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Flag of Hongal.

Tundra of the Horse Lords1
Khanate of loosely affiliated tribes
Source: Dragon Empires Gazetteer, pg(s). 25

Hongal is the northernmost realm on the continent of Tian Xia and one of the termini of the dangerous Path of Aganhei, which leads north over the Crown of the World and ends in northern Avistan.23


The history of Hongal stretches back over seven thousand years, beginning with the rise of the first khan of the Tian-La people, Budugan, in -2884 AR. Budugan was so large he was rumoured to be secretly of giant heritage, but he succeeded in uniting all of the Tian-La. Alas, it was not to last, as five years later in -2879 AR Budugan was killed by his own treacherous kinsman, fracturing the Tian-La into the collection of smaller, scattered tribes. It was not until centuries later that another khan and his great tribe would rise again to rule Hongal.4

Geography and trade

Located at the top of the Tian Xia, Hongal has long been considered too remote to conquer by the imperial powers like Yixing and Lung Wa that once dominated the south of the continent. Known as "The Tundra of the Horse Lords",5 Hongal consists of tundra and rolling steppe.6 While Hongal is known for its two highly valuable trade routes (the Path of Aganhei that connects Tian Xia to Avistan, and the Spirit Road), the people of Hongal see them more as necessary evils, as they do not enjoy outsiders. Foreigners are tolerated as long as they travel along those roads, spend their coin, and keep moving onward, but anyone who strays too far from either of the two trade routes will find themselves attracting the wrong kind of attention. The vast majority of Hongal is untouched wilderness as few structures are able to withstand the endless winds that roar across the tundra. In particular the quqotengir (translatable as the "sky dragon’s angry breath") is a storm that whips across the land in early spring and late autumn. Some type of creature (or creatures) hide within the storm, leaving the mutilated corpses of its victims behind after the winds have passed.5


Ordu-Aganhei is technically the capital of Hongal, though the ruling Khan of Hongal, Kiriltai Khan, spends little time there. Instead, the nation's khan also rules the nation's most powerful nomadic tribe, and wanders with them as the greatest horseback riding tribe.1 Traditionally, the ruler of Ordu-Aganhei is one of the khan of Hongal's brothers.7 The nomadic folk of Hongal ride across the steppes in smaller bands of a few dozen individuals, these bands then gather into larger encampments of up to several thousand people. Each tribe is ruled over by a baga bohd, who is in turn advised by a council of elders with magical abilities, traditionally female sorcerers or oracles.5


Hongal is one of two main homes to the Tian Li people,8 who lead a semi-nomadic existence quite different from their more sedentary cousins to the south. The Tian-La of Hongal have a very strict code of honour that requires absolute loyalty to the tribe, although some claim that they honour their horses above all else, even above their own family.5 The area around the river that marks Hongal's western border with the Shanguang desert is known to be haunted by namorrodors, bestial undead from the Shadow Plane.9


There are a few deities that are most commonly worshipped across Hongal: Desna, with her focus on travellers; General Susumu, with his love of war, archery, and horsemanship; Irori, with his focus on self-perfection; Kofusachi, the god of happiness; and Yamatsumi, the lord of winter.5


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Colin McComb & Tim Hitchcock. “The Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Primer, 11. Paizo Inc., 2012
  2. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 20. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 207. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 15. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 25. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. Richard Pett. “Forest of Spirits” in Forest of Spirits, 15. Paizo Inc., 2011
  7. John Compton, et al. Ordu-Aganhei” in Merchant's Manifest, 23. Paizo Inc., 2018
  8. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 1: Common Races” in Inner Sea Races, 50. Paizo Inc., 2015
  9. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 183. Paizo Inc., 2021