Shadows of Thassilon Handouts

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A repository for notes, letters, journals, and other documents presented to the PCs as handouts during the course of Shadows of Thassilon.

Chapter 1: Burnt Offerings

Handout 1-1: Tsuto's Note to Ameiko

This note was given to the PCs by Bethana Corwin, a maid at the Rusty Dragon, on Rova 27th (Session 4, 28/07/2018).

(The original note is written in a language that Bethana identifies to you as Minkaian; her translation, written on the reverse, is provided below.)

Hello, sis!

I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, because we've got something of a problem. It's to do with Father. Seems that he might have had something to do with Sandpoint's recent troubles with the goblins, and I didn't want to bring the matter to the authorities because we both know he'd just weasel his way out of it. You've got some pull here in town, though. If you can meet me at the Glassworks at midnight tonight, maybe we can figure out how to make sure he faces the punishment he deserves. Knock twice and then three times more and then once more at the delivery entrance and I'll let you in.

In any case, I don't have to impress upon you the delicate nature of this request. If news got out, you know these local rubes would assume that you and I were in on the whole thing too, don't you? They've got no honour at all around these parts. I still don't understand how you can stand to stay here.

Anyway, don't tell anyone about this. There are other complications as well, ones I'd rather talk to you in person about tonight. Don't be late.

Tsuto

Handout 1-3: Journal of Lonjiku Kaijitsu

This journal was discovered during a search of Kaijitsu Manor on Rova 27th (Session 5, 11/08/2018).

(Recent entries from the private journal of Lonjiku Kaijitsu, translated from Minkaian.)

Entry dated Rova 22nd, the day before the Swallowtail Festival:

By all the Gods, I should have had that bastard smothered in his crib, and damn his mother's wailing! He comes here with his insinuations and his threats – what does he know? How does he know? Does he live for any purpose other than to bedevil me?

I don't know what game he's playing at, but what he demands of me seems harmless enough. He'd best make good on his promises to slink back into the shadows after all of this is done – if he knows half as much as he claims to, then surely he is aware of just how precarious his position is, should push come to shove...

Entry dated Rova 24th:

"A few simple requests," he said to me – oh, if I had known where this was going to lead! Goblins, of all things! What is the boy mixed up in? What has the boy gone and got me mixed up in?

Should the truth come out, I don't trust anyone in this ignorant pit to listen to reason. For safety's sake I must return to Magnimar before Tsuto's scheming comes to light. I can only hope that Ameiko will listen to reason.

Entry dated Rova 26th, the day before your visit to the Glassworks:

Unbelievable! My fool of a daughter won't abandon that damn flophouse, and now that thrice-accursed bastard boy dares to threaten me again – to expose the part he forced me to play in his scheme! I will not stand for it. Death will silence his lying tongue more surely than the gold he demands of me.

Handout 1-2: Tsuto's Journal

This journal was discovered in Tsuto's chamber at Thistletop on Rova 29th (Session 6, 25/08/2018).

(This small, leather-bound booklet contains two dozen pages, many of which are filled with annotated maps of Sandpoint, scribbled notes, and sketches of a nude woman. Three passages in the latter pages of the journal are of particular interest.)

First passage, accompanied by a map of sandpoint:

The raid went about as planned. Few Thistletop goblins perished, and we were able to secure Tobyn's casket with ease while the rubes were distracted with the rest. I can't wait until the real raid. This town deserves a burning, that's for sure.

Second passage, accompanied by a sketch of a woman's profile:

Ripnugget seems to favour the overwhelming land approach, but I don't think it's the best plan. We should get the quasit's aid. Send her freaks up from below via the smuggling tunnel in my father's Glassworks, and then invade from the river and from the Glassworks in smaller but more focused strikes. The rest except Bruthazmus agree, and I'm pretty sure the bugbear's just being contrary to annoy me. My love's too distracted with the lower chambers to make a decision. Says that once Malfeshnekor's released and under her command, we won't need to worry about being subtle. I hope she's right.

Third passage, accompanied by a sketch of the same woman, with horns, bat-like wings, and a forked tail: My love seems bent on going through with it – nothing I can say convinces her of her beauty. She remains obsessed with removing what she calls her “celestial taint,” and replacing it with her Mother's grace. Burning her father's remains at the Thistletop shrine seems to have started the transformation, but I can't say her new hand is pleasing to me. Hopefully when we offer Sandpoint to Lamashtu's fires, her new body won't be as hideous. Maybe I'll luck out. Succubi are demons too, aren't they?

