Osirion1 (pronounced oh-SEER-ee-on)2 is not only one of the oldest human nations currently in existence in the Inner Sea region, but has been one of the most powerful and influential since Earthfall.
- See also: Timeline of Osirion
The founding of Osirion in -3470 AR3 is used by historians as the marker for the beginning of the Age of Destiny. Osirion served as the trailblazer, marking humanity's re-emergence from barbarism of the Age of Anguish.4
A follower of Nethys named Azghaad united the warring tribes along the Sphinx River with the help of the god himself, and became the first pharaoh, a tradition of rulership that has continued (with long interruptions) to the present day. Azghaad I is said to have accomplished great deeds, including the defeat of the spawn of Rovagug Ulunat, and the founding of the capital city of Sothis around the giant beetle's carapace. He also built the first temple to Nethys in Sothis, ushering in the First Age of Osirion.5 Under the rule of successive God-Kings the land prospered and expanded, at its height ruling much of northern Garund,6 including land ruled today by the countries of Geb, Katapesh, Nex, Thuvia, and Rahadoum. Osiriontologists often refer to the nation during its roughly 5,000-year span of pharaonic rule between its founding and the Keleshite takeover in 1532 AR (see below) as Ancient Osirion.7
A period of decline followed, which was halted when the country was re-unified under the Four Pharaohs of Ascension, marking the country's Second Age.6 However, the decline continued when the reign of the Four Pharaohs came to an end.8
Qadiran satrapy and Keleshite sultanate
Osirion continued on for thousands of years through the end of the Age of Destiny and into the Age of Enthronement. Its power continued to wane to the point where it became the target of imperial expansion by the growing Empire of Kelesh in the middle of the 16th century AR. Kelesh had put nearby Qadira under its control in -43 AR, and now saw an opportunity to expand across the Obari Ocean. Keleshite agents instigated slave revolts that ultimately overthrew the government of Pharaoh Menedes XXVI in 1532 AR in a bloodless coup that ended thousands of years of pharaonic rule, and replaced him with a Qadiran satrap named Xerbystes I; Osirion would remain a satrapy of the Empire of Kelesh for the next 700 years.9
During this period, thousands of Keleshites migrated across the Obari Ocean in their pursuit of fortunes in this age-old realm, eventually splitting the nation into two distinct traditions, one Keleshite and one Garundi. Among these newcomers were fervent followers of the goddess Sarenrae, whose worshipers became ironically radicalized against corruption in the Keleshite government. By 2217 AR, a sect of Sarenrae known as the Cult of the Dawnflower held enough sway that the Qadiri satrapy viewed it as a threat, and the cult's leaders were driven into exile in the western desert.910
In 2253 AR, the Cult assassinated the last Qadiran satrap and declared independence ending their exile and leading to the establishment of a line of independent Keleshite sultans that would continue for the next two millennia. 811
After 3,000 years of foreign control, Garundi control of Osirion was restored in 4609 AR when the Keleshite sultan was overthrown and replaced by Prince Khemet I, who traced his ancestry back to the ancient pharaohs. Khemet I was succeeded by his son Khemet II, who in turn was followed by his son, the current ruler Khemet III.811 Under his rule, parts of the country have been opened to foreign treasure hunters and researchers.12 Khemet III, also known as the Ruby Prince, ended this exploration after the rise of Hakotep I, the Sky Pharaoh, and the discovery of the Night Heralds's plans. While officially sanctioned explorations are no longer allowed, thieves from Osirion and other nations lead illegal expeditions.13
The Ruby Prince Khemet III rules as the divine monarch from his capital of Sothis. His chief advisor is the invisible fire elemental Janhelia. Some fear that Khemet is becoming embroiled in the complex politics of the elemental clans that inhabit Osirion's desert regions. Khemet and his family are protected by an elite unit known as the Risen Guard. While Khemet's rule is absolute, the day-to-day administration of Osirion is handled by the Council of Sun and Sky. In theory the Council is an independent body, but most Osirians realise the true power is held by the Ruby Prince.14
This primarily desert nation occupies the northeastern corner of the continent of Garund. It is bordered on the north by the Inner Sea and the east by the Obari Ocean. Its western border (where it meets the nation of Thuvia) is delineated by the banks of the Junira River, while the Barrier Wall and the Brazen Peaks provide a natural barrier to the south where Osirion's former holding of Katapesh stretches into further expanses of desert. The two mountain ranges are separated by the Kho-Rarne Pass which leads to the Mwangi Expanse.15
The desert interior dominates the country, which contains some of the largest arid wastelands on Golarion.16 The western desert has the Alamein Peninsula on the north coast, while to its west lie the the Cliffs of Kusha-ta-Pahk; to the east of the peninsular is the Coast of Graves. South of the peninsular is the Glazen Sheets, separated from the Footprints of Rovagug by the Scarab River. The central desert has the Sahure Wastes to the north and the Parched Dunes to the south. Separating them are the mountain range known as the Pillars of the Sun. The desert is then bisected by the mighty Sphinx River. Most of the country's major cities lie on the river or its tributaries, with the capital, Sothis, at the mouth where it reaches the Inner Sea. The eastern desert has the impressive Underdunes to the north and the Salt Hills to the south, separated by the Shining Mountains. Features of the eastern coastline include the Burning Cape and the Scorpion Coast.15
