Rise of the Runelords
Rise of the Runelords" width = "800
Genre Action/Adventure
Current Story Arc Coming Soon…
Start Date Pending
End Date Pending

“There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.” ― Gautama Buddha

Welcome to the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, and welcome to Varisia! In Rise of the Runelords, your character will take up arms against the return of a centuries-old evil seeking to reclaim the land. Before you set out on your adventure, there are some things you should know that will aid you on your journey. Below, you’ll find helpful tips on designing your character, a selection of traits to help your character feel like a part of the world and the events of the campaign, and an overview of the lands your character will be visiting. Fight strong and keep your head, for your character might be the only thing keeping Varisia—and even Golarion—safe from doom!

Character Creation

Character Creation Information
Stats Point Buy (Epic Fantasy)
Starting Level 1st
Starting Money Standard
House Rules Yes
Hero Points Yes
Campaign Traits Yes
Drawbacks Yes
Restricted Books None
Alignment Restrictions None

Character Tips

A massive threat is emerging in Varisia and mustering its forces. Only a group of cagey adventurers can put an end to this evil, and they’d better be prepared for what they face. The following tips can help when designing characters for Rise of the Runelords.

  • Ancient Lost Cultures: Since the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path reveals an ancient threat reemerging into the world, characters skilled in Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (arcana) are best suited to putting the pieces together. Access to powerful magic at higher levels could be the key to survival, not just for the PCs, but also the entire world!
  • Dangerous Denizens: Rise of the Runelords brings player characters face to face with hundreds of monstrous threats. A prepared character should be suited to challenge monstrous humanoids, giants, magical beasts, and undead, and even greater threats at higher levels, such as evil outsiders and dragons.
  • Explorers: As the campaign moves throughout the frontier of Varisia, the player characters encounter lost ruins. Characters with skill sets appropriate for adventuring in dungeons and crumbling ruins can give the party an edge. Knowledge (dungeoneering) and racial low-light vision or darkvison would be helpful in those dank and dark places. Since many of these locations have been warded and secured by their builders, a character who can bypass some of those protections just might help the party live to fight another day.
  • Giant Hunters: Rumors of giants mobilizing in the wilds of Varisia are spreading, and the people of this frontier land need saviors. Player characters ready to take on threats like this are well suited to this Adventure Path.
  • Into the Wilds: While some parts of this Adventure Path delve deep into ruins, much of the action is on the surface. Since Varisia is an untamed frontier, characters who are good at dealing with natural threats and excel at finding their way in forests and mountains would be assets to an adventuring party. Plenty of opportunity for overland travel abounds as well, so mounts could prove useful in getting characters to the doorstep of adventure, but might be difficult to deal with once the adventure moves below ground.

Campaign Traits

Campaign traits are specifically designed to tie your character into a campaign's storyline, and often give you a built-in reason to begin the first adventure. One of your starting traits must be one of the following campaign traits. Characters made for this campaign should have reasons for being in the town of Sandpoint, and all the better if they have a vested interest in defending it. Other traits in Ultimate Campaign can also be used for additional trait selections.

