Season 4 of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign ran from August 2012–July 2013. The season is generally referred to as the Year of the Risen Rune due to the season's prominent presence in Varisia and activities dealing with the mystic civilizations ruled by ancient wizard kings, or Runelords, that were lost to time. During this Season, the Cheliax Faction saw their faction head disappear and threatened to be killed. Through the actions of Pathfinders from around the world that aligned themselves with the Cheliax faction, Zarta Dralneen was rescued, though her power in nation of Cheliax would never be the same. During a Mid-Season update, it was determined that the Lantern Lodge and the Shadow Lodge factions would be eliminated from being an available faction for Pathfinders to align themselves with by the end of the season. When the season ended, the factions that remained were: Andoran, Cheliax, Grand Lodge, Osirion, Qadira, Sczarni, Silver Crusade, and Taldor.
In the Varisian Gulf near Magnimar, a Runecarved Key was found with nothing in history explaining what it was or did. Because of this, it was decided to be auctioned off to earn money for the principalities of Magnimar. During the auction, however, cultists of the ancient goddess, Lissala, infiltrated the auction that Pathfinders attempted to win in order to gain access to the key. During this auction, the Pathfinders were able to capture one of the cultists and attempted to glean information about the cult's location of operations and, more importantly, their motives. In doing so, the Pathfinders learned the locations of several small sects of cultists throughout Varisia. They also learned that the Aspis Consortium was working with the cultists, and attempted to sully their alliance by sabotaging a cult cell in Riddleport while disguised as Aspis agents. After breaking up two additional cults of Lissala, one in Palin's Cove and the other in Kaer Maga, the Pathfinders realize the cult plans to revive Runelord Krune, the weakest of the seven wizard kings of the past. After gathering refuge tokens in Desgard's Thousand Columns, the Pathfinders locate and destroy Runelord Krune in an epic battle, before he is able to grace the lands of Golarion once again.
Other ongoing plots
To honor the betrothal of Michellia Blakros and Hellknight Damian Kastner, the Blakros family hosted a wedding, which Pathfinders are invited to attend. To show their support for the newlyweds, Pathfinder agents attended the wedding and mingled with many influential names in Absalom and nearby countries. As a gift to the Blakros family, now Damian Blakros, gave his family's abandoned Chelish mansion, Ostergarde, to show his support of the marriage. During the reception of the wedding, a man by the name of Tancred Desimire attempted to sabotage guests from leaving the wedding and caused havoc, causing the Pathfinders to step in and help. . After the attack, Hamaria Blakros, fearful of what might be in their newly gifted home, requested Pathfinders go and investigate Ostergarde to verify that the Blakros family would be safe to move in. During the Pathfinders' endeavors into the remote manor, the Pathfinders learned that Tancred had been using this location as a base of operations, using it's basements to summon demons to bolster an army he planned to use to sack Absalom. Having nowhere to go, Tancred fled to the Worldwound.
In response to Zarta Dralneen's order for her agents to eliminate Algorn Desimire in the Hao Jin Tapestry at the conclusion of the Year of the Ruby Phoenix, Aglorn's brother, Tancred, framed the paracountess for disloyalty to Cheliax, which resulted in her disappearance and the official denial of her very existence. After secretly entering a gala held in the Chelish Embassy in the Ascendant Court, Pathfinders discovered that she was being held in Citadel Vraid near Korvosa. Thus, a contingent of Pathfinders visited the Order of the Nail to negotiate her release.
Dorianna Ouida, leader of the dwindling Shadow Lodge, was discovered to be alive and well, and she retaliated against the Pathfinder Society for foiling her plans in Almas at the conclusion of the Year of the Shadow Lodge. She began this retribution by orchestrating heists in Magnimar and leaving behind wayfinders to implicate Pathfinders in the crimes, in the hopes of getting the organization banned from major cities. With contacts everywhere, the Pathfinder Society's Sczarni ally, Guaril Karela, was able to provide information to the Pathfinders about the location of Ouida's hideout in Riddleport. This, in turn, allowed the Pathfinders to capture Dorianna and bring her to justice. Before she could be turned over to the authorities, however, Grandmaster Torch gleaned from her critical information she had been hiding—the identities of the members of the Decemvirate—and immediately killed her in front of the Pathfinder agents who captured her to secure this knowledge as his alone.
Amara Li finally located the Way of the Kirin as a result of her efforts in Tian Xia during the Year of the Ruby Phoenix. Just as she had hoped, the Way wished to create an alliance between the two organizations. However, during the treaty ceremony, both the Pathfinders and the Way were attacked by the Golden League, a rival guild allied with the Aspis Consortium. Defending the Way of the Kirin representatives and pushing back their assailants, Li and her trusted agents cemented the partnership between the the Lantern Lodge and the Way, and finalized the requirements she needed to finish a true lodge in Goka.
During excavations in Janderhoff, Pathfinders were requested to help explore and uncover any dwarven relics they might find. During their adventures there, they discovered a potential lead that could reveal the locations of previously lost Sky Citadels. This discovery precipitated immediate expedition to the fallen citadel of Koldukar to follow up on the lead. Within the abandoned and orc-infested ruin, Pathfinders uncovered the location of one of the missing Sky Citadels—Jormurdun, in the land once known as Sarkoris, now the Worldwound.
Season 4 releases
The following adventures were released as part of Season 4. This table may be sorted by scenario number, title, level tier, metaplot arc, location, or country.
- Kyle Baird and Tim Hitchcock. (2012). Race for the Runecarved Key, Paizo Inc.
- Ron Lundeen. (2012). Severing Ties, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Sam Zeitlin. (2012). The Cultist's Kiss, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Dennis Baker. (2012). Feast of Sigils, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- John Compton. (2013). Words of the Ancients, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Tim Hitchcock. (2013). The Waking Rune, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Thurston Hillman. (2012). The Blakros Matrimony, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Larry Wilhelm. (2013). Day of the Demon, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Jonathan H. Keith. (2012). The Disappeared, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Amanda Hamon. (2013). Fortress of the Nail, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- James Olchak. (2013). My Enemy's Enemy, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Ron Lundeen. (2013). Rivalry's End, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Dennis Baker. (2013). Way of the Kirin, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Tork Shaw. (2013). Halls of Dwarven Lore, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Larry Wilhelm. (2013). The Secrets Stones Keep, Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- a scenario that can be used in the High Level arc but is not directly tied to the ongoing metaplot
- a scenario that can be used in the Low Level arc but is not directly tied to the ongoing metaplot
- These modules are related to one another, rather than forming a fully fledged plot arc
- This scenario was released as a Convention Special for 2012