A small party of hired caravan guards assembled by the dwarven merchant Gundren Rockseeker set south upon the High Road from Neverwinter, bound for the frontier town of Phandalin. Their task, as they had been charged, was to deliver a wagonload of supplies to Barthen’s Provisions, a trading coster instrumental to the flow of supplies into the town. The purposes that brough them together were many, but their goal seemed singular enough.
Gundren and his warrior companion, a warrior from Neverwinter by the name of Sildar Hallwinter, set out ahead of the party to “take care of business” in town. A few days’ ride from Phandalin yet, on a beaten wagon trail heading west known as the Triboar Trail, the supply wagon and its accompanying guard came to an involuntary halt, waylaid by a dispatched caravan and a pair of fallen horses piled impassably in the road.
It was then the goblins fired their first arrows from the thickets.
And it was then that the young ensemble took their first steps toward adventure.
With no choice but to defend themselves, the motley assortment of apprentice journeymen dispatched the goblin threat. As the dust from the fight settled, a closer look at the wreckage revealed that the saddle bags had been raided and the horses had easily been dead for two days past, the same black-fletched arrows lodged in the beasts’ sides as they had just dodged themselves.
A hunt for clues took the quintet down a forest trail, but not without peril. A pair of snares were obstacles indeed for the unaware adventurers, who charged head on into another pocket of hiding goblin guards, posted in a briar patch at the mouth of a cave from which a steadily flowing stream rushed.
They followed the stream—and the growing trail of slain goblins—into a grimy cavern, reeking of the green-skinned beast and filled with the whimpering of wolves and the rush of water echoing through the cave. A pair of wolves in chains and collars were quickly put down by their blades, and when they dispatched another small assembly of goblin warriors in a large common chamber, one of their lieutenants wanted to talk.
He had a captive, the adventurers could see, and they were looking for the abductees of the ambush on the road—perhaps Gundren’s warrior companion, Sildar.
This goblin, Yeemik, offered them the hostage unharmed if they would help him eliminate the cave’s current leader, Klarg—a fearsome but dim-witted bugbear warrior.
Begrudgingly, they agreed… if only to save the human’s life and find some answers.
(Here, the druid and the bard among them parted ways with the party—the former in disbelief the party would parlay with a goblin, and the latter thinking this to be growing rather complicated for a few gold.)