Rise of the Runelords

Side Note: !Xosha

[Ed’s Note: I’ve been a little light on including !Xosha in the story. Since he is still with the group, I wanted to correct that so here’s what’s been up with him lately.]

As you will recall, !Xosha freaked out a bit at the Desnan traveler shrine near Pitax after experiencing a dream or vision at the same time Zelkerut received his. On the journey to Sandpoint he seemed preoccupied with something and as time went on he would perform his “trance” ritual more and more often (although you notice that eventually he ran out of the tea he used in the ritual and eventually replaced it with a “snuff” that he processed from a particular plant that he would forage for along the way.) Knowing that the trance was a method that potentially could commune with !Xosha’s patron, several time various group members asked what portent !Xosha might have received but he became more and more secretive about whatever messages he might be receiving. When he did speak of it, he would cryptically say “the path has been chosen for all of us and we must follow it to the end.”

Upon arriving at Sandpoint he accompanied the group to the festival where he did lend a hand in the fight. The next couple of days he was not following the group around but you did see him around town, mostly walking along the edge of town over looking the gulf. He did not accompany you on the boar hunt having opted stayed at the Rusty Dragon nor did he show up for the feast that evening. As of the time you went to find out what might have befallen Ameiko, you had not seen him since the previous afternoon (prior to the feast) when you saw him coming back to the Rusty Dragon and going to his room. In general over the past few days he looks tired as if perhaps he is not sleeping.

In your haste to go to the Glassworks, you didn’t think to go to his room to see if he wanted to come along.

Obviam Periculum 5
Looking for Clues

2 Rova 4707 continued

The town continues to recover from the goblin attack and some of the militia has been mustered to augment to guards in town and patrol the area. So far, no more problems present themselves. The group plans to attend the rescheduled consecration of the church at sunset with a suspicion that the consecration may be a key element to the strange happenings of late. First however, they are drawn to Old Light. Having learned of a local scholar, Brodert Quink, who has been studying the ruin for the past several years, they seek him out to ask some questions about the structure.

Finding Brodert at home preparing a mid-day meal (just a stone’s throw from Old Light itself) you introduce yourselves and pose your questions. You learn that Old Light is almost assuredly from the time of the Thassalonian empire however it’s use remains a mystery. No runes are apparent on the structure and it doesn’t exhibit any of the magics that one can sometime find associated with other Thassalonian monuments. Neither does the structure seem to be an entrance of any sort to unknown. On the surface it seems that everyone’s assumption that it is a ruined (albeit very old) lighthouse is correct.

But Brodert has a different theory.

After a time of discussion and a tour of the actual ruins Brodert explains that his theory is that the structure was actually the remains of a much larger tower (after all he does have an extensive engineering background) but it doesn’t stop there. He believes that the “lighthouse” was actually a war machine of sorts able to direct bolts of fire at targets perhaps as far away as a mile. Although he readily admits that his theory is in the minority view (in fact, he’s the only one convinced of it) he has been searching for proof of this during his retirement in Sandpoint. After a bit of discussion, Brodert returned to his home to finish his mid-day repast while you continue to look over the ruins. Zelkerut offered to fetch food for the group and happeed upon Sandpoint Savories, primarily a baker’s shop but able to supply some other staples such as hard cheese and preserved meats. Alma Avertin and her daughters recognized the young half-orc from the group that everyone seems to know now and in a show of gratitude gives the young cleric the food for free.

It’s here that you discover something that changes your perspective. Recalling that you have the map that (based on Thassalonian enthusiast Clovis Pinker’s translation) Omar had given to you to guide you to a potential cache of wealth near Sandpoint, you decide to show it to Drazz who has some knowledge of Thassalonian runes. Drazz reports that the person who gave this translation was wrong. The rune does not mean “wealth”; it means “wrath”. After a few hours of searching around Old Light the group comes to the conclusion that there is nothing remarkable here and decides to look about town some more.

After some conversation and talk with the locals, you find out about the Two Knight Brewery which supplies the town with it’s favorite local brew. Finding yourselves with some time on your hands, you venture to the brewery to find that it does not have an associated “tasting” room or tavern. However this doesn’t seem to be an impediment since you meet the brewmaster and owner Gavin Deverin (cousin to Mayor Kendra Deverin) and after some casual discussion he invites you to sample the wares in the brewery itself.

