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The city of Mzali.

Theocratic dictatorship
Source: World Guide, pg(s). 84

36,700 humans (31,000 Zenj, 2,000 Bonuwat, 2,000 Bekyar, 1,000 Mauxi, 700 other), 200 non-human
Magical; Divine Theocracy
Walkena, mummified child-god
Source: Heart of the Jungle, pg(s). 37 (1E)
The Mwangi Expanse, pg(s). 220ff. (2E)

Mzali is the largest Garundi city south of Katapesh in what is considered the Inner Sea region and is ruled by a strange being named Walkena.12


The massive temple-city of Mzali stands on the fertile flood plain of the Pasuango River, one of the tributaries of the Korir River in the Mwangi Expanse. It is south of the Screaming Jungle, and east of the Sargavan city of Kalabuto. It was built upon the wetlands between the Pasuango River and the encroaching desert, and stands on soft, rich earth that can flood during the rainy season. The large stone structures like the Temple of the Deathless Child, the High Temple, the Mwanyisa Hall, and the Sun Man statue rest on deep foundations, surrounded by slabs of flagstone that poke above the soil. Enormous trees intertwine their roots around sturdy curtain walls and stone temple complexes, seamlessly blending with the architectural design. Many prominent structures are encircled by protective moats, serving both as a defensive measure and for efficient drainage.13

In addition to the Temple of the Deathless Child, which dominates the city skyline, Mzali is filled with ancient shrines dedicated to all manner of entities. Some are still actively used and others have been turned into markets or residences. Mzali also contains dozens of underground tombs where only the capstone is visible. These attract opportunistic grave robbers who seek to plunder the valuable treasures in them.3


Mzali was founded in -308 AR by warrior-monarchs who claimed descent from the god Chohar, similar to the pharaohs of Ancient Osirion. Dead royals and retainers were mummified so they could continue protecting Mzali after death. The city quickly conquered the surrounding areas,4 but as expansion became more and more difficult, Mzali's royal family became obsessed with blood sports, turning their soldiers into gladiators, demanding children from nearby areas, lavish prizes for victors, and food and fabric as incentives to attract larger audiences. In 3967 AR, a group of governors and shamans calling themselves the Council of Mwanyisa overthrew the royal family and destroyed all of their mummies except one: the young prince Walkena. Under their rule, the empire was lost and the city was greatly reduced in size and importance.15

A hundred years ago, members of the Council prophesied the rise of a new Mzali empire, and soon thereafter they uncovered the mummified remains of Walkena in one of Mzali's many tombs. Legend has it that in life, Walkena was a mighty magician, able to call down fire from the heavens. This discovery was viewed as an omen, and the Council to put the mummified corpse on display, drawing in thousands of curious Mwangi pilgrims. These visitors brought in much needed wealth to the crumbling city.13

The new-found prosperity of Mzali, along with rumors of the fabulous treasures that had been found with the mummy, attracted the attention of the Chelaxian overlords in the nearby Sargavan city of Kalabuto. They raised an army and attacked Mzali, but were miraculously defeated in 4610 AR when the mummified remains of Walkena sprang to life and rained fiery death upon the invading army. Walkena then claimed Mzali as his own and became its absolute ruler.16 Although the Mwangi forces pushed back the invading Sargavan force toward Kalabuto, they were eventually defeated and thrown back to the eastern banks of the River of Lost Tears in 4675 AR by a Sargavan army under the command of General Taurinus.7

Walkena's dreams of military conquest continued after the botched invasion, and his forces conducted guerilla strikes against the defenders of Kalabuto starting in 4678 AR and culminating in the first sacking of Kalabuto in 4684 AR.7


Walkena rules the city-state with an iron first while the still-existing Council of Mwanyisa acts in a purely advisory role. He handsomely rewards his supporters, but those who offend him suffer the Punishment of Seven Angry Suns.1


In Mzali, non-Mwangi traders are subjected to severe consequences, including execution or even worse punishments.8

War with Kalabuto

Forces from Mzali have sacked Kalabuto three times in recent years.9 Because of this, General Alban, the commander of Kalabuto's military, now sends regular spying missions to Mzali to keep track of military preparations.10 So far, except for his initial defence of the city, Walkena has not taken to the field personally.1


Mzali is the centre of Mwangi nationalism as Walkena seeks to unite the entire Mwangi Expanse under his rule and aims to drive out all non-Mwangi from the region. Those who trade with outsiders are considered to be traitors, as are those who plunder the Expanse's precious and irreplaceable resources for personal gain. Despite Walkena's authoritarian government, Mwangi pilgrims still flock to the city and the city is thriving. Non-Mwangi wisely avoid Mzali, or generally suffer horribly for their temerity.1

Since the colonial government of Sargava was overthrown by its native people without Walkena's aid, many citizens of Mzali have left, enraging Walkena and stirring rumours that he might be planning an invasion of Vidrian. The tensions have been intensified by the Bright Lions, a group of Mzali rebels who strive to dethrone Walkena and restore the rule of their city to its citizens.3


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

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Amber Stewart, et al. “Mwangi Campaigns” in Heart of the Jungle, 37–39. Paizo Inc., 2010
  2. Rob Lazzaretti. Inner Sea Poster Map Folio, 1. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Erik Mona, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 88–89. Paizo Inc., 2019
  4. Laura-Shay Adams, et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 18. Paizo Inc., 2021
  5. Laura-Shay Adams, et al. “History” in The Mwangi Expanse, 19. Paizo Inc., 2021
  6. Erik Mona, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 86. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. 7.0 7.1 JD Wiker & Sean K Reynolds. Sargava, the Lost Colony” in Sargava, The Lost Colony, 6. Paizo Inc., 2010
  8. Erik Mona, et al. Mwangi Expanse” in World Guide, 90. Paizo Inc., 2019
  9. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 131. Paizo Inc., 2008
  10. JD Wiker & Sean K Reynolds. Sargava, the Lost Colony” in Sargava, The Lost Colony, 4. Paizo Inc., 2010