Organizations (Greyhawk Action)
The premier school of Wizardry in Ahlissa, Academae is divided into branches and strongly encourages specialization in its students. The most powerful branch is Summoning, but there are a total of eight branches. Seeing, Induction, Wards, Lies, Shaping, Charms, and Whispers.
Academae also houses the Custodians an informal group of sorcerers, mostly theuflings, who work as guards and groundskeepers. These often end up having to police the younger students, and this sometimes escalates into informal wars between students and custodians.
Objectives: Maintain Acadamae as the premier school of wizardry. Produce powerful graduates, new spells, and magic items. Collect lore. Maintain discipline and pride amongst alumnae.
Traits: Mind, Know, Impress, Specialty skill (Charm for Lies, Create for Ward)
Contacts: Access to important wizard jobs, spells, training, and lore. Very high prestige in Ahlissa, a master of Acadamae is as important as a landed lord.
Power: 28, Summoning 27, Seeing 22, Induction 25, Wards 24, Lies 24, Shaping 25, Charms 25, Whispers 26.
The campus for this small wizard school occupies the grounds of the former manor of House Galdur. The retired wizard adventurer and newly hired Acadamae teacher Yaris Verso purchased the manor. When Acadamae made its infernal shift soon thereafter, Verso donated his Korvosan home to a few idealistic colleagues who left Acadamae for the new school.
Where the Acadamae only teaches specialists, Theumanexus offers a generalist approach to wizardry. Students and faculty of the Acadamae somewhat justifiably look down on those of Theumanexus, who in turn do their best to ignore the taunts and cruel pranks of their more famous competitors.
Objectives: Maintain the status of non-infernal wizardry.
Traits: Mind, Know
Contacts: Academic, wizardly.
A large, informal network of sages and treasure-hunters, the Seekers exist all across the Flanaess and beyond, but each branch of the organization, indeed each member, is quite independent and allowed a lot of lassitude. Members are, however, obliged to keep a journal and this journal belongs to the Seekers.
Objectives: Discover and hoard lore. Brag about discoveries and enrich members.
Traits: Mind, Know, Spot
Contacts: Provides information and acts as an organizer of expeditions and a channel to sell loot.
Power: Worldwide 28. Sandpoint chapter (Perrenland): 26, Sasserine Chapter (Amedia Jungle) 24, Karlstad chapter (Ahlissa) 23.
This small and secretive group of adventurous women, a private spying and adventuring network loyal to the ideals of the Aerdy and and serving many of the same roles as the Seekers. Darklight sisters contend with and even recruit Pathfinders and retired Pathfinders, although the sisterhood lacks the size, coordination, and resources of its competitor. So one-sided is the competition between the two that most Pathfinders don’t even know the sisterhood exists.
Upon officially becoming a member, a sister drops her family name and takes up the name of Darklight. What reputation the sisterhood possesses varies greatly depending upon who is asked. Some see Darklight sisters as cruel witches working for immoral Aerdy, harnessing infernal energies to cloud the minds of women and seduce foolish men. On the other hand, those in Korvosa who know of the Darklights see them as loyal Aerdy merely performing necessary services for the people.
Objectives: Discover lore to reestablish the ascendancy of the Aerdy.
Traits: Mind, Know, Spot
Contacts: As a secret society the sisterhood has strong internal ties but few external contacts.
Sons of Boccob
Magic is the source of all. Without magic, the world becomes bleak and dead. The highest purpose possible is the spreading of magic. Half a scholarly order, half a mercantile consortium, the Sons of Boccob have a wordlwide reach but limited power in any one locale.
Enemies and Allies: The Sons have a reputation as the richest merchants in the land, and this of course attracts thieves and opportunists. They also face serious if temporary opposition from temples and other seeking to control the free distribution of magic items across the Flanesse. Generally, they can count on the protection of adeventurers of all stripes; tough costly such help is generally efficient in the extreme and can eliminate most problems in short order.
Secrets: The Mecanes of Mechanus are the secret masters of the affiliation; the network of magic item trade is ultimately controlled from there.
Objectives: The Sons of Boccob exist to further magic, and do this by spreading magical knowledge, services and wares. Seeing magic as a benefit in and of itself, they care not how it is used. They will trade with anyone and provide services to everyone.
Traits: Mind, Know
Contacts: Very extensive network for procuring magic items; otherwise limited.
By charter amendment, Korvosa does not allow merchants, laborers, or tradesmen to form guilds, but it does allow for a thieves’ guild. This causes legitimate workers no end of frustration and anger. Officially, the Cerulean Society has a monopoly as a thieves' guild, but they are challenged by numerous ad-hoc organizations and gangs. The general policy is to either absorb or destroy such upstarts, but as long as they remain small simple dues is all that is required.
