After reading the AP and campaign traits i wanted to add an additional element in really anchor the PC's to sandpoint.
To do this I've written up an opening session which drops the PCs into sandpoint just before the'Late Unpleasantness'
The AP revolves around them living through the 3 tragic events before runelords kicks off, for the most part the PCs won't have much interaction with the events so it doesn't upset the actual timeline, they will however be able to form bonds with certain NPCs like Nualia and Ameiko.
Theres a few slight changes to the lore such as Ameiko leaving just after her mothers untimely demise and such but for the most part it stays faithful.
Google docs link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jRqTj-aaYh5X_rqN
In addition to this, i bet you're all wondering 'well what about the next 6 years..?'
Well instead of giving the PC's an entire level i came up with a nice reward system for finishing the Opening Session and finding a way to fill up that time.
The rewards are quite simple, they can choose to spend their six years doing something in sandpoint or going out on an adventure, the rewards for doing certain things are listed below
Joining the theater for 6 years - +1 Charisma point (caps at 18) and Profession Actor as a class skill
Joining the towns-guard: - +1 Strength point or +1 Dexterity point (caps at 18) and Knowledge local as a class skill
Study with BRODERT QUINK - +1 Intelligence/Wisdom point (caps at 18) + Knowledge History as a class skill
Continue work in the Rusty Dragon - +1 Constitution Point (caps at 18) + 300GP to starting gold
Set out Adventuring - Minor Magical Item worth X amount (DM digression)
Google Drives tells me that that file does not exist.
(And that last word in the OP should probably be "discretion", not "digression".)
The general idea as laid out in your post sounds good. I had an awful time getting some of the players/characters invested in Sandpoint, both its citizens and its survival. If I ever decide to run RotR again (currently running two different groups through it!), I plan on doing something like what you've described in your post.
And my own (now corrected) typo reveals the long-term effects of running RotR: I originally wrote "decide to rune RotR again"! :)
Nice work! Looks like a great introduction to the Late Unpleasantness.
For the Chopper's killing spree, is the idea that the PCs are just basically passive observers while you fast-forward through that month? Because I imagine they would try to investigate the killings. I would almost think it's best to give them true agency to solve the case and end his spree early. If they do well, there could be far fewer victims. Otherwise it might not be fun to just watch the bodies stacking up, knowing that there is nothing that they can do about it - or else trying to do something but proving to be completely impotent. Better to break from canon in terms of the # of victims and his suicide, I think, than to treat the PCs as bystanders. Just have Casp Avertin murdered sooner rather than later so that Hemlock can take over.
For the chase scene, the DCs seem really high for a level 1 group. DC20 Str check is going to be almost impossible for example - even a max-strength character will only hit that 25% of the time, so on average they're spending 4 rounds to try to get past that one obstacle, and potentially much longer if they roll poorly. I would aim for DCs in the 11-14 range so the players don't get too frustrated. Also, most chase scenes allow two different options for checks, so in case a PC is not skilled at Acrobatics, for example, there is at least another option for them. I would try to include a second option everywhere that there isn't one already.