Runelords

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The seven runelords of Thassilon each ruled their own realm in the centuries before Earthfall. Each runelord was a powerful wizard tied to a particular aspect of sin magic.1

Origin and history

Thassilon was founded in -6530 AR by First King Xin who had been exiled from his homeland of Azlant for promoting heretical beliefs. As the empire grew beyond the bounds of Xin's ability to control, both militarily and administratively, he appointed powerful wizards as governors to oversee his lands. The mightiest of these were the runelords, seven of the most skilled (and power-hungry) wizards in Thassilon, if not all of Golarion. In -6420 AR, the runelords assassinated Xin and subjugated those loyal to him—including his own son, who became a puppet emperor—while each plotted within his or her own lands to become ruler of all Thassilon.2

The seven virtues of rule (generosity, love, humility, temperance, charity, kindness, and zeal), passed down from the goddess Lissala and First King Xin himself, were seen as the benefits of power, and each of the runelords was drawn towards one of the seven. Over the course of time the runelords corrupted these into what modern scholars understand to be the "great sins of the soul," abandoning the positive aspects and embracing the negative connotations of each (greed, lust, boastful pride, gluttony, envy, wrath, and sloth) as the rewards of rule. Each of the seven rulers specialized in a single school of rune magic and possessed a mighty weapon which not only served them in battle, but also became a symbol of their rule.3

The runelords of Thassilon

A visual timeline of when all the runelords ruled.

The runelords forged alliances with dragons and enslaved giants by using secrets of rune and glyph magic stolen from the alghollthus in their efforts to increase their own power. With their enslaved giant armies, the wizards of Thassilon built massive tombs, enormous magical constructs, and staggering monuments that survive today, mute testimonies of a mysterious age long past.41

At the time of Earthfall, the following runelords were in power:

Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath
Domain: Bakrakhan
Weapon of rule: Charred adamantine ranseur impaled with the skull of the first Runelord of Wrath
Span of rule: -5779 AR to -5293 AR (486 years)
Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath
Belimarius, Runelord of Envy
Domain: Edasseril
Weapon of rule: Ornate memory-stealing halberd of gold and dawnsilver
Span of rule: -5402 AR to -5293 AR (109 years)
Belimarius, Runelord of Envy
Karzoug, Runelord of Greed
Domain: Shalast
Weapon of rule: Burning glaive studded with meteoric gemstones
Span of rule: -5759 AR to -5293 AR (466 years)
Karzoug, Runelord of Greed
Krune, Runelord of Sloth
Domain: Haruka
Weapon of rule: Dragon-tooth longspear that can move and attack of its own volition
Span of rule: -5525 AR to -5293 AR (232 years)
Krune, Runelord of Sloth
Sorshen, Runelord of Lust
Domain: Eurythnia
Weapon of rule: Double-headed guisarme
Span of rule: -6480 AR to -5293 AR (1,187 years)
Sorshen, Runelord of Lust
Xanderghul, Runelord of Pride
Domain: Cyrusian
Weapon of rule: Lucerne hammer made of an unknown type of skymetal
Span of rule: -6480 AR to -5293 AR (1,187 years)
Xanderghul, Runelord of Pride
Zutha, Runelord of Gluttony
Domain: Gastash
Weapon of rule: Life-draining scythe of bone
Span of rule: -5642 AR to -5293 AR (349 years)
Zutha, Runelord of Gluttony

Former runelords

These seven runelords were the last to hold their titles, but only Sorshen and Xanderghul survived the betrayal of King Xin.5 Previous runelords died or fell to usurpers, including:6

Runelords of Greed

Runelord Span of reign
Start End Length
Kaladurnae -6480 AR -6448 AR 32 years
Fethryr -6448 AR -6318 AR 130 years
Gimmel -6318 AR -6192 AR 126 years
Ligniya -6192 AR -6040 AR 152 years
Mazmiranna -6040 AR -5997 AR 43 years
Aethusa -5997 AR -5759 AR 135 years
Haphrama -5862 AR -5759 AR 103 years

Runelords of Gluttony

Runelord Span of reign
Start End Length
Kaliphesta -6480 AR -6258 AR 222 years
Atharend -6258 AR -6150 AR 108 years
Aethusa -6150 AR -5822 AR 328 years
Goparlis -5822 AR -5293 AR 180 years

Runelords of Envy

Runelord Span of reign
Start End Length
Naaft -6480 AR -6442 AR 38 years
Tannaris -6442 AR -6360 AR 82 years
Ivamura -6360 AR -6301 AR 59 years
Jurah -6301 AR -6150 AR 151 years
Chalsardra -6150 AR -5966 AR 184 years
Esedrea -5966 AR -5796 AR 170 years
Zarve -5796 AR -5696 AR 100 years
Desamelia -5696 AR -5489 AR 207 years
Phirandi -5489 AR -5402 AR 87 years

Runelords of Sloth

Runelord Span of reign
Start End Length
Xirie -6480 AR -6150 AR 330 years
Ilthyrius -6150 AR -6105 AR 45 years
Azeradni -6105 AR -6008 AR 97 years
Zalelet -6008 AR -5847 AR 161 years
Krenlith -5847 AR -5752 AR 95 years
Ivarinna -5752 AR -5525 AR 227 years

Runelords of Wrath

Runelord Span of reign
Start End Length
Alderpash -6480 AR -6266 AR 214 years
Angothane -6266 AR -6150 AR 116 years
Xiren -6150 AR -5905 AR 245 years
Thybidos -5905 AR -5779 AR 126 years

Slumber and awakening

Crystilan shatters in 4718 AR, introducing Xin-Edasseril to Varisia.