The Cerulean Society runs a fairly typical protection racket with excruciatingly smug satisfaction, as Guildmaster Boule provides his Cerulean Society with actual blue uniforms to wear when they come to collect, giving the guild the look of authority. The price a “client” pays for the Cerulean Society’s “service” varies, depending not on wealth but on a complicated formula known only to the guildmaster. Indeed, the wealthy House Jeggare pays less than a gold sail per year for its protection, while impoverished House Peltherianon cannot hope to afford to pay the hundred sails the Cerulean Society demands each month. The Cerulean Society offers its protective service to every noble house, as well as to wealthy merchants, the temple of Zilchus , and others who cross it. When a potential client fails to pay, it goes on a list provided to the gangs of cat burglars and second-story men legitimized by the guild, who then have the go-ahead to act on that information as they see fit. The guild works together with legitimate gangs to ensure they don’t overwork an area. The threat of theft and robbery at knife point is enough to make most potential clients pay up, so the guild is careful to not always extend the offer of this service to every potential target.
In addition to blatant extortion, the Cerulean Society also generates income by regulating the other gangs in the city. Twice per year, the Cerulean Society sends members and trusted agents throughout the city, again wearing its distinctive blue uniform, collecting dues from other gangs. A gang that pays its dues to the thieves’ guild gains a level of legitimacy that allows the guild to tap the gang’s members for the purpose of showing why the Cerulean Society’s protection is a valuable service. Those gangs that can’t or won’t pay the dues don’t last long. The swift eradication of such gangs by the thieves’ guild strikes fear in all who witness or hear about such events, further ensuring that gangs pay up.
Cerulean Society members do actually perform illicit acts of their own, although for the most part they leave thieving to the other gangs. The Cerulean Society maintains a monopoly on smuggling into and out of the city, which ties in well with its extensive drug empire. In addition to drugs, the society also oversees the importation of weapons, necromantic and demonic goods, and unusual creatures. It exports homegrown pesh, slaves, and infernal goods. Of course, because it so tightly controls the smuggling trade, anything illicit that comes into or goes out of the city passes through one of its warehouses, barges, or ships. Those who try to bypass the Cerulean Society in a smuggling operation can expect to go jigsaw shark fishing—as the bait. For reasons unclear to outsiders, the thieves’ guild only operates on the mainland and in East Shore. It never seeks out protection clients in Old Korvosa and only sends members there to collect dues from gangs in the district.
Objectives: Wealth and control.
Traits: Reflexes, Impress, Maneuver, Melee
Contacts: Criminal and extortion.
Power: 23. Smaller gangs are permitted to ascend up to power 20 before they enter the direct chain of command.
A number of recognized gangs prowl the sewers, streets, and rooftops of Korvosa, and undoubtedly other groups exist that remain uncatalogued and unseen. Most of these groups, registered and not, incorporate or answer to the Cerulean Society .
This all-female cat burglar gang specializes in traveling across the Shingles of Korvosa, slipping into homes through chimneys, third-story balconies, and attic windows. The Lofties have perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all memberships, accepting into the ranks any female of any race able to prove herself in a test of acrobatics, coordination, and loyalty. The Lofties take pride in their stealth and only carry weapons to protect themselves from the predators who lurk in the Shingles. To date, not a single job performed by the Catsdew Lofties—successful or botched—has required a Lofty to attack anyone.
Traits: Reflexes, Maneuver
Contacts: Fences, other rogues.
Taking its name from the distinctive overcoats worn by its members, the Dusters gang specializes in armed robbery, kidnappings, and harassing innocents. A spineless and dimwitted Flan bully named Kynndors Thok acts as the leader of this ham-fisted gang. The entire underworld community—with the exclusion of Kynndors himself—knows that the Dusters’ true leadership lies with Kynndor’s Rhenne girlfriend, who goes by the singular name of Marlessa. Rumors whisper that Marlessa has ties to the Sczarni and uses the Dusters as goons whenever one of the dons requires.
Traits: Body, Melee, Impress
Rat’s Teat Boys
As much a shadowy rumor as a truly known gang, the Rat’s Teat Boys supposedly consists exclusively of wererats. This group apparently works its trade under the streets of Old Korvosa, although circumstantial evidence of its handiwork occasionally appears on the mainland. Every so often, the rumors say, the boys go on a “recruitment drive.” During these frightening times people suddenly disappear throughout the district, thought to be claimed by the Rat Teat’s Boys and made into foul lycanthropes. That people frequently disappear in the district even during the best of times doesn’t quell the near-panic these rumored enlistment periods engender.
The Sczarni is a clan of Rhenne that live up to the stereorype of criminal toughs. Organized Sczarni gangs frequently prowl the streets and sewers of Korvosa. They form, fight briefly against the Cerulean Society, and then melt again into the Rhenne population. The Cerulean Society and other gangs in the city struggle against these Sczarni uprisings, but they cannot afford genocidal sweeps of Rhenne (or even known Sczarni) among them, as so many of their own members (and leaders) hail from that people. Rumors state that the Sczarnis want to take down House Arkona, but the Rhenne hold so little power in the city that such an occurrence seems impossible.
Objectives: Very informal, swaggering. Mainly concerned with survival.
Traits: Reflexes, Melee, Maneuver
Contacts: Criminal, Rhenne.
