The land of Iobaria is located east of the nation of Brevoy, north of the Castrovin Sea, and is considered part of the continent of Casmaron. Human settlers have united the land into an empire in the past, but currently the land is largely wilderness thanks to a series of plagues that have severely depopulated the region.1
- See also: Timeline of Iobaria
No one is sure who lived in Iobaria in the early eons of the Age of Legend, but someone carved the steps into Dirrinir, a mountain in the Icerime Peaks.2 The first recorded inhabitants of the area were the cyclopes of the Kingdom of Koloran who left ruins in Iobaria and are mentioned in the ancient texts of Iblydos, itself one of the oldest human civilizations of Casmaron. The Koloran cyclopes were refugees from the even older realm of Ghol-Gan in Garund, and left that kingdom looking for a new life free of the brutality and bloodlust that would soon cause its demise.3 Although few hard facts are known about Koloran, it is thought that it ended in the planet-wide apocalypse of Earthfall in -5293 AR.4
Ulfen settle Iobaria
During the 700s AR, Ulfen explorers from Avistan migrated east along the southern edges of the Crown of the World. They traveled east from the Lake of Mists and Veils until they reached the Castrovin Sea. There they spread out and attempted to subdue their new, hostile environment.5 Okormirr was the first Ulfen settlement east of the Lake, and was founded around 752 AR.6 Okormirr then spawned the city of Orlov, which eclipsed its predecessor in 764 AR.4 In 905 AR, the ruler Iobar the Potent of Orlov succeeded in uniting the Ulfen of Iobaria into a single realm.6
The Iobarian empire at its height stretched from the Icewall, Ice Steppes, and the Lake of Mists and Veils in the north to the Myrfrus River in the east, Mendev (past the Icerime Peaks and Hills of Nomen) to the west, and the Castrovin Sea to the south.67 Iobaria also extended itself into Avistan, founding the colonies of Issia (now part of Brevoy) and Mendev.5
In 1106 AR was the first recorded great plague, the Tearplague. Most of the plagues seem to have arisen from the forests.8 Iobarians have blamed cyclops ruins like Orosknir,2 and in 2767 AR they blamed foreigners. The one plague which they tracked down to its source was the Chardeath in 1634 AR, which in 1869 AR they tracked to the necromancer Otyb the Undying. Even today a host of illnesses keeps the population low.4
The worst plague was the Choking Death of 2742 AR that killed three quarters of the population and led to a vicious pogrom remembered as the Native Plaguestrife, and entire cities were abandoned as a result of these tragedies.5 Thus weakened, the kingdom of Iobaria lost control of its vassal states, which rebelled against its control, only to collapse themselves once they were cut off from central support.1 Even after the Choking Death subsided, it never really disappeared completely from Iobaria, but continued keeping population growth in check for centuries.5
In 3212 AR, three warlords reunited much of Iobaria as New Iobaria.9 These fell into internecine strife before the unification was complete. King Irral I won the Restoration War in 3304 AR (although peace was not declared until 3309 AR)9 with the help of draconian allies. In repayment, Irral ceded control of all cyclopean ruins not currently in use to the dragons. The human-occupied cities remained human, and humans retained a presence in strategically-important sites like Fralros. Antoll was the capital at New Iobaria's height, which lasted from roughly 3312 AR–3679 AR.10
More strife then occurred, but one clan emerged the winner by 3870 AR, pushing the rivals into Brevoy. This form of New Iobaria survived, somewhat stagnantly, until the Drakeplague of 4519 AR, when decline struck in earnest.9
In 4606 AR, the god Aroden fell and the Worldwound opened in the Kellid realm of Sarkoris In the next two decades, many Mendevians fled east, followed by the Sarkorians. New Iobaria could not absorb the Sarkorians, and the kingdom collapsed again, starting at Mavradia.4
- The former coastal capital of Iobaria manages to retain faint traces of its ancient grandeur. Its scheming prince dreams of re-establishing the Empire, but in fact does not even have enough troops to fully man the city's ancient fortifications.1
- Hask-Ultharan, the "Cairn of Many Torments"11
- This is an enormous cairn of quarried stone blocks, marked in the script of the cyclopes. The Record of Truan Iolavai describes how the scholar and his party investigated the cairn, against the advice of his local guides, only to be driven off by a howling mob of malformed giants led by the demon lord Kostchtchie.1
Iobaria today is sparsely populated, with most humans living outside of the old cities in tiny settlements. About eight out of every ten inhabitants live in the endless forest wilderness in a state of semi-barbarism, and avoid the ruined cities of their ancestors altogether. The numerous diseases which emptied Iobaria two millennia ago have never disappeared completely, and still serve to keep its population very low.1 Iobaria is one of the few places the cold-adapted Mitzenki catfolk can be found, well adapted for life in the most frozen reaches of the northern part of the country.12 Other non-human races live as nomads in small packs.6
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 153–154. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 62. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Ghol-Gan” in Lost Kingdoms, 26. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- Steven Schend and F. Wesley Schneider. (May 27, 2010). Kingmaker: Iobarian Timeline, Paizo Blog.
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 205. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 55. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 58. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 164. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 56. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 57. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 59. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 16. Paizo Inc., 2021 .