It is the Autumnal Equinox, and in Sandpoint that means the Swallowtail Festival! People from all over Varisia (and sometimes beyond) have crowded into the city to celebrate Desna. Four of these people are destined to bring great change to the region, or die trying.
The first of these is Zirul, a human Ranger with a taste for archery. Naturally he gravitated first to the target shooting booth, where he had the opportunity to dunk poor volunteer Shalelu into a tank of water if his aim were true. But being the polite soul that he was, he allowed the first shot to a fellow challenger named…
Gene, wandering Gunslinger. Graciously accepting the ranger’s offer, he took up the not-quite-as-dangerous practice musket the booth provided and took aim. He skillfully hit the target on the first shot and the poor elven scout was dropped into the water! Just barely had she climbed back onto her seat than Zirul hit the target with his first arrow, sending her back into the drink! The two laughed and were instantly on the road to friendship.
On the other side of the parade grounds, a young Tiefling lass by the name of Szarali Mardos was perusing a shop selling animated figurines. The merchant tried to interest the fiendish-looking customer by highlighting their many points of articulation and full posability, but the price was too high for her frugal heart. She wandered off in the direction of a fireworks cart, where, loudly arguing with the fireworks vendor was…
Grunyar, grumbling dwarf Barbarian. He angrily turned away from the fireworks cart once the owner steadfastly refused to let him set off any and nearly ran into the approaching Tiefling. They shared their mutual dislike of merchants, and this one common attribute created an instant bond. Szarali performed a quick backflip in her newfound joy, delighting nearby festival goers. She took a bow, and then the pair moved off to find some sustenance.
All four shortly arrived at the food stand of local tavern owner Ameiko Kaijitsu, where they discovered they all had a great love of alcoholic beverages. Immediately following their meal, Father Xantus gained the attention of the crowd with a thunderstone. Before he even got to speak, however, goblins burst onto the scene! Horrifying the local villagers and out of town guests alike with their toothy grins and creepy rhymes, the goblins caused instant havoc.
Not about to let a few goblins ruin their fun, the novice adventurers pulled out their weapons and set to. They easily dispatched the first group of 3, but then reinforcements appeared, backed up by a menacing Goblin Warchanter. The dwarf Grunyar fell to the ground laughing, apparently filled with mirth at the mere sight of a female goblin singing war songs. Poor Szarali rushed into the fray recklessly, missing her intended target and leaving herself open to a wicked blow in return. But they persevered, felling the warchanter’s bodyguards and causing her to flee in terror.
Just then they heard the awful sound of a dog crying in pain. The four rushed off in the direction of the sound and found a hunting dog being terrorized by a mounted goblin and his cronies. Arriving too late to save the dog, cut down by a cruel dogslicer right before their eyes, the adventurers readied themselves to avenge the fallen hound. Luckily, the goblins had not noticed the arrival of the companions, and were nearly wiped out before they could react. Even what few actions they were able to take were not enough to save them from the vengeance meted out by the group.
With the goblins routed, the dog’s owner, one Aldern Foxglove, emerged from his hiding place behind a large barrel. He thanked the group for his life, and praised their heroics, especially the grace and beauty of the Tiefling Szarali. He intimated that he might have a reward for her if they met later on. He bade them farewell, leaving them to ponder recent events.
Why had goblins so brazenly attacked the town? What was going on in Sandpoint?