Run by Clegg Zilcher, a surprisingly smart bully and brawler that ostentatiously runs a legitimate gambling house, whose main attraction are animal fights. Ir is well known that he also pits humans against animals ans against each other, including some of his opponents, but Clegg has learned that the mention of such a possibility can be more convincing that the event itself. Clegg also has major stakes in labor, providing an outlet for discontented workers and able to organize strikes and sabotage.
Objectives: Bullying, money.
Traits: Body, Impress
Contacts: Criminal, Labor, Gambling.
As anti-establishment groups, these subversives did not suffer the consequences of the queen's reign of terror.
A local subversive group of very mixed membership; everything from the mites of the sewers to dsigruntled military have joined. The group is an informal society for the betterment of Korvosa rather than a revolutionary cell.
Objectives: Bring safety and prosperity to Korvosa. End tyrrany.
Traits: Any skills or stat.
Eagle Knights of Andoria
A support organization for the Republic of Andoria (formerly the Northern Province of the Great Kingdom), the Eagle Knights are a fraternity, knightly order, and secret society all rolled into one. In Andoria, members can act overtly but in other nations the knighthood is often a covert organization. Knighthood is not hereditary and the order is not a part of the Andoreean government.
Objectives: Safeguard the Republic of Andoria, further its interest, promote freedom, and fight slavery.
Traits: Mind, Spot
Contacts: (Andoria) government, high society. (Ahlissa): dissident groups, spies revolutionaries.
Power: (Andoria) 24 (Ahlissa) 19
Since guilds are forbidden in Korvosa, all financial affiliations are rather weak and informal. This makes it easy for the state and noble families to exert control over the commercial sector, but it also means that sector as a whole is poorly developed. Those reaching the limit of their commercial affiliation are more likely to become clients of a noble house, temple, or other agency rather than try and improve the position of their group.
An independent mercantile association authorized Queen Illeosa early in her reign. This was seen as some as a blatant breach of the guild ban, but the Asis Society is active mainly outside Korvosa and Queen Illeosa seems not to care one whit. Out to exploit the power vacuum left by the fall of the Crimson Fleet, the Aspis society is a cooperative effort for colonization and trade. Their ultimate loyalty is uncertain, but seems to be profit pure and simple.
Objectives: Make money for everyone involved.
Traits: Mind, Charm, Ride.
Contacts: Trade, logistics, and colonization.
This all-female family (the name is inherited on the female line) deals with money and influence, using their money to marry into influential positions, then turning this influence into money through connections.
There is a glass ceiling five points under the maximum affiliation rating for non-family members; increasing beyond this point incurs a -3 penalty.
Objectives: Political and monetary influence.
Traits: Reflexes, Charm.
Contacts: Trade, museum, and academia.
An informal network at best as long as guilds are not tolerated, the management side of Korvosa's trade and industry has a much easier time hiding their activities under the guise of normal social gatherings than labor groups have. Still, there can be no guild hall, no guild treasure, and no formal power structure, which makes the network rather weaker than one would expect.
Objectives: Personal profit and recognition
Traits: Mind, Create
Contacts: Mercantile in the city, local commerce
Manufacturers have a great deal of power over their unorganized working, but are called, but in turn suffer form a lot of tax and activity limits that makes it very hard to expand past a certain point without a powerful sponsor.
Similar to the manufacturer's network above, the Merchant's Network is more impaired by the lack of organization, feeling prey to various regulations and taxes with even more frequency. However, the new queen has eased many of these burdens, making merchants more equal to manufacturers - in fact the two subcultures are merging into one trough cooperation and intermarriage.
The oldest, largest, and wiliest of the city’s secret guilds has existed in one form or another for more than a century. Many of the workers who belong to this guild work for the Ironworks. The Ironsoots have become more active of late, recruiting in the dark taverns near the Ironworks and in the Shingles of Old Docks. Currently, the Ironsoots are led by Baris Trenchlow, a soft-hearted and thick-handed (some say thick-headed) master smith who apprenticed in more liberal Irongate, where he learned the values of solidarity. Because the city charter prevents its legal recognition, the union plans on launching a riot at the first opportunity to make the people of Korvosa pay attention. Baris Trenchlow believes that shutting down the Ironworks and rioting in the streets is the right push Korvosa needs to amend the charter again.
Objectives: Recognition, legality.
Traits: Body, Create
Contacts: Working class.
With a dual status as the capital of Ahrissa and a chartered city, Korvosa stands in two worlds, both ancient. One is the feudal world of Great Kingdom feudalism. The other is the charter of a semi-independent city jealous of its every right and privilege. The two clash in the government of city and country. Described here is the city government. Parallel to it is the country government with a feudal hierarchy. Both city and country have the king as their final authority, but the king is also only the first among equals in both cases.
Objective: To make the city and state grow and prosper under a strict regime.
Contacts: Formal hierarchy within each branch of government as well as informal status and respect among citizens of good standing.
Power: The city as such has a power of 28, as rich and powerful as a major nation. The various branches are described separately. The kingdom as a whole has a Power of 29.
