Varisians consider themselves the native race of the realm that shares their name. Wanderers and nomads, Varisians travel the land in caravans, stopping only to put on their shows. Some Varisians use their gregarious natures and dark good looks to swindle unfortunate marks; it is these few scalawags who give the Varisian people a bad name. Most other people respect the Varisians for their ancient traditions and vast knowledge but mistrust their motives.
Tales about Varisians circulate endlessly. To ordinary folk, the colorful travelers who never settle but f lit about like butterf lies over the land seem fascinating, but also just a little frightening. A traveler can sit down in any tavern in Golarion and overhear a story about the Varisians—how they never build towns or sow crops, how they live in the wagons that carry them over the land, how they sing and dance for money, how they dress in bright colors and cover their bodies with jewelry and intricate tattoos, and how a Varisian once robbed someone’s uncle’s wife’s brother’s best friend in an elaborate scam. Conventional wisdom holds that observers should view the beautiful, exotic Varisians from a distance, as if admiring a tiger prowling through the jungle.
Tales of Varisian treachery and deceit usually come from interactions with the Sczarni, a clan of Varisians dedicated to larceny and conf idence games. The Sczarni travel less frequently than their kin, setting up shop in cities for months—even years—at a time. So long as their criminal activities go undetected, Sczarni continue to bleed their victims until their pockets are full and neighbors grow suspicious. They then move on to the next town and start over. Varisians call the world their home.
Popular opinion holds that most Varisians are singers, storytellers, and thieves—rogues and bards, in other words. In truth, Varisians of all classes exist, although some appear more commonly than others. Many Varisians walk the path of the fighter, ranger, or sorcerer. Varisian clerics typically worship Ariadne, but many also pay homage to the Host, the mighty angels who serve Castiel. The latter usually cover their bodies with colorful tattoos of powerful humans and animals with great feathered wings.
Varisians favor scarves of all sizes and colors, but some hold special signif icance. Most notable is the family scarf, or kapenia. Children receive their kapenia upon maturity; to own one is to be an adult. These long, heavy scarves display elegant and complicated embroidery that is incomprehensible to most outsiders. To Varisians, though, the scarves show their family trees. By tracing the loops and whorls of a scarf, a Varisian can trace a person’s history back through her mother and father, her siblings, grandparents and great-grandparents, as far back as the family possesses knowledge.
Varisians wear their kapenia only on special occasions, such as weddings or funerals. Most choose to be buried with their kapenia, though some bequeath them to loved ones. It is extraordinarily rare for a Varisian to bequeath her kapenia to a non-Varisian, or even a Varisian not of her clan. Varisians wear sensible but colorful clothes during the workday. When performing, they dress in fancy gowns and heavily embroidered vests and trousers and wear excessive amounts of jewelry. Varisians believe that certain colors carry specific powers and choose their outf its to attract the right type of energy. Pink is the color of love, kindness, and courage. Red represents lust, long life, and inner strength. Orange is the color of happiness and resourcefulness, and adventuring Varisians often wear a touch of orange on their travels. Green enhances wisdom and self-control. Turquoise represents physical strength and nonverbal communication, and most dancing costumes feature it. Blue is the color of health, youth, and beauty. Violet enhances intuition and divine inspiration, so most fortunetellers and seers wear violet scarves.
Varisians love jewelry and favor gems over coins. Most Varisians pragmatically believe that worn wealth is harder to steal than wealth hidden out of sight in a tent or locked up in a box. Strangely enough, most Varisian druids are not true Varisians, but adopted members of the clans. Many druids come from outside Varisia to protect what they see as unspoiled wild land. These druids, nomads and wanderers with a fierce love of nature, empathize with the Varisian way of life and often travel with caravans. Over time, some find homes with their new families and use their wandering life to learn about and protect the wild areas of Varisia. Varisian wizards often serve as historians and record the legends of their families. Instead of studying in dusty libraries, they glean lore from old books and bits of knowledge traded for a song or a Harrow reading along the road. Varisian wizards often speak a handful of commonly used languages and know phrases from a dozen dead ones. Their spellbooks are collections of mismatched pages sewn into thick tomes and covered with runic scribblings.
Barbarians, monks, and paladins are rare among Varisians, while rogues and sorcerers are relatively common. Varisians have a saying: “First the seed, then the trunk, then the leaf in the breeze.” The seed refers to a bloodline or family history. The trunk refers to the elders in a clan who helped raise the current generation. The leaf in the breeze refers to the wandering Varisians, free to go where they please thanks to the strength of their elders and their
families. Varisians never brook insults to their ancestors or their clan leaders, and they appreciate this loyalty in others. Varisian adventurers are most likely to respond to pleas for assistance when a family’s unity is threatened, such as when a child is kidnapped or a poisoned grandfather requires a rare herbal cure.
Although their dedication to their families remains unswerving, Varisians do leave their caravans to adventure for many reasons. Some receive strange dreams or visions which lead them to wander apart from their clans. Others pursue the answer to a mysterious and disturbing Harrowing. A Varisian might fall out of favor with the clan and seek redemption, or she might feel betrayed by her family and leave in search of a new one. Although found everywhere, Varisians are most common in the region of Varisia. They speak Varisian.