Galt (pronounced GALT)1 is a land in the Shining Kingdoms of northeastern Avistan where once high ideals have been laid low and mob rule has led to chaos. Galt was once a vassal nation of Cheliax, but also known for its free thinkers, poets, and artists. After the death of Aroden and the rise of House Thrune in Cheliax, the people of Galt decided to throw off their foreign rulers, along with their own nobles who had colluded with them. The Red Revolution followed in which many, many nobles lost their heads. The problem was the executions did not end the bloodshed and, within five years, the severed heads of the ministers of the first government rolled down the steps of the guillotines. In the decades since, over a dozen governments have ruled Galt, rising and falling like the waves of a stormy sea.234
Galt has always been a nation of free thinkers and radicals renowned for brilliant poets, artists, and philosophers whose ideas shaped the politics of the whole of Avistan. Despite being acquired by Cheliax during the Even-Tongued Conquest, which commenced in 4081 AR following Cheliax's secession during the Taldan conflict with Qadira, Galt continued to uphold this image. It drew independent thinkers to its prestigious universities and adventurers to its unspoiled forests.2
Galt's tumultuous fall into mob anarchy began after the ascension of House Thrune in Cheliax in 4640 AR. Seeing the blatant devilry and capricious cruelty of their new masters, dissent began to bubble up in Galt. One of the most elegant proponents of this unrest was by the half-elf philosopher Hosetter, who wrote the scathing political essays Imperial Betrayal. These essays helped increase dislike of Imperial Cheliax and spread dissent across Galt, Andoran, and even into the heartland of Cheliax itself. Then Darl Jubannich, the poet of Woodsedge, capitalised on this by publishing his own attack on Cheliax and the concept of the divine right of kings called On Government. This created further hatred of the new government of Cheliax which quickly blossomed into all-out rebellion. Mobs tore down all the symbols of Chelish oppression and executed those they felt were sympathisers, predominantly the nobility. Queen Abrogail I responded heavy-handedly to these rebels, which only served to further incite the polity, and Galt finally declared independence in 4667 AR. Soon Hosetter and Jubannich, along with other heroes of the revolution, formed the Revolutionary Council to rule the newly-independent nation. One of the council's first decrees was the creation of the final blades, Galt's feared magical guillotines. Little did they understand the beast they had created, for within five years the first Revolutionary Council had been overthrown by another set of bloodthirsty revolutionaries who wanted change and executed the first council as counter-revolutionaries. This began the cycle of bloodshed and revolution after revolution that has lead to Galt's decline into a nation inhabited by mobs of paranoid, revolutionary fanatics.673
Since the death of Hosetter, there have been over a dozen governments in Galt, none able to govern effectively. Galt's cities, formerly centers of art and learning, have fallen into ruin. Without a strong central government, Galt's armed forces have collapsed, allowing brigands and fell beasts to flourish in the wilds. The current Revolutionary Council replaced many previous incarnations including the Cabinet of Skulls, the Cailean Council, the Common Council, the Eye of Law,3 and the Galtcreed Pact.8
Galt is located on the easternmost edge of Avistan, and is bordered by the River Kingdoms to the north, Kyonin to the west, and Taldor to the south; to the east lie the vast Whistling Plains of Casmaron. Galt is a fertile area of predominantly plains but also boasts several large forests within its borders, such as the Verduran Forest and the Boarwood. It contains several beautiful cities, and before the revolution, the capital of Isarn was renowned as a city that bordered on a work of art.69
Government is a fickle thing in Galt and few who claim power keep their heads for more than a few years. The Revolutionary Council that rules Galt changes leadership with shocking regularity as a new group of bloodthirsty revolutionaries claim power, although the previous governing council had been in power longer than most.4 The current chairman of the Revolutionary Council is Camilia Drannoch, a citizen of Galt who lost her mother to the final blades at a young age and seeks the end of their usage. She seeks allies in other countries, including, unusually, in Geb, with the hopes that their knowledge of undeath will help free the souls from the blades.10
For over a decade, the previous chairman, Citizen Korran Goss, a talented demagogue, skillfully managed to unite the council by diverting the mob's anger away from himself and the council, attributing Galt's problems to neighboring nations, particular Andoran.63 However, like many leaders before him, Korran became the target of a brutal wave of violence that not even his immense charisma could control. Citizen Camilia Drannoch firmly believes that Korran's tendency to attribute Galt's problems to external forces only exacerbated the country's plight. During her tenure, the Revolutionary Council has ostensibly initiated a campaign to eliminate rogue elements and destabilizing influences within Galt. However, in numerous instances, this endeavor has primarily served as a means for Camilia to maneuver the mob into ousting those who could challenge her authority.4
Even though the Revolutionary Council makes most of the decisions in Galt, a legislature of elected senators exists, and is supposed to look after the interest of the common citizens. Originally composed of 300 representatives, their number has dwindled down to around 100 thanks to the Gray Gardeners, Galt's executioners. New elections are supposed to happen every eight years, but have been continuously postponed due to internal conflicts for decades. Because there is no practical way of replacing these senators, their presence provides a small modicum of stability in the otherwise anarchic nation. Even though their power is largely ceremonial, the senators still meet monthly for week-long sessions of posturing, demagoguery, and debate, and no one achieves political power in Galt without their support.3
