The Swallowtail Festival, a time of celebration and thanks giving for the people of Sandpoint. Years ago their church burned down killing the then priest in charge and his young daughter, but out of that tragedy the town was able to raise funds to build a much grander building dedicated to multiple gods and overseen by the ever affable Father Zantus.
Our intrepid adventurers all traveled the city for their own reasons, grew up in the area, on a search for allies, for power, or just because they heard the word party and thought hey why not, but regardless an unlikely group of five banded together when disaster struck the festival by way of a well organized goblin raid.
After fighting off the raiding group investigation revealed many things: 1)this was an inside job, goblins had been brought into the city in a rather unlucky wagon. 2) the raid was a distraction to dig up the old priest’s body from the consecrated grave yard. 3) there were rather obvious tracks of a small party of goblins leaving the city. 4) Alderon, the young nobleman they’d saved during the attack had a thing for redheads and they’d have to take him up on his dinner invite sometime.
With the tracks not really going anywhere and one of the best trackers in the area, Aaramon the ranger, in their company the group continued to investigate around town. Amieko, the owner of the Rusty Dragon went missing the next day and eventually the adventurers investigated the GlassWorks building in town. Here they met with the grusome sight of workers being gleefully encased in liquid glass by goblins and the sight of Amieko’s father tortured. They found the woman in the storage closet unconscious, killed her brother, and found evidence that he was helping to coordinate the goblin raid.
From the Glassworks they found an entrance to catacombs under the city. Here they discovered Thalissonian ruins, a crazy quazit, and what they would later realize is a Wrath Well which ‘rape demons’ or Sinspawn with a penchant for elven molestation pop from, empowered by wrath and activated by blood. Cleared out catacombs, depowered and consecrated well.
Journeyed to Thistle top where goblin tracks led, cleared out goblins on top including warchief, had party debate over fate of goblin women and children. Women killed by Galdor, children saved by Calla. Went further into head of former Thalassonian statue.
Nealia doing an exploration of the ruin, gathered group of mercenaries, including Orik, found and killed in the bottom levels. Explored further found Barghast was the goblin ‘god’ talking in visions to things, killed it. Heard mention of the city of Xein Sha but most other pieces ruined. Mostly submerged treasure room with a large hermit crab. Party killed said crab, Calla stormed off indignantly with goblin children.
Eventually all returned to Sandpoint and harmony was once more reached. After a few days Sheriff Hemlock came to them and offered to deputize them if they agreed to look into some murders in town. Apparently Sandpoint’s history was far bloodier than they realized, it seems a string of murders happened every 20 years or so. The last being a man named Stoop, used to be a well respected member of the community carved intricate birds and decorated many buildings in the city. Then started killing two people a night, taking their eyes and tongues until Hemlock, then just a member of the guard wounded him and caught up with him on Chopper’s Island. There was a rather disgusting alter and Stoop was there already dead his throat slashed and eyes and tongue taken. Sandpoint a hot bed for violent crime probably due to the Wrath Well.
Discovered the Sideron Rune, a seven pointed star symbol from the Thalassonian empire. Each of the points was to represent one of the virtues their eventual corruption led to the downfall of the civilization:
Wealth – Greed
Fertility – Lust
Honest Pride – Pride
Abundance – Gluttony
Eager Striving – Envy
Righteous Anger – Wrath
Rest – Sloth
While gathering information Calla chatted with one of the other gnomes in the city who just wanted to chat about how he is sure that The Old Lighthouse is really a Thalassonian weapon though he’s not sure how it might work. Was not followed up on.
Then went to investigate the crime scene. There was a note for Lorella drawn up in blood, “You will learn to love me, desire me as she did. Give yourself to the Skinman” A man named Iber Torn found the bodies of Katrina (woman who had the cough rat problems) and the mill owner. The owner, Banny Harker had been killed by what looked like claws which smelled like rotting flesh and had a Sindron Rune carved into his chest. Katrina Vinder was cut in half by the saw equipment. Aaramon found some humanoid prints going off into the marsh but we were unable to follow them very far.
Both Vin Vinder (Katrina’s father) and Iber Thorn were being held. We went to question them. Discovered that Banny and Katrina had been meeting up pretty regularly and that Banny was cooking the books for the Scaretti family, pretty unhelpful all around.
There were previous murders as well in a barn outside town. Three ‘con men’ were killed with the seven pointed star carved into their chests as well. Ghrast Syvella had been hired on as their body guard and he technically survived the event but his mind apparently snapped and he was being held at The Saintly Haven of Respite outside town. We went to investigate. Erin Habe runs the mental institution and he’s pretty much a bastage of the first order. He knew that Ghrast had been infected with ghoul fever but instead of going to Father Zantus for aid he simply watched the disease progress for ‘scientific reasons’. We managed to subdue Ghrast who broke from his bonds to attack him and restored enough of his stat points to keep him from fully turning but his mind had snapped completely, partly perhaps from what he’d seen as well as the strain of the disease. Got no real information from him, kept muttering about “Teeth and claws” and that “the SkinMan is coming”. Arrested Erin Habe got the police escort to go into town and bring Zantus and Hemlock out to help; Sheriff showed up much earlier than anticipated with one of the farmers from outside the city. Looks like they’re being attacked by ghouls and so the heroes went out to investigate!
