The Onyx Throne
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.
Though witches are feared and mistrusted by cultures throughout the entire world, caravans headed out of Varisia find witches a bit less threatening than do those from other nations, so ingrained in Varisian culture is the narrative of the traveling fortune-teller. In the regions near Irrisen, however, where tales of the White Witches haunt peoples’ dreams, witches are an unwelcome sight, and thus many practitioners find little reason to stay. Their eerie skills remain potent in times of dire strain, and their addition to the party could prove to be a boon in situations that require the powers of the divine. Recommendations: Witches of all backgrounds will find travel to faraway realms populated by cautious individuals difficult, but not impossible. Small mammalian familiars such as foxes and wolves will fit in best, while patrons such as Animals, Endurance, or Wisdom may grant a witch a particular edge during travel. Suggested skills include Heal, Knowledge (nature), and Spellcraft.
Varisia is often a proving ground for wandering magi seeking to practice both the art of magic and melee, but their training often requires constant movement and change of pace, and the trail to a distant land offers plenty of both. While most magi hail from more easterly regions, the fortune-tellers and traveling magic-wielders of Varisia nonetheless tempt nomadic magi, who will stop in numerous cities of the region in order to glean what useful lore and techniques they can from the locals before moving on once again. The lure of lands rife with entirely different styles of fighting and magic is irresistible, and magi, who seek to be experts in both, should find traveling with a caravan of equally adventurous voyagers to their liking. Recommendations: Magi of all sorts will be useful in this Adventure Path, as both swordplay and sorcery will be pivotal skills to have while making the epic voyage. Suggested skills include Climb, Knowledge (arcana), and Use Magic Device.
Forever seeking oddities and rare materials to brew into concoctions as eccentric as their own selves, alchemists regard travel as a prime opportunity to obtain rare chemicals and ingredients for their concoctions. North of Varisia, however, the lands become more perilous and less rewarding for dedicated herbalists, as the frosty winds generally kill any plants that may have been useful in brewing new potables. Recommendations: Alchemists, being the varied and versatile party members they are, will find themselves useful most of the time during the journey in this Adventure Path, but this class may prove to be a challenging one to play for the first couple adventures. Suggested skills for alchemists include Knowledge (nature), Spellcraft, and Survival.
Honorable and dedicated cavaliers might have any number of reasons to join a caravan’s expedition, and their dedication to their group of fellow adventurers proves a boon in this formidable voyage. Particularly brave (or simply bullheaded) cavaliers from other lands visit Varisia in order to build their fame and win great renown, only to realize their ambition would be better received in even more distant lands. Cavaliers are always looking for more followers for their cause, and recruiting an entire caravan can be seen as only the beginning to an entire journey teeming with potential converts. More solitary individuals who don’t necessarily seek the assistance of others may view the voyage to distant nations as a personal challenge with no reward save for the personal satisfaction of having accomplished such an epic journey. Recommendations: Cavaliers belonging to the Order of the Dragon or the Order of the Shield would be the most cohesive members of a tight-knit band traveling northward, and their powers to aid allies in combat would be a valuable asset in the frigid and dangerous regions of the north. Suggested skills include Bluff, Diplomacy, Ride, and Sense Motive.
No Gunglinger classes allowed. Firearms do not play a role in this campaign.
Ruthless pursuers of justice from the Inner Sea region often desire to make their way to distant lands in order to hunt down heretics and blasphemers, regardless of how even their closest party members regard their zealous attitude. Inquisitors are often welcome either way because they possess skills that prove extremely useful when encountering those who would seek to dismantle a caravan. The steadfast and morale-boosting resolve of a sure-minded inquisitor is a valuable asset to a party that is often hard-pressed to cooperate, especially in times when unrest is high. Recommendations: Inquisitors whose focus is on maintaining the bonds of teamwork will be well received in a group of close-knit travelers such as a caravan. While their zealous and sometimes downright paranoid demeanors may not be as welcome during times of dire strain among allies, inquisitors’ many talents will nonetheless prove useful in most circumstances. Suggested skills include Diplomacy, Knowledge (nature), and Survival.
Oracles, ever in tune with a mysterious “other” that most can hardly fathom, sometimes hear the call to travel which they can only heed obediently. In Varisia, where fortune-tellers and harrowers are not only accepted but embraced by believers, oracles are also accepted with open arms, their talents in reading messages of a divine nature a boon to many travelers. Varisia is ever the home to the wayward or misunderstood magic-user, including many oracles. Most such oracles hail from the barbaric areas of the Storval Plateau and Kodar Mountains. Many more oracles hail from the Hold of Belkzen, where they sometimes act as enslaved humanoid shamans to tribes of orcs. While traveling across the world may not appeal to many oracles for its own sake, the prospect of hidden knowledge and untapped sources of power in a foreign realm are powerful draws. Recommendations: Oracles of all types will be useful in this Adventure Path, but those with certain curses, such as clouded vision and haunted, will have an easier time dealing with their hindrances. All mysteries are good choices, but common ones include Battle, Nature, or Wind. Suggested skills include Heal, Sense Motive, and Spellcraft.
No Summoner classes allowed
No Antipaladin classes allowed yet, evil alignments are being worked out.