Handout 1-4: Nualia's Journals

These notes were recovered from the Catacombs of Wrath beneath Sandpoint on Lamashan 3rd (Session 10, 20/10/2018).

(This collection of diaries, journals, and notes describes the life of Nualia Tobyn.)

In her earliest journals, Nualia recounts the story of a lonely childhood. She was a foundling, raised by Ezakien Tobyn, a priest of Desna and Sandpoint's previous religious leader. Her silver hair and violet eyes marked her as an aasimar, though she did not view her celestial heritage as a blessing; on the contrary, her unearthly beauty inspired jealousy in other children, and she was frequently the target of cruel jokes. The adults of Sandpoint were little better; many of the superstitious Varisians viewed Nualia as blessed by Desna, and folklore and rumours that her touch or presence could cure warts or rashes, that locks of her hair brewed into tea could cure ailments, or that her voice could drive out evil spirits, led to a succession of awkward encounters and humiliating requests over the years. Her adoptive father seemed oblivious to this, concerning himself more with preparing her for entry into a prestigious convent.

The middle portions of Nualia's writings concern her romance with a Varisian youth named Delek Viskanta. While Nualia's infatuation is quite sincere, as you read between the lines it becomes apparent to you that Delek's courtship was anything but; you have a sense that the youth was preying on Nualia's loneliness and relative innocence. When their trysts eventually led to a predictable result, Delek denounced Nualia as a harlot and fled Sandpoint for parts unknown; Nualia revealed her pregnancy to her adoptive father (from whom she had kept the affair a secret) but received little sympathy. Instead, she was forbidden from leaving the church, subjected to nightly lectures about her “fall from grace,” and made to pray to Desna for forgiveness of her “transgression.” Nualia writes angrily of these betrayals, first by the man she loved and then by the man who raised her.

There is a gap in Nualia's journals that corresponds to a period of roughly two months before the fire of 4712, which claimed her father's life and supposedly her own as well. Her subsequent writings are disjointed and sporadic; she reflects on setting the fire in which her father perished, and refers to brief glimpses of her child, stillborn and monstrously deformed. She fled Sandpoint, leaving the townsfolk to assume she had perished along with her father, and eventually made her way to Magnimar, where she fell in with a group she refers to as the “Skinsaw Cult.” It was during this time that she renounced the worship of Desna and instead committed herself to Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters.

Toward the end of her writings, several passages amidst Nualia's notes refer to her return to Sandpoint and her current plans:

...should have much to be thankful for, but the satisfaction of Delek's death was fleeting, and in its wake, I feel hollow. The mistress of the Skinsaw Cult seems to understand this, somehow. She has gifted unto me a trinket she called a Sihedron medallion; “Your dreams,” she has said to me, “are a map to your destiny.” Curious. Last night, and the night before, I dreamt of Delek, of our meetings in secret places. The old tunnels...

...demonstrated how these “sinspawn” might be conjured from the frigid waters of the runewell with a gift of life's blood. The creature obeys her commands, after a fashion - because she gave her blood to fuel its birth? Or simply because she speaks Thassilonian? The act seems to have diminished the runewell, and Erylium is loath to demonstrate its powers further; should its energies be exhausted, she isn't sure how - or if - it might be rekindled.

...something new in the Mother's whispers. A great beast, caged and chained, locked away beneath the earth. And a name - “Malfeshnekor.” One of Lamashtu's servants? She would not have shown me this without purpose. Erylium will help me divine the meaning of this. Her tutelage...

...seems as though the runewell has replenished its energies somewhat following the raid. Still, Erylium counsels caution in its use; a few dozen dead goblins do not amount to a bottomless font of power. Once the town has been razed and wrathful souls by the hundreds have infused the runewell, then can we begin to tap its potential. We are close, despite this latest setback, and I won't jeopardise all that we have worked for by squandering our greatest asset in haste. Sandpoint will be the burnt offering to Lamashtu that fuels the cleansing of my celestial stain...

Chapter 2: The Skinsaw Murders

Handout 2-1E: Lumber Mill Note

This note was found at the murder site in the Sandpoint Lumber Mill, pinned to Banny Harker's body by a splinter of wood.

