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Desert of the Sky Spirits
Nomadic tribes
Source: Dragon Empires Gazetteer, pg(s). 36 (1E)
Tian Xia World Guide, pg(s). 184‒191 (2E)

The Shanguang desert, sometimes spelled Shaguang,1 is the largest arid region on the continent of Tian Xia. It is located in the eastern rain shadow of the Wall of Heaven mountains and inhabited by tribes of nomadic Tian-Las known as the Mutabi-qi.1


Shanguang stretches across a huge area in the north-west of Tian Xia, its southern reaches are made of rocky badlands, sandy dunes, and salt flats, which slowly transform into frozen steppes and tundra the further north one goes towards the Crown of the World. While the lands of Shanguang are harsh, there is also a rugged beauty to them as well. There are small oases scattered across the length and breadth of the land and it is between these that the various tribes that live here migrate.1 To the west, the Wall of Heaven mountains separate the desert from the Ivory Sea and the Embaral Ocean, while to the north of the mountain chain lies the frozen Crown of the World.2 The Tuunma River makes up the southern border of Shanguang, where it meets the northernmost reaches of neighbouring Lingshen.3 To the east, another river separates Shanguang from the more heavily inhabited steppes of the Kingdom of Hongal.2 Thunderstorms are a common occurrence during late summer in Shanguang.4



The tribes that inhabit Shanguang are known as the Mutabi-qi, and while they were technically considered part of Imperial Lung Wa, the desert was so remote that they were all but unaffected by its fall a century ago. The Mutabi-qi know of survival methods and ways to live in even the harshest reaches of Shanguang, and no one truly knows exactly how many tribes make up the Mutabi-qi.1

The tribes live in fear of what they call "Sky Spirits". The legends surrounding these spirits are numerous and sometimes contradictory, and tales about them have spread far among the tribes, including that these Sky Spirits can walk on air and live in a flying city. These legends are in part true as they pertain to the flying city of Yjae.1


While the tribes below live in fear or worship of them, the citizens of the flying city of Yjae are not cruel by any means and do their best to limit contact with the tribes below. The last remains of the ancient Shory Empire, the citizens of Yjae are reclusive; despite having lived for thousand of years, they have not fully recovered from the damage their flying city's disastrous attempt to cross the Wall of Heaven Mountains did to their civilisation. The Mutabi-qi do not know what to make of their different customs and dark skin of the people of Yjae.5 Yjae has numerous monstrous inhabitants, including many from the sinister Plane of Leng.1


Tribes of ysoki known as Gokan Hoppers are uniquely adapted to the harsh desert and live across Shanguang. These Gokan Hoppers have a gait more like a kangaroo's than typical ratfolk, bounding across the desert on their large feet in massive hops. These ratfolk love novel experiences, enjoy trade and bargaining for unique items, and adore gambling.6


See also: Kaiju

Shanguang is also home to two colossal kaiju: beasts of enormous size and almost unimaginable power. The rhino-like Yorak has a hide of solid stone and wanders the most desolate reaches of Shanguang, his every step shaking the earth for miles around. He despises tall structures and destroys any he encounters; he is also known to hate other kaiju.4

Bezravnis, a three-tailed, crimson scorpion kaiju, also dwells within Shanguang. Unlike Yorak, Bezravnis does not roam the land but instead sleeps for exactly two hundred and seventy three years until the return of the Inferno Star. Between rampages it hibernates somewhere in the shadow of the Wall of Heaven Mountains.7[citation needed]

Other inhabitants

The region around the river marking Shanguang's eastern border with Hongal is known to be haunted by namorrodors, bestial undead from the Netherworld.8 Despite the Mutabi-qi roaming across much of Shanguang, there are still vast stretches of untouched land all across the region and amongst these uninhabited area giant monsters, particularly lean bulettes and death worms are common. The regions nearer to the Wall of Heaven are rife with ash giants, lamias, and numerous varieties of undead. Elementals and elemental kin are also rife across Shanguang.1


Shanguang is known to be a centre of worship for followers of Lady Nanbyo, goddess of calamities and the so called 'Widow of Suffering'.9 Desna, Lamashtu, and Pharasma are also commonly worshipped.1


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

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 36. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 47. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. Benjamin Bruck. On Hostile Waters. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 Joshua Kim. “Rise of the Kaiju” in Ready? Fight!, 71. Paizo Inc., 2021
  5. Colin McComb & Tim Hitchcock. “The Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Primer, 17. Paizo Inc., 2012
  6. Patchen Mortimer. Ratfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 53. Paizo Inc., 2021
  7. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 4, 168–169. Paizo Inc., 2013
  8. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 183. Paizo Inc., 2021
  9. James Jacobs, et al. “Life in the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 60–61. Paizo Inc., 2011