Rise of the Runelords (Candy)
Varisia is the large body of land in northwestern Avistan. It stretches from the Steaming Sea in the west to the Mindspin Mountains in the east and from the Kodar Mountains to Conqueror’s Bay in the south. The region possesses a variety of environments within its limits, from the swampy Mushfens of the south to the flame-scorched Cinderlands on the northern Storval Plateau.
Varisia has no central government. It is a collection of independent city-states that each holds sway over a small collection of towns and villages.
Korvosa is the oldest and largest of these cities, founded as a Chelish colony in the 45th century AR, and is the only one to have established a hereditary monarchy. Thousands of dissatisfied Korvosans fled to Magnimar less than a century ago, disagreeing with their mother city’s allying themselves with the new, infernally-backed Chelish government. Although Magnimar had existed before, the mass influx of new citizens made it a true rival to Korvosa’s economic dominance of the region. The city is ruled by a lord-mayor and a city council known as the Council of Ushers.
Far to the northwest of Magnimar and Korvosa is the pirate-haven of Riddleport. It is governed by a powerful Overlord who runs with a harsh, but decidedly laissez-faire attitude. The smallest of Varisia’s major cities is the unusual city of Kaer Maga, found on one of the highest parts of the Storval Rise. It exists in basically an anarchic state, with numerous smaller power groups looking after their own interests.
Celwynvian, Ilsurian, Janderhoff, Kaer Maga, Korvosa (Abken, Biston, Baslwief, Harse, Melfesh, Palin’s Cove, Sirathu, Veldraine), Magnimar ( Galduria, Nybor, Sandpoint, Wartle, Wolf’s Ear), Ravenmoor, Riddleport (Roderic’s Cove), Sipplerose, Urglin, Turtleback Ferry, Whistledown
Mountains & Hills
Bloodsworn Vale, Calphiak Mountains, Curchain Hills, Fenwall Mountains, Fogscar Mountains, Gnashers, Iron Peaks, Kodar Mountains, Malgorian Mountains, Mierani Forest, Mindspin Mountains, Red Mountains, Stony Mountains, Storval Plateau, Velashu Uplands, Wyvern Mountains
Ashwood, Churlwood, Lurkwood, Mierani Forest, Sanos Forest
Marshes & Swamps
Plains and Plateaus
Cinderlands, Nolands, Storval Plateau
Rivers, Lakes, & other Bodies of Water
Aloren River, Chavali River, Ember Lake, Falcon River, Jeggare River, Kazaron River, Lampblack River, Ooze River, Runtash River, Sarwin River, Lake Skotha, Skull River, Lake Stormunder, Lake Syrantula, Storval Deep, Storval River, Varisian Gulf, Yondabakari River
Countless gigantic monuments and buildings left over from ancient Thassilon can be found across Varisia. They have survived for over ten millennia due to the skills of their stone giant crafters and the power infused in them by the runelords. The most well-known of these include the Cyphergate of Riddleport, the Irespan of Magnimar, the Grand Mastaba of Korvosa, the Lady’s Light in the Mushfens, and the Skull Dam at the Storval Deep.
In the past few hundred years, the magic protecting these structures has finally begun to fail, and have slowly been suffering from the normal effects of erosion. This has also made them more vulnerable to explorers and treasure seekers, who search for the lost treasures of their ancient owners.
Inhabitants of Varisia
Humans usually belong to either of 2 ethnic races:
The Shoanti (pronounced show-AHN-tee)1 are a barbaric, often nomadic people native to the Storval Plateau and Velashu Uplands regions of Varisia. Like their Varisian cousins, these humans descended from the enslaved workers of the ancient empire of Thassilon, but have, since its fall, developed a unique and advanced culture of their own.
Varisians (pronounced vah-RHIS-ee-ann)1 are a human ethnic group found primarily in the country of Varisia. That said, they are a nomadic people known to favor the open road over permanent settlements, and as such their caravans can be encountered throughout Golarion. Varisians are largely considered to be scoundrels and rogues, a reputation that is not entirely based on misconception; members of other races and ethnicities primarily know of these nomads from interactions with either traveling performers, harrow-readers, or the criminal Sczarni. However, despite outward appearances of frivolity, the Varisian people are fiercely loyal to family and friends, and embrace a rich culture steeped in history and tradition.
Janderhoff (in the Mindspin Mountains) is not only the largest dwarven settlement in Varisia, but also where the majority of local stout folk live. There they mine and smelt the ores they dig out of the ground, but can also be found throughout Varisia as underground guides and mercenaries, merchants, and hunters. Dwarven ingenuity is well-known, and is evidenced by the exotic ore processing facility called the the Gas Forges, located in Riddleport.
The Half-elves of Varisia face a lot of prejudices from both parental races, so they often prefer the harsh life in anarchic Riddleport or even an nomadic existence with the native Varisians and even the Shoanti to the life in the towns of southern Varisia. Life is especially depressive in Korvosa where they tend to be the most pitied offspring of lustful Mierani ambassador Perishial Kalissreavil and a lot of bored young noble women from the Korvosan upper class.
Halflings are a quite adaptable lot and can be found in the big cities as well as under the nomadic Varisians. Good sailors, they often came with their Chelish masters to Korvosa and make the crew of nearly half the ships belonging to Korvosa’s elite. They can also be seen in Magnimar as well as in Riddleport where they often follow more shadowy ways and find great opportunities in the city’s underworld.
Many Shoanti tribes live near the Hold of Belkzen with constant skirmishes between orcs and humans. Sometimes this leads to rapes which could eventually culminate with pregnancy. Few of these half-orc children survive into adulthood, and fewer decide to accept the difficult cohabitation with their human cousins in some of the Varisian cities.