Rather gruesomely the bodies of farm families were strung up inside scarecrows through the fields while their ghoul fever incubated. Unable to simply torch the fields or destroy every scarecrow because it was possible though not probable that inside was a sick but very much still alive farmer the group worked their way slowly through the fields to the buildings. Killed some ghouls and a ghast, found a body killed in the same ritualistic manner as the man in town.
Returned to town. Did some more investigating in town unable to infiltrate the Scarletti family as painters thank god, but did get some good information about Alderon Foxglove and his family. Turns out Lorella’s boyfriend is actually recently married though no one has seen her in awhile. Lorella’s things start to go missing, cloak clasp ect. Jinkies! Aaramon smoozes and gets us rather detailed directions to The Misgivings, Foxglove house a few miles outside town. Place is clearly haunted and impossible to destroy, no one willing to work out there.
Calla goes around town collecting donations from wealthy towns members to buy explosives intent of wiping The Misgivings off the map for good, crits diplomacy check makes hundreds of gold. Buys huge fuck off wagon full of explosives which Lorella in her rage hauls herself out of town (mini parade yay!) and all the way down to the coast where Foxglove manor house sits.
Creepy as all get out birds outside which turn out to be undead carrion swarms, poof pretty easily when flooded with positive energy, good times. Manor house IS haunted as all get out. Party makes it way through the first two floors receiving different "hauntings’ earn RP points get freaked out start piecing the Foxglove tragedy together.
Story goes something like this:
Great-great-great grandfather Vorel is the one who bought the house and started remodeling it. He lived here with his wife Cassandra and his daughter Lauri, but Vorel was not happy being a merchant prince he wanted more power and started on the path to Lichdom as evidenced by creepy stained glass which makes me question why craftsmen don’t ask better questions when installing this stuff. Cassandra became suspicious of her husband’s changes and the long hours he was spending down in his lab, confronted him and interrupted the liching process. Both Cassandra and Lauri died rather horrible deaths infected by Phage, gross fungus stuff which Vorel had … become?
Travor and his wife Krissele come to live in the house. They have three kids, Alderon, Zandril, and Ziva. Travor was a world traveler type who didn’t take well to settling down with wife and kids, was influenced by the spirit of Vorel in the house. Wife tried to burn house down, as a mage he redirected the fire toward her causing her to run around and the fall out huge window over looking the sea. Overcome by his grief Travor killed himself by slitting his throat.
The kids were taken to live in Magnimar. Alderon ran up debts putting him at the mercy of the Brotherhood of the Seven. They required that he move back to Sandpoint and investigate the house. We found cages with infected rats that he was shipping back. He met Aisha a pretty gypsy type woman and fell madly in love, they got whirlwind married. Living in the house was starting to corrupt him further he found his wife with another man flew into a jealous rage beat guy’s head in and then strangled her with a scarf. Aisha came back as a revenant. Alderon became a ghast, which was pretty much according to plan for the Brotherhood as he recieved instructions to kill ‘greedy’ members of the town and do a ritual to empower Xanisha(we’ll get to her later)’s master.
The party went down into the basement, killed Alderon for real-reals and managed to destroy the fungusy apparition that was Vorel, but not before they were all infected with ghoul fever AND The Freaking Phage. Consecrated the building and then blew the holy hell out of it, consecrated it again and then returned to town victorious.
Calla makes and distributes a city news letter with a well drawn schematic of the house and where explosions were placed as well as a thank you to all those who donated. Huge parade as party leaves town to Magnimar to investigate this Brotherhood.
On the way are attacked by a group of people from Thalron, kill some but negotiate with others, willing to relocate their families.
Go to the Foxglove townhouse and use key they found on Alderon’s body to get in, kill some weird doppleganger types. Gather some info end up going to a saw mill owned by the Brotherhood, fight a bunch of them and then come into contact with Justice IronBriar who it turns out is under some kind of mind control which we dispelled. Instead of being super you know helpful and thankful he gives us a bare minimum of information on Xanesha who it turns out is a Lamia living in The ShadowClock.
Party travels there starts clearing it out in their efficient heroy fashion. The battle with Xanesha does not go well. She is clearly badass and her attacks drain Wisdom. Lorella ends up dying rather dramatically, shattering into hundreds of pieces after being turned to stone and dropped before the villian escaped.
Calla loses her mind a bit gathers up pieces and the party makes their way back to Sandpoint for Lorella’s funeral. After copious amounts of drinking it turns out Lorella was revived by the goddess Jlyne and she shows up in full paladin get up. We also hear more about her backstory, how she’s nobility and her uncle is a jackass (see Lorella backstory for more info :P).
Had found a journal of Xanesha’s with a list of other targets for the greed ritual. Track some of them down turns out there are some elves on the list and we’ll have to travel over there, which works out because Aaramon is interested in some Arcane Archer training.
