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Xanderghul

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Xanderghul
A portrait of the runelord Xanderghul.
(Person)

Titles
Runelord of Pride;
Satrap of Cyrusian;
holder of the Peacock Throne;
Lord of Illusion;
Master of the Unblinking Eye;
Heir of First King Xin and Rightful Emperor of Thassilon
Alignment
Ancestry/Species
Class
Gender
Male
Homeland
Died
Source: Inner Sea Magic, pg(s). 7
Xanderghul
(Deity)

Titles
Peacock Spirit
Alignment
Areas of Concern
Mind, body, soul
Worshipers
Mages, scholars, aesthetics
Cleric Alignments (1E)
Domains (1E)
Evil, Law, Trickery
Subdomains (1E)
Deception, Tyranny
Favored Weapon
Symbol
Large peacock feather with an open eye
Source: Temple of the Peacock Spirit, pg(s). 65

Xanderghul (pronounced ZAHN-dur-gool)1 was the runelord of pride, Satrap of Cyrusian, and first amongst equals. Xanderghul claimed that the lands of Cyrusian were the ancient heartland or capital of the Thassilonian empire and he was probably right. He wanted Cyrusian to be a paradise for the elite of Thassilon, better than all of the other domains.

Xanderghul held himself above all of the other runelords, priding himself on avoiding the mere squabbles of the other six. He was a master of diplomacy and single-handedly held the empire together. He was publicly known as a devotee of the deity known as the Peacock Spirit; none knew that the Peacock Spirit was none other than Xanderghul himself, a secret which he has managed to keep to the present day.234 Xanderghul was so powerful that he was even able to seek advice from the legendary first linnorm Fafnheir and survive.5

He was a patron of the arts and master of his weapon of rule, which was a lucerne hammer. While this might make Xanderghul sound like a wise and noble ruler, in truth he was arrogant beyond all reason. His ego grew with every new achievement and every passing year.2

Appearance

Xanderghul was a severe-looking, imperious, strikingly handsome man with a neatly trimmed beard. His features were said to resemble those of First King Xin.6

Background

Xanderghul.

Xanderghul was one of the only two runelords who ruled their domain for the entire lifespan of Thassilon, the other being Sorshen. An Azlanti noble and confidant of Xin who saw the ancient empire as moribund and weak, he left with Xin to found a new kingdom in exile where he could rule in splendour and honest pride. In -6448 AR, he secretly gained a divine source, becoming the demigod known as the Peacock Spirit. He introduced the Peacock Spirit to the rest of Thassilon as a demigod that he discovered, keeping its true identity as himself a secret. In -6420 AR, he and the six other runelords betrayed and assassinated Xin.786

As the cult of the Peacock Spirit grew strong in Thassilon, Xanderghul started the construction of the Grand Temple of the Peacock Spirit in the Kodar Mountains, which was aided by all six other runelords. In -6401 AR, with the completion of the temple complex, Xanderghul established the Order of the Green Feather, his cult's order of knights, and the Therassic Order, its core of priests and scholars, while keeping the Peacock Spirit's true identity as himself a secret.78

In -6155 AR, Xanderghul began the construction of the Castle of the Green Feather, in response to the completion of Sech Nevali, the so-called greatest temple to the Peacock Spirit, which was neither located in his domain nor built by him.7

In -6150 AR, Xanderghul killed three other runelords: Angothane, Atharend, and Jurah, during a violent schism that nearly led to civil war and forever set the runelords at odds against each other.7910

In -5293 AR, Xanderghul put himself forward as a claimant to the Azlanti throne, only to witness Aroden taking the throne for himself and Azlant being destroyed by Earthfall; he then returned to Avistan, knowing that Thassilon's destruction would follow Azlant's soon. Although Xanderghul had previously learnt how to create a runewell from Sorshen, his pride made it unthinkable for him to copy another's method. Instead, he created his own demiplane sanctum and searched for the Scepter of Ages, which would have transported him and his armies to the future to avoid Earthfall entirely, but he failed to do this before time ran out.6311

On Earthfall's eve, Xanderghul retreated into his sanctum and devised it so it kept him in suspended animation for just a century, after which he calculated the aftermath of the apocalypse would have faded. When Belimarius' runewell backfired, a number of her envious followers, trapped in the world, travelled to nearby Cyrusian and attempted to repair it by salvaging Xanderghul's. This triggered a devastating trap that destroyed both the intruders and Xanderghul's timer.3

When Karzoug's runewell activated, Xanderghul did not stir due to the lack of a connection between his runewell and sanctum. He never woke from his slumber until Alaznist invaded his sanctum; despite being the most powerful of all runelords, his power diminished during his slumber for unknown reasons, which allowed Alaznist to defeat and kill him. His soul did not enter the River of Souls; instead, powerful illusion magic activated and Xanderghul was reborn in a simulacrum in the inner sanctum of the Grand Temple of the Peacock Spirit, but his power and presence further diminished due to the trauma of this death and resurrection.31213

