Rise of the Runelords

Asylum Seekers
The Skinsaw Murders, Part 2

Moonday, 23 Lamashan, 4733

 Amelia makes her way to the garrison and encounters an angry group of mostly Varisian protestors. She learns that the mob has gathered because the fortune teller Madame Mvashti has foretold an avalanche of destruction raining down on the town, a doom which Nualia heralded. The frightened locals hope that by getting rid of Nualia they can prevent this disaster.

Inside, the party finishes questioning Ibor Thorn. Lea and Zavian trade words with Nualia, then Lea promises the Vinder family that they will track down the killer. Marcus avoids interacting with them. Outside, Amelia convinces the crowd that hurting Nualia will accomplish nothing.

The rest of the party emerges and Lea insists that there was no murder. The adventurers decide to consult with Madame Mvashti. Marcus is curious if she could learn more from his ranseur. She lives in a fine old house in town, which is decorated with innumerable charms, wards, and tokens.

Mvashti communes with the ranseur and then performs a harrow reading. She believes that 5 years ago, the well underneath Sandpoint flared to life, releasing a burst of wrathful energy that took hold in the souls of three people already nursing great anger in their hearts—the three points of light seen at Kaijitsu Manor, Chopper's Isle, and the old chapel. But Mvashti warns that the well flared up because of an even greater, more distant ripple of magical energy, one which portends doom for Sandpoint, Varisia, and even Golarion itself. She then invites them to breakfast.

Amelia finally has the opportunity to inspect the note with her name on it that was pinned to Banny Harker's body. She suspects it might be connected to Aldern Foxglove, but "he is a bit too much of a coward to do that." Lea and Astrid wonder if it might be someone else from Amelia's past, though she can't think of any likely suspects.

Lea suggests returning to the barracks to speak with Nualia again, something Zavian is eager to do. Based on Madame Mvashti's reading, the paladin describes how the surge of wrathful energy could have pushed the aasimar over the edge. Nualia insists that she simply saw the light of Lamashtu's truth.

She recounts her sad story of being isolated from the rest of the town because of her celestial looks, while being raised by a strict and unfeeling  father who planned to send her to a Desnan convent when she came of age. As a young woman, she was courted by a Varisian named Delek, seemingly the only one who would treat her as a normal person. They held their trysts in the smugglers' tunnels below town, but when she became pregnant Delek called her a slut and skipped town.

Locked up in the chapel by her father and forced to pray nightly to Desna for forgiveness, Nualia fell into a coma after giving birth to a monstrous, stillborn child. In her dreams, Lamashtu spoke to her and she listened.

When she woke, she had the strength to forge her own path to rid herself of her celestial taint. She burned down the chapel, then fled south to Magnimar where she fell in with the Skinsaw Cult, a band of murderers who helped her find and kill Delek. The mysterious leader of the cult, a dark haired Varisian woman, gave her the Sihedron medallion as a parting gift when Nualia returned north to deal with Sandpoint.

Nualia denies any knowledge of the current murder spree or the purpose of carving the Sihedron rune onto victims.

Zavian lingers behind after the rest of the party leaves, urging Nualia to seek redemption for the crimes she committed in Lamashtu's name. He tries to establish a connection with her based on their shared celestial heritage. Time will tell if succeeded.

Marcus, meanwhile, visits the Sandpoint General Store to check in on Shayliss and her mother. He tries to build a rapport with Solsta, and ends up selling her a club for self defense.

The adventurers ponder their leads regarding the killing and pool their knowledge of ghouls. They realize that ghoul fever is contagious and that the sole surviving victim of the other murder might be infected. They decide to make haste for Habe's Sanitorium.

It takes several hours by horse and cart to reach the facility, which lies at the base of a rocky outcropping called the Ashen Rise. It is a cold and rainy trip through a fairly empty countryside before they arrive at the facility.

The adventurers are forced to talk their way inside, as Dr. Erin Habe and his tiefling staff are very reluctant to welcome visitors. Habe finally consents to having the victim, Grayst Sevilla, brought down from his room for a brief conversation.

Grayst is in the very late stages of ghoul fever and seems barely able to stand—until he spies Amelia. He relays a message from His Lordship, who promises to end the "harvest" if she will join him at his "Misgivings." Grayst then lunges at Amelia and has to be knocked out.

The party starts to question Habe's treatment of the man, while Habe demands that they swear silence on what they have seen. Finally, the doctor rushes over to pound on the basement door, calling for help, while his tiefling orderlies attack the party. A squad of zombies soon shambles out of the basement, followed by the necromancer Caizarlu.

Caizarlu casts a stinking cloud spell in the room, but suffers an arcane mishap and is teleported into the center of the party, where he is swiftly laid low. With the wizard captured, his undead destroyed, and Habe unconsciously, the party decides to spend the night at the madhouse.

Marcus recognizes Grayst's comments about the Misgivings as referring to the old Foxglove Manor south of Sandpoint, long abandoned and said to be haunted. The adventurers figure that will be their next stop.

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Murder Most Foul
The Skinsaw Murders, Part 1

Starday, 14 Lamashan, 4733

The adventurers present the head of Malfeshnekor to the bound Nualia. Lea and Zavian urge her to abandon her following of Lamashtu, now that all that she has worked for has turned to ruin. Nualia, however, simply demands that they stop talking.

The party investigates the last unexplored section of the Thistletop dungeon, where a monster is said to lurk. This area is a cave that opens out onto the cliff overlooking the sea. Zavian spies something moving along the roof and warns the others.

A tentamort emerges, attacking first Zavian and then Astrid with its tentacles. It breaks its stinger against Astrid’s armor and she brings it down.

Investigating the area, the adventurers find the bodies of several goblins and look some valuables from a dead goblin hero. Amelia recalls that tentamorts lay eggs in the bodies of their victims, so Marcus burns the bodies.

Marcus then uses his floating disk spell to retrieve the enormous gold helmet from the chamber below. They manage to guide the disk through the Nettlewood and back to the cart, which Duli has been watching over, along with the horses. The dwarf says that she saw several fleeing goblins, who steering clear of her. The night before, something large and fearful flew overhead, spooking the horses.

An autumn storm has rolled in and the adventurers are forced to trudge back to Sandpoint in a cold drizzle. Along the way, Shalelu compliments Astrid on her goblin-killing skills and asks after her Isandari sword. It turns out that Shalelu rescued a wounded and delirious Isandari elf a few months ago and took him back to Sandpoint. The elf doesn’t match the description of Astrid’s brother, but it is a lead to follow up on.

Back in town, the party is greeted by Sheriff Belor and the Magnimarian Lieutenant Belvar. Though disappointed that the goblins appear to have been routed, Belvar pledges to launch reprisal raids against the remaining tribes with the platoon he brought up from the city.

Belor explains that their trip back to Sandpoint had been delayed when they were diverted to hunt down bandits. Belor believes that the increased bandit activity near Magnimar is due to a rumored highwayman’s guild called the “Rushlight Society,” though Belvar dismisses it as an urban legend.

