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Symbol of Mendev.

Source: The Inner Sea World Guide, pg(s). 118f. (1E)
World Guide, pg(s). 27–29 (2E)

The nation of Mendev (pronounced MEN-dev)1 in northeastern Avistan is a land long defined by its conflict with the Abyssal forces of the Worldwound.23

For over a century, people from across the Inner Sea region traveled to support the native Mendevians in their crusades to drive back the demons to the west.3 The fortunes of the crusaders rose and fell until a seeming miracle occurred: a small group of heroes completed a ritual to close the portal to the Outer Rifts. With their reinforcements cut off and the demon lord Deskari slain, the demons Outer Rifts. The crusaders pressed their advantage and brought a successful end to the Fifth Mendevian Crusade in 4718 AR.2

With the end of the war, Queen Galfrey stepped down and appointed Chancellor Irahai, a civilian, to rule Mendev. The nation is now dealing with the aftermath of the war, defeating the remaining demons of the Sarkoris Scar, reclaiming the corrupted lands they left behind, and managing its own internal struggles with its few, war-depleted resources.2


Before the Worldwound

The history of Mendev stretches back before the opening of the Worldwound in 4606 AR, when it was simply a nation inhabited by the descendants of Iobarian exiles with a less-than-stellar reputation. The last prince of that land died around the time the portal to the Outer Rifts was opened, an event that would change Mendev forever.3

Opening of the Worldwound

The opening of the Worldwound in 4606 AR did not cause an immediate reaction, as the breach and the demons that poured from it expanded slowly at first. As the threat became more serious and tales spread of the invasion, the nations of the Inner Sea region and the major benevolent churches began to take notice and launched the First Mendevian Crusade in 4622 AR.34

Mendevian Crusades

The First Crusade (46224630 AR) was launched by the faltering church of Aroden in an attempt to whip the fallen god's remaining followers into a righteous frenzy. They were assisted in their efforts by the growing church of Iomedae, hungry to shore up its own bona fides and carry on the work of its predecessor. As thousands of pilgrim crusaders flooded up the River Road and into Mendev, the crusader state as it existed until very recently was born.4 The governments of Cheliax, Isger, and Andoran, dealing with internal conflicts of their own, saw a way of ridding themselves of many dispossessed nobles and wandering mercenary companies, and joined the church of Iomedae in their efforts, shunting off their undesirables to northern Avistan.3 Their efforts managed to push back the demonic hordes in short order, and the crusade was deemed a success.4

For almost a generation it seemed that the frontier with the Worldwound would remain quiet. But then the demons struck back with a terrible vengeance and the crusaders suffered defeat after costly defeat, their worst loss being the fall of crusader city of Drezen in 4638 AR. On the heels of their defeat, a Second Mendevian Crusade (4638 AR – 4645 AR) was launched.4 Unlike the previous war, the crusaders were unable to drive back their enemies into the Outer Rifts and instead opted for containment. Powerful magical barriers called wardstones were built along the southern and eastern borders of the Worldwound to check the demons' advancement and influence. These had to be maintained by rituals and prayer, and continued to be a constant focus of attacks during the Second Crusade and all the wars that followed.3

During the Third Mendevian Crusade (46654668 AR), the demons once again changed tactics, opting for infiltration, subversion, and corruption of their enemies. Things in general went poorly for the crusaders during this war, but more importantly, the demons were able to undermine the unity of their opponents and create suspicion in their ranks. Witch hunts against suspected demon cultists and other traitors became commonplace, particularly around the northern city of Kenabres, where a group of fanatical inquisitors led a great purge of Mendevian forces where hundreds were burned at the stake.3 Even those without any trace of demonic taint were often accused of collaboration, not in small part because Mendev's traditional animistic religion seemed suspect to outsiders. As the crusade ground on, new recruits began to be drawn more from the prisons of the Inner Sea region, whose commitment to serve came from pure desperation rather than righteous belief.2

A new leader emerged amongst the demons in 4692 AR, a powerful balor known as Khorramzadeh, the Storm King. He and his forces were able to damage the Kenabres wardstone and cross the frontier, but were eventually driven back. This worrying development led to the calling of the Fourth Crusade (4692 AR – 4707 AR) in order to defeat the new menace before he had the chance to unite more of the demons under his banner. Lasting 15 years, this was the longest and most exhausting of the four crusades and ended more out of sheer fatigue on the part of the crusaders than any major victory or other positive tactical development.56

