While the region known today as Varisia has long been inhabited (all the way back to the Age of Legend, when powerful wizards known as runelords ruled the region as the Empire of Thassilon), it wasn’t until relatively recently that it came to the attention of the nations of the Inner Sea.

Cheliax made an aggressive attempt to colonize Varisia, but conflict with its native peoples and the remote location made such attempts difficult. By the time of Aroden’s death and the Chelish Civil War, Cheliax’s colonies in Varisia had already become independent. While the inland highlands of Varisia remain wild and untamed, a fair amount of its coastal lowlands are now civilized. Three cities in particular—Korvosa, Magnimar, and Riddleport—represent civilization’s three greatest modern triumphs in the region. Each of these cities has a number of smaller villages in its outlying reaches, and of these smaller settlements, the town of Sandpoint is among the largest and most successful—the perfect spot for fledgling heroes to start careers of adventure.

But civilized folk are not all who call Varisia home. Along the coastal reaches, hundreds of goblin tribes dwell in sea caves and thistle-thick woodlands. Farther inland, ogres and trolls hold court on rugged mountaintops and in deep forest glens. Yet the true lords of the wildlands are the giants, descended from the slave castes of ancient Thassilon, and their periodic raids against humanity make for constant and brutal reminders that this realm is far from tame.


Humans of several different ethnic groups live in Varisia:

Ethnic Varisians are wanderers who often travel the land in caravans, stopping only to put on their shows. Some Varisians use their gregarious natures and dark good looks to swindle unfortunate marks; it is these few scalawags who give the Varisian people a bad name. Still, most folk respect the Varisians for their ancient traditions and vast knowledge.

Chelaxian (or Chelish) humans dominate in Korvosa and some other parts of Varisia. They tend to have fair skin and dark hair and are known for self-confidence.

Shoanti, descended from the members of Thassilon’s military caste, are considered “barbarians” by the Chelish colonists who drove into the plains of the Storval Plateau and the hills of northern Varisia. As Varisia becomes increasingly civilized, it’s more common to see Shoanti turn their backs on tradition to dwell in the greater comforts afforded by civilization.

Finally, Magnimar and some areas around it have a population of Tian humans. Ameiko Kaijitsu is a member of this group. The people of Tian Xia actually encompass several distinct ethnicities. Many Tians consider family to be of great importance. They learned the art of genealogy from dragons and in some cases can trace their bloodlines back to the time before Earthfall. The Tians in Varisia tend to be members of families that came over the Crown of the World about 50 years ago.

Background Information


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