- The emperor of Garlemald is militant, cold, and stoic, yet determined and charismatic. Varis believes his actions are just as he is willing to kill all beastmen to remove primals from the realm. He follows a "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" creed, stating that the condition of Eorzea and its people are of little consequence to the fate of the entire world in the quest to remove or bind eikons.
- Varis has little to no love for his family, spitting on the coffin of his uncle after ousting him from the throne. He recognizes his son Zenos for the monster he was and does not mourn his supposed death. How he felt about his grandfather, Emperor Solus and founder of the Garlean Empire, is unknown, but it is likely Varis at least respected him.
- Unlike the previous emperor, Varis has no true desire to rule over Eorzea or other continents and only wished to destroy the eikons that threatened them, so much so that he is willing to ally with his grandfather's enemies to accomplish it, though the matters of light and darkness are a cause of much doubt. He ultimately believes that man should be the master of their own destiny, despising the Ascians and their penchant for controlling others.
- Varis zos Galvus is revealed as the new emperor of Garlemald during a meeting of the Eorzean Alliance, having settled the succession crisis following the death of Solus zos Galvus. He had been contesting the throne with his uncle, the eldest son of Emperor Solus. Being a High Legatus and therefore with military prowess, Varis ousted his rival and crowned himself emperor. Since he was opposed to Project Meteor, the Alliance leaders worry about another Garlean invasion into Eorzea under the new emperor.
- During the Main Scenario quests added in Dreams of Ice, it is revealed Varis had planted a mole in the Eorzean Alliance back when the Grand Companies were reinstated, known as "the Ivy." The spy is Flame Marshal Eline Roaille, the second-in-command of the Immortal Flames. Uncovering the Ivy's spy network reveals she had been a double agent for other parties, such as Ul'dahn Monetarists and Ishgardian heretics.
- Varis along with his favored Legatus, Regula van Hydrus of the VIth Imperial Legion, interrogate the Zundu Vanu Vanu of Ok'Gundu in the Sea of Clouds while pursuing Archbishop Thordan VII. Varis acknowledges the Warrior of Light's reputation as a "nuisance," and claims to be seeking a means to stop the primals, albeit with different means as he is willing to kill the Zundu though they had no role in Bismarck's summoning. Lucia intervenes with her magitek armor and Varis leaves on his dreadnaught, the Gration, promising the Warrior of Light that they will meet again.
- After the defeat of the Garlean forces in Ala Mhigo, Varis remarks "it's over" as Elidibus appears behind him. When the Ascian offers his condolences regarding the death of his son, Varis brushes him off, saying that Zenos was never fit for the throne. He adds that there's no place for "shadowless charlatans" teaching savages to summon their false gods. Elidibus assures he won't stop Varis from going after the Black Ascians, though Varis remains skeptical of what mortal life will mean after the final Rejoining. Evading his query, the white Ascian unmasks himself and his appearance shocks and outrages Varis.
- Varis decides to broker peace with Doma, sending Asahi sas Brutus of the Populares faction as ambassador to speak with his voice, offering a prisoner exchange as a sign of goodwill. Unbeknownst to him, his newly revived son Zenos and Asahi sas Brutus conspired against him and the treaty nearly fails. With the Warrior of Light's success and Asahi's carelessness the conditions remain valid with the exchange going through. Varis confronts Zenos on the matter, but the latter assures that everything that's happened is according to plan, stating that it's for the fate of the world.
- Later, "Zenos" brings word that the Populares have been dealt with and instructs Varis to bring down the might of the Empire down on Ala Mhigo. Varis however, remains very much in doubt and hesitates to act. Elidibus states that he had taken over Zenos' body for both his incredible physical prowess and to better sow the seeds of chaos within the Empire and warns him that he cannot hesitate and wait for much longer as their enemies shore up their defenses in preparation for a possible invasion. At that moment, another figure appears from behind the throne, revealing himself to be none other than Solus zos Galvus himself, restored and in his prime as a much younger Garlean. He proceeds to chastise Varis for his indecisiveness to act, reminding him that the Empire was created by the Ascians for the sole purpose of causing discord, conquest serving as an adequate way to spurn conflict and chaos, all to preserve the state of the world. Varis, becoming increasingly furious with the former emperor, shoots him, retorting that man is the master of their own destiny. Another Solus appears, casually sitting to the side and scoffing at his proclamation before walking away, reminding him that he's merely doing his duty, as should he.