(The name "Ragnar" is written on the outside of this bloodied scrap of folded parchment.)

We have spoken of this before, my master. Now it begins. Join the Pack and it will end.

Your Lordship

Handout 2-2: Bradley's Barn Note

This note was found on one of the bodies of the three men murdered at Bradley's Barn on Cougar Creek, south of Sandpoint.

(This bloodied scrap of parchment was found on a mutilated body.)

Messers. Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe -

A deal has come about that I need capital for. It involves property and gold, and though I am not at liberty to tell you the exact details, it will make us all rich. Come to Bradley's Barn on Cougar Creek tonight. We can meet there to discuss our futures.

Your Lordship

Local Knowledge: Foxglove Manor

This is what the party knows or has learned about Foxglove Manor, so far.

Foxglove Manor is over 80 years old, and has been the seat of the Foxglove family the whole time. Some sort of tragedy struck the family a few decades ago, and no one's lived there since. Common rumour holds that the place is haunted.

Foxglove Manor is known as the "Misgivings" by some locals, particularly by Varisians. It certainly has a bad reputation – sightings of strange lights in the attic windows, muffled sounds of screaming from above and below, and even rumours of a huge bat-winged devil living in the caves below the manor are but a few of the tales told about the place. The Foxglove family lived there as recently as 2 decades ago, but then a fire burned down the servants' building, Cyralie Foxglove was found dead – burnt and dashed on the rocks below the cliffs behind the house – and Traver Foxglove was found in his bedroom, dead by his own hand. The children, including young Aldern Foxglove, were sent away to be raised in Korvosa by distant relations.

Aldern Foxglove recently returned to live in the manor, but he had a hell of a time hiring locals to aid him in the reconstruction and repair of the old building. Until Aldern moved back in, the place was cared for by a man named Rogors Craesby (a retired innkeeper who lost an ear in a bar fight many years ago) who came in 3 days a week from Sandpoint to air the place out, check for squatters, and make minor repairs.

Handout 2-5: Xanesha's Letter to Aldern

This note was recovered from Aldern Foxglove's lair at the bottom of the caverns beneath Foxglove Manor.

(A letter written on fine-quality parchment in a graceful hand, now marred with bloody smears and grubby marks.)

Aldern,

You have served us quite well. The delivery you harvested from the caverns far exceeds what I had hoped for. You may consider your debt to the Brothers paid in full. Yet I still have need of you, and when you awaken from your death, you should find your mind clear and able to understand this task more than in the state you lie in as I write this.

You shall remember the workings of the Sihedron ritual, I trust. You seemed quite lucid at the time, but if you find after your rebirth that you have forgotten, return to your townhouse in Magnimar. My agents shall contact you there soon – no need for you to bother the Brothers further. I will provide the list of proper victims for the Sihedron ritual in two days' time. Commit that list to memory and then destroy it before you begin your work. The ones I have selected must be marked before they die; otherwise, they do my master no good, and the greed in their souls will go to waste.

If others get in your way, though, you may do with them as you please. Eat them, savage them, or turn them into pawns – it matters not to me.

Xanesha, Mistress of the Seven

(Above the signature is the now-familiar seven-pointed Sihedron rune.)

Handout 2-3E: Hambley Farmhouse Note

This note was found on the body of farmer Crade Hambley, whose farm had been overrun by ghouls. Hamblet's body had been marked with the Sihedron rune.

(A bloody scrap of parchment, found pinned to the tunic of the decomposing body in the farmhouse.)

Ragnar,

I fear you. I hate you. You must fear and hate me as well. You may unmask me, so I must unmask you first.

Your Lordship

Handout 2-6: Deed to Foxglove Manor

This document was found in a secure cache on the top floor of Aldern Foxglove's Magnimar townhouse.

(A legal document, scribed in a careful but somewhat archaic hand.)

Know all men and women present and future that we, the members of the Brothers of the Seven, upon this day the 6th Abadius in the year of 4624, Absalom Reckoning, hereby concede and by this deed confirm upon Vorel Foxglove provisional ownership of the holding to be known here and henceforth as Foxglove Manor, located north of Magnimar on the Lost Coast Road due west of Bleaklow Moor upon the promontory, for so long as he, Vorel Foxglove, shall live, or so long as his direct descendants shall live, to a period not to exceed one hundred years.

