Burnt Offerings

Thistletop

Following up on the clues left behind in Tetsuo Kaijitsu’s journal, the party organized an expedition to the goblin strong hold at Thistletop. Quorthon Hammerfell used his knowledge of the seedier side of Sandpoint to hire a few “trustworthy” sell-swords.

Under the guidance of Azar and forewarned of potential dangers by Henley’s scouting, the journey to the Thistle River went quickly. A goblin ambush was not particularly surprising and the goblins paid for their presumption. Henley faced down a mounted goblin commando and several horses were killed. A base camp was established on a rocky overlook of the river.

The goblins, with their already shaky morale began crumbling as a result of their ineffectiveness against the “longshanks” who were afflicting grievous injury upon them at every turn scattered as an effective fighting force, at least for the moment. If the power uniting the tribes, Nualia wasn’t stopped they could still be regathered. The days march through the Nettle Wood was relatively uneventful, a few sightings of goblins, but they inevitably fled or hid.

The approach to the Thistletop fortress island was blocked by an overgrowth of thorny flora. Through the spined branches there were paths. . . goblin sized corridors that the party had to maneuver through. Henley scouted the area first with Penny, and discovered a large group of dispirited goblins as well as a pack of goblin rat-dogs. With a summoned horse kicking up a ruckus from its painful lacerations from the bramble thorns, the goblins fled without giving a fight other than of utter desperation. The rat-dogs however remained as vicious as ever. When Gogmurt the Tribal druid and his fire pelt cougar joined the fray the tide turned for a brief moment, but after chasing the crafty goblin through the thorns the party eventually put an end to his painful shenanigans.

Crossing the rickety goblin bridge one at a time to avoid breaking it, the goblins mounted their last defense. Several waves of goblins assaulted the party upon their crossing. After dealing with the ground forces, the party considering climbing to check out the “guard” towers and figure out why they had not lend aid in the fight. Before they could get started, several goblins emerged from a trap door in the fortress roof. They had rocks and a sea gull tied to a length of twine. They were going to play a game of “kill gull”, but rushing to the aid of the poor animal, these goblins died quickly as well.

Moving from room to room the complex was quickly swept. Warchief Ripnugget and his entourage fell quickly. Especially the war chanter, who was dead before he could in any way affect the outcome of the engagement. After sweeping the complex one more time and finding two sets of stairs down, the party elected to barricade several doors and make camp. Luckily no one from the sub level made an attempt to ascend to fort.

Descending the back stair case, the party first came upon an obvious strategy planning room. There were documents and chalk drawings on a slate board. Nulia was planning on ally with her mentor the quasit from the Catacombs of Wrath. Part of that plan was to include the use of sinspawn from the rune well, but not until several hundred citizens and goblins had died to further fuel it.

The next room was a research room with the wizardress ally of Nulia. Alerting others near by on this level, soon the battle was joined by several goblins and the flail wielding, elf hating, Bruthazmus the Bugbear. Shortly there after, Orik, a heavily armored warrior gave the party a moment of trouble but quickly surrendered when he saw which way the wind was blowing in the dungeon corridors.

Quickly finding the secret door in the research room the party descended deeper into thistletops underworks. Traygus found a deadly trap of portcullis, glaives, and a pit. While the party tried helping and Traygus tried surviving, Nulia prepared having heard the trap going off. As a vicious servant of Lamashtu the battle went as one would expect, blood flying from nearly every one. Penny went cujo style on Nulia when things were looking bleakest.

A crypt with shadows became the final resting place for Orik as well as his life force was drained by their horrific caress. Finding yet another secret door the party found a collapsed treasure vault. While leaving the most valuable item behind due to difficulty in moving it and the fact that it was inhabited by a hermit crab, the party still made off with plenty of loot.

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Catacombs of Wrath

The old smuggler tunnels led in two directions; one towards the sea, the other towards the town. Staunchly marching down the tunnel towards town, the party encountered a slavering sinspawn. The first of many. Sinspawn.jpg

The rough hewn walls of the smuggling tunnels, gave way to smooth stone corridors that reeked of age. Traygus examined a red marble statue. Runelord Alaznist was his pronouncement. At that point the realization that this was an ancient structure began to strike home.

Creeping further into the ancient complex, the party came upon a shrine to Lamashtu. The shallow concavity upon the black marble alter held a pool of filthy water. Beyond the rooms double doors led to a underground cathedral to Lamashtu. And within was a demonic Quasit and a runewell shimmering with power. The insane, enraged Quasit , used drops of her own blood to summon a sinspawn, The runewell noticeably dimmed as a result. Tiny and elusive, the Quasit lasted much longer than her summoned spawn, but in the end she fell, her body smote to ruin by the purifing flames of Sarenrae as administered by Aralyynn Sunstride.

