The Twisted Rune was a highly secret cabal of liches and other powerful undead spellcasters. The inner circle was highly secretive, and employed agents to do their bidding, most of whom were unaware that they worked for the Rune. By 1018 DR (the Year of the Dracorage), the Rune had become the most powerful organization in southwestern Faerûn, with agents in every country south of the High Moor and west of the Storm Horn Mountains.
The Rune secretly controlled nearly half the powerful families of Calimshan. However they rarely acted directly to achieve their goals, instead preferring to let time work for them since they were, in effect, immortal.
The seven known Runemasters are: Jymahna, Kartak Spellseer, Priamon "Frostrune" Rakesk, Rhangaun, Sapphiraktar the Blue, Shangalar the Black, and Shyressa. The eighth Runemaster was Jhaniloth Puiral.
The original hierarchy of the organisation was a loose consortium of liches who each had their own networks of agents to do their bidding. This was unwieldy as the organisation grew, so the hierarchy was tightened. By 1370 DR, the organisation's top level was the senior Runemasters' Council, nine in size, and only those one or two ranks removed from this (around thirty in number in 1370 DR) would even have been aware they were working for the Twisted Rune.
After Highharvestide 1369 DR, the Twisted Rune was able to construct two-way gates, magical portals, between their lairs across the Lands of Intrigue and a central meeting point, which could only be used by the undead.
Founded by Rysellan the Dark, an aging wizard from Calimshan, in 864 DR, the Twisted Rune was intended to be a secret consortium of wizards that would be the real power behind all rulers of the Lands of Intrigue. Although infighting caused the destruction of Rysellan and (later) another Runemaster, the members of the group selected others to fill those positions and have worked together in relative harmony to maintain control over much of the politics in their lands.
The Rune gained control of Mierittin, Valashar, and Tathtar, as well as some smaller realms, but their work was soon undone and they decided that shifting their focus to single cities and towns rather than whole nations was a better approach. The Rune became its own enemy to some extent, with members vying to wrest power and influence from one another.
Influence in Tethyr
In 1182 DR, Rysellan, the organization's founder, gained the trust of Wyvorlaa, the court wizard of Tethyr, and the Twisted Rune gained influence over Tethyrian politics as a result. The work of Rysellan and his closeness with Wyvorlaa caused jealously amongst the Rune's other members, and in 1188 DR, three other liches accused Rysellan of divulging secrets. The ensuing battle destroyed Rysellan and two of his apprentices. This was also the end of the Twisted Rune's influence in Tethyr, as Wyvorlaa was uncovered and executed.
Bhagenn the Crimson of Amn, a lich and member of the Rune at the time, was petitioned in the 1200s DR by a lich named Priamon "Frostrune" Rakesk, who wanted to join. Bhagenn had planned to use Priamon's membership to kill one of his rivals, but instead, Priamon allied with this rival to kill Bhagenn himself.
Death of Zelphar Arunsun
In 1311 DR, a lich of the Twisted Rune cast Bigby's crushing hand on Zelphar Arunsun, causing his death, as a favour to the Shadow Thieves. The Shadow Thieves and the Twisted Rune maintained a bond after this.
At dawn on Highharvestide of the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, two members of the Twisted Rune managed to kidnap Halaster Blackcloak from inside Undermountain. The lich Priamon "Frostrune" Rakesk and the alhoon Ralayan the Ocultacle used a ring of multiple wishes to bind and summon the Mad Mage to Stardock where they intended to probe the great archmage's mind for his intricate knowledge of portals and magical gates.
Halaster was imprisoned in the Tears of Selûne and his secrets were stolen, granting the Rune the knowledge to build and use gates, although he did manage to escape. Meanwhile, gates to the Undermountain allowed monsters to venture forth across the Realms, keeping many major players busy getting rid of them. The Rune created gates between their lairs in the Lands of Intrigue and a central meeting point, and these gates were restricted to undead use only. Priamon was made a senior Runemaster for his work.
The Rune disguised a wizard as a slave girl who was subsequently purchased by Lord Drakosa of Manshaka, and she was taken by him to Maztica, thereby giving the Rune the beginning of an influence over the New World.
Year of Lightning Storms
In 1374 DR Priamon "Frostrune" Rakesk was fooled by Khelben "The Blackstaff" Arunsun, his former mentor but now hated adversary, into seeking what he thought to be an ancient Shoon artifact. With this artifact, he planned to take over control of the Twisted Rune. Blackstaff then struck a deal with Sapphiraktar the Blue, the Rune preferring to have the Blackstaff deal with the traitorous Runemaster rather than having to deal with him themselves. The Frostrune's immobilized body was teleported into the Underhalls, where the Mad Mage, in possession of the lich's phylactery, could take revenge on his former kidnapper.
Shadows of Amn
In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn the protagonist can uncover a Twisted Rune safe-house in the Bridge District. In this encounter the protagonist can kill Shangalar the Black and Shyressa, two Runemasters of the Twisted Rune.
- Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
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- Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
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