Rise of the Runelords

Festival and Fire
Burnt Offerings

Session: 1
Summary Dates: 22 Rova 4707 – 24 Rova 4707
Experience Points: 501
Fame Events: +1 for saving Aldern Foxglove
Downtime Earned: 1 Day

The Swallowtail Festival. The first day of autumn. The sleepy town of Sandpoint is celebrating more than just the changing of seasons, it is rededicating a new temple. The festival begins promptly, as scheduled, on the Autumnal Equinox. The square before the church quickly becomes crowded as locals and travelers arrive, and several merchant tents featuring food, clothes, local crafts, and souvenirs are there to meet them.

The day begins with opening speeches. From there all manner of games and activities ensue. Þon, Pengolodh, Miro, and Warren Steinkralle participate in more than a few of them. Indeed Þon passed the hagfish challenge! From there the town returns to the square to participate in the namesake. At noon, Father Zantus and his acolytes wheel a large covered wagon into the square, and after recounting the short parable of how Desna first fell to earth and was nursed back to health by a blind child whom she transformed into an immortal butterf ly as a reward for her aid, they pull aside the wagon’s cover, releasing the thousand children of Desna—a furious storm of swallowtail butterf lies that swarm into the air in a spiraling riot of color to a great cheer from the crowd.

Afterwards the revelry continues until sundown. When Father Santus begins his speech, all hell breaks loose. Goblin_Attack.jpg Sandpoint’s newest heroes fall to action and push the goblin attack back. Mentally unhinged goblins rain down upon the town, and over a half dozen fall to the quartet. This is the first any of them have ever put their talents to use, and it’s apparent that Fate has thrown them together with good reason. The flow of battle leads them to the northeastern edge of town. There they find a visiting noble, one Aldern Foxglove. They arrive just in time to see his dog being town to shreds by a goblin commando. The battle is fierce, but they do rescue the more than thankful noble. By now the town as turned back the goblins, with minimal damage done. Still the bold action by the goblins is extremely uncharacteristic, leaving questions unanswered.

The heroes become minor celebrities about town, with all the perks and benefits one would expect. They move into rooms at the Rusty Dragon, courtesy of Ameiko. After a day of rest and resecuring the town, Father Zantus and Sheriff Hemlock seek the party out. Having been impressed with their skill (and the guard stretched to its limit) the locals think that these heroes can help with another problem. Noises from a tomb have the Father worried that a there’s a goblin stuck inside. The walk to the Boneyard also gives the Sheriff time to confide that he’s worried about how organized the goblins were, as well as how they entered through an unlocked gate.

The tomb brings questions, not answers. Inside are two skeletons, the last of a Robe of Bones. There is no sign of egress from the tomb, and the reliquary is empty. Balor Hemlock doesn’t think it’s coincidence that it’s the resting place of Father Tobyn, the priest who died in the infamous fire during the Late Unpleasantness.

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Local Heroes
Burnt Offerings

Session: 2
Summary Dates: 25 Rova 4707 – 1 Lamashan 4707
Experience Points: 170
Fame Events: None
Downtime Earned: 4 Days

As sandpoint recovers from the attack and buries its (thankfully few) dead, the citizens do their best to get on with their lives. The cathedral is consecrated the next day during a much more subdued and indoor ceremony, but by the end of the week, the goblin attack is remembered mostly with chuckles. Now that the terror of the raid is over, images of goblins accidentally lighting themselves on fire, getting stepped on by horses, or drowning in half-full rain barrels color memories of the raid in an almost comical light. But one thing the locals haven’t forgotten is their new heroes.

The new “Goblinslayers” are rewarded generously by Aldern Foxglove. He grants them not only a small purse of platinum, but also provides them with mounts (even if that gift isn’t easily received.) The new band of heroes joins the noble on a boar hunt. Camraderie is the order of the day and the hunt is fruitful as they bag a massive boar in the Tickwood.

The feast the next night is marred by Ameiko’s belligerent father. Most of the conversation is in the exotic language of Minkaian, but the tenor is apparent. Ameiko’s explanation boils down to a disapproving father. Lonjiku returns, drunk and even angrier to disown his “honorless” daughter. The party overtly sides with the innkeeper, a fact not lost on her.

Sadly, the goblin attack still leaves tragedy to ensue. Goblin_Closet.jpgA goblin, stuck in a closet murders (and likely eats) a family dog and a loving father’s head. Mrs. Barret is inconsolable, but the scene further solidifies the reputation of the Goblinslayers as they make short work of the beast.

