Dark Places of the Earth
The Mwangi Expanse
The Mwangi Expanse is a region of tropical plains, forests, and wetlands in central and western Garund that constitutes the single largest part of the Inner Sea Region unclaimed by any nation larger than a city-state. Although most outsiders tend to think of the Expanse as an untamed wilderness inhabited only by savages and beasts, it has, in truth, been the home of countless empires and civilizations whose ruins now litter even its darkest jungles. Even today plays host to such marvelous places as the mysterious coastal metropolis of Senghor, the scholarly city of Nantambu (home to Golarion’s oldest academy of magic, the Magaambya), and the legendary hidden utopia of Osibu.
However, the fact that so many of the Expanse’s inhabitants live in communities much smaller and less well-guarded than these urban centers has allowed outside parties to exploit them and their lands for generations. The first and still most successful of these intruders are the Chelaxian colonists who rule the nation of Sargava, whose mines and plantations plunder the natural resources of the Expanse and whose hunger for cheap labor supports a thriving slave trade. Even more ruthless, however, is the Aspis Consortium, a powerful guild of traders with interests from Kelesh to distant Tian Xia whose outposts at Bloodcove and on the rivers of the Mwangi interior claim a fortune in ivory, slaves, and ancient artifacts all to often paid for in blood.
Many other outsiders have come to the expanse over the years seeking arguably nobler, if rarely altruistic, goals. Missionaries from all of the major churches of the inner sea have brought the words of their deities to the largely animistic Mwangi, though the faiths of Abadar, Iomedae, Shelyn, and dead Aroden have the longest and most successful histories of conversion in the region. The famed Pathfinder Society has launched countless expeditions into the expanse to investigate its fabled ruins — not to mention the vast wealth and ancient magic they are said to contain. Until recently the Society operated two lodges in Sargava (as wells as a secret third lodge in Nantambu), but one was recently closed due to the threat of native unrest and Pathfinders in general have found themselves less welcome in the region as local resentment has grown.