According to the adventure, Benwick has already paid for the party’s lodgings at the Stumbling Giant elsewhere in Restwell Keep. So, of course, running Benwick I had him make the offer to the PCs. They did something I hadn’t really anticipated: they wanted to get a head start, trek through the night and make sure they could tackle the swamp grotto where Gordi was being held by daylight.
What else could I do but say yes?
Quinn had an ability that let him determine the number and types of tracks within a 10-square radius if the party took a short rest. The adventure text really gave no precedent, so when the player brought it up I thought for a moment. Even though it would seem a bit strange that the characters were only 100 feet or so from where Gordi’s captors had traveled, I decided to let Quinn’s player make the check and to give him information on a success.
He did. I told him there were six sets of tracks: five pairs of small reptilian feet and a pair of heavy, booted tracks. The encounter they were about to face involved a dragonborn mercenary (the boots), his pet guard drake, and four kobolds with blowguns. According to the encounter, there was actually a lizardman with a net as well, but I’d decided to take him out due to the group’s size of four, and the inexperience of the players, as per the recommendations at the beginning of the module.
As I type this, I realize in hindsight that I should have factored Gordi into it those tracks. It didn’t bring the game to a halt, though, so all was well. The players found a spot to spend the night with a Nature check. On a failure I probably would have docked them a healing surge come morning for lack of rest, or had them make an Endurance check for the same. The pursuit of Gordi would have made a good place for a skill check, but I sadly didn’t think about it at the time.
The next day they came to the grotto. Quinn and Guinevere decided to approach in an effort to talk first. They saw Kesk, the dragonborn, and his pet guard drake, which was playing in a small pond. The four kobold minions were on a ledge and hiding; neither Quinn nor Guinevere’s passive Perception checks were high enough to notice them so I left them off the encounter map.
Negotiations began! But it is late, and my memory is hazy, so more on this after I consult the players.