  • Black Sheep: You were born and raised in town. You know many of the region's secrets and the locals already know who you are. You aren't quite hated in town, but folk seem to think you're a troublemaker and a bastard and not to be trusted. The town's tougher folk respect you, but the law-abiding citizens don't. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks, and Knowledge (local) is a class skill for you. In addition, you can choose any one notorious citizen from below as an ally; depending on the person you pick, you'll get different benefits.
    • Apothecary: Everyone suspects the sweaty, shifty-eyed apothecary sells poisons from his cluttered, acrid smelling wreck of a shop. You're one of the few in town who know this for a fact. You start the game with 400 gp worth of poison, and the apothecary will continue to sell you poison as long as you don't spread the word.
    • Bitter Nobleman: A local unscrupulous family was hit hard recently, revealing criminal ties that damaged its reputation as well. One noble is eager to rebuild his presence in town, and you're one of the ones he's selected as an agent. Choose one of the following skills: Bluff, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth. Your work for the family gives you a +1 trait bonus on that skill, and it is always a class skill for you.
  • Eager Performer: Hearing that Sandpoint had a theater rivaling those found in large cities like Magnimar and Korvosa, you decided to try your luck getting stage time there. After sending a letter to Cyrdak Drokkus requesting an audition and not hearing back, you’ve taken it upon yourself to travel to Sandpoint and meet him in person, trusting your force of will and charming influence will get you what you want. You gain a +1 trait bonus on checks for any one Perform skill. Additionally, choose any one spell of the enchantment school; its save DC increases by +1.
  • Family Ties: While not ethnically a Varisian, you have been raised among Varisians and they consider you one of their own. Furthermore, you managed to get in good with a group of Sczarni and consider them your new family. After being run out of the last place your Sczarni family camped, you tracked down a friend of the family in Sandpoint—a ruthless thug named Jubrayl Vhiski at the Fatman’s Feedbag. During your time with the Sczarni, you learned a few tricks of the trade. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks and Knowledge (local) is always a class skill for you. In addition, you begin play able to speak and read Varisian.
  • Favored Son/Daughter: You were born and raised in the town of Sandpoint or its surrounding farms. You know many of the region's secrets, and the locals already know who you are. You are well liked in town, and you'll have lots of friends in the region, but the town's tougher side sees you as a snitch or a pansy. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks, and Knowledge (local) is always a class skill for you. In addition, you can choose any one law-abiding citizen of Sandpoint from below as an ally; depending on the person you pick, you'll get different benefits.
    • Tavern Owner (Ranaan Oharu): One of the town’s most influential and beloved nobles. Her inn/tavern is the most popular in town, and as one of her friends, you're guaranteed a place to eat and sleep for free. She's got lots of great contacts with merchants as well, and she'll sell any of your loot for you—as a result, you gain an additional 10% over the amount of gp you normally would get from selling off treasure.
    • Sherrif: The no nonsense arm of the law, is like the uncle you never had. The benefits of being close friends with the town sheriff are extensive, and you can call in favors from him once per game session. A favor can either get you out of a legal jam, hook you up with a town guard for help, or give you a one-time +10 bonus on a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check made against any local person.
  • Friends and Enemies: One of your family members, perhaps a parent, cousin, aunt, or uncle, helped Daviren Hosk put down a group of goblins near Sandpoint. Since then, your family member passed away, but not before telling you about that day and the offer Daviren made her should she ever be in need. Once you make it to Sandpoint and meet up with Daviren Hosk at the Goblin Squash Stables, he gives you one of his best steeds and all the necessary accoutrements as gratitude for your family member’s help: a heavy combat trained horse, a military saddle, saddlebags, bit and bridle, a month’s worth of feed, and lifetime stabling at the Goblin Squash Stables.
  • Giant Slayer (Aureliana): Your family’s village was plundered by giants in the wilds of Varisia, leaving nothing but a smoldering ruin. After the destruction of your village, your family trained for combat against giants to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. Since hearing of giants mobilizing throughout the countryside, you ventured to Sandpoint to help the town prepare for a possible incursion. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff, Perception, and Sense Motive checks and +1 trait bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls against creatures of the giant subtype.
