Episode I, Act I: In which our heroes meet.
Eban Illystin, drow cleric of Ellistraee departs from Silverymoon on visionquest to cement his place as the first male cleric of Ellistraee, accompanied by Taeron Xandros, aasimar paladin of Sune, his long-time friend. Taeron has long considered himself Eban’s elder brother, and looks after the young drow, who suffers from narcolepsy. They head south from Silverymoon in early spring to seek adventure, arriving after several months’ travel without incident in the town of Chondath, on the north coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars near the Chondalwood. There they receive word that the Bailiff of Torsh, a small town some five days journey from the coast, is looking for able bodies to form a scouting party to investigate a goblin colony near Torsh.
Arriving in Torsh, the Bailiff and a scholar by the name of Lothrim, who introduces himself as the Eighth Adjutant of the Librarium of Vakwik, explain the situation to the pair and hire them to scout the colony and return with information (and biological specimens for Lothrim, who believes that there may be a new species of goblin breeding in this colony). They have one score days to do so, after which time, a band of dwarven and gnomish mercenaries known as the Khalad-Araga will be sent in to “neutralize” the colony. In private, Lothrim also notes to them the possible presence of a band of strange looking orcs (or “yrch” as he calls them) and offers a princely bounty on the live capture of these orcs, especially their leader.
Having departed the town and arriving in the Chondalwood, they are first beset by “Mad” Olin Juenoaelie, a grugach druid, who believes them to be a threat to the forest. In an ill-executed attempt to ambush the two invaders, Olin falls flat on his face as he jumps from a tree. After introductions and truce-making, Taeron and Eban convince Mad Olin that the goblins may pose a greater threat than they and ask him to join them on their mission. Olin agrees with reservations. They encounter a owlbear, then a goblin hunting party who, after being beaten severely by the trio, parley for the body of the owlbear they have just slain and depart. The party is confused.
The next day, the party finds a skeleton riddled with arrows, apparently a member of the original scouting party, then later, an elf being pursued by a pack of gnolls. After driving away the gnolls, the party learns that he is a priest of Ilmater named Alshar, who was himself a member of the original scouting party sent by the Bailiff of Torsh. He confirms the identity of the skeleton, receives the effects of his dead comrade and explains that the goblins are apparently employing some great magic that allows them to cloud the minds of others. After arriving at the site, Alshar’s party met with some of the goblins who asked them to go, as polite as you please, which they promptly did. However, having left the mountain, they found themselves in their right minds again and decided to return. Unfortunately, whilst attempting to double back, they were ambushed by a group of gnoll slavers, to which those gnolls just dispatched by the party belonged. Alshar and his friends managed to escape, but were outnumbered and, their supplies dwindling, killed one by one. Alshar was the last survivor. After being re-provisioned by the party, Alshar departs to take word of both parties to Torsh. Our heroes look to the peaks of the mountain thrusting from the canopy of trees and wonder what lies ahead for them…