Hermea (pronounced her-MEE-uh)3 is an isolated island nation in the Steaming Sea southwest off the coast of Varisia. It was uninhabited until 4552 AR, when the gold dragon Mengkare decided to use it as the site of a unique social experiment he called "the Glorious Endeavor".45
For centuries, Mengkare observed humanity embroiled in strife and persistently failing to transcend its primal instincts and unlock its true potential. While other metallic dragons disregarded humans, Mengkare remained captivated by their endurance and ingenuity, firmly believing that with proper guidance, they could evolve into a civilization capable of establishing lasting peace and prosperity on the planet. Recognizing a noble cause worthy of dedicating his life to, Mengkare swiftly departed to an unoccupied island in the southern Steaming Sea. Utilizing the wealth amassed in his vast treasure hoard, he established Hermea—a nation devoted to his grand vision of uplifting and perfecting humanity.6
The Glorious Endeavor
The Glorious Endeavor is Mengkare's attempt to perfect the human race. It is a long-term project which aims to make each generation healthier, more intelligent, and more talented than the last. Most of the subjects are human, but members of other races are occasionally included if they have particular skills or traits that are felt to be beneficial.5
According to its ruler Mengkare, Hermea is governed for the greater good. The ultimate authority and arbiter of the greater good is Mengkare himself and every adult has signed a Contract of Citizenship recognising this fact. He additionally deploys two draconic advisors to help further the Glorious Endeavor. Below Mengkare and his direct representatives is the elected 13-member Council of Enlightenment who handle the day-to-day governance of the realm. In addition, almost every citizen has some kind of official authority in their area of expertise. Mengkare wishes the citizens to govern themselves as much as possible, as this allows them to make the best use of their talents and pushes forward the Glorious Endeavour.5
Andoran, Druma, and Taldor have all sent ambassadors to Hermea in search of an alliance. All such overtures have been politely rejected, although Mengkare presented each ambassador with a sliver of golden crystal. These are apparently shards of a potent artifact known as the Gold Dragon Orb.7
While the island showcases remarkably efficient agricultural initiatives, its economic foundation primarily rests upon the export of its expertly crafted goods and knowledge. The bustling harbor of Promise, the sole city in the nation, teems with merchants and scholars. All commercial activities take place on the docks, as access to the city's towering sandstone walls is limited for outsiders. The majority of the profits generated from these endeavors are claimed by the state, yet the citizens of Hermea have no concerns about financial matters. Each individual can request whatever they require, recognizing that Hermean society places equal value on a poet dedicated to crafting the perfect sonnet, a wizard skilled in creating magical artifacts, or a warrior who ventures to distant realms to vanquish formidable monsters.6
Life and society
Life in Hermea is peaceful, comfortable, and progressive, the envy of the world. It is also communal; citizens are encouraged to give and take in accordance with their needs. Abuses of the system are reported to the Council of Enlightenment. Organised religions are banned in Hermea, which may explain some religious institutions' opposition to the Glorious Endeavor.5
The island is heavily defended, and foreigners are usually restricted to the docks in the sole major settlement, Promise. Only a handful of foreigners, a fraction of those who would like to join, are welcomed into Hermean society each year while the rest are turned away. A daring few risk Mengkare's wrath by trying to infiltrate Hermean society by stealth.5 This includes the Pathfinder Society, which has landed only two expeditions on the island (one led by Briff Bellows); neither group ever returned.8
There are rumours that Hermean society is not the utopia it appears to be. Some foreign sailors perceive an undercurrent of fear beneath the citizens' apparent contentment. There are even tales of rebels opposed to Mengkare's rule hiding out in the forests at the far side of the island. Others wonder if the charred corpses that sometimes wash up on the shores of the island really are the work of pirates.5
While numerous inhabitants of the Inner Sea region yearn for a life of distinction and opulence, not all view Mengkare's endeavor as noble. To many, the notion of a human breeding experiment is repugnant, regardless of the intended outcome, and the idea of surrendering personal autonomy is akin to enslavement.
Proponents who try to counter the dissatisfaction swiftly draw parallels to the customary practice of arranged marriages in various cultures, contending that the Hermean government is merely formalizing this tradition. These advocates assert that although Mengkare holds absolute authority, he respects the intellect and self-reliance of his subjects, taking their preferences and happiness into consideration.6
- Campaign Setting (pub. 2008) had Neutral alignment; The Inner Sea World Guide (pub. 2011) had Chaotic Neutral; World Guide (pub. 2019) has Lawful Neutral, which is now shown in the infobox above.
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 78. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 37. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 179–181. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “High Seas” in World Guide, 64–65. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Legendary Artifacts” in Artifacts & Legends, 34–35. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 9. Paizo Inc., 2009 .