Rise of the Runelords

A New Adventure

In the wild frontier region known as Varisia, the outposts and fledgling cities of the civilized races struggle to flourish in this untamed land. Megalithic ruins, remnants of a long-forgotten epoch, dot the landscape and stand in silent testament to an ancient cataclysm.

Beyond the world of mortals, events have been set in motion. Even as civilization begins to establish a foothold here, shadows grow longer, winters grow colder and the very land itself begins to shudder. Somewhere, in darkness, evil awakens.

Unaware of what fate has in store, a small band of friends and traveling companions gather in the tiny coastal town of Sandpoint to celebrate the turning of the seasons and the dedication of a grand cathedral. As summer slips into autumn, these few may be all that stands to challenge the rising darkness.

The future is uncertain and the waking world needs heroes like never before. The time is right to answer destiny’s call…

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Beginnings
Autumn's Herald

The longest, warmest days of summer have passed now and a slight crispness in the air, combined with the scent of hearth-smoke, hints at the coming of autumn. Throughout Varisia, and, indeed, much of the northern continent, preparations are joyfully made for each local version of the Swallowtail Festival which will herald the beginning of harvest season.

The Swallowtail Festival belongs to no particular deity and to all, but it is most closely associated with the goddess Desna, because the celebration honors of the migration of the swallowtail butterflies. This is a day of food and fun with a festival that takes on the peculiar characteristics and idiosyncracies of each township that recognizes this day.

In the quaint seaside town of Sandpoint, the atmosphere of this year’s festival is exceptionally jubilant, as if the local population had something special to celebrate, and indeed they do. The magnificent Sandpoint Cathedral will be consecrated at sundown. This structure is the culmination of 5 years of labor and angst and is one of the notable holy shrines in all of Golarion. Smiles amongst the Sandpoint celebrants will be easy and laughter quick on this day, as this ceremony will close the final chapter on some recent difficult times for the fledgling town.

The Swallowtail Festival in Sandpoint is marked by a seemingly endless stream of sumptuous dishes featuring local seafood and game. Children run giddily through the town square unfurling colorful ribbons and streamers with fingers sticky from too many sweets. When the adults of the town aren’t stuffing themselves full of epicurian masterpieces (or washing them down with the local brew), they manage to get in several rounds of Hook and Trap, a local lawn sport. By tradition, drinks and food are free for all on this day and guests to the town are ‘honored’ with multiple ribbon necklaces and many toasts/drinking challenges.

It is here that our soon-to-be-heroes find themselves on the first day of the month of Rova…

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The Heroes of Sandpoint
Swallowtail Festival

As Father Zantus took the stage just before sundown, to begin the consecration ceremony, a woman’s shriek cut through the cool evening breeze. Moments later, Sandpoint was beset by rampaging goblins tearing through the crowd, with mayhem, destruction and fire not far behind.

A few brave souls rose to the occasion, however, and began to quell the goblin menace. Four young adventurers, still strangers, fought side-by-side in the town square to protect the population of Sandpoint.

One, a youthful human hunter named Bishop, was a bit deep in his cups from the day’s festivities, but his eyes, bow and blade were still keen. Another looked to be little more than a shadow, but the illusion turned out to be the deadly catfolk Osiris. His command of the darkness soon joined the fight. Their efforts were matched by those of a young Lastwallian wanderer named Red Hilt who rained down punishing strikes with his foreign blade and the fiery Shoanti priestess of Sarenrae, Shion, who offered aid to the injured.

Countless townsfolk were spared injury and death by their quick actions that day and, in particular, a nobleman by the name of Aldern Foxglove, benefited from their intervention. Upon hearing his calls for help, the party turned down a small alley to see this unarmed aristocrat surrounded by a goblin commando astride a foul goblin dog and with several others from the raiding party. Luckily, they arrived in the nick of time and were able to save Aldern’s life.

This little band was quickly heralded as saviors by young and old alike for their efforts and they found themselves greeted with hearty handshakes, blushing shopkeeper’s daughters, drinks on the house and merchant discounts everywhere in town. The mayor of Sandpoint, Kendra Deverin, officially declared the group honorary citizens of Sandpoint.

