Rise of the Runelords

Festival and Fire

Burnt Offerings, Part 1

Starday, 23 Rova, 4733

The Swallowtail Festival

The town of Sandpoint is celebrating the Swallowtail Festival, a Desnan holiday held on the Autumnal Equinox, which this year is also marking the consecration of the new Sandpoint Cathedral.

The festival draws large crowds from Sandpoint and beyond, including Amelia the bard, Astrid the fighter, Ser Lea the paladin of Iomedae, Marcus the wizard, and Zavian the cleric of Abadar.

The event is kicked off by a series of speeches. Mayor Kendra Deverin delivers a warm welcome, while the somber Sheriff Belor Hemlock calls for a moment of silence to remember those lost in the fire that claimed the old chapel. The third speaker, Lonjuku Kaijitsu, had to cancel on account of illness, but his place is taken by Cyrdak Drokkus, owner of the renowned Sandpoint Theater. After a not entirely self-serving account of how the new cathedral was funded, Cyrdak turns the stage over to Father Abstalar Zantus, who declares the festival underway.

The five adventurers cross each other’s paths as they experience the festival, trying their hand at various games. Lea, Astrid, and Marcus each try their hand at a test of strength. After multiple attempts, Lea walks away with the grand prize, a masterwork earthbreaker. Zavian pits his wits against the local sage Brodert Quink in a game of tafl, finally besting the scholar. Lea participates in the lizard races, while Zavian makes a bit of coin betting on them. Amelia breaks out her lute and strikes up a series of Desnan devotional songs, attracting a small crowd.

We Be Goblins!

As sunset approaches, the festival is crashed by dozens of goblins, which attack the attendees while singing a horrible song. The five adventurers rush forward to protect the townsfolk, defeating several waves of the green-skinned little freaks with a mix of magic and muscle. Lea is badly wounded in the fighting, but Father Zantus is able to heal her and Amelia, who was hit by flying cutlery.

The adventurers follow the sound of fighting to rescue Aldern Foxglove from a squad of goblins, including a commando mounted on a goblin dog. Foxglove promises to repay them, and chats up Amelia, who recalls him from Korvosa. At this point, it is clear that the battle is over.

The adventurers get to know each other over dinner at the Rusty Dragon, where owner Ameiko Kaijitsu offered them a week’s free room and board.

Tomb Trouble

The next day, Sheriff Belor Hemlock asks them to accompany him to investigate a vault in the local cemetery, where Father Zantus noticed a tomb door sitting half open the morning after the raid.

They find goblin tracks around the tomb, as well as the tracks of a single human-sized person. Inside, Lea steps into a skeleton ambush and is grievously hurt. The party rallies, however, and with Belor’s help are able to defeat the three skeletons. Strangely, the undead don’t appear to have been woken from the tomb’s residents, but might be connected to a robe with missing patches found discarded in the corner.

The party discovers that the bones of the old priest, Ezakien Tobyn, have been stolen from the tomb. Belor is mystified—the priest had no enemies. He perished in the Great Fire along with his adopted daughter Nualia Tobyn. Her body was lost to the fire, but the party checks to make sure her ashes are still in the tomb’s reliquary.

Local Heroes

Following that excitement, Marcus retires to the Red Dog Smithy to do more crafting, while Zavian goes down to the town hall to work with Mayor Deverin on settling disputes between residents. Over the course of the day, Zavian attracts an audience of admiring young women, but he ignores their alluring looks and focuses on business.

Lea drops her scale mail off with Marcus, then heads over to the Rovanky Tannery to talk to Larz about getting some leather armor she can wear around town. She wants it to be dyed black and red. Larz figures she’s a Korvosan, but is happy to take her business.

Astrid asks Belor to look into information about her missing brother. She also goes down to the town hall to ask the Mayor for permission to review the town records and look for clues to her brother’s whereabouts.

Amelia, meanwhile, settles in at the Rusty Dragon, where she sings her own compositions, accompanied by her lute.

The Shopkeeper’s Daughter

The following day, Marcus continues working on crafting and repairs Lea’s armor. Once he is done with his work, he takes a walk through the town. He is approached by Shayliss, the younger of local General Store owner Ven Vinder’s two daughters. She praises his bravery during the raid and asks for his help dealing with the “rats” in the General Store basement.

Unable to read Shayliss’ increasingly obvious signals, Marcus is surprised when she gets them along and starts undoing her bodice. However, after a moment’s thought, he cheerily goes along as she leads him towards the carefully prepared cot in the back. He sends his familiar, the raven Ash, to act as a lookout.

Before things can get too far below the belt, Ash squawks a warning as Ven starts to head down the stairs into the basement. Acting quickly, Marcus casts reduce person on himself and hides in a dark corner. When Ven pokes around looking for the “rat” Shayliss blurts out that she was looking for, Marcus has Ash serve as a distraction. After Ven leaves, Shayliss appears excited by Marcus’ use of magic and asks to see him again. The half-elf agrees, then makes a quick exit.

The Boar Hunt

Outside, Marcus runs into Lea and Zav. He doesn’t discuss what happened in the basement, but instead explains how happy he is to have met a group of skilled people willing to stand up themselves and defend the town. The heroes go for a meal at Risa’s Tavern, where they continue to bond and share stories.

At Risa’s, Aldern approaches them to offer his repayment for their heroism. He invites them on a boar hunt in the Tickwood, and offers to purchase horses for all of them. He is especially excited to have Amelia along. The adventurers take him up on the offer, and the following morning they head out for the hunt.

