Monday, July 14, 2008

Tangent: History and Rumors in Sandpoint

Here's an idea to give your players something interesting for spending time in Sandpoint. We're given a number of rumors and bits of information on the various goings-on around town, both in the Player's Guide and Burnt Offerings itself. If you collect your group's character sheets at the end of each session, hand them back at the beginning of the next one with a rumor or two (if you don't collect them, just pass out rumors at the beginning of your game day).

Before each game, roll a Streetwise skill check for each character. If that character beats a DC of 10, give that character a rumor. If that character beats a DC of 15, give that character two rumors. If that character beats a DC of 20, give them two rumors and indicate whether they are true or false. Characters can, of course, actively hunt down rumors by making a Streetwise skill check for each hour of listening to local gossip. Use the same DCs and results as above. The following is a list of rumors and other overheard bits of conversation compiled from Burnt Offerings for Sandpoint:

  • Sheriff Hemlock shares a long-running, “secret” romance with Lady Kaye, madam of the town brothel. TRUE
  • The ghost of the murderer Chopper haunts Chopper’s Isle, just north of town. FALSE
  • The White Deer Inn used to be the Black Deer Inn, but was tastefully renamed after the fire. TRUE
  • Ask Ven Vinder at the general store to see the “wine cellar” and he’ll sell you a jug of disgusting but potent orc rotgut. TRUE
  • Farmer Grump claims the Sandpoint Devil, a horselike monster with bat wings, once flew off with one of his prized sows. TRUE
  • Old Ilsoari at the museum sometimes wanders the beach at night, looking for treasures. TRUE
  • Don’t go down to the junktoss after dark: goblins steal the trash at night. TRUE
  • Solsta Vinder claims Sczarni stole her sheets last week and two cooling pies a week before that. FALSE
  • The new cathedral is magically protected from catching fire. FALSE
  • Murdermaw, a giant red snapper big enough to bite a boat in half, lurks in the Varisian Bay. FALSE
  • The Deverin family was once affiliated with the Chelish resistance, but was forced to flee to Varisia. FALSE
  • It’s bad luck to see the Sandpoint devil. Any who do are cursed to suffer an ill fate. It’s said the devil flies over Sandpoint in warning before tragedies, murders, and shipwrecks. FALSE
  • The Sandpoint devil is the son of a widowwoman named Agatha Leeds who used to live north of town and was said to practice dark magics and consort with evil beings. When she wandered into town round with child, she avoided all questions about her pregnancy. Weeks later, Leeds’s home was found reduced to cinders with its owner missing. Soon after, the first sightings of the Sandpoint devil began. FALSE
  • Evidence of the Sandpoint devil often disappears before it can be widely studied. Tracks, bitten animals, weapons with its blood, and similar such evidence regularly vanish, no matter how well watched or guarded. Many who have sought out the Sandpoint devil have disappeared without a trace either during their hunts or in the weeks following their return. FALSE
  • Descriptions, paintings, and other evidence regarding the Sandpoint devil often mysteriously catch on fire, sometimes burning entire homes to the ground. FALSE
  • Some Varisians say the Sandpoint devil has lived along the Lost Coast for thousands of years, protecting it from those who would exploit the land. Its modern misdeeds are merely its way of fending off the most recent encroachment of civilization. FALSE
  • The Sandpoint devil is sometimes seen in the company of other local legends and spooks, most commonly a white stag, the ghost of a young girl, and a zombie without feet. FALSE
"Can you hear him waking?
Up above the stairs?
Can you hear him weeping?
Is he really there?
Can you say ‘I’m speaking?’
Are you saying naught?
Is it you who’s weeping?
Is it you he’s caught?
When the nursery rhyming
Has whispered up above
Is it you who sounds
In the attic, my love?
When you hear your voice
Echoing on high
Is the voice a whisper
Is it just his lie?"
- Varisian nursery rhyme