Belor takes Nualia into custody, and Zavian reminds him of the arrangement with Tsuto about how she is to be treated.

Marcus pays Duli for her service, with a hefty bonus, and asks to extend her contract. He then returns to the home of Das Korvut, who has been into the drink again to deal with his nightmares.

At the Rusty Dragon, the rest of the party interrupts a story by Ser Jasper Korvaski. After the grimy adventurers have cleaned up with a hot bath, Lea shares some stories of the fight with Malfeshnekor and catches up with Ameiko.

Sunday, 15 Lamashan, 4733

The next day, Malfeshnekor’s head is mounted on a pike over the Sandpoint gates.

Astrid goes to speak with Father Zantus, who explains that the wounded elf, Dace, was traumatized by his experience. After tending to the man’s wounds, Zantus sent him to Erin Habe’s sanitarium in the countryside to recover.

Marcus and Lea visit with Brodert Quink to discuss the Thassilonians. Quink suspects that the ruins in Thistletop were connected to the Runelord of Greed, who practiced transmutation magic. Quink also explained that the medallion they recovered bears the Sihedron rune, the seven-pointed star representing the seven schools of rune magic that was the chief sigil of Thassilon.

The sage also inspects the giant helmet and estimates that it was intended for someone who would be a “giant among giants.” The helmet is marked with the rune of greed. After taking some sketches and rubbings, Marcus ultimately sells the helmet to Titus Scarnetti, head of one of the Four Families.

In between his crafting projects, Marcus is also visited by Shayliss, who is eager to continue their liaisons. However, she insists that they be discrete, so as not to incur her father’s wrath.

Amelia entertains the regulars at the Rusty Dragon with three songs she has composed about the Thistletop fight: a jaunty tune about Astrid’s skill at killing goblins, a song about the death of Ripnugget, and a ballad about the defeat of Malfeshnekor.

Flush with gold after their raid on Thistletop, the adventurers spend a fair bit of time shopping for new gear. Zavian also takes time to commune with Abadar on the appropriate date to schedule the upcoming Market Door festival. Lea spends more time with Ameiko, sharing stories of adventure.

The quiet times come to an end, however, in the early dawn hours of 23 Lamashan, when a distraught Shayliss turns up, pounding on Marcus’ door.

Moonday, 23 Lamashan, 4733

She stammers out that her sister Katrine is dead, as is her sister’s boyfriend Banny Harker, and her father Ven has been arrested. Marcus assures her that the adventurers will get to the bottom of this and leaves her in the care of Ameiko while the party heads out.

They are greeted by Sheriff Belor, who brings them up to speed. Katrine and Banny Harker were murdered in the Sandpoint Sawmill, and the bodies discovered by Harker’s co-worker Ibor Thorn. Harker’s body had been mutilated, with a Sihedron rune carved into his chest. Belor took Katrine’s father Ven into custody, as he is the only one in town with a grudge against Harker, but the sheriff is confident Ven is innocent.

Most troubling, this was not the first murder in the region. Two days before, three known con men from the town of Galduria had been found dead in a barn south of Sandpoint, likewise mutilated and carved with the Sihedron rune. The three crooks had brought along a Varisian thug as a bodyguard. He survived, but had been driven mad, and has been given over to Erin Habe’s sanitarium for treatment.

Belor wants the party’s assistance to discretely investigate the crime, in order to avoid a repeat of the Late Unpleasantness. He also warns that the killer seems to have a connection to one of them. A note was found at the lumber mill pinned to Harker’s body and addressed to Amelia (who was still inside, consoling Shayliss).

Freshly deputized, the party ventured to the lumber mill to inspect the crime scene. The place stinks, as if a dead animal had been left to rot there for days. Lea recognizes it as the odor of a ghast, a powerful form of ghoul. Examining the tracks in the sawdust, Zavian figures out that the barefoot ghast attacked Harker and was interrupted by Katrine, who hit the creature with a hatchet before being shoved into the log splitter. Her mangled remains lie below. Marcus retrieved a strange gold coin from her body.

Harker’s body has been mutilated, with much of the skin stripped from his face and his jaw removed. A Sihedron symbol is carved onto his chest. Some of the wounds on his body were from ghast claws, but most were due to a razor-sharp knife.

The party then went to question Ibor. Under pressure from Lea and Zavian, the sawmill worker says he had left early so that Harker could rendezvous with Shayliss. He discovered the bodies the next morning. Ibor admits that he known that Harker was embezzling money from the sawmill. The mill is owned by Scarnetti family, known for their ruthlessness and rumored connection to the Sczarni mafia. Ibor fears that the Scarnetti’s put out a hit on Ibor for stealing from them.

The Scarnettis are not known for arcane or divine magical abilities, leaving adventurers wondering if they were involved in a crime committed by a ghast.

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Malfeshnekor
Burnt Offerings, Part 7

Starday, 14 Lamashan, 4733

In the Thistletop dungeon, the party considers their next move. They ask Orik about the goblin chieftain Ripnugget and learn that he wears a cheap crown. Zavian uses locate object to identify the crown’s location.

Rather than take the main stairs up, the adventurers decide to return in the direction they can, from the secondary stairwell. The rooms beyond they discover have been rigged with traps, which they warily make their way past and into the courtyard.

Outside is a bonfire, with bored-looking goblins milling about on the ground and up in the two towers of the fort. Astrid fights with the goblin infantry in the southeast corner, while Lea engages with the mounted goblins to the southwest. Marcus, Zavian, and Amelia hang back to support. The horse locked in the shed is agitated by the sound of fighting.

Goblins in the two watch towers fire arrows down onto the party. The adventurers realize that they can use the smoke of the bonfire for concealment, and that the eastern tower only has line of sight on half the courtyard.

Ripnugget arrives not too long after, riding his lizard and accompanied by three war chanters. The goblin chief charges into battle, slashing at Lea and then badly wounding Marcus, who falls to the ground unconscious.

Ripnugget trades barbs with Lea as he rides his giant gecko Stickfoot across the yard and up onto the stockade wall. Amelia, meanwhile, brings down the warchanters with a well-placed sleep spell.

Zavian summons a spider to try to distract the war chief. This proves successful at distracting the goblin’s giant gecko mount, which stubbornly tries to eat the spider and tumbles to the ground.

Marcus, having been revived, blasts Ripnugget and his mount with fire, bringing the gecko down. Across the yard, Astrid struggles to prevent the surviving goblins from reviving the sleeping warchanters, while arrows pepper down from the guard towers. Lea finishes off the warchanters, then ducks inside to avoid the goblin snipers.

Ripnugget staggers to his feet, struggling to evade Zavian’s hammer blows as he tries to flee back into the fort. Amelia uses ghost sound to startle the goblin chief into thinking the horse had broken out of the shed. Confused, Ripnugget stumbles into the bonfire at the center of the courtyard, and is finally laid low by Zavian.

