The group is called into the office of their mentor/trainer, Tamas Silverhelm, to receive their first assignment. He tells them his brother Aodhan, a traveling merchant, has been missing for a few weeks and no one has heard from him. He tells them to travel to the town of Phandalin, where Aodhan was last headed, and try to locate his lost brother. He tells them to seek out his other brother, Gundren who has a home in Phandalin for a possible lead.
The group sets out on the Trade Way stopping by an Inn on the way and inquiring with the barmaid if they had seen Aodhan. The barmaid remembered Aodhan, but hadn’t seen him in several seeks. About a half a day travel brings them to a broken down wagon. The group sees two figures huddled over what appears to be a pile of rags. Getting closer, they realize the two figures are two Goblin Zombies feasting on a body. The Zombies have collars around their necks attached to a long pole. Holding the two poles are a pair of regular Goblins, apparently controlling the zombies. In the back of the wagon are two other goblins going through the contents of the wagon. One goblin races off into the woods, leaving the others to attack the group. The heroes easily defeat the monsters and take a moment to assess their surroundings. They find an empty leather map case and a game trail the goblin escape on.
They checked on the figure being eaten, and discover to their surprise that he was still alive, though barely. After casting some healing magic on him, they discover it is Tamas’ other brother, Gundren. He was on his way home to Phandalin with his daughter Kenna when their wagon was ambushed. He begs the heroes to find and rescue his daughter. Not wanting to leave him in the road, the group carries the weakened dwarf with them.
Following what looks to be a game trail, and dispatching a hastily rigged trap, the group comes to the entrance of what appears to be a cave and probable hideout for (after checking the area) a group of goblinoids.