From PathfinderWiki
A caulborn thoughtkeeper.

The caulborn1 are a species of telepathic planar scholars and researchers hailing from the Ethereal Plane and united by a species-wide shared memory. Their lives are almost entirely devoted to seeking out new information to add to their collective consciousness, and they have little interest in interactions with other beings that do not further this goal.234


A typical caulborn vaguely resembles a humanoid creature, though with many alien features, including a split lower jaw, fleshy growths on its head resembling a hood, bony protrusions across its body, elongated index and middle fingers, and an eyeless face.23


Caulborn are created from iotons who absorb particularly profound thoughts.5 Caulborn subsist on the accumulation of esoteric knowledge in the form of psychic energy; their bodies do not need other types of sustenance. As hive-minded creatures, caulborn pool their collected knowledge in a brain-sac called a chrestomath.23 A caulborn can consume knowledge both by learning about new information and by taking it from physical contact with other creatures.2


Groups of up to a dozen caulborn often travel with their chrestomath as their joint focus, and upon finding an interesting location, might settle there for years to comprehensively understand it.2

Little individual society exists in these groups; all caulborn treat each other equally, though individuals who consume the highest-quality psychic energy or remain closest to the powerful concentration of energy of a chrestomath become more powerful as a result. These improved caulborn are known as thoughtkeepers.3

On Golarion

Although not native to Golarion, caulborn have lived beneath the Varisian city of Kaer Maga for years beyond human (or even elven) reckoning.6 These caulborn maintain a long-standing alliance with a cabal of vampires, who provide them with thoughts and feed on their blood, both spying on the people of the city above.5 The city of Xavorax hosts a colony of caulborn, including thoughtkeepers, as a hive around their chrestomath, Anamnesis.3

There is also a settlement of caulborn in a large cavern under modern-day Nidal, known as the Grove of Memory. This cavern used to be where the Kellids who inhabited the land before Earthfall laid their most honored dead to rest. The caulborn would grow a tree of memory out of the fallen Kellid, a tree with glowing orange fruit that contained all of the Kellid's memories. In exchange for the body, the caulborn would allow the Kellids to occasionally eat the fruit of these trees, and thus the Kellids preserved the memories and knowledge of their people over generations. Eventually, a group of elves discovered the grove and set up an aiudara there, trading the bodies of their dead for access to the knowledge stored in the grove. But after Earthfall, when the Kellids made a pact with Zon-Kuthon and the elves fled Golarion, nobody else came to trade memories, and the caulborn there continue to wait and tend to their forest.78

On Castrovel

The caulborn have at least one other Grove of Memory, also known as the Memory Cache, on the green planet Castrovel. Similar to the site on Golarion, it contains trees of memories that hold the knowledge of notable elves, lashuntas, formians, and other intelligent species native to Castrovel.9 The Oatia elves of Ukulam refer to the caulborn as the Gardeners.10

In the Great Beyond

While caulborn originate from the Ethereal Plane, they have spread to numerous planes in their quest for new knowledge. They still maintain a fortress known as Xevnorvex in the Ethereal Plane, an organic structure that serves as both a repository for the caulborn's accumulated knowledge and as living quarters for the caulborn themselves.4


Dynamite Entertainment published a Pathfinder Chronicles appendix about caulborn in Spiral of Bones 3.

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

  1. The singular and plural of caulborn are the same.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 48. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Josh Colon, et al. Occult Bestiary, 12. Paizo Inc., 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 Robert Brookes, et al. “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 98. Paizo Inc., 2018
  5. 5.0 5.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 94. Paizo Inc., 2021
  6. James L. Sutter. “Introduction” in City of Strangers, 3. Paizo Inc., 2010
  7. James L. Sutter. “Lost Aiudara” in Against the Scarlet Triad, 72. Paizo Inc., 2019
  8. James L. Sutter. “Lost Aiudara” in Against the Scarlet Triad, 73. Paizo Inc., 2019
  9. James L. Sutter. “The Seventh Arch” in The Seventh Arch, 55. Paizo Inc., 2023
  10. James L. Sutter. “The Seventh Arch” in The Seventh Arch, 52. Paizo Inc., 2023