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Kaer Maga

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Kaer Maga
The city of Kaer Maga

The Asylum Stone
City on the Cliff
The Hex
City of Strangers
Small city
5,500 humans, 500 halflings, 400 dwarves, 400 aiuvarins, 400 half-orcs, 200 gnomes, 100 elves, 100 orcs, 75 trolls, 50 centaurs, 50 goblins, 50 nagas, 175 others
Kaer Magans1
Kaer Magan1

Standing atop one of the highest spots of the Storval Rise, the cliff-top city of Kaer Maga2 (pronounced kare MAH-gah)3 is built inside the ruins of an ancient fortress: a six-sided ring of 80-foot-high seamless stone, stretching more than a half mile in diameter and topped with towers of every shape and design.4 Also known as the Asylum Stone, Kaer Maga has served as a refuge for exiles, misfits, and ne'er-do-wells fleeing persecution and prosecution for thousands of years, and is known throughout Golarion as a place where anyone can fit in, and where anything can be bought and sold.156


The stone ring of Kaer Maga is incredibly ancient. It even predates the Empire of Thassilon; the ring was discovered by Kaladurnae, the first runelord of greed, during his first survey of his new kingdom of Shalast.

At that time the ring was inhabited by the mysterious creatures not found anywhere else. Kaladurnae named them the caulborn, and entered into an alliance with them. He supplied them with intelligent creatures on which they could "feed", and the caulborn supplied him with prophetic visions of the future. The caulborn told Kaladurnae that the city was called Kaer Maga—a name which predated even them.

Kaladurnae populated the city with criminals, dissidents and any others he could readily spare. The population grew as new citizens were born in the city, and Kaladurnae decided to use vampires to police the ever-increasing population. Guided by the caulborn's prophecies, Shalast prospered.

The caulborn correctly predicted the arrival of the Starstone, and retreated beneath the city with some of the guards and prisoners. They did not bother to warn the incumbent runelord of greed, the archmage Karzoug, of the impending disaster.

The fall of the Starstone broke the city's wards, allowing the inhabitants to come and go as they pleased. They somehow weathered the Age of Darkness, and the city gained a reputation for self-sufficiency and a willingness to accept all who came to the city seeking sanctuary.

Today, the city survives mainly on trade, as the surrounding lands are largely unsuited to agriculture. Its reputation for accepting all comers has resulted in an extremely cosmopolitan population, and the tradition of self-sufficiency has translated into an unwillingness to accept any central authority over the city as a whole.7

Conflict with Korvosa

The rulers of Korvosa became aware of the presence of Kaer Maga soon after the younger city's founding at the beginning of the 45th century AR. The rigid Chelaxians took an instant dislike to the anarchic City of Strangers, and tensions ran high between them for nearly 200 years. The simmering conflict finally boiled over when King Chadris of Korvosa launched a siege with an entire regent of Korvosan Guards in 4663 AR. The fighting continued for over two months and lead to the death of 117 guardsmen and the signing of the Treaty of Sirathu. In it, the leaders of Kaer Maga gave up any claim to territories below the Storval Rise. The treaty has held for the last few decades, and although tensions between the two settlements still exist, so does considerable trade (especially of illicit goods).8


See also: Category:Kaer Maga/Inhabitants

Though an anarchic "civilization", a loose consortium of groups, gangs, and families rule the people of Kaer Maga. The entire city is a melting pot of citizens from all cultures, such as the Ardoc family of Bis; the Brothers of the Seal, who are ready to kill each other over whether they should open the great portal they guard somewhere deep in the caverns beneath; the gently whistling Sweettalkers of Tian, with their lips sewn shut to keep them from uttering the true name of their god; the Augurs, troll seers who predict the future by casting divinations with their own intestines; and the bloatmages, with the leeches that keep them alive attached to their bulging bodies.4

Kaer Maga is one of the main halfling settlements in the Inner Sea region; halflings are the second most populous race in the city. Kaer Maga is one of the places escaped halfling slaves find welcoming. Halflings often join the Freemen of the Bottoms or live in the Halfway Houses in the Warren.9

The city also has a sizeable population of mindless undead, sometimes referred to as the Twice-Born.10


Worship in Kaer Maga is as diverse as the population. Any sect or cult willing to accept the city's "live and let live" philosophy is tolerated here. The most notable religions are described below.

