Mwangi Expanse

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The Mwangi Expanse.

Mwangi Expanse

Many tribal chiefdoms, utopian enclaves, monarchies, etc.
Mwangi (known as Common), regional dialects, Elven, Halfling, Osiriani, Taldane
Source: Heart of the Jungle, pg(s). 1ff. (1E)
The Mwangi Expanse, pg(s). 1
ff. (2E)
For other meanings of "Mwangi", please see Mwangi (disambiguation).

The Mwangi Expanse (pronounced MWAN-gi),1 archaically also called the Forbidden Jungle,23 is the catch-all term given to the wild interior of central and western Garund. The Expanse also extends southwards beyond the Inner Sea region.45


The Mwangi Expanse is bordered to the north by the lands of Rahadoum, Thuvia, and Osirion; to the east are Katapesh, Nex, Alkenstar, and Geb; and to the west by the Shackles and the Arcadian Ocean.56

The region is dominated by Lake Ocota, the numerous rivers which drain into the lake—mightiest of which is the Vanji River—and the Mwangi Jungle which surrounds them. However, there are two other jungles—the Kaava Lands in the southwest, and the Screaming Jungle in the southeast.7 The two other major lakes are Terwa Lake and the Lake of Vanished Armies.58

The Barrier Wall mountains mark the Expanse's northern border, while the Brazen Peaks and the Shattered Range lie on the eastern border. The Kho-Rarne Pass links the region with Osirion, while the Ndele Gap leads into Nex. The Gorilla King's forces used tunnels beneath the Shattered Range to raid Alkenstar, but following the highly successful raid of 4690 AR, the forces of Alkenstar collapsed the tunnels.5 The other significant highland regions are the Terwa Uplands and the Bandu Hills.79


Countless nations and city-states can be found within the Mwangi Expanse, the most famous of which are mentioned at the bottom of the page. Many more exist, some of which have been out of contact with the other lands of the Expanse, let alone those of the Inner Sea region, for centuries.10

Foreign relations

Due to the absence of a centralized government, the diverse cultures and cities within the Mwangi Expanse exhibit a wide range of relationships with foreign nations and among themselves. In Nantambu and Kibwe, peaceful foreign traders are warmly received, irrespective of their origin. However, in Mzali, non-Mwangi traders are subjected to severe consequences, including execution or even worse punishments. Coastal nations like Vidrian harbor deep animosity towards both Cheliax, which seeks to reclaim its former colony, and the Free Captains of the Shackles, as Vidrian no longer pays for their protection.11


A Mwangi Expanse landscape.

The Mwangi Expanse is a region abundant in valuable natural resources. Its fertile soil sustains lush forests, bountiful crops, and a wealth of rare herbs and medicinal plants. Additionally, the mountains within the Expanse yield copious amounts of ore and precious gems. However, this abundance has become a double-edged sword in recent centuries, as the local inhabitants find themselves compelled to defend their lands against militant colonists from Avistan.12

Trade with northern nations primarily concentrates along the Expanse's western coast, where bustling ports like Senghor serve as crucial hubs for trading vessels arriving from various other parts of the Inner Sea region. Inland, the city of Kibwe plays a vital role in catering to overland trade caravans originating from the eastern Garundi nations, while Nantambu attracts esteemed scholars from all corners of the globe.12

While the Expanse engages in significant trade with foreign entities, the settlements within its borders remain largely self-sufficient. These communities rely on local trade networks, exchanging goods and resources with neighboring settlements, and have minimal dependence on foreign imports. This characteristic frustrates northern companies such as the Aspis Consortium, as it limits their ability to exert control and manipulate trade within the region.12 Foreigners (most notably the Aspis Consortium) travel into the Expanse in search of treasure. The usual hazards of jungle exploration are made worse by the existence of evil spirits, sentient plants, and juju cults but legends of lost cities of gold and incredible riches continue to attract visitors.5 Wealth has been found in the region, and the existence of heavily-laden treasure ships heading north to Avistan from Bloodcove, Senghor, and also Anthusis (in Vidrian, formerly called Eleder) has encouraged the growth of the pirates of the Shackles to prey upon them.5


Dahak scours the forests of the Mwangi Expanse in the wake of Earthfall.
See also: Timeline of Mwangi Expanse

Little is known today of the region's ancient history, but the landscape is dotted with human ruins as old as almost any to be found elsewhere in Golarion.5 During the Age of Serpents, the Mwangi Expanse was part of the serpentfolk empire. In the Age of Legend, Mualijae elves began settling the northern Mwangi Jungle and came into conflict with expansionist humans.1314 When Azlant rose, it came into conflict with the serpentfolk, and emerged victorious when Savith decapitated the serpentfolk's patron deity Ydersius. The Azlanti established an outpost of Saventh-Yhi but otherwise made no effort to settle the Mwangi Expanse, leaving the power vacuum to be filled by the cyclops empire of Ghol-Gan.15

In -5293 AR, the Starstone fell, leading to the fall of both Ghol-Gan and Saventh-Yhi.15 In its aftermath, Dahak slipped into the Material Plane via Alseta's Ring and devastated the Mwangi Expanse until the Mualijae, at a great cost of lives, managed to trap his manifestation between the planes.16

As the Age of Darkness passed into the Age of Anguish, the legendary heroes Old-Mage Jatembe and the Ten Magic Warriors did their best to re-establish civilization. They defeated the sorcerous King of Biting Ants at the Doorway to the Red Star, and established the wizardly academy of Magaambya in Nantambu.5

Age of Destiny

In -2556 AR, as the Age of Anguish gave way to the Age of Destiny, followers of the Magic Warrior Black Heron united some Mwangi tribes to fight the cult of Rovagug. After the cults are defeated, they founded the Shory Empire, whose first flying city Kho took flight in -2323 AR. The Shory's flying cities maintained a nomadic lifestyle, offering knowledge and services to cities they passed over. As they began consorting with daemons and entities from the Dark Tapestry, the Shory began to decline, until Kho fell in -632 AR and Ulduvai followed in -507 AR.175

Age of Lost Omens

In 4138 AR, Cheliax established the colony of Sargava on the western coast. The success of the colony was seriously curtailed by the appearance of the Eye of Abendego upon Aroden's death in 4606 AR. When Abrogail Thrune I ascended to the throne of Cheliax in 4640 AR, Baron Grallus, who had backed a rival of House Thrune, declared Sargava's independence.18

The city of Usaro, on the southern shore of Lake Ocota, is home to bloodthirsty apes and charau-ka who revere Angazhan. Until recently led by the Gorilla King, they long ensured that the heart of the Mwangi Expanse would threaten the lives of others.195

The unification of the pirates of the Shackles in 4674 AR20 had adverse implications for the passage of goods to and from the Expanse, although it was the pirates themselves who established the free port of Bloodcove, through which much of the region's riches now pass en route to Avistan.21

In 4715 AR, the anti-colonial resistance in Sargava succeeded, overthrowing the government and establishing the new nation of Vidrian.22


A Mwangi storyteller.

The lush and vibrant Mwangi Expanse brims with legends, stories, and rumors that evoke both awe-inspiring and cautionary tales. Despite its abundant treasures, the inhabitants of the Expanse remain relatively unknown to those outside the Inner Sea region. Within this land of natural splendor, artistry and intellectual pursuits flourish, as its resilient inhabitants labor diligently and employ clever tactics to prosper in an environment that frequently poses threats.10

The Expanse serves as a meeting ground for various cultures, where diverse peoples not only coexist but also thrive amidst the numerous perils that accompany this bountiful territory. The Mwangi region abounds with such abundance and wealth of resources that hunger and scarcity are rare occurrences. The ready availability of sustenance, water, natural fibers, and valuable materials facilitated the early Mwangi inhabitants in establishing self-sufficient communities, cities, and even independent nations, shielded from external influences and disconnected from the wider world.10

The most populous heritages of peoples found in the Mwangi Expanse include elves and halflings, in addition to humans of Garundi, Mwangi, and Taldan extraction.23 Gnolls of the Expanse call themselves kholo, and their society differs significantly from those of other parts of Golarion.24


The most-commonly spoken languages in the Mwangi Expanse include Taldane, Elven, Garundi, Halfling, and the Common language of the region: Mwangi.23


