Five adventurers meet in a tavern in the town of Hodge, telling jokes and sharing stories over a few mugs of ale. Before long, they decide to party up and travel the lands of Aloria in search of wealth, adventure, and knowledge. While they are discussing the details of their arrangement, the adventures take notice of the music filling the room. A small gnome balances on a stool in the corner of the room, strumming a finely crafted lute. The gnome’s chords ring with radiant warmth and beauty as his dexterous fingers scale the neck of his instrument. One somewhat intoxicated tavern patron loudly declares that the precision of his intonation could be rivaled only by the elven choirs of Lanalia. The party’s wizard and scholar, Animechui, who prides himself as an expert in the history of music, identifies the piece: a composition of the great bard Onmoroth, written in celebration of the fall of the lich Vecna at the end of Aloria’s Second Era.
Inspired by the bard’s song, the adventurers decide that one so talented should surely have a place in their party. The adventurers introduce themselves to the bard, who identifies himself only as Rick; and extend to him an invitation to their company. Never one to turn down the opportunity for adventure, Rick graciously accepts, and the six set off to the market of Hodge to begin preparations.
Soon after leaving the tavern, the party is startled by a blood-curdling scream coming from down the street. The party glances in the way of the scream and watch as a commoner is cut down at the hands of a group of menacing hobgoblins; her blood splattering the cobblestone road as she falls to the ground. The party springs into action. Arrows are knocked and weapons are raised as they prepare to engage the hobgoblins. After a quick skirmish, the party quickly dispatches the group of monstrous goblinoids. After the battle it becomes apparent that the city has fallen into chaos. The militiamen trade blows with hobgoblin warriors in the streets, and archers line the battlements of the city firing arrows into the hobgoblin attackers below. A well armed and armored man approaches the party.