Rise of the Runelords

Thistletop Part One

The Nettle Wood
It seems the threat to Sandpoint has not been ended. With the discovery of Tsuto’s journal, and the subsequent revelation that a larger assault is in the works, the party decides it is time to take the battle straight to the source. It is time to investigate the goblin stronghold at Thistletop. There is good reason to believe the mastermind and driving force behind the recent events, Naulia, can be found there as well. Using directions given to them by Shelalu, the adventurers easily find the Nettlewood, and the thick nettlemaze that guards the road leading to the stronghold.
Navigating the maze is not a simple task, and the goblins who call this place home make it no easier. This is especially true when the maze’s guardians, Grogmurt – a goblin druid – and his animal companion Tangletooth – a firepelt cat – discover the intruders. Grogmurt is not easy to defeat, and Tangletooth proves to be even tougher, but they are both eventually eliminated, and their lair searched. The party finds a journal detailing Grogmurt’s disdain for the new inhabitants of Thistletop and how he resents the fact they have taken up his position at the right hand of the goblin leader Ripnugget. With this information, the party presses onward.

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Thistletop

A rickety wooden bridge spans the gap between the sheer cliff face of the Varisian gulf coastline and the small rocky island 50’ out into the bay. It is on this island that the goblin stronghold can be found. In some circles it is said this rocky island looks more like the gigantic head of an even larger statue, the creation of which goes back to the Thassilonian age. Fearing a trap, and rightfully so, Kizzy crosses the bridge first and secures the anchor rope that allows the others to safely reach the island.

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The top portion of the stronghold is lightly defended. There are but a few goblin patrols circling the island, and a handful of guards inside. Grazmonodi charms one and gains important information about the layout of the complex and it’s inhabitants. Warchief Ripnugget, king of the Thistletop goblins is discovered in his throne room. When the party arrives, the goblin leader is watching a somewhat comical reenactment of the raid on Sandpoint. Goblin commandos and a lone warchanter attack while Chief Ripnugget mounts his gecko mount Stickfoot and charges the heroes. The battle ends when the warchief and his allies are defeated. Kizzy takes a liking to the goblin kings crown and takes it for her own.

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Glass and Wrath part 2

Catacombs of Wrath
With Tsuto Kaijitsu dealt with, the party decides to investigate the tunnels that allowed the goblin forces to enter the Glassworks. The underground passage was once used to by the Kaijitsu family to smuggle illegal merchandise into the town of Sandpoint, but Lonjiku, ashamed of his families practices, had it bricked up years ago.

Five years ago, upon her return to Sandpoint from Magnimar, Naulia was drawn back here to these tunnels by the dreams imparted by her goddess Lamashtu. She torn down the wall at the Junker’s beach side and entered. Her destination was a side passage that led to an ancient complex used by an agent of one of the Thassilonian Runelords, Alaznist. It is this side passage that interests the party when they investigate.

An investigation of these catacombs reveals much about the recent history of Sandpoint. Deep within the passages is a Runewell tuned to the wrathful energies Alaznist represented. Far away events, as yet unknown by the party, caused the runewell to briefly surge with wrathful power that suffused the susceptible inhabitants of Sandpoint with a murderous rage. Erylium, a quasit and the sole survivor of the Thassilonian age, has sent the last five years studying the well and it’s activation. Today, when the party invades her realm, she protects it by summoning what she calls “Sinspawn”, terrible, wrath-filled creatures. Literally the embodiment of a sin made flesh, they are sentient abominations of distilled ectoplasm imprinted with the soul-image of slain creatures that possessed an abundance of a particular sin. It is no small feat, dealing with this combination of adversaries, but eventually the quasit and her crew are defeated and the catacombs cleansed.

