How do Runelords control Rune Giants and more generaly how do new Runelords get accepted by their predecessors artifacts


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


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Hi guys,

this is my first post here, its quite exciting.

The title says it all.

One of my players bought several adventure paths for me to delve into an make their life thrilling (miserable) :D

Anyway, while going throught it and all the lore around the runelords, I have a hard time to understand several things:

1- How do the new runelords get recognized and accepted as such by the runelords related artifacts (specifically by the seven swords of sin)?

2- How do runelords dominate rune giants, and by what are the means used by the new runelords to get that authority?

3- Generally speaking how do new runelords rise to power? What makes someone a runelord?

I thought that the most logical explanation is to make that related to the Alara'quin. Its kind of the regalia of the runelords, but I didn't find any material to corroborate that.

What do you think?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Kharsus wrote:

Hi guys,

this is my first post here, its quite exciting.

The title says it all.

One of my players bought several adventure paths for me to delve into an make their life thrilling (miserable) :D

Anyway, while going throught it and all the lore around the runelords, I have a hard time to understand several things:

1- How do the new runelords get recognized and accepted as such by the runelords related artifacts (specifically by the seven swords of sin)?

2- How do runelords dominate rune giants, and by what are the means used by the new runelords to get that authority?

3- Generally speaking how do new runelords rise to power? What makes someone a runelord?

I thought that the most logical explanation is to make that related to the Alara'quin. Its kind of the regalia of the runelords, but I didn't find any material to corroborate that.

What do you think?

Yay! Welcome to the boards!

1) Part of someone becoming a new runelord is making that happen. The artifacts don't automatically accept them, but if you're high-enough level to force your will and presence onto those artifacts, you take control and prove it. Which is a LOT tougher if there's already a runelord in that role.

2) Mostly through a combination of bribery and bullying and giving the rune giants the agency to control and dominate and bully giants "legally." And the very first rune giants were magically created to have "serve Runelords" be part of their very existence. As generations wore on, that magical compulsion faded but was replaced by a societal element where rune giants had the privilege of being boss giants. They enjoy their cruel position of power and understand that a big part of what gives them that position is serving a runelord.

3) It's mostly "if you are tough enough to replace the previous runelord and tough enough to not get replaced by another" that decides if you're a runelord. It's not an inherited title, nor is it something that you campaign votes for. It's a power grab. If you can take it and keep it, it's yours.

Which is why the runelords are all so high level—there's just not a lot of things that a level 17+, artifact wielding wizard with access to a nation's resources for their own whims can be threatened by.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
Kharsus wrote:

Hi guys,

this is my first post here, its quite exciting.

The title says it all.

One of my players bought several adventure paths for me to delve into an make their life thrilling (miserable) :D

Anyway, while going throught it and all the lore around the runelords, I have a hard time to understand several things:

1- How do the new runelords get recognized and accepted as such by the runelords related artifacts (specifically by the seven swords of sin)?

2- How do runelords dominate rune giants, and by what are the means used by the new runelords to get that authority?

3- Generally speaking how do new runelords rise to power? What makes someone a runelord?

I thought that the most logical explanation is to make that related to the Alara'quin. Its kind of the regalia of the runelords, but I didn't find any material to corroborate that.

What do you think?

Yay! Welcome to the boards!

1) Part of someone becoming a new runelord is making that happen. The artifacts don't automatically accept them, but if you're high-enough level to force your will and presence onto those artifacts, you take control and prove it. Which is a LOT tougher if there's already a runelord in that role.

2) Mostly through a combination of bribery and bullying and giving the rune giants the agency to control and dominate and bully giants "legally." And the very first rune giants were magically created to have "serve Runelords" be part of their very existence. As generations wore on, that magical compulsion faded but was replaced by a societal element where rune giants had the privilege of being boss giants. They enjoy their cruel position of power and understand that a big part of what gives them that position is serving a runelord.

3) It's mostly "if you are tough enough to replace the previous runelord and tough enough to not get replaced by another" that decides if you're a runelord. It's not an inherited title, nor is it something that you campaign votes for. It's a power grab....

