Rise of the Runelords

Foxglove Manor

Racing to Foxglove Manor to rescue their Arwyn from the clutches of the Skinsaw Man, the group rode at frantic speed through the narrow, winding road that led to the coast. The area around Foxglove Manor almost seems as if nature herself has become sick and twisted. Nettles and thorns grow more prominent, trees are leaf less and bent, and the wind seems unnaturally cold and shrill as it whistles through the cliffside crags. The path slowly rose, bending around a steep corner in the cliffs, and then Foxglove Manor loomed at the edge of the world. 
The strangely cold sea wind rose to a keening shriek as Foxglove Manor came into view. The place has earned its local nickname of the “Misgivings” well, for it almost appeared to loathe its perch high above the ocean, as if the entire house were poised for a suicide leap. The roof sags
in many places, and mold and mildew cake the crumbling walls. Vines of diseased-looking gray wisteria strangle the structure in several places, hanging down over the precipitous cliff edge almost like tangled braids of hair. The house is crooked, its gables angling sharply and breached in at least three places, hastily repaired by planks of sodden wood. Chimneys rise from various points among the rooftops, leaning like old men in a storm, and grinning gargoyle faces leer from under the eaves. A solitary light appeared in an upper window, perhaps near the attic, and then quickly disappeared.

As they approached the manor, a few sickly ravens cawed at them from the ruins of an old outbuilding, now burned to its foundations. Tracks ran along the main path to the main doorway, but the party chose to keep an element of surprise and moved to another door on the southern wing. The key taken from the body of Rogors Craesby, the ghast caretaker they encountered at the farmstead, served to unlock the door, and the door opened noisily after forcing it past the swollen, rotting doorframe. Entering into what must have once been a magnificent dancing parlor, Rorrek was swept up by the sounds of a catchy yet discordant Varisian tune that only he could hear. Dancing madly across the room, he was only released when the party quickly smashed the piano in the room to pieces.

Father Zantus scowled and identified it as a haunt, a hazardous region created by unquiet spirits that react violently to the presence of the living. The exact conditions that cause a haunt to manifest vary from case to case—but haunts always arise from a source of terrific mental or physical anguish endured by living, tormented creatures. Foxglove Manor's turbulent history was full of disease, fires, murders, and suicides, despite being only 80 years old, and the spirits of its former denizens must be striking out against the living.

Cautiously exploring the giant house, the party ran across several other such haunts, telling the tales of the various family members that had lived in the house over the decades. Each haunting provided more insight into the lives of the Foxgloves, as did several features of the house itself. The house was still decorated from the life of Aldern's father, Traver Foxglove, who was an explorer of exotic locales and quite the hunter. Stuffed heads of exotic animals and trinkets from as far away as the jungles of Garundi adorned the walls and mantlepieces of the house. The man who constructed the house, Aldern's grandfather Vorel, was clearly invested in dark, necromantic arts. Aquinas was able to decipher that the stained glass windows overlooking the coast told the story of a transformation to lichdom, and the party began to wonder what manner of evil they might need to confront in the house.

 

 

 

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Kidnapped by Danger!

After receiving word that the Hambley farm might be the source of these ghoulish attacks, the party set off for the Whisperwood and Soggy River to investigate. Accompanied by Father Zantus and Orik Vancaskerkin, they made slow progress due to the foggy weather and misting rains. Stopping off at farmsteads along the way, the group encountered increasingly terrified and suspicious farmers. The first sets of farmers spoke of rumors of bad things to the south, livestock being snatched and glimpses of things in the dark. But the closer the party got to Soggy River, the worse it got, finally receiving reports of young adults disappearing and "walking scarecrows" causing people to seal up their houses at night for defense.

Once the group crossed the soggy river, every farmstead was abandoned. Some looked deserted, others attacked, with signs of things (or people) being dragged off. At the end of a long day of travel, the group arrived at the Hambley farmstead. Tsaruqs had remembered visiting the place in his travels with Shalelu and recalled the the barn and farmhouse stood on a small hill in the center of the fields. He and Father Zantus recounted that the man seemed to have no menace about him, only a very greedy and miserly nature. With the poor weather and thick fog, it was impossible to see more than 40-50 feet, and the towering rows of corn and wheat further limited visibility, giving the entire place an eerie air.

