another language, Osirion, to distinct them from the other tribes.

Names among the Mwangi are quite varied, often adopting the forms of the race that surround them. Mauxi names follow Thuvian naming conventions with only minor variations. The Bonuwat likewise use names borrowed from the many trading peoples they come into contact with through intermarriage, although many keep a traditional Mwangi surname. Only the Zenj and Bekyar truly keep their own naming conventions. Zenj names are usually short and clipped, with hard consonants and many glottal stops and clicks that cannot be easily transcribed in written languages. The Bekyar have their own forms that use many sibilants followed by hard consonants.

Male: Bekyar – Narisko, Kamishah, Seckor, Suuktidi, Yekskya Bonuwat – Baobo, Banibani, Mitabu, Pateba, Teruawa Zenj – Ba’utan, Hadzong, Ku’unda, Ter Tun’ada

Female: Bekyar – Babashk, Kamashi, Shivkah, Sinkitah, Soki Bonuwat – Butana, Karibati, Marisama, Shimshem, Simbala Zenj – Haba’la, K’ntisi, Me’mesa, Shikaba, Xaba
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting


Descended from numerous different peoples who once served as Thassilon’s military caste, the barbaric Shoanti might well someday become Golarion’s newest ethnicity. Unlike the more prolific Varisian people, these proud folk have not spread far beyond the lands of their ancestors. They dwell primarily in the uplands of the Storval Plateau or the hills of northern Varisia, where they hold their own against the many terrors that vie for territory in these wild lands. As Varisia becomes increasingly civilized, it’s more common to see Shoanti turn their backs on tradition to dwell in the greater comfort afforded by civilization — and in some cases Shoanti are becoming part of society on a governmental level.

Physically, the Shoanti are the most akin to the Kellids or Ulfen, but generations of isolation allowed them to develop their own complex tribal society, divided into seven different “quahs,” or clans. They speak a language called Shoanti similar to both Varisian and Hallit, but with a fair amount of Thassilonian as well. Anyone fluent in these three languages can communicate basic ideas in Shoanti, but only those who learn the tongue can ever hope to earn true respect from these proud people.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

After the seventeenth and final course was served, my Taldan hosts invited me to join them in the drawing room for brandy and polite conversation about the state of the world. Being fresh from an extensive tour of the western nation, I prepared to tell them of the political and military imbroglios I had witnessed. However, nothing could have held less interest to these gentlemen. Instead they proceeded to spend the next four hours describing every social faux pas of the season, and waxing rhapsodic about the global importance of an upcoming royal fete. – Alaxen Kalepopolis, Chelaxian explorer

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Despite the loss of their empire, Taldans retain an arrogance and aloof spirit befitting a people at the height of their power and influence. Blessed to be a beautiful people with long, flowing brown hair and naturally bronze skin (gifts from their Keleshite ancestors), Taldans frequently adorn themselves in fashionable clothing. Wealthy merchants, royals, and land owners across the Inner Sea do their best to cultivate the style, air, and sophistication of Taldor, but observers can always tell the difference between a poseur and the genuine article. The way a Taldan man wears his neatly trimmed beard is as much a birthright as a matter of grooming. Ant the elaborate, ribbon-festooned wigs worn by the women are heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.

On the shores of the Inner Sea sits the kingdom of Taldor, the oldest of the surviving Avistani nations in the region. From it humble beginnings as a trading post where Azlanti fleeing the devastation of their homeland could exchange goods with Keleshites living on the frontier of ancient desert empires, Taldor grew to become a world power in its own right. At one time, the Empire of Taldor spanned most of southern Avistan, north to the River Kingdoms, and west through most of modern Cheliax. Today, however, the kingdom of Taldor is a mere fraction of its former size.

Historians say that the Empire of Taldor, like so many before it, fell due to its own decadence and excesses. The Taldan people became haughty and so sure of their supremacy in the world that they did not even conceive of the possibility that their colonies might revolt, and so were completely unprepared when said colonies slipped away in the Eventongued Conquest. With Qadiri armies amassing on its borders and beset by centuries of decadence, Taldor soon lost control of Andoran, Galt, and Isger, and saw the kingdom of Cheliax grow into a mighty empire.

The Taldan people are known the world over for being among the most accomplished scholars, artisans, and practitioners of exotic martial skills. They are also known to be perhaps the most arrogant, self-important, and dismissive culture in history. Both these reputations are well deserved.
With millennia of cultural development and decadence, Tandor and the people it birthed have achieved the highest levels of education and artistry, allowing both to reach their fullest expression. Scholars and craftspeople from across Avistan and northern Garund claim at least partial Taldan heritage, and many seek to study in Taldor in order to have a connection with the ancient and learned culture spawned there. A year of training in Taldor, they say, is worth five anywhere else.

