Arrival at the Laughing Owl
It was the dark of the moon and all were tired, hungry and thirsty . . . and the lonely inn called "The Laughing Owl" beckoned them in. All twelve of them.
Strangely there were no locals in the common room; just the innkeeper and his daughter. Just them. Twelve strangers.
"Lilith, bar the door and leave us." said the innkeeper. . . . And, after his daughter had done so, he addressed the dozen strangers.
"A Seer prophesied that twelve would arrive on the dark of the moon . . . and here there be twelve of ye. She paid for food and rooms for ye for the space of thee moons . . . so if ye accept her terms, you can live, eat and drink free of charge for three moons."
"There is danger in the land from strange creatures . . . but the chance for much profit too. The lands hereabout were once great; but that was long ago. All that remains are the ruins and the tunnels beneath the land above . . . mere vestiges of the city that was once here."
"If ye twelve accept this quest, ye may keep all that ye find. Some of ye will become rich; some will probably perish . . . but we all perish in time, do we not?"
The innkeeper then told them of the arrival of a shadowy seer and the quest that she said twelve strangers would take up. Starting on the third night after the dark of the moon and every three nights after that, the twelve would each draw a bean from a bag that she had provided. Each time four beans would be black and the rest white.
The four drawing the black beans would then delve into the underground tunnels to explore and map what they find. The makeup of each such party would be different almost every time . . . but the chosen four must explore and map.
After some discussion, the strangers agreed . . . for none had the means to move on and three months of room and board plus the chance to gain fame and loot were most welcome to them.
The next day Axel Dirkwood (the Innkeeper) took the twelve around to show them various known entrances to the "Undercity". Currently there are four known entrances . . . but there may well be more.
Axel mentions that no one knows if these entrances connect with each other underground or not. They may or may not connect . . . and the major part of their task will be to map the areas they explore.