Encounter 2 - Convincing the Dwarven Captain (level 1 complexity 3 skill challenge 300 exp)
Male Elven Ranger
Female Dwarven Fighter
Male Tiefling Wizard
Male Human Cleric
Male Halfling Paladin
After the previous battle one of the ranger players decided to use a human cleric instead, and the human wizard's player had to leave.
The PCs, upon holding the room against the goblin invaders, were rewarded with healing potions and gold, as well as being allowed to take any loot from the goblins they killed. The dwarves treated them with respect upon hearing that particular battle was more fierce than most of the others that occured at the same time.
The PCs approached Captain Gardack, the current dwarven home commander about their first quest: rescuing the captive elves. They asked about the location of the room with 3 large dwarven statues, and were told by Captain Gardack that it was the Room of Remembrance. He did not have time to talk to the PCs then, so set them an appointment to meet him the next day.
When the PCs arrived, he told them that the Room of Remembrance was one of the first locations to fall about a year ago when the goblin forces began their assault. He told the players that if they were to get the information they seek, they must convince him that they were worthy of it.
One by one, the players attempted to convince the dwarf, but he was a tough sell: resentment by the dwarves of the other races, especially elves, ran deep as they have faced the goblins alone without even decent trade arrangements with other peoples. The players spoke of wrecking vengence upon the goblins by striking at the heart of their holdings, and allowing the dwarves to have some revenge upon the goblins for the losses they had suffered.
The Ranger realized that the dwarf was testing them, and must be hiding a great secret he was reluctant to reveal to strangers (perception skill). The cleric realized the veteran commander was bothered when the Room of Remembrance was spoken of (insight skill), and the wizard was able to use this knowledge to remember hearing about a legendary dwarven commander that fought in that battle, realizing that Captain Gordack must have been that commander. History remembers that he lost his only son in that battle (history skill).
The Dwarf expressed empathy (diplomacy skill) for the dwarven commander's loss, which got the gruff captain to speak of how he sent his son to fight the goblins as they always had... strike fear into them and they would rout. This did not work this time, and has never worked since, as the goblins no longer had fear for themselves, and his son was overcome. Captain Gordack felt responsible for his son's death, having given him his last orders.
The Paladin succeeded in convincing the captain to allow him to bring a dwarven standard to place in the Hall of Remembrance (diplomacy), and the Cleric clinched the deal by speaking of how they would clear the Hall of Remembrance of taint by freeing the slaves held there and exacting vengance on those who held them (religion).
The Captain, moved by the PCs offers, agreed to give them all the information they needed to get there, and gave them his personal standard to place in the hall (a great honor among the dwarves). He told of the Deepening, a place deep in the Inrac that reaches far and wide, that would allow the PCs to bypass the goblin armies. All entrances had been sealed, as terrible creatures stalk those caverns, and it provides access to many locations that would allow the goblins to strike at will if they knew of it. He gave the PCs information about how to navigate the Deepening to reach the Room of Remembrance.
If the PCs had failed, another dwarf would have let them know of the deepening, but they would not be informed of the dangers within, leaving them vulnerable for surprise.