Located at the foot of the Aeric Mountains, just south of Snow Pass, sits the small but prosperous town of Hearthglen. Though the winters are harsh and supplies sometimes meager, the people of this town live happily and are open to new and friendly faces. In this town one can find a two-story tavern/inn, as well as a general store, a blacksmith, “Wanda’s Tinker Shop”- as the eccentric gnome woman working there claims- a town hall, a guard tower, a large but less-than-luxurious fountain, and surrounding residential buildings.
Xenlin Snow, a paladin traveling south from his home in Fallen Crest, enters Hearthglen and proceeds immediately to the tavern. Sitting at the bar, he orders a mug of ale, a small meal, and a room for the night. Just as the innkeeper brings him his food and he begins to discuss local happenings, the pair are interrupted by a looming, 7-foot-tall half-orc and a short, wiry old man. They order food and rooms for the night- the innkeeper, made uncomfortable by the half-orc’s presence, attempts to charge them more than double the paladin’s price. Xenlin points this out, at which point the man huffily lowers his asking price. As Kho Na’an the barbarian half-orc and Caratticus Lynch the old coot sit down to supper, a morose and irritated individual appears in the doors of the tavern and takes a seat in a dim corner. His name is Blaze, a half-elf ranger living in the nearby woodlands. He has yet to even order when he is greeted by a (relatively) young elf dressed in fine traveling clothes, grinning from ear to ear and speaking with an ever-cheerful lilt to his words. He introduces himself as Voltage and sits to join the half-elf- Blaze is not amused.
After a few minutes spent trying to engage the ranger, Voltage the wizard gives in and exits the building. Then, seeing a fountain (and being a bit extravagant in himself), he casts a spell to make the fountain exude light. Though not particularly practical in the middle of the afternoon, it is nevertheless very pretty. It therefore catches the eye of the adventurers in the nearby tavern, two of whom- Xenlin and Kho Na’an- determine to investigate the strange event. After his stubborn insistence on finishing his meal, Caratticus picks himself up and decides to join them. He considers offering to pay for the half-elf’s meal, for which it seems the young man is unable to compensate, but changes his mind. There they are introduced to the wizard, who after some strangely cheerful conversation, agrees to join Kho Na’an and Caratticus on their journey to Hope, an unfamiliar but infamous town near the Banshee Wastes. Xenlin similarly agrees to assist the two in their quest, despite the pair’s lack of specificity in their true goals.
As the four continue to converse, they are interrupted by a large crash to the right of the tavern door. They look to see the quiet and unfriendly Blaze, lying flat on his face, in the snow, next to a bulky bush, following a terrible failure to hide himself from them. The paladin, lifting him roughly from his place on the ground, introduces himself and asks the ranger’s name. After some discussion of a not entirely favorable nature, Blaze passively agrees to join the adventurers on their journey south. That being decided, the paladin takes the lead, charging that the group divides to interview local townsfolk and prepare supplies for the coming journey.
- Xenlin and Voltage visit the general store. The shopkeep lazily greets them, mumbles a short complaint about the cold and the lack of inventory, then asks what they’d like. The paladin asks about the length of the journey to Hope, and the shopkeep tells them it was approximately a month the last time he checked. Xenlin “senses motive,” at which point the shopkeep admits that it’s really more like a week and a half on foot.
- Kho Na’an and Caratticus visit the Town Hall, where they discuss municipal government with a stately gentleman at a large oak desk. They talk about their journey to Hope, at which point he mentions knowledge of a nearby goblin encampment and suggests they take a small detour to the south in order to best avoid it.
- Xenlin and Voltage return to the fountain at the center of the town to wait for their new companions.
- Kho Na’an and Caratticus decide to enter the building to the north, a small room built like a shop with a crooked and ruined sign above the door. Here they meet Wanda Scheffil Pepetor Ellywick, a middle-aged gnome woman with a strange fascination for metal and shiny things. Blaze, who up until this point has merely been wandering around town, comes to see the gnomish woman before going off on his own yet again. Kho Na’an and Caratticus begin conversation with the short, peppy creature, in the end agreeing to exchange some scrap metal and a mechanical rat’s head (retrieved in a previous campaign) for 8gp, a gold-painted cat figurine, and a “watch”- that is to say, a large circular object with a smiley face drawn onto it. Having traded these items, they depart and join the others at the fountain.
Xenlin takes inventory of everything the adventurers have combined. Having done this, he determines that the group is in need of 25-days’ rations, a bedroll, three blankets, and a hood for the half-orc. As the only one with a fair amount of money, Caratticus offers Xenlin 20gp for haggling purposes and sends him to the shop. After some discussion, the paladin procures the majority of the equipment needed- only the hood needing substitution with a short, worn cloak- he returns to his group and distributes the supplies amongst each of them.
Having decided a course of action and gathered all the necessary supplies, the five adventurers return to the inn, go to their respective rooms, and settle in for the night.