Welcome to Korvosa

Korvosa (pronounced kohr-VOH-sah) is the largest city in Varisia, and used to be the capital of Chelish Varisia. It now serves as the seat of one of three city-states that claim independent authority over their individual holdings in the region (thoe others being Magnimar and Riddleport). Though its citizens and traditions have strong ties to the nation of Cheliax, with many of its people tracing their ancestry directly to servants of the Empire, the city's location at the mouth of the Jeggare River and the presence of a highly-defensible harbor have contributed to the establishment of Korvosa as a primary hub for trade. Various cultures and peoples can be found within the city's walls as goods move in and out of its gates.

Korvosa is the eldest of Varisia's three city-states, once part of Imperial Cheliax but now independent. The settlement originally served as no more than a defensive position from which settlers and explorers would enter Varisia, only growing into the cosmopolitan center of trade that it is today with the passage of time and events.

In 4606 AR the death of the deity Aroden resulted in civil war in Cheliax; many of the Empire's colonies, including Korvosa, suffered as their connection to the homeland unexpectedly disappeared. The city's government has succeeded in achieving some measure of prosperity since the Empire's decline, but the city's recovery from the chaos that resulted as a result of the Empire's sudden absence has been slow; its population is but a fraction of what most would expect given a settlement of Korvosa's physical size. Nevertheless, regarding political power, Korvosa is now equivalent with Magnimar, though this is far below the level considered appropriate for its decadent ruling class.

Since their appointment following the decline of Imperial Cheliax, the monarchs of Korvosa have served as the primary diplomats and defenders of the city-state; the city's royal bloodline has served the populace from the famed Crimson Throne since Korvosa gained its unexpected independence. The monarchy's authority has always been limited, with control of Korvosa's government shared among groups that existed prior to its inception.

The Crimson Throne is the throne of the ruler of Korvosa. The throne, and thus the monarchy itself, is said to be cursed, and each ruling king or queen of Korvosa has died without a direct heir as a result. Queen Domina is the only parent to sit upon the throne, and she brought her adult son to Korvosa from Cheliax. Additionally, no monarch has yet died of natural causes. Every ruler has perished at the hands of another, either through subtle or overt methods.

The city of Korvosa is divided into seven official districts: East Shore, Gray, the Heights, Midland, North Point, Old Korvosa, and South Shore. The borders between these districts may be fixed (such as by water or a wall), or might exist only in the minds of the city's inhabitants. Two other areas exist above and below Korvosa that might loosely be called districts, making nine in total. The boundaries of these unofficial districts do not conform to any design by the city's planners: they are the rooftop area known as the Shingles and the large undercity of the Vaults.

  • East Shore is the only city district on the far side of the Jeggare River. It is connected to the rest of the city by High Bridge, and is home to a number of Korvosa's noble families with strong ties to the military. It is also the location of the city's second, and arguably inferior, magical school, Theumanexus College.
  • Gray serves as Korvosa's graveyard and is where most of its dead are interred; the only living inhabitants are the priests of Pharasma who tend it and reside in the Grand Cathedral of Pharasma.
  • The Heights sit atop Citadel Hill and the cliffs of Korvosa's western shoreline. It is home to the most powerful nobles in the city, including the monarch, as Castle Korvosa is located within its borders. The Acadamae, Korvosa's most well-respected magical college, can be found here as well. As the highest district in the city, its residents feel they can look down on the rest of Korvosa, both literally and figuratively.
  • Midland is what most visitors think of when they speak of Korvosa. Located in the southeast quadrant of the city, it is home to the majority of Korvosa's merchants, shops, and financial institutions. The criminal elements who might prey on this accumulation of wealth are kept in check by the fact that both the headquarters of the Korvosan Guard and the Sable Company are located here as well.
  • North Point was the first part of the mainland to be settled after the city began to expand from Endrin Isle. Encompassing the northeastern quadrant of the city, it is home to many families descended from these early settlers, in addition to much of Korvosa's municipal infrastructure, including City Hall, the courts, and the Bank of Abadar.
  • Old Korvosa, as its name implies, is the oldest, but also the poorest, most overcrowded part of the city. It encompasses all of Endrin Isle and is dominated by Garrison Hill. The shantytown of Bridgefront is located on the western part of the island.
  • The newest district of the city, South Shore, was only founded at the end of the 47th century AR. Located on the southwestern edge of mainland Korvosa next to the Gray District, it does not suffer from the overcrowding that plagues the rest of the city. Because of this, it is a highly sought-after residence for the city's new money elite. It is also home to the Pantheon of Many, Korvosa's ecumenical cathedral.
  • Built on top of the rooftops of Korvosa's most-densely populated areas lie wooden walkways, ramshackle abodes, and shops known as the Shingles. Due to the city's severe overcrowding, this area is home to some of the city's poorest citizens, as well as providing quick highways over the bustling streets for anyone wishing to avoid the crowds.
  • The Vaults run beneath most of mainland Korvosa and are far more than just sewers, as they incorporate the ruins of two other settlements previously located here.

Korvosa's military resources are embodied in three separate organizations, each charged with protecting the city-state and its people in manners unique to each group:

  • Korvosan Guard - The primary responsibility of the Korvosan Guard is the protection and well being of the city of Korvosa. Its members serve as police and will, in times of danger from beyond the city's walls, also act in the capacity of a defensive military force. In addition, the Guard also often works to forward the interests of the government and the local church of Abadar.
  • Sable Company - The hippogriff-mounted marines of the Sable Company answer directly to Korvosa's monarchy, their orders given to them by the standing seneschal of Castle Korvosa. Their purpose is to patrol and defend the city's skies and waterways, though they've also been known to assist the Korvosan Guard in their efforts throughout the city.
  • Order of the Nail - The Hellknights of the the Order of the Nail pursue their unyielding ideals of order and law above all else; they are fanatical when confronted by behavior or events that fly against their strict worldview.
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