Astrid and Marcus countersnipe the remaining goblins in the towers and the party takes stock of the scene.

Lea releases the penned up horse and manages to calm and feed it. They leave the creature in the care of Shalelu and proceed to loot the bodies and the fort. The goblin corpses, they burn.

After picking the fort clean, the adventurers descend back into the depths of the dungeon below to continue their exploration. At the top of their list is the gold pillar carved to look like a pile of gold coins. Close examination reveals that the gold is merely an illusion. They do discover two hidden coin slots, and after feeding them gold, the pillar rises up to reveal a hidden chamber with three doors.

The first door leads to a throne room where a ghostly figure of the same man with the book and glaive whose visage has been repeated on every statue in the dungeon is speaking in a loop. Marcus translates the Thassilonian—it appears to be some sort of final message message, which the man pledges to destroy “Alaznist.” Based on the name on the fake coins in the pillar, the party suspects this figure is Karzoug the Claimer.

The next room contains several cages with strangely warped humanoid skeletons, as well as a set of masterwork surgical tools and a strange seven pointed star made of metal that they deduce is the the key to the third and final door, made of stone.

The chamber beyond is illuminated by a large, burning bed of coals at its center. Marcus and Zavian detect multiple magic auras, including illusion, coming from the center of the room. They move in to investigate, but as they draw near the fire they suddenly wink out of view from their companions.

At the same time, a terrifying shape appears charging towards them, a snarling monster the size of an ox. The rest of the adventurers here only roars and shouts until a bloodied Marcus staggers backwards, casting shield on himself and warning of the hidden monster.

Astrid and Lea press forward to attack and soon disappear from Amelia’s view. They come across the monster and Astrid finds that her blades cannot overcome the foul strength that propels it. Lea, meanwhile, smites it with the wrath of her goddess. Unable to see anything, Amelia calls out to the party to inspire them to feats of courage.

The monster counterattacks and savagely wounds the paladin. The party wavers, trying to decide between fight or flight. Fortune smiles on Lea as her earthbreaker slips past the creature’s guard and smashes into its ribs. She falls back with the others, as they notice that the seemingly unstoppable fiend now seems badly weakened. Where they had been about to retreat, they now decide to press the attack.

But the monster, which they are now certain is Malfeshnekor, still has fight in it. The beast charges forward, its eyes blazing with hate for the paladin that wounded it, while its ribs are already beginning to knit back together.

As the fiend bears down on them, Marcus readies his ranseur while Zavian lays a reassuring hand on Lea’s shoulder.

“Our faith is our shield,” the cleric reminds her, his eyes blazing blue.

Bolstered by his words, she can feel the grace of Iomedae and the resoluteness of Abadar fall upon her. A glow spreads from her holy symbol until her entire armor blazes with holy light as Malfeshnekor’s claws rake uselessly against it.

The fiend’s fury can find no purchase and the adventurers press the attack. Astrid slips around the monster to set up a flank with Lea, who land her hammer down on the beast’s head. Malfeshnekor, is no more.

They retrieve its head as a trophy, and also acquire an ancient ring of force shield hidden in an alcove of the chamber. After patching up their wounds as best they can, the party decides to continue exploring the dungeon level.

They enter an ancient crypt with another statue of man with the glaive and book. here, they are assailed by several vengeful wraiths. The spirits start to sap the strength form their bodies and can only be harmed by magic. Zavian blesses Astrid’s dual sword and the party rallies to put the spirits to rest.

Afterwards, they discover a secret passage that leads what may have once been a great treasure vault. the walls are decorated with images of indescribable wealth, as well as a picture of a city in the shadow of a mountain carved to look like the face of the man in the statues. Half the room appears to have collapsed and been flooded, but in the water they can still see sparkling treasure.

Marcus enlarges himself and wades out into the water to retrieve an enormous gold helmet, only to find that it is serving as the lair of a giant hermit crab. Already weakened from previous fights, the wizard beats a hasty retreat, but is not fast enough. The crab leaves him bleeding an unconscious on the shore before it too is dispatched.

While Zavian and Lea tend to Marcus, Astrid and Amelia strip out of their armor and go diving for treasure in the waters below. The adventurers then decide to return to the upper level and rest.

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Lamashtu's Chosen
Burnt Offerings, Part 6

Fireday, 13 Lamashan, 4733

Having infiltrated the goblin fort on the island of Thistletop, the party descends into the ruins below. The narrow staircase leads them into the war room where the next, massive raid on Sandpoint is being planned. The raid is scheduled for just two weeks away, but depends on the release from the “whispering beast” below.

The adventurers are interrupted by the wizard Lyrie, who cries out for aid. They rush to stop her, but get tangled up in their own enthusiastic efforts. Unable to participate in the crowded fight, Amelia bars the entrance to the chamber. A wounded Lyrie tries to flee, but she is dazed by Amelia and knocked unconscious. The adventurers bind her up and debate what to do with her. Eventually, Amelia slits her throat, while Marcus kills her cat familiar. Zavian puts away his golden bolt.

The ruckus attracts the bugbear mercenary Bruthazmus, who pounds on the barred door, then grunts and abandons it. With Astrid in the lead, the adventurers investigate. Unfortunately, Bruthazmus and six goblin spearwives are waiting for them in an ambush. Astrid gets a mouthful of flail as the bugbear brags that he will add her pointy ears to her necklace.

Lea advances into the room to confront the bugbear and Astrid strikes back, while Zavian buffs the party and then shifts backward. Marcus attacks the spearwives. But it is Amelia who tips the balance, disabling Bruthazmus with a sleep spell.

The adventurers quickly cut their way through the remaining goblins. One of the goblin wives attempts to flee and bumps into Orik. The fighter takes in the carnage and quickly surrenders.

After quizzing Orik, they decide to take the secret passage down to confront Nualia. They come across statues of what they presume to be a different Runelord, a man carrying a glaive. Amelia manages to disable a nasty trap on two of the statues. The party then comes across a strange pillar designed as if it were made from a stack of gold coins. Rather than invetigate further, they choose to do an about face and go after Nualia.

The deranged aasimar is waiting for them in a chamber lit by flaming skulls, accompanied by a pair of goblins and two hideous yeth hounds. Lea tries to reason with Nualia, playing on her relationship with Tsuto and the possibility she is possessed. Zavian demands that she face justice. Nualia dismisses both of them and commands her yeth hounds to attack. The hound’s terrifying bays send Orik and Nualia’s goblin attendants fleeing, but the adventurers stand fast.

One of the yeth hounds takes flight to harry Astrid and Marcus, while Lea and Zavian charge Nualia. Amelia hangs back to provide support with her magic. Nualia moves in to attack with her bastard sword and clawed hand, while her yeth hound companion trips Lea.

The fighting is fierce and savage. But Ash’s return heralds the arrival of Shalelu, who bolsters the adventurers as they press the attack. Zavian and Lea knock Nualia unconscious, while her hounds are brought down one by one. When the fighting is done, they strip Nualia of her weapons and armor and bind her up with manacles.