More than judges, the arbiters also have legislative oversight. Any declaration the king makes must first face review from the arbiters. The main task of arbiters, however, is to try criminal cases and settle civil disputes. Depending on the gravity of the crime, as many as nine arbiters might try a single case (they always try cases in odd-numbered groups to eliminate stalemates). For most crimes and for all civil disputes, though, a single arbiter oversees the proceedings. His judgment carries the authority of the city’s leader.
Objective: To maintain law and tradition.
Traits: Sport, Mind
Contacts: Arbiters can count on support of the City Guard and their arbitration is law and carries enormous weight in Korvosa.
Power: 24. No arbiter has a Rank less than 18, but they do have assistants.
The Korvosan Guard serves the city of Korvosa first, the king second, and the country third.
The Guard works closely with both the Order of the Nail and Sable Company, coordinating efforts among all three and relying on the Hellknights to muster Acadamae wizards when necessary in order to protect the city from every imaginable threat.
Objectives: It works to maintain order in the city, acting most often as a police force, but turning into a military operation whenever the city is threatened by external forces.
Contacts: In many ways, the guard is the city, forms the backbone of the administration and is the strong arm of the law where the arbiters are the mind and soul of the city.
Power: 25. Field Marshal Cressida Kroft leads the nearly 7000 soldiers of the Korvosan Guard, almost all of whom are human of Oerdian descent. Only full-blooded Oerdian humans can become generals or the field marshal, while only those with at least half-Oerdian blood (including half-elves) can achieve a rank higher than captain.
Hippogriff-mounted marines in defense of the skies and waters of Korvosa. Shipboard raids and airborne threats fall under the jurisdiction of the black-clad Sable Company, and its members offer aerial support to Korvosan Guard operations. First by tradition, and later by an addendum to the city’s charter, the Sable Company does not answer to the king. Instead, the commandant of the Sable Company reports directly to the Seneschal of Castle Korvosa. The Sable Company works closely with the Korvosan Guard and relies on its ties with that group to coordinate efforts with the Hellknights and Acadamae (neither of which the Sable Company gets along with).
Objective: Maintain the company in style and fulfill its duties.
Traits: Reflexes, Shoot, Ride.
Contacts: Very well regarded by citizens and highly prioritized for supplies; all members are knighted.
Power: 27. The captain of the company has a Rank around 25, but the actual leader is the Senechal of Castle Korvosa. No knight can have a Rank less than 17 and are recruited amongst nobility and the elite of the Korvosan Guard; it is not unheard of and involves no loss of status to give up a commission in the guard to join the Sable Company as a knight.
Martial Arts Community
Tough never official, there has always been an informal ranking of duelists in the city. The noble houses seek to monopolize this trough fighting codes and schools, but commoners constantly strive to outdo them on their own game. Some military men choose to enter the lists as well, but most fight only when ordered.
Objective: Excel and compete at arms!
Traits: Reflexes, Melee.
Contacts: Few outside the list.
Orsini Academy: This famed sword school stands in the heart of Old Korvosa. The sound of steel on steel and the soft whisper of leather soles issue forth at all hours of daylight and sometimes deep into the night. Men and women, mostly young scions of noble houses, dressed in white from head to toe and wearing meshed-wire masks practice the many elegant skills of fencing. Vencarlo Orisini himself rarely bothers to instruct these days, allowing one of his senior students, Dengaro, to lead the class in exercises.
Endrin Military Academy: These whitewashed buildings act as barracks for Fort Korvosa’s small garrison of Korvosan Guards and Sable Company trainees, as well as classrooms and sparring rings. Within these storied buildings, foul-mouthed drill sergeants have taught new recruits how to be Sable Company marines for decades. The academy serves a secondary purpose, as it also trains junior officers of the Korvosan Guard to act as liaisons between the two groups, allowing for joint operations and continued mutual support. These liaisons have proven vital in preventing jurisdictional conflicts between the company and the guard for more than two centuries.
Chi is a relatively unknown power source in Korvosa; the following groups are involved in what is more or less a shadow war.
Very much the bogey man in this region, the Scarlett Brotherhood is really a conglomerate of different orders, all working for the supremacy of the Suel people and the regime of the Tilvan Peninsula. Not much is know, including the scope of their influence.
Red Mantis Assassins
An order of assassins and monks dedicated to the service of Bralm, the Red mantis for their own distinct sub-order within the Scarlet Brotherhood.
An elven organization, the name means "lanternbearers" in elvish. Dedicated to watching out for dangers to the elves as a racer rather than any elven nation, they have long fought a skirmish with the drow. Over time, they have opened up to cooperation to other sympathetic groups, in particular the twin Lights. Shin'Rakorath is not a purely chi-focused group, all elves are welcome to join.
Ostensibly an artist academy and finishing school, Talventa Academy is secretly a group dedicated to resisting the Scarlett Brotherhood by defending the integrity of the societies in which they act. Attracting nobles, courtiers, and entertainers the Talventans act in secret, channeling information and quietly eliminating Scarlett Brotherhood agents when they can. Most of the students of the school are not involved; the academy trains many normal courtiers, dancers, bards, and entertainers. These form both a cover and a source of contacts to the active members.
