Arcadia

From PathfinderWiki
The continent of Arcadia. The shattered remnants of Azlant are to its east, and the Okaiyo Ocean separates it from Tian Xia to its west.
See also: Arcadian (human ethnicity)

Arcadia is a continent of Golarion located 4,000 miles west of Avistan and Garund over the Arcadian Ocean.1 Because of the long and dangerous sea journey needed to reach it, few folk from the Inner Sea region have visited it, and fewer still have returned.2 People who live in Arcadia are known as Arcadians.3

Geography

The sea journey from Avistan to Arcadia is a treacherous one, as it leads one either through the sea monster-infested waters around the sunken continent of Azlant, or far to the north via a long chain of islands that connect Arcadia to far-northwestern Avistan. Those who have visited Arcadia describe it as a verdant, natural wonderland filled with stunning vistas and boundless resources; parts of it seem to be completely unclaimed by civilization. Even though most cartographers do not possess an accurate map of the continent, it is believed to be Golarion's largest landmass.2

Likewise, few from Arcadia show much interest in travelling to Avistan, though some Segadans believe isolated explorers might have long ago secretly settled parts of Avistan.3

History

Little is known in the Inner Sea region about Arcadia, much less of its early history. It was inhabited by humans since as early as the Age of Legend, during which southern Arcadia was dominated by the militaristic, tyrannical Razatlani Empire, which lost most of its conquered territory in the Age of Darkness. Around the same time, northeastern Arcadia was attacked by Azlanti forces, and subsequently entered a long period of isolation just before the Age of Darkness began.45

The first recorded Avistanis to reach Arcadia were Ulfen explorers under the leadership of King Ulvass of Kalsgard in -473 AR.6 A powerful scylla cleric of Rovagug named Urtleytlar is also believed to have terrorized Arcadia's eastern seaboard for a thousand years before being called east across the ocean by the chaos that followed the death of the god Aroden in 4606 AR.78 Even a spawn of Rovagug—the great, winged monstrosity named Volnagur—is said to have wreaked havoc in the western interior of Arcadia in ages past.9

Millennia after the first Ulfen arrivals, the next Avistani settlers arrived in Arodus 4679 AR, as part of a Chelish colonization expedition that landed on the Grinding Coast near the Degasi city of Segada. The first Avistani born in Arcadia was Pimm Deori, 13 days after the colonists' arrival; years later, Deori also became the first Avistani to gain Segadan citizenship.10 Soon after the arrival of the Chelish colonists and a separate band of Andoren colonists, the local nations enacted the Segada Protocol to strictly limit and regulate Avistani colonization and exploitation of Arcadia.4 Only a very few special individuals are allowed entrance into Arcadia proper from the Chelaxian and Andoran colonies.11(See Avistani colonies.)

Inhabitants

The flag of Segada, a city of Degasi.

Despite Arcadia's pristine appearance, it is not as uninhabited as it first appeared to Avistani explorers and settlers. Soon after Ulvass, the first Linnorm King, completed his epic quest and landed on Arcadian soil, he encountered one group of native Arcadians. The Arcadians that Ulvass encountered were the Kansari people, fierce combatants who fought many battles against the Ulfen invaders using bows and tomahawks.23

Today, more than a dozen nations encompass Arcadia,12 Avistani settlers primarily interact with Degasi, a Mahwek nation in northeastern Arcadia.13

Despite eastern Arcadians' general distrust toward outsiders, the Mahwek people of Degasi generally leaves Valenhall alone, having decided it is too heavily defended to be worth their trouble. The other Avistani settlements to the south (see Avistani colonies) have been met by inhabitants of the Degasi city of Segada, however, to both protect the colonists and limit their influence.23 The powerful Segadan military quickly secured a border with the newcomers, and Segada's commercial influence drew its parent nation of Degasi and a coalition of three other Mahwek nations to enact the Segada Protocol, an agreement that spared the Avistani colonies in return for strict regulations on Avistani access to the Arcadian interior and Segada, a 15% limit on the amount of income they can ship off Arcadia, and regular inspections from the Segadan guard.4

The western coast of Arcadia, bounded by the great Okaiyo Ocean, is relatively sparsely populated.14

Rahaksenwe, a Mahwek woman.

People of Arcadia

Hundreds of unique cultures cover the massive continent, though few are known to visitors from the Inner Sea region (and fewer still in their homelands).3 Known Arcadian nations include:

Avistani colonies

The only Avistani settlements of any size on the continent are the colonies of three Avistani nations on the continent's eastern seaboard, which are permitted by Segada through the Segada Protocol.2

Port Valen

Port Valen is an Ulfen colony on the Scarred Shores in northeastern Arcadia. It was founded by Linnorm King Ulvass of Kalsgard in -473 AR, who travelled to Arcadia after hearing the call of Valenhall, a place of unending revelry and glory.2021222324 Until recently, in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and the Inner Sea region as a whole, the colony has only been known through stories, which refer to it as Valenhall and paint it as the final spiritual destination for powerful lords and brave warriors, who attempt the lengthy and dangerous journey to the colony at the end of their lives, though the truth is much less glamorous.2225

