Old Town Defenders
As the largest city in Varisia, Korvosa has a little something for everyone. Further, there seems to come a point in ev- ery Varisian’s life where something that can only be had in Korvosa demands a trip. As a result, all 11 standard adven- turing classes have a certain level of representation in the city—some moreso than others.
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 f lee the Cinderlands for various reasons. Barbarians tend to find jobs as bouncers, dockworkers, thugs, or merce- naries for Korvosa’s shadier operations, and are generally not welcome in the more affluent sections of the city.
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 gos- sip 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.
Although the number of deities worshiped on Golarion is vast, the faiths of twenty deities stand head and shoul- ders above the others. It’s generally possible to find clerics of any of these twenty faiths inside of Korvosa’s walls, al- though 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 major- ity of the 20 major deities of Golarion—only Gorum, Lamashtu, and Rovagug are not rep- resented here, and even they have their adher- ents in certain parts of the city.
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 actasnuisancesandscoundrels.Even
other druids tend to think of this group as troublemakers, and on the few instances where druids do needtovisitthecity,theykeeplow 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.
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 maintainsamilitiaofinactivememberswhoare 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.
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 or- der is based in Korvosa, there is much to attract a monk’s interest in her libraries and churches.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.