Crudak Steelsong, a half-orc barbarian, and Baru, a tiefling sorcerer, arrive in Solis, the capital city of New Brighthold. After separately wandering the city for a short while, the two meet in the city’s northeastern slums, moments before the both of them are ambushed by a group of bandits. The criminals are no match for the two. Once the last thug is put down by the duo, a formally-dressed figure reveals himself on the roof above the alley, challenging the two to find and join a local crime syndicate, of which he is a high-ranking official. However, Baru circumvents the task entirely by convincing the man that the two already know exactly where the hideout is, and that the three should just go there together. As it turns out, the entrance is mere steps from the man. He drops down a wide chimney, and the other two follow.
Crudak and Baru find themselves in an exceptionally seedy tavern. They meet Jebediah, the halfling barkeep. The two begin to suspect that the barkeep is hiding something. After trying to pry information from Jebediah, Baru busts into the back room, where he discovers cupboard after cupboard is filled with vials of blood. Jebediah has an emotional breakdown after his secret is discovered, but Baru convinces him that he shouldn’t be ashamed. Relieved, Jebediah offers the two free drinks for life.
The two adventurers then descend into the lower levels of the complex, where they meet with the mysterious figure once more. He claims his name is Scrooge McDick, but doesn’t make great efforts to convince the two newcomers that that’s really his name. He explains that in order to be fully accepted into the organization, they must face “The Gauntlet”. He tells them no other information.