It would be a mistake to consider the Talventa Academy to be "good" - while they resist the advances of the Scarlett Brotherhood, they have no reservations about advancing themselves. It is more chaotic in nature - while many individual members are lawful and favor a more organized approach, the order as a whole is very diverse.
Objective: Preserve the secret agenda of the order, fight the influence of the Scarlett Brotherhood.
Traits: Reflexes, Charm.
Contacts: Artistic, noble.
An informal guild of travelling performers and entertainers with a covert agenda of fighting oppression and the Scarlet Brotherhood.
Symbol: Lights, at least two, held in each hand or by many different people. Holding a light aloft, greeted by the same gesture, is a symbol of freedom among performers and slaves alike. This is used as part of other emblems or as a signal. Carrying a light in each hand is wasteful for a slave and a sign of defiance, but at the same time it happens enough by accident that it cannot serve to identify members.
Background, Goals, and Dreams: The Twin Lights want to spread joy and exterminate slavery and oppression of the human spirit; some members want to end all servitude and incarceration. They work through building hope, joy, and the strength among common people.
Enemies and Allies: With a secret agenda, the Twin Lights has few official allies, tough it shares its ideals with many good and chaotic organizations, especially chaotic good churches and resistance movements. Shin'Rakorath might have been involved in founding the Twin Lights; they sometimes ac as tough the organization was a toady to them, at other times as trustworthy allies. The main enemy of the Twin Lights are the Scarlet Brotherhood, but they also fight other slavers such as the Sea Princes, Yellow Sails and Crimson Corsairs as well as corrupt and oppressive employers everywhere. Some members are such fervent revolutionaries that they consider all governments their enemies.
Objective: Fight slavery, oppression, and the Scarlett Brotherhood!
Traits: Reflexes, Maenuver.
Contacts: Slaves, inderground, adventurers, entertainers.
Power: 20. Very widespread for its low influence.
Most noble houses are a branch of a larger clan, and as organizations they include many people who are not family members as retainers and agents. Somewhere withing five to ten ranks of the Power of the house, you mill be considered a clan member and might be adopted or married into the family. Of course, there are many distant relations far lower in rank than that.
Although an old family that predates even the founding of the empire, House Arkona had sunk into poverty and faced the very real threat of extinction. In desperation, Lord Garath Arkona purchased a caravel he named Reprieve. The Reprieve set sail for distant and exotic lands. After many trials and setbacks, the Reprieve returned to Korvosa. The shipment they brought back more than returned House Arkona to a place of prominence in the nobility. Overnight, the much derided house went from among the poorest noble families to second only to House Jeggare in wealth. Lord Garath and Jenkson Arkona indulged in nearly every vice available, from drugs to cruelty to pleasures of the flesh. Rather than bankrupt the family again, they used their influence to acquire control over the trades in which they showed the most enjoyment.
The current lord of the house, Glorio Arkona, attempts at every opportunity to lift up the poor and provide them with enough sustenance to survive. To that end, he has leveled several buildings the family owns, including a tavern and a brothel, to make room for massive low-rent tenement apartments. These actions have made Glorio the most popular nobleman among the city’s many poor and destitute and has caused no end of anxiousness and worry from his family members.
Goals: Maintain the power and privacy of House Arkona.
Traits: Reflexes, Charm, Impress.
Contacts: Controls crime and corruption, particularly in Old Korvosa.
Nivek Bromathan sacrificed his life to protect Waydon Endrin from a Flan assassin, gaining his family the honor of nobility as a reward. Lord Valdur Bromathan IV loyally serves the temple of Hieroneous as a minor priest. He breaks the chain of House Bromathan lords serving in the Korvosan Guard, a tradition going back to before his family joined the nobility. This split with tradition has put him at odds with the rest of the house, many of whom serve in the guard or the Sable Company. Valdur, however, received the blessing of his father when he declared his intent to enter the clergy as a youth. As it always has, House Bromathan remains a relatively minor noble family. Its fortunes tend to stay relatively stable, neither rising nor falling any great amount. The house remains ever loyal to House Endrin, just as its first lord, Nivek Bromathan, was loyal beyond measure to Waydon Endrin.
Goals: Maintain the honor and prestige of House Bromathan.
Traits: Body, Melee, Impress.
Contacts: Military and church.
It took more than a quarter century for the empire to recognize the great accomplishments and service of Waydon Endrin. The emperor granted the family a noble title, making his son Lucien the first Lord Endrin. Like his father before him, Lucien sacrificed himself in defense of the city he loved. Unlike his father, though, Lucien left no heir, and, as his twin sister Brieanna had already married into the Jeggare family, House Endrin appeared destined to die out after only one lord.