It’s the last straw for Sheriff Hemlock. He calls in Shelelu Andosana, a local elven ranger and expert on the goblins in Varisia. She expresses her worries at multiple goblin tribes working in harmony. A plan is formed that she’ll take care of the Hinterlands while the sheriff drums up reinforcements from Magnimar. That leave sthe Goblinslayers to provide a visual presence in town to keep everyone from panic.

A few days later a sabot is tossed into the gears. Ameiko turns up missing, her brother’s note the only clue. Ameiko’s halfling assistant comes straight to the new band of heroes. Without delay the party crosses town to the Glassworks to get to the bottom of things.

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Glass and Wrath
Burnt Offerings

Session: 3 & 4
Summary Dates: 1 Lamashan 4707 – 2 Lamashan 4707
Experience Points: 1,220
Fame Events: None
Downtime Earned: 0 Days

The process of glassmaking is as much an art as it is a craft, and one that the Kaijitsu family has held pride in for several generations. After the family was exiled from Tian Xia and made the perilous journey over the crown of the world, their skill at glassmaking played a key role in securing a role among the aristocracy. When the Sandpoint mercantile league was established to found the town, the Kaijitsus were there. Not long after Sandpoint was founded, they began construction of what would become one of the town’s most unique and profitable businesses—the Sandpoint glassworks.

When the heroes arrive at the Glassworks, they find the building curiously silent. Neighbors have noticed the lack of traffic into and from the building, but since the furnace chimney still plumes with smoke, most assume that the building is simply closed to allow Lonjiku and his workers some privacy while they work on a big project. A quick investigation of the building perimeter reveals that curtains have been drawn over the windows and all the doors are locked. The back door makes for an easy entry, and the inside is no less eerie. With a quick reconnoiter, they clear the building, except for the fire room.

This is where all hell breaks loose. A party of goblins, having just completed some murderous havoc, turns to see the party. The combat is chaotic and furious, but ends with eight dead goblins on the floor. One had tried to get downstairs, so the party followed the hint and found a small smuggler’s den. Inside they found a badly beaten Ameiko, but her brother was elsewhere. When the party finally finds him, he leads them through a wide ranging combat in the halls. Tusto’s family training made him a mobile combatant, but eventually he found himself pinned down. Once he surrendered, he had little to say, but his journal gave plenty of insight into his madness.

The journal is twisted and slightly insane, but it does point out a major lead, Thistletop. Luckily for the party, Shelelu is still in Sandpoint to consult. They’re not out of the woods yet however.

A recently unearthed path within the smuggler’s den leads downward to a strange, and ancient series of tunnels and rooms. The new heroes are confused by the odd choices of construction and purpose in the rooms. That confusion is compounded by the freakish creatures that occupy the area. Sinspawn.png

Strange alters, zombies in storage, and evil fountains add to the macabre. Once the party arrives at a massive shrine room, the effect is complete. Within is atiny creature of evil. She seems to be guarding a roiling pool of necromantic energy. Despite her size, she puts up quite the fight before retreating.

Strange indeed. The party returns to town a bit confused as to what just happened. Perhaps answers may be found at Thistletop…

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Thistletop
Burnt Offerings

Session: 5 & 6
Summary Dates: 3 Lamashan 4707 – 2 Neth 4707
Experience Points: 2,785
Fame Events: Defeat Nualia in the ruins of Thistletop +3
Downtime Earned: 30 Days

To the island of Thistletop the party rides. Warren guides them straight and true, bypassing the plants that give the island its name. The island is well defended, and the goblins do what they can to stop them. With a sense of urgency the party breaks down door after door. The fighting is fierce and the havoc is rampant. In the main area of the complex they face Ripnugget, a goblin hero and de facto leader of the goblins on Thistletop. Though the goblins can see in the dark, the party soon finds more than goblins inside. The goblins fall, but the fighting takes a heavy toll on the heroes. After some discussion they opt to push on, descending into the complex below. Though goblins can see in the dark, the way is lighted by lantern, clearly there are other denizens. The brazen approach slows a bit as resources dwindle. A few human sellswords put up a serious fight. One gives in though, taking a deal of mercy offered by Miro. The man’s name is Orik, and with his life he heads towards Sandpoint. The party plans on checking on him later, but for now they press on. Regardless of its original purpose, this floor serves now as a temple to the Bitch Goddess Lamashtu. The iconography is graphic, and whoever is in charge is fond of Yeth Hounds. They even run into the infamous bugbear, Bruthasmus, and lay him low (despite him nearly killing Pen with a surprise arrow.)

