Fred as Hogar, Half-Orc Slayer
Max as Mika, Dwarf Paladin
Pat as Hesken, Dragonborn Paladin
Dan as Incendius, Human Wizard
Steven as “Art”, Tiefling Warlock
Josh as DM
The adventure opens on the afternoon of Eleint 25 in the year 1485 DR, at the end of an 11 day trek from Luskan to Bryn Shander, the central trading hub of the Ten-Towns, the collection of civilized (or at least “civilized”) human villages and towns in central Icewind Dale. Mika, Hesk, and the Flame Bros (Incendius and “Art”) have been guarding the last caravan north before the harsh Icewind Dale winter sets in. It’s a good thing they came, too, because in addition to the awful snow storms slowing down the expedition, there were several unusual attacks by wild animals on the journey which has everyone spooked, and very excited for walls and warm beds on reaching Bryn Shander.
Hogar has lived around Bryn Shander for some time after abandoning a lesser barbarian tribe a few years earlier (as a half-orc he has never really fit in anywhere). He has been anxiously waiting for the caravan’s arrival, as a package for him from a distant relative in Luskan is supposed to be coming with it.
As the gates open for the approaching caravan, the guards hear a wild shriek to the north, and no sooner do they look but a pack of yetis is bearing down on them. After a few seconds to collect themselves and find their battle buddies, the yetis have charged in and the fight is begun! Other town guards cover the walls, while the caravan guards find themselves facing four of the beasts. Hesken and Mika bravely step in their path and cut them off from reaching the caravan, while the Flame Bros single out and take down the yetis one by one.
Another yeti, bigger and smarter looking than the rest, heads straight for the gate and starts wailing on Hogar who is standing nearby. It takes him a moment to come to his senses and draw his weapon, but then he lops off the beast’s left arm in one mighty swing, badly injuring it! The beast howls, knocking him back (his fall broken by a nearby apothecary’s shop) and heads towards the caravan and the Flame Bros. Fortunately Mika is there to intercept after her initial opponents are defeated.
Hesken is almost knocked senseless by his opponents, but is able to rally himself with some encouragement from Incendius and together they defeat his opponents. The whole group rallies to kill the final yeti at the gates, and as they take a moment to rest they notice that the town guards have driven the remaining yetis off. The guards walk back, complaining about “that barbarian” who they think led the yetis to town. Two adventurers cut open one of the yetis and find their diet to appear healthy and lacking in humanoids – this appears to be their first attack.
The apothecary walks out of his shop, hysterical about the damage from the fight and complaining that the money he paid Slim for protection has been wasted. Incendius, Hogar and “Art” talk to the shopkeeper and find out that Slim, a newcomer in town, seems to have started up a protection racket, and the shopkeeper offers half of what he paid if the adventurers can get the money back from Slim for his repairs. Slim is usually seen around the Northlook inn in town at night, and the adventurers agree to meet him there.
Meanwhile Mika and Hesken talk to the guards and find out that a barbarian came to town the prior day and has been locked up in the market square to die of exposure after being found guilty of theft from a fabric merchant (“But what does a barbarian want with fabric?”). As they are all leaving to go find the barbarian, a dwarf merchant from the caravan named Helda Silverstream offers them money to accompany her north to Kelvin’s Cairn, where her uncle resides with a dwarf settlement. She agrees to wait a few days for the adventurer’s to be ready.
After seeing Hogar’s prowess, the caravan guards are able to recruit him into the party promising a fair share of the gold. Bored with the town of late, Hogar agrees happily.
In the market square, the team finds Hengar Aesnvaard, a barbarian of the Tribe of the Elk, near-naked and tied up. They provide fire to warm him and ask why he came to town. He tells them that his people have been under attack by an Ice Witch, possible an avatar of the evil winter goddess Auril, and he came to Ten-Towns to seek an alliance before the Ice Witch destroyed them all. His people have encountered attacks similar to what the caravan saw on the way there. He says he did not commit the accused crime and is unsure why he was sentenced. Our heroes agree to get to the bottom of it.
They interrogate the fabric merchant, Brinna Alcott, who switches her story a few times and they realize something is fishy. After Mika and Hesken apply a little Good Cop/Bad Cop, she caves and admits that, although her lockbox was stolen, she has made up the evidence that it was Hengar as she doesn’t trust barbarians. She also mentions that she did not pay any protection money to Slim. The adventurers take her to the town sheriff to confess, and he sets Hengar free but refuses any of his men to help the Tribes, as they need to protect the town.
Hengar (predictably) asks if the adventurers will accompany him north. Finding out that Kelvin’s Cairn is on the way to the tribal meeting grounds, they happily agree but ask that Hengar wait for them to finish some business. As everyone else rests and shops, Mika tracks down the merchant Dunavan about a shipment that he was sent specifically to guard for someone named Aarun. Dunavan confirms he has the shipment in his warehouse, but Aarun is likely to come the next day and get it. Mika is not comfortable leaving it, but it is a large crate too heavy to lug around, so he resigns to stop by the next day and ensure the handoff happens correctly.
That evening, all five meet at the Northlook for dinner and to wait for the apothecary or Slim. After a dramatic lull, they hear a sudden scream from upstairs!! Everyone charges up, and hearing movement to their left, Hogar charges and knocks down the door, with the rest spilling behind him.
The sight isn’t pretty – one man is dragging a freshly deceased (still bleeding) corpse towards the window, while another looks on and three more are cleaning up the mess. Our heroes have found the source of the scream, and perhaps Slim. Everyone draws their weapons as the scene comes to a close…