The Long Road to Sandpoint

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I've made no secret of the fact that Sandpoint, the scene of the action in the first Pathfinder Adventure Path adventure, Burnt Offerings, was based in large part on my hometown of Point Arena, California. Some elements, such as the town dump consisting of "just throw your trash off the cliff into the ocean," huge cliffs surrounding a perfect little cove, the presence of a large theater in a relatively small town, or the mirror posted just outside of town that sports a sign asking visitors to see themselves as the townsfolk see them first are from Point Arena's real-world history. And then there's the fact that the town's original name translated roughly into "Sand Point"... although time and the tides have long since washed away the point bar of sand that once protected the harbor.

But most of Sandpoint came from my imagination, and that includes its diverse cast of citizens. In Burnt Offerings I was able to explore several of these characters and locations, but for many of Sandpoint's locals I was only able to scratch the surface. I never had room to go into full detail about the extent and dangers found in the old smuggler's tunnels below town, who's been leaving birthday presents for Rynshinn at Vernah's Fine Clothing, or exactly what drove Jervis Stoot to become a relentless serial killer, but that doesn't mean I didn't have an idea even at the time what was going on.

With Sandpoint: Light of the Lost Coast I can finally pull back the curtain and expose some, but not all, of Sandpoint's secrets. It was a blast finally getting to set these mysteries down on paper for others to explore, and just as fun to make my own discoveries along the way. I'd never given any thought as to what danger might lurk near the headwaters of the Turandarok River, for example, or figured out exactly why a ghost haunts Biston's Pond in the hinterlands. As I got to these locations and more while writing about them, their stories seemed almost to write themselves.

In fact, I wrote a lot more than I could ever fit into even a 96 page book. There's plenty more to find out about Sandpoint, and in time, and if I can pester the right folks to help make it happen, I'd love to present the nearby complex known as "the Pit" in the format of a deluxe adventure. I've already run this adventure once for several folks here at the office in my old Shadows Under Sandpoint campaign. Many of the elements of that campaign, from the Red Bishop to Pillbug Podiker's antics are direct results of that campaign.

Anyway, here's hoping that you all enjoy your upcoming visit to Sandpoint as much as I enjoyed setting the place up for you to explore! Have fun, enjoy the curried salmon and raspberry ale, and keep watching out for that pesky Sandpoint Devil!

PS: Check out what might be one of my favorite pieces of art we've ever published—a bird's eye view of the town itself! I can totally see my house from here!


Illustration by Roberto Pitturru

James Jacobs
Creative Director

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Tags: Pathfinder Campaign Setting
Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Art is why I got into RPGs (Elmore's Red box in the 80s had me hooked before I even new what was inside.) Cartography is still a fascination of mine; how man reams of graph paper have I burned through?

Fantasy cartographic art is the double whammy. This picture is incredible. More of this please!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Looking forward to it! LOVE that artwork


Something feels off about the roofs though. Can't figure out what it is.

Liberty's Edge

Roberto Pitturru is the best!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ooo yes! More Sandpoint adventures please! I'd love to see that complex in the Pit!

The map looks amazing!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So looking forward to this one!

Hmm what style are those buildings? I've seen them before.


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I still remember the feeling of excitement I had when I first flipped thru the player's guide to Rise of the Runelords. What great times I've had in Golarion since then.


Sand *.*
Point *.*


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe, just maybe "The Pit" will feature in the next Pathfinder Module? Bonus points if you put a pendulum trap in there somewhere. I would.


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Anorak wrote:

So looking forward to this one!

Hmm what style are those buildings? I've seen them before.

Which ones? The houses with the white walls and visible beams? Those are certainly based on real world designs. Timber framing. I knew they looked familiar from some Tudor period houses, but apparently it's most associated with Germany.

The larger stone buildings with flat roofs where many have domes and/or curved wall sections, I don't know. They look familiar, but I don't know architecture really. Moorish? Byzantine? Ottoman? No clue, but for some reason I'm getting the feel of something Mediterranean.

