View Full Version : Journal Sandpoint Heroes - A Rise of the Runelords Campaign Journal

2015-09-13, 08:51 PM

This is the campaign log for a high powered gestalt Rise of the Runelords campaign I’m running. The players do read this, so please don’t post about any spoilers from the campaign you know about. Here are the characters.

Note that these descriptions are temporary. I've asked the players to write their own introductions as I feel they could better capture their characters than I.

Armin was a member of the Magnimar guard who, while patrolling the lands of Varisia, found a mystical young dragon named Shandor. They immediately formed a bond which lead to Armin abandoning his duties as a guard.

Hoster was once the son of a noble, but joining the Wayward Path would forever change both him and his life.

Odeg is an ex-bandit who was cursed with advanced age by a priest of Iomadae. He believes his life was spared by the power of Serenrae and has devoted himself in her service.

Xaviah is an academic who values knowledge and is used to hiding her true self.

Balor Hemlock is a stern yet fair man. He has great respect for the PCs thanks to their help during the goblin raids.

Shalelu is a proud elf who is known for her skill with her bow and her hatred of goblins. While she respects the PCs, she was not pleased to hear that they had recruited her cousin to "babysit" the monsters they harbor.

Shinta is a highly curious and equally intelligent young elf. Her demeanor is much more relaxed and pleasant than her cousin's and she finds your three little "babies," as she likes to call them, absolutely adorable in both the physical sense and the antics they often get up to. She does seem to have a way with them, and she knows as much about goblins as Shalelu herself, but without the intense hatred.

Basel Gill is a massive yet jolly fellow. He always seems to be in good spirits and his upbeat attitude is often contagious. He's an older man with some scars and a dwarven tattoo marking his human face. He's great with numbers and better with people, which is what made him an excellent choice for an innkeeper.
He is from the dwarf city of Janderhoff and moved down here to live a more peaceful life. He brought his daughter with him, who seems to have experience as a barkeep herself.

Binty Gill is Basel's half-dwarf daughter. She is generally well mannered, especially in front of her father, but tends to be a bit more friendly with the male customers when she thinks her father isn't looking.

Erin Habe is a doctor who built and practices in the Saintly Haven of Respite south of Sandpoint. He is not a people person and has easily gotten on Odeg's bad side after events in Book 2: Chapter 2.

Grayst was a patient afflicted with ghoul fever who had a message for Xaviah from "His Lordship." Currently Deceased.

We’ve already completed Burnt Offerings, and at the end of the book the PCs bought an old abandoned inn that is about a six hour walk north along the Lost Coast Road. They took out a 10,000gp loan from Titus Scarnetti, a local noble who they suspect has ties to the Varisian mob, and rebuilt the inn from the ground up. The Inn is very large, able to house the four PCs, thirteen staff, and thirty patrons. They also have their own forge, a farm, and even an impressive brewery. This session started six months after the end of Burnt Offerings and three month after they finished building the Giant’s Helm Inn (whose façade is adorned with a golden helm sized for a giant which they found in Thistletop).
At the end of their last adventure the PCs also adopted three baby goblins. Robie, Rosie, and Rubie are all good kids at heart (or so Xaviah believes) but they often cause mischief at the inn. Shinta does an admirable job keeping them in line and out of sight, but customers have often complained about items going missing or hearing strange noises in the night. This has caused the inn to gain a minor reputation for being haunted, though no one really takes it seriously. Robie has taken a particular liking to Xaviah, who seems to be missing a pearl comb that she found on her first adventure, the sliver chain she uses to secure her reading glasses, a sliver broach in the shape of a claw that her mother gave her, and a pillow case. Robie swears up and down that he didn’t take them whenever he’s asked, though no one believes him.

2015-09-13, 08:59 PM
Part One:
Murder Most Foul

At the end of a long an rainy day, our heroes are sitting around a table in the Giant’s Helm. Most of the customers have gone to their rooms for the night, and the rain has finally let up, so the party is taking a moment to relax and pour themselves a drink when a young man comes bursting through the door. He’s wet, panting, and looks to be one of the new recruits Sheriff Hemlock picked up on his last visit to Magnimar. He walks up the party and informs them the Hemlock requests their immediate presence. He doesn’t know why, only that it is very important. The party thanks the young man for the message, offers him a drink and a room for the night (which he graciously accepts), and then heads off for Sandpoint.