  • Lonjiku Kaijitsu has a notoriously short temper, and many believe this is responsible for his estranged son and adventurer-turned-innkeeper daughter. TRUE
  • Mayor Kendra Deverin didn’t initially want the job, but after she was nominated for the role by her close friend Casp Avertin, she won the election by a landslide, something her primary opponent in the election, Titus Scarnetti, has never quite come to terms with. TRUE
  • Ethram Valdemar, patriarch of the Valdemar family, is not long for this life. The old man has a lung infection that keeps coming back, no matter how often the family pays to have it cured. TRUE
  • The Scarnettis have long lobbied to have prostitution oulawed in Sandpoint, and view the Pixie's Kitten brothel as a place where vice and criminal activity can take root. TRUE
  • The Fatman's Feedbag, contrary to popular belief, is owned by Jubrayl Vhiski. Jubrayl is also the rumored leader of the local gang of Sczarni, an extended network of Varisian thieves, highwaymen, con artists, graverobbers, smugglers and murderers. TRUE
  • Sir Jasper Korvaski was once a paladin of Abadar. He now runs the Sandpoint Mercantile League and his romantic relationship with Cyrdak Drokkus of the Sandpoint Theater is one of the town's worst-kept secrets. TRUE
  • It's whispered that the Two Knight Brewery's mead, ale and rum haven't quite tasted as good since Wade Deverin, one of its two owners, fell victim to a heinous murder. His brother, Gaven, now runs the Brewery, but Wade's death deeply shook his faith. TRUE
  • No one hates goblins more than Daviren Hosk. The bitter ranger's pride and joy is a large glass bottle filled with brine in which he's preserved the body of Chief Whartus of the now extinct (due in large part to Daviren) Bonegrinder Tribe. TRUE
  • Ameiko Kaijitsu at the Rusty Dragon has a "discount rooms for anyone who tells an exciting adventure story" policy. TRUE
  • Mysterious fires have claimed the Soggy River Mill, the Biston Pond Mill, and most recently the Cougar Creek Mill, leaving the Scarnetti Mill the only functioning grain mill in the region. TRUE
  • Rynshinn Povalli has operated Vernah's Fine Clothing for the last five years, since her mother's death. She is the daughter of a mysterious elven bard who reportedly was killed by goblins less than a week after Rynshinn's birth. Despite this, every year on the anniversary of her birth, a small package of elven trinkets has mysteriously appeared somewhere in the upper floors of Vernah's. TRUE
  • Ilsoari Gandethus keeps a goblin farm in the basement of the Turandarok Academy. FALSE
  • Ilsoari Gandethus keeps a nest of phantom spiders in the basement of the Turandarok Academy. FALSE
  • Ilsoari Gandethus keeps the Sandpoint Devil in the basement of the Turandarok Academy. FALSE
  • Not many people can afford to shop for books at the Curious Goblin with any frequency, but a nest egg gathered in his adventurous youth combined with a frugal lifestyle makes the success of Chask Haladan's business secondary to his own satisfaction. TRUE
  • Nisk Tander fancies himself a more gifted alchemist than he really is. Use caution when buying anything from Bottled Solutions. TRUE
  • It's whispered that Aliver "Pillbug" Podiker of the Pillbug's Pantry is secretly a poison merchant working for the Sczarni. TRUE
“Here comes crazy-man Das Korvut,
Mad as a cut snake in a wagon rut.
See how his chops go bouncity-bounce?
How many people has he trounced?
One! Two! Three! Four...”
- Children's hopsquares rhyme

  • The old sage Brodert Quink has a theory that the Old Light was once a war machine capable of spewing fire to a range of more than a mile, but he's a quack anyway. TRUE
The true or false nature of many of the above rumors are educated guesses and suggestions. If there is something you want to change, go right ahead. If, for instance, you want to turn Chopper's ghost into a plot thread you should probably change that particular rumor to TRUE.

Don't neglect players trained in the History skill either. A character who succeeds on a DC 15 History skill check knows all of the recent troubles Sandpoint has gone through (everything covered under The Late Unpleasantness) and some of the more recent portions of Sandpoint's History. If the character beats a DC of 20, they also know a few things about the ancient history of the area.


Daniel said...

I just wanted to thank you again for all of your hard work. I put together this powerpoint slideshow of all the rumors, to show your players (or print out cards with).

It contains a randomizing macro that shuffles the slides. You must enable macros to use that capability.

Scott said...

That's actually pretty awesome, Daniel. I'm using OpenOffice and the shuffle macro isn't showing up under the available macros for the presentation, but it could simply be because I'm not using Powerpoint. I'll give it a try on a computer with the correct program and see if that helps. Thanks for creating this!