Lower City

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This is easily the largest section of Katapesh, and the most densely populated. The Lower City contains the city’s sprawling docks and possibly the world’s largest bazaar—a collection of kiosks, tents, huts, carts, or simply rugs on open spaces of ground displaying a few odds and ends. The Lower City Bazaar stretches the entire length of the city, and nearly anything can be bought or sold there.

Map Locations

B. Eagle Gate

E. Day Gate

F. Night Gate

G. Jackal Gate

22. Aandrik the Chirurgeon: This nondescript tent bears a simple sign with the business’s name. While its proprietor is skilled at treating illnesses and injuries through the wonders of “modern” medicine, such tasks are mere side projects for his true talents as a gifted illusionist. With the help of his two beautiful assistants, Leinriss and Denjal, the doctor specializes in using a combination of magic and surgical alterations to provide beauty where none existed before, and the best disguises money can buy.

23. Ahkmed’s Carpets: The owner of this shop is Ahkmed, a high-ranking member of Katapesh’s Guild of Weavers. His rugs and tapestries are renowned all across the world, and his area of the Lower Bazaar is a maze of hanging rugs, tapestries, sleeping pallets, and other woven creations. He roams his woven lair each day like a small, sharp-eyed minotaur, quickly sorting serious buyers from curious browsers.

24. Aromas and Aphrodisiacs: This large pavilion tent is tie-dyed in a dozen different colors. The banner over the tent flap entrance bears the name “Aromas and Aphrodisiacs” in large, elegant letters. A wizened old tiefling herbalist named Chiaong offers patrons relaxing herbs that may be inhaled from extravagant hookahs, absorbed through the skin via organic wraps, or drank as a variety of tasty and relaxing teas within small private booths inside the tent. Chiaong is assisted by a small army of slaves.

25. Azure Star: Deep in the heart of the Lower City, Azure Star reigns supreme as the most popular cantina for visitors and locals alike. From the outside it looks like a large gray tent covered in sky-blue stars. Inside, silk partitions create private rooms surrounding a large open common room with overlapping carpets and rugs covering the floor. Patrons lounge around small polished tables on soft, comfortable pillows. A soft breeze created by a bound air elemental wafts through the tent, rippling its walls. At the top of every hour, musicians and singers entertain the guests with haunting and entrancing songs and melodies brought to Katapesh from the remotest corners of the world. Many visitors come to Azure Star to sample the exotic cuisine served there such as honeyed loci, curdled camel milk, pesh-sprinkled dhabba liver, pickled scorpion, grilled adder, thrice-poisoned oysters, and many more.

26. Cindra’s Exotic Pets: Cindra is a purveyor of rare and difficult-to-obtain animals. Her tent is filled with an eclectic collection of caged animals—monkeys, apes, and birds from the Mwangi Expanse; dhabbas from the nearby deserts; small dinosaurs and lizards from Mediogalti; warp snakes from the Mana Wastes of Nex; baby Osirion crocodiles; Hyrantum geckos and toads from the Sodden Lands; white and gray crows from Irrisen; wolves, badgers, foxes, and pygmy elks plundered from the forests of Nirmathas; and many other rare and unusual animals.

27. Council Hall and Gaol Block: Once known as Aktep Keep, this walled compound squats atop a low bluff overlooking the rest of the Lower City spread around it. About 8 years ago, this was the estate of Massein Aktep, an extremely wealthy businessman who had his hands in nearly every enterprise in Katapesh. He became the center of a huge scandal implicating him for tax evasion, fraud, and masterminding the murder of several prominent guildmasters over the course of 3 years. Rather than execute Massein, the Pactmasters seized all of his holdings and turned his expansive personal dungeon into the city’s new gaol, where he is currently spending the rest of his days in a 5-foot-square cell. The estate has been converted into the Council Hall, where the city’s guildmasters and other officials meet. It is also a barracks for the Zephyr Guard. Each year the Pactmasters bring Massein out of his cell and parade him through the city to remind the populace how even the mightiest are brought low when they break the law. The locals have taken to calling the yearly event the Gaol Parade, and it has become a major holiday for them. Puppets of Massein Aktep are sold everywhere, food vendors sell “gaol rations” of bread and water, locals don their rattiest and dirtiest clothing, and street-side performers reenact the trial and sentencing of the fallen businessman.

28. The Doomsayer’s Stand: Among the tangle of tents and kiosks, this circular two-step dais was once used by bards and musicians to entertain the throngs of shoppers milling through the Lower City Bazaar. Approximately 1 year ago, self-proclaimed prophets espousing the tenets of obscure faiths and cults began using it as their own stage from which to preach to passersby and vendors in the area. At first, their presence was an annoyance, but in time they began to draw crowds of bemused or genuinely interested listeners.

Here are a few of the regulars visitors may expect to find at the Doomsayers’ Stand.

Argoist, Messenger of the Death Clock: Argoist is perceived by most as a raving lunatic. Loud, brash, and aggressive, he claims that all of creation moves to the rhythm of a series of heavenly clocks. However, one clock—the Death Clock—measures the time of all the lesser clocks and the things and beings they represent. He claims that the Death Clock has reached its final hour and that all of creation will come to an end when the last second ticks. When not raving about the Death Clock, he simply points at individuals that have stopped to listen, says, “Tick, tock!” then laughs maniacally.

