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Dark folk1E
A caligni stalker, one type of caligni.

(dark folk)
Varies by class
Any underground
Source: Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 5, pg(s). 66

Caligni3 is both an ancient umbrella term for the humanoids that surface-dwellers call dark folk,4 as well as a word that specifically refers to genetic throwbacks among their kind who more closely resemble their Azlanti ancestors.5


Dark folk, although separated into distinct forms, share certain characteristics. All are dirty humanoid creatures, although stalkers are taller than both creepers and dancers. Most wear tattered grey or black clothing6 and hide shiny small treasures within them. They have gaunt builds with pale complexions and white eyes.4


Dark folk are descended from the residents of the Azlanti settlement of Calignos, a trading outpost located in the Mindspin Mountains. Just a day before Earthfall, the seers in Calignos predicted their city's destruction and led their people into the Darklands for refuge. As Earthfall collapsed the tunnels leading to the surface, the citizens of Calignos were forced deeper underground.7

They found the Darklands to be a terrifying and dangerous place, and relied more and more on the power of magic to help in their survival, particularly the magic found in the borders between light and darkness. Their prayers were answered by a mysterious pantheon of demigods known as the Forsaken, who bestowed upon them the Cradles of Night. These artifacts infused the citizens of Calignos with shadowy power, transforming them into a distinct race known as the dark folk.78

Unknown to the dark folk, the Forsaken were planning to draw upon their power in a plan to escape the Shadow Plane. Before this plan could be put in motion, the Forsaken suffered a mysterious calamity, shattering most Cradles of Night and leaving the dark folk once again without gods. However, after only a few years, the mysterious owbs appeared and offered their aid in exchange for devotion. The dark folk switched to worshipping the owbs, who bred them into specialised sub-races. In time, tales of the Forsaken and the surface were forgotten, and their ancestral home became an object of myth and legend to the dark folk.79


Dark folk subsist on rotting meat and fungi, supplementing their diet by being able to absorb light in small amounts and somehow converting it into nutrition.6 Intense light blinds and sickens them, as it overwhelms their ability to absorb it. Upon death, this stored light is released in a single blinding flash.64 This burst was said to have been part of a deal struck with the Forsaken demigods that shaped their underground adaptations; in return, a sliver of their soul's energy would fuel the Forsaken pantheon. However, the Forsaken by all measures disappeared long ago, and caligni soul energy is no longer tithed to them upon death.4


During the Age of Darkness, dark folk were split into several morphologically distinct groups, including the intermediary dark dancers, the more numerous dark creepers, and the larger and more commanding dark stalkers.610

Dark folk occasionally give birth to a child with an uncanny similarity to the humans from Calignos, their home before they escaped into the Darklands to avoid Earthfall and were transformed by owbs into specialised subraces. These individuals call themselves caligni, after the ancestral home that they have never seen. As they were born to dark folk couples, their children are often also dark folk, typically dark creepers. Calignis age at roughly the same rate as half-elves.11


The birth of a caligni is celebrated by many dark folk, but usually annoys the powers that be in dark folk society (whether owbs or dark stalkers). Because of this, calignis who do not leave their birthplaces tend to suffer an unfortunate accident before adulthood. Calignis who foresee this seek homes elsewhere in the Darklands or in shadowy Nidal, the only surface nation whose environment is friendly to the naturally light-sensitive calignis, where they can integrate easily into the darkness-worshipping society.

New Calignos, the southwestern district of the Nidalese capital Pangolais, is extensively inhabited by calignis who have put in considerable effort to replicate Calignos from what calignis scholars know about Azlanti cities. It is doubtful that the architecture and traditions of New Calignos are authentic to Azlant, but they have regardless become deeply ingrained into the calignis who grow up there.12

Since calignis do not breed true, they usually prefer to adopt abandoned caligni children or steal them from their families. They revere Calignos,11 and consider themselves separate and distinct from the dark folk.13 The Shadow Caverns in Nidal, which connect to Nar-Voth, are home to a thriving market of caligni infants either given up by or stolen from the dark folk, to be bought and adopted by Nidalese calignis. The children gain families, underground dark folk give up a potential source of trouble, and brokers turn a profit.14


