Recently having arrived in the town of Raven’s Rest, a half-elf bard known as Khonin begins wandering the streets in search of stories to chronicle. Apart from the typical stories from farmers of evil beasts lurking in the dark, he hears a more interesting story from the priests at the temple of the Raven Queen. They tell him of a group of adventurers that recently disappeared after investigating a rash of attacks on trade caravans into the towns, attacks that are rumored to be precipitated by goblins. Upon further inquiry, Khonin is directed to Ovthur Farvein, the owner of a prosperous mining company in the town whose business has been considerably hurt by these attacks.
Khonin investigates further at the Farvein Mining Company where the workers reveal that whomever is attacking the trade caravans not only take everything of value, but they also leave no bodies behind. All that remains as evidence is destroyed equipment and pools of blood. They also express their fear that Ovthur’s daughter, a dwarf named Rifkind, has fallen victim to these attacks. Using his incredible way with words, Khonin speaks to Ovthur and gets him to open up about the issue. The stoic dwarf tells him that Rifkind is a cleric and accomplished adventurer. She set off nearly a month ago to investigate the attacks and hasn’t been seen since. He has full faith that she is alive and well, but finds it odd that he’s heard nothing from her. He mentions that he will offer a substantial reward for stopping these attacks and another reward if anyone is able to find news of his daughter. With the story tugging at Khonin’s heart, and knowing that he can’t face this challenge alone, he heads off to find a group of brave souls to help him in the endeavor. Knowing full well the best place to find trustworthy, righteous adventurers who are willing to forsake their own safety to assist people they don’t even know, he heads to the local tavern…
The tavern of the Weary Wanderer is bustling with locals and travelers drinking some of the finest dwarven brew in the area and partaking of the regional favorite – hamples. Everyone in tavern looks up as the bard enters and announces that he is looking for companions to assist him on a quest to find the missing dwarven cleric Rikind and to eradicate the goblin threat that has been killing traders travelling the area. Khonin, feeling rather ignored as most everyone turns back around and goes back to their food and drink, realizes that five people are still keeping their focus on him. Five people that don’t quite fit in here amongst the humans and dwarves. Towering above everyone at nearly 9ft tall, Ramathorne – a gray skinned goliath barbarian, tells Khonin that he recently recovered from being attacked while guarding a trade caravan and that he is willing to join him. The dragonborn cleric that was tending to Ramathorne’s wounds, Juja also stands up to volunteer her services. Coming out from her shadowy table, a half-orc rougue named Gudrun offers to assist. Moving with cat-like grace, a shifter druid known as Serah Slade offers to join Khonin. Seeing the potential for adventure and feeling that his survival skills could come in handy, an elf ranger named Fjord joins the group as well. As the group begins to discuss the task at hand, the door to the tavern burst open and another gray skinned goliath stumbles in loudly demanding more to drink. Ramathorne shouts out that this is his brother, the warden known as Rotham. Rotham joins the group and gets some more ale.
Watching all of this unfold, a table of local rowdy types seems to have had enough of commotion being caused by these outsiders and shouts at the group to keep it down or leave. Not taking kindly to this outburts, the party turns their attention to the five gruff characters and their two growling dogs. Some harsh words are exchanged back and forth and as the heated conversation escalates, Olar Theltan, the captain of the guard walks in and demands to know if there is any trouble. Clearly the five ruffians are intimidated by Olar and back down. Not wanting to cause any trouble, the party leaves the Weary Wanderer to set about making plans to embark on their quest.
The party borrows a wagon and a couple of horses from Ovthur in the hopes that they can fool anyone preying on these mining caravans that they are also an easy target for attack. Loading up the wagon, they set off on the road to the Farvein Mining Outpost deep in the Black Hills with the chilly autumn wind blowing and the gray skies stretching out before them.
The first day’s travel is slow and uneventful. With the darkness of the evening coming quickly, the party sets up camp for the evening. Finding an elevated area a bit off the road that should provide relative safety, the group sets up their tents and settles in for the night. All is quiet and cold for a good bit, but while Gudrun stands watch, her keen senses pick up that something isn’t right. She hears sounds of shuffling through the brush and the low growls of dogs. She awakens Khonin and they head towards the source of the sounds to investigate. As they reach the edge of their campfire’s light two crossbow bolts go zipping past Gudrun and bury themselves into the ground behind her. She yells for the rest of the group to awake and ready themselves for battle as a pack of vicious dogs rushes at her attacks! The party heads into combat, trying to fend off the dogs. As their busy with the pack of hounds, what appear to be several bandits advance from the shadows and attack the group. It’s a hard fought battle, but our adventurers beat back the threat and one of the crossbow wielding bandits takes off running into the night. The party chases after him and Serah closes fast on him, having shifted into cougar form. She pounces on the hapless attacker and lets the last of his life out of him with her claws.
With the evening’s excitement seemingly over, the party rests for the remainder of the night and heads back out on the road in the morning.
According to the map that Ovthur gave them, they are just a few hours from the Favein Mining Outpost when they see a horse without a rider trotting along the road in front of them. Serah moves along the side of the road in her cat form to investigate further and sees that the horse is indeed alone and has a saddle, as if it were recently ridden. The group finds a note, sealed with the seal of the Favein Mining Company in one of the saddlebags. Several attempt to open the letter without breaking the seal are made, but ultimately the seal is broken. The letter reads as follows:
Deciding to try to find out more about the origins of this lone horse, Fjord begins to track it back up the road. They come to a spot on the road that shows obvious signs of battle and there is blood soaking the dirt here. Spotting tracks, they decide to follow the trail of blood off the road and into the wilderness. A ways off of the road, they come across a ruined tower sitting atop of a small hill. At the top of the tower there seems to be a single goblin standing watch. The party attempts to sneak around the tower unseen, but luck is not on their side and they attract the sentry’s attention. Khonin attempts to reason with the goblin guard, explaining that they are lost and need assistance. The goblin answers by firing a crossbow bolt at them. Rushing into combat and up the steep hill, the party is greeted with a small army of goblins pouring out from the tower. It’s a hard fought battle, but the party manages to wipe out their foes with little damage to themselves, keeping one goblin alive for questioning. A search of the tower reveals a chest with some valuables that the party confiscates. They also make the grisly discovery of four bodies piled outside of the tower in a pool of blood. The bodies all bear brooches with the symbol of the Farvein Mining Company. Interrogating the goblin, they learn that they are part of the Volog clan and are under the orders of Duregal to bring the bodies here to the tower where they are later picked up by more goblins. He also claims to know nothing of the dwarf, Rifkind.
Sensing the opportunity to try to find where the goblin lair can be found, they loosely tie up their captive in the hopes that he will escape and they can follow him