Geb – Domain of the Dead
Geb at a glance:
- Alignment: LE
- Capital: Mechitar (42,000)
- Notable Settlements: Graydirge (9,400), Yled (119,200)
- Ruler: Geb (ghost locked to Golarion until convinced of Nex’s death)
- Government: Undead dictatorship
- Languages: Osiriani, Kelish
- Religion: Nethys, Urgathoa, Zon Kuthon
The waning years of the Age of Destiny played host to the arcane struggle of the immortal wizard-kings Nex and Geb, plunging Garund’s eastern coast into centuries of devastating magical war. In the south, the exiled Osiriani necromancer Geb vowed to live until he had finally defeated his rival. Nex and Geb continued their battle during the early centuries of the Age of Enthronement, trading brutal magical attacks with each other. At the climax of the conflict, Geb used powerful wish-magics to suck the very life out of the land of Nex, leaving the landscape outside the magically warded cities a barren wasteland. In return, Nex called down a devastating series of cataclysms upon Geb, killing tens of thousands. Rather than admit defeat, Geb responded by animating the bodies of his slain people into a vast legion of the walking dead.
In 576, Geb attempted to assassinate Nex and his court by besieging the Nexian capital of Quantium with banks of poisonous yellow fog. Although it killed thousands, Nex himself mysteriously disappeared and has not been seen since. Geb spent the next five decades in bitter anguish and uncertainty over the fate of his rival. Finally, in 632, robbed of the victory he had so greatly desired, Geb committed ritual suicide in a fit of despair.
Death offered no respite for the immortal necromancer. Convinced that Nex had somehow escaped his vengeance, Geb returned as a ghost, chained to Golarion until his triumph over his hated adversary is certain. Upon his return, he ushered in a grim new age of necromancy. In 3890, Geb took as his Harlot Queen the former warrior-goddess Arazni, Herald of Aroden, who was slain by the Whispering Tyrant Tar-Baphon during the Shining Crusade. Geb stole her corpse from the Knights of Ozem in Lastwall, reanimated her as a lich, and enthroned her in Mechitar, where she has reigned alongside Geb for the last 8 centuries.
Since the archmage Nex’s disappearance more than 4,000 year ago, the nations of Geb and Nex have achieved a relative peace. Geb even trades zombie-harvested food to Nex in exchange for rare components and luxury goods. The hallmarks of the nigh-eternal war with Nex can be seen everywhere in Geb, and nearly all of its cities bear some scars from the ancient struggle, even today. Nowhere is this more evident than in the north, where the blighted no-man’s-land called the Mana Wastes separates Geb from Nex.
Other nations, however, have not responded as well as Nex to the decay rooting itself in Geb’s cities. For millennia, they have sought to stop the spread of undeath at its source, assaulting the undying ruling order of Geb with raids, naval blockades, and even invasions. For example, in 4329, the rogue pirate queen Mastrien Slash led an army of warrior women across Geb’s southern frontier, vowing to end the undead kingdom once and for all. With but a few words of power, Geb turned the entire advancing army to stone, creating what is known today as the Field of Maidens. Such is the fate of those enemies who attempt to play an active hand in Geb’s affairs. That doesn’t stop the conspirators and plotters in the courts of foreign lords, many of whom would seek fame by finally destroying Golarion’s longest-reigning monarch and his undead dominion.
Yet Geb makes no war upon its neighbors, seeking to influence the outside world in extraordinarily subtle ways. It has good relations with the neighboring lands of Jalmeray, Katapesh, and Qadira, and the Shattered Range provide, an effective barrier against anything coming from the Mwangi Expanse or the Screaming Jungle. Only Lastwall still holds real enmity for Geb, as the Knights of Ozem are unable to forgive or forget the theft of Arazni’s body from their vaults.
The greatest threat to the people of Geb are the bizarre aberrations and otherworldly creatures that skulk and burst from the Mana Wastes to prey upon the inhabitants of northern Geb. Rogue elementals, barghests, sandkrakens, and will-o’-wisps all occasionally wander across the border, as do the mana-twisted undead personifications of the warped magics found in the Mana Wastes. The southern Axan Wood — a twisted “forest” of magic-blasted trees both dead and undead — is home to strange creatures of negative energy and shadow found nowhere else on Golarion, such as deadwood dryads, nightwolves, and twilight unicorns. Of course, all manner of undead may be found throughout Geb — the difference being that sentient undead are considered full citizens. Although officially denied by the government, rumors persist of uncontrolled mindless undead roaming the countryside and attacking travelers.
Since Geb’s return, necromancy has taken on an ever-more prominent role in Geb, in both civil and military affairs. Gebbite society is divided into three castes: the living (called the quick in common parlance), the dead, and chattel. Intelligent undead are afforded equal citizenship to that enjoyed by the quick and enjoy equal protection under Geb’s Dead Laws. Indeed, Geb counts numerous ghouls, vampires, shades, and liches among its aristocracy, and in many circles they are afforded higher social precedence than their living counterparts.
The majority of both the quick and the dead reside primarily in Geb’s cities, studying necromancy and religion, or practicing other sciences and crafts. This urban society is supported by a vast slave class of mindless undead and living thralls, both of whom are considered property and have no rights. Zombie field hands and colossal bone harvesters till the fields of Geb’s great plantations, and skeletal warriors fill the ranks of its undead legions. Living chattel are bred specifically to sate the hunger of those undead nobles who require live sustenance, and to power the hematic magic of the Blood Lords.
The ghost of the immortal necromancer Geb rules the undead dictatorship that bears his name. He rarely manifests before his people these days, trusting the governance of his kingdom to the debased lich Arazni, the Harlot Queen of Geb. In truth, it is the Blood Lords — royal necromancers sworn to serve Geb until death and beyond — who manage the nation’s day-to-day affairs. These powerful specialists are trained in dark blood magics at the Ebon Mausoleum in Mechitar, and many of them have become undead themselves. The influential vampire lord Kemnebi leads the Blood Lords and serves as chancellor of the realm. The Blood Lords are often taken – and raised – from the ranks of powerful necromancers, priests of death, or true necromancers.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting