You are in the courtyard of a large castle, standing in a crowd on a large, circular, wooden platform with railings going all around. You recognize all of the people in the crowd as being either in your Company of Redeemers or part of your Company’s camp assistants. From the floor of the platform, huge chains rise up and pass through a pulley system overhead to a large windlass off to one side. The whole platform sways slightly with the movement of bodies. In the center of the platform are a large number of crates filled with supplies.
All around the platform are Soldiers of the Brotherhood, resplendent in their gleaming white uniforms, armed with spears, short swords, and shields. On the walls around the courtyard, more Brotherhood soldiers stand armed with crossbows. You are dressed in sturdy clothes. All of your equipment is tied into a bundle on the floor in front of you.
A tall human wearing the robes & mitre of a high priest of the Brotherhood steps up onto a large podium and addresses the crowd in a high, clipped voice.
The Alliance of the Brothers has deemed you as unwanted, but ultimately redeemable. As the Armies of the Brotherhood have less evil to cleanse on the surface world, we have deemed it time to cleanse the Underdark. As one of the first groups, you have been chosen for your abilities. You have but to cleanse the evil of the Underdark to redeem your souls. Like the other groups, you follow in the footsteps of more faithful who failed in the past. If you die in the attempt, fear not in the knowledge that your soul shall have been redeemed. We have provided you with leaders, skilled laborers, and provisions. It is up to you to carry forward your mission.
Once each month, we will send a tribute lift. We expect 1000 gold per 20 citizens. Failure to provide tribute will result in your death at the hand of the Inquisitors. In exchange for your tribute, we will send provisions. A merchant will accompany the lift with individual items for sale as well as a company of the Brotherhood Guard. Do not think to revert to your evil ways and assault the tribute lift for, if you do, it will be the last of the provisions provided. Regardless, you will not be able to use it to return.
May the blessings of the Brothers be upon you.
As he finishes, he signals and the platform full of people and supplies starts to lower down a shaft into the earth.. It goes down
As it lowers, you don your equipment. After what seems like hours, the platform emerges into a large cavern. There is the sound of falling water. A strange glow is in the air and seems to be emerging from various fungal growths on the rock surface. To the north, the remains of a town can be made out, as well as those of a fortress built into the northern wall. A large chasm in the western half of the cavern splits the cavern from north to south. A small cluster of buildings huddle on the nearer edge of the chasm. The sound of falling water turns out to be a waterfall coming from an opening high in the cavern wall. It emerges between the town and the fortress, runs eastward across the front of the fort then turns southeast and eventually leaves the cavern in the southern wall.
A minute later, the platform stops. after a moment, the chains disappear, and those with arcana detect magic in use. You are to the south of the remains of the town and fortress. A rough road leads between the two and extends southeast, passing about 20 yards to the landing site’s east, and continues to your east. The road appears to go toward a small lake formed where the river opens from a fast channel to a small wide lake. The road crosses the river just above the lake and continues to the eastern wall, where the only other exit from the cavern appears. Just south of the road you see a few buildings and what you think might be the remains of docks on the river. On the other side of the river, a forest of large fungal ‘trees’ covers the cavern floor. To your west, there are what appear to be once-cultivated groves of mushrooms and other fungals. Close by to your south is a large forest, as it were, of stalagmites.