Taldan arrogant pride manifests differently for the two sexes. Regardless of the specific details of their ethnic elitism, Taldan haughtiness tends to wallow in shallowness. Obviously, not every Taldan exhibits the most extreme arrogant personality traits described here, but enough do to make the pride of Taldans an unfavorable stereotype known throughout the Inner Sea region.

Male Taldans exhibit an arrogant machismo that usually falls just shy of outright misogyny. They speak of conquests and territorial disputes when they discuss Taldan women, and of “bringing civilization to the barbarians” to brag of their exploits with women of other ethnicities or races. This insular fraternity leads to extremely close relationships between men, such that observers from other ethnicities often mistake these bonds as more than just friendship – an assumption that occasionally holds more than a shred of truth.
Women express their ethnic superiority complex via biting commentary of the dress, hairstyle, body shape, or facial features of other females they see. Although they tend to focus their overly critical judgments on women from other ethnicities or races, when bored or among only close friends they sometimes casually insult one another (albeit with considerably less bile than when their attentions are drawn outside their close circles). Taldan women take great pride in Shelyn’s Taldan origins, and frequently do everything in their power (including spending more than they can truly afford) to attain a nebulous level of beauty that differs by individual. In general, Taldan women tend to treat men as attractive playthings meant to entertain, buy perfumes and beauty aids, and then leave when they become boring.

On the other hand, when moved to better emotions, Taldans express their concerns with nigh-unparalleled charity of time and wealth. In fact, the success with which hard-luck tales and wide-eyed impoverished children (especially those of obviously Taldan descent) can convince a Taldan to donate hard-earned coins further leads to the view of others that Taldans throw about their wealth with little concern for the future. This hedonism, critics observe, frequently is the reason why many adults fall on hard times an must turn to their fellows for additional aid.

Outsiders sometimes find it difficult to fit into Taldan society. The local populace considers anyone who does not have the advantage of Taldan birth and training to be hopelessly provincial, an opinion Taldans express loudly and often. They generally seem to be of the opinion that anything of importance must happen in Taldor and conversely, anything that happens outside the kingdom is trivial and banal.

Taldans justifiably take pride in the strong influence their native gods have exerted across not just the Inner Sea region, but across most of Golarion. Of the 20 most widely worshiped deities, four hail from Taldan traditions or were themselves Taldan in their mortal lives: Abadar, Cayden Cailean, Norgorber, and Shelyn. They gladly point out to anyone around how two of the three mortals who ascended to godhood thanks to the power of the Starstone are of Taldan descent. By the same token, they become petulant whenever someone has the bad manners to point out that the third and most widely worshiped of the ascendant gods – Iomedae the Inheritor – is of Chelaxian stock. Within Taldor and other nations with sizeable Taldan populations, temples dedicated to Abadar and Shely sometimes grow to ridiculous proportions. Taldans like to point out, both verbally and in their often grandiose art, that the most beautiful of all deities originated amongst their people.

Language and Naming
Although both they and their Keleshite enemies try to deny it, the traditional language of the Taldans, Taldane, shares some common ancestry with Kelesh. Both languages map Azlanti words onto the grammatical structure (and lexicon) of a lost ancestor tongue, but they differ in that Kelesh also adopted words from the languages of genies while Taldane borrowed from Varisian.

Taldan names are often as ornate and ostentatious as the people who bear them. Polysyllabic construction predominate, with sounds that evoke thoughts of high-minded nobility. Surnames often allude to a family’s holdings or past glories, evoking place names, victorious battles, or even valuable treasures. Examples include Merrion, Albercoft, Neverion, and so on.

Male: Domitian, Eudoxius, Galadon, Iacobus, Ioseph, Marcian, Menas, Narses, Olybrius, Origen, Stilicho, Theodric, Vors, Xanthan

Female: Adula, Charito, Eudocia, Euphemi, Ionnia, Kale, Komana, Pasara, Salvianella, Semne, Viviana, Xene
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

The people of Tian Xia keep to themselves, for the most part. They are quite and polite, and become increasingly so the angrier they get. A Tian who lapses into complete silence is probably very angry , and it’s best to appease him quickly. An apology goes a long way toward reconciliation. Sit down a Tian and pour a little alcohol in him, though, and you quickly learn that just because he’s reserved doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to have fun. – Jak Merrikander, Magnimarian merchant

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
As a people, Tian tend to be smaller and slighter than those of Avistan and Garund. Men only infrequently grow as tall as 5-1/2 feet, while women often barely break 5 feet in height. Even among the generally thin and narrow -bodied Tian, the Tian-Dan, and Tian-Sing frequently appear particularly skinny, often looking emaciated even when well-fed. In contrast, the northwestern Tian-La generally possess moon-shaped faces and squat, muscular bodies. The Tian-Shu and Tian-Min, as with most other comparisons of Tian extremes, comprise a middle ground. While Tian themselves can frequently discern these subtle differences, Avistani generally cannot.