Thassilon met its end when the alghollthus called down Earthfall to destroy Azlant in -5293 AR. As the end drew near, the seven runelords retreated into the depths of their greatest monuments, put themselves into stasis, and tasked their minions to free them once the dangers have passed. Due to the sheer devastation of Earthfall, however, no one was left to awaken them and the runelords of Thassilon slumbered for nearly 10,000 years.478

Alaznist, Karzoug, and Sorshen used their runewells to create demiplanes in which they sheltered through Earthfall and the devastation afterward. These runelords reawakened when their runewells were reactivated in the 48th century AR, beginning with Karzoug in 4702 AR,9 then Sorshen, then Alaznist in 4716 AR.10

Karzoug was killed by adventurers as he began to fully remanifest in 4707 AR,10111213 and his soul was judged by Pharasma and eventually used as the weight of sin against which all other souls are judged by the High Justice of the Boneyard.1014

Krune trapped his own soul and entrusted the cult of Lissala to revive him, but the cult was decimated in Earthfall. He was not awakened until 4713 AR, and was then promptly killed by Pathfinders.1516

Zutha became a lich with the Gluttonous Tome serving as his phylactery. He divided the book into three parts to be reunited after Earthfall, but the Tome remained divided until Varian Jeggare reunited them in 4715 AR. Zutha rose but was subsequently defeated before he could fully recover.1718

Xanderghul retreated into a demiplane of his own design, which was intended to awaken him 100 years after Earthfall. However, agents of Belimarius attempting to repair her runewell after Earthfall triggered a trap that destroyed both them and Xanderghul's timer, trapping him within. He was killed by Alaznist after she reawakened but reborn into a simulacrum, then destroyed by adventurers in 4718 AR.19

Belimarius, betrayed by Karzoug, was trapped outside of time in her city of Xin-Edasseril. The runelord and her city remained on Golarion, apparently encased within a sphere of crystal known as Crystilan until the sphere was shattered in 4718 AR.10 Sorshen meanwhile attempted to redeem herself after awakening2010 and assisted the adventurers who defeated Alaznist.21

Alaznist fully awakened when the kalavakus known as Castellan in Hollow Mountain was slain in 4716 AR. The next year, she learned the fates of the other runelords. With her rival Karzoug already dead, she turned her attention to destroying Xanderghul and acquired the Scepter of Ages, altered history, killed Xanderghul, and reshaped Avistan.10 Adventurers reversed her alterations and killed her ca. 4719 AR, and her soul was dragged to the Outer Rifts by qlippoth and demon lords .21

Belimarius and Sorshen are the only known surviving runelords and now rule over separate adjacent nations in Avistan together called New Thassilon.22

In culture

Thassilon, and the runelords' reign over it, left indelible marks across the Inner Sea region. The Shoanti quahs of Varisia all still tell stories about the runelords, but refer to them as a pantheon of deities called the Azghat who turned evil and needed to be destroyed.3232425 Thassilonian ruins across the region still contain artifacts, magic items, treasures, and creatures associated with or crafted by the runelords.26

References

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

  1. 1.0 1.1 Robert G. McCreary. Runelords of Thassilon” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 69ff. Paizo Inc., 2013
  2. Brandon Hodge. “The Dead Heart of Xin” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 7. Paizo Inc., 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 James Jacobs, et al. Burnt Offerings, 74–76. Paizo Inc., 2007
  4. 4.0 4.1 James Jacobs. (April 22, 2007). Raising the Runelords, Paizo Blog.
  5. Wolfgang Baur. “NPC Gallery” in Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth, 59. Paizo Inc., 2014
  6. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 76. Paizo Inc., 2018
  7. Wolfgang Baur, et al. Thassilon” in Lost Kingdoms, 56. Paizo Inc., 2012
  8. Tanya DePass, et al. Old Cheliax” in World Guide, 101. Paizo Inc., 2019
  9. This refers to the events of the Rise of the Runelords Pathfinder Adventure Path.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 75–76. Paizo Inc., 2018
  11. Greg A. Vaughan. “Spires of Xin-Shalast” in Spires of Xin-Shalast, 7. Paizo Inc., 2008
  12. Greg A. Vaughan. “Spires of Xin-Shalast” in Spires of Xin-Shalast, 59. Paizo Inc., 2008
  13. This refers to the events of the Rise of the Runelords Pathfinder Adventure Path.
  14. Greg A. Vaughan. “Rise of New Thassilon” in Rise of New Thassilon, 19. Paizo Inc., 2019
  15. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 79. Paizo Inc., 2018
  16. This refers to the events of The Waking Rune.
  17. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 77. Paizo Inc., 2018
  18. This refers to the events of Lord of Runes.
  19. This refers to the events of Temple of the Peacock Spirit.
  20. Richard Pett. “NPC Gallery” in Runeplague, 66. Paizo Inc., 2018
  21. 21.0 21.1 Greg A. Vaughan. “Rise of New Thassilon” in Rise of New Thassilon, 69. Paizo Inc., 2019
  22. Tanya DePass, et al. Saga Lands” in World Guide, 113–115. Paizo Inc., 2019
  23. Eric Boyd & Michael Kortes. “People of the Storval Plateau” in A History of Ashes, 67. Paizo Inc., 2008
  24. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 1: Common Races” in Inner Sea Races, 43. Paizo Inc., 2015
  25. Wolfgang Baur, et al. Thassilon” in Lost Kingdoms, 59. Paizo Inc., 2012
  26. Wolfgang Baur, et al. Thassilon” in Lost Kingdoms, 57. Paizo Inc., 2012