Rune magic

From PathfinderWiki
The Sihedron Rune, symbol of Thassilonian rune magic. Each of the seven Thassilonian runes and its associated sin in sin magic follows its associated point on the star, clockwise from top: greed, sloth, envy, lust, pride, wrath, and gluttony.
This article covers the general practice of rune magic. For runes themselves, see rune. For the ancient Thassilonian rune magic practiced by the Runelords, see sin magic.

Rune magic is the application of runes to create magical effects. Often associated with Thassilon, whose founder Xin innovated the form in -6501 AR,1 rune magic is the foundation of its sin magic but has applications beyond its Thassilonian practices.2 The seven Azlanti virtues of rule around which Xin structured his concept of rune magic also linked to the schools of magic, representing all but divination,345 which Xin deemed useful to all wizards but not essential to master.6

Seven runes of Thassilon

Thassilonian rune magic focused on seven runes, each associated with an emotion, color, and school of magic, and each with its own name.27

Name Color Virtue Sin/Reward School of magic
The Precious Gleam Yellow Generosity Greed Transmutation
The Reclined Blue Zeal Sloth Conjuration
The Cutting Eye Green Charity Envy Abjuration
The Heart's Hook Red Love Lust Enchantment
The Crescent Scepter Violet Humility Pride Illusion
The Vengeful Glare Orange Kindness Wrath Evocation
The All-Encompassing Indigo Temperance Gluttony Necromancy


Rune magic dates to Azlanti tradition and research into the fundamental nature of magic,6 from which Xin devised his theories on rune magic and implemented them by bargaining with ancient creatures such as dragons and outsiders, as well as the worship of Lissala, goddess of runes.278 It is possible that Lissala herself invented rune magic.9 Xin theorized that the runes that appeared during spellcasting represented the nature of magic and were of a script of the language of creation; harnessing them would, in turn, grant their wielder the ability to rewrite reality.2

Xin further identified seven runes that he believed held the most power, each associated with one of the schools of magic, and arranged them into a seven-pointed star known as the Sihedron. Upon this foundation Xin exiled himself from Azlant to travel to Avistan and found Thassilon, and he named the followers who mastered rune magic its runelords.2

Sin magic

Sin magic, also known as Thassilonian magic, is an ancient form of magic first practiced by the seven runelords of ancient Thassilon based on rune magic. The practice of rune magic evokes an emotional response alongside their power that could be addictive in nature.2 As the seven Azlanti virtues of rule were realigned into seven Thassilonian rewards of rule10—envy, sloth, greed, gluttony, wrath, pride, and lust—Thassilonian rune magic developed into sin magic. Practitioners spuriously associated the power of rune magic with debauchery and overindulged in the emotional aspects of each rune. Each runelord specialized into a single sin and reshaped their lives around debasing themselves in the pursuit of ever greater power.2

With the re-emergence of New Thassilon, the surviving runelord Sorshen determined that sin magic was not as inherent to the practice of rune magic as Xin had instructed, leading to the modern application of runes.2

Modern rune magic

The re-emergence of New Thassilon and redemptive efforts of Sorshen to divorce rune magic from Thassilonian sin magic has resulted in a surge of academic research in its application, as well as a redefinition of the term "runelord" from its Thassilonian association with sin magic into a more general practitioner of rune magic.6


Written works on the nature of rune magic include:


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

  1. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 78. Paizo Inc., 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Logan Bonner, et al. “5: Book of Unlimited Magic” in Secrets of Magic, 242–243. Paizo Inc., 2020
  3. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 211. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. James Jacobs. “The Shattered Star” in Shards of Sin, 67. Paizo Inc., 2012
  5. Jason Nelson, et al. “Variant Magic” in Inner Sea Magic, 9. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Logan Bonner, et al. “5: Book of Unlimited Magic” in Secrets of Magic, 238. Paizo Inc., 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wolfgang Baur. “The History of Thassilon” in Burnt Offerings, 72–73. Paizo Inc., 2007
  8. Brandon Hodge. “The Dead Heart of Xin” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 7–8. Paizo Inc., 2013
  9. Ron Lundeen. Severing Ties, 6. Paizo Inc., 2012
  10. Logan Bonner, et al. “5: Book of Unlimited Magic” in Secrets of Magic, 240. Paizo Inc., 2020