Arwyn disappeared into the cornfields to stealthily investigate the area of the farmhouse, but failed to return after several minutes. Worried about their companion, the rest of the group dismounted and led their horses through the fields. Within 30 seconds, the group was attacked by several small groups of ravenous ghouls, still clad in the farmer's attire and looking like terrifying scarecrows as they lashed out from the corn. Tsaruqs called upon the fields to entangle the ghouls, while Aquinas incinerated several with gouts of flame from his fingertips. Rorrek and Tsaruqs proved more than a match for the remaining ghouls. Father Zantus, Orik, and Ka easily fended off the small group that attacked from the rear.

Advancing towards the farmhouse, the group encountered another scarecrow, this time a weakly struggling figure lashed to a scarecrow's post, their head hidden under a sack. This proved to be Lettie Guffmin, a missing farmer's daughter from one of the nearby farmsteads. She had clearly been scratched and bitten by ghouls, and a fever burned through her skin. Father Zantus was adamant about treating her wounds and rescuing her from undeath. Pulling out a vial of holy water, he ministered to her cuts, but her screams and shrieks quickly brought more ghouls, who thundered down the hillside from the barn. Thousands of ravens took flight from the barn, wheeling and turning upon the party.

These carrionstorms were flocks of carrion birds that had feasted upon undead flesh, and they quickly surrounded Rorrek and Tsaruqs, pecking and clawing them. Tsaruqs wild shaped into a bear and feasted upon them, while Aquinas caught the ravens above Rorrek with magical fire, scattering them. Orik rushed forward to meet the ghoulish advance, taking down one with a blow of his great sword, but was quickly beset by three ghouls and went down to their paralyzing touch. Aquinas blasted through several with a lightning bolt, while Rorrek rushed to his fallen friend's aid. Father Zantus scattered several ghouls with a burst of positive energy, buying Rorrek time to rescue Orik. 

The party advanced to the barn and farmhouse, where more ghouls poured from the house, this time led by a one-eared ghoul that exuded a foul, nauseating stench – a ghast. The ghast cackled in joy at the sight of the group. "How excellent! Already today I captured and sent to my Master his beloved – the elf girl. And now I will destroy the rest of his enemies! How His Lordship will reward me!" He leapt to attack, flanked by his ghoulish minions. His overpowering stench sent Rorrek and Aquinas to their knees, unable to cope with the nauseating malodor. 

Orik bellowed out a cry and rushed to the attack, striking the ghast and driving him back. Tsaruqs rushed forward as well, his great bear claws carving into the one-eared ghast. Father Zantus released another burst of positive healing energy, giving the party more time to finish off the ghast. Orik slew the creature with another mighty swing of his sword, and Tsaruqs charged off into the fields as the remaining ghouls fled, intent on keeping their disease from spreading. Upon catching the last ghoul, it turned and struck a lucky blow against him, paralyzing him. Tsaruqs was forced to watch as the ghoul clawed and bit through his flesh, and only managed to survive through the heroic intervention of Orik, who swept in on his horse and struck down the ghoul.

Returning to the farmhouse, they found Father Zantus standing over the body of the one-eared ghast, who was able to identify the ghast as Rogors Craesby, the caretaker of Foxglove Manor. He still wore the key to Foxglove Manor on a cord about his neck, an ornate key shaped as an ornate flower with thorns, the sigil of House Foxglove. Inside the farmhouse, the scene worsened. A ghoulish buffet of rotting flesh and body parts, coupled with blood stains soaking into nearly every bit of exposed wood turned the place into a scene from a nightmare. And lying on the kitchen table was the decomposing body of Crade Hambley, his lower jaw removed and the Sihedron rune clearly etched into his chest. Pinned to him was yet another note, addressed to Arwyn.

