Pathfinder Chronicles: Heroes of the Mists
Land of the Pharaohs
“We must find the strength of mountains buried in our past and bring it to bear on those fools who think we are nothing but dust in the wind.”
—Amenopheus, the Sapphire Sage
Osirion was once the most glorious empire of Golarion. Pharaohs ruled as gods on earth, their monuments towered over even Thassilon’s mightiest, and their armies could churn a kingdom to mud and blot out the sun on wings of death.
Now, Osirion emerges from millennia of foreign rule under the rulership of the youthful Ruby Prince Khemet III, who hearkens back to the ancient days of Osirion’s glory. One year ago, Khemet opened the vast deserts of Osirion—long closed by the Keleshite overlords who held the nation as a satrapy of Qadira—to foreign exploration. Today the great treasures and arcane formulas of the living gods of ancient Osirion are unearthed for the entire world to see, and the ascendancy of the Land of Pharaohs is at hand.
Most Inner Sea nations view Osirion as a relic from a bygone age. In truth, Osirion is a slumbering giant that, when awakened, could wash away all fledgling challengers with the power of its traditions. The Osirians are wise people who look deep into the past for answers to present troubles. Their sense of history gives them a unique perspective on the ebb and flow of power in the political landscape of the modern Inner Sea. Many folk of Osirion are of old Garundi blood, bronze-skinned, and gifted with the noble bearing of the ancient pharaohs. It would take a special brand of fool to ignore this semblance of power and dismiss the Osirion faction as less of a threat than any of the other four factions clamoring for control of Absalom.
Goals: Uncover the Power of the Past
In bygone ages, the pharaohs of Ancient Osirion created wonders beyond reason. They concocted potent arcane plagues to destroy their enemies and erected mighty monuments capable of entrapping the souls of deities. Let the other factions jockey for meager political fancy or table scraps like favorable economic sanctions. Osirion is interested in rediscovering the powerful artifacts of its heritage, and preventing their theft by aggressive powers such as Cheliax. Once these powers are returned to their rightful hands, no one shall dare breach Osirion’s borders again.
Methodology: Hide Your Power, Lest the Enemy Seek to Take It From You
“The grasping hands of petty thieves cannot take what they do not know you have.”
—Amenopheus, the Sapphire Sage
For centuries now, the other powers of the Inner Sea have regarded Osirion as an impotent nation of conquered people. Osirion wouldn’t have it any other way. Since the Ruby Prince ascended the ancestral throne, Osirion has been gathering its power and preparing to make a bid for supremacy of the Inner Sea. Most of the Osirion faction’s missions involve quietly undermining the power of their enemies. Osirion agents in Absalom plant the seeds of dissolution with a whisper or a poisonous draught, never with a naked blade, and never with a witness. Just as most of the Great Emerald Sphinx is buried beneath the sands of Osirion’s deserts, so is the nation’s power carefully hidden in secret brotherhoods and spies loyal to the pharaonic throne. When Absalom sits firmly in Osirion’s grasp, then Khemet III shall declare himself Pharaoh in the tradition of his ancestors and Osirion’s Second Golden Age shall follow.
Faction Leader: Amenopheus, The Sapphire Sage
The Jeweled Sages of Osirion were plotting the courses of the stars when the other people of the Inner Sea were living in caves and wearing rotting furs. When the Keleshite satrapy seized control of the kingdom, they razed monuments to the ground and decimated the ancient traditions of Osirion. The Jeweled Sages were disbanded, and those who didn’t recant their astrological powers were executed in a most gruesome fashion.
Now the Ruby Prince has reinstated the order. They no longer gaze toward the stars, but rather seek the answers to Osirion’s destiny in the hearts of their enemies. The Jeweled Sages are now Osirion’s spymasters, agents of the throne who gather webs of operatives and oversee their missions.
Amenopheus claims to trace his blood to the line of the Jeweled Sages of antiquity. This time-weathered Garundi sage wears his long black beard in a single braid adorned with nothing but copper bands. He wears austere red robes and simple leather sandals, and dodders, losing his train of thought often or blathering humorous tales or anecdotes that seem simple to most, but often conceal a profound lesson. Those unfortunate to get on Amenopheus’s bad side fear the old man’s piercing gaze, and know full well he conceals a dozen wands of power in the wide sleeves of his robes.
Amenopheus is supposedly the advisor to an obese Osirian noble, named Dremdhet Salhar, who sits on the Grand Council of Absalom, but in truth, the fat noble never utters a sentence not planted in his mind by the Sapphire Sage first.
Some rumormongers claim Amenopheus was a Pathfinder in his youth wandering the world for years before returning to Osirion to serve his Prince. He has been assigned to Absalom since Prince Khemet III ascended the throne in Osirion and knows the city better than most natives born and bred there. Few are aware of the sage’s true role, and many of the agents serving him think they work for another spymaster. Only the most trusted operatives in his service ever meet face to face with the Sapphire Sage. They say he favors Pathfinders, perhaps out of nostalgia for his own past exploits in the organization’s service.
Other more terrifying rumors abound concerning Amenopheus’s true nature. Some claim to have glimpsed ancient tapestries dating back to Osirion’s golden age thousands of years past where a sage bearing a striking resemblance to Ameonphues administered to the pharaohs of old. A few whisper that Amenopheus is no mortal man at all but rather some ancient undead abomination, the original Sapphire Sage whose tomb was cracked open by the Ruby Prince and whose mummified corpse was awakened to serve as advisor to the Prince, as he once did to the pharaohs of ancient Osirion.
Osirion is rife with ancient tombs, lost relics, and forgotten cities buried under the swirling sands. Many of the best and brightest Pathfinders cut their teeth in this sprawling empire of living history and ancient tradition. Few countries possess such wizened sages or as competent explorers as Osirion.
Pathfinders not raised in Osirion yet still loyal to the Osirion faction in Absalom usually come from strong, ancestor worship-based cultures from across Golarion. They see the goals of the Osirians as laudable and hope to ride the coat tails of powerful pharaohs to glory and honor in the after life. Others see vast, unplumbed tombs buried deep beneath the desert sands and pledge their loyalty to Osirion on a sliver of hope that they’ll one day crack the seal on an ancient burial chamber and uncover wealth beyond imagination.
To learn more about Osirion, read Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting hardcover and read or play in the following Pathfinder Modules: J1: Entombed with the Pharaohs and the soon-to-be-released J4: The Pact Stone Pyramid. Keep an eye on paizo.com this December for the third Pathfinder Companion, Osirion: Land of the Pharaohs.