As much as legends and memory recall, Varisia has been inhabited by humans:
- The Shoanti clans who inhabited most of Varisia except the Orcs holds in the East and the many enclaves of Giants-kins.
- The Varisians nomads who roamed the land and never settled durably in any place, often spreading out of Varisia.
Varisia has been largely ignored by the empires of the South because it was simply too far away. The Jarls of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings in the North raided Varisia by land but never settled here, and mostly ignored it for sea raids because Varisia’s coast lacked any major coastal settlements.
This came to an end three centuries ago during the period of rapid expansion of the Cheliax empire. Southern exploration of the largely wilderness region began when Chelish colonists entered the land and funded the city of Korvosa, sparkling a war with the Shoanti that lasted nearly a century. The Shoanti were eventualy pushed back onto the Storval Plateau and other less desirable regions. With the native inhabitants removed from the most fertile land near the coast, Chelish colonists began to arrive in much greater numbers, under the pretense of bringing “civilization and culture” to Varisia.
Another upheaval occurred upon the death of Aroden, the patron god of Cheliax, one century ago. The civil war which tore apart Cheliax for decades severed Varisia from its tutelage. After the House Thrune took the throne, a large part of the population left Korvosa and founded Magnimar on the southwest corner of Varisia. These two city states have since been vying for resources, though not openly warring.
Varisia is bordered on the west and south by the Steaming Sea, and mostly enclaved by the Kodar and Mindspin mountains to the north and the east. However there are numerous caravan routes crisscrossing varisia enabling non-naval communication with the Linnorm Kings in the north, the Shield Lands in the east and Cheliax in the South.
Varisia 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. Most of the fertile areas west of the Storval plateau are a temperate oceanic climate with harder winters in the north.
Countless gigantic and mysterious monuments and buildings can be found across Varisia. Scholars attribute them to the ancient Thassilonian civilization which existed before Earthfall. These sites have survived millennia due to the skills of their crafters and the mystic power infused in them. The most well-known of these include the Cyphergate of Riddleport, the Irespan of Magnimar,and the Grand Mastaba of Korvosa.
In the past few hundred years, the magic protecting these structures has finally begun to fail, and they 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.
Government & Politics
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. Varisian politics are dominated by the competing aims of criminal Riddleport, ambitious Magnimar, and traditionalist Korvosa.
The neutral Kaer Maga on the edge of the Storval plateau, as well as the Elves of the Mierani forest and the Dwarves of Janderhoff are often discounted altogether, and their inhabitants likely prefer it that way.
Korvosa and Magnimar
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.
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.
The ancient elven capital city of Celwynvian sits hidden in the Mierani Forest in northern Varisia. The elves of the Mierani forest strictly prohibit outsiders from entering the city, and their only interactions with the rest of Varisia seems to be through their rangers that roam the region and the Cryingleaf village on the border of the forest.
Janderhoff is nested in the Mindspin mountains north of Korvosa. Unlike the isolationists elves, the dwarves are a firm trading partner with anyone willing to, but mostly with Korvosa, while retaining good relations with the Shoanti. It holds the greatest concentration of dwarves in Varisia, and boasts one of the largest populations of Shoanti outside of the Cinderlands. Its smiths are well-known throughout the region.