Korvosa (pronounced kohr-VOH-sah) is the largest city found in the wilderness area known as Varisia, and serves as the seat of one of three city-states that claim independent authority over their individual holdings in the region. Though its citizens and traditions have strong ties to the nation of Cheliax, with many of its people tracing their ancestry directly to servants of the Empire, the city's location at the mouth of the Jeggare River and the presence of a highly-defensible harbor have contributed to the establishment of Korvosa as a primary hub for trade; various cultures and peoples can be found within the city's walls as goods move in and out of its gates.

Korvosa is the eldest of Varisia's three city-states, once part of Imperial Cheliax but now independent. The settlement originally served as no more than a defensive position from which settlers and explorers would enter Varisia, only growing into the cosmopolitan center of trade that it is today with the passage of time and events.

Government of Korvosa

Military of Korvosa


Five major landmarks give Korvosa a distinctive skyline: the ancient and massive structures of Castle Korvosa, Pillar Wall, and Gatefoot, as well as the more practically sized Great Tower and Hall of Summoning, which have stood for less than 50 years. In addition to these land- marks, several locations unique to the city bear mention. 

The Acadamae: Shrouded in secrecy, the campus’s 30-foot-high walls only barely conceal the grand Hall of Summoning. Visitors and residents cannot hope to ignore the presence of the Acadamae, and since very few people unconnected with the college know what happens within it, the place births abundant (and sometimes ludicrous) rumors. 

Castle Korvosa: The centerpiece of the city, Castle Korvosa towers over the Heights. Multiple lord magistrates, seneschals, and monarchs have added to the castle over the past three centuries. As such, despite a relatively consistent neo-Chelaxian styling, the castle’s main towers and interior buildings are crammed together haphazardly.

The Shingles: Permanent and semi-permanent homes, roads, and safehouses appear on roofs throughout the most crowded parts of the city. These rooftop communities and the pathways that connect them are collectively known as the Shingles. 

The Vaults: Most cities have sewers. Some can even claim dungeons beneath them. Yet few have as complex a system of subterranean tunnels quite like the Vaults of Korvosa. Modern Korvosa stands atop the remains of at least two other civilizations and integrates both of them in its design.

City Districts

Korvosa sits at the end of Conqueror’s Bay, where the Jeggare River meets the sea. The city fills the spit of land formed by two sharp turns in the river, covers Endrin Isle (which splits the river at its mouth), and spreads to a few outlying areas on the far shore of the Jeggare. It stands on two hills: Garrison Hill on Endrin Isle and Citadel Hill on the mainland. The city is divided into seven districts, many of which are further subdivided into wards.

East Shore: The only district beyond the channel of the Jeggare River, East Shore is home to a handful of noble houses closely tied to the military of the city, as well as the struggling Theumanuexus College.

The Grays: Unlike all the other districts in Korvosa, Gray’s residents generally keep to themselves and are well behaved. Of course, most of Gray’s residents are dead. The only living creatures who reside in Gray belong to the church of Pharasma and live within the temple.

Heights: Standing atop Citadel Hill, the Heights District has a commanding view of the rest of the city, which its residents look down—both figuratively and literally. Nearly all of Korvosa’s power players reside in the Heights, including the monarchy.

Midland: When most people think of Korvosa, they think of the cosmopolitan and friendly district of Midland. As the home district of both the Korvosan Guard and Sable Company, Midland has the smallest number of gangs and gang battles in the city—although the thieves’ guild does a brisk trade in the district thanks to the disproportionately high number of merchants, shops, and other commercial and financial concerns.

North Point: The first section of the mainland settled by the descendants of the city’s Chelish founders was Mainshore, at the northwestern tip of mainland Korvosa. This ward houses many of the city’s oldest non-noble families. The greater district of North Point covers the entire northern end of the city and holds Korvosa’s seat of municipal power (City Hall), the city’s courthouse (Longacre Building), and the Bank of Abadar.

Old Korvosa: As the name implies, Old Korvosa is old. It covers all of Endrin Isle, most of which is covered by Garrison Hill. Atop Garrison Hill stands the stone wall of Fort Korvosa, while the imposing black-marble Palace Arkona dominates the northwest corner of the island.

South Shore: The newest district, South Shore became a part of Korvosa only a quarter-century ago. It contains the Pantheon of Many, a massive temple dedicated to most of Aistan’s most popular deities. South Shore’s population consists mainly of the city’s nouveau riche hoping to escape the cramped conditions found elsewhere in the city.

Korvosan Slang