This page contains spoilers for the following products: Age of Ashes Adventure Path.
This article reflects recent canon updates.
|Titles||Shepherd of Light|
|Alignment||Lawful evil (ca. 4552 AR–present)|
(ca. 3773 AR–ca. 4552 AR)
(3469–ca. 3773 AR)
|Images of Mengkare|
Source: Hellknight Hill, pg(s). 71
Mengkare (pronounced meng-car-ay) is an ancient gold dragon who rules the island kingdom of Hermea in the Steaming Sea. Mengkare created the island country in 4552 AR in response to the long and painful history of humanity. His goal was both simple and extraordinarily ambitious: to create a utopian society ruled by absolute good, within which he could sculpt humanity to a form befitting their enormous potential. This project he terms the Glorious Endeavor, or Grand Experiment.
To join his utopia, all citizens must sign a contract yielding absolute authority to the gold dragon. Uncorrupted by this power, Mengkare gives each citizen as much freedom as they can handle.
Early years and the orb of gold dragonkind
Mengkare hatched in 3469 AR in the eastern foothills of the World's Edge Mountains. His parents and trusted scholars taught the young Mengkare history, magic, and philosophy. In 3660 AR, when a band of anarchists led by a cleric of Dahak used an orb of gold dragonkind to dominate metallic dragons across Taldor and compel them to commit atrocities (an event later known as the Dragon Plague), Mengkare and his parents were among the victims. His parents were slain by dragonslayers, while Mengkare was banished to the Wasteland of Axis. For a century, he stayed in Axis and began to philosophise upon the nature of racial perfection.
In 3773 AR, Mengkare returned to Golarion under the guise of a human wizard, intrigued by humanity's capability for both good and evil. In 3819 AR, when he was wandering through Lastwall, the passionate young crusader Iomedae convinced him to join the Shining Crusade. Four years later, when witnessing Arazni murdered by Tar-Baphon, he was demoralised by humanity's capacity of evil and left Avistan for the remote island of Hermea.
In 3980 AR, Mengkare heard the rumours that the human wizard Ilgreth had recovered the orb of gold dragonkind and used it to control the dragons around the Five Kings Mountains. Infuriated and blinded by vengeance, Mengkare confronted Ilgreth, but his arrival was forewarned by the orb of gold dragonkind, and Mengkare was dominated by it for a second time in his life.
Ilgreth put Mengkare to work deep within Torag's Crag until a band of heroes tracked him down and confronted him. The heroes managed to dispel Ilgreth's control over some of the dragons, including Mengkare. At that moment, he discovered that inside the orb of gold dragonkind was the soul of one of his ancestors. As Mengkare attacked Ilgreth, the orb of gold dragonkind was caught in the blast and exploded, setting off the eruption of Torag's Crag. Mengkare gathered most of the shattered fragments of the orb of gold dragonkind before teleporting to Hermea. He realised that the eruption killed many people, but viewed the sacrifice as necessary.
As Mengkare studied the shards of the orb of gold dragonkind, he discovered that it was impossible to restore it. Relieved that this thorn on his side was gone, he hid the shards in his vault and spent the following years periodically travelling to Axis to research the nature of racial and spiritual perfection.
Finding his motivation
In 4212 AR, Mengkare discovered an ancient aiudara hidden under the caverns of Hermea. Although he could not reactivate it, he managed to determine its destination: a remote place near the border between Isger and Druma, where he discovered Alseta's Ring and the key needed to activate it. When he did, he discovered an incarnation of Dahak imprisoned within the Ring, and his wonder was replaced by fear at what could happen if the incarnation were to escape. Mengkare hid the key in his lair and dedicated himself to finding a solution to the problem.
After two centuries, Mengkare discovered the Anima Invocation, a ritual used by the ancient Ekujae elves to imprison Dahak's manifestation. He researched methods of expanding and improving it, eventually discovering that if he were to sacrifice a sufficient number of perfect souls, he could destroy the manifestation and inflict lasting damage to Dahak himself. He spent another century searching his soul and agonising over the ramifications before coming to terms with the sacrifice: sacrificing a few thousand souls would be the lesser evil compared to consigning hundreds of thousands more to oblivion.
