Curse of the Crimson Throne
Varisia’s most notorious city, Kaer Maga perches atop one of the highest parts of the Storval Rise, overlooking the verdant lands to the south. The city is built into the ruins of an immense, mysterious fortress that predates Thassilon, and its denizens enjoy anarchy in its purest form. All manner of strange factions hold court in Kaer Maga’s halls, from the bloodthirsty bloatmages to the militant monks of the Brothers of the Seal and the grisly augurs—troll soothsayers who use their own entrails to prophesize with questionable accuracy.
In the outcast city, also known as the Asylum Stone, your business is your own, and no ware is too dangerous or taboo to find a buyer. Within the walls of the ancient, ruined fortress, refugees and criminals from every nation disappear into the swirling crowds of gangs and monsters. Beneath the streets are mysterious dungeons where fearsome beasts are held at bay by the elite rangers known as the Duskwardens.
THE CITY AT A GLANCE
Kaer Maga is divided into 11 districts. Most of the districts lie inside the massive, hollow stone ring of the city walls, which are honeycombed with different levels and in places open up into cavernous spaces holding entire neighborhoods that never see the sun. These enclosed regions are called the Ring districts. The three districts in the city’s open center, called the Core, are much more defined, and viewed by most of the gangs as neutral territory, lest their squabbling upset the merchants who are the city’s lifeblood.
The following districts exist inside the city’s stone wall.
Ankar-Te: The most diverse collection of foreigners in a city based on immigration, Ankar-Te is a hodgepodge of cultures and the only district in Kaer Maga that allows undead to walk the streets unmonitored.
Bis: The fabled ledge-manors known as the Balconies of Bis climb the walls of this immense chamber like cliff dwellings, ruled fairly but severely by a family of brilliant golem-crafters.
The Bottoms: This cliff-side district is the home of the escaped slaves and abolitionist revolutionaries known as the Freemen, whose riotous celebration of democracy is matched only by the ferocity with which they defend it.
Cavalcade: The industrial heart of Kaer Maga, Cavalcade houses mills and smithies that are frequently powered by the countless streams and aqueducts that run through it.
Highside Stacks: The richest and most powerful members of Kaer Maga exist not within the city but rather above it, making their homes in posh towers so large and accommodating that many of their residents never set foot on the ground.
Oriat: This district is the most colorful of them all, renowned for its theaters, music, nightlife, bardic college, youthful exuberance—and the sectarian warfare that regularly claims the lives of its citizens.
Tarheel Promenade: Home of the powerful Arcanists’ Circle, Tarheel Promenade is one of the best markets in all Varisia for items of a magical nature.
The Warren: Razed long ago by unknown forces, this broken section of the Ring has grown into a ramshackle shantytown seven stories tall and is home to the city’s poorest residents.
The following districts lie in the city’s open-air center.
Downmarket: A constantly shifting bazaar of tents and stalls, Downmarket is Kaer Maga’s primary commercial district, where foreign caravans meet to trade with locals and each other.
Hospice: No city is complete without a hospitality district, and Kaer Maga’s is among the best. Hospice offers the best and worst accommodations a visitor could ask for, as well any sort of licentious entertainment he might desire—and some he’ll wish he could forget.
Widdershins: An island of sanity in a city of chaos, Widdershins is a quiet, domestic neighborhood where everyone acts appropriately, lest their neighbors turn them over to the Constabulary for “readjustment.”
Though not truly part of the city, a vast network of natural and artificial chambers and tunnels lies underneath Kaer Maga, extending so deep into the cliff that its depths have never been charted. Locals refer to the whole system as “the Undercity” and avoid all but the topmost layers, which they use for storage, secret hideaways, and occasionally shelter, depending on the brotherhood of urban rangers known as the Duskwardens to seal off any further passages and protect them from the bizarre abominations that occasionally rise from the depths. In truth, however, these deeper chambers—abandoned workshops and prison cells, lost cities and pocket dimensions left over from the world’s creation—hold far more than those living above them could imagine and still occasionally draw brave and foolhardy adventurers seeking to make names for themselves.