Rise of the Runelords

Notes from the game

Karzoug was the Runelord of Greed. While he was, himself, an Azlanti human, he was a powerful man indeed—said to be the most gifted manipulator of Transmutation magic in all of Thassilon, and to have lived for hundreds of years. He ruled a region called Shalast, part of the ancient empire of Thassilon, over 10,000 years ago.

Karzoug’s armies were composed primarily of giants who followed his every command—the giants were ruled by towering monsters known as rune giants, who were themselves runelord pawns. Karzoug counted other powerful creatures as his allies as well, such as blue dragons, eerie denizens from the nightmare realm of Leng, blooddrinking outsiders known as scarlet walkers, and immense lamia harridans who towered over most giants.

Karzoug focused his magic on the school of transmutation, magic associated in Thassilonian times with the virtue of wealth. Under his reign, though, this virtue of rule became more associated with the sin of greed. Among the runelords, his mastery of greed magic was uncontested, yet in the schools of illusion and enchantment (related to the sins of pride and lust), his skills had atrophied greatly. Many believed that weapons infused with illusion and enchantment magic, known as “dominant weapons,” would be particularly potent against Karzoug, yet no record of someone attacking the runelord with such a weapon exists within the library.

Karzoug warred with his neighbors, but none more so than Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath and ruler of Bakrakhan. Between their nations, along a ridge known as the Rasp, Karzoug built immense sentinel statues to watch over Bakrakhan, while Alaznist built towers called Hellfire Flumes to prevent Karzoug’s armies from invading. Citizens of both nations worried that the war between Karzoug and Alaznist would soon escalate to the point where they could bring about the end of the world.

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As Karzoug and Alaznist’s war intensified, and as wars between other runelords threatened more than just their armies, the runelords devised methods in which they could escape the world and enter a state of suspended animation, so they could ride out cataclysms. In theory, their surviving minions would then waken them to reclaim their empires once the cataclysms had ended.

Xin Shalast

Xin-Shalast is a legendary lost city, rumored to be hidden somewhere in the Kodar Mountains. Stories hold that Xin-Shalast had gold streets and gemstone buildings, and sat under the gaze of a mountain that could see.

Xin-Shalast was the capital city of an empire called Shalast, one of seven that composed the ancient empire of Thassilon. Legend holds that Xin-Shalast lay at the headwaters of the sacred River Avah—which Varisian folklore says leads to an earthly paradise sacred to Desna. Unfortunately, no record of where this river may have once flowed exists today, and most scholars believe the river itself to have been destroyed during Earthfall.

In the final centuries before Earthfall ended Thassilon, Xin-Shalast was ruled by Runelord Karzoug, one of the lords of the Thassilonian Empire. The primary architects of the immense city were tribes of giants, themselves ruled by powerful beings known as rune giants.

The Spires of Xin-Shalast stand upon the mythical mountain of Mhar Massif. This mountain of legendary proportions pierces the skies above the Kodars, and is said to be the highest peak in the entire range of stupendously inhospitable mountains.

Mhar Massif is said to serve as a bridge to strange realms beyond Golarion—notably, to the nightmare dimension of Leng. The connections with the nightmare realm of Leng were said to have infused the region around the peak of Mhar Massif with dangerous eldritch and otherworldly energies.

Dream Dalliance Trap CR 6
XP 2,400
Type magic; Perception DC 30; Disable Device DC 30
Trigger proximity (alarm); Reset automatic; Bypass password (“elucidarian”)

Effect spell effect (dream dalliance, DC 17 Will save negates); single target (the reader)

Since the reader does not need to sleep while in the Therassic Library, they will not notice the effects of a failed save until after leaving the library. The clockwork librarian has read this book, but is unaware of this trap because it is immune to mind-affecting effects and does not sleep.

Runeforge

Runeforge was created as a place where agents of the seven runelords could gather to study magic.

The runelords wove wards around Runeforge that barred entrance into the complex to any runelord or his direct agents, in order to keep the research within free from sabotage at the hands of an enemy.

Runeforge’s magical enhancements sustained those within without the need to eat, drink, or even sleep.

The final project the runelords set Runeforge on was the development of ways the runelords could escape the imminent fall of their empire. Each faction developed a unique answer for its runelord, based upon the underlying principles of that faction’s magical traditions.

Translated from Thassilonian among the ravings about Lamashtu:

ON EASTERN SHORES OF STEAMING MIRROR AT END OF DAY WHEN DUSK IS NEARER WHERE SEVEN FACES SILENT WAIT ENCIRCLED GUARDS AT RUNEFORGE GATE.

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