In Crade's pocket was a rusty iron key, and Tsaruqs was quick to find a loose floorboard in the master bedroom, which opened into a secret compartment with a locked strongbox. Using the key, they found Crade's life savings, over 8,400 silver pieces meticulously gathered into small sacks. The group quickly gathered the bodies of the ghouls and piled them into the famrhouse, burning the place to the ground. Tsaruqs also found the brother to the poor farm girl that they had discovered earlier, and Father Zantus saw to his bites and cuts. Lashing the two to a pair of horses, Tsaruqs told the horses to bring them to Sandpoint for care. 

Tsaruqs used his scent ability to track Arwyn's trail to the edge of the farmstead and to the road, which led west to Foxglove Manor. Sure that Arwyn had been taken there to see His Lordship and fearing that even now that His Lordship might be trying to force her into undeath, they ignored their injuries and the feverish burn around their own bites and rode into the dim sunset to rescue her.

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All's Not Right at the Looney Bin...

Returning back to Sandpoint and fearing that the killer was some manner of undead, the group chose to visit Father Zantus at the Sandpoint Cathedral. Father Zantus confirmed that all of the clues pointed to ghoulish activity, and that the foul stench at the murder scenes was most likely due to the presence of a ghast. The use of the word "pack" in the note to Merisiel was further confirmation, as ghouls often ran in packs and were clever, cunning undead capable of performing a ritualistic murder.

Father Zantus also informed the party that a person who was bitten by a ghoul often contracted ghoul fever, which slowly ate away at a person's life force. Anyone who succumbed to ghoul fever generally rose as a ghoul the following night. Tsaruqs, fearing that the recently dead Grayst Sevilla at Habe's Sanatorium would rise as a ghoul, wild shaped into an eagle and flew back to the Sanatorium with all haste. The remaining party members purchased a few vials of holy water from Father Zantus and mounted up, riding after Tsaruqs into the rapidly setting sun.

Tsaruqs arrived at the sanatorium and burst in through the door, telling the two tiefling orderlies of the danger. Laughing of the half-orc's ravings, one reluctantly went upstairs to tell Doctor Habe, but a piercing human shriek and the heavy tread of the orderly's boots quickly running back down the stairs told Tsaruqs all he needed to know.  The orderlies broke into the Doctor's office, rummaging for coin, while Tsauqs drew his falchion and quietly crept up the stairs. 

He arrived at a gruesome sight, watching the reanimated form of Grayst chewing away at the flesh of Doctor Habe, who lay motionless on the floor. Tsaruqs saw that the doors for the upstairs prisoners were made of iron and quite secure, and went lower into the sanatorium to free any other patients that might be in danger. He freed a blind old farmer named Sedge, leading him from the place and walking north along the road, towards Sandpoint.

He encountered the others shortly, and the group decided to head back to the Sanatorium once again to end the ghoulish threat. Leaving Sedge outside with the horses, the group made their way into the sanatorium, only to see that a door on the ground floor that had always been closed before, was now left open. A set of stairs led down to a basement, and Arwyn crept quietly down to investigate. She found the laboratory and lair of a necromancer, whose experiments lay plain to see on the work tables. The group moved downstairs to investigate and quickly searched the lair for clues, but were interrupted by the sounds of footsteps moving down the stairs above them, out to the common area.

Charging up the stairs to keep the ghoul from getting away, the party instead saw a group of zombies slowly clearing away a barricade that the party had made to keep the ghoul from escaping. As they moved to engage the zombies, ghoulish Grayst also jumped out, accompanied by a wizened old Varisian man clad in a black robe. A fierce battle took place, with Aquinas burning several zombies and Tsaruqs and Rorrek quickly slicing down the others. Arwyn quietly crept around the necromancer and attacked fom the shadows, gravely wounding him. The necromancer attempted to get off a few touch spells, but couldn't connect with the agile elven rogue. With his zombie minions destroyed, Tsaruqs moved in and he and Arwyn made swift work of the wizard. While the druid and rogue dispatched the necromancer, Aquinas and Rorrek moved to engage the ghoul, easily defeating him.

 

The party searched the remainder of the building and saw no further danger. Tsaruqs prepared some meals for the remaining prisoners, resolving to leave the matter of the sanatorium to the town. Examining the necromancer's room and laboratory revealed copious notes on Thassilonian runes and magic, as well as a strongbox filled with valuable gems and jewelry. The party also discovered a map of the Sandpoint hinterlands that the necromancer had been using to track “ghoul activity.” In particular, there has been an increase in ghoul sightings around the southern farmlands and along Foxglove River. The dark wizard's current research seems concerned with developing a method by which one could track a ghoul’s lineage back through several “generations” of ghoul attacks. One takeaway from his notes is the very strong possibility of what he calls a “ghoulish source” having risen to prominence in the region.

The threat gone, the group returned to Sandpoint and were questioned by a guard at the Sandpoint Bridge. Apparently, Sheriff Hemlock had increased the town patrols with the new murders. Heading into town, they encountered Sheriff Hemlock and a patrol of his men moving up Market Street. Letting the Sheriff know abut the incident at the sanatorium, they were getting ready to move along when frantic yelling and arguing drew their attention. The guard from the Sandpoint bridge was escorting an old farmer who was yelling and muttering incoherently.

The farmer identified himself as Maester Grump, a farmer from a small farm near the Soggy River. Screaming about walking scarecrows, he quickly launched into a short but harrowing story, speaking of how the southern farmlands have become plagued by foul walking scarecrows that stalk the night. All the farmers knew that the problems were coming from the old Hambley place—things “just ain’t been right there for a few days now”—but when a group of locals paid the Hambley farm a visit yesterday evening, they were attacked by folk that looked like corpses but fed like starving animals. At this point in the telling, Grump’s worked himself into a lather again and shrieked, “They even ate the dogs!” 

Apparently the group was attacked by as many as fifteen of the crazed creatures, and Sheriff Hemlock turned quite pale at the news. Aquinas, with his usual tact, informed the Sheriff that the party would look into it on the morrow, but would need to rest and regain their strength this evening. Rorrek and Tsaruqs went to petition Father Zantus to accompany the party, as they lacked any divine magic to battle the undead menace. Father Zantus was clearly reluctant, as he was not a warrior, but Rorrek's persuasive words convinced him to help eliminate the undead plague, and Tsaruqs offered to ensure that Ka stayed close to the priest's side to protect him. Rorrek then went to speak with his right hand man, Orik Vancaskerkin, and struck a deal to have Orik accompany them south.

Arwyn ventured into her usual haunts, inquiring about the "Misgivings" that was mentioned in her note. She learned from several Varisian travelers that the term referred to Foxglove Manor, which had a long history of unfortunate events and was supposedly cursed. Combined with all of the other clues, this pointed toward Aldern Foxglove and Arwyn swore to find out what his role was in all of this.

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Murder Most Foul

With Shalelu leaving for Crying Leaf, Tsaruqs was spending the evening at the Rusty Dragon with Rorrek, Arwyn, and Aquinas, when their quiet evening was interrupted by Sheriff Hemlock's brooding presence at their table. Sheriff Hemlock confided in them that there has possibly another serial murderer in Sandpoint, much like Chopper during the time of the Late Unpleasantness. The murderer had killed three men in a barn south of Sandpoint, near Cougar Creek, just yesterday. The sheriff had written off the killings as Varisian thugs and con men getting what they had coming after trying to swindle the wrong man. But now a new set of murders had taken place in Sandpoint at the lumber mill, just hours before, and both sets of killings had the same brutal, ritualistic elements that pointed to a single killer. Additionally, the killer had left a message addressed to Arwyn at the murder site:

The party investigated the deaths at the lumber mill, where the mill manager Banny Harker and Ven Vinder's eldest daughter, Katrine, had been slain earlier that evening. Banny had been dispatched in the ritualistic fashion that the sheriff had described, brutally cut and slashed, most of his face missing and his lower jaw removed, and a seven pointed star etched into the flesh of his chest: the same symbol that was on the amulet retrieved from Nualia's body and now work proudly and prominently by Rorrek.

Katrine's death appeared to have been caused by her being pushed into the log splitter after she managed to attack the killer with a nearby axe. The entire murder scene had a putrid, rotting odor, which was magnified tenfold near the blood and bone still on the axe head. Tsaruqs had Ka track the scent, which led him out to the pier, where apparently the killer had entered via a window. Further, a spot across the river showed the barefoot tracks of the killer where he had waited, watching the mill for his time to strike.

