From PathfinderWiki
Lost in Orv.

Legacy of the Vault Builders
Source: Into the Darklands, pg(s). 44–53

Orv (pronounced ORV)2 is the deepest of the three layers that compose Golarion's vast underground Darklands. It is the most mysterious and isolated part of the Darklands, and consists of dozens of immense enchanted chambers called Orvian Vaults: gigantic caverns thousands of feet in height and covering regions large enough to contain entire nations. Each vault of Orv has its own rules, its own environment, and its own masters.3 Most vaults seem to be representative of entire biomes, to include deserts, jungles, forests, and even an underground sea. Other than legends, very little is known of this region. Even for the inhabitants of Nar-Voth and Sekamina, much of Orv remains shrouded in fear and mystery.4


It is believed that the vaults of Orv were constructed by an ancient and seemingly extinct race. Known as the Vault Keepers, these mysterious beings have left little traces of who or what they were behind, other than the vaults themselves. Why they constructed the vaults still remains a mystery, but it is thought it may have been done as some sort of experiment. Powerful magic allows these immense and fantastic caverns to exist underground. These enchantments have protected the vaults from destructive temperature, pressure, and seismic activity and even extends into the regions above. However, the enchantments seem to be slowly ebbing away and some vaults have collapsed over time.4


The inhabitants of Orv are not as diverse as those of the other levels of the Darklands. They also each tend to have a home vault from which they seldom travel. The exception are the urdefhans, who are seeking to expand their territory. Most interaction between the denizens of different vaults takes place in the tunnels between the vaults.5 Some believe that the inhabitants of each of the vaults are the descendants of servants who once served the Vault Keepers.6

For details of the specific denizens of each vault, see the individual vault articles listed below.5


These are the Vaults underneath the Inner Sea region of Golarion. It is believed that there are many more vaults on the far side of the Sightless Sea.7

Tian Xia

Vaults are also known to exist in the Darklands of Tian Xia, but these are even more mysterious and poorly explored than those beneath Avistan and northern Garund. However, rumors and legends about them have percolated to the surface over time. What little is known of them speaks of realms of malformed giants, portals to the Outer Rifts, seas of living oil, and horrors from the Dark Tapestry waiting in their dark depths.10


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

  1. Robert Brookes, et al. “Introduction” in Heroes of the Darklands, 2. Paizo Inc., 2017
  2. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 205. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Orv” in Into the Darklands, 46–47. Paizo Inc., 2008
  5. 5.0 5.1 James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Orv” in Into the Darklands, 45. Paizo Inc., 2008
  6. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 60. Paizo Inc., 2011
  7. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Orv” in Into the Darklands, 53. Paizo Inc., 2008
  8. Paizo referred to xoarians as intellect devourers until the publication of Heavy is the Crown.
  9. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Orv” in Into the Darklands, 45–52. Paizo Inc., 2008
  10. James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 21. Paizo Inc., 2011