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Further explorations of the catacombs reveals the following:

  • One of the goblin heroes, Koruvus, found his way here to this “secret passage” and has been living here eve since he drank from the tainted waters atop the shrine of Lamashtu. He has come to see Erylium as his queen and follows her orders slavishly.
  • The above mentioned shrine of Lamashtu is found in a side chamber. Inside is found a platform of gray stone, atop which is a black marble altar to Lamashtu. A concavity in the top surface holds a brackish liquid known as he waters of Lamashtu.
  • A statue of Alaznist watches over the entrance to these caves. Though made of normal stone, the ransuer she clutches can be removed, and Marlovius does so.
  • A dangerous spiral staircase, long ago blocked by the rubble created when ancient Thassilon fell, is discovered.
  • Elyrium kept a journal of her own, and it is from these pages the party learns of Naulia’s education in the ways of Lamashtu.

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Glass and Wrath: Part One

The Missing Bartender
Sheriff Hemlock, worried by the news brought by Shelalu , decides to make a trip to Magnimar to secure more forces for the town’s protection. He deputizes the party and leaves them as the first and last line of defense for Sandpoint.
While the sheriff is gone, a troubling event occurs. Bethana Corwin, a maid who works for Ameiko Kaijitsu, has discovered the Innkeeper is missing, and the only clue is a note sent to her from her brother, Tsuto.
The note reads:
Hello, sis!
I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, because we’ve got something of a problem. It’s to do with father. Seems that he might have had something to do with Sandpoint’s recent troubles with the goblins, and I didn’t want to bring the matter to the authorities because we both know he’d just weasel his way out of it. You’ve got some pull here in town, though. If you can meet me at the Glassworks at midnight tonight, maybe we can figure out how to make sure he faces the punishment he deserves. Knock twice and then three times more and then once more at the delivery entrance and I’ll let you in. In any case, I don’t have to impress upon you the delicate nature of this request. If news got out, you know these local rubes would assume that you and I were in on the whole thing too, don’t you? They’ve got no honor at all around these parts. I still don’t understand how you can stand to stay here. Anyway, don’t tell anyone about this. There are other complications as well, ones I’d rather talk to you in person about tonight. Don’t be late. Tsuto

Bethana explains the troubled relationship between Ameiko and her brother. Both were treated poorly by their father, but Tsuto more so because he was the product of his mothers infidelity. Lonjiko held to his ancestral traditions and raised the boy in his home as if he were his own, but the two were never truly father and son. When Tsuto’s mother died from a mysterious fall outside the family home, the youth placed all the blame on his supposed father and the two had many public confrontations. Ameiko was the only person alive who could relate to Tsuto even though the two often argued about their father. Bethana is worried that Tsuto is up to no good and she begs the party to check up on Ameiko.

Investigating The Glassworks
Arriving at the Glassworks, the party finds the warehouse oddly silent. No activity can be seen from the outside, but the furnaces seem to be working overtime as black smoke billows from the tall chimneys. Once inside, they find a terrifying sight. Goblins have found their way into the building and have slain the staff. Every room of the Glassworks is in shambles, but none compare to the sight to be found in the large workroom. Lonjiku Kaijitsu is seated and bound beside one of the glass blowing furnaces, multi-colored glass poured over his body. He death must have been horrific. Tsuto seems to have taken vengeance upon his father.

Rescuing Ameiko
As the party clears the Glassworks of the gobins, they discover a secret passageway that leads to a basement, long since closed off. It is here that the party corners Tsuto. He has subdued Ameiko and tied her up. When the party confronts him he initially resists but then tries to run off down an old smugglers tunnel, long ago sealed off but recently opened to allow the goblins entry. When his attempt to flee is stopped, Tsuto falls back on his last resort and consumed a poison and quickly dies.
Ameiko is rescued, though badly beaten and in need of care. She had refused to join Tsuto’s insane quest for vengeance and he flew into a rage. Now that Tsuto too is dead, all her family has passed. Among Tsuto’s belongings, the party finds a journal that he has been keeping for the last few months. It details his involvement with the Goblins tribes, the assault on Sandpoint, plans for a future raid, the involvement of a number of Goblin heroes and finally, someone he calls “My Love” who is in the process of completing a devilish transformation.
It is decided that Ameiko will return to the Rusty Dragon to recuperate while the party further investigates the tunnels that have recently been opened below the Glassworks.

