Varisian Chronicler's Skinsaw Murders

Game Master Ludomancer


View of Magnimar from the northwest

View of Magnimar from the west

Magnimar section

View of northern Sandpoint from the Old Light

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 as an eccentric for his one-man crusade to carve depictions of birds on every deserving building in town. Stoot never made a carving without securing permission, but his incredible skill 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 talent to include ship figureheads and even carriages. Those who asked or tried to pay him for his skill were rebuffed, Stoot telling them, "There ain't no birds in that wood for me t'set free," and going on his way. Stoot often wandering the streets for days before noticing a hidden bird in a fencepost, lintel, steeple, or doorframe and securing permission to "release" it with his trusty carving knives.

Stoot's excuse for wanting to move to 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, 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 fifteen 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 body count suddenly began to mount, the town 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, every few days brought a new victim to light. Each was found in the same terrible state, bodies bearing deep cutting wounds to the neck and torso, with both hands and feet severed and stacked nearby and the eyes and tongue missing entirely, plucked crudely from the head.

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. Many believe that he even took to beating his wife and daughter, and that, in its own way, may have been the genesis of the Sandpoint Fire. In any event, Sheriff Avertin himself became Chopper's last victim, slain when he finally caught the killer mutilating his latest victim in the side street that would come to be known as Chopper's Alley. Yet in the battle that followed, Avertin managed a telling blow against the murderer. When the town guard found the sheriff dead with another victim several minutes later, they were able to follow the bloody trail left by the killer.

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 in 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 for 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 then blessed and then scattered in an attempt to stave off an unholy return of his evil spirit from beyond the grave. And in the months to follow, Sandpoint did its best to forget the terror, although even today, children who remember the dark times only six years ago sometimes wake with nightmare visions of Chopper hiding under their beds.

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 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.

...

NPCs

Kendra Deverin

Kendra Deverin has served as Sandpoint's mayor since 4702 AR. Lawmaker, judge, and general peacemaker, she has proven to be both an adept diplomat and stern hand when need be, both skills honed during her youth in Magnimar. With a personal—some say sisterly—style of governing, most of Sandpoint's citizens hold deep respect for their fiery-haired mayor.

Belor Hemlock

Belor Hemlock is the sheriff of the Varisian town of Sandpoint. He replaced the previous sheriff, Casp Avertin, who was killed by serial killer Chopper in 4702 AR. Originally a member of the Shriikirri-Quah tribe of the Shoanti, Belor abandoned his heritage when he took on the role of sheriff, changing his last name from its native Viskalai to the Chelish translation of Hemlock, much to the dismay of his brother Garridan. Hemlock is romantically involved with Kaye Tesarani, the proprietor of Sandpoint's local brothel. Although this is not public knowledge, it is not as secret an affair as either would like, and has further strained the sheriff's relationships with the more conservative and traditional families in town.

Abstalar Zantus

When the Sandpoint chapel burnt to the ground in 4702 AR, killing the town's priest, Ezakien Tobyn, his position in the town was filled by his top acolyte, Abstalar Zantus. Though Father Zantus is himself a cleric of Desna, his role as high-priest requires him to be open to other faiths, and he is more than willing and open to assist followers of other gods with spiritual matters.

Aldern Foxglove

In 4687 AR Traver and Cyralie Foxglove moved their small family into the abandoned Foxglove Manor along Varisia's Lost Coast, approximately halfway between Magnimar and the small town of Sandpoint. It was here, later that year, that Cyralie gave birth to the couple's first (and only) son, Aldern. In 4693, at the age of six, Aldern experienced immense tragedy when his mother burned the servant's quarters to the ground and was thrown from a second story window to her death by Traver upon attempting to set the house itself ablaze. Wracked with guilt, Aldern's father took his own life, leaving the boy and his older sisters Sendeli and Zeeva orphaned and traumatized. The children were sent to an orphanage in Magnimar before being claimed by Traver's second cousin who then raised the children in Korvosa.

