Return of the Runelords
Below is an overview of key locations.
located on the western shore of Ember Lake in central Varisia, it is a dependency of Magnimar. A logging town, its true claim to fame is its arcane college, the Twilight Academy.
- Twilight Academy: a major center for magical learning in Varisia, it has a reputation for undertaking many experimental and unconventional practices. Lucia’s cousin Sado studies there, and a witches coven is rumored to be based there as well.
located on Rivenrake Island in the Varisian Gulf, it bears an enormous carving of Runelord Alaznist’s face and its interior is honeycombed with dungeon corridors and rooms.
a cliff-top city built into the ruins of a six-sided Thassilonian fortress.
- The Common House: an inn and tavern in the Bottoms District that serves as headquarters for the Freemen and a temple to Cayden Cailean.
the largest city in Varisia, it is built on the ruins of a Thassilonian city.
- The Winking Medusa: an inn and tavern in the Eastshore District, secretly run by an actual medusa.
one of the two major city-states of southern Varisia, rival to Korvosa. Also built on the ruins of a Thassilonian city.
- The Gecko: One of the massive stone pilings of the Irespan, it is serving as the lair of the Cult of Yamasoth.
- The Gryphine: An upscale hotel in the Capital District where the Sihedron Council has a room set aside for the party.
- Heidmarch Manor: headquarters of the Sihedron Council and Varisia’s Pathfinder Society lodge.
the third-largest city in Varisia and its most northern port, it is a haven for pirates and sea-faring brigands. Built in the shadow of a Thassilonian ruin, the Cyphergate.
A small community in the northeastern corner of the Varisian Gulf at the mouth of the Chavali River, it is under the thumb of the Riddleport pirates to its north.
- The Circle: the town square and site of a weekly market overseen by Halder Makrosh; the moonshine vendor Bimmer “Possum” Coots wheels his cart there every afternoon.
- Conrad’s General Store: the town’s expansive general store, run by Varna Rigsten.
- Cove Armory: the only dedicated weapon shop in town, run by Lyndwyn Suvasa.
- Creekside Tavern and Inn: a two-story building run by the siblings Garleena and Thevin Knodston.
- Kelstrop Meats: the best smokeshop in town.
- The Lady’s Chapel: a small chapel to Pharasma, overseen by Desil Marphan.
- Peacock Manor: the largest, nicest house in town and headquarters of the Order of Resplendence.
- The Rampant Reefclaw: an extravagant restaurant that attracts visitors from across Varisia, owned and operated by Unli Jevers
- Roderic’s Wreck: the abandoned home of the town’s late founder, said to be haunted.
- Temple of the Stars and Roads: a chapel dedicated to Desna, with a half-dozen additional shrines to empyreal lords. It is overseen by the half-elf bard Miesalo Salen.
The mythical city in the center of the Dimension of Time, where the Steward of Time is waiting to meet the Black Lions.
Black Lions: the adventuring party of Emeq, Gwenllian, Lucia, Udrexa, and Victanya, with auxiliary members Audrahni, Sondra, and Ghera. In a different timeline, it is known as the Black Cats.
Cult of the Peacock Spirit: a cult of dilettantes who worship the mysterious Thssilonian deity called the Peacock Spirit (in truth, Runelord Xanderghul). They tried to steal the Sword of Pride.
Cult of Yamasoth: a sinister cabal worshiping the qlippoth lord Yamasoth, they are seeking to spread a contagion called the polymorph plague across Varisia,
Horned Fangs: a sort of informal and rough-around-the-edges laborer’s guild in Roderic’s Cove whose working class members are growing more radical.
Night Scales: Magnimar’s oldest and largest criminal organization, a thieves’ guild that specializes in smuggling, extortion, petty theft, and burglary.
Order of Resplendence: an esoteric order of scholars and monks who share an interest in Varisian history, they are based at Peacock Manor in Roderic’s Cove.
Roadkeepers: a gang of freelance “toll collectors” who operate in the vicinity of the Churlwood south of Roderic’s Cove. The adventurers have vanquished their leaders and disbanded them.
Pathfinder Society: a globe-spanning organization of adventurers, its Varisian chapter is based at Heidmarch Manor in Magnimar.
Sihedron Heroes: a loose term for several overlapping groups of heroes who were involved in vanquishing the evils that have threatened Varisia over the last ten years. No one’s heard from them in a while.
Deities and Demigods
Ashava: is an empyreal lord who serves as patron of dancers, lost souls, and moonlight. Legends hold that she seeks out lonely ghosts who have become lost, leading them to safety at night.
Nocticula: is the former Demon Lord of Succubi, now styling herself as the Redeemer Queen. Her cultists believe that she has ascended from the Abyss to godhood as the patron of artists, exiles, and midnight. Lucia’s patron.
Pharasma: is a goddess who serves as patron of birth, death and prophecy. One of the major deities worshipped across Varisia and the Inner Sea.
Yamasoth: is a qlippoth lord, perhaps the only qlippoth currently at that rank in the Abyssal hierarchy. He is a master of fleshwarping and vile experiments.
The ancient empire of Thassilon was founded by Azlanti exiles led by the wizard Xin, who had developed a unique form of rune magic based on his Seven Virtues. Xin’s apprentices corrupted his virtues into Seven Sins and murdered him, splitting Thassilon into seven bickering kingdoms each governed by a powerful wizard known as a “Runelord.”
The reign of the Runelords came to an end 10,000 years ago during the cataclysm known as Earthfall, which devastated Thassilon. The Runelords sealed themselves away to ride out the disaster, but something went wrong and their slumber continued for millennia.
Ten years ago, the Runelord Karzoug, master of Greed, awoke and tried to conquer Varisia. He was defeated and slain by a band of heroes calling themselves Rune Wardens. But his return sparked renewed interest in the secrets of lost Thassilon.
Five years ago, the Pathfinder Society’s Magnimar Chapter reunited the seven pieces of the original Sihedron artifact created by Xin. This caused Xin’s crypt to rise from the waters of the Varisian Gulf and release its ancient terrors onto an unsuspecting world. Conveniently, a band of heroes once again stepped in to save the day.
Rumors abound that several other Runelords attempted to rise in the intervening years only for their plans to be thwarted as well. But there are many ancient Thassilonian tyrants yet to be accounted for, and the hour of their return may finally be at hand….
Like most of Avistan, the settlements of Varisia rely on Absalom Reckoning to measure the passage of days and years. At the start of the campaign, the year is AR 4743.