Fleshing out sandpoint


Rise of the Runelords


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm new to GMing and pathfinder (playing for about 4 months)and have just finished burnt offerings. I've failed to really flesh out the town when I first started and just ran ahead with the AP not realising its importance for role play. Any suggestions on how I can get my guys interested in exploring the town and getting to know the NPC's?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ask the players.

Are any of the characters natives?
This AP works best if at least some are.

Have them run into an NPC, it doesn't matter which one - and tell the player that their character knows the NPC.
Give the player a brief overview of the NPC:
"Oh you know this guy, its Davrien Hosk, hes a retired adventurer who has a thing about goblins. Tell me how you know him."

You have to be able to trust your players to a certain extent, allowing them to have a tiny bit of control over the the question of "How are you connected to Sandpoint?" can be a big (and easy) way to buy player inventment, it can also suggest some side quests.


the Lorax wrote:

Are any of the characters natives?
This AP works best if at least some are.

Personally I strongly disagree with that statement. Burnt Offering especially works better, if the characters are new to town and discover all the dark secrets and intrigues under the layer of what seems a nice, peaceful place. Think Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks.

Other than that, Well, you have as much time as you want on fleshing Sandpoint and all its inhabitants out, before starting The Skinsaw Murders. Invest a few sessions in role play only. The group has now earned the title 'Heroes of Sandpoint' and the people of Sandpoint should act accordingly. Hosk, Mvashti, Vhiski and all the other characters in the appendix all have their backstories and agendas. Depending on the players in your group and their backstories there will be enough stuff to do.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Suggestions from both the Lorax and Hythlodeus are valid - there isn't a right or wrong answer. The approaches they offer are different techniques for engaging the players. Some players/groups will value engaging backgrounds, others will value being an outsider and exploring for themselves.

The OP needs to figure out what his particular group needs. If the pc's don't have developed backgrounds, it may be too late to build them now. It also suggests that maybe they aren't interested in that. And for some groups "a few sessions of role play only" would be ambrosia and to others it would be fingernails on the chalkboard.

To the OP: what problems are you having? Or anticipating? Are you getting any feedback from the players? Did they have fun with Burnt Offerings and are looking forward to what's next? Building the pc/player connection to Sandpoint has two benefits:

1. It increases player satisfaction from their accomplishments. You saved Sandpoint from the goblins, we need you to save us from <whatever's next.>
2. It provides a fence for more wayward players - the one's who invent their own motivation: "I want to find out who killed Aroden. Let's go to Absalom where I'm sure we can find a clue."


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I turned Sandpoint into Gravity Falls, there is a surprising amount of similarities.


The Pathfinder comics (I think the HC collecting the first issues) contain a Sandpoint gazetteer.

Also check out this fansite.


In addition to what Latrecis has said, I would offer...

I disagree that it is better if the PCs are natives to Sandpoint. The original writing is from the standpoint of newcomers to town, so it is easier to use the provided material as it explains things for a newcomer.

I don't think it is bad to have the PCs be Sandpoint natives; it just means that some of the material won't make sense as-written if they are, and needs to be presented differently... not as something they discover, but as something they already know (a handout listing the NPC names and businesses can help with this).

What I think is MOST difficult, though, is a party of mixed natives and non-natives... because then you have the added burden of remembering which PCs should already know who Kendra Deverin is and what she is like, and which ones should not.

The "Varisia: Birthplace of Legends" player companion has campaign traits for the PCs (duplicating the ones in the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Players Guide), and it is recommended that each PC should have one of those traits.. which are designed to help them have a link to Sandpoint. At least one of them makes the PC a native of Sandpoint, while the others are for strangers to town. Using these can help the players feel like their characters have more of a connection to the town.

Also, remember that various shops will offer discounts or other perks to the PCs that visit them. Rewarding the PCs for taking the time to get to know the NPCs (even only a little) will help them seem more real.

Finally, using the Downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign can allow the PCs to build homes and businesses in Sandpoint, which should help them to feel like they need to protect the town. It would also allow them to interact with the NPCs more, role-playing the working to earn capital involved.

Also, as Latrecis mentioned, role-playing out interactions with the NPCs is not for everyone. The worst case is when the group is split... four players, two of whom love to play out interactions while the other two absolutely hate it. In that case, maybe the meet-and-greet with the NPCs should be done by those who like it between sessions, over email or chat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I agree with a lot of this advice so far but I wanted to echo Urath DM on the downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign. While I'm moving away from the mechanics as written in my campaign, it's still proven a great way to get even PCs with fairly undeveloped characters into the setting.

I've had a PC purchase the Glassworks, causing them to console a somewhat grieving Ameiko while negotiating the purchase and accepting a shady loan from Jubrayl Vhisky to avoid breaking the bank. A PC who wanted to build a home interacted with both Sir Jasper at the Sandpoint Mercantile League to buy land, and Titus Scarnetti to secure lumber despite Titus's suspicions of outsiders. PCs have wound up securing capital by acting as substitute teacher at Turandorok Academy and apprentice alchemist at Bottled Solutions. At the same time that PCs are putting down physical roots in the forms of homes or businesses they are making connections with NPCs in the community who helped them out along the way.

If you think your players might be resistant to this, and you have the time, you can always do this through email. I've honestly had mixed results with this, one of my players couldn't be bothered to engage this way, but the others got even more engaged with Sandpoint while away from the table.