When the party gets to the town they are immediately greeted by the sheriff who begins to fill them, using hushed tones though most residents seem to have long retired for the night. A murderer stuck last night, claiming two victims at the lumber mill. The deceased are Benny Harker, a penny-pinching man and co-owner of the mill, and Katrine Vinder, the eldest daughter of the local shopkeeper. The bodies we found by Ibor Thorne, who is Harker’s partner. There was also a set of murders two days past, though south of town, and they have striking similarities to this incident. But there is a particular reason that he called upon the PCs specifically, other than just a respect for their skill. It seems the killer knows them personally. Or at least one of them. He hands Xaviah a note, her name written on the outside in blood. It reads as follows.

“You will learn to love me, desire me in time as she did. Give yourself to the pack and it shall all end.

Your Lordship.”

This got the PCs’ attention, and they began with investigating the lumber mill.

The lumber mill was a mess. The floor covered in sawdust, blood, and footprints, and a rancid stench filled the air. What was left of Katrine’s remains were sprayed in front of the log splitter, while What is assumed to be Harker’s body is suspended by hooks on the northern wall, his face and lower jaw removed, and a rune of a seven pointed star carved into his chest. This familiar symbol raises questions in the PCs, but provides zero answers. There is an axe near the log splitter that has chunks of rotting flesh and splintered bone in its frayed blade, and has a stench of corruption beyond that which a dead body could normally produce. Following what appears to be the only set of barefoot human footprints, which also emanate that rancid stench, leads to the edge of the pier, suggesting that the attacker approached the mill by the river.

Next the PCs went to Sandpoint Garrison to question Ven Vinder, Katrine’s father, and Ibor Thorne. Hemlock does not suspect Ven in guilty, and after questioning him the PCs come to the same conclusion, letting him free. They then interrogate a frightened Ibor who claims he has told Hemlock everything he knows. Sensing that he is hiding something, Vosen is able to coax him into relaying his fears, that Titus Scarnetti is responsible. Harker had been embezzling money, and Titus isn’t known to be patient with people who cross him. He has no proof of this, only suspicions, and the PCs, having had dealings with Titus in the past, are unconvinced.

The victims from two nights ago were local con men known to Sheriff Hemlock. A patrol of guards were walking along the Lost Coast Road to the south when they were assaulted by a deranged and sick man. They subdued him and searched the barn right off the road where they were passing. They found three mutilated bodies, decaying but with the sihedron rune still identifiable on their chests. They also had a note that said the following.

“Messrs. Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe –
A deal has come about that I need capital for. It involves property and gold, and though I am not at liberty to tell you the exact details, it will make us all rich. Come to Bradley’s barn on Cougar Creek tonight. We can meet there to discuss our futures.

Your Lordship”

The deranged yet still living man was taken to Sabe’s Sanatorium, an independent clinic to the south, so the PC’s decided to check there next.

2015-09-13, 09:55 PM
Part Two:
The Thing in the Attic

The PCs arrive at Sabe’s Sanatorium to the south. It is a squat stone building with three floors, a stout stone-flagged roof, and is built in the lee of the limestone encampment known to locals as the Ashen Rise. Climbing the steps on the porch, the PCs come to a plain wooden door with the words “Sabe’s Sanatorium: The Saintly Haven of Respite” engraved above its frame. Hoster glances through the small window peering into the reception area as Xaviah rings a loud, hollow sounding bell mounted next to the door. Moments later an older man in black, almost priestly robes and a deep red scarf wrapped around his head appears.

“What do you want?”

Hoster explains the situation. They’ve been deputized by Sheriff Hemlock and they need to speak to his recently received patient, Grayst Sevilla, about a murder case he was witness to. The man, with a reluctant sigh, waves them in. He introduces himself as Erin Habe, explaining that the man they seek is out of his mind and won’t be able to give them any information. He leads them up to the third floor where both the patient and the examination room lay. A burly orderly retrieves Grayst under Odeg’s watchful and untrusting eye as the others follow Habe into a spartan room with two wooden tables and thrice as many chairs.

The patient is in a sorry state. Pale as death, eyes downcast, and restrained in a jacket whose arms are sown together, he doesn’t respond to the PCs questioning beyond murmuring and the occasional coherent word.

“Too many teeth… Razor… Bite the blood… Sing your screams… The Skinsaw man is coming…”

None of it made any sense. That is, until he laid eyes on Xaviah. Eyes bulging, he sat upright and gained an unexpected moment of cognizance.

“He said… He said you would visit me. His Lordship. The one that unmade me said so. He has a place for you. A precious place. I’m so jealous. He has a message for you. He made me remember it. I hope I haven’t forgotten. The master wouldn’t approve if I forgot. Let me see… let… me… see…
“He said that if you came to his Misgivings, that if you joined his Pack, he would end his harvest in your honor.”

At that, he fell over on the floor. Armin knelt down to check his pulse and felt nothing. Proclaiming him gone from this world he rose to face the party, when Grayst shot upright with a loud screech and plunged straight for Xaviah. Hoster quickly smacked Grayst with the broad side of his greatsword, knocking the crazed man just far enough that he missed Xaviah and slammed fruitlessly into the wall. Seeing the mess that was coming of this situation, Habe left the room to flee downstairs. Xaviah, realizing that Grayst wouldn’t stop until he killed her, took after Habe, closing the door behind her. In a blind rage, Grayst attacked anyone standing between him and that door, obliterating Shandor and putting Armin in fear for his life before the combined efforts of the party were able to take him down.

Immediately after Grayst fell, and knowing that he suffered from an advanced case of ghoul-fever, Odeg went to cutting Grayst’s head of, dragging the body outside, and burning it in a makeshift pyre. Habe, realizing that the danger had passed, went to check on the PCs. Realizing that Habe was far more concerned with making sure his Sanatorium did not garner a bad reputation than anything else involving these events, Odeg went off on the man.

“We have far more important things to deal with than spreading news of how incompetently managed your shamble of a business is. How can you call yourself a caretaker of the sick if you couldn’t even tell that this man was suffering from the taint of undeath? What other kinds of patients do you have? What other kinds of trouble are you on the brink of releasing onto Varisia?”

Realizing that the PCs aren’t likely to slander his reputation, he grows offended at Odeg’s remarks.

“I don’t have to listen to you. You come here, demand to speak with a sick and unresponsive patient, somehow put him in apparent agony, goad him into attacking you, kill him, cut his head off, immediately burn the body, and then you insult me when I have done nothing but cooperate with you? Well blood and ashes, your mother was a goat! Burn off and don’t come back here!”

He storms back into the building, loudly locking the door behind him and leaving Odeg with thoughts of returning and bringing a much bigger pyre.

2015-09-19, 01:34 AM
Dang, now I feel bad for suspecting Sheriff Hemlock. Also, Armin really needs to stop getting into situations where he drops to below half HP in one or two hits. Odegh can only heal so fast.

I like the multicolored text, by the way.

2015-09-19, 09:03 PM
He has been nothing but kind to you, always having your back when you need it, yet he's the first person you guys suspect. Shame on you.

And he did hit a lot harder than I was expecting. Barbarians hurt. Noted.

2015-09-19, 10:45 PM
Part 3:
Walking Scarecrows

Upon returning to Sandpoint the immediately head to the garrison and inform Hemlock of Grayst’s death. The party decided to leave out most of the details beyond that he had fallen over and died, including what he had said to Xaviah and that they had killed him, because the party, Odeg in particular, had suspicions that Hemlock himself might be involved in the murders. Hemlock thanks them for the information, then mentions that a man came into town talking about more unusual things. He then leads them to an elderly and obviously intoxicated farmer with bloodshot eyes and a crazed look about him.

Hemlock informs the party that the man is Maester Grump, a farmer from the lands just south of Sandpoint. The guards have been having a hard time piecing together what he’s been blathering about, as his words are frantic and his thoughts seem incomplete, but it seems that he was part of a group that formed to check out rumors of walking scarecrows and screams in the night at the old Hambley Farm. When they arrived at the Hambley place they were set upon by something, what that something was is not clear, and he is the only survivor.
When the party questions Maester Grump themselves they find his state of mind is much as described. His words have been slowed by the alcohol, but he still has trouble forming a coherent sentence. They get tidbits about walking scarecrows, things not being right, and descriptions of corpses with insatiable hunger. Hemlock hopes that some rest will set the man back right and mildly regrets giving him the alcohol to calm his nerves, but asks the party if they would mind looking into these rumors about the Hambley Farm. The party agrees and immediately sets off into the dusk.

Following one of Armin’s many maps of the Varisian Hinterlands, the party arrives at the Hambley Farm. They didn’t even need to ask for directions from local farmers. Well, not much anyway. Tall and densely packed corn stalks create a sort of maze that separates the party from the Hambley’s farmhouse and barn, the silo of which they can see above the stalks.

