As Sandpoint recovers from the attack and buries its (thankfully few) dead, the citizens do their best to get on with their lives. The cathedral is consecrated the next day during a much more subdued and indoor ceremony, but by the end of the week, the goblin attack is remembered mostly with chuckles. Now that the terror of the raid is over, memories of goblins accidentally lighting themselves on fire, getting stepped on by horses, or drowning in rain barrels that were only half full in the first place render memories of the raid in an almost comical light. But one thing the locals haven’t forgotten is their new heroes. Everywhere the PCs go in town, locals welcome them, but this isn’t always welcomed by the PCs.
The Shopkeeper’s Daughter
A couple of days following the attack one of Sandpoint’s most brazen citizens makes her move on Saladim. Daughter of the owner of the Sandpoint General Store, Shayliss Vinder (female human) is certainly an attractive young woman, but it’s her older sister who’s been in the gossip lately. Rumor holds that Katrine Vinder’s been “shacking up” with one of the men who works at the lumber mill, and her overly protective father’s been up in arms about it. Shayliss bashfully approaches Saladim claiming that her father has been too distracted with her sister’s private life to keep up with the store’s pest problem. She explains that the store has rats. Why, just yesterday, she’s sure she saw one the size of a goblin hiding behind a barrel at the far end of the basement. Her father doesn’t believe her, but she knows he’s just more distracted by what Katrine might or might not be up to at the lumber mill. And since there’s this handy new hero in town, well, Shayliss just thought maybe said hero could come back with her to kill a few rats in the store’s basement. She stresses that there’s not many rats, certainly not enough to warrant having more than one hero to take care of them. Saladim deftly handled the situation (with a lucky high roll), thwarting her infatuation before her bodice even came off and in a way that leaves no hard feelings with Shayliss.
The Boar Hunt
The next day, the PCs take up Aldern Foxglove’s invitation after they saved him from certain “goblining.” True to his word, he gives the PCs a reward of 50 gp for saving his life, then invites them to stop by his home in Magnimar the next time they’re in town. He was hoping to go on a boar hunt in nearby Tickwood, and would like to invite along the PCs. They agree to the hunt and Aldern claps his hands in delight. He gladly buys each PC his own mount from Goblin Squash Stables, then eagerly leads the PCs and his three manservants west over Tanner’s Bridge and along the southern banks of the Turandarok River. It’s a two mile ride to the Tickwood Ford, just north of the upthrust limestone escarpment known as the Devil’s Platter. Despite its ominous name, Tickwood is actually a relatively safe woodland, one well known to be the home of wild boars, deer, and perhaps one or two firepelt cougars—no goblin tribes dwell within its boundaries.
On the half hour ride to Tickwood, the PCs find that Aldern is a charming conversationalist, well-read and with a seemingly endless cache of stories about the high life in Magnimar. He’s more interested in the PCs, though. Asking who are they, where they’re from, how long have they been fighting goblins, and any details involving harrowing tales of their adventures. He is particularly interested in Ting! and his interest seems more like friendly flirting than platonic banter. As the morning wears on his constant attention almost seem like a desperate attempt to “learn how to be a hero.” It was friendly at first, but by the time they finally find their prey and Kali Ban wrestles the boar to the ground and slays it, the party is getting a little annoyed and disturbed at Aldern’s seemingly growing obsession with them and with Ting! in particular. He seems to be a little bit too eager to make friends with them.
Aldern invites them to dine with him at the Rusty Dragon that evening, where he hands the boar over to Ameiko to cook for a big dinner. As usual, she does an outstanding job.
Monster in the Closet
As they are enjoying the spoils of their hunt Amele Barett (female human) bursts into the Rusty Dragon in a tearful panic, her young son Aeren in tow by his shirt collar and baby Verah clutched to her chest. She approaches the PCs directly and explains that they were present at the Swallowtail Festival, where Aeren saw a goblin light a cat on fire and then caper around the burning remains—the poor boy hasn’t been the same since. Every night, his howls of terror send the family dog Petal into a barking fit, and when his they investigate, Aeren claims a goblin came out of his closet. Amele’s husband Alergast checked the closet dutifully but found nothing, and ever since the kid’s complaints about the “closet goblin” have grown more and more tiresome to the couple. Yesterday, Alergast threatened to make Aeren sleep in the woodshed if he couldn’t learn to “be a man” and sleep through an entire night without crying and telling stories.
She goes on to say that, last night, Alergast didn’t go to soothe Aeren when he had his night terrors. But then, a few moments later, they heard poor Petal cry out in pain and Aeren’s screams turn shrill. This time he wasn’t just having nightmares. Amele pauses, takes a breath, and then shows the PCs Aeren’s arms. They’re covered with fresh goblin bites.