In addition to the dark folk's history of worship detailed above, some of the race worship Norgorber or Sivanah. Those whose homes lie below the surface-world nation of Nidal might follow that nation's official deity, Zon-Kuthon.15 Worship of Nocticula, Pharasma, and even Desna is not unheard of among those less malign caligni.16


All dark folk share a common language also called Caligni.4

On Golarion

Dark folk live primarily in the caverns of Nar-Voth,6 including the city of Sverspume, famed for its slave market,17 and the hryngar18 metropolis of Hagegraf.19 Although rarer in the deeper caverns of Sekamina, a small section of the svirfneblin city of Dwimovel is inhabited by dark folk,20 while others dwell in the drow city of Zirnakaynin.21 Even in the Vaults of Orv, the dark folk are not unknown, as they inhabit the Land of Black Blood.22 Nearer to the surface, a sizeable population exists in the Shadow Caverns beneath Nidal's Uskwood,23 in the abandoned dwarven Zolurket Mines in Katapesh's Barrier Wall mountains,24 and below the island of Antler Rock in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings.25

In Tian Xia

Although less common than in the Inner Sea region, dark folk are also present in the caverns below the continent of Tian Xia, especially in the underground community known as Deepmarket below the sprawling metropolis of Goka.26


Caligni and dark folk were distinct but related creatures in Pathfinder First Edition. In Pathfinder Second Edition, "dark folk" is instead a synonymous moniker for calignis that calignis find distasteful.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Liane Merciel, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, and Mark Moreland. (2018). Nidal, Land of Shadows, p. 29. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-033-0
  2. This infobox concerns the variant of dark folk, called "caligni", introduced in First Edition Bestiary 5.
  3. The term was used in both singular and plural references prior to Pathfinder Bestiary and Pathfinder Lost Omens updates to the campaign setting. Newer sources use "caligni" for the singular form and "calignis" for the plural form.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mark Seifter, et al. (2019). Bestiary (Second Edition), p. 50–51. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-170-2
  5. Benjamin Bruck, et al. (2015). Inner Sea Races, p. 162. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-722-2
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 23–24. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 James Jacobs, F. Wesley Schneider, Neil Spicer, and Greg A. Vaughan. (2018). Cradle of Night, p. 3. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-991-2
  8. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 19. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  9. Pathfinder Bestiary p. 51 does not include the owbs in the story of their transformation, and states that the Forsaken "warped the refugees into tough survivors"; this neither specifies dark folk being a separate race, nor any relationship with the owb.
  10. Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mark Seifter, et al. (2019). Bestiary (Second Edition), p. 50–51. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-170-2. In this source, these forms are referred to as caligni variants instead of dark folk.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Liane Merciel, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, and Mark Moreland. (2018). Nidal, Land of Shadows, p. 8. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-033-0
  12. Liane Merciel, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, and Mark Moreland. (2018). Nidal, Land of Shadows, p. 29–30. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-033-0
  13. Pathfinder Bestiary p. 50 no longer makes this distinction, and instead refers to the term "dark folk" as a disliked surface-dweller moniker for their people at large, and describes dark folk subraces as forms influenced by caligni traditions and influences.
  14. Liane Merciel, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, and Mark Moreland. (2018). Nidal, Land of Shadows, p. 50–51. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-033-0
  15. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 24. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  16. Logan Bonner, et al. (2021). Bestiary 3 (Second Edition), p. 41. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-312-6
  17. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 42. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  18. Paizo referred to hryngars as duergar until the publication of Highhelm and the Sky King's Tomb Pathfinder Adventure Path.
  19. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 28. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  20. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 39. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  21. F. Wesley Schneider. (2008). Zirnakaynin. Endless Night, p. 49. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-129-9
  22. Wolfgang Baur. (2009). The Land of Black Blood. Descent into Midnight, p. 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-131-2
  23. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 8. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  24. Brandon Hodge. (2011). Zolurket Mines. Dungeons of Golarion, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-304-0
  25. Matthew Goodall, Jonathan Keith, Colin McComb, and Rob McCreary. (2011). Lands of the Linnorm Kings, p. 23. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-365-1
  26. James Jacobs, Dave Gross, Rob McCreary. (2011). Dragon Empires Gazetteer, p. 24. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-379-8