Rise of the Runelords

Swallowtail Festival
Goblins Eat and Take By Force!

Highlights:

- Swallowtail Festival begins in earnest
- Riona does some shopping, Hogorsh and Kestral begin a rivalry
- Goblins attack!
- Kestral instakills the warchanter
- Group rescues Aldern Foxglove from a goblin dog, he thanks them and offers payment at a later date
- Three goblins captured. One killed, a second states they were hired by a “longshanks” to cause terror while they did some business at the graveyard.

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Around Sandpoint
Skeletons, Boars, & Family Troubles

Session Summary:

- Group joined by Laerwen Ruasan, elven bard
- Investigates broken-into tomb at Sandpoint Cathedral, fights skeletons, discovered remains of last priest have been taken by humanoid & goblins
- Takes Aldern Foxglove up on his offer to boar hunt
- While feasting at Rusty Dragon on boar, group intervenes in argument between owner Ameiko Kaijitsu and her father
- During argument, Kestral and Hogorsh investigate Aldern’s room, find no connection between himself and the stolen remains

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High Temperature
Goblins, Glass, and Someone Not Dead

- Group meets Shalelu Andosana, a ranger who explains that the goblins in the region seem to be aligning with a larger power
- Sheriff Hemlock takes a few guards with him to Magnimar to try to get more soldiers, and deputize the party while he’s gone.
- The next morning, group approached by halfling employee of Ameiko Kaijitsu, who explains that Ameiko has disappeared, leaving behind a note written by her brother, Tsuto.
- Note brings party to the Sandpoint Glassworks, where they find a group of goblins and numerous corpses, including that of Lonjiku Kaijitsu, owner of the Glassworks and Ameiko & Tsuto’s father.
- After defeating the goblins, party finds Tsuto in the basement. Taking him down and binding him, his journal reveals much information:
- He is working for Nualia Tobyn, who was thought to have died in the Sandpoint Cathedral fire.
- She has taken the remains of her adopted father and have sacrificed them to Lamashtu, and plans to burn Sandpoint to complete a ritual to turn her into a demon by using the goblins & creatures from below the Glassworks.
- Nualia is currently housed in Thistletop, a well-known goblin hideout.
- The party has two paths to choose: travel to Thistletop to stop Nualia, or explore the lower levels of the factory.

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Beneath the Glassworks
Sinspawn, Runewells, and a Very Important Bone

- After handing over Tsuto Kaijitsu to the authorities, party decides the tunnel beneath the Glassworks is a more pressing concern than Nualia Tobyn at Thistletop.
- Traveling some distance through the dark tunnel, group comes upon an empty goblin campground in a cave on the coast before continuing on.
- After an attack by a sinspawn, the tunnel ends in some well-maintained ruins.
- Hogorsh finds a statue, which Kestral recognizes as Alaznist, an ancient Thassilonian Runelord. Hogorsh takes the statue’s ornamental weapon, and Kestral takes a rubbing of its book, decorated with a seven-pointed star.
- Take out two more sinspawn in an ancient prison chamber, where Hogorsh finds an extremely important bone.
- Delving further into a cathedral-like room, group meets the quasit mentioned in Tsuto’s journal, who is controlling a cauldron of glowing red liquid. She cuts herself, bleeding into the steaming liquid, which fades considerably as it produces a sinspawn.
- Party takes down sinspawn, a summoned giant centipede, and, after much blasting through her DR, the quasit. However, not knowing what else to do with the cauldron, they leave it untouched for now.
- Other findings include one stairwell leading down and another leading up, both blocked by rubble, and a spherical levitation room with crackling black rage and anger-themed runes, a Lamashtu prayer book, and a dead crow.
- After thoroughly exploring the ruins, group returns to the surface, where they gain more information from Father Zantus about the cauldron: a runewell, an ancient Thassilonian artifact. However, he is unable to say how to deactivate it, its methods lost to the centuries.

