Dark Places of the Earth
Varisia is viewed by the folk of the southern lands as a place of mystery and savagery, where giants and monsters lurk amidst the cyclopian ruins of an all-but-forgotten civilization. To the clannish Shoanti and the wandering Varisians, however, it has always been home.
For millennia this land was known to the people of the Inner Sea coast only through tales that traveled with the far-ranging caravans of the Varisians, and so many generations of exaggerations and misrememberings gave it a truly larger-than-life reputation. In truth, many things about the land are larger than life, for the ancient empire of Thassilon constructed some of the most massive works ever erected by mortals through the use of giant slaves in the Age of Legends. However, the conquests of Cheliax ultimately proved the reality of Varisia and opened it to the world.
Not so long ago (relatively speaking) the only truly perminant settlement in Varisia was Fort Korvosa, the northernmost bastion of the Chelaxian empire. Over time, this outpost grew into a true city as Chelaxian settlers displaced the local Shoanti clans, establishing farmsteads and towns across the surrounding countryside. When the empire collapsed a century ago, Korvosa became an independent city-state, though it still retains close ties to the distant motherland.
More recently, however, a group of Korvosan dissidents left the settlement and established the foundations of a new city, Magnimar, on Varisia’s western coast. A truly free city, Magnimar has rapidly grown into Varisia’s foremost port and established its own dependent settlements further into the Varisian wilderness. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Varisia remains in the hands of its natives, both human and otherwise, and few of them take kindly to the intrusion of the southern city-folk on their ancestral lands.