Months that felt like years, navigating the unforgiving desert sea. Mesmerizing dunes and jagged rock formations and land as flat as ever seen…
And as if hostility of the land itself was not enough…violent vermin, twisted and mutated by the broken threads of magic here. Travelers turned raider, lost to their homes and desperate for survival there.
But finally I find myself among something very rare indeed. And as luck would have it…at least my professor of anthropology companion would put it that way…we have been allowed to join a rather momentous occasion among a very unique group of individuals.
As tall as giants, with blue skin, six arms and as stoic a countenance as I’ve ever seen, the mysterious tribe we’ve been looking for is finally at literal arm’s reach.
Celebrating the birth of a new one of their incredibly rare few. We missed the maturing process, of which the professor mentioned is quite quick. In fact, the howls of agony they claimed were apart of such a process was how we found them. As the horrible sound stretched across the wasteland, guiding us forth.
The professor is enthusiastically scribbling every detail they can muster throughout every bit of the event. And my stomach churns at the sight of what I just saw was added to a stew I fear I may be expected to eat…
But while most are occupied, my crew and I have played it casual. My concern here and now are the strange urns, jars and amphora kept under guard at all times. And the apparent “undamaged” magic contained within. What these primitive beings seem to believe…is that they can mend the damage done to these wastes…
It’s hard not to roll one’s eyes at the futility of the thought. Though I may not believe such a silly thing…I’ve a job to do. My employer thinks it a threat, and I’ll be damned if this horrible trek was a waste of time.
The crew is set up, in position. And all side-eyes are on the destruction of those vessels of superstition. I best give the signal before they start pouring bowls of that stew.
Source: Bestiary 3, pg. 42
Mother of Flies (Paizo AP, 2010): https://paizo.com/products/btpy8bc1
The Inner Sea World Guide (Paizo Campaign Setting, 2011): https://paizo.com/products/btpy8ief
Pathfinder Lore (1e and 2e)
· Giant, blue-skinned, six-armed.
o 14 feet tall, 4,000 pounds (1814 kg).
o They reach adulthood over the span of a week, which involves painful moltings in which only half the children survive.
o The birth of a new Calikang (and presumed survival into adulthood) is cause for a great celebration. And they have a great feast that involves the consumption of the new Calikang’s moltings and bones.
o Their physiology has a unique ability to absorb and manipulate electrical energy.
§ They can also blast energy rays from their eyes and mouth.
o They live up to 200 years, but can extend this through a self-induced suspended animation. In which the do not need to eat, drink, breathe, and they do not age. But remain fully aware.
o When he failed, he cut off the six fingers of his own own hand and them them down to Golarion.
o Calikangs crawled from the craters left behind.
· Because of this longevity they most often serve as guardians ancient tombs and treasures.
· And they are a prime choice over most other options as most living guardians will likely perish much sooner, and mechanical guardians will fall into disrepair.
o They naturally feel a strong and innate need to protect and guard something.
o This stems from the Calikangs feeling an innate sense of shame for the Vineshvakhi’s failing and expect themselves and others of their kind to atone for it by taking up roles as guardians.
o So, they perform these long tasks quite willingly. Though each Calikang expects only to serve 100 years as a guardian. However, you can imagine that…less and than honest types tend to manipulate them into longer stretches of service.
§ Such as “time spent in suspension doesn’t count toward the 100 years”.
o Alternatively, they are also highly sought after to act as bodyguards in some cases.
· However, they also prefer a solitary life, so groupings or societies of Calikang are extremely rare.
o When they do exist, they tend to live in temperate and tropical areas of the world. Especially Vudra.
o Otherwise places like jungles, swamps or deserts.
o A notable tribe of Calikang that once served Nex were freed upon his disappearance.
o They fled to and roam the Mana Wastes, seeing it as “a scar upon reality” and seek ways to repair it by somehow gathering/collecting undamaged magic and releasing it into the wastes.
o They hope this will ‘refill’ the ‘empty container of magic’.
o Most others believe this to be a futile task.
Mythology & Folklore
And now for my terrible attempt to talk about more Hindu mythology!
· Kali, Hindu goddess of ultimate power, time, destruction and change.
o Also referred to as Mahakali, Bhadrakali or Kalika.
· This is particular to Shaktism, which is one of several denominations in Hinduism.
· In this tradition it is believed Kali is considered to be a ferocious form of the goddess Adi Shakti, the supreme of all powers, or the ultimate reality.
· Kali is seen as a goddess that destroys evil to protect the innocent.
o She is also seen as a protector of the divine, and one who bestows Moksha (liberation, emancipation, enlightenment, release, etc.)
· There are various legends showing her as fighting and killing Asura (demons), and one particular legend about Raktabija:
o Raktabija managed to secure a boon from Shiva in which any time a drop of his blood dropped to the battlefield, many Raktabijas would rise from it with equal form, strength and weapons.
o Kali stopped this by ‘sucking his blood’ before it hit the ground and eating any clones that managed to form.
· She takes a physical form with dark blue skin, gaunt sunken eyes, and wearing a tiger-skin sari and a garland of human heads.
· The Devi Mahatmyam describes:
Out of the surface of [Durga's] forehead, fierce with frown, issued suddenly Kali of terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose. Bearing the strange khatvanga (skull-topped staff), decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger's skin, very appalling owing to her emaciated flesh, with gaping mouth, fearful with her tongue lolling out, having deep reddish eyes, filling the regions of the sky with her roars, falling upon impetuously and slaughtering the great asuras in that army, she devoured those hordes of the foes of the devas and caught the blood of Raktabīja before it could fall to the ground, stopping him from creating more duplicates.
· There are usually two depictions of Kali in Hindu iconography: the popular Four-armed.
o Usually described as black in colour, but mostly depicted as blue instead.
o Her eyes are are red with intoxication and rage.
o Her hair is disheveled, small fangs protrude from her mouth, tongue lolling out of her mouth.
o In addition to the sari and garland, sometimes she has a skirt of human arms.
· The rarer ten-armed Mahakali form.
o Shines like a blue stone.
o Also has ten faces, ten feet, and three eyes on each head.
o All her limbs are decorated with ornaments.
· The forms and traditions go on and on actually, as the denominations and widespread of the religion and beliefs stretch pretty far.
o One particular depiction that I think is of note is Kali stepping on Shiva.
§ Shiva is Kali’s consort, and when Kali went into a rage that could not be stopped (it very much going in the direction of Kali destroying the entire universe), Shiva laid down to force Kali to step on him during her rampage. And this caused her rage to be soothed.
o But I think we get the gist. And generally what I found was only physical similarities and the connection to Asuras in both lores.
· I do like the loose connection with the Asura.
· It’s almost as if the real connection to Kali in Hinduism is more related to the god that created the Calikang. More likely the actual pantheon of Vudrani gods.
· The Calikang don’t really share anything with Kali beyond some physical features, but are clearly connected down some line.
· Kali is mostly destructive, while the Calikang are protective.
Quick Note: AoN has 2 listings for this creature. The original is from the Age of Ashes AP, but the updated version is in Bestiary 3. The old one specifies there is a “an updated version” with a link.
Main differences I found were a small increase in Perception, two abilities rolled into one for simplification, and small changes in wording such as “its to they” and additional lore throughout.