When Alergast burst into the room, he found a goblin crouched on his son’s chest. Petal was dead, a knife deep in his ear, and the goblin was frantically trying to chew off his son’s arm. He attacked the goblin and chased it back into the closet, where it clambered into a hole it had cleverly hidden under an old fur. Alergast flew into a rage, and as he started tearing apart the closet in an attempt to get at the goblin, Amele panicked and fled the house to seek out the PCs for aid.
When the party arrives at the Barett house, they find it disturbingly silent. Upon cautiously reaching the child’s room and covering all the exits, they find Petal dead on the floor with a knife in his ear and Alergast Barett on his belly, as if he had crawled into the closet. They discover that in an apparent attempt to kill the goblin, Alergast underestimated the creature. When they pull his corpse from the closet they see the jagged slash across his throat and the flesh of his face and upper torso eaten away. An instant later, the ravenous and insane goblin shrieks in rage at its stolen dinner and leaps up out of the hole to attack, makeshift dogslicer in hand. By this point, the goblin Greaseguts’ long captivity in the crawlspace has left him almost feral with hunger and fear, and he’s come to view the entire house as his.
The goblin leaps from PC to PC trying to gnaw at their faces off until Kali Ban headbutted the little monster in the gut, causing him to vomit bits of poor Alergast right back at Kali! Cue cascading vomit effect as each member of the party succumbs to the foul retching. Finally, they managed to slay Greaseguts, but not before the entire room and hallway were covered in blood and vomit.
Sheriff Hemlock arrives on the scene to his horror after the mess. Furfis considered casting Sleep on the sheriff and his guards but thought better of it. To the party’s credit, they stayed and cleaned up the mess they had made but not before Amele’s sister shot Saladim the evil eye (Unfortunately, they missed meeting her and her great one line, “Too bad you heroes weren’t a bit more thorough in your ‘heroing.'”).
The Late Unpleasantness
The next morning, while getting patched up by Father Zantus, the PCs learn of the Late Unpleasantness…
When Jervis Stoot made clear his intentions to build a home on the island just north of the Old Light, locals paid him no mind. Jervis had already garnered something of a reputation for eccentricity when he began his one-man crusade to carve depictions of birds on every building in town. Stoot never made a carving without securing permission, but his incredible skill at woodcarving made it a given that, if Stoot picked your building as the site of his latest project, you seized the opportunity. “Sporting a Stoot” soon grew to be something of a bragging point, and Jervis eventually extended his gift to include ship figureheads and carriages. Those who asked or tried to pay him for his skill were rebuffed—Stoot told them, “There ain’t no birds in that wood for me t’set free,” and went on his way, often wandering the streets for days before noticing a hidden bird in a fencepost, lintel, steeple, or doorframe, which he’d then secure permission to “release” with his trusty hatchets and carving knives.
Stoot’s excuse for wanting to move onto the isle seemed innocent enough—the place was a haven for local birdlife, and his claim of “Wantin’ ta be with th’ birds” seemed to make sense. So much so, in fact, that the guild of carpenters (with whom Stoot had maintained a friendly competition for several years) volunteered to build a staircase, free of charge, along the southern cliff face so that Stoot could come and go from his new home with ease. For 15 years, Stoot lived on the island. His trips into town grew less and less frequent, making it something of an event when he chose a building to host a new Stoot.
Sandpoint was no stranger to crime, or even to murder. Once or twice a year, passions flared, robberies went bad, jealousy grew too much to bear, or one too many drinks were drunk, and someone would end up dead. But when the bodies began to mount five years ago, the town initially had no idea how to react. Sandpoint’s sheriff at the time was a no-nonsense man named Casp Avertin, a retired city watch officer from Magnimar. Yet even he was ill-prepared for the murderer who came to be known as Chopper. Over the course of one long winter month, it seemed that every day brought a new victim to light. Each was found in the same terrible state: bodies bearing deep cuts to the neck and torso, hands and feet severed and stacked nearby, and the eyes and tongue plucked crudely from the head and missing entirely.
Over the course of that terrible month, Chopper claimed 25 victims. His uncanny knack at eluding traps and pursuit quickly wore on the town guard, taking particular toll on Sheriff Avertin, who increasingly took to drinking. In any event, Sheriff Avertinhimself became Chopper’s last victim, slain upon catching the murderer in a narrow lane—known now as Chopper’s Alley—as he was mutilating his latest victim. Yet in the battle that followed, Avertin managed a telling blow against the killer. When the town guard found both bodies several minutes later, they were able to follow the killer’s bloody trail.
A trail that led straight to the stairs of Stoot’s Rock.