Meanwhile, Darius returned to the Rusty Dragon to find Aldern Foxglove waiting in the tavern enjoying a glass of wine. It seems that Aldern was waiting for a chance to properly thank the group for their efforts in saving him from the goblins. Inquiring as to where Darius’ compatriots might be and finding they are at the Two Knight Brewery, Aldern suggests they go there so that he might issue an invitation to the group. When they arrive a the brewery they find the group engaged in conversation with Gavin on the purchase of a keg of Sandpoint’s local brew. Aldern issues an invitation to the group to join him on a boar hunt in the nearby Tickwood. The group accepts which seems to make Aldern immensely happy and plans are made to meet at the Rusty Dragon early the next morning and Aldern take his leave.

The purchase of the keg finished (which Gavin kindly gives at the reduced wholesale price), the group proceeds to tap it outside the brewery. After getting some stares from passing townsfolks you decide that “public intoxication” may take away from some of the popularity that you are currently enjoying from the town of Sandpoint and so transport the keg back to the Rusty Dragon.

At this point the church consecration is near and so you join the townsfolks (a much smaller crowd than yesterday) in the cathedral. The people assembled, Father Zantus and his acolytes proceed with the consecration ritual which is completed after a time (and you note nothing odd happens in the cathedral or at Old Light which you can see in the fading sunset.) The ceremony finished, you are given the chance to look around the cathedral which is immense. At the center of the structure is an open air atrium in which stand seven stones which obviously were put here purposefully. Father Zantus explains that the true origin and nature of the stones is unknown but that they are generally thought to represent the Seven Celestial Towers of Desna.

Returning to the Rusty Dragon Valadon gets a surprise dinner invitation from Ameiko Kaijitsu and they meet later in her private suite for dinner and conversation (and that’s all…sorry Valadon.) Meanwhile Drazz goes off to the Hagfish to see if he can find more information, Darius turns in for the evening, Gus continues to work on his bow, and Zelkerut and Ulfin entertain fellow travelers with the keg of beer.

4 Rova 4707

The next morning brings with it a clear day and a visit from Aldern Foxglove (and his man servants) at the appointed time. The half hour ride to the Tickwood is filled with conversation about the high life in Magnimar (where Aldern says he owns a townhouse.) He also asks many questions about the group (mostly talking to Darius’ seeming to beleive they have a bond being men of “breeding”.) In any case the group arrives at the Tickwood forest where they successfully track down a boar which is taken down by Valadon for the evening feast that Aldern has promised.

That evening the grand feast is had at the Rusty Dragon.

5 Rova 4707

The next morning brings an odd report. Bethana Corwin, an employee at the Rusty Dragon, reports that Ameiko seems to have gone missing. She says that Ameiko did not come down to prepare breakfast (which she has never failed to do before.) Thinking it odd, Bethana wentto check her room and found the bed unslept in and a crumpled note from her estranged brother Tsuto on the floor. It seems that Tsuto is back in town and wants to meet Ameiko at teh Glassworks to discuss some illicit affairs that their father seems to be involved in, but no details are given. Now she is missing and Bethana doesn’t know what to do. She couldn’t find Sheriff Hemlock and now is turning to the group to help (noting that Ameiko has spoken positively of them over the past few days.)

The group, agreeing to look into it, approaches the Glassworks and notes that they can hear the furnace and see the smoke issuing from the chimneys. It seems that the factory is operational but all the windows are curtained and the doors are locked. After walking around the outside, Gus manages to open one of the doors to gain entrance. The room that they enter into has various substances on the shelf some of which are recognizable and others which are not (but presumably involved in glassmaking somehow.) Of note is an open safe which is empty. Listening a pair of double doors, you hear breaking glass along with high pitched giggles and shrieks above the roar of the furnance.

