Pathfinder - The Inner Sea
The Inner Sea
The Inner Sea Region
The Inner Sea is the trading and cultural hub of two mighty continents—Avistan and Garund. At the heart of the Inner Sea’s warm waters stands Absalom, the City at the Center of the World. In the west, the Inner Sea passes through the narrow Arch of Aroden, a tenaciously contested strait named for the monolithic, ruined stone bridge connecting the two continents at their closest point of approach. To the east, the Inner Sea opens into the vast Obari Ocean.
The two continents that frame the Inner Sea are very different from one another. Avistan, to the north, is the seat of once-mighty empires like Cheliax and Taldor, and site of the ruins of Lost Thassilon in the frontier realm of Varisia. South, across the wide waterway of the Inner Sea, lie the secrets of Garund, a sprawling continent of arid deserts and fecund jungles, where the mighty pharaohs of Osirion emerged from the Age of Darkness to chart a new destiny for humanity.
Generally speaking, civilization centers on the Inner Sea, with barbarism and savagery taking hold where the sea’s refining inf luence wanes. Exceptions exist, of course, and the scattered lights of civilization stand out in the dark wildernesses and savage frontiers far to the north in Avistan and well to the south in Garund. Likewise, dark, wild areas exist within otherwise civilized lands close to the Inner Sea. Mercenaries and would-be heroes seek fortune and glory throughout the Inner Sea region, uncovering lost treasures, pacifying terrible dangers, and finding ignoble deaths in every unclaimed wilderness, kingdom, and empire of Avistan and Garund.
North of Avistan stretches the Crown of the World, a frozen landmass that links the continent with Tian-Xia. Where the two meet, hardy barbarism tends to dominate. Even in northern kingdoms that strive for advancements in civilization, such as the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and Realm of the Mammoth Lords, the use and knowledgeof magic remains relatively unknown and certainly mistrusted. Even Mendev, a relatively advanced nation filled with pious (and not-so-pious) crusaders, tends to shy away from magic.
Magic becomes more accepted in the southern nations of Avistan, particularly the devil-binding empire of Cheliax and its former colonies and vassal states. The ruling caste of shadow-haunted Nidal is suffused with forbidden magical forces, while the elves of Kyonin practice alien rites. On Avistan’s rocky northwestern shore, the Varisian frontier boasts the mostly intact ruins and lost magics of ancient Thassilon—a 10,000-year-gone empire ruled by sadistic kings known as runelords.
Use of magic and the appearance of the fantastic and bizarre are much more accepted on the southern continent of Garund. In the deserts of Osirion stand countless monuments to nearly forgotten pharaohs, godlike beings who raised their people from barbarism to imperial heights. Along the eastern coast lie the remnants of Nex and Geb, two kingdoms created to serve rival kings in the distant past. Today, Geb relies on animated corpses to harvest food for its living inhabitants, while the courts of Nex boast the most advanced and least understood schools of learning on the planet. Between these former enemies stretches a tract of desert known as the Mana Wastes, within which exists a city-state reliant on technology and advanced engineering. Deep in the heart of Garund, across the Shattered Range mountains, ancient ruins of unknown origin rise out of wild, uncivilized jungles. Scattered throughout the mountains surrounding the vast jungles of the Mwangi Expanse lie the ruins of once-miraculous cities of the Shory.