Source: The Inner Sea World Guide, pg(s). 205-206
Ninshabur was once a great and powerful empire in Casmaron until it was decimated by the greatest Spawn of Rovagug, the Tarrasque. Its once-grand structures are now little more than dust-choked ruins, and its people only wandering ghosts.
Ninshabur sits on the southwestern coast of the Castrovin Sea, the first and most powerful of the originlands. Though once an elaborate canal network irrigated the fields of the nation, now the dust has reclaimed them and only hardy grasses grow on its plains.
On the southern coast of the Castrovin Sea are the ruins of the city of Ezida. Tabsagal, refuge and treasure-vault, existed by a remote oasis. The location of the market-city of Zarrataab once stood along the filth-choked Igagir River, but its location has been forgotten.
During the Age of Creation, an alliance of gods defeated Rovagug, imprisoning him within the Dead Vault far beneath Golarion's surface. The goddess Sarenrae repaired the gash in the earth into which the Rough Beast had been flung, and commanded her followers to avoid the smooth scar that remained. Her faithful living in nearby Ninshabur misinterpreted her instructions, however, and instead flocked to the area, eventually founding the settlement of Gormuz there. Believing Gormuz to be a holy city of Sarenrae, people from all over Casmaron flocked there for millennia, but were slowly corrupted by the imprisoned god Rovagug's dreams. Sarenrae continued sending portents and visions to her faithful in Gormuz during this period, but they were ignored or misinterpreted. She finally sent her herald Kohal to the people of Gormuz in -3923 AR, but they had been so corrupted that they destroyed him instead. In great wroth, Sarenrae smote Gormuz with her scimitar, destroying it completely, and created an enormous rent in the earth that eventually became known as the Pit of Gormuz.
Being so close to the Pit of Gormuz, Ninshabur became an early target for the spawn of Rovagug. For a long time, the empire fended off these threats. Still, damage was done, such as when Kothogaz attacked Ezida. And in -632 AR the Tarrasque came forth from the Pit. In three months the elite were driven into hiding at Tabsagal, never to return.
With its terrifying history, Ninshabur has scared off most explorers and settlers for thousands of years, its lands and history becoming little more than barely-remembered myth. One exception to this was the port city of Ezida. In the last 300 years, clerics of Namzaruum claimed the ruin of Ezida as the center of their religion. They have set imams to proselytize ethnic Ninshaburians in the Windswept Wastes.
Ninshabur was ruled by militaristic kings. Each city was a fortress, and phalanxes were trained in warfare to conquer the weaker nations to the west. The rulers were aggressive, backed by a pantheon of proud, warlike gods who have since been lost to history, just as its people have. Ninshabur was thought to have been divided into numerous provinces, each ruled by a governor. One such province was Azahoud, ruled in -919 AR by a man named Haldazhai.
Little is definitively known about the culture of Ninshabur, other than that they were an aggressive, blustery people. They worshiped a pantheon of deities of matching temperaments, who were venerated in many temples and ziggurats throughout the ancient cities. The temple-complex of Tabsagal served as the center of worship for many of their gods.
The rulers of Ninshabur sent their armies outwards to conquer other realms, with a distinctive military formation known as the phalanx being central in the campaigns. Based on persistent elements of Ninshaburian culture, such as the presence of animated cephalophore statues, these armies are thought to have ranged from eastern Qadira to as far as Varisia to the west and Nex to the south — though not all such travel was in pursuit of, or resulted in, conquest.
Creatures such as shedu, lammasu, gorgons, and sphinxes were important in Ninshaburian culture, gauging from their frequent depiction on statues and carvings. Raised brows and grimacing expressions are common in Ninshaburian sculpture.
People and descendants
The only true people of Ninshabur are the ghosts who wander on the farmland between the great cities, although the prophets of Namzaruum keep some of the traditions of the civilization alive. Much of Ninshaburian culture, as practised by these tribes has been assimilated into other cultures. The Ezidans have sought out and translated cuneiform archives, and therefore claim to possess the purest form of the old faith; but they too have retained at least religious vocabulary from Kelesh, such as "caliph" and "imam".
The soldiers of Ninshabur took wives from the natives of other states. Perhaps the highest concentration of Ninshaburian descendants is in Qadira, though Taldans inherited some of their dusky skin from Ninshaburian ancestors. Sprinklings of Ninshaburian blood exist throughout Absalom, Andoran, Cheliax, Galt, Isger, Nex, Qadira, Osirion, and Taldor. The entire southern coast of the Castrovin Sea has Ninshaburian heritage, as does the Windswept Wastes and the Inner Sea.
Because of the fearsome reputation of the Pit and the creatures that still inhabit Ninshabur, explorers and settlers have largely avoided the ruins of the ancient civilization. The Pathfinder Society, however, has been among the few exceptions. Four of the Society's chronicles include details on Ninshabur, the most famous being those of the explorer Durvin Gest. He claims to have explored the trap-infested temple complex of Tabasagal that holds the treasure-vault of the rulers of Ninshabur in 4328 AR, battled numerous guardians, and recovered several artifacts from the Chamber of Heaven, including the Scepter of Ages, the Apollyon Ring, and the Lens of Galundari.
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- This is an inference, based on Ezida's site and on known Ezidan terms from Mona, 154.
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