When we were first dividing the nations of the Inner Sea region into the ten meta-regions that comprise the Age of Lost Omens campaign setting, one of the first ones we floated as a proof of concept was the Impossible Lands—the nations of Geb, Nex, and Jalmeray, and the magic blasted wilderness of the Mana Wastes. This is the "high magic" part of the core setting, where centuries of warfare between archmages shaped the land and imbued the local culture with magic unlike anywhere else on Golarion.
At the heart of this region are the nations of Geb and Nex, each named for the mighty archmage who founded it and home to incredible wonders, even millennia after the conflict that came to define them. In Nex, the northern of the two lands, the mysterious Arclords carry on the magical research started by their founder, who disappeared into an extraplanar realm at the climax of his war with Geb. In Quantium, the nation's capital, towers soar above vast palaces illumined by the ethereal glow of perpetual arcane lights, and visitors are as likely to run into a golem on the street as they are an ambitious scholar of wizardry.
To Nex's south lies Geb, a land of undead ruled by the ghostly necromancer of the same name. The debauchery of the Blood Lords who govern the nation at Geb's behest is legendary, and nearly every day visitors to the capital of Mechitar can witness glorious feasts of humanoid flesh, parades to the glory of Geb and Urgathoa, or misery wrested upon the living for the pure enjoyment of the ruling class. Geb's fertile fields are the breadbasket of the region, for nearly all of its produce can be exported to other nations, Geb's own populace needing no sustenance from the earth. A constant target for enemies of undead—from the displaced Lastwall Knights to the church of Pharasma—Geb has no shortage of adventure for those who dare risk passage across its forsaken borders.
Between Geb and Nex stretches the Spellscar Desert of the Mana Wastes. Having changed hands countless times in the centuries of magical warfare between the two nations, the wastes were a constant battlefront, and ages of arcane attacks and defenses did irreparable harm to the land itself. Primal storms of raw magical energy flow in unnatural patterns through the unforgiving desert, and pockets of dead magic leave travelers with no defenses against the mutated inhabitants of the scarred region. In the Duchy of Alkenstar, however, the innovative inhabitants have embraced technology as a defense against the wastes' threats, developing new alchemical and clockwork wonders to protect them. The most closely guarded of their secrets is the key to firearms, which have slowly spread from Alkenstar throughout other parts of the world, but which are still largely produced in the duchy itself, guaranteeing a stable economy for the isolated city-state even amid the chaos of the Mana Wastes.
Across the Obari Ocean from Nex lies the island nation of Jalmeray, home to a large population of ethnic Vudrani. Here the mystical practices of psychic magic are common, and students of more martial pursuits harness the elemental powers within themselves in the monastic Houses of Perfection. Just as Qadira serves as the Inner Sea's gateway to the riches and wonders of the Padishah Empire of Kelesh, Jalmeray offers just a taste of the mysteries and power of distant Vudra, and many heroes stop here on their journey eastward around Casmaron only to find enough adventure here to keep them in Jalmeray for decades.
Player characters from or adventuring in the Impossible Lands can make use of seven new backgrounds, the student of perfection archetype, and the Eye of the Arclords feat, allowing them to harness some of the magic of the region and add a spark of ancient arcane mystery to their repertoires. Yesterday, we posted a for a glimpse into life in the Impossible Lands with Tim Pratt's story, "Bound for Glory." Next week, we'll journey west into the Mwangi Expanse, so get your mosquito nets ready!
The Impossible Lands
Friday, July 5, 2019