With Nualia vanquished, and the local goblins subdued, the adventurers return to the now-safe town of Sandpoint. Word of their exploits quickly spreads and they are viewed with even more awe and appreciation by the townsfolk. One morning, a few weeks after they have returned from Thistletop, Sheriff Hemlock knocks on the door of their home and asks to speak to them privately. He tells them that there have been a few grisly murders in town of late, and he fears that the murderer is only beginning. They remind him of Chopper’s spree during the Late Unpleasantness and he’s afraid of what may yet happen if this new perpetrator isn’t stopped soon. He’s been taking great pains to keep the details of the murders from getting out in order to prevent a panic.
He explains that the first murders occurred two days ago at an abandoned barn along the Lost Coast Road, a few miles outside of town. Three well-known con men and swindlers from Magnimar were found mutilated inside along with a note that invited them there. An obviously sick and insane man was captured outside the barn and is currently being held at Habe’s Sanatorium. It was assumed that he was the culprit of the murders until another similar one occurred early that morning. Sheriff Hemlock didn’t want to ask another favor of the adventurers so soon, but a note left at this latest crime scene made him reconsider. It was attached to the victim, written in blood, and addressed to Sorcerer Dave. Sherrif Hemlocks asks the adventurers to help in the investigation and deputizes them as official representatives of his office. He assigns Deputy Raheal to accompany them and act as a liaison between them.
The adventurers head to the Sandpoint Lumber Mill, the scene of the latest murder. Inside they find the mutilated corpse of Banny Harker, one of the mill’s operators. He’s been affixed to the wall by several hooks normally used to hang machinery. His face has been carved away and his lower jaw is missing entirely. There is a rotten scent in the wounds, and closer inspection reveals smaller gashes, almost appearing to have been made by claws. His bare chest has been carved with a strange rune in the shape of a seven-pointed star, which the adventurers recognize from medallions they had found in the possession of both Erylium and Nualia. In the town mortuary they find that the corpses of the first victims have also been mutilated with the rune in a similar fashion. Brodert Quink, a local historian, tells them that the rune is named the Sihedron Rune and that it comes from the ancient Thassilonian empire.