Jalmeray (pronounced JAHL-meh-ray)1 is a large island-nation in the Obari Ocean off the coast of Nex. For the past 2,000 years, it has been ruled by Vudran nobles as the westernmost of that land's so-called Impossible Kingdoms.2
Little is known of the island before it was claimed by the archmage Nex in 253 AR. Even after Nex's conquest, there is little written of the island except that it was a place of incredible natural beauty.34
The indigenous Sunghari people inhabited the island at the time of the Nexian takeover but were never consulted about Nex's claims, and later genocidal acts of the exiled Arclords of Nex would leave only a diaspora of Sunghari culture to return thousands of years later.56
Visit of Khiben-Sald
In 563 AR, the legendary maharaja of Vudra, Khiben-Sald, visited the Inner Sea region at the head of a fleet of 101 Vudran ships. Khiben-Sald's first port of call was the Nexian capital of Quantium, and in short order, he became a firm favourite of Nex's court. At the time, hardly anyone in Avistan or Garund had ever seen a Vudrani before.327
The maharajah and his expansive entourage overstayed his welcome in Nex's court, causing the archmage to view him as an expensive burden and possible threat to his own ambitions. To diplomatically resolve the potential conflict, the archmage Nex granted Khiben-Sald dominion over the neighbouring island of Jalmeray. For a decade, Khiben-Sald and his travelling court erected temples and monuments on the island using bound genies to help in their construction. Vudran culture, particularly its art and dress, made a lasting impression on that of Nex during this time as Vudran merchants, prophets, and explorers arrived in growing numbers.327
Neither Nex nor Khiben-Sald consulted the native Sunghari about their claims,8 though Khiben-Sald was intrigued by them.6 He gave them an option: serve him or leave. Most accepted Khiben-Sald's gifts,8 but many chose exile and relocated to the nearby island of Kaina Katakha to retain their freedom.48 The maharajah largely left them in peace there, but treated the island as his personal preserve of exotic natives.4
Rule of the Arclords
After staying for a decade, Khiben-Sald and his considerable entourage departed Jalmeray in 573 AR, leaving behind numerous buildings, monuments, and bound genies.329 Some of the Sunghari people also joined Khiben-Sald and traveled to Vudra.5 Shortly thereafter in 576 AR, the archmage Nex vanished. Nex's disappearance led to infighting within his realm, which triggered the next migration to the island.32
One of the factions that was vying for the leadership of the now rulerless nation of Nex were the Arclords. After centuries of conflict, they failed and were forced into exile in 2279 AR.9 Many of the Arclords chose Jalmeray as their new home, settling on the beautiful island. The Arclords hoped to be able to influence events in their nearby homeland, and either tried to modify the wonders left behind by Khiben-Sald or, more often than not, simply seal them up and ignore them.32
The Arclords were much less charitable to the remaining indigenous Sunghari on the island of Kaina Katakha. They considered them trespassers and wiped them out with magic, reducing the small island to ash and rubble.4 The genocidal act left only the Sunghari who traveled to Vudra to carry on their culture.5 During this time, Jalmeray also repulsed an attack from Qadira.10
In 2822 AR Vudrani rajahs returned, their exotic ships arriving in large numbers at the port of Niswan on Jalmeray's western coast. The Vudrani who arrived claimed to be descendants of the legendary Maharaja Khiben-Sald, and despite the improbability of this—it had been over two thousand years since Khiben-Sald had visited—these rajahs produced legitimate genealogies to support their claims. Surprised at what had become of the island of Jalmeray and the strange people they found occupying it (at least from their perspective), the Vudrani politely asked the Arclords to vacate the island. When the Arclords refused, the rajahs resorted to more drastic methods:311 their army of bound genies destroyed all but one of the Arclords' ships and ejected the interlopers.12
Along with the Ashawar Lancers,13 the Vudrani summoned up an army of faydhaans,14 genies with power of elemental water, who battered the island with relentless storms that sank all but one of the Arclords' boats. Thoroughly defeated, the Arclords abandoned Jalmeray to the Vudrani, who set about opening the sealed monuments and reviving its guardians. Jalmeray has remained under the control of their descendants ever since.311 Aside from yet another ill-conceived attack from Qadira, Jalmeray has remained a relatively peaceful nation since that time.10
Homesick groups of the Sunghari people also returned from Vudra, with many settling in Niswan while pleading a case with the island's government for its lands to be returned to them. They also have explored whether Kaina Katakha could be reclaimed, but the Nexian damage has so far been too great.5
In theory, Jalmeray is ruled by an undisputed monarch, Kharswan, the Thakur of Jalmeray. In practice, however, the Thakur's power is limited to as far as his voice can carry. The country is actually ruled by the noble families, powerful mystics, and mighty masters of the island's monasteries, known as the Maurya-Rahm. These influential people oversee the day-to-day running of the country, while the Thakur tends to spend his days writing poetry, attending to his harem of wives, and pitting his advisors against one another to prevent any one of them from becoming too powerful.1511
Except for a number of unsuccessful invasion attempts by Qadira, Jalmeray has had generally peaceful relations with its neighbors, even its more notorious ones such as Geb and Katapesh.161017 The Aspis Consortium has tried to expand its trade in Jalmeray lately.18
The Thakur has heard Sunghari requests for the island to be returned to them but suggests that fulfilling such requests is now impossible. However, the Thakur has also worked to help the Sunghari people maintain and strengthen their culture as the first steps toward attempting to right the historical wrongs inflicted upon them.5