Questioning both Ibor Thorn and Ven Vinder provided little additional information on the killing, although the party did learn that Banny Harker had been cooking the books for years, skimming away some of Scarnetti's money for himself. The three bodies from the first murders also provided no further information, aside from the fact that they had been killed in the same fashion and that one of them bore a note, perhaps from the possible killer.

The party also learned that there was one survivor from the first set of murders, a bodyguard for the three con men. When the town guards discovered him, he was incredibly feverish and seemed driven insane. They took him to Habe's Sanatorium for care by Doctor Habe, and Sheriff Hemlock wrote the party a letter of introduction, requesting permission to question the survivor, a Varisian thug named Sevilla Grayst.

The PCs journeyed to Habe's Sanatorium, stopping along the way to examine the site of the first murders: an abandoned barn along Cougar Creek. The murders were rank with the same rotting stench as the mill murders, and the scene was very reminiscent of the other murder scene: lines of blood from slashes, pools of blood under where the bodies had been hung from the rafters, and a set of scattered footprints, both booted and barefoot.

Arriving at the Sanatorium, the PCs were met by an orderly, who went to fetch Doctor Habe. Upon viewing the letter of introduction, Doctor Habe reluctantly escorted the party to the upper level of the facility, where the most dangerous patients were kept. The doctor let the party know that Sevilla was near death, and that a few moments questioning would be all that the man could sustain. Once the PCs saw Grayst, they agreed with the doctor's prognosis, as his skin was deathly white and he was bathed in sweat. Grayst took no notice of the group until he saw Arwyn, launching into a tirade about how his Lordship had described her to him and wanted her to come to his Misgivings, and how jealous he was that the master would devote so much attention to her. Breaking free from his restraints, he lunged at her and was struck down by Tsaruqs and Ka, who crushed him completely in his coils. 

His patient murdered before his eyes, the doctor screamed at the group and ordered them to leave. Somewhat abashedly, they left the premises.

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Interlude: Seasons Change

After defeating Nualia and collecting their reward from the town of Sandpoint, Mayor Deverin and the other nobles sought to keep the adventurers in the town, offering them positions, assistance, and incentives to keep their resources available in case the town should need them.

For Rorrek, this was an easy matter, as the town finally turned over control of his uncle's estate to him.  Rorrek quickly became involved in all aspects of his newfound business ventures, working with other town merchants to set up contracts and arrangements. He hired a local Varisian girl named Gaia Acari at the request of Sir Jasper Korvaski, who assured Rorrek that the girl was bright and capable. Additionally, the potential romances that were brewing with Ameiko and Shayliss kept his days and nights quite full.

Aquinas took up a temporary role helping Ilsoari Gandethus at the Turnadurok Academy, instructing students on matters of history and magical theory. He found companionship and keen minds in his new friends, Brodert Quink and Chask Haladan, and spent most of his free time examining the Thassilonian relics and artifacts that were taken from the Thistletop complex.

Tsaruqs struck up a strong friendship with their elven ranger ally, Shalelu Andosana and spent much of the winter traveling the regions close to Sandpoint. On his rare trips back into town, he often hung out at the Rusty Dragon with his friends or paid a visit to Hannah, often providing her with herbs that he had found on his travels.

Arwyn was fiercely courted by Lord Aldern Foxglove, who showered her with extravagant gifts and jewelry. He left for a quick business trip to Magnimar after three weeks and mysteriously vanished. Arwyn grew concerned and inquired into Aldern's history, finding that he had met and married a young Varisian dancer the year earlier. Arwyn went to Magnimar to find Aldern, only to find no trace of him. It appeared that he had never even made it to the city, as none of his other business partners nor his townhome's butler had seen him in over two months.

Rorrek's old friend Orik Vancaskerkin, who had aided the party in the fight against Nualia, returned from a short trip to Magnimar and took up a position in Rorrek's enterprises. Rorrek acquired a property for another grain mill to the south of Sandpoint on Cougar Creek.

