Rise of the Runelords - Burnt Offerings
Welcome to Sandpoint!
Those who head north from Magnimar along the rocky coastline quickly find themselves in a peculiar country. Fog drapes the rolling landscape, floating spectrally along damp and lonely moors. Small woodlands grace the region, their tangled depths redolent of nettles and pepperwood and pine sap, while further inland, river valleys lined by majestic redwoods wind between ragged tors and limestone escarpments. This vastness and the sense of isolation have earned the region its local name. This is the Lost Coast.
Yet there are pockets of civilization along the Lost Coast. Traditional Varisian campsites can be found in nearly every gulch and hollow along the cliff-lined reaches, and lonely houses sit upon bluffs now and then – domiciles for eccentrics or the rich seeking a bit of peace far from the bustle of Magnimar’s streets. Roadside inns grace the Lost Coast road every 24 miles or so, placed by virtue of the distance most travelers can walk given a day’s travel. Low stone shrines to Desna, goddess of wanderers and patron of the Varisians, give further opportunities for shelter should one of the all-too-common rainstorms catch the traveler unaware. Given time, any of these seeds of civilization could bloom into a full-grown town, or even a city. It’s happened once already, along the shores of a natural harbor nestled among the cliffs some 50 miles northeast of Magnimar. What was once a larger-than-normal Varisian campsite in the shadow of an ancient ruined tower has become the Lost Coast’s largest town: Sandpoint.
As one approaches the town of Sandpoint, the footprint of civilization upon the Lost Coast grows more clear. Farmlands in the outlying moors and river valleys grow more numerous, and the blue-green waters of the Varisian Gulf bear more and more fishing vessels upon its surface. Passage over creeks and rivers is more often accomplished by wooden bridge than ford, and the Lost Coast Road itself grows wider and better-kept. Sight of Sandpoint from either approach (south or east) is kept hidden by the large upthrust limestone pavements known as the Devil’s Platter or the arc of rocky outcroppings known as Whistler’s Tors, but as the final bend in the road is rounded, Sandpoint’s smoking chimneys and bustling streets greet the traveler with open arms and the promise of warm beds, a welcome sight indeed for those who have spent the last few days alone on the Lost Coast Road.
From the south, entrance to Sandpoint is governed by a wooden bridge, while from the north a low stone wall gives the town a bit of protection. Here, the Lost Coast Road passes through a stone gatehouse that is generally watched by one or two guards – the southern bridge is typically unattended. Aside from the occasional goblin, the citizens of Sandpoint have traditionally had few worries about invasion or banditry – the region simply isn’t populated enough to make theft a lucrative business. Hanging from a bent nail at both the gatehouse and the southern bridge is a sign and a mirror – painted on each sign is the message: “Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!”