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Local Heroes

Local Heroes
After the Goblin assault is ended, the characters enjoy the fruits of their labors. Sandpoint residents see them as heroes and they have the run of the town. Ameiko Kaijitsu offers them free room and board at the Rusty Dragon Inn. Shayliss Vinder visits Grazmondi a number of times. Aldern Foxglove invites Marlovius to dinner at the White Deer Tavern where they discuss the nobleman’s appreciation for the protection he received during the goblin raid. He also rewards the battle cleric and invites him to his home along the coast.

The Desecrated Vault
Sheriff Hemlock approaches the characters, looking for help with a little problem. It seems one of the burial vaults, that of Ezakein Tobyn – one time high priest of the original Sandpoint Cathedral- has been opened and robbed. With the help of the graveyard caretaker, Naffer Vosk, an investigation of the tomb and the surrounding area is made. Inside the vault, the characters encounter a half dozen human skeletons, left behind by the robbers as a frightening surprise. They also find that Father Tobyn’s sarcophagus has been opened and his remains have been taken. Additionally, a discarded robe, missing patches that were at one time sewn into the underside still retains a small magical aura. Outside the vault, Hagnog and Kizi work together to search the grounds. They find tracks made by goblin feet as well as those by a human. These sets of prints lead from the vault to an area of the outside wall. A ladder has been hidden among the shrubbery here. Sheriff Hemlock conjectures the assault may have been a distraction to cover up this theft.

Naulia’s Story
The history of the original Sandpoint Temple and of The Late Unpleasantness are discovered.
The party discovers the story behind Naulia, one of the cities most tragic stories.

Trouble at the Rusty Dragon
While resting at the Rusty Dragon, the party is witness to a heated exchange between Lonjiku Kajitsu and his daughter Ameiko. Lonjiku has made the decision to move back to Magnimar and he has come to give Ameiko an ultimatum. Come with him or be cut out of the will. Ameiko refuses and Lonjiku strikes her with his open hand. The Innkeeper then throws her father out of the inn and returns to her work, though the effects of the encounter obviously weigh on her.

Monster in the Closet
The characters learn that the assault on Sandpoint is not quite over. It seems that one lone goblin has been trapped under a home and has been terrorizing the families young son and their dog Petal. When the PC’s arrive they find that the father has tried to deal with the problem himself, but has fallen victim to the deadly goblin. So too has the family dog, its throat cut and its ears removed. The goblin is no match for the heroes of Sandpoint and it is quickly dealt with.

Grim news from Mosswood
Sandpoints vigilant protector, Shalelu Andosana, makes an unexpected. Sheriff Hemlock seeks out the PCs and asks them to join himself, Mayor Deverin, and Shalelu at the town hall, explaining that he’s got some news that might interest them. The meeting takes place in a comfortable office on the second floor of the town hall. Hemlock introduces Shalelu to the PCs as an “unofficial member of Sandpoint’s town guard” (an introduction that causes the elven woman to smirk) and the PCs to Shalelu as “Sandpoint’s newest crop of heroes.” Hemlock explains that Shalelu has been a thorn in the side of the local goblin tribes for years, and that few in the region know more about them than her. He goes on to recap her report that Sandpoint hasn’t been the only place in the region that’s had goblin troubles. In short, there’s been an increase in goblin-related raids along the Lost Coast Road, par- ticularly in the dale between Nettlewood and Mosswood. Only a day ago, a farm south of Mosswood was burnt to the ground by a group of goblins. Shalelu was thankfully nearby, and while the farm couldn’t be saved, she did rescue the family and drove off the goblins; the family is staying at a nearby farm for now, but the goblin problem is obviously not going away.
Shalelu had this to say:
“Belor’s told me of your work against the goblins—well done. I’ve dedicated the last several years of my life to keeping them from causing too much trouble around these parts, but they’re tenacious and fecund little runts. Like weeds that bite. “Anyway, there’s five major goblin tribes in the region, and, traditionally, they’re pretty good at keeping each other in line with intertribal squabbles and the like. Yet from what I’ve been able to piece together, members of all five tribes were involved in the raid on Sandpoint. A fair amount of the Mosswood tribe goblins I dealt with yesterday were already pretty beat up, and there was a lot of chatter about the ‘longshanks’ who killed so many of them. Now that I’ve met you, it seems obvious from their descriptions who they were talking about. Seems like you’ve made an impression. “In any event, the fact that the five tribes are working together disturbs me. Goblin tribes don’t get along unless they’ve got something big planned, and big plans require big bosses. I’m afraid that someone’s moved in on the goblins and organized them. And judging by these recent raids, what they’re organizing seems like bad news for all of us.”
Shelalu also gives the characters in depth information about the five local goblin tribes and their leaders.