Jalmeray is an island nation surrounded by the warm waters of the Obari Ocean, which has helped its inhabitants maintain their unique culture. The curved Isle of Jalmeray itself is 175 miles across from its westernmost to easternmost points, and 223 miles in length from its northernmost to its southernmost points. The Bagia Bay fills the western side of the island.12
The Isle of Jalmeray is historically described as a place of incredible natural beauty, something only enhanced by the vast array of elemental creatures brought by the Vudrani to help shape the island to their needs. The island is renowned across Golarion for its splendid sights reproduced nowhere else—except perhaps in Vudra itself.3 Much of it remains intentionally undeveloped.19
The island has one major river, the calm River Sald, which drains from its central interior to Bagia Bay; its rainy-season floods are mostly held back by a system of dikes.20 Fields of rice line its northern shore, the dusty Rajni Fields and their elephant and horse ranches span the southern shores, and temples to a wide variety of locally and distantly worshiped deities line the river. At the river's head, which is also the island's highest point, stands the Pure Temple of the Maharajah.1219
The foreign Segang Jungle covers most of the island's southwestern peninsula,12 and the dense Ghasi Jungle on the island's northwestern coastline extends as mangroves to the ocean, its lakes home to large sea creatures.19
Climate and ecology
The island's climate varies widely between areas, perhaps as a consequence of the elemental creatures that reside there. Niswan is beset by cold winds and sometimes even snow,3 while the northern tip of Jalmeray is covered in the verdant mountainous jungles.2112
The island is vulnerable to the powerful storms and occasional hurricanes that form in the Obari Ocean, with the island's genies able only to reduce their strength. While most such storms avoid direct landfall, the few that strike can cause widespread devastation.12
Plants and animals imported from Vudra likewise compete with the island's natural flora and fauna. The southern Segang Jungle was replanted and repopulated with life from Vudra by Thakurani Thanyuavi whose delicate balance has been carefully maintained since.20 The northern Ghasi Jungle hosts dangerous snakes, crocodiles, and insects.19 Reclusive locathahs introduced by faydhaans repel many waterborne predators.22
The borders of the nation of Jalmeray also extend to its smaller adjacent islands: cursed Gho Vella off the northeastern coast, and criminal haven Veedesha, artistic Grand Sarret, and haunted Kaina Katakha around Bagia Bay to the west.12
Through its primary port of Niswan on the western Bagia Bay, Jalmeray produces and trades in a variety of goods. Despite its size, the verdant island's various climates allow it to export a wide array of mundane trade goods, including lumber and gemstones, spices, salt, textiles, and seafood. It also produces armor, weapons, books and literature, and magic items, as well as luxury goods such as jewelery and artwork. The island nation is also a shipbuilder.6
Jalmeray provides a glimpse of life in distant Vudra, and is the only nation in the Inner Sea region where humans of Vudrani descent are in the majority, and Vudrani the dominant language.23 In addition to Niswan, Jalmeray's significant settlements include troubled Padiskar to the north and the port Prada Hanam on the eastern shore.12
Travelers enticed by the enchanting wonders of Jalmeray are warmly embraced by its friendly and accommodating culture, establishing the island as a favored destination for those with the means and ability to undertake the voyage.7
The revived Sunghari presence in Jalmeray is particularly strong in Niswan, where Sunghari events and festivals have become commonplace. Sunghari traders operate some of the city's successful fisheries, markets, and waterfront taverns, and leaders are vocal members in commercial and government organizations.5
The bustling streets of Jalmeray's cities teem with a diverse array of individuals, including many visitors from far-flung lands. Ancient genies and elemental entities, entrusted with safeguarding the cities and nurturing the natural magnificence of the nation, continue to grace the island. Centuries of harmonious coexistence between humans and genies have given rise to a substantial population known as geniekin, who bear the essence of elemental lineage within them. Garudas and nagas send forth emissaries to Jalmeray's sovereign, while rakshasas and asuras clandestinely reside within the cities, luring the devout into temptation and ruin.7
Jalmeray is also home to many cambions, most of whom are of rakshasa descent (known as beastbrood),24 but also some descended from asura (most commonly called faultspawn)25 and some from divs (more commonly known as spitespawn).26 Jalmeri cambions are treated as an under-class of untouchables forced to work in jobs that most consider beneath them, such as cleaning sewage. They are viewed as unclean, and most Jalmeri humans will not eat food that was touched by cambions. The luckiest of these cambions disguise themselves with magic provided by their fiendish progenitors.24
Numerous Askedhaki catfolk also roam Jalmeray, making a living as wandering traders, and they often congregate in roving caravans. The warriors of these caravans take it upon themselves to hunt down any creatures that prey upon the people of Jalmeray, including tigers and rakshasa, in particular.27 Unfortunately, due to their striped fur and fondness for expensive jewellery, the Askedhaki catfolk are sometimes mistaken for the tiger-headed raja rakshasas. To avoid this, Askedhaki will often incorporate holy symbols and blessed items into their outfits as these objects are an anathema to any rakshasa.28
