Each of you has heeded the call to adventure and found yourselves in Emberfall. It’s clear from all the ash and smoke in the air, that the volcano Emberfall is situated upon is ready to erupt any day now. People are hurrying about, collecting their possessions and readying to leave the village. After asking around, you make your way to Mayor Radek’s home. The Mayor’s aide, Servanas, leads you to the study, where the Mayor is sitting, distressed. He tells you of their plight.
Usually Valparaiso Mountain erupts once every 10 or 15 years or so, and that’s okay with the inhabitants of Emberfall. During the periods of volcanic inactivity, the mages of Dragonmere University make preparations to protect the town with two very hefty spells: one to shield the town proper from the ravages of the molten rock, and another to speed the recovery of the lands around the town. Unfortunately, the volcano just erupted not more than two months ago, so the mages haven’t had time to prepare. Emberfall faces total destruction.
In addition to this information, the Mayor tells you that goblins have started prowling the mines, attacking the workers there. Some people have also seen shadowy figure skulking about the mountain, although no one has really gotten a good look at them. The party agrees to look into these goings-on and fix whatever is happening. The Mayor directs them to the inn where some miners are staying and to the University.
First, the group visits the inn. There, they meet the innkeeper, Timmerol and the injured miner Hemat. Hemat relates his tale of being attacked by the goblins. He and his group were mining as usual when these goblins appeared out of nowhere! The miners are no slouches, so they managed to defend themselves, but they sustained injuries in doing so. Further questioning reveals that the goblins appeared to have been looking for something.
Off to the University, the adventurers meet Arcturus, the head vulcanist and leader of the University satellite. He tells them that there’s definitely some sort of arcane foul play occurring here, but the source is too far into the mountain for any of the wizards of the university to pick up. That, and they’re basically busy doing everything they can to protect whatever they’re able to protect in the short time available. Before they leave, Arcturus supplies the party with some items that will be useful inside the volcano.
The next stop is the mining barracks, near the entrance to the mines. Garoth is the head miner there and he basically confirms everything everyone else has told the groups. He hasn’t seen too many goblins personally, since he mostly stays in the barracks and attends to business, but that doesn’t surprise him. There are so many caves and mine entrances, that the goblins could have gotten into the mountain from anywhere. Garoth sends Tharkas into the mines with everyone as a guide.
Down they go, encountering goblins here and there until they find themselves about to meet the head goblin himself.