In 4706, Aldern returned to Magnimar to reclaim his family's fortune and restore their good name. By then a successful merchant in his own right, he purchased a townhouse in the city and began working to build new ties with the aristocracy of the City of Monuments, always with his sights on regaining control of Foxglove Manor. Much of his political rise can be attributed to the assistance Aldern received from the mysterious Brothers of the Seven with whom he began to spend more and more time. It was their connections which made Foxglove's acquisition of his family's house a relatively simple task. Renovation of the decrepit building was no so simple, however, and he ended up taking on much of the work himself.

In the early months of 4707, Aldern's luck appeared to change when he took in a band of Varisians who were stranded in a terrible storm. Among them was the most beautiful women the young noble had ever seen, and completely smitten by her, Aldern proposed to Iesha that very night. The two were married within a week and their life together showed unparalleled promise. That is, until Aldern's jealous temperament took hold of his wits. One night, upon returning from a business trip to Magnimar, he discovered Iesha and one of the few carpenters he'd been able to hire together in the manor's library an flew into a rage. He brained the carpenter with a small statue and strangled Iesha with her own Varisian scarf. They had been married only five months.

Panicked, Aldern disposed of the bodies and rushed to the Brothers of the Seven to help him deal with the problem. Unfortunately, the Brothers blackmailed Aldern with the information, forcing him into bankruptcy and addiction to flayleaf. When Foxglove's situation seemed most dire, he was approached by the enigmatic leader of the Brothers of Seven, the beautiful Xanesha, who promised that all his troubles would be ended if he retrieved a diseased rat from the basement of the manor. Though he was eager to put his mistakes behind him and see his sins erased, Aldern didn't have the courage to return to Foxglove Manor directly, and he stopped first in Sandpoint for the Swallowtail Festival.

The celebration was interrupted by a goblin attack, and Aldern was rescued from the onslaught by a band of local heroes. He became obsessed with one of them, seeing a possible means of pulling himself out of his growing depression. He returned then to Foxglove Manor, but was unable to find the rats Xanesha had requested. He eventually uncovered a secret stairway into ancient caves beneath the house where he found not only the rats, but a strange fungus which infected him, and quickly led to his death.

Aldern wasn't fortunate enough to die when his body did, however; the fungus which killed him brought him back from death as a dread ghast. Xanesha, seeing what was coming, had further twisted his mind and planted in him the seeds of murder. With his new found powers, Aldern carried out a series of gruesome murders in and around Sandpoint. His victims included three con men from Galduria named Tarch Mortwell, Lener Hask, and Gedwin Tabe, farmer Crade Hambley and his family, and Katrine Vinder and her lover Banny Harker. In each victim, Aldern carved the shape of the Sihedron Rune, believing that doing so would allow him to attain his obsession. The unexpected result of his killing was an outbreak of ghoul fever in the Sandpoint area. Aldern then retreated back to Foxglove Manor to await his obsession and was killed by the very same soon thereafter.

Nualia Tobyn

A foundling raised by Sandpoint’s previous religious leader, a man named Ezekial Tobyn, Nualia’s childhood was lonely and sad. Her unearthly beauty made the other children either jealous or shy, and many of them took to playing cruel jokes on her. The adults in town weren’t much better—many of the superstitious Varisians viewed Nualia as blessed by Desna, a sort of “reverse deformity.” Rumors that her touch or proximity could cure warts and rashes, that locks of her hair brewed into tea could increase fertility, and that her voice could drive out evil spirits led to endless awkward and humiliating requests over the years. Poor Nualia felt more like a freak than a young girl by the time she came of age, so when Delek Viskanta, a local Varisian youth, began to court her, she practically fell into his arms in gratitude.

Knowing that her father wouldn’t approve of a relationship with a Varisian (he wanted her to remain pure so that she could join one of the prestigious Windsong Abbey convents), they kept the affair secret. They met many times in hidden places, a favorite being an abandoned smuggler’s tunnel under town that Delek had discovered as a child. Before long, Nualia realized she was pregnant. When she told Delek, he revealed his true colors and, after calling her a slut and a harlot, fled Sandpoint rather than face her father’s wrath. Nualia’s shock quickly turned to rage, yet she had nowhere to vent her anger. She bottled it up, and when her father discovered her delicate condition, his reaction to her indiscretions only furthered her shame and anger. He forbade her to leave the church, lectured her nightly, and made her pray to Desna for forgiveness. In so doing, he unknowingly nurtured her growing hate.