Regardless of style, they look very cool. That is a great piece of artwork. I love how well it keeps to the map from Burt Offerings, but really makes things pop into the third dimension and makes it feel more lively than a map normally can. And I like how The Old Light looms over the city, something that's hard to get from a 2d map. But comparing the two I'm able to go, "Oh, that's the glassworks, there's the theater, the Rusty Dragon is pretty obvious, the market looks busy today" Etc. Looks like everything on the map is there, with the exception of three of the manors on the peninsula and out of view.


I grew up half in the suburbs of Detroit and half in Sand Point, Michigan, not a town but a peninsula of sand on Lake Huron (Google Maps). The map of Sandpoint, Varisia, reminds me of the nearby town of Caseville, Michigan.

I remember Burnt Offerings. My impression of Sandpoint was that it seemed like a nice town, until the visitor learned all the dark secrets buried either figuratively or literally.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Neat.

Dark Archive

Wow, that's an amazing piece of art! I'd like to see more of "cartographic art" (if that is what it's called in English) such as this in Paizo products! :)


Wow, little-known facts about little-known facts as my dear old mam would say. Point Arena sounds like it has quite the history.

As I am in the middle of the first adventure via PbP, and just started in another PbP, and looking to run the Hardback (thank you Steve Geddes!) sometime for my son/relatives (hmm PF Classic, or PF2....?) this image is all around fantastic. Really brings the town to life and makes everything have a personal scale that is a little harder to realise with a simple (or even complex) map. Thanks for showcasing this James.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

This has made me so hyped. I’m currently running RotRL (in 5e) and introduced some new folks to ttrpg with the beginner box. Sandpoint is becoming increasingly near to my heart. Can’t wait to learn more about it!


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That map is gorgeous and makes things so clear!


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I love that Sand Point sorta translates to Point Arena. Since moving to Mendocino County, the Point Arena light house was the first I visited which turned into a love of the light houses here, and their history (I'm still learning). I found out about a year ago where some if the inspiration for Sand Point was and I think it's awesome to be so close to it now. I kinda wish I could just drive over to the coast and find the rich mysteries of Sand Point just waiting to be discovered.

As my party is all from Mendo (except for me as a transplant), running Rise of the Runelords was the perfect first choice. We love Sand Point and I look forward to getting this new book to add to our adventures!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is likely me looking too hard at a glorious painting, but it almost looks like some of the iconics are chilling out in that picture.

Alain, Cavalier: Maybe the person about to cross the bridge? Of the iconics, Alain's banner is my best guess for the flash of color on that person that goes beyond the frame of the body.

Seoni: Crossing the bridge, red outfit, but the leg is a different color (because her outfit doesn't cover her legs) and a shock of white hair.

Imrijka: The splash of red just inside of town from the southern bridge?

Ezren: N/NE of the supposed Imrijka, a person wearing blue and white can be seen playing with some children in an area close to the Turandarok Academy, just to the left of the Scarnetti Lumber Mill

Lini & Droogami: Playing on the northwestern beach?

Valeros: Not enough detail, but if he were to be anywhere in this, he'd be one of the two people (brawling? hugging?) just outside the Rusty Dragon.

I still couldn't find the dang faceless master, but I know its there somewhere.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

We were once teased with a physical battle map of the Rusty Dragon inn, in a thread of posts in the Pathfinder maps section. I REALLY wish we would get an official Rusty Dragon battle flip map of the main floor and the upstairs. I would also like a companion to it map pack of the secret rooms and passages underneath the Rusty Dragon. Also, any other maps of important Sandpoint locations would be awesome. Sandpoint I'd by far my favorite Pathfinder town and love to spend as much time adventuring in it and learning about it, as I can. My second favorite town is Belhaim, from Dragon's Demand. Both towns are a comfortable size with a warm home like feeling.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Sinastir wrote:

I love that Sand Point sorta translates to Point Arena. Since moving to Mendocino County, the Point Arena light house was the first I visited which turned into a love of the light houses here, and their history (I'm still learning). I found out about a year ago where some if the inspiration for Sand Point was and I think it's awesome to be so close to it now. I kinda wish I could just drive over to the coast and find the rich mysteries of Sand Point just waiting to be discovered.

As my party is all from Mendo (except for me as a transplant), running Rise of the Runelords was the perfect first choice. We love Sand Point and I look forward to getting this new book to add to our adventures!

AWESOME!

