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Empire of Kelesh

Padishah Empire of Kelesh
Imperial monarchy
Keleshite or Kelish
Source: Qadira, Gateway to the East, pg(s). 3–5 (1E)
World Guide, pg(s). 57 (2E)
This article covers the Padishah Empire. For the language, see Kelish. For the family of human ethnicities, see Keleshite.

The vast Padishah Empire of Kelesh dominates much of south-central Casmaron, along the Obari Ocean's large Kardaji Bay. It grew during the Age of Destiny, and its line of emperors has been unbroken for thousands of years. Half-a-dozen satrapies the size of countries separate Qadira from the imperial heartland of Kelesh. Each satrapy pays homage to the decrees of the empire, but the grip of the empire is looser the farther one goes north.4


The Empire of Kelesh first rose to prominence in the Inner Sea region at the end of the Age of Destiny. Guided by its merchants, Keleshite warriors invaded what today is Qadira, raising the green battle flag emblazoned with the Black Blade of War. In -43 AR, the Padishah Emperor Adalan IV approved of the conquest and the Silver Blade of Kings was added to the Qadiran flag. Soon thereafter, Qadira became a satrapy to be ruled by the emperor's subordinate, the Satrap Cerush.546

A civil war engulfed the empire from roughly 4067 AR to 4079 AR, leading to widespread disorder. This freed the satrap of Qadira, Gheber III, to act on his own and attack Taldor. That war, in turn, drew so much of Taldor's military to its eastern border, that its western prefecture of Cheliax achieved independence in the Even-Tongued Conquest.7


In addition to the Imperial Lands, the empire is organized into numerous satrap states, the westernmost of which is Qadira in Avistan. The empire also makes claim to the Windswept Wastes.8 The power of the emperor has been supported for thousands of years through the exploitation of wishcrafting by bound genies, powerful elementalists, and esoteric mathematicians. The control of the emperor is strongest in the south and declines as one travels northwards, with the horse nomads of the Windswept Wastes given more autonomy.4

Satrap states

The following are just three of Kelesh's many satrapies:


The country is criss-crossed by the overland trade route known as the Golden Path. It begins in Vudra and travels through the heart of Kelesh, ending in the Qadiran capital of Katheer. Its exports include silk, philosophy, drugs, and bronzework. Chelish, Taldan, Kellid, and even Ulfen pilgrims of the goddess Sarenrae, whose worship is believed to have begun in Kelesh, can often be found traveling along the route to visit her many holy shrines there. The best known of these pilgrimage sites is the Everlight Oasis, where Sarenrae's faithful come to bathe in its rejuvenating waters, but unfortunately also are relieved of their possessions by unscrupulous merchants and bandits.9


Many of the inhabitants are Keleshites. Six distinct cultures are historically considered the founding peoples of Kelesh, each associated with a virtue:10

Culture Virtue Region
Althameri Zeal Traditionally nomadic; deep desert holds
Aishmayar Grace Unknown; predates Althameri
Khattibi Inventiveness Historical Empire of Khattib; Casmaron's southern coast
Midean Elegance Historical Empire of Midea; Khardaji Bay
Susianam Adaptability Nomadic; associated with waters, irrigation, and navies
Tzorehiyi Honor Steppes and grasslands of Casmaron

Other ethnic groups not considered to be Kelesh also live in the Padishah Empire. These include the Amai Birti, Beshzens, Garundi, Jalunahs, Karas, Mishyrians, Ninshaburians, Qalahs, Tians, Vudrani, and the Yenchaburians.11

Qittaj catfolk roam between the various oases and cities both across the heartlands and various satrapies of Kelesh. Wandering traders and fierce devotees of Sarenrae, when Qittaj caravans reach the cities they tend to congregate around the hustle and bustle of each city's marketplaces.12 Div-blooded cambions, more commonly known as spitespawn, are one of the more common cambion heritages found across Kelesh. Their spiteful, joyless nature making them the ultimate false friends, most can only feel anything approaching happiness when destroying the joy of others.13


The sun goddess Sarenrae is the empire's patron deity. In the early years of the Age of Enthronement, many missionaries from the empire spread the faith into the Inner Sea,8 leading to much political upheaval in Garund.4 Other gods of Kelesh include Abadar, Irori, and foul Rovagug.14

Nomadic horse lords dominate the central deserts and western steppes of Kelesh's domain, in the a region called the Windswept Wastes, but they too must pay their respect to their distant rulers. Though these ethnic Keleshites worship many of the same gods as their heartland emperors, the horse lords also have their own unique beliefs and legends, notably that of Namzaruum.9


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Brian Cortijo. Qadira” in Qadira, Gateway to the East, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2009
  2. Brian Cortijo. “Society” in Qadira, Gateway to the East, 15. Paizo Inc., 2009
  3. Erik Mona, et al. Golden Road” in World Guide, 57. Paizo Inc., 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 204. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. Brian Cortijo. Qadira” in Qadira, Gateway to the East, 3. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 150–151. Paizo Inc., 2011
  7. Brian Cortijo. Qadira” in Qadira, Gateway to the East, 4. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. 8.0 8.1 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 153. Paizo Inc., 2008
  9. 9.0 9.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 205. Paizo Inc., 2011
  10. Jessica Price. (January 12, 2017). Peoples of Qadira, Paizo blog.
  11. Jessica Price. “People of Qadira” in Qadira, Jewel of the East, 27. Paizo Inc., 2017
  12. David N. Ross. Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., 2021
  13. Colin McComb & Hal Maclean. “Tiefling Heritages” in Blood of Fiends, 21. Paizo Inc., 2012
  14. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 1: Characters” in Campaign Setting, 25. Paizo Inc., 2008