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Atop Thistletop
Goblins, Geckos, and Tetanus

Session Highlights:

- Kestral approached by Shayliss Vinder, younger sister of General Store owner. Asked for assistance in dealing with “goblin-sized rat” in the general store’s basement.
- Kestral offers help of group, but Shayliss turns down offer. Suspicious, group follows her back to store, but finds no evidence of giant rats or goblins.
- On to Thistletop, group makes their way through the Nettlewood Forest. Hogorsh finds some particularly bad thorns.
- Find a “door” into some denser thorns, in which passageways have been cut out. Follow the trail of a large, dragged object to the shore, where they find a bridge across to Thistletop, rigged to fall.
- On other side, group sneaks into fort. Hogorsh takes out two sleeping goblins, then runs into four goblin dogs.
- After party defeats dogs, they find an emaciated horse that Riona recognizes as one stolen from traveling merchants in Sandpoint. They feed horse and leave it behind to bring back later.
- Find stairs leading down into the island, and a secret door behind a toilet, hiding a treasure chest.
- Kestral picks lock, but triggers trap. Stabbed by rusty knife, gets tetanus, which will activate in x days.
- Find the throne room of the goblin’s leader (likely Ripnugget, the Thistletop tribe’s leader, according to Shalelu’s talk and Tsuto’s
journal. Group defeats him, his gecko mount, and his warchanter and commandos.

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Below Thistletop
Nualia, Orik, and the End of the Threat

- After defeating Ripnugget, party descended the stairs into the ruins below the goblin fortification on Thistletop.
- Discovered a chapel to Lamashtu, guarded by two Yeth Hounds who alerted the rest of the floor to their presence.
- Fought Nualia Tobyn’s henchmen, the wizard Lyrie and the bugbear Bruthazmus, along with Orik Vankaskerkin.
- Orik surrendered, and offered his assistance in defeating Nualia in exchange for his life.
- Party rested for the night in the rooms. Orik spoke with Kestral and Hogorsh.
- Down another floor, party found the remains of a statue that Kestral recognized as the ancient Runelord Karzoug.
- After avoiding a cage trap, party came upon Nualia Tobyn herself. With the help of Orik taking down her Yeth Hound, they defeated her and collected her journals and notes on the runewell beneath Sandpoint, as well as on Malfeshnekor, the demon trapped within the ruins.

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Thistletop End
Shadows, Malfeshnekor, and a Message

- Discovered two secret doors: one leading to a flooded treasury, and another leading to a series of rooms:
– an old communications room where a magical image repeated an ancient message
– a surgical room containing the ancient bones of mutated humans
– the prison of Malfeshnekor, who the party defeated with ease
- After returning to Sandpoint, the party returned the kidnapped horse and turned in Orik Vankaskerkin, who was eventually released by the Sheriff thanks to his turn of heart and assistance in defeating Nualia Tobyn and Malfeshnekor.
- Sheriff Hemlock approached the party with a request to assist with a string of murders. The killer left a message for Riona.

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Murder at the Mill
Log Splitters, Ghasts, and a Necromancer

- Some time after the defeat of Nualia Tobyn at Thistletop, the party (now minus Laerwen Ruasan) were approached by the sheriff, who requested help on a series of murders.

- Three bodies were found two days ago, and two more were discovered that morning. All bear similarities to the series of murders during the Late Unpleasantness. A note left at the scene also connected the killer to Riona.

- The scene of the latter two murders, the Sandpoint Lumber Mill, showed signs of a ritualistic murder, with one of the two victims bearing the seven-pointed star found on a amulet worn by Tobyn, and recognized by Kestral as a symbol of Thassilonian origin.

- Signs also pointed to undead being used in the murder, possibly a ghast.

- After interviewing the person who came upon the crime scene, as well as speaking to a local sage about the star, the party traveled to Habe’s Sanitorium, where the lone survivor of the first series of murders was being kept.

- The party was attacked by the survivor, who was suffering from the late stages of ghoul fever, but they subdued him, only to be attacked by a tenant of the sanitorium’s basement: a necromancer and his zombie fighters.

- They were also quickly dispatched, and both he and the survivor were both returned to Sandpoint, but not before finding more evidence in the necromancer’s basement lab.