Construction of Foxglove Manor, having been financed partially on the holdings and coin of Vorel Foxglove to the amount of six and sixty percent, and partially upon the coffers of the Brothers of the Seven to the amount of the remiander, four and thirty percent, backed by collateral in the form of the Seven's Sawmill, located itself upon Kyver's Islet of Magnimar, shall ensure only the physical and initial construction of the aforementioned manor, with any subsequent repair and maintenance to be the sole responsibility of Vorel Foxglove or his descendants for the aforementioned period of one hundred years. Upon the passing of this time, on the date of 6th Abadius of 4724, Absalom Reckoning, ownership of Foxglove Manor, to include all lands within a mile around and below, immediately and forevermore reverts to the Brothers of the Seven, with the employment of the manor, its grounds, and all improvements placed upon it by any prior inhabitants to be subject to the Brotherhood's discretion.

And so that our gift, concession, warranty, acquittance, and defence have the best perpetual strength and security, we have affixed Magnimar's seal to the present charter, which shall serve in lieu of signatures, the names of the Brotherhood to remain apart from this or any other document.

(Magnimar's seal depicts an angel soaring above the arch of abridge, encircled by the words "Where Freedom Can Never Be Lost," and "Magnimar – Founded 4608 AR.")

Handout 2-8: Ironbriar's Journal

This journal, found at the Seven's Sawmill in Magnimar, belonged to the master of the Skinsaw cult, revealed to be Ilthrain Ironbriar, a member of the Justice Court of Magnimar.

(A slim volume written in a unique cipher that combines Draconic, Elven, and Infernal characters.)

This book seems to serve as both a ledger for the sawmill's operations and a journal for its owner or manager. The details of mundane business transactions sit side-by-side with accounts of stalking and murder in a chillingly matter-of-fact way. It is clear that the journal's writer has been directing the activities of a group of murderous cultists for years, and has been using his position as a Justice in Magnimar's legal system to suppress knowledge of the cult's activities and confound any attempt by the city's authorities to investigate the killings or assemble a clear picture of serial, ritual murder.

Interspersed with normal ledger and journal entries over the past year are references to “Lovely Xanesha,” with whom the writer appears quite smitten; she has stolen his heart, he writes, and provided him with a new method of murder. Although the precise details of this new method are not laid out anywhere in the journal, there are enough references to ritualistic killings and the carving of a specific mark into the flesh of a still-living victim for you to draw parallels between these murders and those you investigated in and around sandpoint. “Lovely Xanesha,” as well as instructing the journal's writer in this method of murder, has also been providing him with the names of specific victims to be killed in this way.

The journal is maddeningly imprecise about “Lovely Xanesha,” effusive with admiration and florid declarations of affection, but there are several references within the text to meetings with Xanesha at a place in Underbridge called the Shadow Clock. It was during these trysts that Xanesha would provide to him the names of additional victims.

Handout 2-7: Letter to Xanesha

This letter was found crumpled and discarded in the lair of the lamia matriarch Xanesha.

(A crumpled wad of parchment bearing a letter written in an elegant hand.)

My sister,

I trust your little band of murderers is doing well, gathering the souls of the greedy for our Lord's rise? Has Magnimar proven to be as sinful as you had hoped? It may interest you to know that my plan to nurture greed here in this backwater has blossomed – the quality of greed in a soul is so much more refined when it is given the proper care. Are you still simply carving the Sihedron on them as they expire? How crude! My method of marking is so much more elegant.

In any even, I'm sure that your plans for harvesting greed where and when you can find it “in the wild” are progressing well enough – I just hope that your raw, ungroomed, and likely inferior victims don't interact poorly when mixed with the purity of my own subjects. If you tire of your little project there, know that you're always welcome to come to Turtleback Ferry and serve as my assistant, little sister! Fort Rannick should be in our control by the time you receive this letter, in any event, so there'll be plenty of room for you if you wish to take me up on my generous offer.

Oh! Before I forget! Have you managed to harvest that Lord-Mayor yet? By all accounts, he might just be the cream of the crop in Magnimar – his soul might even rival several from my hand-grown harvest!

(The letter is unsigned, but concludes with the seven-pointed Sihedron rune.)