Rise of the Rune Lords
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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 fullgrown 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.
Around and about Sandpoint are many points of interest. Many farms and small farming communities called thorps dot the land. Forests, swamps, and towering limestone escarpments cover large areas not devoted to agriculture and several ruins and significant buildings lay within walking distance of the town. A few of the more commonly known local landmarks are detailed below.
The Old Lighthouse: Ruins at the edge of Sandpoint, this tourist attraction is the remnants of an ancient Thassilonian building.
Lost Coast Road: The primary road that runs from Magnamar in the south, along the coast to Sandpoint, and places beyond.
Brinestump Marsh: The Licktoad goblins, goblin snakes, giant geckos, and a few tribes of faceless stalkers are the primary menaces that dwell in this tangled fen, but persistent rumors of Old Megus the Swamp Witch are the primary reason locals avoid this region.
Dragon’s Punchbowl: This bowl-shaped island is little more than a series of stony ridges surrounding a small lake; wyverns are said to roost in caves here, and rumors hold that a dragon visits the place once or twice a year for unknown reasons.
The Escarpments: These upthrust limestone pavements are bleak, stony regions. The smaller of the two (Ashen Rise) is relatively safe, but the edges of Devil’s Platter are known haunts for the Birdcruncher goblins. Deeper in, it’s rumored that the place is controlled by devil-worshiping bugbears that avoid the light of day but emerge at night from caves to light their fires.
Grubber’s Hermitage: A notorious generator of shipwrecks, Grubber’s Hermitage is a small, isolated isle hosting a thorp which is home to a dozen fishing families. Their ways are their own and they generally don’t welcome visitors; Sandpoint citizens theorize that the place is infested with lepers, ghosts, or worse.
The Moors: The moors that stretch through much of the hinterlands consist of poor-quality soil and stony ground. It is devoid of most vegetation apart from thick patches of tall grass and scattered copses of trees. Wolves, worgs, and worse are said to dwell here.
The Pit: Deep in the heart of the Devil’s Platter is a sunken area ending in a ten-foot-wide hole that drops down into an inky dark. This is generally agreed to be the most likely lair of the Sandpoint Devil, though no one has yet dared to explore its depths.
Wisher’s Well: One of the less-known ruins, this landmark consists of what appears to be a circular stone tower only 30 feet high from the outside, but drops away into a 100-foot-deep shaft ending in a deep pool of water on the inside. Of course, all manner of monsters are said to dwell in the flooded caverns below the well.
The Saintly Haven of Respote: Habe’s sanitorium is rarely visited by locals, despite Erin Habe’s reputation as a great doctor from Magnimar. The sanitorium accepts the deficient, derranged, or diseased. Locals consider him a great healer and assume he is independently wealthy.
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