Of Ashes and Empires Forgotten
The stage is set …
Those who travel southwest from Baldur’s Gate along the coast will soon find themselves in a peculiar country. Fog drapes the rolling landscape, floating spectrally along damp and lonely moors. Ancient woodlands grace the region, their tangled depths redolent of nettles and pepperwood and pine sap, while further inland, river valleys lined by majestic redwoods wind between ragged tors and limestone escarpments. This vastness and the sense of isolation have earned the region its local name. This is the Lost Coast.
Yet there are pockets of civilization along the Lost Coast. Campsites can be found in nearly every gulch and hollow along the cliff -lined reaches, and lonely houses sit upon bluffs now and then—domiciles for eccentrics or the rich seeking a bit of peace far from the bustle of Baldur’s Gates’ streets. Well-constructed stone shelters grace the Lost Coast road every 25 miles or so, placed by virtue of the distance most travelers can walk given a day’s travel. Stone shrines to Silvanus, goddess of good fortune give further opportunities for shelter should one of the all-too-common rainstorms catch the traveler unaware.
As one approaches the town of Sandpoint, the footprint of civilization upon the Lost Coast grows clearer. Farmlands in the outlying moors and river valleys grow more numerous, and the blue-green waters of the Sea of Swords bear more and more fishing vessels upon its surface. Passage over creeks and rivers is more often accomplished by wooden bridge than ford, and the Lost Coast Road itself grows wider and better-kept.
Sight of Sandpoint from the northeast is kept hidden by the large up thrust limestone pavement known as the Devil’s Platter, but as the final bend in the road is rounded, Sandpoint’s smoking chimneys and bustling streets greet the traveler with open arms and the promise of warm beds, a welcome sight indeed for those who have spent a week or more alone on the Lost Coast Road.
From the south, entrance to Sandpoint is governed by a wooden bridge, while from the north a low stone wall gives the town a bit of protection. Here, the Lost Coast Road passes through a stone gatehouse that is generally watched by one or two guards—the southern bridge is typically unattended. Aside from the occasional goblin, the citizens of Sandpoint have traditionally had little worries about invasion or banditry—the region simply isn’t populated enough to make theft a lucrative business.
Hanging from a bent nail at both the gatehouse and the southern bridge is a sign and a mirror— painted on each sign is the message: “Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!”