On 12 June in the year 361 Since Foundation, in the Shemarian mountain-town of New Greyhawk, three members of the local elite were awakened in the middle of the night from a nightmarish vision that assaulted their dreams. In Castle Baervan, the Duke was so shaken by the nightmare that he emerged from his bed chamber and ordered his attendants to alert others in his governing circle. But he was not alone. Across town, in the Shemarian Wizard Tower known as La Mirada del Sur (“The Tower of the South”), the Chancellor was also awakened by the same disturbing vision. Similarly, on the heights overlooking the walled town, in one of the oldest buildings on Shemar called The Monastery, the High Priest of the Gods of War and Magic was also awakened by the vision. With the sky growing lighter with the approach of dawn, the three members of New Greyhawk’s elite gathered in the Duke’s home to discuss what they “saw.”
The vision as described by all three individuals was the same. They remembered glimpses of some form of evil based out of a series of caverns in the mountains very near and to the north of New Greyhawk. They could not identify anything more of the evil. But it had in its possession some weapon with the power to completely destroy the entire town of New Greyhawk! They did not know what the weapon was or how it would be used. But they had the overwhelming sense that unless stopped, New Greyhawk would be wiped off the face of the earth at midnight two days hence (in less than 48 hours)! The Duke, Chancellor, and High Priest did not know the source of the visions but they assumed it must be an ally with information or some divinatory power sent via dreams.
After discussing their common vision, the three influential leaders immediately discussed strategy as to how to save the town. Not surprisingly, the first option was shared by all three—contact the Party of the Pendant, the famous band of international heroes based out of Shemar. The Chancellor of La Mirada del Sur ordered a whispering wind spell to be cast by the Tower in order to magically contact Pendant Estate, home to the Party of the Pendant, several days sail to the northeast. But the Governor of Pendant Estate communicated that the Party was presently on campaign. The Party’s current location (in Middle Earth) prevented it being contacted through magical means. With time ticking, it became apparent that the Party could not save New Greyhawk!
With less than two days to spare, the town authorities debated evacuating New Greyhawk to save the population. Such a move, however, would assuredly alert the enemy. The threat needed to be eliminated or could possibly move and begin its evil machinations anew. If the Party of the Pendant could not help, perhaps others could. The Duke, Chancellor, and High Priest debated how best to put out a public call for adventurers, from within the walls of New Greyhawk, with special talents that might be of help.
As the sun was rising, the emergency call went out. The bells atop the monastery and from the temples of the Gods of War and Magic began to ring. Town criers walked the streets calling out for adventurers with special skills to defend New Greyhawk to report immediately to Baervan Castle. Members of the Platinum Legion were visible on the streets and town guards took to the walls. Posters were distributed across the town. The jails and dungeons were searched for possible outlaws who could serve for their freedom. Anxiety and stress were palpable throughout New Greyhawk. The townsfolk did not know what was happening but something ominous was clearly afoot.
Within several hours, a small group of adventurers (if they can be called such) came to Baervan Castle where they were greeted by the Duke, Chancellor, and High Priest. They were hastily interviewed and apprised of the situation. The group consisted of the following:
Amad Vanto was a bounty hunter from Dragonspeak who travels the settlements of Shemar seeking wanted posters and the rewards they offer.
Dakoles Demetria was a holy warrior from Berronar and a member of the esteemed Knightly Order of the Lightning of Zeus. Recently, Dacoles had been dispatched to New Greyhawk where he has been participating in joint military manoeuvers with his Order’s rival—The Platinum Legion.
Delgar Kato was a ninja of the Iron Claw who had recently been dispatched to New Greyhawk on an intelligence-gathering operation.
Jarik Bardel was a ranger from a small mining settlement in the Jagged Edge Mountains south of New Greyhawk. He was in town to sell pelts.
Astor Leonattos from Hrakoth-on-the-Lake was a Priest a Zeus from the Golden Temple of Desurick in southern Shemar. He was in New Greyhawk serving as a missionary.
Vabian Fantazella was a local musician who regularly performed with his flute in the various taverns of New Greyhawk.
Megnar Lursena was a shapeshifter from the Dragonspeak region. The huge man (who traveled with only a cloak and staff) had recently wandered into the mountain-pass town of New Greyhawk.
With little other choice, the Duke dispatched the seven adventurers north of New Greyhawk. Their mission: learn about and locate the threat. The Chancellor indicated that efforts to recruit more adventurers would continue. If and when groups were formed, the Wizard Tower would use magic to locate the group and open up portals to relieve the group and send reinforcements.
The small group left the gates of New Greyhawk, travelling north into the mountains. The bard, Vabian, sang a few songs as they travelled, which buoyed their spirits and confidence. The ranger searched for any strange tracks or signs. They journeyed for only a few hours in the grey and gloomy summer weather, however, when they were attacked by a group of 10 orcs from the local orc tribe (The Black Mountain Boys). The party responded well to the attack. The Greek Holy Warrior, mounted on his steed, served as the center of the battle and killed many orcs in several impressive charges. The shapeshifter morphed into a large griffon that snatched orcs and began flying them into rock faces. The orcs were killed but one was captured and interrogated. The ranger, Jarik, indicated that the Black Mountain Boy Tribe were a rather unorganized lot that was rarely encountered in groups of more than two or three. As the Bounty Hunter (who had been severely wounded in the battle) cut fingers off the orc prisoner, it was learned that a “hooded man” had come to the tribal village in the past fortnight. This individual had met with the Chieftain and Shaman. In return for some kind of payment, the Chieftain ordered his orcs to form warbands and begin scouting the mountain passes to the north of New Greyhawk. They were ordered to kill any and all non-orcish humanoids they came upon.
With Jarik leading, the party continued northward. Within a few hours, they came upon a displacer beast randomly wandering the area. The beast was attacked but it proved almost impossible to strike. Dakoles the Holy Warrior was badly injured. After finally wounding the beast, it fled.
By the mid-afternoon, the party was exhausted and wounded. The ranger reported that he was seeing orc tracks everywhere.