Legacy of Jade
Races and Classes
Considering the air of mystery surrounding much of Tian Xia , it should be no surprise that individuals of all races and ethnic backgrounds voyage from the comfortable lands of Varisia to the Dragon Empires.
The Lands of the Linnorm Kings, sparsely inhabited as they are, nonetheless stand as direct gateways between Varisia and the Crown of the World. Because of this, dwarves are no strangers to the idea of making perilous journeys, familiar as they are with travelers making their way through the unforgiving lands. Copper is one of the most prevalent trade goods to come out of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, drawn out of the vast mine in Kopparberget. The metal is often shipped south to Varisia, where it is refined in the vast halls of Janderhoff before being traded to traveling merchant caravans. Dwarven mercenaries and warriors are often hired as caravan guards for traders headed either south to Varisia or across the snowy mountains of the north. This life of traveling may inspire dwarves prone to wanderlust, and the hardy members of this race are particularly suited to the hardships of caravan travel.
To outlanders, elves may seem content to live their long lives out in quiet contemplation and relaxation, but in fact many elves grow tired of long stays in one region. This truth, plus their innate attraction to the supernatural, sometimes draws them to distant lands. Elves abound in the Mierani Forest in Varisia, though many are disheartened by their inability to reclaim the ancient elven city of Celwynvian and may seek to escape the land that reminds them of what they lost. Those unfortunate Forlorn within Varisia may seek refuge from their own lives of sadness by joining a caravan on its way to distant lands and thus removing themselves from surroundings that have grown too intimate and allowing a glimmer of hope into their otherwise drab existences. With their affinity for nature and its sometimes mysterious inner workings, elves are highly sought by traders and other caravan leaders to keep an eye out for anything seemingly unnatural or out of place on the often overgrown and rugged trade routes north of Varisia.
With their love of the wondrous and their unceasing desire to take in all that there is to be experienced, gnomes have a great many reasons to join a caravan on its way to distant lands. While many gnomes call Varisia their home—whether speaking of the vivacious and colorful woods of Sanos Forest or the comfortable cottage homes of Whistledown—the comforts of a fairly developed nation such as Varisia can begin to feel stif ling to adventurous gnomes, and joining a caravan to trek to colorful (and perhaps a tad treacherous) foreign lands is an excellent way to relieve such tension. Varisia is home to its own amazing sights, but the life of a caravan member is truly unparalleled for wandering-prone gnomes, whose appreciation for new experiences will aid them well in a lengthy and perilous journey.
Half-elves are rare in the Inner Sea, and Varisia is no exception. The close proximity of elven and human settlements creates much intermingling between the two races, but few trysts last long enough to foster a half-elf child. Nonetheless, the few half-elves who do dwell within Varisia tend to gravitate toward the larger cities on the coasts, where they are more readily accepted and can interact with numerous people while not getting too attached to any particular family. Half-elves are prone to traveling in order to seek out a place where they can be truly happy and fit in. With their sharp wits and love of adventure, half-elves are often recruited for caravans to act as scouts or to aid their traveling partners with their keen insight.
Shunned and despised in most lands as monstrosities, half-orcs find little refuge from this common hatred even in distant lands. Their goblinoid visages are considered disgusting and terrifying to communities around the world. Nonetheless, half-orcs are always esteemed for their brute strength and raw power, and are often sought as caravan guards by traders venturing from the Inner Sea. In Varisia, half-orcs are most commonly found in the lawless city of Urglin, where they fight daily to retain some sense of control over their tormented existences. The prospect of traveling away from their homeland— which serves as a constant reminder of their unfortunate origins—is often motive enough for half-orcs to join a caravan headed toward foreign nations.
Half lings are prone to traveling, finding comfort in making their unique qualities useful to travelers and forging their way as best they can in the human-run trade settlements of Varisia. Half lings with f lexible moral compasses can easily find a way to exploit the otherwise honest machinations of trade along the routes from Varisia to other nations, bringing illicit goods with them to peddle on the side; more honorable individuals, however, may instead use their skills to ward off would-be swindlers and bandits they might encounter on the road. Half lings from communities such as Baslwief can make a tidy profit trading their mined ores to other parts of Varisia or lands to the north. Caravans often find half lings particularly useful in roles such as cooks, scouts and messengers, and thus seek to hire such talented individuals.
Making up the bulk of Varisian society, humans come from all over the Inner Sea region to the wild frontier. Whether they be honest artisans, mysterious fortune-tellers, or stalwart adventurers, humans always have a place within Varisia, and f lock to settlements both large and small. Popular societies include the trade-haven of Magnimar, as well as the quiet (though often unfortunate) town of Sandpoint. The call to adventure is always there, and many who thought they could settle down find themselves once again on the road via caravan, a mode of transportation that promises excitement as well as profit. It was humans who forged or rediscovered many of the trade routes spanning Varisia and the other nations of the north, and the human drive to explore and expand across the continents of Golarion continues to spur adventurers toward traveling. Ever-curious and seeking to make their own way in the world, humans are almost instinctually attracted to the grand adventure of travel to foreign lands, tantalized and charmed as they are by magnificently crafted goods, mesmerizing cultural traditions, and the unfamiliar mannerisms of foreign peoples.
