Borderlands Campaign, Part I: the Adventure Begins
It was a rainy, dreary autumn when four travelers came to Grayhollow. , the mighty swordsman and aspiring minstrel; Alethea, who’s arcane studies bend the very elements to her will; the elven ranger Darius, quick & silent as a shadow; and Kaegon, the dragonborn ex-centurion from the Empire of the East. These battle-hardened veterans drove the goblin invaders from Brindol and returned their captive townsfolk. But there was scant time to celebrate their victory, as a greater goblin horde continued to press from the wild borderlands to the West. There, the King’s hand barely reaches. Knights and mercenaries skirmish with bandits, goblins, and other fell creatures, but the onslaught of evil seems to gain ground each year.
Grayhollow lay on the fringes of Pentir, far from important trade roads and near the foothills of the Iron Mountains and the Skullcraig. It is a small town, protected by a stone keep on the hillside. By the time our hearty adventurers arrive, the one-room inn and even the market square are choked with refugees fleeing the destruction of their homes, and the ravages of human & goblin raiders. The Cleric Emesha and her order, the sisterhood of the Benevolent Sun, run a simple temple in Grayhollow. They strive to care for the refugees, but local supplies have become overburdened. Meanwhile, Lord Galan fortifies his keep and hoards provisions, hunkering down while his subjects suffer. The town’s former champion, a holy Paladin, was previously able to stem the tide of evil from Grayhollow and the surrounding villages, but he has been missing for months.
It was in there our heroes interrupted a gang of bandits harrowing the refugees. With skill and bravery, they dispatched the ruffians – who fought with fanatic determination, and included a magic wielder among their number. A closer examination of their bodies revealed that they all bore the symbol of Bane, malevolent god of conquest, on tunics or armor beneath their travel-stained cloaks.
Emesha confided that the bandits must belong to the “Hand of Naarash”, a cult of goblins and humans that prey on isolated frontier settlements for converts and plunder, killing or destroying what they cannot take. The paladin JarynJaryn set out on a quest last spring to strike a mortal blow at the heart of the cult and stop their marauding. With four faithful companions, the clerics Andressa & Annika, the fighter Kelma, and Dajani (a tiefling sworn to Pelor’s cause), he headed West to find the cult’s grand temple, “the Pillars of Night”. Rumors placed Jaryn and his band deep in the Borderlands, near a hidden trail called the “Black March”, but none of that expedition has been heard from in over a month. Emesha begged Darius, Alethea, Lorun, and Kaegon to mount a search for Jaryn, and help bring an end to the cult’s power.
The companions agreed to undertake this quest. So the next day, she provisioned them as best she could, (even providing them the holy symbol from the temple’s altar as payment) and provided a description of Jaryn: a tall blond human, handsome, but bearing a noticeable scar on his left cheek from fighting a hobgoblin chief. She directs them Westward, to the frontier settlement of Stone Ford, where Jaryn’s party traveled through.