In the beginning, there was Thassilon: An ancient empire existing more than 10,000 years before your birth. It was governed by the mighty Runelords, and ruled by the powerful Emperor Xin. There are many old tales that tell of the fall of the Runelords. As they turned away from the seven virtues of rule, their paths twisted and corrupted until they resembled the seven deadly sins instead. Harnessing the power held in runes, they fuelled powerful magic to turn on their ruler, so that no man stood above them.
There are many theories over what brought Thassilon to its knees after Emperor Xin finally died. A common tale is that the power-hungry Runelords fought each-other in tremendous world-shaking battles, shattering the empire into disparate fragments of civilization. Others say that the Runelords discovered an evil power in their research of rune magic, one so strong that even they could not control it. Regardless of what brought its end about, the crumbling stones that dot the Varisian landscape serve as ancient sentinels bearing a powerful message: even the mightiest can fall.
Across the lands of Golarion, there are many remnants of the old Thassilon: from ruins spread across the land, to underground tombs and complexes beneath cities such as Kaer Maga. Even the great capital of Magnimar, where our story of the Shattered Star begins, is built upon the Irespan: an enormous bridge that stretches so far out into the Varisian Gulf that it passes across the horizon. It is told that the Irespan served as the main travel route through the mountainous realm of Bakrakhan, the nation of Thassilon ruled by Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath.
The tale of the Shattered Star begins with apparent inauspiciousness: people are born – as they are wont to be – yet these people know not the path their lives will take. You all came from humble enough beginnings, yet every sight, every smell, every action you ever took has lead you upon this road of possibility. It brought you to Heidmarch Manor, when you scrawled your signature with steady hand upon the piece of paper signifying you as a Pathfinder of Golarion: a seeker of treasure, a delver of secrets, a chronicler of history, or – to use the common phrase – a murderhobo. You have completed a few odd jobs here and there, mostly minor tasks such as rooting out old relics in the collapsed and abandoned warehouses along the Dockway side of Magnimar. The glow of success from these menial tasks cannot compare with the flush of triumph you feel receive the following note:
Greetings, fellow seeker of adventure!
I am Sheila Heidmarch, Venture Captain of the newest Pathfinder Society lodge – and the only such lodge in Varisia at this time. You have come to my attention as someone who possesses the right concoction of skills and abilities that make you an excellent addition to my plans. I am forming a team of the most promising recruits for a matter of grave import, one that not only threatens the Society, but the whole of Varisia as well. Please report an hour before noon to Heidmarch Manor. You will be compensated for your time, but that reward will pale in light of the riches that may dot your path if you agree to undertake this quest that I have for you.
I look forward to meeting you soon.
- Sheila Heidmarch.