Brieanna sent a letter to her cousin Ponchus in Rauxes, convincing him to move his family to Korvosa to take up the lordship. Ponchus had to complete his tour of duty in the Imperial Army before he could move south and claim the title. As an officer in the Korvosan Guard, Ponchus went to the grave in the same way as his cousin and uncle before him, firmly establishing a tradition of service and sacrifice the family continues to this day. House Endrin has produced more Commandants of the Sable Guard (12 of 30) and Field Marshals of the Korvosan Guard (8 of 18) than any other house. Since the founding of Korvosa, it has also gone through the most lords and ladies, all of whom served in the military and more than half of whom died in combat or from injuries sustained therein.
To this day, thanks to Brieanna Endrin’s marriage to Montlarion Jeggare’s grandnephew, the two families remain close. Despite its small size and relatively recent entitlement, House Endrin controls considerable influence in the city due to its strong alliances with other founding and military houses.
Goals: Maintain the honor of House Endrin and the power of Ahlissa.
Traits: Body, Charm, Melee.
Contacts: Military, financial.
Descended from a nephew of the famous philanthropist whose name appears in many places around Korvosa, this branch of the Jeggare family attempts to carry on the generous reputation attached to its name. House Jeggare controls the second-largest share of dock space in Korvosa, allowing the family to bring in ridiculous amounts of gold in its brisk trade. The church of Zilchus estimates that nearly a quarter of the city’s privately held assets are controlled by the Jeggare family, making it a powerful and influential noble house, as well as the wealthiest. House Jeggare survives the sometimes cutthroat politics of Korvosa by keeping a line of credit open for the monarch and other noble families, and by acting as the chief financial backer of both the Korvosan Guard and the Sable Company.
Goals: Maintain the wealth and prestige of House Jeggare.
Traits: Mind, Charm, Know.
Contacts: Military, financial, fiscal.
Even before Jessa Leroung founded the University of Korvosa, the ancient and esteemed House Leroung served the Aerdy as teachers, instructors, professors, scholars, and sages. To this day, House Leroung maintains extensive libraries in the three largest cities of the former Great Kingdom. The family’s fortunes and powers have fluctuated little since its founding, and, although many of the younger nobles of the family gladly wade into the dirty politics of court life, the lord or lady of House Leroung rarely bothers with such things. Indeed, lovely Lady Eliasia Leroung, current headmistress of the University of Korvosa, is considered an ally by most other noble houses, including those at odds with one another.
Goals: Maintain the prestige of House Leroung.
Traits: Mind, Know.
Contacts: Academic, Diplomatic, Fiscal.
Not just one of the most politically powerful noble houses in Korvosa, House Ornelos also controls the Acadamae. More lord magistrates came from this family than from all other houses combined, and to this day the family keeps at least two advisors at the ear of the monarch. The influence this family exerts does not end at the throne, however, as Ornelos scions are scattered among all the city’s most powerful institutions. In Korvosa, it took little time for Lord Volshyenek Ornelos to establish himself as a major power player. He bought a magnificent manor house on the mainland (long since demolished) and was instrumental in the defense of the mainland holdings during the Third Battle of Mainshore. Lord Ornelos led a contingent of Korvosan Guard spellcasters during the final assault that broke through the Shoanti defenses to conclude the Siege of the Grand Mastaba. Shortly thereafter, he founded the Acadamae on Citadel Hill. After the founding of the Acadamae, House Ornelos gained even greater control over the affairs of the city, placing the first (of many) scions in the office of lord magistrate. House Ornelos has resisted converting to devil worship, the Acadamae’s infernal shift notwithstanding, but it remains loyal to both Ahlissa and the Aerdy. Today, the house’s influence comes not just from its control over the Acadamae, but also from the many advisors it has placed at the ears of the monarch, other noble families, and important institutions throughout the city.
Goals: Maintain influence and magical ascendancy.
Traits: Mind, Know, Shoot.
Contacts: Administrative, Magical.
Lord Lacertus Zenderholm brought his family to Korvosa at the tail-end of the great influx of Aerdy immigrants. Today, House Zenderholm members serve the city as arbiters, magistrates, lawyers, and diplomats.
Goals: Maintain influence and face.
Traits: Mind, Charm, Spot.
Contacts: Administrative, Fiscal.
Order of the Nail
Some 15 miles south of Korvosa stands Citadel Vraid, the black-iron fortress of the Hextorian Order of the Nail. From its grim fastness, this autonomous legion of law-bringers seeks to enforce its own harsh vision of order, meting out law with blade and iron-shod boot.
Objectives: Unconcerned with the petty trivialities of morality, Hellknights are fanatics of law, adhering only to their harsh order and their own unyielding vision of honor.
Traits: Body, Mind, Impress
Contacts: As the guarantee of the safety and faith of Acadamae, the hellknights have the right to discipline wizards of the academy, a right that is rarely used except as a threat when the mages are reluctant to do their duties. While the people hate them, they also fear them, and few would even consider going against the direct order of a hellknight.
Power: 26. The order of the nail has other strongholds, but the chapter in Korvosa is the leading one.
