Inner Sea region

From PathfinderWiki
A map of the Inner Sea region. See also Category:Images of Inner Sea region.
See also: Settlements of the Inner Sea region

The Inner Sea region refers to the continent of Avistan and the northern third of the continent of Garund, both of which surround the Inner Sea. At the heart of this region is the City at the Center of the World: Absalom. The farther one gets from Absalom traveling north or south, the farther one travels from cosmopolitan civilization, although there are always exceptions. The Inner Sea region is also the center for trade in this part of Golarion, and has therefore been the staging area for countless, terrible wars over the past ten millennia.1

Climate and weather

Numerous climatic zones stretch across the Inner Sea region, from the snow-laden slopes of the Stormspear Mountains of northern Avistan to the sweltering jungle-interior of Sargava far to the south.2


In Avistan, weather patterns generally move from the west to the east, bringing needed moisture from the Arcadian Ocean. This moisture falls as cold rains in western and northwestern Avistan, west of the Mindspin Mountains. The rain shadow created by the Mindspins is offset somewhat by the size of Lake Encarthan in eastern Avistan.2


Weather in Garund tends to move from west to east as well, with the heaviest rainfall found along its western coastline. North of the Barrier Wall the land is arid, while to the south are the lush jungles of the Mwangi Jungle. A perpetual hurricane known as the Eye of Abendego that has existed since the death of the god Aroden in 4606 AR is situated off Garund's western coast, providing drenching rain across the Sodden Lands and much of western and central Garund. East of the Shattered Range, the Obari Ocean brings rain to Garund's eastern shores.2


Trade is a vital component of any society, and for the nations of the Inner Sea region it is no different. Thousands of ships set sail from ports every week to make a short jaunt to a neighboring town, or sail halfway around the world. The busiest trade routes of the region include the North Tack, which generally follows the northern shores of the Inner Sea, and its companion, the South Tack, which runs from Katapesh along the sea's southern coast to Rahadoum. On the western coasts of Avistan and Garund, you'll find the Varisian Run, stretching all the way from Varisia in the north to the city of Eleder in Sargava. The major inland river route, the Sellen Passage, runs from the Taldan port of Cassomir up the Sellen River, connecting the nations of Brevoy, Galt, Kyonin, Mendev, Numeria, the River Kingdoms, and Ustalav to the riches of the Inner Sea.3



Although there are dozens, if not hundreds of intelligent races dwelling in the Inner Sea region, humans are by far the most prevalent. Not only do they have the upper hand in terms of sheer numbers, but humanity also controls nearly all of the nations of the region. The term "humanity" in this case refers not just to actual humans, but also includes the other civilized and populous near-human races such as elves and dwarves.4

City vs. rural living

Most civilized people in the Inner Sea region live in urban centers, but rely on their rural neighbor for food and other commodities. Conversely, those living close to the wilderness often depend on their urban neighbors for protection from wild creatures or other warlike civilization. A certain amount of tension exists between urban and rural dwellers even though both are dependent upon the other. This dichotomy is epitomized in the faiths of Abadar and Erastil. While both see civilization as humanity's greatest achievement, they approach it from two very different directions.4


Magic is relatively well-known among the civilized races of the Inner Sea region, even if it is generally not a part of their everyday lives. Most commoners will have seen a spell or two cast in their time, seen the use of a magic item, or even been the beneficiary of healing magic. Despite this, most peasants do not count on magic to help them with the everyday lives, seeing it largely as a tool of the wealthy and powerful, a tool that can also be used against them. Because of its relative rarity, its capability of causing untold destruction, and its ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible, it inspires awe and fear in most folk, and is often misunderstood.4


Worship in the Inner Sea region is as diverse as its people. Deities most commonly worshiped in the region include Abadar, Asmodeus, Calistria, Cayden Cailean, Desna, Erastil, Gorum, Gozreh, Iomedae, Irori, Lamashtu, Nethys, Norgorber, Pharasma, Rovagug, Sarenrae, Shelyn, Torag, Urgathoa, and Zon-Kuthon.5

Undersea realms

The depths of the waterways in the Inner Sea region hold a greater population than what can be seen on the surface. Entire cultures thrive beneath the waves, often unbeknownst to their coastal neighbors until they emerge for trade or to carry away prisoners into the deep abyss. Merfolk vigilantly guard their invisible borders and swiftly punish those who trespass. Grindylows, sadistic goblinoid creatures, and cunning sea hags take pleasure in wreaking havoc on coastal settlements.6

However, there are also cooperative aquatic cultures. Locathahs, curious fish-like humanoids, often engage in trade and serve as guides through treacherous waters. Tentacled cecaelias, nomadic mercenaries and traders, traverse from port to port with their pack rays, laden with salvage from the ocean depths. And there is an abundance of such salvage to be found. The Inner Sea floor, a result of the cataclysmic Earthfall, is strewn with the drowned ruins of elven and serpentfolk cities, as well as countless shipwrecks.6

Heading south towards Jalmeray, the waters become increasingly perilous. The meeting point of the Arcadian Ocean, Avistan, and Garund is often perceived as two distinct bodies. In the north, the Steaming Sea derives its name from the fog that hovers above its icy waters. Coastal Varisians and the Ulfen of the Ironbound Archipelago rely on the sea for survival but are well aware of its deadly nature, as freezing waves can swiftly claim lives, just like the krakens, ulat-kinis, and ravenous sea devils that haunt ships venturing too far from the sheltered islands.6

In the south, the Fever Sea offers warmer waters but remains equally treacherous. For every friendly undersea group, such as the kraken-hunting triton squadrons, there are hostile creatures like the storm-worshipping adaros, who sacrifice prisoners to the destructive Eye of Abendego. Nevertheless, the allure of the tropical waters is often too tempting to resist. Magical salvage divers, based in Vidrian and the Kaava Lands, thrive in their business of recovering artifacts and treasures from sunken fleets or the swampy remnants of the Sodden Lands' apocalyptic landscape.6


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