Windswept Wastes

The ethnic Keleshites inhabiting the central deserts and western steppes of the domain claimed by the Padishah Empire of Kelesh give only grudging respect to their distant overlords, clinging to ancient religious and cultural traditions born of the prehistoric cultures of north-central Casmaron. Horse nomads and settled tribes alike honor Sarenrae and the imperial gods of their southern cousins, but the tribal imams keep alive a legend from the days of Ninshabur, an ancient rival of Azlant and Osirion whose culture was destroyed by the Tarrasque early in the Age of Destiny. The legend speaks of a primeval human hero, Namzaruum (“the sword”), destined to return to Golarion in an era of uncertain prophecy to lead the heirs of his kingdom to triumph against their enemies. For centuries, agents of the padishah emperor have scoured the tribes for sign of this cultural hero, with strict orders to put him to the sword in the interest of greater Kelesh.

The eastern reaches of the Windswept Wastes give way to a desolate landscape of cracked mud and sickly plant life that signifies the outskirts of the Pit of Gormuz, one of the strangest geographical features on the planet. The yawning chasm spans 20 miles from edge to edge, and seems to cut straight down into the very heart of Golarion. Those who brave the strange gales and savage inhabitants of the region to peer over the portal’s side speak of a vague dull glow at the apparent bottom of the pit, a dolorous vision that forever gnaws upon the souls of those who see it even at a glance.

Legend holds that the Pit of Gormuz was once a great city of Ninshabur, cast into the depths of the earth by Sarenrae herself in retribution for its alliance with the monstrous god Rovagug. The Rough Beast himself is said to dwell at the terminus of the apparently bottomless pit, wounded still from his ancient battle and bound by terrible magics from blighting the world with his disastrous presence. His enormous spawn, legendary monsters in their own right, occasionally emerge from the Pit of Gormuz to terrify the people of Casmaron and beyond. The Tarrasque that destroyed Ninshabur and thundered into Avistan at the close of the Age of Destiny was but one of the dozen titanic monsters disgorged by the Pit of Gormuz in the last 5,000 years. Other Spawn include the great beetle Ulunat, whose mighty carapace still shrouds a portion of Osirion’s capital; the enormous winged beast known as Volnagur; and Chemnosit, the so-called Monarch Worm feared throughout the Darklands.

Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

Windswept Wastes

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