An answer as simple as it is elegant :)

thats super interesting in terms of possibilities that can happen with the players at high level. I know my guys, I'm sure one of them will think of replacing the bad guy one way or another :D

For the rune giants, that would make it harder for the several returned runelords to control de modern rune giants, since they lived 10k years on their own, isn't it?

anyway thank you very much James, you've given me some nice perspective on how I will build up all this in my world :D

I want to take opportunity to tell you that you have a real talent for this. I loved your style since the demonomicon (nearly 20 years ago, time flies...).

Keep it up, you and your team are making real good stuff. Thanks again.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Yup. A returned runelord has a significant uphill battle when it comes to re-establishing their power base. For example, in Rise of the Runelords...

Spoiler:
...Karzoug had to start over from scratch, working with the stone giant Mokmurian by promsing power and knowledge in return for helping him get back on his feet; his one-time capital city of Xin-Shalast now a ruin controlled by several competing factions. He had to re-earn the allegiance of all of his minions.

Which is why, in Return of the Runelords...

Spoiler:
Sorshen decided not to do the same thing that got so many other Runelords crushed by new heroes, and instead opted to try a different method to rebuild her nation. At the same time, her only remaining competitor, Belimarius, had a significant advantage no other runelord had—an entire city of time-locked citizens and minions that she never lost control of. This sets up New Thassilon in a way that's going to develop pretty differently than old Thassilon.

Also, thanks for the kind words! Those Demonomicon articles were lots of fun to create.


James Jacobs wrote:

Yup. A returned runelord has a significant uphill battle when it comes to re-establishing their power base. For example, in Rise of the Runelords...

** spoiler omitted **

Which is why, in Return of the Runelords...

** spoiler omitted **

Also, thanks for the kind words! Those Demonomicon articles were lots of fun to create.

It makes sense. Thanks again.

For the Demonomicon, they were as fun for me to read, as they were for you to create. Keep up :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Throwing out a mention to the additional Runelord archetype in 2e, where some members of New Thassilon are calling themselves Runelords, emulating the old ones, but without the levels of power the old ones had. I imagine Sorshen is pretty amused at these little Runelords running around, playing at her immense power.

While you're here, actually, am I remembering correctly that Sorshen and Nocticula are on pretty good terms? I imagine they'd have a lot to talk about considering their similar past areas of focus.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Virellius wrote:

Throwing out a mention to the additional Runelord archetype in 2e, where some members of New Thassilon are calling themselves Runelords, emulating the old ones, but without the levels of power the old ones had. I imagine Sorshen is pretty amused at these little Runelords running around, playing at her immense power.

While you're here, actually, am I remembering correctly that Sorshen and Nocticula are on pretty good terms? I imagine they'd have a lot to talk about considering their similar past areas of focus.

The "new runelords" thing is a new story thread we've not yet started to really explore, but hopefully some day we'll get a chance to do so.

Sorshen and Nocticula have a fair amount in common, and her faith is one of the most prevalent in eastern New Thassilon, yes. But Nocticula is a full-fledged deity these days, and so doesn't really "talk" to mortals much. And Sorshen has a lot more pressing matters to face in the meantime anyway, so they don't really "talk much" at all.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Virellius wrote:

Throwing out a mention to the additional Runelord archetype in 2e, where some members of New Thassilon are calling themselves Runelords, emulating the old ones, but without the levels of power the old ones had. I imagine Sorshen is pretty amused at these little Runelords running around, playing at her immense power.

While you're here, actually, am I remembering correctly that Sorshen and Nocticula are on pretty good terms? I imagine they'd have a lot to talk about considering their similar past areas of focus.

The "new runelords" thing is a new story thread we've not yet started to really explore, but hopefully some day we'll get a chance to do so.

Sorshen and Nocticula have a fair amount in common, and her faith is one of the most prevalent in eastern New Thassilon, yes. But Nocticula is a full-fledged deity these days, and so doesn't really "talk" to mortals much. And Sorshen has a lot more pressing matters to face in the meantime anyway, so they don't really "talk much" at all.

That makes sense. I think it was her faith being prevalent that I was thinking of. And the new runelords sounds like so much fun, I hope you guys get to do something with it maybe in a region book or something. Thassilon is my favorite; can't wait to see what y'all do!

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