Performing Arts Subculture
Korvosa is a city known for magic and industry, not performing arts. Theaters are few and even pub entertainment is scarce and not very well paid. There are a few large and prestigious establishments in the heights and a group of small hopefuls in Old Korvosa. The whole performing arts scene of Korvosa can be considered one loose organization, with several venues. The guild prohibition also applies to artists, making a formal ranking impossible.
Objectives: Survive and earn a few silvers.
Traits: Reflexes, Charm, Impress
Contacts: Artistic, Plebeian.
See Pathfinder Society - Scenario 07 - Among the Living.pdf
A former temple of Hieroneous, this gleaming fixture in the Heights is home to Korvosa’s opera company. Owned by House Jeggare but managed by the tyrannical Touran Palastus (known more for his temper than his managerial talent), the opera company produces mediocre performances that bleed gold. House Jeggare considers a performance that breaks even a resounding success. Performers here receive poor pay and poorer treatment, and they quickly lose their love for the arts. Many leave the city, seeking better treatment even at the cost of prestige.
Lately, Touran’s near-sadistic bile-spewing outbursts and abuses have become milder and less frequent. Some wonder if he has possibly found love. Others more cynically assume an addiction to pesh.
Korvosa’s proximity to water and its extensive and famous Vaults make sinkholes a relatively common phenomena in the city. Only rarely do these sinkholes expand to as much as a dozen feet or more in diameter. The largest recorded sinkhole in Korvosa’s history opened up just north of the Pillar Wall. Engulfing an area nearly 300 feet in diameter.
Unfortunately for the city, the sinkhole did not occur naturally, and for the first time the people of Korvosa came in contact with ankhegs. Fortunately the hero Mina Kendall could contain the situation, at the tragic cost of her own life. Three years later the city grand opening of a massive open-air auditorium the named after their savior.
Today, Kendall Amphitheater partially hangs suspended above the sinkhole’s opening. A complicated series of arches and pillars holds it aloft, while two concealed sets of stairs allow descent into the large Vault beneath it.
While the amphitheater primarily hosts open-air performances (as well as performances done beneath the vast sloped roof covering most of the stage), it does occasionally present games and contests. Due to safety concerns none of the games involve actual combat or bloodshed. Instead, feats of strength, races, obstacle courses, and other such contests prove quite popular with the patrons and amphitheater owners.
Standing just a block from Kendall Amphitheater, visiting actors of varying fame frequent the Bard’s End, as do musicians, performers, and actual bards. A relatively small stage dominates the inn’s common room, and a night never goes by without some kind of performance being held.
Refurnished with gaudy gold-colored paint and massive glass “gems,” this former temple of Pholtus has found a new life as the home of a perverse and detestable theater of all things foul, gore-slicked, and unnaturally pornographic. The theater’s owner, a repugnant sore-covered human named Pilts Swastel, employs the city’s “best and brightest” performers of unmentionable acts.
Nearly as controversial as the theater, Exemplary Execrables also offers an attached museum (with a separate admission fee, of course). The museum offers exhibits such as “Two-Dozen-and-Three Severed Heads,” “Unwanted Fetuses,” and “Instruments of Torture and Murder.”
See Dungeon Magazine #77
A semi-respectable theater house in Old Korvosa, this building has gone from one hand to another, causing financial ruin to many of its owners. It touts theater, but often goes to far on spectacular illusionary special effects.
The people of Korvoas are pious but practical. They support religions that support their way of life and crowd to cults that offer them increased status. After the construction of the Panthon of Many temple small public shrines are discouraged and worship of the many less-famous gods have been centralized there, but private shrines in homes are still common, as are tiny memorial shrines at the site of significant events.
Bank of Abadar
More than just a temple to Zilchus , the god of trade, the Bank of Abadar also serves as the city’s main bank. The temple serves every banking need, such as security boxes (said to be the safest in Ahlissa), saving and investment accounts, loans, and even writs of credit. Beneath the temple, in well-guarded lead-lined chambers, the rumored Golden Vaults of Abadar house the Korvosan Mint. Archbanker Darb Tuttle and the clerics of Zilchus work closely with the ministers of City Hall, the arbiters of the Longacre Building, and the Field Marshal of the Korvosan Guard. They love their city and work from every legal angle to protect it and support its continued growth.
Objectives: Uphold life and harmony between people.
Traits: Mind, Know.
Contacts: Financial, legal, City guard.
Fateful Church of Pharasma
Pharasma is a legendary figure in Ahlissa, a Flan matriarch who married an Oerdian lord and helped meld the Flan and Oerdian peoples together. Seen as something of a traitor among the Flan, she is worshiped as a saint in Korvosa. Her church focuses the worship of Oerth and the Oerdian Wind Gods.
In the center of Sepulcher ward stands the Cathedral of Pharasma, the office and home of Bishop Keppira d’Bear of the Fateful Church of Pharasma and a retinue of lower-ranking clerics and faithful warriors. The Grand Cathedral has served as a secure location multiple times, and despite a half-dozen sieges by undead, it has yet to fall.
Objectives: Uphold life and harmony between people.
