Racial Roles

  • 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 half ling sailors (the house also experimented with gnome sailors, but that ended poorly). Halflings 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 half-elf 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.
  • 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 flairs into ugly lynchings or quasi-legal 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.

Class Roles

  • Alchemist: Alchemists can be found in almost any city, but the numerous magical academies and strong criminal underworld have made Korvosa a home for the art of alchemy. However, alchemists must be careful not to disrupt the status quo with their research into the art – any endangerment of the city would not go unpunished. Many alchemists have been especially interested in the proliferation of various drugs throughout Korvosa, but most have no knowledge about the creation of Nightmare Tears.
  • Barbarian: Most of Korvosa’s barbarians are visitors from Shoanti lands — those few who choose to stay in the city do so usually because they have little other choice, having been exiled or forced to flee the Cinderlands for various reasons. Barbarians tend to find jobs as bouncers, dockworkers, thugs, or mercenaries for Korvosa’s shadier operations, and are generally not welcome in the more affluent sections of the city.
  • Bard: 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.
  • Cavalier: A city of Korvosa’s size contains any Order that a cavalier may follow. It’s dedication to law attracts many cavaliers of the Order of the Lion or Shield, and the large amount of room for warriors to find renown attracts cavaliers of the Order of the Cockatrice. A cavalier could find work just like a fighter, but are most attracted to the Korvosan Guard.
  • Cleric: Clerics of the major deities are littered throughout Korvosa. 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. However, clerics of any religion can found within the city’s limits.
  • Druid: 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. Most druids come from the Shoanti culture, worshipping the spirits and nature of the desert.
  • Fighter: 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 an 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.
  • Inquisitor: As Korvosa has many churches, so it does too have many warriors of the faith. Inquisitors of any religion can be found in Korvosa, but the Church of Pharasma attracts the most, all willing to put down the undead that haunt the city. Inquisitors that also hunt the unnatural also have a strong role to play in Korvosa, a place known to house many aberrations like otyughs. See the Cleric entry for more information.
  • Monk: 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 bare hands. Although no monastic order is based in Korvosa, there is much to attract a monk’s interest in her libraries and churches.
  • Oracle: Catering to the random whims of the deities that empower them, oracles can be found throughout Golarion, and Korvosa is no exception, though there is no special draw to the city itself. Thus, a handful of oracles can be present in the city at any time of any background; however, the recent troubles the city experienced may have drawn a larger amount of orcales with the Battle & Bones mysteries than normal. The Shoanti tribes also have a strong spiritual tradition, and oracles have been known to appear quite frequently amongst them.
  • Paladin: 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, or are part of the Order of the Nail and Church of Asmodeus, focused more the strength of order bringing good to the people.
  • Ranger: 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.
    Sable Company Archetype
  • Rogue: 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.
  • Sorcerer: Most of Korvosa’s sorcerers are Varisian, folk who have manifested the spontaneous gift of magic through some quirk of the bloodline. As a general rule, most folk blur the line between sorcerers and Varisians, and as a result sorcerers are often thought of as troublemakers. Certainly, the overwhelming efforts of the Acadamae, which maintains that the use of arcane magic without study and discipline can only lead to disaster, does not help the public opinion on these poorly-understood arcanists.
  • Summoner: The summoner’s art is not that different from a conjurer’s, so many summoners find employ or admission in the Acadamae. However, the minute differences in their powers tends to cause most summoners to be alienated or looked down upon, largely by the wizards that see their lack of magical diversity embarrassing. The skill of a summoner cannot be denied, though, and their unique talents guarantee any amount of work they desire.
  • Witch: Perhaps the most misunderstood of all those drawn to the arcane, witches are distrusted at best and shunned at worst by most Korvoasns. Because of this, many witches in the city keep their powers hidden or using them for less legal endeavours. However, the Varisian populace are more accepting of witches, having a strong tradition in witchcraft. The Shoanti tribes have also been known to hold a witch or two, and sightings of hags have been reported in the swampland of the Mushfens.
  • Wizard: 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. 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.

Campaign Traits

These are the campaign-specific traits available to characters. Other traits may be chosen, but must be run by me first. Only one trait may be chosen for a given character at the time of creation.

  • Nightmare Victim: You or someone close to you became addicted to Nightmare Tears or another drug circulating Korvosa’s streets, but managed to get off the drug before it took over your life. Your attempts to deal with the addiction have given you a +2 on Fortitude saves against addiction and ingested poisons.
  • Dream Dealer: You are or were part of the Korvosan drug trade and helped to spread Nightmare Tears all over Korvosa. Your ties to the underworld of Korvosa give you a +2 bonus on Knowledge (local) checks, which you always treat as a class skill.
  • Vision Enthralled: The tales of the amazing city you’ve heard around Korvosa have piqued your curiosity to the point of obsession. Your desire to find the city grants you a +1 on Knowledge (geography) and Survival checks. In addition, select one exploring-related item worth at most 50 gp – you receive one for free.
  • Noble Intentions: Being a noble of Korvosa, you are concerned by the rampant use of Nightmare Tears in your home state, especially amongst your peers. You have begun to search for the person responsible for its proliferation, but need to do so quietly so as not to make trouble. You gain a +1 bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks made to conceal your identity and an additional 150 gp to your starting gold.
  • Acadamae Associate: Even the grand Acadamae has been affected by the use of Nightmare Tears, which interests you greatly. As a practiced student or teacher of magical studies, you are concerned about the prestige of your school and wish to help protect it (perhaps furthering your position in the process). Pick a school of magic from which you have learned at least one spell. The DC of your spells from this school gain a +1 bonus.
  • Alchemical Savant: You have become well-versed in the ways of alchemy, either through training or a gift. This new drug circulating Korvosa, however, is even beyond your considerable understanding, a predicament you wish to solve at any cost. You gain a +2 bonus in Craft {alchemy) and it is always considered a class skill for you.
  • Korvosan Protector: You are a protector of Korvosa, whether sanctioned or not. The rumors of people known to be taking Nightmare Tears suddenly arising from their induced comas disappearing is troubling, so you have taken it upon yourself to find out what is really going on. Choose Sense Motive or Intimidate. You gain a +2 bonus in one of these skills from your experience policing the city and it is always considered a class skill for you.
  • Monster Hunter: Korvosa is full of horrors most people never see, largely due to your intervention. You have been taught to destroy the monsters that threaten the city before they can jeopardize the safety of all. Choose one of the categories from the Ranger’s list of Favoured Enemies. You do an extra +1 damage ever time you hit a creature with this subtype.


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