Reuniting with Orik upstairs, the party decides to rest in the mercenary bedrooms for the night, setting Orik, Shalelu, and Astrid to stand watch in shifts. The following day, the adventurers leave Nualia tied up under the watchful eye of Orik while they investigate the chapel to Lamashtu. The yeth hounds inside put up a fierce fight, their baying sending Zavian and Shalelu into a panic. However, the hounds are eventually brought to heel and the party profanes the chapel.

They then decide whether to explore the ruins further, or return to the surface to confront Nualia’s last co-conspirator, the goblin chieftain Ripnugget.

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Attack on Thistletop
Burnt Offerings, Part 5

Fireday, 6 Lamashan – Oathday, 12 Lamashan, 4733

After their adventure in the catacombs below Sandpoint, the adventurers prepare to launch an all out attack on Thistletop. They commission Das Korvut to prepare some of his finest armor and make other purchases in town. During their preparations, the annual harvest festival takes place. Amelia buys a set of wooden puppets during the celebration, while Astrid participates in the festivities. Lea patrols the streets, noting that even during the party there is a sense of unease lingering over the city. Residents are quietly fortifying their houses, and people check their surroundings every time a dog barks. Marcus’ arms business is booming, and he hires on a young dwarven warrior named Duli to help guard his cart. Practicing the ranseur with Astrid, Marcus turns his old quarterstaff over to Shayliss to serve as protection while he’s out of town. Despite the heightened sense of alert, there is little call for Zavian’s clerical services that week.

As they are making final preparations for departure, Shalelu returns to the town and quickly makes a beeline for the Rusty Dragon, where she has a long private chat with Ameiko. Afterwards, the elven ranger thanks the adventurers for rescuing her friend and thwarting the evil that lurked within the town walls. Shalelu describes her own findings out in the wilderness: the planned attack on Sandpoint will include not only the five local tribes, but even goblins as far away as the Fogscar Mountains.

She’s learned that the ringleaders are based on Thistletop and she had returned to alert the party and seek their aid in tracking down a goblin with information on the island fort, it seems the party is far ahead of her on that score. The elf offers to either accompany them on the attack, or stay behind to keep a watchful eye on town. The adventurers ultimately invite her to join them, recognizing that they will need a tracker to guide them through the Nettlewood to Thistletop.

Fireday, 13 Lamashan, 4733

They take their horses and Marcus’ wagon north along the Lost Coast Way. They chat with Shalelu a bit about city vs. country life, in which she and Zavian disagree. Shalelu explains that while she patrols around the Sandpoint area and considers it the closest thing to home these days, she ranges much farther across Varisia, including to her hometown of Crying Leaf in the Mierani Forest. Lea asks if she visits Korvosan territory, but she says she avoids it so as not to cross the Shoanti.

As they proceed north, Shalelu points out the paupers’ graves, a site that tends to attract ghouls. When Lea asks how to prevent this, she explains that the ground not only needs to be hallowed, but also regularly guarded.

Attack_on_Thistletop_01_-_Riding_to_Nettlewood.jpg

They arrive at the Nettlewood, which is tangled with briars. They leave the wagon and the horses with Duli and enter on foot. Shalelu leads them through the forest, searching for goblin footpaths, a process that takes several hours. Zavian and Lea stumble into a goblinberry bush, but suffer no ill-effects beyond some aches in their joints. The elf finally leads them to a goblin nest inside a huge thicket of briars that rise to treetop height.

The party discusses whether to approach the fort on Thistletop via the bridge on the other side of the nest, or by sailing out to the island. The decide to clear out the goblin warren first and then investigate the sea approach.

Attack_on_Thistletop_02_-_In_the_Goblin_Tunnels.jpg

The goblin tunnels through the wood are low and narrow, forcing them to move stooped over. Shalelu is especially unhappy with this and looks distinctly uncomfortable and unsettle to be in such a confined space. They hear a strange, booming call echoing through the briars to their right, which the elf ranger identifies as a bunyip, a monster that’s sort of a combination of shark and seal. To their left, they can hear the sound of a large group of goblins talking and arguing.

The adventurers decide to draw the goblins towards the sound of the bunyip by using Amelia’s ghost sound spell to mimic dog barks. The trick works and the goblins rush past, intent on defeating the dogs to prove their worth to Chief Ripnugget. While Astrid keeps watch, the party investigates the goblins’ nesting area, finding little of interest.

Astrid, meanwhile, sees the goblins fan out searching for the dogs. Several goblins go off to fetch their own goblin dogs. The adventurers gather together to try to lure the goblins into a trap, but they make too much noise getting into position. As the goblins turn towards the sound of intruders, Astrid finds herself hiding alone in the shadows amongst a gaggle of goblins. Zavian steps forward to begin preaching the word of Abadar, enthralling most of the little monsters, though several resist the distraction and heckle him back that they prefer Nualia’s sermons.

The arrival of the goblin druid Gogmurt, however, complicates everything. He commands the briars to entangle the party, leaving the majority of them bunched up at the entrance to the chamber while Astrid and Lea stand out in the open. The entanglement also distracts Zavian from his preaching, breaking his enthrall spell.

Lea, recognizing that Gogmurt and the other goblins are from different tribes, sows enough dissension that the druid walks off in a huff, leaving the fight to the dozen goblin warriors. Most of them charge the paladin, while several goblin dog riders attempt to push Astrid into the hole.

Attack_on_Thistletop_05_-_Lea_is_Surrounded.jpg

Shalelu thins the goblins’ numbers with her arrows, taking some pressure off of Lea. Zavian and Marcus, still hunched over to present a lower profile to goblin arrows, move forward to assist the paladin with morningstar and ranseur. Astrid, meanwhile, successfully resists the attempts to throw her in the hole, and instead it is one of the goblin dog riders who takes the tumble. Amelia attempts to put a band of goblins to sleep, but only manages to knock out a single rider.

One hammer fall at a time, Lea clears away the remaining goblins around her, calling up the Inheritor’s grace to sustain her from their dogslicers. As the threat of goblin arrows diminishes, Zavian and Marcus rise to their full height to finish off their foe. While the party mops up stragglers, Lea goes dashing after a riderless goblin dog, bringing it down with a well-thrown dagger.

However, the isolated paladin is vulnerable to ambush by Gogmurt. The druid’s firepelt cougar temperamentally refuses to assist, but even so the goblin is able to sear Lea badly with a burning scimitar. Zavian rushes to her aid, while Shaelu takes up a position with her bow. Wounded, Gogmurt attempts to retreat but is cut off. Near-death, the goblin druid begs for mercy.

The adventurers drag him back over to the howling hole, where he blurts out information on the political situation in the Thistletop goblin trip. Once a top adviser to Warchief Ripnugget, Gogmurt was pushed aside when the chieftain made an alliance with Nualia against the druid’s advice. Gogmurt believes that Ripnugget has become infatuated with Nualia, despite the fact that Gogmurt has seen the aasimar and Tsuto “going at it like donkey rats” in the Nettlewood.

