Chapter 1: Caravan Guards
The session opens with three mercenaries being interviewed for a job. They are our heroes: Wrathy, Elzin and Batal. They are being interviewed by Tarek to guard a merchant wagon for his frequent employer Casinal. Tarek and his warforged partner 137 cannot escort the Casinal themselves as they are currently commissioned to assist the explorer Paitus in his quest to discover the legendary Tomb of the Bandit Knight.
Despite questionable performance in the interview, and an attempt by Paitus to recruit the heroes for his own expedition, Casinal and the party leave later that day. Normally they would use the primary highway that skirts the old Eladain Wood, now known as the Forest of Woe. However, the highway has been shut down: the Imperial Skyknights have placed the nearby community of Moonshire under quarantine after it was struck by a meteorite two nights before. Casinal instead chooses a road that passes through the Eladain Wood, better known know as the Forest of Woe, so that they can make a stop-over in his home of Crescent Hollow within 3 days.
As they travel deeper into the forest, the party discovers a tainted grove. Here they are ambushed by a pair of phase spiders and two grotesquely-mutated gnolls. One gnoll has a elongated, snake-like neck whereas the other’s left arm has been replaced by a mass of tentacles!
The horses are startled when the phase spiders literally pop in front of them and break away from their harnesses. The party eventually defeats the creatures, although Casinal offers little aid in the battle. During the fight Wrathy channels a source of tainted magic he detects in a nearby pool of water. While this magic enhances his attacks, he vomits a thick, viscous black liquid after the fight ends.
With the foes vanquished, the party finds a magical holy symbol within the pool of water. They then prepare to find their horses and explore this nightmarish forest…