Osirion could not exist without the Sphinx River and its tributaries (the Asp and the Crook). They provide a year-long source of fresh water to this otherwise inhospitable land, and it is not surprising that the vast majority of the nation's inhabitants live along their banks. The rivers are not without danger, however, as they flood seasonally and are also home to the black-scaled crocodiles known as hetkoshu.16
Osirians are perpetually reminded that they reside in the lingering shadow of their once-magnificent history. Throughout Osirion's landscape, remnants of the past abound. Here, you'll find the recently unveiled Slave Trenches of Hakotep, revealed to be an expansive elemental engine. There, the remnants of Tumen, Osirion's former capital, lie buried beneath desert sands, a result of sandstorms following the death of the Four Pharaohs of Ascension. For every renowned legendary site, countless more remain undiscovered.13
Osirians are wise people who look deep into the past for answers to present troubles. Their sense of history gives them a unique perspective on the ebb and flow of power in the political landscape of the modern Inner Sea region. Many folk of Osirion are of old Garundi blood, bronze-skinned, and gifted with the noble bearing of the ancient pharaohs.17 A nomadic offshoot of the Garundi, the Yerbira, inhabit Osirion's western desert.18
The nomadic Shemtej catfolk roam amongst the most remote and dangerous reaches of Osirion's deserts in free-wheeling caravan trains. Believed by many in the region to be the divinely-blessed children of the cat-headed protector goddess Bastet, they are also believed to ward against many of the deserts most dangerous an evil spirits.19
- See also: Osirian pantheon
The most common religions are those of Abadar, Nethys, and Pharasma, but despite the efforts of the Keleshite rulers of the past, the worship of Osirion's native beast-headed pantheon has continued to the present.20 The shaven-headed Osirian priests usually wear white robes with fringed kirtles, and sometimes ornate pectorals or headscarves, veils, or metal or leather masks.20
The churches of Sarenrae, Nethys, and Pharasma have played a particularly prominent role in Osirian history. Osirian worshippers of Irori tend to cluster in isolated communities in valleys among the Barrier Wall and Brazen Peaks, including the Temple of An-Alak in the Salt Hills, the Stepped Tower of Djedefar on the Alamein Peninsula, and the ritual center of the Monastery of Tar Kuata beyond the Footprints of Rovagug.21
Spellcasters in Osirion have access to some unique spells and abilities. Those practised in metamagic can convert a spell into a thanatopic spell, which can pierce wards against negative energy or use negative energy effects to destroy undead, or a threnodic spell, which can convert mind-affecting spells into effects capable of influencing or controlling undead.22 The country's most infamous tome of necromancy are the papyrus scrolls known as the Aleh Almaktoum, the Book of the Dead, found in the collections of Osirian archmages.23 Several uncommon spells are familiar to Osirian magicians, including boneshatter, canopic conversion, sands of time, spectral saluqi, and tomb legion.23
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- A large poster map of Osirion is included in Mummy's Mask Poster Map Folio.
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- In a timeline in Gazetteer 19, Paizo suggested the founding of Osirion was "c. -3472 AR". Later publications more precisely specified the founding year as -3470 AR.
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 34. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Land of the Pharaohs” in Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs, 5. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- Gazetteer, 47. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 212. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 35. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Land of the Pharaohs” in Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs, 4. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Land of the Pharaohs” in Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs, 7. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 147. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 149. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 53. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 147–148. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 148. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 146. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Joshua J. Frost and Nicolas Logue. (June 12, 2008). Exploring Paizo's Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Part 3, Paizo Blog.
- “Land of the Pharaohs” in Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs, 20. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., .
- “Faith: Cults of Osirion” in Osirion, Land of Pharaohs, 24. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Osirion” in Osirion, Land of Pharaohs, 8–9. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Magic: Spells of the Dead” in Osirion, Land of Pharaohs, 27. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Magic: Spells of the Dead” in Osirion, Land of Pharaohs, 27–28. Paizo Inc., 2008 .