13 Flaurmont, 998 A.C.
In the spring of 998 A.C. the party members find themselves relaxing in the Antler and Thistle tavern, an establishment that caters to mercenaries and adventurers in the town of Reedle. Erasmus Linton, Mawg, and Zia Al-Warqa are gathered around a table, next to the fireplace, drinking beer and passing the time with idle chatter, while Isilar One-Eye and Fendrel Red Arrow sit at the bar, discussing the finer points of dwarven ale production. The jovial atmosphere in the tavern is shattered when the tavern door is smashed off its hinges by a band of four hobgoblins, who immediately set upon the patrons with their swords.
The party members leap into action, with Zia and Fendrel charging into melee, while Isilar, Mawg and Erasmus cast their spells from a distance. As the heroes cut though the hobgoblins, more of the foul creatures charge through the open door, to replace their fallen comrades. In addition, two goblins carrying bitumen torches scurry into the Antler and Thistle, with one tossing his torch at the bottles behind the bar.
A short scuffle later, the heroes stand victorious over the goblinoids, but as the noise of battle dies down, they hear screams and the sounds of combat in the streets outside. Taking a moment to catch their breath, the characters charge into the street.
Stepping out into the cobblestone streets, the characters are nearly bowled over by a crush of people fleeing from an enormous ogre pulling a wagon by a yoke around its waist. The ogre holds a cask in one hand and a massive club in the other, while riding atop the wagon are two hobgoblin arches. After a pitched battled that ends with the detonation of the casks of oil held in the ogre’s wagon, an exhausted and injured guard runs up to the characters, asking for their help at the northern edge of town. Racing through the carnage of the streets of Reedle, the characters reach the edge of town, only to find that the goblinoid marauders have disappeared into the blackness of the mountain night.
14 Flaurmont, 998 A.C.
Retiring to their rooms, the characters barely have time to shut their eyes before they are disturbed by the herald of Councilman Eoffram Troyas, a local politician. The characters collect their belongings and head off to the meeting (although not before Zia punched out Troyas’ herald).
At the Reedle Town Council Hall, the characters meet Councilman Troyas, who lets the characters know about the town’s history with the Red Hand Horde. He lets them know that, in addition to the property damage and deaths that the goblinoids caused the previous night, seven people were seized by the goblinoid troops as well as a number of artifacts originally belonging to the adventuring party that had put down the Red Hand Horde a decade earlier. He offers the characters 400 gold pieces if they are able to recover both the prisoners and the artifacts. A tense negotiation follows, with the Councilman resorting to threats in order to secure the party’s cooperation. Fendrel develops an unusual fixation on a family ring that Troyas wears on his right hand and the party finds Troyas’ heavy-handed approach extremely distasteful. In the end, Zia manages to convince Troyas to sweeten his offer by guaranteeing free room and board for the party members in perpetuity if they are successful in their mission. The party and the Councilman conclude their deal with a handshake (and one further attempt by Fendrel to obtain Troyas’ ring).
The party are brought to a captive hobgoblin, who is held in the basement of the Council Hall. Erasmus uses a mixture of intimidation and diplomacy to elicit information on the Red Hand Horde, learning that that “Horde” number only 40 or so goblinoids who are holed up in the family crypts of a ruined plantation called Rivenroar. They also discover that the Red Hand Horde is led by a hobgoblin chieftain named Sinruth. After obtaining a map from the captive, Zia attempts to kill the hobgoblin, only to be stopped by the town guards. Disgusted by this, the party leaves the captive in the guards’ care and make their preparations to track the Red Hand back to their lair.
The trip to Rivenroar is somewhat of a disaster, as the party choose to try a series of short cuts, rather than directly following the path of the Red Hand. By the time they reach Rivenroar, high in the Altan Tepes Mountains, the party is exhausted from the trip and decides to make camp in the dense pines that surround the ruins of Rivenroar. Unfortunately, their night is anything but restful.
As Isilar is keeping watch, the party’s campsite is attacked by a trio of voracious deathjump spiders. The characters are able to drive the spiders off after a pitched melee, but unfortunately Isilar and Erasmus fall victim to the spider’s deadly poison.
The remaining party members, make the decision to bring the bodies of their fallen comrades back to Reedle, with the hope that they might be raised from the dead. After a difficult trip back, dragging the corpses on rough-made litters, the party causes a near panic as they drag the bodies through the town and up to the Council Hall. Councilman Troyas is shocked to find the party back so soon and chastises them for causing further panic in Reedle by parading the fallen “heroes” through the town. After heated discussion, Mawg convinces Troyas to use two of the valuable “Raise Dead” scrolls the Council has in its possession to bring Isilar and Erasmus back to life.
Before leaving for their second trek out to Rivenroar, Zia tries to spread a rumour that Isilar and Erasmus were not dead when they were brought back to town, only paralyzed by poison. Unfortunately, Zia ends up drinking far too much of the local brew and his efforts only further raise the level of panic in the town.
15 Flaurmont, 998 A.C.
As the heroes leave Reedle to, once again, assault Rivenroar and rescue the captive townsfolk, Mawg makes a last-ditch effort at restoring the town’s morale with a stirring speech. Sadly, his choice of words only serves to further infuriate the town. With an increasingly angry mob growing in size (and Councilman Troyas making a quick retreat to the Council Hall), the characters make haste to get out of town and back into the Altan Tepes mountains before the mob turns their mind to lynchings.