Whatever his faults, Aldern proves to be a charming conversationalist. He flirts extensively with Ashla as they go about the hunt. It takes a little while, but they manage to stir up an angry boar, which Zavian ultimately brings down with a shot from his crossbow. They haul the boar carcass back to the Rusty Dragon, where Ameiko fixes it up for a grand dinner.

Trouble at the Rusty Dragon

The dinner is interrupted by the arrival of Lonjiku, who shouts something in Minkaian and stalks through the common room, looking for someone. He ends up criticizing the adventurers for bringing trouble to the town.

Finally, Ameiko comes out to meet him, a ladle of soup in her hand. He says they are returning to their holdings in Magnimar and insists that she go with him or be disowned. She refuses, he tries to grab her, and Lea intervenes. The paladin escorts the noble out, but he calls over his shoulder “You’re as dead to me as your mother!”

Ameiko picks up her ladle, which she’d slapped her father with, and plucks a long strand of hair from it. “Looks like I need a clean ladle, because jackass stew isn’t on the menu!” This elicits a cheer from the patrons and she seems to perk up a bit, returning to the kitchen.

After this awkward sequence, Aldern says his farewells.

Monster in the Closet

While the party wraps things up, they are interrupted by a frightened woman named Amele Barett, who has her children with her. She explains that since the raid, her son insisted on sleeping with their dog Petal and kept complaining at night about a goblin in his closet. They have checked his closet several times and found nothing.

Tonight, when her son started calling out again, her husband Alergast decided they should just leave him alone to get over his fear. Then the boy’s cries turned to shrieks. When they rusted into his room, they found Petal dead and a goblin gnawing on the boys arm. Alergast flew into a rage and chase the goblin back to the closet, where it had been hiding under a loose board. Amele grabbed her children and sought out the adventurers.

The party wastes no time rushing over to the Barett residence to investigate. They find Alergast dead and his face half-eaten by a crazed goblin who leaps at them with a shiv. Astrid purees it with her double sword. They turn the scene over to Sheriff Belor, while Zavian comforts the family. Amele is distraught that the party wasn’t able to save her husband, which sets off Marcus. Lea escorts him outside.

The half-elf wizard sends Ash out to find Shalelu, an elven ranger who patrols the wilds around Sandpoint and is known for her hatred of goblins. The raven reports back that Shalelu has just arrived in town and was meeting with the Mayor. They arrange to see her in the morning.

Grim News from Mosswood

The adventurers arrive at the town hall first thing in the morning, where they meet with Sheriff Belor Hemlock, Mayor Kendra Deverin, and Shalelu. The elven ranger explains that there are five goblin tribes in the Sandpoint area, which normally keep each other in check with constant tribal warfare. But goblin attacks have been rising in recent weeks.

Shalelu intervened to save a farmstead from an attack by a band of Mosswood goblins and learned they were involved in the raid on Sandpoint. In fact, inspecting the bodies recovered from the raid, Shalelu has determined that all five tribes were involved in the attack. That kind of coordination suggests there is some more powerful being that has managed to earn the following of all the goblin tribes—which is bad news for Sandpoint.

Belor says he is going to request that Magnimar send a contingent of soldiers to strengthen the town’s defenses. Unfortunately, with the city officials distracted by the rivalry with Korvosa and other issues, he will have to make the request in person in order to make sure it is acted on promptly.

While he is gone, the sheriff asks the adventurers to stay in town, patrol the streets and maintain a public presence in order to alleviate concerns. He has asked Shalelu to sniff around the local goblin territories to see if she can get any more information on what is happening.

After the meeting, the party sits down to breakfast with Shalelu at the Rusty Dragon. The elf shares more insights into goblins. She explains that goblins hate and fear dogs, and they love to sing. They are spectacularly stupid creatures, but vicious and numerous.

There are five goblin tribes in the area. The Birdcruncher goblins are the closest to Sandpoint, but the least aggressive. The Seven Tooth goblins are known to raid the town’s junkyard beach for supplies. The Licktoad goblins dwell in the Brinestump swamp south of town. The Mosswood goblins are the largest tribe, but are hampered by infighting. The Thistletop goblins dwell on a small island near the Nettlewood north of town.

There are only a few local goblins that have lived long enough to get a reputation as “heroes.” they include Big Gugmut, a large Mosswood goblin said to have hobgoblin blood in him; Koruvus, a Seven Tooth champion with a magic sword who went missing a few months ago; Vorka, a notorious cannibal that preys on Licktoad goblins, Rendwattle Gutwad, the obese chief of the Mosswood tribe, and Ripnugget, chief of the Thistletop goblins.

Shalelu also mentions Bruthazmus, a notorious bugbear raider with a deep hatred of elves. Shalelu has traded arrows with him, but neither has gotten the upper hand.

After the meal, the elf ranger catches up with her good friend Ameiko, then makes some purchases before heading out of town.

Zavian makes his way to the Cathedral, where he works with Father Zantus and several other clerics to properly consecrate the new religious center. Lea, meanwhile, makes a couple of patrols, then hangs out with Ameiko to commiserate over their family situations.

The Missing Bartender

The following morning, the adventurers are awoken early by Bethana, the Rusty Dragon’s halfling maid, who explains that Ameiko is missing! Bethana found a crumpled note in her room, written in Minkaian. Having picked up some of the language from her employer, she translated the note for the party.

It is from Tsuto, Ameiko’s estranged half-elf brother, who left town five years ago after accusing Lonjiku of killing his mother. The letter warns that Lonjiku had a role in the goblin raid and asks Ameiko to meet up with Tsuto at the Glassworks so they can figure out to find a way to keep Lonjiku from evading justice. Bethana has a low opinion of Tsuto and is worried that something has happened to Ameiko. She urges the party to go to the Glassworks and find out what happened.

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