Characters of all classes can find reason to join a traveling caravan headed out of Varisia, but those whose skills and abilities are both viable and useful on a long and perilous trek will be best suited for the journey.
Barbaric warriors are common throughout areas of the Storval Plateau in eastern Varisia, and their brute strength and iron resolve are often welcome traits among traveling caravans. Shoanti and Kellid barbarians hailing from the northern reaches of Avistan are not strangers to the roads travelers and traders traverse, and such individuals can earn a substantial wage by escorting trade caravans and diplomats to faraway nations.
*Recommendations: * Barbarians of all makes might have reason to travel many miles away from Varisia, but those with the Mounted Fury archetype will have an easier time making the long voyage over mountains by horseback. Barbarians who make use of the Invulnerable Rager archetype and select invulnerability to cold climate effects for their Extreme Endurance ability will best withstand the harsh chill of the north. Suggested skills include Climb, Perception, and Survival.
Bards seeking to regale audiences and capture their hearts (or purses) with tales of epic journeys need look no further than a caravan voyage throughout and beyond the lands of Varisia. While Varisian culture is rich, its familiarity often gives rise to wanderlust in bards, who are welcome among caravan parties for their ability to boost morale and inspire courage during difficult times. Cunning Varisian bards who have overstayed their welcome in cities such as Riddleport and Magnimar may seek refuge in the distant lands to the north or even farther, and tribal bards hailing from hillier regions such as the Kodar Mountains and Storval Plateau are often privy to tales of the lands to the north, stoking their curiosity. Many other bards are motivated to take on long journeys by their desire to enlarge their repertoires and win renown.
Recommendations: Bards’ skill sets will prove useful in much of this Adventure Path, but certain abilities may aid bards during their journey more than others. While part of this Adventure Path involves a long overland journey, bards will still have numerous opportunities to interact with various and diverse elements of societies and cultures. Suggested skills include Acrobatics, Bluff, Linguistics, Stealth, and Use Magic Device.
Traveling clerics are already quite common among the Inner Sea region, and their presence is often considered a must by caravans who hope to live long enough to make it to their destinations. Varisian clerics tend to worship Desna, while natives of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings gravitate toward Gorum. Clerics of these deities, as well as those of other gods that seek to do good while maintaining the inherent balance of nature, will find their skills of utmost importance among a caravan. The perils of foreign poisons and ailments prove a constant threat to travelers, making clerics’ divine healing powers a valuable asset.
Recommendations: Clerics of all domains will be useful to the party, but certain specializations will likely be more useful than others, particularly those with healing and protective powers, or those who do combat against evil forces such as outsiders. Strong domain choices include the Good, Protective, and Travel domains, and useful subdomains include Exploration and Revolution. Suggested skills include Heal, Knowledge (nobility), and Sense Motive.
Most druids take to traveling easily, as they already exist on the outskirts of society. While the wilder areas of Varisia may entertain appreciators of nature for a time, the prospect of even stronger forces of nature often drives druids to travel. Caravans are usually composed of those with an affinity for the more natural ways of life, and druids tend to get along with these nomadic types who have chosen to shun civilization for a variety of reasons. Varisian druids dwelling in the Sanos Forest or the Kodar Mountains will often hear from other nomadic druids tales of the majestic kami that enchant the forests and hills of distant lands to the north. Stories of the treacherous oni, who would seek to defile nature, also reach druids’ ears, and these rumors instill a sense of righteousness within druids who seek to reprimand such foes.
Recommendations: Druids of all types will fare well in this Adventure Path, and those with the Arctic or Mountain archetypes will find their talents particularly suited to travel. Since a portion of this Adventure Path involves a long journey through cold terrain, choosing animal companions that can adapt to cold weather with ease is a good plan. Suggested skills include Knowledge (geography), Perception, and Survival.
Whether hired as caravan guards or mercenaries ordered to protect traveling diplomats, fighters are constantly traveling in and out of Varisia through its various trade routes. Self-motivated warriors may simply seek their fortune in the distant and magical lands beyond, where countless treasures and riches wait to be found in the untamed depths of the wilds. Fighters from all regions, including deserters of frost-ridden Irrisen as well as roving mercenaries of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings or Varisia, can find reason to leave the comforts of home behind and pursue the life of a vagabond.
Recommendations: Any breed of fighter will have his hands full, but should fare well in this Adventure Path. Strong choices for archetypes include Free Hand Fighter and Savage Warrior, and suggested skills include Handle Animal, Intimidate, and Survival.