A wizard of some skill proves to be the final opponent before a set of stairs leading into the heart of the complex. She gives them a tremendous fight, but is slain while trying to escape. Opting to recover in town the party rushes back at first light. It appears, at first to be abandoned, but as they go below, they find that not everything is gone. Narrowly avoiding a trap, they come across Nualia herself packing the last of her belongings.Nualia_01.jpg With a remaining Yeth Hound, she fights to the death. Were it not for her recovered journal, her story might have been lost to history.

In the short term, the goblin menace facing Sandpoint is most easily dealt with by defeating Nualia; with her out of the picture, her surviving minions quickly fall to bickering among themselves. Shelelu sees to the rest of the goblins of Thistletop, as the heroes of Sandpoint have earned a much needed rest. Even Orik, the erstwhile mercenary sticks around… at least for a little while.

Finally peace has returned to the idyllic town of Sandpoint.

For now.

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A Murder Most Foul & The Thing in the Attic
The Skinsaw Murders

Session: 7
Summary Dates: 3 Neth 4707 – 4 Neth 4707
Experience Points: 750 each
Fame Events: None
Downtime Earned: None

A mysterious killer is at large in Sandpoint, but few in town know that a murderer stalks their streets at night. The murderer is truly depraved, and the carnage is not for the weak of stomach. Sheriff Balor recruits the party to help keep the crimes quiet and prevent the town from relapsing into the panic that gripped them several years ago when another murderer, a man named Chopper, menaced the town. The scene at the mill is gruesome. There are two victims at the scene. The first is alocal’s young daughter. She seems to be a victim of circumstance, but the other, a local miller is propped up in a ritual fashion with a sihedron carved into his chest. The party checks out the clues which draw them away from the obvious suspect of Katrine’s father and the Miller’s partner Harker. The sheriff also keys them into a murder a few days previous. The murderer was caught and sent to a sanatorium South of town.

The sanatorium is run by one Erin Habe. A nervous man who prefers not to have the party visit. Still they insist on speaking to Grayst Sevilla, the murderer in question. The interview is delayed, however, by the other “doctor” on site. The doctor is actually a necromancer named Caizarlu Zerren. He tries to stop the party by force, but after a long struggle he falls, as do his zombie guards. The defeated Erin gives the party free reign after the fight. Unfortunately Grayst is on death’s door. He has an advanced state of ghoul fever. Before euthanizing him he passes on a cryptic message for the party, something about “The Misgivings” which is a local sobriquet for the Foxglove manner. The party decides to check out the abandoned residence of their friend Aldern’s family. Unfortunately for them, rumors of ghouls side tracks the trip.

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Walking Scarecrows
The Skinsaw Murders

Session: 8
Summary Dates: 4 Neth 4707 – 7 Neth 4707
Experience Points: 1,900 each
Fame Events: +1 for saving the townspeople demonstratively.
Downtime Earned: 3

The party is called upon to help out in the Sandpoint countryside. There they find themselves arriving in the nick of time. Inside a dilapidated inn, local farmers have barricaded themselves in from a horde of ghouls led by a ghast. The ghouls descend on the inn, bringing the terror of undeath. The heroes, however, have other plans. They soundly defeat the attack without a single casualty. Their bravery makes a large impact on the farmers, bolstering the reputation of the now famous party.

The fight takes it’s toll on the party, Warren in particular. Bed ridden for almost half a week, he finally recovers from the ghoul touch. Back at full strength the party seeks to resume their search of the Foxglove Manor known as “the Misgivings.”

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The Misgivings
The Skinsaw Murders

Session: 9
Summary Dates: 8 Neth
Experience Points: 2,425 each
Fame Events: None
Downtime Earned: None

The Misgivings is the epitome of haunted houses. It rests so close to a cliff that it looks like it could slide in at any moment. The windows are boarded haphazardly and the servant house is completely burned to the ground. The entire property is streaked with a foul smelling mold. Inside all manner of horrors greeted the party. Each person experiences their own twisted nightmare. Incorporeal girls, statues come to life, and near uncontrollable urges to commit suicide all assail the heroes. The haunted house doesn’t give clear answers, and the nature of the haunting is left unclear. All that is revealed is that the Foxglove family seems to have a history of violence and mental issues. Progress is slow and arduous, until they meet the revenant of Iesha Foxglove. Foxglove_Manor.jpg

The party struggles with her briefly, then decides to let her lead them to their ultimate goal. She rushes down into the caverns below the manor. There they meet Aldern, or rather, what’s left of him. Now a ghoul, Aldern is twisted and evil. Somehow his mind dissociated into a trio of personalities. One such personality is the murderer The Skinsaw Man.
The battle is brutal, but ends in victory for the heroes. In recovering from the fight, the party gets their hands on a letter of note….