Evidence found:
- A note at the first scene invited the victims to meet regarding a business opportunity. A note at the second scene seemed to be written by someone interested in Riona. Both were signed “His Lordship”.
- Footprints, claw marks, and flesh on an axe, as well as the condition of the survivor off the first murders, suggest that they were committed by an undead creature, possibly a ghoul or a ghast.
- The attacker in the lumber mill murders seemed to approach from the river, and escape in the same way.
- The partner of one of the victims suggested the deceased was embezzling money from the lumber mill’s owner, the Scarnetti family, and may have drawn their attention.
- The seven-pointed star is an ancient Thassilonian rune, used as both a symbol of seven schools of magic and the seven virtues, but was also corrupted into representing the seven sins.
- His Lordship left a message through Grayst Sevilla for Riona and the party to meet “the Pack” at the Misgivings, home of Foxglove Manor.
- a map found in the basement of the sanitorium suggested ghoul sightings in the southern farmlands and along Foxglove River, and there is the very strong possibility of a “ghoulish source” in the region.

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Foxgloves
Ghouls, Haunts, and Scarecrows

- Returning to Sandpoint after gathering information on the string of murders plaguing the region, the party was introduced by Sheriff Belor Hemlock to Maester Grump, a farmer from the farmlands to the south. He spoke of scarecrows comiing to life and attacking farmers. A group gathered to raid the Hambley farm, which was seen as the source of the attacks, only to be slaughtered by a pack of ghouls. This farm was three miles from Foxglove Manor, which they learned more about after speaking to Hemlock and gathering information in town.

The party, along with Sheriff Hemlock, rode south to investigate. Moving through the maze-like fields, Riona’s new fox familiar was a great help, determining quickly that many of the scarecrows were actually recently-converted ghouls, infected farmers strung up to die and transform to attack any who passed. With this information, and the fox’s nose, the party was able to easily dispatch of the ghouls before they were even attacked. They were also able to rescue two infected humans before they turned.

At the Hambley farm, the party found that the ghouls were using the barn as a base of operations. They defeated three ghouls who were waiting for them in the yard, and, inside the house, fought three more ghouls and their leader, a ghast who had once been the caretaker of Foxglove Manor. They also found another gruesome murder: the owner of the farm had been mutilated, a sihedron rune carved in his chest and another note left for Riona. His family, it was quickly realized, had been less lucky, and were in fact some of the ghouls the party had fought.

Briefly returning to Sandpoint to rest, restock, and return the found savings of the Hambley family to the mayor’s office, Hemlock and the party continued on to Foxglove Manor, the apparent origin of the ghoul infestation.

Once inside, things started to go amiss. It quickly became apparent to the party that the house was haunted, as, one by one, they were involved in a series of possessions as they explored the house. Some were very close calls, including Hemlock’s near-strangulation by a sentient scarf, Hogorsh almost slitting his own throat, and Kestral stopping himself from jumping out the window from invisible fire.

Only two members of the party suffered any significant damage, with Riona taking the worst of it: clawing her face from a phantom infection, then suffering a real one (along with Kestral) in an explosion of poisonous fungus. Finally, as they descended the stairs to the basement, phantasmic ghouls attacked her, inflicting real slashes, as well as afflicting her with ghoul fever.

As the party mad their way through the house, these hauntings, along with a series of evidence and stained glass windows, unlocked pieces of a series of horrors that had occurred in the house over the last few decades, culminating in the discovery of Iesha, Aldern Foxglove’s wife, deceased at his hand but resurrected with a vengeful purpose. The party released Iesha from her self-inflicted mirror prison, and she immediately stormed downstairs, tearing through the floor itself to reach the basement and the caverns below.

The party followed as quickly as they could, pausing long enough to find both the story of Vorel Foxglove’s attempt at lichdom, along with three dead infected rats kept in cages purchased in Magnimar. In the caverns, they came upon a group of ghouls. Quickly dispatched, they heard more on the way. Aric tossed his repeating crossbow to Hemlock, drew his own weapon, and prepared for the next wave…

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