The party, a group of adventurers traveling north for various reasons, find their journey put on hold when a snowstorm blocks the passes leading into and out of the Sundered Valley.
Trapped in the lonely town of Winterhaven until the snows melt, the party is hired by a local merchant to find his missing brother and nephew.
The adventurers track the halflings, finding the murdered corpse of their guard along the way, to a cave infested with masked goblins and their troll boss. The adventurers slay the creatures, before rescuing the merchant’s brother, but are unable to save his son who had already been eaten by the troll.
The Beast of the Borderlands: Part I: Biting Cold
Two days later, the party is approached by their innkeeper, Marigold, who asks the adventurers to look in on her friend, Donnen Elser, who lives on a farm north of Winterhaven with his family. She is worried about them after hearing rumors of a talking beast terrorizing the farmers near the borderlands.
Before she leaves, Marigold also warns the party of a plague ailing Winterhaven’s tenements, informing the party of stories about rats leading people away, which piques the group’s interest.
The adventurers agree to investigate both issues, but before they can leave Orion requests they visit the Shrine of the Raven Queen so that he can speak with its caretaker, the Vicar. Orion explains that the previous evening he had went out searching for the body of the halflings’ guard, hoping to respectfully bury her, only to discover a ritualistic circle and the guard’s reanimated corpse, which tried to attack him.
At the shrine, the Vicar is disturbed by the story and shows the party a paganist amulet found on one of the victims of the rat plague. This news combined with Orion’s story leads the adventurers to come to the conclusion that a cult may be in Winterhaven.
Leaving the shrine and traveling north, the party come across the burnt husk of someone’s home and are almost immediately ambushed by its goblin looters (who wear familiar burlap masks). After the battle, Orion finds evidence that the home belonged to Donnen’s neighbor, while Sam finds a note written in goblin on one of the looters and discovers the mutilated remains of the homeowners, killed by the beast.
After resting for a moment, Orion shifts into his wolf form and scouts the path north alone. He quickly realizes he is being stalked by the beast, who is intrigued by the wolf’s strange scent, but howls to alert his companions before the creature can attack, which scares off the monster for the moment, allowing the party to continue their journey.
Near dusk, the group arrives at the Elser farmstead and meet with Donnen and his wife, Lydia. The farmers inform the party of how their herds have been ravaged by the beast and how, if the attacks continue, they will need to abandon their home. The party offer their aid, which Donnen accepts, and the group begins to plan.
Around this time, Orion is introduced to Donnen’s son, Alec, and is informed that on a recent trip to Winterhaven Alec became addicted to a strange blue crystal that has consumed him. Orion creates a remedy to treat the man’s symptoms and learns about a “bald man” and a “ceiling of stars” from Alec, before the party leave to prepare for their hunt…