Rise of the Runelords

Prologue

You are all in Sandpoint, on the day of the Swallowtail Festival, in or around the square just outside of the church. The Swallowtail Festival begins promptly, as scheduled, on the Autumnal Equinox. The square before the church quickly becomes crowded as locals and travelers arrive, and several merchant tents featuring food, clothes, local crafts, and souvenirs are there to meet them.

List of events for the day include:

  • Welcoming Speeches The “Warm-up” speeches (morning)
  • Festival Fun and Games (late morning)
  • Swallowtail Release (noon)
  • Lunch! provided by the local taverns, and Consecration The most prominent point of the evening! No one should miss this! (Dusk)

WELCOMING SPEECHES:

The turnout for the opening speeches is quite respectable, and the four keynote speakers each deliver short but well-received welcomes to the festival. Mayor Deverin’s friendly attitude and excitement prove contagious as she welcomes visitors to town and jokes about how even Larz Rovanky, the local tanner (and notorious workaholic) managed to tear himself away from the tannery to attend, much to everyone’s amusement (except Larz’s). Sheriff Belor Hemlock brings the crowd down a bit with his dour mood, his reminder to be safe around the evening’s bonfire, 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 several years ago. The next speaker is scheduled to be local nobleman Lonjiku Kaijitsu, but a sudden illness has prevented him from attending the ceremony (this isn’t something that surprises the locals, given Lonjiku’s well-known dislike of frivolity and festivals). Sandpoint’s own showman Cyrdak Drokkus is more than up to the challenge of bringing the crowd’s mood back up with his rousing anecdotes. He delivers a not-completely-irreverent recap of the long process the town went through to finance and construct the new cathedral. He throws in a bit of selfpromotion at the end, as is his wont, inviting everyone to stop by the Sandpoint Theater the following evening to check out his new production of “The Harpy’s Curse,” revealing that the lead role of Avisera the harpy queen will be played by none other than the famous Magnimarian diva Allishanda! Finally, Father Zantus steps up to give a short speech thanking everyone for coming before declaring the Swallowtail Festival underway.

FESTIVAL FUN AND GAMES:

Numerous games and contests take place, including sack races, games of hide-and-seek, weight-lifting challenges, balance beam contests, tug-of-war events, and the like, which anyone can spend the time participating in.

Comments

Korek had wandered into Sandpoint from the dwarven holds to the east, the town the first major settlement he had encountered in his self imposed exile. Unused to human customs, the dwarf was a little unsettled at first, particularly as he’d timed his arrival to coincide with the Swallowtail Festival. Quite unlike your typical dwarven celebration.

Nontheless, Korek did his best to blend in, taking a passable showing at the archery contest and enjoying the free food, not to mention the free beer (even though it was pronounced a weak, human brew) Korek was even beginning to enjoy himself until he was pelted by rocks thrown by street urchins. Mindful of the need for proper behaviour, Korek caught one of the children, and with the help of the sorceress Aurelie, proceeded to give a firm lecture.

The boy had just been sent on their way when a mass of goblins attacked, sending the crowd screaming in panic. Mindful of the need to protect the defenseless and eager to crush his ancestral enemies, Korek immediately got stuck into the fight. He battled with gusto, slaying several goblins before the rest were driven off, though he was badly burnt in the process and lost his beard.

Poor Korek now feels like half a dwarf…

Nonetheless, he made several (perhaps temporary) alliances – Aurelie, Alia the cleric who healed him, and Kith’ranis a devilish ranger who fought with honour. Together they rescued a nobleman who Korek promptly dismissed as a fop unworthy of his title and successfully captured 2 goblins, one of which was a higher class of warrior. Now they are preparing to interrogate their prisoners and Korek is strongly advocating tracking the goblins back to their lair, in order to carry out suitable chastisement.

Prologue
 

“Swallow Tail? …And you want to go to this festival with me?” – the tiefling asked, his raspy voice stuttering a bit from surprise. Sure, he knew people who were completely insane, unpredictable, or otherwise vastly chaotic in nature, but he didn’t expect something so direct, so suddenly from the otherwise reserved elven ranger. He was her student for almost two years now, learning the ways of the prime from her, and the means to hunt dangerous beasts that threatened the lands. All under the nickname Gray Wolf.
While he did in fact feel attracted to her, he never mustered the courage to act on those feelings, believing her to be more distant than to notice his childish behavior. Now it was her asking him to accompany her to this town called Sandpoint, to some obscenely named festival of debauchery the locals came up with. He didn’t have a problem with that, or any second thoughts, the initiative from the woman had merely put him off balance. Perhaps one of his latest exploits have finally impressed her?
Shalelu nodded in response to his vocal question. “I have a good friend in Sandpoint, she’s running an inn. You really should see more of how the people live here.” – she explained while the two wanderers broke camp.
Forget about that, Kath’ranis Amalith thought. I bet there will be lot more fun things to do. The plane-touched warrior knew little of local customs or lifestyle, and for all he could imagine, the local berks were either all naive conies, clueless idiots, or dancing with the slaadi – completely insane, that is. However, he was looking forward to celebrating this swallow tail thing with the elf.