The most common Tian race, the Tian-Shu, possess dusky skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and straight black or dark brown hair. Almost all other Tian races descend from the Tian-Shu, and share at least some features with them. In the north and west of Tian live the Tian-La, a semi-nomadic people with coarse, curly hair and lighter skin. Far to the south, the Tian-Sing have reddish tints to their hair and produce more green-eyed folk. The Tian-Min of the Minkai archipelago possess the widest variety of eye color, encompassing various shades of blue, green, violet, orange-red, and (of course) black and brown.

Tian dress favors loose clothing, regardless of the wearer’s wealth or social standing. Wealthy Tian wear robe-like garments they call kimono or hanfu, while peasants and laborers wear simple kilts or trousers with linen wraps, leather jackets, or nothing at all on their upper bodies. Most clothing worn by Tian is colorful, and only the poorest peasants wear undyed cloth. Those who can afford it decorate their clothing with elaborate embroidery, often of scenes from nature or of powerful creatures such as dragons or phoenixes. For those who don’t labor, silk is the most popular choice of material, but most clothing is made from cotton or flax. The desperately poor wear canvas and the truly destitute make simple smocks from discarded canvas rice bags.

Tian Xia owes the greatest of its cultural influences to the Tian-Shu people, whose culture predates Aroden’s raising of the Starstone and the founding of Absalom. Over the past 7 millennia, the Tian-Shu have lived in hundreds of different nations and city-states, as well as three empires. The last empire to rule over the Tian-Shu, Imperial Lung Wa, collapsed a century ago and was replaced by the current battling nation-states. With the fall of a strong empire, the cultures of other Tian people have flourished in the past century. In Xa Hoi, for example, the Tian-Dan people’s native culture has proliferated, resulting in a rise of beautifully decorated pagoda temples, colorful outfits, spice-laden cuisine, and a variety of alcohols made from rice and native fruits.

Although the people of Avistan and Garund see the distant Tian as one single ethnicity (a misconception the Tian reciprocate with Avistani), the people collectively known as the Tian encompass a number of different distinct ethnicities. Most of the Tian who come to the Inner Sea region originate from Qin or Minkai, so the Avistani are most familiar with these two cultures (which they mistakenly assume represent the full depth of variety on the continent).

The Tian take tea very seriously. Numerous legends of its introduction exist, although most scholars agree that famed imperial adviser Luyu, the Father of Tea, introduced the concoction to the Imperial Court. According to the official imperial histories, Luyu first discovered the tea plant while on a journey to Nanang Province, near the border with the small kingdoms of Xa Hoi and Dtang Ma. All true teas contain leaves from the tea plant, known in Tian Xia as cha. Wild cha trees still grow high on the slopes of the domestic cultivation throughout Tian Xia. Roughly 4 millennia ago, imperial traders crossed the Vudran Sea bearing, among other things, bricks of tea and a sack of tea plant seeds. Tea became popular among Vudrani shortly thereafter, and over time they cultivated their own subspecies of the tea plant, which they then exported back to Tian Xia. The small, mountainous island nation of Onshing grows 64 strains of cha plants, many of which are known as monkey-picked teas (as the plants grow so tall that “only monkeys could pick the leaves”). Some 2,000 years ago, the courtiers of the ancient Empire of Yixing sought to create an art of the preparation and consumption of tea, and from their endeavors came the chadao, or tea ceremony. A few decades later, visitors from Teikoku (precursor of the Minkai Empire) visited the Yixing court and were so impressed by the chadao that they sought to emulate it in Teikoku. As a result, two similar but different tea ceremonies exist throughout Tian Xia: the chadao, practiced in the remnants of Imperial Lung Wa, Xa Hoi, and Dtang Ma, and the chanoyu, practiced in the Minkai Empire, Cho-zen, and Onshing.
Across all of Tian Xia, children very rarely are born with shock-white or silvery-white hair, which the Tian consider an omen of greatness. Such children frequently become influential leaders, and families into which they are born receive great honor and frequently an increase in rank and wealth. The Ruby Emperor Shing La Po of Wan possessed white hair, as did the Perfect Swordswoman, Setsuna Kuga.

Generally speaking, Tian consider the family of great importance. They learned the art of genealogy from dragons and in some cases can trace their bloodlines back to a time before the Earthfall and the collapse of Azlant. The king of the Tian-Shu nation-state of Qin, for example, possesses a 93-foot-long scroll showing his descent from the first Tian emperor, Mu Lung, some 11,000 years ago. Emperor Shigure of Minkai can trace his family line back 296 generations to the Minkan goddess Shizuru. Less extreme examples also exist, of course, but many nobles and most Tian royalty can trace their lineage back at least a few dozen generations. Family names tend to have meanings in their native tongues, and usually these meanings identify where the family originated or who founded it.

Collectively, the Tian attempt to live in ways that minimize the disruption of the natural order. Parks and gardens fill their cities and cause their urban areas to sprawl across spaces far greater than similarly sized Avastani settlements. Despite their larger footprints, though, Tian cities tend to incorporate the natural world in their design and layout better than those of the distant West.