Ulfin and Darius burst into the room which they discover to be the main floor of the factory. What they witness is horrific. Goblins dancing all over the room among the dismembered bodies of several human victims. The goblins seem to be taking maniacal delight in pouring molten glass over the bodies and body parts when they notice the “longshanks” that have burst into the room. The two groups engage each other in a quick, but decisive battle that leaves all but two of the goblins dead. These two run from the room beating a hasty retreat. Ulfin gives chase and finds that the most likely route took them back along a corridor to the same room that you originally entered except they went through a door and down steps to some section of the factory underground. It’s there that Ulfin stopped and yelled back to the group that they’ve gone underground and here where the group assembles after having checked some other routes to make sure the little buggers weren’t lying in wait elsewhere.

(To Be Continued)

Obviam Periculum 4
Goblin attack!

1 Rova 4707 continued

…and then the scream is followed by another. Not knowing what was happening, the townspeople looked to each other and the mayor. All too soon, the danger presented itself: goblins! A swarm of goblins raced into the cathedral square brandishing their dog slicers and mostly attacking anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in their way. The crowd panicked and started surging away.

“Goblin attack!”, yelled Sheriff Hemlock, “Get those kids into the cathedral!”

Goblins seemed to be pouring out from behind the houses south of the square when the group acted. Pushing through the crowd each member struck out at the attackers and drew their attention while the townspeople got to safety. Not all needed help however.  Amieko Kaijitsu grabbed the closest weapon she could find, a heavy iron ladle, and leapt out into the fray. Belor Hemlock stepped up to protect the Mayor and Father Zantus all the while directing people into the cathedral.

True to rumor, the goblins acted erratically. Even in the middle of a charge, their voracious appetite would make them pause to stuff food from the tables and tents into their mouths and pockets. Others chased dogs and townspeople. The mayhem continued for moments until the goblins met their fates in the group. Ulfin and Darius stepped up first and struck two of the little fiends down. Gus let loose arrows hoping they find their mark. Valadon release the arcane energy to attack the enemy while Zelkerut attacked those on the fringe to prevent any flanking. An unknown wizards stepped up to help the group and releasing elemental chaos in the form of fire brought down goblins left and right. Slowly the tide turned against the goblins and finally the beasts were put down with the last dazed gobling falling.

The crowd has mostly gotten to safety inside the cathedral and the town leaders were stupefied as to where the goblins came from. Belor tell Father Zantus and Mayor Deverin to go into the cathedral and calm the townspeople while he organizes the watch and checks out the rest of the town. This may be a smaller advance attack for something bigger. He joins the group as they head south, having heard singing and see a large plume of smoke rising from behind a building. Going down High Street, they see a group of goblins carrying torches, obviously having just set fire to a cart that was loaded with the makings of a bonfire to end the evening’s festivities. When the goblins see the group they yell with maniacal glee and rush to attack. As one goblin continues singing the group quickly realizes he is using bardic powers to enhance his allies. Gus singles out the bard while Ulfin, Darius, and Drazz advance. Sherrif Hemlock attempted to assault the bard as well but was taken down by a grease spell at the last moment. The group made quick work of the band of goblin pyromaniacs.

Sheriff Hemlock split from the group to make his way to the garrison and try to assess the situation. The group continued south along River Street to see if they could figure out where the goblins had come from when they came upon a scene of a goblin commando mounted atop a goblin dog tearing the throat out of a dog in front of Wheen’s Wagons. Attacking from a distance, the commando turned and charged the group calling to a hidden group of goblins to attack as well. The group handled the commando handily with Darius striking a mighty blow that felled him. All but one other goblin had been taken care of and at this turn of events, the final goblin dropped his weapon and begged for mercy. A duo of watchmen showed up and took the goblin in custody. It was then that Drazz noticed a man kneeling over the dog. The man, distraught at the death of one of his prized hunting dogs, is Aldern Foxglove a minor noble from Magnimar who had been visiting the town for the Swallowtail Festival. He offers his sincere thanks for rescuing him from certain death and vows to reward you properly in the next few days for your efforts as soon as he has calmed his nerves from this incident.

Visiting the garrison to offer assistance, Sheriff Hemlock says at the moment it seems that things are well in hand. The watch has double the sentries on duty and some of the militia has been mustered to patrol outside the gates and guard the bridges that allow entry across the Turandarok River. He welcomes you checking back in with him occasionally as he is still not sure of the reason for this attack and doesn’t know what to expect in the following days.