His disappointment was visible on his face, though the crowd seemed more obsessed with the barmy games they could participate in all day long, stopping only every ten minutes or so to stare at him. Shooting blunt arrows at wooden devil targets (which looked like no devil he has seen so far), goblin burning for sport that had nothing to do with goblins or burning things, and betting on races with some lizards. Children’s games, with willing adults competing in them. At least he could cash in a pocketful of silvers on the last one.
The tainted elf didn’t enjoy himself here. There were no thrills, no sweat, no blood. No real emotions he could appreciate either. The naming of Swallowtail festival turned out to be something completely different as well. He felt himself shamed when he found out that swallowtails were actually animals, and didn’t involve swallowing or anything vulgar. All that, and his only friend was nowhere to find. In the end he gave up on looking for Shalelu, deciding the woman was taking a day off from what she considered her duties, probably doing girl things with her friend.
The tainted half-elf did meet some interesting folks at the fair during the day however. There was a sturdy-looking dwarf here, seemingly enjoying the activities the town had to offer, but he did have something about him. He seemed like a capable cutter, though he butted his nose into completely unrelated business when some orphans played a prank on him.
There was also a pretty little human girl, dressed lightly in robes he had now way of recognizing as acolyte’s wear. She followed him for a while, and Kath’ranis mistook her for a jinkskirt – a prostitute going after the obviously capable looking. He was mistaken however, and she turned out to be a spellslinger, surprisingly kind and concerned for others, despite having her devastating magic. She also had a weird smell, something almost planar about her, but he couldn’t really tell what.
Finally, by the end of the day when chaos broke loose, much to the skirmisher’s preference – the festival has just started for him – he also met a faith-fool, an aasimar no less. He’s seen scores of them on the planes, and took no effort to recognize the woman for what she was. She seemed like a competent person at least, and she was the closest thing Kath’ranis had for familiar company. The cleric did have a blood halo alright, as she demonstrated burning several goblins alive that day. Definitely one celestial you don’t want to mess with, though he wouldn’t go as far as call her blood just yet.

Despite these new faces quickly becoming comrades-in-arms, nothing could have cheered up the ranger better than the actual bloody battle that erupted after lunch. Maybe the spicy curry he had two servings of, courtesy of the Rusty Dragon Inn.
Sure, there were people hurt and dying somewhere, but it was not his job to care about them. So instead, he jumped head first into battle, eager to put his twin blades Rage and Desire to use. As a bonus, he could boast to Shalelu later about slaying the little beasts and defending her dear town. Not that he cared about these people. He had no real reason to, they all treated him like the alien he was. Only one person in this world showed kindness towards him, and he’d not let her regret that. The thoughts fueled his resolve in battle, as he tore a goblin into several pieces by ripping both of his blades out from the creature’s chest.

In the end, the day went much better than he initially expected. The hastily improvised war-band took out three groups of goblins and captured two for interrogation and torture later. They also had a cowardly noble called Albert or Elbern or something Foxglove in their debt, who proved to be far less of a hunter than he claimed to be. If the fool insisted on saving his face and reputation, the tanar’ri-spawn would soon cash in on that.
What was more important however, that by handling this goblin threat on Shalelu’s beloved town, he could prove his competence to the woman, and finally she would see him as more than a little brother or sidekick.

Prologue
 

(I’ve opted to go for ‘as it happened’ reactions, as narrated by how Aurelie was feeling and thinking at the time. While it is a bit long and has a fair amount of thinking about herself, Aurelie was paying attention to the party and many of her reactions directly relate to what your characters did; she noticed when Kath’ranis played scary pranks on children, when Korek did something smart, and so on.)

Early Festival Hours

Back in Cheliax, public gatherings regularly involved criminals or those of opposing faiths being brought out for punishment and humiliation… and far too many of us would participate either out of genuinely misguided patriotism, or fear of not ‘properly’ showing it and thus looking suspicious.