Religion varies across Tian Xia as much its people. Since its introduction by Vudrani missionaries in 2187, the church or Irori (called Iro-Shu) has spread across Tian Xia, becoming an official state religion in most nations. Several gods from Avistan have also found their way over the Crown of the World, and the worship of Desna and Erastil is not uncommon to the north. Most Tian, however, retain their traditional religions, all of which involve some degree of animistic nature worship, ancestor worship, or the supplication of kami (visible manifestations of spirits and gods). In addition, all Tian people also have their own major deities, some of whom are gods worshiped in Avistan under different names and some of whom are unique to the people who venerate them.

Language and Naming
Most Tian speak Tien, the traditional language of the Tian-Shu and the official language of kingdoms and empires across the continent. Most other languages spoken by the Tian at least partially descend from this ancient tongue, and most have some other cultural influences as well. Minkan, the other language of the powerful Minkai Empire, borrows only some of its words and half its alphabet from Tien, and therefore sounds unrelated to Tien and the other continental languages.

Names vary greatly across the many people of Tian Xia, although the Tian people universally offer their family names first. Most family and given names derive from words of the language the family speaks. Family names represent some aspect of the family’s history, while given names usually reflect the aspirations or traits the parents wish for their child.

Male: Tian-Dan – Dac Kien, Giap, Huynh, Nam, Sihn, Ton Tian-La – Batsaikhan, Batukhan, Chuluun, Gansukh, Naranbaatar, Tomorbaatar Tian-Min – Gendo, Heihachi, Ichiro, Juro, Kyo, Toshiro Tian-Sing – Budi, Hamngku, Kusuma, Purnoma, Setiawan, Suryo Tian-Shu – Bao, Hu, Jianguo, Syaoran, Tao, Zhuang

Female: Tian-Dan – Binh, Dao, Huhn, Ly, Nai, Thien Tian-La – Altantsetseg, Bayarmaa, Khongordzol, Narantuyaa, Odval, Sarngerel Tian-Min – Hidari, Hitomi, Kyoko, Reika, Sae, Yumi Tian-Sing – Bethari, Lestari, Megawati, Nirmala, Sangati, Wulan Tian-Shu – Chao, Hua, Meilin, Qiao, Xue, Ziyi
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

Furs and amber and strong drink, that’s what gets you through the dark winter days when the ice cracks at the end of the bay and you hear the linnorm scales scrape along the surface. Warm furs and someone worth tumbling between them. – Ulfen winter wisdom

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
The Ulfen scratch a living in the north. They have a reputation abroad for being strong, dumb, and quiet, as well as having strange accents and smelly furs. Most Ulfen are quite tall, with men starting at 6 feet and the women just a few inches shorter. Their skin is pale and their hair blond, straw brown, or red. Both men and women wear it long and braided, with the women prone to more elaborate braids. Men usually wear beards.
Ulfen men and women set great store by personal appearance, valuing their flowing locks, tight braids, and well-kept furs of ermine, mink, and fox. They were necklaces of amber, carved narwhal horn, and mammoth ivory, as well as finely-worked bronze and silver in a braided style. They consider themselves the handsomest men and women in all Avistan, and the damnable thing about it, to other peoples, is that they are often right.

The days of raw pillage from the north are mostly over, as the Ulfen can no longer pass through the Arch of Aroden into the Inner Sea without trouble. At the same time, the Ulfen are hired as sailors, marines, and bodyguards widely throughout Avistan, perhaps because they combine great seamanship, ruthlessness, and exotic looks. It has become quite fashionable in Qadira and elsewhere near the Isle of Kortos to hire an Ulfen bodyguard for his towering height, his pale skin and hair, and his vile stench, which is considered a mark of distinction among bodyguards in southern lands.
Ulfen men from the Land of the Linnorm Kings fulfill the stereotype of sailors and traders; Ulfen from the Irrisen lands ruled by Baba Yaga are more raiders and riders than seamen, although they share cultural ties.

Ulfen traditionally keep thralls – slaves whose period of service ends in a set amount of time. Children born to thralls are always born free, and thralls can file a complaint against a harsh or unfair master (which shames the master, certainly, but also runs the risk of a master’s fury). Thralls are either captured in battle or condemned to service by a thingmar, a court of justice of the Ulfen by their peers, overseen by an elder jarl or chief. Even a chief or jarl can be condemned as a thrall if he has forsworn an oath, killed a child, or betrayed his shield-brothers.

Ulfen men are fond of competitions both athletic and alcoholic. Their athletic contests often occur at the approach of winter or the start of spring and include climbing ice walls, hurling timbers of various sizes, ax throwing, sled pulls, and races on foot and on snowshoes. Swimming is not a skill that the Ulfen value, although sailing and rowing are. The drinking competitions happen during great feasts, when the Ulfen men boast of their ability to down kegs or even barrels of mead, ale, and cider. Outsiders tend to take away from this a view that Ulfen are boars and louts, which is not entirely true. Their boorish loutishness tends to be confined to special occasions – Ulfen men who try this approach on other than feast days find that Ulfen women mock them mercilessly. Few repeat the experience.