Gorggus, the Bloated Prophet of Glut: In his youth, Gorggus tried to learn the ways of an arcane group called hemotheurges (or “bloatmages”), sages who push their bodies beyond normal limits in order to draw magical strength from their own blood. Unfortunately for Gorggus, he quickly discovered that he had no magical talent whatsoever. Unwilling to let that stop him, he immediately gorged himself into morbid obesity and began covering himself in leeches, extolling his nonexistent powers to all who would listen. Gorggus spends his days on the Doomsayers’ Stand, luridly describing repulsive blood rites of his own invention.

Hiss, the Serpent Revelator: Easily recognized by his tarnished silver headdress and jewelry, Hissarok (usually called “Hiss”) is a lizardfolk priest who claims that every night he dreams of a race of snake men called the Ydersians from which his people descended. He talks of an ancient empire that slumbers beneath the earth and sea and will soon awaken from its long sleep to take its rightful place as the most powerful empire of Avistan.

Rathocles, the Star Gazer: Rathocles calls himself Prophet of the Red Star, though the locals refer to him as the Star Gazer. Instead of the maniacal ramblings that many of his fellows use to proselytize, Rathocles locks his audience with a piercing gaze and warns in a soft voice that a great chunk of star will collide with Golarion in the next few years and that Katapesh will be utterly destroyed. He does not call his listeners to repentance or demand that they conform to new bizarre conventions. He simply warns that when the Red Star appears, they will know that his prediction is about to come to pass and that the world as they know it will come to an end. At times he falls silent and simply stares into the heavens as if searching for the dreaded sign of the Red Star. Because of the similarities in their messages, Argoist and Rathocles often come into contention with each other. The Zephyr Guard has had to break up several fights between the two, much to the amusement of the crowds that stop to listen and watch.

29. Jangley’s Shop: A simple tent with a sign reading “Jangley” perched over it is all that marks this dealership of rare, hard-to-find, and mysterious merchandise. The brothers, Pasker and Trill Jangley, have a staggering network of associates through which they can sell some of the oddest and most puzzling items one can buy. Each day may bring some new trinket to the Jangley tent, and one never knows what may be on sale here. Yet each item always has an extravagant and astounding history, with which the Jangley brothers are more than happy to regale passersby.

30. The Ramps: Katapesh’s Inner and Lower City districts are connected via ramps that ascend the heights of the Obsidian Wall to the Night Gate and the Day Gate. Each of the ramps is constructed of stone and timber. In the event that it is ever necessary to defend the Inner City from invaders, each ramp is designed so it can be toppled by removing a series of massive linchpins. Residents distinguish the two ramps from each other by the gates they are associated with—Night Ramp and Day Ramp. The two see heavy traffic all day long. Each is over 50 feet wide, easily accommodating nearly anything brought onto them. Rails at each side of the ramps protect travelers from falls. Yet in spite of these safety measures, at least three or four fatalities occur each year when travelers plunge over the sides. Whether or not they are accidents is always widely speculated upon.

31. The Scorpion’s Sting: The sides of this large tent are embroidered with patterns resembling large scorpions. The tables that line its interior walls are covered in jars, bowls, bottles, vials, and pouches of powders, pastes, soluble tablets, liquids, and dust. Some of them are vile smelling, others pleasantly fragrant, while still others are completely odorless. All of these substances make up the vast array of poisons available at the Scorpion’s Sting. Jacenia Daleeb runs the Scorpion’s Sting with a sharp-eyed attention for details and a shrewd attentiveness to her customers. Her assistant Manphir keeps things meticulously ordered and protects his mistress’s wares from any accidental demonstrations. Each table bears a sign that states, “The staff of the Scorpion’s Sting is not responsible for the results of unsupervised sampling of any of their products. Please ask for assistance.”

32. The Slave Block: A long rectangular block of stone with a set of wooden steps leading up to it serves as a platform for slaves to be displayed for sale. A member of the Auctioneers’ Guild runs the daily sales here while two squads of the Zephyr Guard keep a watchful eye for any trouble from the crowds or the slaves.

33. Temple of Nethys: This stepped, pyramid-like building towers over every nearby structure like a brooding giant. A multicolored f lame that burns endlessly without fuel hovers over the topmost tier, marking this as a house of Nethys, god of magic. The interior is a vast open chamber with walls covered in arcane glowing glyphs espousing the tenets of Nethys. Pillars curl upward to a ceiling of roiling prismatic mist punctuated with flickering lightning and gouts of flame—at times calm, at others raging with elemental fury. Robed templars stride the temple grounds, wary of thieves, infidels, and visitors looking to make trouble. Wearing porcelain masks painted black on one half and white on the other, they are armed with masterwork quarterstaffs and various types of battle wands.

34. House of Whips: Sadomasochists visiting the city invariably find their way to the House of Whips, where they can fulfill their unusual cravings. The House of Whips is operated by a woman who calls herself the Red Lady. Adorned head to toe in tight-fitting red leather, she carries a bloodstained whip and personally administers the punishment that her wealthiest submissive patrons f lock to her to receive.

35. Ivory Wands: This tent shop in the Lower City Bazaar is run by members of the Kerzalik family, who are all accomplished wizards and wand crafters. Nearly any variety of wand (made of ivory or otherwise) may be purchased here.

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Lower City

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