- This article covers the nation of Katapesh. For information on the city of the same name, see Katapesh (city).
Katapesh is a nation of trade located on the eastern coast of Garund that sells all conceivable goods, no matter how mundane or bizarre. Traders converge on the nation's bazaars from around the world, even from other planes. Pesh and slaves are two of its major exports.1
In 2216 AR, the Templars of the Five Winds, led by the jaathoom2 Nefeshti, came to the region to free other jaathooms enslaved by the genie binder Kirnoth.1 The next year, the Sarenite priestess Vedie brought her followers to the area, having fled religious persecution in Osirion. They eventually founded the cities of Solku and Katapesh, but gradually drifted from their faith. Due to constant assaults by bandits and gnolls and battered by destructive sandstorms, they instead began to embrace things that were more concrete.34
Soon thereafter, they discovered that the sap of a local yet rare cactus named pesh could be distilled into a powerfully euphoric and mildly addictive drug. Demand for the new drug soon led to a boom in the Katapeshi economy as new customers came calling from all over the Inner Sea region, but the new wealth also brought in gangs who fought each other and pesh dens full of the helplessly addicted. Eventually the newly prosperous merchants started diversifying their trade and the economy stabilized under the direction of corrupt merchants and criminals.4
The mysterious Pactmasters who now rule Katapesh arrived out of nowhere in 3725 AR, took over the city of Katapesh, and established a powerful nation with economic ties throughout the kingdoms of the Inner Sea. They did so in a bloodless coup that has never been explained, then stabilized and formalized the chaotic markets.364
The inhuman Pactmasters form a ruling council that imposes few laws on Katapesh, allowing a nearly anarchic state of free trade. The Pactmasters use the golem-like aluums to keep the peace and enforce the few existing laws. The human Pactbroker Hashim ibn Sayyid serves the Pactmasters as the day-to-day manager of the government and the Pactmaster's voice.3
Foreign relations are handled by a network of hired humans and friendly merchants. Most nations, with the exception of slavery-hating Andoran, are on good terms with Katapesh; the Andoren Gray Corsairs sank three Katapeshi slave ships in 4705 AR.3
Katapesh encompasses many different land types and climates. To the north the Brazen Peaks mountains block the way to Osirion. Foothills and mountain passes offer passage to the northern country but, because of the ferocious gnolls of the Brazen Peaks, most travelers prefer to reach Osirion by ship. South of the mountains, warm green savannas stretch for miles where tall trees offer moderate shade. Thin rivers and still pools provide water for the animals like camelopards, Katapeshi lions, gazelles, and more. Around a few hot spots where there are underground heat vents, the water turns murky and sulfurous, fostering small jungles.7
Farther south still, the plains dry up into arid stretches of desert. This area is considered the breadbasket of Katapesh from which its citizens' livelihoods spring. The farmers there use the bulbous, spiny cacti to produce pesh, a pleasantly euphoric, mildly addictive drug.8 To the west, the deserts shift to rocky flatland that rises to become the Barrier Wall mountains. The eastern jagged coastline of Katapesh along the Obari Ocean creates numerous natural harbors for the ships. The satellite island in the Obari Ocean holds the second-most important city of the nation of Katapesh, Okeno.7
Most settlements and inland trade routes are around the edge of Katapesh.1
The weather in Katapesh tends to be fairly stable and dry year-round. The western and northern mountains push any moisture south, leaving the north of the country much drier than the southern savannah. Twice a year, the prevailing winds off the Obari Ocean collide with warm, moisture-filled fronts from the Mwangi Expanse, creating fierce thunderstorms throughout the land, which can last for several weeks. These rains provide the majority of precipitation for the year and fill small endorheic lakes throughout the drier lands, creating small, temporary oases.7
Katapesh's predominant religion is Abadar's faith, particularly among the people who work and live in the famous markets of Katapesh. Sarenrae, the goddess of the sun, enjoys the largest following after Abadar. Her admirable paladins play a major role in defending the nation, while cultists of Rovagug seek to destroy Sarenrae's followers. Desna, Gozreh, Nethys, and Pharasma also enjoy moderate followings in Katapesh. Most of the gnoll tribes of Katapesh revere Lamashtu.8
Katapesh's inhabitants are a diverse lot, dominated by Keleshite humans but intermixed with traders from across Golarion. The most common human ethnicities found in Katapesh are Garundi, Keleshite, and Vudrani.9 The Badawi, the desert natives in Katapesh, are nearly all Keleshites.10
Many dwarven settlements, abandoned or still occupied, are located on the Barrier Wall mountains.9 Local halflings command good wages as hired servants to traders and merchants.11 Most of the gnomes in present-day Katapesh live in the city of Katapesh, and the town of Finderplain has stood for 300 years as a waypoint for gnomes traveling south of the Inner Sea.9
Div-blooded cambions,12 commonly known as spitespawn, also live in Katapesh and are most often found peddling false friendships that eventually enable them to destroy the happiness of those closest to them.13
As the ruling Pactmasters offer no governmental protection from internal or external threats, most communities and individuals who can afford them rely on paid mercenaries for protection, leading to a lucrative market for the hired warriors.4
Gnolls are native to Katapesh and are the nation's most recognized threat. Gnolls consider Katapesh their eternal birthplace, and attack settlements and raid caravans not only for the joy of the kill and the profit it brings but also out of fervent pride. Hundreds of gnolls make their homes in the mountains, most notably White Canyon and Pale Mountain. Gnoll slavers also appear in Okeno and Katapesh with slaves for sale. Katapeshi gnolls belong to one of five packs: Carrion tribe, Duenas, Razor Fang, Sandstalkers and Spotted Hide.14
Katapesh is home to several unique species, such as the antelope-like calopi, leopard-spotted camelopards, venomous dhabbas, scavenging geiers, and lycanthropic jackalweres.15 More common creatures such as lions, bulettes, and hyenas can also be found here in abundance, along with the rarer pugwampis and genie warlords.4 Harpies also flourish in the wilder reaches of Katapesh and are such a common threat that slave traders will often bedeck their least valuable slaves in gaudy fake jewellery in the hopes that the harpies will leave the rest alone.16
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 90. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Paizo referred to jaathooms as djinn until the publication of Rage of Elements. See Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pg. 2.
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 91. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 51–52. Paizo Inc., .
- Osirion, Legacy of Pharaohs, 7. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Timeline” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 26. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 3. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Katapesh” in Legacy of Fire Player's Guide, 12. Paizo Inc., .
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 15. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Braving the Desert” in Legacy of Fire Player's Guide, 20. Paizo Inc., .
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 11. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- Paizo referred to cambion planar scions as tieflings until the publication of Player Core. These cambions are unrelated to the type of demon with the same name.
- “Tiefling Heritages” in Blood of Fiends, 21. Paizo Inc., .
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 15–16. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 16–17. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Harpy” in Mythical Monsters Revisited, 26. Paizo Inc., .