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A panoramic view of the Worldwound

N.B.: The name Worldwound can be applied to both the expanse of canyons and ravines that served as a direct planar connection between Golarion and the Outer Rifts, and to the greater region under the direct influence of demonic forces.1
The Worldwound

Loose coalition of demonic warlords
See also: Sarkoris Scar and Sarkoris

The Worldwound was the name given to the demon-haunted wasteland at the northernmost reaches of central Avistan between the years 4606 and 4718 AR.2 It was created when a planar tear to the Outer Rifts opened in the Kellid nation of Sarkoris shortly after the death of the god Aroden, and for more than a century was among the greatest threats to life on the face of Golarion.34


Ancient roots

The earliest hints of this demonic disaster can be found in truly ancient texts that detail the times before Aroden's ascension to godhood, when he walked Golarion as a man. There are ancient myths of Aroden vanquishing a demonic cult dedicated to Deskari from the Northmounds of Sarkoris, driving his cultists from the land into the Lake of Mists and Veils. For thousands of years this was viewed as just another obscure myth, but with Aroden's death and the following events it took on a new significance.5

Fall of Sarkoris

Before the Age of Lost Omens on the site of the modern Worldwound was a powerful, yet barbaric, Kellid nation called Sarkoris. When Aroden died, it caused a very slight planar shift that knocked the whole of Golarion from its normal metaphysical alignment and slightly toward the fearful Outer Rifts. This shift manifested itself in the northern reaches of Sarkoris as a planar tear,6 where their mystics and witches foresaw a time of chaos and a thinning of the borders between realities.5

The Worldwound began its encroachment with strange demonic beasts haunting the barrows and tombs of the Northmounds. These foul creatures soon spread out and attacked nearby isolated clan holdings. While worried, the people of Sarkoris believed that Aroden's imminent return would solve the problem.5

Rumours began to spread of a mile-long cosmic blight that was rimmed by jet black flames located southwest of the city of Iz;5 this site became known as the Worldwound. This corruption soon spread to engulf an area the size of a country, destroying what was once Sarkoris. The Worldwound's unchecked expansion was only halted when the Mendevian Crusades were launched.7

Mendevian Crusades

Hearing of the incursions from the Outer Rifts in the north, the church of Iomedae dedicated itself to closing the rift and stopping the demons' advance. Still reeling from the death of their goddess' patron, Aroden, the clergy decided that a crusade would unite the still fledgling faith and complete the task Aroden had started against the followers of Deskari so long ago.8

Since the First Mendevian Crusade was launched in 4622 AR, thousands of devout Iomedaeans traveled across the Lake of Mists and Veils and up the West Sellen River to the Mendevian capital of Nerosyan to battle the demons of the Worldwound. They beat back the demonic onslaught numerous times, but did not close the rift between the planes8 until the five-year Fifth Mendevian Crusade, which accomplished the task in 4718 AR.2

Sealing and resettlement

The Worldwound was sealed after the adventurers who inspired the Fifth Crusade killed Deskari. Many of the traumatized crusaders resettled across Avistan, though often not without problems related to the horrors they witnessed during the campaign. Demons continue to roam the land, which is now called the Sarkoris Scar and is being resettled by Sarkorian descendants. Demons stranded on the surface still roam the lands, and are still opposed by remaining crusaders, Green Faith adherents, and followers of old Sarkorian deities.9

Etymology of the term "Worldwound"

The term "Worldwound" was most likely derived from a line in the Ballad of Prince Zhakar, which tells the tale of a brave band of men who fought their way through to the center of the chaos-tinged "wound in the world".10


Foul demons infest the Worldwound.

The geography of the Worldwound was a sickening, flexible thing, with the features of the land shifting in front of the viewer's eyes. This fluidity of form grew worse the closer one got to the actual rift at the center of this region. The thin veil between Golarion and the Great Beyond tore completely there, and demonic monstrosities poured forth unabated from the depths of the Outer Rifts. At the distal reaches of the Worldwound, where it bordered on the surrounding realms, this instability subsides.11


The Worldwound was divided into five separate regions along geographical lines:


Most of the cities that once belonged to the Kellid realm of Sarkoris were ruined, but some still stood and were inhabited by both humans and demons. Most of these remaining humans fell into two categories: cultists and immoral mercenaries who joined forces with the fiends, and humans kept as chattel for food or sacrifice. Some human settlements withstood the demonic armies, but they were very few in number and mostly allied with other powers for their protection.12


Considering the inherently chaotic nature of demons, the Worldwound had no government and was instead a loose coalition of demonic tyrants with the strength to rule their weaker kin. They were united by one common purpose: to cause as much misery and destruction on Golarion as possible. The country was split into many, many petty fiefdoms, each ruled by a demonic master. Whether they ruled through sheer force (as was favoured by the more powerful demons such as balors or mariliths) or through subtle manipulation (favoured by succubi and glabrezus), each realm was its own nightmare, and each was equally hostile to mortal life.13

While there was no central government, certain demon rulers held more power than others. The most powerful demon was the balor Khorramzadeh, who ruled Iz, followed by the marilith Zuhra Aponavicius, who conquered the crusader city of Drezen. Despite not being the most powerful demon, the most respected creature in the Worldwound was the demonic archmage Areelu Vorlesh. She had studied the Worldwound since before its formation, and was believed to have had a hand in breaching the planes over 100 years ago.13

Foreign relations

The Worldwound was hated by almost all of the surrounding nations, for its borders constantly pushed against their boundaries, always trying to expand.7 The Hold of Belkzen was the realm least overtly hostile to the Worldwound, with its bestial orc inhabitants who seemed not so distant from the neighbouring savage demons.[citation needed] To the west, the Realm of the Mammoth Lords14 fought constant skirmishes with the demons, especially around the eastern city of Tolguth.15 To the south of the Worldwound, Numeria and Ustalav did not actively battle the infection of the Worldwound, but both still eyed their northern neighbour with fear and trepidation. To the east, the crusader nation of Mendev was the Worldwound's most vehement opponent.14

Mendev once surrounded the whole of the Worldwound, stretching from the old Sarkorian city of Dyinglight13 to the now-ruined city of Storasta,16 and the conquered crusader city of Drezen.13 However, much of its territory fell to the foul demonic blight.7


Paizo released a major sourcebook titled The Worldwound. The sealing of the Worldwound is depicted in the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path.

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

  1. James Jacobs, et al. “Chapter One: Worldwound Gazetteer” in The Worldwound, 3. Paizo Inc., 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Erik Mona, et al. Broken Lands” in World Guide, 26–27. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. James Jacobs. “At Your Door” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 63. Paizo Inc., 2010
  4. James Jacobs. “Lords of the Abyss” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 5. Paizo Inc., 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 198. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. James Case, et al. “Planar Travelers” in Plane-Hopper's Handbook, 4. Paizo Inc., 2018
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 148. Paizo Inc., 2008
  8. 8.0 8.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 199. Paizo Inc., 2011
  9. Erik Mona, et al. Broken Lands” in World Guide, 32–33. Paizo Inc., 2019
  10. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 118. Paizo Inc., 2011
  11. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 198–199. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. James Jacobs, et al. “Chapter One: Worldwound Gazetteer” in The Worldwound, 5. Paizo Inc., 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 149. Paizo Inc., 2008
  14. 14.0 14.1 Erik Mona, et al. Campaign Setting, Poster Map. Paizo Inc., 2008
  15. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 95. Paizo Inc., 2008
  16. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 150. Paizo Inc., 2008