Meeting on the road with Shamhat and Saraphel
This brother/sister twin team will be found halfway between Wellswood and Winterhaven, bound for Wellswood. They are looking for a woman named Cassandra Helger. She is a semi-well known actress in Fallcrest but originally from Winterhaven. She reneged on a contract with Master Sucrow. They believe that she may now be in Harken and the bounty hunters will share that information. They will also inspect the party to ensure that none of them are Helger. The bounty hunters are dazzlingly beautiful and charismatic. They are amazingly well dressed and even their horse and tack are spotless. They will leave a wanted poster with the party. Wanted poster
The Goblin Toll
The wind in your face is cool and comfortable. The road beneath your feet is level. An occasional ancient cobblestone peeks through the dirt road, indicating decades of neglect. You notice footprints leading up and down the road, many of which were made by small, booted feet.
In the middle of the road ahead, is a small creature with a large backpack. He beckons you . . .
The People of Wrafton’s & Jamison’s Premiere
Rond Kelfem: “I wish we had more resources. I’d love to drive those Goblins out of the area and back to whatever foul pit spawned them. I have heard the whispered name of a marauder leader named Irontooth, but I have no idea who or what that might be. If you have reason to learn anything more, I’d appreciate you sharing your findings with me.”
Sister Linora: “The Goblins aren’t only striking at targets along the road. They’ve begun to make forays into the distant farms, raiding livestock and attacking homes in the dark of night. I have appealed to Lord Padraig, but he has neither the resources nor the means to raise a force to fight back. I fear that this is only a harbinger of a disaster to come.”
Sister Linora: “The villagers of Winterhaven are good people. You won’t normally find any evil here, I can assure you of that. However, there have been strange signs. Some of our community members have just disappeared without a trace. I went out to the Svardssen farm to check on them and it was just abandoned. Animals running amok, beds unmade. No sign of them. Then there is Old Sara, the widow. She takes her walk every day and she is just gone. No sign of her. House tidy but not a word.
She has prayed for guidance and is having troubling dreams of a growing darkness.
She worries that it is a rogue cult of the Raven Queen or more likely, a Zehir cult.
Some mutilated animals have been found in odd places, discarded but not half eaten like an animal attack but ripped apart or cut apart with internal organs missing like sacrifices.
She expresses open frustration at the town’s (and particularly Lord Padraig’s) unwillingness to recognize the threat. She, like the acolyte, Gevarn, pleads with the PCs to find the cult and provide proof of its existence to the lord and citizens of the town.
Rond Kelfem: “A cult? I don’t think so. Other than the goblins and an occasional argument between a couple of villagers, there really isn’t that much crime or trouble in Winterhaven proper. Out in the countryside? Maybe a cult could be hiding out there somewhere, but I haven’t heard a word about it until you wandered by.”
If asked about Old Sara, he assumes she left to visit relatives in Fallcrest after being so lonely and not having her business anymore.
Old Sara has disappeared from her small home in Winterhaven. No one seems to know what has happened to her. Old Sara and her husband used to own the store were Bairwin now resides. It used to be an old pottery but Sara sold the store to Bairwin when her husband died several years ago. Old Sara always passed by the store on her morning and evening walks to the market. Otherwise she never left her home, which makes her disappearance even stranger.
A few families on outlying farms have not been seen in ages. One family who someone checked on was totally missing and their farm looks like it was abandoned quickly. There was no sign of violence in the house but no sign where they went or why they left.
There aren’t any new or suspicious folks in town. The newest person is Bairwin, and he arrived several years ago.
The gates are shut at night, and the only people who leave through them are returning to their homes outside town. Farmers, like Ellian the Old, and trappers, like Ninaran, leave shortly after dark.
Observing Winterhaven at night
“You met our Goblins, I see. No, no, not ours, really. But they have made it a habit to harass travelers on the old King’s Road. And, yes, what was once a minor annoyance has become a very real threat to the commerce of the village. Fewer and fewer travelers come our way these days, and even I have a harder and harder time keeping my shop stocked with the finest goods. I remember a trip I made to distant Easthill, many years ago. The place was literally crawling with Goblins because the people of the area refused to drive them away. I wonder how long before the Goblins grow brave enough to strike the village itself?”
“Why do you ask? The people of Winterhaven seem decent and have welcomed me warmly. I have been here almost 10 years and nothing I have seen would indicate that such a thing exists here. There are some who may stir up some such rumors to bring some excitement to their boring and meaningless lives, like Sister Linora. As the world becomes more scientific and reasonable, her goddess has less and less of a grip on the populace . . . which is a good thing . . . but I think it causes her to see threats everywhere.”
Breaking and entering at Old Sara’s
Meeting with Rond Kelfem and Lord Ernest Padraig
Lord Padraig: “You’ve encountered the Goblins that have turned the old King’s Road and our outlying farms into their personal hunting grounds? Those beasts vex me sorely. Yet the villagers refuse to recognize the seriousness of the problem. Attacks along the road have grown more frequent over the last few months. Something’s stirring the Goblins up. I don’t suppose you would be interested in taking a commission from me? I promise you, I can pay well for your services.”
If the adventurers are amenable to Padraig’s offer, he pulls out a map that indicates the location of the Goblin lair to the east and south of the village. He says that a group of stalwart adventurers who confront the Goblins has a reasonable chance of dispatching the creatures. If the PCs agree to take the offer, Padraig indicates they are free to keep whatever loot they find in the Goblin lair, even if it is the former property of Winterhaven’s villagers. He also agrees to pay them 100 gp.
Total XP = 625 (125 xp per PC). Inspiration awarded to Ardential Evenstar, Jamison McGuire Mountbatten Mayweather Manzarek and Daemiel.
Beacons of Hope
A new beginning as points of light begin to shine