Monks, always looking for the next step in their journey toward self-perfection, often seek out the company of a caravan, which allows them access to myriad experiences that will strengthen their resolve. Western Avistan is home to the many monasteries of Varisia as well as the island monasteries on the archipelagos of the Steaming Sea, and a pilgrimage to a far-off land in the company of a group of friends and strangers is a fairly common rite of passage to reach the next level within the hierarchy of the monastery.
Recommendations: No matter what discipline a monk follows, he will have an easy time making the long caravan voyage and working within a tight-knit group of travelers. Common archetypes include monk of the lotus, monk of the sacred mountain, and zen archer. Suggested skills for monks include Acrobatics, Perception, and Sense Motive.
Paladins are incredibly useful assets to a traveling caravan, whose passengers undergo attacks and trials that often call for the aid of an expert healer or banisher of evil. The various evil spirits that inhabit the route from Varisia northward prove much more manageable with the aid of a holy warrior. Paladins with wanderlust often take to the road in hopes of vanquishing evildoers during their journeys, and are almost always welcome among caravan groups.
Recommendations: Paladins who are willing to travel and lack strong ties to a particular locale will fare well during the long journey. Those who seek to right wrongs and honor ancestors will also fit well with this Adventure Path. A paladin should be prepared to stand on his own two feet in the middle of wastelands void of churches, however. Suggested skills include Diplomacy, Knowledge (nobility), and Sense Motive.
For those who heed the call of nature and wish to explore it, joining a caravan of traveling adventurers is a logical decision, and the frostbitten lands to the north are considered the ultimate challenge by diehard rangers. Rangers from all over Avistan can appreciate the tundra and the unique challenges it presents both to travelers passing through and to those trying to make their way living in it. Those from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and neighboring Irrisen understand the trials implicit in venturing through the unforgiving wilds, and make excellent guides for traveling caravans going through dangerous mountain passes. Sharp-eyed rangers are also often hired as scouts to inform the caravan leader of threats such as foreign monsters and hazardous terrain up ahead.
Recommendations: Excellent favored enemy choices for rangers playing in the Jade Regent Adventure Path include animal, humanoid (human), outsider (evil), outsider (native), and undead. For favored terrains, good choices include cold, forest, mountain, and urban. Suitable archetypes include guide, shapeshifter, and spirit ranger, and suggested skills include Knowledge (geography), Perception, and Survival.
Rogues are always drawn to rumors of distant lands, especially those that allude to riches and wonders unattainable in local places. The prospect of such treasures is often enough to tempt rogues from all over northern Avistan to venture with a caravan to foreign lands. Even the most obscure rumor spoken in the right tavern in Varisia’s Riddleport can pique the interest of pirates or thieves. If ever on the run from authorities or others who seek to make rogues pay for their misdeeds, there are few places that offer better protection than a wandering caravan, ever on the move and out of sight of the law.
Recommendations: Rogues of all varieties will be of great use to a caravan of adventurers, and those seeking wealth need no better reason to join an expedition than the promise of untold riches. Common rogue archetypes that would be particularly helpful in the trek out of Varisia are the acrobat, burglar, and scout, while useful skills to place ranks in include Knowledge (local), Sense Motive, and Stealth.
A relatively high proportion of the natives of Varisia and its neighboring nations possess the innate arcane abilities that classify them as sorcerers, and many might thus seek a change of pace from a land that has grown used to their wondrous powers. Some sorcerers— especially those hailing from settlements near Galduria, where the Twilight Academy focuses on the talents and teachings of more scholarly magic-users such as wizards and alchemists—find the idea of remaining still stif ling, and thus take extremely well to the prospect of traveling to faraway lands. Caravans always welcome the useful powers of sorcerers, whose talents make them suitable for any number of job positions within the caravan.
Recommendations: Any sorcerer would be a boon to an adventuring party making a long trek in a caravan, and certain archetypes that might be more inclined to make the journey include boreal and starsoul; skills that would be most beneficial to hone include Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft.
The ever-studious and often hermetic wizards of Varisia don’t usually travel far from their academies—such as the illustrious Twilight Academy in Galduria—but with the right amount of coaxing or promises of even more knowledge and potent magical items to be gained on the other side of the world, a few might be persuaded to make the journey. Ever in search of more knowledge that will help them unlock powers scarcely yet realized, wizards have many reasons to join a caravan of diverse individuals to trek to foreign realms.
Recommendations: Wizards, with their spells, scrolls, and various useful abilities, make a great addition to a traveling party such as the one established in this Adventure Path, and they will have no trouble fitting in with an eclectic group of travelers and putting their diverse skills to use. All schools of magic will work with equal effectiveness, though Abjuration and Enchantment are popular choices among those who don’t wish to be universalists. Some suggested skills are Knowledge (geography), Linguistics, and Spellcraft.