The nation of Rahadoum (pronounced rah-ha-DOOM)1 in northwestern Garund is unusual in that it is the only nation known to have forbidden the practice of any and all religions within its borders.2 Its founding principle can be summed up by a single phrase: "let no mortal be beholden to a god".3
- See also: Timeline of Rahadoum
The region now known as Rahadoum was the site of the first human kingdom to establish itself after the devastation of Earthfall. The Jistka Imperium was formed in -4120 AR and soon came to dominate northern Garund and even some neighbouring areas of southwestern Avistan.2
During the third millennium of the Age of Enthronement, the faith of Sarenrae began to spread across northern Garund. When it arrived in this northwestern corner, it came into conflict with the two previously established religions. The result was the Oath Wars that began in 2498 AR, a long and bloody religious conflict that inflicted untold devastation on the region.25
In 2555 AR, the folk of the city-state of Azir put an end to the religious conflict in their settlement by burning down all the temples and banishing all clerics from their territory. A new philosophy was introduced to replace religion that came to be known as the Laws of Mortality. The Laws of Mortality spread quickly across the region, and the other city-states likewise abolished religion, swore to uphold the new Laws, and were welcomed into what became the nation of Rahadoum in 2560 AR, ending the Oath Wars.26
Since then, any religious practice has remained banned in Rahadoum. This has brought peace from religious conflict, but a number of problems over the centuries have led to dark mutterings that the gods are punishing the people of Rahadoum for their impiety. Plague has broken out in Azir and Botosani three times in the last five hundred years, and the desert is threatening to devour the once-lush city of Manaket.7
Rahadoum is an arid desert nation on the north-western corner of Garund. The Path of Salt leads eastwards from the Cheliax-controlled area south of the Arch of Aroden to the port city of Manaket. To the south of the country, the Napsune Mountains form the border with the Sodden Lands and also stretch northwards into the country's interior. East of the Napsune Mountains, the Barrier Wall marks the border with the Mwangi Expanse.98
In the east, the Uta River rises in the Napsune Mountains and flows northeast to the border with Thuvia, before heading northwest into the Inner Sea. One of the country's longest rivers, the Winding Way flows westwards from the Napsune Mountains, past the mysterious area of marsh and forest known as the Eternal Oasis. It merges with the Jodin River, and flows past Azir, the nation's capital city, into the Arcadian Ocean.11
Arguably Rahadoum's strangest geographical feature is the Eternal Oasis, a seemingly impossible lush jungle and wetland located west of the Winding Way in the middle of the desert. In this unique place, thousands of freshwater springs gush forth, forming crystal-clear ponds and intricate marshlands that nurture lush, towering trees that would seem more at home in the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. What is even stranger is that these trees consume the available water so efficiently that the boundary between desert and forest remains razor-sharp, with no seepage into the sandy expanses beyond. Whether this stark division is a result of magic or simply a natural wonder remains an unanswered enigma.11
- See also: Category:Jistka Imperium/Locations
Rahadoum is home to a number of either fabled or well-known ruins from the Jistka Imperium (see above). These include Lost Yemal in the southern Napsune Mountains; the Tomb of Emperors in the eastern desert; and the abandoned Hanging City of Teskra.3
The Kingdom of Man, as Rahadoum is sometimes called, is ruled by a Council of Elders comprised of representatives from every major settlement and nomadic group. The Keeper of the First Law is elected from within the council and serves as its overseer for a five-year term. The current Keeper is Malduoni, a widely popular man serving in his unprecedented fourth term in office.712
The seat of government is located in Azir, the nation's largest city. The rulers and citizens of Rahadoum continue to follow the Laws of Mortality, written by Kalim Onaku in 2555 AR, which strictly prohibit the practice of any form of religion within the borders of the land. The government's primary military and peacekeeping force, especially with respect to the quelling of religious cults, speech, and paraphernalia, is the Pure Legion.7
Rahadoum possesses a powerful navy to protect its merchant fleets from pirates, particularly those from the Shackles to the south, but also from attacks by Chelish privateers (see below). A large naval base is located near the capital of Azir and the town of Botosani on the agricultural island of Nuat.3
Within the mud-brick fortress of Haldun on Rahadoum's southern border, vigilant soldiers oversee the Rainwall, a comprehensive system of guards and mystical enchantments meticulously devised to safeguard against the sinister predators of the Sodden Lands, preventing their insidious incursion to the north.5
Relations are poor with neighbouring Thuvia, due to that country's large number of worshippers of Sarenrae (arguably the religion responsible for causing the Oath Wars). Relations with Osirion might be expected to be strained for the same reason, but in fact both nations see the benefits of being good neighbours to one another, and pragmatism has won out over religious differences.7
The country's other neighbours—the hurricane-blasted Sodden Lands, devil-dominated Cheliax, and the religious assassins of Mediogalti Island—are seen as a vindication of Rahadoum's decision to ban religion.7
The country's fine cloth, exotic produce, and gemstones are sought-after by foreign merchants,13 who generally do not allow any religious scruples to get in the way of profits. Other exports include salt, dates, tropical fruit (from the Eternal Oasis), base metals, tools, and herbal remedies, but is a major importer of other foods.714
Rahadoum is also a major exporter of ingenious machines and produces incomparable engineers as its citizens have been forced to rely on their intellect and imaginations to solve problems instead of solving them with divine magic.14
