Rise of the Runelords
“Where Freedom Can Never Be Lost.”
—Motto of the city of Magnimar
Magnimar is a large city located on the southwestern coast of Varisia where the Yondabakari River empties into the Varisian Gulf. The city is surrounded by the mostly inhospitable Mushfens. The city itself is defined by two colossal landmarks which predate modern civilization by thousands of years or more. Founded by Korvosan dissenters in 4608 AR, the City of Monuments now stands as a rival to Korvosa in an open war of coin and words.
Compared to its sister city Korvosa, Magnimar tends to put few restrictions on trade and traders. It openly encourages the formation of trade guilds, and generally is a place where almost anyone (given good connections and a healthy amount of luck) can make something of him or herself. All Craft, Perform, and Profession checks made to generate income receive a +5 Economy bonus.
This freewheeling attitude is a breeding ground for corruption, however, and as a result all Bluff checks made against city officials or guards receive +2 corruption modifier, as do all Stealth checks made outside. Crime networks, particularly the Sczarni, are active in the city, resulting in a higher class of criminal and a more wary populace. As a result, Sense Motive checks to avoid being Bluffed receive a +2 crime bonus, as do Sleight of Hand checks made to pick pockets.
The crime has also produced a stronger push for law and order. Intimidate checks to make an opponent to act friendly, Diplomacy checks against government officials, or Diplomacy checks made to call on the city guard all receive a +2 Law bonus.
The citizens of Magnimar are quite talkative and the city has substantial library resources available to researchers. As a result all Diplomacy checks made to gather information and Knowledge checks made using the city’s resources to do research receive a +6 lore bonus.
Magnimarians are also somewhat more open-minded and cosmopolitan. As a result, all Disguise checks, as well as on Diplomacy checks made to alter the attitude of any non-government official receive a +1 Society bonus.
Points of Interest
Magnimar is defined by two colossal landmarks. The Irespan is an ancient ruin, the easternmost end of a giant bridge which has now crumbled into the sea. This enormous relic stretched from Magnimar’s other most noticeable feature, the three-hundred-foot tall cliff which cuts the city in two known as the Seacleft. These features, along with the Yondabakari River help define the city’s layout.
- The Summit: The wealthiest communities in Magnimar are located in the Summit atop the rise of the Seacleft, as are the city’s centers of government, education, and arts.
- The Shore: Home to the majority of Magnimar’s working class, the Shore contains Magnimar’s coasts and docks. The Shore also includes the city’s foreign quarter, Ordellia, which lies across the river.
- The Shadow: Located beneath the Irespan, it is home to the seediest of Magnimar’s inhabitants and most members of the government take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to the district’s problems.
A vibrant and bustling city, Magnimar is home to many significant figures in Varisia.
- Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras: The most powerful official in Magnimar.
- Sabriyya Kalmeralm: The “Princess of the Markets,” she is the de facto ruler of the Bazaar of Sails.
- Remeria Callinova: Leader of the Varisian Council, she works to ensure that the needs of the Varisian peoples are met by Magnimar.
- Commander Ismeir Odinburge: The head of Magnimar’s military and Lord of the Arvensoar Tower
- Captain Acacia Uriana: The chief of Magnimar’s City Watch
Shopping in Magnimar
Items, including magic items, valued at 12,800 gp or lower can usually be found (75% chance for magic items) somewhere in Magnimar. In addition, some rarer items of magical origin are available, with stocks changing every month or so.
As a large city, the resources of its merchants are substantial. As a general rule, merchants are unwilling to purchase an item whose sell price is higher than 75,000 gp. Those seeking to pay for spellcasting services will have trouble finding one who can cast spells higher than the 8th Level.
Magnimar is ruled by two official political bodies: the Council of Ushers and the Office of the Lord-Mayor. This two-tiered system was established at the city’s founding to ensure that no single person ever had too much control, though questions remain about the effectiveness of the system.
The Council of Ushers serves as the legislature of Magnimar and currently contains 117 members. Of these, many are nobles whose families have held seats for generations. But with many more seats now than there are noble families, dozens of seats are filled with scheming merchants and greedy power-seekers, as well as a frustrated number of genuinely altruistic activists and honest merchants.
In theory restricted by the Council of Ushers, the Lord-Mayor is by far the most powerful person in Magnimar. Many of Magnimar’s political matters are determined not by who is right or at least most persuasive but who brings the Lord-Mayor the most lavish and impressive “gift.”
When legal arbitration is needed above and beyond what the city guard themselves can handle, the legal system of Magnimar calls upon the Justice Court. This body of thirteen Justices is the highest court in the city state and rules on disagreements as well as the guilt or innocent of those accused of particularly heinous crimes.
A fourth institution resides outside the official city government: the Varisian Council. Formed at the request of the city’s elders more than 100 years ago, the Varisian Council ensures that the Magnimarian government does not infringe upon the rights and traditions of the land’s Varisian natives.
Based out of the fortress known as the Arvensoar, the City Watch patrols the major streets of the Magnimar and are responsible for defending Magnimar from threat by land. The Watch’s efforts to patrol the streets are supplemented by followers of the churches of Abadar, Erastil, Iomedae, and Calistra. Many noble families, notably House Derexhi, maintain significant personal security retinues, and mercenaries are a comon sight guarding the homes and businesses of merchants. Hellknights of the Order of the Nail are also known to patrol the streets and hire themselves out as mercenaries, always seeking the most dangerous places to test their mettle. The Magnimar Navy has bases in Fort Indros, the Wyrmwatch, and Outcast Fishery. Its focus lies outwards, guarding Outcast’s Cove and the waters of the Varisian Gulf.
Magnimar lays claim to a wide swathe of territory in western Varisia, and many smaller Chelish settlements have aligned themselves with the City of Monuments. Below is a brief overview of its major holdings.
- Galduria: this town survives by transporting raw goods and supplies across Ember Lake, but its real claim to fame is the Twilight Academy.
- Nybor: One of the most racially progressive cities in Varisia
- Ravenmoor: A quiet settlement, its residents prove highly distrustful of visitors
- Sandpoint: A small but bustling town on the Lost Coast.
- Turtleback Ferry: A relatively quiet frontier hamlet located on the banks of the Skull River in central Varisia, watched over by rangers of the Order of the Black Arrows.
- Wartle: Fur trapping and trade flourish despite the morass that surrounds this isolated town.
- Wolf’s Ear: Once a quiet haven lycanthropes and outcast humanoids of all kinds, Magnimar drove out the lycanthropic residents when it annexed the town.