The women are often powerful druids and priestesses of Desna or Torag. A few maidens each year also go on the Mountain Ride, a week-long hunt to tame hipogriffs and pegasi on the high peaks of the Kodar Mountains east of Jol or the Tusk Mountains in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. Most maidens see this as a chance to escape their parents and wander alpine meadows in the early summer before they settle down, but each year a few of them actually succeed in bringing back a tame mount. These Ulfen women are called the “wind sisters” or sometimes simply the “sky maidens,” and they are messengers, couriers, and heralds between the various kings, princelings, and jarls of the North. With their great speed, they hop even from the mainland to the many islands to the west, from Halgrim to Jol and sometimes risking the bitter skies over Irrisen to reach the few Ulfen there not enslaved by evil. Without them, the remote settlements of Ulfen lands would be even more isolated. These wind sisters also form an important defense against the arrival of dragons and linnorms, providing crucial warning time to secure livestock, prepare defenses, and take refuge against these marauders.

Ulfen sing during any task they perform. They sing while they work, sail, cook, walk, herd, and so on. They sing when they fight. The Ulfen warrior’s distinctive song is always completely his own. The wind sisters might sing to urge their pegasi to fly faster and guide the lance, while the berserk greataxe-wielding raider might sing of blood and a widow’s tears, but each warrior knows the song that carries him through battle. Some foes find it unsettling, while dwarves seem to consider it fairly normal. If you hear songs of blood, archery, feathered death, and glory, you know the Ulfen are ambushing you.

In general, dueling and feuding are popular pastimes among the Ulfen, with great emphasis on personal honor and the value of a sworn oath. Insults are usually answered with ax and shield pushes, and while dueling is always considered purely a temporary argument, fought to the first blood and forgotten as soon as it is over, feuding is a more serious thing. In a feud among the Ulfen, entire families and clans can go to war over a conflict as simple as the proper way to mend the nets or the rights to a particular salmon spawning ground. Sheep and cattle raiding are also popular pastimes.

Finally, no discussion of the Ulfen would be complete without mention of the high incidence of lycanthropes among them. Werewolves, werebears, and wereravens are most common, but selkies (wereseals), werewolverines, and even werefoxes are not unknown among them. The curse of lycanthropy is not considered an especially dishonorable state among the Ulfen, but simply a mark of favor from nature spirits; Those who suffer from it and who cannot control their violent urges are required to stay in a long-house or spirit house during the full moon, which is barred with silver and stocked with enough food to satiate even the largest appetite.

While women heroes of the Ulfen often become Sky Maidens, men are most often rangers and barbarians and worshipers of Erastil, Gorum, and Torag, although they have druids and priests of Desna among their numbers as well. As a group, they are more adventurous than most – the wilderness of the Linnorm Kings and Irrisen is too thinly settled for anyone to live long who cannot prosper in the wild and find food and shelter when bad weather sets in.

Few in each generation become skalds – half-wise, half-drunken singers and jesters to the great men and women of the tribes. They tell the sagas that record Ulfen history, and they are often the most literate in a village or town. Unlike the wind sisters, they have no immunity from reprisals, although most consider it unlucky to lower oneself to answer a skald with personal combat. Defeating a skald in a drinking contest, on the other hand, is considered quite a coup.

The loudmouth Ulfen king Ingimundr the Unruly is currently gathering Ulfen adventurers and younger sons for a foray into the “rich southern lands.” Most older men oppose this, as trade and bodyguard work are making many of the Ulfen quite wealthy by northern standards, although Ingrimundr is clearly calling to something in the Ulfen blood. The tales that the Ulfen tell about themselves might make them sail south and go a-reaving again, although the Norns and the Fates advise against it. More likely, perhaps, is a great gambit to the east, to take back land from Irrisen stolen long ago by Baba Yaga and her trollish minions. Ingimundr believes he can convince the Ulfen under her sway to turn against the Witch Queen, although others believe her rule is as absolute as the relentless grip of the northern ice.

Language and Naming
Ulfen speak Skald, the tongue of the distant north, and write their language using a runic alphabet taken from the dwarves. Skald speakers and dwarven speakers can understand one another with quite a bit of difficulty.

Ulfen tend to possess two names: a given name and a patronymic. Men generally receive names of powerful ancestors and hero-kings, although some bear names that are actual words in Skald that their parents hope they embody or emulate in life. Women often receive descriptive names that define their parents hope for their future.

