Rise of the Runelords
The Swallowtail Festival
The Swallowtail Festival begins promptly, as scheduled, on the Autumnal Equinox (22 Rova, 4707). The square before the church quickly becomes crowded as locals and travelers arrive, and several merchant tents featuring food, clothes, local crafts, and souvenirs are there to meet them.
WELCOMING SPEECHES: The turnout for the opening speeches in the morning is quite respectable, and the four keynote speakers each deliver short but well-received welcomes to the festival. Mayor Deverin’s friendly attitude and excitement prove contagious as she welcomes visitors to town and jokes about how even Larz Rovanky, the local tanner (and notorious workaholic) managed to tear himself away from the tannery to attend, much to everyone’s amusement (except Larz’s). Sheriff Belor Hemlock brings the crowd down a bit with his dour mood, his reminder to be safe around the evening’s bonfire, and his request for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the fire that claimed the town’s previous church several years ago. The next speaker is scheduled to be local nobleman Lonjiku Kaijitsu, but a sudden illness has prevented him from attending the ceremony (this isn’t something that surprises the locals, given Lonjiku’s well-known dislike of frivolity and festivals). Sandpoint’s own showman Cyrdak Drokkus is more than up to the challenge of bringing the crowd’s mood back up with his rousing anecdotes. He delivers a not-completely-irreverent recap of the long process the town went through to finance and construct the new cathedral. He throws in a bit of self-promotion at the end, as is his wont, inviting everyone to stop by the Sandpoint Theater the following evening to check out his new production of “The Harpy’s Curse,” revealing that the lead role of Avisera the harpy queen will be played by none other than the famous Magnimarian diva Allishanda! Finally, Father Zantus steps up to give a short speech thanking everyone for coming before declaring the Swallowtail Festival underway.
FESTIVAL FUN AND GAMES: Numerous games and contests take place during the day, including sack races, games of hide-and-seek, weight-lifting challenges, balance beam contests, tug-of-war events, and the like. The PCs can take part in as many or as few of these games as they wish—you can use these games as a method to introduce the PCs to each other or to key NPCs in the town. Resolve games with opposed ability score or skill checks. Winners of these games generally win nothing more than bragging rights for the rest of the day, but for many of Sandpoint’s residents, this is a fine prize indeed!
- Devil Hunt
- Goblin Toss
- Lighthouse Smash
- Dragon Races
- Tripstep Ladder
- A Dragon’s Gold
SWALLOWTAIL RELEASE: At noon, Father Zantus and his acolytes wheel a large covered wagon into the square, and after recounting the short parable of how Desna first fell to earth and was nursed back to health by a blind child whom she transformed into an immortal butterfly as a reward for her aid, they pull aside the wagon’s cover, releasing the thousand children of Desna—a furious storm of swallowtail butterflies that swarm into the air in a spiraling riot of color to a great cheer from the crowd. Throughout the rest of the day, children futilely chase butterflies, never quite quick enough to catch them.
LUNCH: Lunch is provided free, at the expense of Sandpoint’s taverns. Each brings its best dishes—this event is as much a marketing push by the taverns to win new customers as it is to feed a hungry crowd. It soon becomes apparent that the darling of the lunch is, once again, Ameiko Kaijitsu, whose remarkable curry-spiced salmon and early winterdrop mead easily overshadow the other offerings, such as the Hagfish’s lobster chowder or the White Deer’s peppercorn venison.
DEDICATION: The dedication of the new church is scheduled to occur at dusk, signaled by a single firework followed by a speech by Father Zantus.