Cold fall air chills the players as they trek up the now neglected King’s Road to the village of Winterhaven, a small outpost of civilization nestled at the foot of the Cairngorm Peaks. Likot, having left his mining fortress some time ago lusting for retribution against goblin-kind, idly chats with Artemis, a runaway Tiefling seeking redemption from her dark past. Skitlezzz the Barbarian prowls ahead of the group, anxiously awaiting the next opportunity to rage against his enemies. Aeric the Wizard and Carff, son of Farff, discuss the merits of joining the three fellow adventurers ahead of them. Having met decades ago in military service to a distant mixed-race elven state, the two are old friends recently reunited to take up adventuring.
The five adventurers received a quest from an earnest young priestess of the good deity Pelor, Marla of the Great Church. She had been studying the history and activity of various demon and death cults when she discovered that witnesses saw a small group of death cultists traveling toward Winterhaven about one year prior. She has also learned and informed the characters the the head of this group is a dangerous and twisted priest named Kalarel (see picture). Marla fears that Kalarel has set up a secret cult in the area and is conducting unholy ceremonies. She has asked the characters to travel to Winterhaven to determine if there is any death cult activity in the area, and, if so, to stamp it out. She has promised them two hundred and fifty gold for completing this task, as it is important to her church’s mission.
Nearing the village of Winterhaven, wearied by the long journey from Fallcrest to the south, the adventurers look forward to a rejuvenating rest at Salvana Wrafton’s Inn. Their thoughts soon turn to other matters, however, as small creatures hiding behind the rocks spring into view and begin to attack the adventurers! Kobolds! These small, crafty reptilian humanoids (see picture) rush from their hiding places with spears and short swords held high. Skitlezzz roars in excitement as he charges forward and swings his two-handed greatsword into the nearest kobold, sending its small body flying through the air back into the woods. Artemis blasts the nearest kobold with Eldritch energy, Carff performs daring sky flourishes while darting around the enemy, and Aeric uses his repertoire of arcane spells to keep the kobolds in disarray. Likot valiantly enters the fray only to be caught off-guard by a few well-placed and lucky strikes from the Kobold Dragonshields. A special glue-pot slung by a pesky Kobold Slinger immobilizes Likot, even as he struggles to defend his allies with his last strength. “Not in the face!” he yells as he falls the ground, gravely wounded from short sword slashes to his back and merciless bludgeoning from rock bullets to his fore. He lies dying upon the field of battle, but remains confident that his allies will win the fight and come to his aid. Artemis avenges her downed comrade, tracking down the fleeing Kobold Slinger and punishing it with a vicious blast of Eldritch energy, a long, twisting vein of purple energy that painfully sears the chest of the cursed Slinger. The remaining kobolds fall quickly thereafter, and the adventurers stand victorious over their first challenge. Skitlezzz lifts the wounded Likot onto his back, grunting under the weight of the stout dwarf and his armor, and the group sets off into town.
Emerging from the dangerous countryside to the relative quiet of the farmsteads surrounding Winterhaven’s walled center, the adventuring company eagerly anticipates a night’s rest and the continuation of their quest. A farmer tending a field nearby briefly glances up with disinterest as the group approaches Winterhaven’s outer gate, a set of two large 12 foot wooden doors, barred at night with a reinforced wooden beam. The attending guards notice the wounded dwarf on Skitlezzz’s back and point them inside, towards Wrafton’s Inn.