It’s early summer in Underwillow and there are several travelers in town. A gnome bard, Aribi, has been performing to enthusiastic crowds in the Underwillow Inn. A half-orc ranger, Unruhk, sells some furs and skins from the game he’s caught in nearby Neverwinter Wood. A halfling cleric, Topiary, found the village’s temple to Oghma abandoned and has set about cleaning it up. And a halfling rogue, Pamplemousse, has been wandering around town, eating a lot of free samples of red currant jam.
Aribi performs to a large crowd in the Underwillow Inn. A dwarven merchant tips her generously, as does Pamplemousse (after she pickpockets some gold from that same merchant), and Topiary’s tip is a scroll containing some of Oghma’s wisdom. Aribi’s final performance of the night is a riddle which Pamplemousse solves. Aribi buys Pamplemousse a round of drinks as a reward. While at the inn’s bar, the party meets the innkeeper, Amhatan (a serious-looking elf), and Glowkindle (a gnome who is trying to build a brewery in the inn’s basement).
Glowkindle hires the four travelers to clean out the basement. Giant rats recently chased his workers out of the cellar. Glowkindle wants them to get rid of the rats, find out where they came from, and make sure that no surprises like this happen again. He wants this done as soon as possible because his brewing equipment will arrive from Neverwinter in the next few days.
The party descends the stairs into the basement. When they light a torch, four giant rats charge at them from the darkness. Unruhk is severely bitten by two of the rats, but Topiary heals him before the situation can get any worse. The party quickly dispatches three of the rats, with Aribi using Dissonant Whispers to make one of rats’ head explode. It’s gross but impressive, and it makes the fourth rat run away through a hole in the back wall.
Unruhk follows the final rat, and looks through the hole in the wall to see where it has gone. He finds a narrow hallway and a trail of blood leading to the right. He hears a quick squeak and then silence. The party climbs through the hole and makes its way down the hallway. They find the rat sliced in half, with its front end on some sort of mosaic panel on the floor. Using a riddle engraved in the stone wall of the hallway, the party progresses forward carefully, realizing they must step on the mosaic tiles in a specific order to be able to cross safely.
On the other side of the mosaic, the party finds two doors. They choose to enter the door to their left first. Inside they find a Giant Inferno Spider, which attempts to hide from them in the webs it has spun on the ceiling. Unruhk manages to hit the spider through the web with his spear. With the spear stuck in its belly, the spider drags the spear through the webs as it runs, ripping the webs behind it. Eventually, the spider falls to the ground and Aribi is able to attack it. The spider spits Burning Webs at Aribi, but Topiary quickly slashes through the webs to free her. Though she seems very uncomfortable with the sights and smells of the smouldering room, Pamplemousse takes a moment to find a place in the shadows and unleashes a perfect shot that hits the spider in the mouth and kills it.
Upon searching the rest of this area, the party determines that the room was a laboratory of some kind. There is a small storeroom in the back where they find a rat lapping up a bit of liquid from a broken vial. They quickly realize that the rats and spider were altered by drinking from these broken vials. The party finds a few intact potions before heading back to the hallway to check out the other door.