Further exploration found an old cellblock, framed with a rickety old walk way. The party was able to rush the two sinspawn on the cell floor below. Using the catwalk to launch spear attacks on the sinspawn below, Traygus was himself ambushed by a sinspawn lurking in the catwalk itself. Situation well in hand, Traygus stepped back a bit and interposed Artax between himself and the viscous spawn. The ancient Thassaloinian preservative magics which had held at bay decay and ruin for ten thousand years, suddenly snapped and the ancient wooden walkway along with it.

Once the sinspawn were defeated the gap in the walk way was traveled with little difficulty. The remaining chambers included only one real combatant: a malformed, three armed goblin that spit showers of filty acidic spew. Shalelu would later identify the corpse as belonging to Korvus, a goblin of some reknown. The library was entirely ruined except for a single slip of parchment containing a single spell.

Perhaps strangest of all was the meditation chamber. A spherical room 15ft in diameter. Several objects float in the room, spinning lazily. A ragged book, a scroll, a bottle of wine, a dead raven surrounded by a halo of floating maggots, and a twisted iron rod with a forked tip. Yet perhaps more unnerving than the contents of the room are its walls, for they are plated in sheets of strange red metal that ripple every once in a while with a silent black electricity that seems to coalesce into strange runes or even words far too often for the effect to be chance.

After clearing the complex out. The party alerted the town elders and sought the aid of Broderick Quink the towns learned sage and speciallist in Thassalonian history. Guiding a group of village potentates into the catacombs below wasn’t the easiest of tasks, but the town elders eventually beheld what had been below there town.

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Into the Glassworks
Family squabbles can be a pain in the glass

After dinner with Salelu at the Rusty Dragon, which included a question and answer session in which the mysteries surrounding the goblin raid and Traygus’s pointed questions regarding the fate of Nualia, the party turned in for a restful night.

Shortly before second breakfast, Bethana, one of Amekio’s employees, approached the party. Obviously upset, she noted that Amekio was no where to be found, and that she had found a note from Amekio’s brother Tetsuo.

She related the tale of Tetsuo’s estrangement from his family. Noting that he was a half-elf, born to human parents, and glaring proof that Lonjiku‘s wife was unfaithful to him. Tetsuo’s note to his sister implicated their father in the goblin raid on Sandpoint and asked her to meet him at the family business at midnight.

While investigating the Glassworks, it was noted that while the chimney was still pouring out smoke, all of the curtains had been drawn, the doors were locked, and there were no signs of the usual bustle around this generally busy business.

Concluding that a glassworks could easily replace a window, the party began by smashing one, which of course drew the attention of gawkers wondering what the party was up to breaking into one of the town landmarks. Aralyynn’s diplomatic soothings kept the citizens from seeking out actual members of the constabulary.

Inside they found the glassworks in a complete state of disarray. Display pieces smashed, offices vandalized, bloodstains in various rooms. They could hear the sequel and laughter of goblins in the glassworking room. Deciding to investigate the basement first, the party found Amekio, bruised, bound, and unconscious in one of the basement storage rooms. After releasing and healing her, they learned that Tetsuo was indeed responsible for the goblin raid and that he had used old smuggler tunnels to get his goblin allies into the glassworks.

The party had secured all the doors leading into the forge room, when they finally burst in to deal with the capering goblins, Tetsuo’s first move was to try and escape. The goblins in the room began flinging flasks and solvents at the party, several even tried to grapple Quarthon in an attempt to shove him into the blast furnace. As the number of goblins dwindled and Tetsuo was making excellent use of his mobility, Traygus had his trusty mount Arrtax be the “wall of horse” blocking the doors they had opened, making fleeing a difficult option for Tetsuo.

Several times Tetsuo was able to deflect arrows that nearly struck him, and overall he fought in a generally defensive manner, waiting for a gap to open he could flee through. Tetsuo nearly caught a break when he jostled Aralyynn’s arm and caused her firebolt to strike numerous vials and beakers of reagents, causing a potent cloud of noxious chemicals to be released. In the end he was overwhelmed and sent whimpering to what ever afterlife he believed in. In the chamber they found Lonjiku Kaijitsu looking like he had been tied to a chair and had molten glass poured over him. The rest of the staff had been butchered and “played” with by the goblins seeking to replicate Tetsuo’s “masterpiece”

Among his possessions the party found a leather bound journal of two dosen parchment pages, most of which are filled with different attack plans on Sandpoint . The first set of which are plans for a raid of thirty goblins. Several of the other depict plans for a full assault of what apears to be 200 goblins. There are also numerous erotic drawings of a beautiful woman, likely Nualia

TsutosJournal.jpg

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Spending Time in Sandpoint
Small towns need Heroes too!