Returning to the Rusty Dragon, the group finds Ameiko having a drink in the empty bar area. She offers a round to the table and hops over the bar for glasses. The bottle’s contents could only be described as “rotgut” but it does help to ease aways some of the tensions of the past few hours. After some idle talk about what could have been the reason for the attack she turns in politely declining Valadon’s offer to turn down her sheets (though the group cannot help noticing she says it with a smile.) The night passes uneventfully (sorry Valadon.)

After hearing stories the a few goblins jump off the cliff rather than get caught, Drazz thinks something smells fishy and leads the group to Junker’s Edge. Finding a way down to the small beach, you do indeed find the bodies of goblins who presumably took this way out. Curiosity satisfied, you return to the town passing Old Light and a few businesses along the way. You later learn that if you want to know anything about the ruins the person to ask is Brodert Quink.

2 Rova 4707

The next morning comes and the town, though still reeling from the unexpected assault, is on the ball. Fires doused, broken windows being patched, and general clean up underway the township pulls together as they always have. The consecration of the church was rescheduled to tonight and most think that will be a positive turning point. After breakfast, the group decides to head over the garrison to see if there were any developments over night. People take notice of them as the move towards the garrison, pointing, whispering with the occasional giggling group of girls who look their way before blushing and turning away. It finally becomes apparent what is going on when random people approach to give them sincere thanks for assisting Sandpoint against the assault. Looks like the group has a growing reputation in Sandpoint!

Arriving at the garrison, they find out that Sheriff Hemlock is not there but that they have managed to get some information from the goblins. Seems that the group was being led by a “longshanks” which generally means a human to goblins. The group asked to see the goblins in hopes that they could get something more out of them and the watchman eagerly accepted the offer of assistance. Talking to the goblins Valadon and Ulfin were able to intimidate them into revealing another tidbit of information: there was a secret mission to the boneyard led by the “longshanks”. Beyond that, they did not know any more (even the identity of the mysterious human leader.) From there the group decided to go to the Sandpoint Boneyard (by the Cathedral) and see what they could find.

Splitting up, Gus and Ulfin entered the Cathedral to talk to Father Zantus but unfortunately he was not there. The acolytes reported that he had gone to the Mayor’s office. When pressed for anything strange happening lately however, they became anxious and evasive saying only the Father Zantus said they shouldn’t speak to anyone. Joining the others outside, they had met the caretaker of the boneyard, a deformed fellow by the name Naffer Vosk. He had challenged the group upon them entering into the area, but Zelkerut had convinced him that they were there to help and so he showed a most macabre scene: someone had dug up the grave of Erkazen Tobyn, the former priest of Sandpoint who perished in the fire that consumed the church five years previous. Further he reported that they’d found a ladder by the wall. The group found evidence of a large object (probably the casket) being dragged to the wall and other evidence on the other side of a cart leading to the road. From there the trail disappears as the road was well traveled due to the recent traffic coming and going due to the festival.

Unable to follow the trail any further, the group decides to go to the town hall to see if they can get any more information there. Mayor Deverin welcomes them and offers them a sincere thanks on behalf of Sandpoint for their assistance in repelling the assault. After offering information about their recent discovery, Mayor Deverin reports that Father Zantus came to report the same. She goes on to relate some of the story of the fire and that Tobyn’s daughter, a strikingly beautiful young girl who could heal with a touch, also perish with him in the fire. She asks the group to keep the information about the grave robbery to themselves for the time being since she did not want to cause the town any more undue anxiety at the moment. The conversation done, the group moved along back to the garrison to find that Sheriff Hemlock was in (having returned from the Mayor’s office discussing Father Zantus’ grisly find.)

