Ace as Drizzt the Drow Scout
Pat as Mika the Human Gunslinger, um Wandslinger
Bob as Myrymma the Drow Assassin
Veronica as Euna the Human Fighter
Anna as Carrigan the Human Paladin
Tim as DM
After traveling with a trade caravan for a time – common work for beginning adventurers – the heroes arrive at Restwell Keep. They’ve heard that fortune and glory await those bold enough to brave the dangers of the nearby Chaos Scar, a valley carved ages ago by a fallen star. The same tales warn that this Chaos Scar draws wickedness to it. Perhaps they can help stem this tide…and gain some treasure as they do so.
A think, bald human friar named Venn approaches them shortly after their arrival at the Keep. He said his teacher, another holy man named Benwick, craved the pleasure of their company to discuss important matters. A free meal was to be their reward for merely accepting the invitation.
Thus, this evening, they are visiting a comfortable apartment on the west side of the keep’s inner bailey. At the table is their host, the well-proportioned Benwick, along with fellow adventures both familiar and newly met. Venn and another priestly man, Jarell, serve victuals to you and Benwick.
Benwick informs them that he and his followers belong to an order that hold Avandra (good goddess of change, luck, trade and travel), Ioun (the unaligned goddess of knowledge, prophecy and skill, and is a patron of the study of magic and mental power), and Sehanine (the elven goddess of the moons) in high regard. He is also a healer and herbalist of some skill. But he is certain that Lord Drysdale, the keep’s lord and a staunch adherent of Erathis (unaligned goddess of civilization), seems intent on imposing devotion to Erathis, on militarizing the keep, and on launching an ill-prepared attack that will server only to rile up the monsters of the Chaos Scar.
(From Wikipedia: Avandra is friends with Melora, Sehanine and Corellon – they are collectively known as “the Four Free Gods”, and Avandra’s exalted usually spend their afterlives in and around Arvandor, the dominion of Corellon and Sehanine. Avandra’s most hated adversary is Zehir. She is also an enemy of Asmodeus, the lord of tyranny, and Torog, god of jailors, whom her followers fight at any opportunity.)
At the end of the dinner Benewick turns solemn and says to the adventurers, “Friends, here on the borderlands, we must be ever mindful of dark influences creeping in the night. In doing so, I have become suspicious of the banker, Ferdinand Ronnik. His wealth and greed are well known. Also, he has never publically denied that he was once a successful thief in the city of Fallcrest. To learn more, I asked a trusted friend—a man named Gordi who worked for Ronnik—to inform me of anything unusual.
“I say ‘worked,’ because Gordi is now missing. Before his disappearance, Gordi provided me with two grave reports. First, he glimpsed accoutrements of Tiamat (queen and mother of evil dragons) worship hidden among Ronnik’s belongings. Second, Gordi recognized a jewel in Ronnik’s possession known as the Serpent’s Eye. As you might know, that item was treasured by Moonsong Temple in Fallcrest before disciples of Zehir pilfered it.
“Ronnik and his lackeys didn’t try to hide the fact that they spirited Gordi to a grotto near the northern swamps. I believe Ronnik hopes to flush out me and Gordi’s other allies when we attempt a rescue.
“I truly believe that you all are a blessing sent to me. No one in this keep yet knows you. I realize that I’m about to ask much of you, but you can act boldly where I cannot.
“First, I want you to go to Ronnik’s prison grotto and rescue Gordi. Also, I hope that you are able to secure proof that Ronnik is an unholy follower of Tiamat. If all else fails, at least try to recover the Serpent’s Eye so we can return it to Avandra’s chapel.
“If you’re willing, I suggest an early start after a full night’s rest. Although I hope that I’ve impressed on you my sincere purpose, I would take no offense if you wish to confirm my reputation among the folks of the outer bailey. Still, I ask that you be discrete about your task. No need to provide the scoundrels more warning than we must.
“So, what say you?”
Mika recalls that the Sperpent’s Eye was once stored in the Moonsong Temple of Fallcrest and that the jewel was stolen from the temple long ago. Because several of the priests guarding it were poisoned, rumor has it that disciples of Zehir (evil God of darkness and poison) were responsible.
Someone asks about payment and Benwick responds with a wink, a smile, and the promise that Roninik’s lackeys are likely to be funded well, considering their boss’s line of work.
The team agrees and Benwick provides them a map, a Herbal poultice for each adventure, and instructions to leave early the next morning and return directly to him when they finish the task. On the way back to the inn they schmooze with the locals in The Stumbling Giant and learn that what Benwick said is true. Benwick has a stellar reputation in the outer bailey, but the alehouse’s owner, Mother Aran, doesn’t think Lord Drysdale is going to enforce Erathis worship at the keep. Ronnick has a reputation for exorbitant loan rates. Ronnick is often seen at the Stumbling Giant, but he’s been in and out of the keep a lot recently. Ronnik makes no effort to quiet rumors that he was a thief in Fallcrest. And Gordi did work for Ronnick, and he hasn’t been seen for a short while. A check on the Herbal poultice reveals it is genuine and attests to Benwick’s skill in herbalism.
The adventures depart early under a gloomy sky and travel northwest from the keep. The ridges of the Chaos Scar loom in the distant west as they pass over a rolling, sparsely wooded plain and enter marshy woodlands punctuated with stony outcroppings. In the late morning, they come to the bog surrounding the hill that contains the prison grotto. Wisps of smoke curl from a cave on the hill’s south side.
One of the adventures sneaks up to get a peak and then reports back. Redolent with the smell of swamp and the smoke of two small fires, the grotto is a well-lit cave featuring a couple pools. Near the fire to the left of the entrance is a pile of furs and a hole in the floor. A reptilian humanoid with yellow-green scales and a net and spear rests there. A dragonborn in heavy leather tends the other campfire to the right of the entrance, with a green drake at his side. The firelight doesn’t reach the rear of the grotto.
The adventures step into the cave and the dragonborn mercenary shouts out at them in draconic. One of the adventures, who speak draconic, says the dragonborn asked them who they are and what did they want. Another adventure notices that there’s movement on the ledge in the back of the cave. But the time for talking has passed and the adventures attack.
The fighting is intense. The drakes, the greenscale, and the dragonborn quickly damage the heroes, even blooding a few of them. But the doughty heroes quickly recover and Euna destroys the first drake, Carrigan kills the greenscale, the dragonborn takes enough damage that he surrenders.
The heroes quickly dispatch the remaining needlers and the second drake. Kesk, the dragonborn mercenary, bargains for his life. He says that he was hired by a human named Ronnik to kidnap Gordi. After rummaging through the items in the cave, Myrymma decides to end the negotiation by coming up behind Kesh and assassinating him. (Ah, so much for bringing back a witness.)
A quick search of the cave reveals Gordi in the pit, 30 gp, and a pendant bearing the symbol of Tiamat (worth 50 gp) around Kesk’s neck. An examination of Gordi reveals he is ill from some sort of slow acting poison. The heroes must quickly return him to the keep.