Explore and Unearth the Secrets of Occult Realms

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Among many other things, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Realms details several occult locations in Golarion that are ripe for adventure! Here's a look at each location discussed in the book's second chapter:

Center for Psychogenic Advancement

This remarkable university is one of the crown jewels of Hermea's capital city of Promise. Through careful study, experimentation, and practice, the center's faculty and staff hope not only to unlock the secrets and powers of the mind, but also to discover the catalyst for a new stage of human development. Critics believe that graduates use their honed psychic abilities to spy on other Hermeans; the center's administration firmly denies this accusation. The PCs can find the center's mysteries unravel before them while probing the disappearances of people with psychic talents across the Inner Sea region. The truth is that the missing individuals were invited to attend classes at the center. Some have even since reappeared, but their memory of the time they spent missing is altered, leaving the PCs to discover what is exactly going on and why.


Lurking deep in the Darklands region of Orv, Denebrum is home to the neothelids, a species as ancient as the Vault Builders who supposedly created that forbidding realm. How the neothelids came to exist here is a mystery, but legends suggest they burrowed into this area from beyond the Dimension of Dreams, or perhaps even from the nightmare realm of Leng. Whatever the truth, the neothelids continue to meticulously carry out numerous complex plots designed to bring them to the pinnacle of power so that they might rule all of Golarion, as they believe is their right. PCs can find themselves entangled in the neothelids' plotting when investigating a squabble in Korvosa among the Sczarni, various professional guilds, and other legitimate organizations. All threads lead to a vicious worm that walks, who leads them deep beneath the surface to neothelids whose plans to subjugate Korvosa have been in motion for centuries.

Illustration by Vavilov Konstantin

Grand Sarret

Once the summer retreat of Vudrani nobility, most believe that this remote island in Jalmeray is abandoned, its palace in ruins. In truth, the carefully maintained air of disrepair cloaks one of Golarion's most elite educational institutions: the Conservatory, where spies are trained to infiltrate the world's courts, governments, and other centers of power. After graduation, the spies are provided with cover identities as nobles, bards, seneschals, and consorts, and sent forth to further Jalmeray's interests through covert means. PCs can get an introduction to the Conservatory when investigating a traveling sage who visits Magnimar, calling himself the Master of the Third Eye, after a woman complains that he has taken control of her husband's mind.

Temple of the Sunken Sign

In the drowned swamps and jungles of the Sodden Lands, hidden among the ruins of a complex built by the ancient Ghol-Gan cyclopes, the Temple of the Sunken Sign twists the legacy of the lost kingdom of Lirgen with the insanity of an ancient cult of Azathoth. The maddened sect of Saoc Brethren who dwell here point their telescopes toward the stars, work corrupt rites, and wait to become one with their unspeakably alien patron. On the streets of Sothis, a crazed seer babbles about the coming of the darkness, and her family asks the PCs to investigate how a sedate, well-respected member of Osirian society became a wild-eyed prophet after participating in an archaeological expedition to the Sodden Lands.

Vergan Forest

Fifty years ago, this dark and musty region served as cover for guerilla forces loyal to the powerful wizard Razmir while he conquered the region—and mercilessly slaughtered those who refused to bend their knees. Today, those unquiet souls infuse the Vergan Forest with latent psychic power with which is primary inhabitants must contend. Razmiri dissidents and anarchists alike now use the forest to hide from authorities, but they are not alone; also lurking in the forest are driders, giant vermin, assorted undead, and a terrible ancient power that could bring ruin upon the whole region. A paranoid scholar in Thronestep hires the PCs to stop the ancient power's escape from a cave deep within the forest. However, things are complicated when it turns out that a band of rogues and their Razmiri prisoner already inhabit the cave—and that the being's machinations may be too advanced to stop without paying a terrible price.

Zi Ha

The samsaran nation of Zi Ha, perched upon the remote peaks of one of Tian Xia's mountain ranges, is an alluring mystery to scholars. To visitors, it is a place of serenity and meditation, where one can gaze out on pristine vistas and discuss the mysteries of reincarnation with one's samsaran host over a warm cup of tea. For the human children of its residents, it is a reminder of the parents who cast them off in order to contemplate their quest for enlightenment. When a powerful spellcaster hires the PCs to escort her into the dangerous mountains of Zi Ha and help her track the parents who abandoned her as an infant, the adventurers are unwittingly drawn into a tragic knot of broken family ties and vengeance that endures across lives and generations.

Illustrations by Subroto Bahumik, Kent Hamilton, and Vavilov Konstantin

Amanda Hamon Kunz & Jessica Price
Assistant Developer & Project Manager

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Hermea!? That hasn't been mentioned since the 3.5 campaign setting right? Awesome. I was wondering if it even existed any more.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd love to hear more about Hermea. The conflict between the audacious plan to improve humanity and the unsettling reality of how it's achieved is fascinating.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, I wasn't very interested in this until I heard about part of Hermea being involved. I then became very, very excited :-)

Brian Darnell wrote:
Hermea!? That hasn't been mentioned since the 3.5 campaign setting right?

To answer the question, Hermea is also mentioned quite a bit in The Inner Sea World Guide, most prominently in the section detailing the Steaming Sea.

Grand Lodge

"mentioned quite a bit" = a glossy coating

I think that book has maybe 2 full pages at most.

Not much more than hints, but still:

An Orb of Dragonkind got a namedrop in Artifacts & Legends.

A Hermean agent, Jherek Oivos, is in the NPC Guide.

The foreword of the Inner Sea Monster Codex was written by Yllaria Aurnosa of the Promise College of Enlightened Excellence.

Why/how is the Orb of Dragonkind linked to Hermea?

Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thanael wrote:
Why/how is the Orb of Dragonkind linked to Hermea?

Mengkare has what he claims to be the shattered remains of an ancient and powerful gold Orb of Dragonkind which he has given to several diplomats who have sought his favor or an alliance with Hermea, along with a polite refusal, as a sign of his noble intentions. Research seems to suggest his claim is truthful, though he likely has most of the pieces, with many other scattered throughout various national vaults.

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