Favorite religions in the Mwangi Expanse include the worship of Abadar, Calistria, Gozreh, Norgorber, Sarenrae, and Shelyn.23 Angazhan is worshipped mainly by the Expanse's sentient apes. Most Mwangi see shamanism, ancestor worship, and worship of Gozreh as being complementary belief systems rather than competing ones.25


Some of the tribes of the region are as follows:

Dwarven tribes

There are two main groups of dwarves in the Mwangi Expanse, with virtually no contact between them:26 the Mbe'ke, who migrated to the Terwa Uplands and founded the Sky Citadel of Cloudspire in -4372 AR, soon after the Quest for Sky; and the Taralu, who live in scattered clans across the eastern Mwangi Jungle.1627

Elven tribes

See also: Mualijae

Unlike most elves of Avistan, the elves of the Mwangi Expanse did not relocate to Sovyrian or retreat underground during Earthfall. Instead, these tribes, collectively known as Mualijae, continued to live as they always had.282930

The Mualijae are descendants of elven explorers who established a nation spanning most of the Mwangi Jungle in the Age of Legend.1314 After Earthfall, the Mualijae stopped Dahak's rampage through the Mwangi Expanse at a great cost of lives, and some claim that the modern tribes were left behind in order to fight the Great Darkness (as Dahak becomes later known as) when it returns.1628 The epic poetry inscribed in Elven on the walls of the ruined city of Nagisa is the sole known non-oral depiction of this legend.26 After defeating Dahak, the Mualijae split into three groups: the Ekujae, who stayed around Alseta's Ring; the Alijae, who settled near Nagisa in -5014 AR; and the Kallijae, who fled Nagisa in fear of being corrupted, and subsequently settled near Lake Ocota.16

Other tribes


  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. James Jacobs. (April 30, 2011). Comment on "Pathfinder Chronicles Questions", Paizo messageboards.
  3. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Tools of the Trade” in Seekers of Secrets, 41. Paizo Inc., 2009
  4. In First Edition, the Mwangi Expanse was treated as a pseudo-'nation' of neutral alignment that excluded Sargava and the Sodden Lands. In Second Edition, it is considered a geographical region encompassing both of these countries.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 126–128. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 91. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. 7.0 7.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 128. Paizo Inc., 2011
  8. Tim Hitchcock, et al. Heart of the Jungle, Inside front cover. Paizo Inc., 2010
  9. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 172. Paizo Inc., 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 86–95. Paizo Inc., 2019
  11. Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 90. Paizo Inc., 2019
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 89. Paizo Inc., 2019
  13. 13.0 13.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 14. Paizo Inc., 2021
  14. 14.0 14.1 Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Life in Mwangi” in Heart of the Jungle, 13. Paizo Inc., 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 15. Paizo Inc., 2021
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Paizo Inc., et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 16. Paizo Inc., 2021
  17. Paizo Inc., et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 17. Paizo Inc., 2021
  18. Paizo Inc., et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 21. Paizo Inc., 2021
  19. James Jacobs. “At Your Door” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 63. Paizo Inc., 2010
  20. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 170. Paizo Inc., 2011
  21. Greg A. Vaughan. River into Darkness, 3. Paizo Inc., 2008
  22. Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 87. Paizo Inc., 2019
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 84. Paizo Inc., 2019
  24. Paizo Inc., et al. “People of the Mwangi” in The Mwangi Expanse, 111–112. Paizo Inc., 2021
  25. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Life in Mwangi” in Heart of the Jungle, 18. Paizo Inc., 2010
  26. 26.0 26.1 Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Lost Kingdoms” in Heart of the Jungle, 56. Paizo Inc., 2010
  27. Paizo Inc., et al. “People of the Mwangi” in The Mwangi Expanse, 72. Paizo Inc., 2021
  28. 28.0 28.1 Hal Maclean & Jeff Quick. Elves of Golarion” in Elves of Golarion, 13–14. Paizo Inc., 2008
  29. Logan Bonner, et al. “8: The Age of Lost Omens” in Core Rulebook, 431. Paizo Inc., 2019 The terms wild elf/elves, which appeared prior to this book, are no longer used.
  30. Tanya DePass, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 92–93. Paizo Inc., 2019