The Party

Current Player Characters:




Getting Started
Korvosa, like any city, has its share of undesirables. Cutpurses, thugs, thieves, burglars, assassins, and lowlifes of every sort can be found in waterfront slums, creeping in the sewers, or hiding in the tangled Shingles above. The Korvosan Guard does what it can to keep the city’s criminals from causing too much harm, but the cold reality is that they will always outnumber the law. And that means some crimes go unpunished and some criminals see great success.

Worst of these, perhaps, are the city’s crimelords. Dozens of them operate in Korvosa at any one time, from the sinister leader of the Red Mantis assassins all the way down to the Varisian Sczarni thugs who preside over a gang of a half-dozen friends and cousins. These minor crimelords are often, ironically, the ones who do the most damage to Korvosa’s law-abiding citizens, as larger organizations have little need to bother commoners. One such undesirable is Gaedren Lamm, a despicable low-life who missed his chance at being somebody big in Korvosa’s murky underworld. Well past his prime, the decrepit thief abducts orphans and forces them to support his despicable lifestyle with petty crime. Many of Korvosa’s lower class have had dealings with Lamm, and even a few of the city’s middle class and nobility have had their lives complicated by this foul old man. Yet no matter what he does, he always seems to slip away from the guards and avoid answering for his crimes.

Gaedren Lamm’s luck is about to change, though. For among those his actions have recently touched are several men and women destined to become some of Korvosa’s greatest heroes. And one of those heroes is you. Even before Curse of the Crimson Throne begins, you and the other PCs have a shared trait—you’ve all been wronged, in some manner, by the despicable Gaedren Lamm. The campaign you are about to begin starts as you and several other promising young heroes are brought together to do what the city guards cannot (or will not) do—to see that Gaedren Lamm answers for his crimes, be that in a court of law or at the edge of a vengeful blade.

Humans - Most of Korvosa’s citizens are the descendants of the original settlers from Cheliax, although today, only a very small number are Chelish natives. Most of Korvosa’s humans are native-born, and while they don’t share the indigenous Varisian’s swarthy complexion or traditions, they are just as much of Varisia. A vocal subset of traditionalists preach for a return to Chelish values, yet the standard citizen of Korvosa is more concerned with practical matters like family and wealth than politics.

The largest ethnic minority in the city, pure-blooded Varisians, barely represent one human in 10, although more than half of the city’s population possesses some Varisian blood. Many of Korvosa’s traditionalists consider pureblood Varisians little more than brightly dressed thieves and murderers, and prejudice against the group sometimes f lairs into ugly lynchings or quasilegal evictions from homes.

Despite their proximity to Korvosa and the area’s importance to their folklore, a surprisingly small number of Shoanti live in the city. Part of this owes to the constant wars between the Shoanti and the ethnic Chelaxians that continue even to this day and that color the perceptions and prejudices of both peoples. Another reason comes from Shoanti cultural tradition: as a semi-nomadic people, they have little interest in permanent settlements.

Dwarves - Because of their contracts with the city and the noble houses, dwarven merchants from Janderhoff always have buyers lined up for their wares. Once their contracted buyers choose the wares they want, the dwarves sell the rest in Gold Market (in Midland). The remainder of their goods, particularly magical weapons and armor, they sell in the Dock Trade (in North Point). Dwarven brokers exist in all of the city’s major markets, and dwarves in general are often held to be the most reputable and honorable of the city’s merchants and tradesmen.

Elves - Almost as rare as druids in Korvosa, most of the elven citizens of the city originally hail from the Mierani Forest. The leader among these elves, Perishial Kalissreavil, serves as the Mierani ambassador. He and a handful of his aides and family members have lived peacefully within the city for as long as the city has existed. A small enclave specifically built for the elves exists in South Shore, where they often serve as scholars, sages, and advisors for those who would seek magical or natural advice.

Gnomes - These small descendants of the fey possess magic abilities far exceeding their size. This natural inclination toward magic attracts the attention of the power-hungry and reputation-minded Acadamae. As such, most of the gnomes in Korvosa have plans to attend this magical school, or are dropouts who found the methods taught there distasteful. Outside of the Acadamae, gnomes live as gnomes do, clumsily attempting to emulate the larger races and acting as menaces not to be ignored.

Halflings - In order to maximize its profits gained from ship-borne cargo, House Leroung began the practice of hiring halfling sailors (the house also experimented with gnome sailors, but that ended poorly). Half lings require less than half as much space and food, so House Leroung reasoned it could use that extra space for additional cargo. The other houses (with the pointed exception of House Arkona) bought these halfling-sized ships from Leroung and filled their crews with halfling sailors. Today, nearly half the ships that belong to the city’s elite are sized for and crewed by halflings.

Half-Elves - Bored young women of the human noble families occasionally approach the Mierani enclave looking for an adventurous rendezvous with someone exotic and beautiful. Rather lustful himself, Perishial welcomes these trysts with bemused pleasure and claims each one strengthens the bonds between Korvosa and the Mierani elves. In his years as diplomat, Perishial has fathered countless halfelf offspring in this way, while the male members of his entourage have collectively contributed to dozens more. Half-elves in Korvosa are thus generally looked upon as unfortunates at best, or untrustworthy bastards at worst.

