You find yourself in a run down tavern at the center of a ramshackle town at the edge of the Dragon Wood. You’re not sure why you’ve been sent to a backwater pit like Haven, nor how the town got such an inappropriate name, but the money was good and the directions were clear. Twenty five gold pieces just to show up at this specific tavern on this specific night with more instructions (and payments) to follow. You guess your employer to be certifiably insane and his next instructions will probably be some combination of disturbing and deplorable, but it’s not like you made a commitment to follow through. The deal as struck has been fairly met.
You see a number of other strange individuals scattered around the room, none of whom look like locals, which surprises you not at all considering the quality of the meal you just ate. You have to imagine these are other fine upstanding persons paid by a mysterious madman in a grey robe to be here and wonder if they know any more about this strange situation. You lean back and sip at your ale (mostly water and donkey piss) to see just what your unnamed benefactor has in mind.
You have little time to contemplate all the many ways this could end in your grisly demise before an enormous crack of thunder shakes you from your thoughts. Before you have time to consider exactly what caused a lightning blast on a cloudless night, an disheveled old man in a grey robe bursts in through to the tavern, dripping wet.
“I knew this was a terrible idea, I just knew it. Now I’ve gone and lost them again and gods only know where it could have gotten off to now. I guess I’ll have to make due with what I’ve been given.”
The man is clearly in the middle of a conversation with himself over very important matters, but eventually realizes every eye in the room is on him. He shakes the water from his clothes and attempts to straighten the wrinkles in his robe, failing to notice the impossibility of the task. You imagine some of those creases to be older than you are.
“Well, I see you’re all here. Most of you, at least. Enough of you, as it were. Now, have you all introduced yourselves to one another like proper gentlemen? Because it looks like a room full of strangers to me, and that simply will not do. You cannot all go off on this fine quest perfect strangers, now can you? Allow me to start. My name is Fiz—no, wait, that’s not right. Hold on, let me think. Ah! Yes, I remember now, it’s Nifzab. Yes, that’s it, definitely.
I’ve brought you here for one very simple reason. I need capable adventuring folk to embark on a fearsome adventure over forest, field and plain to the very depths of hell itself to recover a very powerful and very important magical artifact. I do not exaggerate when I say the very fate of the world may lie in the balance and that you are the very last hope I have."
His tone is now deadly serious and there’s not a doubt in your mind this man believes every word he’s saying. You find yourself enraptured by his impassioned speech, amazed at the transformation from a doddering old man to this powerful presence. You even find yourself believing in the importance of this mission and wonder just what this mighty wizard asks of you.
“Gentleman, I need you to find my hat.”