Winter, spring, and summer passed without any major excitement. The group settled into their roles in the quiet town and began to envision the next phase of their lives as Sandpoint citizens. After the Swallowtail Festival had passed, marking their one year anniversary with the town of Sandpoint, Shalelu told Tsaruqs that she needed to travel to her home of Crying Leaf, north of Riddleport.

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Thistletop

The PCs learned that Nualia was camped with a goblin tribe at the fortress of Thistletop, a small outcropping of rock north of Sandpoint, near the Nettlewood. An elven ranger named Shalelu Andosana decided to accompany the party, as she had appointed herself the town's protector and usually kept the goblin threat in check. Chartering a small vessel and approaching the area by sea, the PCs landed on a beach below the fortress. Unfortunately, the party drew the attention of a nearby bunyip, whose yips and howls alerted the goblins to the party's presence. Sneaking into caves below the goblin camp, the party snuck through them by a clever use of Aquinas's levitate spell. Tsaruqs encountered a goblin druid named Gogmurt and the two struck an uneasy alliance to oust the current goblin chief, a fierce warrior named Ripnugget. Gogmurt didn't like the influence of Nualia and feared for the tribe and was willing to barter with the party, offering them free access to the ruins beneath the fortress if they would kill Nualia.

The party openly approached the fortress, once again posing as friends and mercenaries of Nualia's, gaining audience with Chief Ripnugget. They ambushed him and his bodyguards in the throne room, slaying them and allowing Gogmurt to wrest control of the tribe. Interrogating the goblins, Arwyn learned that Nualia was accompanied by several henchmen: a bugbear named Bruthazmus that was Shalelu's nemesis, a wizard named Lyrie who was studying the Thassilonian artifacts, Tsuto Kaijitsu, and some human mercenary bodyguard.

The party delved into the lower chambers, stumbling upon Bruthazmus and Lyrie in a hallway. The battle brought in a demonic dog called a yeth hound, which gave Lyrie enough of a distraction to escape. Aquinas engulfed Bruthazmus with a powerful scorching ray, allowing the rest of the party to dispatch the yeth hound. Heading deeper into the dungeon, the party encountered Nualia, Tsuto, Lyrie, and Nualia's bodyguard in a profane chapel that was guarded by another yeth hound. Fortunately for the party, Nualia's bodyguard was an old acquaintance of Rorrek's from Riddleport, a down on his luck mercenary named Orik Vancaskerkin.  Rorrek convinced his old friend to change his allegiance, which was a key factor in the party's defeat of Nualia. The party captured Tsuto and Lyrie alive and brought them back to Sandpoint for trial. The goblin threat to Sandpoint disappeared with Nualia's death, and the party's exploits were well received by the town.  The local bard Cyrdak Drokkus began working on a play detailing the PCs valiant actions and heroics.

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Local Heroes

Basking in their newfound fame, the group is treated to all sorts of positive attention all throughout the town, showered with gifts and offers.Tsaruqs struck up a friendship with the local healer and herbalist, Hannah Velerin. Arwyn found herself the center of the rescued Aldern Foxglove's attentions. Aquinas spent several hours discussing magic and history with the town's scholars, Ilsoari Gandethus and Brodert Quink. Rorrek got repairs on his lumbermill started and found himself invited into the beds of Ameiko Kaijitsu and Shayliss Vinder, the young daughter of a local merchant.

The group attended the funeral of Destrus, where Tsaruqs noticed that a nearby tomb had been left open. Deciding to investigate, the group found several skeletons in the tomb, which turned out to be the burial place for the town's former priest, Father Tobias Ezakien. The priest's charred remains had been stolen, and Tsaruqs noted that the tracks leading to and from the tomb consisted of several goblins and one human. The tracks led to the North Wall and into the woods, and then disappeared on the road to the north.

Aldern Foxglove purchased mounts for the party and took them on a boar hunt in the nearby Tickwood. After the boar hunt, the group gave their kill to Ameiko, who served it at the Rusty Dragon as a savory stew. During the meal, Ameiko's father Lonjiku stormed into the inn and had a shouting match with Ameiko in Minkaian (her father's native tongue), before Ameiko brained him with a soup ladle and ordered him out.