  • Goblin Watcher: You grew up in Sandpoint staring off the cliff across the Varisian Gulf. Spending so much time there at Junker’s Edge watching the goblins below as they scrounged through the discarded junk and seeing what they made out of the garbage, you developed an eye for spotting the most useful and valuable discarded items. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception and Appraise checks, and a +5 trait bonus on Appraise checks to determine the most valuable item visible in a treasure hoard.
  • Hagfish Hopeful: Ever since passing through Sandpoint when you were a child and hearing about the contest at the popular tavern known as the Hagfish, you wanted to take that coin purse as your own and carve your name on the ceiling beam above the bar. Training yourself to choke down indigestible food and drink water a pig would refuse, you've built up quite a strong resistance to all things putrid and gross. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Fortitude saves against disease and poison.
  • Merchant Family: You are related to one of the four noble families from Magnimar who founded the Mercantile League of Sandpoint. You either grew up in Magnimar as a cousin in the Valdemar or Deverin family or were born and raised in Sandpoint. Education in running a business and years of looking after the family enterprise have given you a knack for trade. You increase the gp limit of any settlement by 20% and can resell items at an additional 10% over the amount of gp you normally would get from selling off treasure.
  • Monster Hunter: Perhaps you came to the Varisian Gulf in search of the Sandpoint Devil, or maybe you followed fisherman’s tales of Old Murdermaw— regardless, you've ventured through Varisia to hunt down famous monsters. While they have all eluded you so far, you made it to Sandpoint to research and restock before heading back out into the wilderness. Because of your training, you gain a +1 trait bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls against aberrations and magical beasts.
  • Outlander: You are not from town; you've recently come from somewhere else and are hoping to make your fortune here. Pick one of the following reasons to be a newcomer to the area.
    • Lore Seeker: The secrets of an ancient fallen civilization intrigue you, particularly the magical traditions of its highly mystical culture. You've studied magic intensely, and hope to increase that knowledge by adding ancient lore. You've come to the region to pursue that study, and chose the town as your base because it was out of the way of bigger cities—meaning less competition to study the ancient monuments in the region, you hope! You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks, and Knowledge (arcana) is a class skill for you. If you cast arcane spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
    • Exile: For whatever reason, you were forced to flee your homeland. Chance or fate has brought you to twon, and it's here that your money ran out, leaving you stranded in this small town. You are also being pursued by enemies from your homeland, and that has made you paranoid and quick to react to danger. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.
    • Missionary: You have come to town to see about expanding the presence of your chosen faith after receiving visions that told you your faith is needed in the region—what that need is, though, you're not quite sure. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks, and Knowledge (religion) is a class skill for you. If you cast divine spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
  • Sandpoint Faithful: As a faithful adherent of Abadar, Desna, Erastil, Gozreh, Sarenrae, or Shelyn, you’ve come to the Swallowtail Festival to celebrate the consecration of Sandpoint Cathedral. You gain a silver holy symbol of your chosen deity, and so long as you worship that deity and openly wear his or her symbol, you regain +1 additional hit point every time you receive magical healing.
  • Scholar of the Ancients (Runestone): Growing up with your nose in books, you’ve had a great interest in past cultures and ancient history. Furthermore, having grown up in Varisia, you know the monuments dotting the landscape belong to an ancient civilization known as Thassilon. From your life of study and dogged research, you’ve pieced together the language and partial history of this once-great empire. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (history) checks, and begin play able to speak and read Thassilonian.
  • Student of Faith: While you have personally dedicated your life to a single deity, you study all religions and mortal faiths. Upon hearing that the town of Sandpoint recently completed a cathedral dedicated to the six deities most popular in the area, you had to see the place for yourself, and have arrived in time for the consecration of this holy edifice. Because of your strong faith and broad range of study, you cast all cure spells at +1 caster level, and whenever you channel energy, you gain a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of your channeled energy.
  • Thrill Seeker: You’ve grown up in or around Sandpoint and are the heir to your family’s modest farm, shop, or fishing boat, but you’ve always dreamed of more. Searching for a taste of excitement, you’ve come into town to participate in this year’s Swallowtail festival. The thrill of danger grants you an additional +5 feet of movement during the first round of any combat. Additionally, you begin play with three star candle fireworks (see Ultimate Equipment).


