Osirion is not only one of the oldest nations currently in existence on the Inner Sea, but has been one of the most powerful and influential since Earthfall.
Founded circa -3472 AR, Osirion was one of the first nations to rise from the barbarism and chaos that engulfed the world after Earthfall, and became a beacon of civilization at the beginning of the Age of Destiny. Pharaohs ruled as gods on earth, their hieroglyph-inscribed monuments towered over even Thassilon’s mightiest, and their armies could churn a kingdom to mud, and blot out the sun on wings of death. Osirion reached the peak of its power circa -3000 AR under the rule of the God-Kings. Its territory encompassed the modern-day countries of Katapesh, Rahadoum, Geb, and Thuvia. Huge monuments to the divine rulers of Osirion were erected by the conquered peoples of these lands, many of which survive to the present day.
Osirion’s first pharaoh was the legendary Azghaad, and the country was unified under the Four Pharaohs of Ascension. Following a coup against the Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues, the Song Pharaoh founded the city of Shiman-Sekh in northwestern Osirion in -3047 AR. Kemusar I served as the crown regent of Osirion from the imprisonment of Pharaoh An-Hepsu XI in -1768 AR to -1757 AR, a year before the young Pharaoh Sekhemib I came of age. After being strangled in his sleep, Kemusar’s unfinished tomb disappeared, followed by several court nobles. In -1498 AR, the Four Pharaohs of Ascension consolidated their rule of Osirion, bringing about the kingdom’s second age. Their forces defeat the Tekritanin League in -1452 AR, incorporating a number of their city-states while destroying others, but begin to decline around -1431 AR. In -841 AR, the last Osiriani governor of Thuvia was assassinated. No replacement was sent from the capital of Sothis, effectively relinquishing control of the province. Pharaoh Hirkoshek I founded the city of An in -107 AR as a city for laborers on his pyramid.
Qadiran satrapy and Keleshite sultanate
It was the burgeoning cult of the Dawnflower that inspired Qadira to invade and conquer a stagnant Osirion. Osirian independence ended following the assassination of the corrupt Pharaoh Menedes XXVI in 1532 AR, leading to the overthrow of the pharaonic dynasty, and the country was declared a satrapy of the Keleshite Empire. By 2217 AR, the religion of the Dawnflower was flourishing in Osirion, but the Qadiri satrapy viewed it as a threat. Pogroms drove the cult into the desert, where they built Sarenrae’s Bastion in what is now Katapesh. In 2253 AR, the church of Sarenrae assassinated the last Qadiri satrap and returned from exile in Thuvia, leading to the establishment of a line of independent Keleshite sultans.
After three thousand years, Osirioni independence was restored in 4609 AR, when the Keleshite sultan was overthrown and replaced by Prince Khemet I, whose ancestry dates back to the ancient pharaohs. Decades afterwards, it was revealed that the church of Sarenrae had struck a deal with the first modern pharaoh a year in advance of his official assumption of power. Now, Osirion ages from millennia of foreign rule under the rulership of the youthful Khemet III, who hearkens back to the ancient days of Osirion’s glory. In 4707, Khemet opened the vast deserts of Osirion – long closed by the Keleshite overlords who held the nation as a satrapy of Qadira – to foreign exploration. Today the great treasures and arcane formulas of the living gods of ancient Osirion are unearthed for the entire world to see, and the ascendancy of the Land of Pharaohs is at hand. Most Inner Sea nations view Osirion as a relic from a bygone age. In truth, Osirion is a slumbering giant that, when awakened, could wash away all fledgling challengers with the power of its traditions.
During the Age of Destiny, Osirion became one of the first and most powerful human civilizations. It was ruled by hereditary monarchs known as pharaohs, self-proclaimed gods who inspired greatness in their people. After seven centuries spent as a satrapy of Qadira, and another twenty-four centuries of subjugation under Keleshite sultans, however, the rise of Osirion as a sovereign nation is once again upon the world. Beginning with Khemet I, the Forthbringer, a new line of kings now rules the land, using their magical powers over the elementals of the desert to secure and maintain control. Khemet’s grandson, The Ruby Prince Khemet III, now rules as the divine monarch of the reemerging nation.
While Khemet’s rule is absolute, the day-to-day administration of Osirion is handled by the Council of Sun and Sky. A constant battleground of political machinations between corrupt bureaucrats and idealistic crusaders, the Council is held together by the leadership of First Speaker Dahnakrist Phi, whose origins as a former slave have provided him unprecedented public support.
This primarily desert nation occupies the northeastern corner of the continent of Garund. It is bordered on the north by the Inner Sea and the east by the Obari Ocean. Its western border (where it meets the nation of Thuvia) is established by the banks of the Junira, while the Brazen Peaks provide a natural barrier to the south, where Osirion’s former holding of Katapesh stretches into further expanses of desert. The desolate, sandless deserts of western Osirion are known as the Footprints of Rovagug and holds the country’s only two volcanoes, Sokar’s Boil and Asuulek’s Mouth; nobles sometimes travel to this region for the healthful spring waters. Between Shiman-Sekh and the border with Thuvia, the desert flattens to a horizon of dry limestone flats and salt beds known as the Glazen Sheets.
The nation’s capital city of Sothis is located at the delta of the great Sphinx River, whose equally mighty tributaries named the Crook and the Asp flow from the mountains in the nation’s south. Countless ancient ruins lie buried or partially exposed throughout the Sahure Wastes, and with each passing season, the dune-filled landscape continues to expose new ruins and engulf those which had been open to the sun as sandstorms continually sweep across the vastness.
The most common religions are those of Abadar, Nethys, Pharasma, and the other major gods of Osirion, but the country has several unique faiths, including the twin serpent cults of Wadjet and Apep and the dung beetle Khepri, a cult for peasants. Despite the efforts of the Keleshite rulers, the worship of Osirion’s native beast-headed gods has continued to the present. The shaven-headed Osirian priests usually wear white robes with fringed kirtles, and sometimes ornate pectorals or headscarves, veils, or metal or leather masks. The churches of Sarenrae, Nethys, and Pharasma have played a particularly prominent role in Osirian history. Osirian worshippers of Irori tend to cluster in isolated communities in valleys among the Barrier Range and Brazen Peaks, including the Temple of An-Alak in the Salt Hills, the Stepped Tower of Djedefar on the Alamein Peninsula, and the ritual center of the Monastary of Tar Kuata beyond the Footprints of Rovagug.
Spellcasters in Osirion have access to some unique spells and abilities. Those practiced in metamagic can convert a spell into a thanatopic spell, which can pierce wards against negative energy or use negative energy effects to destroy undead, or a threnodic spell, which can convert mind-affecting spells into effects capable of influencing or controlling undead. The country’s most infamous tome of necromancy are the papyrus scrolls known as the Aleh Almaktoum, the Book of the Dead, found in the collections of Osirian archmages. Several uncommon spells are familiar to Osiran magicians, including boneshatter, canopic conversion, sands of time, spectral saluqi, and tomb legion.