When the runewell in the Catacombs of Wrath flared to life, Nualia’s own anger was a magnet to its magic. Seven months pregnant, the wrathful energies suffused her mind and she flew into a frenzy. She miscarried her child later that night, a child whose monstrously deformed shape she only glimpsed before blanching midwives stole it away to burn it in secret. As the child had been conceived in the smuggler’s tunnels below town, in close proximity to a hidden shrine to Lamashtu (the goddess of monstrous births), the child itself was deformed and horrific. The double shock of losing a child and the realization she had been carrying a fiend in her belly for seven months was too much. Nualia fell into a coma.

As Nualia slept, she dreamed unhealthy dreams. Fueled by the wrath from below and the taint of Lamashtu, Nualia became further obsessed with the cruel demon goddess and the conviction that her wretched life was inflicted on her by those around her. She came to see her angelic heritage as a curse, and the demon-sent dreams showed her how to expunge this taint from her body and soul, replacing it with chaos and cruelty. When she finally woke, Nualia was someone new, someone who didn’t flinch at what Lamashtu asked of her. She jammed her father’s door shut as he slept, lit the church on fire, and fled Sandpoint.

The locals assumed Nualia had burned in the fire, a tragedy made all the worse by the death of Father Tobyn as well. Yet Nualia lived. She fled to Magnimar, where she enlisted the aid of a group of killers known as the Skinsaw Men. With their aid, she tracked down Delek and murdered him. Yet his death did not fill her need for revenge. Sandpoint and its hated citizens still lived.

Seeing a kindred spirit in the tortured woman, the mysterious leader of the Skinsaw Men gave Nualia a medallion bearing a carving of a seven-pointed star called a “Sihedron medallion.” Nualia learned that she had a larger role to play, and that her dreams were a map to her destiny. Taking the advice to heart, Nualia returned to Sandpoint, and found herself drawn to the brick wall in the smuggler’s tunnels where she and Delek had conceived her deformed child. Nualia bashed down the wall, and in so doing, discovered the Catacombs of Wrath and the quasit Erylium, also a follower of Lamashtu. For many months, Nualia studied under Erylium’s tutelage. During this time, Nualia received another vision from Lamashtu—a vision of a monstrous goblin wolf imprisoned in a tiny room. In Nualia’s dreams, she learned that this creature, a barghest named Malfeshnekor, was also one of Lamashtu’s chosen. If she could find him and free him, he would not only help her achieve her vengeance against the town of Sandpoint, but he would be the key in cleansing her body of what she had come to see as her “celestial taint.” Nualia wanted to be one of Lamashtu’s children now. She wanted to become a monster herself.

Tsuto Kaijitsu

A half-elf result of an affair between his mother, Atsui Kaijitsu, and an unknown elf. When his mother was found dead after falling from a cliff, four years prior to the raid on Sandpoint, he was very vocal in accusing his father Lonjiku of pushing her off the cliff.

Tsuto was killed by the heroes of Sandpoint in the Glassworks while they were investigating the disappearance of Ameiko.

Ameiko Kaijitsu

Ameiko Kaijitsu is best known in the town of Sandpoint as the proprietor of The Rusty Dragon, the most popular tavern in town. A member of the town's small aristocracy, she is the eldest daughter of Lonjiku Kaijitsu and Atsuii Kaijitsu, and half-sister of Tsuto Kaijitsu. When her younger brother's questionable birth caused his ostracization from the family, Ameiko was the only person who visited him in the Turandarok Academy. Tsuto's influence on Ameiko was notable, despite his near total absence from her everyday life, and an argument between the two siblings in 4701 during which he struck her prompted her abandonment of Sandpoint for a year of adventuring. Ameiko returned to Sandpoint in 4702 for her mother's funeral, and partook in another heated argument with her brother over his overstated opinion that their father had pushed Atsuii to her "accidental" death. It was not long after this dispute that Ameiko turned her back on her family and began her career as a tavern owner.

Magnimar

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