Curse of the Crimson Throne
Korvosa (LN Large City – Varisia)
Korvosa sits at the end of Conqueror’s Bay, where the Jeggare River spills into the sea. The city fills the spit of land formed by two sharp turns in the Jeggare River and Endrin Isle (which splits the river at its mouth), with a few outlying areas on the river’s far shore. Korvosa stands on two hills: Garrison Hill on Endrin Isle and Citadel Hill on the mainland. The Narrows of Saint Alika separate Endrin Isle from the shore. Off the coast to the south of Citadel Crest rises Jeggare Isle, a small rock jutting from the sea that provides the foundation for a small fort.
Five landmarks give Korvosa a distinctive skyline. Three of these landmarks exist on a truly colossal scale and have survived for millennia. Castle Korvosa stands atop the Grand Mastaba, a massive pyramid that rises to a flattened top. The Pillar Wall stretches across most of the southern end of Citadel Hill, a 100-foot-tall remainder of what once must have been a magnificent barrier. Just beyond the western terminus of the Pillar Wall stands the Gatefoot, which obviously originally belonged to a part of the wall and that likely served as part of a gateway of some kind. The other two landmarks, while impressive, do not come close to the size or grandeur of the ruins. Standing at the northernmost point of the Merciless Cliffs, the Great Tower reaches 270 feet in the air and serves several military roles for the city. Directly south of it stands the equally impressive Hall of Summoning, the center of operations for the Acadamae.
Long before the first Chelaxian set foot on the shores of Conqueror’s Bay, the native Shoanti lived in relative peace throughout the region. They centered their lives around the Grand Mastaba, which their oral history warned contained a great evil that should never again see the light of day. For generations, the Shoanti held the area, never encountering a single challenge that truly threatened their hold. That all changed in 4407 AR, soon after the Everwar wound down and Field Marshal Jakthion Korvosa led a small army through the Bloodsworn Vale and into the southeastern reaches of untamed Varisia. The Shoanti fought the invading Chelaxians tooth and nail, but in time Korvosa’s army was bolstered by another Chelish expedition, this one led by one Montlarion Jeggare. A bitter battle ensued between the Chelish soldiers and the Shoanti natives, but in the end, the Chelaxians won and drove the Shoanti northeast up into the Cinderlands. The natives defeated, the Chelish explorers settled in and founded Fort Korvosa.
For the next 22 years, Fort Korvosa acted as the center of a network of trappers, hunters, anglers, and adventurers who came from Cheliax to exploit the resources of the untamed lands of Varisia. The fort had its share of trials and setbacks, including regular clashes with the Shoanti,
boggards, and on 13 Neth in 4429 ar, a disastrous fire that burned down half the city. In the aftermath, the Sable Company rose like a phoenix to become the potent defender of the city during its reconstruction and into the centuries to follow. In 4462 AR, the great Shoanti chieftain Galstak Sevendeaths (who was resurrected six times) brought together the Sklar-Quah and Skoan-Quah to form a small army that laid siege to Fort Korvosa for a week, launching 26 years of renewed hostility and war between the two peoples. Finally, in 4488 ar, Sevendeaths was killed for the final time (and thus cementing his name and legacy in history). The alliance he formed crumbled, and the quahs quickly fell to in-fighting, and were driven once again back into the Cinderlands.
With this conclusive defeat, Fort Korvosa’s leading families at last felt safe enough to lay claim to the surrounding hinterlands. More flocked to the city, and over the next 12 years, the population of Fort Korvosa nearly doubled, bringing it to almost 8,000 citizens. Then, in 4502, strife nearly tore the settlement apart from within during a time known today as the Cousins’ War, when noble turned against noble and the common folk suffered. Eventually, the infighting came to an end with the aid of arbiters from Cheliax, and when the city reaffirmed its allegiance to the Chelish crown, a new era of peace and prosperity arrived. In order to put its past tragedies behind it, the town officially dropped the word “fort” from its name, becoming simply Korvosa. This new era of plenty came to an end in 4606, with the advent of the Age of Lost Omens.
When Cheliax fell into civil war, Korvosa officially became an independent and free city, yet it clung to many Chelish traditions. This change of power, coupled with the unrest brought by Aroden’s death and unusually powerful storms, racked Korvosa and threatened to hurl the city
back into civil war. Yet Korvosa managed to avoid repeating the Cousins’ War, and in the end, two factions remained: a majority of royalists loyal to a crown (regardless of who wore it) and a faction of traditionalists (who rejected Cheliax’s new, infernal ways). The traditionalists eventually left Korvosa en masse to travel west and found the city of Magnimar. Those who remained behind decided that, with no crown in Cheliax to follow, Korvosa should have
its own royalty. Lord Arbust Arabasti paved the way for the ascension of his son, Eodred, who took over leadership of the town upon Arbust’s death in 4624. A fine and popular ruler, Lord Eodred reclaimed abandoned parts of Korvosa, strengthened its rural holdings, and improved relations with Cheliax. In 4633, the people finally voted to change their lord’s title to king. A great throne was commissioned for the Korvosan nobility—a work of art made of iron and clad in the finest of crimson satin and velvet. None predicted that this Crimson Throne would eventually
come to be associated with a horrible curse: that all who claimed it would bear no more children and die of unnatural causes.