The Glorious Endeavor
In 4512 AR, Mengkare returned to Golarion to finalise his plan, naming it the Glorious Endeavor. In 4519 AR, under the guise of a human wizard named Lamond Breachton, he scoured Isger for the people whom he found perfect and told them of his plan, thinking that a like-minded group of good people would be receptive, only to find that the humans were unwilling to build a society for the purpose of self-sacrifice (even for the purpose of saving the world). Writing off his first attempt as a failure, Mengkare erased the memories of his subjects, leaving only what they needed to survive in the wild, as well as wiping the minds of their loved ones to ensure that his subjects would be forgotten by all. Playing the role of a kindly wizard who discovered a town's amnesiac citizens and sought to save them, Mengkare spent a year and a significant amount of gold from his hoard to help them build an infrastructure before leaving them. The people named their new home Breachill after him.
In 4521 AR, Mengkare restarted the Glorious Endeavor and began to recruit workers to build his dream city of Promise. Due to Mengkare's half-truths, Promise's builders only knew that they were building a utopia and nothing more. When the city was ready, Mengkare spent some time meeting various humans to identify those whom he wished to invite to Promise, then reached out to them separately via letters.
In his letters, Mengkare wrote that he intended to build a perfectly controlled utopia, and all invited people were chosen for their expertise, representing the best of humanity. He promised all of them unlimited resources and time, and to take care of all their needs, and encourage them toward self-fulfilment, as long as they let Mengkare decide on any major life decisions. Most chose to remain, inspired by his charisma and wisdom, and agreed to name the city Promise; the few who refused were allowed to go back home. In order to keep his plan a secret, Mengkare hired Red Mantis assassins to kill all those who left over the following years.
In 4607 AR, as Promise was wracked by storms following the death of Aroden, Mengkare, unable to spare any time to personally seek out new recruits for the Glorious Endeavor, founded the Scarlet Triad for this purpose, and paid the Pactmasters well enough so they would not ask too many questions. As the Glorious Endeavor needed fewer and fewer new recruits, Mengkare reduced the Scarlet Triad's support and funding.
Andoran, Druma, and Taldor have all sent ambassadors to Hermea in search of an alliance. All such overtures have been politely rejected. However, Mengkare presented each ambassador with a sliver of golden crystal. There are reports of other visitors being gifted with similar items. They are apparently shards of the orb of gold dragonkind.
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
- Logan Bonner, Amanda Hamon, James Jacobs, and Jason Tondro. (2019). "Adventure Toolbox". Hellknight Hill, p. 71. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-173-3. This source notes that Mengkare's alignment shifted from lawful good to lawful neutral while exiled to Axis between 3667 AR and 3773 AR. In a "Did You Know?" box on Champions of Corruption p. 2, James Jacobs and James L. Sutter disagreed on Mengkare's alignment and noted that to that point, his alignment had never been declared.
- >>Ask *James Sutter* ALL your Questions Here!<<, 15 March 2013
- Savannah Broadway et al. (2013). Dragons Unleashed, p. 3. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-525-9
- Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, et al. (2019). World Guide, p. 64. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
- Alexander Augunas, Robert Brookes, Thurston Hillman, et al. (2016). Legacy of Dragons, p. 6. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-853-3
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 78–79. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Jason Bulmahn et al. (2010). NPC Guide, p. 12. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-219-7
- Logan Bonner, Amanda Hamon, James Jacobs, and Jason Tondro. (2019). "Adventure Toolbox". Hellknight Hill, p. 71–74. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-173-3
- Luis Loza. (2019). "Hermea". Broken Promises, p. 67. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-195-5
- F. Wesley Schneider. (2012). Artifacts & Legends, p. 3, 34–35. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-458-0