Hemlock says what we all know now: the point of the assault was to steal Tobyn’s remains, but that still doesn’t make any sense. Why would someone want to do that in the first place? He goes on to mention that they don’t know a lot of details about the goblins in the area and that they mostly get information on the goblins (and other goings on) from a ranger that passes through once a season (but it will be a couple months before she comes through again.) In the course of the conversation, the topic of The Chopper came up. Hemlock related to the group the story of the Chopper: a old man, Jervis Stoot, who was renowned for beautiful wood carvings (of birds) went crazy a little more than five years ago (just before the church burned, as you learned “The Late Unpleasantness”.) He killed twenty-five people altogether. The last one was the previous Sherrif, Casp Avertin but Avertin managed to get in a telling blow. This allowed the watchmen (which included Hemlock) to follow the trail to Stoot’s home on the island off the coast of Sandpoint (then called Stoot’s Rock, but since renamed to Chopper Isle.) There they found the eyes and tongues of all the victims including Stoot’s who had torn his own out in a final insane act as he lay dead at the foot of a demonic altar.

Recovered from the charred journal of Drazz Anoon Nosh

When are these farang going to learn you can’t double up on a Knight 6 in Towers? Seriously, its like they learned to play cards from their mothers. Actually, I did learn to play cards from my mother, along with winning at cards, cheating at cards and getting away at cheating at cards. But then again, my mother is one of, if not, the best card sharks in all of Golarian.

But I digress…

So Master Tobin always told me I need to keep a journal of my thoughts and findings and discoveries. I don’t know about the discoveries part, he was always the scholar, not me. I miss the old windbag. How many times did I tell him his expedition into the Kaer Maga deeps was a bad idea? NO ONE EVER COMES BACK!!! But he was sooo sure he’d found proof of his theory that Kaer Maga actually predated the Thessalonian Empire. Everyone knows this blight cursed city was Thassalon’s loony bin. So after his expedition disappeared… and I ran into some difficulties paying of some gambling debts, I figured it was time to head out.

Made it to Magnimar, tried to find my clan’s caravan but they must be late this year, probably held up fleecing the farang in Korvosa. Heard about some big festival up the road a piece in Sandpoint. Figured, I’d check it out and make some money off the tourists.

So everything was going swimmingly. Had some good food, made some money at cards, really these villagers should know better than to play against a Varisian. Wonder where the Scrazni are, there have to be some of those assholes around here.

And then guess what? In the middle of my delicious turkey leg, the village gets overrun… by GOBLINS! WTF!!! I mean, seriously? Goblins? Where do they get the stones to attack a fortified town?

Something definitely weird is going on around here…

A Quick Missive...

Dear, Sis,

Today I learned I’m a STAR. With a DESTINY! I also got free horses for the party I’m attached to.

So, there! Tell mom and dad they were wrong when they said I’d never amount to more than a money hungry, fickle, easily distracted miscreant without a purpose. I am now a money hungry, fickle, easily distracted STAR with a purpose and free horses.

Don’t forget to feed the dogs.

Your bother…er, brother…

Written on a stone mass grave marker

written in Hallit
“Here lies the people of Iradda, A brave people that stood up to a harsh land. Destroyed by fiends from the world wound, they died bravely in battle. Their spirit will live in me. I shall one day return to avenge their Death.”
Ulfin of Iradda

Written on a stone mass grave marker

written in Hallit
“Here lies the people of Iradda, A brave people that stood up to a harsh land. Destroyed by fiends from the world wound, they died bravely in battle. Their spirit will live in me. I shall one day return to avenge their Death.”
Ulfin of Iradda

A Letter Home

Dear Mother and Father,

I have left our homeland and do not know when, or if, I shall return. Do not worry over me. I have joined a band of warriors escorting Brother Zelkerut and a Mwangi Mystic to their destiny in the Far West. I cannot help but to think my destiny lies with them and I find comfort in that. Until we meet again.

Your son,

Obviam Periculum 3
Arriving in Sandpoint

30 Arodus 4707

Arriving in Sandpoint at dusk the scene is an idyllic town on the cliffs overlooking the Varisian gulfs. Seagulls in the background, salty tang in the air, folks closing up shop for the day. The only thing missing is doom. Stopping to talk to passers by the group is steered to The Rusty Dragon for a hot meal and soft bed. The large rusting iron dragon on the roof makes it pretty obvious which one they’re referring to. Upon entering the tavern room the nose is greeted with spiciness of the food that’s served and the dulcet tones of a young, beautiful woman on stage. When the song ends to applause, she steps down and cannot help but notice your table (probably had something to do with Valadon’s calling her over in a loud voice.) She doesn’t seem phased however and walks over an plops down ordering a tankard of ale from the bar. You soon find out that her name is Ameiko Katjitsu and that show own the place. It becomes obvious in the brief conversation that she’s had an adventerous past and has only settled back in Sandpoint the last few years.