The Fifth Mendevian Crusade (4713 AR – 4718 AR) rose from the stalled efforts of the Fourth, and was sparked by a demonic assault on Kenabres in 4713 AR. Although demons ripped the city's defenses apart in minutes and destroyed its wardstone, a small group of defenders inadvertently gained the wardstone's mythic powers and led Queen Galfrey's defenders in a new war.7 The ensuing five-year campaign was the most successful of them all. The heroes slew the demon lord Deskari and ritually sealed the Worldwound, leaving only the Sarkoris Scar and what demons had been stranded upon the surface.8 Without coherent leadership, the serious demonic threat evaporated as Queen Galfrey's forces surged forward and brought the Fifth Crusade to a successful conclusion.2


After Tar-Baphon freed himself from his centuries-long imprisonment in 4719 AR and began to gather his forces, many of the crusaders still living in Mendev saw this as an opportunity to fight a war they could understand. They strapped on their shields and armor and marched south to join those rallying to defeat the Whispering Tyrant, while other former crusaders found new purpose opposing the demon Treerazer in nearby Kyonin. Some of the fighters who have stayed in Mendev have made common cause with the Kellid descendants of Old Sarkoris living in Mendev as they attempt to resettle their ancestral homelands to the west. Their efforts have been stymied by the departed demons who left behind dangerous artifacts disguised as relics of the indigenous Sarkorian faith.2


Mendev is located at the very northern end of the continent of Avistan. Its northern border consists of the towering ice cliffs of the Crown of the World,9 while to the west, its border is still marked by the wardstones that helped keep the demons of the Worldwound (now the Sarkoris Scar) at bay. To Mendev's east is the Lake of Mists and Veils, the vast body of water that thousands of pilgrims crossed to complete their pilgrimage. To the south lies Numeria, separated by rivers along much of its border. The people of Mendev seem to have little to do with this harsh nation of savagery and strange science.410 Yet, Mendev holds beauty and wonder as well in the form of its snow-covered mountains, icy steppes, and thick, evergreen forests.2


Chancellor Irahai, current head of Mendev's government.

Until quite recently, Mendev was governed by the Crusader Queen Galfrey, the Sword of Iomedae. She abdicated her leadership in 4718 AR at the successful completion of the Fifth Mendevian Crusade and was chosen to become the new herald of her patron goddess, Iomedae.2

Before her ascension, she chose Chancellor Irahai, the daughter of Thuvian crusaders, as her successor. Irahai is a wise governor, but she has had to deal with reemerging political divisions, long suppressed by martial law during the crusades, between the native Mendevians and the foreign crusaders who still live in Mendev. The government has struggled to meet the nation's needs, and Irahai has been hobbled by those who compare her to her predecessor. It also faces internal supernatural threats by the stranded demons of the Sarkoris Scar, the powers living in the Estrovian Forest, and the cursed ruins of Icerift Castle.2

Mendev's government and people now also face a severe identity crisis, having defined themselves entirely through the crusades for generations, and are unsure who they are and what their purpose now is.2

Foreign relations

Mendev maintains mutual diplomatic ties with the Kingdom of Brevoy to the east, but only has a nominal diplomatic presence in Razmiran and the River Kingdoms. The government has ranged from being unwelcoming to outwardly hostile toward Razmir's attempts to spread his faith beyond his borders, as his priests are known to sow rebellion wherever they go.11


Mendev today struggles economically, its resources having been depleted by the wars that dragged on for over a century. Additionally, the money and labor it once received from foreign sources in support of the crusades has all but dried up, and because of the lack of arable land, it must import nearly all goods just to survive.2 Additionally, the population supports the resettlement of the formerly demon-plagued lands to the west, which further decreases their supply of much-needed livestock and grain.12


