Knights of The Flowery Branch
Hanging from a bent nail at both the gatehouse and the southern bridge is a sign above a small mirror – painted on each sign is the message: “Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!”
Sandpoint is a small, but growing coastal town located on the Lost Coast Road roughly 50 miles northeast of Magnimar. The larger area is known as Varisia, a wild frontier region dotted liberally with the colossal, and often magical, ruins of an ancient civilization known as Thassilon.
Outside of town, nearby Varisians are most likely to have heard of the following Sandpoint locations: the recently completed Sandpoint Cathedral, the Kaijitsu Glassworks, the ancient lighthouse ruin known as the Old Light, the famed Two Knight Brewery and the massive playhouse called simply The Sandpoint Theatre.
Most of the buildings in Sandpoint are made of wood, with stone foundations and wood shingle roofs. The majority are single-story structures, with a few noted exceptions. The town is often thought of as two districts by the locals. Uptown consists of areas 1–12. Most of these buildings are relatively new, and the streets are open and less crowded. This section of town is also physically above the rest, situated on a level bluff overlooking the southern half of town, which consists of areas 13–46. The majority of the town’s buildings can be found downtown, which grows increasingly crowded as available space is claimed by new arrivals. Downtown is built on a gentle slope that runs from a height of about 60 feet above sea level to the west down to only a few feet above the waterline to the east and south.
Sandpoint Harbor is a fairly deep natural harbor, 30 feet for most of its expanse, with sharply rising slopes near the shore. The languid waters of the Turandarok River wind down from the hinterlands, skirting Devil’s Platter to empty into the harbor—the river is often used to transport lumber harvested far upriver down to the local saw mill. South of town rises another bluff on which Sandpoint’s most affluent landowners have staked their claims. Only a few hundred feet north of town rises an upthrust spur of rocky land topped with a few trees—this is known now as Chopper’s Isle, once the home to Sandpoint’s most notorious criminal. A remote outcropping accessible only by fl ight or by a skilled climber, locals now believe the isle to be haunted by Chopper’s ghost. Children often dare each other to go out to the isle’s base at low tide and touch the barren cliff face that surrounds it, but no one’s visited the top in years.
The sight that strikes all visitors to Sandpoint at first is the ruins of the Old Light. The original height of this tower is unknown, but those who have studied the ancient architecture of the crumbling remains estimate it might have stood more than 700 feet tall. Today, less than a quarter of that remains. The Old Light rises from sea level and is built into the face of a 120-foot-tall cliff , the tower extending another 50 feet above that level to culminate in ragged ruins. The remaining shell is yet another reminder that neither the Chelaxians nor the Varisians are the fi rst settlers of this land, yet apart from a few badly weathered carvings signifying that the peak of this tower once held a brilliant light, no insight to the tower’s true purpose remains.
In the winter of 4702 Sandpoint was the home of “The Chopper”, a serial killer who killed 25 people over the course of a month. Eventually revealed to be a local eccentric, Jervis Stoot, the crimes put a strain on the community that while no stranger to crime and death, had never witnessed anytime so gruesome as bodies carved up and their eyes and tongues stolen away. While he was cornered and died at his own hands, the tragedies of that year did not end there as a month later the old church burned to the ground taking the village priest with it. This time is referred to as The Late Unpleasantness by those villagers wishing to put the past behind them.