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Festival and Fire

The Swallowtail Festival
Players arrive in Sandpoint to attend the Swallowtail festival and the dedication of the newly reconstructed Sandpoint Cathedral. Opening ceremonies are held in a courtyard just outside the cathedral and attendance is respectable. Mayor Kendra Deverin, Sheriff Belor Hemlock and local showman Cyrdak Drokkus give short, well received speeches. One noticeable absence is that of prominent businessman Lonjiku Kajitsu.
At noon, Father Abstalar Zantus, high priest of the new temple, and a few of his acolytes wheel a small covered wagon into the square. After a short parable of how Desna first fell to earth and was nursed back to health by a blind child whom she transformed into an eternal swallowtail butterfly as her reward, they pull aside the wagons covering and release a furious storm of beautiful butterflies. The festival has officially begun.
Games, food, theatrics and contests are available to all.
Lunch is provided free of charge by the local Tavern owners and Innkeepers. Especially popular is the curry-spiced salmon and early winterdrop mead showcased by Ameiko Kajitsu of the Rusty Dragon Inn.
Finally, as dusk approaches, Father Zantus takes the podium and begins to recite the Prayer of First Dreaming when the carnage begins.

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Goblins in the Streets
The first signs of trouble come when a mongrel dog whimpers in pain as it is sliced open by one of an invading band of goblins. It’s body tossed from beneath the covered wagon.
Wave after wave of goblin invaders take to the streets. Goblin Warchanters spur their brethren on as torch welding pyromaniacs set fire to any flammable structure they can reach. The player characters are pulled into the action when they themselves are attacked by the goblin marauders. Grazomondi, earns the gratitude of Shayliss Vinder when he rescues her from a goblin attack. She shows her appreciation by pulling him into the Cathedral for a special Thank You. Marlovius begins an awkward obsession when he protects a visiting nobleman, Aldern Foxglove from one of the goblin commandos and his goblindog mount.
Obviously poorly planned, the assault is over quickly. The townsfolk suffer few casualties and in the days following, it is easy for the people of Sandpoint to laugh about the “invasion”
Though a handful of goblins are captured, they are unable to give any helpful information about the driving force behind the assault, except that it was planned by “one of you longshanks”

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Burnt Offerings
The PCs attend the Swallowtail Festival (a ritual to consecrate Sandpoint’s new cathedral) and end up defending the town from a goblin raid. In the days to follow, the PCs come to terms with their growing local fame, making friends and contacts among Sandpoint’s citizens. As rumors of massing goblin armies build, the disappearance of a local tavern owner leads the PCs to uncover treachery within The Sandpoint Glassworks and the existence of an ancient catacomb below the town. An investigation of these discoveries reveals two things: that monsters dwell below the city and that the goblin raid on the town was but the first the monsters have planned. In order to save Sandpoint, the PCs must travel to Thistletop, the lair most powerful goblin tribe in the region, where they can confront the woman whose madness and wrath presents such a menace, yet who is herself the tip of a much larger conspiracy that will soon threaten all of Varisia.
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