Despite the myriad wonders of Jalmeray, the nation bears its own share of burdens that weigh heavily on its people. In a realm where the extraordinary is a part of everyday life, citizens frequently find themselves ensnared by equally extraordinary curses. Those unable to free themselves from these malevolent enchantments often have no recourse but to seek solace on a secluded and ostracized island situated to the north of Jalmeray's shores.7
The religions that dominate Jalmeray are also unique to the Inner Sea region. While Irori has many worshipers across the region, his religion is at its strongest on the island,3 along with the worship of the thousand other deities of Vudra.29
The River Sald might be on the cusp of birthing the island's first deity of its own, where its rice farmers have begun to worship a young farmer who appears in their dreams.20
The inhabitants of Jalmeray include an unusually high number of monks, and the island is home to dozens of monastic orders.11 The prowess of their martial artists is renowned across continents, and the three Houses of Perfection (the Monastery of Untwisting Iron, the Monastery of Unfolding Wind, and the Monastery of Unblinking Flame) are the most sought-after monasteries teaching the martial arts in the Inner Sea region.11
To qualify for training at one of the Houses of Perfection, the potential applicant must complete daunting entrance trials, such as racing a jaathoom31 that is as swift as the wind, wrestling a stony jabali,32 and outwitting a cunning ifrit.33 The many who fail to pass these rigorous tests but still show potential can find training at one of the lesser centers of martial learning on the island, while those who show no aptitude for the martial arts are politely asked to leave Jalmeray—once—after which they are forced to leave.11
The few who are accepted are pushed to develop physical perfection combined with mental and spiritual balance and an unusual form of magic gleaned from the opened mind. Members of the three greatest monasteries are renowned and respected throughout the Inner Sea region, even if they are not fully understood or trusted. Parents of wealth and power from across the region sometimes send their children to Jalmeray to be trained by the martial arts masters. These students often form strong bonds with the people of the island nation that transcend the worldly concerns of their parents.11
The monks of these monasteries compete with one another in a tournament once every decade known for its grueling challenges called the Challenge of Sky and Heaven.15 Thakur Kharswan, along with his extensive council of advisors called the Maurya-Rahm, actively supports various competitions, including the esteemed Solemn Sky Duel of Masters. This renowned event attracts skilled combatants not only from the Inner Sea region but also from all corners of the globe.7
Center of learning
Jalmeray has amassed unimaginable wealth through trade, but its true renown lies in the realm of knowledge and philosophy. Here, academia seamlessly intertwines with religion, with temples serving as sanctuaries of learning and libraries housing exquisitely illustrated copies of sacred texts. Countless shrines dedicated to a vast array of deities offer written wisdom on the diverse paths to spiritual enlightenment. Within Jalmeray's cities, one can find prestigious schools catering to every discipline and profession, be it magic, poetry, political intrigue, or the art of seduction.7
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 86. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 84. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 88. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Jalmeray” in Impossible Lands, 193. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “Jalmeray” in Impossible Lands, 180ff. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “Impossible Lands” in World Guide, 77–79. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “History” in Impossible Lands, 16. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “History” in Impossible Lands, 15. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “Qadira” in Qadira, Gateway to the East, 4. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 87. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Jalmeray” in Impossible Lands, 181. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “History” in Guide to Absalom, 55. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- Paizo referred to faydhaans as marids until the publication of Rage of Elements. See Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pg. 2.
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 85. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 75. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 91. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 263. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Jalmeray” in Impossible Lands, 183. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “Jalmeray” in Impossible Lands, 184. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible, 1. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Jalmeray” in Impossible Lands, 185. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- Cult of the Ebon Destroyers, 2. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Blood of Fiends” in Blood of Fiends, 8–9. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Chapter 2: Uncommon Races” in Inner Sea Races, 155. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Tiefling Heritages” in Blood of Fiends, 21. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 16. Paizo Inc., .
- “People of the Impossible Lands” in Impossible Lands, 23. Paizo Inc., 2022 .
- “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 155. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 249. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Paizo referred to jaathooms as djinn until the publication of Rage of Elements. See Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pg. 2.
- Paizo referred to jabalis as shaitan until the publication of Rage of Elements. See Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pg. 2.
- Paizo referred to ifrits as efreet and naaris as ifrits until the publication of Highhelm. See also Rage of Elements pg. 3 and Pathfinder Core Preview pgs. 2, 13, 18.