1 Rova 4707

After a good nights sleep, you rise the next morning and drift toward the new Sandpoint Cathedral where you expect to find whatever it is that Desna has in store for you. Children run and play with dogs as business set up stalls to serve food for the lunch. Large communal tables lined with pitchers, bread, and fruit stand ready to receive Sandpoint’s citizens and visitors for the Swallowtail Festival.

Around mid morning Mayour Kendra Deverin along with Sheriff Balor Hemlock and Father Abstalar Zantus take the small stage to welcome the crowd and thank them for coming. Hemlock seem somewhat dour for the occasion reminding everyone that there should be a moment of silence for those lost in the Cathedral fire that took the old temple five years ago. The crowd was quickly bouyed however by the larger than life Cydrak Drokkus owner of the local Sandpoint Theater whose quips and anecdote restore the festival atmosphere to the proceedings.

The swallowtails are released around noon when Father Zantus retells the story of how Desna fell to earth to be nursed back to health by a blind child who was transformed into a beautiful butterfly as his reward. The lunch afterwards is a long affair with plenty of games, songs, and conversation to while away the afternoon. The scene is very calm and you’re beginning to rethink the message about some impending doom.

At sunset, the consecration of the new church begins. Father Zantus and his acolytes begin preparing the rite beginning with a thunderstone thrown to get the attention of the crowd. As Father Zantus clears his throat to begin the ritual, you hear a frantic scream….

Obviam Periculum 2
The story thus far...

The trip back to Pitax was ultimately eventful. Coming to the Desnan traveler shrine a few dozen pilgrims were found. They were there for the solstice celebration of the Rite of Stardust and welcomed the group. Zelkerut was asked to perform the rite and afterwards the nightly feast was shared by all. Later in the evening, as some pilgrims continued to worship and others (including the adventuring group) slept a wonderful thing happened. Desna’s essence appeared to the assembly in the form of a golden light swirling around the central altar. The golden light extended out and enveloped Zelkerut as he slept, inducing a vision in his dreams. Upon waking, he related the core point: the group has been chosen to stop a great evil that begins in a city called Sandpoint.

But where is Sandpoint? And how does one get there?

After speaking to the pilgrims, the group returns to Pitax and find an anxious Omar Illithian waiting for them at their hotel. With him are two men, one a bookish sort who he introduces as a Thassalonian enthusiast named Clovis Pinker. The other a large man from the north named Ulfin. He goes on to show the group a very old map that outlines the old geography of Varisia. Marked on the map is a location with a Thassalonian rune (which Clovis explains is the symbol for “wealth”.) Convinced that this will lead to untold fortune, Omar proposes a funded expedition to the region. He also lets the group know that there is civilization there in the form of a small town called Sandpoint which they can use as a base of operations. Ulfin will accompany them with the money to fund their trip there and support them for a time (in addition to providing whatever assistance he can.)

In two days time. the group leaves Pitax a second time aboard the ship called the River Rat and meets up with a caravan at the Kyonin trailhead. They will join the caravan as it makes its way across Golarion towards Varisia.

Along the way, the group parlays with a drawven enclave in the city of Lightning’s Call. They take the axe they found to a local dwarven loremaster, Dribben Stonegrinder, who identifies it as an axe belonging to the Stonecutter clan and presumably make by the clan’s patriarch Owen Stonecutter. Alas the clan died out in regions unknown when they set out to make their own way north. Given the axes presumed origin and percieved historical importance a trade was struck (after the question of a donation was struck down) which equipped a few in the group with better weapons.

The remainder of the trip was mostly uneventful except for the pleasure of seeing many cultures and sights that make Golariona unique. Finally the group arrives at Sandpoint the night before the prophetic vision foretold the beginning of the end.


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