Yet I’ve only been in Sandpoint a few days, and the people here are so different from that. Their celebration, even though it’s just starting, is already the complete opposite. They’re not here to hurt or degrade those their leaders say to; they’re smiling and running and competing and telling stories. I can see their happiness and energy… I want to say I envy it, but it’s not as though they’re excluding me; if anyone is, it is I. Enough of that, I may as well join the festivities and perhaps even meet someone.

Archery Contest

Even their games are so different. Here is one where you ‘slay’ a ‘devil’, but in truth it is a wood target. Far less frightening than the beasts that made Westcrown’s streets deadly after dark… but that’s fine. There’s a dwarf ahead of me, and just by looking at how he’s holding the bow I can tell he’s better with them than I. …He hit! Some are applauding… I should do the same. It’s my turn now, and the owner agreed to let me use my crossbow instead. Ready… shoot.

Did it just hit the bullseye? Maybe. It’s right on the very edge! He’s checking… and decides I did, awarding me a pie as prize. Very honest of him; I wasn’t so concerned that I would have checked, and if he were to say it just narrowly missed I would have believed it. I already ate before I came however, and… …it seems there’s a small commotion nearby. I’ll let this dwarven fellow have my prize, he seems to be eying it anyway.

In the end, it seems the commotion was much noise over little actual problem. I’m back now and he seems very enthusiastic about tearing into that pie. A little unsightly, but his joy at even this small kindness is a fine ‘substitute prize.’ Perhaps I should ask his name and…

…He just got hit by a rock!?

Unruly Children

From joy to anger in a moment. I can scarcely blame him though, it seems one of these boys struck him with a rock. They have some little toy for hurling the stones, and it works unusually well. I’ll follow to make sure his temper doesn’t flare out of control, turning discipline into something going a little too far.

…It seems my concern is misplaced. This dwarf is certainly and justifiably upset, but mostly keeping his senses. We’re trying to find the boy’s parents, but with no success… while he has caretakers, it seems he and several others were orphaned a few years ago; that’s horrible. The dwarf shares my sympathies, and discipline falls to us with some stern words of caution and a reminder not to use ‘toys’ like that while people are around. The child does seem sorry… I suppose that’s enough for now.

At least we can get back to the celebrations, and the dwarf seems very responsible and level-headed.

Fortune Teller

There’s quite a line gathering now, it seems a fortune teller is arriving. It strikes me as so much nonsense, but why not give it a try? No harm can come of it. …Nevermind that, it seems another disturbance is happening. The same man as before, and now that I look a little more closely…

…He has the appearance of the ‘devil touched’ back in Cheliax. I know little about them, but they almost always mean trouble. Either I take shelter, or strike him down. …No, there’s no need. His disturbances are absurd pranks, and I’m being equally absurd; if there was a true problem then the guards would have long since acted on it. Nonetheless, I’m going to tell him that stomping about and terrifying the children with roars of “I’m a monster” is unacceptable!

I don’t think I’m quite getting through to him. He keeps asking odd questions, referring to me by names and words I’ve never heard. Whatever they mean, he has settled down and I suppose that’s enough for now. It’s getting a little late, but I’ve heard some of the most important events will begin soon.

Butterfly Release, Cathedral Ceremony

Everyone is now gathered near the cathedral, ready for a few ceremonies regarding our faiths. I’ve been eager for this; I keep comparing differences between Sandpoint and my previous home, but there is yet another one. Here they openly embrace faiths that teach kindness, tolerance, and other virtues. I can openly wear symbols of my newfound devotion to Sarenrae, celebrating her intervention that has improved my life in so many ways! Hopefully I can gain a position working with the cathedral, furthering my study of religions I know only the most basic tenets of.

For now though, they’re bringing in a large, covered box. I wonder why? Everyone else seems delighted, they seem to know what’s in it. The cover is being pulled back, and… ahh! Lovely! Butterflies everywhere… it’s a celebration of Desna. They truly do embrace and cherish their…

…Screams?

Ceremony Interrupted as Goblins Attack

It can’t be that ‘devil’, he’s nearby and surely wouldn’t press his luck a third time. People are screaming and fleeing, and… some of those screams are different; people being hurt, animals panicking. This is no prank, something is wrong.

The others noticed them before I did. There are goblins here, rushing and riding through as they cut down person and beast alike. They’re even singing! Sarenrae teaches us to offer reconciliation to our enemies, but there’s simply no time for it now. I promised the Dawnflower I would protect people with the magic she offered me, and I’m going to stop this… no, it seems we are going to stop this.

They’re certainly brave! Armored and armed, they’re taking the fight right to these brutes. I feel a little less than inspiring, taking cover and fighting at a distance… but it is helping. Goblins are falling either under my attacks, or under gels I conjure beneath them. The others are taking perfect advantage of it, cutting them down afterward. The goblins are getting fewer and fewer… we’re winning!

