Rise of the Runelords
Hanging from a bent nail at both the gatehouse and the southern bridge is a sign and a mirror — painted on each sign is the message: “Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!”
Small Town conventional (mayor); AL NG GP Limit 800 gp; Assets 49,600 gp
Kendra Deverin, mayor (NG female human aristocrat 4/expert 3);
Belor Hemlock, sheriff (CG human male fighter 4);
Abstalar Zantus, town priest (CG male human cleric 4);
Titus Scarnetti, nobleman (LN male human aristocrat 6);
Ethram Valdemar, nobleman (NG male human aristocrat 5/expert 2);
Lonjiku Kaijitsu, nobleman (LN aristocrat 3/expert 2)
Millennia ago, before the fall of Thassilon, what is known today as the Lost Coast was not a coast at all. It was a series of rocky bluffs and cliffs that ran through a vast moor that stretched between the end of the Fogscar Mountains south to the Mushfens. Called the Rasp, this ridge of stony tors and limestone escarpments marked the boundary between the nations of Shalast and Bakrakhan. When Thassilon fell, the nation of Bakrakhan collapsed and slid into the sea, forming what is called today the Varisian Gulf—the Rasp became the region’s new coastline.
Before these cataclysmic events, the Rasp was heavily patrolled by the armies of Shalast and Bakrakhan. Violent clashes between the two were common. Karzoug, leader of Shalast, used his impressive magic and giant slaves to erect immense statues in his image along the Rasp, granite sentinels that stood hundreds of feet in height and from whose stony eyes he could look out upon the nation of Bakrakhan from the safety of his throne in distant Xin-Shalast. In response, Alaznist, leader of Bakrakhan, built several destructive watchtowers called Hellstorm Flumes along the Rasp. Each of these towers housed a contingent of her soldiers, commanded by sorcerers and thaumaturges hand-picked from her personal guard. Atop each Flume burned a constant vortex of arcane fire, one that its commander could direct to scorch intruding armies for miles around. The Flumes did a remarkable job at keeping Karzoug’s forces from effectively invading Bakrakhan, while his own Sentinel Statues prevented Alaznist from launching any surprise invasions of her own. And so the two nations existed in tenuous balance until the cataclysmic fall of their world.
After Thassilon’s fall and Bakrakhan’s destruction, the Rasp became the new coastline. Karzoug’s Sentinel Statues collapsed, although here and there fragments of these once mighty guardians still stand. Bakrakhan’s Hellstorm Flumes fared no better — most of these watch towers fell into the sea during the cataclysm. Only one remained above the waves, and even it crumbled to less than a quarter of its original height. Varisian travelers preserved in their oral traditions stories of how ruined towers once cast fire down upon the surrounding lands, but over the generations, these tales evolved. The ruin’s location at the edge of the sea seemed to indicate that it was once a lighthouse, and in time, beams of fire became beams of light. Today, the Varisians view the last Hellstorm Flume as nothing more than an ancient ruined lighthouse, a landmark they call the Old Light. No record of the tower’s destructive purpose remains in the modern mind, yet clues to its violent legacy remain unsuspected in catacombs that once connected to the tower’s dungeons.
More recently, settlers from the southern nation of Cheliax have come to Varisia. The city of Magnimar was settled by colonists dissatisfied with the strong reliance on Chelish support in Eastern Varisia, and before long the need for additional farmland grew apparent. To the south, the sloppy expanse of the Mushfens made farming difficult, so the settlers turned their eyes northward along the Lost Coast. For much of its length, the coast offered little shelter, with one exception — a perfect cove about 50 miles away. A cove overlooked by a curious stone ruin.
The foundation of a new town is not a matter to be taken lightly, nor one to be funded by one man. Four powerful families from Magnimar had designs on the region, and rather than work against each other, they consolidated their efforts and formed the Sandpoint Mercantile League. These four families, the Kaijitsus (glass- makers and jewelers), the Valdemars (shipbuilders), the Scarnettis (loggers), and the Deverins (farmers and brewers), sailed north to claim their land after securing the rights from the Charterhouse in Magnimar. Yet when they arrived, they found the place already settled by a large tribe of Varisians.
Refusing to be set back, the Sandpoint Mercantile League began a series of talks with the Varisians, promising them an important place in the new township. Unfortunately, after a week of talks that seemed to be going nowhere, an impatient man named Alamon Scarnetti took matters into his own hands. Rounding up a group of his brothers and cousins, the Scarnettis mounted a murderous raid on the Varisian camp, intent on killing them all and leaving evidence to blame local goblins for the deed. Yet the Scarnettis, too drunk and overconfident, managed to kill only five Varisians before they were themselves forced to flee, leaving behind three of their own.
p. The Sandpoint Mercantile League fled back to Magnimar, and in the months to follow were embroiled in the repercussions of Alamon’s assault. Magnimar’s Varisian Council demanded punish- ment for all four families, but the High Court arbitrated a peace between them, in no small thanks to the remarkable diplomatic skills of a young bard and member of one of the families accused — Almah Deverin. Not only did she manage to assuage the Varisians’ call for blood payment, she also managed to salvage the plans for Sandpoint by promising not only to incorporate the worship of Desna into the new town’s cathedral, but to pay the Varisian Council a generous share of any profits made by Sandpoint businesses over the course of the next 40 years. One year later, the Sandpoint Mercantile League began construction on several buildings with the full cooperation of the Varisian people. In the 42 years since Sandpoint’s foundation, it has flourished. Although the initial term of the compact with the Varisian Council has passed, Sandpoint’s government has elected to extend the compact another 20 years, much to the consternation of a few locals.
Today, Sandpoint is a thriving community. Many industries, including fishing, lumber, farming, hunting, brewing, tanning, shipbuilding, and Kaijitsu’s own legacy of glassmaking, have flourished, luring skilled laborers from as far as Korvosa and Riddleport to relocate here. Yet Sandpoint’s location on the Lost Coast has also recently drawn settlers of another bent. As explorers and adventurers begin to piece together the fragments of ancient Thassilon’s influence over the region so long ago, the presence of Thassilonian ruins have acted as a magnet. The Old Light is no exception, and a few of Sandpoint’s recent arrivals are more interested in this ruin than anything else.
Over its four decade history, Sandpoint has been thankfully free of major disasters. Every winter brings its share of strong storms, yet the natural harbor, sandbars, and cliffs do a remarkable job of blunting the force of wind and wave, leaving the town relatively untouched. Elders in town spin yarns of a few really big storms, but apart from the town’s somewhat rocky beginning with the Varisians, only two events have really qualified as disasters: the Sandpoint Fire and Chopper. These two events, occurring in such close and recent proximity as they have, are generally lumped together as the “Late Unpleasantness,” even though the two events didn’t have any obvious links. Natives of Sandpoint are reluctant to talk about either event, preferring to look ahead to brighter times.