Legacy of Jade
While the region known today as Varisia has long been inhabited (all the way back to the Age of Legend, when powerful wizards known as runelords ruled the region as the Empire of Thassilon), it wasn’t until relatively recently that it came to the attention of the nations of the Inner Sea. Cheliax made an aggressive attempt to colonize Varisia, but conf lict with its native peoples and the remote location made such attempts difficult. By the time of Aroden’s death and the Chelish Civil War, Cheliax’s colonies in Varisia had already become independent.
While the inland highlands of Varisia remain wild and untamed, a fair amount of its coastal lowlands are now civilized. Three cities in particular—Korvosa, Magnimar, and Riddleport—represent civilization’s three greatest modern triumphs in the region. Each of these cities has a number of smaller villages in its outlying reaches, and of these smaller settlements, the town of Sandpoint is among the largest and most successful—the perfect spot for fledgling heroes to start careers of adventure.
The coastal town of Sandpoint has enjoyed great prosperity in its 4 or so decades of existence, and has recently grown large enough to become Varisia’s sixth-largest city. Despite recent growing pains (such as an increase in crime, including the depredation of the notorious murderer Jervas Stoot, known also as “Chopper”), Sandpoint’s mayor, Kendra Deverin, hopes to see her town’s prosperity grow even further in the years to come. Sandpoint is built around an ancient Thassilonian tower known today as the Old Light. This ruined edifice, combined with the town’s traditional problems with local goblin tribes, make it a hotbed of adventuring opportunity.
Founded in 4666 ar along the Lost Coast, just a day’s ride north of Magnimar, Sandpoint has grown into a rustic and prosperous town of just over 1,200 citizens. The town has dealt with a number of disasters in the past 5 decades, including several powerful storms, goblin uprisings, trouble with dragons, devastating fires, and deranged serial killers. Yet Sandpoint weathered these trials and emerged stronger after each one. Today, the town hosts several thriving industries (including lumber, fishing, farming, and glassblowing) as well as a number of unique businesses and entertainment venues. The town seems comfortable in its transitory position between rural charm and urban convenience, and is a healthy and vibrant settlement despite its slow growth.
A simple, relatively peaceful town with all the color and common oddities one expects from a tightly-knit community, Sandpoint sits at a point on the Lost Coast halfway between Magnimar and Windsong Abbey. Wood buildings and cluttered docks line the town’s natural harbor, while farms and the manors of wealthy citizens dot the surrounding countryside. During the day, fishing, farming, lumbering, glassmaking, and shipbuilding occupy most of the townsfolk, who commonly retire to their homes by way of Sandpoint’s many taverns. A playhouse and would-be museum make unusual attractions in such a small community, but Sandpoint’s true landmark is the Old Light, a lighthouse of ancient origins that lies in ruins.
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 flight 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 first 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.