Gogmurt also describes the three others Nualia brought to Thistletop—the bugbear Bruthazmus, a human man dressed in metal, and an angry dark-skinned woman who burns goblins that get in her way. Gogmurt asks the heroes to get rid of these interlopers. If they do, he can promise that his tribe will never bother Sandpoint again. The adventurers consider this offer, but Shalelu warns that goblins simply lack the attention spn to keep any promise they make.

The party then questions Gogmurt about the fort itself. The only entrance the goblins use is the bridge, which is trapped if more than three longshanks cross it at a time. The trap can be disabled at the opposite end of the bridge. However, Ripnugget has been warned that adventurers are in the area, and his guards aren’t likely to let anyone cross the bridge. The party decides to force Gogmurt to cross the bridge and disable the trap, threatening that Shalelu will shoot him if he tries anything funny. The goblin reluctantly moves out onto the bridge, where he is spotted by goblin lookouts and killed in a hail of arrows. The lookouts cheer at their victory.

With the sun starting to sink low on the horizon, the adventurers then work up a different plan. Shalelu will harry the goblins at the bridge entrance to keep them distracted. The party will set up a fake campsite in the hopes that this plus Shalelu will lure the goblins out for an attack. Meanwhile, the rest of the party will head down to the beach to summon up a swan boat and then circle around to the back of the island. There, Amelia will scale the cliffs and attack a grappling hook the rest of the party can use.

It is night by the time the adventurers reach the top of the island, the darkest helping to obscure their approach. They send Ash to inform Shalelu of their success and ask her to step up her attack in order to keep the goblins distracted. The elf ranger does so, and the party makes their way over the stockade wall into the fort’s courtyard. They kill some sleeping goblin dogs. They also find a strange outbuilding with a battered door the goblins appear to have hastily nailed shut. The two dead goblins lying in front, their heads crushed in, suggest that whatever is beyond the door is something the goblins don’t want to get out. They decide to leave the building alone for now.

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The party cautiously enters the wooden building to the north of the courtyard. Inside, they find an empty meeting room and what appears to be a latrine. Zavian recognizes that it isn’t up to code and couldn’t possibly function as a latrine for long. Investigating, Amelia and Astrid find a secret door that reveals a treasure chest with a huge padlock. Amelia disables a nasty trap on the chest and picks the lock. Inside they find a small treasure trove in goods and gear.

The last door they investigate is a set of stone stairs leading down into the dark. The adventurers decide to press deeper into the ruins below, where they expect to find Nualia and her followers.

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Catacombs of Wrath
Burnt Offerings, Part 4

Fireday, 6 Lamashan, 4733

Having created an enormous racket thanks to Lea and Zavian’s efforts to destroy the altar to Lamashtu in the catacombs beneath Sandpoint, the party has attracted unwanted attention.

The goblin hero Koruvus, mutated into a three-armed, man-sized freak wielding what appears to be a magic sword, confronts them over their desecration of the shrine. He is joined by two more of the pale-skinned monstrosities the party fought before.

Lea charges the goblin head on with her earthbreaker. He replies by spitting a stream of acid onto her and Zavian. Meanwhile, his two companions flank Astrid. The rest of the party moves to her defense. Astrid manages to stab one of the creatures in the brain, but her sword catches in its skull, leaving her vulnerable to counterattack.

Another of the pale monsters, this one carrying a ranseur, bursts through the doors at the opposite end of the room. It charges towards the cluster of adventurers, but slips on the waters of Lamashtu that spilled forth from the broken altar.

Lea bashes in the head of Koruvus, while Amelia tricks the new creature into not attacking her.

Lea shakes off a hostile spell. The spell is followed up by another, a ray fired by a quasit. The creature then flits into the adjacent room, hovering over a glowing well, and spills some blood in it, summoning two more pale-skinned monsters, which diminishes the glow.

As the party finishes off the remaining enemies in the shrine, the two new creatures move up to guard the door to their chamber. Marcus, his spirit inflamed by a bite from one of the monsters, punches one in the face telekinetically. Then Astrid runs up the length of its ranseur and stabs it in the brain

As the party closes in on the other creature, the quasit summons a dretch demon. That fiend calls forth a stinking cloud that disrupts the party’s actions and nauseates Marcus.

The adventurers rush out of the cloud. Zavian and Astrid attack the remaining pale monster, while Marcus rushes out to steady himself on the wall and Lea goes after the dretch.

The quasit tries to charm Astrid, but Amelia countersongs her attempt. Lea and the dretch face off.

The remaining pale creature is taken down and Zavian flanks the dretch with Lea, but the cleric has trouble damaging it. Marcus examines the wall, finding a crack.

The dretch badly wounds Lea. The paladin calls on her goddess for strength, then strikes back against the demon, hammering it into submission.

Marcus leverages the wall into collapsing, creating a path into the room around the cloud. The quasit finally compels Astrid to flee in terror.

The party tries to identify where the invisible fiend is lurking. The quasit reappears near Lea, cutting her with a returning dagger. The paladin takes a running jump at the demon, but loses her grip on the earthbreaker and faceplants on the ground. Zavian tries to hit the creature with his crossbow but misses.

The creature descends to hit Lea with a touch spell. The paladin resists it and grapples her. The quasit struggles free and rises up into the air. Zavian summons an eagle, which locks itself in battle with the quasit, tearing at it with beak and claw. Lea rises to her feet, climbs up onto the dais, and leaps at the demon again with her sword, finally cutting it down.

The party regroups and loots the bodies, finding an enchanted morningstar on Koruvus and a tiny dagger on the quasit. Marcus feels the ranseur tugging him towards the triangular well.

The paladin and the cleric can’t identify it, other than to confirm it has nothing to do with the faith of Lamashtu. Marcus decides to thrust his ranseur into the well, and is struck with a series of visions.

He sees the well sitting dark an empty, as if for a long time. Then, suddenly, it flares to life, the glowing orange liquid bubbling up out of nowhere in a flare of orange light. The vision follows the light as it ripples up and out of the catacombs and spreading across Sandpoint. The light gradually fades as it spreads, dying out just beyond the town boundaries. But three small lights linger behind like embers—one on Chopper’s Isle, one at the old chapel, and one at Kaijitsu Manor.

Marcus then sees a flash of images of violence and pain. The Chopper’s victims, including Das Korvus’ wife and child, being cut down and mutilated. A door being wedged shut, a fire being kindled. A gruesome shrine to some bird-like monster. Angry shouts in a foreign tongue. Someone being thrown from a cliff in the dark. A woman crying out in labor. A monstrous stillborn child being swaddled up and hustled away. The well sitting dark and empty once again for long months.

Then Marcus sees goblins charging through the streets of Sandpoint on the Swallowtail Festival. He sees himself and his companions cutting down the goblins. For each that perishes, the well glows brighter with orange light. He then sees blood falling into the orange liquid, and sees another of the pale creatures rise out of the well, as the orange glow diminishes significantly.

