Rise of the Runelords
A simple, relatively peaceful town with all the color and common oddities one expects from a tightly-knit community, Sandpoint sits at a point on the Lost Coast halfway between Magnimar and Windsong Abbey. Wood buildings and cluttered docks line the town’s natural harbor, while farms and the manors of wealthy citizens dot the surrounding countryside. During the day, fishing, farming, lumbering, glassmaking, and shipbuilding occupy most of the townsfolk, who commonly retire to their homes by way of Sandpoint’s many taverns. A playhouse and would-be museum make unusual attractions in such a small community, but Sandpoint’s true landmark is the Old Light, a lighthouse of ancient origins that lies in ruins.
A relatively peaceful town, devoid of many of the dangers of a true frontier town and intrigues of a sprawling city, Sandpoint has nonetheless had its share of troubles. The fading scars of a recent terror still linger, a time most folk refer to as the Late Unpleasantness. Just over five years ago, a madman stalked the streets of Sandpoint, killing dozens. Known as Chopper, the killer’s monthlong terror ended bloodily when an eccentric local artisan was revealed as the murderer and killed during his attempted capture. Adding to the pain, less than a month later the local chapel burned to the ground in a conflagration that nearly consumed the town’s northern half and left the local priest dead.
Emerging from the shadow of these events, though, Sandpoint has healed and rebuilt, with many townsfolk viewing the coming dedication of a new church as a symbolic end to the healing and return to normality.
Kendra Deverin has served as Sandpoint’s mayor for the past eight years. Lawmaker, judge, and general peacemaker, Deverin has proven to be both an adept diplomat and stern hand when need be—skills likely honed during her youth in Magnimar and adventuring in the region. With a personal—some say sisterly—style of governing, Kendra holds the abiding respect of most of Sandpoint’s people, charming them with her fiery temper and tenacity for justice (as demonstrated during the Late Unpleasantness). A council of several of the town’s most respected and affluent landowners aids Deverin’s work. While several council members have their own agendas and visions for the town, the mayor’s no-nonsense attitude assures that council decisions ever work toward the common good.
Meting out the town’s good justice, sheriff and council member Belor Hemlock keeps watch over Sandpoint’s people. Held as something of a local hero, Hemlock is lauded with being the man who brought the serial killer, Chopper, to justice. Although rarely faced with misconduct more severe than vandalism and public drunkenness, the sheriff is both a keen wit and a skilled swordsman, and openly proves both when the rare crime requires it. While the town’s chief enforcer, Hemlock knows the difference between the word of the law and its intent, and often gives those under his protection the benefit of the doubt.
Their sheriff’s work aside, Sandpoint’s people realize they must often fend for and defend themselves, especially on the outlying farms. In the rarest and most extreme cases— and even then thoroughly discouraged—mob justice is sometimes all that satisfies the outraged people.
A rolling, lightly forested land of limestone escarpments, rugged tors, and verdant moors surrounds Sandpoint. Most who populate the area live off the land and sea. Numerous farms spread over the surrounding countryside, while the homes of fisherfolk dot the coastal cliffs. Viable farming land is a coveted commodity around Sandpoint, as rocky hills and expanses of limestone pavements—uneven areas of flat rock—break the lush landscape.
Wolves, snakes, and oversized weasels primarily stalk the deer and hares common to the area, along with the occasional stray farm animal, making attacks on humanoids rare. When the fogs common to Sandpoint’s stretch of shore rise, though, every dark shape in the mist becomes a monster, giving rise to numerous local legends of hungry wild men, winged terrors, and reeking things from the sea.