Over the course of the next seven days the party realized they had become grand heroes in the eyes of the town folk. A boar hunt with Alden Foxglove, Quorthon got to see the special rack in Ven Vinder’s General Store, numerous merchants offered discounts, Amekio offered free room and board for a week, and extended it by another when the party stood up for her when her angry and very drunk father, Lonjiku Kaijitsu confronted her.

While the party went about roaming the town. Traygus was approached by a young child who was obviously upset. Followed quickly by her mother. Upon hearing their tale of a possible goblin hiding in the floorboards under their home, he moved quickly to investigate. Once inside the home he summoned Arrtax. Which quickly resulted in some trashed furniture in the citizens home. He quickly found the body of the father, his arm and should pulled into a hole in the floor boards. After prying up a few floor boards, Traygus caught the attention of the voracious goblin who’s meal he interrupted. A smashed bed later, Traygus and Arrtax dealt the goblin a fatal blow.

5 days after the goblin raid, Shalelu Andosana returned to Sandpoint bring news and information on the local goblin tribes, confirming that some one or something has them, at least for now, unified to a common purpose. Saying " big plans, require big bosses" she recounted what passed for goblin “heroes” of the area, none of which seemed capable of pulling such a thing off, nor providing any reason why the would want to cart of the dead body of Ezakien Tobyn. Sheriff Hemlock and several constables left for Magnimar to inform the authorities there and hopefully get some reinforcements. He asked the party to remain in town, both as a comforting presence to the townsfolk and as protectors in case the goblins returned.

Shalelu’s information:

Birdcruncher
Birdcruncher goblins live in caves along the western edge of the Devil’s Platter, although traditionally these goblins are the least aggressive of the five.

Licktoad
To the south are the Licktoad goblins of the Brinestump Marsh, pests that are excellent swimmers.

Seven Tooth
East are the Seven Tooth goblins of Shank’s Wood,goblins who’ve secured a place for themselves by raiding Sandpoint’s junkyard and rebuilding the stolen refuse into armor and weapons.

Mosswood
Further east are the Mosswood goblins, likely the largest tribe but one traditionally held back by feuding families within their own ranks.

Thistletop
Thistletop goblins, who live on the Nettlewood coast atop a small island that some say holds a passing resemblance to a decapitated head.

On Goblin Heroes: Shalelu notes that goblins generally live short, violent lives. It’s unusual for a single goblin to achieve any real measure of notoriety, but when one does, it’s well-earned.

Currently, five goblins enjoy the status of “hero.”

Big Gugmut is an unusually muscular and tall goblin from Mosswood who, it is said, had a hobgoblin for a mother and a wild boar for a father.

Koruvus was a champion of the Seven Tooth tribe, who was as well known for his short temper as he was for his prized possession—a magic longsword sized for a human that the goblin stubbornly kept as his own (despite the fact that it was too large for him to properly wield). Koruvus vanished several months ago after he supposedly discovered a “secret hideout” in a cave along the cliffs, but the Seven Tooth goblins remain convinced that he’s out there still, a ghost or worse, waiting to murder any goblin who tries to discover his hideout.

Vorka is a notorious goblin cannibal who lives in the Brinestump marsh, a “hero” mostly to goblins other than the Licktoad tribe.

Ripnugget is the current leader of the Thistletop
goblins and controls what the five tribes agree is the best lair.

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Goblin Mayhem

The fleeing crowd was the biggest obstacle to over come at first, as the goblins in the area seemed much more intent on causing chaos and mayhem than in actually killing people. Quorthon slew quite a few, but not before they had torched his fine festival boots. Azar‘s luck in Sandpoint continued as a snapped bowstring kept him out of action for a moment or two. Traygus’s mount Arrtax helped him make quick work of one of the goblin warchanter’s by inflicting a death most feared by goblins: trampled by a horse.

After seeing the remaining citizens in the square to safety, the party’s attention was drawn to the north gate.

In addition to the crazed goblins running around, one of the festival pavilions was fully on fire, and a mother and child were trapped within by goblins hoping to see them do the “burny dance”. Further east a goblin commando had recently slew a horse, and another goblin was busily “looting” the contents of the cart the horse was pulling.

Traygus bravely rode his mount into the burning pavilion caring not that he and Arrtax were singed. He quickly got off and placed the woman on his brave summoned steed. Unfortunately the child was carried of by one of the goblins and dragged towards the city gate.