Traits: Mind, Charm, Impress.
Contacts: Plebian, religious.
Pantheon of Many
Built in anticipation of Korvosa’s millennial, the Pantheon of Many holds within its massive octagonal white-marbled walls shrines to all Oerdian deities. The pantheon respects all of the deities it serves—even the evil and chaos-loving ones—so all 17 spaces are equally sized. Clerics of the represented deities tend to their shrines, performing rites (those that do not violate Korvosan law, anyway) under the watch of a pair of impartial observers. No sacrifices of creatures, intelligent or not, is allowed within the pantheon.
Objectives: Find unity in faith (yeah, right).
Traits: Mind, Impress.
Contacts: Very mixed.
Sanctuary of Shelyn
The smallest of the independent temples in the city, the sanctuary of Shelyn is dedicated to Lirr and ranks among Korvosa’s most beautiful buildings. This square building engulfs a small interior courtyard decorated with statuary, murals, and beautiful flowering plants. Although crowded with artwork and plants of natural beauty, the sanctuary looks full but never cluttered.
Objectives: Promote art.
Traits: Mind, Reflexes, Charm.
Contacts: Arts and fine crafts, noble.
Temple of Asmodeus
A propaganda piece and warlock facility rather than a temple, the cult of Asmodeus tries very hard to attract worshipers, but with little success. At this point, it is more of a social club for the rich and magical than a true religios site. Archbishop Ornher Reebs dedicated the new temple in an appropriately infernal way, sealing a pact using the blood of 13 virgin sacrifices. This dedication sent shockwaves through the city, and Korvosa’s citizens threatened to riot, until changes were made in the dedication ceremony, succubi substituted for the original pit fiends, and the bloodletting was limited to let the young women survive.
The church of Asmodeus occasionally competes with the church of Zilchus for the right to verify and bear witness to contracts. Rumors persist throughout the city that the temple of Asmodeus actively supports and encourages the slave trade.
Objectives: Gain respect as a genuine religion.
Traits: Mind, Charm, Impress.
Contacts: Noble, magical.
Temple of Hextor
The church if the tyrant has a feudal power-base in Ahlissa, centered on the great noble fiefs outside the city. In Korvosa, the temple is a part of Castle Korvosa and a rather austere edifice built into the fortifications.
Objectives: Maintain power in an iron grip.
Traits: Body, Melee, Impress.
Contacts: Noble, Military.
Temple of Aroden
Old and crumbling, the temple of Aroden in Old Korvosa honors Hieroneous, but has lost almost all of its former splendor. A pitiful trio of clerics attempts to maintain the building as best they can, holding services every Sunday for a constantly shrinking number of curious observers and older holders-on. Twice the city has threatened to raze the building and raise a new temple to a different god, but each time the trio was able to muster enough support from citizens to spare the building.
Objectives: Avoid despair.
Traits: Body, Melee, Impress.
Contacts: Almost none.
Temple of Sarenrae
Named after an early bishop, this church worships Sotillion and is a temple of healing and wealth. The temple is on Citadel Hill and is the finest (if not largest) temple in Korvosa.
Objectives: Preside over happiness and health.
Traits: Body, Create.
Contacts: Commoners, very wide contacts.
A group of warlike clans in northern Sunndi, the Shoanti are generally paranoid against other humans. Divided into several tribes, a character cannot rise above the rating of the most powerful tribe he is accepted amongst.
Objectives: To survive, prosper, and possibly reclaim old territories.
Traits: Reflexes, Ride
Contacts: Barbarians, traders, trackers.
Power: 19 - 25 depending on clan.
- Minor Tribes: These are seen as of little account. Power 19.
- Lyrune-Quah (The Moon Clan) Power: 23. Known to be expert bowmen and hunters, the swift-footed and keen-eyed warriors of the Lyrune-Quah hunt by dusk and travel by the light of the bright moon.
- Shriikirri-Quah (The Hawk Clan) Power: 25. The Shriikirri-Quah reveres the animals with which it shares the land. It is the Hawk Clan, more so than any other clan, that believes the study of the nature’s beasts holds the key to victory against its foes.
- Shundar-Quah (The Spire Clan) Power: 21. The Shundar-Quah see themselves as the diplomats and storytellers of the Shoanti people, smoothing tensions between the various clans. Their tribes travel far and continually remind the other quahs that every clan is first and foremost Shoanti.
- Sklar-Quah (The Sun Clan) Power: 24. More so than any other clan in recent memory, the Sklar- Quah find themselves embattled by their foes. Since its retreat over the Storval Rise from southern Varisia, the Sun Clan has found itself in a vise between orc marauders and foreign invaders.
- Skoan-Quah (The Skull Clan) Power: 22. All six of the other quahs still shudder on occasion when they deal with the enigmatic Skull Clan and its impenetrable skull shamans.
- Tamiir-Quah (The Wind Clan) Power: 23. Cloaked in the skins and feathers of mountain lions, Lurkwood bears, and storm rocs, the Tamiir-Quah stand determined not to lose their mountainous homes.