Male: Asbjorn, Birger, Eilif, Herger, Hyglak, Jens, Kjell, Kriger, Niklas, Olaf, Ragnar, Sterk, Storhoi, Tallak, Varg

Female: Asta, Birgit, Dagny, Eva, Gerda, Gunda, Hege, Ingegerd, Ingrid, Jorun, Magda, Nanna, Runa, Signe, Tine
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

It’s been a time since someone’s been able to get the better of me, but I didn’t suspect a thing. When I fought off that greasy brigand, she told me I was her hero and put her arms right around me, fluttering those black lashes! I offered to escort her to town, but just then her brother arrived, shook my hand, and told me he owed me his life. I left thinking that no matter what tales I’d heard, Varisians were a decent folk. Kept thinking that until I reached the tavern and round my coin purse gone. – Seldeen Finch, Pathfinder

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Varisians favor scarves of all sizes and colors, but some hold special significance. Most notable is the family scarf, or kapenia. Children receive their kapenia upon maturity; to own one is to be an adult. These long, heavy scarves display elegant and complicated embroidery that is incomprehensible to most outsiders. To Varisians, though, the scarves show their family trees. By tracing the loops and whorls of a scarf, a Varisian can trace a person’s history back through her mother and father, her siblings, grandparents and great-grandparents, as far back as the family possesses knowledge.

Varisians wear their kapenia only on special occasions, such as weddings or funerals. Most choose to be buried with their kapenia, thought some bequeath them to loved ones. It is extraordinarily rare for a Varisian to bequeath it to a non-Varisian, or even a Varisian not of her clan. Varisians wear sensible but colorful clothes during the workday. When performing, they dress in fancy gowns and heavily embroidered vests and trousers and wear excessive amounts of jewelry.

Varisians consider themselves the native race of the realm that shares their name. Wanderers and nomads, Varisians travel the land in caravans, stopping only to put on their shows. Some Varisians use their gregarious natures and dark good looks to swindle unfortunate marks; it is thee few scalawags who give the Varisian people a bad name. Most other people respect the Varisians of their ancient tradition and vast knowledge but mistrust their motives.

Tales about Varisians circulate endlessly. To ordinary folk, the colorful travelers who never settle but flit about like butterflies over the land seem fascinating, but also just a little frightening.

A traveler can sit down in any tavern in Golarion and overhear a story about the Varisisans – how they never build towns or sow crops, how they live in the wagons that carry them over the land, how they sing and dance for money, how they dress in bright colors and cover their bodies with jewelry and intricate tattoos, and how a Varisian once robbed someone’s uncle’s wife’s brother’s best friend in an elaborate scam. Conventional wisdom holds that observers should view the beautiful, exotic Varisian from a distance, as if admiring a tiger prowling through the jungle.

Tales of Varisian treachery and deceit usually come from interactions with the Sczarni, a clan of Varisians dedicated to larceny and confidence games. The Sczarni continue to bleed their victims until their pockets are full and neighbors grow suspicious. They then move on to the next town and start over.

Varisians call the world their home. Artwork on the walls of ruins, fragments of ancient writing, and stories passed down from Varisian wise women suggest that the Varisian had a homeland once, but they fled in the wake of a terrible cataclysm. Where that cursed land was and what cataclysm prompted their exodus, remains to be seen. A handful of prophecies suggest that the Varisians wait for a sign that the sign will come in the form of a hero, possibly an angel, sent by Desna herself.

Varisians believe that certain colors carry specific powers and choose their outfits to attract the right type of energy. Pink is the color of love, kindness, and courage. Red represents lust, long life, and inner strength. Orange is the color of happiness and resourcefulness, and adventuring Varisians often wear a touch of orange on their travels. Green enhances wisdom and self-control. Turquoise represents physical strength and nonverbal communication, and most dancing costumes feature it. Blue is the color of health, youth, and beauty. Violet enhances intuition and divine inspiration, so most fortunetellers and seers wear violet scarves.

Varisians also love jewelry and favor gems over coins. Most Varisians pragmatically believe that worn wealth is harder to steal than wealth hidden out of sight in a tent or locked up in a box. Varisians love their brightly colored, intricate, and personally significant tattoos. Rarely, a Varisian might enter the world already tattooed in the form of a birthmark. These “birth marks” bear little resemblance to conventional birthmarks. Most are extremely elaborate and multicolored. Some represent physical objects, such as a sword or a unicorn, while others spell out phrases in some long-dead runic language or outline a map. Varisians believe that birth tattoos are an indication of a profound destiny awaiting the marked child.
Popular opinion holds that most Varisians are singers, storytellers, and thieves – rogues and bards, in other words. In truth, Varisians of all classes exist, although some appear more commonly than others. Many Varisian walk the path of the fighter, ranger, or sorcerer. Varisian clerics typically worship Desna. The latter usually cover their bodies with colorful tattoos of powerful humans and animals with great feathered wings. Popular opinion holds that most Varisians are singers, storytellers, and thieves – rogues and bards, in other words. In truth, Varisians of all classes exist, although some appear more commonly than others. Many Varisian walk the path of the fighter, ranger, or sorcerer. Varisian clerics typically worship Desna. The latter usually cover their bodies with colorful tattoos of powerful humans and animals with great feathered wings.