At this point, Marcus is able to remove the ranseur from the well. He tells the others of what he saw and they debate what to do. the discuss the possibility of spilling blood into the well to summon more of the creatures, kill them, and drain down its power. But Lea is concerned that the well could be recharged again until the party defeats Nualia and the goblins. Marcus suggests that they consult with the local sage, Brodert Quink. First though, they must finish exploring the complex.

They discover an ancient prison and put down the remaining, zombified captives. Astrid discovers evidence that the prison was visited more recently—the black leather quiver of an elven warrior of Isandria, with the name “Dace” scribed on it in silver elven runes.

The adventurers find signs that the complex was the also site of some sort of grotesque experiments on the prisoners. They come across a meditation chamber under a permanent levitation spell. They retrieve a mostly-full bottle of Magnimarian wine, a wand of shocking grasp, a scroll, and a book of Lamashtu written in Abyssal. They also find a stairwell leading down. The stairs seem to be solidly blocked by rubble, which is good because strange sounds and a creepy vibe emanate from below.

The final area they investigate is a tunnel leading up, which passes through a small chamber with a large basin of water ringed with skulls. Zavian and Lea believe it to be a washing well of the kind used by various temples to cleanse petitioners before they enter a sacred space. Cautious, they send Lea to investigate.

As the young paladin approaches the basin, a grotesque floating head rises up from the well and opens a mouth full of fangs and lets out a terrifying shriek. Amelia freezes, paralyzed by the sound, but the others are able to keep the blood from freezing in their veins. Marcus lunges at the creature with his gilded ranseur, but the polearm slips from his hand and flies into the basin. The water begins to boil. The adventurers manage to cut down the head before it can do more than bite.

Lea then sloshes into the basin to retrieve the ranseur. As she touches it, a wave of intense, directionless wrath washes over her. Suddenly, she sees a room, somewhere else in the complex, back when it was still new. The building is shaking with tremors that send dust sprinkling down from the ceiling. Humans in long red robes, with their hair bound up in elaborate headdresses rush back and forth, manipulating glowing runes that ripple and shift on the walls.

The humans are tall, fair, with dark hair, high cheekbones, and violet eyes. They rush about with an air of desperation, while an illusory head, many times larger than life, floats over them barking orders in a strange tongue. It is the same woman who was portrayed in the red marble statue, now alive and furious. She shouts some final command and then vanishes. The humans gather together, performing some strange ritual. Then the walls ripple with fiery energy, which surges upwards, leaving a darkened facility behind, which begins to collapse.

While Lea is stricken with her vision, the ranseur glows with fiery orange energy, which lances up into the ceiling in a terrible flash, boring a hole straight up into daylight. All of the water in the basin boils away, leaving only the steam, and the polished skull of the monster. The ranseur is cold to the touch.

After discerning that the stairs leading up are also blocked by rubble, the adventurers double back to reemerge in the Glassworks. Lea returns to the Rusty Dragon to change, while the others head to the White Deer for lunch.

At the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko throws a surprise party for Lea to celebrate Ascendance Day. The Minkaian bard acts out a morality play of Iomedae’s Eighth Act, playing the Inheritor while using an illusion to create the graveknight that she talks into falling onto its own swords. As feats of physical and mental prowess, she arranges an arm wrestling and riddle contest. Lea manages to overcome both and is awarded a fine white cloak, the traditional victor’s prize. Ameiko explains that she saw how glum the paladin looked that morning over the lack of celebration and after everything Lea had done for her, she wanted to give back.

After the party, Lea reunites with the others and they go pay a visit to Brodert Quink’s house, an old building located as close to the looming ruin of Old Light as possible.

That night, Lea summons the rest of the party to her room, where she reveals her heritage as Princess Ecclesia Ionomia of the Houses of Kroft and Nox. Marcus is skeptical of the hidden princess until Amelia vouches for her. The party agrees to keep her secret, which could become inconvenient if known in Magnimar.

Lea then goes to confide the truth in Ameiko, who says that she has known all along. As a well-informed innkeeper and a noble, she’d already heard a great deal about the runaway paladin princess with the strange eyes and had quickly put two and two together.

The following day, the party makes purchases and prepares for the expedition to Thistletop.

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What Lies Beneath
Burnt Offerings, Part 3

Downtime

After selling weapons in the market square, Marcus meets with Shayliss at the Rusty Dragon for their date. The shopkeeper’s daughter is more concerned with completing their tryst than with making small talk, which suits Marcus just fine.

Amelia finally connects with Cyrdak, the director of the Sandpoint Theater. He is very excited to get her on stage to do a performance honoring the party’s role in repelling the goblin raiders. Cyrdak apologetically explains that he’d put off her audition so as not to offend the Magnimarian diva Avishandra, who didn’t want to be upstaged by a local hero’s 15 minutes of fame.

Although Lea has been doing her best to keep Ameiko’s spirits up after her kidnapping and the loss of her father, the young paladin finds herself feeling glum as 6 Lamashan rolls around. In Korvosa and Lastwall, Ascendance Day is commemorated with public plays, tests of body and mind, and other grand spectacles. In Sandpoint, however, the celebration amounts to little more than a quick toast to the goddess.

Zavian, having finished officiating a long string of funerals, gathers the adventurers together to question Tsuto Kaijitsu. Marcus begs off, insisting that he has work to do, though the others suspect his evening with Shayliss—who has yet to be seen leaving his room—might also be a factor.

Pleas and Bargains

At the Sandpoint Garrison, Constable Wallas explains that the Watch has not been able to get Tsuto to talk. He says they have sent word to Magnimar and expect a ship any day now to take the half-elf down to the city to stand trial before the Justice Court.

Wallas takes the party down into the garrison’s jail, which is overseen by a Shoanti man named Vachedi. He leaves them with Tsuto, who is seated cross-legged on his jail cot. The half-elf ignores their initial attempts to get his attention.

Lea and Zavian get a good cop, bad cop routine going in their efforts to get him to cooperate in exchange for a plea deal. Tsuto doubts their ability to hold up their bargain, and points out that even if he dies, Nualia will bring him back after she razes the town.

The adventurers find that his concern for Nualia is the best button to push. Drawing on the information in Tsuto’s journal, they convince him that if her plan to purge herself of her “celestial taint” is successful, it will mean the end of the woman he loves. Tsuto admits his fears about Nualia’s worship of Lamashtu and his belief that she may not be in full possession of her faculties.

He offers to provide information in exchange for their solemn oath, in writing, that no permanent harm come to Nualia. He also wants her to avoid prison time and suggests sending her to a sanitarium outside of town. Lea speculates that Nualia could be a victim of magical influence, like the former Queen Ileosa.

