Adventurers of Sharn
Kyber's Harvest - ENCOUNTER 0
Arriving in Blackroot
The adventure begins as the party arrives in the village of Blackroot. There are no dangers to face or challenges to overcome here, and this encounter is worth no experience. However, it provides the PCs with basic information about the village and sets up the skill challenge that follows.
When the players are ready to begin the adventure, read:
Your journey through the Shadow Marches has left your cloaks and armor covered in mud, your clothes soaked with sweat. Hungry insects buzz about you, and the air is warm and wet. Your destination is Blackroot, a village tied to the Dorrm and Veledaar clans. The sun is beginning to set when the settlement finally comes into view. Like most villages in the Marches, this small community offers few amenities and no dragonmarked house services. There is no central authority in the Shadow Marches, and the village reeve is responsible for administering justice in the local region.
Blackroot draws its name from the darkwood trees that thrive in this region, their tangled roots rising up from the soil to all sides. The ground here is relatively solid for the Marches, and the village sits atop a rocky rise. Its huts sit directly upon the ground instead of being raised on stilts above marshland, as is common elsewhere in the region. Orcs, humans, and half-orcs work together in the nearby orchards or pass along the main street. None of them seem particularly pleased to see you.
Within moments, you are approached by a lean and muscular orc. His skin is weathered, streaks of gray seen in his long black hair. He bears no weapons and wears loose peasant clothing, but he carries himself with confidence. “Greetings,” he says. “I am Toraash’Dorrm, the reeve of Blackroot. I don’t know what brings you here, but we’ve no inn, no tavern, and no time for strangers. I suggest you move on.”
Toraash is gruff but not actually aggressive. A DC 15 Diplomacy check inspires him to warm slightly. Nonetheless, he will not answer questions about himself or the village, as he has no time for idle talk with strangers. If the PCs tell him they are seeking Doria Veledaar, he begrudgingly points them to her family’s cottage. However, he says that the Veledaars recently left Blackroot; he believes that Doria convinced her family to move to Sharn.
Given that the cottage is empty, Toraash won’t stop the PCs from visiting it or sleeping there. However, he asks them to be on their way by the next morning. He then leaves, rebuffing any further efforts at conversation.
Anyone making a DC 10 Insight check can tell that Toraash is concerned about the PCs’ presence in the village, but this reaction is not unusual. It’s hardly surprising that the leader of a small, insular community would treat armed strangers with suspicion. However, a character making a DC 15 Perception check senses that the reeve isn’t telling the full truth about Doria and her family.
While the PCs are investigating in Encounter 1, Toraash slips away to the caves (see Encounter 2). His absence from the village during the skill challenge can be easily noted by the PCs.
On the off chance that the PCs decide to immediately attack Toraash, the reeve flees the scene, running for the cavern entrance (Encounter 2). An orc warden and three cultist fanatics move to engage the PCs, buying Toraash time to escape. See Encounter 2 and Encounter 5 for cultist statistics.