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Chasing the Skinsaw
The Skinsaw Murders

Session: 10
Summary Dates: 8 Neth – 13 Neth
Experience Points: 2,425
Fame Events: 0
Downtime Earned: 5 Days (Taken in game)

Magnimar.jpg

The party opts to leave the Misgivings to its own tortured existence for now and travel to Magnimar. There they make contact with a local elf and magistrate, a Justice Ironbriar. He directs them to the Foxglove property in the city. It’s outside his jurisdiction, so he can only help them in an unofficial capacity. The party reconnoiters the abandoned house before making their way inside. Once inside they are greeted with a strange sight indeed.

Inside the townhouse they come across Iesha and Aldern Foxglove. Shocked at seeing them alive the party listens eagerly to what the erstwhile couple has to say. The tense moment erupts into combat when the couple attacks. As they fall it is revealed that they’re not the real couple, but rather Faceless Stalkers. The mystery deepens.

After wiping away the blood of combat, Þun uncovers the secret cache that the pair was looking for in the mantle. It contains a ledger with some interesting entries. The majority are mundane, but several entries near the end catch the cleric’s attention. There are nearly a dozen labelled "Iesha’s trip to Absalom. The payments for these trips are 200 Gold each and go to someone simply known as “B-7”. Payment is dropped off at “The Seven’s Sawmill” at Midnight every Oathday. This, coupled with a document concerning the ownership of Foxglove Manor only deepen the mystery. Handout_2-6.gif

The party locates, then stakes out, the sawmill. Unsure of what they expect to find, they debate between waiting outside or exploring within. They opt for within. Inside they find the mill entirely operated by Skinsaw Cultists. They fight their way upstairs, only to find Justice Ironbriar and his retinue. They play at being on the case, but it is soon discovered that the justice is, himself, in on the plot. He hurls spells, but falls to the ever strengthening party. A thorough search of the area reveals another link in the chain of clues. A carrier pidgeon of the late justice flies straight towards a location in Magnimar known as the “Shadow Clock Tower.” It’s a decrepit location in a bad section of town.

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Shadows of Time
The Skinsaw Murders

Session: 11
Summary Dates: 13 Neth – 17 Neth
Experience Points: 3,700
Fame Events: 1 Assisting Mayor Groberos
Downtime Earned: 3 Days

Hidden beneath the grimy, blackened goliath that is the Irespan, the lesser works of men huddle like weeds at the foot of the great trees that are the ruined bridge’s stone supports. Near one of these supports leans a decrepit and sagging clock tower, a dying structure of weathered stone, wood, and rusted metal supports that teeters to an unlikely height of over 180 feet. High above, near the tower’s roof and barely 5 feet from the Irespan’s stony belly, a tangle of scaffolding sits near a section of the structure that has fallen away. The tower’s clock face is frozen in time, defiantly (and falsely) proclaiming it to be 3 o’clock, while above, a stone statue of an angel, her wings crumbling, leans precariously, almost as if she were preparing a final leap from her decaying perch.

It is here the party rushes toward. It is here they nearly meet their death. The ascent begins immediately with combat. Inside the tower is an awakened golem, something from the past, and almost too much for the party to overcome. As they climb the tower, more. A bell nearly kills them as it drops, landing in a crash likely heard from all over the district.

Just before the top, Miro meets his match and is slain by a faceless stalker. The party will never get another chance, so they opt to advance. At the top they meet Xanesha- the architect of it all. She’s a lamia of skill and potency. With magic and spear she nearly kills the surviving members. She is finally bested by an ursine Warren who pushes her out the window. She vanishes into the night, but her plans in ruins.

The victory doesn’t come with a celebration. With Miro dead and the others knocking on death’s door, they search the tower, and find …news.

Handout_2-7.gif

The ever greedy mayor Grobaras thanks them for their acts of heroism, and “bribes” them to help Magnimar with one more problem. Around the time of the Skinsaw murders, the city’s furthest holding, Fort Rannick, went silent. The Black Arrow rangers are the protectors of goodly folk. The contain the ogres and giants of the mountains. Without their vigilance, evil humanoids would sweep southwest. It’s a long trip, but the mayor pays well. (Not to mention that by sending mercenaries, he’s not on the hook for any causalities if the news from the fort is especially grim.)

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