At first, the town guard refused to believe the implications, and feared that Chopper had come to claim poor Jervis Stoot as his 26th victim. Yet what the guards found in the modest home atop the isle, and in the larger complex of rooms that had been carved into the bedrock below, left no room for doubt. Jervis Stoot and Chopper were the same, and the eyes and tongues of all 25 victims were found upon a horrific altar to a birdlike demon whose name none dared speak aloud. Stoot himself was found dead at the base of the altar, having plucked his own eyes and tongue loose in a final offering. The guards collapsed the entrance to the chambers, burned Stoot’s house, tore down the stairs, and did their best to forget. Stoot himself was burned on the beach in a pyre, his ashes blessed and then scattered in an attempt to stave off an unholy return of his evil spirit.
As fate would have it, the people of Sandpoint would soon have a new tragedy to bear, one that almost eclipsed Chopper’s rampage. A month after the murderer was slain, a terrible fire struck Sandpoint. The fire started in the Sandpoint Chapel and spread quickly. As the town rallied to save the church, the fire spread, consuming the North Coast Stables, the White Deer Inn, and three homes. In the end, the church burnt to the ground, leaving the town’s beloved priest Ezakien Tobyn and his adopted daughter Nualia dead.
All that remains today of the once-loved Stoot carvings are ragged scars on buildings and figureheads where owners used hatchets to remove what had become a haunting reminder of a wolf in their fold. The homes and businesses ravaged by the fire have been reconstructed, and the Sandpoint Chapel has finally been rebuilt as well. With the consecration of this new cathedral, Sandpoint can finally put the dark times of the Late Unpleasantness in the past.
After leaving the cathedral and fruitlessly searching Stoot’s Rock on Chopper’s Isle for an entrance, the PCs are summoned by the sheriff to the town hall to meet with himself, Mayor Deverin, and local bounty hunter/survivalist/mercenary Shalelu Androsana (female elf) to learn of…
Grim News from Mosswood
Shalelu’s visit today to Sandpoint is unexpected—she last passed through town only a month ago and wasn’t expected until the last week of autumn. She dispenses with her visit to the Sandpoint Market and the Rusty Dragon, instead requesting an immediate meeting with Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin. The unusual meeting and Shalelu’s ragged look combine to make an already jumpy populace suspect that the woman brings news of a new goblin threat.
Hemlock introduces Shalelu to the PCs as an “unofficial member of Sandpoint’s town guard” (an introduction that causes the elven woman to smirk) and the PCs to Shalelu as “Sandpoint’s newest crop of heroes.” He explains that she has been a thorn in the side of the local goblin tribes for years, and that few in the region know more about them than her. He goes on to recap her report that Sandpoint hasn’t been the only place in the region that’s had goblin troubles. In short, there’s been an increase in goblin-related raids along the Lost Coast Road, particularly in the dale between Nettlewood and Mosswood. Only a day ago, a farm south of Mosswood was burnt to the ground by a group of goblins. Shalelu was thankfully nearby, and while the farm couldn’t be saved, she did rescue the family and drive off the goblins; the family is staying at a nearby farm for now, but the goblin problem is obviously not going away.
At this point, Hemlock cedes the floor to Shalelu, asking her to tell the PCs what she told him.
“Belor’s told me of your work against the goblins—well done. I’ve dedicated the last several years of my life to keeping them from causing too much trouble around these parts, but they’re tenacious and fecund little runts. Like weeds that bite.
“Anyway, there’s five major goblin tribes in the region, and, traditionally, they’re pretty good at keeping each other in line with intertribal squabbles and the like. Yet from what I’ve been able to piece together, members of all five tribes were involved in the raid on Sandpoint. A fair amount of the Mosswood tribe goblins I dealt with yesterday were already pretty beat up, and there was a lot of chatter about the ‘longshanks’ who killed so many of them. Now that I’ve met you, it seems obvious from their descriptions who they were talking about. Seems like you’ve made an impression.
“In any event, the fact that the five tribes are working together disturbs me. Goblin tribes don’t get along unless they’ve got something big planned, and big plans require big bosses. I’m afraid that someone’s moved in on the goblins and organized them. And judging by these recent raids, what they’re organizing seems like bad news for all of us.”
After Shalelu’s speech, Sheriff Hemlock announces that he’s taking a few of his men south to Magnimar to see about securing additional soldiers to station at Sandpoint for a few weeks, at least until the extent of the goblin threat can be determined. While he’s out of town, he’s asked Shalelu to sniff around Shank’s Wood, Devil’s Platter, and other places where goblins live to see if she can discover anything else about what’s going on. He would also like the PCs to maintain a public presence in Sandpoint over the next few days, if they don’t mind. “The locals seem to have taken to you,” he says, “And seeing you around town will do a lot for keeping worries down over the next few days.”
Once the meeting is over, Shalelu asks to join the PCs for dinner at the Rusty Dragon; she’s got a fair amount of goblin lore she shares with them.
(Parts of the above text copyright Paizo Publishing)