Caliphas (city)

From PathfinderWiki

Large city
14,950 humans, 350 dwarves, 220 elves, 120 other
Source: Rule of Fear, pg(s). 40 (1E)
World Guide, pg(s). 45 (2E)

A city made rich by trade from across Lake Encarthan, Caliphas1 has long been described as the very soul of Ustalav. Caliphas is Ustalav's largest city and has a tremendous impact on the surrounding lands, supporting most of the wineries and perfumeries that dot the County of Caliphas.23


Nestled behind protective breakwaters that spare the city from the worst of Lake Encarthan's storms, the entrance to Caliphas is guarded by the Reaping Rock. Caliphas is frequently shrouded in lake mist, its fog lanterns barely cutting into the gloom that all too often engulfs the city. Caliphas is considered by many to embody the soul of Ustalav, which perhaps prompted the Eunuch Prince to move the nation's capital there from Ardis. To the east of the city, the Laurelight Hill (also the name of the district which sits atop it) overlooks Caliphas and serves as home to some of its wealthiest inhabitants.4


Caliphas was refounded as the city it is today in the wake of the Shining Crusade (and its victory over the Whispering Tyrant) by Countess Sesasgia Caliphvaso, a distant ancestor of the city's current ruler Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso.5 Quite recently, the reemergence of the Whispering Tyrant on the Isle of Terror and his conquest of the neighborning nation of Lastwall (now known as the Gravelands), has caused a huge outpouring of refugees into Ustalav, and particularly Caliphas, and the disruptions caused by the newcomers provoked a xenophobic backlash against them.6


Since the relocation of Ustalav's capital from ancient Ardis to Caliphas, the city has been home to the Royal Court of Prince Aduard Ordranti III, a nest of power hungry merchants, treacherous nobles, and corrupt courtiers.7 An ancient rivalry has existed, seemingly since the earliest days of Ustalav's refounding, between the Royal House of Ordranti, and the rulers of Caliphas, House Caliphvaso. With the nation's capital moving some three decades ago, the two houses have now become close neighbours, only intensifying each side's subtle scheming to undermine and, perhaps, ultimately, destroy the other.8


Resting on the shores of Lake Encarthan allows Caliphas to take full advantage of that massive trade route, and Caliphas is consequently a rich—some might even say decadent—city. The city is also very cosmopolitan, a relative rarity in suspicious Ustalav; many travellers visit from foreign parts, and some never leave, their disappearance rarely noticed by the population.9


Caliphas' residents possess a cosmopolitan flair, setting them apart from the more isolated communities found elsewhere in Soivoda. Caliphas has long grappled with issues of overcrowding, and the influx of Lastwall refugees pouring into the city following the destruction of their country at the hands of the Whispering Tyrant has exacerbated the situation, escalating it into a full-blown crisis and outbreaks of xenophobia. Amidst this turmoil, local factions have emerged, styling themselves as the "Havenguard Greeters." They roam the streets armed with clubs and blades, ostensibly claiming to evict squatters from alleys and parks. In reality, their actions cater to their own bloodlust, using the guise of civic duty as an excuse. For the refugees, there are few viable alternatives within Soivoda. Venturing into the countryside presents risks from wolves, bears, and other beasts, while the insular nature of Ustalavs beyond Caliphas often leads to the unwelcoming reception of strangers who are met with torches and pitchforks.10

Places of interest

See also: Category:Caliphas (city)/Locations

Some of the most notable locations in the city include:

Castle Stryithe
The current Royal Palace of Ustalav and home of Royal Prince Aduard Ordranti III.4
Lethean Manor
The ancestral seat of House Caliphvaso and current home of the notorious Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso.4
Quarterfaux Archives
A highly respected and prestigious academy.11
Vodavani Lodge
The meeting place for Pathfinder Society members within the region.12
Widow's Boudoir
This brothel specializes in mixing murder with sexual fantasies. It is not uncommon for the staff to become victims of the bordello's horrors.13


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

  1. A four panel poster map of Caliphas is included inRob Lazzaretti. Carrion Crown Poster Map Folio. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 141. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 190. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 F. Wesley Schneider. “Cities and Settlements” in Rule of Fear, 40. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. Neil Spicer. “Ashes at Dawn” in Ashes at Dawn, 19–20. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. Erik Mona, et al. Eye of Dread” in World Guide, 44. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. F. Wesley Schneider. Caliphas” in Ashes at Dawn, 61. Paizo Inc., 2011
  8. F. Wesley Schneider. “Cities and Settlements” in Rule of Fear, 41. Paizo Inc., 2011
  9. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 191. Paizo Inc., 2011
  10. Erik Mona, et al. Eye of Dread” in World Guide, 45. Paizo Inc., 2019
  11. Brandon Hodge. “Shadows of Gallowspire” in Shadows of Gallowspire, 7. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 15. Paizo Inc., 2009
  13. Tim Hitchcock, et al. Stolen Land, 44. Paizo Inc., 2010