Sargava – Colony on the Verge
Sargava at a glance:
- Alignment: N
- Capital: Eleder (8,900)
- Notable Settlements: Kalabuto (11,340)
- Ruler: Baron Utilinus, Grand Custodian of Sargava
- Government: Colonial barony ruled as independent kingdom
- Languages: Common, Polyglot
- Religion: Aroden, Abadar, Iomedae, Gozreh, Shelyn
Sargava is a land being pulled at its seams by multiple agendas. As Sargava’s ruler, the Baron Utilinus has come to discover that not one of them is his own.
The lush plains of Sargava carves a swath of civilization out of the western coast of the dense jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. Once dominated by Mwangi tribesmen, Sargava was first settled by Chelish colonials in 4138, under the ambitious whims of the mad prince Haliad I. A jewel of the empire, distant Sargava stood as a symbol of Cheliax’s sheer might at the height of its power.
With the sudden death of the god Aroden, Cheliax collapsed into civil war and Sargava was isolated from the empire, no longer cut-off by just its distance, but also by the addition of the newly formed perpetual hurricane, the Eye of Abendego. Desperate to remain in the empire’s favor rather than be left adrift, Sargava’s appointed ruler, Baron Grallus, gathered much of the colony’s taxation treasury. He then sent it in several shipments wide around the Eye and then north to Cheliax to finance House Davian, a leading contender in the war, hoping to secure Davian’s bid for the fallen throne. Grallus, however, backed the wrong horse: as the war progressed, the House of Thrune and its allies ripped apart House Davian with its armies reinforced by bound devils in the Battle of a Hundred Kings near Corentyn. Once Thrune firmly secured its hold over Cheliax and the throne, Her Majestrix turned her attention to her more distant colonies.
Soon, a flotilla of Chelaxian galleons set sail for Sargava, loaded with devil missionaries and governors, all loyal to the House of Thrune’s new regime. For the second time in its history, Sargava faced resettlement. In what would become Sargava’s defining moment, Baron Grallus, with the support of his lesser earls, grit his teeth and turned to the notorious Free Captains of the Shackle Isles for help. As soon as Thrune’s imperial fleet sailed into Desperation Bay with Sargava’s shores in sight, the Free Captains struck. Flying their infamous black flags, the Free Captains ambushed the Chelaxian fleet and demonstrated their mariner supremacy. Cheliax’s defeat was total, their galleons left resting on the ocean floor, but the price for the Free Captain’s cooperation was far from cheap. Baron Grallus promised Port Peril not only Sargava’s remaining coffers, but a significant portion of its future bounty as well. As such, in exchange for the continuing protection of the Free Captains, Sargava pays a continual if not exhaustive flow of tribute to the pirates. Rarely a day goes by that the steep price of Sargava’s autonomy is not called into question, yet the prevailing view remains that no cost was too high.
In the meantime, Sargava rots from within. With an empty coffer and no support from the Motherland, the colonists’ ability to control the native population continues to degrade. In particular, with the death of Aroden and the loss of the powers he granted the colonial clerics, the Mwangi tribesmen have stepped up their efforts to reclaim their ancient lands. Several times now, Sargava managed to suppress the native revolts, but each time the threat grows a little greater.
The tribes surrounding the nation have devised a terrifying way to harass Sargavan colonials along the border: a strongly scented paste known to the local settlers as “the goop”. The emerald-colored adhesive is a concoction of dozens of animal glands, pheromones and glues. Once released from its clay pot or animal skin bag, the goop immediately does what it is designed to do: attract monsters. The Mwangi frequently spring-load the goop into traps and snares so the sealed jar smashes or the bag tears, splashing its contents upon unwelcome trespassers. Some of the more daring tribesmen take great pleasure in sneaking up on a hapless Sargavan and then suddenly smearing the goop on their victims with a goop stick—a long staff with a bag of the goop dangling from its tip. The tribesman then hides to watch from a safe distance as predators inevitably arrive. Settlers warn that anyone who comes into contact with the goop should immerse themselves in a river immediately, or, if available, douse themselves in perfume. The city of Kalabuto refuses to allow anyone struck with the goop to enter — leopards, ahuizotl, and even jungle basilisks have been known to walk right into town following the scent of the goop.
With a tradition of 27 years, the Sargava Chalice is already one of Garund’s longest-running and prestigious sporting events outside of Osirion. A marathon-like competition, the running race spans multiple days, in which competitors traverse dense jungles and scramble over mountain passes. Indeed, death is not unheard of, but many see having their names engraved on the prestigious chalice as a victor as a form of immortality. Past competitors include adventurers from across the globe, from vainglorious Pathfinders to — in one noteworthy case — a deposed monarch.
Having broken ties with Cheliax, the baron now rules Sargava as an independent kingdom by default, employing the faux-modest title of Custodian. The current Custodian is Baron Utilinus. Unfortunately for the baron, between the demands of the Free Captains and the uprisings in Kalabuto, he finds his barony cracking at the edges. Despite his able efforts, it is unclear how long he can continue to hold Sargava together.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting