The Whispering Tyrant, an ancient lich, has long been a thorn in the side of the nations surrounding the Inner Sea. For years, the tyrant has ruled over the undead droves that wander the land, spreading death and destruction.
A group of brave adventurers recently banded together to put an end to the lich’s reign of terror, but they were unsuccessful. Now the situation is worse than ever. The lich’s forces are massing for a final assault on the last remaining bastions of civilization.
The Inner Sea region is the most well-known part of the world of Pathfinder. It is here that the majority of adventures take place.
This article will give you a brief introduction to the Inner Sea region and list some of the most notable locations. We’ll also provide background information on the different cultures that call this area their home.
The Lands of the Inner Sea Region
Golarion is a world of high fantasy with elements of science fiction and horror. Most campaigns take place in the Age of Lost Omens, the default setting for the Pathfinder roleplaying game.
The Inner Sea region is located in the central part of Golarion and is one of the most heavily populated areas on the planet. Two continents make up the Inner Sea region: Avistan in the north and Garund in the south.
The Inner Sea is a large body of water bordered by several major nations, empires, and cities. Within its waters can be found a multitude of islands, including the Isle of Kortos, Jalmeray, and the Shackles.
To the north is the continent of Avistan, which is also home to the nations of Andoran, Cheliax, Galt, Isger, Molthune, Qadira, Razmiran, and Taldor. To the south is the continent of Garund, which contains such diverse locations as the Mwangi Expanse, Nex, Osirion, and Katapesh.
Who Lives in the Inner Sea?
The Inner Sea region is home to a wide variety of cultures and ancestries. Humans are the most prevalent ancestry, with various human ethnicities making up the majority of the population in most nations. However, there are also sizable populations of dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and other ancestries.
The different cultures of the Inner Sea have their own unique customs and traditions. For example, the people of Andoran value freedom and self-determination above all else, while the citizens of Cheliax follow a strict hierarchical system based on deals made with Asmodeus, the king of devils.
No matter where you go in the Inner Sea region, you’re sure to find a land that’s rich in history and full of adventure!
The city of Absalom is located on an island in the middle of the Inner Sea. Often referred to as the City at the Center of the World, Absalom was created by the living god Aroden, a survivor of Earthfall.
Absolom is the largest city in Golarion. Home to a diverse population of over 300,000, Absalom is a hub of trade and culture. The city is also a major learning center, with countless libraries and universities.
If you’re looking for high adventure, Absalom is the place to be. The city is constantly besieged by intrigue, and there are always new mysteries to be solved.
New players seeking experience are advised to head for the Saga Lands. Once home to a nation of tyrannical runelords, the Saga Lands are now a lawless frontier full of danger and opportunity.
The Saga Lands are located on the eastern coast of Avistan and stretch from the Realm of the Mammoth Lands all the way to Varisia. The region is largely unexplored, and many ruins from the Runelords’ empire can still be found within its borders.
Within the Saga Lands, you’ll find Riddleport, a pirate city located on the southern coast of Varisia. It’s a lawless place where anything and everything goes. The city is home to all sorts of criminals and scoundrels, and it’s a popular destination for those looking for adventure.
Once a mighty empire stretching the length of the Inner Sea, Old Cheliax is now a shadow of its former self. The empire fell after a civil war that saw the rise of the diabolical Asmodeus.
Today, Old Cheliax is ruled by House Thrune, a family of devils in a pact with Asmodeus, the Prince of Darkness. Diabolism is the official religion of Cheliax, and the people live in fear of the devils that rule them.
Despite the dark legacy of Old Cheliax, there are still many who love and defend their home. If you’re looking for adventure in a land of conspiracy and danger, Old Cheliax is the place for you.
Within the borders of the Shining Kingdom are nations of dwarves and elves. Above the realm, soaring eagles keep watch from tall mountain peaks while less wholesome creatures crawl through the swampy southern forests. The Shining Kingdom is a land of contrasts, where beauty and destruction live side-by-side.
Democratic Andoran is the region’s most famous place internationally. Andoran’s heroes are known for championing freedom and creating a safer, friendlier realm. However, political strife is still a problem in this area, and rumors of war with Old Cheliax loom.
To the northeast and near the dwarves’ Five Kings Mountains city-states is Druma, a large and economically powerful nation whose people follow the teachings of the Prophecies of Kalistrade. Druma controls nearly half the shoreline of Lake Encarthan, using the lake to bolster their wealth and power.