Quorthon, Azar, and Aralyynn mopped up the goblins around the pavilion and drove towards the captured boy and remaining gobos.

“Stay back Longshanks!!” growled the ratdog mounted commando in guttural common, as he placed the point of his horsechopper to the young boys abdomen. Without missing a beat Quorthon flung a blade into the flank of the ratdog, temporarily unbalancing the goblin. Unfortunately the evil goblinoid was able to recover in time to slash open the child torso, spilling intestines onto the cobbled street.

Luckily, Aralyynn was in the right place at the right time to heal the boy, though he will bear the scar for life. The ratdog was the first creature to actually land a solid attack against Quorthon, damaging him slightly but also causing a irritable allergic reaction with its dander, causing him to break out in a horridly itchy rash.

The “loot” within the wagon was a somewhat scratched up noble. Alden Foxglove thanked his rescuers profusely, before turning his charms on the lady healing his wounds.

Gathering later that evening at the garrison with some of the leading figures in town, the party is profusely thanked for their actions, which not only saved lives, but aided in driving the goblins out of Sandpoint.

Interrogations by the party and Belor Hemlock, reveal that the few goblins know nothing of importance other than the raid was led by “a longshanks like you” and that he was on a “secret” mission to the graveyard. Additionally it is noted there were at least three different goblin tribes involved in the raid.

Sheriff Hemlock noted the information in regards to the graveyard but classified it as something he would look into in the morning, as there still may have been goblins lurking about and the safety of the citizens came first. Undeterred, the party went to the boneyard to investigate.

A search of the grave yard turned up an area of prints around one of the larger mausoleums, according to Aralyynn it was the place of interment for those who served the chapel, the door was slightly ajar. As Aralyynn sought to sneak a peek inside, Traygus boldly flung open the door. As he did so two animate skeletons flung themselves towards him. Azar seemed to momentarily panic, while Traygus summoned his “Wall of Horse” to block the skeletons from exiting, a few pulses of positive energy and a couple of sword swings and the skeletons were returned to inanimate bone. Inside the party discovered that the body of Ezakien Tobyn had been stolen, and a depleted robe of bones had been discarded.

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Swallowtail Festival Activites
I was led to believe there would be punch and pie.

The Swallowtail festival and edification of the Sandpoint Cathedral began without a hitch. The town leaders started the day with short speeches: Mayor Kendra Deverin excited the crowd with sheer force of charisma and playing to the town-folks sense of hard work and importance. Sheriff Hemlock‘s speech brought folks down a bit with his safety reminders and request for a moment of silence for those lost during The Late Unpleasantness. Lonjiku Kaijitsu was scheduled to speak next but sent word that he was ill and unable to attend. The next speaker, Cyradak Drokkus reignited the crowds excitement for the day’s festivities. Owner of the local theater, Cyradak’s comedy routine had folks rolling with laughter. The final speaker Deacon Abstalar Zantus gave a short speech thanking everyone for attending, reminded everyone that the official dedication would occur at noon, and kicked of the day by releasing a veritable swarm of brightly colored Swallowtail butterflies.

After a few hours of festival fun and games, the official dedication ceremony began and when it concluded it was accompanied by an even larger release of butterflies, causing children to scatter in an attempt to capture them. The various taverns hosted the annual lunch contest, with The Rusty Dragon wining for the second year in a row, this time with a lovely curry-spiced salmon dish narowly edging out the White Deer’s grilled peppercorn venison.

As the late afternoon turned to evening the festival became quite the brouhaha as the citizens became more inebriated during the celebration. Several bought of fisticuffs over the outcome of bingo games had to be broken up.

Near sun down, a large crowd gathered at the cathedral for the final consecration ceremony. Deacon Abstalar Zantus, climbed the cathedral steps and used a thunderstone to attract attention. As the crowd drew silent, he cleared his throat to speak, but before he could say a word, shrill screams began to fill the air, followed quickly by giggling high pitched voices that began to chant a strangely catchy song:

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 the goblins—you the food!

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Swallowtail Festival
And so it begins. . .

For five years, since the The Late Unpleasantness, the citizens of Sandpoint have attended religious services in temporary structures erected after fire destroyed the previous temple. While their new religious leader was helpful, kind, and wise, church just was not the same.

Now, the new Sandpoint Cathedral, with it’s gleaming shrines to Abadar, Desna, Erastil, Gozreh, Sarenrae, and Shelyn, is finally done. All that remains is for the grand inauguration during the annual Swallowtail Festival to renew the site’s blessings from the Gods and it will be as if the Sandpoint Fire had never occurred.

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