thac0hNo's Rise of the Runelords Campaign
Standing atop one of the highest spots of the Storval Rise, the cliff-top city of Kaer Maga (pronounced kare MAH-gah) is built inside the ruins of an ancient fortress: a six-sided ring of 80-foot-high seamless stone, stretching more than a half mile in diameter and topped with towers of every shape and design. Also known as the Asylum Stone, Kaer Maga has served as a refuge for exiles, misfits, and ne’er-do-wells fleeing persecution and prosecution for thousands of years, and is known throughout Golarion as a place where anyone can fit in, and where anything can be bought and sold.
Though an anarchic “civilization”, a loose consortium of groups, gangs, and families rule the people of Kaer Maga. The entire city is a melting pot of citizens from all cultures, such as the Ardoc family of Bis; the Brothers of the Seal, who are ready to kill each other over whether or not they should open the great portal they guard somewhere deep in the caverns beneath; the gently whistling Sweettalkers of Tian, with their lips sewn shut to keep them from uttering the true name of their god; the Augurs, troll seers who predict the future by casting divinations with their own intestines; and the bloatmages, with the leeches that keep them alive attached to their bulging bodies. Kaer Maga is one of the main halfling settlements in the Inner Sea Region; halflings are the second most populous race in the city. Kaer Maga is one of the places escaped halfling slaves find welcoming. Halflings often join the Freemen of the Bottoms or live in the Halfway Houses in the Warren. The city also has a sizable population of mindless undead, sometimes referred to as the Twice-Born.
Most of Kaer Maga’s trade is in the exotic, or items which are illegal elsewhere, since basic items are produced more efficiently and cheaply in one of Varisia’s other cities. The city does not attract passing trade, as it is not on a trade route to anywhere else, but is a destination in its own right.
One of the city’s main imports is grain from the lowlands around Korvosa. Goods travel by ship to Palin’s Cove, then head north by caravan to the Yondabakari River. It then travels by barge to Kaer Maga. The alternative route, is to travel by ship to Magnimar and then by barge along the river for the rest of the journey. This route is much longer, but removes the need for an overland stage. When the river reaches the Storval Rise, merchants can either blaze their own trail up the dangerous river gorge, or pay the Duskwardens in order to use the more efficient Halflight Path. Caravans arriving from the north, for instance from Riddleport, have the option of reaching the Storval Plateau via the Storval Stairs, but that route then requires many days of travel through the hostile Cinderlands.
The northeastern neighborhood of the Varisian city of Kaer Maga, located within its massive walls. As such, it is almost entirely “indoors”, with no access to natural sunlight. It is also the most ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhood in the already very cosmopolitan city, with groups from Garund and even far-away Casmaron or Tian Xia being the most common. Even though some of the organisations within Ankar-Te are almost as ancient as the city itself it still attracts many of the new immigrants to the city. The district is home of some of the most bizarre and in some cases downright abhorrent practices and traditions, Ankar-Te is especially well-known for being the only part of town where necromancy is openly accepted with citizens referring to the undead as the “Twice-Born”. In fact, it is not unusual to see the rich being carried about on palanquins by their undead servants draped in flowers to cover the appalling smell. The undead are regard as property akin to an animal and at any sign of free will or thought they are mercilessly put down, quite them opposite of the distant undead kingdom of Geb.
Located within the western wall of the city, it is home to a family of famed golem-crafters, the Ardocs, who also help run the district.
Located within the massive city walls, the Bottoms is situated on the edge of the Storval Rise, and is home to ex-slaves and abolitionist from all over Golarion. Fierce believers in the ideals of democracy, its citizens have taken to calling themselves the Freemen. They oppose forced labor in any form and support the rights of the oppressed and subjugated. As slavery is legal in Kaer Maga, however, this brings the Freemen into frequent conflict with its proponents.
Just outside of the city wall near the Bottoms is the entrance to Tirana’s Hideout
Located within the southern section of the city’s massive outer walls, the Cavalcade is home to countless smithies, work houses, and mills, many of which are powered by the many streams, aqueducts, and canals that cris-cross this part of town.
The Highside Stacks
Here the rich dwell in tall buildings overlooking the Core Districts, far removed from the chaos which characterizes the rest of the city. Some of the inhabitants of the Stacks sequester themselves completely from their neighbors, handling all day-to-day necessities through servant intermediaries.
It is the primary home of the city’s artists and free-thinkers, and a favorite among Kaer Maga’s youth. Sadly, it has also played host to a decades-long sectarian street battle between two factions of an order of monks, the Brothers of the Seal.
The Tarheel Promenade
It is home to the Arcanists’ Circle, the most-respected school of magic in the city. Due to the high density of mages there, the Tarheel Promenade is one of the best places in all of Varisia to buy magic items. Tarheel Promenade is also the home to the majority of temples and other religious institutions within the city, as well as many businesses that deal in more mundane items.
The neighborhood located in the break of the great ring wall of the Varisian city of Kaer Maga. It is the poorest district in the city, made up of poorly constructed, wooden buildings, some of them many stories in height.
One of the core districts in the Varisian city of Kaer Maga. It is the commercial heart of the city where countless foreign merchants set up temporary stalls and tents to display their wares and conduct business.
One of the core districts in the Varisian city of Kaer Maga. As its name suggests, it is home to the majority of the city’s hospitality businesses (e.g., taverns, inns, and brothels).
Another core district, Wildershins is almost like a town unto itself. Unlike the rest of Kaer Maga, which is quite chaotic, Widdershins is a walled-off, aggressively-patrolled neighborhood with its own elected government.