Situated on the southern edge of the Inner Sea, between ancient Osirion and godless Rahadoum, Thuvia (pronounced THOO-vee-uh) is a land focused almost entirely on the export of a single product. For over three thousand years it has been the sole manufacturer of sun orchid elixir, an alchemical brew which, if taken regularly, will stop the ageing process.
As with much of Golarion, little is known of the history of Thuvia prior to the Age of Destiny. At the start of that Age the region was home to hardy bands of desert tribesmen. They banded together in -3250 AR to form a union of city states known as the Tekritanin League.
The League had powerful neighbours to either side – the Jistka Imperium to the west and ancient Osirion to the east. They generally allied with the latter against the former, and were part of the reason the Imperium eventually collapsed.
During this time the Osirion Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues lured the powerful extra planar entity known as Ahriman to Golarion by creating the House of Oblivion in the heart of Thuvia’s desert. Ahriman departed when the Pharaoh was overthrown, but his army of Div followers remained and have been a threat to the people of Thuvia ever since. A Thuvian cult known as the Usij continue to worship Ahriman to this day.
The defeat of the Jistka saw the Tekritanin League reduced to the status of a vassal of their erstwhile Osirion allies. Even that came to an end in -1452 AR, when Osirion razed some of the city states and absorbed the rest into its empire. It gave its new province the name of Thuvia.
However, it was roughly at that time that Osirion went into one of its periodic declines. Six hundred years later it abandoned the province entirely when the governor was assassinated. The region formerly known as Thuvia descended into barbarism, and all but disappeared from the pages of history for nearly two millennia.
That all changed in 1140 AR, when Artokus Kirran, an alchemist living in the city-state of Merab, discovered the sun orchid elixir. The elixir’s ability to temporarily halt the ageing process attracted the attention of a number of foreign powers. Supplies of the elixir were necessarily limited by the scarcity of the sun orchid and the dangers of the div-infested regions in which it grew. Various competing foreign nations drew up plans to invade Merab to ensure they gained control of the elixir.
Merab sought allies amongst the other four city states of the region, offering equal shares in the elixir in return for protection against the threat of foreign invasion. The offer was accepted, and the cities united under the old name of Thuvia. It was agreed that seven vials of the elixir would be produced each year – one vial would be consumed by Artokus, and the other six would be auctioned off by one of the cities, which would rotate each year.
This system has remained stable ever since. Foreign powers that were once prepared to go to war over the elixir now bid grudgingly for it instead, and the barren land of Thuvia is sustained by foreign gold.
Thuvia is in northern Garund. It is bounded by the Inner Sea to the north, Osirion to the east, the Barrier Wall Mountains to the south and Rahadoum to the west. Its territory also includes two islands in the Inner Sea – Wyvern’s Roost and Glasswall Isle.
Much of the land is desert. The two main river systems are at the country’s edges. The Junira river in the east forms the border with Osirion. In the west, the Turvanar River rises in the Barrier Wall and flows in a roughly north westerly direction until it meets the Uta River. The Uta then continues until it reaches the Inner Sea.
Government and Society
In theory, the five city states are equal, but in practice Merab has the most influence. The cities pursue their own interests, and Prince Zinlo of Aspenthar is particularly ambitious in his aspirations for his city-state.
It is widely acknowledge that Queen Zamere of Lamasara is one of the nation’s best diplomats, and it is usually her who is called upon to represent the alliance in negotiations with other nations.
Society centres around whichever city is currently host to the elixir auction. Entertainers and merchants descend upon each city in turn in a five year cycle, thronging to the city’s massive open air market and then abandoning it when the right to the elixir passes on to the next city.
Outside of the cities, the desert tribes cluster around the various oases. Each is controlled by a local warlords known as a Water Lord. Many of them are little better than bandits.
The desert is also home to numerous divs, centred around the House of Oblivion. In theory they serve the absent Ahriman, but it is whispered that they have links to some of the Water Lords.