The inhabitants of Mendev are a mixture of peoples ranging from high-minded gallants to back-alley thugs. While many of the land's inhabitants were swept here in the fanatic zeal of one of the crusades, many are natives whose families lived here long before the crusaders' arrival. These people, the native Mendevians, had much in common culturally with the neighbouring kingdom of Sarkoris (now the Sarkoris Scar). The Iobarian inhabitants tend to be treated as second-class citizens by the crusaders and their descendants, and still practice their ancient druidic faith or animism. This, unfortunately, made them suspicious to the zealous crusaders of more traditional religions, and led to many native Mendevians burning at the stake for their heretical beliefs. In fact, most of the Third Mendevian Crusade seemed more focused on burning and purging heretics than it did on driving back the actual demonic denizens of the Worldwound. This suspicion was further fueled by the fact that Sarkoris was rife with cults dedicated to the demon lord Deskari, cults Aroden himself hunted down and destroyed during the Age of Enthronement.413 Mendev is home to a large number of asura-spawn cambions14 who reveled in undermining the holy work of the crusaders.15

Mendevian Crusaders

The more recent inhabitants of Mendev are the crusaders and their descendants who remain in Mendev. Up until the end of the Mendevian Crusades, they arrived weekly by the boatload, streaming in from across the Lake of Mists and Veils and up the Sellen River. These numbers have decreased since the end of the war, although some holy warriors continue to arrive, intent on fighting until the last remaining demon is destroyed. Many left for the south when the Whispering Tyrant regained his power to threaten the Inner Sea region, while others pledged themselves to fight the demonic forces of Treerazer in Kyonin's Tanglebriar. Other former crusaders support the Kellids who are trying to resettle the land taken from them by the demons out of a sense of guilt of what was done to them by the Crusaders during the Third Crusade. The demons who remain in the Sarkoris Scar have become more subtle, taking to disguising their corrupting Abyssal magics as relics of Sarkoris' original shamanistic or animistic faith.42

The crusaders who remain are an odd assortment. During the First Mendevian Crusade, those who sought to fight the invading demons were generally the most high-minded, virtuous people of the southern lands: clerics of good deities and noble paladins. However, by the Fourth Mendevian Crusade, the quality of crusaders had deteriorated. Many mercenaries flocked to fight in this seemingly endless war, and they now outnumber the pious crusaders. This situation was made worse by the fact that many southern nations saw the Mendevian Crusades as little more than a convenient dumping ground for political dissidents, thugs, criminals, and other undesirables.42

Knightly orders

Numerous knightly orders existed in Mendev to combat the demons of the Worldwound. Below is a small sampling of them.

Mendevian slang

Mendevians use their own slang words interspersed in their language. For instance, gaffle and rip are both used locally to describe a scam or a confidence trick.19


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

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Erik Mona, et al. Broken Lands” in World Guide, 27–29. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 118–119. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 98–101. Paizo Inc., 2008
  5. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 149. Paizo Inc., 2008
  6. James Jacobs, et al. “Chapter One: Worldwound Gazetteer” in The Worldwound, 3. Paizo Inc., 2013
  7. Amber E. Scott, et al. “Campaign Outline” in The Worldwound Incursion, 90–91. Paizo Inc., 2013
  8. Erik Mona, et al. Broken Lands” in World Guide, 27. Paizo Inc., 2019
  9. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 156. Paizo Inc., 2008
  10. Erik Mona, et al. Campaign Setting, poster map. Paizo Inc., 2008
  11. Erik Mona, et al. Broken Lands” in World Guide, 33. Paizo Inc., 2019
  12. Erik Mona, et al. Broken Lands” in World Guide, 26. Paizo Inc., 2019
  13. James Jacobs. Demon Lords of Golarion” in Descent into Midnight, 58. Paizo Inc., 2009
  14. Paizo referred to cambion planar scions as tieflings until the publication of Player Core. These cambions are unrelated to the type of demon with the same name.
  15. Colin McComb & Hal Maclean. “Tiefling Heritages” in Blood of Fiends, 19. Paizo Inc., 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Robin D. Laws. The Worldwound Gambit, 200–201. Paizo Inc., 2011
  17. Robin D. Laws. The Worldwound Gambit, 47. Paizo Inc., 2011
  18. Robin D. Laws. The Worldwound Gambit, 393. Paizo Inc., 2011
  19. Robin D. Laws. The Worldwound Gambit, glossary. Paizo Inc., 2011