Old Town Defenders
Look at any cross-section of the city’s population and you will find that for every 10 inhabitants you see, 9 are human. Humans dominate the city in every way, and comprise an overwhelming majority of the population. Yet humans are not the only denizens of Korvosa, as any visitor soon comes to learn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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). Halflings require less than half as much space and food, so House Leroung reasoned it could use that extra space for additional cargo. The oth- er 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 half lings.
Bored young women of the human noble families occa- sionally approach the Mierani enclave looking for an ad- venturous 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.
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.