To add one thing there are other events on the calendar that thanks to the events of the Swallowtail Festival the characters may be primed to check out on the off chance that they are important to the plot. I'm at the start of The Hook Mountain Massacre and before the party departs for Turtleback Ferry I'm running them through the Seven Veils Ball. My group is pretty involved with Sandpoint but assuming yours aren't they might interpret the invitation to another festival in the town as a plot hook, once there they can probably be persuaded to take part in the festivities and interact with NPCs to pass the time.


Sweet thanks everyone, this gives me a few ideas. I'll try and print off a map of sandpoint and have all the different places listed and try to pique their curiosity. Maybe lay out some hints about new land for sale or have npc's asking whats gonna happen to the glass works.

I wouldn't mind laying some foreshadowing of the skinsaw murders by using the history of choppers isle.


Latrecis wrote:

And for some groups "a few sessions of role play only" would be ambrosia and to others it would be fingernails on the chalkboard.

a few sessions role play only doesn't necessarily mean that the punchier aspects of the game are not existent, of course. There is enough content in the apendix that potentially leads to conflict and excessive use of weapons if the GM decides to go that way. After all the GM is the one who knows best what his group prefers. And if the group prefers to look for people to hit real hard with their broadswords this is absolutely possible while simultanously still delve deeper into all the setrets of Sandpoint. The Sczarni might want to take over the Pixie's Kitten with force, Sheriff Hemlock might plan a strike on Jubrail Vishky or the ghost of Jervis Stoot posseses the paladin of Abadar and goes on a murder spree once again. As long as the GM makes sure that the people of Sandpoint have their time in the Spotlight and chances to interact with the Group, everything is fine.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wanted a lot of role-play interaction with the population (my players are into that kind of thing), so I put together a list of all the relevant NPCs as well as some background for a few groups and places. A link to it is here


2 people marked this as a favorite.

There is also a write-up of Chopper's Isle as an adventure site in Wayfinder #7 (free fanzine available here). After that, one of my players wanted to buy the island and build on it.

Wayfinder #7 also has other expansion articles for the area.


I had a mix of natives and newcomers to Sandpoint in my campaign and it worked out fine. One thing I think really helps is using the campaign traits from the AE Player's Guide and (modified, in some cases) the APG. It gives you ideas about where the characters come from and ties to the AP.

Give the PCs a chance to interact with various townfolk and don't be afraid to follow their lead on who they want to interact with regularly. Maybe you want to focus on the rivalry between Ameiko and Cyrdak or the sheriff's relationship with the owner of the Pixie's kitten, but your players don't care for their drama and are instead drawn to Cracktooth or Father Zantus. Don't be afraid to go with it. And don't afraid to tweak things slightly to give the NPCs they bond with a larger role.


Yossarian wrote:
I wanted a lot of role-play interaction with the population (my players are into that kind of thing), so I put together a list of all the relevant NPCs as well as some background for a few groups and places. A link to it is here

Thanks for sharing that!


Urath DM wrote:

There is also a write-up of Chopper's Isle as an adventure site in Wayfinder #7 (free fanzine available here). After that, one of my players wanted to buy the island and build on it.

Wayfinder #7 also has other expansion articles for the area.

It is available here


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The first Pathfinder comic contains a Sandpoint Gazetteer and a CR3 encounter on Junk Beach featuring 4 Goblins and a goblin

The later comics all also contain supplemental material (the Shankshack in Shank's Wood, the Paupers Graves, Mosswood Gazetteer &Spider Stones encounter and more...)

The easiest way to get them is to get Dark Water Rising which collects the whole run.

Read here for more details

Pathfinder#1 is available on Isuu as a preview. (I assume this is legit if not I'll gladly remove the link)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I had my party sent there for essentially a reconnaissance and intelligence gathering mission to report back on...nothing nefarious, just get the lay of the land, figure out who the key players are, and what resources are available (everything from what can you buy in the shops, to where can you sell "appropriated goods", to raw material availability such as lumber and ore); all while focusing on the main goal of building relationships with the locals so when other adventurers arrive they'll have an easier time. My party thought this was the entire focus of the AP, so a bit of a bait and switch on them as they got drawn into the larger AP...but by then they had a chance to meet with many in the town, most of the "local heroes" scenarios actually made sense for them, and they felt invested in the town.


I find myself in the exact same situation as the OP, except I'm taking over as GM from the person who took us through Burnt Offerings. His style left a lot to be desired and I'm pretty sure the PCs aren't that invested in the town or interested in NPCs.
For my first session (which is also my first session ever as GM - yikes!), the PCs will have the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Sandpoint's nightlife. I have recruited one of them (my husband) to be my "helper" as his character is a local who can encourage the rest of the party to take up the NPCs on their offers to explore the town's pubs, etc. Hopefully they will all be ok with a RP only session. There is the possibility of a bar fight if it seems they are hungry for some combat action. Although having never done it before, I'm sort of unclear on how to run a bar fight with made-up NPCs...

I will be checking in with the whole party tonight (we are about to start another game with one of the PCs in my game as GM), to make sure everyone is ok with hanging out in Sandpoint for a bit before moving on to the next chapter.


AyaMinori wrote:

There is the possibility of a bar fight if it seems they are hungry for some combat action. Although having never done it before, I'm sort of unclear on how to run a bar fight with made-up NPCs...

This is where products like the NPC Codex, or the chapter of NPCs from the Game Mastery Guide shine.

The Game Mastery Guide generic NPCs can be found HERE in the PRD.

The ones in the NPC Codex are less generic, but are also available [url="http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/npcCodex/npc/index.html"]HERE]/url] on the PRD.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Rise of the Runelords / Fleshing out sandpoint All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.