Curse of the Crimson Throne
Only recently settled by colonists from the Chelaxian Empire, the wild frontier of Varisia (pronounced vah-RHIS-ee-ah) is composed of rural communities, independent city-states, cyclopean ruins, and uncharted wilderness.
Varisians (pronounced vah-RHIS-ee-ann) 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.
Varisia is a vast frontier region in the northwest of 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.
Many of Varisia’s roads have developed from ancient routes traveled by the region’s Varisian wanderers. They crisscross the region and connect most of its major cities.
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, while the wilds on the edges of their territory (including most of the area on top of the Storval Plateau) is claimed by the Shoanti.5 Varisian politics is dominated by the competing aims of criminal Riddleport, ambitious Magnimar, and traditionalist Korvosa. The neutral Kaer Maga is often discounted altogether, and its inhabitants prefer it that way.
Korvosa & Magnimar
The city of Korvosa began 300 years ago, in 4407 ar, when the Empire of Cheliax expanded north into Varisia. Here, the Chelaxians found a large tribe of Shoanti barbarians dwelling around an immense pyramid on the shores of a deep bay—a perfect site for a city. Much bloodshed eventually left the Shoanti defeated, driven back to the harsh Cinderlands, and the city that grew on the site was named after the field marshal who led his army to victory there. Korvosa is the oldest and largest of the Varisian cities, 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.
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.