Following the path and taking a right at the first fork, they can see the silhouette of a scarecrow perched up on a cross. Not wanting to take any chances, Armin gets out his crossbow and shoots it from a distance. Surprised to hear a muffled grunt, the party dismounts and draws their weapons. The scarecrow struggles against its bonds, breaking free and charging at the party, only to be immediately eviscerated by Hoster’s greatsword. Pulling off his masks reveals what appears to be a newly turned ghoul.

Continuing on the path the part comes to another scarecrow, Armin shooting it with another bolt. This time no noise is heard. The party approaches only to find it filled with hay and sticks; a standard scarecrow. A little further down the path they spot another scarecrow. A bolt is released and this time a muffled grunt is heard. The scarecrow futilely struggles against its bonds as the party approaches. Armin cautiously removes the sack on the scarecrow’s head to reveal a scared, injured, yet obviously living boy. Feeling immense guilt at the bolt in the boy’s side, Armin carefully removes it while Odeg applies healing spells to assuage the boy’s injuries. Once unbound, the boy reveals himself to be Mattrim, part of the group who came to check on the rumors. He recounts of the undead creatures who attacked them, slaughtering most of them outright yet keeping some alive and binding them to these posts. Odeg can tell that Mat is infected with and advanced stage of ghoul fever, yet can do nothing about it at the moment. He assesses that the boy will not turn before the morrow, so decides to take him back to Sandpoint for the Father Zantus to heal after the finish searching the area. Continuing on, the party finds two more ghouls and one more half dead yet still alive person before arriving at the barn.

The barn is a large L-shaped building connected to a rather unique feature – a 12-foot-high stone head, canted slightly to the left, depicting a helmed warrior, his face a stern model of determination. Mattrim mentions that the head is known as “the Stone Warrior” around these parts. Entering the barn, the Odeg notices six ghouls stirring in the darkness. Channeling Energy, he makes very short work of them. The rest of the barn is littered with the half eaten remains of whatever livestock and farmers the ghouls could get their hands on.
Stepping into the house, Armin is immediately set upon by a ghoul lying in wait for him. A ghoul who was woefully unprepared for the battle he was about to start. The man who once patrolled this area masterfully swung his spear to meet his foe, pinning it to the wall before it had a chance to strike. The fallen ghoul had an iron key hanging around his neck that bared a heraldic symbol of a curious flower surrounded by thorns. Xaviah, having borrowed a book on local nobility from Brodert Quink (a sage who lives in Sandpoint) this past summer, identified the heraldry as the Foxglove family crest. She also recognized the symbol from the hunting jacket that Aldern Foxglove (a local noble whose life the party had saved in Book 1) wore when the party went boar hunting with him in the Tickwood.

As Hoster checks upstairs, Odeg notices a body lying in a dark corner behind the kitchen table. Although the corpse is decaying and swarming with flies, an all too familiar rune in the shape of a seven pointed star is still plainly visible on the man’s chest, and a single piece of parchment is pinned to his tunic.

“Take the fever into you, my love – it shall be but the first of my gifts to you.

Your Lordship”

Xaviah was becoming increasingly worried about this killer’s apparent obsession with her. But there was little they could do about it at the moment. They still had no idea who was even responsible for these killings. Gathering themselves and the two they found among the stalks, they headed back to Sandpoint.

Upon arrival back at Sandpoint Sam, the young messenger that had ridden to them at the Giant’s Helm, is waiting to meet them at the gate. He says that Hemlock needs them to meet him at the Scarnetti Manor immediately. The party requests that Sam stable their horses for them, and he obliges. Hoster uses his psionic power to bolster his speed and rush to get Father Zantus to heal the two who were infected with ghoul fever, while the rest of the party heads to Scarnetti Manor. Zantus heals the inflicted and Hoster rushes back to join the rest of the party.

Arriving at Scarnetti Manor, Hemlock informs them that Titus Scarnetti has been killed, with a familiar rune carved on his chest. Looking grim, he hands another note to Xaviah.

“You continue to ignore my invitations, my love. Did you not sense my need for you that evening after we hunted?

Your Lordship”

And with that note they knew. Xaviah. Hoster. Armin. Odeg. They all knew who the killer was.

2015-09-21, 01:06 PM
He has been nothing but kind to you, always having your back when you need it, yet he's the first person you guys suspect. Shame on you.Technically, he was one of a vast cluster of people we haphazardly suspected all at once including: Nualia (either before her death, or resurrected), Tsuto (he wasn't really executed!), the Scarnettis, the mayor (I think), and Xaviah.

...We got to a lot of crazy speculation when you left the room :smalltongue: