The Therassic Library (Ultimate Intrigue variant; spoilers!)


Rise of the Runelords


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The following is a reworking of the Library of Thassilon area from the Fortress of the Stone Giants, using the Research system from Ultimate Intrigue. It contains spoilers. If you are a player rather than a GM, do not read further.

Rather than write one monolithic research stat block for the library, I have chosen to write several smaller stat blocks, one for each research topic spelled out in FotSG and SotS. Each research topic has its own knowledge point total and thresholds, but shares the basic stats of the library. Each includes an event that triggers when the PCs reach the threshold just before it.

As written, the adventure does not award XP for completing these knowledge checks. If you do award XP for the research, I recommend waiting until all three topics have been fully researched.

If the party successfully befriended it, the Clockwork Librarian may supply Aid Another checks to the primary researcher at +4 rather than the usual +2 bonus because of its intimate familiarity with the collection. This uses one of the two secondary researchers allowed by the Research rules.

You could easily expand the list to add more research tasks connected to ancient Thassilon, such as the River Avah, rune giants, Leng, runeforged weapons, Alara'hai, sin magic, the other six Runelords, etc. But since those are less relevant to the adventure, it is probably better to treat them as single knowledge checks.

Therassic Library:

Therassic Library (CR 11)
Complexity 31 (average)
Languages Thassilonian
Research Check Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history); Knowledge Bonus +5

Karzoug:
kp 25

kp 20
Xin-Shalast is a legendary lost city, rumored to be hidden somewhere in the Kodar Mountains. Stories hold that Xin-Shalast had gold streets and gemstone buildings, and sat under the gaze of a mountain that could see.

kp 15
Xin-Shalast was the capital city of an empire called Shalast, one of seven that composed the ancient empire of Thassilon. Legend holds that Xin-Shalast lay at the headwaters of the sacred River Avah—which Varisian folklore says leads to an earthly paradise sacred to Desna. Unfortunately, no record of where this river may have once flowed exists today, and most scholars believe the river itself to have been destroyed during Earthfall.

kp 10
In the final centuries before Earthfall ended Thassilon, Xin-Shalast was ruled by Runelord Karzoug, one of the lords of the Thassilonian Empire. The primary architects of the immense city were tribes of giants, themselves ruled by powerful beings known as rune giants.

kp 5
The Spires of Xin-Shalast stand upon the mythical mountain of Mhar Massif. This mountain of legendary proportions pierces the skies above the Kodars, and is said to be the highest peak in the entire range of stupendously inhospitable mountains.

kp 0
Mhar Massif is said to serve as a bridge to strange realms beyond Golarion—notably, to the nightmare dimension of Leng. The connections with the nightmare realm of Leng were said to have infused the region around the peak of Mhar Massif with dangerous eldritch and otherworldly energies.

Event The tome that reveals this final piece of information bears an ancient spell trap left by the jealous former owner.

Dream Dalliance Trap CR 6
XP 2,400
Type magic; Perception DC 30; Disable Device DC 30
Trigger proximity (alarm); Reset automatic; Bypass password ("elucidarian")

Effect spell effect (dream dalliance, DC 17 Will save negates); single target (the reader)

Since the reader does not need to sleep while in the Therassic Library, they will not notice the effects of a failed save until after leaving the library. The clockwork librarian has read this book, but is unaware of this trap because it is immune to mind-affecting effects and does not sleep.

Xin-Shalast:
kp 25

kp 20
Karzoug was the Runelord of Greed. While he was, himself, an Azlanti human, he was a powerful man indeed—said to be the most gifted manipulator of Transmutation magic in all of Thassilon, and to have lived for hundreds of years. He ruled a region called Shalast, part of the ancient empire of Thassilon, over 10,000 years ago.

kp 15
Karzoug’s armies were composed primarily of giants who followed his every command—the giants were ruled by towering monsters known as rune giants, who were themselves runelord pawns. Karzoug counted other powerful creatures as his allies as well, such as blue dragons, eerie denizens from the nightmare realm of Leng, blooddrinking outsiders known as scarlet walkers, and immense lamia harridans who towered over most giants.

kp 10
Karzoug focused his magic on the school of transmutation, magic associated in Thassilonian times with the virtue of wealth. Under his reign, though, this virtue of rule became more associated with the sin of greed. Among the runelords, his mastery of greed magic was uncontested, yet in the schools of illusion and enchantment (related to the sins of pride and lust), his skills had atrophied greatly. Many believed that weapons infused with illusion and enchantment magic, known as “dominant weapons,” would be particularly potent against Karzoug, yet no record of someone attacking the runelord with such a weapon exists within the library.

Event The Clockwork Librarian has been tremendously excited and pleased to have researchers in the library once more. In its eagerness to assist, it loses track of the key used to wind it up. The construct is stricken with terror at the thought of winding down just when its services are finally needed again, and begs the PCs to assist in locating the precious key. The key was knocked off its peg and accidentally kicked under a chair. Locating it requires a DC 28 perception check, and costs the PCs a full day of research time. If they can use divination magic (such as locate object), no research time is lost. If it is not found, the clockwork librarian winds down one day after alerting them to the key's loss, and reactivating it requires a DC 25 Knowledge (engineering) check.

kp 5
Karzoug warred with his neighbors, but none more so than Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath and ruler of Bakrakhan. Between their nations, along a ridge known as the Rasp, Karzoug built immense sentinel statues to watch over Bakrakhan, while Alaznist built towers called Hellfire Flumes to prevent Karzoug’s armies from invading. Citizens of both nations worried that the war between Karzoug and Alaznist would soon escalate to the point where they could bring about the end of the world.

kp 0
As Karzoug and Alaznist’s war intensified, and as wars between other runelords threatened more than just their armies, the runelords devised methods in which they could escape the world and enter a state of suspended animation, so they could ride out cataclysms. In theory, their surviving minions would then waken them to reclaim their empires once the cataclysms had ended.

Runeforge:
kp 40

kp 30
Runeforge was created as a place where agents of the seven runelords could gather to study magic.

kp 20
The runelords wove wards around Runeforge that barred entrance into the complex to any runelord or his direct agents, in order to keep the research within free from sabotage at the hands of an enemy.

kp 10
Runeforge’s magical enhancements sustained those within without the need to eat, drink, or even sleep.

Event The book that reveals this is a lengthy treatise on engineering magical protections into large structures, and notes that having a sympathetic focus makes the process easier, but that once complete, the focus is no longer needed. If the primary researcher succeeds on a DC 28 Knowledge (arcana) check and a DC 30 Perception check, they can locate the sympathetic focus that was used in the library's temporal warding: a clear spindle ioun stone, embedded in the stones at the bottom of the library shaft. Freeing it requires a strength check: 15+ succeeds; 11-15 succeeds, but the stone is flawed in the process; lower has no effect. Removing the ioun stone has no ill effect on the library's temporal warding.

kp 0
The final project the runelords set Runeforge on was the development of ways the runelords could escape the imminent fall of their empire. Each faction developed a unique answer for its runelord, based upon the underlying principles of that faction’s magical traditions.

Adjust the research DC according to taste. I have assumed it should be average. Easy = 26, average = 31, difficult = 36.

I opted not to assign serious time pressure to the research tasks presented here, because although knowing these things are useful, they are not crucial to advancing in the adventure path. Also, since the PCs will just have finished a long dungeon crawl, they may need some down time between 4 and 5 anyway to rest up, shop for gear, pursue romantic interests, and so on. If you want to assign time pressure to the Runeforge research task, I recommend giving them no more than a week.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tinalles,

Thanks for putting this together. My group will has dealt with Mokmurian and should be entering the library during our session on Saturday.

I have CI and think I will use this for the research, instead of the basic checks. I have a wizard and a Bard that blow most checks out of the water. This will provide a little more depth to the process.

I would post it to the Community Created Thread so it can get saved for other to use in the future.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As planned I used this info in yesterday's session.

My players enjoyed it and it went well. It was a much better solution than just saying you spent the last 3 days in the library and here is what you found.

Thanks again for putting this together.


Cool, glad it went well. Did you use the events I put in? How'd they go?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Actually I didn't. :-(

I had missed them when I first looked over the stuff and so wasn't really prepared when I came across them in each section and opted to leave them out instead of trying to shoe horn them in.

They were well done and would have added even more to the encounter, maybe next time.


Ah well, maybe next time. My own PCs will be getting to the Jorgenfist library in probably another 2-3 sessions, so I'll get to see how the events go then!


Thank you! I was just about to do the conversion work, and out of curiosity I googled "Ultimate Intrigue Jorgenfist Library"...and I got this. Thank you for sharing your work. It's so worth it to make sure you aren't re-inventing the wheel during GM prep.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks for this!


This is amazing. Hopefully we get far enough to use this!


Based off of this, I feel like I need to check out Ultimate Intrigue. This is good stuff.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yep, Ultimate Intrigue is a great book, and I particularly like the library research rules. It makes research into an interesting non-combat mini-game rather than a single Knowledge check.


Woo, activity in a long-quiet thread! Glad people are still finding this useful. ^_^


I love this! The research rules in Ultimate Intrigue are my favorite chapter of that book.

My players will be getting to Jorgenfist in about a month to six weeks. It's been over a year since I quickly read the book through, and I haven't gotten to the library yet on my detailed re-read studying of it as we go. So I'll just ask:

Once they find the library, assuming the story is going as per the expected plot, will they be in a position where they are likely to feel like they can hang out for weeks studying? Or will they be rushed off to some other emergency?

The answer to that really affects how much of this we'll be able to use. (I'm hoping they can hang out.)


Oh, and regarding the Dream Dalliance trap - the word "elucidarian" doesn't seem to appear anywhere in the AP. Is there a way for them to find out about this trap and its bypass password?


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Mr. Grogg wrote:

I love this! The research rules in Ultimate Intrigue are my favorite chapter of that book.

My players will be getting to Jorgenfist in about a month to six weeks. It's been over a year since I quickly read the book through, and I haven't gotten to the library yet on my detailed re-read studying of it as we go. So I'll just ask:

Once they find the library, assuming the story is going as per the expected plot, will they be in a position where they are likely to feel like they can hang out for weeks studying? Or will they be rushed off to some other emergency?

The answer to that really affects how much of this we'll be able to use. (I'm hoping they can hang out.)

As with other junctions in the AP, there is some appearance of urgency but it's not all that real. The pc's learn about why Mokmurian sent the raiding party to Sandpoint and when they find out the answer isn't to be found in the Library, they'll need to journey there themselves. When they do, they find the sinkhole etc. that leads them to the Scribbler, and then to Runeforge, etc. Even if the pc's "need" to leave, they have plenty of leeway to return. Indeed the pc's in my play through used the Library as a base of sorts during the transition between Books 4 and 5 until the journey to Rimeskull and Runeforge (the wizard had the teleport spell.) They wanted to avoid any retaliation from Karzoug or his minions and also prevent them from re-taking it. And they returned to it again when trying to find Xin Shalast (even though per the AP Mokmurian has removed all information about Xin Shalast from the Library - but the pc's don't know that.)

Scarab Sages

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This is an older thread, but I discovered it on the eve of my players making it to the library. I'm beyond pumped for incorporating the Ultimate Intrigue researching into the AP, and the Therassic Library is the perfect opportunity.

Thanks for putting this together!

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