The adventure opens with the adventurers enjoying a pint during the annual midsummer festival in Daggerford. Unfortunately the weather has been foul for days, cancelling most of the usual festival activities and leaving many of the normal attendees with little to do but hide indoors and imbibe.
A few days ago, the relative peace of the town was shattered by an orc raid on Floshin Manor, an old elvish estate a few miles north of town. Many of the Manor’s staff was kidnapped or slain, but one managed to escape her captors and revealed the leader of the assault was Red Wizard of Thay named Arvik Zaltos, disguised as a gardener.
A wind-themed altar was stolen from the manor reliquary along with many other valuables. With the help of Sir Isteval, the town militia captured the disguised wizard and tried him for his crimes, but the valuables were lost. Today, the wizard hangs.
The whole town turns out for the spectacle, including the group, the Knight and the town’s ruler, Duke Maldwyn Daggerford. Sir Isteval has enough experience with Thayan Wizards to be wary of the wizard and the hanging is a tense moment. But even the greatest magic skill cannot save one from a hangman’s noose and Arvik Zaltos soon dies a murderers death.
Just as Zaltos deprived the people of Daggerford of his company, a rider arrives from Cromm’s Hold with a frantic message for the Duke. A black dragon (Sjachmalsvir and Cheleen) has descended on the Hold and the Lady Wynne Cromm seeks aid in the Hold’s defense. The Duke asks Sir Isteval and the adventurers to take a small guard contingent to the Hold to assist her.
Upon arriving at Cromm’s Hold, Lady Cromm tells Sir Isteval that the dragon swooped in from the nearby Lizard Marsh and demanded an all but forgotten Water Altar kept in Hold’s dungeons in exchange for a peaceful departure. The dragon called himself Thoss Fyurnen, the Sun Swallower. The Lady acquiesced but was betrayed when diseased lizardmen attacked to cover the dragon’s escape. Intrigued by the altar’s thematic similarity to the recent theft from Floshin Manor, Sir Isteval asks the party to search the swamp and retrieve the Altar if possible, but to avoid confronting the Thoss Fyurnen. Maechen, a malitia-woman who accompanied you from Daggerford, offered to guide the heroes through the miserable mire.
With Maechen’s aid they searched the swamp for the better part of a day, eventually finding their way to an abandoned structure called Krandon Manor. The ruined manor’s new occupants were a tribe of half-orcs and their mother, Mama Booga.
With a successful bid for diplomacy the heroes discovered the orc shaman and her sons were hired by Arvik Zaltos to sneak into Thoss Fyurnen’s lair and steal one of his eggs, which they successfully did! Upon learning that their employer was hung the day before they offer to sell Thoss’s egg to the party for a reasonable sum. As the Wizard inspected the egg it hatched and out burst an adorable black dragon wyrmling! The wyrmling was a useful and potent ally as they searched the swamp.
Eventually they encountered some wary lizardmen who told them of a Talona worshiping chieftain named Vethka in a nearby ruin. Vethka has been plotting a war against the ‘drylanders’ for years but they want no part and give the heroes direction to the old ruins.