A stout band of brothers, Edvin, a scholarly cleric of Pharasma; Targus, a magus with a blade of mysterious provenance; Augusto, a wizard with a passion for life's pleasures; Grendal, a ranger with a hatred of the Technic League and their mechanical servants; and Nils, an inquisitor of Desna with a liberator's zeal, having heard that the town of Torch is desperate for adventurers, decide to offer their services. Nils is briefly delayed by matters of a personal nature, so the others head off to Torch, intending to meet up with their companion a few days later. Targus has some history with the town, having lived there for awhile and gotten to know several prominent citizens, including a town councillor named Khonnir Baine, a man figuring prominently in Torch's current predicament.
Torch is named for its most prominent feature and the source of most of its wealth, an ancient and mysterious source of fire hot enough to melt adamantium. Most of the time, the intense violet flame is the size of a large bonfire and it is at these times that smiths from many lands gather for the opportunity to forge their adamantium weapons and armour. Occasionally, the earth begins to rumble and shake. The locals know that they must vacate at such times, for the fire becomes a massive inferno that blasts right through the top of the mountain, before dying down once again. Unfortunately for the town, the fire that sustains it has recently been extinguished. Khonnir Baine took it upon himself to solve the mystery. He soon discovered recent tracks along the banks of the Weeping Pond, a contaminated pool at the base of Black Hill. Further exploration revealed an underwater cave. Since then, five expeditions have entered the cave including two led by Baine himself. Baine's first expedition was the only one to successfully return. He reported seeing walls of solid metal construction and brought back a broken automaton of some sort. He did not return from his second expedition and the town council is desperate to have him returned, dead or alive. A reward of 4000 gp for his recovery is offered. Luckily for Torch and its citizens, the right men for the job have just arrived.