The most popular faiths are those of Abadar and Asmodeus, as they both believe in the sanctity of contracts and the importance of meeting obligations—vital in an otherwise anarchic city that nevertheless relies heavily on trade. Both faiths in the city emphasis order and are much less concerned with ethics—something which can attract the ire of clerics from outside the city, who see this as unduly neglecting key elements of faith.

Calistria's sacred prostitutes can be found in the red light districts and especially in the Hospice section of the city, but the clergy stay out of the city's politics.

Worship of Cayden Cailean is common amongst the city's lower classes, and in the Bottoms in particular. The clergy is heavily associated with the Freemen, making them unwelcome with the slave traders. However, the religion is also popular amongst the local mercenaries, which discourages others from taking action against it.

The city's arcanists tend to worship Nethys. The faith's tendency to see all sides of an issue also gives it an advantage in Kaer Maga's constantly shifting political scene.

Worship of Pharasma is centred in the Godsmouth Ossuary in the Bottoms district. The bards of the Lyceum tend to revere Shelyn. Clerics of Shelyn also keep an eye on some of the more extreme establishments in the Hospice, to ensure they are not moved to the sado-masochistic faith of Zon-Kuthon. Worship of Urgathoa is common amongst the necromancers of Ankar-Te, and is particularly popular amongst the city's small leper population.

Two religions which are not welcome in Kaer Maga are the faiths of Sarenrae and Iomedae, as they are generally viewed as troublemakers. Worshippers are ostracised everywhere apart from the Bottoms.11


The city is divided into 11 districts. Eight of them are contained within the hollow stone ring, and are known collectively as the Ring districts. The other 3 are in the city's open central area, and are known as the Core districts.

There is also a great network of underground tunnels and chambers known as the Undercity.1

A rough map of Kaer Maga

Ring districts

Core districts

  • Downmarket, the city's main commercial district
  • Hospice, the hospitality district
  • Widdershins, a quiet neighbourhood where everyone acts correctly—or else!12

Places of interest

See also: Category:Kaer Maga/Locations


Most of Kaer Maga's trade is in the exotic, or items which are illegal elsewhere, since basic items are produced more efficiently and cheaply in one of Varisia's other cities. The city does not attract passing trade, as it is not on a trade route to anywhere else, but is a destination in its own right.

One of the city's main imports is grain from the lowlands around Korvosa. Goods travel by ship to Palin's Cove, then head north by caravan to the Yondabakari River. It then travels by barge to Kaer Maga. The alternative route, is to travel by ship to Magnimar and then by barge along the river for the rest of the journey. This route is much longer, but removes the need for an overland stage.

When the river reaches the Storval Rise, merchants can either blaze their own trail up the dangerous river gorge, or pay the Duskwardens in order to use the more efficient Halflight Path.

Caravans arriving from the north, for instance from Riddleport have the option of reaching the Storval Plateau via the Storval Stairs, but that route then requires many days of travel through the hostile Cinderlands. 14


Kaer Maga is the subject of the Pathfinder Chronicles sourcebook City of Strangers.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 James L. Sutter. “Introduction” in City of Strangers, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2010
  2. A large poster map of the city can be found in the Shattered Star Poster Map Folio
  3. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 James L. Sutter, et al. Seven Swords of Sin, 29–31. Paizo Inc., 2007
  5. F. Wesley Schneider, et al. Kaer Maga” in Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, 25. Paizo Inc., 2012
  6. Adam Daigle & James L. Sutter. Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Player's Guide, 9. Paizo Inc., 2012
  7. James L. Sutter. “Introduction” in City of Strangers, 3–4. Paizo Inc., 2010
  8. Mike McArtor. “Chapter 2: Places” in Guide to Korvosa, 7. Paizo Inc., 2008
  9. Hal Maclean & Amber E. Scott. “Halfling Culture” in Halflings of Golarion, 15. Paizo Inc., 2011
  10. James L. Sutter. “The City” in City of Strangers, 8. Paizo Inc., 2010
  11. James L. Sutter. “The People” in City of Strangers, 36–38. Paizo Inc., 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 James L. Sutter. “Introduction” in City of Strangers, 5. Paizo Inc., 2010
  13. James L. Sutter. Pathfinder's Journal” in The Hook Mountain Massacre, 73. Paizo Inc., 2007
  14. James L. Sutter. “The People” in City of Strangers, 36. Paizo Inc., 2010