With the deal struck, Tsuto provides information on recent events and Nualia’s future plans:

  • He blackmailed his father into leaving the north gate open before the raid. Lonjiku had been renting the Glassworks’ furnaces to the Sczarni so they could dispose of bodies, which Tsuto threatened to expose.
  • The goblins in the Glassworks entered through an old smugglers’ tunnel that runs from a sea cave up into the building.
  • The tunnel also connects with some ruins underground overseen by a quasit demon. Tsuto says the quasit inducted Nualia into Lamashtu’s priesthood and blames the demon for sending Nualia down this path. The quasit has the ability to create hideous monsters, several of which dwell below with it.
  • Nualia is camped out at Thistletop, a small goblin infested island north of town, along with three other mercenaries: the bugbear Bruthazmus, a merc from Riddleport named Orik Vancaskerkin, and a wizard named Lyrie Akenja who knows about the island’s ruins.
  • Thistletop sits just off the coast from the Nettlewood. The goblins have a nest in the nettles on shore, and have built a fort on the island, which is accessible via a trapped bridge. There are ruins beneath the fort, which is where Nualia is camped out, trying to find a way to release a creature called Malfeshnekor.

Mercenary Business

As the party concludes their interrogation, a flustered Wallas lets a stern, muscular woman with raven-black hair and gilded armor into the dungeon. She introduces herself as Viorian Dekanti, Captain of the Black Talon mercenary company. She has been sent by Justice Ironbriar to escort Tsuto down to Magnimar to face trial.

The adventurers are surprised to see a mercenary carrying out this work, but Viorian claims to have done it before. Zavian provides her with the plea bargain he arranged with the half-elf, while Lea asks that he be treated well on the journey. Viorian makes it clear that good treatment isn’t free and the paladin grudgingly pays her to cover the “expense.” As he is hauled off, Tsuto insists that they stick by their agreement and not harm Nualia.

Secrets in the Dark

The party explores the tunnel beneath the Glassworks, which winds for over a thousand feet before reaching a sea cave. There are two other tunnels accessible from the cave, one of which appears to have been bricked over and then smashed open recently. The adventurers decide to investigate that tunnel first.

Not too far down, they spy something lurking in the darkness on a side tunnel. Zavian takes point and is attacked by a strange creature armed with a ranseur. Amelia uses ghost sound to throw it off balance.The creature manages to bite Zavian, but the cleric is able maneuver it into being flanked by him and Lea. The party pummels the creature until it goes down.

Searching the room, they find evidence that the monster was not alone.

Beyond the cave where the thing was lurking, they find walls of finished stone, apparently ancient ruins beneath the earth. They press deeper into the compound, finding a room with smashed grain jars. They enter a chamber with a red marble statue of a beautiful but furious-looking woman holding a gilded ranseur. Lea smashes the weapon loose so that Marcus can claim it. Zavian senses the way up and then they press deeper, coming upon a altar of Lamashtu.

The paladin and the cleric smash it, their blows ringing out down the tunnels. Marcus reduces his size to try to hide. The noise attracts the attention of an man-sized mutated goblin, who spouts threats and insults at them, taking so long that the party is able to ready for battle.

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A Paladin's Journal, Part IV
A selection from Ser Lea's journal in AR 4733

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Sandpoint, 30 Rova, AR 4733

If the previous days have been any indication, the days of peace and relative quiet for this town have ended. This is especially true for my dear friend Ameiko, her father murdered by her brother. Lonjiku wasn’t a good man, that anyone could see, but he didn’t deserve to die. Nor did Ameiko deserved the harm she receive at the hands of her brother and his goblins. I just thank the Gods we arrived in time. Never before had I had such righteous anger flow through me as we battled against Tsuto and his goblins. Although it made my heart sink to see Ameiko in such a state, it felt good to rescue someone on time, and to bring those who committed such evils to justice that day.

And now, at last we have a solid lead on our masterminds for the current troubles. It seems for the moment we can rest a bit easier knowing we’ll be on the offensive against this Nualia. Perhaps we can make this town safe again.

I must cut this short, however, as I am needed by Ameiko’s side. Her whole world changed these past few days, and she’s going to need time to process all that’s happened. For all that she’s done for me, I have to be there for her in time of need now.

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Murder at the Glassworks
Burnt Offerings, Part 2

Fireday, 29 Rova, 4733

The Missing Bartender

The Rusty Dragon’s halfling maid Bethana Corwin contacted the adventurers to tell them that Ameiko Kaijitsu has gone missing. The bartender left the Rusty Dragon the night before for a secret meeting with her estranged half-brother Tsuto at the family’s Glassworks.

As a chill fall dawn breaks over Sandpoint, the party hustles out to investigate the Glassworks. The town is still waking up, with Gorvi and his streetsweepers still tidying up the previous day’s mess. The half-orc garbage man leers at the female adventurers as they pass by.

The windows of the Glassworks are shrouded with dark curtains and the doors are locked, but the furnaces continue to billow out thick black smoke. Amelia tries knocking on the front door, while Marcus circles around back to the loading doors where Ameiko was supposed to meet her brother.

Zavian asks on of the streetsweeps for information. He talks to a fellow in ratty hat who heard a woman’s scream at the Glassworks the night before. The vagrant notes that the place has been closed up for a few days, and figures that Lonjiku Kaijitsy and staff are working on a big project that needs privacy.

Marcus goes to loading entrance that Ameiko used and sees footprints going in but not coming out. He breaks a window and climbs in.

At the front door, no one answers Amelia’s knock. Astrid considers climbing the building. Lea pounds on the door and demands they open. There is no response. A crowd starts to gather as Lea begins hammering on the door while Zavian writes up a search warrant. Amelia hypnotizes the onlookers into leaving.

In the back of the building, Marcus finds bloody footprints leading downstairs. He finds smashes glass on the floor and sees movement in the forge room. A safe in back sits open and empty. Marcus casts a spell to shrink himself down so he can creep up to the forge room.

In front, Lea finally batters down the door and the party enters. No one answers their calls, but they hear noise coming from the forge room.

Goblins and Glass

The forge room is a hideous spectacle, littered with partially dismembered bodies, many of them half-cover in melted glass. In one corner sits a figure completely encased in glass.

Nine goblins putter around the room, playing with body parts and molten glass, or just smashing things in an idle, bored fashion. The noisy rumble of the furnace masks the sound of the main party forming up at the from entrance, while Marcus slips in the back.

The wizard is the first to act, dropping three of the goblins with color spray. The rest of the adventurers charge into the room after being blessed by Zavian. Amelia quickly charms a goblin into turning on its fellows, while Lea smites the most likely leader.

The goblins respond by throwing broken glass at Zavian and going after the adventurers with hot tongs dripping with molten glass. Lea avoids being burned, but Zavian gets scalded.

But the disorganized goblins prove no match for the adventurers, who take four of them captive (against Zavian’s wishes). Once the little monsters are bound and gagged, they investigate the glass-covered corpse in the chair. It is Lonjiku Kaijitsu. Inspection of the remains shows that he was stabbed to death, then posed on the chair and encased in molten glass. The other bodies in the chamber prove to be all that is left of the Glassworks’ staff.

Ambush Below the Earth

After this grisly discovery, the party redoubles their efforts to find the missing Ameiko. They follow the bloody footprints Marcus discovered down into the basement of the Glassworks. Almost immediately, they come across a walled in area that has been smashed open. Beyond, they find a small, dusty office in which someone has been sleeping for several days. Beside the office is a door that leads to a long, winding tunnel.

Figuring that is where the goblins came from, the party holds off investigating it further until they can inspect the rest of the basement. After they have rounded a corner, they are ambushed by a hidden band of goblins and their leader, Tsuto Kaijitsu. Goblin arrows nearly fell Amelia and Zavian is likewise dealt a solid blow.

In the ensuing fight, Tsuto nearly kicks Astrid’s head in but is thrown off at the last second. In a similar twist of fate, Marcus tries to bringdown Tsuto and his goblins with color spray, but they manage to resist the spell’s supernatural effects only to be nauseated by its undulating colors. Tsuto attempts an escape, but Zavian and Astrid give chase, with the fighter leaving him bleeding on the ground. Zavian grudgingly agrees to stabilize him and the renegade half-elf is chained up in the old office.

Tsuto’s Journal

Rifling through Tsuto’s possessions, the party comes across his journal. In it, Tsuto discusses the success of the raid, which was merely a distraction so that the bones of Ezakien Tobyn could be retrieved from the graveyard. The journal notes that a “real raid” will be happening as soon as Tsuto’s lover is able to release something called Malfeshnekor. The journal mentions two other conspirators, the goblin chief Ripnugget and the bugbear Bruthazmus.

Marcus quickly recognizes the woman in Tsuto’s drawings as Nualia, Ezakien’s adopted aasimar daughter who was thought to have died with him in the fire five years ago. Not only did she survive, but she appears to have become a Lamashtu cultist obsessed with removing her celestial “taint.”

The rest of the journal is devoted to plans of attack on Sandpoint and erotic drawings of Nualia that leave Lea blushing.

Rescuing Ameiko

After stowing away the prisoner and securing his journal, the party then tracks down the room where a badly wounded Ameiko is being held. They revive her and help her out of the building, informing her of her father’s fate. Lea and Zavian take Ameiko to the Cathedral for additional care, while the others carry Tsuto to the Sandpoint Garrison.

On his way out, Zavian puts down the captive goblins, saving his golden bolt for another day.

At the Garrison, Marcus, Astrid, and Amelia nonchalantly drop off the half-elf, reeling off his list of crimes to a flabbergasted Constable Wallas. The prisoner is quickly taken into custody and Wallas frets over the danger to Sandpoint and the paperwork he will have to do to process the case.

At the Cathedral, Father Zantus provides Ameiko further healing, though she refuses to accept more than one curative spell. Zantus, meanwhile, turns down Lea’s offer to pay for his services.

Ameiko explains that her brother helped the goblins get into Sandpoint. He said that he was working with a group of mercenaries out at Thistletop and that they had something big planned for Sandpoint. He told her she should skip town and then tried to get her to join him. That was when she hit him, at which point he called in his goblins and they beat the crap out of her.

While Zavian prepares for Alergast Barett’s funeral later that day, Lea escorts Ameiko back to the Rusty Dragon. The bartender promises them free room and board for the rest of their lives.

Over the next few days, Lea is never far from Ameiko’s side. The whole town comes together to wish her well. Meanwhile, Marcus uses the metal from the goblin dogslicers to craft a collection of maces that he sells to the townsfolk. He is approached by Shayliss, who wants to arrange another tryst. He invites her to dinner that night at the Rusty Dragon.

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A Paladin's Journal, Part III
A selection from Ser Lea's journal in AR 4733

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Sandpoint, 24 Rova, AR 4733

I struggle to write these words. What has taken placeā€¦I cannot fully express the frustration at my own folly and hubris. I wrongfully judged the danger present here in Sandpoint, and in my blindness a horrible goblin menace was allowed in to crash the festivities. We managed to push the vile little beasts back and caused a rout, but not without our own casualties. Many innocent lives were lost yesterday, and we are all still reeling from the loss.
What I struggle with most about what happened is…myself. Rather, my inability to aid those who were in need of saving. So foolish I was, that before I knew it I was among those needing rescuing. I am supposed to be a Paladin of the Inheritor! Not some Princ well, okay, technically I am but what I mean is damsel; I’m not some damsel in distress needing anyone to save me. But saved I was, by an angelic stranger who happened to be fighting nearby. As if by fate that night, three others joined us in the fight. Strangely enough, the other three appeared to be half-elves. We fated few gathered our strength and continued to push back against the raid, but there were far too few of us to save everyone unfortunately.

I must returned to my studies. Chammady always said that when I am troubled, to turn to the Goddess’ words, to The Acts, for guidance.


Sandpoint, 27 Rova, AR 4733

The last few days have been troubling indeed. I am humbled to say I am beginning to see the wisdom of the Sword Knights in sending me here as there is much to be done in here in Varisia after all. Upon my honor, I will get to the bottom of this nefarious plot. Graciously, I won’t be alone in this task, as I will be accompanied by the others who aided me during the goblin raid a few nights ago. Now that I’ve gotten to meet them properly, I think I have a pretty good impression of them:

  • Zavian: What the aasimar lacks in conversation, he makes up for in his staunch, unending devotion to law and order. I can definitely learn much from someone so gifted and versed in Abadar’s word. If only he’d be so inclined to share his knowledge, he always seems to be buried in a book when not investigating with us…
  • Astrid: Incredibly modest and friendly for a half-elf. There’s a sense of wonder in her eyes that simply is otherworldly. Her innocent and cheerful demeanor seem out of place in our line of work, but when her blades come out I would be remiss if I discounted them. She’s a far more capable fighter than I am, and I thank the goddess she’s working with us. I hope we can help her find what she’s looking for.
  • Marcus: If Astrid is a glowing exception to the stereotypes of half-elves and Elves, Marcus is certainly an irksome reminder of how they truly are most of the time. He’s haughty, rude and so dismissive of my views on things! At least his heart is in the right place, however bad he is at expressing himself. I like his Raven, Ash, far better than I like him.
  • Amelia: Many of the wild rumors and stories from court about her are certainly true. Trying to follow her steps is quite exhausting, but somehow fun all the same. I had a near outing with her, but after talking with her privately she agreed to keep my little ‘royal’ secret for now. It’s so good to have a fellow countrywoman accompany me on this quest, I feel less homesick every minute we chat.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our new accommodations provider, Ameiko. She’s been so gracious at letting us stay at the Rusty Dragon that I feel a little guilty in receiving such grand hospitality for nothing in return. She’s been a great source of advice and joy these past few days, and so very witty and charming. Spending my off time with her has helped me keep focus on the important work we’re doing here in Sandpoint.

Speaking of which, Astrid just stopped by to let me know that the boar that we brought Ameiko is ready downstairs for us. Gotta run!

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