The Golden Road is a thriving artery of trade and commerce that holds great importance for those who live in the Inner Sea region. While the unforgiving dunes aren’t hospitable to most travelers, caravans often move across them, and the rivers and coastlines of the harsh desert support many cities.
The sprawling desert trade route stretches from the city of Rahadoum, where mortals have forsaken the gods, all the way to the largest city in the region, Katapesh, where adventurers can spend the blazing hot days shopping for hard-to-find items. Mercantile Katapesh houses both above-board merchants and black-market sellers, all eager to turn a profit.
Enterprising players may want to visit the Golden Road to sell stolen goods or rare items to the highest bidder or find an item they’ve been desperately seeking. The five city-states that make up Thuvia are supported by their knowledge of the secret sun orchid elixir formula, which grants immortality.
Osirion, which rises from the sands near the Golden Road’s center, is one of the oldest nations in the Inner Sea region and holds many mysteries.
The Mwangi Expanse is a vast jungle located on the continent of Garund. Home to many powerful city-states, the Mwangi Expanse is the perfect place to look for glory and gold.
But adventurers be warned, the Mwangi Expanse can be a dangerous place for those unprepared. The jungles are home to savage monsters and brutal warlords. Adventure deep within the salt marshes and swamplands, and you’ll find yourself in a land of danger and mystery.
Despite the hazards, the Mwangi Expanse is also a land of great beauty. The jungles are home to many rare and exotic creatures, and the people of the Mwangi Expanse are some of the most eclectic in all of Golarion.
The high seas are full of danger and adventure. You’ll find swashbuckling pirates and terrifying aquatic monsters within the waters of the Inner Sea. Sailors have long told stories of lost treasures, haunted shipwrecks, and mysterious islands.
And while some sailors stay close to the safety of the shore, others venture out into the open waters in search of glory and fame. Whether you’re looking for excitement or looking to avoid it, the high seas are the place to go.
So set your sails and begin exploring. There’s no telling what you’ll find with a willing crew and a sound ship!
Eye of Dread
You’ll find horrors and mysteries within the region known as the eye of dread. Teeming with nightmarish monsters, this is a place where only the bravest (or foolhardiest) adventurers dare to tread.
But if you’re looking for excitement, there’s no better place to find it than in the Eye of Dread. Demonic possessions and cursed tombs await in this dark corner of Golarion, one full of ravenous monsters and ancient threats.
It’s here, in the rotten heart of Avistan, that the Whispering Tyrant was defeated in ages past.
So if you’re looking for a real challenge, venture into the Eye of Dread and see what awaits you. Just be sure to watch your back…
The Impossible Lands are terrifying and unbelievable. This region holds limitless possibilities in the form of outstanding and horrifying magic.
The citizens of Geb, for example, are mostly undead, just like the land’s dictator and namesake, a thousands-year-old ghost. Across the Mana Wastes, the cosmopolitan nation of Nex is nearly as grim. Golems ensure order on its busy streets, which teem with fleshcrafters and the fleshwarped. Fleshwarped victims often have no say in their transformation, so be cautious!
The Impossible Land’s most “normal” spot in the eyes of most outsiders is Alkenstar, well-known for its exports of quality firearms. The inhabitants of Alkenstar enjoy the predictability of technology and cling to it, producing plenty of metallurgists and machinists that work to advance their craft.
Off the coast, in Jalmeray, mysticism thrives, allowing its residents to perform outstanding physical and intellectual tasks, drawing everyone from fighters to wizards and sorcerers to its shores in search of knowledge.
A land of discovery and dread, the Impossible Lands should only be breached by the most daring of adventurers.
Cultures of Golarion
Long ago, Golarian was hit by an extinction-level event known as Earthfall that sank continents and destroyed entire civilizations overnight. Those who survived this devastation faced a world of darkness and danger.
Humanity was the first to recover. From the ashes of Earthfall rose new cities and, eventually, empires. Today, Golarion is teeming with life, and its continents are bustling with a vast array of societies and inhabitants from all across the multiverse.
Humans of the Inner Sea
The Inner Sea area holds many diverse life forms, and its human population is no exception. As mentioned above, humans have thrived in Golarion, and many different ethnicities of humans call the Inner Sea region home.
Below we discuss a few of the human ethnic groups that occupy the Inner Sea continents.
The Mwangi people inhabit the continent of Garund and are scattered across its extensive lands.
Overall, the Mwangi people are best known for living in the Mwangi Expanse, the birthplace of one of the first civilizations to spring up after the Earthfall disaster. However, Garund’s large landmass offers many biomes, and the four subtypes of Mwangi people, the Zenj, Mauxi, Bonuwat, and Bekyar, all have their own preferred regions.
For example, the Bonuwats are seafaring people and can mostly be found on the water or close to the seashore, while Zenj people are more nomadic and usually either spend their lives on the move or in small tribes that settle in the jungles or by rivers.
Each subtype of Mwangi has its traditions and beliefs, but they all speak the Mwangi language and share a similar appearance with dark skin tones and hair.
Residents of northern Garund, Garundi people speak Osiriani and have varying skin tones of brown or beige. Most of these migratory humans are tall with broad shoulders, and they live largely along the shores of the Inner Sea.
They are generally compassionate and friendly people who prize empathy and often strive to display a helpful attitude, especially to neighbors.
People raised in Garundi culture typically like to wear brightly colored clothing that draws the eye, but they also appreciate practicality. They may change their dress to better acclimate to other locations, but even when they adapt to other cultures’ fashions, they usually style themselves in loose, long layers to increase adaptability.
Taldans are one of the most populous human ethnicity in the Inner Sea region and are known for their love of art, adventure, and luxury. Hailing from the Taldor empire, these humans have spread throughout much of Avistan and can be found in many other corners of Golarion.
Taldans have olive complexions and dark hair, which they often style in an elaborate manner.
They are also known for being great explorers, a trait that has led to the founding of many Taldan cities throughout Golarion.
Hailing from the island of Jalmeray, the Vudrani people are spiritual and well-known for believing in reincarnation. They have dark eyes and swarthy features. Vuldrani often wear makeup and earrings as well as other jewelry.
Creatures of the Inner Sea
In addition to housing humanoids, the Inner Sea provides refuge to a wide variety of creatures, some friendly and some dangerous. You’ll find everything from the common rat to the rare and exotic manticore. And if you’re looking for a real challenge, you could always try hunting a dragon, but it’s your funeral.
Treasure hunters, beware! These legendary creatures dwell in the Inner Sea, and they may be guarding that pile of gold you’re after.
Most dragons prefer lonely lairs deep in the mountains or in other hard-to-reach locations, like remote caves or long-abandoned ruins. However, these fearsome monsters can strike fear in the heart of any warrior and may emerge from their hideouts to attack even populated areas when angered.
Dragons are intelligent and sometimes manipulative creatures who speak draconic. If one of your fellow adventurers speaks draconic as well, you can converse with a dragon and may learn ancient secrets. You should be wary of trusting these wise beasts, though, as they aren’t always honest.
There are two main types of dragons in Golarion: chromatic and metallic. Chromatic dragons are evil, and it’s in your best interest to avoid them altogether.
On the other hand, metallic dragons are good, but they aren’t always interested in interactions with humanoids.
Be cautious if you stumble upon one of these sky lords during your journey in the Inner Sea region; its intentions for your group may not be nice.
Giants are found throughout Golarion, including in the Inner Sea, in remote locations. You might find giants making their homes in mountain ranges, muggy jungles, or stinking swamps.
Nomadic giants also traverse the deserts. Giant tribes seek out places to live where they can avoid contact with other humanoids as much as possible.
Giant subtypes vary considerably in their beliefs and lifestyles, but many giants like to keep large pets, like lions, bears, or even manticores. Giants have also been known to tame dinosaurs and griffons.
If you are in a situation to steal or borrow from a giant’s bag, you may find something unexpected. These massive humanoids like to collect unusual treasures to carry along with them on their journeys.
Golarion travelers may find demons in any part of the Inner Sea as a demon haunts any area where it’s summoned. That said, visitors of the Inner Sea region who want to avoid demon encounters should take special care to avoid Kyonin in the Shining Kingdoms, specifically the marshy Tanglebriar. Tanglebriar is controlled by a powerful demon by the name of Treerazer.
On the other hand, brave adventurers and champions may wish to help the elves drive Treerazer from the southern border of their lands, freeing them of the demon’s tyranny.
However, it’s only a task for the strongest warriors, as the elves themselves have not been able to rid the forest of the demonic menace.
Around the World
The Pathfinder campaign setting is a world full of daring adventures and dark mysteries. In the Inner Sea Region, players can explore a tremendous variety of nations and cultures. From the deserts of Osirion to the treacherous wilderness of the highlands, there’s always something new to discover.
With so much to explore, the Inner Sea Region is the perfect place to begin your quest for adventure. Who knows, you might even find a dragon’s hoard!