Travel to elven lands largely uneventful, but are ambushed at border by unknown assasin type who took recruits from nearby school and mind controlled them. Turns out school is exactly what Aaramon is looking for! Avessra runs the school, has Marana and Nissera helping her, but they’re not exactly willing to take a half elf on. Require that we prove ourselves which entails tracking down Elir, a druid who was on our list of people to warn anyway. Turns out he went a little crazy awhile back and tried to challenge one of the arch druids. After getting his ass handed to him he’s gone into hiding somewhere in the area.
Find him in a cave, kill some baskilisks and rescue a some of the statued people from the cave. Find corrupted dragon egg which Morgan bonds with in creepy fashion. Subdue druid and bring him back to the school.
Turns out that to be trained as an Arcane Archer Aaramon (yay alliteration) has to visit three trees within the forest: Tree of Life, Tree of Death, Tree of Duty.
Tree of Life
Crap ton of orcs camped outside led by something named Grashnab. Have been there for two years apparently waiting because of some prophecy. Thanks to fireballs and general awesomeness of everyone involved manage to slaughter pretty impressively and make our way into the temple where there are creepy statues of lamias not part of the origional temple we smashed those to crap and then went deeper into the temple.
Turns out the test here was summoning and beating a series of elementals, we managed to fight our way through with out resting and earned the favor of the tree getting Aaramon a piece of his bow as well as some other items for everyone else.
Tree of Death
Turns out there ARE good undead and they live in this tree. More tree of ancestors Aaramon not exactly diplomatic about the whole thing, but we are allowed to go through the test regardless. He was required to choose between the Door of Heaven and the Door of Hell. Went to heaven killed some stuff, fought future reflection of Aaramon who turns out is pretty badass.
Tree of Duty
Before going were lectured about tenants of the school: treat all live as sacred. School before yourself ect.
Each party member was tested on the way here:
Morgan/Lorella – Came upon two Thalron corpses, tracked their killers to a near by glade where we met Imbar and Tacki, men from Ladonia who years ago had a vision of how they had to travel here to this place to stop a great evil from happening. Dead guys were sent by Morgan’s uncle who left her a note inviting her back and noting that he’s married her mom and its going to be awesome. Failed that test, but got good info.
Moffat – Party was attacked by Moffat’s former mentor, someone who it turns out works for and was trying to train Moffat to kill for Morgan’s uncle. He kicked our ass pretty soundly and then escaped, were unable to track him, failed challenge.
Galdor – Detected a large magical aura near by but was resolute and stayed with the party continuing on the path to the tree. A winner is Galdor!
Calla – Recieved a message from Father Zantus in Sandpoint. Her children and the outlying farms were under attack. Sent back message indicating that he should take the farmers into the city for protection and sit tight as she would return as soon as possible. Semi failed challenge.
Aaramon – When party came to the tree it turns out that Aaramon had to make a choice, he needed to kill one of the party to prove his dedication to the path. Made the right choice and ‘killed’ himself. So at an even split he recived a pretty awesome but not totally epic OathBow named Frosty.
Returned to the school, no new news on the people who tried to kill us. Our dragon egg is still corrupted and the elves are worried but are willing to take it back toward the primal rift and see if it can be saved. SANDPOINT CALLS!
Quickly returned to Sandpoint which is surrounded by an absolutely metric fuckton of paladins. City is under quarantine. Methaniel Mar in ‘super secret camp’ leading the division from Ladonia, has stick firmly implanted in his butt, but does allow us to go into the city.
We kind of suck at gathering information, turns out there was a goblin raid and then a plague outbreak. Is the Phage and even paladins (who are immune to disease) are falling to it. While we’re running around talking to people another goblin raid happens, but these are not normal, are ghasts and pretty much start ripping through the paladins outside. We trot out and save a few, but its clear that these goblins warrant further investigation. Send a note to Methanial telling him that we’re leaving to go take care of things.
Discover that the Birdcruncher goblins have settled on yet another ruin. Found corpses of goblins with demonic deformitites which were apparently immune to the Phage, decided to go down the ‘dead side’ first. Fought a bunch of shades and ghasts, looted, went to the ‘demon side’ and things got ugly.
Discovered bodies of townspeople in carefully prepared sarcophagi. Cedrik, Amiko, one of Calla’s goblin children and the man from Thalron who’d become a Blacksmith in town were all being prepared to turn into ghouls. Father Zantus had also been taken but he managed to not only hold off the change in himself but keep the others which was why demonic goblins were pulling the other sarcophagi away from the main room and into the others.
Sometime god calls do work, especially in a world where they are so close and accessable. Zantus’s faith and Calla and Morgan’s outrage called Cayed and Jyln to intervene. Zantus sacrifices himself and the gods restore the others to life.
Return to town to find that the paladins are getting ready to burn it down. Pissed is an understatement as party reveals that one of the leaders is a lamia disguised, paladins turn to help and party goes to confront Methanial at his ’secret camp"
Turns out that Paladin supreme was sleeping with Xanesha all this time and had his wisdom pretty well drained. Killed the crap out of lamia matriarch. 1st Paladin Division of Ladonia returns home in disgrace and Methanial stays to help the town recover while he atones for his ‘mistake’.