Welcome to the Conniving Caravan Campaign!
The halflings were ruffians and had a sketchy reputation, but what was guaranteed was the fact they would have treasures and trinkets from all corners of Faerun. All of these factors probably contributed to the survivability of the caravan, given their route. They would actually set off during the winter. Ask any halfling, and they would claim it was to get the worst of the trip out of the way early, so they could enjoy the rest of the trip. In truth, their first stop was the warm swamps and hot deserts of the Calimshan region, so it wasn’t as difficult as implied.
It was cold and late in the fall when the ghostwise caravan rolled into town this season. The folks of Melvaunt, beggar and noble alike, should have known it was a bad omen. They had barely noticed, more concerned with the orc menace in the mountains to the east, and rumors of a dragon spotted in the Moonsea. Some had even seen an orc armies in the Great Desert Anauroch.
From there they journeyed north to Amn (what caravan in it’s right mind would hit the Merchant’s Domain?), and then through the Green Fields and past Durlag’s Tower, finally arriving in Ashbenford in Mistledale, on the edge of Cormanthyr, the Elven Kingdom.
After finishing trade with the elves and farmers local to the dale, the caravan would often proceed north along to Zhentil Keep, for trade with the mercenaries was lucrative. The halflings, or hin as they prefer, cared little that the items and weapons they sold the elves often came into conflict with the ones they sold the Zhentarim.
All that remains on the route is Melvaunt, crossing the Moonsea to Mulmaster, and then south through King’s Reach, then east to Thay. A quick jaunt across the Sea of Fallen Stars, and they’re back in the Chondalwood.
Along the way, the hin caravan accepted many stragglers, big and small, on numerous occasions along the trade route. It wasn’t so much that they were trusting, as they were clever. The rewards outweighed the risks with their open door policy concerning hitch hikers. They’d tell you that this was due to the natural hospitality of the halfling, but in reality it gave them deniability for any of their schemes or scams along the way. If they were suspected, they simply passed the blame along to “that last straggler who traveled with us fer a bit…”.
Upon entering Melvaunt, you were greeted at the gates by some city guards accompanied by a handful of knights. Singled out and given a token, your presence was requested at Lord Nanther’s home. He was forming a search PARTY, of which you would be a member.
For those who hadn’t strolled into town with the caravan, it was in the Mistamere ruins where you would cross paths with the others, joining their PARTY.