That is all of them. There’s little time to celebrate though, as much of Sandpoint is still host to flames and screams. I’m trying to rush ahead to help elsewhere, but it seems I’ve underestimated the others; they’re following and now urging me to stay back a little and help them as they advance. They’re right, of course; I’ve none of their protection against blades and arrows.

There’s another group of goblins, one of them riding upon what looks like either the most wretched dog I’ve ever seen or it’s the world’s largest rat; I can scarcely tell which. We were spread out before, but now act together and the results are even more telling; we’re taking only minor injuries while slaying attackers one after another. Their apparent leader… he just shot at me! I’m okay; I saw it, I narrowly dodged… still frightening, but now angering. If he means to fight me, he can do so without that pest of his!

More of my magical gel has dropped him to the ground, and he’s now surrounded. My first impulse is to simply stand aside and let them finish this coward, but… no. We’re in control here, it’s safe to offer mercy… and he has surrendered. Good; there is always that tiny chance his heart can be brought over to the light, and more practically we can now question these goblins as to why they attacked Sandpoint seemingly unprovoked.

We’ve won… some of the people here are dead or seriously hurt, but this could have gone far worse. Clearly, thinking of that man as ‘just a devil-touched’ was very wrong; he fought these goblins as well as the dwarf did.

Aftermath

This concerns things Aurelie tries to do after the session.

Regarding Everyone: Aurelie introduces herself by name and tries to get acquainted with the rest of the party too. She’s openly thankful for their efforts to fight off the goblins.

Korek: She’s very concerned over how he rushed ahead to meet a trio of goblins alone. Aurelie asks him, “If we fight again, would you show more caution? My magic can strike them at a distance, forcing them to move to us and you can fight them with allies at your side, on ground you prefer. None can doubt your bravery, but bravery plus good sense is even better.”

Despite these remarks, Aurelie is clearly impressed; he was responsible and level-headed when dealing with the child that threw a rock at him, and did well fighting the goblins.

Kath’ranis: She apologizes for things she was only thinking and never said to Kath’ranis. “Forgive me. Once I saw you, I thought you represented only trouble. Yet you fought like the others did, and your blades cut down just as many goblins. Clearly there is something to you beyond your appearance and pranks where you claim to be a monster, and I will treat you more kindly from here on.”

She also has a request of him. “Should we fight again… while getting beside or behind the enemy is valuable, can you do it more quickly? Korek held the goblins back on his own, at great risk. You absolutely had the right idea, but seemed to worry about being seen. Even if they had, what would it matter? They were already occupied and could do nothing to stop you. Please consider that.” Just like with Korek, this is meant as polite advice and she is otherwise impressed by Kath’ranis’ actions.

Prologue
 

I have a serious migraine and an incredibly insane amount of stress at the moment, so this will be short. I apologize in advance. Plus I had some extended family issues during the game that made me miss part of the game session, and for that I am also sorry, but I wasn’t able to hear a big part of what was going on and therefore can’t accurately post on that. Therefore, I am just going to have it where Alia had been busy and missed the first part of the festival, arriving in time for the speeches.

_Alia had been delayed. Earlier that morning a local family’s young son had climbed up onto the roof of their barn and fallen off. He had been gravely injured, and Alia had been the closest and best change the boy had for survival. The young healer had spent much of the day caring for young Mikal. She had used some of her magic to ensure his survival. After that, herbs and skill had been applied until she was sure he would be fine. With his wounds bandaged and most of the pain taken away, the family and Alia left for the festival together. It turned out, she had arrived just in time.

The speeches were ordinary, but Alia listened politely. It was the goblins that soon swarmed the crowd that spurred her to action. She used the abilities granted to her by Sarenrae to burn several of them, but her sling proved mostly ineffective. Still, her efforts combined with the magical abilities of what seemed to be a sorceress, a devil-spawn, and a dwarf, good won the day. Many were saved, and a nobleman was rescued. The battle ended well.

As the group she had ended up with headed back, the mage had some things to say to the dwarf and the tiefling, but as she was not spoken to, Alia did not say anything about it. She was still stewing on the slap on the butt she’d gotten and what she’d been called. But Alia wasn’t as offended as she perhaps should have been. It was mostly just startling.

Alia returned to the festival grounds and offered her services, without accepting any pay, to any and all who needed it after ensuring the ones she had battled with were not injured or in any pain. Then she spent her time cleaning up the mess left by the goblins and ensuing fighting._

Prologue
DarthPrefect

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