Four years ago, a small group of adventurers from the nearby town of Sandpoint managed to discover the lost city of Xin-Shalast and defeated the ancient Runelord known as Karzoug before he could fully reawaken and lead armies of giants to conquer Varisia. The discovery of the lost city set off a competition between Janderhoff, Korvosa, and Magnimar to unearth wealth and relics of ancient Thassilon from that long forgotten mountainous realm, but it also served as a wakeup call. Modern Varisia is built on the ruins of ancient Thassilon, and if one Runelord could have survived the onset of the Age of Darkness ten thousand years ago, perhaps the others did as well. The Pathfinder Society, under the local leadership of Lady Sheila Heidmarch, began searching for lost artifacts of Thassilon and happened upon shards of one of the most powerful artifacts of that lost empire: the Sihedron, the seven-pointed star of Xin.
Far more shocking, however, was the identity of one of the adventurers who helped Lady Heidmarch recover the seven lost shards - one of the very Runelords that the Society was so worried about had returned to life. Sorshen, calling herself the Runelord of Love and professing a redemption from the sinful ways of her past, displayed her magical prowess to all of Magnimar when calamity struck following the ritual to reunite the seven pieces of the shattered Sihedron. Summoning angels from the heavens to hold back the waves of a tsunami created by the rising of the island of Xin far to the west, she saved countless citizens of Magnimar. She then departed with her companions for the newly risen island and defeated the resurrected archmage Xin with the aid of his own Sihedron, returning to Magnimar triumphant and glad for the chance to settle down and found a new school of magic atop the Irespan: The Lyceum.
Though Sorshen's magic prevented a far worse loss of life and untold destruction, Magnimar still suffered greatly, and most blame the Pathfinder Society for the calamity. With the Society now persona non gratis, the Council of Ushers has undertaken to directly finance new expeditions all over Varisia. Magnimar itself is protected by a Runelord, and so the Council sees the opportunity to finally achieve dominance over its rival, Korvosa, and plans to begin new settlements all along the Varisian coast, while seeking out more lost artifacts and lore of Thassilon.