Gateway to the West
Goka is a free city-state on the western coast of Tian Xia. Formerly part of Imperial Lung Wa, it broke free when the empire collapsed and is now enjoying a golden age of trade and prosperity. Goka is a vital port city that rivals Absalom and Katapesh in size and diversity, and serves as a gateway to Tian Xia for travelers from the west.1
Control over Goka has switched between numerous governments over the years. Goka was founded in 313 AR by Xhai Xen Xiao, a brilliant visionary architect and priest of Abadar.2 Unfortunately, his brilliance brought him into conflict with his superiors and he was forced to flee Imperial Yixing. Shortly after Goka's founding, it was visited by the Empress Yin of the Yixing empire. When she was still young, her greedy advisors took her on a tour of the then-burgeoning settlement, hoping to persuade her to allow them to annex it. Instead, Empress Yin fell in love with the freewheeling spirit of the city and declared it as an independent city state, exempt from the rule of the Yixing.3 Unfortunately, Xhai Xen Xiao died a mere three years after this in 329 AR.2
In 1310 AR, Goka opened for trade with distant Avistan, ushering in a new era of wealth and prosperity. After the fall of Imperial Yixing in 3076 AR, Goka went through a long cycle of foreign rule then self governance, always weathering the political situation of the time.3 Since the end of Imperial Lung Wa, Goka has become fully independent, and achieved a golden age as a free city.1 The Golden League made its way to Goka after its exile from Minkai in 4580 AR.4
For Goka, geography is destiny. Goka is situated within the only significant break in the Wall of Heaven mountain range which is otherwise all but impassable. Goka sits on the Embaral Ocean and, as such, is the primary trade port for the distant continents of Avistan, Casmaron, and Garund. The mountains of the Wall of Heaven may loom large over the city but its fantastic skyline also draws the eye of those arriving by sea. Goka also controls significant amounts of land beyond the city's walls, including the town of Langkhu.3
Goka boasts not one but two mysterious under cities. Over the four thousand years of its existence, Goka has built up an extensive network of buried chambers that stretch beneath the entire city and even beneath Xu Hong Bay known as the Undermarket. The deeper one travels into the Undermarket, the more dangerous it gets, as the black markets and illegal dwellings give way to cult cathedrals, haunted catacombs, and worse. Beneath even this lies a series of caverns that link to the Darklands and a hidden community known only as the Deepmarket.3
Goka uses a parliamentary form of government that includes two tiers of officials each containing 54 members; the Foundation Stones, which consists of nobility and other important figures who hold permanent seats, and the Ridge Boards, who are elected every 5 years and require recommendation. Ultimately, both of these bodies answer to Empress Nai Yan Fei.5
Current members of parliament include:
The people of Goka are renowned as inveterate gamblers and this infuses every layer of society. Gambling opportunities range from low-stakes games of Tiam Jeuk all the way up to the decadent drake-racing favoured by the city's elites. Tournaments are a regular part of life in Goka as they give the skilled gambler an opportunity to engage in direct competition with their peers.3 The most famous of these tournaments, without a doubt, is the Ruby Phoenix Tournament.6
Goka's inhabitants come from across Tian Xia and included Tians of every possible heritage. The main city is also home to a melting pot of other races including empyreans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, aiuvarins, dromaars, halflings, kitsune, nagaji, samsarans, and tengus. Beneath the city the Under and Deepmarket are also home to a wide variety of other inhabitants including caligni, a large number of ratfolk, xulgaths, and wayangs.3 Goka is home to a large number of cambions, particularly around the Scale district, and many fall into a life of crime as enforcers for the nearby wharf-side gangs.7
Goka is home to a unique order known as the Butterfly Blades. The descendants of a tradition that dates all the way back to ancient Yixing, these skilled killers now serve Goka's ruler, eliminating threats with their namesake weapons and keeping the fractious nobility in line.8
Unfortunately, Goka has always had a problem with evil cults, in particular the cults of Fumeiyoshi, Lamashtu, and Lady Nanbyo, that seem to regularly spring up, making the city even more dangerous.3 The darkness beneath Goka is also host to Onmyuza, the so called "Dancer in Flesh", an oni daimyo almost as powerful as a demigod. Onmyuza keeps a concealed complex somewhere below the streets of Goka and engages in acts of physical debauchery that would make even Goka's most jaded hedonists blanch in horror.9
The founder of Goka was a priest of Abadar and his church has remained a prominent religion in the city.10 The largest Abadaran church also serves as the Grand Bank and is home to Hao Jin's legendary vault.11
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 208. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 16. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 24. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 17. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Goka” in Ready? Fight!, 62. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Welcome to the Metropolis” in Heroes of the Streets, 6. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Blood of Fiends” in Blood of Fiends, 8. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Enemies of Rule” in Heroes of the High Court, 24. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 126. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Goka” in Ready? Fight!, 61. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Ready? Fight!” in Ready? Fight!, 5. Paizo Inc., 2021 .