You'll be able to get the details of the coastal terrain and mood and look and feel perfectly, with the eucalyptus trees and the morning/evening fogs and the dense forests with their tunnel-like roads through the trees and all of that. Have fun, and it's always great to hear about folks in Mendocino County and/or along the real-world Lost Coast being into gaming!!!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Brell Stormforge wrote:
We were once teased with a physical battle map of the Rusty Dragon inn, in a thread of posts in the Pathfinder maps section. I REALLY wish we would get an official Rusty Dragon battle flip map of the main floor and the upstairs. I would also like a companion to it map pack of the secret rooms and passages underneath the Rusty Dragon. Also, any other maps of important Sandpoint locations would be awesome. Sandpoint I'd by far my favorite Pathfinder town and love to spend as much time adventuring in it and learning about it, as I can. My second favorite town is Belhaim, from Dragon's Demand. Both towns are a comfortable size with a warm home like feeling.

When I created the map in this book for the Rusty Dragon, I deliberately designed it so that it could fit onto a Flip Mat in scale. Getting it onto the schedule is tricky though, but if folks push/ask for it a lot, that'll surely help speed it along! :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
When I created the map in this book for the Rusty Dragon, I deliberately designed it so that it could fit onto a Flip Mat in scale. Getting it onto the schedule is tricky though, but if folks push/ask for it a lot, that'll surely help speed it along! :-)

I'd be interested, in theory. Maybe.

My future AP purchases are in jeopardy, which means I'd be shifting to home-brew / adapted campaigns, which would theoretically let me have Sandpoint become a sort of trope, sort of like Sanctuary in Thieves' World. A flip mat would be convenient for the inevitable event that someone picks a fight there.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Sandpoint has a lot of synergy in real life with lighthouses and water in general it seems:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_Point_Light
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandpoint_Idaho
  • https://www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/lost-coast

    For the longest time I assumed that Sandpoint, ID was the inspiration for the fictional town. :)


  • "Shadows Under Sandpoint" sounds a lot like Shadows Over Bogenhaffen, one of my favorite RPG adventures ever.

    I like the art.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

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    Jason S wrote:

    "Shadows Under Sandpoint" sounds a lot like Shadows Over Bogenhaffen, one of my favorite RPG adventures ever.

    I like the art.

    I'm aware of "Shadows Over Bogenhaffen," but I've never read it. I suspect that author took the same inspiration I did for the name: Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth."


    Anorak wrote:

    Sandpoint has a lot of synergy in real life with lighthouses and water in general it seems:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_Point_Light
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandpoint_Idaho
  • https://www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/lost-coast

    For the longest time I assumed that Sandpoint, ID was the inspiration for the fictional town. :)

  • Linkified for your convenience (and fixed middle link, which doesn't work if you copy and paste as is).

    I think the 3rd one is the source of the inspiration.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

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    Yeah, I've never been to the Idaho Sandpoint; that's a coincidence as far as the Pathfinder Sandpoint's inspiration is. It's pretty much 100% inspired by my home town, Point Arena.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

    Very exciting to see this released!

    I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere, but will this describe the Sandpoint from Rise of the Runelords, from Jade Regent, or from Return of the Runelords? Or all of the above?

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Nullpunkt wrote:

    Very exciting to see this released!

    I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere, but will this describe the Sandpoint from Rise of the Runelords, from Jade Regent, or from Return of the Runelords? Or all of the above?

    It presents the town as it exists after the events of Rise of the Runelords, but before Jade Regent.

    Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Asgetrion wrote:
    Wow, that's an amazing piece of art! I'd like to see more of "cartographic art" (if that is what it's called in English) such as this in Paizo products! :)

    So would I! Too bad I don't order art anymore :-(

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
    Mark Moreland wrote:
    Asgetrion wrote:
    Wow, that's an amazing piece of art! I'd like to see more of "cartographic art" (if that is what it's called in English) such as this in Paizo products! :)
    So would I! Too bad I don't order art anymore :-(

    Know them you do. Inform them you shall. Lean on them if need be.

    - Your Darkside :p


    Gorgeous aerial shot of Sandpoint!


    ^Now you've got me thinking of a specialized Construct that flies and takes pictures . . . .

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