Trade issues with Cheliax
Rahadoum's trade is hindered by Cheliax's control of the Hespereth Strait, the connection in sea travel between the Inner Sea and the Arcadian Ocean. Cheliax heavily taxes any trade ships passing through the strait while secretly funding a number of privateer fleets that attack non-Chelish shipping in the area. In response, Rahadoum conscripted its native merchant vessels into a massive merchant marine fleet. This tactic has been so successful that merchants of other nations wishing to transport goods westwards through the Arch of Aroden have taken to using armed Rahadoumi ships to do so. Typically, they hand over their cargo in Manaket, then travel across country to Azir to reclaim it once it has passed through the Arch.15
Merchant shipping in the south has suffered heavily from attacks by the pirates of the Shackles. The Eye of Abendego seriously hampers efforts by the navy to chase down pirate vessels, and the navy are offering a large reward for pilots able to provide accurate charts or help navigate around the hurricane.7
The primary tenet of rule in Rahadoum are the Laws of Mortality, which prohibit obedience to a god, while permitting personal faith and divine magic.216 Religion is seen as a form of indentured servitude in which the pious sell their souls. Religion is also believed to encourage violence and division as it blinds the adherent to reason. Rahadoumi, however, are not atheists who disbelieve that gods exist, but see deities as powerful and unreliable aristocrats who play with the lives or mortals and as fundamentally undeserving of obedience and worship.3
Foreigners visiting the country must submit to a thorough search by the Pure Legion upon arrival. Possession of contraband items such as holy symbols or other religious artefacts carries heavy fines and potential exile, while preaching religious doctrine garners much harsher punishments, including imprisonment or worse.216 Foreign faith practitioners are welcome in Rahadoum, however, as long as they do not proselytize or perform religious rituals, and visitors are often greeted on Rahadoum's docks by propagandists who exhort the newcomers to "reject and rejoice".3
Permitted and secret faiths
Some faiths that resemble religions are tolerated, provided there is no direct worship of a deity. These include the Green Faith, occultism, astrology and even diabolism and genie binding with certain caveats.16 Druids in particular are openly welcomed in Rahadoum and hired by the government to combat the nation's accelerating desertification.3
Despite the Laws of Mortality, many religions do have a presence in the nation, but to date, no faith has managed to become powerful enough to pull the nation from its strict avoidance of the divine, and all worship is done in secret.13
Powerful extraplanar agents of the gods sometimes use Rahadoum as a neutral area in which to deal with one another. Each side knows that the other has few resources here with which to carry out any treachery. There are a number of unexplained supernatural events in the country's cities. In some cases these are caused by invisible conflicts between these extraplanar visitors.7
Most inhabitants of Rahadoum are human, with the most common ethnicities being Garundi and Mauxi.1718 Rahadoum is also home to a significant number of faultspawn cambions19 who, owing to their asura heritage, share the atheist nation's disdain for the gods.20 The nomadic Shemtej catfolk roam amongst the most remote and dangerous reaches of Rahadoum's deserts in free-wheeling caravan trains. Believed by many in the region to be the divinely-blessed children of the cat-headed protector goddess Bastet, they are also believed to ward against many of the deserts most dangerous and evil spirits.21
Life and society
The place in society normally occupied by religion is instead filled with a deep respect for rhetoric and philosophy and most Rahadoumi are well educated and active civic participants. Since no religious tenets define morality or acceptable behaviours, Rahadoumi place high value on self-discipline and family loyalty, especially among nomads. Centuries of facing their own destinies, without much hope of a favourable welcome from Pharasma after death, has left many in the Kingdom of Man darkly optimistic, possessing faith in themselves since they have no one else to depend on but each other, believing that they must make the most of their mortal lives despite all the hardships.22
Some citizens use narcotics, typically imported from Katapesh, but even here self-discipline is expected—drug use is no excuse for sloppy behaviour. Slavery is legal in Rahadoum and is generally quite common.22
Rahadoum's wilderness is home to a number of dangerous creatures. These include packs of fierce lamias, giant ant lions and their sand traps, and the legendary zahhak Khanjar-Khanayr who dwells in his lair of Ghataking in the northern Napsune Mountains.3
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 154. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 55–56. Paizo Inc., .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 212. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 50. Paizo Inc., .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 51. Paizo Inc., .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 155. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 71. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 69. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- Inner Sea Poster Map Folio, 1. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 156. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 52. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 122. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 53. Paizo Inc., .
- “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 241. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 54. Paizo Inc., .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 14. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- 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, 19. Paizo Inc., .
- “Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 155–156. Paizo Inc., 2011 .