Five years ago and hundreds of miles from the Varisian coast, a wicked and ambitious stone giant named Mokmurian awakened a slumbering tyrant—Runelord Karzoug. In his time thousands of years ago, at the height of Thassilon’s rule, Karzoug drew his magic from the runes of the Sihedron—magical traditions closely tied to the seven primal sins.
After his centuries-long slumber, Karzoug wasted no time in preparing his triumphant return by activating an ancient Thassilonian artifact called a runewell, a device capable of extracting magical essence from the souls of certain creatures who, in life, exemplifi ed specific spiritual traits—in this case, greed. Only these souls were useful to Karzoug in completing his return to life, and so he sent Mokmurian, now his puppet, back into the world to make ready the harvest.
Karzoug uses a potent scrying device called a soul lens to focus on sacrifices prepared with the proper rituals and marked with the Sihedron Rune (the ancient symbol of all seven schools of Thassilonian magic). As the sacrifice dies, the soul lens draws his soul across any intervening distance to fuel the runewell. Karzoug’s growing need for greedy souls has spurred Mokmurian and his stone giant kin to further and further violence. Other runelords kept runewells of their own, and when Karzoug activated his, these others flared to dangerous life as well.
In most cases, the other runewells were hidden deep underwater, buried far underground, or lost in remote regions, and this sudden flare of ancient magic had little noticeable effect. The runewell sent a shockwave of magical energy up through the town above, manifesting in the form of violent nightmares from which many folk woke in a terrible rage that vanished in the span of a heartbeat. In a few unfortunate cases, however, the wrath found fertile soil.