LN large city | Government: Monarchy | Purchase Limit: 75,000gp
Population at last census:
18,486 (16,637 humans,739 dwarves, 370 elves, 370 halflings, 185 half-elves, 185 other). The actual population is estimated to be twice this.
Statistics & Qualities:
Corruption +4; Crime -3; Economy +2; Law +4; Lore +2; Society -2; Danger 10
Academic, insular, prosperous, rumormongering citizens, strategic location, racially intolerant (shoanti, varisian)
Rumours of Shoanti war; Death Cults; Witches; Lycanthropes; Undead
King Eodred Arabasti II, ruler of Korvosa
Ileosa Arabasti, Queen of Korvosa
Commandant Marcus Endrin, leader of the Sable Company
Cressida Kroft, leader of the Korvosan Guard
Lictor Severs DiVri, leader of the Order of the Nail
Lord Glorio Arkona, de facto leader of Old Korvosa
Toff Ornelos, Acadamae headmaster
Originally a rugged frontier outpost for the Chelish Empire, Korvosa has since grown into an international trading hub and academic hotspot. It is strategically located off the coast of Conquerors Bay at the estuary of the Jeggare River, and the inhabitants of this bustling port consider it Varisia’s most influential city. Despite being burdened with a draconian legal system, beset by corruption, and crawling with danger, Korvosa nonetheless continues to draw fortune-seekers and starry-eyed adepts in droves.
At first blush, Korvosa seems the ideal cosmopolitan trading hub. Merchants of all kinds deftly exchange metalwork, seafood, illicit drugs, raw resources, and imports from the cosmopolitan south. Top-notch academies, both magical and mundane, draw sharp minds to the city. Scores of dedicated Chelish soldiers seek to further their training with the hippogriff-mounted Sable Company marines or intimidating Hellknights of the Order of the Nail. However, just under the hustle and bustle the city teems with danger and decay. Stringent anti-union laws prevent laborers from organizing, otyughs wallow in poorly drained sewers, the magical academies are preoccupied with devil summoning, and undead besiege the cemeteries. Vile denizens inhabit the city’s dilapidated rooftops, and violent crime renders some districts largely impassable. The vast majority of Korvosans eke out livings as dockworkers, strikebreakers, shopkeepers, servants, and petty thieves. Despite all the trade, widespread poverty afflicts several of the city’s districts, and many of Korvosa’s underclass won’t hesitate to take advantage of an unsuspecting out-of-towner.
The distinct architecture of the city is predominated by the famous Acadamae, which teaches all schools of magic, though it places particular emphasis on conjuration. This leads many to suspect that the devil-summoning practices of its founders continue to this day. They find it difficult to verify these suspicions, however, as the Acadamae keeps entirely secluded. It allows public access only during the Breaching, a festival in which contestants attempt to win a prize by bypassing the spells that fortify the Hall of Wards.
Five landmarks give Korvosa a distinctive skyline. Three of these exist on a truly colossal scale and have survived for millennia: the massive, flat-topped pyramid that Castle Korvosa stands upon; the Pillar Wall, which stretches across most of the southern end of Citadel Hill, a 100-foot-tall remainder of what once must have been a magnificent barrier; and, just beyond the western terminus of the Pillar Wall, the Gatefoot, which obviously originally formed a part of the wall and likely served as a gateway of some kind. The other two landmarks – the Great Tower, rising 270 ft from the northernmost point of the Merciless Cliffs, and the Hall of Summoning, centre of operations for the Acadamae – while impressive, do not come close to the size or grandeur of the ruins.
Besides its impressive landmarks, Korvosa’s other famed manmade features include its walls (ruined and otherwise), beautiful bridges and famed Vaults. These it points to with pride, but not all of its distinctive features attract the attention of potential visitors and residents. Chief among its shameful features is the rooftop area of the city known as the Shingles, which serves as both a highway for bandits and a refuge for monsters, thieves and other undesirables.