- N.B.: The name Worldwound can be applied to both the ever-growing expanse of canyons and ravines that serve as a direct planar connection between Golarion and the Abyss, and to the greater region under the direct influence of demonic forces.
|Government||Loose coalition of demonic warlords|
|Religions||Lamashtu, demon-worship (especially Deskari)|
Source: The Worldwound
A demon-haunted wasteland that lies at the northern-most reaches of central Avistan, the Worldwound is an unnatural blight: it is a rift to the Abyss opened on the Material Plane. It appeared shortly after the death of the god Aroden at the beginning of the Age of Lost Omens, and is probably the greatest threat to life on the face of Golarion.
The Worldwound is another nation (if such a word can be used to describe this tumorous intrusion on reality) created in the tumultuous chaos following the death of Aroden.
The earliest hints of this demonic disaster can be found in truly ancient texts that detail the times before Aroden's ascension to godhood, when he walked Golarion as a man. There are ancient myths of Aroden vanquishing a demonic cult dedicated to Deskari from the Northmounds, driving his cultists from the land into the Lake of Mists and Veils. For thousands of years this was viewed as just another obscure myth, but with Aroden's death and the following events it took on a new significance.
Fall of Sarkoris
Before the Age of Lost Omens on the site of the modern Worldwound was a powerful, yet barbaric, Kellid nation called Sarkoris. When Aroden died, it caused a very slight planar shift that knocked the whole of Golarion from its normal metaphysical alignment and slightly toward the fearful abyssal plane. This shift manifested itself in the northern reaches of Sarkoris, where their mystics and witches foresaw a time of chaos and a thinning of the borders between realities.
The Worldwound began its encroachment with strange demonic beasts haunting the barrows and tombs of the Northmounds. These foul creatures soon spread out and attacked nearby isolated clan holdings. While worried, the people of Sarkoris believed that Aroden's imminent return would solve the problem.
Rumours began to spread of a mile-long cosmic blight that was rimmed by jet black flames located southwest of the city of Iz; this site became known as the Worldwound. This corruption soon spread to engulf an area the size of a country, destroying what was once Sarkoris. The Worldwound's unchecked expansion was only halted when the Mendevian Crusades were launched.
Hearing of the Abyssal incursions in the north, the church of Iomedae dedicated itself to closing the rift and stopping the demons' advance. Still reeling from the death of their goddess' patron, Aroden, the clergy decided that a crusade would unite the still fledgling faith and complete the task Aroden had started against the followers of Deskari so long ago.
Since the First Mendevian Crusade was launched in 4622 AR, thousands of devout Iomedaeans have traveled across the Lake of Mists and Veils and up the West Sellen River to the Mendevian capital of Nerosyan to battle the demons of the Worldwound. Though they have beaten back the Abyssal onslaught numerous times, they have never closed the rift between the planes.
Etymology of the term "Worldwound"
The origin of the term "Worldwound" is most likely derived from a line in the Ballad of Prince Zhakar, which tells the tale of a brave band of men who fought their way through to the center of the chaos-tinged "wound in the world".
The geography of the Worldwound is a sickening, flexible thing, with the features of the land shifting in front of the viewer's eyes. This fluidity of form grows worse the closer one gets to the actual rift at the center of this region. The thin veil between Golarion and the Great Beyond tears completely there, and demonic monstrosities pour forth unabated from the depths of the Abyss. At the distal reaches of the Worldwound, where it borders on the surrounding realms, this instability subsides.
The Worldwound is divided into five separate regions along geographical lines:
Most of the cities that once belonged to the Kellid realm of Sarkoris now lie in ruin, but some still stand and are inhabited by both humans and demons. Most of the humans fall into two categories: cultists and immoral mercenaries who have joined forces with the fiends, and humans kept as chattel for food or sacrifice. A few human settlements still exist that have managed to withstand the demonic armies, but they are very few in number and have mostly allied with other powers for their protection.
Unsurprisingly, considering the inherently chaotic nature of demons, the Worldwound has no government and is instead a loose coalition of demonic tyrants with the strength to rule their weaker kin. They are united by one common purpose: to cause as much misery and destruction on Golarion as possible. The country is split into many, many petty fiefdoms, each ruled by a demonic master. Whether they rule through sheer force (as is favoured by the more powerful demons such as balors or mariliths) or through subtle manipulation (favoured by succubi and glabrezus), each realm is its own nightmare, and each is equally hostile to mortal life.
While there is no central government, certain demon rulers hold more power than others. The most powerful demon is the balor Khorramzadeh, who rules Iz, followed by the marilith Zuhra Aponavicius, who conquered the crusader city of Drezen. Despite not being the most powerful demon, the most respected creature in the Worldwound is the demonic archmage Areelu Vorlesh. She has studied the Worldwound since before its formation, and is believed to have had a hand in breaching the planes over 100 years ago.
The Worldwound is hated by almost all of the surrounding nations, for its borders constantly push against their boundaries, always trying to expand. The Hold of Belkzen is the realm least overtly hostile to the Worldwound, with its bestial orc inhabitants who seem not so distant from the neighbouring savage demons. To the west lies the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, whose tribes fight constant skirmishes with the demons, especially around the eastern city of Tolguth. To the south of the Worldwound lie Numeria and Ustalav, neither of which actively battles the infection of the Worldwound, but both still eye their northern neighbour with fear and trepidation. To the east lies the crusader nation of Mendev, the Worldwound's most vehement opponent.
Mendev once surrounded the whole of the Worldwound stretching from the old Sarkorian city of Dyinglight to the now ruined city of Storasta, and to the conquered crusader city of Drezen. Now much of its former territory has fallen to the foul Abyssal blight.
- James Jacobs et al. (2013). The Worldwound, p. 3. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-532-7
- James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 5. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
- James Jacobs. (2010). Lords of Chaos, p. 63. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-250-0
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 198. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 148. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 199. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 118. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 198-199. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- James Jacobs et al. (2013). The Worldwound, p. 5. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-532-7
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 149. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. Poster Map. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 95. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 150. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1