Half-Orcs - Many Shoanti live in close proximity to the orcs of Belkzen, resulting in an almost constant state of battle between the two groups. These battles sometimes grow exceedingly personal, resulting in the occasional half-orc. Few of these half-orcs survive to adulthood, and fewer still live among their human cousins, but despite that, a handful of half-orcs make their homes in Korvosa. Except for a bouncer at the Posh and Turtle, a bodyguard for Eliasia Leroung, and a few other notables, most half-orcs live in Old Korvosa.

Bards -Bards are well-loved or well-hated in Korvosa—it’s tough to maintain a low-profile as a bard here, as the locals enjoy their entertainment almost as much as they enjoy their gossip about entertainers. Several taverns, inns, playhouses, and other establishments provide stable venues for bards. The Marbledome is home to Korvosa’s opera (although managed by a tyrant named Valon Palastus), while Korvosa’s largest inn, Bard’s End, always welcomes traveling entertainers.

Clerics - Although the number of deities worshiped on Golarion is vast, the faiths of twenty deities stand head and shoulders above the others. It’s generally possible to find clerics of any of these twenty faiths inside of Korvosa’s walls, although in some cases (particularly those of the evil faiths), one might have to look long and hard. Certainly, the church of Abadar has the most strength in Korvosa, for he is not only the god of cities and merchants, but also the patron of the city’s guards and protectors. The church of Pharasma tends to Korvosa’s dead and maintains an imposing cathedral in the city necropolis. Many of the city’s commoners prefer Sarenrae as a patron, and Shelyn has a strong following among the city’s artists. A church of Asmodeus brings a bit of uncertainty and fear to religion, although this church’s faithful are always careful to operate just on the legal side of the law, with sacrifices provided only on a volunteer basis. Beyond these faiths, the Pantheon of Many represents the majority of the 20 major deities of Golarion—only Gorum, Lamashtu, and Rovagug are not represented here, and even they have their adherents in certain parts of the city.

Druids - Druids are not generally trusted or thought of well by Korvosa’s citizens, primarily due to the actions of a cabal of bitter and almost feral druids who frequent the waterfront of West Dock, where they act as nuisances and scoundrels. Even other druids tend to think of this group as troublemakers, and on the few instances where druids do need to visit the city, they keep low profiles. Although the Pantheon of Many doesn’t officially recognize the druidic faith, it is always open to visiting druids who seek a quiet, friendly place to meditate.

Fighters - There are ample opportunities for fighters in Korvosa, although none more honorable and prestigious than induction into the city’s protectors, the Korvosan Guard. Active members of the Guard barrack at the Endrin Military Academy, but the Guard also maintains a militia of inactive members who are expected to rally in times of need. Fighters can also find employment in countless other areas in Korvosa as private bodyguards, bouncers, or students and teachers in one of the city’s many fighting schools.

Monks - Few monks dwell in Korvosa, although many have heard tales of Vudran mystics or martial artists from distant Tian Xia, and of the incredible feats they can accomplish with their barehands. Although no monastic order is based in Korvosa, there is much to attract a monk’s interest in her libraries and churches.

Paladins - Korvosa is an extremely lawful city, but one that isn’t as interested, as a general rule, in the purpose of the law as much as its application. If anything, the city government’s often impartial stance on matters regarding the law skew the general feel toward evil. As a result, most paladins find Korvosa too stifling a place for them, and they often grow frustrated with the city’s overwhelming bureaucracy and willingness to accept things like the Hellknight Order of the Nail or the church of Asmodeus in the city. Most of Korvosa’s paladins ally with the church of Abadar and the Korvosan Guard, figuring that to be where they can do the most good.

Rangers - The most prestigious place for rangers in Korvosa is without a doubt the Sable Company. Members of this elite group of hippogriff-riding rangers can often be seen patrolling the skies above Korvosa, and entry into their ranks is difficult. Yet still, many who have grown up in Korvosa carry in their hearts a profound appreciation and awe for these flying guardians, to the extent that even rangers who aren’t part of the Sable Company can generally command respect from the citizenry.

Thieves - Despite its fondness for law, Korvosa has a thriving underworld both above and below its streets. Countless gangs of thieves, thugs, and troublemakers rise and fall like the tides in the city’s low-rent districts. The Sczarni, a loosely-affiliated extended family of Varisian crimelords, hold sway over many of these gangs and play a large role in the average citizen’s poor opinion of the Varisian people. Korvosa’s actual thieves’ guild is known as the Cerulean Society, although the members of this group are focused primarily on protection rackets and smuggling.

Wizards - Wizards are well respected in Korvosa, particularly if they can point to proof of training at the Acadamae, one of Korvosa’s greatest prides. Certainly the largest and best-staffed wizardly school in Varisia, the prestige and honor of attending the Acadamae has recently begun to equal that of the venerable universities of Cheliax herself. Entrance into the Acadamae is difficult, and the courses taught there are often dangerous, but a wizard who graduates from the Acadamae gains more than a plaque he can hang on his wall. Graduates are all Specialists, the majority of which are Conjurers followed by Enchanters and Necromancers. None are Diviners or Invokers as they lack access to the Summoning/Conjuration school. Graduating from the
school requires the ability to conjure a creature or thing, with conjurers required to summon forth something more impressive than students of other schools. Other wizardly schools exist in Korvosa (notably the Anomanexus College, which unlike the Acadamae teaches non-specialized wizards), but they do so in the Acadame’s shadow.

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