Varisians have a saying: “First the seed, then the trunk, then the leaf in the breeze.” The seed refers to a bloodline or family history. The trunk refers to the elders in a clan who helped raise the current generation. The leaf in the breeze refers to the wandering Varisians, free to go where they please thanks to the strength of their elders and their families. Varisians never brook insults to their ancestors or their clan leaders, and they appreciate this loyalty in others. Varisian adventurers are most likely to respond to pleas for assistance when a family’s unit is threatened, such as when a child is kidnapped or a poisoned grandfather requires a rare herbal cure.

Although their dedication to their families remains unswerving, Varisians do leave their caravans to adventure for many reasons. Some receive strange dreams or visions which lead them to wander apart from their clans. Other pursue the answer to a mysterious and disturbing Harrowing. A Varisian might fall out of favor with the clan and seek redemption, or she might feel betrayed by her family and leave in search of a new one.

Popular opinion holds that most Varisians are singers, storytellers, and thieves – rogues and bards, in other words. In truth, Varisians of all classes exist, although some appear more commonly than others. Many Varisian walk the path of the fighter, ranger, or sorcerer. Varisian clerics typically worship Desna. The latter usually cover their bodies with colorful tattoos of powerful humans and animals with great feathered wings.

Strangely enough, most Varisian druids are not true Varisians, but adopted members of the clans. Many druids come from outside Varisia to protect what they see as unspoiled wild land. These druids, nomads, wanderers with a fierce love of nature, empathize with the Varisian way of life and often travel with caravans. Over time, some find homes with their new families and use their wandering life to learn about and protect the wild areas of Varisia.
Varisian wizards often serve as historians and record the legends of their families. Instead of studying in dusty libraries, they glean lore from old books and bits of knowledge traded for a song or a Harrow reading along the road. Varisian wizards often speak a handful of commonly used languages and know phrases from a dozen dead ones. Their spellbooks are collections of mismatched pages sewn into thick tomes and covered with runic scribblings.
Barbarians, monks, and paladins are rare among Varisians.

Language and Naming
Although found everywhere, Varisians are most common in Varisia, Ustalav, and the areas surrounding Lake Encarthan and its numerous river systems. They speak Varisian. Varisians possess a given name and a family name. They favor long, elaborate names with many syllables, names beginning and ending with vowels, and the letter Z.

Male: Alezandaru, Adrezi, Dorin, Eugeni, Katallin, Grigore, Henric, Ionacu, Iozif, Marduzi, Silviu, Skender, Tiberiu, Viorel, Zandu, Zstelian

Female: Alika, Alinza, Anca, Bogdana, Carmelizzia, Esmerelda, Ilinica, Iolana, Luminita, Mireal, Narcizia, Nicinniana, Piousa, Violetta, Zeldana, Zriorica.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

A warrior’s life is to war. A leader’s life is to lead. A farmer’s life is to farm. To rise above your life is to know uncertainty. To sink beneath your life is to know despair. – Vigrahin Patitraka, Chapter 6.23

Physical Description and Physical Outlook
Hierarchies exist within castes as well as between them. Although Vudrani are among the most accepting of all humans in regard to skin-tone variations, they do prefer those with a natural coloration the fair-skinned Avastani might call “tanned”. In general, people closer to the Vudrani ideal (light, but not too light) tend to be of a higher standing in a caste. The farther from that ideal, the lower the person’s standing, although those whose skin is “too dark” are generally seen as more attractive than those who are “too light.”

Whenever possible, Vudrani don luxurious garments of the finest cloth, favoring loose-fitting garb appropriate to the warm clime of their homeland. Many of these fancy clothes come to Vudra via trade from Tian Xia, while those fineries produced in the Impossible Kingdoms themselves are traded in Katapesh and Absalom. Vudrani women tend to wear brightly colored saris and wrap their heads in beautiful scarves. Gold jewelry, including piercings of the ears, nose, and eyebrows, are common. Married women of all castes adorn the center of their foreheads with dots of colorful pigments (usually red), and unmarried women of wealthy families frequently attack small jewels or other decorations to the same location using gum resins. Vudrani men adorn themselves with knee-length kilts or loose pants tied with silk at the waist and ankles, as well as simple shirts tied closed in the front. Men not of the powerful bhuridhana or rajah castes rarely wear any decorative jewelry, while men of those high castes festoon themselves with golden baubles and massive jewels.

The Vudrani strive for enlightenment and personal betterment, but they do not often reach beyond their station. Theirs is a culture steeped in ancient traditions that define roles, and many do not see it as proper to work above or below what the fate of their birth dictates. This mindset stays with the Vudrani, even when they travel thousands of miles west to visit Jalmeray and the Inner Sea, and it is only after several generations of life among the Avistani and Garundi that they begin to relax these beliefs.

