Five brave adventurers, five hardy retinues, one goal.
These are lean times on the borders of Altengard. Winter fast approaches and food and gold are increasingly scarce. Seeking a little of both, the heroes head south towards the coast of the Sea of Stryfe looking to take ship to a Capalan League city state or perhaps distant Seniira in the hopes of finding employ.
En route, with their retinues encamped someway back along the road, the heroes have come across a village which has recently been attacked. Barely a dozen villagers remain and as they start to tell their sorry tale, gongs and drums sound out from the nearby woods. The heroes quickly gather the woefully inadequate defense and move to the low walls surrounding the village in hopes of spotting the enemy. In the dim light of a fading dusk the enemy reveals itself as it skitters and leaps across burnt fields and ruined meadows... Wererats!
It quickly becomes apparent to the defenders that the enemy are approaching from both the south and the west and the village will be difficult to hold on two fronts. The western group led by a Wererat biggun quickly makes the wall and scurries over. As the biggun approaches the first hovel, places a skull sized fist on either side of the doorframe and sniffs the air for prey, one of our heroes dashes forward realising that there are children in the cottage. He steps into the doorway seeking to bar the massive monstrosity's passage. The fight is as brief as it is brutal and our hero is knocked aside. The children scream in fear and desperately drag the injured hero through the back of the cottage towards the village square. The other heroes mount a temporary defence and try to muster as many villagers as possible, but the odds are insurmountable. Packrats start to pour over the south wall and the heroes already tenuous position becomes impossible.
Realising that discretion is the better part of valour the heroes fall back taking as many of the villagers with them as they can. As they flee over the hills on the Northroad back towards their encampment the heroes look back and see that the rats have what they came for. Screeching into the night the Pack Leader holds aloft a fabled artifact which glows bright orange in the fast approaching darkness ... the Gem of Mahallaplenti.