Jistka Imperium

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Jistka Imperium

Source: Lost Kingdoms, pg(s). 34ff. (1E)
World Guide, pg(s). 50 (2E)
A Jistkan behemoth golem, a fiendish automaton.

The Jistka Imperium (pronounced JIHST-kuh)1 was the first human kingdom to establish itself in the Inner Sea region after the centuries of darkness and devastation caused by Earthfall.2 It lasted from approximately -4120 AR until -2764 AR, and at its height controlled an area that covered what today is southwestern Cheliax and northwestern Garund.34 Its citizens spoke a nearly forgotten language called Jistka, whose alphabet became the basis of the alphabets of the modern languages of Skald, Varisian, and Taldane.5


The Jistka Imperium ruled over north-western Garund from the early years of the Age of Anguish (ca. -4120 AR), through the first 700 years of the Age of Destiny. At is height (in ca. -3500 AR) it dominated all of northwestern Garund and also parts of southwestern Avistan.6 This is evidenced in the Chelish cities of Westcrown and Corentyn, where some of the deepest and oldest ruins are clearly of Jistkan design.78

One of the first documented sightings of a Spawn of Rovagug, the festering Ulunat, was recorded in -3729 AR in the Jistka Imperium. Accounts tell that six of Jistka's finest legions were sent to combat "a sky-filling darkness that flies on four hellish wings, vomiting always death". The fate of these legions is unknown, although they certainly did not destroy the monstrosity.9

Around -3490 AR, mages of the Jistka Imperium began tapping into now forgotten magic that allowed them to bind and control genies, greatly enhancing the Imperium's power.3

Weakened by raids of desert nomads and attacks by powerful outsiders from ca. -3300 AR onwards, and the lack of a strong eastern trade route, led to the slow decline of Jistka.1011 The newly-risen kingdoms of Ancient Osirion and the Tekritanin League were simply easier for Jistka's eastern trade partners to reach.12

In addition to the economic pressure put on Jistka by its eastern neighbors, came their eventual military push for expansion. Osirion, then a burgeoning kingdom under the control of the powerful Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues pushed westward, forming an alliance with the Tekritanin League. Together, they overthrew already weakened Jistka, and the Imperium was plunged into numerous succession wars around -2764 AR, from which it was never again able to recover its former political, military, and economic power.1113 Because of this military and economic defeat, the important cultural, magical, and technological advances of the Jistka Imperium were largely lost and forgotten.6


Little is known of these truly ancient people, as time has erased most remnants of this once great culture, although it is assumed that they were of the Garundi ethnicity.14 At their height, the people of the Jistka Imperium were known for their great mechanical aptitude, which they overwhelmingly used to conquer other, less advanced, peoples. As the first human civilization to reemerge during the Age of Anguish, they brought the advances of culture back to the primitive peoples of Garund and Avistan, showing the way for others to follow.15

They are known to have used magically controlled bulettes as part of their armed forces. After the decline of the Imperium, these creatures simply reverted to their wild state and still plague that land.16

Jistkan ruins

Little remains of this truly ancient empire, having been lost to the passing years, the sands of the desert, or by adoption by other cultures.12 Few actual ruins remain, although most that do can be found in the modern nation of Rahadoum. They carry such names as the Hanging City of Teskra, Lost Yemal, and the Tomb of Emperors.17 Ruins in Avistan are extant but less common, and include the remnants of the ancient temple-forge Rachikan in southwestern Cheliax at the delta of the Maiestas River,18 and the coastal ruins of Nicyruse near to the modern city of Hinji.19

Modern-day influence

When Aligois Thels reorganised the Hellknights, he based their ranks and organisation on the legions of Jistka.20


Paizo published a chapter about the Jistka Imperium in Lost Kingdoms.

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

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 154. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tanya DePass, et al. Golden Road” in World Guide, 50. Paizo Inc., 2019
  4. Wolfgang Baur, et al. Lost Kingdoms, inside front cover. Paizo Inc., 2012
  5. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 220. Paizo Inc., 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 212–3. Paizo Inc., 2011
  7. James Jacobs, et al. Council of Thieves Player's Guide, 12. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. Jeff Quick. Corentyn” in Cities of Golarion, 21. Paizo Inc., 2009
  9. Clinton Boomer. “The Spawn of Rovagug” in The Final Wish, 50. Paizo Inc., 2009
  10. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 201. Paizo Inc., 2008
  11. 11.0 11.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 34–35. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 222. Paizo Inc., 2008
  13. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 186–187. Paizo Inc., 2011
  14. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 14. Paizo Inc., 2011
  15. James Jacobs, et al. Humans of Golarion” in Humans of Golarion, 5–6. Paizo Inc., 2011
  16. Joshua J. Frost. Bulette” in Dungeon Denizens Revisited, 8. Paizo Inc., 2009
  17. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 14. Paizo Inc., 2009
  18. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 56. Paizo Inc., 2011
  19. Wolfgang Baur, et al. Jistka Imperium” in Lost Kingdoms, 38. Paizo Inc., 2012
  20. F. Wesley Schneider. “Path of the Hellknight” in The Infernal Syndrome, 66. Paizo Inc., 2010