From the Repository in Absalom to the edge of the known world...
Pathfinders share information extensively with one another, but they protect their secrets from outsiders with near-religious zeal. Agents believe they are engaged in a noble goal, even while exploiting tombs, indigenous peoples, and every opportunity that crosses their path. Lesser scholars, which is to say tomb-robbers unaffiliated with the Pathfinder Society, are crass villains who contribute nothing to the greater understanding of the world, selling off their treasures without bothering to record the stories behind them or further understanding of lost races, cultures, and times. For this reason, pathfinders attempt to keep distribution of the Pathfinder Chronicles to members of the society alone. Because most volumes come packed with maps, trap diagrams, and detailed explanations leading to highly profitable and extraordinarily fragile locales, common treasure-hunters, bizarre cultists, and wealthy artifact collectors do their best to acquire copies of the journals, and a multi-volume set can often fetch thousands of gold pieces in the right markets.
Some of the most famous volumes of the Pathfinder Chronicles include:
Volume 1: The original edition of the Pathfinder Chronicles is the most widely circulated book in the series; copies can be found in markets throughout the continent. Its three protagonists enjoy saint-like reputations within the society, and have even become folk heroes outside the pathfinders, inspiring many children and would-be adventurers to set out on a life of exploration. The best-known tale features the most famous pathfinder of all, Durvin Gest, the allegedly immortal bon vivant who discovered and explored the towering remnants of the sunken continent of Azlant thousands of miles west of the Arch of Aroden, at the heart of the Arcadian Ocean. There Gest rescued a cache of priceless ioun stones from the lair of a fi erce roc and explored time-lost dungeons opened to the air by the collapse of the continent in ancient days. Items discovered on this quest still adorn the treasure galleries of Skyreach, and the Azlanti “technology” discovered within serves the society hundreds of years after its discovery. In the volume’s other pulse-pounding tales, marooned sailor Gregaro Voth explores monolithic ruins in the simian-choked Forbidden Jungle, and the merchant prince Selmius Foster of Absalom opens the spice markets of distant Vandu to western traders by racing a marid and an efreet through a series of heroic challenges.
Volume 2: Durvin Gest catalogues 31 Siege Castles outside Absalom. Borden Thalian discovers the headwaters of the Vanji River in a mountain lake deep in the interior of the southern continent. There he discovered a lost city of elaborate jade statuettes and sculptures, possibly crafted by the ancient cyclopes who ruled the southlands before the fall of the Starstone that formed the Inner Sea and cast the world into a thousand years of utter darkness.
Volume 3: Widely circulated among members of the society but almost unknown to the populace at large, this volume tells the sorry tale of Selmius Foster’s death at the hands of a ravenous pack of dog-men on the Far Eastern Isle of Bhopan, off the southern continent’s east coast, as related by his servant and chronicler, Adolphus. After a series of escalating misadventures, Adolphus weds Princess Ganjay, the Opal of Bhopan. The two abscond with the royal treasury, which they use to found a pathfinder lodge in Quantium, the shining capital of Nex. Elsewhere, Gojan the Sharp endures a decade of hardship under the oppressive Ontar, the Black Sovereign of Numeria, in order to gain access to the Silver Mount, a titanic edifice of steel that looms over Numeria’s capital, Starfall. Included in this volume is a complete catalogue of seven different types of skymetal littered about the plains of Numeria and the (wildly outdated) prices each variety is likely to garner in the markets of Taldor and Absalom.
Volume 4: Durvin Gest commandeers The Silken Purse from the pirate queen Mastrien Slash and pilots the ship around the horn of the southern continent, encountering a bizarre matriarchal society with origins dating back thousands of years. Gest abandons Slash at the continent’s southern cliffs in an apparent sacrifice, but history tells that the pirate queen eventually wrested control of the nation, whipping it into a frenzy of military expansion that ended only when it reached the southern borders of the land of Geb. The supremely powerful archmage who ruled that land turned most of the army into the stone statues that now litter Geb’s southern frontier, sometimes referred to as the Field of Maidens.
Volume 5: This mysterious volume has never been read in modern times, and no known copies exist outside the Grand Lodge of Absalom. Sketchy records dating back hundreds of years recall a Decemvirate-sponsored eff ort to recall the volume, but other than a few scholarly sources that suggest one of its exploits involved Durvin Gest, little is known about the volume’s contents.
Volume 23: The Galtan warrior-mage Escobar Vellian braves the waterlogged temple of Xanthuun in the Sodden Lands, battling a horde of drowned zombies to reach the fabled treasure holds of Ammelon VI, last patriarch of the ancient kingdom of Ghol-Gan. References to submerged chambers below the Gold Phoenix Aviary have led hundreds to their deaths in the years since the publication of this exploit, and the bulk of Ammelon’s treasure remains undiscovered.
Volume 56: Published within the last decade, this volume details venture-captain Shevala’s exploration of the Spire of Nex, an impossibly tall tower situated about 10 miles from Absalom’s northeast walls. Along with El Raja Key, the Red Redoubt of Karamoss, and dozens of other so-called Siege Castles littering the abandoned battlefields outside Absalom, no one in a thousand years had penetrated the eldritch tower until a team of mathematicians in Shevala’s employ cracked a complex cipher keyed to the structure’s “unopenable” door. Her now-famous exploit includes a full catalogue of the unusual treasures and beasts encountered within.
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