The Vudrani come from distant Vudra, an immense and powerful empire made up of several nations collectively known as the Impossible Kingdoms. The affluence and stability of the Impossible Kingdoms support a large population. Despite its affluence, though, the Vudrani people do not content themselves with sitting idly by. Exploration – for the purposes of trade, conquest, or pure curiosity – has put the people of Vudra on nearly every continent of the world. Vudrani merchants are known as trustworthy and fair business partners and purveyors of exotic wares.

Throughout Vudrani society, such heavy emphasis is placed on the creation and care of male offspring that female infanticide remains a constant problem. Baladata (“Girl Schools”) offer an alternative to leaving an unwanted daughter out in the elements. These state-supported orphanages only house girls abandoned by their parents. Many girls who grow up in Baladata often learn useful (though rarely pleasant) trades that allow them to later contribute meaningfully to society. A large minority, though, learn how to fight, navigate at sea, survive in the wilds, and otherwise prove themselves as able explorers. These atanapratta become valued members of ships’ crews, adventuring bands, and expeditions into unknown territories.

Within the Inner Sea region, Vudrani tend to keep to themselves on their island colony of Jalmeray, although brisk trade with Katapesh, Quantium, and Absalom sees them frequently visiting those important ports. Agents of the Isle of Jalmeray often go on diplomatic missions throughout the region, but they are trusted in few courts outside Absalom. Most Vudrani encountered in the Inner Sea region belong to the padaprajna, kezavazreshin, or atanapratta castes, giving the people of Avistan the impression that all Vudrani are warriors, merchants, or explorers.

Vudrani culture places great value on beautiful, deliberate movements and the ability to spin a good story. Graceful veiled dancers catch the eyes of Vudrani men as easily as velvet-voiced storytellers set aflutter the hearts of Vudrani women. Even when not attempting to woo members of the opposite sex, the Vudrani value precise movements and eloquent speech.

Vudrani culture remains stable thanks to the people’s strong belief in the role of birth, which in turn draws itself from religious texts that define human existence in a series of castes. According to Vudrani beliefs, a person’s caste depends on the actions of their previous lives. Someone from a low caste only recently earned the right to be born as a human, while those of the highest castes are celebrated as examples of what good deeds over multiple lives can do for a soul. The ultimate goal of all this rebirthing is to serve the gods as an Anucara in Nirvana.

Beside this belief in reincarnation of the spirit, the Vudrani worship a bewildering array of thousands of unusual gods. As a former mortal human (as the stories go), Irori is hailed as the epitome of enlightened perfection – the ideal human. Even with his hundreds of aspects, though, Irori is but a small part of an ancient religious system little understood outside Vudra itself.

Various religious texts help guide the Vudrani in understanding their complex faith. Chief among these collections of wisdom is the Azvadeva Pujila. Along with this book, the Mizravrtta Brahmodya recounts the history of the world as told to the sage Balazastrin by an avatar of the goddess Likha, the Teller. Finally, the Vigrahin Patitraka provides a set of instructions, told in a series of questions and answers, on how to properly live in order to move one step closer to Nirvana in your next rebirth.

Gruhastha, the Keeper, is said to be the watchful nephew of Irori, as well as an honored adviser. According to lore, he is assigned the task of keeping watch over Golarion until enough beings reach enlightenment that the world itself becomes a part of Nirvana. Irori reached enlightenment through transcendence and this started the Iro-Shu philosophy which is popular in Tian Xia as well. Raumya, the Evil Prince, is followed by hidden cults all over Vudra. He appears as the antagonist in many myths and stories. Suyuddha, the warrior queen, is the patron goddess of the elite padaprajna caste, delighting in calculated, coordinated war. She is a tactician of great skill.

As an outgrowth of the Vudrani love of beautiful movements, study of martial arts (often first created in Tian Xia but perfected in Vudra) grows more popular with each passing year. So skilled are Vudrani martial artists that, on occasion, even masters from Tian Xia cross the treacherous sea separating their lands to study the precise motions of the Vudrani. Although the Vudrani are not known for their innovation in creating new or derivative styles, in the eastern half of the world their exacting mastery of existing schools brings them great accord.

Language and Naming
Almost every day Vudrani speak the language Vudrani, as it is considered the language of the gods, although tribal and regional languages continue to flourish across Vudra.
Most Vudrani have three names: a given name, a middle name (usually the father’s given name), and a family name. Both given and family names vary greatly by region, religion, and caste.

Male: Bala, Barid, Dakshi, Darpan, Hava, Krama, Mahasi, Manujyestha, Nitha, Pratapa, Sajan, Sumna, Viraj, Yantur

Female: Abha, Anahita, Harita, Hema, Isa, Jayazi, Lalitya, Nagina, Navya, Padma, Parvati, Rati, Sajni, Viraji, Zaci
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting


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