Night had fallen, and the inn was a busy place. A reasonably well known bard was busily recounting epics of great heroes, and the ale and wine was flowing freely. As another traveller entered, a low rumble of thunder was heard. "Gonna rain," someone said. The bard was in the middle of a stanza concerning the warrior, Menthias the Great, when he heard the thunder. A most peculiar look crossed his face, and he stopped in mid-sentence. Then, he suddenly stood up, thrusting his gear into his bag. "I must go." Then he left without another word, despite the protests and requests of the patrons.
Something peculiar is going on. People, seemingly at random, are suddenly dropping whatever they’re doing and departing for parts unknown. If pressed, they merely say there is something they have to do or that something suddenly came up. If prevented from leaving, they become upset or violent, depending on their temperment, and insist that they must go.
This is a widespread phenomena, and not restricted to age, gender, social standing, or profession. The eleven year old son of a lord might be seen departing a city with a forty year old thief, and apparently peaceably. There has been at least one case of the city guard jumping to prevent an apparent kidnapping, only to have the presumed victim attack in defense of the presumed criminal.
The only discernable links that can be found are that often blood relatives will all suddenly leave without explanation, if they are all capable of travel. If some are not capable of travel, the blood relatives express a desire to go, and maybe angry or depressed that they cannot. But *everyone* who is following this behavior can’t be related, it’s spread too far out.
Perhaps the PCs are merely curious, and want to discover the cause of this unexplained behavior. Perhaps a reward has been offered by the distraught family of a wealthy individual who suddenly left. Perhaps one of the PCs have felt the Call themselves. In any case, they are investigating.
Either by questioning, or simply following some of these travellers, it becomes evident that they are all heading for the same place, an isolated mountain range. Individuals meet up, forming groups, and groups merge into larger groups. All groups are travelling as fast and as far as they can; there is a definite sense of urgency. If questioned, these people say something to the effect of they have to hurry to protect something or someone.
All of the people who heard the Call and then suddenly left for the mountains are descendents of the Tribe of Talna, a very small people that originally made their home in the mountains that is now their destination. The tribe eventually fragmented and scattered, and all memory of them was lost.
But they left something up in those mountains, at the entrance to a valley between two of the highest peaks: the Forgotten Shrine, the last temple dedicated to their goddess, Talna. The Shrine protects Talna’s Valley, a sacred place where there is no illness or injury or death. They left a single guardian, the eternal priest Miklos to guard it.
They also left him a means of calling for aid, should he require it. That was the Great Bell, which had the power to call to the Tribe. Once struck, it produces a low, almost subsonic tone that resonates outward. The tone it produces spreads out, travelling across the land. It does not fade away, but just keeps going. Eventually, it assumes a quality not unlike a low rumble of thunder.
Most would not even notice it. But for some people, it is something more. If it is heard by a descendant of the original tribe, that person knows instinctively what it is and what it means. And all who understand it will make their way to the Forgotten Shrine if they are able, as fast as they are able. It was Miklos’s last resort, one he would not use unless he had no other choice.
That time has come; outsiders have discovered Talna’s Valley and what can be done there. Eager for eternal life, they are trying to take it by force. Miklos was overwhelmed and taken prisoner, but not before he sounded the Bell to summon the Tribe.
Now those descendants of the Tribe of Talna are making their way to the Valley to defend it. Some are poorly prepared for a fight and the Tribe is still small, but there is great diversity of abilities amongst them. They will not try to prevent the PCs from joining them as long as the group doesn’t try to prevent them from reaching their goal.
Will the PCs help defend the Valley, or will they try to take it for their own?
Expanding the Scenario
Once the Valley has been secured or destroyed, the Great Bell destroyed, or Miklos killed, depending on how the scenario plays out, the Tribe of Talna will start to disperse, most heading back home. Some will undoubtably want to stay and investigate their lost heritage, and maybe one or two will stay on at the Shrine in a more permanent capacity.
The PCs could be escorting travellers back home (particularly if there is a reward for it), possibly keeping the peace in a group that no longer has anything tangible to tie it together (an adventure in and of itself). Or maybe they want to see what other treasures the mountains hold. If the PCs have taken the Valley for themselves, they will surely want to find a way to exploit it.