Rise of the Runelords
Humans are currently the dominant race in the world. Their empires and nations are vast, sprawling things. Humans carve names for themselves with the strength of their sword arms and the power of their spells. Physically, humans range from dark to pale, thin to fat, and tall to short, in any combination. Humans are known for their flexibility, ingenuity, and ambition, and they tend to be accepting of both dwarves and elves. Humans have a wide range of gods and religions. Ambition drives countless humans to adventure, whether for wealth, acclaim, social status, arcane knowledge, or just the thrill of danger. Human names have countless variations based on culture, history, and heroes.
Varisians and Shoanti are the native people of Varisia, but while they are not enemies, neither are they particularly close. The bulk of humans living in Varisia’s settled lands are of Chelish heritage, and cling to or shun the ways of that nation as their home cities’ philosophies dictate.
The Shoanti live harsh lives guided by pride and tradition. Once the Shoanti considered all of Varisia their territory, but after years of war with encroaching Chelaxians, the tribes found themselves pushed into the northern reaches of the country. Now the Shoanti roam the Storval Plateau and surrounding areas, divided into seven quahs (“clans”). It is not an easy life, but the Shoanti take pride in having the tenacity and skill to live amid such harsh lands as the Cinderlands, where many other races would falter and die. Most Shoanti are humans, but occasionally a tribe adopts a member of another race. The Shoanti despise ethnic Chelaxians, half-orcs, and orcs; such individuals have never been seen in any of the tribes. Their difficult way of life requires the Shoanti to be hardy, physically powerful people, and they excel at survival and combat. Shoanti tribes possess many traditions handed down from their ancestors, and their lives are guided by countless rituals and superstitions. The Shoanti sometimes find it difficult to preserve their cultural beliefs in the face of the wars and hardships they constantly face, but they consider the loss of their traditions a more devastating fate than the extinction of their race.
Characters of the Shoanti ethnicity have access to the following two race traits.
Shoanti Steed: Your nomadic culture gives you a profound knowledge of and respect for the horses that roam your homelands. You begin play with a combat trained light horse (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 177). While riding this horse bareback, you are treated as though you were riding it with a riding saddle (placing any actual saddle upon the horse negates this benefit). The horse can fend for itself outside of settlements in all but the most hostile environments. If whistled for outside of a community, the horse typically arrives within 1d6 minutes. If your horse is slain, you may receive a new horse by returning to your clan and performing a vigil for its spirit (a rite that costs 100 gp in rare herbs and incense).
Shoanti Tattoo: Upon reaching adulthood, you received a tribal tattoo, marking you with the symbols of your quah and totem spirits (see the inside back cover for suggestions and designs for Shoanti tattoos). You gain a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against fear effects. Additionally, you are proficient with earth breakers, klars, and Shoanti bolas.
Varisians, the native residents of Varisia, are a free-spirited people who know numerous secrets of their beautiful homeland. For many Varisians, the world is a wondrous place full of potential, and they want to see as much as they can. As travelers, most Varisians possess piecemeal knowledge on varied subjects, picked up from roadside conversations and tales passed down from their elders. Among such eclectic expertise is a tradition of fortune-telling. Varisian fortune-telling cards, called harrow decks, are well known throughout Golarion, and many people pay to have their cards read in a harrowing. Varisians love music and dance, and often perform for money when they are allowed within a community. Like the Shoanti they share their homeland with, Varisians have a tradition of wearing elaborate tattoos. Their imagery employs shapes suggestive of winged creatures, naturalistic images, and lengthy lines of mystical symbols—the meanings of which are known only to their people. Some Varisians do settle down and form settlements or inhabit districts in larger cities. Sadly, Varisia’s largest cities— Korvosa and, to a lesser extent, Magnimar—were both formed by Chelish settlers, leading many residents to treat Varisians like second-class citizens. Yet Varisians’ ill reputation is not entirely undue. Among their varied people are the Sczarni clans, criminal families that specialize in con artistry and illegal activities. Despite their criminal proclivities, Sczarni are still Varisians, and cleave to their people’s bold natures, free-spirited ways, and devotion to family.
Characters of the Varisian ethnicity have access to the following two race traits.
Harrow Chosen: All your life you’ve been drawn to the mysteries surrounding your family’s harrow deck. You begin play with your family’s heirloom harrow deck. If you use this specific harrow deck as an additional focus component when you cast a divination spell, your caster level is treated as being 2 levels higher. Additionally, twice per week, you can spend 10 minutes consulting this harrow deck on a particular action to gain the effects of the spell augury as a spellcaster of your character level. No one other than you gains these benefits from this harrow deck. If your harrow deck is destroyed, it cannot be replaced. However, by returning to your family, paying 300 gp on materials, and spending 1 week immersed in the songs and stories of your people, you can create a new harrow deck that grants half the benefits of the lost heirloom.
Varisian Tattoo: You bear the elaborate tattoos of your people, marking you as a free son or daughter of the road. You gain a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against charm and compulsion effects. Additionally, you are proficient with bladed scarves and starknives.