Festival & Fire
The PCs arrive in the village of Sandpoint on the Iron Coast of Varisia about 45 miles east northeast of Magnamar. They are there for various reasons but primarily for the Swallowtail Festival, a celebration of the consecration of Sandpoint’s new cathedral.
A large number of villagers gather in the square in front of the cathedral and the festival starts with four keynote welcoming speeches. Mayor Kendra Deverin’s (female human) friendly attitude and excitement prove contagious as she welcomes visitors to town and jokes about how even Larz Rovanky (male human), the local tanner (and notorious workaholic) managed to tear himself away from the tannery to attend. Sheriff Belor Hemlock, (male human) brings the crowd down a bit with his dour mood and his request for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the fire that claimed the town’s previous church five years ago. Fortunately, Cyrdak Drokkus (male human) is more than up to the challenge of bringing the crowd’s mood back up with his rousing anecdotes as he delivers a not-completely-irreverent recap of the long process the town went through to finance and construct the new cathedral. Finally, Father Abstalar Zantus (male human) steps up give a short speech thanking everyone for coming before declaring the Swallowtail Festival underway.
At noon, Father Zantus and his acolytes wheel a large covered wagon into the square, and after recounting the short parable of how Desna first fell to earth and was nursed back to health by a blind child who she transformed into an immortal butterfly, they pull aside the wagon’s cover, releasing the thousand children of Desna—a swarm of swallowtail butterflies that brings a great cheer from the crowd.
Lunch is provided free, at the expense of Sandpoint’s taverns, each bringing their best dishes. It soon becomes apparent that the darling of the lunch is, once again, Ameiko Kaijitsu (female human), whose remarkable curry-spiced salmon and early winterdrop mead easily overshadow the other offerings. The PCs congregate around her stand, Lundgrimn taking a particular interest in the winterdrop mead.
Finally, as the sun begins to set, Father Zantus takes the central podium, uses a thunderstone to attract everyone’s attention, and clears his throat as he prepares to recite the Prayer of First Dreaming…
A sharp retort, like the crack of distant thunder, slices through the excited crowd as the sun’s setting rays paint the western sky. A stray dog that has crawled under a nearby wagon to sleep starts awake, and the buzz of two dozen conversations quickly hushes as all heads turn toward the central podium, where a beaming Father Zantus has taken the stage. He clears his throat, takes a breath to speak, and suddenly a woman’s scream slices through the air. A few moments later, another scream rises, then another. Beyond them, a sudden surge of strange new voices rises—high-pitched, tittering shrieks that sound not quite human. The crowd parts and something low to the ground races by, giggling with disturbing glee as the stray dog gives a pained yelp and then collapses with a gurgle, its throat cut open from ear to ear. As blood pools around its head, the raucous sound of a strange song begins, chanted from shrill, scratchy voices.
In the confusion several of the PCs spot a single goblin, licking the blood from its dogslicer as it looks excitedly at the crowd, seeking out a new target. The song is a nameless goblin rhyme, performed by several goblin warchanters and intended to spur the goblin raiders on…
“Goblins chew and goblins bite.
Goblins cut and goblins fight.
Stab the dog and cut the horse,
Goblins eat and take by force!
Goblins race and goblins jump.
Goblins slash and goblins bump.
Burn the skin and mash the head,
Goblins here and you be dead!
Chase the baby, catch the pup.
Bonk the head to shut it up.
Bones be cracked, flesh be stewed,
We be goblins! You be food!”
The PCs handily defeat the goblins on the square, but not without the help of the goblins themselves, many of whom manage to light themselves on fire, break their own necks jumping from rooftops, and inexplicably drown in a barrel of rainwater. Noticing one attacking Father Zantus, several of the PCs rush to his aid. The attacking goblins scurry under the wooden platform the podium is on and Ting! lights fire to it, unfortunately endangering the good Father again only to save him again.
After things at the festival itself have calmed somewhat. Here and there, the sounds of battle, clanging swords, calls of support by the town guard, and shrieking and singing goblins echo through the streets, but at the
festival itself, most of the citizens have fled. One or two goblins remain behind to scavenge food, and many more lie dead (along with a few unfortunate citizens). Suddenly, the sound of a scream and a frantic barking comes from the north!
As the PCs arrive on the scene in front of the White Deer, a goblin commando mounted on a goblin dog has bravely attacked a noble and his hunting dog. He cowers behind a rain barrel where he calls for help, while his dog fights against the commando. The PCs are just in time to see the goblin commando kill the dog with his horsechopper. The dog crashes dying to the ground as the commando’s goblin kin (who were themselves cowering nearby as the dog was handled) throw up a cheer and emerge from hiding. The goblins are still distracted by their kill, and as they turn their attention to the noble the PCs attack, Saladim and Furfis using several clever magic tricks to confuse the poor idiots!
Once the goblins are dealt with the noble introduces himself as Aldern Foxglove (male human) thanks the PCs profusely. He seems particularly interested in Ting! complimenting her on her skills in the fight and her bravery. As he glances about nervously for more goblins, he informs the PCs that he’s visiting from Magnamar and will be in town for a few more days; he’s staying at the Rusty Dragon south near the river, and when they get a chance, he’d love to talk with them more and perhaps reward them properly for saving his life.
By this time, the battle has been decided. Surviving goblins flee north in droves, in some cases preferring to leap to their certain death off cliffs rather than be captured.
The PC decide to check into Ameiko’s inn, the Rusty Dragon, and as they’re settling in Sheriff Hemlock enters looking exhausted, sits, and orders a meal. Not more than ten minutes later Father Zantus enters flustered, approaches the sheriff, and whispers in his ear. Sheriff Hemlock looks visibly shaken and gets up to follow Zantus out of the inn hurriedly. The PCs stealthily follow the two up to the Sandpoint Boneyard, to discover an open grave and broken coffin. Inquiring, they discover that the grave is that of Father Ezakien Tobyn, the former priest who died with his daughter Nualia in the fire that destroyed the old Sandpoint church. The sheriff tells them to keep it quiet, hoping to avoid further distress to the people of Sandpoint. Doing a little further investigation, Furfis discovers human tracks and something being dragged among the goblin tracks in the boneyard and follows them to the north gate of the town before losing the trail.
Heading to the Sandpoint Garrison with the sheriff, the PCs discover that couple of the little goblin menaces were in fact caught alive, but they prove useless when interrogated; none of these goblins know much more than that they were given orders to kill everyone in town and burn down the place. Neither of the captured goblins can even remember their leader’s name, apart from the fact that he was one of “you longshanks.”
(Parts of the above text copyright Paizo Publishing)