But all was not well on the Lost Coast. It was soon revealed that the raid was merely a distraction for some graverobbers to steal the coffin and mortal remains of the former high priest of Sandpoint, Ezakien Tobyn. Father Tobyn was a figure beloved by the entire town, who perished in the fire that consumed the old chapel and many of the buildings on the northern end of town five years before. The elven ranger and expert goblin hunter, Shalelu Andosana, was able to provide some additional insight on the local goblin tribes and, although no one could explain why the goblins might want his body, it became clear that the goblins were being organized by some external force with dark plans for the town.

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Ameiko's Abduction
Fire at the Glassworks

The town of Sandpoint seemed to be recovering quickly from the frightening goblin raid of the Swallowtail Festival. Sherriff Belor Hemlock felt that this was not just because of the Heroes’ swift actions on that day, but their continued presence and interaction with the population. Belor asked them to remain in town, and visible, for the next few days, while he traveled to Magnimar to request additional troops to help defend the town against further attack.

The newly formed group took to exploring the town, meeting, greeting (and occasionally, bedding) some of the population of Sandpoint. After a gruesome encounter with a goblin commando that had been trapped in a crawl space since the invasion, the heroes returned to The Rusty Dragon Inn, only to find that the proprietor, Ameiko Kaijitsu, had gone missing. The only clue to her whereabouts was a note, written in the language of her parent’s homeland – Minkai. The note was penned by her brother, Tsuto Kaijitsu, and invited Ameiko to meet him at the family business, the Kaijitsu Glassworks.

The intrepid adventurers headed to the Glassworks, only to find the business locked down tight with windows covered and boarded from the inside. After venturing inside (through the roof), they came face to face with a pack of gleefully murderous goblins who had murdered the workers and ransacked the production floor. Even more horribly, Lonjiko Kaijitsu, the patriarch of the family, had been murdered and his body posed grotesquely and encased in glass. Tsuto was here as well, apparently in league with the goblins. He was deftly dispatched.

In the basement of the facility, they stumbled upon the bound and gagged and barely conscious Ameiko, who had rejected her brother’s offer to join him and his cohorts in further raids on Sandpoint. They were able to recover Tsuto’s personal notes and diary, that indeed hinted at dark days ahead for the town, led by the machinations of his disturbing, demon-obsessed girlfriend, Nualia.

They also uncovered an old smuggler’s tunnel that connected with an ancient underground complex. Within these catacombs, the party encountered several horrific monsters with unnaturally long arms ending in three-fingered talons and legs that bent like those of a dog. A writhing network of bulging veins formed dark blue patterns underneath the creatures’ pallid skin and their lower mandibles split in half at the chin creating a repulsive insect-like maw.

At the heart of this underground complex, the party encountered, and partially defeated, a somewhat insane female quasit who apparently created the horrible creatures from a mysterious, bubbling magical pool.

After reviewing Tsuto’s notes, it became clear that Nualia and her unnamed companions were directing the activities of the goblins and were bent upon the destruction of Sandpoint. Nualia herself seems to be pursuing a demonic transformation, possibly with the aid of a mysterious being referred to as ‘Malfeshnekor’.

The only way the Heroes of Sandpoint can hope to stop her is to travel to the goblin stronghold at Thistletop and strike decisively at her forces, before they can mount another attack.

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Into the Bramble, My Friend.
Goblins on Goblins on Goblins

After strengthening their resolve, the Heroes of Sandpoint rode north to assault the goblin lair at Thistletop and stop Nualia and her gang before their dark plans could come to fruition. They were joined by a Shoanti warrior named Wesh – an honorable, if a bit dour, fellow whose skill with a bow outshone even good Bishop. Wesh was a companion of Shalelu, who had apparently been kidnapped by the Thisletop Goblins.

The party switfly traveled the Lost Coast Road until reaching the Thistle River, which cuts through the overgrown Nettlewood. Through much rigorous travel and a few stinging nettles, the group reached a bramble maze. Undaunted by this unexpected challenge, the noble adventurers hunched through the maze, made their way safely across the trapped rope bridge and through the initial goblin guardians to the fort. In a nearly fatal conflict, Red Hilt was able to fell the mighty Goblin warlord Ripnugget and his vicious gecko Stickfoot.

They continue to search for Shalelu, whose time may be running out.

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