Tian Xia

Despite having the least hospitable climate of any continent on Golarion, the Crown of the World remains one of the most traveled routes for world explorers, who venture across the ice shelf from one continent to the other. By far the most exotic of these travelers come from Tian Xia, a northern continent in the planet’s eastern hemisphere, opposite Avistan. Despite this trickle of merchants and political exiles, tales of Tian Xia are rare outside the distant north and the markets of Katapesh and Absalom. Mainland Tian Xia provides home to dozens of nations of varying size and governmental unity, from the vast khanrule lands of the seminomadic Tian-La peoples beyond the imposing Qiang Tian (“Wall of Heaven”) mountains in the north and west to the bureaucratic successor states of Imperial Lung Wa that vie constantly with one another and with neighboring Dtang Ma and Xa Hoi.

The Qiang Tian run perfectly straight east and west for nearly a thousand miles before curving in a gentle southwestern arc and plunging eventually into the Budra Sea. North of the mountains, vast steppes sprawl across the Aksai and Gang-Lo Plateaus, which rise nearly 2,000 feet and 3,000 feet, respectively, and form impressive cliffs along Tian Xia’s northeastern and western coasts. While mountains, hills, and plateaus dominate the mainland, especially to the north and west, the vast lowland area known as the Crater Lands is nearly flat and provides the continent with most of its rice. The mainland covers a little more area than Avistan, but the numerous islands and archipelagos surrounding Tian Xia make it nearly twice the size. In many cases, the archipelagoes stretch for thousands of miles and come within a few hundred miles of Vudra.

Despite more than a millennium of relative peace, at least at home, the mighty but faltering Minkai Empire stands on the brink of civil war. Already, dozens of smaller islands belonging to this island empire have declared their independence from the Sakura Throne. Emperor Shigure, third son and accidental successor of Emperor Kenji, planned on spending life as a poet and mid-ranking governmental official. Upon his coronation 3 years ago, he found himself whisked to the family compound of the Higashiyama clan “for his own protection.” True to its word, the Higashiyama clan protects the emperor — while keeping him imprisoned within its main family compound on the outskirts of the capital city of Kasai. To date, thanks to the power of the Higashiyama clan and its declining number of allies, opposition remains merely vocal at best. A growing movement — especially among the ninja clans spread across the major islands of the archipelago — seeks to free the emperor. Or kill him trying.

A kingdom of rivers and lakes with very little dry land, Nagajor is ruled by a dynasty of naga matriarchs, who have reigned here the last several thousand years. A massive dormant volcano sits near the center of Nagajor. Frequent storms centered on the mountain, as well as thick glaciers covering its upper half, provide water to several neighboring kingdoms in addition to Nagajor. A powerful group of humanoid monks known as the Order of the Poisoned Fang base their fighting style on the nagas (called Ular Tangan) and serve Nagajor as emissaries and spies throughout Tian Xia.

When Aroden’s death choked Golarion with devestating storms a century ago, mighty Imperial Lung Wa collapsed. Provincial governors, military warlords, noble families, and wealthy merchants all moved quickly to slice up the empire for their own gain. As a result, nearly a hundred tiny sovereignties rose from Lung Wa’s ashes and swiftly erupted into war. In the century since the empire’s collapse, consolidation, reconciliation, and conquest have thinned the number to 16 successor states, of which Lingshen, Po Li, and Qin are currently the strongest. At any given time, open war of some manner exists between at least two of the successor states, although these conflicts in general continue to shrink in scope and ferocity.

Known as the Dragon Kingdom, Xa Hoi exerts considerable influence over southeast Tian Xia despite its relatively small size. One of the only mainland kingdoms to never fall to Imperial Lung Wa or its predecessors, Xa Hoi’s Dragon King Pham Duc Quan can trace his unbroken royal pedigree back to the kingdom’s founding nearly 3,000 years ago. Despite its independence and influence, the Dragon Kingdom does little to provoke its neighbors, and instead maintains mostly positive relationships with nearly every other nation of Tian Xia. That said, the Dragon King is no fool, and like his fathers before him he maintains an active and well-trained army made up of compulsory conscripts. The most remarkable aspect of this army — and that which marks it as unique among the military forces of Tian Xia and rare even across all Golarion — is that women account for roughly half its membership.

Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Guide

Tian Xia

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