Char's Pathfinder Game
The Inner Sea Region
The Inner Sea region 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. Founded by the living god Aroden, this ancient island city-state has survived nearly 5 millennia of toppled kingdoms to thrive as a haven of merchants and scoundrels. In the west, he 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 knowledge of arcane 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 arcane magic.
Magic becomes more common 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 that date back millennia. 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 wizard-kings known as runelords.
Use of magic and the appearance of the fantastic and bizarre are much more commonplace 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 wizard-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 arcane learning on the planet. Between these former enemies stretches a magic-dead tract of desert known as the Mana Wastes, within which exists a city-state reliant on technology and advanced engineering in a world dependant on the supernatural. 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 flying cities of the Shory, long since crashed into the rocky slopes where they now rest.
The Pathfinder Society
The greatest heroes of the Inner Sea region record their victories in an ongoing series of chapbooks known as the Pathfinder Chronicles. The amazing, often unbelievable tales bound in these oft-traded volumes tell of lost gods and sunken continents, of creatures older than the world itself that fell from the stars in the eldest of days, and of the fantastic ruins they left behind.
The authors of these tales belong to the Pathfinder Society, a loose-knit group of explorers, archaeologists, and adventurers who span the globe in search of lost knowledge and ancient treasures. Some seek to unlock the secret history of the world, piecing together the past one fragment at a time. Others are in it for the money, filtering priceless antiquities through a series of unscrupulous merchants to enrich themselves beyond measure. Still other Pathfinders
take up the trade because they find the thrill of risking their lives more addicting and exhilarating than any vice or drug.
A shadowy inner circle of masked leaders known as the Decemvirate rules the Pathfinder Society from the bustling metropolis of Absalom, the so-called City at the Center of the World. There, in a huge fortress complex called the Grand Lodge, the Ten manage a vast organization of agents
spread throughout the Inner Sea region and beyond. These officers, known as venture-captains, coordinate teams of Pathfinders in their assigned regions, tipping them off to ancient legends, passing along newly discovered maps, and supporting their efforts in the field.
That doesn’t necessarily make every venture-captain an unswerving ally, however. The ultimate goals of the Decemvirate are inscrutable, and not even the venture captains understand the full picture of what the Pathfinder Society does with all of the information it collects.
Each venture-captain oversees the activities of several tightly knit groups of Pathfinder field agents, who conduct much of the exploration and adventures that fuel the society as a whole.
Pathfinder agents provide detailed written reports of their exploits to their venture-captains, who then forward the most compelling records to the Grand Lodge in Absalom for consideration by the Decemvirate. Periodically, the masked leaders of the society collect and publish the greatest exploits in new volumes of the Pathfinder Chronicles, which they send back to their venture-captains for distribution to field agents. Whenever a new volume of the Pathfinder Chronicles hits the field, dozens of adventurers flock to the sites described therein for further exploration and adventure.
Although they belong to the same society, individual groups of Pathfinder agents often find themselves at cross purposes in the field, particularly if each team reports to a different venture-captain. Competition between Pathfinders rarely results in outright battle, but certain
agents aren’t above collapsing passages, triggering ancient traps, or selling out their rivals to hostile locals—all in the name of friendly competition, of course.
Player characters in a Pathfinder RPG campaign need not be members of the Pathfinder Society in order for the organization to play a critical role in their adventuring lives.
Although the volumes of the Pathfinder Chronicles themselves are intended only for the eyes of Pathfinder agents, there are unaffiliated adventurers, crooked scholars, and ambitious antiquarians who track down stray volumes and use them as maps to adventure. Even the oldest volumes, whose subjects have been plundered again and again, often contain hints leading to undiscovered treasure. Beyond these books, the PCs might also encounter a Pathfinder group in the field,setting up the society as lifelong antagonists or allies.