Elesomare

The Andoran settlement of Elesomare was founded as a timber and agricultural colony during that nation's pre-revolutionary days, and is but one of a number of small Andoran villages dotting Arcadia's eastern seaboard. Long under the thumb of the Lumber Consortium, the colonists have recently been able to free themselves from that organization's iron-fisted control. Because of the great distance between Elesomare and the homeland, the Eagle Knights have done little to reverse this trend.226 Elesomare exists with the heavily regulated permission of four Arcadian nations, including Degasi, through the Segada Protocol.274

Anchor's End

Anchor's End is a Chelish settlement known for its extensive gold-mining operations.2 It is of great interest to House Thrune, as it is among that nation's most lucrative colonies.28 Chelish ships bound for Anchor's End generally depart their homeland from the western port of Kintargo.29

A second Chelish colony, Canorus, was struck by disaster in 4714 AR, and its survivors abandoned the colony for Anchor's End.30

Anchor's End (and Canorus, until its abandonment) exists under the protection, and with the heavily regulated permission, of four Arcadian nations, including Degasi, through the Segada Protocol.314

Gogpodda

Even though it is not an Arcadian colony, the floating gnome settlement of Gogpodda occasionally drifts far enough westward to trade with the inhabitants of the continent's eastern coast.32

Non-human peoples and other fauna

The Arcadians are not the only intelligent humanoid people native to the continent. The syrinx, a race of owl-like humanoids, lives here as well,33 as do the beastkin, the descendants of were-creatures.3435 The northernmost reaches of Arcadia is one of the few places the cold-adapted Mitzenki catfolk can be found, uniquely adapted to the freezing environment. Beyond the north, the rest of Arcadia is home to two other catfolk ethnicities: the Caimurru, traders of the western shores; and the Guarrxil in the south, principled mercenaries of renowned prowess.36 Perhaps the best-known non-human inhabitants of the continent are the giant, ape-like sasquatches,37 and the beneficent couatls.38

Other less benevolent creatures include the aquatic ningyos,39 fire giants who make their home near places of volcanic activity,40 adherers who dwell near shamanic mounds,41 shadow giants,42 as well as halflings and wyrwoods. Of all of these races, the humans, halflings, beastkin, and wyrwoods are the most populous.35

Arcadia in Avistani culture

Because of the length of the journey from the Inner Sea region to Arcadia, not to mention the danger, the continent has become a byword for perilous journeys and distant adventures throughout the region. An example of this is the popular sea shanty Haul Away for Arcadia.4344

References

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Jason Bulmahn & Erik Mona. Gazetteer, 23. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 202. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 1: Common Races” in Inner Sea Races, 64. Paizo Inc., 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 51. Paizo Inc., 2015
  5. Kate Baker, et al. Kazutal” in Faiths of Golarion, 30. Paizo Inc., 2018
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  11. Tanya DePass, et al. “Overview” in World Guide, 6–7. Paizo Inc., 2019
  12. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 49. Paizo Inc., 2015 including the twelve nations who qualify for its boundball tournaments, with the suggestion that more nations do not qualify.
  13. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 48. Paizo Inc., 2015 Year estimated from publication date.
  14. James L. Sutter, et al. “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 66. Paizo Inc., 2012
  15. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 45. Paizo Inc., 2015
  16. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 49. Paizo Inc., 2015
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Michael Sayre, et al. “5: The Rotating Gear” in Guns & Gears, 207–211. Paizo Inc., 2021
  18. Luis Loza. Xopatl” in Borne by the Sun's Grace, 62ff. Paizo Inc., 2019
  19. 19.0 19.1 Luis Loza. Xopatl” in Borne by the Sun's Grace, 63–64. Paizo Inc., 2019
  20. Tanya DePass, et al. Saga Lands” in World Guide, 110. Paizo Inc., 2019
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  22. 22.0 22.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 203. Paizo Inc., 2011
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  25. Luis Loza. Path of Kings, 3. Paizo Inc., 2020
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  27. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 48. Paizo Inc., 2015 Year estimated from publication date.
  28. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 68. Paizo Inc., 2008
  29. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 71. Paizo Inc., 2008
  30. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 48. Paizo Inc., 2015 Year estimated from publication date.
  31. John Compton, et al. Segada” in Distant Shores, 48. Paizo Inc., 2015 Year estimated from publication date.
  32. Colin McComb, et al. “Gnome Settlements” in Gnomes of Golarion, 18. Paizo Inc., 2010
  33. Jim Groves, et al. Inner Sea Bestiary, 51. Paizo Inc., 2012
  34. Tim Akers, et al. Blood of the Moon, inside front cover. Paizo Inc., 2013
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  36. David N. Ross. Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 16–17. Paizo Inc., 2021
  37. Amber E. Scott. Sasquatch” in Mystery Monsters Revisited, 44. Paizo Inc., 2012
  38. Anthony Pryor. Couatl” in Mythical Monsters Revisited, 14. Paizo Inc., 2012
  39. James Jacobs & F. Wesley Schneider. “Bestiary” in Souls for Smuggler's Shiv, 81. Paizo Inc., 2010
  40. Jason Nelson. Fire giant” in Giants Revisited, 20. Paizo Inc., 2012
  41. Colin McComb, et al. Adherer” in Misfit Monsters Redeemed, 8. Paizo Inc., 2010
  42. David Schwartz. “Giant Primer” in Battle of Bloodmarch Hill, 63. Paizo Inc., 2015
  43. Chris Willrich. The Dagger of Trust, 18. Paizo Inc., 2014
  44. Chris Willrich. The Dagger of Trust, 123. Paizo Inc., 2014