As his new form was confined to the Temple of the Peacock Spirit, Xanderghul reached out into the outside world and quickly recruited a cult that could harry Alaznist's forces and conduct a mass sacrifice to restore him to his full power. In order to determine the extent of Alaznist's meddlings with time, he devised a way to travel to time-locked Crystilan via the Shadow Plane. Before any of his plans could be enacted, a group of adventurers working under Sorshen's instruction invaded Xanderghul's sanctum and finished the job Alaznist started. As he died, Xanderghul briefly transformed into a resplendent creature before moving on to the Boneyard.814

Church of the Peacock Spirit

The Peacock Spirit was worshipped by scholars and researchers of rune magic.15 His worship ended with the decline of ancient Thassilon, and does not seem to have returned in the last few thousand years.1617

Even in its heyday at the height of Thassilon, little of the Church of the Peacock Spirit's dogma was understood by those outside the church, and so even less can be inferred by modern scholars.15 Only Xanderghul himself knew that he and the Peacock Spirit were one and the same, although it is said that his most devoted followers were aware of this secret as well.184 His worship was the strongest in Xanderghul's native Cyrusian, and also spread to all parts of Thassilon, particularly Haruka, before the rise of Runelord Krune, who preferred the church of Lissala.194

Temples, monasteries and followers

The Peacock Spirit was served by an ascetic order of monks, many of whom built monasteries on the Storval Plateau in the ancient domain of Shalast.20 He also founded and sponsored an order of knights known as the Order of the Green Feather,15 and some believe that the contemporary Monks of the White Feather in Qadira secretly worship him as well.21

Holy texts and artifacts

Emerald Codex of the Therassic Order
A collection of spells and rituals devoted to the Peacock Spirit, penned by the Therassic Order. One known copy of the text was written on wyvern hide, and consisted of 18 scrolls.23
Revelation Quill
Originally created by Xanderghul's worshippers from a peacock feather, this quill is said to still be tied to the power of the Peacock Spirit. When properly used, it can answer questions posed to it.27

References

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

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 247. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Jacobs, et al. Burnt Offerings, 77. Paizo Inc., 2007
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 77. Paizo Inc.,
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jason Keeley, et al. Temple of the Peacock Spirit, inside back covers. Paizo Inc.,
  5. Colin McComb, et al. “Linnorm Kingdoms Bestiary” in Lands of the Linnorm Kings, 56. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Robert G. McCreary. Runelords of Thassilon” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 74. Paizo Inc.,
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 78. Paizo Inc.,
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jason Keeley. “Temple of the Peacock Spirit” in Temple of the Peacock Spirit, 3. Paizo Inc.,
  9. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 76. Paizo Inc.,
  10. Mike Shel. “It Came from Hollow Mountain” in It Came from Hollow Mountain, 55. Paizo Inc.,
  11. James L. Sutter & Jason Keeley. Hollow Mountain 1, 2–3. Dynamite Entertainment,
  12. James Jacobs. “Campaign Outline” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 91. Paizo Inc.,
  13. Adam Daigle. “Secrets of Roderic's Cove” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 51. Paizo Inc.,
  14. Jason Keeley. “Temple of the Peacock Spirit” in Temple of the Peacock Spirit, 61. Paizo Inc.,
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 James Jacobs, et al. Burnt Offerings, 78. Paizo Inc., 2007
  16. Robert G. McCreary. The Godsmouth Heresy, 6. Paizo Inc.,
  17. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 235. Paizo Inc., 2011
  18. Wolfgang Baur & Greg A. Vaughan. “Fortress of the Stone Giants” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 41. Paizo Inc., 2007
  19. Robert G. McCreary. Runelords of Thassilon” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 72. Paizo Inc.,
  20. James Jacobs, et al. Burnt Offerings, 75. Paizo Inc., 2007
  21. Brian Cortijo. “Faith: Religion in Qadira” in Qadira, Gateway to the East, 23. Paizo Inc., 2009
  22. Wolfgang Baur & Greg A. Vaughan. “Fortress of the Stone Giants” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 25. Paizo Inc., 2007
  23. 23.0 23.1 Wolfgang Baur & Greg A. Vaughan. “Fortress of the Stone Giants” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 27–28. Paizo Inc., 2007
  24. Tyler Beck, et al. Belkzen Gazetteer” in Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Hordes, 12–13. Paizo Inc.,
  25. James L. Sutter. “The City” in City of Strangers, 18. Paizo Inc., 2010
  26. Greg A. Vaughan. “Spires of Xin-Shalast” in Spires of Xin-Shalast, 30. Paizo Inc.,
  27. Stephen S. Greer. “Sins of the Saviors” in Sins of the Saviors, 17. Paizo Inc., 2008