"Orcs have attacked Butterskull Ranch, five miles east of Conyberry along the Triboar Trail! Travel there with haste, assess the damage, and help any way you can. Ranch owner Alfonse “Big Al” Kalazorn is a retired sheriff who can reward you for your efforts. If he’s dead, return to Townmaster Harbin Wester with proof of Kalazorn’s demise."
A frantic human man rode into town on an exhausted horse that collapsed as soon as it galloped onto the town green. The frantic man reported an orc attack on Butterskull Ranch, a property just a few days travel from Phandalin.
Compelled by her hatred of orcs, Moneux volunteered to deal with the orcs before the town master could make a job posting, Latham stepped forward as he heard the news. Quoorin, Varien and Spills the Stew readied themselves for travel as quickly as they could before the party made their way east on the Triboar Trail.
On the Road
As the adventurers made way north towards the main road, Moneux heard something from the south and pointed out a large, winged beast — a dragon — flying above the mountains south of Phandalin.
Two days passed as the party proceeded with caution as to avoid an run-ins with the dragon. They eventually made their way to the ruined town of Conyberry where Moneux tracked a set of horseprints to three unsaddled horses. Quoorin attempted to get close to the horses but they took notice of the elf and ran off, but not before Quoorin saw that they all had matching brands on their hindquarters.
The party found Butterskull Ranch in disrepair; the gates to the ranch were wide open, signs of arson were marked by two burnt structures at the northern end of the property and much of the ranch's livestock were freely roaming the nearby fields.
The adventurers investigated the burnt ruins of the ranch and uncovered several corpses; two orcs between a burnt smithy and the farmhouse and five human corpses piled high near the burnt smith. The orcs had a symbol painted on their chest, that of two white palms with fingers outstretched. Latham recognized the symbol as that of Yurtrus, the orc god of death and disease. Varien, having acquired a raven named Poe, used his feathered familiar to scout the area. Tracks led the adventurers towards the property's farmhouse.
Orcs in the Kitchen
Latham led the adventurers into the farmhouse, where they were able to ambush two orcs that were occupying themselves with the ranch's food. As the battle broke out, more orcs filled into the kitchen but they were no match for the heroes' skills.
The adventurers let one orc survive and Quoorin intimidated the foe into revealing the whereabouts of a survivor in the cellar. Latham restrained the orc, leaving him in the kitchen.
The entrance to the farmhouse's cellar led the adventurers to a storage room containing shelves of butter in the shape of skulls. In the corner of the cellar, the adventurers saw a someone bound to a chair with their face covered by a sack. Latham rushed to the person's aid. The person revealed himself to be Big Al Kalazorn before warning the adventurers of the two orcs that rushed from behind Latham's back.
The orcs were covered in festering sores and barely spoke. As the adventurers defeated one of the orcs, it's body exploded into a blast of pus and gore. The party took care to defeat the second orc at a distance as it too erupted upon death.
Taking Back the Ranch
Big Al was excited to be rescued as he was ready to "kick some orc ass." After a few moments to catch their breath the adventurers moved back into the farmhouse. Big Al was intent on destroying the orcs, even going so far as to kill the defenseless orc that the party left in the kitchen.
The party swept through the farmhouse but found no more orcs as they finished clearing the second floor. As the adventurers left they were met by a group of orcs ascending the stairs to the farmhouse. Combat broke out as the regular orcs were accompanied by two festering orcs as well as a white-handed orc spellcaster. The adventurers found themselves ducking in and out of rooms as the orcs surrounded them at both ends of a narrow hallway.
Quoorin was able to dispose of two orcs and Varien unleashed a cone of magical fire that scorched the festering orcs and the white-handed orc. Latham dealt a killing blow to a festering orc before he and his companions took cover from the explosive force of its death that caused a chain reaction leading to the death of the remaining enemies.
Big Al thanked the adventurers for their efforts, rewarding them with treasures from his past. The party escorted the ranch owner back to Phandalin where they received their reward. Big Al wasted no time in hiring more ranch hands as well as security for his ranch so that he could resume business.
- Latham the goliath paladin of devotion
- Moneux the shifter beast master
- Quoorin the wood elf battle master
- Varien the half-elf warlock of the fiend
- Alfonse "Big Al" Kalazorn, the male human owner of Butterskull Ranch.
- Harbin Wester, the male human townmaster of Phandalin.
- Spills the Stew, a male tabaxi bard and adventurer looking to catalog the adventures of heroes.