When you heard rumor of the nation of Brevoy’s need for explorers, something piqued your interest. Whether it was the long hours with little pay, or the severe conditions you must endure, or the ever-present paranoia of having to watch over your back, you knew right away you were IN!!!
I’m sure you had other reasons of your own, and we may never know why. That is up to you. One thing is certain. The frontier city of Restov, in Rostland, calls you. Brevoy is enduring entropy after the death of Choral the Conquerer, with two nations always seeking the upper hand (Issia in the north, Rostland in the south). Currently Issia’s nobles rule, with their royal line of the Surtova family upholding the kingdom. Tales of civil war brewing may have grains of truth (and hops of sedition…)
You may have lived your whole life in the Stolen Lands, a buffer zone on Brevoy’s southern end and rife with shifting borders claimed by local warlords in the northern River Kingdoms.
Or you may have wandered into the area, finding yourself knowing nothing of the wild expanse that stretches out before you. Perhaps you are fleeing persecution elsewhere, or want to disappear from authorities in a foreign land, trying to carve out a new life from a savage wilderness.
One thing is certain; danger awaits.
Staying to the roads, you luckily avoid banditry and other hazards. You eventually succeed in entering Restov, your wits about you.
True to rumor, Restov is a frontier city of 43,000. It is also the home of several Aldori and Taldan sword-dueling academies, none of whom are modest enough to go undecorated. Colorful banners flap in the wind, trying to draw distinction to themselves.
Hushed words whispered in back alleys suggest that dissenters against King Noleski Surtova dwell here too. Not all support the king, and the Rostland faithful’s ostentatious displays border on open rebellion.
As you make your way to the Swordlord headquarters, a myriad of youthful nobles, busy with wooden swords, practice parries and dodges. Many sneer at your presence. Your inquiry about a commission to explore the Stolen Lands draws dismissive upturned noses, condescending looks, or raise a few eyebrows in curiosity. At least one helpful noble points you in the right direction.
Waiting for the meeting, you notice a few other mercenaries, and others who don’t fit that description but are here nevertheless. One group of stout men-at-arms, some bearing heraldric crests upon their tabards, stand ready to receive orders for their noble commander, who arrives with a flourish. Barking orders with confidence, his company departs, heading toward the city gates.
At last, your audience is granted. The Aldori Sworldlord representative, one Sworldlord Tavius Mettleton, listens to your pleas for employment. Tavius notices a glimpse, a promise of success perhaps, in the way you stand, the cut of your chin, your knowledge of trolls, your sharpened blade, the confidence of your word.
He then hands you a charter. [Player Handout 1]
His manner of excusing you connotes that he doesn’t expect you’ll succeed. You’re one of several adventuring companies he’s sent out over the last year, many of whom have not returned. He remarks that they were better outfitted than your group, with Brevoy’s noble houses sponsoring them.
He informs you to meet the others assigned to your team at the Sprite’s Rapier, a local tavern, at midday.
Together, over a mug of your preferred beverage, you greet one another, and unseal the document, which reads…
Swordlord Mettleton recommended Oleg’s Trading Post as a first stop, about 40 miles distant…