The following morning, Ameiko's assistant Bethana asked Rorrek for assistance. Ameiko hadn't slept in the inn the night before and was missing. Bethana had translated a note that she found in Ameiko's room. The note was from Ameiko's half-brother Tsuto, who had asked her to meet him at her father's glassworks at midnight the night before. The party investigated the glassworks and found that Tsuto had led goblins in through smuggling tunnels beneath the glassworks and had killed Lonjiku and his staff and then ambushed Ameiko, leaving her tied up in the basement. The PCs quickly dispatched the goblins, although Tsuto was nowhere to be found and had most likely fled via the same smuggling tunnels. The PCs found Tsuto's journal, revealing that he had been in league with an aasimar named Nualia, an orphan of Sandpoint raised by Father Tobias Ezakien and believed to have perished in the same fire that killed the priest. Nualia had created a goblin alliance and had plans to overrun the town of Sandpoint and raze it to the ground as an offering to Lamashtu, demon goddess of monsters and madness.

Upon informing Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Belor Hemlock of these events, the party accepted a commission to explore the tunnels and make sure that no further threats to the town were concealed within. The party discovered an ancient Thassilonian catacomb, somewhere near the foundations of the Old Light, a prominent Sandpoint landmark and a ruin dating back 10,000 years to the time of ancient Thassilon. Within the catacomb was a minor artifact called a runewell, which was being used by a quasit to create humanoid monstrosities called sinspawn. The PCs posed as friends of Tsutoand Nualia, luring the quasit close before grabbing it and quickly slaying it. Clearing out the remainder of the catacombs, the PCS found several minor artifacts of ancient Thassilon, which piqued the interest of the town's local scholars.

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Journey to Sandpoint and the Swallowtail Festival

An invitation to travel to Sandpoint to assist Rorrek's uncle Destrus with a business venture went awry from the start.  A late summer storm caught the vessel and shipwrecked the party on the Lost Coast, with no signs of any other survivors. Managing to scale the coastal cliff and stumbling upon an abandoned Varisian campsite, the party attempted to wait out the storm, only to be attacked by a group of goblins.  Easily dispatching the goblins, the group learned from a captive goblin that these goblins were on their way north, to meet with another tribe of goblins in the Mosswood.

In the morning, the group walked north along the Lost Coast road and were picked up by an affable farmer named Crade Hambley on his way to mill his grain before the town's Swallowtail Festival. Upon arriving in Sandpoint, the party met with Rorrek's uncle Destrus and spent the day getting to know the tiny town. The following day, the Swallowtail Festival delighted and entertained the group for most of the day. However, a raid by a large group of crazed and fanatical goblins broke up the festivities. Many townsfolk were slaughtered, and only the quick actions of the PCs saved the new cathedral and much of the northern portion of the twon from being razed by torch-wielding goblins. Rorrek's bold actions saved the lives of both Lord Titus Scarnetti, his uncle's business nemesis, and Lord Aldern Foxglove, a visiting Magnimarian nobleman.

 

Many local townsfolk and visiting Varisian nomads lost their lives in the goblin raid, including Rorrek's uncle, who threw himself on a gang of goblins that had several children cornered. The town mayor, Kendra Deverin, met briefly with the party and thanked them for their heroics. Ameiko Kaijitsu offered them free lodging at her inn, The Rusty Dragon, as a reward and Titus Scarnetti volunteered to help Rorrek with getting Destrus's business ventures repaired and moving forward.

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Rise of the Runelords: Act I
Burnt Offerings

Five years after a tragic fire and spate of brutal murders, the people of Sandpoint eagerly anticipate the Swallowtail Festival to commemorate the consecration of the town’s new temple. At the height of the ceremony, disaster strikes!

In the days that follow, a sinister shadow settles over Sandpoint. Rumors of goblin armies and wrathful monsters in forgotten ruins have set the populace on edge. As Sandpoint’s newest heroes, the PCs must deal with treachery, goblins, and the rising threat of a forgotten empire whose cruel and despotic rulers might not be as dead as history records.

Maps:

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