The only stability in the government of Galt are the Gray Gardeners, the executioners of Galt. They maintain their power and safety through anonymity, as no member can ever be targeted by an angry mob, and most fear the threat of execution via a final blade should they move against the organization. Because of this, no Gray Gardener has ever unmasked themself. The Gray Gardeners are based in the city of Litran, rather than the capital Isarn, home of the Revolutionary Council.674 As artifacts, the final blades have demonstrated a strong resistance to physical damage, but there are rumors circulating in Isarn that covert operatives have discovered a ritual capable of destroying the last remaining blades and thereby releasing all the trapped souls within them.4
Until recently, Galt's neighbors worried that Galt would send bloodthirsty mobs over its borders due to the xenophobic rhetoric of the previous chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Korran Goss.3
Andoran, once sympathetic to Galt's anti-aristocratic ideals, has closed its borders in the Verduran Forest to Galtan refugees. Ever since the revolution broke down into bloody mayhem, Andoren leadership has been afraid that the chaos might spread to them, as Andoran was founded with many of the same guiding principles as Galt's revolution.36
A few exiled members of Galt's nobility fled to the River Kingdoms, where they have been amassing armies of mercenaries to eventually take back their homeland. The two most prominent of these Revenant Princes are Lord Halidan Tarne and his cousin, Casal Tarne. While Halidan leads regular raids into Galt, Casal prefers to bide his time and gather his forces, waiting for the perfect time to strike and bring down the Revolutionary Council.3
Taldor takes a dim view of the revolutionaries to its north. All travelers from Galt are searched and a worrying number of handbills insisting that the Taldan people rise up and overthrow the government have been discovered in caravans and ships. Some of the senatorial class would like to send the military north to end the revolutionary nation once and for all.11 The prefecture of Northern Tandak is particularly strained due to an influx of penniless nobles exiled from their Galtan homes combined with the 'soft invasions' of bandits and brigands from the north. This has left a substantial strain on the territory's resources and frustrated the regional government.12
The elven lands to the west are separated from Galt by the Sellen River and the elves monitor this border carefully. The elves are somewhat sympathetic to the harried refugee camps on the other side of the river but such sentiments do not extend to allowing Galtan exiles access to their lands.13 Despite not allowing Galtans to cross into Kyonin, representatives of the elven government have recently established a minor presence in Isarn.4
Galtans were once renowned for their free-thinking and lust for life, but during the long years of revolution this has slowly turned bitter and violent. They have become fanatical, revolutionary zealots, and their lust for life has turned into a bloodlust towards those they perceive as responsible for the terrible conditions now prevalent in their land. All too often, the residents of Galt are forced into homelessness, as the infrastructure of Galt has long since collapsed and food has become a scarce commodity. The people of Galt are generally distrustful of strangers, which was not helped by the previous chairman of the Revolutionary Council's fiery rhetoric that blamed all of Galt's problems on outsiders. As such, few foreigners visit Galt and those who do have to be very careful that their neck does not end up meeting one of the feared guillotines of Galt.6
Even though foreigners must constantly be on the lookout for roving bands of bloodthirsty mobs, Galt does attract some adventurers from outside of the country. They sometimes come to loot the hastily abandoned homes of departed nobles or else seek to reclaim a lost birthright.2
Since the revolution, the worship of the demon lord of traps, Andirifkhu, has been on the rise across Galt. Her worshippers tend to focus on Andirifkhu's mastery of mechanised forms of execution and torture. While Andirifkhu worshippers are usually lone fanatics, those operating in Galt tend to form small cells of up to half a dozen followers. Luckily for the people of Galt, these cells still remain isolated and have shown little interest in cooperation with each other.14
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- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 70. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 71. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Shining Kingdoms” in World Guide, 126. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Life in Taldor” in Taldor, the First Empire, 11. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 74–75. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- Gazetteer, 31–32. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Exploring the Darklands” in Into the Darklands, 5. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- Campaign Setting, Poster Map. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Camilia Drannoch” in Legends, 38–39. Paizo Inc., 2020 .
- “Taldor, Empire in Decline” in Taldor, Echoes of Glory, 10. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Gazetteer” in Taldor, the First Empire, 28. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Kyonin” in A Memory of Darkness, 52. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 16–17. Paizo Inc., 2017 .