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Old Xin
First King
Source: Lost Kingdoms, pg(s). 55

Emperor Xin, an exile from the ancient nation of Azlant,1 was the visionary founder of Thassilon, an empire that would later be divided by the squabbling runelords that he created.23


Early life

Xin was born in the heyday of Azlant as the heir of an influential family. Trained as a wizard from a young age, Xin was a natural prodigy and often considered his lessons boring and stifling. He surmised that traditional Azlanti wizardry was not the only way of manipulating magic. Abandoning his lessons, Xin travelled to Avistan and discovered different magical traditions: elven crystal magic, Varisian divination, and Shoanti war runes, all of which were dismissed as primitive by the Azlanti. He was particularly fascinated by and discovered a portion of the alghollthus' magic, which the Azlanti feared and considered taboo; his discovery was followed by other Azlanti who discovered the influence of the alghollthus on their society.24

Xin was frustrated by what he perceived as racism and increasingly lobbied against the arrogant attitude that he considered to only hold Azlanti wizards back. As he recruited an increasingly large following of young Azlanti, the establishment began to resent him and his opportunities declined.2

In -6533 AR, when Xin announced a new method of mastering magic that built upon the Azlanti virtues of rule to organise magical specialisations, which he devised from the combination of Azlanti and foreign magic, he was given a choice by the ruling wizards: abandon his research or accept exile from Azlant. He did not hesitate to choose exile.25

Founding of Thassilon

Thousands of Xin's followers, apprentices and their families followed him into exile. They made the perilous journey across the Arcadian Ocean, landing on what is now known as Hollow Mountain in -6530 AR and founding the settlement of Xin-Bakrakhan.67 Once in Avistan, they began the formation of the Thassilonian Empire in the area what would one day be Varisia; Xin knew that he had found a land where he could prove his former masters wrong. Xin quickly expanded to the east, coming into conflict with local human and elven tribes. These peoples did not resist him for long, fearing Xin for his powerful magic, but also seeing the technological advances an alliance with him could bring.6 Within a short time, Xin had founded not only the state of Bakrakhan, but also those of Edasseril (on today's Ironbound Archipelago), Cyrusian (in Southmoor and northwestern Varisia), Eurythnia (southern Varisia), and Shalast (central and northern Varisia).568

Rule of Thassilon

He helped to create not only his empire but many orders of knights and wizards, even helping foster monastic orders to educate the Varisians and Shoanti. His goal was to create a civilised paradise within his empire. To do this, Xin bargained with mighty and powerful creatures: ancient dragons, and inscrutable outsiders. These creatures granted knowledge of rune magic—said by some to be the language of creation itself—and worship of the goddess of rune magic Lissala. Xin created the Sihedron, spent nearly a quarter-century developing and refining rune magic, and used this knowledge in many aspects of day-to-day life within Thassilon. Within a few short years, the Azlanti colony became the second great human empire of Golarion.92

Creation of the Runelords

Eventually, the empire grew too large for Xin to control, and he eventually began to resent the necessities of rule, which distracted him from magical research. In -6480 AR, he chose the most powerful apprentices of each school: Alderpash, Kaladurnae, Kaliphesta, Naaft, Sorshen, Xanderghul and Xirie, who became the first runelords, each responsible for the governance of one of Thassilon's regions. However, the runelords did not have Xin's virtue, and under the runelords each territory became a corrupted reflection of the virtue it was meant to represent.92510

Xin's death

Relieved of his duties as ruler, Xin turned his attention to research. As he aged, Old Xin (as he was called in his final years), started losing his grip over the realm and his magical abilities, and never become aware of the runelords' depredations until many years later. Numerous poisoned meals and assassinations turned Xin paranoid, and he cast out his courtiers from his palace, replacing them with clockwork minions. As Xin grew old and frail, he crafted a clockwork reliquary to house his soul and lead his clockwork army. However, this was only possible if Xin dismantled the Sihedron first and used the magic within it to move his soul.2

The runelords were all aware that Xin would be devoid of his greatest magical protection during this process. They watched and waited, and in -6420 AR, as soon as they detected Xin transferring his soul, they sent the rune giant Shasthaak to assassinate him. As Shasthaak struck the killing blow, Xin pulled out a shard of the Sihedron from the clockwork reliquary. The energy that would have transferred his soul instead burst outward, annihilating Xin, Shasthaak, and his palace alike. His reign lasted 110 years.253

After his death, Xin's oldest son was placed on the throne, but at this point rule of the empire effectively fell to the runelords. Xin's son was a mere puppet kept on the throne for the sake of tradition. He was imprisoned in the city of Xin were he could be effectively watched and controlled.9

However, before his death Xin had already planned for the eventuality of an assassination: the runelords were too power-hungry to allow the whole Sihedron to be owned by one individual, so they would war against each other for control of the artefact. Once one of them emerged the victor and rebuilt the Sihedron, Xin would return to take his revenge, and, to prepare for this, he siphoned key energies away from the Sihedron. But the runelords also foresaw all of this, and agreed to divide the Sihedron shards among themselves, ensuring that it would never be rebuilt and Xin would remain dead. The city of Xin was allowed to fall into ruin.2

Xin's spirit did not pass onto the Boneyard, but continued to haunt his palace, not quite ghost and not quite haunt, and went insane in the ensuing centuries. Xin's contingent magic did not fade, but waited for the Sihedron to be remade, so Xin and his city could be restored.211

Recent events

In 4712 AR, adventurers from Magnimar triggered Xin's contingency by rebuilding the Sihedron, causing the sunken city of Xin to rise from the sea and awakening the First King from his slumber. However, the millennia had not been kind to Xin's mind; brought back in his clockwork reliquary body, he reactivated his old clockwork army in an attempt to conquer modern Varisia and restore his empire. Before he could do so, those same adventurers invaded the risen isle of Xin and destroyed the clockwork reliquary, allowing Xin's tormented soul to travel to the Boneyard.21213


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 144. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Brandon Hodge. “The Dead Heart of Xin” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 7–8. Paizo Inc., 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wolfgang Baur, et al. “Introduction” in Lost Kingdoms, 3. Paizo Inc., 2012
  4. Greg A. Vaughan. “Ecology of the Alghollthu” in The Lost Outpost, 75. Paizo Inc., 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 78. Paizo Inc., 2018
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Wolfgang Baur, et al. Thassilon” in Lost Kingdoms, 55. Paizo Inc., 2012
  7. James Jacobs. “The Shattered Star” in Shards of Sin, 67. Paizo Inc., 2012
  8. Wolfgang Baur, et al. Thassilon” in Lost Kingdoms, 58. Paizo Inc., 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Wolfgang Baur. “The History of Thassilon” in Burnt Offerings, 72. Paizo Inc., 2007
  10. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 76. Paizo Inc., 2018
  11. Brandon Hodge. “The Dead Heart of Xin” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 21. Paizo Inc., 2013
  12. Brandon Hodge. “The Dead Heart of Xin” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 53. Paizo Inc., 2013
  13. Erik Mona, et al. Saga Lands” in World Guide, 111. Paizo Inc., 2019