Code/Switch – Hotel Varisia

Hi, my name is James and welcome to Code/Switch, today I want to talk about geography. I know it’s not a sexy topic like history or math, but I find it important nonetheless, especially when it comes to my RPGs. Today, I’m going to messily calculate the size of a nation on Golarion and compare it to some real life places. Whenever you’re talking about Pathfinder and its Golarion setting, you have to start in Varisia, and so that’s what I’ll be measuring.


To start with I just want to discuss how you measure a country, with all their bendy, windy borders it must be a nightmare, right? Yes, it is. In fact, places that use geographic measurements tend to be harder to measure, as the closer you look at those natural boundaries, the larger they become, sort of life how your intestines are coiled tightly in your body, but are actually very long. For coastlines there’s actually a name for this phenomenon, the Coastline Paradox.

Sorry for the gross comparison, we just finished interviewing Lou Agresta about Grimmerspace. Enjoy some art from their kickstarter!

For Varisia, I’m going to use a map and guess. I’m using this map made by John Mechalas and Garrett Guillotte as my reference, because it’s zoom-able and clean. I’m going to use the mile markers and just chuck them around until I have a roughly Varisian shaped rectangle, then I’m going to use my 6th grade geometry (L x W = Area) formula to determine the square footage. Yes, it’s not exact, and probably doesn’t measure usable land, but it does come pretty close to the actual borders.


MS Paint and its power still live within me.

Using this gross map we see Varisia is roughly 600 miles long, and 300 miles tall. When you multiply them together you end up with Varisia having about 180,000 square miles of area (give or take 10-15% if you count water or not). Using this, we can find that Varisia has an area 10% larger than the US state of California and if you want to get international, it’s about 4% larger than Sweden, which would make Varisia the 53rd largest country on Earth if it were magically transported. Man, no wonder everything seems to happen here, the place is giant and always on fire, just like California.

Any questions about Golarion geography? Feel free to come and ask at our KD Discord server where you can chat with the rest of the KD Crew if that’s your jam.

James Ballod

James blossomed into geekdom like a piranha plant in the crack of a sidewalk. Watered by the muscle-brained lore of Warhammer 40,000 and nurtured in the rough bosom of World of Warcraft, tabletop RPGs came late in life to James. The rich lore and real-world influences in games like Pathfinder inspire James to explore them from every angle. When not being an annoying anime-fanboy he can be found discussing the history of various cuisines and over-analyzing real world influences in works of fiction.

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