Varisians (pronounced vah-RHIS-ee-ann) are a human ethnic group found primarily in the country of Varisia. That said, they are a nomadic people known to favor the open road over permanent settlements, and as such their caravans can be encountered throughout Golarion. Varisians are largely considered to be scoundrels and rogues, a reputation that is not entirely based on misconception; members of other races and ethnicities primarily know of these nomads from interactions with either traveling performers, harrow-readers, or the criminal Sczarni. However, despite outward appearances of frivolity, the Varisian people are fiercely loyal to family and friends, and embrace a rich culture steeped in history and tradition.
The Varisian people typically possess deep, olive-colored skin, and long, dark hair ranging in hue from black to auburn. They often garb themselves in brightly colored clothing; Varisians favor practical dress when completing daily tasks, but are more widely known for the elaborate, embroidered costumes they don during performances. Varisians prefer wealth in the form of gemstones and jewelry, rather than coins, and secure such valuables on their person whenever possible.
Varisians often bear intricate and meaningful tattoos on their bodies. These markings range in scope from those representing notable events in an individual's life, to runes and symbols charged with magical energies, and even mysterious birth tattoos, present from the day one first enters the world. Varisians are also fond of scarves of all types, and frequently use them to provide emphasis during performances. They also commonly use scarves in more specialized capacities; the bladed scarf serves as a favorite weapon when one must appear unarmed, and a Varisian's kapenia is an intricate record of his or her family tree.
Varisian wizards often serve as keepers of their people's history and lore. Such knowledge is typically gathered from numerous sources, compiled from stories and pieces of text gathered during a clan's travels, as well as insights gleaned from occasional art and writings that remain intact within Varisia's ruins.
Though now largely nomadic, the Varisian people believe that they originated in a land now devastated by some forgotten tragedy; some stories claim that the Varisian people were the rulers of this land, while others tell of an existence of servitude, but they all seem to agree that the event that brought this life to an end also heralded the beginning of their life as wanderers.
Varisians can be found traveling throughout Avistan, but are most prevalent in their ancient homeland of Varisia, in their adopted homeland of Ustalav, and in the human-dominated lands surrounding Lake Encarthan (i.e. Druma, Lastwall, Molthune, Nirmathas, and Razmiran).
The Varisian people have existed as a self-identified group for thousands of years, and have built of a massive trove of tales and customs that bind them together. These traits can be found in most Varisians, no matter where in the Inner Sea region they are found.
- Primary article: Varisian tattoos
Body adornment is common among Varisians, and many carry intricate tattoos as well. Most are chosen for sentimental or artistic reasons, but most often represent actual physical objects.
Culture of the open road
Varisians are a nomadic culture, rarely settling down for any length of time. They generally traverse Avistan in family groups or clans, either on foot or in their well-known brightly-colored wagons.
A kapenia is a family scarf, an intricate and colorful cloth that traces an individual's lineage throughout the generations. These scarves are prized possessions among the Varisian people, and only donned during special occasions. Kapenias are received when a young Varisian attains adulthood, and many individuals chose to be buried with their scarf. Alternatively, kapenias are sometimes bequeathed to loved ones upon the owner's death or, even more rarely, to someone outside the owner's clan.
Many stories tell of a mythical savior of the Varisian people known now only by his nickname: Vyush'baro, the Cunning Wolf. In a time known as the Golden Age, it is told that Varisians were slaves to a nation of devils for thousands of years. Vyush'baro is said to have drafted a masterful document which tricked the devils into freeing the Varisians. These devils hunted the Varisians after their exodus for countless generations, destroying them wherever they were found, but were never able to bring them back under their control. Some believe Vyush'baro to have been an angel or a servant of Desna, who will return one day to lead the Varisian people to a promised land.
Varisians generally have both a given and family name. They prefer intricate, multi-syllable names beginning and ending in vowels, or beginning with the letter "z". Common male first names include Ionacu, Eugeni, and Zandu. Common female first names are Esmerelda, Zeldana, and Alika. Names are often repeated through generations of the same family. Fake names may be used with strangers to avoid unwanted reputations.
- Primary Article: Sczarni
- ↑ Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 247. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 F. Wesley Schneider, Amber E. Scott, Tork Shaw, James L. Sutter, and Jerome Virnich. (2012). Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, p. 8. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-453-5
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 36-37. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- ↑ F. Wesley Schneider. (2007). Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide, p. 4. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-059-9
- ↑ F. Wesley Schneider. (2007). Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide, p. 11. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-059-9
- ↑ F. Wesley Schneider. (2007). Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide, p. 14. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-059-9
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Nicolas Logue. (2008). Edge of Anarchy. Edge of Anarchy, p. 62-69. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-088-9
- ↑ Amber Scott. (2008). People of the Road. Edge of Anarchy, p. 65. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-088-9