Welcome to the Black Watch.
You are all recent, junior level recruit to an organisation called the Black Watch. A secretive, quasi-religious and inquisitorial organisation, it’s self-imposed brief is to investigate and root out unnatural and/or evil cult and other supernatural activity. Originally based in an area of the world governed by the Theocracy of the Lance, it has evolved into a trans-national body although its power structure is still rooted firmly in the Theocracy and many of its senior members are bishops and other important clerical figures from there. The rank and file membership is open to all races, creeds and occupations however and new recruits can be enlisted by any member. Most members operate in small groups or in isolation and know few if any of the other members beyond their immediate team and handler. You are not paid, as such, instead you are entitled to keep whatever loot or items that you legitimately come across during the course of your work, and that do not otherwise form part of your mission objectives.
Your inquisitor has sent you under your junior team leader, Albrecht, into the outer reaches of the Empire of Crieste (once the largest political/military force in the world, but now greatly reduced in size and influence having fallen on hard times). Your mission is to proceed to the village of Dundra and investigate disturbing rumours that have reached your superiors of dragon cult activity in the area and find out what connection, if any, there is to the increased aggression being shown by the regional humanoids, especially ogres.
Additional information has recently been brought to you by the Black Watch courier and new team member, Octavian, this being:
i. Reports have been received regarding increased raider activity in the vicinity of Dundra. It is rumoured they are searching for an artifact of some kind. Investigate and discover the veracity of these reports.
ii. Further information has come to light regarding the uncharacteristically aggressive behaviour by humanoids in this part of the world. Particularly there are documented incidents of aggression by at least one other ogre and kobolds in the vicinity of Hadler’s Gap, a village to the West of Dundra. When you have finished your investigations at Dundra, the team should proceed to Hadler’s Gap to investigate and determine if there is any connection.
Your overland travels have brought you to Dundra. Located at the south of the lake from which it takes its name, at the point where the Archen River commences its long journey to the sea, Dundra is a medium sized village with a population of about 500, largely fishermen and farmers. There is a single inn in town, The Merry Riot. According to the locals gathered therein, an ogre who has been gouging the villagers for years with demands for sheep and ale has recently become much more aggressive, demanding silver and building supplies. Matters came to a head only a few days ago when the villagers refused the brute’s latest demands and he flew into a rage, kidnapping two of the villagers and dragging them away to his lair, to be eaten for sure!
The ogre makes his lair to the east of town in caves at a place known locally as Skulltop Hillock, on account of its curious formation. Getting directions to Skulltop Hillock from the locals, about two hours hike they tell you, you set off and cross the bridge over the Archen River to the west and follow the road. Just outside of the village and off the road there is an ancient druidic stone circle of a type common is this corner of the world…