Drawbacks are traits in reverse. Instead of granting you a boon, they grant you a negative effect, typically in particular circumstances. If you choose to take a drawback, you can take a third trait that you have access to. You don't have to take a drawback.

  • Attached (Runestone): You have a strong emotional attachment to a person or object that you're terrified of losing. The GM must approve the object of your attachment. Whenever the object of your attachment is either threatened, in danger, or in someone else's possession, you take a —1 penalty on Will saves and a —2 penalty on saves against fear effects. If the person or object to which you're attached is ever lost, killed, or destroyed, exchange this drawback for the Doubt drawback.
  • Avarice: Deep, compulsive greed gnaws at you. Whenever monetary treasure is divided, you must end up with a greater share of that treasure than your companions or you're wracked with feelings of jealousy and ill will. When treasure is divided, if you do not end up with at least 10% more treasure than any other individual companion does, you have a hard time being helpful to your allies. You become irritable, and can't take the aid another action for the next week.
  • Doubt (Ranaan Oharu): You lack confidence in your abilities or confidence in the universe at large. Whenever you fail a skill or ability check, you take a —4 penalty on that type of skill or ability check for the next hour.
  • Headstrong (Aureliana): You feel compelled to correct every action and argument that contradicts your worldview. Whenever you witness an action or hear an argument that contradicts your alignment, you must attempt to stop or correct that action or argument. If you either don't try to stop it or fail in your attempt to stop it (as adjudicated by the GM), you are shaken for 1 hour.
  • Hedonistic: You are a creature of pleasure and comfort. Whenever you spend a day without gaining reward or treasure (at least 10 or more gold pieces) or spending an hour on entertainment or pleasure, attempt a DC 20 Fortitude save at the end of that day. If you fail, you begin the next day fatigued. This fatigue lasts 4 hours, or until you receive a reward or sufficient entertainment or pleasure.
  • Lovesick: Your love for another occupies your every thought, and you become despondent when you are away from that person. The person is chosen by your GM (with consideration to your roll on Table 1—56: Romantic Relationships if you used the background generator). At the start of each day, if you are away from this person you take a —2 penalty on initiative checks and Perception checks. If you ever lose or fall out of love with this person, exchange this drawback for the Doubt drawback.
  • Vain: You are sensitive about the way others perceive you. Whenever you fail an opposed Charisma-based check, you take a —2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks for the next 24 hours.

House Rules

Modified Starting Language (Common)

in progress

Campaign Information

Player Characters
Aureliana Seraphina de la Ynes Ranaan Oharu Runestone
Major NPCs
Kendra Deverin Belor Hemlock Abstalar Zantus Amiko Kaijitsu
Brodert Quink Hannah Valerin Aldern Foxglove Sabyl Sorn
Shalelu Andosana NPC 10 NPC 11 NPC 12

Story Synopsis

  • 09/23/4707 - Travelers from across Varisia gather in the settlement of Sandpoint for the Swallowtail Festival, an observation of the church of Desna's Swallowtail Release celebration and the consecration of the newly completed Sandpoint Cathedral. At the start of the consecration ritual for the new cathedral, the town comes under attack by goblins and eventually, the dreaded Sandpoint Devil, which escapes after being heavily injured.
  • 09/24/4707 - The Heros of Sandpoint, while attending the postponed consecration of Sandpoint Cathedral are alerted to the desecration of the crypt of the previous cathedral's high priest, Ezakian Tobyn
  • 09/25/4707 - The Heros of Sandpoint are asked to stay in Sandpoint while Sheriff Belor Hemlock travels to Magnimar in search of reinforcements to deal with the looming goblin threat.
  • 09/26/4707 - An investigation into a possible kidnapping at the Sandpoint Glassworks. Discovery of the Catacombs of Wrath.
  • 09/27/4707 - Deactivation of the runewell of wrath leads to the rediscovery of runemagic.
  • 10/01/4707 - After three days of skirmishes, Thistletop is declared cleared of all threats. Gogmurt takes command of the Birdcruncher goblin tribe on the condition that he accept the aid of a dapsara conjured with lesser planar binding in an attempt to cultivate something other than malicious stupidity in their people.
  • 10/11/4707 - Nualia Tobyn wins her battle against deifically-influenced insanity and is deemed fit for reintegration into society.
  • 10/12/4707 - The Heros of Sandpoint are asked to consult on a series of grisly murders.


Major Locations