Dark Places of the Earth
The Inner Sea Region
The Inner Sea Region is named for its defining feature, a relatively narrow body of water separating the continents of Avistan and Garund. It is said that it was along the shores of the Inner Sea that the first human civilizations lifted themselves up out of the savagery of the Age of Anguish thousands of years ago, though old legends and the most ancient ruins scattered throught the region speak of an earlier empire, which scholars and priests call Azlant and place on a lost continent far to the west. Whatever the case, the inner sea has been home to the fleets of merchant princes and conquering kings since time immemorial, and the people of the surrounding lands consider themselves to be the most civilized in all the world.
The Isle of Kortos, in the “eye” of the Inner Sea, is home to Absalom, “the city at the center of the world”, and the largest city in the region, if not the world. Across the narrow sea the surrounding lands are home to the oldest kingdoms in the region: Osirion with its imposing pyramids and ancient magics, Qadira, the westernmost satrapy of the mighty and decadent empire of Kelesh, and noble Taldor, whose empire formed the foundations of Avistani culture and whose language is still used as the common trade tongue of the whole Inner Sea region.
Generally speaking, the farther one gets from these bastions of civilization, the more primitive and barbaric the lands become, at least by the reckoning of the sages of Absalom. Beyond Avistan and Garund, however, there are many other lands with their own peoples and societies, some as advanced as the mightiest of the Inner Sea nations.
To the north lies the Crown of the World, a frigid continent mostly covered by ice which is notable mostly as the shortest route to the storied land of Tian Xia on the other side of the world, home to its own ancient kingdoms, fallen empires, and exotic races.
To the east across the World’s End Mountains is Casmaron, a supercontinent of which Avistan is but the westernmost tip. Here, amidst unforgiving wastes and haunted ruins stands Kelesh, perhaps the wealtiest and most powerful empire in all the world, as well as distant Vudra, home of a hundred impossible kingdoms of mystery and magic.
To the south the continent of Garund extends far into the unknown and plays host to realms undrempt of by the people of the Inner Sea, save perhaps in the secret records of the world-famous Pathfinder Society.
To the west lies the vast Arcadian Ocean, from whose heart heart rises a maze of forbidding, twisted rocks, the last remains of Old Azlant. Beyond that ruined continent lie the far shores of Arcadia, held to be a sacred otherworld by the bold sailors of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, but better known to more “civilized” folk as a distant but lucrative source of slaves and untold mineral wealth.