Nex – Testament to a Lost Wizard-King
Nex at a glance:
- Alignment: N
- Capital: Quantium (60,000)
- Notable Settlements: Ecanus (23,400), Oenopion (8,900)
- Ruler: The Council of Three and Nine
- Government: Bureaucracy led by a council of representatives from various political factions and arcane traditions
- Languages: Osirian, Kelish, Common, Vudrani
- Religion: Nethys, Abadar, Pharasma, Lamashtu, Irori, Norgorber
The Age of Destiny spawned countless heroes who left an indelible mark on history. Aroden himself walked Avistan as a mortal in those distant days, when each new century seemed to spawn a legend of its own. One of the greatest of these legends emerged on the east coast of Garund in the ancient city-state of Quantium, a wizard-king of peerless arcane skill possessed of unheralded creativity and eldritch genius: the archmage Nex. That hero’s arcane legacy survives to the modern day in the form of a nation that shares his name. Nex boasts the most cosmopolitan and refined cities of Garund’s east coast, with the capital at Quantium rivaling the extravagance of Oppara in Taldor or Sothis in the era of the legendary God-Kings of Osirion. Monumental palaces and impossible spires crowd the city’s chaotic streets, which wind past hanging gardens, open-air mazes, and bustling souks. The crumbling statues of Nex and the ancient heroes who traveled with him and forged his kingdom look out upon the city’s roofs and balconies, a constant reminder of the man who made Quantium and the surrounding land his own.
In his time, Nex traveled the world and the Great Beyond, established important tenets of magical theory that remain influential today, and vastly enriched his private nation through his adventures and the judicious application of wish-level magics. Territorial ambitions in the south eventually brought Nex into conflict with another arcane warlord, the calculating necromancer Geb, inheritor of a rich magic tradition tied to a lost colony of ancient Osirion.
Nex’s conflict with Geb spanned centuries, with each wizardking extending his life through the application of certain poultices and the imbibing of certain arcane elixirs. During these struggles, a series of foul workings by Geb blighted the land of Nex beyond the cities, which benefited from impervious magical protection. In response to the disastrous touch of Geb, plants refused to thrive in the wildlands of Nex. The wastelands have lain barren ever since, inhabited by outlaws and the descendents of great magical beasts summoned during the years of conflict with the south.
As their war dragged on, Nex finally achieved true immortality when he created a personal demiplane at a fluxpoint of multiversal energy, a domain the wizard-king dubbed the Crux of Nex. The immortal archmage carved a shard of the Crux to erect the impossible spire from which he launched an unsuccessful siege of Absalom, and again at his palace in Quantium to form the mysterious Refuge of Nex, a last-resort bunker to shelter himself from his enemies. Nex vanished after a disastrous Gebbite attack bathed his capital in a cloying, poisonous fog more than 4 millennia ago. Somehow, the confused remnants of his authority managed to keep Geb at bay, and in the centuries since the nation of Nex has fallen into the hands of a succession of arcane fraternities and cults of personality who purport to represent the departed archmage’s plan for the subjects he left behind. The contentious Council of Three and Nine is an attempt to build consensus within Nex’s infamous factions, and while the nation remains characteristically crippled with bureaucracy it nonetheless has never been conquered, despite the best efforts of Geb and political forces from within and without.
The ancient war with Geb left an eternal stain upon Nex and its culture, but open warfare with the necromancers of the south faded into reluctant trade centuries ago, and these days Nex imports most of its foodstuffs from Gebbite plantations worked by zombie slaves. Obstinate factions in the capital, notably the star-crossed Arclords of Nex, argue that the current state of détente would enrage the wizard who gave his name to the kingdom, but Nex last appeared in the world of Golarion centuries ago, and history marches ever forward without him.
Immediately following Nex’s disappearance, the scheming political factions only he could balance fell into a succession of assassination and opportunism that threatened the nation’s existence. After centuries of disastrous infighting, the ever-present threat of Geb’s undead hordes unified Nex’s sects into the squabbling Council of Three and Nine. Holding court in the Bandeshar, Nex’s opulent abandoned palace, the 12 administrators decide the fate of the nation, regulate trade and the forbidden arts, adjudicate treaties and legal appeals, and manage military affairs.
The Three dominate the council, and any agreement by two of them is sufficient to veto the consensus of the Nine. While assassination and skullduggery keep the lower ranks of the council in constant flux, the Three remain firmly entrenched, having not changed in more than a century. Representatives of Ecanus and Oenopion sit in the council, as do prominent members of two of the strongest tribes of the wasteland.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting