About two weeks have passed (time negotiable) since you returned from dealing with Nualia and the goblins (oh, yeah, and the barghest). You’ve had some time to rest now. After all the help you have given him and the aid in defending Sandpoint, it’s obvious that Sheriff Hemlock sees you as strong allies for Sandpoint.
Sheriff Hemlock’s Plea
One evening, you are approached by a sullen and grim-faced Sheriff Hemlock, the commander of Sandpoint’s guards and the primary voice of law for much of the Lost Coast.
You are invited to a private dinner the following evening. You find yourselves in a private room at Town Hall with Kendra Devlin, the mayor and Sheriff Hemlock. The sheriff speaks.
“First, let me thank you again for all you’ve done for Sandpoint. It’s fortunate that you’ve proven yourselves so capable, because we’ve a problem that I think you can help us with—a problem that I wish I didn’t have to involve anyone with, but one that needs dealing with now before the situation grows worse.
Put simply, we have a murderer in our midst—one who, I fear, has only begun his work. Some of you doubtless remember the Late Unpleasantness, how this town nearly tore itself apart in fear as Chopper’s slayings went on unanswered. I’m afraid we might have something similar brewing now. “Last night, the murderer struck at the sawmill. There are two victims, and they’re… they’re in pretty gruesome shape. The bodies were discovered by one of the mill workers, a man named Ibor Thorn, and by the time my men and I arrived on the scene, a crowd of curious gawkers had already sprung up. I’ve got my men stationed there now, keeping the mill locked down, but the thing that bothers me isn’t the fact that we have two dead bodies inside. It’s the fact that this is actually the second set of murders we’ve had in the last few days. [ominous music sounds in the background, perhaps a sinister laugh]
I come to you for help in this matter—my men are good, but they are also green. They were barely able to handle themselves against the goblins, and what we’re facing now is an evil far worse than goblins. I need the help. But I’m afraid you’ll need the help too. You see, I’m afraid that this particular murderer knows one of you as well.”
The sheriff then passes a bloodstained scrap of parchment to Var. The paper is folded and Var’s name is written in blood on the outside. Inside is written a short message. “We have spoken of this before, my master. Now it begins. Join the Pack and it will end.” It is signed, “Your Lordship.”
“This note,” the Sheriff continues, “was found pinned to the sleeve of the latest victim by a splinter of wood.” He pauses, “I know that you (looking at the party), had nothing to do with the murders, but if the word of this gets out, I’m afraid that the town may not be so understanding, so please be quiet as possible about the murders.”
Before you race off, the Sheriff runs the current list of clue by you. He deputizes you all, saying that the best possible minds and resources will be focused on solving the murders, leaving him and his guards to the task of keeping Sandpoint from erupting in a panic. He promises all the support he can give, but again emphasizes the need for keeping the investigations quiet for the town’s sake.
Sandpoint Lumber Mill: The most recent murders took place here—the bodies are still present, and little has been done with the crime scene itself. Sheriff Hemlock suggests that this be the first place the PCs investigate, since he would like to clean the mill up right away and get the bodies buried.
Ibor Thorn: Sheriff Hemlock has interrogated Ibor, the man who discovered the bodies, and doesn’t suspect the frightened miller knows much more.
Ven Vinder: This merchant is sheriff Hemlock’s only suspect, although the sheriff is fairly certain that Ven is innocent and that the murders were committed by someone else.
The First Murders: Three con men from the town of Galduria were found murdered in an abandoned barn south of town a few days ago—their bodyguard survived the assault but has gone insane and is being kept at a nearby sanatorium.
The Rune: The star carved on Harker’s chest certainly has significance to the killer, but Hemlock’s at a loss as to what it means. Perhaps an expert on runes can be consulted?